"Compensation for the Damage"

Pillaging and atrocities of the occupation troops in China made an impression even on seasoned observers. The Germans (apparently inspired by their Kaiser) were particularly notorious:

"...They are still shooting around here, just as if a war were going on. They don't think anything at all of a Chinaman's life, and on the least excuse they shoot them down like so many dogs. As you have probably noticed in my dispatches I have NOT much use for the German soldiers anyhow. They are a big lot of swine, if human beings ever are swine."[22]

Western missionaries also showed their interest in the "compensation for the damage", motivated, as it were, by their version of the "Christian revelation":

"As you know, of course, by the papers, everybody went loot- mad at Tientsin and here, and the missionaries were as bad, if not worse than, anybody else. Here is a sample of what they did. Take the case of one missionary. As soon as the allies arrived, he boldly took possession of the house of one of the Princes who was wealthy and who had fled with the Court. Then he sent out and got some moneyed men and showed them the store of treasure he had and boldly asked for bids. He sold everything in the home except what he needed for his own use. His alleged excuse for doing it was that "his people" had been robbed and he had the right to compensate himself for their losses. In other words, two wrongs make a right. If a man steals from you, you steal from him.

"This case is not an isolated one. These men knew where the rich men lived in Peking, and the moment it was safe to do it they descended on their homes and took possession, protecting themselves by sticking up a flag of whatever nationality they happened to belong to. A case even worse than the one cited is that of a missionary who found six soldiers digging for loot that they learned had been buried. They were Americans, and, under the orders of our Government, our men could take nothing. The fact that these men were disobeying orders gave the missionary an advantage, and he frightened then away by telling them he would report them to their officers. They left. Half an hour or so afterwards they got back their courage and started back to the place. They got there just in time to find the missionary driving off with the treasure. He had commandeered coolies and put them to work digging up the stuff, silks and silver."[23]

[22] Wilbur J. Chamberlain. Ordered to China. F.A. Stokes, 1903, p. 163
[23] Ibid., p. 126