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“The Times”, London (1883)

September 10, 1883

France, China and Annam

…The “Tempe” recommends that , while negotiations are proceeding, no relaxation in the dispatch of French troops to Tonking should be allowed. I have reason to believe that in the present expremely of this step in questionable; inasmuch as it is to be feared that the 1st announcement of the large body of troops being dispatched to Tonquin might only tend to aggravate the situation, by giving the war party at Peking ground for placing in doubt the bona fides of the French Cabinet. The Chinese Government, if pushed by the war party, might be compelled to emerge from the comparatively neutral attitude which it has hitherto assumed, and openly to take part in the fray…


...According to a Bremen journal, Real-Admiral von der Goltz, who left some time ago, via New York, for the East Asiatic station, has received orders to combine into one squadron all the war vessels of Germany in Eastern waters…


… The “Figaro” to-day states the principal points of the arrangement agreed upon between M.Challemel-Lacour and the Marquis Tseng…are follows: - 1. The French protectorate to be confined to the Delta and the Songkoi river 2. China toopen the navigation of the Songkoi as far as Laskoi, where French domination will terminate. 3. Laskoi to be the only point for carrying on trade with Yunnan 4. At other points the frontier to be closed and a neutral zone established 5. Garrisons in the neutral zone to consist solely of Annamite auxiliary troops 6. China to guarantee the frontier against the incursions of the Black Flags 7. In consideration of the recognition of Chinese suzerainty over Annam , which will be reduced to the mere act of doing homage, China to recognize the Hue treaty 8. The strength of the French force in Tonquin after the pacification of the country not toexceed4000 men The Temps of this evening, in an article upon the negotiations with China, warns its readers to be on their guard against the premature reports in circulation to the effect that an understanding has already been arrived at upon certain points…


September 11, 1883

France, China and Annam

…The Figaro to-day states that at their second interview M.Challemel-Lacour and the Marquis Tseng discussed the questions of the frontier and the independence of Annam, but that no decision was arrived at. M.Patenotre, at present French Minister to Sweden, has been appointed Minister to China. …”Chinese diplomatists cannot make stipulations in the name of the Black Flags without taking upon their own shoulders the responsibility for the acts which the latter have committed”.


China and Germany

…Tientsin…Viceroy… war material for the army is supplied by German contractors, and if there be any necessity for diplomatic or consular assistance, Germans have only to ask and have in China the official introductions which have enabled them to acquire the commanding position they now occupy in the councils and commerce of China. French officers might have had a better chance of the entering in to the Chinese employ if the adventurous policy of French in Tonquin had not long since been under the notice of Chinese statesmen, …regret… No employment in the Chinese navy could be found for them, while German officers were every day becoming more and more active and influential. …In trespassing on your valuable space to bring these remarks before the public, I wish to point out how very little is known of china and the Chinese by English merchants or Government officials. Business men established at the treaty ports have in their employ a Chinese who speaks Pigeon-English, and employs his own clerks and servants. This man is called the “Comprador”. He conducts all the accounts of the firm. The European exceptionally comes in contact with the producer or consumer, and neither the principals of the firm nor any of the clerks know more of the country and trade than the stoker of a steamer knows of navigation. The business is done , more often at a loss that with profit. We have been educating and enriching the comprador class, and to-day we find these shrewd Chinese established as merchants , as shipowners, making telegraph lines, opening up lines, and quietly preparing to lay down railways, and other great manufacturing enterprises. …We have only the shadow of trade for the last 20 years. Joseph Samuel.


September 12, 1883

France, China and Annam

The Temps of this evening publishes a dispatch dated from London, which calls attention to the fact that the British Ambassador, Lord Lyons, returns to this post in Paris, without awaiting the termination of his leave ofa absence. The same journal says it has reason to believe that the British Cabinet, after a preliminary understanding with France and China upon the bases of the arrangement to be arrives at, will tender its good offices for the delimitation of the new frontier in Tonquin, and the settlement of questions relating thereto.


September 13, 1883

France, China and Annam

…Furthermore, I understand from trustworthy source that if the English Government were consulted on the subject it would advise the French Government not to send more than 5 or 6 thousand men by way of reinforcement , which is a force sufficient to graple with the local difficulties in Tonquin and sending of which could not be regarded as threatening by china.


September 14, 1883

France, China and Annam

The temps announces that Lord Lyons has “put off” his return to Paris. The Figaro, on contrary, states that he had along interview yesterday , at 3 o’clock with M.Challemel-Lacour, of which it gives particulars. Evidently it was by telephone between London and Paris, seeing that Lord Lyons is still not expected back till the 15th of the next month. According to this evening’s “Soir", M.Challemel-Lacour, at to-day’s Cabinet Council, stated that the acceptance by France of the following points would put an end to the misunderstanding with China: - 1. France to cease sending troops to Tonquin 2. the treaty of Hue to be recognized by China, the latter alone, however, to be entitled to give Annamese sovereigns their investiture 3. the protectorate to be exercised by the French Government , under reservation of a Chinese control directed by military mandarins 4. China to be reimbursed all expenses incurred in the repression of the Black Flags.


September 17, 1883

France, China and Annam

…Tonquin is a terra incognita, although much in people’s mouths for months past. Ignorance frows as England is left, culminating at Hongkong. In reality nothing is known but the delta and a small portion of the north and north-east.


September 18, 1883

France, China and Annam

…The Annamese army exists nowhere but on paper. Regular soldiers are supposed to come from Annam proper, and only militia are raised in Tonquin; but neither Tonquinese not Annamities are warlike by nature.


September 22, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

“The France” mentions rumour that , with a view to the eventually of the negotiations with China falling through, M.Jules Ferry has sounded the British Cabinet for the purpose of as certaining whether England would consent to concert with France with the object of setting the Tonquin question by common accord. It adds that the English Government would appear disposed to listen favourably to this proposition.


September 29, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

…no new edition has been issuied since 1818. This, however, does not impair its authority in the eyes of the Chinese. According to this then, the territory States of China are the following: - Corea, Lew, Chew, Annam, Siam, Borneo, Burmah, The Laos Tribes, Holland and the States of the Western Ocean generally of which four are mentioned – namely Portugal, Italy and England and a potentate describes as the King of the Missionaries, the Pope probably. … “In 1793 the State ENGLAND sent an envoy named Ma-ko-erh-ni and others as bearers of tribute”.


October 8, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

“The diplomatic negotiations between France and China are being conducted not in Peking, but in Paris. M.Ferry’s memorandum having been rejected by the Cabinet of Peking, the following frontier line is now under discussion: - Beginning at the mouth of the Phu-Tai-Binh delta arm, it follows this in a north-westerly direction to the Canal of the Rapids, then skirts this stream to the town of Hung-Hoa, where it is proposed to establish the Chinese Customs-house.


October 9, 1883

… The trade with Tonquin, Hainan, and Pakhoi was until a year ago steadily increased, two steamers per week being the average; but the French operatuin have, as might be anticipated, influenced the trade of Tonquin considerably, giving it a fluctuating character. The supply of provisions, war materials and horses – the first two to either French or Annamese, as the case might be – has given a temporary impulse to business in certain quarters, mainly French merchants, whose steamers are subsidized by Government, but on the whole has naturally had an injurious effect on legitimate trade.


October 11, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

The Figaro to-day understands, that Marquis Tseng intends to request the official mediation of England between France and China.


October 23, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

… “The Parlement” , commenting on certain letters from Tonquin, which have appeared in the “Figaro” written by naval officer , under the signature of “Pierre Loti”: - “His last letter [Admiral Meyer] contained revolting details of the atrocities imputed to our sailors after the capture of the Hue forts. That sailors, exasperated by Captain Riviere’s death, and the more or less imaginative accounts given of it, should have avenged it on Annamite soldiers who had no hand in it is deplorable – it is to intelligible. What is more difficult to conceive is that an officer has been found to make these scenes of butchery the subject of a literary sketch… It will not be surprising if the Chinese Government , being notoriously well informed of what is printed in Europe, should seize on this letter and circulate it in the extreme East, and if some day it should serve as a plea for fearful reprisals. We had always thought a soldier or sailor could not publish anything, even under an assumed name, without his superior’ s permission; and that such per mission were rarely given. If the heads of the expedition or the Ministry, have thought proper this time to make an exception to the rule, it must be confessed they have chosen a singular opportunity”.


November 1, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

… Allusion, said M.Ferry, had been made to “foreign suggestions”. M.Challemel-Lancour’s words had been misconstructed in a way quite contrary to the facts, and the Chamber might fearlessly endorse the Ministerial policy. With this prudent policy, the Cabinet did not expect to settle the Tonquin question in a day. Algeria foryears excited stormy discussions, yet it was now one of the glories of France. The establishment in Tonquin would likewise be a good, paternal investment, steadily increasing in value. Their best way of avoiding wars was not to be afraid, and publicly proclaim this. M.Clemenceau, in second speech, argued that had Parliament been convened, a large force might have been sent, and the campaign ended, instead of which money voted for the navy had been diverted to the army. He insisted that China was really making war, and remarked that in Tunis and Madagascar the same system had been pursued. …”L’occasion fait le larron” … … M.Paul Bert remarked that the inaction advocated had made the French lose Egypt. M.Clemenceua, in reply, declared his readiness to justify French non-intervention in that country, adding that, but for the Tunis treaty and that France had not adhered to M.Waddington’s “clean hands” policy, England would have lest Egypt to the Egyptians.


November 5, 1883

France and China

The Marquis Tseng has just received a telegram from the Tsing-li-Yamen, expressing the utmost astonishment of the Chinese Government at the telegram from M.Tricou, which M.Ferry read to the French Chamber the other day. Both the Government and Li Hung Chang deny having expressed the slightest desire that M.Tricou should remain the testify their unqualified approval of the manner in which the Marquis Tseng has carried out his instructions on the subject of the Tonquin question.


November 6, 1883

The Emperor of Japan. – Last Saturday being the birthday of the Emperor of Japan, .a banquet was given in the evening at the Japanese Legation, in the course of which the healths of the Emperor and Her Majesty were successively drunk amid great enthusiasm.


November 10, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

… “The Temps” states that in the French reconnoissances near Bacninh, the Japanese officers watching the operations clearly distinguished of the flags the titles and numbers of Chinese regular troops who are holding the citadel and its approaches. This may be the news for French journalists and politicians, but the English Press has repeatedly mentioned that Bacninh is garrisoned by Chinese troops and the Chamber ought not to have been ignorant of this when last week it tacitly sanctioned an attack on the fortress.


November 26, 1883

“Before M.J.Ferry was appointed to the portfolio of Foreign Affairs the negotiations between France and China had become to the something like a deadlock. On the 29th instant M.Ferry sent to the Marquis Tseng a note, in which, while informing him of the resignation of M.Challemel-Lacour and of his own nomination in his stead, he declared that he seized the opportunity of again assuring the Chinese Government that the French occupation in Tonquin would only extent to а line passing from Sontay through Bacninh to the Gulf of Tonquin.


France, China and the United States President Arthur and the Cabinet held on Friday and yesterday protracted sitting to consider the relations between France and China. Their deliberations resulted in the drafting of full instructions ro the Admiral commanding the American squadron in Chinese waters, indicating the course which he is to pursue for the protection of American interests, if hostilities should ensue. These instructions were cabled to him by the Secretary of State. The details of them have not transpired.


November 27, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

“The North China Daily News” publishes as follows: - “An extraordinary secret decret, issued in the name of the Emperor of China, has fallen into our hands. The following is an abstract of the same: - “”Lin, head of the Black Flags, is imperially appointed Generalissimo of Tonquin. All funds and munitions of war will be supplied by the Chinese Government, as needed. The military forces of Yunnan are to be placed under the command of Tang Cheung, Governor-General of Yunnan, and he is hereby instructed to proceed to the frontier to join the Black Flags and to fight the French. The provinces of Kwanghuan, Kwanghi, and others are to provide forces to protect the frontier of China , but these forces are not to go beyond it. The Governor-General of the LiangKwang and the Governors of Kwangsi and Yunnan are to raise funds for the war as required”.


December 3, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

M.Leon Renault presented to the Chamber yesterday… the report on the Tonquin credit. …The amount of the credit, moreover, is of the same character, for a war credit would have involved not 9 millions, and that already expended, but 30 or 40 millions.


December 4, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

The correspondent of the “Temps” telegraphs from London, as regards the understanding between England and Germany, for the protection of their subjects in China, in the event of Franco-Chinese complications, that he has reason to believe the step by the German Ambassador in London is not an isolated one, but has more general character.


China

Yesterday the Chinese Ambassador here, Li Fong Pao, ceremoniously launched at Stettin the 3rd ironclad corvette built for his Government by the Vulcan Company.


December 7, 1883

Germany and China

A semi-official organ has been commissioned to explain the position of a certain Lieutenant von Hasenclever, of the German Navy, who some time ago took service under the Chinese Governmentas an instructor in the use of torpedoes. In the contract of the lieutenant with the Chinese Government it appears that there was inserted a clause that the agreement should lapse with the day on which his employers might go to war with another Power. The same semi-official organ denies, with exceeding emphasis, that the Chinese Government has lately made considerable purchases of war material in Germany, but there are certain facts which no amount of emphatic denial, even by semi0official journals, will do away with. On December 4, 1881, a Bremen barque, the Pallas, was stranded on Chepel Island, in Chinese waters, and plundered by fishermen. For this lawless act the German Consul at Amoy succeeded, in February, 1882, in procuring compensation for the shipowners and crew, and now it is announced from that place that the incident has been disposed of by the punishment of most of the robbers.


December 15, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

… The rumour has been current here this evening that during the New Year holidays M.J.Ferry will go to London to see Lord Granville, with a view to England mediation between France and China. … M.Ferry , ON THE OTHER HAND, SEES THAT THE Tonquine question must be settled without delay; and as china , I believe, has submitted a basis to the judgment of England herself, it will not be surprising if this basis be taken as the starting point of an arrangement. It is, moreover, certain that England will be listened to, and it also seems certain that, despite all assertions to the contrary, if there are Chinese regular troops in Tonquin they are neither at Bacninh nor at Sontay. Thus the taking of these places would no longer constitute a casus belli, as was threatened.


December 17, 1883

Marquis Tseng on the Tonquin question

“It would be better “,replied M.T., ”not to send reinforcements, for every reinforcement shows that the French Government relies less on the efficacy of negotiations; and it is met by a counter-demonstration of force by the Chinese Government”. … M.Ferry will go to London to see Lord Granville… “I should certainly be very pleased to see M.Ferry realized that Idea. We have always had confidence in the disposition of England as equitable and conciliatory, and I am quite convinced that the exertions of Lord Granville and the English Cabinet, if France and China submit their cause to them, would be productive of the best results. As circumstances are pressing , and there is not much time left, M. Ferry goes to London, or not, he will find means of placing between himself and us some disinterested party, entitled to ask of each concessions which we are not and cannot be inclined to make direct to each other.


December 19, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

… The truth is that if England accepted the role of mediator, she would reassure both parties. It is not to her interest to prolong the present situation, or to solve it to the detriment of either. She has no interest in abandoning to China the liberty of the Red River, nor in placing China entirely at the mercy of France, England, like the rest of Europe, and like America, is interested in freedom of trade being imposed on CHina , and in France not having a monopoly of trade with Yunnan. … If England had to give judgment , she would certainly perform her task with perfect fairness and freedom from any narrow considerations. But if her mediation be accepted, she will not be a judge, but a friendly adviser, and her councels will rather tend to reconcile than to the imposition of her will. …M. Ferry’s journey to London would have the appearance of yielding, whereas the visit of the mediator would be in no way derogatory, especially as both parties are here.


December 24, 1883

France, China and Tonquin

…M.Jules Ferry gave last night his inaugurate diplomatic dinner. … The Marquis Tseng who had accepted the invitation to the dinner, excused himself this morning. He announced that he was unwell….the fall of Sontay was known in Paris; and the next day the Chinese ambassador excused himself. …The Marquis will leave France to-morrow for England…




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