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David L. Anderson, “Anson Burlingame: Reformer and Diplomat,” Civil War History 25 (1979): 293-308.

P. 302
In 1861 before leaving Europe, Burlingame met Benjamin Moran, the assistant secretary of the United States legation in London. After their meeting, Moran noted critically:”I have heard much of this person, and was led to believe him to be a man of dignity and refinement, but I find him only ordinary and and totally unfit for the Diplomatic Post.” Such things had been said about him before, but in the past he plunged ahead full of enthusiasm. “I proceed to my new post with difference,” Burlingme wrote Seward, “but still with pleasure for there is a fine field and I am yet a young man.”

The new minister arrived at Macao in October 1861, a month before his forty-first birthday. Largely because the winter made Peking inaccessible, he did not proceed to the capital until the following July. .. He had no staff other than Samuel Wells Williams, the missionary turned diplomat served as secretary of the legation. In the hills twelve miles west of Peking, Burlingame established a summer legation at Sanshanan (Temple of the Three Hills). He named it “Tremont Temple”, after the favorite Free Soil meeting place in Boston.

Before receiving his appointment to the post in Peking…employing an orator’s stereotype, he had remarked that when he was ready to depart from practicality, he would “join the immovable civilization of China, and take the false doctrines of Confucius for my guide, with their backward-looking thoughts.” After arriving in China, he began to understand that
such comments were symptomatic of the gulf of misunderstanding that separated the Eastern and Western civilizations. Both Chinese and Westerners were basically ignorant and disrespectful of each other’s culture. Consequently, Westerners had often resorted to coercion of the Chinese in an effort to overcome stubborn and haughty Chinese resistance to Western intrusions into China. In the face of Western threats and force, the Chinese became even more recalcitrant. Burlingame later recalled:
“When I came to China, in 1861, the force policy was the rule. It was said “the Chinese are conceited barbarians, and must be forced into our civilization;” or in the energetic language of the time, it was said, “you must take them by the throat”

“The imagination kindles at the future which may be,” he told a New York audience,” and which will be if you will be fair and just to China.”

Title: Burlingame as an Orator
Serial: The Atlantic Monthly Volume 0026 Issue 157 (November 1870) Title: Mr. Burlingame as an Orator [pp. 629-632]
Collection: Journals: Atlantic Monthly (1857 – 1901)
http://digital.library. pageviewer-idx?c=atla;cc=atla; rgn=full%20text;idno=atla0026- 5;didno=atla0026-5;view=image; seq=0635;node=atla0026-5%3A13

Title: America Needs More Anson Burlingame
Author: Chinese American Forum / George Koo

Title: Anson Burlingame: Diplomat, Evangelist, Idea Person
Author: T. K. Chu
Source: Chinese American Forum

Title: Burlingame and the Inauguration of the Co-Operative Policy
Author(s): S. S. Kim
Source: Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4 (1971), pp. 337-354 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL:

Taken from the article:

“The imagination kindles at the future which may be,” he told a New York audience,” and which will be if you will be fair and just to China.”

The physical setting of the Western legation in a closely knit compound in Peking provide an ever-present forum for consultation among the representatives of the treaty powers. The extent to which Westerners in Peking at this time formed a self-contained community is well reflected in one of Mrs. Burlingame’s letters to her father in Boston: “There are very few strangers in Peking, and we are having a pleasant, quiet time. We have got into such a way of feeling that we own Peking, that we look upon all outsiders as intruders when they break in upon our quiet [community]. Sir Frederick [Bruce] has nicknamed all such [persons] as “Gorillas”, and it is the universal announcement of a stranger’s arrival, that “a Gorilla has come”.
(the Secretary of State) Seward’s first diplomatic instruction to Burlingame dated 30 July 1861 is uniquely devoid of the customary long-term policy guide usually given to a new minister and instead contains mostly procedural matters with the promise that general instructions will soon be forthcoming. This promise was fulfilled in the dispatch to Burlingame dated 6 March 1862, in which Seward gave his famous “consult and co-operate” instructions:
“The interests of this country in China, so far as I understand them, are identical with those of the two other nations I have mentioned. There is no reason to doubt that the British and French ministers are acting in such a manner as will best promote the interests of all the western nations. You are therefore instructed to consult and co-operate with them, unless in special cases, there shall be very satisfactory reasons for separating from them.
In the dispatch of 17 June 1862 from Shanghai, however, Burlingame met policy matters head on:
“It certainly is not our [American] policy to acquire territory in China, nor do we desire to interfere in the political struggles of the Chinese further than to maintain our treaty rights. When these are endangered by pirate and bandits (and the rebels are wishing also) and the English, French, and Chinese are seeking to maintain treaty rights, to be neutral [between the Imperialists and the Taiping rebels and bandits] is to be indifferent, not only to the rights of our citizens but to the interests of civilization.”
Burlingame’s first statement on the Co-operative Policy also appears in this dispatch: “If the treaty powers could agree among themselves to guarantee the integrity of China and together secure order…the interests of humanity would be subserved.”
He believed that the British and French were momentarily honouring China’s political and territorial integrity but “how long they [the British and French] may remain in agreement [to uphold China’s integrity] it is impossible to imagine. Burlingame then stated to Seward with characteristic optimism: “If at any future time the English or French, or either of them, should menace the integrity of the Chinese territory then the very fact that we [the Americans] had acted with them for low and order would give us greater weight against such a policy.”

By June 1863 Burlingame could confidently report to Seward on the unanimity of all the foreign representatives in Peking on the Co-operative Policy:
The policy upon which we are agreed is briefly this: that while we claim our treaty right to buy and sell, and hire, in the treaty ports, subject, in respect to our rights of property and person, to the jurisdiction of our own governments, we will not ask for, not take concessions of, territory in the treaty ports, or in any way interfere with jurisdiction of the Chinese government over its own people, nor ever menace the territorial integrity of the Chinese empire. That we will not take part in the internal struggles in China, beyond what is necessary to maintain our treaty rights. That the latter we will unitedly sustain against all who may violate them. To this end we are now clear in the policy of defending the treaty ports against the Taipings, or rebels; but in such a way as not to make war upon that considerable body of the Chinese people, by following them into the interior of their country.”

P.351 footnote
Horatio N. Lay, the first inspector-general of the Maritime Customs, recalled his days at Peking in the early 1860s: “The foreign ministers met frequently at the house of Mr. Burlingame as upon neutral territory, and there we discussed over our cigars Chinese policy past and present, and in our stroll, which usually closed the afternoon’s confab the policy that should be pursued in the future was the constant theme.”

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