The Foreign Service Journal - May 2014 - page 11

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
MAY 2014
11
also known as the Seward-Burlingame
Treaty. This new treaty accorded equality,
fairness and reciprocity to China.
Regrettably, the national mood in
the United States at that time was highly
xenophobic, and Congress tried to abro-
gate the treaty by legislation. President
Rutherford Hayes vetoed that bill, citing
the constitutional principle of separation
of powers, but the treaty was later nulli-
fied by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
En route to Europe, Burlingame and
his large Chinese delegation stopped in
London, Paris, Stockholm, Copenha-
gen, Berlin and St. Petersburg, and were
warmly received at each stop by heads of
state. Sadly, the Russian winter was too
severe for Burlingame, who died there of
pneumonia on Feb. 23, 1870.
He was buried in a cemetery in
Cambridge, Mass., with both American
and Chinese flags draped over the coffin.
In honor of his diplomatic service, the
Qing Court conferred a posthumous Civil
Service title of the first rank on him and
set up a pension of $10,000 for his fam-
ily. The city of Burlingame outside San
Francisco International Airport was also
named after him.
In retrospect, perhaps Mark Twain’s
words in his tribute to Burlingame
expressed it best: “For he had outgrown
the narrow citizenship of a state and
became a citizen of the world, and his
charity was large enough and his great
heart warm enough to feel for all its
races and to labor for them. ... In great-
ness, ability, grandeur of character and
achievement, he stood head and shoul-
ders above all the Americans of today.
... He was a good man and a very, very
great man. America lost a son, and all the
world a servant, when he died.”
Stanton Jue
FSO, retired
Arlington, Va.
n
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