Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

Wu-shih-shan case, 1879

[missionaries, religious conflict - land law, China]

Wu-shih-shan case

Supreme Court, China
1879
Source: The North China Herald, 3 October 1878

 

THE WU-SHIH-SHAN RIOTS - NATIVE PLACARDS.

(Foochow Herald.)

The following are translated copies of placards which have been extensively posted in the City and suburbs during the [past week:-

I.

   The heroic and good men of the Empire (Teen-hsia) are to assemble at the grand meeting to be held at Wu-shih-shan on the evening of the 14th of the 8th moon, for the purpose of exterminating all the foreign thieves residing in the province (Fohkien.)  They cannot be permitted to live (amongst our people) and (we must) recover our Feng-shui land, which they have encroached upon.

   If the Mandarins interfere, they will be murdered, - the official dogs!  On receiving our Feng-shui land, then the State will be prosperous, and the people peaceable, the winds moderate, and the rains favourable.  Let all the people exert themselves.

   You official dogs!  You official dogs"! - Remember that the Viceroy of the two Kwang - Yang Wei Chen [? Yeh Ming Chen] - fell into the clutches of the foreign thieves.  It was in this way.  He was invited by the foreign thieves to an entertainment (lot. To drink wine) on board one of their vessels, and as soon as he got on board they sailed to the foreigner's country, where they disembowelled him, and e exhibited his entrails at the seven gates of their city.  They are not brave!  They are not brave!!  These barbarian thieves!  These barbarian thieves!!

   Issued by the people of the two Kwang (i.e., Kwangtung and Kwang Hsi.

 

Source: The Manchester Guardian, 31 October 1878

CHINA.

   Serious disturbances are reported to have occurred at Foochow in connection with the difficulties respecting the English missionaries. Their chapel was burned down, and matters assumed so serious an aspect at one tine that assistance was asked for, and in the absence of Her Majesty's ship Swinger a party of men was despatched to the scene of the riots from Her Majesty's ship Nassau.

 

Source: The North China Herald, 15 April 1879

THE WU-SHIH-SHAN CASE.

(Foochow Herald).

   Very little progress towards a satisfactory settlement of the Wu-shih-shan case appears to have been made during the past week.  Various measures of compromise have been proposed, all of which however have proved unacceptable to the parties concerned.  Sir Thomas Wade has, we believe, made every effort to stay legal proceedings, but the missionaries very properly decline to accede to any terms that will necessitate a voluntary surrender of the premises on Wu-shihh-shan.  The defendants are willing, it is stated, to accept any reasonable compromise; but the feng-shui-ites declare that nothing short of a missionary exodus from the "holy" city will satisfy their patriotic longing to heap insult on the hated "barbarian."[Continues "FATHER OUTRAGES ON CHRISTIANS" and discussion of the various events.]

 

Source: The North China Herald, 29 April 1879

EDITORIAL SELECTIONS.

THE WUH-SHIH-SHAN RIOTS.

THE case of the Wu-shih-shan riots has resolved itself into two issues - one the punishment of those engaged in the riot of last August, the other the legal title to the property held.  It seems that with regard to the latter, the Missionaries have been more than once offered eligible sites where their title would be indefeasible, but have preferred to contest the possession of temple lands held under a lease at best questionable - a position they have, however, been permitted to hold unquestioned, according to the Foochow Heralds, for twenty-five years. 

   Properly speaking, according to Chinese ideas, the land belonging to temples is inalienable, and, though by universal consent it is occasionally transferred, it seems to be the case that the objection of a single individual interested will void the sale.  Leases from time to time may be granted, but it is considered illegal to grant them in perpetuity, and hence, though the lease on the ground at the Wu-shih-shan was undoubtedly intended by both parties to it to be perpetual, the question of the rights of the representatives of the temple to alienate the property are liable to be called in question. [Continues with discussion of the riots.]

 

Source: The North China Herald, 27 May 1879

THE WU-SHIH-SHAN TRIAL.

(From the Foochow Herald.)

IN HER BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S COURT AT FOOCHOW.

The 2nd day of April, 1879.

Between

CHOW CHANG-KUNG, LIN KING-CHING, LOO KING-FAR, and SAT KEOK-MIN, Directors of the Tao Shan Kwan temple situate at Wu-shih-shan, in the City of Foochow, in the Empire of China,

and

The Reverend JOHN R. WOLFE, a clerk in Holy Orders, Residing at Foochow aforesaid, who is also sued on behalf of the English Church Missionary Society,

Defendant.

First Day, 30th April, 1879.

   The hearing of this important case commenced on the 30th ult., before Chief Justice French, in the drawing-room of the private residence lately occupied by the Chartered Mercantile Bank.  Mr. Hayllar, Q.C., of Hongkong, appeared for the plaintiffs, and Mr. Hannen, of Shanghai, for the defendant.  At a few minutes after 10 o'clock his lordship took his seat on the bench.  A number of Mandarins, including the Howfang Ting, the Howquan Magistrate, the President of the Foreign Trade Board, and the Judicial Commissioner were present.  Sir Thomas Wade was also in Court, and occupied a seat near the bench.  Prior to the formal opening of the case, Mr. Hannen, Counsel for the defendant, moved that Mr. Hayllar, Q.C. of Hongkong, be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of China and Japan, and in so doing the learned Counsel suggested that as Mr. Hayllar was so well-known to the Court, the usual affidavit might be dispensed with.  To this his Lordship assented, and Mr. Hayllar was admitted accordingly.

      Counsel for the plaintiffs suggested that as there was an experienced short-hand writer present, he might be sworn and the usual Judge's notes dispensed with - as a matter of convenience to the Court; but his Lordship decline to accede to the proposition.

   Counsel for the defendant moved an amendment of the 5th paragraph of the answer to re-amended the petition, - with the consent of the plaintiffs.

   Mr. HAYLLAR then proceeded to read the pleadings, commenting on both documents as he went along.

   The re-amended petition of Chow Chang-kung, Lin King-ching, Loo King-fah, and Sat Keok-min, the above-named plaintiffs, shows as follows:-

  1. - The Tao Shan Kwan temple situate at Wu-shih-shan, in the city of Foochow, together with the buildings and lands belonging thereto, are the property of the city of Foochow.  The direction and management of the said Temple lands and premises and the control and expenditure of the funds belonging thereto are vested in Directors duly appointed. The plaintiffs Chow Chang-kung, Lin King-ching, Loo King-fah and Sat Keok-min are four of the said Directors, and sue for themselves and the other Directors.
  2. - The defendant is a subject of Her Britannic majesty and a clerk in Holy Orders residing at Foochow, and performing there the duties of a Missionary of the English Church Missionary Society, of which said society he is the responsible head at Foochow.
  3. - In all cases where license to build in the locality has been applied for by foreigners, great care has been exercised in providing regulations touching the height and nature of the structure to be erected and the boundaries of the land to be built upon.
  4. - At or about the Christen year 1850, the representatives at Foochow of the English Church Missionary Society first obtained a lease of premises at Wu-shih-shan.  The representatives were the Reverend Welton and the Reverend Jackson, and by an agreement of rent in the Chinese language, bearing date the 18th December, 1850, and purporting to be made by and between the  said Welton and Jackson, Shing, the Haukwan District Magistrate, Charles A. Sinclair, the Interpreter to the British Consulate at Foochow, and a certain Taoist Priest named Liu Ying-mow, it was, after reciting that the said Missionaries were in want of houses for their residence, agreed that the s aid Missionaries thereby rented from the said Taoist Priest two houses situated respectively at the back and front of the left hand of the Tao Shan Kwan, at Wu-shih-shan, which were specified as follows:-

One house with four rooms in a row broadwise, to which was attached an out-house and an open yard at back and front.

One house with four rooms in a row broadwise at the back to which was attached an outhouse having an upper storey of two rooms and a lower storey of one room and an open yard.

It was also thereby agreed that the rent of the above houses should be $100 per annum, and that rent for three months should be paid in advance, that the payment should be according to the English calendar, that the said Taoist Priest should not interfere with or obstruct any works that might be going on or repairs that might be made inside the houses, which were to be done at the expense of the lessees; that it should be at the option of the lessees to continue the hiring of the said houses, and that the said Taoist Priest should not be at liberty to let them to other persons.  The said document bears the British Consular Seal and that of the Haukwan District Magistrate.

  1. - The above-mentioned two houses were Chinese built and were erected on land belonging to and forming part of the outbuildings of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple.  Having entered into possession thereof under the said agreement of rent, the said lessees did subsequently remove the  said two houses and erect in their stead two structures of foreign design, occupying sites considerable larger than those of the original buildings.  One of these new buildings the said lessees used as a dwelling house, while the other they employed as a school house for girls.
  2. - In the Christian year 1855, the  said English Church Missionary Society, being then represented at Foochow by the Reverend Fearnley and the said Mr. Welton, by an agreement of rent in the Chinese language, made by and between a Taoist Priest of the  said temple named Chun Yuen-ching, and the said Messieurs Fearnley and Welton, but without the consent or knowledge of any one authorised in that behalf, agreed to rent and the  said Priest agreed to let to the s aid two Missionaries a row of four rooms going straight in situated on the right hand side of the said Tao Shan Kwan temple.  It was thereby agreed that the annual rent thereof should be $20, payable quarterly, and that the said tenants should pay rent before they could enjoy the occupation of the said premises.  It was also agreed that no rent would be allowed to fall into arrear, and that should it fall into arrear the said Chun Yuen Ching might resume and let the property to other persons, and that if rent was properly paid the said property might not be let to any one else.  The said document was not recorded at the British Consulate, nor did it bear the said Consular Seal, nor that of the Haukwan District Magistrate.
  3. - The said row of four rooms comprised three dwelling rooms and one servant's room, and were of the same description as the surrounding native houses.  The said Missionaries having entered into possession of the said rooms altered and extended the said rooms by adding an upper storey and other rooms below.
  4. - A certain reverend George Smith, a Missionary of the said English Church Missionary Society, did, at some time unknown to the plaintiffs, but previous to the Christian year 1867, without any authority, verbally rent from a certain Priest of the said Temple, a small piece of land the property of the said temple and lying contiguous thereto.  The situation and boundaries of the said piece of land have never been ascertained or agreed upon, and up to the present time are in dispute.
  5. - In or about the Christian years 1862 or 1863, the defendant arrived in Foochow, and from or soon after the time of his arrival he has actively interfered in, or has had the management of the affairs of the said English Church Missionary Society, so far as they relate to the property at Wu-shih-shan, which forms the subject of the present suit, and he had made frequently attempts to get a perpetual lease thereof.
  6. 0.    - In or about the 12th moon of the 4th year of Tung Chi (1866), the defendant obtained from the s aid Taoist Priest, Chun Yuen-ching, without the knowledge or authority of the Proprietors r Directors of the said temple, a document purporting to convey to the said defendant, for the consideration of $800 paid by him to the said Priest, a perpetual lease of the hereinbefore mentioned lands, buildings and premises.  Upon this fact coming to the knowledge of the said Directors, they caused the said lease to be cancelled.
  7. 1.    - Again, in the 3rd moon of the 5th year of Tung Chi (April or May, 1866), the defendant, without the authority or knowledge of the Proprietors or Directors of the said temple obtained from the said Taoist Priest, Chun Yuen-ching, another document purporting to convey to the defendant for the consideration of $500 paid by him to the said Priest, a perpetual lease of the hereinbefore mentioned lands, buildings and premises, situated on the right and left hand side of the said Tao Shan Kwan Temple.  The said document was forwarded to the local Chinese authorities, through the British Consulate, with a view to its being registered.  Upon these facts being brought to the knowledge of the said Directors of the said temple, the said priest was handed over to the local Chinese authorities for examination and punishment, and he was duly punished.  An enquiry into the matter was also held by the British Consul, Mr. Carroll, who formally decided that as the premises could not be leased for a perpetual term on account of their being property maintained by subscription by the gentry and people, the property should be annually hired as before, and that the said last-mentioned agreement should be withdrawn and returned to the defendant.  This was accordingly done.
  8. 2.    - This decision notwithstanding, the defendant did again on the 4th day of the 7th moon of the 5th year of Tung Chi (August 13th, 1866), obtain from the said Chun Yuen-ching a document in the Chinese language, translation whereof is as follows, that it to say:

   "A note of money borrowed made by Chun Yuen-ching, a Taoist Priest of the Tao Shan Kwan temple, who having now borrowed of Mr. Wolfe, a British missionary, $500, personally agrees to pay interest upon the amount at the rate of two and two per cent per mensem, that is $11 per month, which is to be deducted quarterly from the amount of rent of $33, payable quarterly by Mr. Wolfe.  The rent will not be paid till the loan is refunded, and before the repayment of the said loan, neither the Taoist Priest himself, nor any of the other Priests at the temple, shall call to collect the rent.  None of the Missionaries, whoever they shall be shall, after the return of Mr. Wolfe to England, be called upon to pay rent. If the Priest wish to collect the rent, it is proper that the loan should be refunded to the British Missionary, and then the Priest may again collect the rent quarterly.  Fearing words of mouth will not afford evidence this mote of money borrowed is therefore drawn up to serve as proof.  Witness:

(Signed) Sit Ming Yung, a Taoist Priest.

(Signed) Chun Yuen Ching, masker of the above note.

Tung Chi, 5th year, 7th moon, 4th day.  August 13th, 1866."

  1. 3.    - On the 10th day of the 7th moon of the 4th year of Tung Chi (1865), an official communication  was received by the Prefect of Foochow  from the then British Consul, forwarding a petition from the defendant, which represented that as violent beggars repaired to the outside of his house to lodge for the night, and bad odours were caused by the large number of dead bodies of infants always thrown at his door, he desired to have added to his house some spare ground, measuring from 4 to 5 changs in length and from 2 to 3 changs in breadth, in order that he might put up an enclosing wall with a view of excluding these nuisances, and prayed that, for the above purpose, he, the defendant, might be allowed to erect an enclosing wall on the spare ground just outside his door.  After an inspection of the locus in quo on the part of the local authorities, the prayer of the said petition was granted, and the desired wall was erected by the defendant.
  2. 4.    - In or about the 8th moon of the 5th year of Tung Chi (corresponding to the month of September, 1866) an agreement of rent in the Chinese language was made and entered into between the defendant and others of the said English Church Missionary Society and the gentry of the City of Foochow and the Directors of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, translation whereof is as follows:

   "An Agreement of Rent made by Missionary John Wolfe and others of the Church Mission of England.  As they wish to rent a piece of Government ground close by the "Wun Chang Kung" temple of the "Tao Shan Kwan" Temple, in the district of "Hau Kwan," for building purposes, and as the local authorities have been communicated with by Consul "Kah" (Carroll), and at his request the gentry and Directors of the  said place have been invited to go with them and make a clear inspection of the dimensions of the said piece of land, it is found that the ground on the East side thereof abuts on the boundary of the house of the "Chea" family, on the west side thereof on that of the house of the "Chang" family, on the south side thereof on that of the "Lee Choe Kung" temple, and on the north side thereof on the hill path; measuring 15 kungs (5 to 6 feet) in breadth, and 18 kungs in length.  The houses to be built thereon will be of the same description as those in the neighbourhood - not detrimental to the position of the neighbouring native houses.  The ground is rented through Chow Fung Yuen and other gentry and directors of the "Wun Chang Kung" temple, duly appointed at a public meeting, for fifteen foreign dollars of full weight per annum, which rent is to be handed over to the British Consul annually in advance without default, for transmission to "Chow" and the other gentry, to be spent in aid of the cause of "Respect for written papers," in "Wun Chang Kung."

     The tenants shall, from this date, build houses within the boundary as above described, without the least encroachment and the houses so built shall not be higher that the neighbouring native houses or to the detriment of their positions.  As this is Government ground it shall on no account be sublet to other persons for building houses thereon, it is leased for a germ of twenty years; at the expiration of the said term, if before the departure of the tenants for their native country, China should requite the said land for her own use, one month's notice to that effect will be given to the tenants who will then give up possession of it without the least hindrance.  Having regard to the relations between Chinese and foreigners, this step is taken to meet the existing circumstances of the case, and it should not be regarded as a precedent in future.  This Agreement of rent is therefore drawn up in quadruplicate, both in English and Chinese, the British Consul, the local authorities, the gentry and the directors of the "Wun Chang Kung" temple and the tenants each keeping one copy as proof.

   As the above mentioned and which was at first rented from W'ang Cheang-shang and his son W'ang Ho-shang, chair-bearers by trade, has on enquiry been found to be Government property, which they had let by means of false deeds, the above mentioned Agreement of rent had therefore been made without reluctance and the false deeds, seven in number, given by W'ang Cheang-sheng and the others are now destroyed.

(Signed) JOHN WOLFE.  Tung Chi, 5th year, 8th moon.   Sept., 1866.

Seal of H.B.M. Consul.

Seal of the Hay Kwan District Magistrate.

  1. 5.    - The piece of land mentioned in the said last hereinbefore mentioned agreement is now in the possession of the defendant, and certain buildings have been erected by him and are still standing thereon.
  2. 6.    - In or about the month of August, 1876, an "Agreement of Rent" in the Chinese language was entered into between the defendant and the Directors of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, translation of which is as follows:-

"Agreement of Rent.  The British Missionary John R. Wolfe agrees with the Directors of the Tao Shan Kwan temple to rent from them the following property, which was formerly in the 30th year of Tau Kwang rented by the Missionaries Welton and Jackson, namely, two houses situated respectively at the back and at the front of the left hand side of the Tao Shan Kwan [these two houses are as follows]: 1. One five roomed house with an outhouse and some waste ground at the back and front. 2. One four-roomed house at the back with an out-house having an upper storey and a lower storey of one room and a piece of waste ground.  The rent of the above to be as of old $100 per annum.

   Also (Mr. Wolfe agrees) to rent the following property, which was originally rented in the fifth year Hsien Feng to the Missionaries Welton and Fearnley.  Four rooms on the right hand side of the Tao Shan Kwan going straight in.  The rent to be as of old $20 per annum.

   Also a small piece of land formerly hired under a verbal agreement by the Missionary George Smith.  The rent to be as of old $12 per annum.

   This amount in all to a yearly sum of $132.  The first instalment of which for the summer quarter, viz. $33,  to be paid at once to the Trade Committee for transmission through the Directors of the Temple to the Taoist priests to be used in the service of the temple.  It is agreed that the same sum be paid quarterly, in advance, according to the English calendar, to the trade Committee for transmission, and the rent be not allowed to get into arrears.  Should this happen, the Directors may let the place to some one else.  On the other hand of the rent does not get into arrears the place may not be let to any one else.  Both parties being of the same mind neither of them can withdraw.  It is therefore considered advisable to draw up this agreement in triplicate to be kept by the different parties.

Guarantor, Consul SINCLAIR.  Dated August, 1867.

(Signed) CHOW TAOU WEN, LIN YUNE CHIN, Directors of the Tao Shan Kwan.

(Signed) JOHN R. WOLFE.

British Consular Seal.  Seal of Hau Kwan Magistrate."

  1. 7.    - The said Chow Taou-wen and Lin Yune-chin are dead.
  2. 8.    - No one of the houses mentioned and particularly described in the said last-mentioned Agreement of Rent was in actual existence at the date thereof, but the defendant who was at the said time in possession of the buildings, which had been substituted for the  said houses under the terms of the agreements of 1850 and 1855 herein before appearing, remained and still remains in possession thereof as well as of the piece of land formerly let to the Reverend George Smith, and has paid rent for the same.
  3. 9.    - In or about the year 1871, the house which had been built in lieu of one of those leased as aforesaid in 1850, the Messieurs Jackson and Welton, and which had been occupied as a residence by the defendant or other Missionaries, caught fire and was burnt' and the defendant erected in its stead a much more extensive and lofty structure, and in so doing encroached on land belonging to the said temple other than that leased to him and destroyed and removed a large rock.  In so doing he acted without right or authority.  The defendant is still in possession of the said last-mentioned house.
  4. 0.    - In constructing a gateway and entrance road to the said house, the defendant has interfered with and blocked up an ancient right of way.
  5. 1.    - In or about the 3rd moon of the 2nd year of Kwang Shu (1867), the defendant, without any proper license or authority, erected an enclosing wall which commencing on the North side of the said house occupied as a residence by the Missionaries, extended to the West wide of the Hill, and enclosed, together with a portion of the ground leased to him by the said agreement of 1867, other ground wrongfully claimed by him under the said agreement.
  6. 2.    - Complaint having been made to the local authorities by the gentry of Foochow, with reference to the said wall, the matter was referred to the British Consul, and by his directions the said wall was pulled down.
  7. 3.    - In the same year and shortly after the demolition of the said wall, the defendant, without any proper license or authority, erected another wall following the same direction as, but built on a line considerably within, that previously followed by the first mentioned wall.  This wall, which is still in existence, wrongfully encloses, together with a portion of the ground leased to him by the agreement of 1867, other ground and several famous memorial rocks standing thereon, wrongfully claimed by him under the said agreement.
  8. 4.    - During the year 1878 the defendant, without any proper license or authority, proceeded to erect on ground enclosed within the said wall, to which he wrongfully lays claim under the said agreement, a lofty and prominent structure of foreign design.  Against this act of encroachment the gentry and inhabitants of Foochow complained to the local authorities, and the matter was referred to the British Consul.  Negotiations ensued and certain terms of arrangement which had been arrived at were referred to the High Authorities in England for final settlement.  Pending such settlement, however, the defendant, wrongfully and in breach of good faith, proceeded with the works upon the said building, and when the same were nearly completed the building was burnt by a mob.  The walls however, are still standing, and the defendant still claims to hold the land on which they stand under the provisions of the Agreement of Rent of August, 1867.
  9. 5.    - The plaintiffs allege that the system of ever recurring acts of encroachment and breaches of agreement with reference to the hereinbefore mentioned lands and the buildings standing and being thereon herein before narrated, have heretofore led to great troubles and to collisions between the inhabitants of Foochow and the Missionaries of the English Church Missionary Society located at Wu-shih-shan; and they fear, and have good cause to fear, that unless the rights of the several parties interested in the said lands and premises be ascertained and declared by the decree of this Honourable Court as herein after prayed, the future dealings of the defendant with the said lands and premiers will give rise to further troubles.
  10. 6.    - The plaintiffs refused to accept rent for the said premises for nine months before the commencement of this suit.

   The plaintiffs therefore pray:

  1. - That the rights of the parties interested therein, in and under the lease of September, 1866, hereinbefore set forth, may be ascertained and declared.
  2. - That the Agreement of Rent dated August, 1867, between the defendant and the said Chou Taou-wen and Lin Yune-chin, deceased, may be declared and decreed to be void.
  3. - That it may be ordered and decreed that the defendant has by his unauthorized and wrongful dealings with the lands, premises and buildings leased or purporting to be leased by the Agreement of August, 1867, forfeited all his right and title in and to the said lands, premises and buildings.
  4. - That the rights of the parties interested in the Agreement of August, 1867, may be ascertained and declared, and that the duration of the term of the defendant's tenancy and the nature thereof may be ascertained and prescribed.
  5. - That the boundaries of the land leased or purporting to be leased to the defendant by the Agreement of August, 1867, may also be ascertained and declared.
  6. - That the plaintiffs may have such further and other relief as the nature of the case may require.

   The Answer of John R. Wolfe, the above named Defendant, to the amended petition of the above named Plaintiffs.

 

Source: The North China Herald, 27 May 1879

THE WU-SHIH-SHAN TRIAL.

(From the Foochow Herald.)

   The Answer of John R. Wolfe, the above named Defendant, to the amended petition of the above named Plaintiffs.

   In answer to the said amended petition, I, John R. Wolfe, says as follows:-

  1. - I do not know whether the allegations contained in the 1st paragraph of the said amended petition are true or not.
  2. - I admit the allegations in the 2nd paragraph of the said amended petition with the exception of my being the "responsible" head of the English Church Missionary Society at Foochow, which epithet is "responsible" I do not understand.
  3.  I deny the statements in the 4th paragraph of the said amended petition.
  4. - I admit that in or about the month of December, 1850, the Missionaries Welton and Jackson did, with the knowledge and sanction of the Chinese Magistrate for the Haukwan District, rent from a certain Taoist priest the premises at Wu-shih-shan described in the 5th paragraph of the amended petition.  I do not admit that the agreement dated the 18th December, 1850, is correctly set out, or the premises correctly described, but crave leave to refer to the same when produced at the hearing of this cause, and I put the plaintiffs to the proof of their allegation that the said Messieurs Welton and Jackson were the representatives of the church Missionary Society. As to the statements in the 5th paragraph of the amended petition, I do not know whether they are true or not.
  5. - I admit the statements in the 6th paragraph of the amended petition.
  6. - In answer to the 7th paragraph of the amended petition, I admit that in the year 1855 the Missionaries Fearnley and Welton did agree to rent four rooms in the Tao-Shan-Kwan temple, but I deny that they did so without the consent or knowledge of any one authorised in that behalf, and I put the plaintiffs to the proof of their allegation that the said Messieurs Fearnley and Welton represented the Church Missionary Society at Foochow.
  7. - In answer to the 8th paragraph of the amended petition, I deny that the s aid Missionaries did alter and extend the said premises by adding other rooms below.
  8. - I admit that the Reverend George Smith did rent from a priest of the said Temple a piece of land contiguous to the said temple, as stated in the 9th paragraph of the amended petition, but I deny that either the said George Smith or the lessor had no authority to rent the said land, and I deny that the boundaries of the said piece of land have always been in dispute before the filing of the plaintiff's petition.  On the contrary, I say that the said boundaries have always been well defined, admitted, and recognized by the lessors.
  9. - I admit that I arrived in Foochow in the year 1862, and that since about the year 1863, in the month of September, I have had the management of property at Wu-shih-shan, the subject matter of this suit, and that I have endeavoured to arrange for its absolute conveyance free from the payment of rent.
  10. 0.    - I deny the statements made in the 11th paragraph of the amended petition, but I say that I believe that about the time therein mentioned the said Taoist Priest Chun Yuen-ching offered to sell me a small house called the Blind Man's Temple, but I never paid him any money, nor did I obtain any document from him.
  11. 1.    - As to the 12th paragraph of the amended petition, I say that about the time therein mentioned the said priest told me that he had the permission of proper authorities to sell the ground and buildings occupied by the Missionaries.  I consented to purchase the same if the deeds were duly sealed and stamped by the proper authorities, and the property legally transferred.  The price agreed upon was considerably over $500, but $500 was paid by me to the said priest as part of the purchase money.  The remainder was to be paid by me as soon as the Chinese authorities had stamped the deeds.  The necessary deeds were drawn up by the said priest and sent through Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Foochow to the proper Chinese officers.  After two or three months they were returned to the consul with the message that the priest had no authority to sell the property.  I thereupon demanded of the said priest the sum of $500 which I had previously paid to him, but he said he had spent the money and could not refund it, but promised to do so at some subsequent time, and in the meantime offered to allow the ordinary rent of the premises to remain in my hands as interest on the $500.
  12. 2.    - In answer to the 13th paragraph of the amended petition, I say that I do not know if the document therein set forth is correctly quoted, and I crave leave to refer to the same when produced at the hearing of this cause, and I say that the last preceding paragraph of my answer contains the true account of what took place.  The said priest absconded, and I deny that he was punished as in the 12th paragraph mentioned.
  13. 3.    - In answer to the 14th paragraph of the amended petition, I admit that I did make an application to be allowed to erect a wall and gate in order to keep out beggars and others, but I do not know whether that application is truly set out in the said paragraph, and I crave leave to refer to the same when produced on the hearing of this cause, and I say that I obtained the leave and license I applied for to erect the wall and gate as they now stand.
  14. 4.    - I admit that, as stated in the 15th paragraph of the amended petition, an agreement to rent some land for building purposes close to the Wan-change-kung temple was in or about the month of September, 1866, entered into between myself and others of the English Church Missionary Society and the local authorities, but I do not admit that the said agreement is correctly set out in the  said 15th paragraph, and I crave leave to refer to the said agreement when produced at the hearting of the cause.
  15. 5.    - I admit the statements in the 16th paragraph of the amended petition.
  16. 6.    - I admit the statements in the 17th paragraph of the amended petition.
  17. 7.    - I do not know if the statement in the 18th paragraph of the amended petition is true or not.
  18. 8.    - I admit the statements in the 19th paragraph of the amended petition.
  19. 9.    - I admit that the residence as described in the 20th paragraph of the amended petition was burnt down, but it was in 1870.  I deny that I erected in its stead a much more extensive structure or that I encroached on land other than that leased to me.  I state that the existing house covers less ground than the one burnt down in 1870, and the rock removed had no characters on it, and was always inside the verandah of the old house, and I say that I had full authority to do what I did.
  20. 0.    - In answer to the 21st paragraph of the amended petition, I say that if any right of way existed, the gateway and entrance  road mentioned in the said 21st paragraph were constructed in accordance with the leave and licence granted to me by the proper authorities.
  21. 1.    - In answer top the 22nd paragraph of the amended petition, I deny that I wrongfully inclosed any space of ground to which I was not entitled.
  22. 2.    - I admit that the said wall mentioned in the 23rd paragraph of the amended petition was pulled down.
  23. 3.    - I deny the statements in the 24th paragraph of the amended petition except that I admit that I did re-erect a wall which had been partly pulled down, and I admit that this wall in still in existence.
  24. 4.    - In answer to the 25th paragraph of the amended petition, I admit that a College was, with the sanction of Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Foochow, and without visible objection on the part of the plaintiffs or any other persons, erected during the year 1878, on a piece of land enclosed within the said wall.  I admit that the said building was burnt by a Chinese mob after the same was completed externally, and that I claim the land on which the said building was erected under the agreement of 1867.  I deny the other statements in the said 25th paragraph.
  25. 5.    -  In answer generally to the complaints in the amended petition respecting the conduct and dealings of the defendant and the other Missionaries who have arranged to tent land and houses at Wu-shih-shan since the year 1850 down to the present rime, I say that the most complete god faith had been kept by myself and the other Missionaries with the priests and gentry and directors of the temple and other [persons who have professed to have authority to cede land to us at Wu-shih-shan, that the lessors have accepted rent from us after having witnessed all we had done, and up to the month of August, 1867, the Directors of the temple have distinctly acquiesced in all our building proceedings by deliberately confirming them by the agreement set out in the 17th paragraph of the amended petition, and in September, 1866, by making another agreement was set out in the 16th paragraph of the amended petition; that if by accident there has been any encroachment, which I deny, even to the smallest extent, the  same had been wholly unintentional on the part of myself or any of the  said Missionaries and entirely unproductive of the slightest loss or damage to the plaintiffs.  And I submit that inasmuch as the plaintiffs have throughout stood by and witnessed all the building operations of myself and other Missionaries at Wu-shih-shan, including the erection of the walls mentioned in the amended petition, and more particularly the building referred to in the 25th paragraph of the amended petition, which the mob destroyed without making objection during the progress of the works, or until the same were competed, as to the last-mentioned building externally, they are not entitled to complain of any encroachment supposing any to exist, and they are not entitled to complain of the same as breaches of agreement, even supposing them to be so, which I deny.
  26. 6.    - I den y all the allegations of the amended petition not specifically alluded to in this my answer.

.   .   .   .

   In this stage, which occupied about an hour, the searched Counsel pointed out that the premises were originally let as residences, that there was no intention to grantee the Missionaries a perpetual lease, and that the Taoist priest in charge of the temple who attempted to enter upon such a lease with the Missionaries was punished by the native authorities for so doing.  Referring to paragraph 14 of the petition - treating of the Agreement of Rent, 5th tear of Tung Chi (1866) - the learned Counsel characterised it as the kernel of the petition.

   Having completed his review of the petition and answer, the learned Counsel next proceeded to address the Court on the case generally.  He asserted that the leading  question to be decided was purely one of rights, that no one could pretend to deal with the lands and buildings about the Tao Shan Kwan, and that the property could mot be alienated.  Referring to the Tao Shan Kwan itself, the learned counsel said it would be shown that the management was vested in thirteen associations, the members of which were independent of official control.  The directors of these associations were not directors of the temple so much as heads of associations connected therewith, and they had no title to the land at Wu-shih-shan, but solely to the use of the temple.

   In reply to a question from the bench, the learned Counsel stated that the directors were not trustees of the temple.  In the lease of 1867 no date of termination was stated, and it must therefore be considered a void document.  This lease was also void because it set up a title impossible to maintain.

   His LORDSHIP here asked if plaintiffs' Counsel represented the lessors?

   Mr. HAYLLAR stated in reply, that he did; they should, however, rather be called rent collectors than lessors.  The detectors of the aforesaid association s were alone plaintiffs, but the property was vested in the City.  The opposition to the Missionaries did not, the learned counsel admitted, proceed from the people at large so much as from the gentry.  He had no desire to overstate the case.  He admitted that the priests were willing to let the place, but contended that they had no right to do so, and that Chinese law is that property must be given up in its original state, while that English law prohibits any alteration to building without consent.  But in 1865, after the Missionaries had extensively built upon and improved this property, it became of extreme importance to them to get a proper title.

   Objection was not taken by his clients to the private residences of the Missionaries in Wu-shih-shan so much as to the large Missionary establishment.  With the exception of two kinds of property, ground rent is always reserved to the Chinese Crown.  The Taoist priest who received rent from the Missionaries up to 1866 was, the learned Counsel alleged, supplanted by the directors, because they had no confidence in him.    Referring to the Agreement of Rent entered into in 1867, the learned Counsel stated that the reason for arranging payment of rent through the Foreign Trade Board was through fear lest the Missionaries should fail to pay the rent and thereby get a title to the property.

   Plaintiffs' Counsel was about to read the translation of a despatch from the late Mr. Acting-Consul Carroll, with reference to the lease of 1866, when defendant's Counsel rose and objected, on the ground that this document was not set forth in the petition, an d was therefore inadmissible.  Plaintiff's Counsel urged that even when sitting with a Jury, a Judge must read the document before deciding on its admissibility, and the rule was the same in the Equity Courts.  His Lordship would not, he was convinced, be unduly influenced by its reception, and the learned counsel would therefore press for its admission.

   The COURT ultimately decided that the document was inadmissible.

   Adverting to the disputed point as to the alleged punishment of the Taoist priest, Chun Yuen-ching, Plaintiffs' Counsel next asserted that the man was really punished by the native authorities, and read an extract from Acting-Consul Carroll's despatch to the following effect:-

"After careful consideration of this matter, I see no reason why the Missionaries should not revert to their annual lease, although a perpetual lease is against reason; nor can I see why an innocent man should be punished."

The learned Counsel was of opinion that certain documents which passed between 1866 and 1867 would throw a flood of light on the subject, and show that the directors had no power to lease or sell the property in question.  The directors could, he admitted, grant a license to fireside within the temple grounds from year to year.  They had done this; it was all that they could grant; and it was unreasonable to suppose that they could do more.

   The learned counsel maintained that when rent was tendered in advance, it could be refused by a Chinese landlord, and that this practice worked in the same way as the English custom of serving notice to quit.  A Chinese landlord, continued the learned Counsel, cannot raise the rent of a willing tenant, and all arrangements for rent are, by local custom, always temporary.  In the present case, the directors intended to deal with the Missionary Society and not with Mr. Wolfe.  The out-houses referred to had been let without any intention of allowing the Missionaries to build on the ground on which they stood.  A Chinese deed was in his opinion equal to the very best English document.

After urging that the house stood on land never leased to the Missionaries, the learned Counsel stated that Fenghsui was the source of all the objections to the new building (burnt by the mob last year.)  The Chinese inhabitants would not be allowed to build one house higher than another; it was strongly opposed to native feeling, and on this point any person standing on Wu-shih-shan and looking down on the city below could easily satisfy himself and would at once observe the uniformity of the native dwellings.

   His LORDSHIP here asked Mr. Hayllar how his clients sought relief under the agreement of 1866?

   Mr. HAYLLAR replied that the [parties to this agreement were identical.  He then read the section of Order in Council under which he assumed the bench would proceed, and quoted Woodfall's "Landlord and tenant" to show that an agreement of a lease or a lease which contains no certain period of duration is construed as a lease for years.  In reply to a question from the bench, the leaned Counsel stated that his clients had not accepted rent lately.

   A plan of the Wu-shih-shan Temple property was then submitted by plaintiffs' Counsel for inspection by the Court.

Second Day, 1st May, 1879.

   The Court re-opened at 10 a.m.  Mr. Lai Sun, of Shanghai, was sworn as interpreter.

   The first witness called for the plaintiffs was Ting Chao-wao, 53 years of age, a Chinese official of the fourth rank.  Witness, who was accommodated with a seat at the Clerk's table, stated that he had served the Chinese Government in various capacities, - as District Magistrate, Sub-Prefect, and Prefect.  He came to Foochow when 26 years of age.  In 1867 was Hau Kwan Magistrate.  Agreement of Rent 1867 was handed to witness, and declared to be a genuine document.  The seal thereon was the official seal of witness.

   A leading question bearing on facts not set forth in plaintiffs' petition being put to witness by defendant's Counsel, Mr. Hannen rose and protested.

"Everything," said defendant's Counsel, "which is intended to be proved must be stated on the face of the petition,"

and eminent legal authorities (Daniel and others) were quoted, also the Order in Council to show that allegations must be set forth in the petition. Plaintiffs' Counsel contended that these questions had a direct bearing on statements contained in the petition.  In proof of this the learned Counsel cited Taylor "On Evidence" and the Order in Council. - After a somewhat lengthy and animated discussion, his Lordship decided to allow the question to be put in a modified form.

   In reply to a question from examining Counsel, witness declared the Agreement of Rent of 1867 to be in the common form of a lease for no definite period. - defendant's Counsel again objected; the question was, he contended, put in such a form as to suggest a favorable answer.  The Agreement of Rent was perfectly clear, but his learned friend was trying to introduce ambiguity into the document.   How was it possible for him, defendant's Counsel, to meet this newly imparted matter without having had fair warning in the petition. - Counsel for Plaintiffs contended that fair  warning had been given.  These questions were part of the general argument on behalf of his clients. - In answer to another question by examining counsel, witness said that if a lease in perpetuity were intended it would be set forth on the agreement in the characters Yune Yuen (永远).   The following  question was then put to witness:-

If the   rent does not get into arrears the place may not be let to any one else?

Mr. Hannen objected strongly to this question.  Mr. Hayllar contended that expressions  in every language gradually crystallized into idioms.  Sir Thomas Wade had recently given him an instance of this. Defendant's Counsel here rose and demanded to know the object of his learned friend in adducing this testimony; it was not evidence. - His Lordship decided that Sir Thomas Wade's opinion, however valuable, was under the circumstances inadmissible. Possibly, his Lordship remarked, Defendant's Counsel was apprehensive of the effect an opinion from such a high authority would have on his Lordship's mind.

   Defendant's Counsel contended that the interpretation put upon the agreement should have been set forth in the petition. - The learned judge suggested an amended question:-

If property is to be let from year to year, what words (or characters) would be used?

Defendant's Counsel again objected, and the following question was put by examining Counsel:-

What is the Chinese law applicable to the Agreement of 1867?

This question was also objected to by Defendant's Counsel as a leading one, and the objection was noted by his Lordship, who allowed it however to be put to the witness.  Question again put to witness, who answered,

"If rent is owing, the landlord can take back his house.  If no rent is owing the landlord cannot rent to anybody else, but if the landlord wishes to have the house for himself the lessee must surrender it."

   Examination continued, witness said: If the landlord wished to resume occupation he would generally have to give lessee notice a month or two previously.  Under such circumstances it was not unusual to charge rent during the period subsequent to giving notice to quit, but this was a matter entirely at the option of the landlord.

   The following question was objected to, and the Court after argument on both sides, declared it to be inadmissible.

In cases where rent is payable in advance, is it at the option of the landlord to refuse rent.

   Examination continued, witness said: - I have had to decide such questions.  In reply to question, "Would an agreement like that of 1867 give the lessee a right to build?  Witness was first understood to day "Yes," but he subsequently replied in the negative.  Examination continued: - The lessee would not be allowed to alter a building already leased to him in such a way or ways as to change the character of the building.  If a lease is granted in perpetuity, Yune Yuen [characters as above], it is customary to pay a lump sum in lieu of rent.

   Is acquainted with the Taou Shau Kwan property; it is public, or Government property, under the management of directors.  The Taou Shan Kwan grounds belonged to the Emperor.  The temple itself was built by public subscription and belongs to the people of the city and surrounding districts.  On or about the 10th day of the 7th moon of the 4th year Tung Chi (1865) witness received a letter from Mr. Acting-Consul Hewlett (latter handed to witness and identified.)  In consequence of having received this letter witness visited the Taou Shan Kwan three days afterwards. (Plan of the temple produced and witness asked to point put the boundary which he then inspected.)  There was no wall at that time, only a bamboo fence.  The Bird's Tongue Bridge was also enclosed by a bamboo fence about 20 feet in length.  Witness left Foochow about three years ago.

   This closed the examination -in-chief of this witness.

   In cross-examination witness said: - He himself examined the boundary referred to.  He was in private dress at the time.  He also sent a wei-yuen (deputy) to examine the boundary.  Witness had no conversation with Mr. Wolfe on the occasion of his visit.  (Plan of temple grounds produced.)  The substance of Mr. Consul Hewlett's request on behalf of Defendant was that a wall should be built to keep out beggars and other objectionable persons who were accustomed to congregate at that spot.  I gave permission to erect a low wall, but no gate.  The space between this wall and the Mission House was not very steep (At this point the wiriness seemed reluctant to give direct answers and the Judge remonstrated.)  Witness had seen, between Chinese, leases like the Agreement of 1867.  When a person lets a piece of ground to another the agreement is always signed by both parties.  Amongst the Chinese the practice is to make two copies of the lease; between Chinese and foreigners three copies are usual.  Single documents and not usual in Chinese leases.  Some leases in Foochow do not contain the words "the place may not be let to any one else."  In cases where these words are omitted it is sometimes necessary to give three months' notice of ejectment.  The last question being repeated, witness admitted that it was the general custom to give three months' notice. It is at the landlord's option to leave the tenant in possession for three months free of rent.

   In the event of a house being burnt down, it is not the regular practice of the tenant to rebuild without permission of the landlord.  Never heard of a lease between Chinese containing the words (Yune Yuen, characters) before foreigners arrived.  The cross-examination of the witness here closed.

   Re-examination by Counsel for plaintiffs. - Prior to the arrival of foreigners the words used in Changes leases were Mie and Mi (买卖)  or "Buy and Sell."

   The name of the deputy sent to inspect the wall was Fuh.  He made an official report.  In reply to a question by the Chief Justice, witness said that he had seen several; tens of leases between Chinese and foreigners relating to property outside the city. - His Lordship asked of the agreements seen by witness were perpetual or for a term? Answer:- Most of them are perpetual. - Asked by his Lordship is witness had seen any leases between Chinese and foreigners for a term?  Witness at first said "Yes! Several tens."  Subsequently he reduced the number to two, and, finally, when hard professed, declared that he had never seen one. - re-examined by Counsel for Plaintiffs: There is no difference between leases in and outside the city.

   The Hau-kwan district Magistrate (Ching Che-yeo) was next called, and said: I am acquainted with leases.  Question put - "What is the law of Fohkien applicable to the Agreement of 1867?" - Counsel for defendant again objected to any proof of facts not alleged in the petition. - The Chief Justice, after some argument, ruled the evidence to be admissible. - In answer to the question, witness said:- The agreement is legally a temporary one.  If the landlords wish to resume  possession they can do to by the agreement.  Witness continued:- A landlord can refuse rent and eject a tenant summarily, but he generally remits a month's rent.  If rent is payable three months in advance the term of notice is at the option of the landlord.  Under the Agreement of 1867, it would not be permissible to the landlord to let the property to any one else.  A landlord can resume for his own purposes.  It is a standing rule in my office to attach my seal to contracts for land or houses between natives and foreigners, after the Consular Seal has been affixed.  Here the examination  in-chief of this witness closed.

   Cross-examined by Counsel for defendant, witness said:- A lease like that of 1867, would be valid without my seal.  A temporary lease would not by the law of China require my seal; it would only be necessary in case of a sale.  A deed of lease containing the words (or characters) Yune Yuen [as above] would be about equivalent to a sale.  Had often seen between Chinese a lease like the Agreement of 1867.

   A  document defining tenancy is not signed by landlord as well as by tenant.  I have never seen between Chinese a document like that of 1867 in triplicate.  It is the  custom to make out one leasehold document signed by both parties.  The words "If the rent  does not get into arrear, the place cannot be let to any one else," are sometime omitted.

Source: The North China Herald, 3 June 1879

THE WU-SHIH-SHAN TRIAL.

(From the Foochow Herald.)

  Third Day, 2nd May, 1879

   The hearing of the Plaintiffs' side was resumed at 10 a.m.  Prior to calling his first witness, Plaintiffs' Counsel suggested that Mr. Playfair, of H.B.M.'s Consular Service, might be sworn as Court Interpreter. Counsel for defendant understood that it was his learned friend's intention to examine the plaintiffs, and as they were natives of the province he was clearly of opinion that the examination should be conducted in the local dialect.  He had not the slightest objection to the gentleman proposed as an interpreter, but he was given to understand that Mr. Playfair's knowledge of the Chinese language did not extend to the local dialect.  There were so many shades of meaning in the local dialect that it was a matter of importance to his clients to have the evidence in a language with which they were familiar.  Plaintiffs' Counsel contended that the witness he was about to examine was as well acquainted with the mandarin dialect as with the local one, and that therefore his learned friend's apprehensions were immaterial. - Defendant's Counsel continued to press his objection to the examination being conducted in any other than the local dialect, and suggested as an interpreter the Rev. Mr. Hartwell, an American Missionary. - Counsel for Plaintiffs said that his clients objected to Mr. Hartwell.  His Lordship suggested that perhaps Mr. Hayllar's clients objected to that gentleman - not on any personal grounds but simply on account of his association with missionary work.  Mr. Hayllar was understood to concur. - The Chief Justice asked if there was any person in Court acceptable to both parties who could interpret the local dialect.  Plaintiffs'' Counsel; named Mr. Lin Kok Cheng, and employee of the China Merchants' Steam Navigation Company, and formerly a linguist in the Imperial Maritime Customs' Service, but this gentleman was objected to by Defendant's Counsel, on the ground that he was connected with the Plaintiffs' case.  The Chief Justice then inquired if there were any other persons in Court acceptable to both parties.  Defendant's Counsel named Messieurs Rozario and Min Chin, but they also were objected to by the other side.  Finally it was decided to swear Mr. Lin Kok-cheng as an interpreter of the local dialect.

   Counsel for Plaintiffs then called Loo King-fah, a director of the Shaou Shing Sia Association, and third plaintiff in the suit, who said:

   I am a director of the Shaou Shing Sia Association.  The object of the Association is to ensure respect for written papers.  The Association is a voluntary one, and is supported by the subscriptions of members.  A member can sever his connection with the Association whenever he wishes.  (At this stage Mr. Lin Kok-cheng declared his inability to interpret further, and the examination was proceeded with from this point in the mandarin dialect, Mr. Lai Sun acting as interpreter.) Examination continued, witness  said:

   There are 20 or 30 members of the Association with which I am connected, the affairs of which are managed by 2 or 3 directors who are elected by the members - generally for an unlimited period.  I was elected in the 3rd year of Tung Chi (1864) and have served ever since.  The Taou Shan Kwan is public property.  The ground on which it stands first belonged to an individual named Sun Si-chang, at the end of the Ming dynasty, and this is recorded on tablets in the temple.  The founder of the Temple was a Literary Chancellor.  There was formerly an inscription on one of the rocks in the Temple grounds recording the founder's name, but that was removed by defendant in the 10th year of Tung Chi (1871).

   The Temple grounds became public property at the beginning of the present dynasty.  The founder's heirs gave the ground to the people of the City of Foochow.  The Temple was built by public subscription, and has been maintained ever since in the same manner.  The Temple has not any money endowment.  There are 13 Associations connected with the temple at present.  In 1867 there were 9 (the names of the Associations were here enumerated).  The object of these Associations is to provide for the service of the temple.  They have no inter-communication.  The subscriptions are collected by the directors.  A Taoist priest conducts the services of the temple.  This priest is appointed by the Associations, and is liable to dismissal in the event of his conduct being unsatisfactory to the members.  The priests do not receive a regular salary.  They depend upon donations for worshippers.  These gifts are known as "Tea Money."  The Temple is open at all times - day and night.

   Apartments are reserved in the temple for each Association.  The Associations meet five or six times a year, to celebrate the idols birthdays.  On these occasions it is usual to have theatrical performances, which are open to all comers.  There is a subsidiary temple to the Taou Shan Kwan, known as the "Blind Man's," where the blind population of the city meet.  On the 14th day of the 8th moon and 9th day of the 9th moon  large numbers of people assemble round the temple.

   There are several rocks in the temple grounds which are greatly venerated by the people; one of these rocks is called the Li Kung or Wu shih ((Black Rock), and the other is known as the "Bird's Tongue Bridge."  The people attach great significance to these rocks, - they are believed to influence the Feng Shui.

   Chun Yuen-ching was the priest in charge of the Temple when I became director.  Defendant was at that time in occupation of several houses belonging to the Temple.  In the 12th moon 4th year of Tung Chi, witness heard from several persons that there was a private contract between this priest and the defendant, and a document purporting to be a lease was shown to him by the priest in the Taou Shan Kwan.  That document was not sanctioned by the directors.  The priest had no power to deal with the property.  The detectors cancelled the agreement.  In the 6th moon  of the 5th year of Tung Chi, witness heard that the protest made an agreement with the defendant (document handed to witness.)  I saw this document first at the Taou Shan Kwan and subsequently at the How Quan Magistrate's yamen where the priest had been sent for punishment.  The priest was imprisoned in the yamen.  The directors knew nothing of this second lease. The document was cancelled by the Foreign Trade Board in the same month.  Witness did not know whether or not the directors gave receipts for  rent after this lease had been cancelled.  They collected the rent up to that time. 

   Note of money borrowed ($500) bearing date the 4th day 7th moon  5th year of Tung Chi (13th August, 1866) handed to witness:

   I have never seen  this document until now.  The directors did not authorize the priest to borrow this money.  In reply to questions by the Chief Justice, witness said that he did not know anything about there being a set off against this loan.  The priest had no authority to enter upon this transaction.  I heard that some of the directors complained to Her Majesty's Consul about the non-payment of rent.  After the priest absconded, the directors petitioned the Foreign Trade Board on the subject. (Copies of the Directors' Petition and Consul Sinclair's reply were here put in, but objected to by defendant's Counsel.)

   Examination continued: Witness was present when the Agreement of 5th of Tung Chi (September, 1866) was drawn up.  A draft of this agreement was subsequently sent to the Foreign trade Board.  The agreement was entered into by the directors because it was discovered that there were some strange dealings between the Taoist priest and the missionaries.  The agreement was drafted by two former directors, now deceased.  It was signed by these two directors after the draft had been returned by the British Consul. One of these directors belonged to the association for lamps and incense, the other to the association for ensuring respect to gods worshipped by the literati.  All the directors (10 in number) were present when the deed was signed.  I do not know of any instance in which Taoist property has been let before the coming of foreigners.

   Examination of Loo King-fah (third plaintiff) resumed:

   I am a native of this place and have resided in Foochow during the greater part of my life.  Witness asked if he was acquainted with the local custom in regard to leases? - Counsel for defendant objected to the question, on the ground that witness was not an expert in such matters. - Question waived. Plan of the Taou Shan Kwan property, shewing its condition in the 18th year of Taou Kwang (about 1838) and up top 1850, produced. - The examination in-chief of witness here closed.

   Cross-examined by Counsel for defendant. - I am not quite sure as to the accuracy in small details of the plan just produced, but it is accurate as to the enclosing wall of the temple in 1850.  The ground outside the wall is public ground and does not belong to the temple.  I saw the draft of Agreement of 1867 written by Chao Tao.  Portions of it were copied from other lease-hold documents.  Mr. Consul Sinclair supplied the directors with a leasehold document of 30th year of Taou Kwang (1850) and another bearing date 5th year of Hsien Feng (1855.) - Witness here evinced considerable hesitation in giving evidence.

   Cross-examination continued: Early in the present year I was requested by Mr. Consul Sinclair to meet him at Wu-shih-shan and point out  the exact encroachment complained of.  Neither myself nor my colleagues complied with this request.  We acted upon Mr. Hayllar's advice in the matter.  There was a Blind Man's Association in connection with the temple in the 4th year of Tung Chi (1864.)  I have seen the inscription "Some of the Ming dynasty studied here," on the rock already referred to.  The "Wu-shih" Rock is outside the Mission premises.

   Re-examined - I know the temple premises set out on the plan just produced.

   Chow Chang-kung (first plaintiff) called - I am an elder, a director of the Taou Shan Kwan, and 73 years of age.  I have been a director since the 3rd year of Hsien Feng.  I belong to the Association for supplying the temple with lamp oil.  I knew the temple property before I became a director.  The ground outside the enclosing wall is public property.

   Cross-examined by Counsel for defendant - I am certain that the plan produced is accurate.  The houses are now altered, but up top 1850 the temple buildings were as shown on the plan.

Fourth Day, 3rd May.

   Chun Yuen-ching, formerly Taoist priest in charge of the Taou Shan Kwan, but now a Buddhist priest, was called.  The witness was examined in the local dialect, which (though objected to be defendant's Counsel) was interpreted in the Mandarin dialect by one of the plaintiffs and subsequently re-interpreted in English by Mr. Laisun.

   Witness said - I became a Taoist priest at the Taou Shan Kwam in the 23rd year of Taou Kwan (1843.)  At that time there were three other priests besides myself.  I was the junior.  The senior priest was Hwang Chao-ming, and the second priest's name was Lin Yung-mow. The first foreigner to arrive was Mr. Morrison, of the British Consular Service. (Witness pointed out on the plan the position of the building in which Mr. Morrison lived.) I remember the 30th year of Taou Kwang (1850.)  Lin Yung-mow was senior priest at that time.  I remember two Missionaries coming to the temple in that year.  They were Wung Tong (Welton) and Tsa Seng (Jackson.)

   Witness was here asked to point out on the plan the buildings in which Messieurs Welton and Jackson lived.

   Examination continued, witness said, - There were at first some idols in the temples occupied by these Missionaries, but the idols were subsequently removed.  The buildings were Chinese structures of one story.  In the 3rd year of Hien Feng (1853-1854), I became chief priest.  About that time a let a portion of the temple property to Messieurs Welton and Fearnley (witness here indicated the position of the buildings on the plan.)  The handwriting in the deed of lease is mine.  The document bears my signature.  The buildings were of one storey and in the native style of architecture.   I have seen the Taou Shan Kwan lately.  The three houses just marked on the plan are now entirely different to what they were when I let them.  I have seen alterations in the San Paou Tien and the Wu Sze Tien buildings. The first named was altered in 1855 and the latter building about 1857.  No permission was given to alter these buildings.

   (Witness was here asked to trace the limits of the new buildings on the plan and also the limits of property let under the Agreement of 1855.)

   In addition to the buildings referred to, I let to Mr. Smith, in the 11th year of Hien Feng (1861), a small piece of land to the north-west of the temple (marked by witness on plan.)  I let this plot of ground verbally at a rent of $1 per month.  Mr. Smith asked for the land in order to block a door in the enclosing wall of the Taou Shan Kwan, through which people going to a hillock above overlooked the Missionary compound.  The name of this elevated spot is Fang Ko Ting (a place for the release of storks.) No other premises were subsequently let to the Missionaries.

   In answer to a question, witness said that he had attempted to enter upon other agreements, but it was so long ago that he could not remember.

   Examination continued - I left the Taou Shan Kwan in the 6th year of Tung Chi (1867), in consequence of certain dealings which I had with Mr. Wolfe.  The first of these transactions was in the 4th year of Tung Chi (1855), when Mr. Wolfe asked me if I would grant him a perpetual lease, so as to save the trouble of collecting rent so frequently.  After several consultations a perpetual lease was drawn up by me - from a draft furnished by defendant. (On the deed bring produced witness declared that it was not in his handwriting, but that the signature was his.)I admit that I made a mistake in stating that the document was written by me. - I do not know who wrote it.  The agreement was brought to me by Mr. Wolfe for signature.  After I had signed it Mr. Wolfe took it away and said that he would see about having the official seal affixed.  I never received the $800 mentioned in this Agreement.

   Again, in the 5th year of Tung Chi (1866), Mr. Wolfe came to consult with me about another perpetual lease for a consideration of $500, - when another agreement was drawn up, but I do not remember by whom it was written. (A copy of this Agreement, the original having been mislaid, was here put in.)  I did not receive one cent of the $500 mentioned in this Agreement, - as the official seal was not affixed to the document.  In consequence of my participation in this transaction I was sent to the Magistrate's yamen and imprisoned for 4 or 5 days, when I was bailed out by Mr. Wolfe.

   In the 7th moon of the same year (1866) Mr. Wolfe again came to me and we had a conversation about another perpetual lease, but I said that after my late imprisonment I was afraid to enter upon another agreement.  Mr. Wolfe then said he had a plan to suggest.  There need not be a perpetual lease, but he would lend me $500 of a Promissory Note, - the interest on which would be $11 per month, or the equivalent of a month's rent.  A promissory note was drawn up.  I do not know who wrote it.  I signed it. (Promissory note produced.)  I received the $500 mentioned in this document, in three instalments, - the first ($200) immediately after signing the document, and the last instalment ($130 or $140) in the  2nd moon 6th year of Tung Chi (1867.)  The last instalment was paid by Mr. Wolfe.  After I had received the balance of this money I heard that people outside the temple had got wind of the affair, and I went to Mr. Wolfe for advice.  Mr. Wolfe advised me to go to another part of the province and hide for a month or two.  Acting on this advice I left Foochow about the end of the 2nd moon, or beginning of the 3rd moon of Tung Chi (1867) and have been in hiding ever since.  This closed the examination-in-chief of the witness.

   In cross-examination by defendant's  Counsel, witness said - I have already stated that I executed a perpetual lease of the whole property occupied by the Missionaries, for the sum of $800.  I had no right to do so.  I also admit that I had no right to execute the other deed for $500.  The money was to go to myself - not to the temple.  Mr. Wolfe suggested this.  I had no other dealings in temple lands with Mr. Smith besides the letting of the plot already named for $12 a year.  I am certain of this. (A document was here handed to witness, the signature only being visible.)  In answer to a question, witness at first replied: p- "It is my signature."  Subsequently, he  said, "I think it is," and, finally, in answer to the question: - "Is not this document purporting to make a perpetual lease of land to Mr. Smith"? witness replied:- "The document is not genuine.  I will say so even if I get punished for it."  The document does purport to give a perpetual lease of ground to Mr. Smith at a rent of $25.  (Old plan of temple property produced.)  The  size of the piece of land let to Mr. Smith for $12 was about the size of a pavilion (question repeated) I should say about 10 feet and over from East to Qwest, and about 12 feet from North to South.  The rent of the four-roomed house was $20 per annum.  I am quite sure that Mr. Wolfe took away the agreement of 1865. I do not know if I kept a copy of the agreement.  I know that Mr. Wolfe kept one. The reduction in the proposed sum for a perpetual lease was Mr. Wolfe's idea.

   In answer to a question as to whether he was certain that the price was $1,500 and not $500, witness said:- "Mr. Wolfe could say that it was tens of thousands of dollars, but he ought to have a conscience before Heaven."  Question repeated:- The sum was only $500.  I saw the Agreement of Sale for $500 only once.    Before Mr. Fearnley altered the buildings, Mr. Welton had made some interior alterations.  I offered some objections to these alterations.  I never sold nor offered to sell the Blind Man's Temple.

   Re-examined by plaintiffs' Counsel - When I spoke to Mr. Fearnley about the alterations, he  said that his object was to make arrangements for keeping the sun off.  The deed purporting to be an agreement of rent with Mr. Smith for ground rent of $25 was again produced, and witness stated that he had never heard anything about it until that day.

   Sia Chee-cheng, the priest in present charge of the Taou Shan Kwan, called.  Witness stated:- I took charge of the temple in the 9th year of Tung Chi (1870), and have occupied the post ever since.  I remember the Mission House that was accidentally burnt in 1870.  The present house stands on more ground than the old one.  The rock bearing the inscription, "Some of the Ming dynasty studied here," was removed by Mr. Mahood at the time the present Mission House was erected.  At the time of the fire (1870) the rock burst, - that is about an inch in thickness came off - and when Mr. Mahood rebuilt the house he took off a portion and built his house over it.  About that time some of the gentry remonstrated with Mr. Mahood on the subject, but that gentleman disclaimed all intention of encroaching.  The present wall, erected in 1876, encloses more ground than the former one. (Wiriness here traced on the plan the line of the existing wall.)

   Cross-examined by Counsel for defendant - I cannot say by how much the present wall is outside the former wall at its greatest distance.  I do not know whether the outhouses of the old Mission building extended to the door shown on the plan or not.  I cannot point out on the old plan the property belonging to the Taou Shan Kwan. - A new plan of the temple property was produced and witness was requested to trace the line of the old Mission House burnt in 1870.  Witness did this very carefully; but when asked to trace the line of the present house his pencil moved with greater rapidity and described a considerably larger area.  The witness was at this stage of the proceedings evidently bent on proving the most wholesale encroachment.

   In reply to a question by the Chief Justice, witness  said that he had not known the Taou Shan Kwan prior to 1870.

   Chow Chang-kung (first plaintiff stated:- I am director of the association for supply lamps and incense.  I do not exactly know the area of the old house.

   By his Lordship:- I have known the temple property for about 15 years.

   Examination continued:- Lin King-ching and Sat Keok-min are directors of Association in the same way that I am.  We have been appointed by the other directors to represent them in this suit.

Fifth Day, 5th May, 1879.

   The hearing of the case for plaintiffs was resumed at 10 o'clock a.m.  Mr. Ho Aloy was sworn on the Christian testaments.  Witness, who was examined in English, stated - I am the translator of the documents put in on the plaintiffs' side.  I was formerly interpreter at the Police Court, Hongkong.  I resigned that appointment in 1866.  I have translated the documents now before the Court, to the best of my skill and ability, and believe the translations to be correct.  (the documents were  sworn to by wiriness, seriatim.)  Counsel for the defendant objected to several of the documents being put in as evidence, on the ground that, in so far as his clients were concerned, absolutely nothing was known about them prior to the case coming into Court. - His Lordship allowed the objections to several of these documents  - after argument.

   Mr. SINCLAIR, H.M.'s Consul at Foochow, was next called, and said - With reference to deeds such as the Agreement of 1866, the practice at the Consulate is to return such documents to the parties  from whom they are received.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Hannen - In the event of an original document having been so forwarded, I would find a record in my office. I have searched but cannot find any trace of the document in question.  With regard to the $800 deed I cannot say whether or not it is recorded in the Consulate, but I will cause search to be made at once.

   Mr. Wolfe was here asked if he had the original deed in his possession, and replied in the negative.

   Mr. SINCLAIR, re-examined by plaintiffs' Counsel, said - It is not the common practice to register Agreements of Rent at the Consulate, but Perpetual Leases are registered.

   An argument as to the reception of Mr. Consul Carroll's letter of 1866 followed.  Counsel for plaintiffs pressed the admissibility of this despatch - as a document having a distinct bearing on the case. - Mr. Hayllar contended that it was perfectly clear that Mr. Carroll had acted in his official character.  Mr. Carroll had been called upon to give an opinion, and he had done so.  In 1866 such matters were managed very loosely throughout China; but the plaintiffs simply acted on Mr. Carroll's suggestion, - viewing that gentleman as an arbitrator or go-between in a Court of Conciliation. - The plaintiffs regarded Mr. Carroll's latter as official action.

   His LORDSHIP then asked Mr. Sinclair whether in the event of a complaint being made against Chinese, any record would be kept of such complaint at the Consulate?

   Mr. SINCLAIR stated, that a record would only be kept in the event of the affair being referred to the Chinese authorities.

   His LORDSHIP was disposed to think that defendant could not be bound by Mr. Carroll's letter, and therefore decided against its admissibility as evidence.

   Translations of correspondence in 1867, between Mr. Consul Sinclair and the Chinese authorities, on the subject of the missionary titles, were also objected to by defendant's Counsel, and ultimately declared inadmissible by the Court.

   Mr. HANNEN stated that as he had not had an opportunity of seeing  several of the documents that had been put in until that moment, he could not well cross-examine Mr. Ho Aloy; but he would have the documents translated, and, if agreeable to his learned friend, cross-examine the wiriness later on should it be necessary to do so.

   Mr. HAYLLAR assented to this arrangement, and undertook to produce Mr. Ho Aloy for cross-examination at a future stage.

   LOO KING-FAH (third plaintiff) re-examined,  said - I have on behalf of the directors refused rent since June last year for premises occupied by the missionaries.

   In answer to a question by his Lordship, witness stated that the sum refused amounted to $132.

   Cross-examined by Counsel for defendant - I have not communicated with Mr. Wolfe with reference to the refusal of rent, but I have notified the Foreign Trade Board as to the fact.

   Mr. Consul SINCLAIR, re-examined by Counsel for plaintiffs, stated, that he believed the rent had been refused for a whole year.

   In reply to a question by defendant's Counsel, Mr. Sinclair said - I am not certain as to whether I communicated the fact of rent having been refused to Mr. Wolfe.

   This closed the case for the plaintiffs' side; and, in reply to a question as to whether defendant's Counsel intended to call evidence, Mr. Hannen stated that that would  depend upon the result of an application he was about to make to the court.

   Counsel for defendant then proceeded to address the court.  He contended that, so far, no case had been made out.  With regard to the plaintiffs' first prayer nothing had been proved to show that they were entitled to relief.  So far as the second prayer was concerned, nothing had been proved beyond an allegation in Mr. Hayllar's opening speech that the Directors had no right to enter upon the agreement in question.  There was no evidence, the learned Counsel contended, of unauthorized dealing on the part of his clients with the temple lands, nor had any positive encroachment been pointed out.  The Wu Shih Rock, about which so much had been alleged, was proved to have been outside the boundary of the temple property, and the only evidence of encroachment rested on the testimony of the priest - a man of the most unreliable character - who had, on his own showing, defrauded the Directors of money strictly belonging to the temple.   Beyond the bare statement that the present Mission House is larger than the old house (burnt in 1870), the plaintiffs had failed to prove anything.

   And even if there had been encroachment, which the learned counsel denied, the plaintiffs had by accepting rent for years past sanctioned it.  It could not in any case be maintained that encroachment upon somebody else's ground would bring about a forfeiture of lease.  The learned Counsel contended that in the face of the evidence the Court would not be warranted in making the declaration of rights asked for in the fourth prayer of the petition.  His learned friend, Mr. Hayllar, in his opening speech, alleged that the plaintiffs might cease to have an interest in the property at any time; therefore the court's order would be binding on the defendants only.  British Courts were, Mr. Hannen argued, averse at all times to granting such a prayer.  Plaintiffs had not done what was necessary in this case to prove the question of boundary.  Had they done so, their statements would have been abundantly refuted.  In order to invoke the aid of the Court in defining the boundaries it should first be shewn that the boundaries could not be found without such assistance.  This had not been done. Declarations of future rights were, the learned Counsel contended, always refused by Courts of equity.  No case for relief under the first prayer had, the learned Counsel contended, been made out; and on these several grounds he would venture to ask his Lordship to dismiss the petition.

   Counsel for plaintiffs opined, that from the time of Bacon it had been the custom of English Courts to grant a declaration of rights in a case like the present.  He admitted that the mere alteration of buildings would not work forfeiture; but the building of a house like that put up in 1878, without permission, would certainly bring about forfeiture.  Defendants could not, the learned counsel argued, blow hot and cold, and say the property was not under the control of plaintiffs after alleging in their answer to the petition that permission to put up the house  (College, 1878) was granted under the lease of 1867.  He contended that the Agreement of rent of 1866 was void.

   His Lordship was of opinion that Mr. Hayllar had not said so before.

   Counsel for defendants was clearly of opinion that the voidness of the agreement of 1866 was not made out in the Petition.

   The Chief Justice suggested that possibly the parties to the suit might arrange matters out of Court.  His Lordship was quite willing g to stay proceedings - so as to admit of a private settlement; and it was ultimately arranged that this should be attempted.

Sixth Day, 7th May, 1879

   The Court re-opened at 2 p.m., after an adjournment from 4.30 p.m. of the 5th inst.  In the interim efforts had been made to bring about an arrangement between the parties, but the attempt failed.

   A wooden model of the temple property was brought into Court prior to the resumption of the hearing, and placed on a table near the bench.

   Mr. HANNEN proceeded to formally open the case for the defendant.  The learned Counsel said that the case might be divided into four points, viz:

1o - The priests' story;

2o - The alleged encroachments;

3o - The parcels; and

4o - The legal effect of the documents before the Court.

The priest's story, if true, amounted to an attempt on the part of his client to seduce the priest into selling the property.  But it was an absurdity to suppose that this old priest was ignorant of the Chinese law in such matters.  He knew perfectly well what he was about.  At the outset of these transactions between the priest and his client, it was clearly the priest who had first proposed the sale of the Blind Man's temple.  There was nothing underhand in Mr. Wolfe's first negotiations. The money advanced by the defendant was spent by the priest for his own purposes, and there was nothing unreasonable in his client insisting upon and obtaining a Promissory Note for the money lent.  The insinuation that Mr. Wolfe at that time knew so much of the law of China as to suppose that the proposed set-off against rent would enable him to get a title to the property was, the learned Counsel contended, utterly false and unreasonable.

   The priest, who had got into serious trouble with the Chinese authorities, was of course anxious to say everything in favor of the plaintiffs in this case, but his testimony was unreliable and contradictory.  There was no record in the English Consulate of the $800 deed, while in regard to the $500 deed a copy only had been produced by his learned friend.  The story of the $500 deed rested entirely in the uncorroborated testimony of the priest.  And the value of that witness's testimony might be estimated from the fact that he attempted on three distinct occasions to defraud the directors of the temple and the Chinese authorities.  The documents that had been produced by his learned friend to prove the existence of the $500 deed had not been archived in the regular manner, and it was quite possible that the understrappers who had been employed to copy the alleged deed had been tampered with. 

   The learned counsel disclaimed all intentions of introducing any argument to bear on alleged facts which the plaintiffs sought to prove solely by inadmissible documents.  Plaintiffs had appealed to English law and must therefore be guided by the rules of procedure in English Courts.  Statements had been made in Court on the plaintiffs' aside bearing on points never communicated to his client nor alleged in the Petition.  Referring to the alteration in the Agreement of 1867, the learned Counsel declared that the fact of this alteration having been made had not been communicated to his client.  Passing to the subject of the alleged encroachments, defendant's Counsel argued that the present Mission House actually covered less ground than the old one (burnt in 1870.)  The former house was a bungalow and the existing one is a two storeyed building.  He would prove that the charge of encroachment was utterly false. The whole of the alleged encroachment was simply a question of a few inches, or as to whether a corner should be round or square.

   In regard to the question of boundary wall, witnesses who had known the place for years would prove that it had not been moved, and in proof of this allegation the learned Counsel produced two photographs - one taken before the last wall was erected, and the other only a few days before the present trial commenced.

   Passing to the question of parcels, the learned counsel showed that when Mr. Wolfe arrived at this port in 1862, Mr. Smith was the only tenant at Wu-shih-shan.  It was not reasonable to suppose that the defendant would have enclosed land to which he had no title.  The directors must have known, at the time, of the enclosure of Mr. Smith's lot, and yet they had not urged one word of objection.   His learned friend had failed to prove that the directors or their responsible agent, the priest, had no right to let land belonging to the temple.   Referring to the Agreement of 1867, Mr. Hannen contended that the intention was to frame a lease as good as the one under which his clients held previously, and that the proper construction of the 1867 lease fairly carried out the intentions of the parties. 

   But even if the plaintiffs should make out their case, no Court of Equity could put the construction sought by his learned friend on that document, in view of the manner in which it had been obtained.  The learned Counsel would now proceed to examine the defendant, and, with the permission of his lordship, he proposed to resume his address on the case after evidence on his side had been taken by the Court.

   The Rev. J. R. WOLFE, examined by Mr. Hannen, stated: - I came to Foochow in 1862.  In that year Mr. George Smith represented the English Church Missionary Society at this port.  Shortly after my arrival here I went to reside at Wu-shih-shan.  At that time the building now used as a girls' school was occupied by Mr. Smith.  With the exception of a kitchen since added, the building was the same then as it is now. The Mission House consisted of a long bungalow with a verandah, and two rooms at the north-west corner, which extended to a door in the enclosing wall now standing.  The ground then held by the Mission included the land on which the college burnt last year was built.  The verandah of the Mission House extended to the lawn.  On the west side of the cross-wall was a deep hole, and from thence down about half-way there was broken and rocky ground.  At the lower end there was a piece of flat ground on which the ruins of the College now stand.  There was a small plot of level ground intervening, and on this I subsequently built a cow-house.  At that time there was an old stable of cow-house on the lower ground where the ruined College now stands.  The ground referred to was enclosed by a mud wall.

   The Morrison house was also occupied by Mr. Smith, - it consisted of four rooms going straight in, with a small building attached which was used as a kitchen.  This building was also a bungalow.  In addition to this, Mr. Smith had purchased a small piece of land where the present stable stands.  This piece of ground was enclosed by an old wall and the roots of old trees and bamboos.  Mr. Smith had purchased about one-third of the ground enclosed by the wall which I put up by permission in 1865.

   The deeds relating to these purchases were not registered; but they bore the Tepao's stamp.  Some time in 1863 a second storey was added to Morrison's house.  As well as I can recollect no rooms were added to the lower storey.  The priest certainly knew of these alterations.  I saw him several times while the building was going on, and thaw wood used for the building was stored in the Taou Shan Kwan. The completion of these alterations occupied a space of 3 or 4 months.  During all that time I never heard of any objection on the part of the temple authorities.

   In 1865 I erected a wall to the north of the Mission House, to keep out thieves and beggars.  I applied to have doors put in this wall.  The application was, I think, verbal, and was made to Mr. Consul Hewlett.  I obtained permission to put up this wall.  A deputy and others connected with the Foreign Trade Board examined the place at the time.  They asked me of there were any graves there; I said there were not.  They then went away and promised to report on the matter.  As well as I can remember, Mr. Consul Hewlett told me subsequently that he had written to the Chinese authorities and that they had granted ;permission to erect the wall.  After the wall had been put up, I frequently saw the deputy just referred to.  On the first kite-flying day following the ejection of the wall, he came to protect the Mission premises, as was usual at that time, and he said that he quite approved of the wall and that I ought to have put it up long ago - as by so doing I would have saved him much trouble.

   In answer to a question by the Chief Justice, as to there being an ancient right of way, witness said: - There was a path leading from one temple to another.

   Examination continued: The consulate interpreter also saw the new wall and gate.  When I was erecting the wall, a man came to me and claimed a portion of the ground.  He produced some old deeds.  I purchased them, and had them stamped by the Tepao, but did not think it necessary to send them to the consulate for registration.   Between the date of my arrival and the year 1867 I caused the ground where the hole formerly stood to be filled up.  A man was employed in doing so for several weeks continuously. The first cross-wall was, I believe, erected by Mr. Welton.  In 1868 I put up another gate.  My reason for so doing was that there was a door in the old one through which people came into my house through the garden.  During the whole of that time the outer wall was untouched.

   I lived at one time in the old Mission House (burnt in 1870).  I know the present Mission House.  The old one covered a larger area.  It extended to the wall of the Li Chu Kung on the east.  To the west it extended 12 or 15 feet beyond the present house towards the south.  At the south-west corner there is a tree standing.  The space is now much greater than it was formerly.  On the north side it extended about 7 or 8 feet. At a subsequent period I pulled down a portion of the wall running to the north and north-west.  The southernmost end of that wall has not been interfered with.  Later on, the wall was re-erected on the foundation of the old one.  I know this because there were land-marks and vines which I planted in 1864 - the roots and   stumps of two of which are still standing.  Outside the wall there is the Pau Tao Wu Rock, which has never been removed.  There is a bend in the new wall at this corner of about half-foot beyond the old wall.  With this exception the wall is in the same position as before.  The whole of the land now enclosed is precisely the same that was enclosed of that small portion (half-foot) just referred to, and the bit that the authorities permitted me to enclose in 1865.

   This closed the sixth day's proceedings.

Seventh Day, 8th May 1879.

   Examination of Rev. J. R. Wolfr con tinued - I remember early in 1866 a proposition being made to me to ourchase the property known as the Vblind Man's temple.  I attempted to purchase it, but failed.  The temple was then in a very dilapidated condition; it was used by the blind men of the city at certain seasons; they came at night.  The priest said that he could sell the temple.  He also said that he had asked permission of the authorities (as I thought, the heads of the Blind Men's Association), and that they wanted to have a temple at another place.  As well as I can remember the price I offered was $400 for an out and out purchase.  The negotiations failed in consequence of the interference of the Taou Shan Kwan directors.  I do not remember obtaining a signed deed of sale from the priest. I did  not at about that time attempt to purchase the whole property occupied by the Mission.  I have read through the translation of the $800 deed.  I never procured the draft of such deed.  Certainly not.  The priests' story about the deed is untrue; if it were true I should recollect it.

   A little while after the failure of negotiations for purchase of the Blind Man's Temple, the priest came to my house and we had some conversation.  He said that he was willing to sell the property we held under the old lease. I replied, that I would purchase it of he could dispose of it legally.  As well as I can recollect I agreed to pay $1,500 for the property; and, so far as I can remember, I asked my teacher to make a draft of agreement to be registered at the Consulate.  The priest took this draft away and brought it back in triplicate.  I then paid him part of the purchase money ($500).  I think I paid this amount in two instalments.  My reason for doing so was, that the priest said it would be inconvenient to take away $500 at once.  All this took place in my study at the bungalow.  I sent the Agreement in triplicate to the Consulate.  The Consul sent the copies back top me for signature; I signed and returned them. They were again sent back to me two or three months later, with a note from Mr. Consul Carroll.

   I then had an interview with the priest and informed him that the deeds had been sent back with a note from Mr. Carroll, stating that the purchase could not be effected.  I asked the priest to refund the $500.  He said he had spent the money.  I then told him that if he did not restore the money I should inform, the Consul in regard to the matter.  He begged me not to do so, and said that he would give me a Promissory Note for the amount.  The same day, or the day following, he brought me a Promissory Note for the $500.  I am perfectly certain that I paid him the money the very d ay he brought the deed in triplicate.

   In reply to a question by the chief Justice, witness said:- I remember having had a private conversation with Mr. Sinclair, and he then promised to exert himself towards obtaining a new deed of lease (that of 1867).  This was in consequence of my trouble with the priest about the $500 advance.  I have not in my possession any letter from Mr. Consul Sinclair with reference to the [proposed lease of 1867.  With regard to the alleged non-payment of rent, I do not remember any one calling for it, but I received a letter from the Consul on the subject.  In reply, I stated, that as the priest had absconded with the $500 advanced to him, rent should be retained by me as a set-off against the amount due, until such time as the loan was repaid.  The Consul wrote to say that he did not think it reasonable to keep back the rent, so I at once paid it.  It was never suggested to me by anybody that I could hold any part of the property on a different tenure to that under which I had previously held it.  I had nothing whatever to do with or knowledge of the negotiations referred to in the 24th paragraph of plaintiffs' re-amended petition.  Mr. Smith died suddenly at Amoy, in 1863, and his papers were left in a disordered state.

   Cross-examined by Counsel for plaintiffs, witness stated: - The English Church Missionary Society is a voluntary association; it has no charter.  It does not come under any of the Charitable Trusts' Acts.  The qualification for membership is the payment of an annual subscription.  Messieurs Fearnley, Welton, and Jackson were panted missionaries to this country in the ordinary way.  I was absent from Foochow in 1870 when the Mission House was accidentally burnt.  I was not there when the house was rebuilt.  It was built by Mr. Mahood.  I do not know whether permission was obtained to erect the upper storey.  I do not know that the present building is offensive to native feeling or superstition.  I have heard from mandarins and others who visited the place on the day of the riot (30th August, 1878) and subsequently, that the Mission House was objected to by the gentry.  Had I been in Foochow when the present Mission House was built I do not think I should have put up such a lofty structure.

   I was here when the top storey of Morrison's House was erected.  Permission was not asked.  I was not in charge of the Mission at that time, and therefore it was not my business to interfere.  The present Girls' School was converted to its present use before I came here.  I do not think permission was given to do this.  As to the cross-wall erected to keep out beggars, I did not ask permission to put it up, as I thought it would enclose the private property of the mission.  I erected the cross-wall five years after Mr. Smith's death.  The mud wall, already referred to, was in existence when I came to Foochow, and the wall was the same height then as now. The gate was not moved in 1871.

   While the Mission House was being rebuilt I never heard of any disturbance about right of way: - I was in England at that time.  In 1876 I rented a piece of ground from King Fa, a priest of another temple.  I threw out my west wall in the same year so as to enclose this ground.  Trouble arose when I commenced to do this; the matter was referred to the consul, and I was compelled to pull the wall down.  I do not recollect the Consul telling me that I had enclosed public ground.   He told me that the mandarins had informed him that King Fa had no authority to let the ground just referred to.  With reference to the $800 deed, I could not have read it at the time it was alleged to have been drawn up without the aid of a Chinese teacher.  I did not at that time always read through Chinese documents with my teacher.  I could not write Chinese at the time.  My teacher usually drafted documents.  I cannot say that the transaction in regard to the Blind Man's Temple was reduced to writing: - had that been done, my teacher would probably have drawn up the document.  I cannot say that he did not write the $800 deed.

   My teacher knew of the general idea about buying the Blind Man's Temple.  I had conversations with him about it.  I cannot recollect whether the $400 deed was written by him or not.  I can s wear that I never saw (document produced) this document.  As to any other document connected with the Blind Man's temple negotiations I cannot remember.  I will sweater that the priest's story about the $800 deed is a   falsehood. ($800 deed produced.) I cannot say that Chan Wu Kut, whose name appears on this document, was a water-carrier in my employ.  I do not even know the man's name.  I do not remember a man named Kow Fa as having been in my employ.

   I believe it is the usual practice in dealing with land to have the documents first sealed by the Tepao.  I believe that the Tepao is appointed by the District Magistrate, but do not know whether the Tepao's seals are changed on the accession of a new magistrate or not.  I have not paid any land tax to the Emperor of china. ($500 deed handed to witness):- I cannot swear that this document is not absolutely correct.  I am sure that I advanced to the priest the $500 already mentioned, and that I paid the money in   two instalments.  I have not paid any money on account of transactions connected with the Blind Man's Temple. I did not think there was any risk of transactions with the priest falling through - subsequent to the failure of negotiations for purchase of the Blind Man's temple.  If a man is punished for a transaction of the nature you describe, it must, I suppose, be a serious offence.

   I believe I did ask Mr. Consul Carroll to intercede on behalf of the priest.  I will swear that I did not do so on account of the $500 transaction. (Mr. Consul Carroll's letter to witness produced.) I cannot say that this is Mr. Carroll's signature.  I think I did ask Mr.  Carroll to obtain the release of the priest, but I know nothing about Mr. Carroll's letter.  After reading this letter (Consul Carroll's to Prefect) I am sure that it was not in consequence of the $500 loan that it was written.  The priest was imprisoned on account of the $400 transaction, and not for the subsequent one.  I state this as a fact of my own knowledge.

   In reply to questions by thaw Chief Justice, witness said: - I was not in treaty at the time of the $400 transaction for the purchase of the whole property.  I think three or four months elapsed between the $400 and $500 transactions.  The priest was imprisoned for about a week.  Negotiations for purchase of the whole property were commenced about three months after the negotiations for partial purchase had been broken off.  After reading the translations of Mr. Consul Carroll's letter, I adhere to my former statement.  I cannot say that I did not inform Consul Carroll that the priest was not released.  Perhaps I did.

   Mr. Sinclair, in reply to a question from the Court, said, that it was not the practice at the Consulate to affix dates to Chinese notes of an informal character.

   Cross-examination of wiriness resumed: - My counsel has had opportunities of examining the Consular records affecting this case.  I have never asked my Counsel to search for documents bearing on the $400 deed, nor have I looked for it myself personally.  In order to repay myself the $500 advanced to the priest, I asked him to give me this promissory note.  At that time the annual rent of the Mission premises was $130.  The reason whey I did not propose to write off the principal as the rent fell due, instead of charging interest, was this: - When I asked the priest to refund the $500, he said he had spent the money.  I then told him that I should report the matter to the Consul.  He begged me not to do so, and said that if I gave him time he would allow the rent to go as interest on the $500 until such period as he could refund the principal.  I fully expected that the priest would take some time to repay the money, but I also thought it likely that he had the money, and had not spent it, as he represented.

   It was not at that time my intention to settle permanently in England.  It was not my intention when I made this agreement with the priest to get the property in perpetuity.  I had some conversation with the priest about the rate of interest on this loan; but I was not aware at that time that if the money had not been re-paid I should obtain the property in perpetuity.  I did not send the Promissory Note to the Consulate for registration.  It never occurred to my mind.

   MR. HANNEN here rose and protested against his learned friend's style of cross-examination.  He thought the practice of bullying witnesses was out of date.

   Cross-examination continued: - It never occurred to me on the occasions of my frequent visits to the Consulate to say anything about this document.  After the priest absconded I did not communicate with any of the Temple officials with reference to the Promissory Note; but I really cannot say why.  One day, shortly afterwards, I was standing in my garden talking to two of the directors, when I told them that I had paid the priest $500.  The next thing was a letter from Consul Sinclair requesting me to pay the rent.  When the priest ran away, I felt anxious about getting back my money.  I was not aware that the matter of this Promissory Note had come before the Consul in consequence of the temple people having complained that I did not pay the rent.  I do not remember anybody coming to my house for the rent.  I do not remember having refused to pay rent for the summer quarter following the priest's flight.  The only thin I can remember is having had a conversation with two men from the temple, when I told them that I thought the rent ought to be left unpaid until my advance of $500 had been refunded.  I heard that the directors of the Taou Shan Kwan were annoyed when they discovered these transactions between the priest and myself.  I do not know if the priest told me this before he ran away.  I am unable to say whether I did or not.  I did not think at the time that my transactions with the priest were of a nature to make the directors of the temple angry, nor did I think that the priest was liable to punishment.  The priest did not come to me in his trouble to ask my advice.  Certainly not!  I had no idea that he was going to run away.

   Since 1876 I have had some trouble with the Chinese authorities about building upon land beyond the limits of the temple property.  I received the Consul's permission to put up the College which was burnt last August.  In 1877-1878 there were some negotiations going on with respect to a removal of the mission premises to another site.  At the time the agreement of 1866 was entered into the mud wall was in progress.  I got that property under deeds (7 in number).  (Deed of perpetual lease 1865 handed to witness):- I sent this document to the Consulate for registration, but it was not registered.  I subsequently entered into the Agreement of 1866 for a lease of 20 years.

   Re-examined by Mr. HANNEN, witness said: - The objection to the deeds (7 in number) just referred to, was that they did not bear the Government stamps.  The deeds extended back over a hundred years, as well as I can remember.  There was, and s till is, land on both sides of the lot specified in these deeds occupied by Chinese.

Eighth Day, 9th May, 1879.

   Re-examination of Mr. Wolfe, continued - When I sent the deeds in triplicate to the Consulate for registration, the priest told me that he had authority to sell the property.  I did not believe that the priest had spent the advance ($500) after return of the triplicate deed.  Up to 1867 the priest had received rent - apparently for his own benefit; that is why I thought the directors would not be angry at his alienating it.  My reason for remembering that the negotiation for purchase in 1866 was for the Blind Man's Temple is shown by a minute in the mission book ()Minute Book produced and copy entry verified). The minute is dated 5th February, 1866.

   WONG KAU-TAIK (a native Christian) called, (Witness gave evidence in the local dialect, which was interpreted by the Rev . Mr. Hartwell, an American Missionary.)  Witness  said - I am a medical practitioner.  I first became acquainted with the mission premises at Wu-shih-shan in the 2nd  year of Tung Chi (1863.) I resided at the mission in the 3rd year of Tung Chi (1864.)  I examined the premises as they now stand over twenty days ago.

   Mr. HAYLLAR here agreed, on behalf of the plaintiffs, to concede the point of alleged encroachment in connection with the wall, - accepting Mr. Wolfe's story as final.  The learned counsel declared that he did this to shorten matters.

   Counsel for plaintiffs also agreed to accept, for purposes of the suit, the evidence of the Rev. Mr. Wolfe concerning the boundaries of the bungalow burnt down in 1870.

   Examination of Wong Kau Taik continued - When the present Mission House was built, I was living in the Mission Chapel at South Street in the City, but I frequently visited the mission premises.  I never heard of any objection to an upper storey being put on the new house.  During Mr. Mahood's absence at Sharp Peak, I frequently  went to Wu-shih-shan to inspect the progress of the new building.

   Cross-examined  by Counsel for Plaintiffs:- I do not  remember any disturbances in connection with the east gate of the mission premises.'

   LING YUEI NEI called. (Very matched excitement was displayed by two of the plaintiffs on the appearance of this witness.  His presence in Court was evidently displeasing to them, and they expressed their dissatisfaction in such audible tones as to bring  down a  warning from the court, that if they persisted in interrupting the proceedings they should be ordered out of Court.)

   The examination was then proceeded with, and witness said:- I am a stonemason .  I knew the mission premises in the 9th year of Hien Feng (1859).  The spot on which the ruins of the College (burnt last August) now stand was in 1859 enclosed by a low wall.  I repaired this wall for Mr. Smith.

   Crows-examination by Counsel for Plaintiffs. - The wall was built of mud, and was about 8 to 9 feet high.  I repaired the wall in 1859.  I have not done any work for the Mission since then.  I live at Pouesang.  Mr. Wolfe asked me to come here.  He sent a messenger named Ka Su.  I repaired a wall in the 5th year of Tung Chi (1866) for Mr. Wolfe.  Since 1866 I have not done any work for the Mission.  When I repaired the wall in 1866, Ka Su was Mr. Wolfe's cook.  He was not cook in 1859.  A brother of ka Su, named Ka Ku, was in Mr. Smith's service.  Mr. Wolfe sent for me yesterday, - requesting me to attend here today.

   Rev. R. W. STEWART examined by Mr. Hannen, stated - I arrived at Foochow in November, 1876.  The new college was built under my superintendence. (Mr. Consul Sinclair's letter with reference to the building of the College produced, and identified by witness.) After the college was completed - in so far as walls, roof, and general exterior - the gentry manifested some opposition to the building.  This opposition first came under my notice about three months after receipt of the consul's letter authorising me to erect the building.  Mr. Sinclair asked me to discontinue work on the house, but I declined.  Mr. Sinclair stated that the gentry were raising objections to the house, and begged me to stop the work.  I said that there was nothing to stop, that the house was roofed in and virtually finished.  Mr. Sinclair replied, that as there was nothing but inside work requisite to complete the building, he would write to the Chinese authorities and inform them that the house was finished, and that therefore it was too late to object.  Mr. Sinclair asked me, however, to discontinue the interior work meantime.

   In answer to a question from the Court, witness said - I never undertook to stop the work pending reference to the high authorities either at home or elsewhere.  I have searched the Consular archives for correspondence in English bearing on this case from  1864 to 1867, but have failed to discover any.

   Mr. HANNEN here stated that he had asked Mr. Playfair, of H.B.M.'s Consulate, to search for documents in the Consulate proving the existence of the $800 deed, or to show that it had ever been forwarded by Mr. Wolfe through the Consulate to the Chinese authorities.  Mr. Playfair had in formed him that there was no record of the document to be found.

   Mr.  SINCLAIR, H.B.M.'s Consul, was again examined by Mr. Hannen, and stated - An informal Chinese note is usually drafted in this manner: - An order is given to the interpreter, who explains it to the Chinese writer.  The note is written, and brought to me, when I initial it.  We do not keep an exact record of these informal notes, but simply enter a precis in a Chinese book kept for that purpose.  It is not the general practice to date these notes.  Official communications only are dated.

   Cross-examined by Mr. HAYLLAR (Mr. Consul Carroll's note with reference to the $500 deed ands the release of Chun Yuen-ching produced) - This note is written in the usual semi-official style.  The signature is that of Mr. Carroll, - I know it very well.

   The allusion to the high authorities in England, contained in my note to Mr. Stewart, refers to the offer of Ting Futai to give the Telegraph House on Nantai an additional piece of ground equal in size to the existing compound of the Telegraph House, and a sum of $5,000 in full, - in consideration of the missionaries agreeing to abandon their premises at Wu-shih-shan.  The High Authorities alluded to mean the Foreign Office in London.  This proposal was intended to cover a complete abandonment by the Missionaries of the Wu-shih-shan property.  I submitted the offer to Mr. Wolfe.

   In reply to the Chief Justice, witness said - I reported this offer to the Legation at Pekin, and also to the Foreign Office, - as it is my duty so to do in dealing with all important questions.  At the time I wrote the note to Mr. Stewart I was expecting an answer from the Foreign office.  It is usual for the Tepao to affix a stamp to land deeds.  The stamp is required at the consulate for all leases in perpetuity.  The Prefect would return an agreement of lease not bearing the Tepao's stamp.  The land revenue is collected with the assistance of the Tepaos.  The Tepao is a sort of head-constable and is responsible to the District magistrate for the maintenance of order within his ward.

   This closed the evidence on behalf of the Defendant.

   On the re-opening of the court, after the adjournment for tiffin.

   Mr. HANNEN commenced his summing up for the defence.  He said, that he must at the outset reiterate the objections s he had previously made, and which had been strengthened and reinforced by the subsequent course of the case.  The allegation that the present buildings occupy a much larger space than the old ones has not a tittle of evidence to support it.  The allegation that the priest had no authority to rent the property is shown to be void by the facts that have been proved, - first, that he did rent it prior to 1867, and secondly, that the plaintiffs, by their lease of 1867, let the property which he had previously rented, which they would not have done if he had been renting without authority.  The allegation that the defendants extended the rooms below had not been proved by the plaintiffs, and has been disproved by the defendants.

   With regard to the allegation that the priest had no authority to rent to Mr. Smith, it has not been proved; but is disproved by the confirmation of the agreement between the priest and Mr. Smith, and by the directors in consequently including the land so let in the agreement of 1867.  There is then nothing to prove that the priest had not authority to rent up to 1867.

   I come now to the allegations that the building now standing encroaches ion ground not leased to us.  It has been shown that the building is entirely within the site of the previous one, and no attempt has been made to show that the previous one encroached on any ground not leased to us.  This allegation, therefore, has not been proved in any way at all.  The charge that we have blocked up an ancient right of way by a gate erected on these premises has not been sustained by any evidence whatever.  Not one single encroachment, and not one breach of agreement has been proved.  All the charges of encroachment have been abandoned, except one that refers to a few inches, in a corner of a wall, which was made straight where it had previously been round.  We have therefore practically reduced the issue in this case to three points:-

  1. - The legal construction of the lease of 1867.
  2. - What is the "vacant piece of ground" referred to in that lease?
  3. - What is the piece of ground that was rented to Mr. George Smith?

   I am obliged here to  allude once more to the priest's story about his three documents, and to Mr. Wolfe's reply to it.  My learned friend tried to shake Mr. Wolfe from his statement that the priest was imprisoned on account of the transaction in regard to the Blind Man's temple, and not on account of the $500 deed. The whole gist of the cross-examination was to the point that Mr. Wolfe, after reading Mr. Carroll's letter, ought to recede his statement; but Mr. Wolfe, being positive in his memory of the matter, adhered steadfastly to what he had before said.  Mr. Carroll's letter is an unofficial one, and Mr. Sinclair told us this morning how these informal letters are prepared by a Chinese writer, who is given the substance of what is to be written, and who then writes the note.  No doubt Mr. Carroll had heard that there was some transaction in regard to a perpetual lease, and knowing that the ripest was imprisoned in connexion with a transaction about property, he might have supposed it to be in regard to the whole property.  It is hard that Mr. Wolfe's testimony should be impugned by an unofficial note like this, prepared in the loose way of which we have heard.

   In regard to the $800 deed, my learned friend traced it into Mr. Wolfe's hands; and now it turns up in the hands of the Chinese Government.  If it was a document that Mr. Wolfe had tried to have legalized, it should have gone to the British Consul, and have been sent by him to the Chinese officials, in which case there would have been a record of it at the British Consulate.  That there is nothing of the kind has been proved.  Mr. Hayllar makes much of Mr. Wolfe's  entering into the $500 arrangement with the priest, after the latter had been punished for his previous transaction.  But the circumstances of the two cases are entirely different.  The first proposed the sale of a temple not then in the property.  The second had reference to property already in possession of my clients.  Bedsides, when the priest came the second time, Mr. Wolfe would naturally think that, having got into trouble the first time, he would not have gone into the second transaction without really having the authority that he professed to have.

   My learned friend also referred to false deeds.  Now, those deeds were some that Mr. Smith had obtained from the Chinese, and as he died suddenly, and his papers were left in disorder, and Mr. Wolfe, having then been there only a short time, and did not know the imprudence of having them stamped, it is not remarkable that they were not stamped by the District Magistrate, and this is the only "falsity" proved in regard to them.

   In regard to the documents excluded from the case on my objection, I simply thought they were not proper evidence; and knowing nothing about them, and having had no opportunity to see translations of them, as no translations were kept on record during that period in the British Consulate, I thought the safest and best course was to keep them out. In the Agreement of 1867, one of the things mentioned is, that a lot of land let to Mr. Smith is included in it.  We hold it to be the piece on which the college was built.  The story of the priest that the little spot on the top of the hill is the one rented to Mr. Smith for $12, when he rented a very much larger piece below with buildings on it for $20, is ridiculous. At the time Mr. Smith entered into the Agreement of 1867, the only piece of vacant ground on the premises was that going down towards the lot on which the College was built.  It is only natural to suppose that as the Directors examined the spot at the time the lease was made, they referred to the vacant ground that was then there.  It is not to be wondered at that Mr. Wolfe supposed it to be that piece. If your Lordship decides that that is not the piece, we must give it up willingly; but we are not to blame for believing that it was in our ground.  It does not seem improbable that when Mr. Wolfe was in possession of the property, and a new lease was to be made, he should suppose that it would be for the whole property then occupied by him.

   In regard to the College site, these gentlemen did not object to our occupancy during all the ten years after the lease was made, until we began to build upon it.  It is proved by the testimony of Mr. Wolfe and the mason that that bit has been within the wall for twenty years, and for ten years under the new lease, without any objection.  I believe that the evidence shows that that piece of land is included in the lease of 1867.  It is with regard to the construction that we put upon the document, we say that it is a lease to us for so long as we pay rent.  If you read that document by the light of common sense, this is just what it means, and nothing else.  A perpetual lease is not repugnant to the Chinese idea of what may be done with property, and, a fortiori, a lease for as long as rent is paid is not repugnant to Chinese ideas.

   My learned friend puts a forced construction on the lease, which he says is in accordance with Chinese law. But his assertion rests upon very slender proof - that of Mr. Ting and the How-kwan Magistrate.  They contradicted each other flatly in their evidence.  Mr. Ting said that both parties held documents in case of leases.  The Magistrate said that only the landlord held a document, which was given to him by the lessee.  But this is a case outside of their knowledge. They say that before foreigners came to China, temple lands were never rented.  The testimony that a landlord can take back property, if he wants it for himself or his son, is not to the point, as this is not property of that kind.

   We wish to stand by what the lease bears on its face.  My learned friend's reason why this is not such a lease as we claim it to be is, that the plaintiffs had no authority to make such a lease.  He has only proved that they are Directors of certain Associations connected with the Temple, to show that it is not likely that they would have such authority; but this is not proof that they could not do it. On the contrary, it is shown that they did it, and did it in a solemn form; and my learned friend's theory calls upon us to believe that they went through this form to make a three months' lease terminable by them at any time on three months' notice!  Certainly the circumstances show that it was something more than this, something far different from this.  A paper was admittedly drawn up in 1866 to lease the property for twenty years; and he would have us believe that another was drawn up in 1867, and agreed to by the defendants, which only licensed them to live on the premised three months at a time!

   The agreement contains these words, "neither of them can withdraw."  I cannot understand what this means, if the plaintiffs can withdraw at the end of any three months.  If it was intended that the property could be taken back at the will of the plaintiffs, other words would have been introduced into the agreement, as they were into the agreement of 1867, where the tenant says that the landlord can résumé his property on giving a certain definite notice.  The phrase not being in the 1867 agreement, the landlord cannot resume.  If it were the general law that the landlord can take back his property when he likes, without such an expression, then this expression would not have been in the document of 1866.

   We have  in Mr. Sinclair's evidence the fact that a large sum of money was offered to the defendants to remove to another location.  Why should this have been done if they had an understood tenure terminable in any three months.  If our construction of this document is not the right one, then there is no way to enforce on the plaintiffs their agreement not to rent to any one else as long as the rent is paid.  Suppose they are allowed to take back the property, they can rent it to some one else tomorrow, and there is no power in this Court to correct it.

   His LORDSHIP called Mr. Hannen's attention to the argument that the lease is void because no time of commencement is stated; and suggested that the point ought to be argued.

   Mr. HANNEN stated that he had no authorities here that applied to the case, but he did not conceive  that the strict ruled of English law in such a matter could be applied to a Chinese document of this sort, more especially as there had been entry.  The lease really commenced from the day of its execution, which date might be fixed by evidence aliunde, if necessary.

   This closed the eighth day's proceedings.

Source: The North China Herald, 10 June 1879

Ninth Day, 10th May, 1879.

   On the re-opening of the court, Counsel for defendant explained that his client had found the old Agreement of 1850 in the mission archives, and, with the permission of his Lordship, he would like to put in the document as evidence.

   Mr. HAYLLAR agreed to the document being received quantum valeat.

   His LORDSHIP was of opinion that the agreement in question would [on] materially affect the suit.

   Mr. HANNEN then asked to be allowed to tender as evidence four receipts for rent, - the last one being for the quarter ended 31st December, 1878.

   Counsel for plaintiffs then rose to address the court on the entire case.  There were three or four points to which he desired to call his Lordship's attention.  Why did his learned friend try to exclude evidence on Chinese law?  There was nothing more clear than that foreign law should govern this suit.  The case for the plaintiffs was in a nutshell, and if the evidence on Chinese law which had been put in on behalf of his clients could not be met by his learned friend, he (Mr. Hayllar) could form no idea as to why Mr. Hannen was there.  I fully expected, continued Mr. Hayllar, that my learned friend would have produced evidence to refute what I have brought forward.  I assumed that what I have alleged was in the minds of the parties when they made the Agreement of 1867.  It certainly was uppermost in the minds of my clients, and they were not now going to give defendant by a side-wind what they had refused to give him in reality.

   Me. Wolfe was, on his own showing, active in getting property.  It is not likely therefore that he approached this subject in complete ignorance of the Chinese law and custom.  Mr. Wolfe must have known perfectly well that the agreements between the Chinese priest and Messieurs Welton and Fearnley would not inure to his benefit.  He must also have known that it was a matter of impossibility trying to buy the Blind Man's Temple.  He certainly found that he could not get it by means of the promissory note.

   Afterwards the defendant received from the directors of the temple an agreement headed "An Agreement of Rent," and under the circumstances he must have drawn an inevitable conclusion that it gave him nothing beyond a tenancy from year to year. Referring to Mr. Consul Carroll's despatch, the learned Counsel asked, how could Mr. Carroll know anything about an annual tenancy unless through Mr. Wolfe?  And he could only know it through Mr. Wolfe's being alarmed at what had happened to the priest.  Mr. Wolfe was no doubt at that period trying to get an annual tenancy; and all he could hope to obtain from the Chinese authorities was a tenancy from year to year.  Mr. Hannen had, by his objections, endeavoured to shut out all evidence of custom. I should have been very glad of Mr. Wolfe's evidence on the other side.  I have endeavoured to be very fair and open in this case; but my learned friend has shut out many of my despatches.  The genuineness of these despatches cannot be impugned. I thought these documents formed the very best evidence, but my learned friend has proved me ignorant.  I would have been very glad to have laid before your lordship all the despatches, because I think the truth of this case lies in them.

   The fact that the agreement of 1876 is not recorded in the land register at the consulate proves that it had not a permanent character.  My learned friend pointed out certain discrepancies between the evidence of the Prefect and that of the present Haukwan Distinct magistrate, as to whether a Chinese lease was made out in duplicate or not.  Now, the evidence given by these two mandarins was the result of careful investigations and must therefore be conclusive.  My learned friend has not shaken their testimony by any counter-evidence. I am perfectly indifferent as to your Lordship asking any person in this Court whether these officials were not the [proper persons to give evidence.  Their position is too high to admit of their giving false testimony - it would soon be known throughout the country and they would be ruined.  My learned friend has finally rested his case on natural justice.  I am anxious to meet him on his own ground.

   I have shown your Lordship the steps by which what is called a Missionary riot is brought about.  I have shewn you how a patient people pile yup their grievances to bring them forth at last in one final burst of indignation.  The literary element is very strong in Foochow.  The history of Wu-shih-shan is recorded by inscriptions on the rocks twelve hundred years old.  Before 1850 only two foreigners (Mr. Canting, a merchant, and Mr. Morrison, a consular officer, had been allowed to reside in the temple. Temples are no doubt desirable places to reside in, and up to 1850 the Chinese did not object to the presence of foreigners at Wu-shih-shan; but in that year two gentleman, whose calling was a mystery to the people, wandered into the city.  It never entered into the minds of the lietati that these two stingers were the avant couriers of a Missionary stream.  The priests of the temple gave these two foreigners (Messieurs Welton and Jackson) permission to dwell in one of their sacred buildings.  The gods were removed, and permission given to alter the interior of the place so as to suit the requirements of the foreign guest.  These two Missionaries kept faith with the temple people, I believe.  But their successors began in course of time to treat the temple officials in a different way.  Houses existing in 1850 were subsequently converted into a different kind of structure.  Then, later on, the Missionary interest became a subject of treaty.  Now this Article (Article 8 of the Tientsin Treaty) is very remarkable in its wording.  It reads:-

The Christian religion, as professed by Protestants or Roman Catholics, inculcates the practice of virtue, and teaches man to do as he would be done by.  Persons teaching it or professing it, therefore, shall alike be entitled to the protection of the Chinese authorities: nor shall any such peaceably pursuing their calling, and not offending against the laws, be persecuted or interfered with.

   Now, the Chinese are always told that the Missionaries are very excellent people and that they come to this country to do good.  But under this article of treaty, the Missionaries up to 1871 certainly assumed to themselves more than the privileges of the ancient Roman citizen.  In the front was the Missionary with his treaty; in the rear the fore of a mighty Empire, ready at a moment's notice to quell any disturbances. Under such adverse conditions the native authorities were timid, the Missionaries bold.  The authorities were, it is true, sometimes incensed, and even ventured to remonstrate, but their remonstrances were usually snubbed.  The Chinese mind and temper will bear a great deal before it is forced into any hostile step against a foreigner, much less a Missionary.

   What then are we to think of those who provoke them?  The defendant and his brother Missionaries find themselves in a place they like, and naturally too, for it is a beautiful suite - as may be said of all temples. Therefore, forsooth, this public property, and the rights of thousands of people, are to be sacrificed to the demands of these gentlemen!  In this case the foreigner had done that which no Chinaman dare do.  He had tampered with the old priest in charge of the temple, and had cajoled him into making false documents.  The defendant did not seem to care what became of the poor old man.  He was utterly regardless of the fate of this poor old heathen priest, although he must have known that these transactions would bring ruin upon him.

   Referring to the cross-examination of Mr. Wolfe, the learned Counsel said that he did not regret one of the questions put to the witness, nor the severity of cross-examination as a whole.  Mr. Wolfe's evidence was completely shifty - non mi recordo being the burden of it.  Mr. Wolfe had saids in evidence that he knew nothing of any negotiations having taken place with the high authorities in England in 1878, as stated in the 24th paragraph of the petition.  I am sorry to say that Mr. Wolfe's statement is not quote true.  It seemed from Mr. Stewart's evidence yesterday, that an actual offer had been made by Ting Futai to purchase the property, that the subject matter of this proposal had been referred by Mr. Sinclair to the Home authorities, and that Mr. Sinclair had been in personal communication with Mr. Wolfe in respect of these negotiations.  We find in this at least some inaccuracy, - and this is characteristic of Mr. Wolfe's evidence throughout.

   Again, Mr. Wolfe produced his minute book in proof of his attempt to purchase the Blind Man's Temple.  Why did he not produce similar evidence as to the other transactions?   Mr. Wolfe is in a dilemma as to whether the $400 transaction in respect of the Blind Man's Temple ever took the form of an agreement.  The fact that Mr. Wolfe tried to buy this temple is not proof that there were not other designs in his mind.  Not only was the defendant anxious to get rid of these poor blind men, whose midnight orgies disturbed his peace of mind, but he also endeavoured to get rid of those who were not blind.  Mr. Wolfe has stated that the reason why he did not pay the priest the $400 on account of the Blind Man's temple was because he thought he might well fail in the purchase of this particular property; he does not appear to have entertained any doubt of success in the attempt to purchase the whole property. In comparing the statements of the Buddhist priest and Mr. Wolfe, I must say that the palm lies with the Buddhist, and the truth lies with him also.   Mr. Consul Carroll would never, in his despatch to the Chinese authorities, have alluded to the priest as "an innocent man" had he not been satisfied that the man's conduct was strictly proper.

   With regard to the promissory note for $500, the learned Counsel condemned it as an usurious transaction, and asked, where the natural justice on which his learned friend relied came in?  The natural justice was with the plaintiffs!  The fact of the priest having absconded made this promissory note rather a ticklish document.  After the priest absconded, Mr. Wolfe did not pay the rent till he was ordered to do so by the Consul.  The existence of the promissory note came out through the rent not being paid.  Mr. Wolfe then referred the matter for the first time to the consul.  It was then, by fetidly intervention of the Consul, that another agreement of rent was drawn up, against which Mr. Wolfe insinuates that the words about continuing to hire the premises were left out.  Mr. Wolfe at this time, on his own showing, knew sufficient of the language to be able to read a Chinese document with the aid of his teacher; he admitted in evidence that he generally reread his Chinese documents.   Where, then, was the absence of fair dealing on the part of the plaintiffs?   The transactions of Mr. Wolfe with the prides and others were surreptitious and offensive to the native gentry and authorities.

   Alluding to the Mission House erected on the site of the bungalow which was accidentally burned down in 1870, the learned Counsel  said - Mr. Wolfe has himself admitted that had he been there at the time hew would not have put up that building.  Referring to the ruined college, the learned Counsel maintained that defendant had built on ground to which he had no legal right, but which he now professes to regard as included in the lease of 1867; but Mr. Wolfe did not make any inquiry, as he should have done.  Had he inquired into the matter, it probably would mot have suited his purpose.  Mr. Stewart was burning with anxiety to be cross-examined yesterday, but I decided that as his evidence was so favourable to my view of these transactions, it would be perfectly useless to cross-examine him.  Mr. Stewart stated in evidence, that he got permission from Mr. Sinclair to build -provided there was opposition from the gentry.  Opposition did come, Mr. Stewart was requested to discontinue building, and declined, - thereby breaking a solemn promise.  Mr. Sinclair knew the signs of coming danger, and had Mr. Stewart acted up to his promise much trouble and violence e would probably have been avoided.

   Mr. Stewart's contention was, that he was only doing inside work; but allowing this, the fact of his going on with doors and windows in opposition to the consul's request to stop the work, led to the Chinese destroying a building which was theirs and which they had a perfect right to deal with as they liked, - only they took the unfortunate form of doling it by violence. I do not attempt to justify that act; it is a pity, but it is what every one must have known would happen.  Ting Futai was also well aware of the coming danger, and made a magnificent offer of an exchange of premises.  But in face of this, the defendants went on with the new building.

   Now, in view of these facts, I do not think my learned friend has any right to appeal to natural justice.  He is anxious to have the case dealt with on principles of natural justice, and there are one or two points yet to be noticed.  What sort of position, it may be asked, does this Missionary Society take up?  It is a shifting body of subscribers.  Should Mr. Wolfe leave this place, who is to be his successor?  The plaintiffs may like the man with whom they agree to let a house, but they are not bound to approve his successor.  For instance, the Chinese have the utmost confidence in the good faith of the English Government.  The English Consul occupies a temple at Wu-shih-shan.  That place has been kept in good faith.  But with the mission property it is quite different.  The Chinese gave Mr. Wolfe a document which was intended to be an annual lease; that gentleman has not kept faith, and therefore the plaintiffs could not be expected to make a contract with anybody to follow him.  Missionary Societies should not enjoy higher privileges than other foreign associations.

   The lease of 1867 was a personal contract with Mr. Wolfe, and therefore the clear idea is that the rights granted under that agreement should lapse whenever Mr. Wolfe leaves the country.  The words, round which the battle rages, "May not be let to anybody else," are not to be found in English law; the words are utterly unknown.  His learned friend had, in his reading of the lease, endeavoured to import the word "resume." But according to the reading of the case that his learned friend wanted he was entirely out of court.  On English law and natural justice I ask your Lordship for a declaration of my clients' rights.  The form of decree would, I apprehend, if in my clients' favor, depend on one of three points. If your lordship decides the case by English law, in favor of the plaintiffs, the defendant would of course hold to the end of the year if your lordship could find a date.  This is a case for a declaration of rights, and I may say that any suggestion on the part of your lordship would have the greatest weight with my clients.

   The CHIEF JUSTICE asked Mr. Hayllar, how he could grant relief under the Agreement of 1866?

   The learned Counsel replied that he did not ask for any. The first prayer of the petition might be struck out.

   His LORDSHIP put another question as to the alleged right of way.

   Mr. HAYLLAR replied that he did not offer any evidence upon it.

   This closed the hearting, and his Lordship remarked that having regard to the importance of the case he would reserve judgment.  His Lordship proposed to send his judgment to Mr. Consul Sinclair, by whom it would be read to the parties concerned.

   Mr. HANNEN asked, if there would be any objection on the part of his lordship to a copy of the judgment being handed to himself and his learned friend as quickly as possible after the judgment had been issued.  No doubt the formal judgment would have to be read here, but it would be very convenient if they could have copies framed prior to the formal treading.

    His LORDSHIP promised to consider the matter.

 

Source: The North China Herald, 22 July 1879

The CHIEF JUSTICE has, in this case, given the following

Judgment.

   The petition in this case, in its re-amended form, was filed on behalf of four of the Directors of the Tao Shan Kwan temple situate at Wu-shih-shan in the city of Foochow, in the Empire of China, against the Reverend John Richard Wolfe, a British subject, and a clerk in Holy Orders, residing at Foochow, who was also sued on behalf of the English Church Missionary Society; and it prayed,

  1. - that the rights of the parties interested and under a certain lease of September, 1866, might be ascertained and declared;
  2. - that an agreement of rent dated August, 1867, between the defendant Chow Taou Wen and Lin Yune Chin, both now deceased,  might be ordered and decreed to be void;
  3. - that it might be ordered and decreed that the defendant had by his unauthorized and wrongful dealings with the land and buildings comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, forfeited all his right and title in and to such lands and buildings;
  4. - that the rights of the parties interested in that agreement might be ascertained and prescribed;
  5. - that then boundaries of the land comprised in the same agreement might be ascertained  and declared; and
  6. - that the plaintiffs might have such further and other relief as the nature of the case might require.

   When the petition was amended the names of some of the original plain tiffs who alone claimed to be entitled to sue in respect of the agreement of September, 1866, were struck out; but the statement of that agreement and the part of the prayer which related to it were retained in the petition.  It did not therefore appear in the form in which the petition was presented to the Court at the hearing of the cause what was the nature of the plaintiffs' interest in respect of the property compromised in the agreement of September, 1866, or how they were entitled to sue in respect of such agreement; and, in  reply to a question touching such interest and right of suit addressed by the court to Mr. Hayllar at the conclusion of his  reply, that learned Counsel  said that he did not ask for any declaration by the Court in regard to that agreement.    The questions, then, which the Court has to consider and determine are those which arise under and in connection with the agreement of August, 1867.

   The petition stated that the Tao Shan Kwan temple, with the buildings and lands belonging thereto, was the property of the city of Foochow, that the direction and management of the temple lands and the control and expenditure of the funds belonging thereto were vested in directors duly appointed; that the plaintiffs, Chow Chang Kung, Lin King Chang, Loo King Fah and Sat Keok Min, were four of such directors and sued for themselves and the other directors; that by an agreement of rent dated the 18th December, 1850, Welton and Jackson, who were then the representatives at Foochow of the English Church Missionary Society, rented from a Taoist priest named Lin Yung Mow two houses situated respectively at the back and front of the left hand of the Tao Shan Kwan, which were described as follows:

One house with five rooms in a  row, broadwise to which was attached an outhouse and an open yard at back and front.

One house with four rooms in a row, broadwise at the back to which was attached an outhouse having an upper storey of two rooms and a lower storey of one room and an open yard.

   It was also thereby agreed  that the rent of the above houses should be $100 per annum, and that rent for three months should be paid in advance according to the English Calendar; that the said Taoist priest should not interfere with or obstruct any works that might be going on or repairs that might be made inside the houses, which were to be done at the expense of the lessees; that it should be at the option of the lessees to continue the hiring of the  said houses and that the said Taoist priest should not be at liberty to let them to other persons.  The document bore the Seal of the British Consulate and that of the Hau Kwan District Magistrate. The above two houses were of Chinese structure and were erected on land belonging to the Tao Shan Kwan Temple and formed part of the out-buildings of that Temple.

   It appeared in evidence that those houses were, subsequently to the date of the agreement of December, 1850, viz., the one in 1855, and the other  in 1857 removed b y the missionaries, and that ion the place of one of them a large bungalow, which was used as a mission house, and in that of the other a residence, but which was now and had been since 1877 a girls' school, was built. Thus the character of the structures leased in 1850 was entirely altered.

   In 1855, Fearnley and Welton, who then represented the English Church Missionary Society at Foochow, entered into an agreement in the Chinese language with a Taoist priest of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, named Chun Yuen Ching, whereby the Taoist priest agreed to let to Fearnley and Welton  a row of four rooms  going straight in, situated on the right hand side of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, at an annual rent of $20 payable quarterly.  It was also agreed that no rent should be allowed to fall into arrear, and that should it fall into arrear Chun Yuen Ching might resume and let the property to other persons, and that if rent was properly paid the property might not be let to any one else.  That document was not recorded at the British consulate, nor did it bear wither that seal or the seal of the Hau Kwan District Magistrate.  The four rooms comprised in the last mentioned agreement consisted of three dwelling rooms and one servant's room.

   In or about the summer of 1863, the missionaries added an upper storey to those rooms.  In 1861, one George Smith, who was a Missionary of the English Church Missionary Society, rented verbally a small peeve of land contiguous to the temple for 12 dollars a year.  One of the contests in this case was the site of this piece of land; the plaintiffs contending that it was on a hillock just outside the Tao Shan Kwan temple, and the defendant that it lay to the North of the rooms let to Fearnley and Welton in 1855. Early in 1866 the defendant entered into a treaty with a priest of the Tao Shan Kwan temple for the absolute purchase for the sum of 400 dollars of the Blind Man's temple, which was a  temple outside the Tao Shan Kwan temple, and only a few yards from it; but the negotiations failed, the Tao Shan Kwan authorities having interfered to prevent the sale to Wolfe.   About three or four months after the failure of that negotiation, Wolfe entered into another negotiation with the same priest for the absolute purchase for 1,500 dollars of the property then in his occupation and comprised in the agreements of 1850 and 1855, and in the verbal agreement to which the missionary George Smith was a party; and for all which premises he paid an aggregate annual rental of $132.  But this negotiation likewise failed.

   There was no doubt, upon the evidence, that the priest at the Tao Shan Kwan temple had got into trouble with the authorities of the temple through his negotiations for the sale to Wolfe of some of the Tao Shan Kwan property; and that such trouble was the cause of the agreement of August, 1867.  Indeed Wolfe himself in his evidence said, "I think the deed of 1867 arose out of my trouble with the priest." Wolfe's evidence in that respect confirmed what had been previously stated by Loo King Fah, one of the plaintiffs, who said that "when it was found that there had been some strange or peculiar dealings between the Taoist priest and the missionaries, the Directors thought that they would themselves make a new agreement of rent with the missionaries."

The same witness, Loo King Fah, said that one of the documents from which the agreement of August, 1867, was drawn, was the agreement of 1850, and that the directors of the temple who themselves framed the draft of the agreement of August, 1867, struck out the words "at the option of the lessees," which were in the agreement of 1850.  The following is a translation of the agreement of August, 1867, which was in the Chinese language:

Agreement of Rent.

The British Missionary John R. Wolfe agrees with the directors of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple to rent from them the following property, which was formerly, in the 30th year Tau Kwan, rented by the Missionaries Welton and Jackson, namely, two houses situated respectively at the back and at the front of the left hand side of the Tao Shan Kwan [these two houses are as follow]:

  1. One five roomed house with an outhouse and some waste ground at back and front.
  2. One four roomed house at the back with an outhouse having an upper storey and a lower storey of one room and a piece of waste ground.  The rent of the above to be as of old, $100 per annum.

Also (Mr. Wolfe agrees) to rent the following property which was originally rented in the fifth year Hsien Feng to the missionaries Welton and Fearnley, namely, four rooms on the right hand side of the Tao Shan Kwan, going straight in.  The rent to be as of old, $20 per annum.

   Also, a small piece of land formerly hired under a verbal agreement by the missionary George Smith; the rent to be as of old, $12 per annum.

   This amount in all to a yearly sum of $132.  The first instalment of which for the summer quarter, viz., $33 to be paid at once to then Trade Committee for transmission through the Directors of the Temple to the Taoist priests, to be used in the service of the Temple.

   It is agreed that the same sum be paid quarterly in advance according to the English Calendar to the Trade Committee for transmission, and that the rent be not allowed to get into arrears.  Should this happen, the directors may resume [or* - not in the original] let the place to some one else.  On the other hand if the rent does not get into arrears the place may not be let to any one else.

   Both parties being of the same mind, neither of them can withdraw.  It is therefore considered advisable to draw up this agreement in triplicate, to be kept by the different parties.

Guarantor, CONSUL SINCLAIR.  Dated, August, 1867.

(Signed) CHOU TAOU WEN, LIN YUNE CHIN, Directors of the Tao Shan Kwan.

I agree to the terms specified in the above agreement.

(Signed) JOHN R.  WOLFE.

[SEAL OF HAU-KWAN MAGISTRATE.] [BRITISH CONSULAR SEAL.]

   The two directors of the Tao Shan Kwan temple who signed the above agreement are now dead.  It will have been seen that the description of the houses mentioned in the agreement of August, 1867, was substantially the same as the deductions of the houses mentioned in the agreements of 1850 and 1855; but in August, 1867, the houses mentioned in the agreement of 1850 were not standing; and that mentioned in the agreement of 1855 had been altered.

   The only e explanation of that circumstance was what was understood by the Court to be a suggestion made at the hearing of the case by the learned Counsel for the plaintiffs that the descriptions given in the agreements of 1850 and 1855 of the properties therein respectively comprised had been followed in the agreement of August, 1867, in order to secure their return by the defendant, on his giving up possession to the lessors, in the same state in which they were at the respective periods of the agreements of 1850 and 1855.   In 1870, the bungalow or mission house which had been built on the site of one of those leased in 1850 to Messrs. Jackson and Welton, and which had been occupied as a residence by the defendant and other missionaries, was burnt down; and the existing mission house was built in its place on a site nearly corresponding to the site of that which had been burned down.  The new structure had an upper storey, which did not exist in the house which was burnt down; and the defendant said he had been told by some Mandarins that its height was offensive to their superstitions. 

   The plaintiffs in their petition complained that the defendant had, without any proper license or authority, erected a wall which wrongfully enclosed, together with a portion of the ground compromised in the agreement of August, 1867, other ground and several famous and memorial rocks standing thereon, wrongfully claimed by him under that agreement. It appeared that the wall now standing had been erected by the defendant in 1876 in place of another wall; and, upon the evidence, I find that it had then been thrown out at one corner of it about half a foot beyond the position of the original enclosing wall.

   The evidence for the plaintiffs shewed that no part of the land on which the wall was erected was temple land; but the defendant contended that, except as to the encroachment just mentioned, it stood on land comprised in the agreement of August, 1867.  But, whether this be so or not, the evidence for the plaintiffs shewed that no part of the land on which the wall was erected was temple land. 

     The petition also stated that during the year 1878 the defendant, without any proper license or authority, proceeded to erect on ground enclosed within the wall just mentioned, a lofty and prominent structure of foreign design; that the gentry and inhabitants of Foochow complained to the local authorities and the matter was referred to the British Consul; that negotiations ensued and certain terms of arrangement,  which had been arrived at were referred to England for settlement; that pending such settlement the defendant wrongfully and in  breach of good faith proceeded with the  said building, and, when the same was nearly completed it was burnt by a mob; that the walls of the building were still standing, and that the defendant claimed to hold the land on which such building was erected under the agreement of August, 1867.

   The allegations just mentioned did not in anyway affect the questions which the Court had to determine.  The defendant by his answer denied some of the allegations of the petition; but the answer raised no material issue.  It was stated in evidence that the land on which the Tao Shan Kwan stands is Government property and belongs to the Emperor, and that the temple was built by public subscription, and belongs to the public of the city of Foochow.  It was also admitted at the bar by the learned counsel for the plaintiffs that they had no estate in the temple; and it was said that they were merely directors of it.  Several associations, thirteen in all, which existed in Foochow, were formed for the purpose of keeping the Tao Shan Kwan temple in repair and enabling its services to be conducted, and the associations subsisted solely for those purposes.  Each association had, for the most part, its separate object in connection with the worship of the temple; but they all subscribed in common for its repairs. A person became a member of one of the associations by the payment of a subscription after election by the other members of the association.  The associations were managed by directors chosen from the general body of their respective members; and the directors of the several associations were directors of the temple.

   The first consideration which arises in the determination of this case is the principle which is to govern the Court in interpreting the contract of August, 1867.  Is it to be interpreted by the law of England, or by the law of China? The contract was executed in China; and it relates to land situate in China; and, in conformity with the general principle applicable to cases involving the construction of contracts relating to land, which is that the law of the place where the land, the subject of contract, is situate, governs its construction, the law of China applicable to the contract in question must govern its construction.

   The mode of procedure of the Court which is resorted to for the purpose of enforcing the contract is to be adopted, and the law to be applied in interpreting the contract must be given in evidence to the court as a fact by professional or official witnesses, inasmuch as their position requires sufficient knowledge to prove the law, it may be presumed that they possess it. (The Sussex Peerage, Case, 11 Clarke & Fin. 85; Duchess di Sora v Phillips, 2 New R. 553; Taylor on Evid. %1280 A 4th Edit.) The late Mr. Burge, in his commentaries on Colonial and Foreign Law (vol. 4, par. 2, ch. 12, p. 577), said:

It is admitted by all jurists that the transfer of and title to real property must be regulated by the lex loci rei sitae.

   The general principle of the common law is that the law of the place where real or immoveable property is situate exclusively governs in respect to the rights of the parties, the modes of transfer and the solemnities which should accompany them.  The title, therefore, to real property can be acquired, passed, and lost only according to the lex loci rei sitae.

(Story's Conflict of Laws sec. 424, 2nd edit.):-

The consent of the tribunals acting under the common Law, both in England and America, is, in a practical sense, undoubtedly uniform on the same subject.  All the authorities in booth countries, so far as they go, recognize the principle in its fullest import, that real estate or immoveable property is exclusively subject to the laws of the government within whose territory it is situate. Ibid, sect. 428, Contracts to be effectual must be in the form prescribed by the lex loci. Ibid, Sect. 435 - The principle seems to be founded upon the inconvenience which it would be to any nation to suffer property, locally and permanently situate within its territory, to be subject to be transferred and dealt with by any other laws than its own; and thus introduce into the bosom of its own jurisprudence all the innumerable diversities of foreign law to regulate its own titles top such property, many of which laws can be imperfectly ascertained, and many of which may became matters of subtle controversy (Ibid, Sect. 440.)

   In the presser case, two witnesses were called on behalf of the plaintiffs to prove the law applicable to the contract.  One, Ting Lia Wai, being interpreted, described himself as follows:

"I an an officer at Pekin in the service of the Emperor.  I am Viceroy of Chihli.  I have been in Foochow for three years, and I was previously in the Fo-kien province as an official over thirty years.  I have held the office of District Magistrate as well as Prefect and Sub-prefect in the Fo-kien province.  As District Magistrate and Prefect and Sub-Prefect, I had to administer justice in civil matters.    .    .    .    . I have had to decide questions arising on similar documents," that is, on documents similar to the agreement of August, 1867.

The other witness called to prove the law of China applicable to the contract was Ching Che Yeo.  Being interpreted, he said -

I am Hau-kwan District Magistrate and in the service of the Emperor of China.  There are two District magistrates in the city of Foochow, the Ming and the Hau-kwan.  Part of my duties as District Magistrate consists in the administration of justice in civil matters and in putting the official seal to documents between Chinese and between foreigners and Chinese.  I am acquainted with the laws and customs of this province, (that is, the province of Fokien in which Foochow is situate), as regards leases.  It is part of my duty to adjudicate on leases.

   When these witnesses were asked, the former what was the law of Covina, and the latter was was the law of the province of Fokien applicable to the agreement of August, 1867, Mr. Hannen, on behalf of the defendant, objected that, as foreign laws were not within the cognisance of this Court, and nothing had been stated in the petition with reference to the construction of that agreement being governed by the law of China, evidence was not admissible to prove what that law was. My opinion was that as the agreement had been stated in the petition, and it thereby appeared that it related to lands in China, and that as it was a well recognized principle of English law that the lec loci rei sitae, or the law of the place where the property is situate, of which evidence must be given to the Court, as a fact, was to be observed in the construction of agreements relating to land, the law of China with reference to the agreement need not be averred; and I accordingly overruled the objection,.

   The witness, Ting Kia Wai, on being asked what is the law of China applicable to the agreement of August, 1867, said:

If rent is owing, the landlord can take back his house.  If no rent is owing, the lessor cannot let to anyone else; but if the landlord wishes to have the house for himself then the tenant must give it up to the landlord.  The landlord generally gives a month or two months notice.  If the tenant has been in occupation for a long time, then it is at the option of the landlord wither to charge rent for a month or two or to let the tenant occupy  for a month or two rent free.  Under an agreement of this kind a tenant would not be allowed to erect any buildings, nor would he be allowed to alter buildings already erected at the time of the agreement so as to alter their character.

The same witness said that the words in the agreement which are translated "if the rent does not get into arrear the place may not be let to any one else," are what in England would be called in the legal profession "common form" in a lease for no definite period, and that "if a lease were in perpetuity it would be expressed to be in perpetuity," and, in reply to Mr. Hannen, that witness said,

If a house is burnt down and the tenant rebuilds, an agreement is come to first by which it may be agreed how long the tenant may occupy before giving up possession to the landlord.  There is no custom that tenant should rebuild after a house is burnt down without coming to an agreement with his landlord.

   The witness, Ching Che Yeo, when asked what is the law of the province of Fokien in regard to the instrument of August, 1867, said,

The instrument is a temporary lease, and not a perpetual one; and if the landlord wishes to have the property back and resume possession he can do so under this agreement.

And when asked whether under the words "rent to be paid quarterly in advance," it is at the option of the landlord to refuse rent or not? He replied,

If the landlord refuses rent, the tenant has to go at once according to law.  Generally a tenant has about half a month to find a house.  Whether rent is to be paid for that period is at the option of the landlord.  If the parties went to a magistrate, he would say that the tenant should go at once.  If the rent were paid three months in advance, the tenant would then have to go at the end of three months, if the landlord refused rent.  The landlord might give the tenant ten days or a month, or a month-and-a-half according as he chose before taking possession.  Under the words in the agreement, 'the landlord cannot let to any one else than the tenant,' if the landlord wanted the premises for himself he could have them back.

   By the agreement of August, 1867, it was provided that the rent should be paid quarterly in advance to the Trade Committee.  Since June, 1878, the directors of the Tao Shan Kwan had refused, through the Board of Trade, to receive the rent reserved by the agreement of August, 1867; but Mr. Consul Sinclair stated that he was not quite certain whether he had communicated that refusal to the defendant. 

   No evidence was given on the part of the defendant as to the law of china applicable to the agreement if August, 1867.  Each of the witnesses, Ting Kia Wai and Ching Che-yeo, the former speaking of the law of China and the latter of the law of the province of Fo-kien, said that if the landlord wanted the land for him self he could resume possession. Neither of these witnesses was either asked or expressed any opinion as the right of the landlord to take back the premises if he did not himself require them.  The conclusion at which I arrive is that the landlord, in order to establish the right to the resumption of property leased in such terms as those mentioned in the agreement of August, 1867, would have to show that he bona fide required the property for himself, or, in the present case, for the purposes of the temple. But there is no averment in the petition, nor is there any proof of such fact.

   The absence of any evidence that the plaintiffs required the property comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, either for themselves or for the purposes of the Tao Shan  Kwan, seems to me to prevent the court from making a decree declaratory of the plaintiffs' present right to résumé possession of that property.  If the plaintiffs relied upon the law of China in support of their right under the agreement of August, 1867, to take back the property therein comprised, they ought at all events to have shown by evidence that they required such property for the purposes of the Tao Shan Kwan temple.  That they have not done.

   No point was taken at the bar in avoidance to the extent of the agreement of August, 1867, that too, at all events of the houses therein described, were not then standing.  Nor was there any evidence to show that the agreement of August, 1867, was void on any other ground according to the law of China.  Also, no evidence was given on the part of the plaintiffs as to the person or persons (if any) on whom Wolfe's interest in the agreement of August, 1867, would devolve in case of his death before the property therein comprised was required for the purposes of the temple, or he had given up possession of it.  The petition prayed that it might be ordered and decreed that the defendant by his unauthorized and wrongful dealings with the land and buildings comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, forfeited all his right and title in and to such lands and buildings.  No evidence was given on the plaintiffs' part to show that the defendant had so dealt with the property comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, as to entitle the plaintiffs to the relief here prayed. The rebuilding of the Mission House in its present form after the former one had been burnt down in 1870, was not shown to be an act of forfeiture according to the law of China. The removal, too, of the houses comprised in the agreement of 1850, and the building of other structures of a different character in their place had occurred prior to August, 1867.

   The petition also prayed that the boundaries of the land comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, might be ascertained and declared.  No declaration that the Court could make under the head of relief here asked would be conclusive and binding on the rights of the adjoining land owners, they not being before the court.  Such a declaration in this suit might give rise to greater difficulties than it was intended to obviate.

   With reference to the land let verbally to the Missionary, George Smith, in 1855, the evidence, in my view, shows that the land on which the college stood which was burnt down in August, 1877, was a part of that land.  Upon the hearing of the cause, authorities in the English courts of law were cited, and it may be asked what would be the opinion of the court on the agreement of August, 1867, if it had to decide on the validity or invalidity of that agreement by reference to English law exclusively, and not with any reference to Chinese law. 

   If I am  right in the view I have expressed, that the case is governed by Chinese Law, any expression of opinion of mine on the head now suggested would be of little avail, and perhaps out of [place.  I may here observe that the case itself is an anomalous one, and not likely to be of value as a precedent. Nor is the value of the interests invoked in it of much moment.  But other circumstances have drawn to it s factitious degree of attention which neither the value of the interests involved not the importance of the points raised justify.

   The order made by the court is as follows:

   Dismiss the petition so far as the same relates to the agreement of September, 1866, as against the defendant John Richard Wolfe, and as against him as being sued on behalf of the English Church Missionary Society, with costs to be paid by the plaintiffs to the defendant and to the English Church Missionary Society in the same manner as if the petition had, as soon as it was amended, been demurred to as far as it related to the said agreement of September, 1866, and such demurrer had been allowed.

   Declare that the agreement of August, 1867, is a  valid and subsisting agreement, and that the same ought to be carried into effect.

   Declare that the  said agreement of August, 1867, has been in no way forfeited.

   Declare that the plaintiffs will be entitled to resume possession of the property in the occupation of the defendant as lessee of the plaintiffs under the  said agreement of August, 1867, on their bone fide requiring the same for the purposes of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, and giving three calendar months' notice thereof to the defendant; such notice to expire on one of the  quarterly days on which rent is payable under the said agreement of August, 1867.

   Declare that the defendant is entitled to hold, for the term of his natural life, the property comprised in the agreement of August, 1868, subject to the payment of the rent thereby reserved, quarterly in advance, and subject also to the plaintiffs' right to resume possession of the said property as before declared.

   No further costs on either side.

 

Source: Church Missionary Gleaner (London, England), 1 August 1879

The Chinese mandarins have brought an action of ejectment in the British Consular Court at Fuh-show against the Rev. J. R. Wolfe, with a view to turn the C.M.S. Mission out of the convenient ground on the Wu-shih-shah, or Black Stone Hill, which it has occupied for nearly thirty years (see the picture in the GLEANER of April, 1876).  The trial came on before Chief Justice French on April 30th, and lasted nine days.  Judgment was reserved, and we do not yet know the result.  The case has excited much interest in China, and is regarded as of the greatest importance, not only to missionary enterprise, but to British rights generally.

 

Source: The North China Herald, 5 August 1879

FOOCHOW.

   The Foochow Herald, on the 24th ult., writing on the judgment in the Wu-shih-shan case, says in the course of its observations, "The effect of this decision is to completely absolve Mr. Wolfe and his colleagues from those alleged acts of wrongful and aggressive dealing with the temple authorities with which they were freely charged by the feng-shui-ite conspirators.  The Chief Justice is very lucid on this point, and the judgment establishes beyond any possibility of doubt our persistent contention that the missionaries have been from the very outset clearly within their rights as lessees of the property.  This is an important gain to the Church Missionary Society; but it is also a sad disappointment to the unscrupulous fanatics by whom these trumped-up charges against the missionaries were artfully contrived and still more cunningly invested with the semblance of truth. The missionaries are also gainers through having a loophole provided by means of which they will be enabled, should they desire it, to relinquish the premises at Wu-shih-shan under conditions involving no sacrifice of honor or prejudice to their sacred calling.  But two other courses are also open to the missionaries; they can either appeal to a higher Court against the present judgment, in so far as it relates to resumption by the plaintiffs, or stand by the agreement of 1867 and put the temple directors to proof of the property being required for bona fide purposes of the Tao Shan Kwan.  It is doubtful, however, whether any good result would follow a resort to further litigation; and assuming that the Chinese authorities (the real plaintiffs in this case) are prepared to enter into a compromise with the Church Missionary Society, we think that the latter would act wisely in accepting the situation and establishing themselves on some eligible site  elsewhere."

 

Source: The North China Herald, 12 August 1879

SUMMARY OF NEWS.

   The China Mail understands that the temple Trustees at Wu-shih-shan have served on the Rev. Mr. Wolfe, the Church missionary there, the three months' notice, on the expiry of which he is bound, by the recent decision of Chief Justice French, to vacate the premises now held from them.

 

Source: The North China Herald, 19 August 1879

FOOCHOW.

   The Foochow Herald of the 7th instant says with regard to the paragraph first published by the China Mail of the 28th ult., to the effect that three months' notice to vacate the Wu-shih-shan premises had been served upon the Rev. Mr. Wolfe,  up to yesterday (6th inst.), no notice whatever had been served on the Church Missionary Society; and it therefore follows that out contemporary is either 'inspired' in regard to what is going to take place, or had indulged in a lively flight of imagination.

 

Source: The Times, 11 September 1879

Missionaries in China.

SHANGHAI, JULY 22.

Missionary circles both at home and in China have of late been much interested in what is known as the Wu-shih-shan case at Foochow, where Pagan priests and Anglican clergyman have submitted their differences to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in China for a peaceful settlement. 

It will be remembered that the Chinese gentry and merchants of the city of Foochow have long objected to the presence of missionaries of the Church of England and their mission premises on the prominent site of the Wu-shih-shan hill. By the intemperate zeal and enterprise, unaccompanied by discretion, of the Rev. Mr. Wolfe, the head of the Church mission at Foochow, the objections of the Chinese were every now and again, in a long series of years, inflamed into active hostility; and this hostility culminated last year in the disgraceful riot of which I sent you at the time full particulars.  The mission-house was destroyed, the members of the mission and their families narrowly escaped with their lives, and in consequence active negotiations were commenced to procure compensation for thr injury done and to have the ringleaders of the riot punished. Satisfactory promises were made on both these heads by the Chinese Government, and things were rapidly going back to the status quo ante, when the Chinese owners of the land on which the missionary premises are situated suddenly brought an action in the Consular Court at Foochow, claiming power under the lease they had grantee to the missionaries to eject them.

The land rented by the missionaries on the Wu-shih-shan hill is a part of the grounds of a Taoist temple, the property of the city of Foochow.  This temple with its buildings and lands has always been under the management of certain directors, who in 1867 were men of such tolerant views in religious matters that they let part of it to the Rev. Mr. Wolfe for a certain sum per annum.  The deed of lease, among other things, recited that part of the rent received by the directors from the missionaries was to be handed by them to the Taoist priests of the temple to be used in the temple services, that it was to be paid quarterly, and no limit of time for the termination of the lease was mentioned.  Under this lease the missionaries might have held for ever, if they had not set about irritating their landlords in the most perverse manner. 

Taoist priests are nothing if not geomancers; no house of any pretensions is built without their advice being asked regarding the harmony of situation and building; and the missionaries, in spite of that, proceeded to build houses on the temple land, under the very noses of their landlords, which in shape and position outraged not only the superstitions of the Taoist priests, but of the whole population of Foochow.  It was too good a chance to be lost of reading the heathen a lesson on the follies of feng shui, and Mr. Wolfe took full advantage of it.  In many other ways, too, the missionaries succeeded in exasperating and worrying their Pagan landlords, and the upshot was that the latter finally went to a British Court to obtain power to withdraw from the lease which they had granted to the missionaries in 1867.

They claimed, of course, much more than that, under the astute advice of foreign lawyers, who took care to inform their clients that petitions in England are usually framed with the view of getting the benefit of anything that may turn up during the hearing, and that plaintiffs in English Courts pray for much which they do not expect to get.  The resort to a British Law Court for redress was a proceeding so novel and so unexpected that quite an unusual attention was given to what, on its intrinsic merits, was a common place dispute between landlord and tenant.   Our foreign Press indulged in heated periods, when hard names and bad language took the place of fact and argument, and the case was prejudged with even more than the usual rancour and foolishness which in China have of late invariably accompanied the local treatment in the Press of local subjects.

As the learned Judge who decided the case calmly put it, the interests involved in the case are not really of such moment; but other circumstances have drawn to it a factitious degree of attention which neither the value on interests at stake nor the importance of the points raised justify.

The Chief Justice having ruled that the contract of lease between the priests or the temple directors and the missionaries was to be interpreted by the lex loci res sitae, as soon as that law was ascertained, there was no difficult in disposing of the case.  Official witnesses were called by the plaintiffs to prove that by the general real property of law of China and by the local custom of the province in which Foochow is situated, the missionaries must give up the land and buildings rented by them to their landlords whenever they were required to do so. The conclusion to which the Chief Justice came on the somewhat elastic and unsatisfactory evidence produced was that to establish the right to the resumption of Chinese property leased on the terms of the agreement of 1867, the landlords only had to declare that they bona fide required the property for their own use.  He accordingly declared that the Taoist priests would be entitled to resume possession of the mission premises on the Wu-shih-shan hill on their requiring the same for the purposes of their temple.  The effect of the judgment will be, of course, that the missionaries will be at once turned out and that the Church Missionary Society will lose possession of an important property which has been their most active centre in China.

An even worse consequence of the publicity which has attended the case is the alienation from the missionaries by their own acts of that sympathy and support which their fellow-countrymen, both here and at home, freely give them when their conduct is in harmony with their principles.  The following quotation from the Shanghai Courier expresses fairly the feelings of English laymen in China regarding the Wu-shih-shan case and the acts of the missionaries which gave rise to it:

The spectacle of the authorities of a pagan temple applying to a British Court of Justice against the alleged aggression and wrongdoings of a Christian missionary society was most painful to all who respect missions and missionaries.  The best friends of missionaries would have wished to avoid it.  When it is said, as it is so often, that the cause of missions in China has made little progress, if it has not been an utter failure, thoughtful people cannot help asking who is responsible for such a marked want of success.  How often has missionary indiscretion and disregard for the feelings and right of the Chinese provoked hostility and hatred when the real purpose was to promote charity and love?  It will, no doubt, be said that the case just decided was an altogether exceptional case, and that the course pursued towards the natives did not receive the sympathy or support of others engaged in missionary work.  We are afraid that this is a too hopeful view of the matter, and we have grounds for saying so.

On opening a well-known missionary pamphlet just to hand, we find a missionary lamenting the difficulty attending his efforts in China. 'There is one word,' says this enthusiastic gentleman, 'which represents very comprehensively the mission work in China, better than any other expression in the English language; it is the word 'aggression.'  But aggression must be backed up and followed out; every place that we obtain in China ought to be held tightly and firmly, and never be surrendered.' If that is to be the spirit in which missionary enterprise is to be conducted in China, the Wu-shih-shan case will not be the last of its kind.  The very word 'missionary' will become a term of reproach; and so-called missionary enterprise will prove a formidable obstacle to the intercourse of natives and foreigners, and so arrest the progress and improvement of this vast empire.

To the ruling of the Chief Justice that all contracts relating to land held by foreign lessees of Chinese landlords shall be interpreted by the lex rei sitae there can be no objection as a principle of law.  The difficulties of finding what the law is in any given case are, however, almost insuperable.  The Chinese civilization bears many marks of its inferior character, such as the severity and vindictiveness of the criminal code, the haphazard incidence of taxation, the position of women, the liability of the family or sept for the delicts of the individual; but none is more striking than the uncertainty, and indeed, in many great departments of law, the absence, of any definitive law.  Real property law, intestate succession, wills and contracts are a jumble ort local customs, which may be set aside at pleasure by the magistrates of even Courts of First Instance.  In Shanghai, one or two strong-minded British assessors at the Mixed Court have forced into recognition by the local authorities the idea of valuable consideration and the superior value of a contract in writing, and the recognition, feeble and flickering as it is, is the one oasis in the legal desert of China.

... 

In the Wu-Shih-Shan case substantial justice has been done, but in nine cases out of ten where the les rei sitae may be applied in an Anglo-Chinese case, the English land-renter will certainly go to the wall.

 

Source: The Manchester Guardian, 12 September 1879

   A DECISION has been given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme British Court in China in a somewhat singular controversy.  The plaintiffs were Taoist priests, and the defendants Anglican clergymen.  The English church at Foochow has hitherto been situated on part of the grounds of Taoist temple, which was occupied under a lease granted by the priests twelve years ago.

   The permission to settle on sacred ground does not seem to have evoked so conciliatory a temper as might have been anticipated on the part of the missionaries, and it is asserted that both in the design and the position of their building they needlessly offended Chinese religious sentiment.  Other similar indiscretions appear to have followed, and in the course of last year the mission-house was wrecked by a furious mob, the missionaries barely escaping with their lives.

   A claim for redress followed, which would doubtless have been conceded if the Taoist priests had not devised a subtler means than violence for ridding themselves of their adversaries.  They applied to a British court for permission to eject their unwelcome tenants, and, in the absence of more definite guiding principles, the Chief Justice   has decided that the contract must be interpreted by the customary law of the province.  Satisfactory evidence was then adduced to show that where a lease was not granted for a defined term of years it might be terminated at the will of the landlord, and the missionaries will accordingly be obliged to quit their premises.

   It is a great pity that missionary enterprise in China has so frequently been attended by more zeal than discretion.  It is only a few months since a riot was created at Changah, the capital of Hunan, by the persistence of some missionaries in visiting the town in spite of warnings of the inevitable result. And more recently an American missionary committed the wicked folly of entering a temple and breaking some of the idols which bit contained by way of a protest against the breach of the Second Commandment.

   The Chinese are not naturally a persecuting people, as is evidenced by their toleration of Jews and Mussulmans, not to speak of the case of Buddhists.  But a variety of causes has inflamed popular feeling to an intense pitch against Protestant missions, and we fear that the injudiciousness of our countrymen has had no small share in producing this result.

 

Source: The North China Herald, 23 September 1879

FOOCHOW.

  The Foochow Herald of the 11th instant states that the English Missionary Society has abandoned all intention of any further litigation in the matter of its property at Wu-shih-shan; and that the Chinese authorities have made certain amicable propositions to the missionaries which are likely to result in a measure of compromise acceptable to both parties.

The following report was transcribed by Douglas Clark, barrister, Hong Kong

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, consolidated report, p. 74

IN HER BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S  
SUPREME COURT FOR CHINA AND JAPAN 
 
AT FOOCHOW 
 
Chow Chang Kung and others v.  The Rev. John R. Wolfe 
 
"The Wu Hsih Shan Case" 
 
 
Before George French, Chief Justice 
 
Dates of Trial:  30 April 1879 to 10 May 1879 
 
Date of Decision:  19 July 1879 
 
T. C.  Hallyar QC of Hong Kong appeared for the Plaintiffs 
 
N. J. Hannen of Shanghai appeared for the Defendant 
 
Judgement 
 
Chief Justice French: 
 
The petition in this case, in its re-amended form, was filed on behalf of four of the directors of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, situate at Wu Shih Shan in the city of Foochow, in the Empire of China, against the Reverend John Richard Wolfe, a British subject, and a clerk in Holy Orders, residing at Foochow, who was also sued on behalf of the English Church Missionary Society; and it prayed (l) that the rights of the parties interested in and under a certain lease of September, 1866, might be ascertained and declared; (2) that an agreement of rent dated August, 1867, between the defendant and Chow Taou Wen and Lin Yuen Chin, both now deceased, might be declared and decreed to be void; (3) that it might be ordered and decreed that the defendant had by his unauthorized and wrongful dealings with the land and buildings comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, forfeited all his right and title in and to such lands and buildings; (4) that the rights of the parties interested in that agreement might be ascertained and prescribed; (5) that the boundaries of the land comprised in the same agreement might be ascertained and declared; and that the plaintiffs might have such further and other relief as the nature of the case might require.  When the petition was amended the names of some of the original plaintiffs who alone claimed to be entitled to sue in respect of the agreement of September, 1866, were struck out; but the statement of that agreement and the part of the prayer which related to it were retained in the petition. 
 
It did not therefore appear in the form in which the petition was presented to the court at the hearing of the cause what was the nature of the plaintiffs' interest in respect of the property comprised in the agreement of September, 1866, or how they were entitled to sue in respect of such agreement; and, in reply to a question touching such interest and right of suit addressed by the Court to Mr. Hayllar at the conclusion of his reply, that learned counsel said that he did not ask for any declaration by the Court in regard to that agreement.  The questions, then, which the Court has to consider and determine are those which arise under and in connection with the agreement of August, 1867.  The petition stated that the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, with the buildings and lands belonging thereto, was the property of the city of Foochow, that the direction and management of the temple lands and the control and expenditure of the funds belonging thereto were vested in directors duly appointed; that the plaintiffs, Chow Chang Kung, Lin King Chang, Loo King Fah and Sat Keok Min, were four of such directors and sued for themselves and the other directors; that by an agreement of rent dated the 18th December, 1850, Welton and Jackson, who were then the representatives at Foochow of the English Church Missionary Society, rented from a Taouist priest named Lin Yung Mow two houses situated respectively at the back and front of the left hand of the Tao Shan Kwan, which were described as follows:- One house with five rooms in a row, broadwise to which was attached an outhouse and an open yard at back and front.  One house with four rooms in a row, broadwise at the back to which was attached an outhouse having an upper storey of two rooms and a lower storey of one room and an open yard. It was also thereby agreed that the rent of the above houses should be $100 per annum, and that rent for three mouths should be paid in advance according to the English calendar; that the said Taouist priest should not interfere with or obstruct any works that might be going on or repairs that might be made inside the houses, which were to be done at the expense of the lessees; that it should be at the option of the lessees to continue the hiring of the said houses, and that the said Taouist priest should not be at liberty to let them to other persons.  The document bore the Seal of the British Consulate and that of the Hau Kwan District Magistrate.  The above two houses were of Chinese structure and were erected on land belonging to the Tao Shan Kwan Temple and formed part of the out-buildings of that Temple.  It appeared in evidence that those houses were, subsequently to the date of the agreement of December, 1850, viz., the one in 1855, and the other in 1857 removed by the missionaries, and that in the place of one of them a large bungalow, which was used as a mission house, and in that of the other a residence, but which was row and had been since 1877 a girls' school, was built.  Thus the character of the structures leased in 1850 was entirely altered.  In 1855, Fearnley and Welton who then represented the English Church Missionary Society at Foochow, entered into an agreement in the Chinese language with a Taouist priest of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, named Chun Yuen Ching, whereby the Taouist priest agreed to let to Fearnley and Welton a row of four rooms going straight in, situated on the right hand side of the Tao Sham Kwan Temple, at an annual rent of $20 payable quarterly.  It was also agreed that no rent should be allowed to fall into arrear, and that should it fall into arrear Chun Yuen Ching might resume and let the property to other persons, and that if rent was properly paid the property might not be let to anyone else.  That document was not recorded at the British Consulate, nor did it bear either that seal or the seal of the Hau Kwan District Magistrate.  The four rooms comprised in the last mentioned agreement consisted of three dwelling rooms and the servant's room.  In or about the summer of 1863, the missionaries added an upper storey to those rooms.  In 1861, one George Smith, deceased, who was a Missionary of the English Church Missionary Society, rented verbally a small piece of land contiguous to the temple for 12 dollars a year.  One of the contests in the case was the site of this piece of land; the plaintiffs contending that it was on a hillock just outside the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, and the defendant that it lay to the North of the rooms let to Fearnley and Welton in 1855.  Early in 1866 the defendant entered into a treaty with a priest of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple for the absolute purchase for the sum of 400 dollars of the Blind Man's Temple, which was a temple outside the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, and only a few yards from it; but the negotiation failed, the Tao Shun Kwan authorities having interfered to prevent the sale to Wolfe.  About three or four months after the failure of that negotiation, Wolfe entered into another negotiation with the same priest for the absolute purchase for 1,500 dollars of the property then in his occupation and comprised in the agreements of 1850 and 1855, and in the verbal agreement to which the missionary George Smith was a party; and for all which premises he paid an aggregate annual rent of $132.  But this negotiation likewise failed.  There was no doubt, upon the evidence, that the priest at the Tao Shau Kwan had got into trouble with the authorities of the Temple through his negotiations for the sale to Wolfe of some of the Tao Shau Kwan property; and that such trouble was the cause of the agreement of August, 1867.  Indeed, Wolfe himself in his evidence said, ''I think the deed of 1867 arose out of my trouble with the priest."  Wolfe's evidence in that respect confirmed what had been previously stated in his evidence by Loo King Fah, one of the plaintiffs, who said that "when it was found that there had been some strange or peculiar dealings between the Taouist priest and the missionaries, the Directors thought that they would themselves make a new agreement of rent with the missionaries." 
 
The same witness, Loo King Fah, said that one of the documents from which the agreement of August, 1867, was drawn, was the agreement of 1850, and that the directors of the temple who themselves framed the draft of the agreement of August, 1867, struck out the words "at the option of the lessees," which were in the agreement of 1860.  The following is a translation of the agreement of August, 1867, which was in the Chinese language:   
 
"Agreement of rent.  The British missionary John R. Wolfe agrees with the directors of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple to rent from them the following property, which was formerly, in the 30th year Tau Kwan, rented by the missionaries Welton and Jackson, namely, two houses situated respectively at the back and at the front of the left hand side of the Tao Shan Kwan [these two houses are as follows]  1. One five-roomed house with an outhouse and some waste ground at back and front.  2. One four-roomed house at the back with an outhouse Laving an upper storey and a lower storey of one room and a piece of waste ground.  The rent of the above to be as of old, $100 per annum. 
 
Also (Mr. Wolfe agrees) to rent the following property which was originally rented in the fifth year Hsien Feng to the missionaries Welton and Fearley, namely, four rooms on the right hand side of the Tao Shan Kwan, going straight in.  The rent to be as of old, $20 per annum.  Also, a small piece of land formerly hired under a verbal agreement by the missionary George Smith : the rent to be as of old, $12 per annum.  These amount in all to a yearly sum of $132.  The first instalment of which for the summer quarier, viz., $38, to be paid at once to the Trade Committee for transmission through the directors of the Temple to the Taouist priests, to be used in the service of the Temple.  It is agreed that the same sum be paid quarterly in advance according to the English calendar to the Trade Committee for transmission, and the rent be not allowed to get into arrears.  Should this happen, the directors may resume or let the place to some one else.  On the other hand if the rent does not get into arrears the place may not be let to any one else.  Both parties being of the same mind, neither of them can withdraw.  It is therefore considered advisable to draw up this agreement in triplicate, to be kept by the different parties. 
 
Guarantor, CONSUL SINCLAIR. 
 
Dated, August, 1867. 
(Signed) Chou Taou Wen, } Directors of the 
                  Lin Yune Chin,     } Tao Shan Kwan. 
 
I agree to the terms specified in the above agreement. 
 
(Signed) John R. Wolfe. 
 
[Seal of [British 
Hau-kwan Consular 
Magistrate.] Seal.] 
 
The two directors of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple who signed the above agreement are now dead.  It will have been seen that the description of the houses mentioned in the agreement of August, 1867, was substantially the same as the descriptions of the houses mentioned in the agreements of 1850 and 1855; but in August, 1867, the houses mentioned in the agreement of 1850 were not standing; and that mentioned in the agreement of 1855 had been altered. The only explanation of that circumstance was what was understood by the Court to be a suggestion made at the hearing of the cause by the learned Counsel for the plaintiffs that the descriptions given in the agreements of 1850 and 1855 of the properties therein respectively comprised had been followed in the agreement of August, 1867, in order to secure their return by the defendant, on his giving up possession to the lessors, in the same state in which they were at the respective periods of the agreements of 1850 and 1855.  In 1870, the bungalow or mission house which had been built on the site of one of those leased in 1850 to Messrs. Jackson and Welton, and which had been occupied as a residence by the defendant and other missionaries, was burnt down; and the existing mission house was built in its place on a site nearly corresponding to the site of that which had been burnt down.  The new structure had an upper storey, which did not exist in the house which was burnt down; and the defendant said he had been told by some Mandarins that its height was offensive to their superstitions. 
 
The plaintiffs in their petition complained that the defendant had, without any proper license or authority, erected a wall which wrongfully enclosed, together with a portion of the ground comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, other 
ground and several famous and memorial rocks standing thereon, wrongfully claimed by him under that agreement.  It appeared that the wall now standing had been erected by the defendant in 1876 in place of another wall; and, upon the evidence, I find that it had then been thrown out at one corner of it about half a foot beyond the position of the original enclosing wall.  The evidence for the plaintiffs showed that no part of the land on which the wall was erected was temple land; but the defendant contended that, except as to the encroachment just mentioned, it stood on land comprised in the agreement of August, 1867.  But, whether it is be so or not, the evidence for the plaintiffs showed that no part of the land on which the wall was erected was Temple land.  The petition also stated that during the year 1878 the defendant, without any proper license or authority, proceeded to erect on ground enclosed within the wall just mentioned, a lofty and prominent structure of foreign design; that the gentry and inhabitants of Foochow complained to the local authorities and the matter was referred to the British Consul; that negotiations ensued and certain terms of arrangement which had been arrived at were referred to England for settlement; that pending such settlement the defendant wrongfully and in breach of good faith proceeded with the said building, and, when the same was nearly completed it was burnt by a mob; that the walls of the building were still standing, and that the defendant claimed to hold the land on which such building was erected under the agreement of August, 1867.  The allegations just mentioned did not in any way affect the questions which the Court had to determine.  The defendant by his answer denied some of the allegations of the petition; but the answer raised no material issue.  It was stated in evidence that the land on which the Tao Shan Kwan stands is Government property and belongs to the Emperor, and that the temple was built by public subscription, and belongs to the public of the city of Foochow.  It was also admitted at the bar by the learned Counsel for the plaintiffs that they had no the other members of the association.  The associations were managed by directors chosen from the general body of their respective members; and the directors of the several associations were directors of the temple.  The first consideration which arises in the determination of this case is the principle which is to govern the Court in interpreting the contract of August, 1867.  Is it to be interpreted by the law of England, or by the law of China?  The contract was executed in China; and it relates to land situate in China; and in conformity with the general principle applicable to leases involving the construction of contracts relating to land, which is that the law of the place where the land, the subject of the contract, is situate, governs its construction, the law of China applicable to the contract in question must govern its construction.  The mode of procedure of the Court which is resorted to for the purpose of enforcing the contract is to be adopted, and the law to be applied in interpreting the contract must be given in evidence to the Court as a fact by professional or official witnesses, inasmuch as since their position requires sufficient knowledge to prove the law, it may be presumed that they possess it. (The Sussex Peerage, Case 11 Clarke & Fin. 85; Duchess di Sora v. Phillips, 2 New R. 553; Taylor on Evid. § 1280 A 4th Edit.) The late Mr. Burge, in his commentaries on Colonial and Foreign Law (vol. 4 par. 2, ch. 12, p. 577), said-"It is admitted by all jurists that the transfer of and title to real property must be regulated by the lex loci rei sitae."  'The general principal of the common law is that the law of the place where real or immoveable property is situate exclusively governs in respect to the rights of the parties, the modes of transfer and the solemnities which should accompany them.  The title, therefore, to real property can be acquired, passed, and lost only according to the lex loci rei sitae." (Story's Confiict of Laws, sec. 424, 2nd edit.)- "The consent of the tribunals acting under the Common law, both in England and America, is, in a practical sense, absolutely uniform on the same subject.  All the authorities in both countries, so far as they go, recognise the principle in its fullest import, that real estate or immoveable property is exclusively subject to the laws of the government within whose territory it is situate." Ibid, sect. 428,  "Contracts to be effectual must be in the form prescribed by the lex loci." Ibid, sect. 435 - The principle seems to be founded upon the inconvenience which it would be to any nation to suffer property, locally and permanently situate within its territory to be subject to be transferred and dealt with by any other laws than its own; and thus introduce into the bosom of its own jurisprudence all the innumerable diversities of foreign laws to regulate its own titles to such property, many of which laws can be imperfectly ascertained, and many of which may become matters of subtle controversy (Ibid, sect. 440.) In the present case, two witnesses were called on behalf of the plaintiffs to prove the law applicable to the contract.  One, Ting Kia Wai, being interpreted, described himself as follows :- "I am an officer at Peking in the service of the Emperor.  I am Viceroy of Chihli.  I have been Prefect in Foochow for three years, and I was previously in the Fokien province as an official over thirty years.  I have held the office of District Magistrate as well as Prefect and Sub-prefect in the Fokien province.  As District Magistrate and Prefect and sub-Prefect, I had to administer justice in civil matters I have had to decide questions arising on similar documents," that is, on documents similar to the agreement of August, 1867.  The other witness called to prove the law of China applicable to the contract was Ching Che Yeo.  Being interpreted, he said-" I am Hau Kwan District Magistrate and in the service of the Emperor of China.  There are two District Magistrates in the city of Foochow, the Ming and the Hau Kwan.  Part of my duties as District Magistrate consists in the administration of justice in civil matters and in putting the official seal to documents between Chinese and between foreigners and between foreigners and Chinese.  I am acquainted with the laws and customs of this province (that is, the province of Fokien in which Foochow is situate), as regards leases.  It is part of my duty to adjudicate on leases." When these witnesses were asked, the former what was the law of China, and the latter what was the law of the province of Fokien applicable to the agreement of August, 1867, Mr. Hannen, on behalf of the defendant, objected that, as foreign laws were not within the cognisance of this Court, and nothing had been stated in the petition with reference of the construction of that agreement being governed by the law of China, evidence was not admissible to prove what that law was.  My opinion was that as the agreement had been stated in the petition, and it thereby appeared that it related to lands in China, and that as it was a well recognized principle of English law that the lex loci rei sitae, or the law of the place where the property is situate, of which evidence must be given to the Court as a fact, was to be observed in the construction of agreements relating to land, the law of China with reference to the agreement need not be averred; and I accordingly overuled the objection.  The witness, Ting Kia Wai, on being asked what is the law of China applicable to the agreement of August, 1867, said,  "If rent is owing, the landlord can take back his house.  If no rent is owing, the lessor cannot let to anyone else; but if the landlord wishes to have the house for himself then the tenant must give it up to the landlord.  The landlord generally gives a month or two's notice.  If the tenant has been in occupation for a long time, then it is at the option of the landlord either to charge rent for a month or two or to let the tenant occupy for a month or two rent free.  Under an agreement of this kind a tenant would not be allowed to erect any buildings, not would he be allowed to alter buildings already erected at the time of the agreement so as to alter their character."  The same witness said that the words in the agreement which are translated "if the rent does not get into arrear the place may not be let to any one else," are what in England would be called in the legal profession "common form" in a lease for no definite period, and that "if a lease were in perpetuity it would be expressed to be in perpetuity; and, in reply to Mr. Hannen, that witness said, "If a house is burnt down and the tenant rebuilds, an agreement is come to first by which it may be agreed how long the tenant may occupy before giving up possession to the landlord.  There is no custom that tenant should rebuild after a house is burnt down without coming to an agreement with his landlord."  The witness, Ching Che Yeo, when asked what is the law of the province of Fokien in regard to the instrument of August, 1867, said, "The instrument is a temporary lease, and not a perpetual one; and if the landlord wishes to have the property back and resume possession he can do so under this agreement." And when asked whether under the words "rent to be paid quarterly in advance," it is at the option of the landlord to refuse rent or not, he replied, "If the landlord refuses rent, the tenant has to go at once according to law.  Generally a tenant has about half a mouth to find a house."  
 
Whether rent is to be paid for that period is at the option of the landlord.  If the parties went to a magistrate, he would say the tenant should go at once.  If the rent were paid three months in advance, the tenant then would have to go at end of three months, if the landlord refused rent.  The landlord might give the tenant ten days or a month, or a month and-a-half, according as he chose, before taking possession.  Under the words in the agreement, the landlord cannot let to any one else than the tenant, if the landlord wanted the premises for himself he could have them back."  By the agreement of August, 1867, it was provided that the rent should be paid quarterly in advance to the Trade Committee.  Since June, 1878, the directors of the Tao Shan Kwan had refused, through the Board of Trade, to receive the rent reserved by the agreement of August, 1867; but Mr. Consul Sinclair stated that he was not quite certain whether he had communicated that refusal to the defendant.  No evidence was given on the part of the defendant as to the law of China applicable to the agreement of August, 1867.  Each of the witnesses, Ting Kia Wai and Ching Che Yeo, the former speaking of the law of China and the latter of the law of the province of Fokien, said that if the landlord wanted the land for himself he could resume possession.  Neither of those witnesses was either asked or expressed any opinion as to the right of the landlord to take back the premises if he did not himself require them.  The conclusion at which I arrive on their evidence is that the landlord, in order to establish the right to the resumption of property leased in such terms as those mentioned in the agreement of August, 1867, would have to show that he bona fide required the property for himself, or, in the present case, for the purposes of the temple. 
 
But there is no averment in the petition, nor is there any proof of such fact.  The absence of any evidence that the plaintiffs required the property comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, either for themselves or for the purposes of the Tao Shan Kwan, seems to me to prevent the Court from making a decree declaratory of the plaintiffs' present right to resume possession of that property.  If the plaintiffs relied upon the law of China in support of their right under the agreement of August, 1887, to take back the property therein comprised, they ought at all events to have shown by evidence that they required such property for the purposes of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple.  That they have not done. 
 
No point was taken at the bar in avoidance to this extent of the agreement of August, 1867, that two, at all events, of the houses therein described were not then standing.  Nor was there any evidence to show that the agreement of August, 1867, was void on any other ground according to the law of China.  Also, no evidence was given on the part of the plaintiffs as to the person or persons (if any) on whom Wolfe's interest in the agreement of August, 1867, would devolve in case of his death, before the property therein comprised was required for the purposes of the temple or he had given up possession of it.   The petition prayed that it might be ordered and decreed that the defendant had by his unauthorized and wrongful dealings with the land and buildings comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, forfeited all his right and title in and to such lands and buildings.  No evidence was given on the plaintiffs' part to show that the defendant had so dealt with the property comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, as to entitle the plaintiffs to the relief here prayed.  The rebuilding of the Mission House in its present form after the former one had been burnt down in 1870 was not shown to be an act of forfeiture on the part of the defendant according to the law of China.  The removal, too, of the houses comprised in the agreement of 1850, and the building of other structures of a different character in their place had occurred prior to August, 1867.  The petition also prayed that the boundaries of the land comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, might be ascertained and declared.  No declaration that the court could make under the head of relief here asked would be conclusive and binding on the rights of the adjoining land owners, they not being before the court.  Such a declaration in this suit might give rise to greater difficulties than it was intended to obviate.  With reference to the land let verbally to the Missionary, George Smith, in 1855, the evidence, in my view, show that the land on which the college stood which was burnt down in August, 1878, was a part of that land.  Upon the hearing of the cause, authorities in the English courts of law were cited and it may be asked what would be the opinion of the court on the agreement of August, 1867, if it had to decide on the validity or invalidity of that agreement by reference to English law exclusively, and not with any reference to Chinese law.  If I am right in the view I have expressed, that the case is governed by Chinese law, any expression of opinion of mine on the head now suggested would be of little avail, and perhaps out of place.  I may here observe that the case itself is an anomalous one, and not likely to be of value as a precedent.  Nor is the value of the interests involved in it of much moment.  But other circumstances have drawn to it a factitious degree of attention which neither the value of the interests involved nor the importance of the points raised justify.   
 
The order made by the court is as follows: Dismiss the petition so far as the same relates to the agreement of September, 1866, as against the defendant John Richard Wolfe, and as against him as being sued on behalf of the English Church Missionary Society, with costs to be paid by the plaintiffs to the defendant and to the English Church Missionary Society in the same manner as if the petition had, as soon as it was amended, been demurred to so far as it related to the said agreement of September, 1866, and such demurrer had been allowed.  Declare that the agreement of August, 1867, is a valid and subsisting agreement, and that the same ought to be carried into effect.  Declare that the said agreement of August, 1867, has been in no way forfeited.  Declare that the plaintiffs will be entitled to resume possession of the property in the occupation of the defendant as lessee of the plaintiffs under the said agreement of August, 1867, on their bona fide requiring the same for the purposes of the Tao Shan Kwan Temple, and giving three calendar months' notice thereof to the defendant; such notice to expire on one of the quarterly days on which rent is payable under the said agreement of August, 1867.    
 
Declare that the defendant is entitled to hold, for the term of his natural life, the property comprised in the agreement of August, 1867, subject to the payment of the rent thereby reserved, quarterly in advance, and subject also to the plaintiffs' right to resume possession of the same property as before declared.  No further costs on either side. 
 
 
(Signed)  
George French, 
Chief Justice 

 

Source: The North China Herald, 3 October 1879

HONGKONG

   In connection with the Wu-shih-shan case, the Daily Press had heard that the Chinese have agreed to give to the missionaries until the 31st March, 1880, to leave the Taou Shan Kwan premises, and the authorities have also agreed to let to them for an annual rental the telegraph property, one of the sites offered to them as a gift before the trial, and at that time refused.

 

Source: The North China Herald, 5 December 1879

FOOCHOW.

   The Herald says Her Majesty's Consul has issued a notification to British subjects, warning them against buying land on the hillock known as the Te Yih Shan, an offshoot of the celebrated Wu-shih-shan.  The Consul states that the land in question is public property, and that any agreement entered into with persons not duly authorized to dispose of ground on the hillock in question will be "void and of no avail."

 

Source: The North China Herald, 18 May 1880

   It is said that the British Consular premises at Wu-shih-shan are about to be surrendered to the feng-shui-ite agitators.  We are really very reluctant to believe this rumour, though it teaches us from a very authentic source.  Surely such a step, if taken, will complete the already bitter measure of British humiliation in the Banyan City!

 

Suorce: The North China Herald, 29 June 1880

FOOCHOW.

   Anent the native house on the Wu-shih-shan slope - belonging to the Church Missionary Society - we are informed, on excellent authority, that the Chinese officials are meekly waiting for a fitting opportunity to destroy it.  This house, it will be remembered, is the bona fide property of the missionaries - having been sold to them some time ago by the, at the time, absolute owner, a native widow lady.  It stands in the midst of hundreds of Chinese dwellings some of which are being bought and sold every day - despite the proclamation published below, and which appears to be designed solely for operation against her Britannic Majesty's faithful and inoffensive subjects. .   .    .    .

   The following is the translation  of a Chinese proclamation which has been cut in stone and recently erected in a conspicuous place on one of the roads leading up to the Wu-shih-shan.  The erection of this tablet is strongly protested against by at least one influential member of the foreign Consular body.  It is of course aimed solely at those naughty British missionaries who, in the exercise of clear treaty privileges, have declined to waive their right of residence; and it has, we understand, been issued by the Hou Kwan Magistrate, at the instance of the Viceroy.  The proclamation is as follows:

"Cheng, specially granted the post of sub-Prefect of Amoy Maritime Defence, Acting Magistrate of the Hou Kwan district in the Prefecture of Foochow, with ten steps of commutative rank, and recorded at the Board with honourable mention ten times, In the matter of an inscription on stone - to make known a prohibition to be transmitted long and far.

   It appears that of the Wu-shih-shan hills that of the most extreme importance is the First Hill, where the pulses (currents) of Nature take the earth.  Inquiry into the influence of nature shows that the grace and spirits of Wu-shih-shan flow away and escape towards a point opposite this hill - that is to say towards (my) the Magistrate's yamen.  The yamen of the Superintendent of the Government Schools of the district, and the Confucian temple, all depend upon this hill to look kindly down upon them.  The character of the people and the literary success of the scholars are very deeply interested therein.  Although upon the hill there is enclosed ground planted with tees and covered with small buildings, yet, after all, the foundation of the hill is at the bottom a public thing affecting the whole city; the nature-pulse of the s aid locality is therefore interested.

   Some time ago I received from the scholars and elders of the whole city a petition requesting that a prohibition be published.  The several high authorities have been (by me) petitioned, and their instructions received to the effect that it is not permitted to Chinese subjects - plotting for gain, lying and defrauding, to privately inveigle Chinese or foreigners into leading (ground or houses_.  - Thus trouble may be avoided in the inception, and the nature-pulses may be kept at rest.   I have, moreover, been favoured (by the authorities), by a communication, acquainting the Foreign Consuls - in order that they might with one accord pass on instructions (to their nationals): - all of the above being on record.

   In addition to a despatch being handed by me to the Min District magistrate's yamen, for his information, it is fitting that a stone be inscribed with a perpetual prohibition.

   Therefore this proclamation - by which pay attention, and with which you the scholars and elders of the whole city, and the people dwelling in the neighbourhood, and the property owners on the said hill should be thoroughly acquainted; and with one accord respect the perpetual prohibition above pointed out.  If you presume to listen to traitorous brokers, who league together to inveigles any one into privately leasing to either Chinese or foreigners, and cause a disturbance, as soon as it transpires you will be uncompromisingly arrested, and brought up, and you will be punished, and the ground or houses so privately leased will be confiscated.  Indulgence will on no account be shown.  Now this should be perpetually and tremblingly observed by every one!  Do not disobey!

A special proclamation - in earnest.

Kwang Su, 5th year, 11th moon, 8th day."

 

Source: The North China Herald, 30 June 1882

FOOCHOW

Ever since the famous Wu Shih Shan affair, the English missionaries have had no end of trouble with the literati of this place about buying lands.  The literati, every now and them, threaten to call in a lawyer.  In fact the very word "lawyer" threatens one day to become a part of the Foochow dialect, as it is already a Chinese word in Hongkong and the Straits.  The natural result of all this is that it is now almost impossible for foreigners to buy land in Foochow. - Daily Press Cor. 16th June.

 

Note

See also The Times, 14 May 1879

CHINA.

Sir Thomas Wade, Her Majesty's Minister to China, has just arrived.  As the case of outrage on the Anglican Missionaries at Foochow has not yet been settled by the High Commissioner specially deputed by the Central Government for that purpose, Sir Thomas has gone to Foochow to press for the carrying out of the reparation promised some time since by the Tsung-li Yamen.

In the meantime, the Chinese authorities have carried war into the missionaries' camp by bringing an action against them in the Consular Court at Foochow for wrongful possession of land.  Counsel have been engaged on both sides, and, leaving aside the question of damages for the riot, it is not unlikely that the questions in dispute, which led in the first instance to the riotous proceedings I reported in a former letter, may be peacefully settled in an English Court by an English Judge. [Interesting comments on the status of counsel who are Assistant-Judges, relating to status, because in Chinese view they have been 'servants' of criminals and bankrupts.]

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School