They have such an objection to strangers that no inn is allowed within the city walls, and no one from any other town is allowed to establish a shop.... When the telegraph line was first taken through here there was much commotion, and so determined was the opposition of the townspeople to this new-fangled means of communication that the telegraph office had to be put inside the colonel's yamen, the only place where it would be safe from destruction."
It was equally impossible to deposit the coffin in the yamen he was about to leave, for the new mandarin who was soon to arrive would certainly object to have the body of a stranger in such close proximity to his family. It might bring him bad luck, and his career as an official might end in disaster.
On January 5, 1858, three detachments were sent into the native city, and they advanced at once upon the official residences of Yeh and Pihkwei, the governor. The Chinese were quite unprepared for this move, and being taken unawares they offered scarcely any resistance. The yamen was occupied and the treasury captured, while Pihkwei was made prisoner in his own house.
We have had a week's quiet, and some letters from the Tsung-li Yamen, which assures us of their distinguished consideration, yet we are just as isolated and as uneasy as we were before. This solitude is becoming killing. 27th July, 1900. It is not so peaceful as it was.
The Tsung-li Yamen, already permeated with hostile sympathies, could make no effective response to the appeals of the legations.
No reply being received, on the morning of the 20th the German minister, Baron von Ketteler, set out for the Yamen to obtain a response, and oil the way was murdered. An attempt by the legation guard to recover his body was foiled by the Chinese. Armed forces turned out against the legations. Their quarters were surrounded and attacked.
The Peking troops, who can be still controlled by Prince Ching and the Tsung-li Yamen, are on the eastern side of the enclosing squares of barricades; elsewhere there are field forces from other provinces men who cannot be trusted, and who would massacre the messengers as soon as they would us, although they are clad in official dress and represent the highest authority in the Empire.
It was held to the last, and proved an invaluable acquisition, because commanding the water gate through which the relief column entered. During the siege the defenders lost 65 killed, 135 wounded, and 7 by disease, the last all children. On July 14 the besieged had their first communication with the Tsung-li Yamen, from whom a message came inviting to a conference, which was declined.
Mr. Margary was an officer of the English government traveling under the special permission and protection of the Tsungli Yamen. The Chinese government could not expect to receive consideration if it failed to enforce respect for its own commands, and the English government had an obligation which it could not shirk in exacting reparation for the murder of its representative.
Prince Kung and the credit of the measure belongs exclusively to him will always be gratefully remembered by any foreign writer on modern China as the founder of the department known as the Tsungli Yamen, which he instituted in January, 1861.