Late in November, 1867, Anson Burlingame resigned his post as U. S. Minister to China and accepted the invitation of the Tsungli Yamen to take part in China's first diplomatic mission to the Treaty Powers. The minister's party left Peking on November 25, 1867. The second day out of Peking there occurred the exciting adventure described in this letter.
The letter writer was Burlingame's sixteen-year old son, Walter Anson, and the “Dear Grandpa” to whom the letter was written was the Hon. Isaac Livermore of Boston. The letter is reproduced as it was written except for the omission of some irrelevant material at the end. Modern versions of place names, when identifiable, are given in brackets. The spelling and grammar are Walter's.