Harper’s Weekly, April 17, 1886, page 250 (Illustrated Article)
The picture of Cheng Tsao Ju, the Chinese Minister, is engraved from a photograph given to me by that excellent gentleman, with whom I have been on friendly terms for many years, and whom I have constantly seen while he has been in this country.

The Retiring Chinese Minister
April 17, 1886, page 250

The Minister is a "red-button" Mandarin, i.e., a Mandarin of the second class. He is a native of the Kwang-Tung Province, and sixty-two years old. Like many of his countrymen of the better class, he devoted himself in early life to arduous study, and in due time received his degree, and entered the public service. I well remember the founding by the Chinese of the great arsenal at Shanghai—Kaou Chung-Maou they called it. It was established in a peach orchard on the shore of the Wong-Poo River, four or five miles above the native city, and has grown from small beginnings to be a splendid establishment, worthy to belong to any government in the world. Mr. Cheng Tsao Ju was one of the two government Commissioners in charge of this arsenal for the fourteen years from 1864 to 1878. I doubt not that, in the evil times upon which he has fallen in this country, he looks back longingly to the pleasant and successful epoch in his life. I knew him well at Shanghai, and can speak from personal knowledge of his efficient and brilliant services.
From 1878 to 1881 he was Taoutae (Governor) of Tien-tsin, and in the latter year he was sent as Minister to this country. His wife accompanied him, and he had a daughter born in Washington in the summer of 1883. Apropos of this event, and as illustrating the Minister’s nice sense of humor, I may mention a little incident, some account of which I believe has already found its way into print. As I was probably the only American in Washington whom he had known in China, he remembered that I had a little daughter born in that country; and when in my house one evening he asked through the interpreter if there were not a Chinese subject in that house. I replied in the affirmative, and sent for my little girl for him to see, saying at the same time that I would bespeak his protection for her. He replied, with great courtesy, "She shall certainly have it, and you will bear in mind that while you have in your family a Chinese subject, I have in mine an American citizen."
I wish it were possible to say that this amiable and accomplished gentleman, who has made friends of all with whom he has come in contact, would be able on his approaching departure to think of his sojourn in American as prosperous and pleasant; but such is far from being the case. For the first three years he had to contend only with the comparatively moderate development then existing of anti-Chinese feeling. Late in 1884, and after the return of his wife to China, he went to Peru, where his countrymen are treated more savagely, if possible, than in our own favored land, and while on his return was stricken with paralysis, from which he has only partially recovered. While thus suffering, and enfeebled by disease, he has been compelled to bear the affliction of the late attacks upon his countrymen; and that this affliction has been grievous no one can doubt; yet in the midst of his troubles he has continued to dispense, at "Stewart Castle," in Dupont Circle, the graceful and generous hospitality for which the Legation has been justly celebrated.
In our ignorance we are very apt to misjudge and underrate Oriental statesmen. The late Charles Sumner told me that he once asked Sir Frederick Bruce (who was transferred as British Minister from Pekin to Washington) what he thought of the statesmen of the Chinese Foreign Office, and Sir Frederick replied, and repeated when pressed, that they were "unequalled for character and ability."

A worthy associate of such distinguished diplomatists is the gentle and courteous friend to whom I have taken the liberty of paying this brief tribute of respect and esteem; and if my countrymen knew him as I do, they would all join I hearty good wishes for his health, happiness, and prosperity. A.A. Hayes.

Washington, D.C., March 31, 1886

Harper’s Weekly, April 17, 1886, page 250 (Illustrated Article)

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