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Title: Beleaguered in Pekin - The Boxer's War Against the Foreigner
Author: Coltman, Robert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Beleaguered in Pekin - The Boxer's War Against the Foreigner" ***

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                            BELEAGUERED IN

                            THE BOXER’S WAR
                         AGAINST THE FOREIGNER


                       ROBERT COLTMAN, JR., M.D.

Professor of Surgery in Imperial University; Professor of Anatomy, the
 Imperial Tung Wen Kuan; Surgeon, Imperial Maritime Customs; Surgeon,
   Imperial Chinese Railways. Author of “The Chinese, Their Present
             and Future: Medical, Political, and Social.”

                           Illustrated with
                    Seventy-seven Photo-Engravings


                    F. A. DAVIS COMPANY, PUBLISHERS


                            COPYRIGHT, 1901

                        BY F. A. DAVIS COMPANY

  Mount Pleasant Printery


IN THE following pages I have endeavored to give an accurate and
comprehensive account of the Siege in Peking and of the Boxer movement
that led up to it.

Authentic details furnished by representatives of those legations whose
work has been specially mentioned have made possible a greater detail
in those cases. I regret that others who had promised me accounts of
their work have failed to furnish the promised material.

The siege at Pei Tang or North Cathedral, coincident with that of the
legations and civilians, is not described for the reason that we were
absolutely cut off from them for over sixty days and knew nothing of
their movements. Much detail that might be interesting to many I have
been obliged to omit, as it would make the book too cumbersome.

I make no claim for the book as a literary effort, the object being
to state the facts in the clearest manner possible. The illustrations
are from actual photographs, the authenticity of which is absolutely
proved, and these carefully studied, add much to the information of the

To my sixteen-year-old son, the youngest soldier to shoulder a rifle
during the siege, I am indebted for much of the diary and great help in
copying. A considerable portion of the book was written with bullets
whistling about us as we sat in the students’ library building of the
English legation.

There are several men whose work entitles them to decorations from
all the countries represented in the siege, and their names will be
indelibly written in our memories even if the powers and ministers
concerned overlook them. I refer to F. A. Gamewell, August Chamot,
Colonel Shiba, and Herbert G. Squiers.


 PEKING, CHINA, September 10, 1900.


 CHAPTER                                                            PAGE

     I. Riot at Marco Polo Bridge—Men Wounded by Captain
        Norregaard—Dr. Coltman Accompanies Governor Hu
        as Special Commissioner to Investigate—Anti-Foreign
        Feeling Expressed by Generals of Tung Fu’s Army—A
        Bargain with Prince Tuan                                       1

    II. Yu Hsien Appointed Governor of Shantung, Removed
        by British Demands, Only to be Rewarded—Yuanshih
        Kai Succeeds Him—Causes of Hatred of Converts by
        People and Boxers—The Boxers and Their Tenets—The
        Empress Consults Astrologers                                  31

   III. Cables to America Describing Growth of Boxer Movement
        from January to June, 1900                                    46

    IV. Diary of the Author from June 1 to June 20                    62

     V. Diaries of the Author and His Son from June 20 to End
        of Siege 78

    VI. Reflections, Incidents, and Memoranda Written During Siege   143

   VII. Work During Siege Done by Russians—Work by Americans         167

  VIII. Work Done by Staff of Imperial Maritime, Customs, and
        British Legation Staff                                       190

    IX. Work Done by Austro—Hungarians—Mr. and Mrs. Chamot           209

     X. Edicts Issued by the Empress During Siege, with a Few
        Comments Thereon                                             221

    XI. Now What?                                                    245

Beleaguered in Peking



[Illustration: The author in Chinese dress]

IN THE autumn of 1898, in the month of October, very shortly after
the famous _coup d’état_ of the Empress Dowager of China, an event
occurred which may have been the influence that shaped after-events,
or it may be that this occurrence was but the premature explosion of
a mine being prepared by the Empress and her evil advisers, intended
to shake the civilized world at a later date. I refer to the riot at
Lukouch’iao, known to the English-speaking world as Marco Polo bridge,
from its having been accurately described by that early traveler. This
place had curiously enough been chosen as the northern terminus of the
Hangkow-Peking railway, although ten miles west of Peking, and the road
consequently is generally known as the Lu Han railway.

The political history of the struggle between the Russian, French and
British diplomats in Peking, with reference to obtaining the concession
for, and the financing of, this road, is very interesting, and would
fill a book of its own; but there is no reason why it should enter into
this narrative more than to state that finally the Belgians, acting for
Russia and France, obtained the concession to build and finance this
greatest trunk line of China.

To connect this line with the existing Peking-Tientsin railway, a short
track was laid from Fengtai, the second station south of Peking, to
Lukouch’iao, and a fine iron bridge built over the Hum Ho or Muddy
river, a few hundred yards west of the original stone Marco Polo
bridge. This short connecting line is but three miles in length, and is
the property of the Peking-Tientsin railway.

With this prelude, allow me to proceed with the event with which I was
somewhat closely identified, and am able to speak of with knowledge and


A beautiful bridge, which would be a credit to any city. Marco Polo,
the great traveler, nearly a thousand years ago described a similar
bridge, thus showing how old is Chinese civilization compared with our

On October 23 I was called to Fengtai to amputate the leg of a poor
coolie, who had been run over by the express train from Tientsin; and
after the operation partook of tiffin at the residence of A. G. Cox,
resident engineer of the Peking section of the Peking-Tientsin railway.
His other guests were Major Radcliffe, of the Indian army service, on
what is known as language-leave in China, and C. W. Campbell, official
interpreter of the British legation.

During the meal the newly completed iron bridge was spoken of by Mr.
Cox, and we were all invited to accompany him after tiffin on a trolley
to inspect the bridge. This I was unable to do, as a professional
engagement in Peking in the afternoon at four o’clock prevented.

The next morning I received the following telegram, which should have
been delivered the night before; but owing to the closing of the city
gates no attempt was made to deliver it:

 “COLTMAN, Peking:—Come to Fengtai at once. Cox and Norregaard both
 seriously wounded in riot at Lukouch’iao.


I immediately rode in my cart to Machiapu, the Peking terminus of the
Peking-Tientsin railway, and wired down to Fengtai for an engine to
come and take me down.

In an hour’s time I reached Fengtai, and went at once to the residence
of Mr. Cox, to find both himself and Captain Norregaard, the resident
engineer and builder of the bridge at Lukouch’iao, with bandages about
their heads, and a general appearance of having been roughly used.
Their story of the riot was told me while I removed the dressings,
applied by my assistant, a native medical student of the railway
hospital at Fengtai, the day before.

Mr. Cox stated that he and his two guests had gone shortly after tiffin
on a trolley to Captain Norregaard’s residence, near the bridge, and
having added Norregaard to their party, proceeded on foot to the
bridge. Near the eastern entrance stood a party of Kansu soldiers,
numbering fifty or more, who, upon the approach of the foreigners,
saluted them with offensive epithets, in which the well-known “yang
kuei tzu” or “foreign devil” was frequently repeated.

Mr. Campbell, who spoke Chinese fluently, remonstrated with the men,
and endeavored to have them stand aside and allow the party to cross
the bridge; but they obstinately barred the entrance, and warned the
foreigners back.

At this juncture a military official of low rank appeared on the track,
and Campbell appealed to him to quiet the men, and to allow them to
inspect the bridge. This officer replied that the men were not of his
company and he had no power over them; but Campbell, knowing well
the Chinese nature, at once told him that they should consider him
responsible for any trouble, whether he was their particular officer or

Upon this the officer ordered the men to open a passage for the
foreigners, which they promptly did, and the party of four crossed the
bridge. The officer, after they had entered the bridge, left the men
and disappeared. They remained a quarter of an hour on the farther
side of the bridge and then returned.

As they again neared the eastern side, they saw the same gang of
ruffians awaiting them, with stones in their hands, and, upon their
arriving within range, were saluted with a volley of stones, many of
which took effect. They valiantly charged upon the men, and Cox, being
rather severely hit, and spying out the man who had struck him, chased
him right into the crowd and knocked him down with a terrific blow.
As Cox stands six feet four, and is a remarkably muscular man, this
fellow’s punishment was severe.

The mob, however, turned upon Cox, who was separated from his
companions some thirty odd feet, and, surrounding him, bore him by
sheer weight and number to the ground, not, however, before he had
placed several of them _hors du combat_.

At this moment Captain Norregaard received a severe stone cut just
above his eyes, which severed a small artery and covered his face
with blood. Not knowing how dangerously he was wounded, and believing
Mr. Cox to be in danger of his life, Norregaard drew his revolver and
fired two shots into the mob. The effect was instantaneous. The brutal
cowards dropped Cox at once, and ran away like sheep toward their
encampment, half a mile distant.

After tying a handkerchief around his head, and assisting Cox to get
up, the party hastily ran to the residence of Norregaard and brought
Mrs. Norregaard and her eight-year-old son to the trolley, upon which
the whole party returned to Fengtai.

Cox then sent a command out by wire for all the engineers working
on the Lu Han railway to give up their posts and retire with him to
Tientsin to await the settlement of the riot by the Chinese officials,
as well as to obtain some guaranty of future good conduct on the part
of the government troops, who were yet to arrive from the southwest.

After dressing the wounds of these two gentlemen they took the train
for Tientsin, and the writer returned to Peking.

The next day, or two days after the riot, I received a message from
Hu Chih-fen, the governor of Peking, requesting me to call upon him
at Imbeck’s hotel at once. I found the old gentleman with twenty
retainers awaiting me. He stated that he had been appointed a special
commissioner by the Empress Dowager to proceed to Lukouch’iao and
investigate the circumstances connected with the riot two days
previously, as well as to inquire minutely into the condition of two
wounded soldiers reported by their officers to have been wantonly shot
and dangerously hurt by Captain Norregaard. He desired me to accompany
him into the camp, and examine the wounds as an expert, so that he
could make a proper report to the Empress.

I confess I did not much care to go alone into the camp of the famous
Kansu, haters of foreign, but I was under many obligations to Governor
Hu, and wanted to oblige him. Besides, there was a spice of adventure
about the undertaking that was pleasant to a correspondent. I preferred
to go armed, however, as, although knowing a revolver would be of
no use in a hostile camp for offensive warfare, yet if Governor Hu
remained with me, I reasoned, I could by placing a revolver to his head
and holding him hostage prevent any harm to myself—believing as I did
that the Empress’ special commissioner’s person would be sacred in the
eyes of her generals. The sequel proved how false this belief was, and
that before many hours.

So I requested permission to return home for a moment to obtain a small
instrument I might need, as well as to inform my wife of my leaving the
city, that she might not be anxious if I did not return until after


This shows the main street of Peking—its “Market Street,” as
Philadelphians might say, or its “Strand,” from the English point of
view. Although a main street it is scarcely better than a country
road, and busy trading seems to be going on in the foreground in the
open air. Here and there a sign indicates that business is conducted
within, and that unavoidable feature of a Chinese city, the open pool
of stagnant water, is in evidence.]

Governor Hu replied that I could get whatever instrument I needed at
the railway hospital at Fengtai, and that he would send one of his
retainers with a message to my wife. I insisted, however, that a return
home was imperative, and that I would rejoin him in half an hour.
Whereupon he decided to order tiffin in the meantime, and told me to
hurry back, take tiffin with him at the hotel, and we would then
proceed to Machiapu, where a special train would be waiting for us.

I hastened home, obtained my Smith & Wesson six-shooter, and, after a
good tiffin with Governor Hu, rode in a springless cart to Machiapu,
entrained, and was speedily at the station at Lukouch’iao.

Upon our alighting from the cars we were met by a sub-official from the
camps, and were accompanied by him, and about twenty Kansu soldiers,
to the entrance to the railroad bridge, the site of the riot two days

Here Hu ordered the bridge watchmen to be brought before him, and
he interrogated them as to the occurrences described by Cox and
Norregaard. The two watchmen’s stories were the exact counterpart of
the two foreigners’; they agreed in every particular, and placed the
whole blame on the Kansu soldiers.

I was surprised at the fearless testimony of these two poor watchmen,
one of whom was afterward murdered by the soldiers for testifying
against them.

Hu now walked to an inn in the village of Lukou, and told the
sub-official to order the general and colonels of all the regiments
quartered near-by to appear before him at once, as he would hold an
investigation by order of the Empress. He and I drank tea until they

The first, a General Chang, appeared in about fifteen minutes. We knew
some one of importance was coming by the hubbub in the courtyard, the
murmur of voices, and the sound of horses’ moving feet. Then a soldier
appeared in the doorway, and announced:

“General Chang, of the Kansu cavalry, has arrived.”

“Ch’ing,” replied Hu, and immediately there stood before us as
ferocious looking a ruffian as the world could well produce. A tall,
weather-beaten man, fifty years of age or more, with rather heavy (for
a Chinaman) yet black mustaches, and a more than ordinarily prominent
nose; dressed in a dark blue gown, satin high-top boots, official hat
with premier button and peacock feather, held at right angles from
the rear of his button by an expensive piece of jade. His eyes were
deep-set and small, and the whole expression of his face was ferocious
and cruel.

He only slightly inclined his head to Hu, took no notice of me, and,
ignoring Chinese ceremony, proceeded at once to the highest seat in the
little room, and seated himself in the intensely stiff attitude of the
god of war one usually sees in a Chinese temple. Hu seemed completely
taken aback at this insolence, and allowed the ruffian to remain in
the seat of honor throughout the interview.

Before Hu had become acquainted, by his polite questions, with the age,
rank, and province of his haughty guest, four other military officers
of the rank of colonel and lieutenant-colonel had arrived, namely,
Chao, Ma, Wang, and Hung.

Finding their general in the head seat, and noting his imperious
bearing, they took their cue from him and maintained throughout
the interview the most lofty manner, and treated Hu more like a
subordinate than a civil officer of the premier rank and a special high
commissioner of Her Majesty the Empress Dowager.

After a few mouthfuls of tea, Hu informed them in most polite and bland
terms that as he was Director-General of imperial railways, as well
as Governor of the metropolitan prefecture of Shuntienfu, Her August
Majesty, the Empress Dowager, etc., etc., etc., had appointed him to
visit the general and officers of the Kansu regiments in camp at this
place, to inquire into the circumstances of the late riot.

He stated also that he came gladly because he felt that, by careful
inquiry into the circumstances, it could doubtless be proved that the
soldiers had acted in a rowdy manner without the knowledge and consent
of their officers, and that by a well-worded report the latter would
escape all blame, and the matter could be settled to the satisfaction
of all, especially as no lives had been lost, or imperial property

General Chang haughtily replied that it was entirely unnecessary
for Hu to come out at all; that Prince Ching had sent a messenger
to him in the morning, and the Empress was doubtless aware, through
this messenger, of the exact circumstances of the case already, and
consequently Hu might as well return and save himself any further

His impudent manner indicated that, having given his own side of
the case to a trusty henchman of Prince Ching’s, and obtained that
influential prince’s partial testimony in his favor, he did not care
one way or the other for anything Hu might report later.

But Hu, although very quiet and apparently humble, was firm and
determined, and upon the conclusion of Chang’s defiant speech, replied:

“It is very well that Her Majesty should have as early a report as
possible, and I am glad you have informed her of the events; but as I
have been appointed to inquire officially, I should not return without
having done my duty, and I hope that none of the officers present will
refuse any testimony I require, and compel me to report a lack of
respect for Her Majesty’s commands.”

Chang bit his lips and pulled his mustaches fiercely at this, but said
nothing. But Colonel Chao took up the cudgels in a most unexpected
manner. Excitedly rising, he commenced a most venomous speech against
the introduction of railways into China. He denounced them as the
instrumentality of the foreigner to subjugate the country, declaring
they had taken away the employment of thousands of carters, boatmen,
and wheelbarrow coolies; that they had raised the price of rice and
other cereals; that they employed foreigners at high wages, who carried
all the money out of the country at the same time that they abused and
maltreated the natives under their control, and wound up his rather
long discourse by declaring that the abolishing of railways and driving
into the sea of every foreigner was the duty of every loyal soldier or
subject of the empire.

Hu mildly endeavored to interrupt him several times by telling him that
the railways were all Chinese property, and the foreign employees were
their Empress’ own employees; but Chao drowned Hu’s every utterance so
that the old man, after several attempts, was, perforce, obliged to
keep quiet until the irate colonel had exhausted himself and sat down
blowing like a porpoise.


In and around Peking are to be seen many specimens of noble
architecture; among which is this beautiful Pagoda, built hundreds of
years ago. Such buildings are not erected now, and in some instances
they are found standing almost solitary and alone, miles from any great

I knew Hu was very unwilling that I should hear all of this speech,
which he realized I would perfectly understand, and I felt sure he
regretted having brought along a surgeon versed in Chinese.

To me it was a revelation. I had heard that the Mohammedan troops from
Kansu, under the famous general Tung Fu Hsiang, were ordered to Peking
immediately after the _coup d’état_ to support the Empress in her
anti-foreign policy. I had heard that they were fanatical, ignorant,
and intensely hostile to foreigners. But that they would dare to insult
the Empress, in the person of a special commissioner appointed by
imperial edict, and reveal the purpose of their general in such open
language, and that before a foreigner, I would scarcely have believed
short of the testimony of my own ears.

Hu realized that it was useless to attempt to argue with or conciliate
these men, and at once set about the object of his visit, as yet
unachieved, namely, to find out the condition of the wounded soldiers.

So, upon Colonel Chao’s finishing his diatribe, he politely turned to
General Chang, without further noticing the enraged colonel, and said:

“I have been told two of your men have been wounded by one of the
foreign engineers, and as I have a very skilful surgeon in my employ,
who attends to all the people who are injured on the railway, I have
brought him along to examine your men, and if you will permit him I am
sure he can heal them.”

He then introduced me as Man Tai Fu, my Chinese title. They sullenly
acknowledged my presence, for the first time, by a slight nod in my
direction, and General Chang asked Hu if he had an interpreter who
could converse with me.

“Oh, he doesn’t need an interpreter,” replied Hu; “he has lived in
China fifteen years, has sons and daughters born here, and speaks our
language like a native.”

Upon this, my nearest neighbor, Lieutenant-Colonel Wang, relaxed a
little, and observed that he had never talked with a foreigner, and
would be glad to make my acquaintance. I replied that it was a mutual
pleasure, and asked his age, province, and personal name, which pleased
him greatly.

As it was rapidly growing darker, however, and we had not yet seen
the wounded men, Hu cut short our budding conversation by requesting
General Chang to show them to me.

He curtly declared, “They are in camp half a mile away, and he can go
and see them if he wants to.”

“Will you go?” inquired Hu.

“Yes, if you will go with me,” I replied, not caring to venture alone
into the hostile camp, especially after what I had seen of the temper
of their leaders; but I added, “I think it would be much better to have
them brought here.”

“Yes, yes, that is better,” said Hu; but General Chang interrupted him
by saying:

“Impossible! they are too ill to be moved, and on this cold day would
surely take cold and die.”

“Have them well wrapped up and brought quickly,” said Hu, without
paying attention to the interruption, “for it is getting late, and
although I have ordered the city gates not to close until our return
to Peking, I am anxious to avoid keeping them open any later than

General Chang then strode across the room to the door opening into the
court, where upwards of three hundred of his men were standing packed
like sardines, listening to everything we had been saying, as Chinese
custom is, and shouted out:

“Bring the two wounded men in here.”

Now all of the men had seen Governor Hu snubbed, had heard Colonel Chao
revile him and his railroads, and had heard their general say the men
would die if brought out in the cold; so, supposing they were to act
in a similar way, they, upon receiving this order, held a confab, and
a very noisy confab, too, among themselves for a few moments before

As I watched Governor Hu’s face grow pale as the commotion increased,
I felt that we were in real danger right in the midst of the officers,
and that my previous view that I could insure my own safety by
threatening Hu’s life would avail nothing, as they hated him as much if
not more than myself. I could plainly see that I must change my man,
and make the general my target if the necessity arose.

Then a voice shouted out from the soldiers almost the exact words of
the general.

“They cannot be brought here; the exposure would kill them.”

Chang looked at Hu to see what effect this had upon him, but Hu was no
coward, and calmly replied:

“They must be brought if it kills them; by Her Majesty’s commission, I
demand it.”

The general was bluffing; he sullenly gave in.

“Bring those men at once, dead or alive, you scoundrels,” he shouted
stentoriously, “and in a hurry, too!”

“Aye, aye,” responded a hundred throats, and a number of men left the
courtyard at once.

The camp must have been some distance away, for it was over half an
hour and nearly candle-lighting time before the two men, each carried
on a litter on the shoulders of six men, were brought in.

The first man was covered up in blankets, and pretended to be
unconscious; but he proved to have no fever, had a slow pulse, and
absolutely no wound but a scratch at the lower end of his right
shoulder-blade, which might have been made by a finger-nail, or
possibly by a pistol-ball grazing the skin.

The hypocrite Chang bent over me as I was examining, and asked in a
voice of pretended sympathy:

“Is he badly hurt? Can he recover? And how long will he be ill?” to
which I replied:

“Not badly hurt; he will recover; and I will guarantee he is all
right day after to-morrow if you will send him at once to my railroad
hospital at Fengtai.”

I said this, thinking that the British minister in Peking, Sir
Claude MacDonald, might be glad to get hold of these men for proper
punishment, and that if they were in the hospital at Fengtai they could
easily be obtained; otherwise I would have ordered this man to be
dismissed at once as shamming.

The second man also pretended to be much worse off than he really was,
but he did in fact have a small bullet-wound in his shoulder, from
which I extracted with forceps a fragment of blue cotton cloth, and
then sent him also to the hospital, predicting his recovery within ten

General Chang thanked me for my interest, and promised to reward me for
my services when the men recovered; then, nodding coolly to Governor
Hu, he and his staff marched out of the inn and left us, and allowed
a subordinate to escort us to the special train that brought us down,
which was as great a lack of courtesy and positive insult as he could
give to the Empress Dowager’s high commissioner.

Our return journey was without incident. The city gates were open
awaiting us, and were closed immediately upon our entrance. Governor
Hu immediately memorialized the throne, stating the result of his
inquiries, reported the impudence of Colonel Chao, and made the request
that he be turned over to the Board of Punishments for a penalty.

The Empress acknowledged the memorial, and she decided to deprive
Colonel Chao of one step in rank, degrading him to a major. This
appeared in an edict at once; at the same time she commended Hu for his
promptness and general ability.

But, alas for Governor Hu! General Tung Fu Hsiang, the man who
was to prove the curse of China, was unacquainted with all these
circumstances, and had yet to be heard from. This man had obtained
his reputation first as a brigand, and afterward as a leader of
Her Majesty’s army in putting down a rather formidable rebellion
of the Mohammedans in his own province of Kansu. Bold, cruel, and
unscrupulous, he had murdered his own provincials, who were but poorly
armed and without military discipline, in a most ruthless manner, and
had not only suppressed the uprising, but nearly exterminated the

[Illustration: A temple in the Summer Palace grounds]

His fame spread far and wide as a wonderful general, so that when the
Empress again assumed power by forcibly seizing the throne from the
weak but good-intentioned Kuang Hsu, she decided at once to bring this
man Tung and his Kansu ruffians to Peking to assist her in maintaining
her authority against all comers. It was en route to Peking that his
advance corps, under General Chang, had the trouble at Lukouch’iao.

[Illustration: MEMORIAL ARCHES

It is doubtful if we should have been able to learn so much of the
“Forbidden City” and of the beautiful and remarkable things to be seen
in the Palace grounds had it not been for this Siege. These are most
beautiful from a Chinese point of view, the architecture dating back
for many ages. These arches are built of immense blocks of stone,
beautifully fitted and arranged.]

As soon as Tung Fu Hsiang learned of Colonel Chao’s degradation, he was
wild with rage, taking the view at once that the insult was not only
upon Chao but also upon himself.

Knowing the Empress was in a precarious condition without troops she
could depend upon, this courageous adventurer, at his first audience
upon his arrival in Peking, promptly told Her Majesty that unless
Chao were restored to his rank immediately, and Governor Hu were
removed from his offices as Governor of Peking and Director-General
of Railways, as well as prevented from taking his seat in the
tsung-li-yamen, or foreign office, to which he had just been appointed,
he, Tung, would disband his army and return to Kansu at once.

The Empress remonstrated with him in vain, alleging that Hu had only
done his duty, and that with his knowledge of foreigners he would be a
valuable official in the tsung-li-yamen. But Tung remained obdurate,
and the Empress reluctantly yielded and dismissed Hu to private life,
where he has ever since remained.

As Governor Hu was alone responsible, by his firm friendship for
the English, for obtaining for the Hong Kong and Shanghai banking
corporation, an English company, the loan for extending the
Peking-Tientsin railway, and had signed the contract which gave the
real control of the railway to the English stockholders, his dismissal
from office should have been prevented by diplomatic action. As it
was, only a mild remonstrance by the diplomatic representative of Great
Britain was made, and the tsung-li-yamen passed it, as usual, unheeded.
Governor Hu remarked to me a few days after his dismissal, very
bitterly, “If I had been the friend to Russia I have been to England I
should not now be in disgrace.”

He was replaced in the office of Governor of Peking by Ho Yun Nai, and
in the office of Director-General of Railways by Hsu Ching Ch’eng,
ex-minister to Germany and Russia. The first of these officials was
a well-known hater of foreigners, who was suggested by General Tung.
The latter was a corrupt opium-eater, already in the pay of Russia, as
Chinese president of the Manchurian railway, and was suggested by a
high palace eunuch, himself in the pay of Russia.

Tung’s influence in Peking now became all-powerful; his soldiers
swaggered about the streets in their fancy red and black uniforms,
growing daily more menacing to the foreigners they passed, until
finally several incipient riots occurred which resulted in one
foreigner having several ribs broken and others being assaulted, so
that a few of the foreign ministers united and requested that his army
corps be removed some distance from the capital. The Empress agreed
reluctantly to this, but only sent them a little over a hundred li

Tung, early after his arrival, made the acquaintance of Prince Tuan,
a stupid, ignorant Manchu, who soon became his complete tool. The
question of a successor to the sickly Emperor, Kuang Hsu, had been
discussed for several years, as he had as yet no issue, and seemed
likely at any time to die childless. The sons of Tuan, of Duke Lan, and
of Prince Lien were all considered eligible, and from amongst them must
be chosen the future Emperor of China.

Tung saw that Tuan would become his tool much more completely than
either of the others, and proposed an alliance between Tuan’s son and a
daughter of his own, agreeing to support the younger Tuan’s candidacy
for the throne, with his whole army, if necessary, to accomplish the
purpose. Tuan agreed to this, but stated the succession must be made
without its being known that he was under obligations to favor Tung’s
daughter, but that when an apparently open competition for selection
of an empress was made, and the various eligible damsels appeared at
the court, Tung’s daughter should arrive from Kansu in time and be the
favored recipient.

On this understanding everything became smooth sailing, and the
consummation of their plans, as far as Tuan’s interest was concerned,
occurred, when in solemn conclave of all the princes of the blood
and great ministers of state, on January 24, 1900, Pu Chun, son of
Prince Tuan, was solemnly named as successor to the previous emperor,
Tung Chih; and poor sickly little Kuang Hsu was succeeded without a
successor to himself, but a successor to his uncle being appointed,
which, by imperial edict, makes him an interloper.


A group of Chinese officials of the highest class; in Peking, previous
to the Siege.]

This was a nice piece of vengeance the Empress Dowager worked out,
partly to avenge herself on her nephew for his unsuccessful attempt
to shelve her and run his government himself. Tung’s intensely
anti-foreign sentiments soon made him many friends at court, among the
oldest and most conservative Manchus, as well as some of the Chinese.
But it was among the former that his influence was greatest.

Many of these men, stupid in the extreme, and too cowardly themselves
ever to have originated any of the designs that have since been worked
out, joyfully fell in with the plans inspired by his ambition for his
own success, but always put forward as for the salvation of his country.

Hsu Ting, Kang Yi, Ch’i Shin, Ch’ung Ch’i, Ch’ung Li, Na T’ung, and
Li Ping Heng became his warmest friends and admirers, and formed a
cabal which soon controlled the entire administration of government.
By Tung’s direction all important offices, as they became vacant, or
could be readily made so, were to be filled by the Manchu friends of
the cabal or, if Chinese, as rarely occurred, then a Chinese who was
of their own set and their own creature. This gave them a powerful
patronage under their disposal in the lucrative taotaiships and other
posts formerly more or less evenly divided between Manchu and Chinese,
but now almost entirely limited to Manchus.


That the Chinese appreciate the picturesque, both in situation and in
architecture, is shown in this picture.]

Kang Yi was sent on a mission southward through all the provinces to
extort money to raise more armies, as well as to feel the pulse of
the people in regard to, and encourage them in, their anti-foreign
tendencies. Li Ping Heng was sent to examine and report on all the
defenses of the Yangtze valley, as well as to denounce any official of
progressive tendencies. Yu Hsien was to succeed the latter as Governor
of Shantung, and to sow in that province the seeds of disorder and
riot that yielded such a bitter crop when they ripened; just as only
a poorly-organized, semi-patriotic, but fully looting society could
do—an organization that was to be called the I Ho Ch’uan or Boxer

This programme has been fully carried out, and what the result has been
will be described in part only (as we in the north only know part) in
the following chapters.



[Illustration: HSU CHING CHENG

Ex-minister to Germany, member of Tsung-li-yamen. Beheaded Aug. 9, for
favoring peace.]

WITH the appointment of the Manchu Yu Hsien as Governor of Shantung
province, to be the successor to the anti-foreign Li Ping Heng,
whose removal the Germans had succeeded in effecting, commenced the
governmental recognition of the Boxers’ society as an agent to expel
missionaries, merchants, and diplomats alike. This man, whose hatred of
foreigners exceeded that of his predecessor, was no sooner in office
than he caused the _literati_ all over the province to revive among the
masses the “Great Sword” and “Boxer” organizations, which had been a
bit shaken by the removal of their encourager, Li Ping Heng.

The foreign residents of Shantung, who had hoped the new government
would be an improvement over the old, soon found they were worse off
than before. The native Christians were persecuted most bitterly by
their heathen neighbors, and their complaints at the yamens treated
with disdain.

Yu Hsien did his work thoroughly and rapidly, knowing the foreign
power which had compelled the removal of Li Ping Heng would also cause
his removal. But as he was only placed in Shantung for the deliberate
purpose of making trouble, his removal would mean for him a better post
as the reward of his success.

This came when the “Boxers” of Chianfu prefecture attacked and murdered
a young missionary of the Church of England named Brookes, who was
traveling from Chianfu city to his station of P’ingyin.

The British government demanded his removal from office, and the
Chinese government acquiesced; but their treatment of him upon his
arrival in Peking alone would have sufficed for an intelligent observer
to make clear the policy of the Empress without any other confirmatory
evidence, abundance of which, however, was not lacking.

Instead of being reprimanded, we find him granted immediate audience
with the Empress, and the next day’s Court Gazette informed an
astonished world that the Empress had written with her own brush the
character “Fu,” happiness, and conferred it upon him publicly. Then
followed his appointment as Governor of Shansi, a rich mineral province
in which the “Peking Syndicate,” an Anglo-Italian company promoted by
Lord Rothschild, held valuable concessions. In this province, too,
were the long-worked missionary establishments of the American Board
(Congregationalist) and the China Inland Missions.

The Chinese all understood this as an appreciative approval from the
Empress, and so, too, did all the older foreign residents; but the
diplomatic corps, beyond a feeble remonstrance from the British and
United States ministers, did nothing. So, to-day Yu Hsien is pursuing
in Shansi the same policy he did in Shantung, the results of which must
turn out similarly.

The Empress appointed as successor to Yu Hsien the man who had turned
traitor to the unfortunate young Emperor, Kuang Hsu, Yuanshih Kai.
This man is well known to foreigners. He was formerly Chinese resident
at Seoul, and it was largely due to him that the China-Japan war
occurred. After the war he was made commanding-general of a force of
foreign-drilled troops stationed at Hsiao Chan, south of Tientsin.

Yuan is one of the shrewdest and most unscrupulous men of China, and
the Empress, in rewarding him by this appointment for his service to
her in making known the Emperor’s purpose to send her into captivity,
gave power to a man who would desert her, when it suited him, as
quickly as he had the weak, but well-meaning, Emperor.

Yuan, upon his arrival in Shantung, found himself in a difficult
position. If he encouraged the Boxers he would make enemies of the
foreigners. If he was severe with the Boxers he would be removed by the
Empress, influenced as she was by General Tung Fu Hsiang and his cabal.

Being a man of great wealth and having a perfect knowledge of the
situation, he steered a course that would obviate his striking on
either rock. He subscribed to the Boxer organizations where they
obeyed him, and punished them where they were refractory, and soon had
Shantung, which was in a ferment when he took charge, fairly well in

He gave it to be understood that they would, in time, be able to
exterminate foreigners; but they must patiently drill and practice
gymnastics until such time as he considered that they had reached
perfection, and must not on any account injure a foreigner too early,
as it would bring down trouble before the government was prepared to
meet it. At the same time he allowed them to pillage and murder the
native Christians freely, well knowing this would please the Court, and
would not be actively taken up by the foreign powers as an infringement
of treaty-rights, which it certainly was.

Evidently his idea was, too, that Tung Fu Hsiang’s plan to drive out
and exterminate all foreigners was an entirely impossible one, and that
if he could keep his province from committing any overt act that would
lead to a foreign war, for a year’s time, the Chihli authorities, all
the Manchus, and Tung Fu Hsiang himself would have brought on the war
and ruined themselves, while he, Yuan, would then have a chance to cut
loose from the conservatives, and come to the front in the new regime,
which must come, as a reformer. That he will do this I fearlessly

The Boxer organization was not started by Tung Fu Hsiang, but was,
by his advice, given imperial sanction and infused with new life and
activity. A similar organization, known in olden times in China under
the same name, was a volunteer militia for national defense. The recent
revival has not only been for defense, but to exterminate the Christian
religion and the people who brought it.

[Illustration: A MONGOLIAN LLAMA

Great learning is possessed, according to the Chinese standard, by
these priests. The young student or candidate on the left is receiving

That the Chinese people have much to complain of from the aggressive
attitude of many native Christians, and particularly the Roman Catholic
Christians, no sane man will deny. For years it has been the practice
of the priests and of many of the Protestant missionaries to assist
their converts in lawsuits against the heathens, and to exert an
unjust influence in their behalf. To “get even” with an enemy it is
only necessary for a convert to tell his priest or pastor that he has
been persecuted in some way for his religious belief, to induce the
missionary to take up the cudgel in his defense. I have heard heathen
Chinese often assert that these men (converts) appear good enough to
their priests, who see very little of their ordinary behavior, but
behind the father’s back they are overbearing and malicious to all
their neighbors, who hate them because they fear them.

After years of residence in China, I have come to the conclusion
that it has been a mistake of the Powers to insert in their treaties
provisions making the preaching of Christianity a treaty-right, in
spite of Chinese objection. Nearly all of the riots in China have come
from attempts to force the Chinese officials to stamp deeds conveying
property to missionaries for residences or chapels. The animosity
incurred in forcing a missionary establishment upon an interior city,
town, or village is not obliterated in a lifetime. It may be barely
tolerated in time of peace, only to be demolished when the country
is disturbed. This applies to the China that has been—barbarian,
uncivilized China.

Should the reformers come into power, and religious toleration be
granted as the result of civilization, then there would be no reason
why the missionaries should not work in the more remote parts of the
empire; but China, as it has been and is, would be much more peaceful
for all concerned if the proselyting work was carried on only in the
treaty ports. I don’t expect any of the missionary body to agree to
this statement, but doubtless many of their supporters, thinking
people, who will take the trouble to reason it out, will believe it,
supported as it is by the testimony of all the residents of China
acquainted with the problem. There are many reasons for the Chinaman’s
hatred of the foreigners, but his religion is the chief one.

In the late riots the railways have been attacked and destroyed, but
that came only after a half-year’s successful campaign against the
converts had led them to want to root out the people who brought both
the religion and the railways. While I am a Christian myself, and
would gladly see China a Christian nation, I cannot help seeing that
the policy which has been pursued in forcing Christianity upon the
Chinese, in the aggressive manner we have, practically at the point
of the sword, has not been a success, and has given to such men as
Tung Fu Hsiang a powerful argument with which to persuade his ignorant
followers to exterminate alike the foreigner and his converts.


A remarkable feature of Chinese social and political customs is the
method of selection for public office. The candidates for examination
are installed in the little rooms or houses shown in this picture;
a supply of water is placed in the large jars at the entrance, and
the candidate is expected, regardless of the pangs of hunger, to
remain constantly in this little room until he shall have passed this
examination, which sometimes lasts two or three days.]

The Boxers are principally of two sorts: the ignorant villager and
the city loafer or vagabond. The first easily becomes a fanatical
enthusiast; the latter has joined simply to obtain loot. When it
became an assured fact that the Empress sanctioned the movement the
ranks were rapidly filled, because rewards and preferment were held out
as inducements to serve, and the majority of China’s population, being
poverty-stricken in the extreme, would join any movement that promised
an increased income. The Boxer headquarters was the palace of Prince
Tuan in Peking. From this place emissaries were sent with instructions,
first into Shantung and afterward throughout Chihli, to coöperate with
the already-existing secret societies, as well as to organize new
companies. Every city, town, and village was visited, the head men
consulted, and the young men and boys enrolled.

Their gymnastic exercises, from which they derive their name, were
taught them, and they were promised that when they had attained
perfection they would be given service under the Empress with good
pay and rapid promotion. They were told that if they would go
regularly through the ceremonies prescribed every day, in from three
to six months they would acquire indomitable courage, and would be
invulnerable to bullets and sword-cuts, and that the youngest child
would be a match for a grown man of the uninitiated. That thousands
believed this nonsense there is no doubt; and thousands of little boys
from ten years of age upward eagerly enrolled. The exercise consisted
of bowing low to the ground, striking the forehead into the earth
three times each toward the east, then south, then throwing themselves
upon their backs and lying motionless for several minutes, after which
they would throw themselves from side to side a number of times, and,
finally rising, go through a number of posturings, as though warding
off blows and making passes at an enemy. As a uniform they were given a
red turban, a red sash to cross the chest, and red “tae tzio,” or wide
tape, to tie in the trousers at the ankle.

The time set for their uprising was fixed for the Chinese eighth moon,
seventeenth day, being two days after the annual “harvest festival,”
or pa yueh chieh. The premature explosion of the movement was not
anticipated by those who originated it, but it is largely due to
its going off at half-cock, so to speak, that enabled the Powers to
combat it so readily after they were aware of its existence as a real
government agency.

Doubtless the government intended before that time to give arms and
ammunition to all grown men; but, in the first place, they were to arm
themselves with swords and spears only. They were told, among other
things, that at the time of their uprising myriads of regiments of
angelic soldiers would descend from the skies to assist them in their
righteous war against foreigners.

The Empress herself believed this story as well as the possibility
of their being invulnerable to foreign bullets. She is exceedingly
superstitious, and in the early part of May consulted the Chinese
planchette to read her destiny. Two blind men, holding the instrument
under a silk screen, wrote in the prepared sand underneath the
following message from the spiritual world:

  “Ta Chieh Lin T’ou
  Hung Hsieh Hung Liu
  Pai Ku Ch’ung Ch’ung
  Chin Tsai Chin Ch’in
  Tan Kan
  T’ieh Ma Tung Hsi Tscu
  Shui Shih Shui Fei
  Ts’ai pai shiu.”

The interpretation of this would read in English:

  “The millennium is at hand;
  Blood will flow like a deluge;
  Bleaching bones everywhere
  Will this autumn time be seen.
  Moreover, the iron horse
  Will move from east to west;
  Who’s right and who’s wrong
  Will then be clearly established.”

The millennium is used by the Chinese as a critical period in a
cycle of years. The iron horse is supposed to mean war. The Empress
understood this to mean that in the war which she intended to commence
it would be clearly shown by her success that she was right.


These men are connected with the Tsung-li-yamen.]

The Boxers, however, completely spoiled all her plans by their
eagerness to obtain loot. Being promised the spoil of the foreigners
after the contemplated uprising in the eighth moon, they regarded the
property of the Christians and their teachers as already mortgaged to
them; and, fearful lest the government troops would acquire some of
it, they commenced the campaign themselves before the appointed time.
How the government at first made feeble efforts to restrain them, and
afterward completely gave in and joined with them is now a matter of

The monumental idiocy of the idea that China could successfully defy
the whole civilized world was only possible to such brains as those
possessed by the densely ignorant Manchus who surrounded the Empress
as her cabinet. Several of the tsung-li-yamen ministers, like Prince
Ch’ing and Liao Shou Heng, weakly tried to reason them out of it, and
were promptly given back seats.

Of the others remaining in the tsung-li-yamen after their retirement,
none dared say anything against the movement for fear they also would
be shelved. But as they were not strong enough to please the Empress
in her final dealings with the foreigners, she, a few days before
the commencement of the siege, appointed Prince Tuan as head of the
yamen, in place of Prince Ch’ing, and at the same time appointed two
fire-eating foreign-haters, Chi Shui and Na T’ung, to seats in that
obstructive body. These men, with Tung Fu Hsiang and the cabinet, must
be held responsible for the murders of Baron von Ketteler, F. Huberty
James, David Oliphant, H. Warren, Ed Wagner, and the other civilians
and guards killed during the siege, as well as for many missionaries in
the province that have doubtless perished, but of whose fate we, being
besieged, had no certain knowledge.

That the Powers, in the settlement of their crimes, will treat them as
murderers, as they are, we can scarcely doubt, and we hope none of them
in any way implicated will be allowed to escape capital punishment.


JUNE, 1900_

[Illustration: CHUNG LI

Manchu Boxer Chief]

THE murder of the Church of England missionary, Brookes, in Chinanfu
prefecture, Shantung province, by the Boxers, was the beginning of
the explosion. On January 4, 1900, I cabled home the occurrence of
the murder. On January 5 I cabled that the Americans in Taianfu,
two days’ journey by cart south of the scene of the murder, were in
danger, and that the United States minister had requested that they be
protected; also that the Empress Dowager had expressed to Sir Claude
MacDonald, through the tsung-li-yamen, her horror at the deed, and from
thenceforth, under the respective dates given below, I sent cables
recording the Boxer progress.

January 13. Christians in Shantung are being constantly pillaged by
marauding parties of Boxers. The Taianfu district is especially
dangerous, as the prefect will not allow them to be interfered with.
Dr. Smith, of Pang Chuang, in northern Shantung, has also written and
telegraphed the United States legation that matters in his district are
in the same condition. Christians murdered, chapels burned and looted,
and no redress obtainable from the officials.

January 15. An imperial edict was issued yesterday which really
commends the Boxers, and is sure to cause trouble. Upon Baron von
Ketteler representing this to the tsung-li-yamen he was given no
satisfactory answer to account for it.

January 24. Boxer movement is rapidly spreading, and the situation
fills many with alarm. Prince Tuan’s son has been chosen as the
successor to the Emperor, which is an unfavorable omen.

January 25. An edict has been promulgated apparently from the Emperor,
but really from the Empress Dowager, stating that, because of his
childless condition and infirm health, he has decided for the good of
the state to appoint Pu Chun, son of Prince Tuan, as his successor.

February 5. Although the Boxer movement continues to increase in the
northern provinces, Peking remains quiet.

February 10. The anti-foreign crusade is proceeding apace. Jung Lu, Hsu
Tung and Kang Yi have assumed great power, and are constantly with
the Empress. The Boer successes in the Transvaal are being used to
show the masses that a very little country can defy a big government
if only the hearts of the people are in the struggle. British prestige
here declining rapidly as a consequence. A Boxer mob has attacked the
Germans building the railway in Shantung, and driven the foreigners
away from their work. As Baron von Ketteler insists upon their going on
with the work, the tsung-li-yamen finds it difficult to please both the
throne and the foreigners.

February 12. A letter received from a Presbyterian missionary in
Chinanfu states that over seventy families of Christians have been
mobbed and looted in his district, and that they can obtain no redress
from the local officials, and that the Boxers, knowing this, are
rapidly increasing and growing bolder.

February 15. Imperial edict orders the suspension of any native papers
showing reform tendency, and the editors to be imprisoned.

February 19. The annual audience with the foreign ministers took place
with most scant ceremony and in a shabby apartment. This was done with
the direct purpose of insulting them, but none remonstrated.

February 23. A French priest from Tientsin informs me that all that
district is pervaded by the Boxers, who openly avow they are drilling
to come to Peking and drive out and exterminate all foreigners.

February 25. Several thousand armed Boxers have possession of the
German railway building at Kaomi in Shantung, and state their purpose
is to drive out the foreigner.

February 28. Yuan Shih Kai, Governor of Shantung, has sent a private
messenger, an ex-drillmaster in his army corps, to Baron von Ketteler,
the German minister, to say he will disperse the Boxers at Kaomi and
restore quiet.

March 14. The man who obtained for the British syndicate the concession
known as the Peking syndicate’s Shansi concessions to mine and build
railways, was arrested for assisting foreigners to obtain concessions
in China. Upon Sir Claude MacDonald’s demanding his release, the
Empress promptly sentenced him to imprisonment for life. This will
deter others from helping foreigners in any capacity.

March 15. United States Minister Conger, having protested against
the Empress using Yu Hsien, ex-governor of Shantung, in any province
where American interests are great, is greatly displeased to learn
to-day that, so far from heeding, the Empress has actually appointed
him Governor of Shansi, in which are not only a number of American
missionary stations, but the interests of the Peking syndicate.


These peculiar instruments, which are of great astronomical merit, were
made during the reign of Kublai Khan, A. D. 1264. An especial interest
attaches to this illustration, on account of the attempt of the Germans
to remove these instruments to Berlin, and the protest made against
it by General Chaffee, of the U. S. Army. The engraving shows the
instruments just as they were used for hundreds of years, before they
were taken apart for removal to Europe.]

April 24. Boxers aggregating nearly 10,000 have collected in one
place near Paotingfu, and are very disorderly. The outlook is very
threatening, not only there but at Tungchow, thirteen miles south of
Peking, and at Tsunhua, to the east of Peking. At all these places
there are large American missionary stations.

May 17. Boxer movement has now assumed definite shape and alarming
proportions. They have destroyed several Catholic villages east of
Paotingfu, and are moving on the property of the American Board’s
mission at Choochow at Kung Tsun. They have also looted the London
mission’s premises, and killed several Christians. Boxers are now daily
to be seen practicing in Peking and the suburbs. Situation is growing
serious here.

May 18. I have been warned by one of the princes that I should take my
family from Peking, as he states his own elder brother is a Boxer, and
that foreigners are no longer safe in Peking. Have fully informed the
United States minister of the situation, but he believes the official
promises that all is well.

May 21. Foreign ministers have held a meeting and discussed question of
bringing legation guards to Peking. The French minister favored this,
but Conger opposed, stating he believed the government resolutely means
to suppress the Boxers. No action was taken, it being decided to await
further developments.

May 24. The tsung-li-yamen has not yet replied to the joint note sent
them by the foreign ministers four days ago, requesting that the
Boxers be dealt with summarily. Unless an immediate and vigorous
foreign pressure is applied, a general uprising is sure.

May 25. General Yang was killed at Ting-hsing, Hsien, near Paotingfu,
either by his own soldiers or the Boxers. The soldiers then joined the

May 26. The tsung-li-yamen has sent a vague and temporizing reply to
the foreign ministers’ demand requiring the suppression of the Boxers.
They are now regularly enrolled at the residences of several of the
princes in this city.

May 28, A.M. The foreign ministers held another meeting to-day, but
still deferred any action looking toward defense, as the tsung-li-yamen
promises that it will shortly issue a strong edict that will suppress
the Boxers. Pichon distrusts the Chinese promises and again advocates
strong legation guards.

May 28, 4.10 P.M. Boxers have burned the bridge and destroyed the track
at Liuliho, forty-five miles west of Peking, on the Lu Han railway, and
are advancing toward Marco Polo bridge, twelve miles from here. The
foreigners employed on the railway have all fled. The Tientsin train is
overdue, and our communication with the coast threatened. The legations
are just beginning to wake up to the fact that the Boxer movement is a
perilous one.


A celebrated traveler has said that it was worth encircling the earth
to see this beautiful piece of architecture. Were it in the middle
of Paris or New York, it would arouse great admiration and wonder;
but, situated as it is in the midst of a wild and barren landscape,
with huge mountains for a background, and representing as it does,
the burial place of a mighty dynasty that for ages ruled a stupendous
nation, it fills the beholder not only with wonder and admiration, but
with awe.]

May 29. At last it has come to our very door. Not only Liuliho and
Changhsintien, on the Lu Han railroad, have been destroyed, but the
junction at Fengtai, only six miles from here, has been attacked,
looted, and burned, and all the foreign employes have fled to Tientsin.
The foreign ministers now want guards badly, but, as it is not yet
known whether the railroad is torn up at Fengtai, there is no
certainty of getting them quickly. The fate of a large party of French
and Belgian women and children, known to reside at Changhsintien, is
not known. Legation street is crowded with villainous-looking ruffians
congregating to loot if opportunity offers. Until troops arrive the
situation is precarious.

May 30. The tsung-li-yamen has requested the foreign ministers not to
bring troops, assuring them they are not necessary; but the situation
here has at last impressed them, and they have disregarded the yamen
and ordered up guards at once. The populace are quite excited, and only
need a slight cause to break out.

May 30, P.M. Viceroy of Chihli has forbidden guards taking train at
Tientsin. Fifteen warships are reported at Taku.

May 31. Viceroy of Chihli has been ordered by the yamen to allow guards
to take train for Peking, but requested ministers to bring only small
guards, as last year. Troops have arrived.

June 1. Populace seems cowed and sullen. Riots in the city may now
be prevented, but the problem of dealing with the movement is one
requiring active diplomatic effort.

June 2. Station buildings south of Paotingfu on the Lu Han railway
have been burned, and railroad destroyed. Party of thirty Belgians,
including women and children, attempted to escape to Tientsin, and
were attacked by Boxers. Several known to be killed; fate of remainder
unknown. Said to be surrounded when their native interpreter left to
obtain help. Native Christians of the American Board’s mission at
Choochow, and the American Presbyterian mission at Kuan-hsien, are
pouring steadily into Peking, to escape murder at the hands of the
Boxers. All their houses have been looted and burned.

June 2, 8 P.M. Serious dissension among Chinese ministers, Prince Ching
favoring moderation and suppression of the Boxers. He is said to be
secretly supported in this by Jung Lu and the tsung-li-yamen. Prince
Tuan, supported by Hsu Tung, Kang Yi, and other intensely anti-foreign
ministers, is favoring the Boxer movement. A crisis is imminent.

June 3. Church of England missionaries Robinson and Norman killed at
Yungching by Boxers, and their chapels looted and burned. Boxers now
have entire control of country from Tientsin to Paotingfu, and thence
northeastward to Peking; native troops make no effort to suppress them.
All religious and missionary work in North China is ended unless treaty
powers compel observance of treaty provisions, and demand indemnities
for each and every infringement.

June 4. Native converts from the west of Peking report that many
thousand Boxers are assembling at Choochow preparing to attack the
foreigners and converts in Peking. The missionaries are convinced
of the truth of this, and have informed their legations, who will
not believe it. Dr. Taylor, of the American Presbyterian mission at
Paotingfu, telegraphed to the American minister: “We are safe at
present, but prospects threatening.”

[Illustration: CHINESE LITTER

A typical method of Chinese conveyance. The litter is supported by
poles to the backs of two animals, one in front, the other behind; in
it the traveler can make himself comfortable. Beyond are the massive
tombs of the Ming Dynasty, the famous arches of which are shown

June 4 (afternoon). Morning train arrived from Tientsin four hours
late, owing to burning of bridge and destruction of station building
at Huangtsun by Boxers. Noon train now overdue, and, as the telegraph
wires have been cut, is unheard from. Unless foreign troops are
immediately placed to guard the railway we shall be cut off from help
by way of the sea.

June 5. The American missionaries in Paotingfu have been attacked, and
have wired for help. The tsung-li-yamen, when appealed to by United
States minister, said it would telegraph the local officials to do so.
But unless a relief party rescues them speedily their fate is certain

June 5, P.M. American Methodist mission at Tsunhua, with twelve
children and four women, are beset and have wired for help. Trains from
Tientsin have ceased to arrive; we are sending a courier overland with

June 6. United States consul at Tientsin has wired the minister here
that the Tientsin native city is in great excitement, and the situation
is very serious; he advised that no women or children attempt to enter
Tientsin from Peking, as they could not get through. Fate of Paotingfu
missionaries unknown, as we can get no telegrams through.

June 6, P.M. United States consul wires from Tientsin that the
situation there is growing steadily worse; an attack is imminent.
Here in Peking we are all collecting in the legations, but have
insufficient arms and ammunition. Nevertheless we will make a
determined stand.

June 7. I have overwhelming evidence that government officials are
the real causes of the Boxer movement, acting under the direction of
the Empress. Therefore the tsung-li-yamen and cabinet are supporting
this movement, which is intended to exterminate all foreigners and
Christian converts. The senile cabinet has persuaded the Empress this
is possible, and they are quite willing to face the inevitable foreign
war that their policy entails. The imbecility of this idea does not in
any way interfere with the facts. The foreign powers should all prepare
for war at once, or entrust the work to those powers nearest and best
fitted to successfully undertake it. The sooner this is done the less
will be the loss of life and property. The tsung-li-yamen yesterday
promised Sir Claude MacDonald, through the secretary of Prince Ching,
that if the foreign ministers would not press for a personal audience
with the Empress, as they intended doing, Prince Ching would guarantee
the restoration of the interrupted railway in two days, and a general
amelioration of the condition of affairs. Another useless edict was put
out to-day mildly enjoining officials to distinguish between good and
bad Boxers, and punish only the bad.

June 7, P.M. Twenty converts have been murdered at Huangtsun, thirteen
miles south. Missionaries at Tungchow have decided to abandon their
valuable compound, and have telegraphed the United States minister
to send them a guard of marines to escort the women and children to
Peking. This compound contains a valuable college, and will inevitably
be burned.


  Hsü Yung I     Wang     Chao Shu      Conger     Yü Keng
  Beheaded       Wen      Chiao         U. S.      Minister to
  Aug. 9, 1900.  Shao.    Boxer Chief.  Minister.  Paris.

A group in front of the American Legation]

June 8. Tungchow missionaries have arrived safely in Peking. Two other
stations on the Tientsin railway, Lofa and Langfang, have been burned,
as well as the college compound at Tungchow. Tsung-li-yamen has refused
to allow a reinforcement of the legation guards now in Peking. Although
thirty warships of all nationalities are at Taku, Peking is completely
isolated. Why America, after Secretary Hay’s much vaunted open-door
policy, should allow her representative to be denied sufficient guard
for the safety of himself and his countrymen is something one cannot
comprehend, unless the representative has not kept his government well

June 8, P.M. Most alarming situation. Missionaries from all compounds
in this city compelled to abandon their homes and seek refuge in the
Methodist mission, which is nearer the legations, being a half mile
east of the United States legation. They have a few shotguns and very
little ammunition, and are surrounded by their terrified converts,
who have fled with them. Prince Ching’s promise of restored railway
has proved false. The foreign ministers now realize they have been
fooled again, and have lost two days’ valuable time. We call upon our
government to make haste and rescue our wives and families quickly or
it will be too late.

June 9. Emperor and Empress return to-day to the city from the summer
palace. Another futile edict has been put out to further delude the
foreign ministers. It is known that Prince Ching has expostulated with
the cabinet, but to no purpose.

June 9, P.M. United States Minister Conger has sent in all twenty
marines to assist the Methodist mission compound in their defense.
Still no word from Paotingfu missionaries.

June 10. Five hundred marines and sailors left Tientsin to relieve us.
They can get as far as Anting, twenty miles south of here, by train,
and will then have to march the remainder of the distance. If prompt
they should arrive to-morrow. Methodist mission is fortifying the place
with strong brick walls and barbed wire.

       *       *       *       *       *

After this telegram I was notified that the wires south were cut, and
sent only one message more, on July 12, by way of Kiachta, relating the
murder of the Japanese secretary and urging prompt government action
looking to our rescue.

The history of the growth of the Boxer movement seems to me to have
been clearly shown by these telegrams, so that any one of ordinary
understanding could have been, by June 1, if in possession of this
series of dispatches, fully acquainted with the situation.

The United States minister, the British minister, and the French
minister were each acquainted with all the above major facts and much
more minor detail.



[Illustration: CHAO SHU CHIAO

Boxer Member of Cabinet]

THE following transcription of my diary gives the principal events in
the situation up to the date of the close siege, going back a little in
point of time from the last chapter.

June 1. After three days of exciting mental strain, we can at last
breathe easier. Rumors continue to fill the air of plots within the
palace, riots against the Catholic cathedral, railway being torn up
between here and Tientsin, etc. But the solid fact remains that a few
foreign guards have arrived at six legations, and a machine gun will
now have something to say in one’s behalf if the excited populace’s
thirst for foreign blood becomes too pressing.

With the exception of M. Pichon, the French minister, all the other
ministers are greatly to blame for their tardy recognition of the
impending trouble, and they have very nearly had the odium of a
preventible foreign massacre to answer for.

Sir Claude MacDonald, for whom the entire English community outside his
legation feel, and have openly expressed, the greatest contempt, would
not believe that there was any danger coming, and vigorously opposed
Pichon’s advice that the troops be sent for ten days ago.

Mr. Conger seconded Sir Claude, partly because the United States
legation quarters are so limited that the second secretary and his
wife are obliged to live in two rooms over the main office building,
and partly because he believed the government willing and capable of
putting down the disorder. Both were suddenly converted when Fengtai,
only six miles away, was burned, and the Boxers were reported marching
unopposed upon Peking. Then the most exciting telegraphing for warships
to come to Taku, and guards and machine guns to come to Peking, became
the order of the day.

Had the Boxers been at all organized they could have torn up the track
for a mile or two at Fengtai, and effectually cut off the troops from
arriving in time to prevent any city riots. Fortunately, they seem
to have been carried away by the desire to loot, and after they had
carried off all the furniture and belongings of the eight foreign
residences at Fengtai, and robbed the Empress’ private car of all
movable property, they were content to set fire to the stations and
machine shops, and then clear out home to the adjoining villages.

June 4. None of the Boxers have been punished, and they have grown
bolder, burning the next station below Fengtai, known as Huangtsun,
thirteen miles from Peking, killing two Church of England missionaries
named Robinson and Norman at Yungching, and defeating a force of
Cossacks sent out from Tientsin to search for the surviving Belgians
escaping from the Lu Han railway. In spite of this, and with seventeen
men-of-war at Tangku, the foreign ministers, besides bringing up each
a guard of fifty or seventy-five men to protect his own legation, are
doing nothing—that we can see at any rate—to pacify the country.
Why they don’t land a large force, come to Peking, and seize the old
reprobates that they all know are the real bosses of the Boxer movement
in Peking, and hold them responsible for any further movement, nobody

Every minister can tell you that Hsu Tung, Kang Yi, Chung Li, Chung
Chi, and Chao Shu Chiao, with Prince Tuan, are the real causes of all
the present disorder. Although they all know this, they still pretend
to believe the assurances of the government to the contrary....

June 13. Events have been too exciting to allow of one sitting down
quietly to write. The missionaries from Tungchow, thirteen miles south
of Peking, have fled into this city, and all their college plant,
private residences, and property have been destroyed by soldiers sent
from the taotai’s yamen to protect them. All the Peking missionaries
have gathered together in the Methodist mission compound, where,
with such arms as they could collect—a few shotguns, rifles, and
revolvers—and with a guard of twenty marines, sent by Mr. Conger,
United States minister, they have fortified themselves with barbed wire
and brick fences, and are “holding the fort.”

For days we have heard no word from our Presbyterian missionaries at
Paotingfu. The last word, now some days since, which came through the
tsung-li-yamen and is therefore untrustworthy, was that they were
safe at present. Wires south have been cut since the burning of the
college buildings at Tungchow, and I have been unable to write home the
developments daily occurring.

On the 10th of June, just before the wires were cut, we had a message
from United States Consul Ragsdale, saying eight hundred odd troops
were coming to our assistance, but to-day is the fourth day since its
receipt, and we only know of their reaching Lofa, a burned station on
the railway to Tientsin, on Monday night. We have been expecting them
every hour since, but no definite word of their arrival at any other
place has reached us. Why they don’t send natives in advance we can’t

June 18. Eleven days we have been besieged in Legation street. Our
little guard of four hundred and fifty marines and sailors of all
nationalities have kept unceasing watch night and day, and are nearly
exhausted. Eleven days ago we were told that an army was marching to
our relief, and although they had only eight miles to come we have not
yet seen them, nor do we know their whereabouts.

We have nightly repelled attacks of Boxers and soldiers of the
government, and have killed in sorties over two hundred of them; but
we have millions about us, and unless relieved must soon succumb. Our
messengers to the outside world have been captured and killed, and our
desperate situation, while it may be guessed, cannot be truly known.

With fifty men-of-war now at Taku we have to remain within our
barricaded streets and witness the destruction of all the mission
premises and private foreign residences on the outside.

The American Board mission’s large property, the two large Catholic
cathedrals known as the South cathedral and the East cathedral, the
two compounds of the American Presbyterian mission, the Society for
Propagation of the Gospel mission, the International Institute, and the
London mission have all furnished magnificent conflagrations, which we
have beheld without being able in any way to prevent.

At each place the furious Boxers, aided by their soldier sympathizers,
have murdered, with shocking mutilation, all the gatekeepers as well
as any women and children in the neighborhood suspected of being
Christians or foreign sympathizers.

At the South cathedral the massacre was shocking; so much so that when
some of the poor mutilated children came fleeing across the city,
bringing the news of what was going on, a relief party was organized
from our little force, consisting of twelve Russians, twelve American
marines, and two civilians, W. N. Pethick and M. Duysberg, armed with
shotguns, who, risking conflict with the Manchu troops, marched two
miles from our barricades and, coming on the Boxers suddenly in the
midst of the ruins, fired a number of volleys into them, killing over
sixty, upon which the rest fled. They then collected the women and
children hidden in the surrounding alleys, and marched them back to us,
where they are for the present safe.

I have just finished dressing the wounded head of a little girl ten
years of age, who, in spite of a sword cut four inches long in the
back of her head and two fractures of the outer table of the skull,
walked all the way back here, leading a little sister of eight and a
brother of four. As she patiently endured the stitching of the wound,
she described to me the murder of her father and mother and the looting
of her home. One old man of sixty carried his mother of eighty upon his
back and brought her into temporary safety; but how long before we are
all murdered we cannot say.

Our anxiety has been something frightful, and at this moment, many
days since we were told that troops were coming to our relief, we are
apparently no nearer rescue than at first. We can’t comprehend it.
Night before last, after being driven away by our hot rifle fire, the
Boxers turned on the defenseless shopkeepers in the southern city, and
burned many acres of the best business places and native banks.

They also burned the great city gate, known as the Chien Men, an
imposing structure of many stories high, which must have illuminated
the surrounding country for miles. Surely our troops must have seen the
glare, if they were within forty miles of us. We begin to fear they
have met with an overwhelming force of Chinese soldiers, and have been
driven back to Tientsin.

The tsung-li-yamen, or foreign office, is utterly powerless, and yet
it continues to send us messages stating it is going to protect us,
and it has the Empress issue daily edicts, which, while apparently
condemning the Boxers, really encourage them.


This is one of Peking’s main and most imposing gates. Notice the
massive building above the wall; note the solidity of the wall itself;
an idea of its great height can be formed by noticing how small a
proportion is occupied by the arch and yet how small a proportion of
the arch is actually required for the passing vehicles.]

The Manchu soldiers have stood idly by in thousands, and have seen
the frightful butcheries of converts and suspected converts, without
raising a finger to interfere. When questioned why they did not obey
the edicts authorizing them to repress arson and looting they have
replied, “We have other instructions.”

Mauser bullets are nightly fired at our sentries, and every night we
have to turn out a number of times to repel the cowardly natives, whom
we find sneaking down upon us, and who dare attack only under cover of

The behavior of our women and children under these circumstances has
been remarkable, and their courage and bravery above all praise.

Should these lines ever be published I wish to make known to the world
the great courage, devotion, and constant watchfulness of Captain
John T. Myers, of the marine corps. We will owe to him our lives
and the lives of our loved ones if we are ever rescued. His bravery
and endurance will, if he survives, mark him for high command some
day. While all the officers here have acted well, yet he is head and
shoulders above them in coolness and decision, and all the other
nationalities come to him for advice and counsel.

He is well seconded here by ex-Lieutenant Herbert G. Squiers, Seventh
United States Cavalry, who is first secretary of legation. Had Mr.
Squiers been minister, we would never have been in our present terrible
situation, for he realized the appalling nature of the threatened
outbreak while the ministers pooh-poohed it. As he could not of his
own initiative order up troops in time, he laid in abundant stores of
rice and other eatables, and bought up all the wagons and ammunition

[Illustration: HERBERT G. SQUIERS

First Secretary, United States Legation, Peking]

The blind trust the ministers (with the exception perhaps of M.
Pichon) placed in the promises of the tsung-li-yamen, in the face of
the daily increasing riots and murder, is an instance of childlike
simplicity which I trust they may never have an opportunity to repeat
elsewhere. The entire community here, of civilians and military alike,
condemn them as a set of incompetents.

They now, of course, all see their mistake in being fooled by the
tsung-li-yamen, and prevented from bringing a sufficient force here
until the railroad was destroyed and hordes of fierce Kansu ruffians
placed in the way of advancing relief.

The marines of the Newark and Oregon, of which we have fifty, that
compose the entire American force, are a sturdy lot of courageous,
devoted men. Sober, intelligent, cheerful, enduring, all of them are as
brave as lions. Sergeant Walker alone, at the South cathedral, killed
seven of the Boxers.

The district held by us is about a half-mile east and west on Legation
street, and is guarded by blocking the streets at the Italian legation
on the east and the Russian legation on the west. At each barricade
there is placed a machine gun. A diagram of the ground held will be
found on another page. June 19, yesterday, the tsung-li-yamen ministers
(four of them) visited the English, Russian, and American legations,
and begged the foreign ministers to persuade the relief guards that
we hope are coming to our aid, to return, assuring them that from
this time on the Chinese would prevent any further Boxer outrages on
foreigners, and that legation premises should be safe. They also said
the Empress was now sure that the Boxer movement was a menace to the
government as well as the foreigners, and that the imperial troops
would be ordered to shoot every Boxer on sight. As all the afternoon
our sentinels on the city wall saw Boxers in full regalia going at
pleasure among the native troops stationed about the ruined Chien Men,
we know that the tsung-li-yamen’s words were, as usual, a pack of lies.

A messenger arrived yesterday from Tientsin from Mr. E. B. Drew,
commissioner of customs, to Dr. Morrison, of the London _Times_,
stating that the railroad had been destroyed in the rear of the relief
column, and they were being driven back on Tientsin and away from us.

Surely our condition is desperate. Food is getting scarce. Boxers are
mixing openly with the Chinese soldiers, our own soldier boys are
getting worn out by constant watching, and no help is nigh.

July 18. On June 19, nearly a month ago to-day, the tsung-li-yamen sent
the foreign ministers word that, as the admirals at Taku had notified
the viceroy of Chihli through the French consul if he opposed troops
landing in any required numbers they would take the Taku forts, and as
this was really a declaration of war, the foreign ministers were hereby
requested to leave Peking, one and all, within twenty-four hours, and
proceed to Tientsin en route to their respective countries, a Chinese
escort for which was to be provided by the Chinese government.

As the railroad had already been destroyed all the way to Tientsin, and
the intended relief corps under Admiral Seymour and Captain McCalla had
been driven back without being able to reach us, and as we knew the
country between Peking and Tientsin was filled with thousands of Boxers
and hostile soldiers, it seemed patent to the most simple intellect
that to leave the protection of our legation walls was to invite

But the intensely dense ministers, Sir Claude MacDonald, E. H. Conger,
M. de Giers, M. Pichon, and others, all excepting Baron von Ketteler,
the German minister, actually agreed to proceed to Tientsin on the
morrow with all their nationals, providing only that the Chinese
government would furnish transportation. The military officers all
declared this would mean the massacre of the entire community.

The ministers, however, would certainly have had us all thus massacred
had not the unfortunate Baron von Ketteler been murdered the next
morning by the Chinese troops while proceeding to the tsung-li-yamen to
consult about details. He rode, as is customary, to the tsung-li-yamen
from his legation in a sedan chair. When passing the entrance of Tsung
Pu street, just below the yamen, he was fired upon by a troop of Manchu
troops of Yung Lu upon the command of a lieutenant with a white button,
and was mortally wounded. His secretary interpreter, Mr. Corder, who
accompanied him, was also badly wounded by the volley, but, aided by
some friendly natives, managed to escape to the Methodist mission near
Legation street, where, after having his wounds dressed, he was sent on
to his legation. The horse coolie had already quickly galloped back to
the legation and given the alarm.

The folly of trusting our lives to the Chinese escort was thus made
clear, and the foreign ministers, dense as they were, could not but
realize that to trust themselves and their families to the tender
mercies of the ruffians who would be appointed to escort and murder
them and us, would be lunacy to a degree at which even they were not
yet arrived.

I had, in company with the correspondent of the London “Times,” early
in the morning of the 20th of June, in the most emphatic language,
represented the true state of the case to Minister Conger, only to be
met with the cold reply, as he turned away after listening to us, “I
don’t agree with you.”

But on receipt of the news of Ketteler’s death, a few moments later,
the United States minister “changed his mind,” and reluctantly admitted
it would be impossible to go to Tientsin, and that we must try and
defend ourselves in Peking until a large relief force could arrive to
rescue us.

Hasty preparations were then made to send all the women and children
into the English legation, which was the largest of all the legations,
as well as the strongest, from which to make a final stand.

In a few hours after the news of Von Ketteler’s murder a steady
stream of men, women, and children, carrying bundles, buckets, and
trunks, could have been seen pouring into the main gate of the British
legation, all with anxious faces. Carts, too, loaded with provisions
from the three foreign stores, were making the best use of the time
in transferring all the available eatables and drinkables within the
protection of the legation walls.

As the twenty-four hours granted us in which to hasten from the city
expired at 4 P.M., all used their entire energy as well as that of the
coolies and servants at their disposal, so that at the time specified,
when the Chinese opened a terrifying fire upon us from all sides,
provisions enough to last us several months were safely under shelter.



[Illustration: HSII YUNG I

Beheaded for favoring moderation.
Member of Tsung-li-yamen]

AT FOUR o’clock on the afternoon of June 20, 1900, all the foreign
women and children, and nearly all of the civilians of Peking and
vicinity, including the customs staff and the missionary body, had
taken refuge in the British legation. It was surprising to every one
to find that, in the time that had elapsed since the arrival of the
British marines, May 31, no barricades had been erected, no trenches
dug, nor any attention paid whatever to rendering the place better able
to stand a siege.

In talking with one of the British sergeants, and commenting upon this
utter neglect, he informed me that Captain Halliday had, a few days
before, attempted to improvise some barriers by means of dry-goods
boxes filled with earth, but had been so laughed at and snubbed by
Captains Strouts and Wray, British officers, that he had given up the

Sir Claude MacDonald, the British minister, who is an ex-major in the
army, and should have instructed in this very important duty, was,
equally with marine officers, culpably silent.

The American missionaries, however, no sooner arrived than they formed
committees on fortification, sanitation, food, etc., and set actively
to work; and to them belongs, as every one agrees, the credit of
placing the legation in a defensible condition.

To Mr. F. D. Gamewell, of the American Methodist mission, more than to
any other one man, is due the success which has attended our defense.
His energy was simply extraordinary. From morning until night he was
to be seen superintending the filling of sand-bags, the tearing down
of houses adjoining our walls that might serve as cover to the enemy,
the building of barricades and strengthening of walls from the timbers
and brick so obtained, making loopholes at the proper places for firing
through and doing, in fact, everything that could have been done by an
army engineer of experience; all the time, too, under a galling rifle
fire from the outside Chinese army, under the command of the Kansu
ruffian, General Tung Fu Hsiang.

All the Chinese coolies, servants, cooks, and retainers of the
foreigners, to the number of over 1,000, were enrolled, given a badge
sewed to their sleeves, declaring their identity, and hours fixed for
their employment on public works for general defense.

Latrines and garbage tanks were arranged, and the place put under
proper sanitary regulation, supervised by Drs. Coltman, Lowry, and

A hospital was equipped under Doctors Velde and Poole, and a trained
nurse corps installed, consisting of several lady physicians and three
trained nurses.

The Holland and Belgian legations, being outside of the line of defense
adopted by consultation of the military captains, were abandoned, but
it was decided by the military to hold the French, German, American,
Italian, and Russian legations, until absolutely untenable.

With the exception of the Italian legation, these premises are still
in our possession, although the French and German legations are but
shattered wrecks, every building being full of holes from shells and
round-shot of the Chinese cannon, often fired at only two hundred
yards’ distance.


Without the barricades the defense would never have been successful.
Some very hard fighting was done in the vicinity of this barricade. The
lower portion was built of brick, with sand-bags on top and loopholes
left for the purpose of rifle firing.]

On the afternoon of that first day of the siege, F. Huberty James,
professor of English in the Imperial University, noticed several
Chinese soldiers upon the bridge, a few hundred yards north of the
legation gate. Without stating his motive to any one, although it is
supposed he intended to converse with them, and, if possible, find out
their orders in regard to us, he walked from the gate up the street
along the canal to the bridge. He had no sooner arrived there than
several Chinese soldiers, concealed behind the wall of Prince Su’s
palace, fired upon him. The sentry at the legation gate saw him hold up
his hands, then heard a report and saw him fall. He was seen to partly
raise himself, when several of the ruffian soldiers hurriedly ran out,
picked him up, and carried him behind the corner of the wall and beyond
the reach of rescue. His fate was probably a hasty death at their
hands, if, indeed, he was not already mortally wounded.

When I heard of this sad affair, an hour after its occurrence, I could
scarcely believe that my friend who had welcomed me to China in 1885
had come to such a cruel end. He had not an enemy in the world, and was
uniformly gentle and considerate. His fate, following so closely upon
Baron von Ketteler’s, the first day of our siege, cast a deep gloom
over the entire community.

Promptly at 4 P.M. the Chinese soldiers opened fire upon all the
legations from behind the surrounding houses; but, very fortunately
for us, most of their bullets flew high and went entirely over the
legation district and must have injured Chinese residents in Peking at
a distance.

The British legation inside presented a scene of greatest confusion.
Eatables and tinned stores of every description had been hastily dumped
by coolies into all parts of the compound. Men, women, and children
were busy for some hours trying to identify and collect the little
stores they had brought or sent in, with the idea that a few days’
provision would be all that would be necessary, as no one believed
that Admiral Seymour, Colonel Wogack, and Captain McCalla would be
longer than a week at most in relieving us.

Little did we imagine that many weeks of siege under shot, shell, and
rifle-fire must be endured, with absolutely no word from the outside
world, before we, or at least such of us as survived, would again come

Many had left their homes hurriedly, taking with them nothing but the
clothes they wore. Having left my own house one week previous, and gone
to the United States legation as a guest with my family, I had been
requested not to bring in any supply of provisions, as it would alarm
people, and it was hoped quiet would be restored in a few days.

When obliged by the Chinese ultimatum to leave Peking or, as we decided
after Baron von Ketteler’s murder, to take refuge in the British
legation and await reinforcements, it was too late to visit my home
outside of the foreign lines and remove anything from my storeroom.

Fortunately for my little family, Mr. H. G. Squiers, as I have
mentioned, had laid in an abundant supply of rice, flour, and other
stores, and he offered, if I would undertake to move all his stores
safely to the British legation, to contribute to my needs. This I was
only too glad to do; so, taking two of his servants and the only two
of mine who, out of nine, had remained faithful, I worked from 9 A.M.
until 4 P.M. removing Squiers’ stores to the British legation.



1.—The prominent building at this point is the British Legation,
practically the headquarters of the defense. 2.—This high wall,
extending the entire length of the picture, marks the boundary of the
“Forbidden City”; at the point indicated, the Krupp guns, mentioned
in the narrative, were mounted, giving them a sweeping range of
Legation street. 3.—The residence of the author after the siege, his
own property having been so badly damaged by the mob as to make it
untenantable. 4.—The roof of the American Legation (in another picture
is shown a view of the Legation itself). 5.—The Russian Legation,
another of the most important points in the foreign field of defense.
6.—Bridge over the canal at Legation street. The foul and stagnant
water in the canal and the filth in its bed are plainly shown. 7.—The
roofs of the Emperor’s palace and “Forbidden City” and other portions
of some of the buildings appear above the wall that surrounds it. It
will be noticed that, while strictly barred out from the “Forbidden
City” and the palace of the Emperor, the foreign legations were
nevertheless within a comparatively short distance. 8.—The top of what
is known as the “Coal Hill,” in the Imperial grounds of the “Forbidden
City,” shows over the top of the wall. This hill is a vast supply of
coal, which has been accumulating for hundreds of years. It is entirely
without shelter, and there seems to be no authentic history to account
for its inception, nor any special reason for its continuance; but
here, in the most sacred place in the Chinese kingdom, right in the
magnificent palace grounds of the Emperor, this ugly, unsightly pile
of coal, covering several acres in extent and rising, as can be seen
by the picture, to a very considerable height, washed by the rains and
seamed by the upheavals of the frosts of winter, continues to exist, as
it has done from time immemorial.]

I purchased, also, from one of the foreign stores within the lines of
defense two dozen tins of condensed milk and four tins of baked beans,
a very inadequate provision to feed six children and two adults for two

Many others were as poorly provided for as myself; but, providentially,
within the region we had adopted as our lines of defense, were several
large grain shops full of rice, wheat, and millet. Our carts were kept
busy for several days hauling these supplies into the English legation,
where they were placed in charge of a commissary officer and issued out
as needed.

We thus had sufficient grain, not only for all the foreigners, but also
for the two thousand odd refugees, coolies, and servants, who had, from
one motive or another, cast their lot with us. From the grain shops,
too, we brought in their millstones, and, as we had altogether over
one hundred and fifty mules and horses, we started up a ten-mule-power
mill, which ground out flour all day for the needs of the besieged.

Being occupied daily with the sanitary work and attendance on the sick,
I was unable to keep much of a diary, so I instructed my son Robert,
aged sixteen, to do so for me, and the following transcription of his
diary gives the events of our daily life until the end of the siege.

June 21. Most of the Chinese coolies and many foreigners were set right
at work filling sand-bags for fortifying all the weak places in the
legation, while the women, with needle and thread and the few sewing
machines inside the compound, manufactured the bags by the thousand.
This was kept up until 20,000 to 25,000 sand-bags were made.

The Belgian legation and the Methodist mission were set fire to and
completely burned. Tung Lu’s troops kept up a desultory fusillade upon
us all day, but scarcely any of the bullets took effect.

It was reported that Prince Ching’s troops were firing on the Boxers,
who were attacking the customs compound and Austrian legation. This
report was afterward proved false. The French were driven from their
barricade in the customs lane into the French legation compound.

The Chinese set fire to a native house just in the rear of Mr.
Cockburn’s house, hoping it would catch to the latter place. It was
very near, and, as the wind was strong, was only prevented with the
greatest difficulty from spreading into the legation. It was put out at
last, after two hours’ hard fighting.

Some of the marines stationed as watchmen on the roof of the Cockburn
house had seen Chinamen sneaking around with rags soaked in kerosene
and had fired on them, but had not succeeded in preventing the fire
being set.

The Austrians, Italians, Germans, and Japanese were forced by the heavy
firing to leave their legations and come here. The Americans also
started, but were sent back. The Austrians and Italians were never able
to retake their legations, but the Germans and Japanese returned very
shortly to theirs. The Germans found a Boxer prisoner missing on their
return on the 23d of June.

A fire was started just outside the north wall of the compound at
10 A.M., which was put out, or thought to have been put out; but it
broke out again in the afternoon, this time burning a part of the
Hanlin Library, adjoining the legation on the north. The conflagration
was separated from the legation by only one narrow court, so one of
the buildings in the court was pulled down to prevent its spreading.
Thousands of wooden printing blocks were thrown into the fire to get
rid of all combustible material in the immediate neighborhood. These
blocks represent days of labor each, and were used in printing valuable
(to the Chinese) books. Many valuable books also perished in the
flames. At night a guard was placed in the Hanlin yuan, or garden, to
watch the smoking remains, and, as this point is of greatest strategic
importance, barricades will be erected here and the position maintained.

June 22. The customs compound and Austrian legation were burned, the
Austrians remaining in the French legation to help them there. The back
part of the Russo-Chinese bank compound was burned, also a house in
the Japanese legation, which latter fire was soon subdued. A discharge
of shrapnel from a gun on the city wall struck the gate house of the
United States legation, and cut down the flag-pole, tearing a large
hole in the roof, but hurting no one.

At 7 P.M. a house near the Hotel de Pein was burned. In this house
two Boxers were captured. When seen, they threw down their swords and
attempted to escape, but were caught and brought into the British
legation to be locked up.

The fortifying operations are being pushed forward vigorously under the
excellent management of Mr. F. D. Gamewell. He is the one man competent
to take charge of affairs here, as the British., although in their
own legation, and knowing that the place was to be the last place of
refuge, had not done a stroke of work toward fortifying it, and seemed
to be as helpless as children.


Showing one of the towers or forts, which are built at intervals
throughout its entire length.]

June 24. At ten minutes past midnight the Chinese began a furious
fusillade from all quarters, and an alarm was rung from the bell-tower,
notifying all of a general attack. But after about twenty minutes
of prodigious noise, with almost no damage done, the firing ceased
as suddenly as it had commenced, and the rest of the night was
comparatively quiet. About 10 A.M. a fire was started outside and
adjoining the south stables, which, after heroic exertions upon the
part of nearly the entire garrison of men, women, and coolies, all of
whom formed into line and passed hundreds of buckets of water from
the two nearest wells to the scene of the fire, was subdued without
our stables catching fire. With every one of these fires that was
successfully put out, the danger from that source was lessened.

The German and American marines took possession of the city wall south
of their respective legations, to prevent the Chinese from bringing
their heavy guns too near and too directly able to bear upon the
legations. Thrice they were driven back by the heavy fire, but they
stuck to their task, and eventually obtained each a position on the
wall—the Germans to the east, the Americans to the west, the two
positions being about six hundred yards apart.

The second time they advanced, the Americans took the Colt machine
gun with them, and, advancing almost to the Chinese barricade, killed
several hundred Chinese. The third time, the Americans advanced several
hundred yards and then retreated suddenly, as though panic-stricken.
This brought the Chinese out from behind their barricades with a rush,
when the Colt gun was again turned loose on them and killed sixty more.

After this the shelling got so hot that the position became absolutely
untenable. A piece of shell struck the shoulder-piece of the Colt
gun, and another shell, striking the wall, knocked down the bricks so
thickly around the gun that Mitchell, the gunner, thought he might have
to abandon it; but, hastily taking it apart, he managed to get it down
the ramp, and brought it safely into the British legation.

The German officers claimed to have seen rockets to the southwest,
which they thought to be signals from the relief force. Heavy
cannonading was also heard, about 4 P.M., outside the city, which was
thought to come from the troops, but both proved false hopes.

Corporal King, United States Marine Corps, was killed by a Chinese
sniper in the Russo-Chinese bank. The United States barracks were set
on fire, but fortunately the fire did not spread to the legation.
Captain Halliday, Royal Navy Marine Corps, was severely wounded by a
stray bullet. Thirteen men are in the hospital.

June 25. During the night one of the captured Boxers tried to escape,
so in the morning they were both shot. There was about twenty minutes
of hot firing about the same time as last night.

At 5 P.M. the Chinese put up a poster on the north bridge ordering
the firing to stop, and to protect the ministers, stating also that
they would send us a message. This message was never sent, however,
and though the firing was stopped for a few hours, it soon started up
again, and the whole thing was believed to be a fraud by which the
Chinese wished to get some of the foreigners outside the legation to be


This great wall extends in massive proportions over more than a
thousand miles of plain and mountain. It was built ages ago as a bar
against the incursions of the barbaric and warlike tribes, who were
destined in time, despite this tremendous obstacle, to overrun and
acquire the kingdom and place their own rulers upon its throne.]

The Americans and Germans again took their positions on the wall,
and began building barricades in the face of the Chinese gun. As the
mutton began to get scarce, the first horse was killed. It was very
good eating, and I doubt not that we have had some of that kind of
beef before, in substitution for the genuine article. Three rockets,
probably Chinese, were seen during the night.

June 26. The night entertainment—“fireworks”—came at 3 A.M., instead
of midnight, as usual. Chinese troops were seen marching northwest,
supposedly to convey the Empress to the summer palace. By this time the
shells from the various guns close by us began to come nearer, several
exploding in the compound. “Bomb-proof” cellars were therefore started
in different parts of the compound, in which we might take refuge
if the shells actually began to do damage. These “bomb-proofs” were
trenches about six feet deep, covered with a roof of timbers, boards,
and from two to four feet of earth or sand-bags. These it was thought
would furnish efficient protection against fragments of shell. Sergeant
Fanning, United States Marine Corps, was killed by a sniper on the city

June 27. Very heavy firing, mostly from the imperial city wall. A crowd
of greenhorn Boxers started to attack the Americans on the wall from
below. The Americans turned the Colt on them, killing about fifty, and
the rest got away.

A Chinaman who arrived from near Tientsin reported Boxers very thick
around there, and that three divisions of troops had left Tientsin June
24 to come to Peking, one coming north, one west, and one east.

June 28. No news of importance.

June 29. In the morning there was an attack made by the Chinese on the
south stables, the weakest part of the whole legation compound. This
was repulsed after a short fight, and about twenty British marines
under Captain Strouts went out after the Chinese, killing a large
number of them, and capturing their rifles with about six hundred
rounds of ammunition. The guns were mostly Mauser rifles and carbines.
They were distributed among the unarmed men of the legation. Captain
Strouts was grazed in the neck by a bullet. Later fifty volunteers,
under Captain Wray, went out to capture a gun near the Su Wang Fu that
was making things unpleasant for the people there. They could not find
it, however, and had to return.

By this time nearly all the Chinese houses near the United States
legation had been burned in the various attempts to fire the legation,
and in the ruins of these houses a number of Chinese snipers installed
themselves, making it extremely dangerous for any one attempting to
cross Legation street.

June 30. At night there was a very heavy thunderstorm, the first of the
rainy season. Simultaneously with the thunder, the Chinese started a
terrific fusillade from all quarters. The hideous noise, with the vivid
flashes of lightning and the torrents of rain, produced an effect on
the minds of all who witnessed it that they will probably never forget.

July 1. The Americans and Germans were forced by heavy shell-fire
to leave the wall. Later in the day the Americans returned, but the
Germans did not. The Chinese were quiet at night, there being hardly
any firing at all. The reason for this was supposed to be temporary
shortness of ammunition. At night a good many people believed they
saw flashes from an electric search-light, which was supposed to be
with the troops at Tungchow. They claimed to have seen at first forty
flashes, then an interval, followed by eight more. This they supposed
to be some kind of a signal to us, but since it has all turned out to
be heat lightning. Ed. Wagner, one of the customs men, was struck and
killed in the French legation by a shell.

July 2. It rained at night, and no flashlights (?) were seen.

July 3. The Chinese on the wall had built up their barricade so high
during the night that it almost overlooked our own (the two were only
forty yards apart), and had they been able to build a little higher
they might easily have fired right down on our men, so that it became a
question of rushing the Chinese barricade or of leaving the wall. The
former course was adopted. At 3 A.M., fifteen United States marines,
fifteen Russian sailors, and twenty-five British marines, led by
Captain John Myers, in the blackest part of the night, crept silently
over the American barricade, and, dividing into two parties, each
keeping close to either side of the wall battlements, advanced rapidly
right up to the face of the Chinese barricade undiscovered. Arrived
here, as agreed, they gave a tremendous yell, and swarmed over and
around the barricade, yelling and firing volleys into the astonished
Celestials, who, taken entirely by surprise by the yelling foreign
devils, made very little resistance, and speedily fled to their second
line of defense, some distance westward toward the Chien Men.

Before starting, Captain Myers had briefly addressed his men, telling
them the vital necessity of capturing the barricade. “Men,” he said,
“we must take that place at all costs or be driven off the wall! Once
off the wall, the legations will lie at the mercy of the Chinese, and
we, with all the women and children, will be butchered. This is our
opportunity. I expect every man to do his duty. We cannot stop to pick
up any who may be wounded, but must press on and accomplish the work,
leaving the wounded until we return. If I fall, Sergeant Murphy of the
British marines succeeds to command; if he falls Corporal Hunt of the
American marines succeeds him. Now, when I give command, spring over
the barricade, and follow me.” He immediately gave the command: “Come
on!” The sortie was most successful, the barricade was gained and
held, but we lost two brave American boys, Privates Turner and Thomas.
Captain Myers was badly wounded by a spear-thrust in his knee, and
Corporal Gregory of the British marines was shot in the foot.

July 4. Independence day in America, but a day of red-hot fireworks for
us. Chinese butchers on the outside trying hard to get in and murder
us. Only celebration by Americans was a party given to the smaller
children by Mrs. Squiers.

July 5. Mr. David Oliphant, one of the English legation students,
was shot and mortally wounded, in the Hanlin Yuan. He died at 3, and
was buried in our little graveyard at 7 P.M. His death threw a deep
gloom over the whole legation, as he was a general favorite. Three
attacks were made on us last night at 10 and 12, and 2.30 this morning.
Cartridge ammunition of the enemy seems to be running low, as they are
firing now more of the old muzzle-loading Yingalls, and fewer of the
Mauser cartridges.

July 6. A sortie was made by the Japanese to try and capture a gun
that was making havoc on their barricades in the Su Wang Fu. Too
many Chinese houses, however, concealed the whereabouts of the gun,
and after having three men wounded they were obliged to return
unsuccessful. A shell fell in one of the rooms of Mr. Conger’s house,
doing considerable damage. Mrs. Conger had been in the room only a
short time before.

[Illustration: On the great wall, Kun Ming Hu]

A messenger was let down from the wall with ropes, to try and
communicate our desperate situation to Tientsin. He was offered one
thousand taels if he got safely through the enemy’s lines with his
dispatches. We have sent numerous runners out by the water-gate, and
several over the wall, but none have ever returned. Doubtless they have
been captured and killed.

During the day a number of three- and seven-pound solid iron shot have
been thrown into our midst by guns located on the wall of the imperial,
or yellow city, to the north of us. So far, beyond knocking a few
holes in the buildings, they have done no harm. The powder they are
using must be very inferior. One of the missiles passed through Lady
MacDonald’s dining room.

July 7. Two attacks were made on the French legation and were repulsed,
the Chinese loss being small, as they retired rapidly. The Austrian
commander, Captain von Thorneburg, was killed in one of these attacks,
being shot through the heart.

We are now really eating the horse-meat. A number of people who were
using it assured us it was very good, but our prejudices prevailed some
time. First we tried the liver, fried with a small scrap of bacon, and
were pleased to find it tasted just like beef-liver. Then we tried some
of the meat curried, and now we are having excellent sausages of the
meat, which helps the rice to be more palatable. We are allowed one
pound of horse-meat per adult individual each day.

When the Russians came up the first time, they brought along with them
sixty shells, leaving the gun in Tientsin to be brought up by the next
force that came. As no other could get in, the ammunition was of no
use. It was thought that if some kind of a cannon could be made, many
of our shells might be utilized in destroying the Chinese barricades.
So Mitchell, the United States gunner, started to work on two sections
of a fire-engine pump. Meanwhile, two Chinese coolies found an old
cannon, a muzzle-loader of about 1860, in a junkshop, and dragged it
in. As this cannon fitted the shells it was used instead of the pump.
It was mounted on a pair of wheels taken from the Italian ammunition
truck. It has been nicknamed the “International.” The gun itself was an
old British one, mounted on an Italian carriage, and fired with Russian
ammunition by an American gunner. Hence the nickname.

The ammunition for the Italian one-pound gun having run short, pewter
vessels from the Chinese houses around were brought in, melted, and run
into molds to make the shot for the gun. With these the used cartridges
were reloaded, and, there being no primers for them, revolver
cartridges were readily used instead. When tried in the bore they
worked very well, though it was feared that the harder metal of which
they were made would be ruinous to the rifling of the gun.

The Chinese broke two holes in the top of the imperial city wall and
built a platform just over the water-gate, where it was expected they
would mount guns the next night. At 10 P.M. they started a fusillade,
which lasted for a few minutes, but the rest of the night was fairly

The French and Austrians claimed to have heard cannonading about ten
kilometers (six miles) to the southeast. But this has also proved a
false hope, and the general opinion is now that the relief has not
started from Tientsin at all, though why, no one can say.

July 8. Sunday. The Chinese on the wall moved up their arms and opened
fire on our barricade. The third shot they fired was badly aimed and
struck their own barricade, carrying most of it away, when they were
forced to retreat in a hurry. There was a fire at the Su Wang Fu of
the main pavilion buildings, but it was not very serious. Two shells
from a gun to the west struck the wall, and one the top of Mr. Coburn’s
house, showing that the Chinese are getting the range. The evening
fusillade started at 9:45 and lasted about twenty minutes.

July 9. In the morning Mr. Squiers sent out a man into the city to see
what was going on there. He returned in the afternoon reporting, first,
that Hatamen has been closed for many days; second, that there are no
Chinese troops in the southern city; third, that Rung Lu’s troops are
guarding the Chihaumen, but there are many Kansu men on the Hatamen
streets and in the imperial city; fourth, that at the ssupailou (four
arches) the shops are open and doing business as usual; fifth, that
the Emperor and Empress Dowager are still in the city; sixth, that
the Peking “Gazette” is published daily. The day was quiet except for
occasional firing.

July 10. In the morning several of the Chinese shells came very close,
breaking right over the tennis court, and making it unsafe for any one
to cross.

July 11. A messenger sent out with a letter tried to get through the
water-gate, but was immediately fired on by the Chinese sentries and
forced to fly. He got in without being hurt.

The Chinese were extremely quiet all night, but the cause was not known
until the next morning, when it was discovered that they had built two
new big walls, one in the Hanlin Yuan, and another in the imperial
carriage park.

[Illustration: Part of Author’s Diary]

July 12. The Chinese kept up a heavy cannonade all day, mostly from
the guns on the imperial city wall, but did very little damage to us.
A flag, white ground and black characters, was captured by the French
in the morning, and in the afternoon Mitchell captured a big black one
in the Hanlin Yuan. He got up on a Chinese barrier and wrested the flag
from a Chinese soldier by pounding him with sand-bags until he let go,
while five or six volleys were fired at him. He secured the flag and
got down without a scratch.

July 13. A Chinese prisoner taken by the French marines this morning
states that the Emperor and Empress Dowager are still in the palace
here. Prince Tuan, Jung Lee and General Tung are in control of public
affairs. Prince Ching takes no part in them. Many Boxers are still in
the city. Their principal patron is Prince Tuan. In his palace they are
registered, fed, and paid.

These Boxers are ridiculed by the soldiers because they dare not
go under fire at the front, in spite of their pretensions to be

General Tung’s troops are facing us on the wall and along our lines on
the south. Jung Lu’s troops are behind the French legation. Several of
them are killed or wounded every day. The prisoner declares that he was
one of several coolies (hired at twenty-five cents a body) to carry off
and bury the dead. There are about three thousand of Tung Fu Hsinang’s
troops in the city.

The Empress has forbidden the use of guns of large caliber against us,
because of the harm they might do to her loyal people and their houses.

Direct attack having failed, and our rifles being better than theirs,
it has been decided to starve us out. Two weeks ago news came that
foreign troops from one hundred warships at Taku had captured the Taku
forts, and occupied “East Taku,” opposite Tangku railway station.
Tientsin city was in a panic on this account.

Ammunition is being brought here from the Hunting park. Imperial edicts
are issued as usual. Business is going on in the north part of the
city, and market supplies are coming in. The four “chief banks” are
closed. The soldiers believe that we have several thousand troops under
arms here. The prisoner thought we had at least two thousand.

Of course, this information is not official, and there may be much
that is not strictly accurate. It simply represents the gossip of the
tea-shops and restaurants.

One reason the Chinese have for thinking we have so many men here is
that a number of them are killed by their own bullets, which are aimed
high and pass over our heads and drop among their own people. This
shooting they attribute to our men, and so think we have a large force

Same date, 6.30 P.M. The Chinese exploded a mine under the French
legation wall, destroying part of the wall and also part of their own
fortifications. Four men were buried by the first explosion, one of
whom was dug out, and another blown up again by a second explosion.
Having done this, the Chinese made a desperate assault, but were beaten
off after having killed three and wounded three French marines and lost
about twenty of their number.


The entrance to French legation is on the left. The lions shown on
either side of the entrance are such as can be found nowhere outside
of China. The street is in somewhat better condition, since it is
presumably under foreign control, or at least is modified by foreign

The minister’s and first secretary’s houses were fired, the minister
destroying all his official papers himself, to prevent their falling
into the hands of the Chinese.

Simultaneously with this attack came a tremendous fusillade from all
sides, which lasted forty-five minutes, by far the longest we have had

The Su Wang Fu was the scene of the hottest firing, and once it was
thought it would have to be given up.

At the same time a body of Chinese, numbering about two hundred,
charged down the wall street and got past the German legation without
being stopped. When they got to the bridge, one of the United States
marines was just coming down from the wall and saw them as they were
coming up over the bridge. He gave the alarm to four men stationed in
the barricade on the street, who fired about a dozen volleys on them,
killing thirty of them. The natives then turned and fled; on the way
back the Germans fired on them, driving them into the club tennis
courts, where they killed eighteen more. The officer in command of the
Chinese was shot by E. von Strauch, captain of the customs volunteers.
In the fray two Germans were seriously, and two slightly, wounded. The
Chinese kept up a desultory firing all night.

July 14. A large supply of wheat was brought over to the British
legation from a grain store near the south bridge, and distributed in
several storerooms throughout the compound. This was done as there had
been some burning near there, and it was feared it would be destroyed.
A messenger sent out by Mr. Tewksbury on the 10th instant returned,
bringing a message supposed to have been written by Prince Ching. It
was soon known to be an invitation to leave the legations and go to the
tsung-li-yamen for protection, though the full translation was not put
upon the bulletin board till the next day.

July 15. The following bulletin was posted at 1 P.M.:

 A messenger sent out on July 10 by Mr. Tewksbury, with a letter for
 the troops, returned yesterday. He is the gate-keeper at the Nan
 Vang (south cathedral) and a Roman Catholic. He says he was arrested
 outside the Hatamen and taken to the Wofursu (temple?), his letter
 was taken from him, and he was beaten with eighty blows. He was then
 taken to Jung Lu’s headquarters in the imperial city. Here he found
 a man named Yu who formerly knew him as gate-keeper. He was there
 given a letter, purporting to be written by Prince Ching and others,
 addressed to the British minister, and told that men would wait at
 the water-gate to-night for an answer. A translation of the letter is

       *       *       *       *       *

 “For the last ten days the soldiers and militia have been fighting,
 and there has been no communication between us, to our great anxiety.
 Some time ago we hung up a board (referring to June 25) expressing
 our intentions, but no answer has been received, and, contrary to
 expectation, the foreign soldiers made renewed attacks, causing alarm
 and suspicion among people and soldiers.

 “Yesterday the troops captured a convert named Chin Ssu Hai,
 and learned from him that the foreign ministers were all well,
 which caused us great satisfaction. But it is the unexpected that
 happens—the reinforcements of foreign troops were ever so long ago
 stopped and turned back by the Boxers, and if, in accordance with
 the previous agreement, we were to guard your excellencies out of
 the city, there are so many Boxers on the Tientsin-Taku road that we
 should be very apprehensive of misadventure.

 “We now request your excellencies to first take your families and
 the various members of your staff, and leave your legations in
 detachments. You should select trustworthy officers to give close
 and strict protection, and you should temporarily reside in the
 tsung-li-yamen, pending future arrangements for your return home in
 order to preserve friendly relations intact from beginning to end. But
 at the time of leaving the legations there must on no account whatever
 be any single armed foreign soldier, in order to prevent doubt and
 fear on the part of the troops and people, leading to untoward

 “If your excellency is willing to show this confidence, we beg you
 to communicate with all the foreign ministers in Peking, to-morrow
 at noon being the limit of time, and to let the original messenger
 deliver your reply, in order that we may settle in advance the day
 for leaving the legations. This is the single way of preserving
 relations that we have been able to devise in the face of innumerable
 difficulties. If no reply is received by the hour fixed, even our
 affection will not enable us to help you. Compliments.


  “6th moon, 18th day [July 13, 1900].”

 A reply has been sent to-day declining, on the part of the foreign
 representatives, the invitation to proceed to the tsung-li-yamen,
 and pointing out that no attacks have been made by our troops, who
 are only defending the lives and property of foreigners against the
 attacks of Chinese government troops. The reply concludes with a
 statement that if the Chinese government wishes to negotiate, they
 should send a responsible official with a white flag.


This message is thought by every one to be a rank fraud. It is supposed
to come not from Prince Ching, but from the leader of the Kansu troops,
and is probably intended to lure some of the foreigners outside the
legation and then to shoot them.

Same date, 3 P.M. Twenty Russians and four Americans made an attack on
a house to the west of the Russian legation, where there were about
sixty Chinese snipers. On arriving at the wall they found there was no
way to get into the yard. So each man took a brick, and, at a given
signal, heaved them all together into the yard, shouting and reviling
the Chinamen.

Alarmed by this they fled, and the men took the building without a shot
being fired on either side. At this time the Chinese at other points
started up a brisk fire, lasting about ten minutes.

July 16, 7 A.M. While on a tour of inspection in the Su Wang Fu, in
company with Dr. Morrison and Colonel Shiba, Captain B. M. Strouts, R.
M. L. I., was shot and mortally wounded by a sniper. Dr. Morrison was
shot in the leg, though not seriously. Captain Strouts died at 11 A.M.
and was buried at 6 P.M. yesterday. One of the United States marines,
Private Fisher, was killed the same day.

It is indeed a pitiable plight that we are in now. Neither the
Americans nor the British have any leader. Captain Meyers is disabled
by the spear wound he received in the sortie of July 3. Captain Strouts
is dead; Captain Halliday, the only other able British captain, is
crippled by a wound received three weeks ago. Sir Claude MacDonald,
though he assumes charge, is no man for the situation, and the French
and Germans deny his authority.


Commander-in-Chief, who fought the battle of Tientsin against the
allied international armies.]

Same date, 5 P.M. The messenger sent yesterday returned with four
others, who waited for him at the bridge. He brought a letter from
Jung Lu to Sir Claude MacDonald, and a telegram from Washington to Mr.
Conger. The letter to Sir Claude contained nothing of any importance.
The telegram, Mr. Conger recognized as being in the State Department
cipher, but could not determine its meaning, as it had evidently been
tampered with in some way by the Chinese. So the messenger was sent
back with a request that the full original telegram be sent.

July 17. The messenger returned again bringing a telegram from Wu
Ting Fang, the Chinese minister at Washington, enclosing one from the
Secretary of State. This read: “Communicate tidings to bearer.” To this
the minister sent in reply: “One month in the British legation under
shot and shell. Will all be massacred unless help comes soon.”

One of Jung Lu’s soldiers came in the morning and gave himself up at
the German legation, and asked for some medicine for a wound in the
ear. He said that Jung Lu had ordered the soldiers to stop firing,
but to hold their positions, and that he was very desirous that the
foreigners should be protected.

Not a shot has been fired since early morning. This is probably due to
a fear that the foreign troops are near, and the government wishes to
protect itself by saying they were unable to control the Boxers and the
Kansu soldiers. Several other Chinese soldiers gave themselves up as
prisoners at the different legations, though with what purpose no one
can say.

[Illustration: GENERAL MA YU KUN

Major-General under Sung Ching; also engaged in the battle of Tientsin
with the allied international armies.]

July 18. As Jung Lu had expressed a willingness to assist the
foreigners, a messenger was sent to him requesting that supplies of
fresh vegetables, eggs, meat, etc., might be sent to the legation for
the women and children. This was promised, and watermelons and peaches
have already been sent to the Japanese in the Su Wang Fu and to the
Americans on the wall. The soldiers on the wall go on each other’s
barriers and chat in the most friendly manner. There are great numbers
of Boxers in the city, especially in the south city, but the troops are
no longer in league with these.

A messenger sent out by the Japanese minister on the 30th ult. returned
to-day from Tientsin, bringing word that a mixed force of 33,300 would
start from there for the relief of Peking about the 20th inst. The
force is to consist of 24,000 Japanese, 4,000 Russian, 2,000 British,
1,500 American, 1,500 French, and 300 German troops.

He reports that he left by the Ch’ihuamen (east gate) on June 30,
proceeding to Tientsin by boat. He arrived at Tientsin on July 5, but
was unable to enter the city, as it was surrounded by Chinese troops.
He walked round the city gates, and found a force of Chinese, under
General Chang, posted north of the railway station, cannonading a force
of Japanese holding the ground south of the station.

On July 9 General Chang was defeated, and he (the messenger) managed to
get through the Japanese lines on July 12, and delivered the Japanese
minister’s letter to the Japanese consul.

While in Tientsin he gleaned the following news: That General Nieh was
dead, that all the missionaries in Tientsin and outlying stations had
left for home, and that the Taku forts were taken without difficulty
by the foreigners on June 17. On July 14 the foreign troops took the
native city of Tientsin, after a two days’ attack. On July 15 the
messenger left Tientsin for Peking, being escorted by the Japanese to
the “second bridge.” He returned to Peking by road.

[Illustration: GORDON HALL

In the cellar of this building all the women and children remained
during the shelling of Tientsin by the Chinese troops. It is one of the
most beautiful and attractive buildings in Tientsin, and in strange
contrast with its Chinese surroundings.]

Among other things he mentioned was that the Tunchou taotai had been
lodged in the board of punishments, and that prior to his own arrival
in Tientsin. No news of Peking had reached that place since about the
end of June.

We look for the troops about the 30th inst., if they have no fighting
to do on the way. This explains why the government is so anxious to
have peace in the capital at present. They are awaiting the issue of a
contest between the relief force and the Chinese troops between here
and Tientsin.

If our troops are victorious, as of course they will be, unless
outnumbered overwhelmingly, the government will say they have done all
in their power to stop the fighting, but have not been able to control
their troops until now. If our troops are defeated they will turn on us
and slaughter us. In the meantime we have a resting spell of a few days.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bulletin: Précis of further correspondence between the British minister
and “Prince Ching and others.”


A vast amount of business is transacted by these merchants, whose
stock in trade is of the smallest, and whose transactions are so
insignificant as to be incredible according to western ideas.]

On July 16 the Chinese sent a reply to Sir Claude’s letter of the 15th,
in which they explain that the reason for suggesting the removal of the
legation staffs to the tsung-li-yamen was that the Chinese government
could afford more efficient protection to them if concentrated there
than if scattered, as at present. As the foreign ministers, however,
do not agree, the Chinese will, as in duty bound, do their utmost to
protect the legations where they are. They will bring reinforcements,
and continue their efforts to prevent the Boxers from firing, and they
trust the foreign ministers on their part will restrain their troops
also from firing.

July 17, A.M. Sir Claude replied to the effect that the foreign troops
had all along acted entirely in self-defense and would continue to do
so. But the Chinese must understand that previous events had led to a
want of confidence, and that if barricades were erected or troops moved
in the vicinity of the legations, the foreign guards would be obliged
to fire on them.

July 17 P.M. The Chinese replied, reviewing the situation and ascribing
the present hostilities to the attacks previously made by the legation
guards. They noted with satisfaction that a cessation of firing is
agreed to on both sides, but suggest that as foreign soldiers here have
been firing from the city wall east of the Chien Men, they should be
removed from that position.

[Illustration: Scene at a street corner in Tientsin]

July 18 (noon). Sir Claude replied with a review of the situation from
the foreign point of view. On June 19 the yamen had given the legations
notice to quit Peking, and the foreign representatives had replied,
pointing out that there were no facilities of transportation. The yamen
had then replied, extending the time; but, in spite of this, fire was
opened on the legations on the following day, and they had been under
constant fire from Chinese government troops ever since, a condition of
things unparalleled in the world’s history. He alluded to the incident
of the board displayed on June 25, the free moving of troops during
the cessation of hostilities thus caused, and the renewed attacks made
after the completion of the preparations thus facilitated. He hoped
that mutual confidence would gradually be restored, but meanwhile he
again pointed out that cessation of hostile preparations, as well as
of actual firing, was necessary on the part of the Chinese forces
to secure that the foreign troops should cease shooting. As for the
suggestion that the foreign troops should leave the city wall, it was
impossible to accede to it, because a great part of the attacks on the
legation had been made from the wall. He concluded by suggesting that
sellers of fruit or ice should be allowed to come in.

In a letter addressed the same day to Jung Lu, the substance of Sir
Claude’s previous letters was repeated, and a suggestion was made
that communications would be facilitated if a responsible official
were sent to the legation. In response to this suggestion, a yamen
secretary arrived this afternoon with a card from Jung Lu. He had no
special message, but promised to see whether Peking “Gazettes” could be
procured and a market established for ice, fruit, eggs, etc., and also
to ascertain whether telegrams could be transmitted on behalf of the
foreign ministers to their governments. He mentioned that telegraphic
communication was interrupted. He expressed the concern of the Chinese
government at the deeds of the Boxers, who had caused the whole
difficulty between China and the foreign powers.

       *       *       *       *       *

July 19. A very quiet day. No firing on either side. About two hundred
and fifty eggs and a few vegetables were brought in by Chinese soldiers
for sale. The yamen sent another message asking that the ministers
leave here for Tientsin.

July 20. Several copies of the Peking “Gazette” of the past month
were procured from the Chinese. Translations of a number of edicts
contained therein are given in another chapter. The ministers replied
to the yamen’s request of yesterday, saying that, as the Boxers were so
numerous outside the city, they would not dare to trust themselves on
the road. Four cart-loads of watermelons and vegetables were sent to
the ministers by the yamen as a sign of good feeling (?). No firing all
day, except for a few shots fired by Boxers in the south city against
our men on the wall.

July 24. Mr. Narahara, second secretary of the Japanese legation, died
in the early morning, of lockjaw from a wound.

Same date, 7 P.M. The following was received from Colonel Shiba: “A
Chinaman who came to our barricade this afternoon says that on the
17th of this month Yangtsun was occupied by the foreign troops, and on
the 19th a battle took place around the same place. About one hundred
and fifty wounded of Tung Fu Hsiang’s troops have just been brought to
Peking; the foreign troops were about forty li this side of Yangtsun
when the wounded men started.”

July 26. Colonel Shiba reports: “A Chinaman states that about 11
o’clock on the 24th instant the Chinese troops under General Chang were
attacked by foreign troops thirty li south of Hoshiwu (half-way between
Tientsin and here by road) and driven back at midnight to the latter
place. At 10 A.M. yesterday Hoshiwu was attacked, and the Chinese
troops driven back with heavy loss to ten li north of the latter place.
The force of 4,800 men who came from the west with nine guns left
Peking at 6 o’clock yesterday morning for Hoshiwu.”

Since the beginning of the truce, on July 18, the soldiers of Jung Lu
have observed the truce and refrained from firing; but those fronting
us on the north wall and on the west of the legation have started
sniping again. The latter are Tung Fu Hsiang’s troops.

July 25. Chin Tsu-hsi, a messenger who left our lines eight days ago
carrying an official letter to Jung Lu, returned to-day. He says that
he delivered the letter at Jung Lu’s headquarters, and was locked up
there seven days. Jung Lu goes to court every day. The Emperor and
Empress Dowager are still in the city. Boxers patrol the streets in
small bands.

Four days ago a ragged, dirty foreigner, hatless and coatless, of
general disreputable appearance, was captured by Tung Fu Hsiang’s men
and brought to Jung Lu. He was of medium height, blonde mustache and
beard, and spoke Chinese. (This referred to a Swede named Nestergaard,
who, on some slight offense, left the legation and went over to the
Chinese.) He said he went out to find food. Meanwhile Boxers assembled
around Jung Lu’s house, and demanded the foreigner, but Jung Lu sent
him off under guard to the yamen of the Shun Tien Fu for safe keeping.

A messenger sent out on July 4 to go to Tientsin with our letter
returned to-day, bringing the following note from the British consul at

 Your letter of July 4 received. There are now 24,000 troops landed
 and 10,000 here. General Gaselee expected at Taku to-morrow. Russian
 troops are at Peitsang. Tientsin city is under foreign government,
 and Boxer power here is exploded. There are plenty of troops on the
 way if you can keep yourselves in food. Almost all ladies have left

  (Signed) W. R. CARLES.

 Dated July 22.

(The letter of July 4 gave details of the siege up to that date,
numbers of killed and wounded, and stated that Chinese troops had fired
into the legation quarter continuously since June 20, and that we were
hard pressed.)

This answer of the British consul aroused great indignation among all
the besieged. It had been impossible up to that time to get any word
from the outside world, though many messengers were sent out, and then
when one did succeed in getting through the Chinese lines, to receive
a letter (and that from an official, too) which gave no information of
any attempt to relieve us!

Following is the story of the runner’s trip to Tientsin and back: Lin
Wu Yuan, sixteen years old, a messenger, native of Shantung, living
in Peking, arrived this morning, from Tientsin. He left Peking with
letters on the night of July 4, disguised as a beggar. He was let down
over the wall by a rope, crept along the moat to the Chien Men, slept
under the gate, and in the morning walked to the Yungting Men, passed
through, and went to Machiapu station without being molested.

Hearing nothing there, he went to Tungchow and worked his way along the
main road to Tientsin. At a village near Hoshiwu he was stopped by the
villagers and made to work eight days. He reached Tientsin July 18,
first met Russian, then Japanese, and on July 21 met the British troops
at Peiving Men, the entrance through the defense wall, half a mile from
Tientsin city, on the Peking road.

He delivered his letters to a foreigner in citizen, dress, who spoke
Chinese. On July 22 he was taken to the British consulate; there the
consul gave him a letter. He was then sent to the foreign outpost at
Hungchian (Red Bridge over the Paotingfu river, a half mile west of
Tientsin city).

On July 23 he left Hungch’iao, and soon met the Chinese troops. That
night he slept at Yangtsun in a locomotive boiler near the bridge. The
bridge there was not destroyed. That day he saw only Chinese infantry,
the main body of which was at Peitsang; he saw no Boxers. The night
of July 24 he slept near Hoshiwu; saw few soldiers and no Boxers. The
night of July 25 he slept at Mat’ou. That day he saw a few parties of
Boxers in villages, but none on the road.

At Mat’ou and elsewhere he saw that the river was in high flood;
few boats moving, but many moored to the banks. On July 26 had no
adventures; he spent the night at Yuchiawei, twenty li from Peking.


Elsewhere in this work is presented a view of the top of this wall,
indicating its great width. The view above shows its height and form.
To the left is the encircling canal, with its stagnant water and
accumulations of filth; under a corner of the wall near the bend of the
canal may be seen a caravan. A block house or fortification is shown on
top of the wall. At the right the larger building upon the top of the
wall indicates where one of the city gates is placed. The foundation
of the wall is of great blocks of hewn stone, above which are tiers of
sun-dried brick.]

On July 27 he reached the Sha Kuo gate, the east gate of the south
city, at 10 A.M. He found the roads good; telegraph poles and wire
along the river all gone; railway torn up everywhere, rails buried, or
used for making Boxer swords.

He was not stopped at the gate, though there were many Boxers and Tung
Fu Hsiang’s men there. He made his way without trouble to the Hatamen,
which he found closed, and to the water-gate, which was too closely
guarded to pass by day. The man slept last night near the Chien Men,
crawled along the moat, and entered the water-gate without challenge
before daylight this morning.

He said the high road to Tientsin is in good condition. Crops
everywhere look well. Villagers are attending to their farms, but there
is a Boxer organization in every village. When he left Tientsin, the
foreign troops had not advanced beyond the defense wall, San Ko Hin
Sin’s “Folly,” built by that general against the British and French in
1860 but never defended (hence the name “folly”) surrounding Tientsin
city at a distance of one-half to one mile. All the yamens in Tientsin
are occupied by foreign troops, chiefly Japanese. All Boxers have
left the front at Tientsin because badly punished in the battle, so
the Chinese soldiers despise them. Chinese army was concentrating on
Peitsang, eight miles northwest of Tientsin. The messenger had a dollar
in his pocket when he met the foreign pickets at Tientsin, and they
relieved him of it, “lest he might lose it”!

Colonel Shiba’s informant gives the following dates of battles:

Battle at Tsaitsun, July 24, 1 to 12 P.M.

Battle at Hoshiwu, July 25, 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

Battle at Auping, July 26, 6 to 9 P.M.

Chinese troops retired to Mat’ou on the 27th inst.

July 29. Reports from various sources, etc.: Foreign troops advance on
the 26th from Auping toward Mat’ou, from 3 A.M. to 12 A.M., and were
driven back to Auping by the Chinese at daylight on the 27th.

Foreign troops of three nationalities at Auping. Chinese ammunition
short; southern rice boats in the hand of the foreign army. Russian
troops are advancing toward Kalgan (from a man from Changpingchou,
eighteen miles south of the Great Wall).

July 29 P.M. Reported Yangtsun completely destroyed by foreign troops
two or three days ago, and foreign army in steady advance. The Empress
Dowager desires Tung Fu Hsiang and Jung Lu to send her with an army to
Hsianfu, the capital of Shansi. They do not consent, and suggest Li
Ping Heng to help conquer us. He is ordered up, has arrived, and is now
attacking the Peit’ang. During the night a strong barricade was built
on the north bridge; two hundred Boxers took up a position on it and
commenced firing.

July 30, 10 A.M. The Chinese army messenger left Changchiawan at 8
o’clock yesterday evening. He reports desultory fighting from 3 A.M. to
8 P.M. yesterday. Many Chinese were killed. The foreign army advanced
to Mat’ou yesterday at 8 A.M. Chinese retreated on Changchiawan. They
have about 10,000 men. Three cannon have been taken from the Chien Men
to the front. Fighting at Peit’ang is continued by Boxers. The firing
from the north bridge is by a company of two hundred Boxers having only
thirteen rifles. The Empress has three hundred carts and Tung Fu Hsiang
one hundred, ready to start west; the date is a secret. Tung’s fourth
son, with five hundred men, has reached Lianghsiang on the way west.
(This news was brought in by a soldier of Tung Fu Hsiang’s body-guard,
who brings us regularly the report of the army messenger.)

Same date, 7:30 P.M. Yesterday morning Mr. Sugi sent two outside
coolies to Tungchow to inquire in regard to the foreign army, etc. They
returned this evening. They report that men in Tungchow affirm that the
foreign army had fought the Chinese yesterday just south of Mat’ou.
They also report having seen a man from Chiachiatuan (eight miles east
of Tungchow) who says foreign troops have come to relieve the Catholics
there, and are distant but a mile or so from the intrenchments, letters
having already been exchanged.

The Peking gates, except the Chihua Men and the Pingtzu Men, are ready
to be closed, with stone and sand-bags at their sides. Many Boxers have
been killed at the Peit’ang; twelve regiments of General Ma’s troops
are to go to Changchiawan.

We have given each of these coolies a small letter to the commander of
the troops and offered a reward for a return to-morrow night with an
answer. The troops must be pretty near us, and we may hope to see them
in two days.

July 31, 11 A.M. The regular Chinese army courier arrived from the
field of battle this morning at 4:30. He reports, in the hearing of
one of Tung Fu Hsiang’s body-guard, the same man who has brought us
the reports of the movements of the foreign army from Yangtsun, the
foreign army advanced from Mat’ou, fighting from 8 P.M. on the 29th,
and arrived at Changchiawan at 5 P.M. yesterday. The Chinese army is
five miles south of Tungchow.

August 1. The following letter received to-day by Colonel Shiba, dated
Tientsin, the 26th ult.:

“Your letter of the 22d received. Departure of troops from Tientsin
delayed by difficulties of transportation, but advance will be made
in two or three days. Will write again as soon as estimated date of
arrival at Peking is fixed.”


One might imagine this picture to illustrate a scene in Bible
times, in Palestine or Egypt; but time does not make any changes in
China; nothing changes there, save through the influence of outside
aggression. Here is a caravan from the interior of Asia, halted outside
the city wall for entrance in the morning. The burdens have been taken
from the camels and the beasts have settled for rest.]

A somewhat mangled but authentic telegram has been received from
London. The telegram is undated, but was sent off probably between
the 21st and 24th ult. It refers to a letter written by the Japanese
minister about June 29, and to a telegram from the United States
minister, dated July 18, from which it may be inferred that the state
of affairs here on the latter date was everywhere known. It also says
that the Chinese troops, after severe fighting, were finally routed
from Tientsin on the 15th ult., and that arrangements for our relief
were being hastened. It further asks if the Chinese government is
protecting us and supplying provisions, etc.!

Very few provisions have been sent in to-day. A desultory firing has
been kept up all the time from the north bridge and the Mongol market.
The messenger, who has been bringing in the previous rumors of the
progress of the troops, said that they had been driven back from
Changchiawan to Auping. As the letter from Tientsin has proved him an
arrant liar, in future no more attention will be paid to his stories.
It is a great disappointment, after being told that the relief were
within two days of us, to hear that they have not yet started and have
not yet fixed a date for starting.

The messenger’s story has been well arranged all along, and has agreed
very well with the letter received by the Japanese minister on July
18. As we have had no later information (the British consul’s letter
gave none) as to the movements of the army, we have believed just what
the Chinaman told us, and as long as he was getting paid for it he
would give us any kind of rumors.

August 2. Extracts from various letters received from Tientsin: Mr. E.
B. Drew to Sir Robert Hart, July 28. “Yours of 21st wired home. Keep
heart; aid coming early. Troops pouring in. Enemy is at Peits’ang. Japs
and Russians in his front. Very little rain. Yangtzu valley agitated.
Lu and Chang trying to keep order. Li Hung Chang at Shanghai; doubtful
if he is coming to Chihli. Tientsin is governed by a joint foreign
commission. Manchuria rising against foreigners. Russians, hands full
there. Newchwang much disturbed. Germany and America each sending
15,000 men, Italy 5,000—Canton, west river. Ichang threatening.
Earnestly hope rescue of you all.”

Mr. E. K. Lowry to Mrs. Lowry, July 30. “Bearer arrived last Friday
evening, with news from Peking.... The 9th and 14th regiments, United
States, already at Tientsin; 6th cavalry at Taku on its way up. There
was fighting at Piets’ang this morning. Everything quiet here now.
Word came to-day that the Boxers are killing Christians at Tsunhua,
Shanhaikuan, and many other places. Russians and imperial troops have
fought at Chinhau. Tientsin is full of foreign soldiers and more are
coming all the time. Railroad open between here and Tangku. Many ladies
and children were taken to the United States by the transport Logan.
All property at Peitaiho has been destroyed”.


Some idea of the great quantities of tea produced, and of the method of
packing, may be gathered from this picture.]

Consul Ragsdale to Mr. Conger, July 28. “Had lost all hope of ever
seeing you again. Prospect now brighter. We had thirty days’ shelling
here, nine days’ siege—thought that bad enough. Scarcely a house
escaped damage. Excitement at home intense, of course. Our prayers and
hope are for your speedy rescue. Advance of troops to-morrow probable.”

From J. S. Mallory, Lieutenant-colonel 41st U. S. Infantry. “A relief
column of 10,000 is on the point of starting for Peking; more to
follow. God grant they may be in time.”

Colonel Warren to Captain Myers. “Have been trying to reach you ever
since June 21. Relieved the foreign settlement June 23. Seymour,
June 24. Captured east arsenal June 26; captured west arsenal July
10; captured Tientsin city July 14. Will advance in two days. Column
10,000 strong,—English, American and Japanese; 40,000 more following
in a few days. Hold on by all means. First column will support you and
divert enemy from you. There will be eight regiments of United States
infantry, three of cavalry and two batteries of artillery; also five
hundred marines. Infantry will be in the first column. Enemy strongly
intrenched seventeen miles north of here (Yangtsun), and at two points
farther on.”

The Customs volunteers took up a new position on the Mongol market, on
the southwest of the British legation.

August 3. Another message was received from the yamen requesting us
to leave the legation and go to Tientsin. The Chinese are extremely
anxious to get us out of Peking, as they think that with us out of the
way the armies will have no particular reason to come to Peking and
will be content to settle up matters at Tientsin.

August 4. A great deal of firing all night. Two Russians were wounded
while building a barricade, one of whom died during the night.

August 6. A sharp fusillade at 1 A.M., otherwise a quiet day. The
firing, which throughout the first few days after the truce amounted
only to a few scattering shots, has come to be nearly as hot as before
the truce, and attacks are being made again every night.

August 8. The ministers received an official message from the
tsung-li-yamen saying: “By an imperial edict dated August 7, full power
has been granted to Li Hung Chang to discuss and arrange all matters by
telegraph with the foreign offices of all the powers.”

Colonel Shiba reported that a Chinese outside coolie came in to say
that all the troops in Peking, with the exception of five battalions of
Jung Lu’s, have been, or are going to be, dispatched in great haste to
meet the foreign troops; he does not know where the latter are. He adds
that another 50,000 foreign troops have been landed at Taku.

[Illustration: LI HUNG CHANG

China’s greatest Viceroy]

August 9. Sniper firing all day from Tung Fu Hsiang’s troops,
especially at the customs position in the Mongol market. The latter
were several times silenced by volleys from the Nordenfeldt machine gun
mounted on a parapet built against the west wall of the legation. No
firing from Jung Lu’s troops at all.

August 10. Very heavy rifle-fire from all sides about 3 A.M. A
messenger sent out to meet the troops returned, bringing a letter from
General Gaselee, the British general in command, also one from General
Fukushima. General Gaselee’s letter is dated south of Tsaitsun, August
8: “Strong forces of allies advancing. Twice defeated enemy. Keep up
your spirits.”

The following letter from General Fukushima to Colonel Shiba was
received: “Camp at Changchiang, two kilometers north of Nantsaitsun,
August 8, 1900—Japanese and American troops defeated the enemy on
the 5th instant near Pietsang, and occupied Yangtsun on the 6th. The
allied forces, consisting of American, British, Russian, and Japanese,
left Yangtsun this morning, and while marching north I received
your letter at 8 A.M. at a village called Nantsaitsun. It is very
gratifying to learn from you that the foreign community at Peking are
holding on, and believe me it is the earnest and unanimous desire of
the lieutenant-general and all of us to arrive at Peking as soon as
possible, and deliver you from your perilous position. Unless some
unforeseen event takes place, the allied forces will be at Hoshiwu on
the 9th, Mat’ou on the 10th, Changchiawan on the 11th, Tungchow on the
12th and Peking on the 13th or 14th.”

The messenger who brought in the letter told the following story: On
August 6 he went by way of Tungchow, finding there that his family
had been murdered by the Boxers. On the 7th, he met boat-loads of
wounded and defeated Chinese. At Tsaitsun he met the advance guard of
the allies. The evening of the 8th he marched with the middle division
to Chuanchang, six miles south of Hoshiwu. On the morning of Thursday,
the 9th, he started with this division, which expected to reach Hoshiwu
that evening, but left them and returned to Peking by the road to the
west. The troops have but few Chinese servants. They have many pack
animals, led mostly by Japs. He saw a small number of Russians and a
body of several hundred mounted black (probably Bengal) lancers, who
made fun and charged at him with their spears. He asked how long they
would be before reaching Peking, and was told five or six days, as the
Chinese were not stubbornly resisting, the allies merely having to
drive them on ahead of them.

The following is an extract from a telegram received by Mr. Conger from
the United States consul at Chefoo: “All communications north of this
pass through this office. So far as known, excluding army and navy,
no Americans have been killed, and there has been but little loss of
property south of Tientsin. All trouble confined to Peking and Taku.
The high officials are doing their best to keep order. Very large force
of all nations at Taku.”

August 12. Heavy firing all day.

August 13. The whole force of the artillery possessed by us was brought
to bear on the Chinese position in the Mongol market, as the Chinese
seem to be making a last desperate attempt to kill us all before the
arrival of the relief force, and it is expected that from that quarter
will come the fiercest attack.

Same date, 4 P.M. The yamen sent word that if we would refrain from
firing they would positively stop all volleys on their side. This was
agreed to, and five hours later, though they had been shooting all day,
they made the most terrific attack of the siege. This was kept up all
night, the very violent attacks being renewed at intervals of about two

       *       *       *       *       *

At 4.30 in the morning, having been up all night under the hottest fire
mortals ever endured, I had just dropped asleep, which even the heavy
shots did not prevent, when I was awakened by the pop, pop, pop, at
regular intervals of only the fraction of a second, of an automatic
gun. As I knew the Chinese had no such gun in their forces, and as our
own Colt’s gun was just outside the British legation gate to prevent
a rush down the moat between the British legation and Lu Wang Fu, I
instantly came to the conclusion that the final rush, which would end
the drama and our lives, was being made.

Grasping my double-barreled shotgun, I rose from the floor, where I had
just thrown myself down, and stepped outside in front of the legation
chapel. As I did so I heard the thunder of heavy guns in the direction
of the Tungchow gate. Then the situation was clear. The relief were
outside the city engaging the Chinese troops, and the automatic gun was
not ours, but theirs.

I dropped on my knees in the roadway and put up a few words of
thanksgiving to Almighty God, and then, rising, called out the good
news to those inside the houses, in excited tones. Oh, the sweetness
of those sounds! Shall I ever forget how delightful to our ears? How
anxious I felt when they ceased for a few moments, and how happy when
they were resumed!

The Chinese attacking us heard them too, and for a while somewhat
slackened their fire to listen; but only for a while, for they kept up
a hot fire all day.

Poor Mitchell, the brave American gunner, was wounded in the night,
having his arm broken by a bullet from the Mongol market attack, but
he smiled a grim smile when the guns were heard outside, and remarked:
“Oh, you can keep up your devilish racket now, but in a little while
longer you will be silent enough!”

[Illustration: SIKH POLICEMAN

The two Oriental types, East Indian and the Chinese, are plainly shown
in this picture. The policeman looms up almost like a giant in the
midst of his Celestial neighbors.]

At about four o’clock the Americans on the wall saw men in foreign
uniforms directly opposite them. While the Americans and Japanese
had attacked the Tungchow stone road gate and the Pieu gate, the
English had found the Shahkuo gate entirely open and unguarded, and
had hastened, as directed by our notes of advice, to the water-gate,
directly under the eastern extremity of the American position on the
wall. The Sikhs came pouring up to the gate, which they soon smashed
in, and then the hurrahs that rent the skies told those in the houses
and in the hospital that the siege was over.

Just as the relief forces were pouring into the British legation, the
first woman to be wounded during the siege, Mme. Cuillier, a French
woman, was struck by a Mauser rifle bullet in the thigh and seriously,
but not dangerously, wounded.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following table shows the number of officers and men who were
killed or wounded, and those who died of disease during the siege:

             │   Number   │  Killed or │            │  Casualties in    │
             │     of     │   died of  │   Wounded  │     per cent      │
             │            │    wounds  │            │                   │
             │        │   │        │   │        │   │      │      │     │
  Am’can     │   3    │ 53│        │  7│   2    │  8│ 12.5 │ 17.8 │ 30.3│
  Aust’an    │   5    │ 30│   1    │  3│   3    │  8│ 11.4 │ 37.4 │ 42.8│
  British    │   3    │ 79│   1    │  2│   2    │ 18│  3.7 │ 24.4 │ 28.1│
  French     │   3    │ 45│   2    │  9│        │ 37│ 22.9 │ 77.1 │100.0│
  German     │   1    │ 50│        │ 12│        │ 15│ 23.5 │ 31.4 │ 54.9│
  Jap’nese   │   1    │ 24│        │  5│        │ 21│ 20.0 │ 84.0 │104.0│
  Russian    │   2    │ 79│        │  4│   1    │ 18│  4.9 │ 23.9 │ 28.3│
  Italian    │   1    │ 28│        │  7│   1    │ 11│ 24.1 │ 41.4 │ 65.5│
  Total      │  19    │388│   4    │ 49│   9    │126│ 13.1 │ 35.6 │ 48.7│

              │   Died of   │Volunt’rs and│    Total
              │   disease   │ independents│
  Nationality │Officers│Men │Killed│Woun’d│Killed│Woun’d
  Am’can      │        │    │      │   1  │   7  │  11
  Aust’an     │        │    │      │      │   4  │  11
  British     │        │    │   3  │   6  │   6  │  26
  French      │        │    │   2  │   6  │  13  │  43
  German      │        │    │ 1(a) │ 1(b) │  13  │  16
  Jap’nese    │        │    │ 5(c) │   8  │  10  │  29
  Russian     │        │2(d)│   1  │   1  │   7  │  20
  Italian     │        │    │      │      │   7  │  12
  Total       │        │  2 │  12  │  23  │  67  │ 168

a Baron Von Ketteler.

b Mr. Cordes.

c Includes Captain Anlo.

d Cossacks of the Legation.



[Illustration: WANG

Minister Conger’s head servant]

ONE OF the most noticeable effects of siege-life has been to bring
out into prominence all the mean and selfish characteristics of the
individual, as well as the heroic and self-sacrificing. People who
in times of peace pass for very nice, sociable individuals, with no
particularly mean tendencies, when subjected to deprivation in the
food-supply, and their nerves become a bit shattered with the sound of
whistling bullets, the shrieking of flying shells, or the dull thud
followed by the crashing and grinding of solid shot, show up in their
true bedrock character, and are meanness to the core.

It has been most interesting to observe the dissolution of previous
friendships, often of years’ standing, and the making of new ones
between individuals formerly more or less at variance. This has come
about sometimes from a man or woman with a sick child, or sick member
of his or her family having no supplies of their own, begging a tin
of milk or a can of soup or some little delicacy or necessity from a
friend having abundance of stores. Upon a flat refusal on the ground
that he has none he can spare, the aforetime friend realizes the depth
of the former friendship and has no wish to continue it.

Again, another instance: A gentleman has gone to inquire of a person
in authority in a certain establishment, where he is to move another
gentleman, a mutual friend, ill and unable to take care of himself,
to a place of safety, from quarters no longer tenable, and is told:
“If you have been near the sick man, keep away from me. Do what you
please with him, only keep away from me and mine, as we are fearful
of contagion.” “But what do you advise?” persists the inquirer of his
quondam friend and superior. “I don’t advise anything,” is the reply.
“Is he to be left alone to die or be captured, where he is?” still
persists the anxious friend. “That is none of my business,” is the
heartless answer, destroying a friendship which had existed for twenty

Then, too, it has been an interesting study to watch the effects on the
optimistic man and the pessimistic man of the various rumors that have
drifted in through occasional reports from captives or deserters from
the enemy’s troops.

The optimist believes that our enemies are discouraged, are short of
ammunition, are fighting among themselves, are firing high purposely
not to injure us; that the relief force is very near, that flashes of
heat lightning are search-lights of our friends, etc.

The pessimist believes the powers are fighting among themselves to
prevent relief until no one power has more troops in the relief than
any other; scouts the idea of search-lights; says that the provisions
are nearly exhausted; sees new barricades erected by the enemy every
night; recounts the fatal casualties, increasing each day, and notes
the diminishing strength of the remainder, and, moreover, fully
believes and constantly asserts that we are only staving off for a
little while an inevitable general massacre.

One must admit that to know that eleven of the powers of the world are
kept away, or are staying away, from relieving their ministers, with
their families and nationals, for two months, at a distance of only
eighty miles from navigation by large vessels, is a circumstance rather
calculated to increase pessimism.


It is not easy to obtain pictures of the women of the upper classes of
China. The beautiful cape with the elaborate embroidery, the little
feet mounted upon pedestals, and that sign of high nobility, the long
finger nails, shown by nail protectors on the third and fourth fingers
of the left hand, are evidences that this woman is of China’s “four

Before the siege began I heard the United States minister say that if
the Boxers destroyed a single station on the Peking-Hankow railroad,
known popularly as the Lu Han road, they would have a horde of Cossacks
protecting the line within a fortnight. Yet of the 15,000 Russians
reported to have been in Port Arthur, when the entire Lu Han line
and the Peking-Tientsin railroad was destroyed, not a man has as yet
(August 13th) reached Peking. The Boxers are still seen from our
loopholes, and make our nights hideous with their horn-blowing and
incessant rifle-fire.

We were also told by those wiseacres, the foreign ministers, that
Japan could and would have 50,000 men in Peking if one member of their
legation was injured. Their second and third secretaries have been
killed, their legation guard has been almost annihilated, and we see,
as yet, no new Japanese faces.

Again, Captain Myers assured us the Americans could easily spare 10,000
men from the Philippines, who could reach Peking in, at longest, two
weeks; but two months have now gone by, and they have not materialized.

The people who have, on the whole, stood the siege best are the
missionaries. They have been more crowded than any others, all the
Americans being compelled to occupy the British legation chapel, where
they are, indeed, closely packed, while the English missionaries occupy
part of the first secretary’s house.

The Americans have formed into two messes, the Presbyterians and
Methodists eating at one time, the Congregationalists, who are in the
majority, at another. They brought in with them considerable provisions
in the way of tinned stores, but have been compelled to draw from their
commissariat their supply of rice and cracked wheat every day.

The foreign ministers guaranteed the three shopkeepers of Peking,
Messrs. Krueger, of Kierullf & Co., Imbeck, and Chamot, the amount
of their stock if they would turn it into a commissary’s hands for
distribution to the entire community as needed. This was at once done,
and a commissary department appointed to take charge.

Many of the besieged owned ponies or mules, which were also placed
under a committee, consisting of Messrs. Dering, Allardyce, and
Brazier. One or two of these animals have been killed each day, and
each person (foreigner) has been allowed to draw half a pound of meat.
Many at first could not be persuaded to even taste horse-meat or
mule-meat; but after several weeks of siege-life there were very few
who did not daily go to the butchery for their supply.

The meat has been inspected every day by a physician, and a certificate
of healthy flesh given to the butcher before the meat was allowed to
be dispensed. One of the British marines, William Betts, of the Royal
Marine Light Infantry, had been a butcher previous to enlistment, and
his services have been most valuable to the entire community.

The Chinese coolies are fed with soup made from the bones, the head,
and cleaned entrails. Not an ounce of the flesh has been wasted.

[Illustration: A PEKING BELLE

Perhaps, after looking at this picture, there will not be so much
wonder that occasionally a Caucasian selects a Chinese girl for a wife.
That there are very attractive Chinese girls this picture evidences.
The clothing, the ornaments, and the surroundings are all typical.]

Many of the ponies that took part in the Peking spring meeting as
racers, last May, have since served us with juicy steaks or toothsome
sausages. The mule-meat is considered to be better, on the whole, than
horse-meat, and in this opinion I fully concur. As we have only one
donkey in the compound, none of us has as yet tried donkey-flesh; but
the Chinese assure us it is even better than the larger animals.

Several days since one of the two cows in the compound, having gone
dry, was killed for food, and a notice was placed on the bulletin board
at the bell-tower that applications for portions of the meat would be
received from all women and children, but that only such men as were
wounded or ill could, upon a physician’s certificate, receive a portion.

Every one wanted some, expecting to highly enjoy a taste of fresh beef
and a change from horse. The result was most disappointing. The cow was
old and tough, and her flesh infinitely inferior to the regular ration
of horse or mule.

The Chinese Christians, supported by us in the Su Wang Fu, having been
for weeks upon nothing but cracked wheat or “hao liang” gruel, were
longing for some animal food, and begged they might be given some of
the dogs that continued to come from all over the city to feed each
night upon the refuse in the moat between the Su Wang Fu and the
British legation.

A few foreigners with shotguns, therefore, sallied forth yesterday
and killed eight good-sized specimens of the canine race, that were
forthwith handed over to the hungry converts for their consumption.
Dog-hunting as a food supply will not be neglected in the future.

As after July 18th the shelling ceased, and some of the enemies’
soldiers, with an eye to business, brought a few eggs to the Japanese
barricade for sale, a market department was established and placed
under the care of Messrs. A. D. Brent and J. M. Allardyce, where eggs
could be obtained _pro rata_ for numbers of women and children in a
household, compared with the supply on hand. These eggs were sold at
four cents each. But often the supply only admitted of one egg being
sold to a household of women or children. At other times an egg each
could be obtained daily. But alas! the Chinese soldiers soon found out
what their soldiers were doing, and promptly stopped it, so that after
August 6th the market was obliged to close from lack of eggs.

On July 20th, two days after the shelling ceased, the tsung-li-yamen
sent a present to the ministers of one hundred watermelons, seventy
eggplants, sixty vegetable squashes, and one hundred cucumbers. Some
few of the besieged, besides the diplomats, thus obtained the first
taste of fresh vegetables they had enjoyed for a month.

The ministers’ request to the yamen that vegetable-venders be allowed
to come to the barricades or the great gate, however, was denied,
and we have since had no further supply. It is hard to know that
within half a mile of us in any direction there is an abundance of
fresh fruits and vegetables, and yet, owing to the closeness of our
investment by the hostile troops, we cannot obtain a cent’s worth.

On August 5th, while I was standing talking with a Japanese sentry,
on an outpost barricade of the Su Wang Fu, a Chinese soldier in full
uniform walked quickly up the narrow lane our barricade commanded
toward us. I called on the Japanese to fire on him, but he remarked:
“Let him come on; he has no gun, and may want to sell something.”

True enough, just before reaching us he held up his hand in front of
his face to indicate that he wished to speak, and so was allowed to
come around the corner of the barricade. He was a young man of not over
twenty-five, but showed the marks of being a confirmed opium-eater.

“I have brought you some eggs,” he remarked, hastily exposing ten of
the precious ovules to view. The Jap counted out forty cents and gave
him, and advised him to clear out, which he speedily did, remarking as
he left: “I will lose my head if I am caught at this.” As he could buy
the eggs in the market for five cents, his percentage of profit was
very handsome.

[Illustration: Chinese gentleman entertaining a friend with an opium

After the so-called truce of July 18th, the native soldiers occupying
the wall to the east of the American marines’ barricade strictly
observed the terms of the truce, and never either enlarged their
barricade nor fired another shot.

These were the only ones, however, who did so. From all the other
barricades we were frequently fired on, and every night or two a
vigorous attack would be made upon us, during which the Chinese would
expend many hundred rounds of ammunition, firing their rifles into our
barricades or the roofs of our houses, and scarcely doing any damage,
as we would all seek shelter until the enemy were tired out.

Only once or twice did they actually come out from behind their
barricades with the intention apparently of rushing us; but upon
receiving a volley, and having several killed or wounded, they would
hastily bolt back again to cover.

One night the author was selected by Adjutant Squiers to lead a company
of ten coolies in an attempt to remove the stinking carcasses of two
mules that had been lying festering in the rays of the summer sun
for several days, directly under the noses of the American marines
entrenched at foot of the city wall. The stench they emitted was
overpowering, but there seemed to be no way to remove them, as to show
a head, even, at the barricade was certain to bring a volley from the
Chinese on the wall to the east, just beyond the moat. The situation
having grown unendurable, it was necessary to risk life even to remove
them, and had to be attempted.

[Illustration: A corner in the reception room of a wealthy Chinese
gentleman, in Peking]

Mr. Squiers formed the plan to have ten coolies, under a foreigner,
go quietly at night through the alley-ways and court-yards that had
been cut through to communicate with the American legation, to the moat
directly under the Chinese on the wall. From thence we were to crawl
forward toward the barricade, where our men were warned not to fire
upon us, tie a rope around a mule, slip back toward the moat, and drag
the mule after us, and down into the moat, where it could subsequently
be covered with kerosene oil and burned.

With ten volunteer coolies, all dressed in dark clothes, and warned not
to speak or even whisper, I undertook the task.

We reached the position on the wall street without incident, and I was
congratulating myself we would succeed without the Chinese discovering
us, when one of the coolies unfortunately struck his foot against a tin
can and sent it rattling across the road. Instantly a volley was fired
upon us from the Chinese barricade, only some fifty yards distant, and
a perfect hail of bullets struck all about us.

“Drop on your faces and lie still,” I commanded in a hoarse whisper,
which was promptly obeyed.

We lay still for about fifteen minutes. Then I sent one coolie crawling
on toward the nearest mule, only ten yards away, and he soon had the
noose slipped over his head and returned.

We dragged the animal quietly enough, until just at the corner of the
bridge, where a lot of tins, bottles, and refuse had been dumped in
the early days of the siege, and before the Chinese had obtained their
present position by driving the Germans from the wall in the rear of
their legation.

When the animal passed over these obstacles a loud grating, rattling
noise was made, and a second volley poured down from the wall. But this
time the corners of the stone bridge protected us and we were in no

After another wait of fifteen minutes, during which time all became
quiet again, we returned and repeated the operation on the second
mule, dragging his fragrant (?) carcass alongside the first, and
completing our work under a third volley, equally harmless.


This picture gives an idea of the vastness of the ancient defenses of
Peking and of the unhygienic character of its surroundings. Across the
canal are to be seen the straggling buildings of a Tartar village.
Immediately in the foreground lie the stagnant waters of the canal and
piles of reeking filth.]

I received the thanks of Mr. Squiers and the entire marine guard
for this service, as it rendered their position much more bearable
thereafter, and their gratitude fully repaid me for the danger incurred.

Directly across a moat leading from the Imperial city wall to the
southern wall of the Tartar city of Peking, opposite to the British
legation, is a large square compound, known in the local mandarin
tongue as Su Wang Fu, or in plain English as the palace of Prince Su.

This prince inherited the title from his father only two years ago. He
is a young man of rather pleasant appearance, about thirty years of
age. I have dined with him twice at the residence of his next younger
brother, who was a patient of mine last winter.

This compound is surrounded by a stout brick wall from twelve to
fifteen feet high. Lying, as the place does, in between the British and
Austrian legations, it was decided to take possession of it for the
thousand-odd Christian refugees, mostly Catholics, who had claimed the
protection of their teachers, the missionaries, when the cathedrals and
mission premises were burned.

The idea of doing this originated with Mr. F. H. James, who was killed
on the bridge by Kansu soldiers a few days after the occupation. Dr. G.
E. Morrison warmly seconded it, and the plan was carried out without
opposition from Prince Su or his retainers, as actual warfare had not
yet broken out.

This palace consists of a lot of rather fine (for Chinese buildings)
edifices, all of one story, arranged in a series of courts, with a
considerable park on the west side facing on the moat dividing the
palace from the British legation.

As less than a hundred yards’ space is taken up by the width of the
moat and the roadway on either side, it will be readily seen that to
hold this compound was to protect the entire east side of the British
legation from the Chinese fire.

Colonel Shiba, the Japanese commandant, with his twenty-five soldiers,
was first placed in charge, but later on he was reinforced from time to
time by detachments from the Austrians, Italians, British, and French
marines, and by the young men of the customs service, known as the
Customs volunteers.

The most determined efforts of the siege have been made by the Chinese
troops and Boxers to obtain possession of the palace—first, doubtless,
because it commanded the entire east wall of the British legation
at short range, and secondly, because they desired to exterminate
the thousand-odd refugees—men, women, and children—harbored there.
Consequently, the loss of life of our defenders and the number of
wounded brought from the Su Wang Fu into the hospital has greatly
exceeded that of any other one place.

To Colonel Shiba, its heroic defender, is due the greatest credit,
inasmuch as he has held the place for weeks, after the other commanders
had prophesied it would have to be given up in twenty-four hours.

This he has been enabled to do by building barricade after barricade
in the rear of his first line of defense, at often less than fifty
yards’ distance, and when one barricade was shelled until absolutely
untenable, retreating to the next strong position in his rear.

Colonel Shiba also enlisted all the Japanese civilians in the city,
and even trained twenty-five of the native Catholic converts into very
steady soldiers, arming them with rifles taken from the bodies of dead
soldiers of the enemy.

In addition to the military officers who arrived with the legation
guards, there happened to be in Peking at the commencement of the siege
two English captains, one to study Chinese, the other representing
a concession syndicate—Captains Poole and Percy Smith. Both of the
gentlemen have rendered efficient and valuable service, and, since the
death of Captain Strouts, have been on regular duty.

A curious fact, interesting alike to English and Americans, is that on
the Fourth of July, after Captain Myers had been wounded in the sortie
on the city wall the previous night, Captain Percy Smith commanded the
American marines in the trench on the wall all day, under hot fire from
cannon and rifles, and the marines speak in the highest terms of his
bravery and coolness, and his care for their comfort and safety.

Mr. E. von Strauch, formerly first lieutenant in the German army, but
now a member of the customs service, has also rendered valuable service
in relieving the officer in charge at all the various posts, such as
the city wall, held by the Americans; the Su Wang Fu, held by Colonel
Shiba; the Hanlin Yuan, held by the British, and other points outside
the legation. The men also express the highest regard for him.

So much for the outside officers. Among civilians deserving credit are
many who have daily and faithfully done the work apportioned to them
in capacities where they have been unnoticed, but where their work has
contributed much to the general comfort, and some of them at least
should be mentioned.

Messrs. Allardyce and Brazier in the meat supply department, Mr. S. M.
Russell in the commissary department, Mr. Stell in the coolie supply
department, Dr. Chauncey Goodrich and Messrs. Walker and Whiting in the
coolies’ food supply, together with Messrs. Tewkesbury, Hobart, and
Norris, all have steadily worked for the common good, often both day
and night.

It has been noticed by a great many Englishmen and others that the
Russians besieged with us have been of uniformly gentlemanly and
courteous bearing. They have won golden opinions from all, with the
exception, perhaps, of one intensely biased newspaper correspondent,
who reads in the most commonplace saying some deeply-concealed meaning,
and some unkind intention toward the British interests. A Russian
gentleman is a perfect gentleman, and uniformly a marvelous linguist.

I have several times been present in a room with a Frenchman, a
German, and an Italian, with whom several Russians carried on animated
conversations, addressing each man in his own language, and apparently
with equal fluency.

From M. de Giers, down through his whole legation, the professors of
Russian in the Imperial University and Tung Wen Kuan, the officers and
clerks of the Russo-Chinese bank, one can find none who are not perfect
gentlemen and most agreeable companions.

Baron von Radew, the captain in charge of the Russian marines, has been
a most devoted officer, and every point of his defenses has had his
constant personal supervision. He has never undressed to sleep in the
last two months, but has taken the broken rest he has obtained lying
in a steamer chair in one of his barricades. He has lost greatly in
flesh, and is but a skeleton of his former self, but remains the same
courteous officer and gentleman under circumstances that have altered
the dispositions of not a few.

[Illustration: HOUSE BOATS

Used for interior travel on Chinese rivers. Families pass their entire
existence on these boats. Some are fitted very comfortably.]

If the diplomatic corps in Peking could only have heard the many and
varied contemptuous remarks made about them by their own nationals,
both before and during the siege, they would perhaps have a new idea
of what their titles of “envoys extraordinary” meant. As I heard one
gentleman remark: “After this lot are disposed of, I hope they will
send us a set of ‘envoys ordinary’—common-sense kind of men, who have
eyes and ears.”

It is certainly marvelous that with the information so readily
obtainable as to the Boxer movement, its aims and intentions, and after
having it forced almost upon them, as the British, American and French
ministers certainly have had by their missionaries and others, the
diplomatic corps should have blindly allowed themselves to be penned
up in Peking with only a handful of guards, to endure treatment as
disgraceful as it has been unpleasant.

True, M. Pichon urged his colleagues early to send for legation
guards, and wanted them in larger numbers, but even he, after constant
assurances from Bishop Faner (who was perfectly informed as to the
gravity of the movement and the Imperial sanction), declined to act
independently and allowed the situation to proceed to the utmost
extremity before he believed the priest true and the tsung-li-yamen

A very blue lot they have been during the siege. Although better fed
than the unfortunates—the results of their credulity—compelled to
suffer with them, they have not been pleasant company, and have been
allowed to flock together as birds of a feather, and discuss at length
the utter neglect of their home governments in not speedily rescuing

The rest of us poor mortals have long since come to the conclusion that
our governments have found out their true value, and have decided they
are not worth a rescue.

The Belgian minister having arrived only a few weeks before the siege
began, is not to blame for the position, and he wonders as much as the
ordinary mortal how his colleagues could have allowed it to come to

Is it possible that England and America, if they had been informed of
the true state of affairs by their representatives, would not have
requested their ministers to notify all the foreign women and children
to leave the country?

When a foreign war is inevitable, even in a civilized country, it is
a necessity for non-combatants to leave. In a barbarous country it
means murder, often with torture, to remain; yet our missionaries
in Paotingfu and places inland were not warned that their district
troubles were not local, but general, and that they should hasten to
the coast, to be nearer protection.

Some of the wiser English people among us assert that “so far from
being blamed by their government for the siege, and loss of life
accompanying it, their minister will be praised for bringing us safely
through it, and receive a higher decoration if not a baronetcy; just as
he was rewarded before for failing to keep his government informed of
the Russians being the real owners of the Fu Haw railroad, receiving at
that time some alphabetical additions to his signature.”

John Brown is much improved by being called Sir John Brown, P. I.
G.—which may mean “perfectly independent gentleman.”

Posterity, however, will read of this siege with amazement, and wonder
how so many blind and deaf men came to be appointed to the same post at
one time. Truly a remarkable coincidence.



[Illustration: YOUAN CHANG

Beheaded August 9, because he favored making peace with foreigners.]

THE Russian legation is situated on the north side of Legation street,
directly opposite the United States legation, one hundred and fifty
yards west of the moat that runs northward from the city wall to the
wall of the Forbidden City; between the British legation and the Su
Wang Fu. Consequently, the Russian legation is directly south of
the British legation, and separated from it only by a small street
containing shops of the humbler sort.

Immediately upon a state of siege being declared, the foreign guards
took possession of this street, drove out the inhabitants, barricaded
both ends of the highway, and so made it possible to go with safety
directly from the position held by the American marines on the city
wall, through the American legation, across Legation street, also
barricaded, through the Russian legation, and on into the British
legation—one continuous foreign occupation. This was a necessity for
our protection, and to secure for the American and Russian marines
a safe retreat into the British legation in the event of their own
locations being no longer tenable.

At the beginning of the siege the following persons resided in the
Russian legation: His Eminence M. de Giers, envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, his wife, daughter and son, and Miss Edith
Miller, a governess in his family; B. N. Kroupensky, first secretary;
B. N. Evreinow, second secretary; P. S. Popoff, interpreter; Mme.
Popoff and five daughters; N. F. Kolessoff, second interpreter; A. T.
Beltchenko and H. P. Wulff, student interpreters; V. V. Korsakoff,
M.D., surgeon, wife and daughter; N. T. Gomloyeff, postmaster; A.
Polyanoff, clerk in post office; the Rt.-Rev. Father Archimandrite
Innocent Figuroffsky; the Rev. Father Abraham, Deacon Basile, Messrs.
Osipoff and Piskimoff, ecclesiastical students. This comprised the
legation personnel.

There was also the staff of the Russo-Chinese bank, consisting of
the following persons: D. D. Pokotiloff, company manager for China
and Japan, and his wife; D. M. Pozdneeff, his wife and child; R. T.
Barbier, wife and child; Mlle. C. Titoff; E. Wihlfahrt, cashier; F.
Vavier, bookkeeper; Messrs. Brackmann, Mirny, Alexandroff, Wasilieff,
Brauns, and Kehler; and Mr. A. W. Borodavkine, professor of Russian in
the Imperial University.

[Illustration: Russian Minister and Staff of Legation and their

The Russian guards were sailors from the battleships Navarine and
Sissoi Veliku, to the number of seventy-two men, under Naval Lieutenant
Baron von Rahden and Sub-Lieutenant Carl von Dehn, with seven
trans-Baikalian Cossacks.

Captain Jean Wroublevsky, who was on language-leave, also resided in
the legation, and acted with Baron von Rahden alternately as commander
of the forces. Captain Wroublevsky belongs to the Ninth Rifle Corps,
stationed at Port Arthur.

Some of the staff of the Russo-Chinese bank served in the British
legation under the orders of Captain Strouts until his death, and
thereafter under Sir Claude MacDonald, who assumed command, but
Messrs. Kroupensky, Evreinow, Kolessoff, Beltchenko, Dr. Korsakoff,
and Professor Borodavkine constituted themselves Russian volunteers,
and remained by their legation throughout the siege, never becoming a
part of the so-called international volunteers serving in the British

These Russian volunteers did splendid service in the defense of the
Legation street west entrance, in the Mongol market to the northwest,
and in the various posts and barricades on the city wall, in
conjunction with the American marines.

The Russian sailors and the American marines fraternized at once; but
the sailors were quite pleased to find their duties did not often bring
them into contact with the British marines, for whom they felt a
natural antipathy. Not that there has been the slightest disagreement
or open bad blood between those two nationalities, but they seem to
have been mutually pleased to remain apart.


This picture was not taken during the Siege, as these gentlemen had
something else to do during that time. It was not even taken after the
Siege, and it is a question whether they will ever be as happy and free
from care again. One has passed away forever, the gentleman in the
chair to the right, who was killed in an engagement with the Boxers.
After hard fighting, in which a number were killed, the Boxers carried
away his body.]

The Russian sailors did much more manual labor than any others of the
besieged. The Americans, English, French, Italians, etc., were quite
satisfied to have all their barricades built for them by the Chinese
Christians, working under their missionary teachers or a foreign
interpreter; but the Russian sailors pitched in and built, as well as
manned, all their own barricades.

Their commander, Baron von Rahden, stated that upon his arrival his
men were mostly green farmers, recently enlisted as sailors, and very
few of them had had any military experience or even knew the proper
handling of a rifle; but after association for a few weeks with the
well-trained American marines under constant fire, they had developed
wonderfully fast, and he felt, at the end of the siege, that he had a
body of men under him well trained, steady, and cool.

A detachment of these sailors accompanied the American marines in the
expedition to the south cathedral, and assisted in the rescue of three
hundred native Catholic Christians. At this place they killed seventy
Boxers and took ten prisoners that they afterward handed over to the
Chinese authorities for punishment; but, doubtless, instead of being
punished they were well rewarded.

While these ten ruffians were confined in the legation jail, one man
succeeded in getting his hands free and loosing one other. Being
discovered, they assaulted their sentry with a brick and attempted to
make their escape; but one being promptly shot and killed, the other
surrendered and was again bound.

During the many heavy attacks by Tung Fu Hsiang’s soldiers at the west
end of Legation street, these sailors behaved with great courage, and
with their American marine companions never failed to drive the Kansu
ruffians back, until finally the Chinese became discouraged at their
lack of success in rushes, and settled down to a policy of sniping from
behind their heavy barricades.

They were such poor marksmen, however, that not one in a thousand of
their rifle shots took effect, and the Russian losses all told amounted
only to four killed and eighteen wounded.

Their outposts commanded the entire Mongol market, overlooking the
southwestern wall of the British legation, and they alone commanded
this district until August 5, some weeks after the active shelling
had ceased, when Lieutenant Von Strauch took up a new position in the
extreme north of the Mongol market, and drew some of the snipers’ fire
in another direction.

The Chinese, early in the siege, planted a Krupp gun on the Chien
Men or main gate of the city, and from this position of vantage
shelled the minister’s house and other buildings of the legations very
severely; but their aim was so bad that many of their shells passed not
only over the Russian legation, but over the British legation and Su
Wang Fu as well, finally falling or exploding among their own people
more than a mile away from their intended target.

Doubtless more Chinese have been killed by their own shells and
rifles than we have killed. As they always fired high, and completely
surrounded us, the balls that have constantly whistled over our heads
for two months must have fallen among themselves.

They attribute to our good shooting a large mortality that we know
is a result, certainly in part, of their bad shooting. In the sortie
made on the city wall the night of July 3d under Captain Myers, which
resulted in capturing the Chinese barricades, several banners, and some
ammunition, the Russian sailors ably seconded the United States marines.

Captain Wroublevsky on one side found it impossible to pass in, and
joined the marines in forcing entrance into the other side. In this
sortie Baron von Rahden was struck on the head with a brick and two
sailors were wounded. Of the Americans, Captain Myers was severely
wounded and two marines killed.


Wall destroyed by the Russians after the Boxers got it. This picture
gives a good idea of the width of the Great Wall, and looks almost
like a field with vegetation growing, and the block-house or fort
erected upon it. The method of reaching the top of the wall is shown
by the driveway up the side, which it will be observed, is completely
commanded by the block-house. This wall extends several thousand miles,
and is said to represent the sacrifice of millions of lives, and labor
beyond comprehension.]

Some of the best work of the Russians was that done in burning many
native houses and then pulling down the walls in the Mongol market
that concealed sharpshooters of the enemy. Had this not been done, the
entire southwestern part of the British legation would have been under
a constant sniping fire, such as they really were exposed to during
the first few days of the siege, and until the Russians made a dash
into the Mongol market, drove out the Chinese, and burned down their

The Russians also joined in an unsuccessful sortie, during which an
attempt was made to capture a cannon in the Su Wang Fu, but owing
to incorrect information as to its whereabouts, the Italian officer
commanding led his men in the wrong direction, and after having several
men wounded, the party returned without having accomplished anything.

In the fortification of their own legation they have been untiring,
and besides loop-holing and building barricades, have dug a very deep
trench all along inside their west wall, or only exposed side, which
effectually prevented underground mines from being undetected.

Russian sentries have, all through the siege, been posted on the moat
bridge at Legation street, commanding the water-gate under the city
wall. Curiously enough, no attack has ever been made from this quarter,
yet to a foreigner it appears a most advantageous opening for attack.

The Russo-Chinese bank was held by the volunteers as long as it was
possible to hold it, but after the Chinese built a high barricade on
the wall just over the bank, it grew too hot to hold and had to be

Mr. Wihlfahrt’s house, directly under the wall, was made a Chinese fort
for a while, and the Americans lost several men from snipers posted
there, until, finally, a rush was made and the place destroyed.

The Russians have several times gone to other places to assist in
repelling serious attacks, on one occasion to help Colonel Shiba in
holding back the Boxer forces at the Su Wang Fu. On this occasion one
man was seriously wounded. Another time they were called to help the
German legation. They have always cheerfully rendered any assistance
when called upon, and Baron von Rahden, his fellow officers, and all
the volunteers are highly thought of by the besieged.

Few people are aware that when all the troops had left their outposts
and retired into the British legation, owing to a mistaken order, four
Russian sailors still remained alone at a barricade commanding the
Mongol market, and by keeping the Chinese soldiers from being aware of
the general retreat into the legation, made it possible for the guards
to return to the American, French, and German legations and the wall,
which otherwise could only have been done at a frightful cost of lives.

       *       *       *       *       *

The United States legation, usually spoken of as the American legation,
is pleasantly situated on the south side of Legation street. It
is, however, a very small compound. There is only one building in
it of foreign style of architecture, utilized as a business office.
The second secretary had his residence in the upper portion of this


Dr. Coltman’s rooms were at the left, Minister Conger’s to the right.
The yard or “compound” is paved, with openings for the trees and
vegetation. The most attractive part of the house, as is the case
with nearly all Chinese houses, is that which looks upon the compound
instead of the street.]

At the commencement of the siege the following persons were residing
in the compound: His Eminence E. H. Conger, minister, his wife,
daughter, niece, governess, and two lady guests from Chicago, Mrs. and
Miss Woodward; Mr. H. G. Squiers, first secretary, his wife and four
sons; Mr. W. E. Bainbridge, second secretary, and his wife; Mr. F. D.
Cheshire, interpreter. These comprised the legation staff.

There were also the following refugees, who had been obliged to
abandon their residences and seek legation asylum: Dr. W. A. P.
Martin, president of the Imperial University and author of the “Cycle
of Cathay,” “Hanlin Papers,” and other works, both in English and
Chinese; Dr. Robert Coltman, Jr., professor of surgery in the Imperial
University, author of “The Chinese—Medical, Political and Social,”
with his wife and six children; Mr. William N. Pethick, secretary to
Li Hung Chang, and three American missionary ladies, Mrs. Mateer, Miss
Douw, and Miss Brown.

In Mr. Squiers’ family there was also a visitor of distinction—Miss
Condit-Smith, a niece of Chief Justice Field, of the United States
Supreme Court—as well as a French and a German nursery governess.

[Illustration: Inside one of the United States Legation rooms]

The marine guard of fifty men was under the command of Captains Myers
and Hall, who, with Surgeon Lippett, constituted the officers of the
detachment. Captain Hall, with twenty marines, had been for several
days at the Methodist mission compound, east of the Hatamen or extreme
southeast gate of the city, but on June 20, when it was decided to
abandon that compound, and have the American missionaries all move
into the British legation, Hall and his men returned to the American
legation and thereafter served there.

The fatigue endured by the United States marines in their constant
service on the city wall and in their barricade under the wall, as well
as the barricade at the western end of the compound in Legation street,
was simply killing. That the men did not succumb is a marvel.

To Mrs. H. G. Squiers, more than any one else, is due the credit of
sustaining them with coffee and biscuits sent out hot and refreshing
at midnight and at various times throughout the day. Indeed this lady
has acquired, by her hospitality and unfailing kindness, the affection
of not only her own nationals, but the regard of every one besieged
within the city. Many poor fellows wounded in the hospital have blessed
her with their fevered lips for a cooling drink or a nourishing broth
prepared by her own hands. Her well-furnished storeroom was placed
at the disposal of every one who was in need of food, either as a
necessity for the healthy or a delicacy for the sick. The author has to
express his own unbounded gratitude for many a tin of peas, tomatoes,
or oatmeal that has helped to render palatable the daily ration of
horse-flesh and rice that has been his own and his family’s sustenance
throughout our imprisonment.

[Illustration: A corner in the United States Legation]

Under the most trying circumstances Mrs. Squiers has preserved a
cheerful demeanor, and, assisted by the ever calm and always sociable
Miss Polly Condit-Smith, has daily entertained at her hospitable board
the officers, civilians, diplomats, and missionaries with the same

When Dr. Velde, the able German surgeon in charge of the hospital, was
worn out with fatigue and unable to find a quiet place for a night’s
rest, he was provided by Mrs. Squiers with a comfortable pallet,
covered with a mosquito curtain, in a little closet room, usually
occupied by the German nurse, and so enabled to obtain a rest that was
an absolute necessity to his continuing in service.

All of the American ladies have worked with patience and perseverance,
constantly making the sand-bags which have so efficiently protected the
soldiers and the entire community from the unceasing fire of bullets
from the enemy. Everything in the line of cloth has been used for this
purpose. Handsome linen table-cloths, rich silk draperies, towels,
gowns and dress materials have been freely sacrificed to provide for
the defense.

When the wounded became numerous in our quarters, and were nightly
worried by those infernal pests, the mosquitoes, the ladies cheerfully
sent all their mosquito curtains to the hospital to be used by their
brave defenders to alleviate their discomfort.


Mr. F. D. Cheshire Mr. H. G. Squiers Mr. E. H. Conger Mr. W. E. Bainbridge
  Interpreter       First Secretary     Minister         Second  Secretary

The United States Legation Staff]

Every one realized when we became besieged that we were in a position
that only divine help and a speedy rescue could avail us. Surrender
under any circumstances now could only mean butchery. We had seen the
survivors of the massacre at the south cathedral come among us with
little children almost hacked to pieces by the cruel knives of the
fanatical Boxers, and, knowing their hatred for us, we well knew that
if the men were overcome, the women and children must suffer a horrible
death or worse.

Many of the men had resolved that at the last fight they would
themselves kill their wives and daughters to prevent their suffering at
the hands of the incarnate devils that surrounded us. My own wife never
allowed me to leave her upon a night-attack without first giving her
my revolver for the purpose of using it as a safeguard to herself and
daughters in the event of my non-return, and the overpowering of our

The American marines led in the expedition to the south cathedral to
rescue the Catholic Christians being killed there, and were accompanied
by a Russian detachment and by civilians W. N. Pethick and W. J.
Duysberg. Here they rescued over three hundred Christians, and brought
them safely to the American legation, where their wounds were dressed
by Drs. Lippett, Korsakoff, and Coltman, and they were then sent into
the Su Wang Fu to be fed and cared for until the end of the siege.

The American marines also took part in the expedition to the Boxer
rendezvous temple, north of the Austrian legation, in which fifty-six
Boxers were cornered and killed. Their bravery and endurance has been
noted by all. Their main task—that of holding the city wall—should
render their fame immortal. True, they have been ably helped in this
task from time to time by both Russian and British marines, but the
post was theirs, and to them belongs preëminently the glory of holding
the position that, like the Su Wang Fu, was a key to the place of last
stand—the British legation.

In the brilliant sortie on the night of July 3, led by Captain Myers,
both Russian and British marines took part, and, although the credit
has usually been attributed to the Americans, English and Russians are
equally deserving. When on the point of springing over our barricade
to attack the Chinese position, Captain Myers addressed his men with
ringing words of encouragement.

The Chinese had their first intimation of his movement when they were
saluted with a deafening yell directly under their barricade, for our
little force gave a tremendous shout, as instructed, as they rushed
around the one open side and clambered over the breastwork.


    Robert Coltman, 3rd, 16½ yrs.  Rev. R. Coltman    Dr. R. Coltman, Jr.
Eva D. Coltman, 15 yrs.  Chas. L. Coltman, 9 yrs. Alice C. Coltman, 13 yrs.
       Mrs. R. Coltman               Mrs. Dr. R. Coltman, Jr.
                         Wm. P. Coltman, 1½ yrs.  Mary O. Coltman, 4 yrs.


All of the persons in this group, with the exception of the author’s
father standing in the center, and his mother at the left, suffered in
the Siege.]

Many of the Chinese fled, but the remainder poured a hot fire into the
ranks of the invaders, Privates Turner and Thomas of the Americans
being instantly killed by bullets, as reported, and Captain Myers
severely wounded by a spear. Corporal Gregory of the British marines
was also shot, and two Russian soldiers were wounded by bullets; but
the position was captured, and the retention of the post on the wall
assured, as henceforth it would be possible to ascend the ramp without
being exposed to Chinese fire.

The Chinese fled to their second barricade, a few hundred yards nearer
the Chien Men, which they have held ever since, and, although they have
shelled the American position captured from them for days, they have
never been able to dislodge our men.

When the United States minister and his family left the legation and
sought refuge in the British legation, they were given the house of the
British legation physician, Dr. Poole, for a residence, and into this
six-roomed house were crowded four men, ten women and nine children.

Mr. Squiers, Mr. Cheshire, and Mr. Pethick continued to remain at the
United States legation. The legation building was peppered with bullets
the livelong day, and shelled at intervals with three-inch shells from
both city gates, east and west, until all the roofs were full of holes,
and the gate-house completely demolished, the flagstaff being cut
through and the flag falling to the ground. It was speedily picked up,
however, and nailed to a tall tree near the gate-house, from which it
still floats, though riddled with holes.

Dr. Lippett, the surgeon of the guard, received a bad wound of the
thigh, fracturing the bone and completely disabling him, on June 29,
and has been in the hospital ever since. Dr. G. D. Lowry, a medical
missionary of the Methodist mission, immediately took his place.

Sergeant Fanning, Corporal King, and Privates Kennedy, Tutcher, and
Fisher have been killed in the barricades, and Privates Silva, Shroder,
Mueller, and Hall were wounded early in the siege. The Americans killed
were all buried in the Russian legation compound just across Legation

There were no American civilians serving as volunteers with the
American guard, but Dr. Coltman, his son, Robert Coltman, 3d, and Mr.
W. E. Bainbridge served guard-duty in the British legation among the
international volunteers.

Mr. H. G. Squiers, who was elected by Sir Claude MacDonald as his chief
of staff, and second in command after the death of Captain Strouts, has
been indefatigable in his service, not only at the American legation,
but in general oversight of the situation at all points. That the
United States government will recognize his unusual ability by a
promotion in the diplomatic service, for which he is so well fitted,
and to which he has devoted his talents, is sincerely hoped.

He it was who conceived the plan of occupying the city wall and
insisted on its being regained when abandoned. This, as a key to the
whole position, was recognized in its full importance by Mr. Squiers.
He, too, with Captain Wroublevsky, forced a way down the wall to the
Chien Men, and let in the first Sikhs that came through the gate.




As represented by them. One of a pair guarding a temple entrance.]

AT THE same time that the tsung-li-yamen sent dispatches to each
of the foreign ministers requesting them to leave Peking within
twenty-four hours, they sent a communication to Sir Robert Hart, Bart.,
inspector-general of customs, notifying him of their communication to
the ministers.

One would have supposed that the customs staff, being employed by
the government to collect their own revenues, would have either been
given a place of safety and separated from the foreigners who were to
be attacked and exterminated, or their safe escort out of the country

This should also have applied to the staff of the Imperial University,
but beyond a simple notification to Sir Robert Hart, no further account
was taken of them, and they were left to seek either the protection
of their respective legations, or remain together in the offices of
the inspector-general, where all had gathered upon the entrance of the
Boxers into Peking, and attempt to defend their lives and those of
their families as best they might.

As the Austrians had been driven out of their legation before any of
the others had yielded, and as their compound overlooked and commanded
the inspectorate-general compound, however, that place had become
untenable by June 20, and Sir Robert Hart reluctantly retired with all
his staff and their families to a building allotted to them in the
British legation.

This building is situated just within the main gate of the legation,
north of and adjoining the gate-house, and consists of three fair-sized
and three small rooms, with an out-house kitchen.

Into this narrow accommodation the following staff were obliged to
crowd themselves: Sir Robert Hart, inspector-general; Mr. Robert E.
Bredon, deputy inspector-general, his wife and daughter, Miss Juliet
Bredon; Mr. A. T. Piry, commissioner, his wife, governess, and four
children; Mr. J. R. Brazier, his wife and two children; Mr. C. H.
Brewit-Taylor and wife; Mr. C. H. Oliver, sister, and two children;
Mr. S. M. Russell and wife, and Mr. C. B. Mears and wife, besides the
following single gentlemen: Messrs. P. von Rautenfeld, J. H. Macoun, J.
W. Richardson, E. Wagner, E. von Strauch, N. Konoraloff, B. L. Simpson,
H. P. Destelan, H. Bismarck, U. F. Wintour, J. H. Smyth, J. W. H.
Ferguson, L. Sandercock, A. G. Bethell, L. de Luca, C. L. Lauru, R. B.
de Courcy, C. O. M. Diehr, W. S. Dupree, E. E. Encamacao, J. de Pinna,
P. J. Oreglia, and S. Sugi.

As it was simply impossible for all these people to sleep within such
narrow quarters, Messrs. Brazier and Brewit-Taylor and their families
secured rooms with some friends at other houses. The remainder all
messed together, excepting Mr. Bredon’s family, in which were included
Messrs. B. L. Simpson and C. L. Lauru. The single men slept in blankets
on the narrow brick veranda when not on duty at one of the many posts.

With the exception of Sir Robert Hart, whose advanced age prevented his
doing military duty, and Mr. R. E. Bredon and Mr. C. H. Oliver, all the
others regularly enrolled themselves as a volunteer corps known as the
customs volunteers, and did most excellent, arduous, and effective work.

Mr. E. von Strauch, having served as first lieutenant in the German
army for some years, was given command, and Mr. Macoun was made second
officer. After Macoun was wounded, and until again able to go on duty,
Mr. B. L. Simpson acted as second officer.

[Illustration: SIR ROBERT HART

And members of the Customs Staff and their families, with one or two
others, who lived together in the house immediately behind the group
during the siege.]

Adjoining the British legation on the north lies the Hanlin Yuan, a
large yard full of many buildings, containing one of the most famous
libraries extant, the Hanlin library. By the Chinese this library
has always been regarded as one of their most valuable possessions.
Here were stored thousands of volumes of Chinese history, essays,
and records of the various government boards that had collected for
centuries. North of this Hanlin Yuan, separated only by a wide street
known as the Chang An Chieh, is the wall of the Forbidden City.


Who, throughout the siege, fought in defense of the legations. This
little band did excellent service. Brave, cool and deliberate, they
made themselves felt wherever their services were called for.]

The Boxers and Imperial troops early took possession of the northern
end of this compound, and in their efforts to dislodge us from the
British legation, ruthlessly set fire to their sacred library and
destroyed the priceless collections of ages.

A large part of the defense of the southern half of the Hanlin Yuan has
been performed by the customs volunteers, and there has been no more
trying military service in the siege than at that place. We early took
possession of the southern end, and built a barricade of bricks and
sand-bags running completely across the compound.

Our barricade and the Chinese barricades are so close that often the
Chinese have thrown half bricks over at us, as their rifle-bullets
cannot penetrate the barricade. Several of our men have been injured by
stones and bricks in this way.

In addition to the members of the customs staff given above as enrolled
members of the customs volunteers, there have been attached to the
corps for duty at various times Messrs. Barbier, Flicke, and Hagermann.

Messrs. E. Wagner and H. P. Destelan were soon called to serve at the
French legation, as the fighting had been very hot there, and men were
needed to take the places of those who had fallen. They barely joined
their fellow-nationals at their perilous post, and there on July 1
Wagner was struck by a shell in the head and instantly killed. A few
days later Destelan had a miraculous escape. The Chinese across the
narrow lane, known as Customs lane, had undermined the street, and
placed a mine under the wall and eastern buildings of the legation.
When they exploded it, Destelan and several others were buried in
the ruins; but a second explosion almost immediately blew several of
them out again, among them Destelan and Von Rosthorn, the Austrian
_chargé d’affaires_, who was on duty in the French legation after the
surrender of his own legation to the Chinese troops. Only two Frenchmen
lost their lives by this mine, while the Chinese acknowledge they lost
twenty of their own men by the explosion.

The sad death of Wagner threw a deep gloom for many days over his young
comrades in arms. He was so intelligent, bright and cheerful, always
willing to undertake any service, and always in the front, that he has
been sorely missed. Mr. H. Bismarck was obliged by the necessities of
the German legation to join his nationals there, as was also Mr. Diehr.

Bismarck has had his hat shot off and his clothes perforated several
times, has been in several sorties and all sorts of dangers, but has
wonderfully escaped.

Mr. L. de Luca received a painful, but not serious, wound of the
forearm, which partially disabled him for a time; but, as soon as
possible, he was again serving at the various posts. For a time he
was on Captain Wray’s staff as aid in the commissary department, but
in this place there was no danger to be incurred, and he joyfully
relinquished it to Mr. C. H. Oliver.

Mr. J. W. Richardson was the first of the customs volunteers to be
disabled, having received, early in the siege, a flesh-wound of the
shoulder. He, too, made a rapid recovery, and was soon acting as
assistant steward in the hospital, but when entirely in health returned
again to guard duty.

Mr. A. G. Bethell became ill from overwork and fatigue, and was obliged
to go into the hospital for several days, but recovered under rest and
appropriate treatment and returned to duty. Mr. U. F. Wintour, while
excavating a deep trench in the Hanlin Yuan as a countermine to the
Chinese mining attempts, badly sprained his knee-joint, which has since
resulted in a severe synovitis, compelling him to remain with his leg
fixed in a plaster-of-paris cast for some weeks.

Messrs. Sandercock, Bethell, and Ferguson, although barely nineteen
years of age, have endured the fatigue and hardship of the watches, and
have been as cool under fire as old veterans.

Especial mention should be made of the conspicuous bravery and
gallantry of Mr. W. S. Dupree, or, as he is familiarly and
affectionately called by his comrades, “Little Willie.” This young man,
in times of peace, is a postal clerk of very affable manners, but in
the siege he has been a doughty warrior. Although only eighteen years
of age, he has taken his full share of the work. He accompanied the
first expedition of the American, British, and Austrian soldiers in
the attack upon a Boxer rendezvous in a temple north of the Austrian
legation, in which fifty-six Boxers were killed. He has also served in
the Hanlin Yuan, in the Su Wang Fu, and in the latest achievement of
the customs volunteers,—the capture and holding of a new and valuable
strategical position northward of the Russian position in the Mongol

[Illustration: Chinese barber and his outfit]

On the night of August 10 this intrepid youngster crept out from behind
the fortification in the Mongol market, and crawled across the moonlit
common, directly in front of and up to the Chinese barricade. Here he
heard one of the soldiers exhorting his comrades to follow him and make
an attack upon the foreigners. “Why should we hesitate?” he urged. “We
have so many and they so few; success is sure and failure impossible.”
Dupree hurried back and warned his companions in time to prevent a
serious rush, for a few moments later the Chinese actually left their
barricade and attempted a rush upon our works; but on a volley into
them, which killed one and wounded several others, their short-lived
courage left them, and they precipitately bolted back again behind
shelter, from which they peppered our barricade vigorously for the next
half hour without doing any damage.

[Illustration: Chinese barber at work]

The customs mess, in spite of their exceedingly narrow accommodations,
was eminently a hospitable group, and cheerfully allowed Messrs. E.
Backhouse, G. P. Peachey, Dr. J. Dudgeon, and J. M. Allardyce to eat
with them, they turning the stores they possessed on entrance into the
common storeroom. The meals were well managed under the efficient care
of Mrs. Russell and Mrs. Mears, whom all of the customs volunteers will
ever remember for their constant, untiring efforts to render palatable
the daily ration of horse-meat and rice which has constituted their
principal food.

Sir Robert Hart, the I. G., as he is generally spoken of by his staff,
as well as many outsiders, has endeared himself to all his young
soldiers by his sharing with them without complaint and unvarying
cheerfulness the meager diet of the mess. He has never allowed any
delicacy supplied to him that the others did not partake of, but has
acted on the principle of share and share alike throughout. He may in
time have a successor in the service, but he can never be supplanted in
the affections of those members of his staff who have endured with him
the trials of the siege in Peking.

Mr. J. H. Smyth entered the British legation when he was convalescing
from scarlet fever, and was placed in quarantine for some weeks.
Consequently he was prevented from taking any part in the early
proceedings of the siege, but as soon as allowed out he at once went
on duty. Mr. Origlia came down with scarlet fever also on July 10, and
thereafter could render no military service.

The staff of the British legation who were actually in the siege
consisted of the following persons: Sir Claude M. MacDonald, G. C. M.
G., K. C. B., envoy extraordinary, etc., his wife, two children, and
sister-in-law; Herbert G. Dering, secretary; Henry Cockburn, Chinese
secretary, and wife; W. P. Ker, assistant Chinese secretary, wife,
and child; Wordsworth Poole, M.D., surgeon; B. G. Tours, accountant,
wife, and child; D. Oliphant, consular assistant; W. Russell, consular
assistant; Rev. W. Norris, acting chaplain; Rev. R. Allen, curate,
and the following student interpreters. Messrs. T. G. Hancock, A.
T. Flaherty, H. Bristow, T. C. C. Kirke, H. Porter, W. M. Hewlett,
A. Rose, R. Drury, L. R. Barr, H. Warren, L. Giles, W. E. Townsend.
Captain F. G. Poole, who was living with his brother, the doctor, while
on language-leave, was also considered of the legation household, as
well as several guests, Mr. Clarke-Thornhill and the legation keeper,
Sergeant R. Herring.

The military guard consisted of Senior Captain B. M. Strouts,
Captains Halliday and E. Wray, Sergeants J. Murphy, A. E. Saunders
and J. Preston; four corporals, one bugler, one armorer, and one
hospital steward, with sixty-eight privates. They had one Nordenfeldt
quick-firing gun. The greater part of the civilians serving as
volunteers also served under Captain Poole in the British legation.

When the siege commenced, the western side at the south end of the
compound, which adjoined a lot of Chinese buildings, was a most
vulnerable point, which the natives readily discovered, and a number of
vigorous attempts to set fire to the legation were made by firing these
buildings, so that a fire-brigade was organized under B. G. Tours and
Tweed, of the volunteers, to fight this dangerous form of attack.

During one of these fires in the first few days of the siege, Captain
Halliday led a brilliant rush through a hole knocked in the wall,
and drove off the attacking party, killing over twenty of them.
Unfortunately Captain Halliday was severely wounded by a shot through
the lungs, which rendered him helpless, and lost to the besieged the
services of a brave and kindly officer.

The British marines took part in the expedition to the Boxer rendezvous
and the taking of the city wall, where Sergeant Murphy distinguished
himself as the leader after the fall of Captain Myers. Brave Captain
Strouts, who was much loved by his men, was shot and mortally wounded
in the Su Wang Fu on July 16, while on a tour of inspection. Dr. G.
E. Morrison was injured by the same volley, and Colonel Shiba, who
was with them, narrowly escaped, several bullets passing through his

The British legation compound being of such dimensions, necessitated
a larger guard for lookouts than any other one place. Notwithstanding
this, men were daily detached for duty with the Americans on the city
wall, and to help Colonel Shiba in the Su Wang Fu. A barricade was
built across the moat connecting the legation with the Fu, and thus the
men could cross without being seen from the north bridge just under the
Forbidden City walls, where a strong force of the enemy was posted.
To replace these detachments sent out, the civilian volunteers were
largely called upon, and rendered excellent service.

Sir Claude MacDonald, after the death of Captain Strouts, assumed
command of the garrison, and directed some of the outposts of other
nationals; but the French and Germans denied his authority at their
outposts, and controlled their own movements. Captain Poole was in
charge of the international volunteers within the British legation
and had command of the north stables, north wall, Hanlin Yuan, and
students’ quarters. He led one expedition into the carriage-park, a
large tract of land which came close to the legation on the northwest
side of our enclosure.


This will serve to locate the various buildings pictured elsewhere.]

As will be seen from the accompanying diagram of the British legation,
the eastern side and the southern side required no watches kept so long
as the Japanese retained possession of the Su Wang Fu and the Russians
and Americans held the wall and Legation street. But the Hanlin Yuan
in the north and the entire western wall covered long stretches of
space that required a constant watch to be kept, as the Chinese were
intrenched in numerous and heavy barricades in their front, from which
they maintained a constant fire from rifles, Krupp guns and smooth-bore

Until the 18th of July the cannons boomed from morning until night,
sending their solid shot and shrieking shells into our midst, tearing
the brick houses to pieces, and crushing the tiles on the roof to fine
powder, at the same time sending their fragments in every direction.
The very shortness of range prevented their dropping with any force,
and saved us much damage; and when the muzzles of their pieces were
raised to pass over the first row of buildings, which they had failed
to batter down, the projectiles flew harmlessly over our heads.

The building that has suffered most has been the constable’s house,
in the south stables. This place has borne the brunt of most of the
attacks made upon the British legation and is literally converted into
a sieve.

Under the direction of Mr. F. D. Gamewell all the walls of the legation
have been so strengthened, often to a thickness of eight feet, that one
is perfectly safe behind them, except at the loopholes, and in these
large bricks are kept, except when the openings are being used for
observation or firing.

The Chinese have been remarkably bad marksmen, and have usually fired
by holding their guns up so that the point barely projected above their
barricades, and then, pressing the trigger, immediately withdrawing the
gun, having never ventured their lives in the least. But this method of
firing does no damage. Thousands upon thousands of bullets have been
sent whistling far over our heads. Doubtless when we hear the history
of the outside we will learn of hundreds having been killed and wounded
a long way from the legation district.

[Illustration: A Chinese cart]

On July 5 Mr. David Oliphant, of the legation staff, while serving
in the Hanlin Yuan, was shot in the abdomen and died from shock and
internal hemorrhage in about an hour. Brief mention of his death has
previously been made. He was born on July 12, 1876, and had been three
years in the consular service. Passing first in his examination, he
soon showed a special aptitude for acquiring the Chinese language, so
much so that when he finished his term of student interpreter he was
retained to work as consular assistant in the chancery of the British

Here his services have been appreciated most highly by those under whom
he worked, and his loss is a most grievous blow to all those who came
officially in contact with him.

He was one of the most promising of the younger members of the British
consular service, with which he was further connected in the person of
his uncle, Mr. R. M. Mansfield, H. B. M. consul at Amoy. During his
stay in Peking, David Oliphant had endeared himself to all who knew his
exceptionally even temper, readiness to oblige, and active mind. In
sport he was the leading spirit and manager, and he will be practically
impossible to replace in this capacity.

When the siege began he was among the first to go forward in the
defense of the legations. Untiringly he worked at fortifications,
vigilantly he watched at night. When a portion of the Hanlin Yuan was
occupied he was specially detailed for service there, and took part in
several brilliant raids in connection with the occupation.

It was while cutting down a tree here in an advanced position that he
was struck down by the enemy’s bullet, and his promising career cut
short. He died in the arms of his elder brother, Nigel Oliphant, of the
Imperial Bank of China. He is deeply and sincerely mourned by all who
knew him.

Another young man, Mr. H. Warren, student-interpreter, while on duty in
the Su Wang Fu, on July 16, was struck by a shell in the face; he was
very badly injured and died in a few hours.



[Illustration: August F. Chamot]

THE Austro-Hungarian detachment consisted of thirty bluejackets from
the cruiser Zenta. They arrived in Peking on June 3 by the last train,
together with the German detachment. Lieutenant T. Kollar was in
command, with Midshipman Baron R. Boyneburg von Lengsfeld and T. Mayer.
With the detachment arrived also Captain Thomann von Montalmar and
Lieutenant Ritter von Winterhalter, so that there were five officers
and thirty men at Peking. When communication was cut Captain Montalmar
took command himself.

In the legation there were only Dr. A. von Rosthorn and Mrs. von
Rosthorn, the minister having left on leave in April and Vice-consul
Natiesta being sick at Shanghai. His successor, Mr. Gottwald, tried to
come up in the relief expedition under Admiral Seymour. The detachment
guarded also the Belgian legation until the Belgian minister left
there, and came to the Austrian legation on June 16.

On June 13, a Boxer attack on the new mint and the Imperial Bank of
China was checked by rifle-fire from the east corner of the legation.
A second attack was made at night and was also repulsed. During the
search following the unsuccessful attack, several Boxers were killed a
few hundred yards to the north on Customs street.

The next day the traffic on the Chang An street crossing Customs street
was stopped by an outpost, and later on by a wire fence, in order to
prevent the smuggling of disguised Boxers into the legation quarter.

During the night the guard at the Belgian legation was attacked, but
beat off the Chinese. A patrol caught some suspicious people, who were
handed over to the Chinese authorities. A part of the French detachment
assisted them in their night watches at the barracks.

On June 20, the detachment was ready for marching, to escort Dr. and
Mrs. von Rosthorn, as no notice had been given to Dr. von Rosthorn of
the ministers’ new decision not to leave. On arriving, about 3 P.M., at
the French legation, Dr. von Rosthorn was shown by Mr. Pichon a letter
from the tsung-li-yamen to the ministers, promising them protection.
Upon this, Dr. von Rosthorn returned with the detachment to the
Austrian legation.

While all the posts were being reoccupied, and the bluejackets began to
re-erect the fortifications, which had been pulled down before leaving
to prevent the Chinese from using them, Tung Fu Hsiang’s soldiers, who
were well hidden in the neighboring houses, opened a fierce firing from
two sides at about 3.30 P.M.

The Austrian legation being entirely exposed, and untenable against any
serious attack, it had been understood that the _chargé d’affaires_ and
the detachment were to retreat to the French legation. This was done
under a galling fire, but there was only one man wounded.

The Austrians immediately hastened to a position in the barrier erected
by the French some one hundred yards south of the customs compound.
From that day they defended with the French the French legation.

The Austrian legation, after having been looted, was burned by the
Chinese on June 21. On June 22, the fire extended to the houses on both
sides of the barricade, and the latter had to be left. Another one
was built near the corner of Customs and Legation streets commanding
Customs street.

On June 22, owing to a false alarm, the Italian, French, and German
legations were left, but were almost immediately reinhabited, with the
exception of the Italian legation, which was already burning, as was
also their wall of defense commanding the east end of Legation street.

From that date Captain von Montalman directed the fighting of both the
French and the German legations, Sir Claude MacDonald having at that
time been elected by the ministers as their commander-in-chief.

The attacks on the French legation were, from the beginning, extremely
vehement, as the Chinese fully recognized the high importance of its
position. Had it been lost, the German legation, the Hotel de Peking,
and the Su Wang Fu would have been no longer tenable. The Austrians
shared in all the various services which the garrison of the French
legation had to perform. A strong barricade was built to command East
Legation street, and a sort of block-house was erected at the main gate.

Together with the French and Germans several successful dashes were
made in the neighborhood, killing and wounding a number of Chinese each

On June 24 a detachment under Midshipman William Boyneburg took part
with the Germans in storming the city wall, which enabled the Americans
to reoccupy their former position on the top. The Austrians constantly
reinforced the Germans on the wall-front to the east, and after the
26th of June constantly had five men assisting Colonel Shiba at the
Su Wang Fu. Their machine-gun did excellent service as long as the
position behind the barricades could be maintained, and after this was
given up it was sent from time to time to Russian, German, and English
legations as needed.

When the French legation was under the hottest fires from north,
east, and south, only the western side being protected by the other
legations, the French took the northern and the Austrians the southern
line of defense, and were each under constant rifle-shot at only
twenty-five yards’ range. This they endured for weeks. On June 29 the
Chinese succeeded in making a break in the eastern wall on Customs
street, and set fire to the French legation stables; but they had not
sufficient courage to follow up the advantage gained with a rush. But
this necessitated relinquishing the barrier in the southern end of
Customs street and easternmost line of cover in Legation street, the
garrisons being under rear and flank fire.

The Chinese were gaining daily, or rather nightly, in making the
breaches in the eastern wall larger and more numerous, until they had
nearly razed the entire structure. Yet they gained no great advantage,
owing to the breaches being so well covered from the windows of
buildings and temporary defenses in the western part of the compound.

The fatigue endured by our people was most extraordinary. From July
1 daily shelling was endured, which riddled the roofs and walls of
every building in the compound, until the principal building and main
gateway, an imposing structure, were utterly demolished and became a
pile of ruins.

On the 8th of July the Chinese brought into position at about eighty
yards’ distance a three-inch Krupp gun, from which they commenced to
pour in a destructive fire on the eastern wall. Captain Von Thornburg,
with Captain Labrousse and Lieutenants Darcy and Kollar, all anxious
to locate this gun exactly, left their main barricade and proceeded to
a spot behind a low loopholed wall in their front, but had scarcely
arrived when a shell burst in their midst, a fragment of which pierced
Von Thornburg through the heart, causing him to fall dead into the arms
of his friends. He was sorrowfully carried to the rear, and at 2 P.M.
was buried with military honors, although the bullets were falling
thick around those who were thus honoring their comrade and leader. The
tears of sympathy on this occasion evidenced the sorrow of the men,
and the general esteem in which the fallen had been held.

After the death of Captain Von Thornburg, the command of the Austrians
devolved upon Lieutenant Von Winterhalter.

On July 13, at 6:45 P.M., the Chinese made a furious attack, commencing
with rifle-fire and shouts of “Kill! Kill!” This was intended to draw
all the defenders into their positions, and nearly succeeded, for after
a few moments the rifle-fire suddenly ceased and two mines exploded
with a great report, blowing up Mr. Morisse’s house, where Dr. Von
Rosthorn, Lieutenant Darcy, and Mr. Destelan, with four French sailors,
were stationed. Two of the sailors were never recovered, but all the
others were able to extricate themselves from the ruins with but slight

Earth, stones, and dust were thrown high into the air, clouds of
heavy, sulphurous smoke rose from the hole in the ground, poisoning
the dust-laden air, and, at the same moment, to add to the horror of
the situation, two three-inch guns opened up on the main gate house,
sending in their contingent of iron hail from a distance of only eighty

This explosion compelled both the Austrians and French to retire about
thirty yards eastward behind a cover they had already partly erected
in preparation for a stubbornly contested retreat; but upon the
shell-fire ceasing, the combined forces made a rush later on, drove the
Chinese out of the main gateway, and reoccupied it.

Never in history has there been a more stubbornly contested few
acres than those occupied by the Austrians and French in the French
legation compound. The buildings, however, taking fire, the French were
compelled to retire again behind their intrenchment in the western part
of the garden, the Austrians retreating to the chapel and earthworks
connecting with the _Pavilion des Etrangers_, a small building with
very thin walls. One small house was burned by the Austrians to prevent
the Chinese from using it against them.

At first this entire new line of defense was very weak, but it was
rapidly strengthened by adding bricks and sand-bags. Yet even to the
end all visitors considered it a very precarious defense. One American
marine remarked, “Our place is bad enough, but this is worse.”

As the Chinese barricaded themselves in the western part of the
legation captured by them, they also made use of the shrubbery and
trees to shield their force, and these the Austrians had to clear away
under hot fire. Until July 17, day and night, the enemy in the opposite
barriers poured in a steady fire, which the Austrians only returned by
an occasional shot, as their ammunition had to be husbanded.

The so-called truce did not last very long, for on the 23d the firing
was nearly as bad as before, and at night often worse. To cut off any
further mines, a trench sixty yards long and ten feet deep was dug
in front of the _Pavilion des Etrangers_. As was afterward seen, the
Chinese had really attempted two further mines, but for some unknown
reason had given up before they were completed.

On the last night of the siege the firing in the French legation, as
everywhere else, was exceedingly hot, and, although two shells burst in
the chapel, no one was injured.

The Austrians lost: killed, one officer, three bluejackets; wounded,
three officers, eight bluejackets. Of the 10,000 rounds of ammunition
brought to Peking 2,000 were used by the men, and 2,000 by the
machine-gun. The shield of the machine-gun shows the marks of having
been struck by rifle-balls some fifty-odd times.

       *       *       *       *       *

No story of the siege in Peking would be complete without mention of
the work of August Chamot and his heroic wife. He is a Swiss, and in
Peking has charge of the Hotel de Peking for Messrs. Tallieu & Co. His
wife is a San Francisco girl.

When every other woman in Peking left her home and repaired to the
British legation, Mrs. Chamot remained by her husband, with a rifle
in her hand, and took her regular hours of watching at the loopholes
of the barricade erected across Legation street, between the Hotel
de Peking and the German legation. Mr. Chamot started a bakery in
his hotel, and daily had the Chinese bake hundreds of loaves of good
brown bread, with which he supplied many hungry mouths at the English,
French, and German legations.

There is no building left standing in Peking that has as many
shell-holes in it as the northern two-story building of this hotel. Any
one visiting the structure immediately after the relief, and before the
débris had been at all cleared, would scarcely believe that a brave
American woman had lived there for sixty days unharmed. Her hairbreadth
escapes were every-day occurrences. When the Belgian party were
surrounded in Chang Hsin Tien, before the close siege commenced, Mr.
and Mrs. Chamot, with a small party armed with rifles, went out from
Peking and rescued them.

They were in several sorties to the north cathedral before the close
siege, and in many more after the close siege had begun. Every day they
were under fire in crossing the bridge between their hotel and the
British legation, as they brought over the bread that was so eagerly
looked for.

[Illustration: Madame Chamot, the heroine of the siege]

After some shells had burst in the baking-room, and killed one and
severely wounded others of the Chinese bakers, Mrs. Chamot, rifle in
hand, held the coolies to their work while her husband served with the

Mr. Chamot was wounded in the hand by a Boxer spear, but never lost ten
minutes’ work on that account, going around with his hand tied up, and
yet using it whenever occasion required. His bravery was to the point
of recklessness, and the wonder is he was not killed. That his country
and other nations, especially the French, will substantially recognize
his services is surely to be expected.



[Illustration: An attendant to a Confucian priest]

WHILE we were besieged in the legations we were quite unaware of
anything going on in the city outside of us until July 18, after the
so-called truce, when we paid a native a large sum to smuggle into
the compound copies of the Peking “Gazette,” the government organ,
of the dates of June 13 to July 19, inclusive. The translations of
such parts as relate to the Boxers or foreigners that follow show:
first, the duplicity of the Empress in apparently trying to suppress
the Boxers prior to the declaration of war, June 19; second, her open
encouragement in edicts from that date until the defeat of her armies
at Tientsin under Generals Sung Ching, Ma Yu Kun and Nieh Shih Cheng,
July 17; and third, her immediate turning around and attempting to
curry favor by denouncing the Boxers in the edicts of July 18 and 19.
While trying her best to murder all the foreign ministers, she was
having her own ministers abroad inform the countries to whom they were
accredited that the foreign ministers were perfectly safe here.

The edicts speak for themselves, and are an eloquent appeal to the
foreign powers never to allow this most treacherous woman, or any other
Manchu for that matter, to occupy the throne of China.

 “June 13—Edict: Two days since a member of the Japanese legation, the
 clerk in chancery, was murdered by desperadoes [her own soldiers in
 government uniform] outside the Yung Ting gate. We were exceedingly
 grieved to learn of this.

 “The officials of our neighboring nations on duty in Peking should
 receive our protection in every possible way, particularly in such
 times as the present [when we are planning to kill them all at once],
 when every exertion must be used, because desperadoes are as thick as

 “We have repeatedly commanded the various local officials to
 secure the most perfect quiet in their districts, yet in spite of
 these orders we have this case of murder of the Japanese chancellor
 occurring in the very capital of the Empire.

 “The civil and military officials have been too remiss in not clearing
 their districts of bad characters, or arresting the proper persons,
 so we hereby set a limit of time for the arrest and punishment of
 such criminals [time not stated]. Should the time expire without a
 successful search for the guilty, then the responsible official will
 be given a penalty. [In other words, if the murderer of the Japanese
 is not discovered before we drive all the foreigners out, and the plot
 fails because of this premature murder giving it away, somebody will
 have to pay for it.]”

 “Edict No. 2: The Boxer desperadoes have recently been causing trouble
 in the neighborhood of the capital, and finally Peking has become

 “We have a number of times issued edicts in explicit terms ordering
 the military commanders on duty near the capital to put an end to
 these disturbances. Notwithstanding which, cases of murder and arson
 are reported, and bad characters are circulating malicious rumors
 under pretense that they are only revenging themselves on converts.

 “The result is that our good soldiers have become involved, and do
 not hesitate to disregard our commands; at the same time they believe
 these men leagued together to commit arson and murder, and suffer
 themselves to be misled by them.


Among the notable buildings that were destroyed by the Boxers was the
Imperial University of Peking. To the noble work performed within its
walls can be attributed much of the rapid rise of the “progressive” or
“New China” party, with whom the Emperor seemed to be so thoroughly in
accord until his power was subordinated to that of the Empress.]

 “Good citizens most of all desire to stimulate patriotism, and one
 would like to know when in the history of the world has there ever
 been a strong nation made so by condoning anarchy among the people.
 We know, since investigating, that among the ranks of the Boxers there
 are many bandits and desperadoes, who have vied with one another in
 disgraceful acts of looting and robbery.


The Hall of Classics, in the Forbidden City, Peking—a beautiful

 “We have already ordered Kang Yi and others to proceed to the various
 country districts, and acquaint each and all with our virtuous
 intentions, so that there may be tranquillity. Let Boxers who have
 already entered into league disband and be quiet. It is obvious that
 the various cases of robbery and murder which have occurred are the
 work of traitors.

 “We shall believe no man a bad citizen unless caught red-handed in
 crime. But really bad characters must be rooted out, and from now on
 no mercy will be shown such. We order General Sung Ching to command
 General Ma Yu Kun to come with all speed to the capital, and make
 strenuous efforts to arrest all desperadoes in the region about
 Peking. It is important that only ringleaders be seized, but the
 subordinates may be allowed to scatter.

 “It is strictly forbidden that the military make use of this as a
 means of causing trouble. Our hope is that the land may be cleared of
 traitors, and the country be at peace.”

This edict really means that Ma Yu Kun was to come to Peking, to seize
converts, and his soldiers were to avoid any conflict with the Boxers.

 “June 19: Recently there has grown up much dissension between the
 people generally and the Christian converts. Rumors of all kinds have
 been rife, and irresponsible people have seized the opportunity to
 burn and rob.

 “It is certain that the foreign ministers ought to be protected.
 [Which means the rumors were that they were to be murdered with
 government sanction.]

 “Yung Lu is ordered to detail his own soldiers and exert his authority
 in person in east Legation street and vicinity to secure their
 protection. He must not be lax.

 “Should the foreign ministers and their families prefer to temporarily
 retire to Tientsin, he must see they are protected en route [when
 Baron von Ketteler left the legation walls the following day to visit
 the tsung-li-yamen he was murdered by these ‘protection guards’]; but
 as the railway is not now in working, and if they go by cart-road
 it would be difficult to secure their safety, they would do better
 perhaps to abide here in peace as heretofore [we had been under fire
 for six days at intervals] until the railroad is repaired, and then
 act as they see fit. Respect this.”

 “June 21.—Edict: From the foundation of this dynasty, foreigners in
 China have always been kindly treated. [A tremendous lie.]

 “In Tao Kuang and Hsien Feng’s time they were granted the privilege of
 trading, and they then asked permission to propagate their religion,
 which request was reluctantly granted. At first they were submissive
 to Chinese control, but for the last thirty years they have taken
 advantage of China’s forbearance to encroach on our territory and
 trample our people under foot while demanding our wealth.

 “Every concession made by China only increased their reliance upon
 force. They constantly oppressed the people, insulted the gods and
 sages, and so caused the most burning indignation among the populace.
 Hence came about the burning of the chapels and slaughter of converts
 by the patriotic militia [the Boxers].

 “The throne was anxious to avoid conflict, and issued edicts ordering
 the protection of the legations and enjoining pity for the converts.
 Boxers and converts were declared equally the children of the empire
 in our decrees, in the hope of obliterating the existing feud between

 “Extreme kindness was shown to the foreigners from a distance. But
 these foreigners knew no gratitude, and increased their demands.

 “A dispatch was yesterday received, sent by the French consul, Du
 Chaylard, calling on us to deliver into their care the Taku forts,
 otherwise they would take them by force. This threat showed their
 aggressive spirit.

 “We have in all matters of international intercourse always shown
 ourselves courteous in the extreme. But they, calling themselves
 civilized states, have disregarded right and are relying solely upon

 “We have reigned now nearly thirty years, treating our subjects
 as our children, and being honored by them as a deity, and, too,
 we have been the constant recipient of the gracious favor of the
 Empress Dowager. [This edict pretends to come from the Emperor alone,


One of the most imposing temples of China; perhaps the most important,
since it was the Emperor’s place of worship before he abandoned the

 “Moreover, our ancestors and the gods have answered our prayer, so
 that there has never been as at present such a universal manifestation
 of loyalty and patriotism.

 “We have, with tears, announced a war in our ancestral shrine, because
 we feel it is better to commence a struggle than to seek further means
 of self-protection, involving as it does eternal disgrace.

 “All our officials, high and low, are of the same mind, and there have
 assembled without our call several hundred thousand patriotic militia
 [Boxers], with many who are yet but children, glad to carry a spear in
 defense of their country [young ruffians who looted and murdered all
 the respectable native residents as well as officials who did not fly
 from Peking before the Boxers entered in any numbers].

[Illustration: Taouist Temple of ten thousand gods in Nanking]

 “The foreigners rely upon crafty schemes, but our trust is in
 heaven’s justice. They depend on violence, we on humanity [such as
 killing women and children by the hundreds at the south cathedral],
 not to speak of the righteousness of our cause.

 “Our provinces are more than twenty in number, our population over
 400,000,000; so it will not be difficult to vindicate our dignity.”

The decree further requests people with money to subscribe assistance,
promising official recognition for it, and also offers large rewards
for those who distinguish themselves in action, as well as threats for
those who are dilatory or cowardly, urging all to exert themselves
continually in the good work—exterminating alike foreigners and

 “June 24.—Decree: Yesterday shops and residences in Tung Tan Pailou
 street and Ch’ang Au street were looted by militia with arms [Boxers].
 This is a serious matter, so we ordered Yung Lu to depute officers to
 arrest the offenders. Eleven from one division and twenty-three from
 another division were arrested and executed on the spot, the public
 witnessing the executions.

 “We now command the general officers of the various divisions to give
 strict orders to their subordinates that the braves are to be kept
 in order. Should these occurrences be repeated, martial law will be
 declared. If the officers commanding screen the offenders, instead of
 rigorously enforcing the laws, they will be examined, and if found
 guilty severely punished.

[Illustration: Typical Peking beggars]

 “The military governor of the city is hereby commanded to arrest all
 desperadoes creating disturbances and execute them on the spot. Show
 no mercy.”

 A second decree, same date, says:

 “The board of revenue is hereby ordered to give Kang Yi two hundred
 bags of rice as provisions for distribution among the Boxers.”

 A third decree:

 “Members of our people comprised in the Boxer organization are
 scattered in all parts of the region around the metropolis and
 Tientsin, and it is right they should have superintendents over
 them. We appoint, therefore, Prince Chuang and Assistant Grand
 Secretary Kung Yi to be in general command, and also order Ying Nien
 brigade-general of the left wing, and Tsai Lan, temporarily acting as
 a brigade commander of the right wing, to act in coöperation with them.

 “We command Wen Yui, adjutant-general of the Manchu army, to be a

 “All members of the Boxer society are exerting their utmost
 energies for the imperial family, so we must not be behind them in
 harboring hatred and revenge for our enemies. It is our confident
 hope and desire that the wishes of each and all may be successfully
 consummated, and to this end it is important that every energy be put
 forth, nothing lacking. Respect this.”

 “June 27.—Edict: An edict appeared yesterday directing, as a stimulus
 to exertion, discriminating rewards to be given to the various
 army corps that have distinguished themselves [by looting?] in the
 metropolitan district. Now that the left wing of the army, under
 command of Sung Ching, have in sectional divisions marched to the
 capital, let 100,000 taels be equally divided among the men, and let
 the men be fully instructed that they are to keep good order in the

An edict was also issued commanding the viceroy of Chihli to retake
if possible the Taku forts, and to prevent the foreign troops (the
allied armies) from creeping northward. Also another ordering the
distribution of 100,000 taels each to the Boxers and troops throughout
the Metropolitan district.

 “June 28.—Edict: A censor of the central city memorializes the throne
 requesting the distribution of government rice. He observes that the
 patriotic Boxers had recently been slaying and burning the converts,
 and that the markets are greatly disturbed, so that not only the lower
 classes have lost their means of livelihood, but some of the middle
 classes are also suffering want. Rather than allow the ranks of the
 criminal classes to be swollen, let a distribution of food be made by
 imperial bounty.

 “Referring to various precedents, he asks imperial authority for the
 issue of rice, and that 2,000 taels silver be allowed for expenses.

 “He states that on the night of the 16th of June there was a fire in
 the neighborhood of the Chien Men, accompanied by pillage, and much
 alarm created. Officials took to flight and shops closed. On the
 21st of June an inn in the native city was robbed, and nine persons
 were caught and beheaded on the spot. On the 25th (Sunday), villains
 pretending to be soldiers surrounded an official’s residence in
 Second street near the inspectorate-general of customs [probably
 Marquis Tseng’s] and entirely stripped it, shooting wantonly three


In their wedding finery. The familiar geranium between shows that the
Chinese have our flowers.]

 “Memorialist and his colleagues will do their best to keep order;
 but he requests that the throne direct the imperial princes and high
 officers in command of the Boxers to order arrested any brigands
 committing robberies. And that the same princes and high officers
 who command soldiers should see that amongst their corps also there
 are no false soldiers acting in their true character as bandits,
 committing acts of pillage.”

 “June 28.—A censor having complained of acts of brigandage in the
 capital, we hereby command the princes and ministers in command of the
 Boxers to instruct their subordinates to arrest all guilty parties and
 execute them on the spot.”

 “July 1.—Edict: General preparations are being made for war. Owing
 to telegraphic communication being interrupted, the courier service,
 which has fallen into disuse, must be revived. Yu Lu, viceroy of
 Chihli, is directed to send out courier spies in every direction to
 obtain exact information of the movements of our enemies.”

 On the same date a second edict says:

 “The members of the Boxer society began by taking as their motto,
 ‘Loyalty and courage.’ We consequently expected they would do great
 service in expelling the oppressors. But Peking and vicinity has
 witnessed many acts of wanton pillage and murder by bad characters
 pretending to be Boxers. If no strict distinction is drawn, internal
 dissension will be added to foreign war, and the state of the country
 will be unenviable.

 “Tsai Hsun, in charge of the Boxers, is hereby ordered to keep the
 members of his organization in strict subjection to discipline, and to
 expel pretenders who are in the ranks only to make trouble. Bodies of
 brigands, of no matter what name, must be dealt with as brigands and
 have no mercy shown them.”

 “July 27.—Edict: From the time of the propagation of foreign
 religions up to the present, there has been much ill-feeling
 between converts and non-converts. This is all the result of faulty
 administration on the part of the local officials, which has given
 rise to lasting feuds.

 “The fact remains that converts are still the children of the empire,
 and among them are undoubtedly some good, worthy people, only they
 have been led into error by false doctrines, having been misled by
 the missionaries, and have committed many misdeeds. They still hold
 to their false beliefs, and an irreconcilable hatred has sprung up
 between the people and the converts.

[Illustration: Two singing girls of Peking]

 “The throne is now recommending every Boxer to render loyal and
 patriotic service against the enemies of his country, so that the
 whole population may be of one mind.

 “We now state that the converts are, equally with Boxers, subjects,
 and must follow the rules laid down for all or be destroyed. If
 they will change their tenets and recant, we can see no reason why
 they should not be allowed to escape the net. The viceroys and
 governor-generals are therefore enjoined to issue the following
 proclamation: ‘All converts who recant their former errors, and give
 themselves up to the authorities, shall be allowed to reform, and the
 past shall be ignored. The public must be notified of this and each
 case will be settled by the local officials, according to regulations
 to be promulgated later on.’

 [A nice trap to find out all the converts and exterminate them.]

 “As hostilities have now commenced between China and the foreign
 nations, the missionaries must be driven away at once, so that
 they may give no trouble. But it is necessary that they be granted
 protection _en route_. The provincial authorities must attend to all
 such within their jurisdiction. Let this be done speedily and with no

 “July 8.—Edict: The posts about Tientsin are of extreme importance,
 and troops are being massed there for their defense. The seventy-two
 fire companies, aggregating over 10,000 men, all animated by a spirit
 of patriotism, would, if united to the Boxers, greatly swell the
 strength of our opposition and surely turn the edge of the enemy.
 Respect this.”

 “July.—Edict: We appoint Li Hung Chang viceroy of Chihli and
 superintendent of northern trade [the G. O. M.’s old post]. As the
 guarding of Tientsin is now of utmost importance, we direct that until
 Li Hung Chang’s arrival Yu Lu, in concert with Prince Ching, consult
 as to the best measures to be taken. Pending the change of officials,
 there must be no slackening of responsibility.”

The edict of July 12 relates the conduct of General Nieh Shih Cheng,
commanding the foreign-drilled troops from Lu Tai, and censures him,
but states he died bravely at the head of his soldiers on July 11.

On July 15 Tung Fang, acting governor of Shansi, in a memorial, quotes
the following decree transmitted to him by the privy council on June


This picture shows the common method of transportation in vogue in the
Chinese cities of to-day; but with the opening of China to western
influences the modern electric car will doubtless supersede this
conveyance, and, like many other picturesque but antiquated features of
the country, it will be relegated to the past.]

 “A quarrel has broken out between China and foreign nations, and it
 is difficult to see how matters can be arranged. The viceroys and
 governors have all been the recipients of imperial favor, and it is
 now their manifest duty to use every effort to make return, and to
 lay before us the detail according to the respective circumstances
 of their several provinces, schemes for the selection of generals,
 drilling of soldiers, and plans for properly paying them. They must
 also suggest plans for safeguarding the borders of the country from
 the aggression of foreigners, as well as see that reinforcements
 be sent to the aid of the capital in order that no harm befall the
 dynasty. It is very plain that the situation hinges on the zealous
 united coöperation of the viceroys and governors that the situation
 be saved. It is our earnest expectation that full assistance will be
 given, as is needed in a crisis of this importance. This decree must
 be published everywhere with the speed its nature demands.”

 “July 18.—Edict: [Commencing now to hedge, and to negotiate with
 the foreign ministers still penned up in the British legation. This
 is after the defeat of the imperial armies at Tientsin]. The reason
 for the fighting between China and foreign nations sprung from a
 disagreement between the people and the Christian converts. [That
 is, the Christian converts objected to being murdered and pillaged
 wholesale by their heathen neighbors.]

 “We could but enter upon war when the Taku forts were taken.
 Nevertheless, the government is not willing lightly to break off the
 friendly relations which have existed. We have repeatedly issued
 orders to protect the ministers of the various countries, and have
 also ordered the protection of missionaries in the various provinces.

[Illustration: Native wheelbarrow—Tientsin]

 “The fighting has not yet been very extensive, and there are still
 many merchants of the various countries within our domains. All alike
 should be protected.

 “It is hereby ordered that the generals and governors shall find
 out wherever there still exist merchants or missionaries, and still
 protect them according to the provisions of the treaties without the
 least carelessness. [For nearly a month after this the Empress kept
 ministers, missionaries, and merchants under the almost constant fire
 of her troops within two miles of her residence, where she could not
 but hear every gun fired at them.]

 “Last month the chancellor of the Japanese legation was killed. This
 was most unexpected. Before the case was settled, the German minister
 was killed. Suddenly meeting this affair caused us great grief. We
 ought rigorously to seek the murderers and punish them.

 “Excepting the fighting at Tientsin, the prefect of Shun Tien Fu, with
 the governor-general of this province, must command the officers
 under them to examine what foreigners have been causelessly killed,
 and what property destroyed, and report the same, that all may be
 settled together.

 “The vagabonds who have been burning houses, robbing, and killing
 these many days have produced a terrible state of chaos. We order that
 the viceroy and military officials clearly ascertain the circumstances
 and unite in reducing confusion to order. Promulgate this decree in
 such manner that all may know.”

[Illustration: Group of natives, Su Chan Gardens]

 “July 19.—Extract from a memorial by Chang Shun: ‘Your slave has
 examined into what has happened recently in the whole region south of
 the imperial domain in stirring up trouble that has resulted in the
 destruction of railways and telegraphs, and a morbid chaotic madness
 seems to possess the masses. Lately a telegram arrived saying warships
 of all nations had arrived, opened war, captured the Taku forts, and
 Tientsin was in extreme peril. The Boxers are responsible for all
 this trouble. The whole world has witnessed our sorrowful condition,
 troubles alike within and without. The hundreds of millions of taels
 of silver gathered from three provinces to erect the railroads have
 been wiped out completely in the destruction of the road by the Boxers
 in the twinkling of an eye. Who is responsible for the Boxers?”
 [Answer—The Empress Dowager and Prince Tuan, both befooled by General
 Tung Fu Hsiang.]

 “July 28.—Yung Lu is granted the privilege of riding in a sedan chair
 with two bearers within the walls of the imperial palace and inside of
 the Wan gate.”



[Illustration: One of the many famous temple gates with which China

AND NOW what? Peking has been relieved, the city is full of soldiers of
the allied armies, the Empress and her court have fled westward, and
the capital has fallen.

Will China be partitioned and divided among her conquerors, or will she
be allowed to exist as China under another monarch?

Russia undoubtedly wants immediate possession of Manchuria and
Chihli, with, very likely, Shansi and Shensi. Japan is quite amenable
to further additions to her own territory, and England, although
disclaiming any covetous feeling, is believed by a great many of her
friends, and all of her enemies, to desire control of the Yangtze

Germany, France, and Italy are all discussing the slice that they
desire, and only Uncle Sam has finished his task and wants to go home.

But is his task finished? What about the missionaries murdered in
Paoting Fu? Since being relieved, we have heard of the murder, with
shocking mutilation, at Paoting Fu, of Mr. and Mrs. Simcox and their
three children, of Dr. George Yardley Taylor, of Dr. and Mrs. Hodge,
of Mr. Bagnall and his family, of Mr. Pitkin, Miss Morrill, and Miss
Gould. Is Paoting Fu to be allowed to remain on the face of the earth?

And what about Yu Hsien, governor now of Shansi, who had all the
foreigners in his province brought into his yamen and murdered before
his eyes? Is he to live? No, never. If there exists in America to-day
one individual who counsels the return of the troops until the atoning
blood of all the leaders and instigators of this awful crime has been
poured out, may he be cursed forever.

The work is not yet complete. The Empress Dowager, Prince Tuan, Prince
Chuang, Yu Hsien, Tung Fu Hsiang, Chung Chi, Chung Li, Hsu Tung, Kang
Yi, Chi Hsiu, Duke Lan, and Na Tung must each and all be brought to the
block, with as many of their followers as possible, before the blood of
innocent American women and children will cease to cry from the ground
for vengeance on their savage, bloody murderers.

Then and only then let America claim indemnity for the property of her
citizens that has been destroyed, and retire from the carcass that the
other nations will undoubtedly fight over.

If China is to be partitioned, it may injure our trade or it may
increase it, but it is not worth our fighting for, when we shall be
sure to obtain a great deal of it under any circumstances. It may be
best that our troops should remain here during the discussion of the
question, but they should not be used in any event.

It is easier to say what should not be done than what should. A few
“should nots” like the following will indicate perhaps what might be

 1. Boxer leaders should not be pardoned.

 2. Indemnities should not remain unpaid for years.

 3. Manchu banner pensions should not continue.

 4. Manchu sovereignty should not remain.

 5. Manchu governors should not continue in or hold office.

 6. Tribute rice should not be received.

 7. Imperial maritime customs should not at present be changed.

 8. An entirely native cabinet should not exist.

 9. Women’s feet should not be bound.

10. Cues should not be worn.

11. Christianity should not be forced on the people.

12. Priests and pastors should not be allowed in yamens.

13. Arms and weapons should not be imported, manufactured, or allowed
    to be owned by natives.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the present moment Boxers are practicing in all directions at a
distance of from twenty-five to thirty miles from Peking. All of the
leaders of the movement are at large, and Prince Ching has returned to
Peking to try and arrange a peace. Now what?

                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

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