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^^ COLOURS. <\ 

135 iniindy (W. W.) Canton and the 
BoGUE, the Narrative of an Eventful Six 
Months in China, post 8vo, cloth, 40c, London, 
1875. . 

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SUEZ— ADEN — GALLE , . . . 
















CANTON . . . ' . 




























THE TYPHOON OF 1874 . . , . 









The shortness of my stay in China may 
seem to make it presumptuous for me to 
attempt to relate to the puhHc the Httle 
that I saw which may be new or inter- 
esting to them ; but considering that on 
no point is there so much ignorance and 
misconception as on all things connected 
with the Chinese Empire, and that fewer 
books of real merit have appeared about 
it than upon any other question of equal 
importance, even what I have to say may 
prove, in its way, to be not without some 

h 1 


interest, and my imperfect knowledge may- 
be of some utility. The chief good I 
should anticipate from my own observa- 
tions would be, that it would be setting 
an example to those in whom a longer 
residence in and acquaintance with the 
country, together with greater powers of 
discernment and description, would all 
combine to make them produce a book 
that should be at once interesting _from 
the novelty of their facts, and instructive 
from the depth and penetration of their 
views and suggestions. This is of course 
far beyond my aspirations, and I shall be 
more than satisfied if I can with success 
play the humbler part of pointing out the 
way to those who could achieve a much 
more brilliant success. 

I may be pardoned prefacing with these 
remarks, and will conclude them by ex- 
pressing the hope that my readers will 


give me their kind consideration in my 
retrospect, which, recalls to me many 
events that I need hardly say are of a 
very painful nature. 

I left England on the 10th of March, 
1874, and arrived in due course at Mar- 
seilles, where I embarked in the French 
mail steamer Tigre, en route for China. 

To any person who has never before 
undertaken a long journey by sea, and 
who is about to become for the first time 
a sojourner for weeks on the watery deep, 
with all its dangers and hidden mysteries, 
there must always be a feeling of excite- 
ment at the uncertainty of the futm-e 
immediately before him, although it is 
sobered down by the solemnity of the 
enterprise. It seems as if we were leav- 
ing behind us, with the last view of our 
fatherland, some landmark that we do our 
very best to fix on our memory for ever, 


SO that whatever may betide us in the 
new life we are just about entering upon, 
we at least have all our old one so im- 
pressed upon us that it may serve to 
solace us in disappointment, or reanimate 
us to fresh exertions, in order to be re- 
stored to the home we leave behind in 
grief intolerable, if it were not lightened 
by the hope of a return after a career 
more successful than we could with justice 
expect to result from a continued residence 
in the old country. It is this hope that 
alone encourages Englishmen to depart 
abroad in pursuit of fortune, seeking for 
it under conditions less arduous than are 
entailed on those who remain in England; 
but also let it be not forgotten that it is 
to their efforts that England owes that 
empire on which the sun never sets. So 
my thoughts were with *'auld lang syne," 
as the fortifications of Marseilles grew 


fainter in the distance, and my imagination 
clianged them into the white cliffs I had 
a few days previously said good-bye to, as 
I believed, for many a long year. How 
man proposes to himself a future out of 
his own heart, and how illusory it ever is ! 
I was young, however, and fuU of sanguine 
expectations. The prospect before me 
seemed to me to be without any draw- 
back, and on the horizon of my worldly 
career there seemed to be no cloud what- 
ever; so I soon with light-hearted gaiety 
settled down to make myself comfortable, 
and being a good sailor, had not to go 
through the painful ordeal of getting my 
sea legs. 

The Tigre^ although by no means one 
of the latest build, is in some degree re- 
markable for a length considerably in excess 
of her other proportions, and her tonnage 
is about 3,000 tons gross. I will not 


show my ignorance of nautical matters by 
attempting to give any express description 
of her, although a certain amount of gra- 
titude must always be felt for the good 
ship that has performed in safety a journey 
of many thousand miles. As a passenger 
I was naturally concerned more with her 
internal arrangements than with her out- 
ward good points, and her cuisine and other 
accommodation left nothing to be desired. 
Of course, on starting on a long voyage 
like this, preparations are made for regular 
amusements, in order to make it agreeable 
and seem as short as possible. The Eng- 
lish passengers, as a rule, compare the 
Messageries maritimes unfavourably with 
our Peninsular and Oriental in this re- 
spect. They say that the French officers 
neglect to organize theatricals and musical 
soirees to speed the journey, and that fewer 
steps are taken to make it a more pleasant 


affair. Although I cannot speak of the 
Peninsular and Oriental service from per- 
sonal acquaintance, it is most probable that 
it is much gayer and not so quiet as it 
undoubtedly is on the French line. Still, 
the latter has some advantages, which I 
will try to enumerate. In the first place, 
in many ways the officers are specially 
obliging and attentive to English pas- 
sengers; who, I regret to say, are, as a 
rule, somewhat deficient in reciprocating 
their kindnesses. They always made it a 
point of having some surprises in the 
shape of httle dishes a VAnglaise, and 
many of them who could not understand 
English on our setting out were suffi- 
ciently advanced in a short time to carry 
on an ordinary conversation, so eager to' 
learn, and so little ashamed to speak a 
strange language imperfectly were they. 
What a contrast to ourselves, who disHke 


to sliow our imperfections in any way, erspe- 
cially in conversing in a strange tongue. 

Among the passengers were a good 
many Dutch, French, and some Ger- 
man; the French leaving at Aden for 
the Mauritius, and the Dutch at Singa- 
pore for Java and Sumatra. I y/as greatly 
struck with the courtesy and general in- 
formation of the latter, who were very 
amusing and intelligent companions. They 
were full of praises of everything English, 
and some were well read in our literature. 
I may here also say that if their views of 
our colonial empire may be taken as a 
specimen of the general opinion among 
them, there is little to he feared from 
their jealousy of us, even in the Straits of 
Malacca. On this subject I will venture, 
however, to make some remarks further 
on ; of course I have been speaking of the 
European, not of the Colonial Dutchman. 


By the Messageries it is comparatively 
an easy thing to get a cabin for oneself, 
and more than two are seldom, if ever, 
put into one. The French diet, to my 
mind, is also more suitable to the limited 
exercise possible on board ship than our 
own more substantial mode of living. 

The weather was everything that could 
be desired as far as Naples, where, how- 
ever, having the misfortune to meet with 
a slight accident, I was unable to land ; 
but I had a good view of that unrivalled 
bay. Our stoppage was not for long, how- 
ever, and that night we passed through 
the Straits of Messina, and in the morning 
Etna was but a speck far in our rear. 
Nothing had occurred to remind me of my 
close proximity to Scylla and Charybdis. 
So far the weather, though sHghtly cold, 
had been fine, but it now changed sud- 
denly, and became sufficiently rough to 


close the ports. We also had to pass 
through a thick mist, which ohliged us to 
slacken to half speed, and made frequent 
soundings necessary. This mist was caused 
by the wind blowing clouds of sand from 
the deserts of Africa. Through these causes 
we were somewhat late in arriving at Port 
Said. We immediately went on shore, but 
as it was dark we saw very little of the 
town. We went to the Casino, which I 
thought — even after several-^ days at sea, 
when any change is a rehef — very stupid; 
and then to the Alcazar, where the per- 
formance, which exclusively consisted of 
women playing on violins and other stringed 
instruments, was well worth seeing. Even 
critically observed, the playing was good. 

Few of us had much sleep that night, 
as the noise from coaling the ship was ter- 
rific. We commenced our passage through 
the canal early in the morning. Without 


giving any description of this wonderful 
piece of engineering, I may mention that 
as the main channel is only sufficiently 
wide to admit of one ship going through 
at a time, there are stations where ships 
wait until it comes to their turn, and the 
way is clear. The communication is kept 
up, and the traffic is regulated by tele- 
graph. As far as feasible, everything makes 
way for the mail steamers. The best com- 
parison to maile to illustrate the mode of 
working is to the arrangements on a 
single line of railway. The simile is almost 
exact. We were stopped some time at 
Ismailia, where both the Khedive and M. 
de Lesseps have handsome palaces, to let 
some vessels pass. Here I saw the mirage^ 
and it was with some difficulty I could 
persuade myself that the sight was de- 
ceitful. I felt grateful, however, that the 
illusion brought no punishment to me, and 


I shuddered to think how awful the dis- 
appointment must be to discover the fallacy 
when one's Hfe was at stake in the desert. 
The canal regulations oblige all ships to 
anchor at night ; so when the captain will 
give permission, many go ashore to shoot 
jackals, or to visit the caf6 cliantant which 
some of the villages possess. I was not 
much prepossessed with the inhabitants of 
these villages, chiefly employes of the com- 
pany ; a greater set of cut-throat looking 
vagabonds I never saw. 

Just before reaching Suez we were stopped 
to let the transport Crocodile^ returning 
with troops from India, pass. 

The Messageries steamers anchor in a 
bay two or three miles from Suez, so I did 
not see the town, but the neighbourhood 
looked very pretty and nice. 




The next morning we left Suez, steaming 
through the Straits of Jubal/ and saw in 
the distance the peaks of St. Catherine, 
the supposed Mount Sinai. The weather 
was remarkably fine, and the heat soon 
became — some days later than usual, though 
— so oppressive that a change to thinner 
clothing had to be adopted. The '^ pun- 
kah " or ^^fan" had also to be kept in 
motion. Two days after leaving Suez we 
were hailed by a native (Arabian) ship 
signalhng for a doctor. We launched our 
boat, sending to them ours, who did not 
seem to Like the project at all. For some 


reason or other there was some excite- 
ment on board, — some even talking of 
pirates, whicli had a visible effect on the 
courage of the poor doctor. The idea of 
a small boat attacking a large steamer was 
too ridiculous for the impression to last 
long. How it ever arose would be difficult 
to imagine. On reaching her they found 
it was a hoax. The owners, having lost 
their way, wanted to know whereabouts 
they were. They signalled for a doctor, 
as they knew that is the only one for which 
a mail steamer will stop. This vessel was 
a very pretty sight, being perfectly white, 
even to the masts. Altogether this stop- 
page delayed us some hours. We passed 
through the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, close 
to our strong island of Perim. This island 
presents a most repelling appearance, being 
nothing but a barren flat without a trace 
of vegetation, — the friendly light-house 


being the only thing for which a human 
being has to be thankful. This station 
for the military is a sort of penal settle- 
ment, and the guard has to be changed at 
frequent intervals by rehefs from Aden. 
Outdoor amusement is an impossibility in 
this uninviting oven. 

We arrived at Aden some hours later 
in the night, landing the next morning, 
when we drove to see the sight of the town, 
viz., the Tanks, which are some distance 
inland, close to the English cantonments. 
These cavities are supposed to have existed 
as far back as four thousand years ago. 
When we took and fortified Aden we con- 
structed reservoirs in them, which, as it 
often does not rain here for three, some- 
times not for ten, years, are most useful in 
collecting the water during the wet seasons. 
We also connected these tanks ; one now 
leading into the other with steps down 


them, and planted terraces round tlie sides 
of the rocks with acacia and other trees, 
which form a great relief to the eye, as 
nothing else green can be seen in the 
neighbourhood, the whole district being 
volcanic : indeed the town of Aden is 
supposed to be built in the crater of a 
volcano, and the bold precipitous rocks by 
which it is surrounded represent the sides. 
We drove about in the native carriage, 
which is the same at Galle and Singapore, 
and is also called '* Gharry " at each of 
these places. Strange to say, this inhos- 
pitable-looking place is rather liked as a 
station by the officers. The reason I be- 
lieve is, that it is possible for them to save 
on their pay. There is no question at all, 
however, about their hospitality, all being 
most willing to give everyone a hearty 
welcome. It was very amusing to see 
the little blackies paddling about in the 



harbour in tiny canoes, from whicli, or 
even from the yards of our vessel, they 
would dive into the water for money, and 
we could see them distinctly fighting 
underneath among themselves to get the 
prize. They would also dive under one 
side of the ship and come up at the other, 
chattering all the while like monkeys. I 
was not sorry, however, to leave this place 
and get on, for by this time the end of the 
journey was every day becoming a matter to 
be looked forward to with greater pleasure. 

On passing Cape Guardafui and the island 
of Socotra, we encountered a great swell, 
which made us roll very much, — the curious 
thing being that the sea to all appearance 
was perfectly calm; but I beheve there 
was nothing unusual in this. The contrast 
to the heavy rollers of the Atlantic was 
very great to all appearance, but the effect 
on the steadiness of our vessel was cer- 



tainly not less. From Aden to Galle — by 
far the most tedious part of the voyage — 
it takes seven to nine days, according to 
the monsoon. The weather was so sultry 
and oppressive that it was often impossible 
to stay between decks, and several nights 
I slept on deck in an arm-chair. We saw 
lots of flying-iish and shoals of porpoises. 
If the days could be complained of on 
account of the force of the sun, the nights 
were the more enjoyable, for the splendour 
of the moon and the evening breezes com- 
pensated to some extent for the extra heat 
of the day. 

We arrived at Galle after nine days' 
steaming. The change of scene was ex- 
traordinary. I may say, it was not since 
leaving Naples that I had seen anything 
green. A fortnight's roasting in the Bed 
Sea and Indian Ocean would be enough to 
make one greet with pleasure the slightest 


shade; but here we had immense woods 
coming down to the verge of the water, 
which made me long for their refreshing 
shelter. I hope I shall not be accused of 
exaggeration in saying that Galle struck 
me as the prettiest place, externally, I came 
across. If anyone doubts it, they had 
better make the experiment; and if they 
— as they must from England — go the same 
route as I did, I feel certain that their 
opinion, after the same culinary preparation, 
will agree with mine. 'But as to reach the gar- 
dens of the Hesperides many obstacles had to 
be overcome, so there are dangers to be en- 
countered by those desirous of landing here. 
In the first place, even to enter the 
harbour is no easy matter, and requires 
the most careful steering. As a warning, 
should we not keep true in the centre of 
the passage, there rises above the waves, 
only a few yards from us, the hull and 


masts of the Arracan, wrecked here some 
months before. Even when we have passed 
through this dangerous strait we have only 
accomplished half our task. There is so 
great a swell that we are obliged to land 
in boats, and to get into these boats is very- 
awkward and difficult. It requires the 
greatest skill in choosing your opportunity, 
which must be immediately acted upon, or 
you will not escape without a ducking at 
the very least. Perhaps I speak with some 
of the bitterness of unsuccess, as I was 
among the unfortunate, — escaping however, 
luckily, with only half the penalty. All 
this inconvenience detracts something from 
the praise of Galle, especially , as many 
ships are periodically lost here. Besides, 
there is so obvious and simple a remedy. 
Colombo, which is very little out of the 
direct line, and is a very thriving and 
large town, has a commodious and fine 


harbour, wMch is easy of entrance, and 
safe at all seasons. It certainly is slightly 
ont of the route, but the advantages that 
would arise from making it the port of call 
far counterbalance the slight delay that 
might be occasioned by the change. But, 
somehow, all the world over, it takes a 
very long time to effect any improvement 
on what is. As far as my experience goes, 
I can endorse the saying of an eminent 
man — that we are not Conservative, but 
Chinese. It may be some consolation to 
think that all the world's the same. 

We went to the hotel on landing, which 
is a capital one. The proprietor fed us 
remarkably well, and I tasted here one of 
the greatest dainties imaginable. I unfor- 
tunately did not get the receipt, but I can 
state the chief ingredients : curried prawns, 
flavoured with cocoa-nut milk and dry 
champagne. It was capital. We took 


gharries, drawn by very fine little ponies, 
and drove up into the country, over ex- 
cellent roads. The scenery was very pretty, 
splendid trees overhanging the roads, and 
forming a perfect archway. Through the 
vistas of the wood we could see native huts 
— to all appearance clean and comfortable 
— and now and then a small temple, with 
the native gods. These were chiefly re- 
markable for the tasty manner in which 
they were decorated with flowers. We 
drove also to see the cinnamon gardens, 
which were some miles inland. The only 
drawback that I could see was the quantity 
of beggars who, as everywhere else in 
the East, pestered us for alms. We drove 
back to our hotel, where a crowd of Parsee 
merchants had assembled to receive us, 
exhibiting their wares, and demanding fancy 
and most exorbitant prices for everything. 
We were taken by a back way to see their 


shops and all their treasures. They offered 
us sapphires, rubies, pearls, etc. ; but though 
we were fully awake to their tricks, we found 
it difficult to resist their cajoling arts when we 
had put ourselves into their den. For a ring 
for which they demanded JC50, they accepted 
£5. Of course the majority of these fellows 
are arrant swindlers, palming off pieces of 
glass or bad stones on the unwary as gems 
of priceless value. Their whole system is 
supported by unlimited credit, they reckon- 
ing on catching you on your return. They 
are a fearful nuisance, but it rests with 
travellers themselves to put them down by 
discouraging them. But as a few great 
bargains are sometimes made, everyone 
tries to do the same, and the result is that 
these fellows thrive and make fortunes, as 
elsewhere, on the creduHty of mankind. 

Our stay here seemed to me too short. 
Jt was only for twenty-four hours ; I could 


gladly have enjoyed another stay of equal 
length. That evening there was a tre- 
mendous storm, the lightning being most 
vivid. This I may call our half way 
house, it being also in distance only a 
little more than half done towards getting 
to the end of the journey. I now had 
the pleasure of being able to look back on 
so much successfully accomplished to sustain 
me in the latter half of this lengthy under- 
taking. I left. Galle much refreshed by 
its pleasant scenery, although there we lost 
some of our fellow passengers, who were 
much missed and regretted. 




FouE days after leaving Galle, we were 
passing the north part of Sumatra, al- 
though at too great a distance to get a 
very clear view of Atchin. Our course here 
lay through narrow straits between little 
islands; and, more or less, this is the de- 
scription of the whole of the view of the 
strait down to Singapore. 

These islands present the most beautiful 
appearance. They are absolutely covered 
with trees, which run down to the water's 
edge. I saw a very splendid sunset 
the evening we were passing through. 
The sun, sinking behind the tree-crested 


mountains of the islands, lit up the open 
sea with a glow of gold, or was reflected 
hack from the woods and rocks of various 
islets ; while that part of the sea nearest to 
the shore, being in close shade, was con- 
sequently perfectly dark. The contrast was 
most singular and striking. We arrived at 
Singapore without noticing anything par- 
ticular, for, as I said, one description is 
sufficient for the whole of this route. The 
entrance to the new and small harbour, 
although extremely narrow, is most pretty, 
as it is fringed on either side with thickly- 
wooded islands ; although here is added 
to the scenery some comfortable-looking 
and picturesquely-situated villas, and the 
smoke rising from behind the trees cheers 
the heart with its sign of hospitahty. We 
again took gharries and drove to the town 
of Singapore, which is about three miles 
from the quay ; and having lunched on our 


arrival, we started to see the Botanical 
Gardens, which are ahout four miles inland. 
The drive through the jungle the whole 
way was remarkably pretty, and the Gar- 
dens, even after this preliminary prepara- 
tion, did not fall short of my expectations. 
We dined with a friend still further up the 
country, where I saw a most perfect pun- 
kah ; it had five fans, instead of only one. 
We also saw the Governor's house, but at 
that time without a Governor. Sir Andrew 
Clarke had not then commenced his ad- 
ministration, although on my return his 
success, aided by the well-known gracious- 
ness and kindness of Lady Clarke, was the 
talk of the place. Everyone out there will 
join, w^hile deeply regretting his short stay, 
in wishing him every prosperity in his new 

At Singapore the diving boys were equally 
numerous and amusing, and there they 


showed remarkable quickness in discerning 
the English from the French passengers. 
To the former they would say, ** Have a 
dive ? " — to the latter, *^ A la mer." Here 
we lost our agreeable fellow-passengers the 
Dutch, who change for Java. I regretted 
much to part from them, as they had been 
especially kind to me. One of them, who 
had been ruined in Holland by giving secu- 
rity for a friend, was going out with his wife 
to Batavia, to try and make another for- 
tune. We all heartily wished him every 

As the Straits Settlement seemed but a 
short time ago to have assumed a certain 
importance as the subject of a political 
question, it may not be out of place to 
make here a few remarks on that point. 
The Dutch, as is well known, were once our 
most formidable rivals on the sea. Even 
when Blake, Sandwich, and Kodney had in 


successiye generations fully proved our su- 
premacy on that element, Holland still 
possessed many colonies, some of which 
now belong to us, and might, without un- 
truth, claim to be our equal in foreign 
possessions. These she owed to the energy 
and genius of her own sailors, who for 
some time and at a certain period were 
unrivalled. Of all that imperial sway, Java 
and Sumatra are the two most precious 

It is no exaggeration to call these islands, 
in richness of soil and quantity and variety 
of products, the pearls of the East Indies. 
Mismanaged, as they are acknowledged to 
be, not a tenth properly cultivated, still 
they furnish the home country with a net 
profit in the shape of revenue of several 
millions. The Dutch in that, part of the 
world acknowledge their shortcomings, and 
look with envy on what they consider the 


admirable manner in which our Indian 
settlements are managed. They are only 
too desirous to make the best of their pro- 
mising territory; but, whether owing to 
real want of energy, or to being hampered 
by the home Government, little progress 
is made. Opposed to the long sea-board 
of Sumatra lie our settlements on the pen- 
insula of Malay, with the great emporium 
Singapore at its extreme end. They are 
thus brought face to face with us ; and in 
the necessary course of things, a time must 
come when we shall be obliged to take 
cognizance of their doings. There is no 
doubt but that the Dutch are aware of 
our gradual absorption of everything worth 
possessing in this direction. 

They also see more clearly than we do 
ourselves, that Australia — that continent 
of the future — is bound to draw nearer to 
our Indian Empire. They see that one 


of these days they must meet. They feel 
themselves unable, for several reasons, to 
oppose any permanent resistance to the 
progress of these movements. 

While possessing much of the ability 
and courage of their forefathers, they have 
perhaps allowed a prosperous life in rich 
colonies to render them more sluggish and 
less likely to seize any favourable oppor- 
tunity. Their army is also chiefly composed 
of natives or of mercenaries of every country, 
and not to be trusted when brought face to 
face with regular troops. Even the pluck 
of the Atchinese was sufficient to baffle for 
long the numbers brought against them. 

The Dutch feel the reality of all this ; 
and the result is an intense jealousy, which 
shows itself by hampering us in all our 
intercourse with these islands. It would 
be an instructive lesson to anyoae to work 
up how it was that, when we were foremost 


amongst the advocates of conquest and 
extension of dominion, we permitted these 
treasures to escape our grasp. Their 
position, their wealth, every reason of 
policy, both on its broad principle and on 
its narrower one of self-interest, demanded 
their occupation. Why did we give up 
our hold on Sumatra in Bencoolen in 
exchange for Malacca? Of course, this 
gives no right to take them now, even if 
that were feasible ; and if Holland . were 
to manage them properly there might never 
be any necessity. But the world is not 
large enough nor rich enough to permit 
anyone to mismanage that which is meant 
for the good of all. And eventually, if we 
neglect to interest ourselves in the ques- 
tion, if we are so purblind as not to keep 
a watchful eye on this quarter, we may 
find that some other power, for reasons 
certainly not of friendship to ourselves, 


will secure these prizes, and we with our 
eyes closed the whole time. It ought to he 
sufficient to point out that, as far as race 
goes, Holland is as much German as Alsace 
or Holstein; and even the independent 
Dutch might not ohject so much as is 
imagined to merge themselves in such a 
formidable power as Germany would then 
become by their alHance. Germany is fast 
creating a navy. She would, then, have 
harbours and colonies. Those of her sub- 
jects who shirk the military obHgations by 
leaving the Fatherland would, perhaps the 
State might consider, be sufficiently usefully 
employed in estabhshing new or strengthen- 
ing old colonies to allow them to be excused 
from some of the legal penalties they incur 
under present circumstances. 

On leaving Singapore, and turning our 
prow northwards, I may say we were set- 
ting out on our last stage, although, by the 



French packet, the journey is broken by a 
stoppage at their settlements in Cochin 
China. In three days we reached Point 
St. James, which is at the month of the 
Cambodia or Gamboge river. The contract 
of the Company with the French Govern- 
ment compels them to go np the river to 
Saigon, which is about sixty miles, and 
entails a tedious journey of about twenty- 
four hours each way ; they are also obliged 
to make a stoppage there of twenty-four 
hours; so that altogether this arbitrary 
and really useless arrangement delays the 
arrival in China by three days. The river 
is very wide, but so shallow that it is only 
possible for ships to go up to Saigon when 
the tide is favourable. The banks are very 
low, so I could see the jungle extending for 
miles inland. The heat here was some- 
thing fearful, and the farther we went from 
the sea the worse it became. 


As the Frencli are lield to attach much 
importance to this settlement, it is perhaps 
some set-off against the delay to get even a 
slight glimpse of how they manage their 
colonies. Coming from Singapore to Saigon 
seems like a return to Europe. With its 
straight streets Hned with trees, with its 
cafes retreating under the shade, and its 
boulevards of handsome shops, it seems 
almost exactly like a town of la helle 
France, Scarlet trousered officers, bronzed 
by an eastern sun to almost blackness, 
lounge about; and the political talk is no 
less lively than it is on a Parisian boulevard. 
Their system of ruling their colony is 
exactly similar to that in force in Algeria, 
and is purely military. The whole of the 
country is dotted over with small stations, 
and the natives are subject and must con- 
form to the French laws alone. 

This is somewhat different and opposed 


to the course we have adopted in the 
management of our immense possessions 
in India. There we see the miHtary en- 
tirely subsidiary to the civil authority. 
The Commissioner is the highest power. 
We openly acknowledge we only hold our 
authority in trust for the benefit of the 
natives, and we encourage them to show 
themselves capable of assisting us in go- 
verning themselves. This is far removed 
from the military system, pure and simple, 
followed by the French ; and I do not think 
its advantages can be questioned. 

There is a Jardin des Plantes and a public 
park about a mile from the town. There is 
a very good show at the former, especially 
some magnificent tigers. Close to this is 
the Governor's palace, which is reputed to 
have cost seven miUion francs, or jC280,000. 
Altogether, Saigon would repay a longer 
Aisit, and the heavy jungles throughout 


the interior afford a splendid field for sport. 
Besides, it lias great advantages as a start- 
ing place for explorations inland, and the 
opening up of the Cambodia would confer 
more advantages on the human race than 
the clearing out of the Oxus. The latter 
will open up a passage to the rugged steppes 
of Khoordistan and the Hindoo Koosh, but 
the former will open up the rich treasures 
of Siam and Burmah. 

We sailed down the river again, and four 
days after leaving Point St. James we 
reached Hong-Kong. It was a very pretty 
sight to see the merchants' gigs, manned by 
Chinamen in different coloured costumes, 
coming off to welcome old friends from 
their own common home, or new ones 
who were coming out to be cheered by 
their hospitality. 

My journey was over. Ten thousand 
miles, mostly by sea, is, under every cir- 


cumstance, both of comfort and of fine 
weather, but a disagreeable and tedious 
task. Its end can be only greeted with 
relief. But when it is accomplished, al- 
though feelings of expectation have been 
for weeks uppermost in our mind, we go 
back and dwell on all the episodes and 
dangers of the journey; and we then, if 
but for a few moments, feel some of the 
debt we owe to that Almighty Providence 
that has carried us with safety to our jour- 
ney's end. 

There is also grief and a feeling of lone- 
liness to think how many a mile lies between 
us and cur home, where is all we love. 
Only the warmest welcome, only the truest 
friendship, only the greatest hope can make 
us bear up successfully. These in my case 
were all powerfully present, and soon I was 
reconciled to my new surroundings. 




Befoee commencing my narrative of resi- 
dence in China, I will devote two ciiapters 
to preparatory matter, which will perhaps 
serve to give greater interest and consis- 
tency to what follows. In this chapter I 
will endeavour to give some slight sketch 
of the course of China's history, while in 
the next I will make some remarks that 
may seem naturally suggested by our con- 
nexion with the country. 

The native accounts date their empire 
from a most remote period, but we have 
as yet no reliable record of the events 
which occurred in the infancy of this 


extraordinary people ; and considering 
that the anthentio Mstory was destroyed 
by a sovereign (Chi-Noam-to, 200 B.C.) 
whose acts the learned disapproved of, 
because it was turned again&t him to esta- 
blish precedents to prove his own bad 
government, it is highly probable that it 
will for ever remain shrouded in mystery. 
We know that the Komans received am- 
bassadors from a country called Cathay, 
situated far to the east of the Indus ; and 
we may not be wrong in accepting these 
emissaries as coming from that country 
which is the subject of this book. We are 
also aware that some Christian sceptics 
are reported to have retired thither in the 
first centuries of the Church ; and I believe 
attempts have of late years been made to 
trace their descendants. 

Fo-Hi, one of the first emperors, and the 
reputed founder of the empire, lived about 


2000 B.C., and is supposed to be the same as 
Noah ; but the first reliable historical per- 
sonage we know of, is Confucius, who was 
born about 550 b.c. He is to the Chinese 
what Moses is to the Jews, and Mahomet to 
the Arabs. He is at once their lawgiver 
and their prophet, their example of morality 
and the highest and grandest type of their 
race. The descendants of this distinguished 
philosopher form the only hereditary nobility 
among the Chinese. During the first cen- 
turies the imperial rule was exercised by 
the family of Hong, but the rulers for 
several generations having fallen into all 
the vices of impotency, were, after a period 
of anarchy and confusion, succeeded by the 
Tang family, which had as its founder the 
great Taitsong. Their dynasty faUing into 
the same state of effeminacy as their prede- 
cessors', gave place to new rulers ; and this 
result was repeated several times, until the 


great Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan 
overran a great part of the kingdom, and 
his grandson Kublai Khan completed the 
task of conquest by subduing the whole 
country, and he and several of his descend- 
ants ruled from Kamschatka to Cochin. 
But the old epidemic soon seized the 
Mongol emperors as it had previously the 
Chinese. Inactivity soon take the place 
of energy, and the pleasures of debauchery 
succeeded the actions of ambition in the 
court of Pekin. The conquered inhabitants, 
from being accustomed to sneer at the de- 
generacy of their conquerors, soon resorted 
to measures to restore themselves to free- 
dom and to regain the empire they once 
possessed. The revolt was successful, and 
their victorious general established himself 
at Pekin. He became the founder of the 
famous dynasty of Ming ; and, not content 
with having expelled a conqueror, led vie- 


torious armies through Thibet and Tartary. 
The Ming period is the most popular among 
the Chinese, as the time of their chief 
greatness ; and it would he unwise to leave 
out of consideration the fact that they recur 
to the events of that time with extreme 
fondness, for as changes of rulers have in 
no other kingdom been of more frequent 
occurrence, so it is not impossible that one 
more revolution may be added, and it can- 
not be confidently asserted that it will meet 
with no success. 

The defeated Mongols sought refuge 
among the Tartars on the extreme north- 
western frontier of the empire, and several 
centuries later their descendants appeared 
once more upon the scene under the name 
of Mantchoos. For even the sovereigns 
of the house of Ming were not to be exempt 
for any great length of time from the faults 
of their predecessors ; and when the state 


was divided into rival factions, in an evil 
liour the aid of the Mantchoos was invoked. 
Victory declared for the side they fought 
on, and as Hengist and Horsa in our history 
from victorious allies made the easy change 
to conquerors, so in China these fierce and 
irresistible Tartars seized the empire, and 
converted their benefactors and friends into 
their dependents. The first emperor of 
the new race, Chun-tchi, showed himself a 
sagacious and tolerant prince by honouring 
the prejudices of his new subjects and by 
satisfying himself with the real attributes 
of power without demanding any of its 
useless appendages. 

The Tartar conquest was consummated 
in the year 1644, and Chun-tchi was 
succeeded in 1661 by his son Kang-hi, 
who in a long reign of sixty years proved 
himself to be the most enlightened prince 
who ever occupied the throne. His 


measures consolidated tlie power of his 
family, and it is mainly to him that it is 
due that the state of the country has been 
tolerably settled ever since. He at first 
had friendly inclinations for foreigners, and 
it was in his reign that the Jesuits first 
effected a permanent settlement. He made 
use of their knowledge to assist him in 
compiling a history, and also employed 
them on many works of national import- 
ance, notably the improvement of the 
calendar and the education of the masses. 
It was at this time that so many works 
were issued on China, and had the place 
of the Jesuit observers been as worthily 
filled of late years by the Enghsh merchants, 
there should be a much greater knowledge 
of the people and of their customs than 
unfortunately there is. Towards the end 
of Kang-hi's reign, however, the Jesuits fell 
into disrepute, and they were banished the 


court. Perhaps some of their theories as 
to the spiritual supremacy of the Pope 
were a little too freely uttered to please 
the spiritual father of a distinct religion. 
"Whatever the reason, the fact remains 
the same, that Jesuit influence was at its 
height in his reign, and that, although still, 
scattered over the country, where perhaps 
no other white man dare venture, may 
be found representatives of this powerful 
society, it has ever since been on the 

Since this reign the internal history of 
China has been quiet. The Mantchoos 
are still the ruling caste. The djniasty of 
Tatsing still sways the sceptre. To all 
appearance the native Chinaman is con- 
tented, and the Tartar lords it throughout 
the land. The even tenor of their rule 
has indeed received one shock. I allude 
to the Taeping rebelHon; and the result of 


that insurrection remained undecided until 
an Englisliman solved the difficulty by 
leading an army from victory to victory ; 
and Gordon and the Ever Victorious Army 
became the heroes of the day. The vanity 
of the victors, hurt by having to own their 
success as chiefly attributable to a foreigner, 
has received some salve in the successful 
destruction of the Panthays, who had of 
late years formed an independent power 
in the south-west ; and military officialism 
has become more arrogant than before, 
on account of these recent laurels. The 
Taepings were indeed crushed ; but the 
impressions of foreign residents are con- 
flicting as to whether the Chinese are 
really well affected to the Mandarins. 

Ta-whang-li, or Mighty Emperor, is the 
style of the potentate at Pekin, and his power 
is as unlimited as the most extended view of 
paternal authority sanctions. He is temporal 


and spiritual cliief ; and his person is con- 
sidered so sacred that it is only recently 
that audience has heen permitted to the 
representatives of foreign powers ; and now 
it is done in such a manner as in any other 
country would be considered more insult 
than honour. 

The Goyernment is carried on by a coimcil 
of four ; but at the present moment it is 
vested in a Kegency, and the Empress, 
mother of the previous sovereign, is the 
instigator of policy. The great Viceroys 
exercise a vast amount of influence, and in 
their respective provinces are supreme, par- 
ticularly the ruler of the province of Chihli, 
by name Li Hung Chang, or the great Li 
as he is more usually called ; who to great 
power and wealth adds all the energy and 
ambition of his ancestors. In theory, how- 
ever, the Tu-che-yiven, or censors, have the 
right to superintend all things, and have a 


station independent of the Ministry. They 
fill a somewhat similar position in name to 
that the Ephors did in fact at Sparta ; but 
they are entirely without the power of that 
formidable magistracy. They have some 
privileges, and may enjoy the doubtful 
pleasure of listening to measures being re- 
solved upon by the boards of administration 
without having any option between silence 
and a futile opposition. 

It is sufficiently evident even from these 
few facts that if the sovereign be not of an 
active disposition, and does not really act 
the king, there is plenty of field for ambi- 
tion ; and that backstair influence is much 
called into use to decide the merits of rival 
favourites, or to settle the litigations con- 
stantly pending between irritated feuda- 
tories. When such a state of affairs exists, 
there can be neither salutary government at 
home nor trustworthy engagements abroad. 



In anotlier point of view, it leaves room for 
sudden changes, by holding out an occasion 
to ambitious generals to form an empire of 
their own out of the surrounding corruption. 
And indeed it is a very significant fact what 
skilled connoisseurs these eastern potentates 
are becoming in the merits of Krupps and 

China has remained under the same rulers 
for a period of two hundred and thirty 
years. But if it be true that all history 
repeats itself, we must arrive at the con- 
clusion that even a dynasty whose ninth 
representative is on the throne, is not safe 
from the fate of its predecessors. It is also 
a fact not to be lost sight of, that, strictly 
speaking, there is no regular army. The 
forces correspond more to our militia, re- 
siding at their own houses, and not in 
barracks, and occupying themselves in trades 
or labour of some kind, except on those 


special days when they are summoned to 
their divisions. 

Our first attempt to open trade inter- 
course with China was in 1637, when the 
East India Company despatched several 
vessels to Macao ; but through the intrigues 
of the Portuguese, then as now in possession 
of that town, the attempt proved a failure, 
and the ships were forced to depart without 
effecting their purpose. For more than a 
century afterwards a limited traffic was 
carried on with Canton by the East India 
Company ; but the Chinese were never 
cordial about it, and the Portuguese were 
not at all chary of spreading reports to our 
disadvantage. In 1792, however, an em- 
bassy was sent under Lord Macartney, to 
see if some better arrangements could not be 
concluded,and to bear gifts of friendship from 
the conquerors of India ; but it is impossible 
to say the success attending . this mission 


was more than dubious. In 1816 tlie Earl 
of Amherst again attempted the hopeless 
task of pointing out the advantages to 
be derived from trade and intercommuni- 
cation, but with no better result than 
Lord^ Macartney had met with. 

In 1834 the monopoly of the East India 
Company was abolished, and general traders 
had the right granted them to transact busi- 
ness with the country. In 1842, after a war 
in which Canton was much damaged and 
the Chinese Government had to pay a 
large indemnity, a treaty of commerce was 
ratified between Great Britain and China, 
by which five ports were declared open 
to EngHsh merchants. They were Canton, 
Amoy, Foo-chow, Ningpo, and Shanghai. 
Hong-Kong was also ceded to us for 

I need not here recapitulate the leading 
features of the last war, which resulted in 


the entry into Pekin and the treaty of 
Tientsin. The events of that war are suf- 
ficiently well known, although I may men- 
tion that eight more ports were opened to 
the foreigner, viz., Swatow, Tientsin, Chee- 
foo, Kiu-Kiang, Hankow, Chin-Kiang, 
New Chang, and Formosa. 

It is notorious that, even after two 
hundred years of some kind of contact, we 
are not on as friendly terms as might be, and 
that all our efforts to break through the 
phlegm of the Chinaman have been only 
rewarded with a limited success. We are 
looked upon as intruders, we are only per- 
mitted to remain on sufferance ; and whether 
the future will bring any improvement in 
these respects is more than the most san- 
guine of us can answer satisfactorily. At all 
events, our patience cannot now be com- 
plained of, and we have put up for thirteen 
years with circumstances that have seemed 


on many occasions about to produce a 
quarrel. The question, then, changes to, 
Has our complaisance gone too far in the 
other direction ? 




A SINGLE glance at the map is sufficient 
to show that the position of China is one 
entitling it to play a most prominent part 
in, and to attract much attention from 
those desirous of participating in, the 
pontics of Asia. 

The antiquity of its history, the hardly 
perceptible difference in the chief charac- 
teristics of its inhabitants for thousands 
of years, the exclusiveness in which it has 
kept itself aloof from western advances, 
and the halo of fancy and mystery that 
surrounds all those things that are little 


comprehended, combine to make tlie Celes- 
tial Empire an interesting subject. To 
these, however, mnst now be added the 
importance of our commercial relations, — 
the fact of our being established in settle- 
ments on its soil, and, perhaps more than 
all, the feeling that we are there in keen 
competition with other nations. It has 
not been hitherto held an attribute of the 
English race to draw back from any course 
for fear of rivals ; rather has it been the 
contrary, and we have carried out many 
an undertaking merely for the sake of 
thwarting some opponent. Its reputed 
history dates from about 2,000 years before 
the birth of our Saviour. It is thus 
synonymous i length with that o f the 
Jews empire has passed away 

nearly 2,000 years, while that of its far 
eastern contemporary seems to be still, 
for an Asiatic power, in the fuU strength 


of manhood. Through many changes of 
ruhng dynasty, through many a desperate 
rebellion, through passing under the sway 
of such conquerors as Genghis Khan, it has 
come down to our time a relic of the past. 
We have an ancient people before us, we 
have the unlimited power of the priesthood, 
we have the omnipotent majesty of the 
sovereign enshrined in the hearts of the 
people. More than this : the wonders of our 
modern life, what must appear to them the 
astonishing results of our mechanical ap- 
pliances, seem to be regarded with a certain 
apathy and indifference. They nowadays 
go abroad; but if they do, they carry China 
with them. They never depart with the 
idea of no return. They feel satisfied that 
even if they do die in the strange world 
they have entered upon, their bodies will 
be brought back to rest among their fore- 


It is no part of my object to recon- 
cile the age of the Chinese institutions 
with the Jewish Cosmogony ; but any- 
one's eyes are sufficient to show him that 
*^ Tartar" is written on every lineament of 
a Chinaman. Whether they be the de- 
scendants of Tartaric hordes who in pre- 
historic times supplanted some aboriginal 
race, or whether the Tartar bands of 
Mongolia and Central Asia are the off- 
shoots of an over-redundant population, is 
to my mind an unimportant question. 
These Tartars of the desert have been, 
however, a by no means trivial anxiety 
for the imperial minds at Pekin. 

We have seen that their irruptions have 
been frequent, that they have left a per- 
manent mark in many of the institutions 
of the country, that they have not a few 
times furnished a ruler to the empire, and 
that the present sovereigns are their descend- 


ants. Against these intruders an immense 
and fortified wall was erected. That wall, 
e\^en if it may seem antiquated to our eyes, 
and utterly trivial in these days of rifled 
ordnance, has for centuries been regarded 
as one of the wonders of the world ; and 
might even on a future occasion form a by 
no means unimportant opposition to the 
attack of anyone in that direction. Its 
safest defence on this side is, however, the 
character of the obstacles the immense 
extent of that northern part of Asia offer to 
anyone who should wish to march an army 
on that quarter. The south-west of China 
is also almost totally unexplored, although 
it seemed, a short time ago, that at last this 
desirable object was to be accomplished by 
an expedition starting from Eangoon. It 
is well known how that attempt resulted 
in failure, and the murder of a most pro- 
mising oJEcial. 


A quarter of a century ago, it was prog- 
nosticated that China was to he a new El 
Dorado ; and although those expectations 
have heen only realized in a limited degree, 
we cannot say that we have exhausted every 
means to accomplish that end. As yet the 
iron horse has not ploughed up the land ; 
the rivers and canals are still traversed hy 
the heavy-rigged barges, and news still 
travels with the tortoise pace of the courier. 
Each province, each village, must rest there- 
fore on its own resources in any emergency 
that may arise. But yet, as a sign of the 
wealth of the country, we have a population 
which in certain districts is truly immense. 
The national thrift of course accounts for 
this in some degree. The real secret, 
perhaps, of its wealth, is, however, the 
number and size of its rivers. In the ^ 
centre there is the majestic Yangtse-Kiang ; 
in the north there is the equally imposing 


Ho-ang-Ho; wliile in the south there is 
the no less useful Kiu-Kiang. 

These highways given by nature perforate 
the country in all directions. Not only is 
the land copiously irrigated, but these means 
of communication require no paternal and 
careful legislature to keep them in perma- 
nent order. Our chief informants on every 
point of Chinese custom and history — the 
Jesuits — dwell on the importance of this 
fact, and many have carefully and eloquently 
detailed the immense advantage of these 
splendid streams. 

Pere Mailla, in his ^^ Histoire Generale 
de la Chine," which is a French translation 
of the orthodox Chinese History, which I 
believe he was also chiefly instrumental in 
compiling in the reign of Kang-hi, gives a 
most vivid description of the whole country, 
in which he resided for a great number of 
years. No further information, I may say. 


has been added to that he affords us, and 
the history of the Celestial Empire has yet 
to be written. Her bold and extensive 
seaboard, stretching for hundreds of miles, 
from which not even the horrors of the 
typhoon can detract its many advantages, 
is specially intended for the children of 
commerce ; and although it may seem a 
paradox, the supposition is not opposed by 
the facts. 

The leading merchants along the Straits 
of Malacca are, if not Chinese by birth, 
certainly so by origin, and are distinguished 
by the term " Baba." Their trade with 
the Phihppine Isles and Cochin China is 
also extensive, and this is carried on chiefly, 
if not altogether, in native ships. 

The appearance of the Chinese in the 
labour market of California has been at- 
tended with such success that there are 
some who are sanguine enough to point 


to a time when demand for their services 
will be universal. What would not some 
of our colliery proprietors, and other em- 
ployers of labour, they say, give for work- 
men who would be content with a fair and 
fixed wage, and with no inducement or wish 
to strike for higher terms; and these all 
the time no unskilled, incapable persons ; — 
persons who have proved themselves most 
adaptable to strange surroundings ; steady, 
sober ; if humoured in some of their re- 
ligious and superstitious observances, most 
amenable to authority ? If we may despise 
many of their characteristics as meannesses ; 
if we prefer to pride ourselves on our open- 
ness of character, let us not forget that the 
reasons for which we contemn them are 
the very ones that would render them most 
valuable in any civiHzed country which may 
at present be agitated to its heart's core by 
the difficulty of obtaining men, and by the 


antagonism, every day becoming more em- 
bittered, between capital and labour. The 
thousands who annually arrive on the shores 
of California are so many proofs that there 
would be no impossibility in attracting them 
from their own country. Australia also is 
visited by a considerable number. These 
emigrants, of whom the great majority ulti- 
mately return to their own country, have 
also another significance for us. New ideas 
on the white nations must be springing up 
in the minds of the natives. The wondrous 
tales brought back, if viewed with apathy 
and unconcern, must have some effect, and 
must leave some impression on their minds. 
The presence of ambassadors at the capital ; 
the right of audience, so lately conceded ; 
the sight of our men-of-war in their rivers ; 
the remembrances of our prowess ; and 
more than all, perhaps, the knowledge that 
it was to English officers they owed the 


suppression of the most formidable rebel- 
lion that had disturbed their tranquility 
for ages, the severity of which is even now 
brought vividly before them by the sight, 
of the jungle growing where once was the 
temple, and the silent street where of yore 
trod the noisy throng, — all these must be 
taken as being productive of a gradual 
awakening to the realities of civilization; 
and if it does not mean any real adoption 
of our system, it at all events means tole- 
ration of it. Indeed, with a power like 
Kussia roaming about somewhere on her 
northern frontier ; with the Enghsh and 
Americans — not to speak of other nations 
— estabhshing themselves in her seaports ; 
with free trade openly proclaimed ; and, 
more than all, with a neighbouring and 
rival power showing an inclination to com- 
pete for European popularity, there seem 
certainly sufficient topics to make even 



the most conservative of Chinamen desirous 
of knowing something from whence these 
audacious interlopers spring. At the same 
time, they are also bound to confess that 
to a great degree they are the most bene- 
fited by the connexion. There, therefore, 
can be no doubt that the interior of China 
will not for much longer continue a terra 
incognita ; and although before she fully 
opens herself to the foreigner complica- 
tions of a lesser or greater seriousness 
may arise, they cannot retard the result 
for long. 

In our dealings, political and otherwise, 
we should always remember that the rule 
with all eastern nations applies with double 
force to them, viz., that the slightest hesi- 
tation is construed as weakness ; and that 
the only true way of discomfiting their 
chicanery is an honourable firmness, quick 
in conception and unflinching in execution. 


They are perfectly aware of the jealousies 
between the different nations trading with 
them, and are only too alive to the means 
of setting them by the ears with one another. 
We are no longer able, as in the last century, 
to compel the acknowledgment by the natives 
of our pre-eminence by thrashing all our 
rivals. We cannot do as Chve did, — conquer 
India by overcoming Dupleix. So if we 
are debarred from the simplest solution of 
the difficulty, it behoves us to be most 
careful, and to meet all artifices by that 
most powerful of all poHcies, firm and truth- 
ful candour. Our interests in China are 
most important ; and should the proposed 
coal investigations turn out successful, would 
increase to a very great 'degree ; and there- 
fore we must not permit anyone to oust 
us in our foremost position there. We must 
not risk present and future advantages by 
neglecting any opportunity that may occur. 


We are an old power, wlio may have seen 
days of higher repute, but at no time was 
our strength greater or of a more lasting 
description. So even if we can afford to 
brook our European position to be ques- 
tioned, our representatives in the colonies 
only remember what we were, and, rightly or 
wrongly, cannot tolerate the remotest idea 
of competition from any quarter whatsoever. 
I would here again draw attention to 
the late expedition exploratory of South- 
west China, which left Eangoon under 
Colonel Browne, for the purpose of urging 
the necessity for a renewal of the attempt ; 
and indeed it is extremely doubtful how we 
can start under more favourable auspices, 
as it will seem but a natural demand that 
a fresh safe-guard to effect this all-important 
purpose be one of the first requests on the 
Government of Pekin, as some atonement 
for the murder of poor Margary. 


It is reported that the capabilities for 
cotton planting are here most promising 
and extensive. There is no lack of splendid 
rivers, nor is there scarcity of labour, and 
there certainly is not more — and probably 
rather less — ill-will towards foreigners among 
the people. 

This is om- question exclusively. Here 
lies our real high road to China. The 
impulse that would be given to friendly 
relations by the commencement of a trade 
in these parts would be such as would leave 
little doubt in the minds of the Chinese 
who their best and most powerful customers 
really were. On the sea-coast we have, and 
must always have, formidable rivals. In 
this direction there are none to question us. 
We can foUow our own plans with dehbera- 
tion ; and as the natives would equally 
benefit with ourselves, there can be no 
doubt of the ultimate success. We might by 


SO doing seem to be entering in a race with 
Kussia, who approaches in the north as we 
should in the south ; but if we draw back 
we are only permitting another power, with 
more obstacles to contend against, to ap- 
proach the common goal alone. 




As I said in a previous chapter, I soon 
became accustomed to my new surround- 
ings, strange as they at first seemed to 

Hong-Kong, situated on an island, but 
including in its jurisdiction the neighbour- 
ing peninsula of Kow-Loon, at the mouth 
of the river Kiu-Kiang, was ceded to the 
English as long ago as 1841, 

Its capacious harbour affords most ex- 
cellent shelter for our shipping, and is 
surrounded by a range of hills, one and 
even two thousand feet in height, which 
are covered with the beautifully-situated 
houses of the merchants. 


On landing, the coolies plying for hire 
with chairs surrounded us ; and I must say 
on entering one, I found to my surprise 
that they walked so well together that the 
journey was not only done very fast, but 
also in the greatest comfort. Sometimes 
you unfortunately may, however, get un- 
evenly matched carriei*s, when the sensa- 
tion is anything but agreeable. The streets 
have a very busy look, what with coolies 
along the Praya, or quay, carrying bales of 
stuffs, and the general bustling about of 
the men of commerce. There are several 
very fine buildings, notably the club, near 
which is the town-hall. At the club there 
is a very fair library. All the chief papers 
arrive by each mail — TimeSy Pall Mall 
Gazette y Gi-arphic, Punchy etc. ; and there 
is some accommodation for sleepers. There 
are boat-houses, cricket fields, baths, and 
racquet courts, where all the great games 


of old England are to be seen as much 
enjoyed as on any public ground at home. 

The evening I was here on this occasion 
we had a pleasant drive to Happy Valley, 
which is the popular resort, and also 
where the races are periodically held. The 
road there is a most lively sight,— quite 
a miniature Kotten Kow in a less grand 
degree : the whole way thronged with all 
kinds of traps, driven by all kinds of horses, 
— Australian, China ponies, Manilla ponies, 
half-breds and thorough-breds, of all hues 
and of all ages. 

I have detailed the various amusements 
at the service of a resident in Hong-Kong, 
• — which in this instance may be taken as a 
type of the rest of English life in China, — 
because nothing struck me more in our 
countrymen out there than the little desire 
they showed to return home. At first this 
surprised me very much ; but when I saw 


the quantity of means at their disposal of 
]3assing their leisure pleasantly, the equality 
in their positions, the sumptuousness, I 
may term it, of their diet, and the dolce far 
niente of their whole life, my surprise 
ceased, and my own ideas soon became 
the same. 

Who would compare to this the drudging 
existence in a London house, the harassing 
anxiety of an English career, the impossi- 
bility of enjoying to any similar degree the 
comforts of life, and the feeling of the 
inequality of social status so constantly 
brought before us in most disagreeable 
ways ? On the one hand, we have every 
present requirement, with much future 
hope ; on the other, we have monotonous 
and heart-wearying toil, with an almost 
barren prospect. But now that I have 
been compelled to turn my back on this 
bright prospect, I am able to see that life 


in China makes self, a god everywhere, the 
only one. One's moral character suffers 
for the sake of his material welfare. 

The latest news, both of worldly and of 
private interest, arriving now so regularly 
and so frequently, makes life abroad much 
less irksome and tedious than formerly. 
The Chinese boys who serve as valets are 
remarkably sharp, and as faithful as any 
Chinaman can be. They are also so at- 
tentive to you, that when giving a dinner 
they have the bad tact to wait upon your- 
self in a marked degree, more than on your 
guests. This has become such an acknow- 
ledged fact, that each one brings his own 
boy. The pidgin English which they speak 
is often very difficult to understand, and be- 
sides, they never get much beyond the pidgin 
part of it. *' Pidgin " means *^ business," 
and is used in such idioms as ^* What pidgin 
have you done to-day ? " My only night here 


I used mosquitoe curtains, but as I went 
to bed late, and had to be up early to 
catcb the river steamer, these tormentors 
hadn't much time to be a nuisance. The 
river packets, which ply daily between 
Canton and Hong-Kong, are very fine 
steamers — American built — painted white 
all over. They have three decks; one for 
the Chinese, one for the passengers, and 
a small one above for the captain and pilot. 
The trip takes from six to eight hours, but 
varies according to the tide. 

The river Kiu-Kiang (called here, how- 
ever, by us, Bocca Tigris, or the Bogue) 
is very broad, dotted over with islands ; 
but the whole scenery, although pretty, is 
very flat. Cultivated fields stretch for miles 
along the banks on either side of tha river, 
with a small range of hills in the distance, 
and nearer at hand a pagoda or two ever 
and anon peeping out from over the foliage. 


The whole view was pleasant and homely 

We stopped at Whampoa, a few miles 
from Canton, where all ships with mer- 
chandise are loaded, as they cannot pro- 
ceed np to Canton. The river, and in 
fact all, steamers, however, can go up to 
the town ; but sailing ships never proceed 
higher than Whampoa. From here I could 
distinctly see Canton, with the French 
Cathedral towering above the houses. The 
whole place seemed a plain of roofs, with 
here and there a lofty narrow house rising 
through the gloom, which are either places 
to look out for fires, or pawn-shops where 
most Chinese place their winter clothes, 
furs, etc., to be taken care of; things which, 
if kept without extra precaution, would spoil 
during the summer. The loss, however, 
entailed by fire is sometimes very severe 
on individuals, and very widely felt ; the 


liability of the care-takers being not at 
all legally established. The Government 
derives a large revenue from shops, particu- 
larly pawn-shops. 

On coming up the river through the 
town, we passed through the city of Sam- 
pans, or boats. These, packed closely to- 
gether, lay stretched on either side of me. 
The numbers who dwell in these cannot 
be at all accurately estimated, and add 
greatly to the difficulty of even approxi- 
mating to the population of Canton. The 
banks of the river, on approaching the city, 
are lined with pretty little houses, inhabited 
by well-to-do Chinamen. These have nice 
little gardens running down to the banks 
of the river, with a little boat lying at its 
anchorage. Then we saw the houses of 
the missionaries — nearly all French — quite 
surrounded by the native settlements. This 
used to be the old factory site before the 


war. Then there is Honam, which at one 
time was a favourite locality for foreigners ; 
but since Shameen has been built, it has 
been deserted by all except Parsee mer- 
chants or Portuguese clerks, with the 
Chinese tea manufactories ; so that all the 
EngHsh houses, or Hongs, with one excep- 
tion alone, do their business in the settle- 
ment, but have to go to Honam to weigh 
their teas previous to shipment. 

On reaching the wharf, which was 
thronged with Chinese, I changed to the 
house-boat which awaited me, and I was 
rowed up the river to Shameen, the settle- 
ment. It would have been almost impos- 
sible, and a most tedious undertaking, to 
have attempted to have gone through the 
streets, owing to their narrowness, and to 
the offensive smells prevalent in all Chinese 
cities. The river is very broad, and the 
view of the country on the opposite side 


of the river, with hardly any houses to 
intercept it, is pretty. 

Shameen, originally a mud fiat, was, by 
a stipulation of the treaty after the last 
war, made, at the Chinese Government's 
expense, into a settlement for foreigners. 
The little island is walled all round with 
a quay, or rampart, to protect it from the 
river, and also as some means of keeping 
the damp out. The top of this is paved 
with chunam — a kind of asphalte — and 
being bordered with trees, short though 
bushy, forms an agreeable promenade, 
where many a pleasant walk have I en- 
joyed in the evening. It is known by the 
name of the Bund. I called Shameen a 
little island, it being divided from the 
native town at the back by a canal called 
the Creek, but is connected with the main- 
land by bridges, at each of which a native 
policeman is always stationed to enquire 


the business of every native who wants to 
enter. The other side is facing the open 
river, so that the shape of the island is 
very similar to that of an ^gg. In size 
it is about one and a half miles round. 
Chinese gunboats, commanded by foreigners, 
are also stationed opposite the island, for 
the better protection of the residents. Two 
long rows of houses — although not quite 
over the whole extent of the island, as the 
French part is not inhabited — run across 
it. The settlement is so loved by all, that 
it is often called the Paradise, as every- 
thing is supposed to be nearly perfection, 
all the residents being regarded as fellow- 
members of one large family, from which 
the backbiting and scandal so rife in small 
communities is supposed to have been en- 
tirely banished. The roads are of grass, 
with beautiful avenues of trees ; outside 
these are good paths of chunam. There 



is also a small flower garden, where the 
children play. Within the last two years 
a capital hall has heen erected, with a 
stage and theatre. This is also used very 
often for dances. Adjoining is a good 

The first night I arrived, there happened 
to he a ball given by a resident before 
returning to England. As the night was 
wet, we had chairs round after dinner to 
take us there. Outside the building there 
was quite a posse of chair-coolies, all in 
different costumes, holding lanterns with 
the names of their masters in Chinese 
and English. The whole looked fantastic 
and somewhat weird. The entrance was 
decorated with much taste, and everything 
was admirably got up. The great draw- 
back was of course the scarcity of ladies, 
many having to dance with two or three 
gentlemen for one dance. 


No one drives in Shameen, but many 
keep their ponies for riding in the evening, 
although there is such limited space for 
horse exercise. There are a racquet court, 
boat-houses, and club, the last of which 
contains billiard and reading-rooms. The 
markers at the tables are Chinese boys, 
many of whom play a good game. 
Picnics, which are quite the rage, are 
often got up, — ^when prettily decorated 
boats are called into requisition to convey 
gay parties up and down the river to their 
destination. Some of these are able to 
go up little creeks where rowing is im- 
possible ; and often in these pretty retreats 
comfortable places can be found to enjoy 
the capital lunch always provided for such 
occasions. And it has been my good 
fortune to have shared in several of these 
expeditions, when, beneath a tasty rustic 
bridge, and with music from a neighbouring 


temple breaking soothingly upon the ear, 
I have done ample justice to game pies and 

Shameen's Local Government Board is 
a council elected by the residents, and 
each member looks after a department ; 
e.g.^ one takes the police, another the 
roads, another something else, and so on. 
The contrast this pleasant retreat bears 
to the great bustling native city is soothr 
ing and tranquilizing. But the social ties 
are no less imposing there than in our 
civilized communities. The round of 
visits obligatory on all new arrivals no 
sooner ceases, than the round of dinners- 
out succeeds, and keeps the martyrdom 

Two or three days after my arrival, I 
took chairs to go to see our consul. Sir 
Brooke Eobertson, who resides through 
the native city, at a place called the Ya- 


men. This was a most tedious and awful 
journey, the streets being too narrow to 
admit of more than one chair passing at 
a time, and the roofs of the houses nearly 
meet across the street. Whenever we en- 
countered another chair, we had to stand 
aside somehow or other, and let it squeeze 
past. On my way we were caught in a 
storm, the rain coming down in torrents, 
— so much so that although my bearers 
toiled on knee-deep in it for some time, 
they at last were forced to take shelter 
in the court of a temple, where I was in 
close proximity to one or two life-size gods. 
There were also many of the poorer Chinese 
sheltering here, who could not restrain 
their curiosity, but now and then pulled 
my curtains aside and had a peep at me. 
All this made me a little nervous, and by 
energetic signs I made the coolies, who 
couldn't understand even pidgin English, 


go on again, although they had still to 
wade knee-deep. After more than an hour's 
journey we reached the Yamen. This 
proved to be a delightful place, quite a la 
chinoise, — fine park with deer, and a pond 
in front of the house. The fourth side of 
each room is a verandah, and everything 
very comfortable and nice : the whole 
place surrounded by magnificent trees, 
and about the grounds lie some ruins, 
mementoes of the last war. From a tower 
here I had a splendid view of the country. 

The French consul lives somewhere near, 
but isolated as it is among natives who 
certainly under present circumstances don't 
want much incentive to become vindictive 
and blood-thirsty, it seemed to me anything 
but a pleasant locality to reside in. Sir 
Brooke Kobertson, however, said he liked 
the quiet very much, and employed most 
of his leisure in reading. 


I was very glad to get back to the settle- 
ment, as this was my first expedition into 
the native quarters ; and if my bearers had 
deserted me, as at any moment they might 
have, I should have found it utterly im- 
possible to get out of a maze where right 
and left, before and behind, had exactly 
the same appearance, and as I could not 
speak the language it would have been 
impossible for me to discover my road by 

The beggars in the streets were a most 
horrible sight, and I was told that they live 
to a great extent on the vermin off their 
bodies. This is almost too disgusting to 
be put on paper. 

My impressions of a Chinese city from 
this journey were anything but prepossess- 
ing. The inconvenience owing to the 
narrow streets, the offensive smells, the 
disagreeableness of being brought into close 


contact with sucli disgusting sights as these 
outcasts, make a visit to the native quarters 
no pleasant task, and one seldom wished 
to be quickly repeated. To get into one's 
bath, and shake off the contamination, was 
a relief, and to seek as quickly as possible 
forgetfulness in rational comforts and in- 
tercourse with others of the knowledge of 
what the human race can become through 
generations of neglect and misfortune, 
through squalor, misery, and poverty, of 
a kind that is beyond even the com- 
prehension of a East London Samaritan. 




Canton, the chief town and residence of 
the Grovernor of the province of Quang- 
Tung, was the first port, and for a long 
time the most important one, with which 
the Enghsh carried on trade intercourse ; 
although it has of late years — since the 
great destruction in Canton during the 
war — been eclipsed by its younger rivals, 
Shanghai and Foo-Chow, which enjoy the 
special advantage of having greater facili- 
ties of reaching the tea plantations. 

Canton, however, besides being an im- 
portant place on accoimt of its commerce, 
is also, it must not be forgotten, a great 


Chinese city, and the multitude of harges 
and boats that proceed up country are so 
many instances of the activity and im- 
portance of its inland trade. Its popula- 
tion has been estimated at various figures, 
some patently exaggerated, and all, owing 
to the difficulties attending a census, 
founded on insufficient evidence. 

It is situated on the Kiu-Kiang, which, 
however, has several other names. It is 
here a fine broad river ; but to all intents 
and purposes Whampoa is its seaport, it 
being impossible for sailing ships to come 
up the river to load, owing to the shallow- 
ness of the river. It, therefore, labours 
under this other disadvantage as com- 
pared with its rivals ; which can alone be 
obviated by the construction of a railway 
between Whampoa and Canton. Permis- 
sion might be obtained from the viceroy 
of Quang-Tung, as the Chinese merchants 


themselves would join in advocating for 
this local improvement. The funds could 
easily he raised, and as there would he no 
national opposition, the undertaking would 
not run much risk, especially if the pro- 
moters were content to commence with a 
tramway, to prepare the popular mind for 
the more formidable appearance of the 
steam engine. 

Canton, lying in a plain, is surrounded 
on the north by a long range of hills 
called the Pak-Wan, or White Cloud, 
Mountains. They are very barren, and are 
used as the cemetery of the city. These 
attain some elevation, and are situate about 
seven or eight miles from the walls by 
which the city is surrounded. The walls 
are about seven miles in circuit, and form 
an excellent walking ground, the perambu- 
lation of them being the usual preparation 
for our Sunday dinner. Outside the walls 


are canals, "whicli are a most disgusting 
sight when the tide is out. The view of 
the surrounding scenery is good, and from 
some of the pagodas situate on them the 
prospect is very pretty. 

The principal streets, for a native town, 
are considered to be clean, although now 
and then the odour is most offensive. Curio 
Street, one of the best, is the place for 
curio and china shops. Some of these are 
very fine, and are got up in the most mag- 
nificent style, with polished panelling and 
gilding freely all round, and with a sort of 
bower for the sellers to sit in. Some are so 
extensive as to have three or four floors 
covered with most exquisite china. How- 
ever, in the curio shops particularly, one 
has to bargain greatly, as the prices de- 
manded are most exorbitant. The better 
shops are, however, beginning to have fixed 
and tolerably reasonable prices marked on 


their wares ; and this good example is 
being imitated to some degree by all. 
Hoa Ching, the great ivory carver, who 
obtained honourable mention at the Vienna 
Exhibition, has a shop here; but he has 
little ready-made fine carving, so every- 
thing has to be ordered, often taking from 
three to four years before it is executed. 
In hot weather visiting these shops is like 
going into an oven. 

Canal Koad is a newer street that Curio 
Street, but even these fine and chief streets 
are quite narrow, and transit is a matter of 
much difiiculty. Most of the houses are 
only two stories high, and there are few 
buildings that attract much attention for 
their external appearance. Some of the 
joss houses, or temples, are extensive; one 
at Honam in particular, covering several 
acres. These are not only the temple of 
the god, but the residence and cemetery of 


his priests. There is a part of the city set 
specially aside for lepers, bearing the name 
of the Leper City; and the Chinese also 
seem to suffer to a remarkable degree from 
stone. It is no unusual sight to see in 
boats, which however must keep away from 
others, persons suffering from leprosy, who 
are fearful and disgusting objects. I forgot 
to mention that another disadvantage from 
the shops being so close to one another is 
that the passengers in the streets receive 
the benefit of the mixture of smells, which 
is anything but pleasant. 

It is a difficult matter to distinguish be- 
tween the social ranks at a glance ; but 
as a general rule the short coat means in- 
feriority and the long coat superiority. Eor 
instance, our *^boys," on going home for 
a holiday, always put on their long coats, 
to show they still retained their old social 
position, and out of deference to their 


parents ; and some of the hongs, or foreign 
houses, had the tact to perceive this trait, 
and made them appear in long coats when 
waiting at table; but strange to say, for 
another reason, they have an objection to 
this, as the short coat is more comfortable 
to work in. It is by humouring inferior 
nations in their superstitious and social 
observances that we can alone hope to gain 
their affection. Tact and apparent sym- 
pathy gain hearts and good opinion all 
the world over. The coolies' or labouring 
man's ordinary apparel is pajamah-trowsers 
and a short tunic made of a brown material, 
with an oily appearance much like the can- 
vas stuff worn by fishermen at our ports. 
Then' whole appearance and conduct is 
quiet, and impresses one favourably after 
the rowdyism and dissipation of our large 
towns. They seem to treat their famihes 
well, and if not violently affectionate, are 


at least considerate in their actions with 
their own. The merchant classes have the 
same characteristics, and show themselves 
to be certainly our equals, if not superiors, 
in all matters of commercial diplomacy. 
Many proofs of this will be adduced in 
the course of this narrative, and will be 
of more service and easier to supply than 
any specified examples of this fact. The 
Chinaman is remarkably civil and obliging 
in his manner, except when eating. It is 
then no easy task to get him away from his 
meal of rice — which is generally flavoured 
with some greasy substance ; but at all 
other times no fault can be found with 
his temper. It is that precious quality 
that makes him such a formidable customer 
to deal with, and few of the arts of plausi- 
bility are unknown to either the shopkeeper 
or the merchant. 

The women are allowed a considerable 


amount of liberty, although of course it is 
well known that Chinese ladies never walk 
abroad. Their feet are therefore remark- 
ably small ; and rivahy among beauties is 
decided by a comparison of their extremi- 
ties. They have to be carried from their 
houses to their chairs, in which they alone 
go about. But this they are allowed to do, 
I may say, without any further escort than 
their bearers. As, however, they are cur- 
tained in most carefully, there is no real 
breach of Eastern etiquette. Their ordi- 
nary costume is silk paj amahs and beauti- 
fully embroidered white jackets. They wear 
their hair brushed up, with numerous pins 
in it, and they ornament themselves most 
tastefully with flowers, — some even putting 
exquisite little ones in their ears as ear- 

When one gets a little accustomed to 
their features, many points of merit and 



attraction are visible in them, far more 
so tlian any Englishman is at first willing 
to admit. Little is known of their internal 
and domestic relations. I never heard of 
any instance of a white man obtaining to 
any degree of intimacy in a native family, 
although there are many foreigners in the 
Government's employ ; still they always 
are kept a race apart, and their own pride 
assists the native reserve. It is, therefore, 
no unusual thing to meet men who have 
lived a lifetime in China with scarcely any 
knowledge either of their social customs or 
of their personal character, beyond business 
matters. There are even cases of men who 
have never gone into Chinese quarters since 
the time when they went for curiosity during 
the first months of their arrival out there. 
They are content to hve on in the settle- 
ment, to be ignorant of the place where 
they really dwell, or at the farthest to 


accept second-hand information that may 
at any time have a most important bearing 
on their own affairs ; and to divide their 
existence into three parts — their business, 
their meals, and their sleep. These have 
a great deal to do with the antipathy of 
the natives to foreigners. They have never 
endeavoured, or done anything whatever, 
to meet the race objections of those with 
whom they were compelling an intercourse. 
On the contrary, their manner and arro- 
gance have on many occasions caused more 
offence ; and when tact and some fellow- 
feeling would have smoothed over many 
a difficulty, they have blunderingly made 
matters worse by a harsh and off-handed 

Of course there have been exceptions ; 
there have been some wiser than their 
generation, and the gratitude of the whole 
community out there is due to their praise- 


worthy efforts. Principally for these rea- 
sons the Jesuits are alone versed in the 
details of real Chinese life ; but as they 
openly aim at converting them, they raise 
such powerful enemies that the reward of 
their tact and good management is per- 
verted for another reason. 

One of the chief reasons why, when the 
Chinese Government came to look upon 
trade with foreigners as a necessary evil, 
they appointed Canton as the port, was 
its distance from Pekin. 

Canton, although in the same latitude 
as Bengal, enjoys a much milder climate, 
and never attains to the immense heat of 
India. Snow has been known to stay some 
hours on the ground, although it is reported 
the natives were then ignorant of its name. 
The learned professions are very numerous 
throughout the empire ; but it seemed to me 
that the power and wealth lay more in the 


hands of the military and merchant classes. 
The Fehin Gazette, which appears every- 
day, and in which all the imperial edicts 
and ordinances — even the most trivial — 
are promulgated, is a most important and 
powerful machine of tyranny. It would 
be strange if, as is suggested by some, we 
should borrow from a Chinese institution 
the idea of starting a similar daily official 
paper. We see there its power, the influence 
it unavoidably has on men's minds ; and 
if in our case it could not be made the 
assistant of tyranny, it certainly would, if 
only to a slight degree, be made the par- 
tisan and supporter of a party ministry. 
Interpreters of the Gazette form a regular 
profession throughout China, and answer 
in some way to the improvisatori of Italy. 
This paper is only a production of the 
merest court trifles, and eveiything is 
viewed in the light of that clique who 

?o2 , . .^ CANfb^ 'ANP THE BOGUE. 

for tlie time being may be foremost in 
the councils at Pekin. It is, therefore, 
no rehable exponent of the nation's 
sentiments, and it is in no way to be 
trusted in our dealings with the country 
at large. 




On the opposite side of the river, which 
is here about four hundred yards across, 
and almost facing the ^^ settlement," are 
some very pretty flower and nursery 
gardens, known by the name of Fa Tie. 
All the flowers for dinner tables and 
general use are obtained here. The head 
boy or butler makes all the arrangements 
for the supply, which is done at a contract 
price ; and as flowers are so extensively 
used for ornament, this is a very heavy 
item in the bills, and generally turns out 
a good thing for the contractor. The lotus 
flower, worn so much by the native guis 


in their hair, is perhaps the most con- 
spicuous ; but there are also small shrubs, 
trained over wire in pots, and fantastically 
interwoven into all sorts of designs, such 
as foreigners in boots, trowsers, and tall 
hats, or dogs, huts, etc. Eemarkable taste 
is shown in the blending of colours, and 
the workmanship in executing the design 
is highly artistic, and is all done by native 
workmen. These gardens are a very nice 
place to stroll in on a Sunday evening 
before dinner, having also a row there 
and back. 

The Hong with which I was being the 
only one that transacted their business at 
Honam, I enjoyed a pleasant pull every 
morning and evening. All the other Hongs 
do their work in the settlement, only going 
to Honam to weigh the teas. The customs 
are collected at Canton by Europeans, and 
they form an extensive establishment, su- 


pervised by Commissioners. There are also 
interpreters attached to the staff ; but with 
none of these did I come much in contact, 
as they reside in a large building in the city, 
near the Custom House. As an instance of 
the httle inducement to anyone to go about 
and investigate the place, a globe trotter — 
such is the name given to a traveller — 
whom I had under my care to show about 
the city, was so overcome by the smells 
and heat, that after the first day he refused 
to stir beyond the house. 

Some little way down the river there are 
tea gardens ; at least they are called so, as 
there are a few tea shrubs here. Of course 
it is generally known that Canton itself is 
not a tea district. Here one can get a 
capital country walk, — although, of course, 
there are no roads, only small paths made 
by the labourers; and, consequently, it is 
as rough work as on a highland moor ; — the 


whole place quite open, and no boundaries 
visible ; — a patch of something grown here 
and there, a clump of trees, and all the rest 
a wide, open, untilled, uncultivated plain, 
swarming with buffaloes, on which the 
people ride. As these animals hate a white 
face, and often rushed at us, we had to 
keep on the alert, and several times had to 
place a ditch between them and ourselves. 
This was great fun. 

The country people are very civil, allow- 
ing us to go anywhere, so long as we didn't 
touch their crops, and to shoot anything 
we saw. They seemed very good-tempered 
and not at all ill-disposed towards us ; only 
just a little bit curious. 

We took a photograph, and stuck it up 
as a target to shoot at, to show them what 
we could do, and also to amuse them. 
After riddling it considerably we gave it to 
them, making them understand it was our 


likeness ; at whicli they rushed away with 
it in great excitement, thinking they had 
got a prize. 

We met altogether a good many labour- 
ers, and from none received any incivility 
whatever, all kow-towing to us in the most 
courteous manner, and we doing the same 
in return. It was very pleasant to see 
them so friendly disposed, and I really be- 
lieve the people themselves have no such 
bad feeling towards us as is the received 
opinion. Their priests and rulers for their 
own motives and advantage stir them up 
against foreigners, avaihng themselves of 
the popular superstitions and fearful igno- 
rance of the masses to prejudice them 
against all advances from Europeans. They 
have really been kept in leading-strings 
ever since our intercourse with the country 
has been looked upon as an imminent 
danger by the ruling povrers. But this 


cannot be done mncli longer. The people 
must soon begin to feel their own import- 
ance and real power, and then wish to have 
some voice in the matter ; and then we 
shall find that, imperceptibly it may be at 
first, their opinion difi'ers to a very consider- 
able degree to that enunciated for them 
heretofore by persons who arrogate to them- 
selves the right to dictate their line of con- 
duct in every important question. 

This feeling of hostility to strangers has 
been fostered and greatly supported by the 
zeal of missionaries, who, if they have been 
the forerunners in many instances of the 
settler, have also never assisted the settler 
in overcoming the repugnance all natives 
feel at the forcible adoption of their country 
as a home by foreigners. They have always 
drawn the fierce polemics of religion into a 
question that should be decided by recipro- 
cal benefits alone. There is time enough 


to convert them when our higher system of 
life has fixed itself on their imagination. 
Man has too often been proved to be only 
influenced by material considerations to 
permit of any doubt of this assertion ; and 
he is in that the same, if in nothing else, 
whether black or white, whether bond or 

The Jesuits, who are the chief mission- 
aries in China, have adopted the dress and 
external appearance of the inhabitants, in 
order to pass the better unnoticed in native 
quarters, into which they venture with a 
careless recklessness. They have even imi- 
tated the national pigtail. Some of them 
Uve in huts in the mountains as hermits, 
and acquire great reputations for holiness, 
and also for skill and power as curers of 
illnesses, although the national doctor is 
ceaseless prayer alone. 

One day we started, a party of five, in a 


yaclit early in the morning to go up the 
river for a little trip. These yachts are 
somewhat expensive, costing from j£180 to 
^200, although a native-hnilt hoat to answer 
every necessary purpose can be got for 
about <£40 to £60. The expensive yachts 
are most comfortable, with a good saloon 
large enough for six to sit down to dinner, 
a ladies' cabin, a lavatory, and a cooking 
place for the boys to prepare a meal. These 
are generally used only by two men, who 
go away for two or three weeks' shooting ; 
but this is done more particularly in the 
north, where the sport is better. Down 
south we still had the satisfaction of re- 
ceiving some of their spoil in the shape of 
immense game pies. 

The yachts in question are worked by 
about six sailors. On this occasion we 
were unfortunate in having no wind, so 
that we were only able to go up about 


twenty-four miles. The scenery was most 
lovely, with pagodas on the tops of the 
hills, villages delightfully situated and half- 
hidden by trees, — the whole reminding me 
very much of the Khine, only, of course, 
not quite so elevated. We came to a place 
called Kum Shan, where as you turn a 
corner you see a very high range of hills 
looking very black and formidable ; and the 
river here seems to abruptly terminate, or 
to go under the mountains. 

Here we were caught in one of those 
fearful storms which are of frequent and sud- 
den occurrence, so that accidents take place 
tolerably often ; the boats being worked only 
with one sail, capsize very easily. We took 
shelter under the shore ; but the moment it 
abated, we availed ourselves of the wind to 
return, as it might fail us at any moment, 
and we did not wish to sleep in the boat. 

One of the most curious sights was the 


mode adopted along the river of irrigating 
the country. As the banks are much 
higher than the river, every hundred yards 
or so two men, standing on a sort of wooden 
platform, tread away for hard life with 
a trough running down into the water, up 
which the water was drawn by means of 
these men treading and working a long sort 
of paddle-wheel. The water is thus thrown 
up on the land, and flows through the 
country in dykes. Sometimes there were 
even five or six men working, and all the 
time under a blazing sun. 

We met many boats rowed by women; 
the chief point about these being that 
they wear one long plait down their back, 
with their hair cut short across their 
foreheads, which is different to the usual 
custom, as I explained before. These boat- 
women, tanned to a darker colour, had not 
at all a prepossessing appearance, and re- 


sembled to a great degree those unfortimate 
beings who ply a similar livelihood in barges 
on our own canals. 

Many petty acts of theft are committed 
daily ; for instance, one of us had been 
losing jewellery to some extent, and we told 
the head boy or butler that he must dis- 
cover the culprit, or we should hold him 
responsible for the loss. At this he was in 
a great fright, but still the thief could not 
be discovered. After several more things 
being taken, one of the boys disappeared ; 
so we sent the chief detective — a very clever 
fellow — after him ; and with a little diffi- 
culty he found him in a gambhng-house, — 
to which all the Chinese when they get a 
little money resort : but when he heard 
that the detective was coming, he stabbed 
himself twice in the stomach, to save him- 
self from the thrashing with the bamboo he 
would have got at the Yamen, which is the 



punishinent for theft. He was sensible 
enougli not to hurt himself very much, as 
all I heard of him afterwards was that he 
was continually getting better. The head 
butler was held responsible, and had to 
make up for the losses. The custom is, 
when he engages the boys he takes the risk 
of any loss that may occur through them. 

As an instance of their extreme love of 
spirits, this fellow had a bad leg, and was 
given at his request a bottle of fine Cognac 
to bathe it with. This did him so much 
good that he wanted another ; when he had 
had three, however, he was given a case of 
common stuff brought from Hong-Kong. 
This, however, he returned with proud in- 
dignation, declaring it was not the good 
sort. This made us quite certain where the 
first bottles had gone, and, as we didn't 
want the poor fellow to become a confirmed 
toper, he got no more. 


The natives are mucli given to imbibing 
spirits on every opportunity, and tbeir own 
favourite beverage, samshu, is a most power- 
ful stimulant distilled from rice. 




Theke is no special day in China, like our 
Sunday, for universal prayer and rest ; but 
the festival and other holy days are quite 
sufficient in number to make up for this 
deficiency. The great festival I saw while 
out there was the Dragon Festival. This 
is one of the chief public celebrations, 
and preparations are made for it weeks 
before its coming off. The performers in 
it go in for a course of training just as we 
do for our boat races and other athletic 
sports. The principal part of the cere- 
mony consists in processions of boats up 
and down the river. These boats, although 


•often capable of containing eighty or ninety 
persons, are only just wide enough to admit 
of one sitting down; so anyone can easily 
imagine what a length they must be when 
they carry nearly a hundred people. The 
wonder is that there are not more fre- 
quent accidents through upsets. Each of 
the rowers has a little paddle, which he 
dips into the water very quickly, thus 
propelling the boat along at a gooxi 
pace. The handles, which they hold with 
both hands, are so short that in paddling 
they almost touch the water with their 
hands. Most, being well trained, keep 
capital time. A man standing in the bow 
of the boat with a sort of a wand in his 
hand, waving it from side to side, invokes 
the spirit of the river to give them back 
some great sage who lived long ago, and 
who conferred great benefits upon his coun- 
trymen — I do not think it was Confucius ; 


but others say this man in the bow of the 
boat is supposed to be distributing corn, 
etc., to the river, and praying that a good 
and prosperous harvest may be vouchsafed 
to them. There are several other legends 
attached to this proceeding. Between the 
rowers stand men beating gongs and play- 
ing other instruments, and there is an 
elaborately decorated altar in the middle, 
with men holding large silk banners around 
it. All the men standing up are dressed 
in yellow silk coats, fantastic hats, and blue 
or red trowsers ; and I have been told that 
these have a very high opinion of them- 
selves ever after, from having held such a 
post of honour in this day^s festivities. The 
noise from the gongs, which are continu- 
ally kept going, is something fearful, and 
can be heard quite distinctly half a mile 
off. In this way they go on all day, going 
np and down the river. All the Chinese 


flock to the river banks, and the rival 
merits of the boats are as much the topic 
of conversation and difference of opinion 
as is the case at any of our own national 
amusements and public events. On this 
day we permit them to come on to the set- 
tlement, as the best view is obtained from 
there ; but when it was all over we were 
only too glad to get rid of them, although 
they behaved themselves remarkably well, 
and we could find nothing to complain of. 
Still, we had to keep ourselves in all day, 
not to give them any inducement, with 
their religious frenzy about them, of making 
a row. Before permission was given them, 
it was mooted that it might be advisable 
to request the Chinese Viceroy to send 
some mihtary on the island for that day, 
as an extra precaution. This was not, how- 
ever, after careful consideration, deemed to 
be necessary. So with this extra reason 


for doubt in our minds, we were greatly 
rejoiced at their departure. I felt myself 
inclined to question the wisdom of per- 
mitting their admittance, thinking that it 
would appear more a right than an obliga- 
tion to them, and at the same time excite 
jealousy by the general appearance of the 
wealth of the settlement. 

About the same time I saw another very 
pretty sight on the river — the feast in 
honour of the departed, which continued 
for several nights. Immense boats are 
hired for this occasion, and covered with 
lighted lanterns. These are hung round the 
boat, and the masts are ht up with them, 
and triangles and all sorts of arches are 
formed by these slung on ropes all over the 
boat. The richer Chinamen give splendid 
dinners on board to their friends, with lots 
of music and beautiful girls to dance and 
wait upon them. Each of their boats, too. 


have kites and balloons, with variegated 
lamps attached to them, and there are 
crowds of these boats in all parts of the 
river; but the principal place is at the 
flower boats, or the regular streets of boats, 
which are always stationary, and where all 
the Chinese dinners are given. The river 
during this season has a very gay appear- 
ance, as can be well imagined. Oil is burnt 
in the lamps, as well as I could find out, 
and the oil bill is one of the heaviest 
household items in a family, owing to the 
native boys stealing it in such quantities. 
They take it home to their people, who 
flavour their food with it. 

One day while out rowing in a four oared 
boat, we came across some of these fellows 
practising, on the occasion of the Dragon 
Festival, in their long boats. On our com- 
ing up to them they raced alongside, and 
worked themselves into a tremendous fit of 


good-tempered excitement trying to beat us. 
But though no one would believe it when 
we mentioned it, we beat them, though not 
without much exertion. They grinned and 
''Hey-heyed" us the whole way, but took 
their defeat in perfect temper, and *' Kow- 
towed" us on our leaving them. I did not 
see any more festivals, but often met great 
processions in the street returning from 
something of the sort ; but beyond delay- 
ing us in getting along,' as they took up 
most of the room, they seemed too en- 
grossed in their own antics to bestow any 
of their attention on foreigners. So there 
is no forced obeisance, as in some Eoman 
Catholic countries is imposed on those who 
may happen to witness the progress of any 
of these religious bodies. As far as I could 
see, all the natives did was to stand still, 
thus showing their respect. In these pro- 
cessions boys come first, dressed in gaudy 


attire, with banners and images, and carry- 
ing a ginger-bread sort of thing, with pro- 
bably a joss or god inside ; the whole 
brought up with men clashing cymbals, 
and playing on other instruments which 
sound very like the' bag-pipes; and indeed 
the whole procession reminded me most 
of our Lord Mayor's Show. They, how- 
ever, did not strike me as being a very 
religious people, although the superstitious 
rites and observances seem to have great 
hold on their minds. 

Some of their temples are fine buildings, 
with exquisite carving on the walls, which 
are of stone ; but the courtyard is the resort 
of the beggars, — what I may call a Chinese 
workhouse, or rather casuals ward ; and 
they are only turned out when some re- 
ligious performance is about to take place. 

As I said, the only doctor is prayer. 
To give an instance of this, when I was 


at Macao, a tea-boy, who lived with his 
family in a lodge near onr house, was very 
much afflicted on account of his wife's 
illness, as she was supposed to be dying. 
But the only thing to be done, he said, 
was to call in the priests ; and as he lived 
some distance from the house, permission 
was given him to have them. The conse- 
quence of this to us was that we got little 
rest that night. But the priests came in 
and dinned their horrid music round her 
bed, praying their gods that she might be 
cured. In this case their prayers were 
efficacious ; but what would any of our 
doctors say to this noisy pantomime going 
on in a patient's room ? The husband, 
however, seemed to be somewhat sceptical 
as to the real cause of his wife's recovery ; 
a scepticism which perhaps was owing to 
the priests requiring a heavy fee. There, 
as elsewhere, they don't give their services 


for nothing. But my friend in this case 
seemed to be a general free-thinker, and 
quite a republican in his politics. He 
ranted no less against the evils of man- 
darinism than some of our cosmopolitan 
friends do against the abuses resulting 
from a landed aristocracy. Only do away 
with the mandarins, and all would come 
right. Such was his universal panacea. 
The Chinese would then adopt our customs, 
and swear an eternal friendship, if we only 
allied ourselves with such pohticians as 
my friend, to put down the mandarins. 
He was particularly partial to England, 
though he resided in a Portuguese settle- 
ment, and was very fond of talking of all 
our wonderful possessions ; but nothing 
seemed to take his fancy so much as our 
railways. He told me how, many years 
ago, an Englishman came to Canton, and 
laid down a line in a room, and had a 


miniature engine and carriages running on 
it ; and he invited all tlie influential China- 
men to come and see his railway. He 
pointed out to them the advantages of 
adopting such an improvement, and offered, 
if they would only obtain the requisite au- 
thority, to construct it, and carry out all 
the arrangements for working the railway 
when built. Many of the merchants were 
greatly pleased with the idea, fully per- 
ceiving what immense advantage it would 
be to them, and the country generally; 
but they were either afraid to ask for, or 
failed to obtain, the permission of the man- 
darins and other chiefs ; and for some reason 
or other, which I am not aware of, the 
whole proposal fell through, and has not 
since been renewed. 

I would here advocate, in as strong terms 
as I can, the revival of this idea; and I 
would press on the consideration of every 


one who feels any interest in the welfare 
of China, the all-importance of this pro- 
posal. Where it would be best to make 
a commencement, whether from Canton to 
Whampoa, or somewhere else, I leave to 
those whom a longer residence in China 
than mine would authorise to speak with 
greater authority and wider knowledge. 
But at all events, on its broad principle 
of public utility, I submit that the intro- 
duction of the steam-engine into China is 
a by no means unimportant question ; and 
China, ill-cultivated and badly-managed as 
it is, would, by the introduction of me- 
chanical assistance, make such a rapid 
progi'ess in wealth, that not only would 
these undertakings quickly repay their 
promoters, but be of lasting good to the 
country at large. It would, doubtless, be 
a task of some difficulty at first to obtain 
the consent of the mandarins ; but even 


this opposition, although, they esteem such 
a proposal a direct menace at their own 
authority, would, in my opinion, be over- 
come by conciliatory advances. At all 
events, we cannot assert that it is impos- 
sible until we have adopted some means 
more energetic and pressing to influence 
their decision than any that have been 
taken as yet. 

Perhaps the question, however, may re- 
ceive a different and more easy solution. 
One of the chief Viceroys has just com- 
menced, or is about to, excavations for 
coal, although it is uncertain how far he 
may feel inclined to carry them ; and it is 
rumoured that if these turn out successful, 
he will construct what is represented as 
an old idea of his — a railway in his own 
province. This, however, will probably not 
be to benefit foreign trade, but merely to 
further his own ambitious designs; so, al- 


though a beginning in the right direction, 
this ought to be no reason for deterring 
undertakings in other provinces, especially 
when they are intended for a more legiti- 
mate and useful purpose. 




CoNSiDEKiNG that I have the privilege to 
belong to a profession whose special subject 
is ^^ tea," it may not seem out of place to 
insert here a chapter on this article ; and 
as my remarks will apply both to the plant 
on the bush and also as it appears to the 
consumer in England, what I have to say 
about it may prove sufficiently interesting. 

It is well known that on its first intro- 
duction into Europe it became a great 
luxury, and was only procurable by the 
very rich, on account of its excessive price. 
Eor many years after it was known only to 
epicures ; but in this century its use has 


greatly increased, and it now is no longer 
the beverage of tlie few, but one of the 
chief household necessaries of the many. 

In quite recent years we have had the 
import duty reduced to a mere trifle ; and 
indeed some desire that it should be passed 
duty free, as an absolute necessary. This is 
agitated for chiefly by those who wish to 
set up as formidable a rival as possible to 
beer and spirit drinking ; but it must not 
be lost sighfc of that excess in tea drinking, 
like excess in everything else, has its evil 
effects. The present tax on tea is also so 
moderate, and presses so lightly on every- 
body, that it might be unwise in a moment 
of impulse to remove it, when it would 
become a matter of considerable difficulty 
to supply its place in as satisfactory a 

I will begin by giving a description of 
the manufacture of tea ; but it must first 


be stated tliat what I say refers to the 
mode of procedure in Canton and Macao. 
In the north, at Hankow and Shanghai, 
the teas are made up near the tea planta- 
tions ; but in the south the rough leaf is 
put into bags and then conveyed down the 
river to Canton or Macao, where this rough 
leaf is changed into the household article. 
This plan has great advantages for the 
tea-man, or man who manufactures the 
teas ; for, instead of having all the tea made 
after one fashion, and then giving this 
stock to his broker to sell to the foreign 
merchant, as would be the case if he 
received the tea ready-made from the 
plantation, he need only make a few 
pounds as a sample ; and then, he is also 
in a position to judge whether, if he ac- 
cepted the foreigner's offer, it would repay 
him to make up the whole of the quantity 
after the sample at the price offered. Again : 


if the style of the sample is not approved 
of, he can have it altered to suit the foreign 
merchant, who has to consult what is, or 
what he may consider to be, the taste of 
the hour; and indeed that taste, being 
the opinion of the home consumer, is of 
a most fickle character, and cannot be 
relied upon as a fair criterion of real merit. 
But, on the other hand, if this system 
has advantages for the tea-man, it places 
the buyer, or foreign merchant, under some 
disadvantages, especially the following : 
the tea-man seldom if ever makes the 
bulk of the tea equal to the approved of 
'* muster " or sample, and as freight has 
been taken for it in the meanwhile in the 
home steamer, it is a difficult matter to 
throw up the arrangement, and a '* cut," 
or, in plainer language, taking so much off 
the stipulated price, is never satisfactory. 
Again : there is another drawback in select- 


ing too soon after mannfacture ; for the 
muster having come only perhaps a few 
minutes before hot from the pan, and its 
being fresh and powerful from the short 
interval after the scenting operation, any- 
one, if at all careless or inexperienced, is 
apt to be deceived, and jump to a hasty 
conclusion as to its virtues. For if the 
scent, though under the circumstances 
mentioned seeming so powerful and satis- 
factory, has not been properly instilled 
(the scenting operation I will explain by 
and by), it passes off on the journey, and 
on reaching home has lost all the fine 
aroma that induced the selection ; and the 
worst of this is, that having lost its scent 
it is comparatively valueless, as highly 
scented teas are the most sought for in 
the market. 

The usual mode of proceeding is for a 
great tea-man, just before or at the com- 


mencement of the season, which begins 
in March and April, to send an experienced 
employe to the tea plantations to contract 
for the quantity of tea he may desire to 
purchase ; and sometimes this contract is 
made as it grows on the bushes, sometimes 
when it has been gathered and has under- 
gone partial drying. In the latter state 
I believe it is most difficult for a foreigner 
to discern the real quahty of the crop ; and 
the experience and knowledge of even old 
Chinamen are put to a severe test to find 
out its real value. When the purchases 
have been made, the plant, after being 
packed in bags, is conveyed in barges or 
junks down to Canton, to be converted into 
the article of sale. Some of the larger 
of the foreign firms keep their own fac- 
tories, and advance or lend to their tea-man 
large sums of money to contract for tea. 
This plan has the apparent advantage o 


enabling the foreigner to have his teas 
made to his own taste and after his own 
fashion, and also he can rely with greater 
assurance on the hona fides of his manager 
in making the bulk uniform to the sample, 
than if he dealt direct with the natives. 
But on the other hand there is no incon- 
siderable risk, as the man may speculate 
unfortunately, and then much money is 
lost. Many '^ hongs " have found this plan 
so unprofitable as to be compelled to resort 
to the safer course of purchasing off the 
open market. 

The tea factories in Canton are situated 
chiefly at Honam, and are large buildings, 
with only one lofty floor however, which is 
divided into several rooms, some of which 
are used for firing the tea, others for sort- 
ing, and yet again others for the final 
operation of weighing and packing. On 
first entering the building we see the firing 


room, where there are long ranges of stoves 
which> resemble very much the copper to 
be found in everyone's back kitchen. A fire 
burns underneath each in a brick grate, and 
placed on the top is the pan, made of iron 
or copper, in a slanting position. It is 
easier for the coolie to turn the tea when 
the pan is thus placed. 

In an ordinarily- sized factory there are 
about twenty of these stoves in a range, 
and to each is attached a coolie, whose duty 
it is to keep continually turning the leaf 
round and round the pan; and this opera- 
tion, aided by the heat of the fire, makes 
the tea assume the shape and size that 
may be desired. Of course one firing is 
not sufficient to effect this object, but seve- 
ral ; and after one or two more firings it 
is passed on to other men, who again fire 
it, at the same time mixing the scenting- 
flower with it; and this is the operation 


that fixes the relative value of all teas. If 
the flower is mixed when the leaf is half 
open, and the intermingling is well sustained 
to the last, the aroma will not only he 
powerful, but durable. But as this scent- 
ing flower costs money, many economise its 
use, and in that case the tea is only scented 
on the surface, when although, being fresh, 
the bouquet may seem powerful, it soon 
passes off. 

We then leave the firing-room, and enter 
the room for sorting, where hundreds of 
women are sitting crosslegged on the floor 
with a basket on either side of them. 
Some separate the young from the old 
leaves, or large from the small, in order to 
make them into the different descriptions 
so far as name and shape of make decide 
that question, — all coming, however, from the 
same plantation or bush even. Others take 
the scenting-flower from the tea after the 


firing has been finished. If the flower is 
found to have lost its power, it is thrown 
away ; but, in any case, the flower is not 
left in the tea. 

In another room, smaller than the others, 
it undergoes its last firing. In this case it 
is strewn thinly over a sieve, and placed 
on a bright charcoal fire. It is then placed 
in baskets in a heap. When this is finished 
nothing remains to be done but to hand 
it over to be weighed, and coohes tread it 
into boxes containing twenty pounds each. 

After these are filled, others solder the 
tops with lead and a hot piece of iron, to 
make them perfectly air-tight. Then the 
marks and descriptions are pasted on, and 
they are ready for inspection by the foreigner 
before shipment. These boxes are a well- 
known ornament in the windows of small 
grocers at home, and the pubHc, seeing 
such a veritable Chinese article in the 


window, argue that the contents must 
needs be as pure. 

There is an export duty payable to the 
Chinese Government, and before a pass to 
permit the shipment of the teas will be 
given, they have to be sent through the 
Custom House. 

All teas are usually scented with a white 
flower which is grown especially for this 
purpose ; but some teas, especially for the 
South American market, are scented with 
a different flower, or, more correctly, a 
seed, called Chulan, and a few very special 
ones have been scented with the rose leaf. 
Some of the native brokers are not only 
very good judges of tea, but also are versed 
in the causes of the fluctuations of our own 
market, and often at favourable opportuni- 
ties ship teas on their own account through 

Some little time ago there was consider- 


able discussion in the papers, and some 
grumbling and surprise was manifested at 
the fact of Kussia absorbing all the fine 
teas ; and assertion was made that the 
public were most willing to give a long 
price for the genuine article. If such 
were the case, it would indeed be sur- 
prising if we could not have as much of 
the fine growth as we desired. It is not 
very difficult to give a proper explanation 
of the subject. The Eussian and English 
buyers all hasten to Hankow for the opening 
of the market, and all are equally able to 
secure the best chops, provided they are 
wiUing to pay the price. Now, as the 
Enghsh market will not pay above 9; certain 
price, it is impossible for the buyers for 
home use to go higher than the price which 
the consumer will pay and the necessary pro- 
fits. Whereas for special growths in Kussia 
there is a great demand, and therefore their 


buyers can bid prices whicb would be ruin- 
ous to any English firm to tbink of offering. 
Some English firms do purchase these fine 
teas at heavy prices ; but it is not for the 
home consumption, — they only enter into 
competition with Eussian firms in the 
market of that country. 

But even labouring under this disadvant- 
age of price, it must not be too hastily 
supposed that we get no fine teas. The 
difference between the best of the teas we 
get and those procured by Eussia is such 
as to make it very difficult for an uneducated 
palate to decide either way; and this diffi- 
culty is greatly increased by the fictitious 
use of milk and sugar. What I mean to 
say is, that our present mode of using tea 
kills the real aroma of the plant, and as long 
as the present custom prevails it would be 
unwise to attempt to introduce a far more 
expensive article, which the great majority 


would consider — and with a certain degree of 
truth, for the reasons I mention — no better 
than that previously in use. The invari- 
able practice among retail dealers is to mix 
the fine teas they may buy with a stronger 
but infinitely coarser growth, because it is 
preferred' by famihes. Strength and not 
quality is the test of the virtues of one's 
tea grocer, and a tea that looks thin in the 
cup is set down as an adulterated article at 
once. This vitiated taste has been fostered 
to a great extent by the advertisers of 
"best tea" at a price at which only very 
ordinary stuff can be purchased. For the 
practical purpose of every-day use, and in 
the persons of the million, there can be 
little doubt that the really fine growths of 
tea, if introduced, would only produce 
dissatisfaction ; and that when the taste, if 
ever, for this beverage arrives at a higher 
state of culture, the natural consequence 


will result in our receiving as much: as we 
like of the finer qualities. 

The epicure, however, if he be content 
to discard the accessories of milk and sugar, 
will certainly, when he has learned to detect 
the difference, require the more delicate 
flavour of those growths that at present 
are monopolized by Eussia ; but under the 
most probable event it seems that they will 
even then be confined to the epicure. 

But, for the reasons I have alleged, it is 
clear that to introduce precipitately these 
superfine teas to the home market would 
be to appeal to a public really ignorant of 
their merits, and the only result would be, 
loss to the merchant and discontent to the 
consumer. When the palate of the latter 
has been educated to detect the difference, 
— which can only be after he has resolved 
to give up his present custom of imbibing 
it, — ^then there is no doubt whatever but 


that he can obtain what he desires. He 
must first appreciate its merits, and then 
consent to pay a greater sum for the 
increased pleasure. 





And now let me attempt to give some 
description of a Chinese dinner, their chief 
meal, and also one of the most important 
means at present open to ns affording an 
opportunity of gaining any insight into 
their customs and character ; when in the 
conviviality of the entertainment they 
discard some of their reserve, and, if only 
to a slight extent, show themselves as they 
appear and act towards one another. It 
is everywhere the same — if you wish for a 
favourahle occasion to understand a man's 
feelings, put him in the character of host, 
and invite yourself to dine with him. You 


have him at a disadvantage, and render it 
extremely difficult for him to act a feigned 
part, as, fettered hy the customs of his post, 
he is compelled hy sheer necessity to fall 
back on his habitude; and it is decidedly 
your own fault if, as the dinner draws 
nearer to the "walnuts and the wine," all 
restraint is not banished, and you have the 
man as he is. It is impossible, unless in 
the case of the veriest churl, to remain 
unsociable through it all. The Chinese, put 
on their metal in the role of host, fall short 
in no detail of the most scrupulous courtesy, 
and they study the faintest wishes of their 
guests. They have, moreover, that true 
breeding that sacrifices much of one's own 
comfort and practices to the prejudices of 
those they entertain. And the best sign 
of the success of their efforts is that, despite 
the strange surroundings, and not to say 
the repugnance an European must feel 


to their repast, it is impossible not to be 
thoroughly at home with them, and to be 
able to fraternize with them to a very con^ 
siderable degree. 

The broker who invited me gave me carte 
blanche to bring as many friends as I liked, 
and to name my own day, so as to place 
no restraint of a fixed appointment npon 
my own inclination. He also sent me an 
address in Chinese characters, which I was 
to give to our head boatman when we 
intended to accept the invitation. 

Of course this dinner was given at the 
Flower Boats, which is a name given to 
certain streets in the boat city. The river 
where these boats are situated is exceed- 
ingly rapid, and if the steersman enters the 
wrong street, backing out again is very 
awkward, and the risk is great of being 
sucked under the surrounding boats. 

We, however, managed all right, and 


met with no contretemps whatever. Wo 
arrived at the house or boat about ten 
o'clock, where many familiar faces welcomed 
me and the only friend who accompanied 
me. These acquaintances were specially 
asked to meet us, to make the whole thing 
more pleasant for us than it would have 
been venturing among utter strangers. On 
each of these boats is a house of one story, 
having one room haK below the deck and 
another above it. 

These boats moored to each other form 
a perfect street, and in front of each of the 
houses is a gravelled path. So the scene is 
the river avenue forming the road and this 
path for foot-passengers, which is also made 
quite a promenade of in the evening by per- 
sons who come to listen to the music going 
on inside the houses. On entering the 
house a coolie immediately attached him- 
seK to each of us to fan us, while others 


broTiglit tea, nuts, — lychees, etc., — and ci- 
gars, or a pipe of opium. This latter we 
begged to decline. 

It may be as well to mention that these 
houses are regular dining establishments, 
each party hiring one for the occasion, and 
the proprietor provides everything as part 
of his contract. These dinners for, say ten 
persons, usually cost from JC20 to ^25, which 
is expensive. 

Sitting round the room we first entered, 
at several tables were the singers (girls), 
who sat rouging their faces and admiring 
themselves in looking-glasses. They also 
had cups of tea before them, and smoked 
in the intervals between singing, which 
they did in turns, to the accompaniment 
of stringed instruments, played on this night 
by two men. The men also sang, but their 
voices are exactly the same as a woman's, 
which seemed very strange to me when I 


firsfc noticed it. I had, however, often re- 
marked this before, as our servants always 
sang over their work at home. 

On first hearing a Chinese song, it seems 
very monotonous to our ears ; but when a 
little more accustomed to it, it loses much 
of its discordance, and becomes quite en- 
durable and even pleasing. Some of their 
ballads are very plaintive, and there is even 
some harmony in their arrangement. 

These singers were dressed most beauti- 
fully, some even having on magnificent 
jewellery ; while the painting of their faces 
and the pencilHng of their eyebrows, which 
they perform themselves, were executed 
most artistically. Perhaps the most striking 
part of their attire was the splendour of 
the flowers in their hair. Their hands 
and fingers are perfection in shape ; and 
they allow one or two of their nails to grow 
to a great length, as a sign of their owner's 


pretensions to beauty. But of course there 
is nothing wonderful in the elegance of their 
hands, as they do no work of any kind what- 

None of them spoke anything but Chinese, 
so conversation was out of the question ; 
besides, it is not at all sought for by them, 
as they shrank away at the slightest sign 
of approach on our part, the reason being 
that they lose caste among their own people 
if a foreigner even chances to touch them. 

After some time spent in imbibing tea 
and listening to the musical efforts of these 
syrens, we were conducted into an inner 
room, which was lighted by lamps hung in 
chains from the ceiling. Nine of us sat 
down to a table covered with different 
edibles ; and as soon as one course was 
finished, a fresh one immediately took its 
place. Beside each of us was placed a 
damp cloth to wipe away the perspiration 


from our faces ; and this was changed once 
or twice during the evening. Chop-sticks 
were placed for each guest ; but in case we 
should fail to manage these satisfactorily, a 
sort of small pitchfork was also provided to 
help us out of the difficulty. But we were 
fully determined to gain popularity ; so we 
manfully stuck to the chop-sticks, and with 
some advice as to their use, and assistance 
in manipulating them, we succeeded in 
getting on tolerably well. 

This determination pleased our hosts im- 
mensely, and they were evidently flattered 
by our choosing the national mode of eating. 
I won't reveal what agony and how many 
abortive attempts that concession cost me ! 

On taking our seats — mahogany stools — 
the singers entered the room, and seated 
themselves uround on ottomans behind us ; 
to whom the custom is now and then to 
hand a nut or seed, or perhaps a cup of 


samshu, in return for which they fan 

The post of honour is on the left of the 
host. The dinner commenced with birds'- 
nest soup, which is a white soup, and very 
glutinous ; then came sharks' fins, which 
you dip first of aU in various sauces on the 
table ; then plovers' eggs ; then chickens 
done up in difi'erent ways ; claws of cray- 
fish, and every sort of vegetable done up in 
as many kinds of sauces; pastry d VAnglaise, 
which I found very difficult to get down ; 
other kinds of sweets, and stewed pears ; 
the whole winding up with a dessert, con- 
sisting chiefly of crystallized fruits. 

In its way, this was a more than average 
dinner, and our friends evidently enjoyed it 
immensely, taking of every dish, and that 
plentifully. We could not stomach it, 
however, and indeed took the precaution 
before starting of having a dinner at home 


to prepare us for our ordeal. I was mticli 
relieved when all the eating was over. 

One of the greatest condescensions a 
Chinaman can make, and one of the greatest 
honours he can confer on you, is to take a 
bit from his own plate and put it into your 
mouth. This was done frequently, which I 
did not fail to return as often, much to their 

The real task of the evening was, how- 
ever, the drink. Beside each of us was 
placed a tea-pot containing warmed samshu, 
and this we drank out of small and beauti- 
fully-shaped china tea-cups. This spirit 
is sometimes very strong, but fortunately 
for us on this occasion it was rather 
weaker than usual. I say fortunately for 
us, because they seemed fully determined 
to see us under the table before we could 
satisfy their hospitable intentions ; and 
as they were seven to two, it was very 


hard work for us to defeat their object, 
considering that the practice is anyone may 
challenge you to drink, when each must 
drain a cup of samshu, turning it up to 
show that you have done so. Their num- 
bers gave them a formidable advantage, 
which they seemed determined to make the 
most of, repeatedly challenging us to drink 
one after the other. After some time, too, 
they also tried to shirk the full measure, 
only half filling their cups or not quite 
emptying them. On remarking this I 
immediately filled their cups for them, and 
made them turn them up to show they had 
drank it all. They were very much sur- 
prised at the liquor not having a more 
visible effect upon us, and indeed, so were 
we ourselves. At last they brought out 
champagne, which, although we refused 
at first, they made us take, saying they 
had procured it specially in honour of our 


visit. We, however, satisfied them with 
tasting it. While at dinner they played 
several games ; the chief of which, as well 
as I could gather, was for one to hold up a 
certain numher of fingers, and to shout out 
at the same time a number, when if his op- 
ponent failed to guess, without a moment's 
consideration, what these made together, he 
had to pay the forfeit of drinking a cup of 
samshu. They showed remarkable quick- 
ness in guessing correctly. This is quite a 
national custom, being generally adopted 
by the lower classes as an encouragement 
to their potations. When this lengthy 
repast was finished, we went out to the 
outer room again, and reclined on lounges, 
and even took a short stroll in the fresh air, 
which I found very soothing after our hard 

The Chinese occupied themselves with 
smoking opium. We were then shown over 


the house. After that we had another and 
smaller feed ; and on getting into onr boat 
to return home, a girl presented us with a 
betel nut done up in a green leaf. They 
wanted us to stop longer, but as it was 
two o'clock, and we were quite done up 
with fatigue, we resolutely declined. They 
themselves probably prolonged their orgies 
till the morning. As the tide was running 
very strong with us, and as we were well 
manned, we went home at a tremendous 
pace; still, being a very dark night, we 
had to keep our eyes about us, to avoid 

This was the only native dinner I was at, 
but as far as my inclinations go it was quite 
sufficient to last for my lifetime. 

It can be seen from this description — 
which is of a by no means exceptional 
event; in fact, it is what they indulge 
in more or less every night in the year 


— that the Chinaman is inclined to be 
fastidious in his eating. They linger 
over this meal with a fondness that 
shows their whole idea of happiness cen- 
tres in the indulgence of good living. It is 
with the utmost regret that they compel 
themselves to leave the table, and I beheve 
no human argument could persuade them 
to omit enjoying a single course. They 
also do not merely touch each separate dish, 
but they eat copiously of it. This charac- 
teristic is somewhat in contradiction to their 
usual abstemious and business-like habits, 
although I think the merchant classes, as a 
rule, abstain at all other times — particularly 
in business hours — and look upon their 
dinner, not only as the day's chief event, 
but also as the great reward of all their 

It cannot be said, either, that their 
night's orgy leaves any ill effect after it. 


The next day we meet them as cool, as 
calculating, and as self-confident as ever; 
and while we who may have indulged in a 
heavy repast pay the penalty in a height- 
ened pulse and a feverish frame, we see the 
companions and sharers of our festivities 
apparently as unaffected as if it had been 
all a dream. 

These remarks do not apply to the Man- 
darin classes, who keep themselves entirely 
distinct, and quite a race apart ; indeed, in 
many important traits they are totally dis- 
similar to the rest of their countrymen. 
But the lower we descend in the social scale 
out there, the greater do we find the desire 
for social comforts and self-indulgence, and 
the vice of excess in drinking is manifest to 
a very marked degree ; at the same time, 
however, it is not to be seen so much pub- 
licly in the streets as it is that it exists 
widespread among the people, and is in-- 


dulged in to a degree that altogether sur- 
passes the outward show its victims make. 

But if this vice brings its terrible 
evils, there is another, no less a vice, and 
far more deeply rooted among the masses. 
I refer to gambling. The middle classes 
are also addicted to it ; but as there are 
social, if not legal, punishments inflicted 
on them, it is really in the lower classes 
that all the evils of this folly are to be seen. 
The man who can only even on great oc- 
casions risk a trifle, is a more inveterate 
gambler at heart than he who can lose his 
dollar every night without any serious in- 
convenience to himself. No sooner does a 
youth — no matter how young — obtain the 
smallest coin, than he immediately makes 
for the nearest of the gambling booths, 
which are very numerous throughout Canton ; 
and although he may a hundred times be- 
fore have paid the forfeit of all his earn- 



ings, lie has learned no prudence from Ms 
experience, and his recklessness and trust 
in some good stroke of fortune that never 
has occurred is as great as ever; and in 
this respect the most confirmed rou4 who 
lost a fortune half a century ago at 
Baden or Homburg, and has ever since 
tried to regain it by some special and, o 
course, infallible system, and by limiting 
himself to guineas, does not surpass the 
poor Chinaman, who, in the utter credulity 
of his heart, and in his firm belief in re- 
wards and punishments — of course shaped 
to his own invention and desire — on the 
earth, rushes to trust his all in the hands 
of unscrupulous sharpers, only to find that 
again he has thrown away his money, 
and that one more unsuccess has swelled 
the total of his failures. 

This mania for speculation pervades the 
whole of the lower orders, and is a true and 


reliable proof of the real ignorance of the 
populace, — an ignorance which has been to 
a great extent hidden from us by that which, 
however, does not always go hand in hand 
with civilization, viz., a good-natured feeling 
of tolerance towards one another. The order 
of their streets, the absence of open quar- 
rels, have imposed upon all observers ; and 
they have considered these as signs of an 
intelligent understanding, — even if grant- 
ing that they still cling tenaciously to the 
precedents of antiquity. The wonderful 
peace on the Canton river, which is the 
home of thousands of boats and junks of 
every size and description, is most striking. 
It is most unusual to hear even a verbal 
quarrel, while resorting to blows is a thing 
that never occurs. 

And this is on a river where, from the 
strength of the current, even the udinost 
skill and experience cannot always avert 
trivial accidents. All this good behaviour 


has concealed the fearful ignorance that is 
behind it, — and, indeed, superstitions of the 
most degrading character are the induce- 
ments to these poor people to place an im- 
plicit reliance in the imaginary. 

There is another evidence of this in the 
fact that they never learn to speak a foreign 
tongue. It is a wonderful exception to 
meet a Chinaman who has even a smatter- 
ing of an European language. Nearly all 
the interpreters are Europeans. It is a 
rare thing to meet with a Chinese inter- 
preter. In the upper and middle classes 
also the learning is Hmited exclusively to 
the sacred hooks, and examinations are 
held periodically over the country ; and 
proficiency in the works of Confucius 
and of Mincius — great as the merits of 
these undoubtedly are — is the sole test 
of a liberal education. It therefore is 
tolerably evident that while there is no 
learning or knowledge of any kind among 


the poorer classes, even that of the upper 
is superficial and exceedingly limited in its 

A comparison with their neighbours the 
Japanese makes their narrow-mindedness 
the more apparent. Colleges are being in- 
stituted in the one for the propagation of 
western science and languages ; and the 
European modes of government are being 
fast adopted, the management being en- 
trusted to foreigners. Yet the other still 
remains like a snail coiled up in its own 
shell. It indeed seems a useless task to 
hope for any improvement from them, as 
the power is entirely in the hands of the 
Mandarins, who, as a body, are the most 
bitter against the admittance of strangers. 

But with jealousy for Japan so strong 
upon them, and the incompetency of their 
navy to attempt to cope with that of their 
rival, it seems that sheer necessity will at 
length compel them, if only in this way, to 


make use of the engineering skill of Eng- 
land in particular, to enable tliem to en- 
counter their enemy on more equal terms. 
This, of course, must oblige them to have 
more intercourse with us, and to yield us 
somewhat greater liberties in our communi- 
cations with the country in general. At all 
events, the adoption of even one improve- 
ment will be a commencement, and will 
encourage the most foreseeing among them 
to agitate for a more advanced and enlight- 
ened policy; and perhaps some day they 
may produce a man who will set himself the 
Herculean task of removing some of their 
prejudices and of improving the general 
condition and knowledge of the people ; 
when, if successful, he will as certainly earn 
their gratitude for having introduced an 
order of things that will really increase 
their social advantages, and, at the same 
time, raise them to a more eminent position 
in the family of nations. 




I PURPOSE in this chapter to give some 
account of short trips taken in the imme- 
diate vicinity of Canton. These will illus- 
trate the kind of hfe English residents 
spend out there, besides in some degree 
showing how we stand with regard to the 
natives generally. 

The first of these was to a place called 
Lee-Ming- Coon, which is about four miles 
up the river, where there is a large joss 
house. On this occasion six of us started, 
including two ladies, in a gig by water, 
while two others went in chairs by land 
through the city. This temple contained 


a great number of small rooms, which are 
let out to, and are much frequented by, the 
Chinese, who give small dinners in them. 

This is hardly indicative of any very 
deep religious sentiment, and does not at 
all agree with our own feelings as to the 
sacredness of a place of worship. Notice 
has to be given a day or two before to the 
authorities at the temple, who then make 
all the preparations necessary. 

While waiting for dinner we strolled 
about the gardens, which were certainly 
very beautifully laid out, and quite main- 
tained the high reputation the Chinese have 
gained as ornamental horticulturists. Their 
general idea is extreme imitation of nature ; 
and while everything is as regular and 
correct as a Dutch garden, they are not 
content with this effect, but introduce 
rockeries and variety of trees to simulate 
an appearance strictly in accordance with 


reality. The garden is divided into long 
avenues, either bordered by trees or low 
walls, while the pretty little lakes have 
imitation rocks and islets on them, and are 
completely covered with Hlies. Arbours 
and miniature houses beautifully carved 
are also, somewhat too plentifully perhaps, 
scattered over the ground. Some of the 
trees were very fine, and reminded me 
much of our elms. 

As soon as dinner was announced we 
returned, to find it laid out in a most cosy 
little room with a punkah temporarily con- 
structed, and the table prettily decorated 
with flowers. We were greatly amused by 
seeing first one, then another face appear 
at the window to get a look at the foreign 
visitors. After a short time we had quite 
a crowd of the villagers of the place outside. 
They were very quiet, and were perfectly 
satisfied with the liberty of staring. After 


dinner we sat in an arbour singing glees and 
choruses, mucli to the amusement of our 
audience. But we simply astonished them 
when we wound up our proceedings with an 
impromptu Sir Eoger de Coverley, and they 
evidently considered we had lost our senses 
to perform such antics on a hot day after 
dinner. They Hked, however, to see the 
" foreign devils," as they respectfully term 
us, enjoying themselves, although I don't 
think it ever entered their heads to imagine 
that any pleasure could arise from our 
exertions. They probably thought it some 
religious or national observance, and as such 
respected it. Anything connected with 
hard work is to their minds utterly opposed 
to all idea of pleasure, and they are naturally 
so la^y, and so averse to any exertion, that 
even walking about is a penalty they shrink 
from as much as they can. They always 
seem glad to get home, put on a short coat, 


and recline on sofas, having a smoke or 
their hair dressed ; and it was very amus- 
ing to invent some caase for an unexpected 
visit, when on your entrance they imme- 
diately start up quite confused, and bustle 
about, striving to appear as busy as possible. 
They invent all kinds of excuses to make 
you believe them, and are most anxious to 
discover that they have deceived you. 

We did not start on our return till about 
ten, when instead of getting into our own 
boat we took passage on board a flower boat, 
which we had previously hired to take us 
back to Canton ; and as it was a very clear 
night, the trip was pleasant. We were very 
merry, and as it happened to be Her 
Majesty's birthday, we sang all the loyal 
songs we could remember. The boatmen 
admired our loyalty, and attempted to join 
in the chorus. These boats are punted 
along by about twelve men armed with long 


poles. Down eacli side of tlie boat is a sort 
of raised deck or gangway, on which the 
polers stand, six on each side ; so when they 
work well together they can give a consider- 
able impetus to the boat. In the stern is 
also an immense oar worked by the women 
and children of the boat family, which 
besides guiding the boat, helps it along 
very much. However, this night it was 
slow work, as the current was running 
strong against us, and we did not reach 
home till long past twelve o'clock. 

Another time we started in a yacht in 
the evening, also taking canoes to go up 
creeks, intending to dine by candle-light on 
some hills not a great distance off; but the 
wind failed us, and we were obliged to 
anchor, and as it was too hot to dine below, 
we commenced to do so on deck; but our 
lights attracted all the flies in the neigh- 
bourhood, so that it was with the greatest 


difficulty we managed to get the better of 
our formidable adversaries, and finish our 

On another occasion — a Sunday afternoon 
— we started to explore one of the neigh- 
bouring creeks, when we met with a slight 
adventure. After rowing some distance up 
this creek, it became too narrow for anything 
but paddHng. On one side the banks were 
rather high, while on the other they were 
quite flat ; but each side was lined with 
trees very similar to our poplars, while 
orchards seemed to extend for miles inland. 
Indeed, it reminded me much of some of 
the fruit gardens near London. Soon we 
came to a small stone bridge through which 
we could only just scrape. At the first 
convenient spot we landed, and wandered 
about while our boys made some tea. On 
the other side to where we were was a large 
temple, where some ceremony was being 


performed, as we heard the music and got a 
glimpse of a procession. 

There were some Chinese about, whom 
we set down as overseers, or caretakers, of 
the fruit, but as they usually don't object to 
us intruding, and never before had said 
anything about our taking a little fruit, we 
unluckily began plucking that which was 
about. It chiefly consisted of a flat yellow 
fruit, resembling our gooseberry in flavour. 
We wandered about for some time, and were 
returning to our boat when we heard a man 
bellowing, and on looking round saw a 
Chinaman rushing towards us. On getting 
up to us he called us foreign thieves and 
all sorts of bad names, and went on in a 
towering passion, making threats. One of 
us luckily was sufliciently fluent in Chinese 
to represent to him how matters stood, but 
as we unfortunately had no money with us, 
we could not easily pacify him. Quite a 


crowd of Chinese had by this time collected, 
and if they had wished to be quarrelsome 
they had us completely at their mercy ; but 
they seemed to think the whole affair great 
fun, and indeed the fellow appeared to be 
only half saved. After half an hour's 
palavering, we succeeded in pacifying him 
a little, and he was going off, but the 
jeers of our boatmen were once or twice 
too much for him, and he returned worse 
than ever. At last we got rid of him, and 
commenced our tea on the river bank, 
with the Chinese still around us. We soon 
made friends with them by giving their 
little ones biscuits. After this we always, 
when we took fruit, held it up and showed 
those near, and we always found that as- 
sent was given freely and by friendly nods. 
During these trips 1 often saw even 
Chinese men following the national amuse- 
ment of kite flying ; some of which, made in 


imitation of birds, are so well formed as to 
deceive even a practised eye at some dis- 
tance. The other national amusement of 
fireworks is much indulged in, although the 
chief occasion on which I saw them was on 
the American Festival, July 4th, when all 
the American houses give grand entertain- 
ments, inviting all the missionaries and 
some of the chief representatives of other 
countries. The whole festivities wind up 
with a display of fireworks. Some of the 
set pieces are good, especially those repre- 
senting pagodas and peach trees in full 
bloom. But as a whole, their skill as pyro- 
technists is inferior to our own, although 
sufficiently good for the practical purpose 
of supplying the ships trading there with 
rockets and other lights. 

Somewhat akin to this is the subject of 
fires, the most horrible of all the enemies of 
the human race. They are of frequent oc- 


currence at Canton, but since the partial 
destruction of the town in 1822 there has 
been no general conflagration. Owing to 
the great current of air blowing down the 
narrow streets, the slightest one would be 
soon fanned into alarming proportions, if 
there were not an efficient organization to 
repress its progress on the first symptoms. 
As soon as a fire is announced the neigh- 
bours, an effective volunteer force, band 
themselves under recognised leaders to op- 
pose the common enemy, and their skill 
and exertions are so energetic that they are 
generally able to prevent it doing wide- 
spread damage. It is said some are so 
agile that they can run up the walls of the 
houses, but I cannot personally vouch for 
the correctness of this assertion. At all 
events, they must have something more 
than good luck to stave off a catastrophe 
w^hich often seems imminent. At Macao, 



where I saw a considerable fire, they 
formed a line down to the beach, and 
handed buckets continually up to the scene 
of action. In this case their nimble mode 
was attended with success, but it seemed to 
me that if a fire once got a hold on any 
quarter, their organization would be utterly 
powerless, and as they would in all probabi- 
lity decline any assistance from foreigners, 
the result would be no less disastrous than 
that of 1822 was. 

The only really useful instruments of 
repression they possess are river fire- 
engines, and these, of course, could only 
avail when it took place in the immediate 
vicinity of the river. Fire, therefore — not 
to be despised even with all the organiza- 
tion of our metropolitan army — is a danger 
to be dreaded and prepared for when at any 
moment we may find that it is approaching 
our* homes with irresistible strides ; and al- 


though Shameen is more favourably situ- 
ated with regard to that contingency than 
the old factory site was, it still behoves 
those out there to be on their guard against 
a danger that has within our recollection 
made many homeless, and may at any 
moment be repeated with all its terrible 
suffering and loss. 




I HAVE now come in the course of my 
narrative to this event, which has exercised 
such a baneful influence on my fate, and 
has blasted all the hopes of success I might 
previously have entertained of my worldly 
career. The best description I can give of 
it is that which was honoured by appearing 
in the columns of the Times shortly after 
my return to England. To my at that 
time necessarily hmited knowledge of some 
of the facts Qoncerning the origin of the 
catastrophe, I will, however, add after 
this extract some of the more important 
details, on which also I can thoroughly rely 


as authentic. I must add, however, that 
some of these appeared in my letter in the 
Times of March 29th last :— 

'^ Mr. Walter William Mundy, who was 
the only English passenger on hoard the 
Sjparh, sends us the following interesting 
account of the piratical outrage on the 
•Canton river : — 

** * I emharked on hoard the Sparh on 
the 22nd of August, to proceed on business 
to Macao. We left Canton at half-past 
seven in the morning, and were due at 
Macao between four and five the same 
afternoon. The Spark had once been a 
comfortable boat enough ; but the traffic 
had considerably outgrown its proportions, 
and complaints had been repeatedly made 
to the Company to supply a new packet. 
She is a paddle-wheel steamer somewhat 


larger than our Thames boats. To make 
the subsequent events the clearer, I will 
endeavour, to the best of my memory, to 
describe those parts of the ship with which 
my narrative has chiefly to do. The lower 
deck was confined exclusively to Chinese 
passengers, and a winding staircase near 
the stern led to the quarter-deck, which 
was for Europeans. Passing from this 
gangway forward, first came the saloon, 
then the beam of the engine, which was 
exposed to view ; close to this, and still 
more forward, was the wheel-house and the 
captain's cabin, divided by a thin partition. 
A large window in the partition enabled 
the captain to give his instructions to the 
steersman with greater facility. The fore 
part of the deck, covered with an awning, 
was where the passengers generally sat. 
In the centre of this was another gangway 
for the use of the sailors, and leading from 


the lower deck. There were a great many 
native passengers, but I had the misfortune 
to be the only European, The crew con- 
sisted of about twenty men — Chinese and 
Portuguese half castes. The captain, poor 
Brady, was an American, and, although an 
iitter stranger to him previous to our jour- 
ney, it has seldom been my good fortune 
to have a nicer or more amiable companion. 
Shortly after leaving Canton he gave one 
trait of his general disposition. The purser 
came and told him that there was a man 
below who could not pay his passage, and 
asked what he was to do. Brady asked 
what sort of fellow he was. When on being 
told he was a coolie, with no money at all 
about him, he said, ^^ Oh, let the fellow 
go." We had a capital run to Whampoa. 
After leaving here, about nine o'clock, we 
breakfasted. The Canton steamer to Hong- 
Kong and the return steamer from Hong- 


Kong ouglit to have passed us soon after 
leaving Whampoa ; but from some reason 
they were delayed, and did not pass us 
till after twelve o'clock, which obliged the 
pirates to put off their attack. The river 
here, where the outrage was perpetrated, is 
about one mile across. 

" ' So far, the trip had been most delight- 
ful — nothing had occurred to awaken any 
suspicion. I was still as wedded to the 
humdrum existence and safety of English 
life as if I were but taking a trip in the 
British Channel, and so little thinking of 
any peril, that I dozed over my cigar and 
book under the awning forward. I must 
have slept here some time, as I certainly 
awoke with a start; it may have been a 
noise, it may have been instinct of danger 
which roused me. Which it really was I 
am now unable to tell. But I immediately 
perceived a man rushing up the gafi^way 


towards me with a knife in his hand, and a 
gash across his forehead. Surprised and 
only half awake, my first thought was that 
he was a madman, and I rushed out to 
procure help to seize him. In attempting 
to do so, I was, however, met by two 
other men, who attacked me with knives. 
Quickly seeing my mistake, I rushed past 
them, and ran on in search of weapons, 
endeavouring to find out what it all meant, 
and to see whether any resistance was being 
made. I now strove to reach the passen- 
gers' gangway, to see what the Chinese 
were doing. In attempting this I had to 
run the gauntlet of several of the pirates, 
who wounded me in many places. Two of 
them here seized me, tearing my watch off, 
and were going to cut my fingers off for 
my rings, when, by a desperate effort, I 
managed to break loose from them. It 
was then that I saw the Chinese passengers 


sitting below, looking as unconcerned as 
possible. I then rushed to the stern, where 
I saw the poor purser holding on by his 
hands to the side of the ship, preparing to 
jump overboard, and a pirate cutting at 
him. Here also the chief mate was battling 
most courageously with one arm, while with 
the other he attempted to loosen a buoy. 
I tried to join him, but my wounds were 
beginning to tell on my strength, and 
numbers easily drove me off. With no 
hope left I endeavoured to retrace my steps, 
but was immediately attacked by two or 
three fresh arrivals. I here managed to 
get within striking distance of one, whom 
I succeeded in knocking down ; but the 
success cost me dear, as his companions 
wounded me at the same moment despe- 
rately in the left side. How they let me 
retire I cannot imagine ; how I was able is 
equally difficult for me to explain! But I 


was again attacked by two others armed 
with capstan bars, who successively knocked 
me down with these weapons. I rolled out 
of their way, and for a time was left in 
peace. I staggered to the wheel-house, 
but had to support myself on an umbrella 
which I picked up. I was now almost in- 
sensible, and leaned against the window I 
mentioned in my description of the ship. 
On looking down into the captain's cabin, 
I saw poor Brady lying stretched out on 
the floor, with his little dog staring mourn- 
fully into his face. This sign of fidelity 
consoled me even then somewhat, and, 
indeed, my sole wish now centred in the 
hope of being able to last long enough to 
get some chance of revenge by the arrival 
of assistance. After leaning here for ten or 
fifteen minutes, I fell on the deck from ex- 
haustion and loss of blood. A few minutes 
after this the pirates, who had been plunder- 


ing tlie ship, returned on deck, battened 
down the hatchways, and proceeded to count 
their booty close by me. They continually 
passed over me, stepping on and kicking me. 
On receiving my wound in the side, I, 
luckily for myself, had sufficient presence 
of mind to shove my handkerchief and 
fingers into the aperture to keep my lungs 
from breaking out. The pirates, either 
imagining I was trying to conceal some- 
thing, or in brutal sport, tore my hand 
several times from the wound. The agony 
I thus endured I can never forget. How I 
prayed for unconsciousness ! One of them 
motioned to me to throw myself overboard, 
and even pretended to do it, lifting me up 
in his arms. Another, whom I judged to 
be the chief, as he swaggered about in my 
hat, with a revolver and cutlass at his belt, 
brandishing his sword, pretended to draw 
it across my throat several times, to the 


evident delight of all his comrades. For 
what reason he did not carry his perform- 
ance into practice I cannot possibly con- 
ceive. I was lying on the deck for six 
hours with these fellows close to me, but 
not for one instant did I lose consciousness. 
A junk then came alongside, when the 
steamer was stopped for the first time. The 
plunder was transferred to the junk, and 
they all hastened on board her, after spiking 
and breaking the helm. 

" ^ Immediately on their leaving, the crew 
came on deck, and, rigging a helm in the 
stern, commenced working the ship. A 
Chinese merchant, procuring assistance, 
carried me to the saloon, placed me on a 
sofa, and covered me with a tablecloth to 
keep the cold from my wounds. All on 
board were so overcome that they had to 
be kept at their work by a copious supply 
of brandy. We were delayed some time in 


Macao harbour before we were permitted 
to land, a regiment of soldiers being drawn 
up to receive us on the quay, and no China- 
man was allowed to leave before he was 
searched and his name and address were 
taken. When I recall the whole event, it 
seems like a hideous dream. It is only 
when I look at the proofs on my body of 
its horrible reality that I awake to a full 
sense of all my danger, and a feeling of 
thankfulness for my miraculous escape 
drives every other thought away.' " 

The alleged and generally received cause 
of this outrage is as follows : — 

The gambling tables at Macao had been 
losing considerably for some time, and 
their partners at Canton were sending a 
man to them with a considerable amount 
of dollars, said to be in a belt attached to 
his person. This rumour got wind in the 


back slums and gambling haunts of Can- 
ton, and a body of loafers and ruined re- 
probates, with no character to lose, and only 
too eager for a prey to think of any risk, 
combined to ease this person of his charge. 
Proof of this plot was obtained from one 
of the pirates, who was so badly wounded 
that he had to give himself up to the 
authorities, and eventually died of his in- 
juries. He first, however, confessed, and 
said that he had received his wounds in a 
scuffle among his comrades as to the division 
of the spoil. He gave all the names of the 
party, and it was chiefly owing to his evi- 
dence that some of them were captured. He 
also said that an armed junk manned by 
forty men was to have boarded the SparTc 
while they created a diversion in their 
favour. He stated that had there been 
more Europeans, or had the ship been better 
guarded, they would not have attempted an 


attack, but waited till they reached Macao, 
when they could have knocked their man 
down, and robbed him in the streets. At 
the commencement of the attack, when the 
sailors were set upon, separated one from 
another among the crowds of passengers, 
and could offer no effectual resistance, 
either the second engineer or the second 
mate, who I believe was a Portuguese, 
seeing that things looked hopeless, jumped 
overboard, and after floating for two hours 
was picked up by a native boat, and then 
transferred to a Chinaman's steam yacht 
which was close at hand, and must have 
witnessed the whole proceeding. But its 
owner, with national caution and want 
of fellow-feeling, steamed away, although 
these yachts are well armed, mounting 
several guns ; doubtless deeming the course 
entaihng least responsibility to be to inform 
a gun-boat — which was, I am sorry to say. 


commanded by an Englishman — stationed 
close at hand. It, however, paid no atten- 
tion, although if it had got up steam at 
once it would have caught the whole band 
red-handed. The name of this boat was the 
Fei'Loong^ and it was subsequently lost, with 
all hands, in the typhoon. This statement 
has been confirmed by our representatives 
at Canton. 

All praise ought surely to be given to the 
endeavours of the Chinese Government for 
the steps their officials took to capture the 
culprits ! China neglects to fulfil the stipula- 
tions of her treaty, she wilfully disregards 
her obligations as a friendly power, she in- 
culcates into her subjects that any crime 
against a foreigner is laudable ; yet there 
is no remonstrance raised, no punishment 

The Mandarins and local authorities 
were, however, too shrewd observers of the 



course of public events, and knew only too 
well what a storm the murder of an Eng- 
lishman might bring upon their heads, to 
neglect the appearance of deep solicitude 
for the result, and not to pretend earnest 
endeavours for the capture and punishment 
of the criminals. They refused all the 
rewards offered by the Steam Boat Com- 
pany, and by the different Governments, 
thinking if they only got off with simply 
hanging a few individuals they would indeed 
be lucky. 

The chief mate's case was a very sad one. 
I knew him very well, as he was for some 
time stationed on a ship laid up in the 
Canton river, the captain of which I knew, 
and as I spent several evenings on board 
her I saw him tolerably often. When I 
met him on the S^par'k he told me he had 
just been put on that line. The next and 
last time I saw him was when I tried to join 


him on deck, when he was so gallantly 
keeping at bay half-a-dozen assailants. The 
poor purser, who was also killed, left a 
widowed mother with many children solely 
relying on him. He was generally liked, 
owing to his quiet and agreeable character. 
The captain was reported to have made 
a determined resistance, but it is my firm 
belief that he was attacked in his cabin and 
taken completely by surprise, as I saw him 
only a few minutes after the commencement 
stretched out on the floor of his cabin quite 
dead, looking so placid as to make it evident 
that death had been sudden and without 
pain. His revolver was found with several 
barrels missed fire, and this gave rise to the 
conjecture that Brady had attempted to 
quell a disturbance. But as this was the 
same the pirate chief had fired at me several 
times, though fortunately without its going 
off, it is plain how the misconception arose. 


The leader of the band was a big powerful 
fellow, and I hear when captured fought so 
desperately that it cost his captors the lives 
of two of their best soldiers to secure him. 
These are all the further facts I have been 
able to gather, but I think they are sufficient 
to make the defence set up for China's non- 
responsibility appear in a worse light than 
ever. If their acts in punishment are to 
be considered to outbalance their neglect 
in repression, surely when those acts are 
proved to have been really deficient they 
are as culpable on the lesser indictment as 
they are on the higher one, and the only 
line of defence offered for their non-liability 
is untenable. 

In my next chapter I will endeavour to 
give some general account of piracy. 




PiKACY in China may be said in some sense 
to owe its origin to praiseworthy intentions 
and honourable endeavours, and in a de- 
scent of several hundred years the motives 
causing it have gone through all the 
changes from the lofty impulse of dis- 
interested patriotism till they have at last 
degenerated into mere greed for gain and 
love for a turbulent existence. It may be 
interesting to consider under what circum- 
stances an evil, to put down which all 
civilized countries are now united in 
opinion, was not so long ago really worthy 
of admiration from all observers, and had 


the history of China at that time been of 
interest to the world in general, would 
doubtless have attracted all the sympathy 
that is usually bestowed upon the unfortunate. 
"When the Tartars had overrun the 
whole of China, and the Chinese, worsted 
in many battles, were totally unable to make 
any further resistance on land, there re- 
mained but two alternatives — to the timid 
and the weak, surrender; to the resolved 
and the brave, to try conclusions and tempt 
fortune once more on another element. 
The bolder ones resolved, if these con- 
querors could not be driven back, if to 
defend their beloved country was a hope- 
less task, that they at least would not swell 
their enemies' triumph by their submission, 
but would carry to another clime the 
memory of their former greatness, and found 
an empire under fresh auspices. They 
fortunately had amongst them a man who 


combined in his person all the varied re- 
quirements of a leader of such a band under 
such circumstances. He had all the know- 
ledge and intellect to show them what to 
do, and all the courage and daring to be 
the first to execute as well as to command. 
Koshinga — ^such was the leader's name — 
may one day be viewed by future Chinese 
generations in the same light as we do King 
Arthur, ^ — that mythical champion of a race 
which, although we have little or no claim 
to rank as our ancestors, is endeared to us 
all by the name of Britons ; and should 
ever the subject race regain the rule of the 
country, we may hear more of this gallant 
chieftain, and his name may be the rallying 
word for those who may rebel against the 
at present dominant Tartar. He pointed 
out that there was no necessity to seek a 
more distant asylum, until it had been 
proved that the conqueror — whose prowess 


on the sea liad never been put to the test — 
could expel them from the islands along the 
coast. They therefore established them- 
selves on these islands, especially those at 
the mouth of the Canton river. In a few 
years, by intrigue and force, they ousted 
the Portuguese from the island of Formosa, 
and making it their head-quarters, the con- 
federacy became so powerful as to defy all 
the efforts of their conquerors, and for a 
time their voice was supreme in these seas.. 
No ship was allowed to trade without ac- 
knowledging their authority, and it became 
a recognised fact that for the present the 
Pekin Government was unable to cope with 
this predatory force. But when Koshinga 
died, the voice that had really kept down 
those dissensions that continually arose, 
threatening to destroy all the good effects 
of their valour and success, was hushed, 
and round his deathbed were sown the 


seeds that bore fruit in the dissolution of 
the band. His wife succeeded to the com- 
mand, but her two chief lieutenants quar- 
relling, the whole settlement was divided 
into two camps, and there took place at 
sea a fearful battle, which, if a victory for 
the lieutenant who supported his mistress's 
authority, was so far a defeat as to entail 
ultimately the annihilation of the commu- 
nity. Discord among themselves thus ac- 
complished what all the power of a great 
conqueror in the full tide of his triumph 
could not effect. The thwarted rival se- 
ceded, with the remnants of his squadron, 
to the established Government ; and in the 
course of a few years, intrigue and liberal 
promises to the leaders, backed up by what 
the disintegration of the band had com- 
menced, and what some small reverses con- 
tinued, induced the whole force to accept 
the general amnesty offered them. 


The breaking np of this force was the 
removal of a standing danger to the Pekin 
G-overnment, and was the disappearance 
of the last vestige of national resistance to 
the Tartar conquest. Their rule over the 
whole country was as fully acknowledged 
as when our Edward ruled from Land's End 
to the Grampians, and from Milford Bay to 
the Forelands. As the Celt and Saxon had 
yielded to the Norman, so had the Chinese 
succumbed to the Tartar of the desert. 

The few dissentients to this surrender de- 
parted for other seas, but communications 
were still kept up with their disbanded 
comrades on shore ; and such is the supe- 
riority in physique of the boating and fish- 
ing population of the sea coast, and their 
love of adventure and predatory instincts are 
so developed as to render them only too sus- 
ceptible to the gorgeous stories brought back 
to them by these rovers of the sea. This 


being so, recruiting for these piratical junks 
was no difficult task, and for more than a 
century acts of piracy occurred at frequent 
intervals, although no formidable esta- 
blished band was organized. Towards the 
end of the last century, however, these 
pirates had become bolder. No energetic 
measures having been taken for years to 
repress their actions, they had gradually 
become more ambitious in their aims, 
attracting to their standard all those who 
wished to throw off the trammels of the 
law, all the hangers-on of the gambling 
booths of Canton, and offering the only 
chance of safety to criminals either escaped 
from the hands of justice or those dreading 
falling into them, it is no wonder that this 
force in a short time assumed formidable 
proportions. They encamped on the nu- 
merous islets at the mouth of the Canton 
river, some of which they fortified. These 


afforded them all necessary shelter, a depo- 
sitory for their plunder, and a look-out from 
which to spy their prey. At first European 
merchantmen were unmolested, but soon 
even these were compelled to pay toll 
to these unpleasant gate-keepers. They, 
however, were not especially remarkable for 
ferocity, or for any particularly atrocious 
action. Two Enghsh gentlemen, who had 
the misfortune to fall into their power, have 
given a most interesting account of their 
customs, which they carefully studied 
during their enforced residence amongst 
them of several years. This band flourished 
for several years, greatly impeding com- 
merce ; but no assistance could be expected 
from the Pekin Government, who acknow- 
ledged their incapacity to deal with the 
offenders. An English squadron was at last 
despatched from India, and they received 
such a lesson at their hands as to respect 


the English flag for ever after. Their 
power being thus crippled, the whole band 
melted away, and the Chinese Government 
built forts on the islets to keep them in 
their possession. This was the last occa- 
sion on which they assumed such formida- 
ble proportions, but piratical outrages have 
been by no means unfrequent ever since, 
and indeed boat robberies are a daily oc- 

In 1828 the crew of a French mer- 
chantman, Le Navigateur, were compelled 
through stress of weather to take refuge 
on the coast of Cochin China, where, 
instead of receiving the hospitable recep- 
tion usually accorded to shipwrecked ma- 
riners, they received anything but kind 
treatment, and were forced to sell their 
cargo and ship. They then took passage 
on board of a Chinese junk bound for 
Macao. On the journey, the native crew, 


excited by cupidity — report went that these 
Barbarians had many dollars — formed an 
atrocious and bloodthirsty plan against 
them. On arriving safely within sight of 
their destination, the Chinese passengers 
were transferred to another junk to land. 
Unfortunately this hurried departure did not 
arouse any suspicions in the minds of the 
victims, and taken off their guard, separated 
from one another, they were all murdered 
by these villains. One sailor alone — after 
fighting courageously — although covered 
with wounds, succeeded in jumping over- 
board; and after being refused admission 
by several boats, was at last picked up and 
landed during the night at Macao. The 
criminals were captured in their junk, and 
all were executed. 

I cannot discover what became of the 
sole survivor, who recovered from his 
wounds, and, I believe, died at a great age 


not very long ago ; and although he was 
compensated, I believe there was no satis- 
faction rendered to France for the insult to 
her as a nation. It was done more in the 
light of a private present, than in atone- 
ment for suffering caused by their subjects. 
For the next thirty years acts of piracy 
and cases of robbery occurred at frequent 
intervals ; but no formidable band was es- 
tablished. Several cases of English sub- 
jects claiming compensation on account of , 
loss suffered by them in person, or in the 
death of relations, were kept in an unsettled 
state for years, and it was only when the 
stern arbitrement of war had been appealed 
to, and the Chinese had to sue in the form 
of the defeated, that these claims were 
taken up by our Peace Commissioners, and 
demand for compensation was inserted as 
one of the provisoes of the treaty. 

The treaty of Tientsin deserves some 


praise at the hands of all those interested 
with our future in China. It is the first 
treaty granted to foreigners by that most 
conservative of governments, and, as in 
every other case, was only wrung from 
them when our soldiery were thundering 
at the gate of the capital, and polluting 
the threshold of their temples and their 
palaces. Every foreigner looks to this 
treaty and its various stipulations as the 
safeguard of his presence in China, — as 
the Magna Charta renewing and specially 
enunciating his right to stand and trade on 
Chinese territory. If all its articles were 
fully observed, if all the regulations were as 
fuUy carried into practice, would there be 
such grumbling and discontent on the part 
of our merchants ? 

After the war the general feeling of the 
populace was so cowed by the valour and 
successful superiority of Europeans, that no 


attempts against our mercliaiit ships were 
thought of. They confined themselves to 
robbing their own countrymen and pillaging 
native packets, till at length grown bolder 
by impunity, they disregarded, in my case, 
the reputed sanctity of white men, by not 
only assaulting me, but also by murdering the 
captain and officers of the S;parh, The fate 
of these officers is too much lost sight of. 
Their murders appeal for revenge and re- 
dress. They died manfully at their posts ; 
and deserting the cause of these gallant 
and unfortunate champions of western 
interests is hardly a thing to be proud of. 
One of the chief facihties afforded to these 
pirates to continue their career is, it must be 
remembered, supplied by their countrymen 
in office. Those Mandarins vested with the 
local authority have the power of collecting 
the customs ; and they farm this right to the 
Hoppo, or tax collector, for a period of five 



years. To support this officer in his power- 
fol position all the gunboats stationed on 
the river are pressed into his service ; and 
what with the aid only too voluntarily 
given by crafts of every size and descrip- 
tion, he finds no difficulty in putting his 
authority into execution. These gunboats 
employed on such profitable service have, 
therefore, little time to spare in hunting up 
these river pests who thrive on the com- 
munity at large, and are equally willing to 
play the part of tax gatherer one day 
and pirate the next. Each of these boats 
is armed with its letter of marque, in the 
shape of a much-beilowered document au- 
thorising the collection of custom dues ; 
and although you may have paid your 
charge several times before, that will not 
save you from having to pay it to whomso- 
ever else may demand it. This is a dis- 
graceful state of things, and our consuls 


are mncli to be blamed for its continuance, 
but in a still higher degree our authorities 
at home. 

It may be interesting to describe how 
this all-powerful official and despot, the 
Hoppo, is elected. The contract he makes 
with the Governor of Quang-Toung is for 
five years, and for that he pays between 
one and two milhon dollars. At the end 
of his term he is generally estimated to 
have seven milHon dollars. As a rule he 
cannot get his term renewed. He is theu 
ordered up to Pekin, but at every town on 
the way he is taxed. When he reaches 
Pekin he is not admitted within the walls 
until he pays a heavy fee to the Imperial 
Treasury, and receives, moreover, a great 
whipping ! He then is permitted to enter 
the city and retire into private life, — a not 
much richer man, if happily a wiser, than 
when he entered into all the perquisites and 


honours of the mighty post of Hoppo of the 
province of Quang-Toung five years before. 

What can be the inducement to any man 
with a handsome fortune, which he must 
have to obtain the post, to accept a barren 
honour for the short space of five years, to 
result in such httle benefit and such great 
personal ignominy ? I often tried to dis- 
cover this, but never got more than the 
unsatisfactory reply that the splendour of 
the post was the attraction in their eyes. 
I have often since thought that it must be 
the indirect means of advancing them to 
some post at the court of Pekin, and that 
their reward is calculated by the amount of 
treasure they bring into the Imperial cof- 
fers. This is merely my surmise, and an 
attempt to give a reason for one of those 
things that, being a national custom, there 
perhaps exists no known reason for. 

At all events, this Hoppo is a very dis- 


agreeable fellow for us, and requires to be 
placed within bounds. All power, when 
arbitrary, runs to excess and does harm. 
His, with no check on his caprice, causes 
us much loss, our representatives much 
discouragement, and our country much 
disparagement in prestige. The Chinese 
have a perfect right to certain custom 
dues ; but it is unjust to expect us to pay 
exorbitant rates, first of all to enrich arro- 
gant officials, and eventually to swell the 
revenues of the country and the exchequers 
of the favourites at Pekin. 

The present system of ties 3 pirates is a 
small number of land colleagues either in 
possession of a junk or in temporary alliance 
with one, who join for a certain occasion, 
and then part company ; so that if not 
detected at once, the difficulty of proving 
the real culprits is considerable, as they 
speedily lose themselves among the mass 


of their fellow-citizens. Happily for the 
detectives, there is the one common attrac- 
tion in the gamhling-hooths. To show the 
general feeling of insecurity among the 
officers of the river boats, several have 
told me that they are in continual dread 
of attack from some of these rascals, and 
never venture about without a loaded re- 
volver — as one of them expressed it, '^five 
barrels for the blackguards, the sixth for 

Therefore if at present there is no power- 
ful confederacy to crush, there are wide- 
spread among the masses instincts which 
furnish all the material for confederacies 
similar to those once existant, and it is 
only a fitting opportunity that is lacking. 
If our large ships are not in daily dread, if 
the danger to individuals is not most im- 
minent, the inconvenience and uncertainty 
caused by the knowledge of what is possible 


is rather the more increased. When the 
danger is before us and certain, we can 
prepare ourselves to meet it unflinchingly. 
When there is just the likelihood of being 
murdered in our beds, unarmed and in- 
capable of resistance, there is all the agony 
of the suffering in an intensified form, and 
yet nothing serious may take place. The 
whole question is therefore one China can- 
not go on shirking, or we neglecting. 
Germany's action in her small matter 
with them the other day sets us a good 
precedent, and one we should be wise to 
follow in our deahngs with this power. 
We have just signally failed in applying 
the high-toned morality of western justice 
to an important question in our Indian 
empire ; and we have found how im- 
possible it is to reconcile eastern chicanery 
and subjection with European honour and 
dominion. Let us profit by the lesson, which 


may eventually lead to bitter things, and 
not make the same mistake in our diplo- 
matic intercourse with the Celestial Empire, 
which we are inclined to view with a far too 
lenient and favourable eye. 




I PEOPOSE in this chapter to offer some 
remarks on what measures should be 
adopted to put an end to this class of 
crime, of which I endeavoured in my last 
chapter to give some detailed account, and 
the necessity for repressing which none 
can deny. I will divide what I would 
suggest under the three following heads, 
viz., — firstly. What share properly falls on 
the Chinese Government ; secondly, What 
individual travellers and those companies 
which undertake their transport should do 
in assistance of legislation ; and, thirdly, 


both these proving iiisu£S.cient to meet the 
emergency, how far it is incumbent on 
England and other powers to interfere in 
the matter, either to compel action on the 
part of the Pekin Government, or to take 
the case out of their hands, in the interest 
of our commerce and society in general, 
and carry out repressive measures on their 
own responsibility. 

To answer any or all of these queries 
with complete satisfaction would require an 
amount of legal knowledge to which I 
cannot lay claim ; and what I venture to 
say on the subject I submit to the correction 
of those who speak with all the authority 
of the law. I may indeed preface by ex- 
pressing my astonishment that no more 
powerful voice than mine has yet been 
raised in pointing out the pressing nature 
of the question. It seems to me most 
astonishing of all, however, that the resi- 


dents out there — those most immediately 
concerned — should be so apathetic in the 
few precautions they have adopted against 
a recurrence of the outrage ; and yet any 
one amongst them may at any time meet 
with a similar, or even sadder, fate than 
my own. 

Firstly, as to what is incumbent on the 
Pekin Government ; which, besides being 
the first and most important of all the 
queries, seems also at a first blush to be 
the only one necessary at all, — as surely 
it is the country's duty to see that the 
poHce is efficient, as nothing more tends to 
its own advantage, or to make it more 
respected abroad. When that poHce proves 
inefficient, special acts of legislature must 
be enacted, special punishments must be 
inflicted on the guilty, so as to show that, 
when the ordinary course of justice is of no 
avail, there are still means left on the side 


of the rulers that can vindicate all the out- 
raged majesty of the law. In China more 
than this must be demanded at the hands 
of the Government. Besides these special 
precautions — which have by no means come 
into effect — there is a moral obligation to 
discourage all acts against the persons of 
strangers, which is not inculcated at 
all into the rising generation by their 
governors. Under the circumstances, we 
have a right to demand that some special 
social obloquy be attached to deeds of 
violence against us. I emphasize the word 
social, as punishments of that kind are the 
most efficacious in dealing with these 
people. If we do not claim our rights, 
things will continue getting worse and 
worse every day; and the remedy then 
will have to be so sharp and decisive, as 
to render it doubtful of possibility without 
resulting in a war. 


It is a well-kno'wn fact that tlie theory is 
deeply rooted in the heart of every China- 
man, that it is not only not unjustifiable 
but praiseworthy even to hold no law 
sacred in his dealings with a *' foreign 
devil." Can it therefore be marvelled at, 
if, with this first great incentive to take 
unfair advantage of any foreigner, added to 
their dislike of foreign intercourse (than 
which nothing is more natural, considering 
how it has been forced upon them), their 
thoughts continually run, in the towns we 
visit, on the subject of getting the better 
of us in every way imaginable ? and when 
they proceed to violence, as their crime 
carries no disgrace, what deterrent effect 
has the punishment inflicted, when the 
same breath swells the virtue of the de- 
ceased for the sufferings inflicted on one 
regarded as hostile by themselves ? The 
Chinese themselves, no doubt, are the more 


frequent victims at the hands of these river 
pirates, but it is equally beyond doubt that 
a packet enlevement is looked upon with 
glee and pleasure by a great number of the 
population. They may be the same crimi- 
nals who but the day before upset poor 
Chin out of his boat for the sake of his 
small cargo of fish ; the same motives act- 
uated them that will to-morrow, perhaps, 
make them either murder one another for 
his share in the booty, or waylay a native' 
merchant on his route home to his villa 
near the big city ; but it is beyond all dis- 
pute that their attacks on such packets as 
the S^arh and the Navigateur command 
the sympathy of the masses, and would 
meet with lenient treatment indeed if there 
was not the standing fear of foreign inter- 
vention . I firmly believe that to avoid that 
the Chinese would at one time have yielded 
any point. I therefore lay special stress on 


the importance of having some change made 
in the received opinion, even if it were only 
qualified by the public declaration that crimes 
against the person of foreigners are as crimi- 
nal as if committed against a native. Such 
a declaration would not only be our most 
important safeguard, but would at the same 
time remove the real shield of the culprit. 
The Mandarin officials plead in extenuation 
that Canton is by no means in an un- 
guarded state, and they point for proof of 
their assertion to the undoubtedly great 
number of gunboats stationed on the river. 
These gunboats are well manned, and in 
their way by no means to be despised. 
Their captains and some of the head officers 
— such as master gunners — are Europeans, 
mostly English. In numbers those on the 
Canton river ought to suffice to put down 
and exterminate nests of pirates. But un- 
fortunately they are of no real use, and 


afford no protection beyond their immediate 
vicinity. They, for the most part, have 
fixed stations, which of course are well 
known, and are therefore of no avail against 
the present system of these freebooters, 
who, when they do attack a packet, take 
good care not to do so too near where 
these guardians of the peace may interfere 
with their actions. This system ought to 
be altered; strict instructions should be 
issued that there should be patrols at 
regular hours, and that other gunboats 
should, be kept permanently cruising 
about. This would be throwing great 
difficulties in the way of evil doers, as 
it would be almost impossible for them 
to expect the good fortune of escaping 
with their booty, provided even they suc- 
ceeded in carrying out their attack success- 

The present easy life on this station 


would doubtless be changed, as tbey cer- 
tainly would meet with considerable re- 
sistance, — ^very similar probably to that 
incurred by our revenue officials in putting 
down smuggling ; but that would not be at 
all unwelcome, as everywhere action, with 
its chances of speedy promotion and prize 
money, is preferred to a sedentary and 
barren charge. It would be also a matter 
of wise and effectual precaution, if before 
permitting Chinese passengers to embark 
they were to some extent examined, and 
all weapons removed from their person ; 
and every suspicious character — one, for in- 
stance, of notoriously bad associations — 
should be declined a passage. A Govern- 
ment official might be specially delegated 
to this work. Perhaps, however, it may 
be thought this is more a question for the 
steamboat company to see to, than for the 
State to impose any restriction on their 



subjects journeying on one of their own 

It will be seen that I consider tbe 
greatest security the GoYernment can 
give is a moral one ; and that the 
means of repression are at hand, and 
only require to be properly applied to 
have the desired effect. It is extremely 
doubtful, however, whether any action 
will be taken in the matter, unless some 
gentle remonstrance be addressed to the 
ear of the Governor of the province of 

For the second question. What, ought 
individual travellers and the Company do 
to increase the safety of travelling? This 
of course can only be agitated for, and 
effected by the weight of public opinion 
out there; and it really rests with those 
interested in the journeys from Canton 
to Hong-Kong or Macao to see that their 

Measures for repressing piracy. 227 

Company take all the necessary precautions. 
But it is at all events certain that the 
Company ought to provide guards; that 
arms should be freely distributed to the 
crew and trustworthy passengers ; that the 
division between native and foreign pas- 
sengers should be strictly maintained ; 
and also that a sentry, with a loaded 
rifle, should be stationed at each gang- 
way, with instructions to shoot the first 
native who attempted to break this all- 
important rule. It might also be advisable 
to erect in the centre of the vessel a 
bulwarked room, occupying the whole 
centre of the ship, including the engines 
and the helm, which would afford a retreat 
if the outer gangways were forced, whence 
three or four armed men could expel a 
whole host of such rabble as these fellows. 
Some of these arrangements were for a 
time put in force, but had long before 


the Sparh affair fallen into disuetude. If 
the Packet Company were to make these 
or some such regulations, they would be 
performing only the duty that is incumbent 
on them ; while, by instituting some sort of 
check on the character of the passengers 
they receive, they would be taking every 
reasonable precaution to render an attack 
from within a remote and almost impossible 
contingency. Against an attack from with- 
out, — that is, by force majeure^ — there of 
course can be no safeguard of this kind; 
but no one would think of demanding it 
under those circumstances. 

I am also informed that the legal quibble 
is that while the Chinese Government 
would be liable for a piratical attack in 
their realm by boarding, they are not re- 
sponsible for any internal outbreak among 
the passengers, although the consequences 
may, in all likelihood, be quite as disastrous. 


All individuals can do is to assist the Com- 
pany to carry out the regulations framed for 
their protection, and, in any emergency, to 
place themselves at the captain's disposal 
and obey orders. The measures should be 
concerted between the Company and the 
Government officials. What the latter 
will do, and also what they expect from 
the Company, should be ascertained. 

At present there is mutual recrimination ; 
and the Mandarins, aware of an unfortunate 
feeling out there that the Company is alone 
to blame, and alone must be held respon- 
sible, take advantage of what I denounce as 
a mistaken idea to shift all the onus of the 
catastrophe on its shoulders, and argue with 
much plausibility that it was its gross 
neglect that gave the opportunity to a hand- 
ful of ruffians to seize and plunder such a 
large boat as the Sjparh, It would be diffi- 
cult to imagine what must have been the 


delight of the officials when they found they 
had such a good excuse ready made for 
them, as to he ahle to shift the blame on to 
the shoulders of somebody else ; but it does 
not say much for our perspicuity or love of 
fair play, if we permit these dastardly syco- 
phants to escape from all the penalty by 
inculpating somebody else, whose greatest 
fault is certainly no more than for not 
having taken a few, doubtless necessary, 

For the third question, all I will venture 
to say, besides suggesting it to our rulers, 
is that as we were one of the high contract- 
ing powers to the treaty of Tientsin, we are 
no less bound than the Chinese to carry out 
its stipulations. Why, then, while we have 
been quelling a slave trade in one part of 
the world, and destroying Malay stockades 
in another, have we not seen that some of our 
engagements were being properly attended 


to ? If we could not spare time to attend 
to such a paltry affair in person, why not 
instruct our representatives in China to see 
that something was done in the matter ? 

There was a vague rumour going about 
that the present Ministry were instituting 
some inquiries, and if this had been perse- 
vered in, it would have been some manifesta- 
tion of a perception of the importance of the 
subject beginning at last to dawn on the 
minds of our mlers. Unfortunately, this 
sudden fit of energy seems to have as quickly 
passed away, without any salutary result 

People are always sceptical on the im- 
portance of anything that does not seem of 
pressing moment, or that does not imme- 
diately concern themselves ; but a glance at 
the dry figures setting forth the state of our 
trade with China ; a thought of that impor- 
tant beverage, tea ; a mere idea of the vast 


size of the country, teeming with unknown 
wealth, and the extraordinary influence its 
opening may have on our own affairs and 
the world in general; and also that this 
piracy is not confined to the Canton river, 
but is in force on the Yang-tse, and that it 
is one of the most apparent and simplest 
means of opposition on the part of the 
Chinese to further intercourse, — a sHght 
consideration of these reasons ought to be 
sufficient to show the all-importance of this 
subject, and that it is no trivial matter at all. 
A step in the right direction would be 
that the general instructions to our consuls 
should be modified. At present they run 
in characters easily read — interfere on no 
account: let individuals shift for them- 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 233 



The Chinese, like most barbarous or half- 
civilised nations, attach superstitious im- 
portance to all those phenomena of nature 
which thrill the hearts even of students 
of science with a feeling of awe ; so the 
comet, the earthquake, even the thunder 
and lightning, but above all the typhoon, 
have a peculiar significance to their minds, 
as the direct manifestation of an offended 
deity, and the retribution of their own 
transgressions. There is nothing absolutely 
ridiculous in these sentiments; all nations 
in their early ages have shared them, and 
indeed, in their case, the pre-eminent awful- 


ness of the typhoon would be alone a 
sufficient excuse for the fears of a people 
not too enlightened as to the causes of 
these outbursts of nature. 

To illustrate the character of a typhoon, 
I will give some description of that of 1874 ; 
to find a parallel to which, in the amount of 
damage inflicted, and in the immense power 
of the hurricane, one must go back more 
than a generation. 

Typhoon, or Tae-foong — the great wind 
— bears a singular resemblance to the Greek 
tv4kov, although it can have no direct com- 
munication with it. These storms occur 
periodically, generally after an interval of 
three or four years ; as that interval is ex- 
ceeded, so the storms increase in intensity ; 
and as on this occasion there had not been 
one for some time over the stated period, 
the extreme severity of that of 1874 is thus 
to a certain extent accounted for. One of 

THE TYPHOON Oh 1874. 235 

the chief signs of the approach of a typhoon 
is the extraordinary fall of the barometer 
that takes place ; but sailors experienced in 
these regions are also very clever at prognos- 
ticating its arrival. Another warning note 
is the long and heavy swell which sets 
in, without any apparent cause whatever. 
These storms do not extend, however, very 
much to the north of Canton, and rage 
chiefly between latitudes 10° and 30° N. ; 
and although they last from twelve to 
twenty hours, the great violence of the 
storm is only three or four in duration. 

This particular typhoon, which had been 
expected for some time previous to its oc- 
currence by the Chinese prophets, com- 
menced on the evening of the 22nd of 

In Hong-Kong, where I was at the time, 
placards had been put up warning all the 
Chinese that it was approaching, and cau- 


tioning them to keep within their houses, and 
also to make them as secure as possible from 
the 18th to the 25th of September. This 
time their calculations — or expectations — 
as to its occurrence were nearly correct ; 
but this is by no means always the case. 
The warning has been issued, the public 
have prepared to meet the emergency, the 
miserable have become resigned to succumb 
to its fury, yet the typhoon has mercifully 
declined to come, and everyone has his or 
her mind lightened of a load; only, however, 
on its next visit it will take a,mple amends 
for its neglect in appearing. But in the 
face of such a foe no precaution should be 
omitted, and the warning, though repeated 
without perhaps any need, must not yet be 
treated as a mere cry of ^' Wolf." It com- 
menced with a wind suddenly arising about 
eight in the evening, which went on till 
three or four the following morning with 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 237 

great violence. From ten to two its force 
was at its height, when it was awful in the 
extreme. Every door and window was 
bolted and made as fast and secure as 
possible ; typhoon bars being put up to 
doubly secure the windows, which, with 
Venetians fastened firmly outside, seemed 
to present an impenetrable barrier to the on- 
set. When this had been carefully seen to, 
there was nothing more for the inhabitants 
to do but to wait patiently and to prepare 
themselves as best they might for the 
ordeal. At the time, I was lying in bed 
recovering from my wounds, with one arm 
perfectly useless, and my whole system so 
shattered as to make me hardly able to 
bear this trying shock with equanimity. 

As I said, the storm commenced with a 
violent wind suddenly springing up, and it 
soon became so irresistible in its might 
that no obstacle seemed able to retard it. 


As the night wore on, the destruction in- 
creased, and each fresh blast of the hurri- 
cane was the doom of houses and of ships. 
The bars across the windows snapt one 
after the other with a report hke that of 
cannon ; and the Venetians, torn from their 
fastenings and banging against the wall, 
increased the noise, till at last the wind 
swept them completely off, and rushed 
into the house with • a shriek, as if about 
to carry everything before it. The washing 
stands were in the verandah, and the wind 
caught the jugs and basins up as if they 
were but leaves, and smashed them in all 
directions. The glass doors leading into 
the bedrooms were then taken bodily off 
their hinges, and fragments of the glass 
were scattered throughout the house. Many 
pieces fell on my bed, but I escaped with- 
out any bad cuts. The doors throughout 
the different corridors were the next to 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 239 

succumb ; and now the risk became very 
great that the wind would Hft the roof com- 
pletely off the house, which actually hap- 
pened to many other houses in the colony. 
To add to the confusion of the scene, the 
wind got into the pipes and put the gas 
out, leaving us in total darkness. 

The danger from the storm is not, how- 
ever, the only one to be incurred on this 
dreadful occasion. Bobbers take advantage 
of the general panic and defencelessness 
of the inhabitants, and even proceed to 
incendiarism to aid them in their ne- 
farious designs. For me personally there 
was to be agony piled upon agony. A 
bed of sickness, feverish anxiety and 
nervousness alone would not have en- 
abled me to bear the trying scenes of 
that night with any degree of success, 
but as if all these were not sufficient, I had^ 
to endure being deprived of the companion- 


ship that alone seemed to give me a ficti- 
tious strength. As the hong or house I 
belonged to were all members of the fire 
brigade, on a fire being announced they had 
to don their uniform and go to their duty; 
thus leaving me alone with a Chinese boy 
to look after me, who, however, was quite 
as unnerved as myself. In fact, all the 
boys of the house collected in one room, 
and would not come out for a long time. 
Now and then the one who nominally had 
charge of me would come and ask me had 
I "too muchee fear." 

Some of the men returned sooner than 
might have been expected, greatly to my 
relief. All their efforts had been in vain, 
for in the face of such an opponent man's 
attempts seemed ridiculous, and the fire, 
such as it was, had to be permitted to burn 
its course. 

The storm was now at its height, and it 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 241 

was thought absolutely necessary to move 
me upstairs to a room that was more safely 
situated and altogether stronger than my 
own. One by one the remainder of the 
men returned, wet to the skin, and hardly 
able to walk as their long boots were full 
of water. They all took refuge in this 
room, and brandy was in constant request 
to keep up my spirits, and to refresh them- 
selves after their trying but unavailing at- 
tepts to avert a fresh danger in a possible 
conflagration. This room was divided from 
the drawing-room by folding doors, and 
these soon showed signs of approaching 
destruction. So all the assistance we could 
collect in the shape of coolies was called up, 
and with their aid drawers and boxes were 
piled up against them; but they. were of 
very little use, as the wind swept them 
away, and they were only erected to fall 
again with a crash. Then they got long 



bamboo poles, wedging them in to support 
the doors, and they had to use their fire- 
man's hatchets as hammers ; but even these 
props were of little avail, one giving way 
after the other. 

All this time we were burning oil lamps, 
which gave both a very uncertain light 
and also were continually meeting with 
accidents. Most of the men again went 
out ; some to look after the fire, others to 
try and save life from the ships that were 
constantly being blown on shore. 

How the gusts of wind howled through 
the house, and how I dreaded each one as 
it came, and with what a sigh of thank- 
fulness I followed its departure ! How I 
also strove to detect some lessening in its 
violence, and with what heart-sinking I 
seemed to think each blast but louder and 
more terrific than its predecessor ! 

The poor boys wandered about, keeping 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 243 

clear of tlie windows and our temporary 
barricades, lest they should come down; 
but every now and then my particular 
friend would repeat his former inquiry, and 
I think it was a great consolation to him 
to see a white man almost as frightened 
as himself. At last this night of horrors 
drew towards a close, and about four in 
the morning it became perceptibly quieter, 
and had so far softened down that at six 
o'clock I was able to get some sleep. 

Although by no means long in duration, 
the oldest inhabitant at Hong-Kong could 
not remember one more severe. Besides 
the reason I gave to account for its extra- 
ordinary violence, I may mention the follow- 
ing, viz., that its extent was more limited, 
and we got it from every quarter in the 
course of the twelve hours. Generally its 
force is divided by its violence being ex- 
pended in attacks at different points, sepa- 


rated from each other by hundreds of miles. 
In this instance all its might was spent on 
that part of the coast bordering on the 
Canton river, of which Hong-Kong and 
Macao are the seaports. Of course it was 
very bad over a much more extended sur- 
face, but it was here that it reached its 
acme. Most men who before had often 
expressed a wish to witness a typhoon, 
changed their minds after this experience 
of the reality, and their only desire now 
was never again to be subjected to its 
miseries and horrors. 

For a week afterwards there was a com- 
plete stoppage of all work, and the various 
events of the catastrophe, and each indi- 
vidual's experience, were the sole topics of 
the hour. 

What a sad and wretched sight Hong- 
Kong presented the next day ! In our own 
house — one of the best built, and therefore 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 245 

one of the most fortunate in the place — the 
debris of furniture, of pictures, and of glass- 
ware cumhered the floors ; smashed doors, 
cracked walls, and frameless apertures, that 
once were windows gay with Venetians, on 
all sides ! Everything in confusion, every- 
thing more or less ruined, as if the whole 
place had just heen sacked hy a victorious 
foe after a heavy homhardment. And the 
work of restoration to anything like order, 
beset with difficulties in every way. No 
carpenters or skilled workmen to he ob- 
tained at any price, so that for two or three 
days the house lay open to robbers, who 
took every advantage of the general defence- 
lessness, until at last we had boards nailed 
across as a temporary protection. Hardly 
a single house escaped without almost the 
total loss of its tiles. A report was circu- 
lated that someone had purchased all the 
tiles in the town immediately previous to 


the typhoon, and that he made a fortune 
by selling his eagerly sought for stock at a 
large profit. 

The Praya, or pubHc walk along the quay, 
was the .public meeting-place and general 
resort of crowds coming to see the ruins of 
what once had been the fine quay. This 
was Hterally torn up from its foundations, 
although constructed of immense blocks of 
granite. It looked as if ''the treasure of 
nature's germins had tumbled all together, 
even till destruction sickened," and walking 
on the uneven surface was no easy or plea- 
sant task. Many of the contiguous houses 
had been breached by some huge block 
being hurled against them, as if from a 
catapult. Some of these blocks were so 
imbedded in the walls as to seem to form' 
part of the original structure. Nearly all 
the piers were destroyed ; one of them was 
cut completely in two by a large steamer, 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 247 

which had left its anchors. Two other 
steamers, the Alhay and the Leonor, which 
had just arrived with a large number of 
Chinese passengers, came into collision, and 
sank one on the top of the other. By this 
latter accident alone, over 150 persons were 
supposed to have been drowned ; and during 
the next day, and for several days after, the 
odour along the quay from dead bodies and 
certain kinds of merchandise, carried on 
shore by the tide, was extremely offensive. 

The Alaska, a Pacific mail steamer, was 
beached high and dry on the opposite shore ; 
most of the coasting and other steamers 
had to loose their anchors and steam about. 
The admiral's ship and also the police hulk 
drifted from their moorings, and were found 
in totally different positions when it had all 
subsided. All sailing vessels were more or 
less injured, and for days after gunboats 
cruised about to bring in water-logged or 


otherwise disabled vessels, of wliich there 
were a great many, not a few being too 
much damaged to be of any further service. 

It must be remembered that the road- 
stead of Hong-Kong is considered one of 
the safest and most commodious along the 
whole coast. Of course the greatest loss of 
life occurred amongst the Chinese popula- 
tion, especially among those living in boats. 
These, stationed round the colony, w^ere 
all swamped. It was therefore next to im- 
possible to discover the number of persons 
kiUed ; but I believe the bodies of over 500 
persons were recovered. 

The prison at Kow-Loon, or Stonecutter's 
Island, had the roof carried off; and the 
Town Hall, besides suffering much general 
damage, had a rather fine clock spoilt. The 
Library also suffered a great deal. The 
beauty of Hong-Kong was deprived of one 
of its chief ornaments by the destruction 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874- 249 

of the trees lining the road to Happy Valley. 
These were either torn up by the roots and 
blocked the road, or were so damaged that 
they had to be cut away, as only the stumps, 
peeled of their bark, remained. It vras some 
days before the road was fit again for traffic. 
The Governor's house, at the Peak, was 
unroofed, and the flagstaif which signals all 
incoming steamers was rendered useless. 
The telegraph wires also to Saigon were 
broken, so that messages had to be taken 
by steamer to Singapore or Shanghai, as the 
up-coast wire to Shanghai was also broken. 
At Pook-foo-Lun, where the English resi- 
dents have built summer bungalows, these 
houses, chiefly constructed of matting, were 
in great danger. One was blown bodily — 
furniture and all — into the sea. Its occu- 
pants only escaped with their lives by 
rushing out in their sleeping clothes, and 
seeking shelter behind the remaining waU 


of the wasli-liouse, where they passed the 
remainder of that fearful night, in perfect 
misery and wretchedness. 
- Cargo hoats used for trans-shipping goods 
were in great demand, and could only be 
procured by paying a heavy premium. All 
the racing and regatta boats, of which there 
were a great many, and of which the colony 
was very proud, were destroyed by the hulk 
of a vessel being blown through the roof of 
the boat-house. The swimming baths were 
also ruined. Most of the private steam- 
launches had either capsized or been 
swamped. One of the Canton Steamboat 
Company's steamers had a large hole 
knocked in her side : and there were manv 
other incidents to show the general destruc- 
tion, which would, however, be tedious to 

It can, therefore, 'easily be imagined how 
wretched and sad the harbour looked, with 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 251 

wrecked hulks floating about, or the masts 
of ships projecting above the surface of the 

I understand, however, that Macao suf- 
fered to a greater extent even than Hong- 
Kong. The bodies of over 4,000 Chinese 
were recovered, not a boat was left uninjured 
in the place, gunboats were either over- 
turned, or landed high and dry, and one 
steamer was rejported to have been blown 
three miles inland. 

The Canton steamer to Macao, White 
Cloud, was fouled by a junk, sunk, and was 
of no use afterwards. 

Fires were also more numerous here than 
at Hong-Kong, and some assumed alarming 
proportions. These were set down as the 
acts of incendiaries, and there were many 
daring robberies. The soldiers were <3alled 
oat to put down these disorders, but refused 
to obey, and the Maoaese had to be armed 


in self-defence, as a last resource to restore 
order in the state of anarchy and turmoil 
that was rampant in the island for several 
days. The destruction was so extensive, 
that when I left China it was considered 
extremely douhtful whether such a poor 
place could ever recover. The only pros- 
pect was that the Chinese might think it 
worth their Avhile to rebuild it themselves. 

So ended the great typhoon of 1874, 
which, for its violence and for the damage 
inflicted by it, may compare with any of the 
greatest catastrophes that have become his- 
torical. It must be remembered that, 
besides the direct loss, there was much 
injury done to the country by the wind 
blowing the salt inland for miles, which 
cast a blight on all vegetation. It cannot 
be accurately estimated how much damage 
was inflicted, but it certainly cannot have 
been less than several millions sterling in 
this neighbourhood alone. 

THE TYPHOON OF 1874. 253 

While the natives seemed during its dura- 
tion completely crushed with terror, after- 
wards, when they were able to review their 
altered circumstances, their natural apathy 
returned to enable them to bear the accu- 
mulated losses they found they had incurred. 
But although, with care and hard work, a 
few years will doubtless remove all traces 
of the destruction of property, it will require 
a much longer time before the black images 
of that terrible night shall be equally blotted 
out from their memory. Those who, like 
myself, saw it for the first, and also pro- 
bably for the last time, must ever retain a 
most vivid remembrance of its terrific 
grandeur; although I, personally, had no 
loss in any way to lament by it ; and indeed 
my altered circumstances and departure for 
home afforded me too many subjects to 
occupy my attention, to permit me to 
indulge in any unnecessary recurrence to a 
painful and unpleasant event. > 




But a few days elapsed after the occurrence 
of the typhoon, when it was decided by my 
medical attendants that a return to Europe 
was absolutely necessary for me, as longer 
residence in China had become an impossi- 
bihty, through the shattered state of my 
nervous system. I will only look on that 
fact as the cause for the end of my narra- 
tive. I will make no remark here on the 
far more important bearing that decision 
had on my own destiny. In the course of 
this narrative I have endeavoured — with 
what success my readers must determine — 
to show the mode of Hfe followed by Eng- 


lish residents in China ; while I have at the 
same time attempted the more ambitious 
task of considering those topics that seem 
most pressing in their character, occasioned 
by our intercourse with the Chinese. I 
am perfectly aware of the responsihihty I 
have incurred by commenting as freely as 
I have on pohtical subjects that may by 
some be considered beyond the province of 
such an unpretending book as mine. I may 
seem to have neglected the real object of 
my story for the sake of saying something 
about matters of a more fascinating charac- 
ter than the dry details of daily life in Can- 
ton. But my answer to such objections is, 
that my whole idea in writing this relation 
of my brief residence was to famiUarise 
— even to such a small degree as I am able 
— the public to some knowledge of Chinese 
matters. In doing so, where topics of 
general interest have seemed naturally 


suggested, I have ventured to comment 
upon them ; and in this I think I have not 
exceeded my right. I have also devoted 
three chapters to piracy, and have done 
my best to view that public evil in as im- 
partial a light as possible. 

Eesidence in China may be taken to be a 
state of existence that requires much luxury 
and amusement to make it endurable ; but 
as those necessaries are always obtainable, 
there is no discontent on the part of the 
English residents. The insecurity always 
experienced, and the uncertainty of ap- 
proaching events, have, however, greatly 
increased since my departure ; and indeed, 
if it is generally imagined out there that 
they are living on the sides of a volcano that 
may any day explode to their destruction, 
occurrences of too recent date to need 
specific mention have been such as to give 
some ground for their worst fears. For it 


must be clearly understood that there is no 
friendly communication whatever between 
the natives and ourselves. We never ask 
them to our houses, we never go to theirs ; 
we are never seen in general conversation 
with any of them; when we do dine to- 
gether, it is at the Flower Boats, in a hired 
room ; we are not, even on these rare occa- 
sions, admitted to any very great degree of 
intimacy, although our entertainers are of 
course of the more convivial or youthful de- 
scription. The restraint is increased by our 
ignorance of one another's tongue. An 
EngHsh resident for years will only know a 
few words, or at the most a smattering of 
business verbiage. The Chinaman is still 
less proficient. But it is certainly for us to 
learn out there ; and a spirit of emulation 
ought to possess all Englishmen to attain 
to a certain fluency in the native language 
as rapidly as possible. Perhaps such know- 



ledge, besides being of immense practical 
use, might be also of some political weight, 
and might tend to lessen the prejudices at 
present existing on both sides, 

I have also ventured to speak strongly in 
favour of the speedy introduction of the 
steam engine, and believe that the fact of 
Whampoa being to all purposes the port of 
Canton, presents a very suitable occasion 
to inaugurate such an experiment, and one 
at the same time presenting no inordinate 
difficulties, both because the natives are 
there most familiar to the presence of the 
foreigner, and also on account of the short- 
ness of the journey. 

But I will no longer Hnger over what I 
have previously narrated. My subject is 
one of daily increasing importance. China 
is rapidly occupying as much of attention 
as India; and papers which before treated 
Chinese questions as beneath their notice. 


are now continually instructing the public 
by articles on their customs, their military 
or naval progress, and the movements of 
Christian missionaries ; and even the dis- 
agreements with ourselves are turned to 
profitable account by increasing our ac- 
quaintance with this strange nation. There 
therefore can be no question as to the im- 
portance of my theme ; but when I consider 
the manner in which I have been able to 
treat it, it is then that I feel my own unfit- 
ness to do so in an adequate way. Many 
of my readers, I dare say, have spent as 
many years in China as I have months ; 
some, perhaps, much longer ; others who 
have never been there have made her 
history a life-long study. What will these 
say as to the propriety of my writing, when 
they, with all their acquaintance, or with 
all their knowledge, have remained silent ? 
I may be permitted to say that they are 


the only proper persons to farnish the reply. 
But from the general reader who has fol- 
lowed me through my reminiscence of a 
happy six months in a far distant land, I 
feel assured that I shall receive nothing hut 
consideration. That re-awakening of past 
events has not been accomplished without 
some pain, and to recall how swift was the 
passage from a pleasant existence to a bed 
of sickness and a blank career has been no 
pleasant operation. I will end as I com- 
menced, by expressing that the highest 
reward I could possibly expect to result 
from what I have written would be to set 
an example that might be followed with 
more brilhant success by those more versed 
in Chinese life than myself. If in any way 
or on any single point my remarks have 
made something more comprehensible, or 
have put questions in a clearer light, my 
book has served its purpose, and I am con- 


tent. To elucidate tlie hidden mysteries of 
any national character ; to point in any way, 
be it never so slight, to a mode of making 
peoples better affected one towards the 
other ; to view the actions of those we are 
brought in contact with so as to enable us 
to appreciate their virtues and condone 
their faults, — each one of these objects is 
sufficient to honour the attempt of anyone, 
were he even such an humble instrument of 
use as myseK. 




Hontion : 



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A. B. Wildered, Parishioner. Fcp. 8vo. 2s. 6d. cloth. 

Author of " Helen," etc. Price id. 

EPITAPHIANA; or, the Curiosities of Churchyard 
Literature : being a Mis-cellaneous Collection of Epitaphs, 
with an INTRODUCTION. By W. Fairley. Crown 8vo., cloth, 
price 55. Post free. 

"Entertaining." — PaU Mall Gazette. 

"A capital collection." — Cou7-t Circular 

"A very readable volume. " — Daily Review. 

"A most interesting book." — Leeds JMercuty. 

" Interesting and amusing." Nonconformist. 

" Particularly entertaining." — Public Opinion. 

" A curious and entertaining volume." — Oxford Chronicle. 

"A very interesting collection." — Civil Service Gazette. 

-L Dedicated to Liberals of all classes. By Philhelot, 
of Cambridge ; in ornamental cover, price sixpence, post free. 

Samuel Tinsley, 10, Southampton Street, Strand. 


Samuel Tinsley's Publications. 15 


HE DEATH OF ^GEUS, and other Poems. By 
W. H. A. Emra, Fcp. 8vo., 5s. 

ELEN, and other Poems. By Hubert Curtis. 
Fcp. 8vo,,3s. 6d. 

MISPLACED LOVE. A Tale of Love, Sin, Sorrow, 
and Remorse, i vol., crown 8vo., 5 s. 

THE SOUL SPEAKS, and other Poems. By Francis 
H. H EMERY. In wrapper, is. 

Poems. By Rosa Mackenzie Kettle, Author of" The 
Mistress of Langdale Hall." New Edition. 2s. 6d., cloth. 

THE WITCH of NEMI, and other Poems. By 
Edward Brennan. Crown Svo., los. 6d. 

Nicholas J. Gannon. Fcp. Svo., 4s., cloth. Second 

THE GOLDEN PATH : a Poem. By Isabella 
Stuart. 6d., sewed. 

-L DRAL : Lines from the Latin of Peter du Moulin, some- 
time a Prebendary of Canterbury. Translated by the Rev. 
F. B. Wells, M.A., Rector of Woodchurch. Handsomely 
bound, price is. 

-*- comprising Autograph Letters of Roger Tichborne, 
Arthur Orton (to Mary Ann Loder), and the Defendant (early 
letters to Lady Tichborne, &c.), in facsimile. In wrapper, 
price 6d. 

TUME. By the Rev. James Kean, M.A., Assistant to 
the Incumbent of Markinch, Fife. 6d., sewed. 

Showing how John's Cook made an Irish Stew, and 
what came of it. 6d., sewed. 

Samuel Tinsley, 10, Southampton Street, Strand. 


16 Samuel Tinsley's Publications. 


TTNTRODDEN SPAIN, and her Black Country. 
Being Sketches of the Life and Character of the Spaniard of the 
Interior. By Hugh James Rose, M.A., of Oriel College, Oxford; 
Chaplain to- the Englishf French, and German Mining Companies of 
Linaries ; and formerly Acting Chaplain to Her I^Iajesty's Forces at 
Dover Garrison. In 2 vols., 8vo., price 30s. 

The Times says — " These volumes form a very pleasing commentary on 
a land and a people to which Englishmen will always turn with sympathetic 

The Saturday Review says— " His title of 'Untrodden Spain' is no 
misnomer. He leads us into scenes and among classes of Spaniards where 
few English writers have preceded him. . . . We can only recommend our 
readers to get it and search for themselves. Those who are most inti- 
mately acquainted with Spain will best appreciate its varied excellences," 

The Spectator says — "The author's kindliness is as conspicuous as his 
closeness of observation and fairness of judgment ; his sympathy with the 
people inspires his pen as happily as does his artistic appreciation of the 
country ; and both have combined in the production of a work of striking 
novelty and sterling value." 

The Athenseum says — " We regret that we cannot make further extracts, 
for ' Untrodden Spain ' is by far the best book upon Spanish peasant hfe 
tnat we have ever met with." 

The Literary Churchman says- -" Seldom has a book of travel come 
before us which has so taken our fancy in reading, and left behind it, when 
the reading was over, so distinct an impression." 

ESLAMIAH ; or, Travels in the Summer of 1875 through 
Hungary, Schlavonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Dalmatia, and Mon- 
tenegro to the North of Albania. By James Creagh, Author 
of " A Scamper to Sebastopol." 2 vols., post 8vo, 25s. 

ITALY REVISITED. By A. Gallenga (of The 
Times), Author of " Country Life in Piedmont," &c., &c. 2 vols., 
8vo., price 30s. 

CANTON AND THE BOGUE : the Narrative of an 
Eventful Six Months in China. By Walter William 
MUNDY. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 

DICKENS. By T. Edgar Pemberton, Author of 
" Under Pressure." Crown 8vo, 6s. 

Samuel Tinsley, 10, Southampton Street, Strand. 





^ A ^ 





LD 62A-30m-2,'69 
(J6534sl0)9412A — A-32 

General Library 

University of California 



.General Library 

University of California 

YB 28646