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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 210


210                    FOREIGN RELATIONS.
lation of this paper was preserved, We know little about it. But
Woo says that the money received "Was sent to the United States
in bills." If this be true, itwas honestly accounted for. There is no
doubt, I think, that H. G. Ward's accounts as rendered are accurate
and honest.
  The following circumstances all sustain this view: The contract made
for ships; the inability to complete it for want of money; the demand
for more money; the failure to get it; the sale of the ships. By these ac-
counts it is shown that the estate received and retains 42,309 taels of
money furnished by Woo.
   But as China denied the validity of the original claim it did not m-at-
ter that Henry G. Ward's transactions were explained. It must be
noted that Woo saw these accounts in 1868.
   The Chinese contend that as the estate has received 42,309 taels and
 the Imperial Government has awarded divers posthumous honors to
 the general nothing more is due. Whether the national debt of grati-
 tude has been discharged hardly enters into the elements of considera-
 tion on this occasion. It is not to be presumed that the Government
 of the United States will make sentiment a basis of a claim against
 another nation.
   But, inan official point of view, taking c:ar relations and past dealings
 with China into account, it seems to me that, even if this claim were
 strong and not weak as it undoubtedly is, it would not comport with
 our dignity, and hardly with fair dealing, to take it up again.
   A review, as set out, of the facts will sustain this opinion.
   My predecessors, except Mr. Burlingame, have relied exclusively
 upon the last award.
   Since Mr. Evarts wrote to Mr. Angell to present the "Ward estate
 claim" six years have elapsed. The "6 Ward claims" were then
unpaid.
 At that time China still refused to be bound by the award, and, for that
 reason, it was permissible to push the "Ward estate claim" irrespect-
 ive of the award.
   But in 1883 China acknowledged, not the justice of the award, but
 its binding effect, and paid the sums awarded with interest at 9 per cent.
 from the time fixed for payment. It is not equitable for one nation
 in dealing with another to dispute the validity of an award after it has
 received the fruits of other parts thereof. It is like blowing hot and
 cold, as the lawyers say. The whole conduct of the negotiations at Tien-
 tsin and the final receipt for money paid on the award constitute a strong
 ratification of the last award. The repayment to China of the residue
 of the "1 Canton indemnity Fund" after deducting, without any
recog-
 nition of this claim, Hill's claim, constitutes another link in the chain
 of events which operate against the proposition to re-open this claim.
   I do not undertake to define the distinction between presenting a
'claim officially and unofficially. The recognized medium of communi-
cation between the Imperial Government and the outer world, under
the treaties, is the diplomatic agent. If he specifies that he acts unoffi-
cially, little or no attention will be paid to him by the Imperial Govern-
ment.
   The claim, in my opinion, does not rest on a basis sufficient to war-
 rant its presentation in any form.
   It is just to the memory of General Ward to say that I have reached
 the conclusions above set out without any process of reasoning which
 casts any shadow of obloquy on th~is remarkable man.
   That he believed in the justice of his claim ; that some moral founda-
 tion existed for it in the statement of Woo, that when they had a suc-


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