In concluding my few remarks on this serious outbreak, the like of which it is to be hoped will not be seen again in this province, it is only fair to chronicle the excellent behavior of the Chinese officials and of the Viceroy of Yuen-nan in dealing with the situation. Although he is not, I believe, generally liked by the people as their ruler, Li Chin Hsi did all he could to quell the riots speedily, and saw to it that all the officials in whose districts the rebellion was raging, and who made blunders during its progress, were degraded in rank. It is difficult for Europeans thoroughly to grasp the situation. From Chao-t’ong to Yuen-nan-fu, the viceregal seat, is twelve days’ hard going, and all communication was done by telegraph—seemingly easy enough; but one must not discount the slow Chinese methods of doing things. Most of the troops were twelve days away, and in China—in backward Yuen-nan especially—to mobilize a thousand men and march them over mountains a fortnight from your base is not a thing to be done at a moment’s notice. By the time they would arrive, it might have been possible for all the foreigners to have been massacred and their premises demolished, especially as the exits were blocked on all sides. But no time was lost and no pains were saved; and although the Chao-t’ong foreign residents, who suffered in suspense more than most missionaries are called upon to suffer, may differ with me in this opinion, I believe that not one of the officials who took part in endeavors to keep the riots from assuming more actually dangerous proportions could have done more than was done. If a man neglected his duty he lost his button, and he deserved nothing else.
In Mr. P. O’Brien Butler, the able British Consul-General, the British subjects had the greatest confidence. He might have erred in having declined from harassing the Chinese Foreign Office to grant permission and protection to Britishers who wished to travel after the leaders of the rebellion had been captured, but he undoubtedly erred on the right side.
An unfortunate incident for the United Methodist missionaries was the fact that the Rev. Charles Stedeford, who was sent out by the Connexion to visit the whole of the mission fields, was able to come only so far as Tong-ch’uan-fu, and was forced to return to Europe without having seen any of the magnificent work among the Hua Miao.
After my manuscript went forward to my publishers, permission to travel and protection were granted to British subjects again on the main road leading up to the Yangtze Valley. The author was the first Britisher to go from Tong-ch’uan-fu to Chao-t’ong-fu, and as I write, as late as the middle of July, 1910, I am of the opinion that it is unwise to travel over this road for a long time to come, unless it is absolutely imperative to do so. At Kiang-ti I had considerable trouble in getting a place to sleep, and I was glad when I had passed Tao-ueen.