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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

China,   pp. 199-404 PDF (90.0 MB)


Page 200


FOREIGN RELATIONS.
   the petition of Mrs. Amidon correctly represented the facts, as the De-
   partment understood them."
     You state further ",that, as the Chinese Government steadfastly
de-
  nied the validity of the claims, all efforts to obtain an equitable settle-
  ment thereof were rendered fruitless."
     You further call my attention to dispatch No. 741,of March 3, 1881,
  from Mr. Evarts to my predecessor, Mr. Angell, in which he endeav-
  Ored to secure an adjustment of these claims after deducting the sum of
  42,309 taels, but the result was again unsuccessful. China denied ac-
  countability and set off a counter demand against the the Ward estate.
     You direct me to give the whole matter a thorough and careful investi-
  gation and to furnish you my conclusions "in connection with the papers
  now sent and the information already in the possession of your (my)
  legation, or such as you may be able to obtain otherwise, to the end
  that'a final and effectual decision as to these claims may be reached."
    You do me the honor to state that I am at liberty to present this
  claim to the Imperial Government without further authorization from
  you. You state that, if my conclusion should be favorable, yet, out of
  b1 undant caution, I should prefer to obtain your sanction prior to pre-
  senting the claim, I am at liberty to adopt this course.
    You further do me the honor to state that-it is your"1 desire to
obtain
  the fullest possible authoritative examination of the subject, and to be
  guided by your (my) conclusions in the premises based on the inclosed
  documents and whatever information you may be able to gather from
  the legation's archives and elsewhere in China touching the validity of
  these claims."
    A claim coming to me from you presented in so careful, complete, and
  peculiarly considerate a mainer demands at my hands, and has to the
  best of my ability received, the most thorough consideration.
    The rule as laid down in Wharton's International Digest, Volume II,
  section 213, for the determination of the question whether a diplomatic
  agent will be, authorized to present a claim to a foreign government, is
  that the claim should be tested as a bill in chancery would be by a g*en-
  eral exception for want of equity. But, under your instructions, I am
  to consider all the evidence bearing on the case that may be found in
  the archives of this legation or "elsewhere in China."
    Under this broad delegation of authority, I shall present for your
  consideration a history of this case gathered from all sources. In con-
  nection therewith, and as bearing on the solution of the question
  whether the claim should now be presented by the Government of the
  United States to the Government of China, I shall call attention to
  the action of the representatives of our own Government in China on
  this and the other claims with which this one was involved up to the
  present time.
                HISTORY OF THE WARD ESTATE CLAIM.
   The general facts connected with this claim are historical. They
 may be briefly stated as tollowsi:
   The entry of General F. T. Ward into the military service of the Im-
 perial Government of China, during the Taeping rebellion, in the winter
 of 1860-761; 'his organization of a corps called the "ever victorious
 army; 2 his gallant aand meritorious conduct in the field; his being
 mortally wounded in battle the 21st of September, 1862; his declaration,
 while his death was imminent, that the Taotai of Shanghai owed him
-110,000 taels ; the devise of this money by a verbal declaration reduced
200


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