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Engagement Between Japan and China Respecting Formosa

The significance of this document could not have, at the time, been realized until the Treaty of Shimonoseki which was a direct result of the 'engagement' described below.

Signed 31 October 1874

Instrument recording the several Propositions considered by the two Contracting Parties, and the action which both agree shall be taken

    WHEREAS the subjects of every Government are entitled to its protection against injury, an obligation rests upon every Government to adopt measures by which their safety shall be provided for, and should any trouble have come upon [the subjects of] of any particular Government, it is incumbent upon that Government to institute inquiry and to take action.

    Certain Japanese subjects having been wantonly murdered by the unreclaimed savages of Formosa, the Government of Japan regarding these savages as responsible, dispatched a force against them to exact satisfaction. An understanding has now been come to with the Government of China that this force shall be withdrawn and certain further steps taken, all which is set forth in the three articles following:—

Article 1

    The present proceedings having been undertaken by the Government of Japan for the humane object of affording security to its own subjects, the Government of China will not therefore impute blame to it.

Article 2

    The Government of China will give a certain sum to compensate the families of the shipwrecked Japanese who were murdered [on Formosa]. The roads made and buildings erected by the Japanese on the ground the Government of China is prepared to retain for its own use, and it agrees to make a further payment on this account. The details of the engagements on these points will be elsewhere stated.

Article 3

    All correspondence that this question has occasioned between the two Governments shall be cancelled, and the discussion dropped for evermore. It will be the duty of the Chinese Government to take such steps for the due control of the savage tribes in the regions referred to as will for ever secure the navigation [along their coasts] against any further atrocities on their part.

Guarantee or Engagement referred to in the foregoing Instrument

    PAPER attesting an engagement entered into.

    In the matter of the savages of Formosa, reference being had to an understanding arrived at with the two Governments [of China and Japan] by the British Minister, Mr. Wade, and to the instrument this day signed, recording the action to be taken respectively by the two parties thereto, the Chinese Government will at once give the sum of 100,000 taels to compensate the families of the shipwrecked Japanese who were killed. In addition to this, the Chinese Government will not fail to pay a further sum of 400,000 taels on account of the expenses occasioned by the construction of roads and erection of buildings which, when the Japanese troops are withdrawn, the Chinese Government will retain for its own use. It is further agreed that on (or by) the 20th day of the 12th month of the 7th year of the reign MEIJI (Japanese style), and on the 12th day of the 11th moon of the reign T'UNG CHIH (Chinese style)*, the Government of Japan shall withdraw the whole of its troops, and the Government of China shall pay the whole of the money, neither party being behind the time now fixed. The payment of the sum guaranteed will not be completed by the Chinese Government so long as any part of the troops of the Government of Japan be not withdrawn.

    This instrument is drawn up in guarantee of the Agreement. [It is in two parts whereof] each party to it retains one.

* 20 December 1874

Source: Parry, Clive. Consolidated Treaty Series. Translation from the British and Foreign State Papers. vol. LXVI, p. 425.


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