Page images

with the trade of the Yang-tze Kiang, or attacked any of the forbidden plae they would be repulsed, as they had been on former occasions, and as the “folly would deserve." The documents from which I have made the above bra statement are quite voluminous, and I did not feel at liberty to copy from the under the request of the admiral that I should hold them measurably cont dential.

It is not possible to write what will probably be the result of the present state of things. The rebels in certain quarters seem to be gaining, and in others losing ground. Since my last despatch they have taken Hang Chow, a city not far from Ningpo. In another despatch I will give a fuller account of them and of their purposes.

I am happy to inform you that as soon as the admiral arrived he called upon me, and, in the warmest manner, tendered me, on behalf of his government and himself, any assistance I might need in this anomalous state of affairs. He soon after sent me the courteous letter, a copy of which I enclose. In the morning I shall avail myself of his kind invitation to visit Ningpo by his ship. At Ningpo our people are now exposed to the capricious conduct of the rebels. I shall not feel at liberty to hold any official intercourse with the rebels which they might construe into a recognition.

I have the honor to be


obedient servant,



Secretary of State.


January 7, 1862. Şir: Circumstances having occasioned the recall of the greater part of the American vessels-of-war in these seas, it may be proper to acquaint you that the commanders of her Majesty's vessels stationed at the several consular ports are instructed, “so far as the means at their disposal will admit, to afford the same protection to the subjects of such foreign states as are on terms of amity with ħer Majesty as to British subjects," and that it will afford me much pleasure to proinote the objects of your mission in every mode in which personally I can be serviceable to you. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Vice Admiral, Commander-in-Chief. Hon. ANSON BURLINGAME,

United States Minister in China.

Mr. Burlingame to Mr. Seward.

No. 8.]

SHANGHAI, January 23, 1862. SIR: I have the honor to inform you that on the morning of the 10th of January I started for Ningpo, on board of her Majesty's ship Coromandel, by the invitation of Vice Admiral Sir James Hope, and arrived there on the 11th.

We found the rebels in possession of the city commanded by two generals, whose forces were variously estimated all the way from ten to fifty thousand men. As in all places taken by them, there was presented a scene of utter desolation, for they destroy everything and consume nothing. I saw heads and

bodies of the dead lying unburied in the streets. The inhabitants who could

flee had fled, and those who remained were terror stricken. The foreign settle* ment was menaced, and only saved from slaughter by the presence of the Eng

lish war vessels the Scout and Kestrel, and the French war vessel Confucius, In the presence of these things, the admiral and myself determined, after mature deliberation, to give the rebels notice that, under no circumstances, must they invade the foreign quarter, and, that they might know where it was, we caused it to be defined according to the minute, a copy of which please find marked A. You will be glad, I hope, to perceive that the minute is drawn with great care, 80 as not to involve the government. It is a provisional measure for defensive purposes to secure the enjoyment of our treaty rights and subject to our treaty obligations. The other treaty powers would have gone, I think, a little further than this, and demanded a concession of territory, subject to the ratification of the imperial government; but I did not feel at liberty to do this, remembering our policy, and the minute was kindly made to conform to my views.

On my return to Shanghai I found the condition of things as pointed out in the letter of the Rev. M. S. Colbertson, which I send, marked B. It is not possible to ascertain the number of the rebels. We only know that they are on every side, and that they are the very incarnation of destruction. The smoke of the fires of the burning houses and villages has been ascending in every direction for more than a week. They take a place, “loot” it, kill the old and the young, and force the strong men to join them and to wear their mark in such a way as never to be able to return to their old allegiance. I received yesterday a despatch from their general, Ho, a copy of which I send, marked C. He informs me that they are approaching Shanghai by five routes, and that, while they do not desire to injure foreigners, he declares that if they are interfered with he will conquer them and all the whole world besides. The list of cities taken by them, and enumerated by him, I think is tolerably correct. The Chinese proper seem to be perfectly impotent in their presence and are crowding by the hundred thousand into Shanghai, seeking the protection of foreigners. There are, all told, of foreigners only about three thousand, and of these but two thousand are soldiers, and yet this force, small as it is, I believe is competent, if well handled, to hold the place. The mistortune is that the rebels destroy trade now and the hope of it hereafter, and that this city, whose export trade in favorable times is nearly as great as the export trade of the Russian empire, will be very much injured. The most active measures are taken for defence, not only by the military but by the citizens. What the latter are doing you will learn from the report I send, marked D. The French soldiers are charged with the defence of Shanghai proper, and the English with the defence of the foreign set:lement. The Americans, as volunteers, are lost in the latter force. Mr. Cunningham, whose name is at the head of the committee for defence, is an American, at the head of the house of Russell & Co., at Shanghai. The admiral, Sir James Hope, informs me that he has written to Mr. Bruce, at Peking, to have the British force of fourteen hundred men at Tien-tsin, which has been ordered home, detained, and to have a re-enforcement sent up from Hong-Kong.

I have transferred Mr. William Breck, our present consul at Swatow, to Kinkiang, a place about five hundred miles up the great river Yamg-tze-Kang. I have done this in the interests of our immense trade now springing up along that river, and because he is by his energy and ability peculiarly qualified in this forming time of that trade for that position. I have appointed him acting consul, subject to the approval of the President. I will fill the vacancy caused by the transfer by the appointment of a good man for Swatow, also. I hope to be approved by the government.

I have the honor to be, sir, your

obedient scivant,

A. BURLINGAME. Hon. William H. SEWARD, Secretary of State,



Minute of a conference held at the 'United States consulate at Ningpo, China,

this Monday, the 13th day of January, 1862.

Present: Captain J. Corbet, royal navy, her Majesty's steamer Scout; Willie P. Mangum, esq., United States consul at Ningpo; Frederick Harvey, esq., her Majesty's consul at Ningpo; Mr. Léon Obry, captain of his Imperial Majesty's steamer Confucius, and French consul at Ningpo.

Whereas certain forces in opposition to the government of China have captured the city of Ningpo and its surrounding districts; and whereas, in the absence of any imperial authority, it is necessary for defensive purposes, for the protection of life and property, and for the general security, order, and good government of foreigners residing at Ningpo, that certain limits should be clearly defined within which those foreigners are to reside, free from molestation, aggression, or interference of any kind, for these purposes the undersigned, as the only representatives of foreign powers at this port, have this day met together at the United States consulate, and have, after consultation, agreed and determined upon the following three articles :

1. That that tract of land or country or promontory known as the Keang Pih-Sete, and comprised within the boundaries or limits drawn by the Yung river, the Yu Yau, a branch of the said river, the Pih-Sha-Ho creek, and a line drawn across the field from the Sge-chow-taue (or temple) to join the Yu Yau river above mentioned, (the whole site forming an irregular quadrilateral or trapezium,) shall from this date and hereafter be assumed and considered as the foreign site, within which such foreigners shall reside free from any interference of any nature whatsoever, subject always to their respective treaty obligations.

2. The undersigned reserve to themselves the right to make and establish such rules and regulations within the limits above mentioned as the future necessities of the settlement may be made requisite, such regulations to be in conformity with the provisions of their respective treaties with the imperial government of China.

3. The above agreement, to which the undersigned have appended their proval and signatures, will be submitted without delay to the high ministers and Officers of the nations to which the undersigned respectively pertain and belong.


United States Consul.

Her Majesty's Consul.
Her Majesty's steamer Scout.

Captain His Imperial Majesty's steamer Confucius and French Consul.


SHANGHAI, January 14, 1862. Dear Sir: As the steamer leaves this afternoon, I take the liberty of sending you a line in reference to the state of things at Shanghai, as I have not a little at stake in the result of the disposition which may be made by foreign powers in reference to the rebels. Your despatch from our consul will no doubt inform you that the rebels are now all around us in considerable force, with a prospect

of daily increase. We on this side of the Su-chau creek are left entirely unprotected, although the rebel forces are on our side, and within four or five miles of our houses. I am aware that you have no force with which to assist us, and that it is out of the question for the military and naval authorities of other powers to extend their line of defence so as to include this settlement. My object in writing is not to apply for aid or give advice, but simply to express my opinion that it is very desirable you should be present in Shanghai as soon as possible. I am satisfied the rebels are coming with an immense force, and a firm determination either to take Shanghai or destroy it, if they can. The force opposed to them here is sufficient, I believe, to defeat any number of rebels in any open fight; but when I consider the extent of ground to be defended, I am satisfied the force now here is wholly inadequate to guarantee the settlement against the consequences of another mode of warfare which the rebels may be able to employ. I mean incendiary fires at night. They have it in their power also to draw à cordon around us and cut off our supplies, and in this very way give us minch trouble. As matters stand now, the English and French appear as the allies of the imperialists, fighting side by side with imperialist troops against the rebels. We can casily understand the effect of this upon the minds of the rebel leaders. Would it not be better if the foreign powers should hold Shanghai for themselves and not for the imperial government? Could they not compel the imperial troops to leave and notify the rebels that this must be considered strictly neutral ground by both parties?

Perhaps you might have some influence here by your counsels, even without any show of force.

Begging pardon for the liberty I have taken, believe me, dear sir, with much respect, yours most truly,


Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States to China.


Communication from the Taiping Chief at Chi-kiang. Ho, civil governor of the province of Chi-kiang, a meritorious officer of the heavenly dynasty, in charge of the soldiers of the imperial palace of nine gates, &c., &c., for renewing of the dynasty, sends this communication to the American troops to say that heaven and earth resolve, the hills and rivers change; such of old is the law of the universe.

For over two hundred years the troops have inflicted injuries upon the whole empire of China, and now the time has arrived to bring it to an end. Imperial heaven is angry and has sent down our true Holy Lord, who has reigned already more than ten years at Nanking and subdued places more than can be pointed out. This assuredly could not have been accomplished by the power of man; it is the decree of heaven. Last year the capital (Nanking) was closely invested. We came out like a flood and took Su-chau, Chang-chau, Tai-cheng, Kwung-shau, Chang-Shuh, Kia-ding, and Kia-hung, in Chi-kiang province. We have also sent forward troops to Shanghai to call back the people who have been away and to enjoin defendant countries to carry on trade as usual. Other (i.e., foreign) countries have not yet entered into definite arrangements for trade; and although the leaders of the army are very strict, it might be difficult to restrain them. Therefore we have not advanced directly upon Shanghai, but have kept at a distance and previously taken Ringhoo and Kia. sheu, and have destroyed the troops outside of Kia-ding. We have taken the two Hoo provinces and Kiang-see. We have sent troops to King-Hwa, Shauhing. and Ningpo. Our armies beseiged Hang-chow two months and took it without effort. The southern regions being quiet, the Chung-wong is leading his troops by five roads to take Shanghai. This is only a little corner of a place; how can it give trouble? Having already taken Su-chaw and Chi-kiang, how can we be prevented from taking Shanghai? This is not mere boasting, as you may see from what I have said above. The sea-coast in this region is a place for foreign trade. As we are now sending forward troops, the two parties should make terms of peace. I have therefore thought it best to send you information beforehand. The ground occupied by the troops is not necessary for you. As to the houses of foreign traders, we shall not assuredly molest them. lf, however, you should foolishly be intent on gain, then not only this little corner but the whole world shall be ours. You ought not to listen to the imps, but clean your hearts and return to your obedience, and thus you shall not only secure your trade, but promote your own and the public welfare. Consider it speedily; I am now with my soldiers at Kia-ding; quickly return and answer, and do not delay, lest you should afterwards repent. A special communication.

To the land renters, in special mceting assembled:

GENTLEMEN: In pursuance of our duties as your committee for the consideration of propositions for the defence, draining, lighting, and general improvement of the settlement, we held an early meeting after our appointment on the 3d instant, to ascertain which of these matters pressed for more immediate attention.

We were unanimous in thinking that the question of defence took precedence of the others in the present menacing attitude of the Taipings; and a very little inquiry showed that in this opinion we were supported by the sentiments of the community.

We have therefore taken the responsibility of deferring for the moment the discussion of the improvements proposed, and, concentrating our attention upon the subject of the defences of the settlement, now offer our report upon that alone for your consideration.

In view of the report embracing only one out of the three subjects we were to lay before you, and the need of despatch in our proceedings, we have incurred the further responsibility of requesting her Majesty's consul to call the special meeting within one day of publishing our report, instead of one week, as required by the resolution at the meeting.

After consultation with the military authorities, the committee decided upon the following measures to recommend for your acceptance, and would say that all those relating to defence have been approved by the commanding officer of her Britannic Majesty's forces on shore, Sir James Hope being absent, and reference to him impossible.

We propose

1. Thet the lines of defence shall be three: the Barrier road; the Shakloo road; the Boundary creek, carried from the city wall to the Soochow creek.

2. That the defences on the Barrier road shall be barricades of 8-inch Singapore timber, squared and fitted together, set 5 feet in the earth, and seven feet high above, with gates of two valves, 11 feet wide, of 3-inch plank, with 2-inch interstices between the planks, each barricade covered by a pent-house, 10 feet wide, and extending from side to side.

These barricades are to be placed at the opening of each street towards the west as it leaves the Barrier road. The lanes and alleys to be closed by rough gates of Chinese poles.

That these shall be supported by two guard-houses on the Barrier road, in

« PreviousContinue »