The Boxer Rebellion Project


Letter from Peking, from Claude Maxwell MacDonald, British Minister to China to Lieutenant-General Alfred Gaselee, Commander of the China Expeditionary Force (August 17th, 1900)

Letter sent from Peking, from Claude Maxwell MacDonald, British Ministier to China to Lieutenant General A. Gaselee, Commander of the China Expeditionary Force, sent three days after the relief of the Foreign legations. MacDonald had led the resistance within the walls of the besieged Legation quarter. This typed letter with handwritten additions reveals the Allies' wishes to fully crush the Boxer uprising.


Letter dated August 17th, 1900, addressed to Lieut. General A. Gaselee. Commanding China Expeditionary Force

August 17th, 1900.


I have the Honour to inform you that at a Meeting of the Representatives of the Powers held today, it was unanimously decided that, as the advance of the foreign troops into the Imperial and Forbidden Cities had been obstinately resisted by the Chinese troops, and that an attempt to parley with, and open negotiations with the enemy at the East gate of the City had failed, (the troops having been heavily fired upon them) the Foreign Representatives are strongly of opinion that to leave matters as they now are would entail disastrous consequences, they believe that until the Chinese armed resistance within the City of Peking and the surrounding country is crushed, the most absolute anarchy will prevail to the misery of the ordinary inhabitants; they also believe that nothing but a continuation of the attack and the final defeat and dispersal of the Chinese troops will convince the Chinese Government that resistance in hopeless, and they believe that in the crushing of the armed resistance lies the best and only hope of the restoration of peace.

The Foreign Representatives hold also that to desist now from further operations will most certainly be constructed by the Chinese as a direct acknowledgement of inability to carry the operations already begun to a successful issues, and this will in the end, necessitate more extensive measures than may now be needed.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient servant

[Signed] Claude M. MacDonald

British Minister

Present at the above mentioned meeting the Representatives of

Austria    Great Britain    Italy        United States

Belgium   Germany          Japan

France     Holland            Russia