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From time to time, during the latter part of 1899 and the early part of 1900, came disturbing reports, from missionaries and the representatives of the United States and the European powers stationed in the northern provinces of China, of the rapid spread and threatening attitude of the Boxers, a secret organization having for its purpose the extermination of all foreigners and the [127] abolition of all foreign influence from Chinese territory. The native name of this society is I-ho-ch'uan, “Combination of righteous harmony Fists” ; it had for its leader Prince Tuan, the father of the heir-presumptive to the Chinese throne; and had its origin in the intense antiforeign sentiment excited by the occupation by the European powers of Chinese territory under various cessions in the years immediately following the Chino-Japanese War (1895), the superstitions of the ignorant classes, and the hatred, in certain districts, of the missionaries, who, in their zeal for converts, had entered under treaty rights into every part of the empire.

Conditions grew more critical and the threatening of the missionaries increased in extent and intensity until, on May 19, 1900, the Christian village of Lai-Shun, 70 miles from Peking, was destroyed, and seventy-three native converts massacred. The representatives of the foreign powers, on May 21, addressed a joint note to the Tsung-LI-Yamen, the foreign office of the Chinese government, calling for the suppression of the Boxers, and the restoration of order. This and all further attempts on the part of the ministers met with little or no response, the Court itself openly encouraging the anti-foreign sentiment, and the young Emperor, Kwang-Su, being entirely under the influence of the Empress Dowager, notorious for her hatred of and opposition to the reformation policy. Upon the report of United States minister Edwin H. Conger (q. v.), that the Boxers were operating within a few miles of Peking, and of the great danger to the property and lives of the Americans in that part of the world, the United States government ordered rear-Admiral Louis Kempff (q. v.) to proceed at once with the flag-ship Newark to Taku, at the mouth of the Peiho River, the harbor for Tientsin and Peking. Here gathered, within a few days, the available war-ships of Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany, and Italy. Captain McCalla, with 100 men from the Newark, landed and proceeded to Tientsin, and on May 31, a small international force, including seven officers and fifty-six men of the American marine corps, were despatched to Peking, as a guard for the legations, and were admitted to the city.

On June 2, Mr. H. V. Norman, an English missionary, was murdered by the Boxers at Yung Ching, a few miles from Peking, and during the following days the rioting and destruction of property seemed to break out on every side with renewed violence. The imperial decrees against the rioters were only half-hearted, and it was responsibly reported that, in spite of the representations of the Chinese government of heavy engagements in their efforts to put down the uprising, a large number of the imperial forces were fighting with the Boxers. Fifty miles of the Luban Railway had been destroyed by the anti-foreign mob, with many stores and supplies for the new lines then under construction. Chapels and mission settlements in Shantung and Pechili provinces were looted and burned and hundreds of native Christians massacred. Finally the railway from Tientsin to Peking was cut.

On June 10, the British Admiral Seymour, with 2,000 men, drawn from the international forces in Tientsin, set out to repair the railway, and found it so badly damaged that in two days he had advanced only 35 miles. Then came the news that he had been surrounded by countless hordes of Chinese, imperial soldiers and Boxers, and that all communication with Tientsin and Peking was closed. Not until June 26 was he able, after receiving reinforcements, to cut his way back into Tientsin. He had lost 374 men, and had not been able to get within 25 miles of Peking, his whole command barely escaping annihilation. In this unfortunate advance and retreat, Captain McCalla, who was the leader of the American contingent, was highly commended for his bravery and resourcefulness.

On June 17, the Chinese forts at Taku opened fire upon the warships of the allied forces, and those of Germany, Russia, Great Britain, France, and Japan immediately returned the bombardment. The fortifications were finally captured at the point of the bayonet by soldiers landed at a point enabling them to assault in the rear. Over 100 Europeans were killed and wounded in this engagement; the Chinese loss was estimated at 700. The American Admiral Kempff did not participate in the attack, taking the ground that the United States was not at war with China, and [128] that such hostile action would merely serve to unite the Chinese against the foreigners.

On June 18, the United States government ordered the battle-ship Oregon and the gunboats Yorktown, Nashville, and Monocacy, and the 9th Regiment, 1,400 men, under Col. Emerson H. Liscum, from Manila to Taku, and other United States forces were held in readiness for service in China. While on the way, June 28, the Oregon ran aground in the Gulf of

American troops entering Peking.

Pechili, in a fog. One week later she was floated, without having suffered serious damage, and through the courtesy of the Japanese government sent to the national docks at Kure for repairs. On June 24, rear-Admiral George C. Remey (q. v.) proceeded with the flag-ship Brooklyn from Manila to succeed Admiral Kempff in the command of the American fleet. On June 26, Gen. Adna R. Chaffee (q. v.) was appointed to the command of the American army in China, and 6,300 troops, infantry and cavalry, intended for the Philippines, proceeded to China, and the United States government announced that it would, if necessary, increase the American army of occupation to 16,000. On July 4, Secretary of State John Hay, in a note to the European powers, declared the attitude of the United States towards the Chinese troubles.

On June 21-23 the allies had forced their way, by the aid of fire from the fleet, into the foreign quarter at Tientsin, and had united with the Europeans there besieged by the Chinese Boxers and imperial soldiers; for many days hard fighting was carried on against this enemy, sheltered in the native portion of the city and on the walls. On July 2, the women and children, at great risk, were sent down the Peiho to Taku, and for the following ten days the Chinese bombarded the foreign city. On June 9, 11, and 13, attempts were made by the allies to capture the native city. On the 13th Colonel Liscum was [129] killed while leading his men. On July 14, the forts were captured, and the Chinese driven out with great loss. The casualties of the allies were 875, of whom 215 were Americans.

The temporary success of the Chinese at Tientsin, the siege of the legations in Peking, and the murder, June 12, of the Japanese chancellor of legation, and, June 20, of Baron von Ketteler, the German minister, seemed to inspire them with new fury, and the Boxer craze spread with fearful rapidity over all the northern districts, while in the south much uneasiness was shown. On July 15, a Chinese force invaded Russia, and the latter government immediately declared the Amur district in a state of war. July 23, President McKinley, in answer to the request of the Chinese Emperor for the good offices of the United States in bringing about peace, demanded that the imperial government should first make known to the world whether the representatives of the foreign powers in Peking were alive; and that it co-operate with the allied army gathering for their relief.

The fate of the foreign ministers and their families and attaches, the legation guards, and the missionaries and their native converts, who had flocked to them for protection, was unknown. On July 20, a message, purporting to have been sent by Minister Conger about July 18, was received through Minister Wu at Washington, and was accepted as authentic by the United States government, and subsequently by the European powers. But for the most part the reports were of the most fearful character. The stories of massacres and outrages committed upon the besieged filled the world with horror.

By the latter part of July the international force numbered 30,000 men, and was deemed sufficiently large to begin the advance upon Peking. On Aug. 4, a relief column 16,000 strong left Tientsin and met its first determined resistance at Peitsang, Aug. 5, which it captured after a hard fight, with a loss of about 200 killed and wounded. With a considerable loss, Yangtsun, Aug. 7, and Tung Chow, Aug. 12, were occupied, and on Aug. 14, the relief forces entered Peking. The Emperor and the Empress Dowager had fled and the Chinese troops were surrounded in the inner city. Fighting in the streets continued till Aug. 28, when the allied troops marched in force through the Forbidden City.

The relief of the besieged foreigners was most timely. For forty-five days, 3,000 souls, including 2,200 native converts, had been shut up in the compound of the British Legation, where all had gathered for mutual defence, after the other legations had been destroyed, subjected to the artillery and rifle fire of 50,000 troops under Prince Tuan. In the general attack, June 20-25, the Chinese were driven back with great loss; but with the exception of a truce of twelve days after the fall of Tientsin, July 17, the bombardment scarcely ceased day or night. Provisions and ammunition were very short, and the exposure and constant labor were telling severely on the besieged. Many efforts were made on the part of the Chinese to induce the besieged to proceed to Tientsin under promise of safe escort, but were promptly refused. The missionaries were in many cases less fortunate. A few made their way into Peking, one party escaped across the Gobi Desert and reached the friendly borders of Russia, and some succeeded in making their way to the more tolerant southern provinces; but in the inland cities many perished at their posts, often subjected to the most brutal assault and mutilation. At Pao-ting-fu, 80 miles southwest of Peking, fourteen persons, including women and children, were butchered by order of the authorities.

Military operations ceased with the occupation of Peking, with the exception of punitive expeditions sent to Pao-ting-fu and the more disturbed districts. On Aug. 10, Count von Waldersee, field-marshal of the German army, was unanimously approved as commander of the allied forces. He arrived in Shanghai Sept. 21. On Oct. 3, the withdrawal of the United States troops was begun. Oct. 1, LI Hung Chang reached Peking, and the Chinese Peace Commission, consisting of LI Hung Chang, Yung Lu, Hsu Tung, and Prince Ching, was announced. Negotiations were begun at once, and on Dec. 22 the allied powers having come to an agreement as to the demands upon China, [130] the following note was addressed to the imperial government:

During the months of May, June, July, and August of the current year serious disturbances broke out in the Northern provinces of China, in which atrocious crimes unparalleled in history and outrages against the law of nations, against the laws of humanity, and against civilization were committed under particularly odious circumstances. The principal of these crimes were the following:

First—On June 20 his Excellency Baron von Ketteler, while on his way to the Tsungli-Yamen, in the performance of his official functions, was murdered by soldiers of the regular army, acting under orders of their chiefs.

Second-On the same day the foreign legations were attacked and besieged. The attacks continued without intermission until Aug. 14, on which date the arrival of the foreign forces put an end to them. These attacks were made by the regular troops, who joined the Boxers, and who obeyed the orders of the Court emanating from the imperial palace. At the same time the Chinese government officially declared, by its representatives abroad, that it guaranteed the security of the legations.

Third—On June 11 Mr. Sujyama, chancellor of the legation of Japan, while in the discharge of an official mission, was killed by regulars at the gates of the city. In Peking and in several provinces foreigners were murdered, tortured, or attacked by the Boxers and the regular troops, and such as escaped death owed their salvation solely to their own determined resistance. Their establishments were looted and destroyed.

Fourth—Foreign cemeteries, at Peking especially, were desecrated, the graves opened, and the remains scattered abroad.

These occurrences necessarily led the foreign powers to despatch their troops to China to the end of protecting the lives of their representatives and nationals and restoring order. During their march to Peking the allied forces met with resistance from the Chinese army and had to overcome it by force.

Inasmuch as China has recognized her responsibility, expressed great regret, and evinced a desire to see an end put to the situation created by the aforesaid disturbances, the powers have determined to accede to her request upon the irrevocable conditions enumerated below, which they deem indispensable to expiate the crimes committed and to prevent their recurrence:


A. The despatch to Berlin of an extraordinary mission headed by an imperial prince, in order to express the regrets of his Majesty the Emperor of China and of the Chinese government for the assassination of his Excellency the late Baron von Ketteler, minister of Germany.

B. The erection on the spot of the assassination of a commemorative monument befitting the rank of the deceased, bearing an inscription in the Latin, German, and Chinese languages, expressing the regrets of the Emperor of China for the murder.


A. The severest punishment of the persons designated in the imperial decree of Sept. 25, 1900, and for those who the representatives of the powers shall subsequently designate.

B. The suspension for five years of all official examinations in all the cities where foreigners have been massacred or have been subjected to cruel treatment.


Honorable reparation to be made by the Chinese government to the Japanese government for the murder of Mr. Sujyama.


An expiatory monument to be erected by the imperial Chinese government in every foreign or international cemetery which has been desecrated or in which the graves have been destroyed.


The maintenance under conditions to be determined by the powers, of the interdiction against the importation of arms as well as of materials employed exclusively for the manufacture of arms and ammunition.


Equitable indemnities for the governments, societies, companies, and individuals, as well as for Chinese who during the late occurrences have suffered in person or in property in consequence of their being in the service of foreigners. China to adopt financial measures acceptable to the powers for the purpose of guaranteeing the payment of the said indemnities and the interest and amortization of the loans.


The right for each power to maintain a permanent guard for its legation, and to put the diplomatic quarter in a defensible condition, the Chinese having no right to reside in that quarter.


The destruction of the forts which might obstruct free communication between Peking and the sea.


The right to the military occupation of certain points, to be determined by an understanding among the powers, in order to maintain open communication between the capital and the sea.


The Chinese government to cause to be published during two years in all the subprefectures an imperial decree—

A. Embodying a perpetual prohibition under penalty of death of membership in any anti-foreign society. [131]

B. Enumerating the punishments that shall have been inflicted on the guilty, together with the suspension of all official examinations in the cities where foreigners have been murdered or have been subjected to cruel treatment; and

C. Furthermore, an imperial decree to be issued and published throughout the empire ordering that the governors-general (viceroys), governors, and all provincial or local officials, shall be held responsible for the maintenance of order within their respective jurisdiction, and that in the event of renewed anti-foreign disturbances or any other infraction of treaty occurring, and which shall not forthwith be suppressed and the guilty persons punished, they, the said officials, shall be immediately removed and forever disqualified from holding any office or honors.


The Chinese government to undertake to negotiate amendments to the treaties of commerce and navigation considered useful by the foreign powers, and upon other matters pertaining to their commercial relations, with the object of facilitating them.


The Chinese government to determine in what manner to reform the department of foreign affairs and to modify the Court ceremonials concerning the reception of foreign representatives, in the manner to be indicated by the powers.

Until the Chinese government has complied with the above conditions to the satisfaction of the powers, the undersigned can hold out no expectation that the occupation of Peking and the provinces of Chi-LI by the general forces can be brought to a conclusion.

On Dec. 30, the Emperor, through his commissioners, asserted his willingness to accede to these demands, and an armistice was proclaimed pending the signing of the note. After much opposition by the Empress Dowager and the Chinese Court this joint note was signed and delivered to the ministers of the powers on Jan. 16, 1901. The Chinese commissioners handed to the foreign envoys with the signed protocols a despatch from Emperor Kwang Su, asking a foreign occupation instead of the destruction of the Taku forts. The Emperor's despatch asked also for the fixing of a definite period for the prohibition of the importation of arms, and requested that the punitive expeditions be stopped.

In addition to this the Emperor instructed the Chinese commissioners to get particulars as to the amount of land to be retained for the legations, the number of legation guards, the probable cost of the military operations, and the date when the foreigners propose to restore the public offices and records in Peking to the Chinese. The Emperor does not mention the demand of the powers for the punishment of the principal offenders. To these demands the ministers replied that they saw no reason for making any modifications whatever in the demands set forth in the protocol.

On Feb. 5 negotiations began between the envoys of the powers and LI Hung Chang and Prince Ching, and continued through several months, the different sections of the joint note being taken up in turn.

On Feb. 6 a formal indictment against the twelve officials whose punishment had been demanded by the powers was read. Kang Yi and LI Ping Heng are dead, but their names were included on account of the moral effect that it would have on the Chinese. The officials whose punishment was demanded are the following:

Prince Chuang, commander-in-chief of the Boxers, who had a large share in the responsibility for promises of rewards of 50 taels for the capture of foreigners and the death of persons protecting them.

Prince Tuan, the principal instigator of the troubles into which he dragged the Chinese government; who was appointed president of the Tsung-LI-Yamen, after giving advice to the Chinese government; who was responsible for the edicts against foreigners issued between June 20 and Aug. 16, and was mainly responsible for the massacres in the provinces, especially Shan-Si; who ordered the troops to attack the legations in opposition to the advice of high mandarins who were looking to a cessation of hostilities; who secured the execution of members of the Tsung-LI-Yamen who were favorable to foreigners; who is the recognized author of the ultimatum of June 19, directing the diplomatic corps to leave Peking within twenty-four hours, and who ordered, before the expiration of this delay, firing upon all foreigners found upon the streets of the capital, and who was practically the author of the assassination of Baron von Ketteler, the German minister.

Duke Lan, vice-president of the police, who was accessory to the giving of orders for the capture of foreigners, and was [132] the first to open the gates of the city to the Boxers.

Ying Nien, who was the criminal accomplice of Prince Chuang and Duke Lan in their machinations.

Kang Yi, one of the instigators and counsellors of the Boxers, who always

The Chinese Emperor.

protected them, and was most hostile to any understanding looking to the re-establishment of peaceful relations with the foreigners; who was sent at the beginning of June to meet the Boxers, and endeavor to deter them from entering the city, but who, on the contrary, encouraged them to follow the work of destruction, and who signed with Prince Tuan and Ying Nien their principal notices, and prepared the plan for the expulsion and annihilation of foreigners in the provinces of the empire.

Chao Su Kiam, a member of the grand council, and also minister of justice, who was one of the leaders against the foreigners and mainly responsible for the execution of the officials killed during the siege for having tried to stop the attack against the legations, and who tendered the Boxers every encouragement.

Yu Hsien, who reorganized the Boxers, was the author of the massacres in the Shan-Si province, and assassinated with his own hand foreigners and missionaries, and who was noted for cruelty, which smeared with blood the whole country over which he was governor.

Gen. Tung Fu Siang, who, with Prince Tuan, carried out in Peking the plans against the foreigners, and who commanded the attacks on the legations, and the soldiers who assassinated the Japanese chancellor.

LI Ping Heng, who used his influence to have the Boxers recognized as loyal and patriotic men, and who led the government to use them with the object of the extermination of foreigners.

Hsu Tung, who has always been one of the officials most hostile to foreigners, who praised the Boxers, of whom he was an accomplice, who used all his influence with high persons in the empire, being tutor to the heir-apparent.

Hsu Cheng Yu, who has the same responsibility.

Kih Sin, one of the officials most hostile to foreigners, and the minister at the rites of service of the Boxers.

The ministers insisted that the sentences must be inflicted on the living, except in the cases of Prince Tuan and Duke Lan, whose sentences might be commuted to banishment to Turkestan.

Feb. 12 the Chinese plenipotentiaries received telegraphic instructions from the Court to notify the ministers of the powers that an edict had been issued regarding the punishments of Chinese officials, in conformity with the demands made by the ministers, as follows:

Gen. Tung Fu Siang, to be degraded and deprived of his rank.

Prince Tuan and Duke Lan, to be disgraced and exiled.

Prince Chuang, Ying Nien, and Chao Su Kiam, to commit suicide.

Hsu Cheng Yu, Yu Hsien, and Kih Sin, to be beheaded.

This was not exactly what the ministers demanded, but it was considered advisable to agree to it, as the lives of those demanded had been agreed to, except in the case of Gen. Tung Fu Siang, whom the Court was powerless to molest. There was a private understanding that his life would be confiscated when it was possible.

On Feb. 26 Kih Sin and Hsu Cheng Yu were publicly beheaded in the streets of Peking. [133]

During the early part of March the relations between Russia and England drew almost to a crisis on account of Russia's attitude towards Manchuria, and for a time seemed to threaten a serious interruption of the pending negotiations. But on April 3, on account of the attitude of the other powers towards the Russian occupation of Manchuria, the Chinese government notified Russia of her refusal to sign the Manchurian convention, and the difficulties growing out of the railway concessions having been amicably settled, this was averted.

On April 26 it was announced that the Empress Dowager had appointed a board of national administration to relieve her of her public functions, and to inquire into the subject of reforms. Throughout the entire affair the attitude of the United States government was that of dignified conservatism, insisting upon the preservation of the integrity of the Chinese Empire, the modification of unreasonable demands, and such policy as might insure permanent safety and peace to China.

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