The treaties following on these two wars have since been supplemented by other treaties opening still more ports, at some of which also adjoining plots of land have likewise been conceded, and our position in China to-day is founded on the accumulated result of these various agreements, which, above all things, guarantee us exterritoriality or exemption from Chinese jurisdiction, so that Europeans for whatever misdemeanours, are amenable only to their own consuls.
The Governor was pleased, he presented himself before the Chinese as the executor of our judgments, and at the same time we, to a certain extent, seemed to be conceding to the Chinese the principle of exterritoriality which we assert as against them.... I have no 'responsible ministers' here, though the presence of a colleague, and, since military operations began, the position of the naval and military Commanders-in-Chief, have required me to act with some caution, in order to make the wheels of the machine work smoothly and keep on the rails.
It is said that for the protection and control of their subjects, and indeed for the interest of the Chinese themselves, it is best that this measure should be taken. It is further contended that the stationing of police officers is but a corollary to the right of exterritoriality, and that it is in no way a derogation of Chinese sovereignty. This leaves the matter in no doubt.
As to the legal contention that the right of police control is a natural corollary to the right of exterritoriality, it must be said that ever since the grant of consular jurisdiction to foreigners by China in her first treaties, this is the first time that such a claim has been seriously put forward.
It was Japan who had exposed the weakness of the giant, but her victory had been so easy that her own strength was as yet untested. Japan had come of age in 1894 when, following the example of Great Britain, the various powers had released her from the obligation of exterritoriality imposed upon her by treaties when their subjects were unwilling to trust themselves to her courts.
We can only say that if this interpretation of exterritoriality is correct the other nations enjoying exterritoriality in China have been very neglectful in the assertion of their just rights. In the Chengchiatun case, the claim of establishing police boxes wherever the Japanese think necessary was made one of the demands.
In consequence of pending treaty negotiations the government had become particular about the privileges it granted. One of the first counter-moves to foreign insistence on exterritoriality was the restricting of passports to a fortnight's time.
I should be wanting in candour, however, if I were not to state that, in my opinion, the demands which you prefer involve, in some of their details and consequences, questions of considerable nicety. Christian nations claim for their subjects or citizens, who sojourn in the East under heathen Governments, privileges of exterritoriality.
We can only say that if this interpretation of exterritoriality is correct the other nations enjoying exteriorality in China have been very neglectful in the assertion of their just rights. In the Chengchiatun case, the claim of establishing police boxes wherever the Japanese think necessary was made one of the demands.
He thinks that international law prescribes the surrender of the slave; and that we should not try to evade this 'revolting' consequence by a fiction as to the 'exterritoriality' of a ship of war, which might lead to unforeseen and awkward results. We ought to admit that we are deliberately breaking the law, because we hold it to be unjust and desire its amendment.