China 1729-1831 – part 3


Vol 2 No 16 – Wednesday 2nd September 1829

A book was published in Chinese some 12 years ago which indicates where the Chinese government revenue comes from :

  • land tax,
  • gabelle,
  • ginseng licensing (collection & / or sale without a licence is a capital offence),
  • inland transit duty (likin) on goods,
  • taxes on reeds and tea,
  • sale of licences to trade on the western and northern frontiers.
  • a tax on grain. (Hong Hei removed it to make food cheaper but after a few years it was apparent that the grain dealers pocketed the equivalent of the tax and left the retail price unchanged. He then re-established it.)
  • Taxes on the procurement of all metals.
  • Tax on fisheries, houses and pawnbroking.
  • The confiscation of Estates of venal government servants.
  • In emergencies the government requests contributions from trade bodies and other centres of wealth.
  • The sale of honours to civilians and commissions in the military.

Expenditure is on allowances to the extensive royal family, costs of the military, building and maintenance of canals and bridges, training the Yellow River etc.

Vol 2 No 16 – Wednesday 2nd September 1829

Peking Gazettes:

  1. Old Sung, the official who befriended Macartney in 1793, who has been rumoured dead several times, has been appointed to act as Governor of Peking and receive the seals of Na Yen Ching (the suppressor of Jahangir Khoja’s insurrection) who is now arriving at Peking. Na was previously Governor of Chih Li and will likely return to that post.
    Sung loves the rapture of wine and occasionally attends court with cold towels wrapped around his head. He has been appointed and dismissed from office some twenty times. He survives because he is patently honest and poor and because he gave a daughter to the harem of the Ka Hing Emperor who has become sufficiently well-connected to protect him.
  2. Bandits are common in Szechuan and lurk in the hills. When the army was sent against them recently the bandits opened fire and killed 10 soldiers. Now the gang has been caught and its leaders executed. The Emperor expresses satisfaction.
  3. The Gazette mentions two cases in which suspects have died under torture. The involved magistrates have been dismissed.

Vol 2 No 16 – Wednesday 2nd September 1829

Trade – The new Chuen Chow sugar candy is arriving in coastal junks daily and sells at $13.25 – 14.00 per picul.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

The Canton government is tightening its regulation of foreign trade:

  1. It has issued an order that any foreign ship arriving in Canton for trade must commit to take an export cargo before it can either offload and sell its imports or get a Hong merchant to go security for her. The order is aimed at the country trade. This system of Hong merchant responsibility, one for another, is fundamental in the Chinese system.
    Any foreign ship must find a Hong merchant to go security for it to the government for the good conduct of the officers and crew. No ship can open hatches until it has been secured. Now the country ships will have to commit to an export cargo as well before they can get a Hong merchant to go security.
  2. Another new regulation is that no Chinese, except Hong merchants and Linguists, can go to the foreign factories. Even tailors and shoe makers are excluded. It is suspected that disaffected Chinese may provide secret information to the foreigners.1 The provincial police, Hong merchants and linguists are required to watch the foreigners and report anything remotely suspicious.
  3. A third edict lists new regulations for cargo lighters (chop boats).

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

We are pleased to note a new hotel has opened in the Canton factories. There was one before which closed a few years ago. We hope the new proprietors will get it right. Having a hotel here, where foreigners are unwelcome and restrained, requires public support and we hope there will be adequate patronage.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

Chinese law for the regulation of society is contained in 28 volumes of the Ta Tsing Wui Teen (the Great Ching’s family law). The thrust of this work is that if the people are skilful and diligent, everything will be well; if they are not, social conditions will deteriorate. Then illegalities, insurrection and distress will arise and the people will be fined, degraded, dismissed, etc.

As a result of this, the people usually try to conceal facts from officials. They settle disputes amongst themselves and seldom report mal-administration. The suppression of the Canton pirates in 1811 was largely effected in private meetings in accordance with this way.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

The Hong Hei Emperor made a law that punishment for non-capital crimes committed in the heat of summer (June, July or Augustwhen people become irritable from heat and humidity and the consequent inability to sleep well) should be reduced from the normal tariff.

The law was abused and finally withdrawn until this summer when the To Kwong Emperor revived it. The Canton government has been told to not use the pillory in summer and to release all minor offenders on bail until cool weather returns.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

Peking Gazettes:

  1. The Emperor requires 2,000 camels for his annual hunting expedition to Manchuria but only 1,100 are available. He complains that he supposedly has a stud with 4,500 breeding camels which should be plenty.
    Timber is also required to repair the road to Manchuria before the hunting party can depart. For this purpose some officials unauthorisedly cut down trees on the land of Mr Yang Che in Yung Ping Foo, Chih Li who has now complained.
  2. The Governor of Kiang Nan has told the Emperor that Soochow stands at the junction of roads to nine provinces and should have an additional 1,000 men in its garrison. The Emperor requires the military authorities to consider the proposal.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

Dr John Livingstone, formerly the Company’s Doctor at Canton has died. He left China in 1827. Since then first his son, then his wife and now he himself have died.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

Lord Macartney reported in 1793 that China’s population was 333 millions. He was widely disbelieved. The Imperial map of China published in 1790 put the pop at 143 million taxable citizens and 7 million untaxable.

We have now seen a passage in the Ta Tsing Wui Tien in which the Kien Lung Emperor said the population in 1710 was 23.3 million after the devastation of conquest but by 1784 had recovered to 307.4 millions. From this it appears that China has doubled its population every 20 years since the accession of the Ching dynasty.

Kien Lung was concerned because the size of the country is fixed but the population increases.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

The Whampoa magistrate says most thefts from houses are accomplished by thieves who come over the roofs. He says the usual short weapons of defenders are ineffective in an attack from the roof and urges householders to use spears or hooks attached to bamboo poles. This suggests it is legal to use weapons to prevent theft although firearms are not mentioned.

Theft has become so widespread at Whampoa that the magistrate says no compassion will be offered. The thief’s Achilles tendons will be cut to deter escape pending for trial and he will receive the full legal punishment.

The Nam Hoi magistrate, Sen, says the Cantonese are addicted to gambling, lotteries, opium and flower girls. All these vices have become habitual. Bandits open gambling dens, opium divans or brothels and young men fall into the trap. He blames the local police who connive at social crime. He calls on fathers and brothers to support their relatives and suppress vice.

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

The Ka Hing Emperor surprised the then Viceroy of the Two Kwong with a request for a Chinese interpreter of European languages. He had assumed that, amongst the many Chinese dealing with foreigners at Canton, some one or two would be suitably qualified. The officials searched diligently and located old Dr Lee then about 80 years old who had spent 50 years in Macau and was believed to have earlier lived in Malaya. He was sent off to Peking. Then a youth who had been trained at the Catholic college at Naples was identified and sent up as well, but he has since returned as we have seen him on the streets of Canton.

Now the To Kwong Emperor has also requisitioned an interpreter and the Viceroy has asked How Qua Jr to find someone. How Qua has discovered a youth from Sze Chuen who studied at the Catholic college in Penang and later the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca. The Peking government first sent down some Russian papers in Latin, which they had previously had translated, and the young man rendered a fair approximation of the meaning. He was provided with a boat and official flag, taken to Peking and is now appointed at 100 Taels per month. We hope he will tell the Emperor of our school at Malacca.2

Vol 2 No 17 – Friday 18th September 1829

Peking Gazettes:

  1. The fourteen ranks of royalty in the Ching Imperial family are all permitted to keep eunuchs, as are great officers of state. No other people are allowed the privilege. The number of eunuchs permitted to officials decreases with rank. Eunuchs are not trusted by the Ching as they recall their role in the downfall of the Ming. They were also involved in the attempt on the Ka Hing Emperor’s life.
  2. A race of non-Han people called Miao live in the mountains of various provinces. Those in Hunan have just been lent seed-grain by government as their crops have failed.

Vol 2 No 19 – Saturday 17th October 1829


  • John C Whiteman commenced business at Canton as Whiteman & Co on 1st October and operates inter alia as the Ganges Insurance Company’s agent in China
  • The partnership Robertson Cullen & Co in China will be dissolved on 1st November by consent of Alexander Robertson and Robert Downie Cullen. Claims should be sent to A Robertson and John C Whiteman (attorney of R D Cullen)

Vol 2 No 19 – Saturday 17th October 1829

Peking Gazettes – Chung Cheung, the silk commissioner at Soochow, has been appointed Hoppo of Canton. The Privy Council allows him 40 days to complete the journey.

Vol 2 No 19 – Saturday 17th October 1829

  1. A Korean envoy is to accompany the Emperor and his retinue on their visit to the Imperial tombs. They departed 13th September for Mukden and other places in Manchuria.
  2. The regular troops who were employed at Aksu collecting copper from the hills for the war, are to be withdrawn as they are inefficient and the local Muslims work quicker. The tax that was levied on the residents is commuted to 16,200 catties of copper p. a. Two senior Muslims have been made responsible for collecting, smelting and supplying this.
    The Chinese Resident has been told to oversee the process and ensure these two do not oppress the people.

Vol 2 No 19 – Saturday 17th October 1829

The Attorney General of Dutch Java has filed a Writ at the Supreme Court at Batavia indicting Johannes Hendrikus Bletterman for corruption while Netherlands Consul at Canton. The Java Gazette of 29th August 1829 records the complaint and Bletterman’s defence:

The Indictment:

  • Negotiating government Bills at poor exchange rates.
  • Entering false Bonds against the government in his books
  • Charging the government with a Bond in favour of the Hong merchant Con Se Qua that was assigned to Mr Rabinal and should have been to his credit.
  • Obtaining a piece of land at Canton through his official position and then alleging it had no value.


  • I made debts due to me appear on the books as due to others because my government pays outsiders more quickly than its own staff.
  • The obligation to Con Se Qua was transferred to Rabinal during settlement of accounts. My only fault was in allowing the Bill to be transferred in the original creditor’s name.

Vol 2 No 19 – Saturday 17th October 1829

The Company organised a regatta at Tung Ku3 on Thursday 8th October. Sweepstakes were held on single-banked and double-banked cutter races.

Vol 2 No 20 – 3rd November 1829

Peking Gazettes:

  1. Chang Ling, the Chinese General who defeated Chang Ki Hur in Turkestan, has taken up his new post as Governor of one of the gates of Peking.
    He has arrested some opium smugglers trying to bring 170 Taels (14 lbs) of opium into the capital. The three smugglers, Chan, Loo and Lin, together with their opium and smoking materials, have been handed over to the criminal board which commends the General for his vigilance.
  2. Ho Shan Heen in Loo Kan Chow of Anhwei province produces a ‘bud’ tea that is especially esteemed. 700 catties are sent to Peking each year but were late arriving this year and the Board of Rites recommends that the local magistrate be prosecuted for neglecting his duty.
  3. The new Hoppo Cheung, who is on his way to Canton to take up his duty, has told the Emperor that the tribute silk from Chekiang is sent by Soochow, Hangchow and Keang Ning in turns and this year it is the turn of Soochow (the people who sent the shoddy to the Muslims in Turkestan).
  4. The Emperor, the Empress dowager (his mother) and much of the Court continue to prepare to visit the Imperial tombs in Tartary. They were supposed to leave on Sunday 13th October.
  5. The Chinese have a popular love of their country and its form of autocratic government. Recently Soo Kwok Ping stuck-up a poster on the Premier’s Wall in Peking (a place where public comment is allowed) addressed to the Emperor and proposing some methods to enhance peace and prosperity.
    He was detained while his proposals were placed before the Emperor for information. The Peking Gazettes do not say what they were but report that Soo has now been transported to the most remote frontier for writing about things that should not concern him.
  6. In the recent war in Turkestan, the To Kwong Emperor gave plenipotentiary4 powers to General Chang Ling to bring the matter to a conclusion.
  7. The censor Sung Chao Kuh has complained of the sale of women and children in Kwei Chow province. It is long forbidden by Peking but the provincial authorities connive at it. He says government employees sell women prisoners to the traffickers.

Vol 2 No 20 – 3rd November 1829

Necromancy is practised in China. Male necromancers are called Sze Kung and female ones Sze Po or Man Kwai Po (‘ask the ghost’ woman). They tell exotic stories and sell charms. The Sze Kung prescribes prayers and charms for a mad or unlucky person to use. If the patient recovers, the Sze Kung has done his job; if he does not, the man and his relatives have failed to follow the instructions precisely.

Shopmen and traders who allow their businesses to fail (commonly through their own laziness or debauchery) often seek the help of a Sze Kung to worship and prophesy and to explain their misfortune and reverse it. It is a thoroughly commercial transaction – the more money you pay the better luck the Sze Kung promises for you.

Women approach a Sze Po for news of dead relatives. The Sze Po prepares an altar, lights three joss sticks and prays to the gods for directions. She then explains the deceased’s difficulties which can invariably be overcome by buying foo chow charms from the Sze Po to be burnt before a Buddha image and thus procure His help in rescuing the deceased and bringing about his rebirth.

Vol 2 No 20 – 3rd November 1829

Local news – The Tung Ku regatta featured two subscription races on the 2nd day (15th October) which were exciting to watch. There are two more days of racing which we will report on soon.

Vol 2 No 20 – 3rd November 1829

The Select Committee has ordered all Company ship captains and officers to leave Canton and return to their ships. Even the damaged Bridgewater is to go to Tung Ku once her repairs are complete. The Hong merchants are shocked.

This purported unilateral withdrawal from business is the first step in a new Company ploy to redress grievances flowing from trade restrictions. We require perfect reciprocity of justice.

Vol 2 No 21 – Wednesday 18th November 1829

Advertisement: Capt Ino Burd in the Danish ship Norden will depart Whampoa for Copenhagen in early December. Passengers for England can disembark in the English Channel. For passages apply Magniac & Company.5

M/s Markwick and Lane will be selling a variety of lamps and chandeliers by auction on 28th November at their sale room at 3 Imperial Hong, Canton.

Vol 2 No 21 – Wednesday 18th November 1829

The Company’s negotiations with the Canton government for reform of trading terms continue. Most of the traders (English, Parsee, Dutch and Spanish) have complaints but the Americans have declined to be involved. It has been agreed amongst the effected merchants that whatever redress the English can get will apply to all nations uniformly so the Americans and others are keeping their reputations clean. The restrictive system promotes corruption which the Viceroy admits.

Any redress we obtain will be due to the Select Committee withdrawing Company shipping to Tung Ku and negotiating for the end of all grievances not just those affecting their own trade. They have suggested new regulations and the Viceroy seems to accept the merits of some of them.

An early indication of success is given by the Danish ship Norden which was required to pay only $200 in ship’s comprador fees instead of the usual $750. We understand all the exactions are being reviewed with the intention of reducing them. Magniac & Co’s petition for the country trade and Governor Lee’s response to it are shown below:

“We are reporting the bad trading conditions. Extortions increase every year. Formerly when trade was good there were no difficulties. Now trade is reduced there are complaints. Before there were twelve Hong merchants but now there are seven of whom only two will deal with country merchants. Must we let these two merchants combine and give whatever prices they chose? To become a merchant costs 40,000 – 50,000 Taels. Then the Hoppo’s secretary (King Shing) and all the Customs officers extort from the merchant without compassion. Hong merchants are not allowed to retire when they get old. If their sons are not capable, their business suffers. No-one wants to be a Hong merchant. How can good men be obtained? We wish to trade with anyone and to rent warehouses to store our goods, to buy and sell as we like. The difficulties of the Hong merchants have increased for over 70 years. We need fifty Hong merchants to make conditions tolerable.

“We particularly complain the law that makes all the Hong merchants severally liable for the debts of any one of them. This distresses the Hong merchants and the foreign merchants. Any Hong merchant may become insolvent through no fault of his own.

“18 months ago, Man Hop Hong failed owing over $1,000,000. It is widely believed that Man Hop took the money to pay old debts and appropriated the balance to his own use. The debts were laid on the other merchants to pay in six years without interest. The remaining Hong merchants forthwith increased the duties payable on foreign trade to make-up the threatened deficit.

“Now another Hong merchant Chun Qua has emulated Man Hop, perhaps in consideration of Man Hop evading responsibility so easily. He has transferred $500,000 of foreigners’ money to nominees and sold his property to pay debts. He has no assets remaining in his own name. If Chun Qua is not recalled and his debts paid, many foreign firms will become insolvent. We do not agree to let Chun Qua go and leave the remaining merchants to pay his debts over six years.

“The duties levied on the foreign trade are extortionate but the revenue gets little benefit. The approved duty on cotton is 1 mace 5 candareens (per picul) but the Hong merchants tax us at 1 tael 5 mace. The ‘present money’ on each ship, big or small, entering port is 1,950 Taels. This fee must be removed. When a Hong merchant secures a ship, the Customs house staff, the Linguist and ship comprador request excessive fees for their services. If a comprador is not required, still the fee must be paid. This is unjust. We do not wish to trouble you but this state of affairs cannot continue.”

Sgd Fox Rawson and Co, Ilberry Fearon & Co, Magniac & Co, Thomas Dent & Co, Whiteman & Co, James Innes, John Brightman, R Turner, D Manson, W Morgan, A de Souza, W Bruce, Archibald Hogg, Thomas Wills, W A Woods and George Horback.

The Viceroy’s reply:

“This should be examined. Previously the Indian merchants, Dorabjee and others, complained against the 1 Tael 5 mace duty on cotton and I have already ordered the Hong merchants to report. They say the duty is collected together with other expenses for boats and off-loading costs and is not excessive. They say a full account of charges is provided to each ship. They say cotton is a major item of commerce but trade in it has been poor in recent years. The shopmen are not allowed to receive it so sales must be through the Hongs and are often delayed. Because the ships have to leave when the wind is from the north, the security merchants are obliged to buy the cotton by advancing the price at that time although they have no buyers in hand and the value might daily decrease. They have consequently often lost money and their businesses have failed. This is why the price they are willing to pay declines.

“Concerning Plowden and others foreigners, and their request to increase the number of Hong merchants, I have asked the provincial Treasurer and Judge to report. The foreigners should now keep quiet until I give my orders on the subject. Do not send more dunning and whining petitions. 15th October 1829.”

The Viceroy’s answer to Dorabjee Hormusjee and other Parsee merchants:

“It is a fixed law of China that foreigners deal through the Hong merchants. There are two who are competent to buy everything. Chun Qua’s staff say their proprietor will return in 11th moon. If he does not come I will send for him. The ‘present (cumshaw) money’ on ships entering port and the measurement fee are regular duties and must be paid. The Consoo charge is an old charge and no-one complained before but I will check with the Hong merchants and let you know. The extortion by compradors is nothing to do with the government.6 You can pay or not pay as you like.”

The Viceroy’s reply to Koleena, for the Spanish (Luzon) traders:

“You foreigners should be grateful for the gracious treatment you receive in Canton and implicitly obey the commands of government. Hong merchants are established to conduct foreign trade. The payment of duties and measurement dues, the allowances for shrinkage in turning foreign dollars into pure silver, the cost of carriage, etc., these are all old charges that have been fixed for many years. Do not expect any alteration.

“At the beginning of this month the English chief Plowden and others petitioned for several changes but it is difficult to grant their wishes. Nevertheless I agreed to consult the treasurer and judge to show my impartiality instead of rejecting their requests outright with reprimands. No suggestion that their selfish views will be entertained should be implied. Now other foreigners are following their example. The other day the Parsees and the Dutch joined in. Dorabjee, Magniac and van Caneghem presented petitions. Now you Spanish send in the same mad and incoherent nonsense. It is worthy of the deepest detestation.

“China has abundant harvests and mountains of wealth. Her treasury is overflowing. We are independent of you barbarians and your goods. If you offend us you will be expelled and excluded from the benefits of trade with China. I suspect some Chinese merchants have put you up to this and you have unwittingly become their tool. It is correct the Hong merchants are not allowed to retire. The Emperor has so ruled. It is done in compassion for the foreigners so their debts will all be paid. If the Hoppo permitted a merchant to retire, you would petition for his continuance in business. Affluent merchants are ipso facto successful. Who will you trade with if they retire? Clearly some merchant who wants to retire has put you up to this and you foolish foreigners have obliged him. Do not be fooled. Rouse yourselves and examine everything carefully. Do not wildly produce a new complaint without thinking carefully about it or I will investigate and identify the traitorous Hong merchant and the foreign merchants who are his tool and prosecute all of you. Tremble at this.” 27th October 1829.

The Viceroy’s reply to a foreign lady:

“Your husband died some years ago and the foreign community subscribed $8,000 for your upkeep which Magniac & Co placed on deposit with Chun Qua so you could live on the interest. This year you say when Magniac applied for the annual interest they were told after considerable delay that Chun Qua had absconded taking $500,000 with him including your $8,000. I have ordered the Judge and the Nam Hoi magistrate to investigate and obtain restitution for you. They have told the Hong merchants you will come and sit in their factories and cry until they pay you. They would then lose face. The Hong merchants are therefore commanded to restore all your money without delay.” 18.October.29

Vol 2 No 21 – Wednesday 18th November 1829

Local news:

  • The 3rd and 4th days of the Tung Ku regatta were held on 21st and 22nd October, one race on the first day and three on the second.
  • The Editor has received a letter from a man calling himself Nauticus who suggests the Company officers should use their idle time at Tung Ku to survey the bays and islands.
  • Many visitors from the Indian presidencies and in the Company’s fleet at Tung Ku are holding elegant amusements at Macau and we would like details for insertion in the paper.

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

Local News:

  • The Viceroy and Foo Yuen have received an order by express mail to send the Provincial Judge and Treasurer to Peking. No reason is given.
  • The Dutch consul has tried to submit a petition to the Viceroy. He wrote it in French and had it translated into Chinese by a resident Frenchman but, as the translator is not a member of the consul’s staff and thus not under his control, the Viceroy declined to receive it. (In this respect the English factory enjoys the unique distinction, courtesy of Staunton, of being allowed to submit petitions in Chinese.) The Dutch consul persisted and finally the Viceroy directed that one of the Linguists provide a translation but it is a poor job.
  • The Viceroy’s reply to the Select Committee is a fine document – moderate, and carefully reasoned. It is a novelty in provincial diplomacy but it denies each and every request. The Governor says he has ordered that additional Hong merchants be appointed who will be exempt from the usual heavy fees. He says if none come forward he can do no more. An invitation to be a Hong merchant is an invitation to self-destruction and the unwillingness of traders to apply reveals the viciousness of the system. It is rumoured that two applicants have come forward although our Chinese friends tells us to place no reliance on the Viceroy. He does not obligate himself or the Hoppo to reforms (the Hoppo’s department is primarily responsible for the extortions. Since the death of the incumbent a few months ago, he is temporarily represented by the Viceroy).
    Nevertheless junior officials have become more civil in their administration of the practical affairs of the port and a mention of appeal to higher authority now gets their attention.

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

Peking Gazettes:

  1. The envoy from Cochin China with two assistants and seventeen attendants recently passed through Hu Kwang Province on his way to Peking. The governor gave a banquet and reminded the embassy of the tender mercy of the Emperor to men from afar. They then crossed the Yangtse River and continued overland to Peking.
  2. Work on the banks of the Yellow River has been costed at Peking and it is suggested that 487,000 Taels more than necessary have been spent. The responsible officers are to be prosecuted for recovery.
  3. The Chinese resident at Aksu in Kansu Province has asked for 38,000 Taels to pay his garrison of 1,800 men.
  4. The officer Pa Hi Tan Ko who was ordered to take troops from Ili to Kashgar to fight Jahangir last year and who failed to arrive, allowing Jahangir to escape, was sentenced to wear the heavy wooden cangue for a year and then be transported to the Amur River (Heilongjiang) to do hard labour for the rest of his life. The Emperor requested for a report on him every three years and has just been told he is still alive.

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

Local news – On 26th October all the merchants, officials and many commoners of Canton made sacrifice to the spirit of How Qua Jr’s late son. How Qua only recently paid $300,000 to transfer the name of his Hong into his son’s name and be exempted from personal attendance at the office. That is now to no avail. The son was aged 41 years and profligate. His dying wish was for gold and silver offerings to enjoy in the after-life. If you make an offering of about $10 to his manes you can recover $8 in return presents if you are a poor man but $20 if rich or important. How Qua is thought to have spent $50,000 – $100,000 on the funeral. He spent as much on his 60th birthday celebrations.

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

The Company’s unilateral withdrawal from trade has been prejudiced by its ship’s officers on the Bridgewater sending their private trade up to Canton for sale.

The Hong merchants now know the private trade of ships’ officers is permitted and they expect the others to follow. They suppose the Company’s consignments will then be unloaded.

Notwithstanding the attempted trade suspension, the tea merchants in their direct trade with the Americans, are holding out for the prices established by the Hong merchants.

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

The foreign country traders have received an edict of the Viceroy on 3rd December:

“The Viceroy as acting Hoppo has received your petition. You say some Hong merchants have ceased business and only seven remain. The Emperor permits new Hong merchants to be appointed. I have twice ordered the continuing Hongs to submit names so their bonds may be received and they can commence business. All the customary fees of the Hoppo are to be remitted and the Hoppo’s servants forbidden to extort.

“Following receipt of the report of the Judge and Treasurer, I order that when new merchants become numerous the old ones may apply to retire. I expect the new Hoppo will ratify this.

“I am issuing this proclamation to assure new merchants that they will not have to fruitlessly expend large sums nor will they be unable to retire. Men of substantial property may apply and will be investigated and approved. All the Hoppo’s fees on them will be remitted. When they become merchants, trade will improve and they will not want to stop. But if they cannot manage it or the others dislike them, they may retire without requesting leave. This is to reinstate the affairs of the Hong merchants. Do not be suspicious.” 1.12.29

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

Local news:

  1. Magistrate Ching Sing Leen was deprived of rank for allowing a murderer to escape but was kept at his post to effect a recapture. He has failed to do so but has arrested 50 other criminals and executed more than 20 of them, exhibiting some of their heads in baskets. As a result the Viceroy requests his rank be restored.
  2. The late Hoppo tried to convince Wong Ho Ling to be a Hong merchant. He is rich from farming and money-lending. Wong is the only son of a widow and declined. The Hoppo then commended the Treasurer to arrest and torture Wong for suspected tax evasion whereupon the mother made it known she would report the matter to the Emperor. The Viceroy freed Wong and dismissed the Treasurer.
  3. The Viceroy and some magistrates have issued proclamations against arsonists who set fire to premises and, when the occupants flee, steal contents. This is the dry season and fires are common. At Yen Poo village near Canton during the recent performance of a Cantonese opera, the stage caught fire and 200 people died.
  4. Some of the Canton jade carvers have had their wages reduced. They have held a meeting of their Union and decided that deductions from their pay must cease. If any man works for less than the Union tariff he will pay a forfeit to the other members.
  5. The Viceroy has proscribed all wearing of Imperial yellow clothes, the colour of autumn. It is reserved to the Emperor and is an offence in Ching dynasty law. Some students at the last examinations wore yellow vests and sashes. The Viceroy says if they do so again they will be expelled.
  6. The Nam Hoi heen has issued an order. Harvest time is approaching. Bandits must not molest the farmers or steal their grain.The farmers themselves squabble over land holdings, disputing boundaries and going in large numbers to cut down each other’s crops and fight.
  7. At Canton, Whampoa, Shun Tak, Tung Kwoon, Macau and Sun Wui the farmers are distressed by bandits who request money to forego violence against the people and their crops. Proclamations are to be published everywhere and the police and army are to patrol by sea and land, day and night, to ensure compliance and seize offenders. If officials connive at extortion they will be severely punished.

Vol 2 No 22 – Thursday 3rd December 1829

Peking Gazettes:

  1. The privately printed news-sheets we call Peking Gazettes record what is sent to or from the Emperor. It is surprising how trivial some of the matters are.
    For example, Na Yen Ching, who is now governor of Chih Li, has sent in a long report about a junior army officer who married a prostitute. The woman squabbled over a gambling debt and the officer chastised the other woman.
  2. The 888 civilian inhabitants of Kashgar and the 118 at Yarkand who died during Jahangir’s insurrection are to be given military honours.
  3. At Kit Siu Soo, a region of Tibet occupied by the 39 clans, a tremendous snowfall last Spring smothered the cattle and the natives and some Mongols who also live there suffered. The Emperor has remitted 39,000 Taels being the value of the annual tribute of horses. He has also sent officers to distribute money subscribed by merchants and sent the usual silk, tea and cloth notwithstanding that he has received no tribute.
  4. The Miao (ear of grain) people live in the mountains of several provinces – in both of the Kwongs, in Kweichow, Yunnan, Hu Kwang and Sze Chuen. The Miao have a great variety of names, dress and Customs. There are 80 clans. Some are nomadic like gypsies, collecting mountain herbs as they travel. A long list of their supposed habits is given.

Vol 2 No 23 – Saturday 17th December 1829

The new Hoppo Chung Cheung has sent part of his retinue on to Canton and says he will arrive on 23rd December.

The Canton Salt Superintendent has called on the Viceroy and notified receipt of the Judge’s seals of office. Judge Wu is the man who dealt with the Navigateur case. He has been ordered to Peking.

Vol 2 No 24 – 22nd December 1829

Advertisement – The Dutch consul Mr S van Caneghem is returning to Europe and offers for sale a billiard table still packed as received from the Netherlands, a carpet 10 yards x 7 yards from the Royal Factory at Tourney and a marble chimney piece, with or without stove, adapted to burn either wood or coal. All items have never been used.

Vol 2 No 24 – 22nd December 1829

Local news – The new Hoppo was installed in office on 13th December. Within a few days he placed a demand on the Hong merchants for 2,000 Taels from each to buy a pearl for his grandson’s cap. At the same time, he notified them that his grandfather’s birthday is approaching and he thought 10,000 Taels would be an appropriate gift.

These exactions will have to be recovered from the foreign trade. It makes a mockery of the discussions we are having with the Viceroy on reforming the Customs and makes his promise, to not extort from new merchants, meaningless. Nevertheless we print in this edition details of correspondence between the Select and the merchants concerning the negotiations:

Vol 2 No 24 – 22nd December 1829

The country merchants, European and Indian, have applied to Plowden and the Select as the appropriate party to make representations to the Viceroy. The thrust of their petition follows.

They say exactions on trade have insidiously increased and now threaten its continuance. They consider the main cause of the problem to be the reduced number of Hong merchants, few of whom have the capital to transact business. Most have withdrawn from handling Indian imports and focus on tea exports and those other items that return payment in silver dollars.

We are restricted to the Hong – they should not be allowed to withdraw from portions of the trade. Only two Hongs will trade Indian goods and both have little capital. The market for Indian cotton is particularly affected. It all arrives at the same time so we force this glut on the market or warehouse it with one of the Hong who then claims an equitable right to market it thus reducing competition and encouraging the lowest sale prices. We must have more Hong merchants to stimulate competition. If they cannot be found we should be allowed our own warehouses and permitted to trade with whoever we like.

The country merchants then refer to the Hong Yung (the Consoo fund) which is amassed from a small charge on all imports and exports and is supposed to discharge insolvent Hong merchants’ debts.7 It is reportedly exhausted by rapacious demands of officials although some $1,000,000 is said to be collected annually. Whenever a Hong merchant fails, the fund does not respond as intended. Instead we have other additional charges which once raised are never taken off. This was told by the Chairman of the Company in a presentation to our parliament.8 These impositions on many commodities have become so numerous that all expectation of profit is removed.

A good example is cotton on which the formal duty is 1 mace 5 candareens per picul. This is first slightly increased by converting it into sycee (by adding the assaying and refining fee). 40 years ago the charge had risen to 6 mace 5 candareens which was just tolerable. Today the Hongs charge 1 Tael 5 mace per bale, ten times the Imperial duty. Each time a Hong becomes insolvent and an agreement for repayment made, the charge increases.

Another example is the debts which are paid off without interest over several years so that creditors ultimately receive only the equivalent of the interest and none of the principal. We want to know what has happened to the Consoo fund and why the Consoo charge continually increases. The charge should be forthwith reduced and the fund properly managed.

Finally there is the matter of charges on visiting ships. The cumshaw (present money) is now 1,950 Taels and deters small ships from coming up to Whampoa. The Hong merchant securing a ship requires $500 – $600 even on rice cargoes that are excluded from measurement tax. He charges several hundred dollar fees for the appointment of house and ship compradors. The heavy mulcts inflicted on Hong merchants, as they tell us, for every trifling irregularity discovered, all ultimately return to the ship for settlement. There is a continual difficulty in getting Linguists to serve small ships – they say it is not remunerative. These impositions have turned a profitable trade into an oppressive one. Some fees have been charged for years and whilst business was good they were tolerated. Now commerce is poor they form a serious grievance and we believe many of these charges have no legal basis.

The managing partner of Chun Qua Hong has retired taking the firms funds with him and the company is about to fail. This money belongs to foreigners and if repayment is demanded forcefully it cannot fail to be obtained.

Sgd Thomas Dent & Co, Magniac & Co, Rawson & Co, Ilberry Fearon & Co, R Turner, Saboodeen Guttay, Dorabjee Hormuzjee, Dorabjee Tamuljee, Sorabjee Cowasjee, Dhunjeebhoy Byramjee, Cursetjee Dhunjeebhoy.

Vol 2 No 24 – 22nd December 1829

Two foreigners going to Whampoa from Canton in a comprador’s boat were stopped on the river by a man in official dress. These junior officials always display great insolence. The comprador and his men were beaten by the official’s crew and the Europeans threatened with being enchained and thrown in the river. They agreed to pay $300 but were detained until the money actually arrived. The two men that the official sent to collect the money were in turn captured by the European who was supposed to pay, and handed over to the Hong merchants and Linguists who refused to receive them.

A complaint was then made to the Viceroy requesting that the foreigners be either tried or released. The Viceroy sent his own men and, 24 hours after their arrest, during which time they were held in a small room, the Europeans were released to the Nam Hoi Yuen. This magistrate is newly appointed and three days passed without any other action. The entire European community at Canton then complained to the Viceroy again.

The Hong merchants declined to present this petition but got word through to the Nam Hoi Yuen who dispatched an armed boat at midnight to capture all but one of the new official’s party on the 7th day. The Yuen came to Canton, examined the involved foreigners through a Linguist and dismissed them. The official and his crew were taken to prison in chains. Their trial is delayed to provide opportunity to catch their missing companion who has previously been to England and speaks our language quite well. He acted as the official’s interpreter and proposed several schemes for the two Europeans’ release.

The new Hoppo has since issued the following Edict on 18th December which may relate to this matter:

“Foreigners travelling up and down the river are not required to pay duty on their food, bedding or clothes. Only cargo is chargeable for duty. It is the practise of foreigners to use compradors for all matters and they are to report extortions occurring on the river. Greedy and selfish people are creating disturbance. It is strictly prohibited and by this notice I advise all foreigners of the fact. Smuggling is not allowed. All proper duties must be paid. If foreigners meet people requesting Customs duty on their meals they may bring the facts to the attention of the government so prosecution and punishment follow.”

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

The new Hoppo was installed in office in an extravagant ceremony on 13th December. The Hong merchants and Linguists were present to congratulate him. The Hoppo’s daughter was an embroideress in the Emperor’s harem and is said to be skilled in social arts.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

The Cochin China Embassy arrived in Peking by early September. The ambassador’s name is listed amongst the guests attending a play in the Garden of Mutual Delight. He wanted to return by sea to Canton and thence to Saigon but the request did not conform with former arrangements.

English readers will recall Duke Ho told the Amherst embassy that the Chinese government did not permit change.

By the by, Amherst told the Emperor that his King’s mother (Queen Charlotte, relict of George III) was old and used ginseng in large quantities. The Emperor gave him a catty.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

A fire occurred on the bamboo stage of a theatre performing a religious play in a Canton village a few days ago, according to government sources, and over 200 people died, either from the fire and smoke or the stampede to escape.

Another play was staged near the north gate of Canton on 28th of last moon. A boat with food for the actors was being unloaded when some beggars attempted to help themselves. The actors saw what was happening and rushed to protect their meal. The beggars fled into the city with some of the food, pursued by the actors. Soldiers at the gate attempted to stop them and two were hurt. Then the actors took fright.

Some gypsy families from Chiu Chow who are often at the north gate came forward and drove all the Cantonese inside the gate. A scuffle ensued and several people were wounded. The army arrived and arrested four men.

Meanwhile the actors fled back to their boat and abandoned the performance leaving their chests of theatrical dress on the stage. The army has seized them pending for claim.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

Pirates have been active along the Chekiang coast and the governor of that Province has complained to the Emperor that his coast guard officers are incompetent. The Emperor orders the buttons be removed from their caps and they be given three months to solve the problem or they will be dismissed and prosecuted.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

An Imperial censor says triad society members abound in Kiangsu. The provincial government is afraid of them and neglects complaints from their victims. If it has to prosecute it gives only light punishment. The Emperor orders the viceroy of Kiang Nan and Kiangsu Provinces to use the army to put down the triads. Those members who have been forced to join are offered pardons if they confess and give information.

These triad societies exist wherever Chinese exist. They levy a fee on all Chinese going abroad and persecute those who decline to subscribe. On one occasion the Bangkok branch offered to propagate Christianity for a missionary in return for payment.

They resemble free masons in so far as they recognise each other by secret signs.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

Two arsonists who were caught in Canton last week were paraded around the city with little wires in their ears from which tiny flags fluttered. A chain was around their necks and they were followed by a man beating a gong. Afterwards they received their real punishment.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

Yuen, the late Viceroy of the Two Kwong, is now governor of Yunnan. He recommends an officer who, in six months work, has extracted 1,000,000 more catties from the copper mines than was requested by government, the lesser figure having previously been represented as the maximum that could possibly be extracted. Yuen was awarded the brevet rank of Che Foo for his officer’s achievement.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

Some hills in Chekiang are known to be the haunt of bandits and are difficult for police to patrol. The government accordingly prevents settlement there to avoid distress to the settlers. To progress this aim, the government annually fires the grass on these hills to deny forage to cattle.

Last year due to strong wind, 13 soldiers who were burning grass were caught and incinerated in their own fire by a wind change. Their commanding officer is demoted and the dead men are to be honoured as though they died in battle.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

The Editor has seen an old record (The 21st volume of the 21 historians) stating the population of China in 200BC was 59,594,000 people in 12,233,000 families.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

It is the custom in China to offer rewards for lost property. A few days ago the following notice was seen on the walls of Canton:

Chang Chow Lai lives in Great Tranquillity Lane near the south gate where he operates a shop selling incense to drive away mosquitoes. On the evening of 12th December two of his workmen – Nee Ah Hung and Ah Tik – used a stupefying fuming drug to cause all the business partners to fall asleep and then robbed the shop of money and clothes. When the owners awoke the two had disappeared with the property.

$4 is offered for information on their whereabouts. $10 is offered if both men and the property are delivered to the shop. Nee Ah Hung is about 20 years old short with white face and no beard. Ah Tik is over 20 years, tall with sallow face and no beard.

Editor’s comment – the use of fuming drugs to stupefy victims is common in China.

Another example:

Tang Sui lives in a small lane behind the treasury office. He is seeking for two missing concubines aged 26 and 27 years. They both wore long blue upper garments and double trousers, the outer light blue and the inner white. One is named Mrs Sei (four). She wore a tight sleeved red silk frock, has gold ear-rings with inset pearls and bound feet. The other is Mrs Ngoi (love) from Kwongsi. She wore a tight sleeved blue frock, wore gold ear-rings set with iridescent green beetles and has bound feet.

On 18th December there was a fire in the vicinity of the house and they both went outside but have not since returned. All their property remains in the house. Searching has not located them. Anyone with good information will get $30 for each lady located. If you both catch and return them you will get $70 each. The money will be delivered as soon as their faces are seen.

Editor’s comment – this street behind the treasury is a resort of blacklegs and police runners. These ladies have been missing for four days. There can be little hope of recovering them in the same condition as previously.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

A district in the western suburbs of Canton has enacted its own social law enforced by the temple wardens. Their association is a means of combating bandits and excluding bad people from their community. In the daytime their area is infested with cut-pockets who press against their victims, cut away their purses and flee. At night there are burglars who creep across the roofs and make holes in the walls.

There are also quarrelsome troublemakers, drunks, importunate beggars and people posing as police runners who use endless excuses to extort money. Worst of all are the arsonists who burn houses and rob them after the occupants flee. These people leave canisters of combustible material behind.

The mutual defence arrangements require $1 from each household. There is also a subscription of $3 – $10 per household. Anyone catching a criminal gets a reward from the fund regardless of whose house is involved. Those who catch no-one pay a forfeit. The fund pays the doctor’s bills for treatment of injuries received on duty and funeral expenses for people killed defending property.

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

One of the principal pearl dealers has failed and the Canton market is in disarray.9

Vol 3 No 1 – 4th January 1830

  • The barque Jamesina (Hector) arrived from Calcutta bringing James Matheson.
  • C Bovet (of the famous watchmaking family) has arrived on the Johanna Cornelia from Rotterdam.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

A deputation of the Select Committee arrived at Canton from Macau yesterday together with many British country traders and an armed escort of 180 sailors. It was an astonishingly large party. They marched to the city gate and threw in a petition to the Emperor, a letter to the Viceroy and another to the Hoppo. We understand these papers are in the nature of an ultimatum.

The gate officer at first objected to receive the Petitions. An official then appeared and, the Kwong Heep claiming sickness, all papers were given to him. Actually the Kwong Heep was nearby commanding his militia who were brandishing their swords but he refrained from approaching the gate presumably because he knew some foreigners wore side arms. Thus he feigned sickness for the preservation of the peace.

Several of the European party had slips of paper on which was written in Chinese that their Memorial was for the Emperor. They hoped to make use of a Chinese law forbidding interference with letters to the Emperor.

The letter to the Viceroy was from the creditors of Man Hop complaining against the Co-Hong’s delay in paying the second dividend as agreed. They also complained that private debts were mingled with Company debts which they felt revealed dishonest intent of the Co-Hong and tended to destroy confidence in them as merchants.

The Select Committee has instructed all country ships not to enter the river at Chuen Pi. The Company’s armed ship Duke of Sussex is placed at the river entrance to effect the blockade. The remainder of the Company fleet is said to be leaving Chinese waters. A report is to be sent to the Bengal government.10

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

On 2nd January Viceroy Lee went south-east of Canton reportedly to inspect the troops. He returned on 9th after having viewed the foreign shipping in the estuary. On 14th January the official seals are to be locked-up preparatory to Lunar New Year which commences on 25th January. Business will resume on 13th February.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

The approaching Lunar New Year holiday is blamed for a rise in piracy on the rivers around Canton. It is said to have occurred previously at this time of year. Various magistrates have issued orders to boat-operators to anchor near a fort rather than travel overnight.

A European was recently robbed near the Nine Islands by a ship decked out as a revenue cutter.11 He lost his clothes, money and gold watch. The clothes, being unsuitable for Chinese use, were soon recovered.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

Peking Gazettes – The Supreme Criminal Board has recommended eight days be set aside for executions in the autumn execution season. The largest number on any one day is 108, all from Szechuan. On all other days the tally varies from 71 – 87 per day. The last day is for state criminals of whom there are six. The total number to be executed this year is 579.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

The Emperor visited Mukden in November. It is also called Shing King (rich city). He said the land is fertile and the people simple and honest. He permitted an extra number of applicants from the city for the literary examinations this year and ordered that 1,000,000 Taels be sent to the city treasury, not for any specific purpose, but just to be kept there in perpetuity to evidence it is a rich city.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

His Majesty has received a special horse imported across the frontier at Ili. He has given it an auspicious name and sent silk and embroidered purses to King Cheang, the commander of the Ili garrison.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

A Korean envoy met the Emperor at Mukden and received pieces of silk with prosperity or longevity written on them by the Emperor himself.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

Man Hop Hong has made an appearance in the Peking Gazettes. Man Hop means literally ‘10,000 united’. The Hong merchant’s father was a coolie who carried goods and amassed wealth from smuggling to became a Hong merchant. His son succeeded him.

Now the son’s name has appeared in the Gazette. He is ordered to be transported to Ili and perform hard labour for failing to pay revenue he collected for the government.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

The Criminal Board at Peking reports that the development of law under the To Kwong Emperor this last decade has been so extensive that the code and judicial interpretation of it no longer correspond. It seems the law is not as immutable as the Canton officials repeatedly tell us. The Board asks for a new edition of the code.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

There are about 10,000 bodies at Canton which have not been interred. Canton attracts people from all over China and those from other provinces who die here are encoffined and put in a temple by friends to await collection by relatives who should take them to the ancestral tombs in their native villages.

Many are never collected and the Governor has now raised $10,000 by a subscription from provincial officials to buy land for the local burial of these abandoned bodies. Women will be buried in one field and men in another unless they are a couple and their coffins are stored near each other in which cases they will be buried together.

The sum raised has temporarily been placed with pawnbrokers at interest.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

A murder has been committed at the border of Si Ngon and Tung Kwoon counties and the two district magistrates are quarrelling over jurisdiction.

The governor orders a new survey to be made so the maps can be up-dated, the boundary delineated and the correct authority identified.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

Each province is supposed to send rice money to the Criminal Board each year for the upkeep of their prisoners at Peking. This year Anhwei, Kwong Si, Yunnan, Kiangsi, Fukien and others have not paid and the deficit is 33,000 Taels. The Emperor requires the Governors to remit the money.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

The Chinese Resident (Amban) at Lhasa requested a special title for one of the Dalai Lama’s entourage but the Emperor thinks it unbecoming and declined.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

A doctor of letters named Koot Sung Yi sat the Chin Sze examination and had his essay rejected. The examiner wrote a criticism of the first paragraph and returned the essay, apparently without reading the remainder. Koot thought his essay meritorious and the criticism inappropriate. He printed and circulated the paper to show how unjust the examiner had been.

A censor reported this action as perverse and the Emperor agreed. A candidate may appeal against an unjust examiner to the proper authority but not to the public. Koot is to lose his degree but the examiner is to be examined.

Vol 3 No 2 – Tuesday 19th January 1830

There is a very widespread scarcity of money in Canton and the distress caused is pitiable.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

Local news:

  • The Indiaman Bridgewater, which has been performing the Company’s blockade of the Pearl River, sailed for England on 31st January taking Plowden back to report to the Court of Directors. He will brief them on the Select’s attempt to change the law on foreign trade.
  • The provincial government has received instructions from Peking for the future conduct of foreign trade. They are said to be mild and conciliatory. Its recent correspondence with the Select is in the same tone but minor concessions will not satisfy us – we need an increased number of Hong merchants.
  • The Viceroy is to reply today and the Hong merchants are waiting in Macau to receive his proclamation. The ships are ready to sail and only await this reply.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

The cutter of the Company’s Indiaman Atlas overturned on 18th January whilst en route from Lintin to Tung Ku. 3rd Officer Hawkins and surgeon Middlemass both of the Company’s ship Mangles, together with 7 seamen were lost.

The two European bodies have been recovered and interred in the Company’s (Protestant) cemetery in Macau.

The long boat of the Indiaman Duke of York was passing and heard the cries but on arrival found only hats and boat stretchers floating, no people.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

The New Year celebrations have produced two fires in Canton on 26th and 28th January 1830. The second was at Sha Meen Island and destroyed all the houses erected along the water’s edge. Forty female bodies were found in the debris. These female deaths aroused little pity amongst the citizens. Flower girls are often robbed and sometimes enslaved and carried off to distant provinces.12

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

The USS Vincennes (Finch) has arrived from Manila. The Macau Keunmin Foo Kwok has published an Edict on 10th January forbidding compradors to secretly carry provisions to her.13

The pilot has told him the Vincennes encountered heavy weather and anchored off the Nine Islands for shelter. Kwok sent civil and military officers to keep watch and tell the captain to go away. He will severely punish anyone supplying the Vincennes.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

Editor – The Englishman Madden has published a book about Turkey in which he says the Turks salute the One God by knocking their heads on the ground nine times. It seems kow-towing to the Emperor of China may be a comparable recognition of his divinity.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

Fan Ching Kwang is a rich gentleman from Fau Kong village. He does not support his extended family in the village and his relatives decided to rob him. On 16th day of 11th moon they disguised themselves, blacked their faces and attacked his house at night. They stole $800, 6,500 cash, 52 precious ornaments, 173 miscellaneous garments, 13 pairs of shoes, 21 kerchiefs and sashes, 80 flowered handkerchiefs, 6 pieces of cloth and 5 catties of cotton.

They shared it all out and with the left-overs held a feast of meat and wine. The father of one robber, Ching Ah Shing, has since confessed to the Kwongchow Foo and the whole gang has been caught. Ten are to be immediately beheaded, others are to be beaten and transported.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

All Chinese towns allot a piece of waste land for the burial of poor people who cannot themselves afford to buy a plot. This kindness is usurped by ‘grave dogs’ – men who take over the field and sell plots for their own profit.

The Poon Yu magistrate has complained these people and said anyone claiming a plot may obtain an official permit to authorise burial.

He also complains of pettifogging lawyers who stir up actions, accuse the innocent and waste magistrates’ time.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

At New Year it is usual to have extra police patrols at night. The magistrate has directed them to equip themselves with long spears (to deal with rooftop burglars) and man road-blocks to question the passers-by.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

Ping Yuen district prison was set on fire due to the carelessness of the prison officers. Twenty one prisoners were chained inside and died.

The governor has reported to the Emperor who speculates that the officers were covering their illegal use of torture or some other crime. He orders the local magistrate to be arrested and examined by the governor together with his police and prison officers.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

The Canton magistrates have jointly complained about various types of criminal behaviour:

  1. First are groups of 3-5 robbers, armed with swords and iron bars, who trouble the local people night and day to extort money.
  2. Second is the formation of criminal gangs by ceremonies in which applicants swear an oath of allegiance. They say hundreds of thousands of people have been punished for this offence by banishment or strangulation but still the people do it. He says they should dread death.
  3. A third edict is against people protecting thieves and receiving stolen property
  4. A fourth is against arsonists who fire houses to plunder them
  5. A fifth is against pirates who force coastal farmers and fishermen to buy protection.
  6. A sixth is against those actors who set off large rockets which lately have caused fires and deaths. The theatricals are usually held on the river bank and people, fleeing the fire to escape the heat and smoke, also drown in the water. When these fires occur, chaos results and opportunist thieves capture women and children for sale. The Poon Yu magistrate Hu says only theatricals to the Gods in Spring and plays thanking the Gods in Autumn are permitted. Large rockets are forbidden.
  7. A seventh Edict is against the slaughter of cattle used for agriculture. Killing one’s own buffalo earns 80 blows and the cangue for a month. The punishment for selling beef is the same as stealing cattle – 100 blows and transportation 3,000 li.
  8. The eighth is against “sturdy beggars” who extort money at marriages and funerals.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

The Chinese tung cheen (English cash, Portuguese sapecas), resemble the copper coin of Cochin China and vice versa sufficiently to permit mistakes. The court at Peking has issued strict orders to stop the circulation of foreign coin but it continues.

Now the Nam Hoi magistrate has reported the capture of a boat in the river containing a cargo of foreign copper coins for sale. The boat is confiscated and offered for sale by the magistrate for 56 Taels, 3 mace, 6 candareens. The crew are to be punished.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

Yang Yu Chun, the governor of Kansu, has told the Emperor he has no spare money to send to the four Muslim cities of Turkestan. The Emperor asks the Board of Revenue to check if neighbouring provinces can send 332,000 Taels to Kansu for the purpose.

Vol 3 No 3 – Wednesday 3rd February 1830

The Cantonese have enjoyed mild weather for their New Year holiday this year and business is returning to normal but no foreign trade is occurring while the Select Committee continues its negotiation with the Viceroy.

Opium sales have been slow but some junks from the east coast are expected soon. We do not know if they will buy stock or clear old time bargains.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

The dispute between the Select Committee and the Viceroy has been settled and the Company ships are now discharging at Whampoa. Plowden and Astell left China for England shortly before agreement was reached. Chinese reluctance to change their system can only be met by withdrawal of trade. We have not gained all we sought but some points have been conceded:

 The Viceroy promises to review the regulations.

 A new merchant has already joined the Hong and we are told numbers will be increased to 12 – 13. We must have competition between Hongs and no monopoly.

 The Viceroy has also agreed to procure the return of Chun Qua Sr.

 We have not won the right to our own warehouses but the Viceroy assures us we can use the security merchants’ facilities and appears to suggest an indemnity against loss by fire, theft and flood is available.

 The measurement duty on small ships is to be mitigated.

 Comprador’s fees and the other extortions of the Linguists and local officials are to be reduced. This will require firmness by both sides. When the Company fleet came up to Whampoa an attempt was made to charge the old fees but a complaint to the Viceroy stopped it.

This is the first time our concerted action has produced an improvement in trading conditions. Both the Hong merchants and the Viceroy seem sincere in wanting a resumption of trade.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

When the Hong merchants recently came to Macau, officially to say goodbye to Plowden at la Palacio, two of them, who are Fukienese, attended the Tien Hau temple at Bar Fort to pray for an early resumption of trade. Tien Hau is a Fukienese Goddess.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

The Cantonese call Hong merchants Kwan Sheung (licensed merchants). They call security merchants Po Sheung (safety merchants). The term Kwan Sheung also applies to pawnbrokers, indeed, it refers to all merchants who need a government licence to trade. The Hong merchant interfaces between the provincial government and the foreigners. He should be responsible to both.

The present arrangements are not conducive to increasing trade or good relations. As Bonaparte had his admirers amongst English republicans, so commercial despotism has its apologists here.14 The Hong merchants are part of the Chinese government. They should be more active in protecting the trade.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

A brief outline of the historic duties payable by foreign shipping:

 Measurement duty – this is assessed on the length of the ship between the centres of the mizzen mast and fore mast and the width immediately aft of the main mast. These measurements are multiplied together and the product divided by ten to give the capacity in cubits. The duty is on ships under 125 cubits, on ships over 125 cubits and on ships above 154 cubits.15

‘Present’ money (cumshaw) is 1,950 Taels on all except French ships which pay 2,050 Taels.

 Linguist and comprador fees are $473 for every ship.

 The security merchant will usually require $200 – $600 for his services.

 Ships carrying only rice are exempt from measurement duty and cumshaw but pay the security merchant $300 – $500 and pay the tariff for comprador and Linguist, totally about $1,000.

The Viceroy has agreed to review all these charges. Once the new figures are available we will report them.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

We mentioned recently that the 2nd instalment of Man Hop’s debt was overdue for payment. The creditors have complained to the Viceroy against the Hong merchants. Once the petition was presented, the Hong merchants were ordered to pay instanter and have done so. A précis of the correspondence follows:

The free traders’ complaint to the governor:

Before Man Hop failed he transferred over a million dollars of our goods to Chinese businessmen in payment of old debts. We complained and after lengthy correspondence agreed your arrangement to settlement in six equal instalments without interest.

We got the first tranche on 30th December last. The 2nd tranche is due in 4 days but the Hong say they cannot pay owing to non-performance by the India Company of its tea contracts.

This has nothing to do with us.

All Hongs agreed to be jointly liable to pay. Now they refuse. Your Excellency and ourselves both find this breach of good faith intolerable. In one of your recent Edicts stuck on the walls of the foreign factories you tell us to ‘contemplate the celestial Empire, her abundant harvests and her national treasury full to overflowing’. We cannot reconcile this prosperity with the Hongs’ non-payment. Please order immediate payment of the instalment now falling due. Sgd Creditors, 18th January 1830.

Explanation of the Hongs:

This Spring the Company contracted with us for black and green tea. We advanced money to the teamen and sent our own buyers to the hills with money to buy more. Large Hongs spent over a million dollars and small ones several hundred thousands. The foreigners have not yet taken delivery and our capital remains tied-up in tea stocks. After you buy the tea we will immediately pay the 2nd dividend on Man Hop’s debt.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

Viceregal proclamation: Bandits pretending to be government servants intercept traders by land and sea and under the pretext of searching for contraband they commit robbery.

Viceroy Lee and the Kwongtung Governor (Foo Yuen) now order that no Chinese trader is to be searched except at the Customs House. No goods are to searched on land or water whilst in transit. People attempting to search in such circumstances should be seized, bound and brought before a magistrate. If they are armed they may be resisted and killed under the law permitting resistance to bandits. People convicted of robbery by searching might be executed.

These powers are given to the people to protect their property. Traders are cautioned not to abuse this protection by making it a basis to smuggling.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

Governor’s Edict:

The long drought has caused many wells in Canton to run dry. Water is being sold for 50 cash a picul but much of the local river water is tidal and salty and unfit for cooking.

The large wells that are each covered with a massive stone slab and are intended for fire fighting may be used temporarily by the citizens.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

Taiwan – Various reports say an insurrection against the Chinese is occurring in Taiwan. Troops from Fukien have been sent to quell the disturbances.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

Kashgar – the Chinese government is erecting barriers to restrict entry from the west and control traders crossing the boundary.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

The Emperor is at Mukden meeting numerous Manchu and Mongol chiefs. He has been giving them cash presents of 100 – 15,000 Taels. Some of these gifts must have appeared quite trifling.

Half a year’s pay has been lent to some soldiers. These gifts and loans cost 95,000 Taels of which the gifts comprised 45,000 Taels. It is all to be paid back in four instalments over ten years.

The Emperor has also been imitating a habit of his grandfather Kien Lung in handing out pieces of silk to the wives of officers who attend Court. We have met people who received gifts of porcelain and silk from the Emperor. They are quite inferior-quality goods.

When the silk weavers of Soochow, who are part of a cartel on the trade, sent inferior silk to the chieftains of western Tartary who fought the Emperor’s battles there, a virtuous Chinese complained.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

The force remaining at Kashgar totals 4,200 men. A suggestion to reduce the garrison was rejected as being inexpedient and unsafe. Some Manchu soldiers who were captured by Jahangir have been returned safe.

They have been pardoned but are dismissed from the army and disallowed the usual pay of Manchu soldiers.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

The Emperor, on the advice of Cha Lung O, the Manchu Resident at Kashgar, has appointed several new leaders amongst the Muslims in Turkestan. Two are described as commercial leaders.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

During the Emperor’s progress along the road into Manchuria his train passed people kneeling by the roadside hoping to present petitions. All were women, although one was a girl and another a Buddhist nun.

All four were counselled to approach the Judge who accompanies the Emperor on his travels.

Vol 3 No 4 – Monday 15th February 1830

A Fukienese has gone to Peking to complain of injustice. His accent was found as puzzling in Peking as the India Company’s administrators find it in Penang.

They learned his only son was killed by a hostile clan which then bribed the police with $2,000 (foreign money – they might be smugglers) to take no action. When the magistrate issued an arrest warrant the police would not enforce it.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

Advertisement – The beautiful and fast schooner Sylph will commence a ferry service on 10th March 1830 for passengers between Canton and Macau. The following Charter rates will apply:

Canton to Macau

Canton to Lintin

Canton to Macau via Lintin

Canton, Lintin, Macau, Canton

Canton, Lintin, Canton

Each day demurrage

Each additional passenger




$50 ( 7 day round trip)

$40 (5 day round trip)



Letters at 10¢ each and small light packages pro rata but no heavy baggage or cargo, furniture or stores. Each passenger is limited to one trunk under 1 picul. The Sylph is also available for charter for pleasure trips. Details from M/s Markwick & Lane.

NB – The Gravesend-built hatch-boat Petrel continues to run on the same ferry routes at the usual times. Details also from M/s Markwick & Lane.16

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

Auction 7th March 1830:

The ship Eugenia with her stores ‘as is’ at Lintin,

A few dozen bottles of Port wine,

Four half chests of old Madeira,

One English cow in full milk.

Details from Markwick & Lane, 3 Imperial Hong, Canton

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

Two new Hong merchants have been enrolled and many other candidates are spoken of. One of them was sanctioned by the Viceroy but not by the Hoppo who was unwilling to forego the opportunity for his usual extra fees. The Select Committee immediately brought the matter to the Viceroy’s attention and the applicant was inducted into the Co-Hong without further delay.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

The insurrection on Taiwan has resulted in the death of a Heen magistrate and the occupation of his district.

The insurgents are both Taiwan aboriginals and Chinese.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

Another rebellion on the north-west frontier (western Tartary) has ended with 12 ringleaders being executed. The sale of rhubarb root and tea to foreigners at Ili has been prohibited.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

The Governor of Fukien, Sun Ah Chun, required those of his officers who are posted to Taiwan, to raise money for military operations on the island last year. He then asked the Emperor to honour Chin Ah Hing, the magistrate of Hea Poo heen, who raised a great revenue.

This is the magistrate who was killed at the outset of the new rebellion.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

The magistrate of Poon Yu has interdicted the kidnapping of children.

He says Canton is extremely crowded and the children of poor people play in the streets. Then bandits come, seize the boys and girls and carry them off for sale. By the time the parents report to the police it is already too late. The children are never seen again by them. Most are supposedly sold as domestic workers. The rest become actors or prostitutes. A few resentful ones are whipped and bambooed and sometimes die.

I, the magistrate, have now discovered a clue to the detection of this evil business. I have caught Luk Ah Kai, Chu Tei Han, Lee Ah Ching, Tao Ah Kiu and others who are in my prison awaiting strangulation.

Obey the law. Do not take a chance with your life for petty gain.

Editor – we had one of these Edicts last year. It is issued for form.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

Letter to the Editor – English pride is high but Manchu pride may exceed it. In the recent correspondence between the Company and the Viceroy, How Qua was called in to check a translation and rendered ‘England and China, two nations’ as ‘England and Canton, two places’ in the translated documents. This appears to establish that the English do not pretend to nationhood where China is concerned.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

The Company sold all its Bengal cotton at 11 Taels per picul but is withholding its Bombay and Madras cotton for a better price. The commanders of the Bombay ships have been unable to sell their personal cargo and the Select have given them 40 days from completion of their own sale of their Bengal supply to pay-off their bonds. The commanders of the Bengal ships were able to get 10.6 – 10.8 per picul on their own supplies.17

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

An agreement amongst the Bombay country merchants that none of their ships will use the eastern route (Sunda Straits) is disbelieved by the Chinese.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

The American ship Roman (Lavender) arrived from New York on 20th February with the following passengers :

Rev David Abeel, Rev Elijah Bridgman, M/s G W and G A Talbot, W C Hunter and Frederick Bookee.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

We have had several foreign ladies residing in the Canton factories this season in contravention of the law prohibiting their presence. No new females are expected as the hot weather is about to commence and Macau is a more suitable summer abode but we predict more will come next year and improve the society of the factories.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

On 5th March the Kwongchow Foo with the Nam Hoi and Poon Yu magistrates came in front of the factories with 80-100 soldiers and lancers. In the procession were chopping instruments suspended from long poles. The Hong merchants and Linguists went out and it was satisfying to observe the Linguists performing the kow-tow on the wet stones.

This event was to formally authorise the filling up of the gap between the quay and the new seawall. Old residents will remember that after the great fire of 1822 the fire debris from the Canton suburbs was brought to the river side and dumped. Since then it has accumulated at our landing place which has become shallow, Identifiable bits of fire debris remain along the shore even today.

The English, finding their chop boats could not approach the seawall opposite their warehouse at low tide with complete safety, sought to extend the quay beyond the mud flat where they built a new seawall. They could not use the space in front of the American flagstaff as it houses a dunghill and a leper house with its associated cemetery. The Hoppo’s men eventually complained this work, bribes could not be agreed, and they took the matter to the Governor. The whole complaint was managed by How Qua Jr and the government was led to anticipate large fees from the foreigners for increased land use but all payment was refused and consequently filling up the space between the old quay and the new wall was forbidden.

Then a temporary bamboo structure with wooden planks was erected and since then cargo has been worked by coolies carrying goods on planks across the void between the two walls. Now the bamboo and planks are wearing out and an order has finally been given to fill up the space properly with soil. The officials say the foreigners have been very naughty in the whole affair.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

Letter to the Editor – China’s relations with the rest of the world require submission to the Emperor as a pre-condition. Much of the social organisation of the country is based on master / slave considerations whereas the westerners are all Christians. It is difficult to find common ground.

Some western countries have histories of resistance against despotism and oppression. Will the foreign merchants at Canton ever resist the tyranny of China or should we continue to submit?

I think we should resist oppression or we will be trampled underfoot. We have no human rights here. Wealth and power dominates. We must retain the right to petition, to remonstrate, to resist in all oppressive cases. Anonymous.

Editor’s note – there is a Chinese saying that the official who works near the Emperor is like a man who sleeps with a tiger.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

The Spring sacrifice to Confucius is set for 2nd March at the Temple of Letters. The Viceroy, Foo Yuen, Manchu General and other officials, even the acrobats and musicians, will practice for four days to honour the sacrifice.

The performers will get 1 mace each per day. The sixteen dancers are actually students and the best dancer will get a certificate (equivalent to bachelor of arts degree) regardless of his performance in the formal examinations.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

A 26 years old man named Tin Tin Kea has been ordered by his mother to appeal at Peking against the Anhwei provincial authorities. Four years ago his father Tin Tin Kau issued a complaint against a litigious attorney Teen Mei who then went to Tin Tin Kau’s house and committed suicide. Teen Mei’s son, Teen Teen Shun, accused Tin Tin Kau of forcing his father to die. The authorities examined his complaint and dismissed it.

Two years later Tin Tin Kau left home on horseback for the neighbouring village of Chang Kea and later that night his wife saw Teen Yun Kwok riding her husband’s horse. Fearing the worst she followed her husband’s route with her son and found his robbed and dead body at the road side with eleven stab wounds. Two knives lay nearby.

She took the knives to the magistrate and implicated Teen Yun Kwok who confessed to the murder and robbery with Teen Teen Shun. One was sentenced to beheading, the other to strangulation. The horse was ordered to be returned. Then the murderers’ relatives claimed the murder was in revenge for their father’s death, i.e. an honourable murder, and the punishments have not yet taken place. The matter is now before the criminal board for consideration.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

The Superintendent of the Yellow River reports that although the river has risen considerably this Spring his works have kept it within its banks.

The Emperor orders he be sent 10 sticks of Tibetan incense to burn on the altar to the river god.

Vol 3 No 5 – Wednesday 3rd March 1830

We can give a clear idea of Canton’s fine facilities by mentioning that during February 12 ships, each of around 1,400 tons, arrived, discharged, loaded and left. It is expected that all this season’s ships will have left by next month.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

On 18th March the Hong merchants formally reported details of the revised trading system that is to be bestowed on the foreign community:

In the last five years business has been difficult and four Hongs have failed, mainly because of the requirement they pay the debts of others. Last year Plowden asked for new regulations to improve the situation. The Treasurer and Judge have now issued a report with which the Viceroy and Hoppo concur.

 Foreigners must only trade in goods with Hong merchants. They may not lend money to Hong merchants. All the trade is by exchange of commodities and at the end of each season the foreigners will advise the Hoppo of any balances due to / from Hong merchants. The Hong merchants will give their own annual reports of their debts to the Hoppo, vouching for their veracity by a bond. These two reports will be examined and compared. If thereafter a Hong merchant fails, and the foreign claims have been reported to the Hoppo, they will be apportioned amongst the remaining Hong merchants for payment. If the claims have not been reported, they will not be paid.

 If foreigners lend money to Hong merchants they will have no legal redress.

We now recite the government orders:

Foreigners should not trust Hong merchants excessively. The system of mutual responsibility is revised. If one Hong merchant incurs debts the others will not automatically be mutually responsible for them.

Several new Hong merchants have been appointed but are not secured by the existing Hong merchants. Foreigners may deal with them as they like but any debts involve the creditor and debtor only. It is the same in respect of any new debts that the existing Hong merchants may assume. No mutual responsibility for them is accepted.

Sgd by the Hong merchants – How Qua Jr., Mow Qua, Chung Qua, Poon Ki Qua, Go Qua, Fat Qua, King Qua.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

We have also seen part of a memorial that the governor sent to the Emperor on 28th November concerning our recent stoppage of trade, as follows:

Foreign ships first anchor at Macau or Lintin and then proceed through the Bocca Tigris to Whampoa where they anchor and discharge their cargoes. They all speak different languages but are generally cooperative except the English who are uniformly domineering and unruly. The English delayed to discharge their cargoes on three previous occasions – in 13th and 19th years of Ka Hing and 1st year of the To Kwong Emperor. They make disturbances.

Recently the Hong merchants have become financially embarrassed and some have closed their business. Tung Tai Hong closed in the 7th year of To Kwong. Fuk Lung Hong closed in the 8th year. Both were heavily indebted. The foreigners complained and a scheme was agreed for settlement of debts over several years although the foreigners were discontented at receiving only their debts without any element of interest.18

In the summer of 1829 Tung Sheung Hong became indebted and could not pay. Plowden and others complained against Lew Ching Shoo of Anhwei, the proprietor of Tung Sheung Hong, and I have requested the governor of that province to return him here.

Between the 7th moon and 6th day of 10th moon (about three months) 22 foreign ships arrived. One was damaged by heavy weather and came straight up to Whampoa to refit. 21 ships remained outside. On 9th day of 9th month Plowden and others sent in a petition saying that, as several Hongs were bankrupt, they wanted to arrange matters. They suggested that no security merchants or compradors should in future be required and that they be permitted to rent their own warehouses.

Now the purpose of the regulations is to prevent Chinese and foreigners from collaborating. These points could not be granted. But they also suggested that the duty levied on foreign ship arrivals should accord with the size of the ship. This seems reasonable but it is a very old regulation and we await the Emperor’s direction on it.

I ordered the two Sze magistrates to examine the whole document and distinguish between what was permissible and what was not. I then instructed the Hong merchants to inform the foreigners but they still delayed entering port and finally on 26th day of 10th moon they again petitioned, reciting the former requests. This required my severe reply and injunction.

Since the 8th year of the To Kwong Emperor, the English ships arrive early and unload in 9th and 10th moons whereas in the 5th – 7th years of To Kwong they were still arriving in the 11th and 12th moons. During this last season they finally entered port in 11th moon and it is not too late to trade. Tranquillity may be preserved but I suspect if their wishes are not granted they will cause trouble.

By withholding their imports, they wish to coerce us into reducing the Imperial duties. It would not be too severe to cut them off and prohibit their future trade. Should it come to that I will first request Your Majesty’s pleasure.

I have checked the disposition of the foreign ships off Macau and we should be prepared against them. I have ordered the Port Admiral Lee to have the military stations around Macau brought to a state of readiness in case they land troops at Macau as they did in the 13th year of the Ka Hing Emperor (Drury’s invasion). But this dispute is basically a money matter and not so serious. As it involves foreigners and our national honour, I have dealt with the foreigners firmly but justly whilst secretly taking protective action. I wish to avoid a rupture but am determined not to lose respectability. I have at all times consulted with the Foo Yuen Lu who agrees with me. I now make this secret report to the Emperor.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

Memorial – The Viceroy, Foo Yuen and Hoppo jointly and secretly report to the Emperor concerning His request that we consider how to reduce the Port Entrance fees:

“When the English ships did not enter port we reported our responses to you. The law concerning foreign ships was first set for the Portuguese. There are three classes of ships according to size on which the measurement fee is fixed. The fee is assessed on the length and breadth of the ship.

In the 24th year of the Hong Hei Emperor, the Revenue Board asked us to consider fixing the charge on Western Ocean ships at the same level as applied to the Eastern Ocean ships and we accordingly reduced the fee on Western ships by 20%. First class ships pay 1,100 – 2,200 Taels; second and third class pay between 400 – 800 Taels.

“Duties on goods are levied according to the quantity and quality.

“Besides these, there is a fixed entry fee on all ships. Formerly it was kept by the local officers to defray their expenses. In the 4th year of the Yung Ching Emperor (1727), the Foo Yuen Yang Wan Keen started paying it to the Public Treasury and it was then entered in the printed list of Customs fees wherein it was fixed at 1,125 Taels 9 mace and 6 candareens and levied at a 10% discount. After a century, the foreigners now request to reduce it! We note it exceeds the measurement fee for 2nd and 3rd class ships so it may be considered on the high side. We should also reconsider the measurement fee on 1st class ships in light of the different circumstances of the foreign nations. The Americans send 10 – 30 ships a year of which only 10% are 1st class. The country ships number 20 – 30 per year and 50 – 60% are 1st class. The Dutch and French send 3-5 ships of which maybe one or two is large. The Company’s ships exceed 20 per year and are all 1st class.

“If we do not change the fee, the countries with large ships get an advantage over countries with small ships. This does not correspond with the benevolence of the sacred Dynasty.

“We suggest that the port entrance fee on 1st 2nd and 3rd class ships be reduced by 20% for all countries.

“The Port Clearance Fee of 500 Taels (less customary discount of 10%) is a smaller sum that is remitted to the Revenue Board along with the regular duties. Another fee of 130 Taels for departure is reported to the Board but applied to the local fund for public (free) burial. Neither of these require reducing.

“These are our secret recommendations on which we solicit His Majesty’s advice. If the Emperor agrees, we will fix the day for commencement of the new tariff on the day that his orders are received.”

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

New and full moons are days of worship in China. On the 1st day of 2nd moon the governor worshipped at the Temple of Letters, then the Temple of the Dragon King before making his usual rounds. All civil and military officers make their obeisances before breakfast.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

Ex-minister Ying Ho who permitted the Emperor’s mausoleum to be built on an undrained slope and was accordingly banished to the Huk Lung Kong (Amur River) Province, is ordered to stay a further three years after which his case will again be reviewed.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

In the village of Kau Kwei on Honam Island (opposite the factories) is the shrine of the Profit-Sharing God. 18 other villages surround Kau Kwei. On the God’s anniversary on 13th day of 2nd moon residents of the 18 villages make sacrifice in turn.

At the end of each year an auspicious day is selected and the village responsible for the ceremony that year prepares its altar and a chariot for the God. Before the anniversary, they walk to the temple and carry Him back to their village. The week before the anniversary all the villages hold processions in which the God is paraded by men of the responsible village. Everyone wears their best clothes. At night ornamental lamps are lit and plays performed in the vicinity of the altar. Then the entire populace, young and old, go to the temple to give thanks for anticipated rewards. Whatever one asks for is granted. The festival has become so popular that an immense market has developed each year.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

Being generous or liberal in the Cantonese vernacular is foot, literally meaning wide or thick. Being stingy is ‘thin’. Generosity lengthens life while stinginess shortens it.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

On 25th March 1830, Thomas Dent arrived on the Brig Elizabeth from New South Wales.

Vol 3 No 7 – Monday 29th March 1830

The Select Committee has agreed to sell the Company’s Bombay cotton at 9 Taels 7 mace per picul and their Madras cotton at 11 Taels.

All the cotton stock of 63,700 bales (22,700 Bombay, 27,386 Bengal and 13,614 Madras) is now in the hands of the Chinese and much activity is going on between the dealers.

Vol 3 No 8 – Thursday 15th April 1830

Commissioner Na, formerly the Governor of Canton and more recently Viceroy in Turkestan, established ‘Government Shops’ at Kashgar (along the lines of the Hong merchants in Canton) for the sale of tea and purchase of sheep and horses.

His successor Cha Lun Ko has told the Emperor that tea cannot be sold, even for a low price, and sheep and horses are not being brought-in for sale. The Emperor has ordered the shops to be closed and the Muslim traders permitted to buy and sell as they wish but under surveillance of the officials.

(Editor – we should withdraw from trade more often)

Vol 3 No 8 – Thursday 15th April 1830

Letter to the Editor – It seems the Hongs are to maintain their monopoly under the revised regulations whilst being relieved of their joint responsibility for debts.

The foreigner is still unable to trade until the Hong merchant goes security for him and his ship. Worse, the foreigner must copy his accounts to the provincial government if he wants to qualify for compensation when a Hong fails.

It seems the Viceroy made these new Regulations on his own authority. They will soon become part of the ‘immutable law’ of the Celestial Empire.

Vol 3 No 8 – Thursday 15th April 1830

General King Pau, the Manchu General of Canton, has told the Emperor that he is daily increasing his forces (to deal with the threat that the Viceroy envisages from the English). He needs an increased allocation of funds for the increased garrison and suggests he borrow 80,000 Taels from the Canton provincial treasury which he will lend to merchants at 10% p. a. producing 8,000 Taels a year. He will use this interest to refund 3,000 Taels a year to the government and apply the balance to the deficit in his military funding.

In 26 years the debt will be repaid and thereafter the (now unused) 3,000 Taels will become part of the Imperial surplus while he all along will have an increased 5,000 Taels to maintain his extra expenses.

Vol 3 No 8 – Thursday 15th April 1830

Servants of officials occasionally rise to become officials themselves. We have recently seen an account of a servant’s duties and it seems they are not a lowly class of people like our own servants but are often noble and honourable men.

Domestics of a Viceroy or Governor are called ‘officers of the court’ while a magistrate’s servants are called cheung shui (constant followers). They occupy a middle place between the officials and the common people, assist in the management of public business, dress well and carry themselves in a dignified way. They are constantly attentive to their master’s needs and understand the usages on all formal occasions. They know the names and histories of all their masters’ colleagues and contemporaries, they know the routes around the Empire both by land and water and they are familiar with the famous products of each county and province.

These superior servants are graded.

The first grade are descendants of poor officials who, having no education or property or trade, travel to distant parts and throw themselves on a rich family. With care and skill they make themselves indispensable. They are invariably scrupulously honest and straightforward.

The second grade are the sons of bankrupt merchants who, knowing the ways of the wealthy and having been served themselves, readily understand the requirements.

The third grade is comprised of uneducated but street-wise nomadic types who know how to please a master and readily adapt to his requirements.

A fourth grade is made up of artisans whose trade has not provided them with a livelihood due to natural disasters and the like. They seek the employment for board and lodging.

Finally there are a few of those dissolute uneducated fellows who merely want fine clothes and food and adopt every trick to improve their personal circumstances.

Vol 3 No 8 – Thursday 15th April 1830

Canton trade – Few ships remain in port, trade is dull and money is becoming scarce as the time for annual payment of the Government import duties approaches and the tea merchants start to depart.

Patna and Malwa have been selling well in small lots

Vol 3 No 9 – Saturday 1st May 1830

The paddle-steamer Forbes (Henderson) has just arrived from Calcutta, the first such steam-powered vessel seen in China.19 She had to sail across part of the China Sea due to fuel shortages and heavy weather but still made 4-5 knots under canvas.

Vol 3 No 9 – Saturday 1st May 1830

The Proprietor of Man Hop Hong left Canton on 5th April to go into banishment at Ili. The missing merchant Chun Qua Sr has returned and is at large but has avoided the company of foreigners.

Vol 3 No 9 – Saturday 1st May 1830

Complaint of Magniac & Co to How Qua Jr on behalf of the Hong merchants, dated 24th April 1830:

“The recent notification from the Consoo that Hongs will no longer be liable for debts is a derogation from the immutable Imperial laws to have them accord with a local Edict.

“You Hong merchants have a monopoly of the foreign trade and have always been responsible for insolvencies amongst your group. You take over the bankrupt’s property to first pay off the Imperial duty and then settle the foreign claims, native traders having no recourse on continuing Hong merchants. Foreign debts have usually been paid by annual instalments without interest. The money comes from a duty on foreign trade that is levied expressly for that purpose. Effectively, in each case of bankruptcy, you return our own money which you had previously arbitrarily levied on our trade. It is reasonable that the Consoo Duty (the Hong Yung fund for discharging a bankrupt Hong’s debts) must cease.

“You know some Hongs are presently deeply indebted to foreigners. We have no notice that these debts are recorded in the Consoo books. If you now repudiate them on the grounds they have not been reported, we have no security for them. We have claims on more old Hong merchants which we will not identify here. These claims are well evidenced in our accounts. Should any debtor Hong fail we consider the Co-Hong is responsible for our debts.

“We accept that the new Hongs are not and should not be made responsible for the debts of former Hongs.

“We are shocked at the way the Canton Provincial Government readily varies laws intended for our protection whilst claiming other laws of a degrading nature are fixed and immutable.” Sgd Magniac & Co et al

Vol 3 No 9 – Saturday 1st May 1830

Reply of the seven Hongs to Dent, Jardine and others, 27th April 1830:

“Last year Plowden and others requested the commercial regulations be changed. The Viceroy and Hoppo then decreed that foreign merchants should not give much credit to Hongs. Every year foreigners will account to the Hoppo showing any Hong debts due to them. Only such reported debts will be admitted in a case of bankruptcy. We informed you of this in writing.

“You replied that we omitted to say anything of the old debts of the old merchants, which you called improper, but you accept that the new Hongs should not be bound to pay the debts of old Hongs. Our not stating clearly how the old debts were to be discharged was an oversight. We now inform you that in respect of debts owed by Hong merchants to foreigners, you are to account for all such debts to the Hoppo for approval.

“Now we Hongs have fixed a limit on debts. Any debts that you claim before this correspondence commenced (i.e. before the new regulation) should be listed distinctly, whether for cargo sold or money lent, and submitted during the 4th moon to the Hong Merchants’ Hall (Consoo house) where they will be agreed and made known to all traders so future dispute can be avoided. The debtor Hong will be required to start repayment and, at the end of the year in accordance with the new regulations, you will report to the Hoppo the balance due. This is to prevent new debts being changed into old debts. If any more Hongs fail, those debts they incurred before this correspondence, which debts have been reported, will be jointly paid by us in instalments as in former times. But should a foreigner press loans on a Hong or fail to report those indebted to him, he will not be paid.

“Circulate this letter amongst yourselves and make out your lists of debts. Send them to the Consoo house for examination and agreement. This will prevent new debts being remade as old debts. For the period since this correspondence began the new regulations will apply and you should not overly trust Hong merchants with either goods or money. If you do we will most decidedly not reimburse you.”

Sgd How Qua, Mow Qua, Poon Ki Qua, Chung Qua, Go Qua, Fat Qua and King Qua.20

Vol 3 No 9 – Saturday 1st May 1830

H H Lindsay arrived on the American Brig Lancaster from San Blas on 18th April.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

The Viceroy publicly stated last year that the Hoppo’s fees for the licensing of ships’ Compradors should be reduced. This year on the arrival of the country ships, the Compradors and Linguists both demanded an increased allowance.

The former fee of $300 has now advanced to $450. The two ships that have arrived have sought to put-off the demands saying they will pay whatever is eventually fixed. They hope to avoid embarrassing their constituents.

We (the Editor) are researching the matter and will report further.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

Viceroy Lee has interdicted the unlicensed manufacture of iron goods, whether for cooking or agriculture. Transporting iron to the coast and selling it to ships merits strangulation under a law proscribing taking military weapons to sea. Accomplices (porters, boatmen) will get 100 blows and transportation. Boats will be confiscated and furnaces destroyed.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

Some Puluti tribesmen in Turkestan have been discovered exchanging piece goods with gold thread for Chinese tea. Both the sellers and the Chinese buyers have been arrested and the Chinese are said to be liable to transportation. The Puluti Tartars will wear the cangue or be pilloried for three months. They will then be sent to Yunnan or Canton (‘the unhealthy regions’). The Emperor’s decision is to be added to the penal code as a perpetual precedent.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

The Nam Hoi Yuen has complained of night thieves in Canton. He has caught many but never recovers the loot. He concludes the receivers must be numerous. To intimidate criminals, and make landlords take better care of their rented properties, he orders that the ownership of all houses in which stolen goods are found will be assigned to the informant. He also sanctions residents shooting at people seen on the rooftops at night. Cantonese usually dry their clothes on the roof and a watchman is often posted there. Clothes-drying is permitted in the 1st watch but shooting can commence in the 2nd watch. The projectiles however are not to be iron balls but uncooked rice grains.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

Not long ago the magistrates complained of the advertisements of doctors who promote all sorts of aphrodisiacs using explicit graphics. The police went round and whitewashed the advertisements. Now not only have the old advertisements been replaced but there are many new ones describing the application, uses and effects of various medicines in explicit language which make Canton appear to be a vast brothel.

Government proclamations achieve only a few days compliance then the people revert to their old ways. Sometimes the police pull down a mat-shed on some disallowed place and within hours it is re-erected.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

Those Russian students who are officially permitted in Peking have been examined in Chinese by old Sung and Po Chang. Fifteen wrote essays on a theme of the Emperor’s and ten were ranked 1st class while five were 2nd class.

The essays were put before the Emperor with translations from the Russian and he confirmed the examiners’ decision. At the same time two Chinese were rewarded for progress in translating some official Russian (or possibly Latin) documents.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

A group of Miao people have come down the West River to Canton in tiny boats. They bring some vegetable oil to barter for betelnut and opium.

They speak a form of Mandarin but say their language is quite unlike any Chinese dialect – it is unwritten and they have no books. They have no religion either but celebrate New Year following the Chinese style. The few rich men amongst them have several wives. They neither shave the front of their heads nor grow queues but coil their hair on their heads rather like Chinese women.

They have spent a month travelling here and some Cantonese say they have rebelled against the Empire. Some were brought to meet European ladies and gentlemen in the factories and were given small presents.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

180 prisoners are held in the Canton gaol pending for the Autumn assize. They were examined by the Foo Yuen and other officials the other day and each was given a few coppers and a rush fan and remanded.

A recent Peking Gazette says there are 10,500 people convicted of capital offences who have been spared and the Emperor has ordered the Criminal Board to check each case to see if He might exercise clemency to some few.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

Last month the Treasurer went to White Cloud Hill north of Canton to get Holy Water (consecrated by a Buddhist priest). He passed it to the Foo Yuen who next day sprinkled it on the altar of the City God and requested rain. The Foo Yuen went on five successive days to the altar to request for rain.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

The magistrates have interdicted the storage of rice by grain merchants. They want to control the price. Last year’s harvest was good. Rice is daily arriving down the West River from Kwong Si and some foreign supply is also imported. Although there is little rain the rice supply should be adequate.

Nevertheless the price rises daily due to speculation. The monopolists are now threatened with corporal punishment and confiscation of their rice. The magistrates invite everyone to report any hoarding.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

The river fleet carrying copper from the Yunnan mines to Peking via the Yangtse River has been found to also carry several ten thousand catties of smuggled salt. When the military searchers discovered it, the boatmen resisted and accused the searchers of stealing their copper and rice etc.

The officer in charge of the fleet believed his boatmen and struck some soldiers. He was seized and handed over to the Governor of Sze Chuen for investigation of his knowledge of the salt.

Vol 3 No 10 – Saturday 15th May 1830

There is no Turkish opium to be had in Canton. All last year’s Patna and Benares is in Chinese hands. New Patna and Benares sold well recently but has since stopped. Some junks are expected which should revive the market. Some Malwa has been sold but not to the extent of the Bengal drug.

Vol 3 No 11 – Tuesday 1st June 1830

We have some information on the history of Macau that we gleaned from old documents in the Leal Senado. The first Portuguese attempt on China was in 1522 when three ships under Martin Affonso de Mello attempted to take the Bocca Tigris but were defeated by a large Chinese fleet and forced to flee. de Mello continued along the coast eventually receiving a welcome at Ningpo in Chekiang where he was permitted to settle near the town. From there the small Portuguese community traded with Japan and, with increasing wealth and marriage to local girls, it grew to 1,000 people.

In 1542 in response to an unrecorded danger, the Chekiang Viceroy sent 60,000 men and 400 junks against the Portuguese town. They burned the 75 Portuguese lorchas and killed 800 Europeans and Eurasians. The remainder were allowed to flee.21

By 1544 the survivors had established themselves on the Fukienese coast where they remained 3 years but, by repeated acts of encroachment, they exasperated the locals who then burnt 13 of the Portuguese ships and killed about 470 of the 500 population. The few remaining men fled south, trading with the islanders they met for provisions, until they arrived at St Johns (San Chuan), south west of Macau. The major source of their continuing income was the Japanese trade which they had contrived to maintain throughout their adversities.

This small community established a trading station at St Johns where the Straits and Indo-China junks could trade with Europeans, avoiding the fees at the principal Chinese ports like Canton. The small Portuguese community was more than once destroyed but was an important and well-sited intermediate base for the Goan shipping to Japan and was accordingly always rebuilt.

By 1554 the Kwongtung provincial government decided the island base had become notorious from the Portuguese presence. They required the foreigners to remove to Sam Pa Chau, an island 86 miles west of Macau, where they remained for 3 years.

In the late 1550s a pirate named Tang Sai Lao was ravaging the South China coast. On the application of the Kwongtung government, his group was destroyed by the Portuguese after several battles. For this service the Portuguese community leaders were presented to the Governor in Canton and, requesting for a permanent place to dry their stores, they were allowed to use the deserted tip of Heung Shan, which they named as Macau. They built houses and settled with their mostly Japanese wives. Later other Portuguese came from Malacca to join them. They say the Camby Emperor then granted them the use of the whole peninsula. By 1568 the population was 900 Portuguese and several thousand slaves.

At about this time the Portuguese Viceroy at Goa sent an embassy to China under Gil de Gayo but it was not permitted to enter China. The Porta Cerco was built by the Chinese in 1574 at a conveniently narrow neck of land to prevent unregulated Portuguese access to Heung Shan by land. The Portuguese contrarily say it was to fix a northern limit on their enclave. In 1582 it was proposed to constitute a senate for the better governance of the place and the present senate house was then built. In 1586 the Viceroy at Goa, Dom Duarte de Menezes, granted all the present privileges to the local administration. The first Portuguese military governor was sent to Macau in 1616.

In 1622 Macau was attacked by a Dutch fleet of 15 ships under Cornelius Rogers. He bombarded the place throughout 23rd June then landed a party of 900 soldiers in three columns the following day at Cacilhas Bay. Seeing only some 150 Portuguese, Rogers advanced towards their buildings but was met by the entire population. During a spirited fight some 300 of the Dutch were killed and four of their captains captured. Many of their flags, swords and pikes, etc., were taken. The Portuguese and Spanish losses were heavy and after this experience they started the construction of a city wall with forts at appropriate places. Having no cannon they brought an engineer from Manila who arrived and supervised the casting of all the required cannon. The following year Don Francisco Mascarenhas was nominated Governor of Macau.

By 1822 the population was:

Free Portuguese men
Portuguese children
45,000 (app)

Vol 3 No 11 – Tuesday 1st June 1830

Some sand has been discovered in bales of Indian cotton sold to the Chinese. It has made onward sale difficult.

The 2nd rice crop this year has failed due to the unusually dry weather and imports from Manila have been easily sold at good profits.

Vol 3 No 11 – Tuesday 1st June 1830

The new crop of Company’s Malwa is good quality and each chest weights 104 – 104½ catties. 60 piculs of Turkish has also just arrived. It was sold at $850 per picul and on-sold by the Chinese buyer at very high prices.

It is widely said that the Chinese have been cultivating the poppy in Kwongtung and other provinces but they are only getting about 20% of smokable extract and the taste is poor. They are said to be mixing it with Turkish. This cultivation cannot be secret – it must be done in collusion with the authorities.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

Advertisement – The Agency at Canton for the Asiatic Insurance Company will be conducted from 1st June 1830 by John Templeton.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

Horse racing has again been held in Macau on 6th and 20th April. The Tso Tong was invited but did not come. He sent some runners who indicated where to mark the course. Afterwards the party adjourned to the Company’s Palacio where subscriptions were called for future races. One was for Manila horses. Residents of the Albany offered $100 for a brace of Chinese horses and $400 for any Arab or Indian horses to be raced on the first racing day of 1832. These encouragements to importation delighted the group.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

The elder Chun Qua is rumoured to have agreed to personally supervise his Hong and will liquidate the foreign debts early. He has given security for the outstanding revenue due to government.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

The Nam Hoi magistrate is still tackling the problem of burglary. He ordered the inhabitants to affix pointed bamboos on their walls to deter night thieves from passing from house to house but few complied. They said it did not look nice or it detracted from their fung shui. Whilst they ignore his recommendations they continue to complain of thefts. It is widely surmised that when they lose a little, they report a lot.

Now he has recommended sharp bits of broken tile stuck in lime on the tops of walls. It is not readily apparent from street level. If the householders will not do this, he threatens to punish the policemen who are supposed to enforce his will. The locals think the magistrate’s proposals are unrealistic.

They say sharp bamboos can easily be cut away or might be burned increasing the risk of fire spread. They say everyone except the magistrate knows broken tiles are not as sharp as broken chinaware.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

Some bandits residing in the hills near Shun Tak recently descended on the town, entered a shop, robbed its contents, and seized three men whom they held for ransom.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

Small pox is spreading throughout the villages of Heung Shan and many fatalities have occurred. It is rumoured 400 children have died so far.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

The Peking Gazettes report success against the insurgency in Taiwan and several officers are to be honoured.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

The Emperor suspects a defect in the administration of justice. Cases are being delayed. Unjust decisions provoke appeals. Attempts at accommodation satisfy neither party. The cases are decided one way and, on appeal, the other way. Then new witnesses are found. One party is imprisoned to await the appearance of the other. Finally the matter comes to the Supreme Court in Peking. In this way the law is used to encourage discord and the simple people get caught in a legal trap from which they cannot withdraw.

The present system of rewarding the vigilant magistrate and sending unproved accusations to Peking is insufficient to exhibit justice. Viceroys and Foo Yuens are ordered to have all cases settled quickly in their provinces. If they start to accumulate, the magistrates must be dealt with severely and the Emperor informed. In this way merit and demerit will become apparent and all time-wasting will be abandoned. False imprisonment will cease.

Vol 3 No 12 – Thursday 15th June 1830

James Matheson arrived on 31st May on the British barque Sherbourne from Calcutta. The other foreign passenger was Mrs White.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

The Linguists have tried to combine to charge $600 per foreign ship for their services but How Qua Jr has opposed them. He says he will name the instigator to the Viceroy if the foreigners complain. The instigator, whose name we know, keeps a dozen concubines, many in separate houses.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

The Thai embassy has arrived back in Canton from Peking and has been entertained by the Viceroy and Foo Yuen.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

On the anniversary of Waterloo (18th June), a tributary dinner was given to all the traders at Canton by M J Senn van Basel, the Netherlands Consul. Good food and wine was provided and an hilarious evening ensued.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

There are six Supreme Courts in Peking and the volume of new law passing through these courts has increased to the point that publishing a new code every ten years is inadequate. Wily litigators who track developments sometimes use the new law or the old law depending on where the advantage lies and the courts cannot keep up with them.

The Emperor has decreed that instead of revising the law every ten years, the courts should try to make less new law but, when they do, it should be reported to the Emperor for approval and promulgated.22

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

Wat Yuen’s festival was celebrated last week. The weather was fine but the numbers of dragon boats on the river were few owing to the distress caused by the paucity of the 2nd annual rice harvest.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

We recently reported that the Nam Hoi magistrate permitted inhabitants to fire at thieves on rooftops after dark. Apparently there has since been constant gunfire at night and everyone is disturbed.

He now proclaims that firearms are illegal and only the most serious case can excuse their use. If the inhabitant is certain the target is a thief and certain he cannot catch him any other way, then he may fire.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

The Poon Yu magistrate notes that students for the provincial examinations have commenced arriving in Canton. Every year when they come, thieves and pick-pockets follow them. These bandits rent rooms at high prices in which to store their loot. Householders should take care when renting rooms to generous tenants. If the house is later found to contain thieves or stolen property, it will be seized by government and given to the main informer and the owner will also be punished for his carelessness. Take care.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

There are 7,000 barbers in Canton (tai tau lo – head shavers, in Cantonese). 6,000 of them come from the three eastern districts of Wai, Chau and Ka where all the rough and violent people live.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

The government is redoubling its efforts to stabilise the price of rice. Several rice merchants have been seized for demanding high prices. One local thinks this action will drive dealers out of the market and could make matters worse.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

Mrs Fei Ching Po is 67 years old. She is the widow of a tea merchant who died young and left her in poverty. Her daughter sold a small house and gave Mrs Fei the proceeds for her livelihood. The old woman used this gift to rent a house and set it up as a posh gambling den for men and women. She bribed the police and very soon had a distinguished clientele and an increasing fortune.

Recently the son of the Poon Yu magistrate Hu started visiting her tables and on one night lost $1,000. He became angry and left but returned later to try and win back his loss. Mrs Fei counselled him not to bet more, fearing the matter might get out of hand. Young Hu laid a plot to entrap Mrs Fei but when he revealed her business to his father, it backfired under questioning, and the true story came out. Now Mrs Fei is in prison and none of her friends can help her.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

Na, the hero of Kashgar and now Governor of Chih Li, reports that it is a commonplace that men arrested by the police in his province for social crimes (usually gambling) are liberated by other members of the public who thrash the policemen. He details two recent cases. In one a Heen magistrate was roughed-up.

He says disrespect for the law is the first step to rebellion. He has beheaded two offenders and transferred the involved magistrate to another district.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

The commander of Mukden says there are 300 members of the royal family resident there, all unemployed. He asks that they may be admitted as candidates for jobs in the Courts.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

We have been reading a book by a Chinese who travelled in western Tartary about 50 years ago. He says N W of Ili is a large country called Ha Sa Ki that is occupied by two tribes. The people live in tents and have no houses. They grow no grain and live as herdsmen. The grass there grows about 6” tall and has a white root – animals fatten easily upon it. Rich people may own 10,000+ cattle and horses and their sheep are innumerable. Several men share one wife. When a male reaches 16 years he is given some cattle and provides for himself. They eat camel, horse, cow and sheep. They make a wine from mare’s milk.23 Their eating utensils are of wood. They wear many garments even in summer as these reveal one’s wealth. They prize Chinese earthenware and tea highly.

In 1756 the Kien Lung Emperor entered this country and the ruler of the southern half, Khan Opoolai, submitted to China. His lands and people were incorporated into China. Every year they gave tribute to China of 1 cow per hundred and 1 sheep per thousand. The Chinese governor at Ili collects this tribute from the King who first collects it from his people. At first they were reluctant to pay tribute but now they tolerate it. The people of the northern part of Ha Sa Ki have no relationship with China.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

The temple to Chuangtse, a contemporary of Confucius, in Shantung has not been repaired for a century and is nearly in ruins. The Emperor has now ordered a thorough refurbishment to evidence his piety.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

Rumours of a bumper supply of Malwa from Damaun have knocked prices down to $530 for small lots. This must be the bottom of the market. Yesterday some parcels sold at slightly more. Patna also dropped to $770 but has since revived slightly. Deliveries last month were enormous and many forward buyers have forfeited their deposits rather than lose more by paying the old prices. Many Chinese dealers have been very unlucky in their speculations.

Vol 3 No 13 – Saturday 3rd July 1830

John Morrison and his daughter arrived per Fort William from Bombay on 16th June.

Vol 3 No 14 – Saturday 17th July 1830

The Viceroy has unequivocally instructed the magistrates to oppose gaming houses. They have set about a suppression and all are temporarily closed. This diversion of their manpower has permitted some 40 daring robberies to occur at the same time. Both the Nam Hoi and Poon Yu magistrates are consequently threatened with a report of incompetency to the Emperor.

Recently a consignment of Imperial treasure was robbed at the north gate of the city and the guards did nothing. The matter is being hushed-up and the Viceroy is searching for a replacement supply of silver to send.

Vol 3 No 14 – Saturday 17th July 1830

Kin Ah Cheah is a successful robber of Poon Yu whom the police know all about (and secretly admire) but do not catch. After the recent spate of robberies, the governor learned his name and ordered his capture and the magistrate was obliged to offer a $3,000 reward.

Such a large reward inevitably ensured his capture as it was sufficient to allow for his parents to be seized and conceivably tortured for information. To avoid this he surrendered. The policeman he chose to surrender to is called Kau Mo (Dog’s Hair). On getting the reward, the policeman remitted $1,000 to Kin Ah Cheah to benefit his family after his inevitable execution.

Vol 3 No 14 – Saturday 17th July 1830

The Nam Hoi magistrate has received a petition for help from the widow Wai Ping, 63 years. She is the mother of three sons. The eldest teaches reading and supports her. The youngest is dead and the other, Ah Keen Soo, is a wastrel. He does not work but gambles and fornicates all day. He ignores the admonitions of the eldest son and recently took-up opium smoking. He has stolen everything in the house to finance his social habits and duns his mother daily for more money. When she reproved him, he appeared ready to strike her. She petitions for official assistance.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

The French ship Euphemie sank off the N W coast of Lintin on 24th July in a typhoon. She struck the rocks with her stern and sank suddenly in 10 fathoms, bow-first. One man was drowned. The wreck was sold ‘as is’ at Lintin for $4,900.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

The Proprietor of Man Hop is reported to have died en route to Ili to commence his banishment. He is rumoured to have smoked too much opium at the outset of his journey and run out half-way.

Pak Qua, the merchant who was cheated out of all he possessed en route to Ili, has since arrived there and a letter has recently been received from him.

Judge Ching (now at Canton but before at Kansu when Pak Qua passed through that province) made him rector of a temple at Ili and Pak directs all his friends to bow to the Judge for his great kindness.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

We hear the government investigation into Chun Qua has produced securities for his debts to the revenue but no-one is trying to recover his foreign debts.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

16th November at Macau – The compradors have presented a list of reduced fees for services to Company ships of any size. The items listed are many. They refer to payments at Customs Houses at Whampoa, 1st and 2nd bar and at various forts.

Large ships that previously paid $534 – 1,165 will in future pay $74 – 763.

Many annual charges are reduced by about a third and others are cancelled (such as the $1,100 p a for 11 days of theatricals for the Whampoa Customs House staff; the $20 fee for both casting and weighing anchor, and $8 per ship for idol worship costs).

The charge on small ships is reduced from $847 to $496.

The compradors say the old fee of $1,165 for a large ship will now be $763 and the annual charges for each ship in the fleet will be reduced from $2,352 to $602.

Country merchants fear these new fees will not be applied to their country ships as the list specifies Company ships.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

The Hoppo has amended port charges on 11th May.

To the Hong merchants:

“You know the Emperor sanctioned a reduction in Port Entrance fees. You now ask how much it is. The old fee was 1,125.96 Taels less 10% = 1,013.36 Taels. This is reduced a further 20% to 810.691 Taels.

“Previously there were three classes of ship. That is cancelled. Everyone will pay 810.691 Taels. Previously, the French, single eagle and double eagle (Prussia and Austria?) countries paid 100 Taels more and Sula (?) ships paid 100 Taels less. Now their entry fees are also reduced 20%. All these fees are subject to a 6% sycee weighing fee and a 0.6% transportation fee (to send the sycee to the Treasury).

“Port Clearance fees will remain as hitherto for all foreign ships. That is 480.42 Taels per ship regardless of size. Opening the barrier, payable to the Leung Tau (the grain superintendent) continues unchanged at 116.424 Taels on each ship. No charge for weighing or transporting the sycee is allowed.”

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

Complete list of revised fees and charges for foreign ships at the Port of Canton (in Spanish dollars)


Fee to Customs for applying for food permit

Fee to Customs head for providing food permit

Fee for stamping the permit

Fee for introducing comprador to Customs head

Fee for delivering food

Fee for extra food

General fee on provisioning

Shoe money for Customs House runners

Fees to Customs House servants

Fee to Tsung Chun Customs (between the Follies)

Fee to Eastern fort Customs (at French folly)

Fee to Sai Ho (the Creek) Customs house

Fee to Customs house in front of factories

Fee to Poon Yu magistrate for bond

Fee to Sze Office at Kau Tong, Whampoa

Fee to Ag/Magistrate at Weng Ting for bond

Monthly fee for Customs officers, Dane’s Island

Policemen guarding warehouse foundations

Fee for witnessing anchoring

Fee for witnessing up-anchoring

Clerks recording anchoring

Anchoring fee

Raising anchor fee

Autumn festival charge

Fee for clerks at Autumn festival

Governor’s officer to guard larboard

Hoppo’s officer to guard starboard

Annual general charge per ship

Additional charge per country ship

Various other misc charges


Old Fee
































New Fee
































Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

In a local news-sheet it is said there are 1,600 brothels in Canton and each pays a tariff bribe of $200 per month to the police.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

Some wealthy businessmen in Canton are retailers of charcoal and wood. They have 1,700 shops in Canton and a guild to fix regulations.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

The five Heens surrounding Canton are Nam Hoi, Poon Yu, Tung Kwoon, Shun Tak and Heung Shan. Each has about 1,000 unpaid police runners. Middle sized districts have 300-400. Small districts have 100-200. All of these receive what income they have to prevent or connive at crime.

Vol 3 No 15 – Monday 2nd August 1830

Letter to the Editor – I was an early subscriber to your paper. In the first two numbers you said you would be publishing matters of local interest and information. All we have had recently is immoralities and indecencies, crime and punishment. Why are you reporting domestic Chinese scandals, the truth of which you have no idea?

I do not care if a Linguist has 12 wives – I only care about his ability to translate. The celebratory dinner for the anniversary of Waterloo was a private affair. We all know what transpired better than you. To others it is of no interest.

Sgd Sincerity

Editor – The Canton Register is not a money-making concern. Principle not profit originated and will continue it. We have received another letter like Sincerity’s from a man calling himself Vindex but we will not publish it.

Note – The shipping lists in Canton Register show most American ships arrive from Manila and a few from Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). They commonly sail from Boston and New York round the Horn, take seal skins in the South Atlantic, trade at Chile and Peru for silver, barter blankets and iron utensils for sea otter pelts off Oregon, continue to Hawaii for sandalwood, then through the South East Asian islands where they buy and boil beche-de-mer, hanging it from the rigging to wind-dry it, and they obtain other exotic goods. Thence to Manila (for rice & / or sugar) and thus they come up to Macau / Lintin, buying and selling all along the way.

Occasionally an American ship arrives Canton from London and Gibraltar. These bring the Turkish opium and visit London for financial reasons.

Most American ship captains are in their twenties.

Vol 3 No 16 – Wednesday 18th August 1830

Imperial rescript – the revenue from internal transit dues has long been fixed and no deficiency is allowed. In recent years the statements of various Customs superintendents have shown a shortfall.

Hang Kei at Hai Kwan pass is 69,000 Taels short; Wan Chiang at Hiu Yai pass is 60,000 Taels short. This is laziness. When will it stop?

The Lui Wu Fu will draft rules for each pass so we can distinguish merit from demerit and reward or punish accordingly. Dated 29th April 1830

Vol 3 No 16 – Wednesday 18th August 1830

Brokers have made repeated enquiries, mainly for Malwa, which has encouraged importers to quote higher prices without any sales actually occurring. Some trade in Damaun Malwa has been done for cash and on 30 and 60 days terms but the prices have been low and the trade (a few hundred chests) is only amongst foreigners.

We have had nearly 800 chests delivered in the first half of August. Much of the Damaun Malwa is inferior and complaints are received daily.

Vol 3 No 16 – Wednesday 18th August 1830

Some country ships have recently left port fully loaded but the Company fleet remains outside the river at Kowloon anchorage and the investments of the commanders and officers are accordingly being kept out of the market. It seems the Select remains dissatisfied with the revised terms of trade.

Vol 3 No 17 – Wednesday 25th August 1830

Chung the Hoppo sends the following order dated 3rd August to the Hong merchants to advise Jardine:

Hitherto duties on imports were levied three months after the annual settlement at the Customs House and a further three months after that the whole amount was sent to the Emperor in Peking. This year when the time arrived to dispatch the money, many small sums were still owing by several merchants. Over the next six months more foreign ships entered port and, to make up the account, some weak merchants were induced to transfer duties received for the new cargoes to make up the shortfall on the old. Then, when they came to account for the next annual duty, they borrowed from foreigners and your claims increased with interest. Unless this problem is addressed the debts will continue to increase as the likelihood of repayment decreases.24

The law is that the Hong merchant receiving foreign goods pays the import duty when the ship sails. In future it will be the duty of the Security Merchant to distinguish which Hong has bought which goods and what remains unsold. Duties on goods already sold will be paid by the buying Hong. Duties on unsold goods will be paid by the foreigner to the Security merchant and paid by him to government. The foreigner must exchange goods for goods. There can be no money lent at interest. The Hong merchants are required by law to conduct trade by barter. They may not amass debts to foreigners.

When a ship requests for Port Clearance it will have to show that the duty on all its import cargo has been paid. The foreign ships usually discharge their cargoes within a month of arrival but they wait 4-5 months for the new teas and other return cargo. If it was a rule that all ships pay duty on leaving, those that remain long might use the duty money for another purpose. Hereafter foreign ships requesting port clearance within 1-2 months of arrival must evidence prior payment of import duty. But those staying five months may not wait until departure to pay. Instead within three months of examination of their imports, they must pay all the duty and the Security merchant and Linguists will be responsible to ensure it is done. In this way the import duties will always become available within the six months allowed and the practice of transferring new receipts to pay old duty will be ended.

I have discussed this with the Viceroy and Foo Yuen and it has been reported to the Emperor. I have ordered the head Linguist Tsai Mo (ah Tam, also known as Old Tom,) to instruct his group to obey this.

14th day of 8th moon is the date that land tax is payable. All import duties on cargo must in future be paid in accordance with this order. The former law, requiring import duties to be levied three months after completing the Customs House accounts, is hereby annulled. You are ordered to report in the manner specified above. Implicitly obey.

Vol 3 No 17 – Wednesday 25th August 1830

The edict of the Hoppo suggests his reluctance to authorise new Hong merchants. He sets the financial requirements high and prevents several interested small businessmen from applying. He is suspected of wanting to keep the number low so he can control them more easily. It is his exactions that oppress the foreign trade. That must be his intention.25

The new Hoppo Ching Cheung was previously the Customs Superintendent at Hai Kwan pass (between Manchuria and China). It is one of the places recently identified by the Emperor as having a shortfall in its receipts. The total shortfall in 6th, 7th and 8th years of the current reign was 217,596 Taels. Ching Cheung has been ordered to settle the shortfall himself. He has already paid two instalments of 10,000 Taels each and has indicated willingness to pay another 30,000 Taels by depositing that sum in the Poo Ching Sze at Canton. The Emperor orders that as the Hoppo is unable to pay all at once, he agrees to wait until the 6th and 7th years shortfalls have been paid before receiving the 8th year shortfall.

Editor’s comment – this might well explain the new Hoppo’s posting here. He has to dun the Hong merchants for money to settle the Emperor’s demands. This will be passed on to the foreign trade in full.

Vol 3 No 17 – Wednesday 25th August 1830

The Chinese government professes that all persons may petition for redress of grievances. In practise officials create obstacles to petitioning and recently (in the dispute over Man Hop’s debts) the Viceroy threatened to cancel the right altogether. This problem has existed at least since the restrictive trade system was adopted in 1759. As a result of that unilateral initiative,26 the Company wrote the Canton government in 1761 notifying various grievances, one of which was the difficulty in making complaints to government.

They said:

‘… last year our supercargoes wished to put a case before the Hoppo but were prevented from seeing him. We request that if there is a case, we should be permitted to make it to the Hoppo’.

Here is the then government’s response to that complaint:

“When foreign ships enter port and come to Whampoa, the Hoppo is legally required to go and superintend the measurement of the ships. He should also make presents of cattle 5-6 times each season to foreigners. If the foreigners have any matter for the Hoppo, they should use these times to present it. Actually the Hoppo says any foreign merchant can always appear before him. If the foreigner cannot wait until the next of the 5-6 stated times, he may go with his Security merchant and Linguist to present his petition and the watchmen are not allowed to prevent it.”

Vol 3 No 17 – Wednesday 25th August 1830

A dispute over weights has occurred between the fishermen who supply the fishmongers in the markets. The fishermen wished to make a change but the market retailers declined to buy and, as fish are readily perishable, the boatmen gave in first. Later when the markets had no fish, the retailers repeated their demand. Then the watermen’s union stepped in and fined the involved boatmen one day’s street play expenses (contributions for staging public theatricals) and ordered they bring in the fish as before.

Vol 3 No 17 – Wednesday 25th August 1830

Wang Chu, an Imperial censor, has complained of the extortions of police runners. When a witness summons is issued, the runners dun Plaintiff and Defendant for money to serve or not to serve the process. They often charge $100 or more for process service. The magistrate’s clerks, being more important, must receive double what the lictors get or they will create procedural difficulties for the Plaintiff.

These lictors create complaints against any wealthy person purely to extort from him. They have connections with the gutter lawyers whereby one lawyer complains and another offers to defend and thus they both make money.

In murder cases, where many relatives and neighbours must be interviewed, the police runners importune shamelessly over all sorts of unrelated matters that come to light during questioning.

They have agreements with bandit groups to connive at robberies for reward.

The censor Wang Chu depicts the police in this light and the Emperor acknowledges it. He says he selects the best officials by examination, appoints them as officials to preserve the peace and comfort the people, but the greatest cause of popular suffering is the magistrate’s staff who act under the control of these carefully selected officials. He orders the local magistrates to exercise greater vigilance in controlling their staff.27

Vol 3 No 17 – Wednesday 25th August 1830

Commercial News – two new Security Merchants have been appointed, details later.

Vol 3 No 17 – Wednesday 25th August 1830

The American ship Bashaw arrived from London 24th August bringing back Mr J P Cushing.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

The East River has overflowed, the foo of Waichow has been inundated and 1,000 houses and shops have been swept away. Up to 5,000 people are feared drowned.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

The To Kwong Emperor is reportedly enamoured with the daughter of Siu Shih, a Hau Kwan (Chinese army) officer. The army assisted the Manchu’s in their conquest of China. The lady sings and excels at poetry.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

About 2 months ago Chin Ting Ta, the street leader of Sei Hin Fong (a street name) in Canton, was robbed of 3,000 Taels by a gang of well-armed thieves. The following night the same gang raped several women.

Then on 1st September the government got some information and arrested Lee Cheung who has confessed to being the leader and has identified 30 associates. They are all to stand trial.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

Siu, the doyen of the literati in Canton, is not a rich man. Having achieved success in the social organisation of the arts, he is belatedly trying to obtain wealth by selling literary degrees.

A Siu Tsai degree costs $8,000 and Siu is expected to gross over $100,000 but it is illegal and the risks of shakedown and/or Imperial wrath are great.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

Lt Col de Lacy Evans, in his book quantifying the risk of a Russian or French attack on India, has appended some interesting comments on future British trade with China. He says in 20-30 years it will be necessary to have free and unrestricted commercial access to the Chinese Empire.

A force of 10,000 men and a cost not exceeding that previously thrown away on useless embassies, should suffice to obtain the objective. The Colonel is so pleased with his plan that he never questions its morality either in terms of our justice or our religion.

He says killing a few thousand people to obtain tea at a fair price is a ‘simple process’. One wonders whether, if all the trade could be had at the sacrifice of just the Colonel’s life, he would still be willing to pursue his ‘simple process’.

He should instead have Jeremy Bentham print off a few million pamphlets in Chinese on the ‘greatest happiness’ principle and the concept of free trade. If that gets no result he might send a school master to inculcate understanding.

Only then, in the event of failure after 20-30 years of effort, may the bayonet be used to force the Chinese to be ‘free and happy and buy and sell without limitation’.28

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

There are 25,000 cobblers in Canton, 16,000 furniture makers and carpenters, 15,000 weavers and 7,000 gem setters. There are 18,000+ trading boats on the river between Canton and Whampoa. There are 50,000+ Tanka (Soi Serng) people. All these pay an annual licensing fee to police.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

The scholar Yuen Yuen, late Viceroy of the Two Kwong, was transferred to be Governor of Yunnan concurrent with the India Company’s recent war with Burma.

He has just reported the suppression of an insurrection of foreign barbarians in his province.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

Macau – a new temple has been built by the Chinese in the Campo at Waterlily Creek and from 4th – 15th August daily processions have been held to bring-in (cheng) the new idols. A temple in this vicinity has long existed and been adequate for the poor residents but last year the geomancer Leung visited Macau and persuaded some wealthy men that the old site was unlucky while the opposite bank of the creek was auspicious.

Macau has experienced frequent fires and bad trade for several years so they agreed to finance the building and a subscription from locals made up the balance (including a large donation from a Junior Hong merchant who also donated the land). The processions were financed by the various trades of Macau who all hope to become prosperous as a result – first the rice dealers, then the tailors, then carpenters, bricklayers, dealers in foreign goods and pork butchers. These were followed by the villagers of Sha Le Tau, Mong Ha, etc.

The police were on the alert and three pickpockets were arrested and immediately pilloried on the spot.

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

All Chinese esteem, admire and love their country. The government selects the best talents for its service by examination. Successful applicants enter the lower ranks of the administration. As they are promoted through the ranks, they amass experience in the art of governing. The senior officials are expert in their understanding of human nature and its management for government purposes.

Those Chinese who have been abroad infinitely prefer the home system. Those who have not been abroad, but to whom a description of the western system is given, likewise think China is better.

They acknowledge our technical superiority without valuing it much. They deplore our etiquette which they consider uncivilised. In the following translation will be seen what the Chinese expect of an official – patriotism, justice, knowledge and religion:

Shao Pung Wan said:

“most officials wish only to satisfy themselves and their families. They fear only punishment for their crimes. One cannot find a good official in a hundred. Let all officials consider their lives according to the following rules…..”

(There follows a lengthy passage on patriotism, justice, knowledge and religion)

Vol 3 No 18 – Monday 6th September 1830

The purchasers of the French ship Euphemie (which sank off Lintin in a typhoon) have recovered most of her cargo and stores.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

Cheung, the Viceroy of Kiang Nan (the old name for Kiangsu and Anhwei, but he also governs Kiangsu), who was Canton governor during Lord Amherst’s embassy, has requested the Emperor’s permission to retire to his estate.

If approved the Hong merchants expect the present Viceroy Lee will replace him and our Foo Yuen Loo will be elevated to Viceroy here.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

A great Buddhist ceremony has been held for How Qua’s wife who died last year. It must have cost over $10,000. After this ceremony her remains will be buried.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

Some ex-convicts from Ili who were amnestied after fighting for China against Jahangir, have complained that they only received the amnesty without the cash bounty. They say the regular troops were weak and fearful and it was the 10,000 convicts who carried the battle and obtained victory. As evidence, they note that 4,000 of their number died.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

An Oriental Institute is opened at St Petersburg University to study Asian languages inter alia Chinese. They will study for 5 years then attend the Russian school in Peking.

Robert Peel was asked to create a Chinese chair at Oxford in 1825 but declined. Now Peel has been succeeded as Chancellor by Sir Robert Inglis (one of the India Company’s MPs) we expect Chinese will be studied there.

France, Prussia and now Russia have all encouraged Chinese studies but England does nothing.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

Lee Yuen Fong lived with his wife and son in Poon Yu. Eleven years ago he argued with one of the Keen clan, a rich family in the area, over ownership of a grave site and sued the clan for an order confirming his own family’s title.

The Keens bribed the Poon Yu magistrate who found for the defendants. Lee boldly protested in open court that he would never admit such untruth even they beat him to death (the magistrate had ordered him to sign a paper acknowledging Keen’s ownership of the site).

Without the form being signed the case could not be closed so, to make Lee more accommodating, the magistrate gaoled him. The Keens then solicited the gaolers to accomplish Lee’s death and after a month they reported he had died of disease.

The widow appealed to first the Foo court then the Sze court but both times was referred back to the Poon Yu magistrate so the matter lapsed. The widow awaited her son maturing before having him seek for justice for the family.

The Keens, learning of her intention to persevere, obtained police agreement to arrest the boy on some charge. This made the widow desperate.

This summer she walked to Canton to petition the Foo Yuen.

She applied three times but was always rejected. This month she went again to his gate when he coincidentally was coming out. She pressed the petition on him but he threw it away. She then took out a knife and cut her own throat. The wound appeared fatal but she did not die instantly. The Foo Yuen directed that, if she recovered, he would reconsider her case. By-standers were incensed and indignantly spread the report throughout the city. The story is being circulated as a ‘lamentable case, extremely oppressive’.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

Chin Shui Yu, grain superintendent of Shensi, has reported to Peking that while travelling on duty he saw a body floating in a river. He asked the local people why they did not tell the magistrate and they said there are many bodies found floating in the river but its better to leave the corpse to be eaten by fish or dogs.

If they tell the magistrate he will require the owner of the land where the corpse is brought ashore to pay for a coffin. The magistrate’s writers and lictors will force us to identify the body, locate relatives and secure their attendance at the magistrate’s yamen. They may do other unpleasant things unconnected with the case. Thus it is more prudent for us to not become involved.

As this case should involve the magistrate, I nevertheless sent word to him and continued with my work. Three weeks later I again passed that spot and the same corpse was still there together with a new one further along the river. I again informed the magistrate. The new corpse was in a different district and that was soon examined and buried but the old corpse was ignored and, solely because of my interest, the local people brought it ashore and buried it themselves.

Now the place where the corpse was found is not far from the magistrate’s office. He should have heard of it if the people trusted him. What they said about keeping back information is very likely true. I was told that many are drowned in 4th and 5th months when the river flow increases and again when the grain junks arrive many merchants and coolies are jumping on and off boats and more people are drowned. Yet no-one informs the magistrates of these deaths.

The burial of people should be important to a benevolent government. The deceased people may be the victims of ‘who knows what’. Please instruct the Governor of Chih Li and the Yuen of Shun Tin district to have their policemen attend to drowned bodies, prohibit the writers and runners of officials from extorting money and give the magistrates adequate expenses to bury unidentified corpses.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

Peking Gazettes:

  • The police in Kwei Chow are accused of causing or permitting the death by maltreatment of six men in prison. Four died in a single month. The son of one victim is the Petitioner.
  • A Buriat chief, one of those who assisted in the defeat of Jahangir, has sent a fine horse to Cha Lung O, the resident at Kashgar, and Cha asks Imperial permission to bestow official rank (a button and peacock’s feather) on the donor. His Majesty approves a button of the 6th degree.
  • The Chinese resident at Kashgar reports that the baggage train of the army that fought Jahangir was abandoned in Turkestan and the carters, camel drivers, etc., have become vagrants in all the Muslim cities. He drives them away but they have nowhere to go and keep coming back.
    He proposes to obtain their agreement to return to China in return for a catty of flour a day for each man. He asks that any Chinese requesting passes to travel west through Kea Yu Kwan into Turkestan be refused unless they be traders.
  • Wang Chau, the censor of Hu Kuang, has complained the practice of provincial governors sending their ageing officials to Peking to work in the boards there. He says important posts are increasingly held by senile idiots.
    Editor – this subject is in vogue amongst the officials. There are daily orders to old men to retire. The Governor of Szechuan, who is over 70 years, has been ordered to step down. At least he keeps his rank and emoluments. Another old officer had to petition the Emperor for half-pay as he cannot continue without something.
  • A Caravan of Tibetan traders has been attacked on the Szechuan border by bandits. An army unit sent to restore order was likewise attacked by the same bandits. Several thieves were caught and beheaded on the spot.The stolen property comprising goods, cattle and horses, was sold and the proceeds given to the surviving Tibetans.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

H H Lindsay has arrived on the French ship Camille from Manila on 7th September.

Vol 3 No 19 – Saturday 18th September 1830

Only time bargains are being taken up recently. Few cash sales have occurred. The inferior quality of the recent Damaun Malwa is keeping prices down and unsettling the market. A little Turkish has been sold at $680 per picul

Vol 3 No 20 – Saturday 2nd October 1830

The business of Remington Crawford & Co of Bombay will from 31st July be renamed as Crawford & Co.

Vol 3 No 20 – Saturday 2nd October 1830

There was a fight in the Dutch Hong on Thursday night (30th September) and Capt F MacKenzie of the Dutch ship Vrouw Helena died yesterday of wounds received.

Several foreigners have formed a jury at the Netherlands Consulate to hold an Inquest into the matter. They have determined that death was due to blows from three Parsees named Nowrojee, Framjee and Jamsetjee, all employees of Marvanjee Hormusjee.

The Netherlands Consul immediately applied to H H Lindsay, the only member of the Select now present in China, to apprehend the Parsees for murder. Their employer and another Parsee have given security to deliver them should proceedings commence.

It appears Capt MacKenzie had attempted to intervene in a dispute between the Parsees and was fatally injured.

Vol 3 No 20 – Saturday 2nd October 1830

Peking Gazettes:

  • In the four coastal provinces of Kiangsu, Chekiang, Fukien and Kwangtung, army officers may transfer to the navy. The number of such transfers has increased in recent years and a Censor has alerted the Emperor that something ‘inappropriate’ is going on. He asks the Emperor to order the respective governors to examine officers applying for transfer to learn their true reasons.

Editor – the suspicion is that they are profiting from our east coast smuggling.

  • In Chinese administration it is the Board of Appointments in Peking that selects officers for provincial posts. Recently a large number of new officials were created by purchase in order to pay for the war with Jahangir. Although the number of officials has increased, the number of posts has remained constant.
    Now there is a surfeit of officials in all the provinces. The Governor of Szechuan has asked the Emperor to instruct the Board to send no more ‘waiters for office’ as his present supply will last many years.
  • The Emperor recognises that delayed justice is injustice. He finds the courts have too much discretion and have not properly addressed the problem of delay. He has fixed periods of 10 or 20 or 30 days in which all ordinary cases are to be decided and orders that the limits be incorporated in the body of laws. They are to take perpetual effect.
  • A Pekinese lady named Yee Chaou claims to be enabled by the Buddha to cure disease by charms. She has placed a tablet over her gate and affixed the names of her more famous clients to it on pieces of yellow paper. For this effrontery (the use of yellow paper – suggesting those clients are connected with the Royal Family), she and her assistants are ordered arrested by the Emperor. They are to be handed over to the criminal board for adjudication.
  • The Chinese government allows a right of petition but disallows representative petitions. The governor of Hunan has received just such an objectionable petition and asks the Emperor if he may order Hunan police to identify the author and bring him before the governor for chastisement.

Vol 3 No 20 – Saturday 2nd October 1830

Local News:

  • The Nam Hoi Yuen’s runners went to a village to arrest a man for debt. They (illegally) fettered and chained him and threw him in the bottom of their boat. The man’s wife and concubine, one of whom was pregnant, came to the river bank and tried to physically prevent the boat from casting off.
    The runners cast-off and both women fell in the water and drowned. Now the head runner has run away and the magistrate is trying to hush-up the affair.
  • An officer in Heung Shan is under suspicion. A squire dined with him and on returning home became ill. His body became discoloured and he soon died.
  • Opium market – Only time bargains are being completed. The inferior Malwa in the market has caused small holders to sell and prices remain low. Patna and Benares are doing better but the late importation of Turkish was large and its price has dropped.

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

The Chinese have belatedly asked for the surrender of the three Parsees in the Dutch Hong affray but they have already been sent-off to Bombay.

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

The Kwongtung government recognises consuls as headmen of each nationality. The Dutch and French appoint consuls and numerous other European countries employ honorary consuls. So far as the Canton government is concerned, the Select is effectively the consul for the British, although the officers and crews of some country ships repudiate the Company’s authority. This is a difficulty.

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

Sau and Lo, superintendents of the river in Nam Hoi and Poon Yu districts respectively, remind everyone that the laws separating foreigners from Chinese are strict. Foreigners who go up and down the river have their own boats as well as boats provided by Hong merchants. Ordinary boatmen are not allowed to ferry foreigners about. This ensures that traitorous people cannot mix with foreigners and excite disturbances.

We know that boatmen on Honam and elsewhere have been ferrying foreigners east and west for pleasure at all hours of the day and night. How can we insure that traitors will not connect with them and buy prohibited goods? You boatmen just covet money and have no sense of shame. You are all warned that the runners will prevent this activity.

If you are caught you will be seized and imprisoned and your boats will be confiscated. Oppose not. 10th September 1830

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

The Hoppo Chung proclaims that foreigners come to Canton and reside in the factories and some traitorous people with a smattering of foreign language befriend them under the pretext of selling small things and they thus avoid paying the Imperial duty.

“I warn you I have sent out spies to identify offenders. If anyone enters the foreign factories they will be seen and arrested and treated severely. The responsibility lies with the Hong merchants and the Linguists. If you connive at disobedience you will regret.”29

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

Order of the Hoppo:

Foreigners bringing cargo to Canton are not delivering all of it to their Hong merchant. Some is provided to shopmen and no-one is responsible to pay the duty on it. Again when the foreign ship leaves, only a few chops of cargo are disclosed for duty and again the revenue is defrauded. This is all illegal.

I now order the Hong merchants that they must distinctly report what cargo is being exported on each foreign ship and give proof to the relevant security merchant.

It is illegal for a ship to depart without buying an export cargo. Captains who will take no export cargo must be driven out and not permitted to loiter.

If Hong merchants and Linguists rashly become security for a ship without first checking is she will take a full export cargo, I shall examine them without any indulgence. If the foreigners oppose and do not give a full statement they will be punished. 20th September 1830

Editor’s comment – The above Edicts are for appearances. The foreigners’ daily connections with shopkeepers, tradesmen, compradors and servants continue unabated.

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

A notice hanging at the end of Hog Lane has turned-out to be the hated annual Proclamation of the Viceroy and Hoppo to the foreigners:

“The spoken and written languages of the foreigners differ from Chinese and local people do not understand them. The foreigners do not understand Chinese culture or our proprieties and laws. Hence the Hong merchants and Linguists are employed to liaise with foreigners in their commercial transactions. They repress the foreigners’ pride and help them to trade legally. The Hong merchants are respectable persons of property and should guard their reputations by ensuring trade is continued justly. Thus the foreigners gain confidence.

“In previous years the Hong merchants were shameless. They provided the foreigners with young boys as servants and flower boat girls for fornication. Now the foreign ships are arriving for the new season and we fear the old habits will resurface. We warn them to patrol and watch in the front of the factories and at the end of Hog Lane. Tanka boats are not allowed to anchor opposite those places. When the foreigners come and go to Whampoa, Tanka boats or boats with families aboard are not allowed to carry them. Foreigners already bring their own servants with them. They are not allowed to employ natives for any purpose. If they take Chinese friends and young boys down to the Tanka boats to drink, or to pass the night with courtesans, or if they bring flower girls into the factories, the constables should seize them and they will be severely punished.

“If the constables accept bribes to connive at such practices, they will spend a month in the pillory in front of the factories before being executed. There will be no indulgence and no deviation from the law. Do not experiment but obey tremblingly.”

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

A few days ago a group of Fukienese traders travelling by boat from Macau to Canton for trade were attacked near the Bogue and robbed of $6,000.

In the last three months some 400 thieves in Canton have been beheaded, strangled or banished.

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

James (Rajah) Brooke arrived 4th October on the Company ship Castle Huntly from Madras.30

Vol 3 No 21 – Saturday 16th October 1830

Malwa continues a drag on the market. A little Damaun has been sold but Bengal supply is selling satisfactorily and the price is up to $835 for cash with many time sales at proportionate rates. The quantity now on hand is far less than last year so there is expectation of a revival.

The Company’s Treasury has started selling Bills on Calcutta at 200 Sicca rupees per $100 Spanish.

Vol 3 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd November 1830

The Canton office of the Boston firm T H Perkins & Co has ceased business on the death of Thomas T Forbes (drowned in the river shortly after arrival).

Creditors should present their bills for payment. Debtors may adjust their claims through Russell & Co which will liquidate all outstanding affairs. 27th October 1830.31

Vol 3 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd November 1830

Public Notice of the Select Committee:

Consequent on the government’s threat to use armed force to seize British subjects in the factories (a reference to the Viceroy’s threat to eject foreign women who did not leave peacefully), a body of seamen will be posted to the Company’s premises for protection.

Sgd Wm Baynes, Chas Millett, J Bannerman, J N Daniell, 20th October 1830

Editor’s note – the recent appearance of Chinese with drawn swords and cannon at the factories has produced the above revival of an old custom that has been in abeyance for several decades. The Chinese soldiers are there to demand the surrender of the three Parsees.32 We think the recent Edicts were merely an attempt to gauge our firmness as the Hong merchants say the governor did not intend a breach. Neither is he, we think, prepared to pursue the matter of foreign ladies residing at Canton although he may fulminate against them in writing. He has now given express assurance of the inviolability of the factories and the sailors were returned to their ships on 31st October.

Vol 3 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd November 1830

A Foo magistrate in Kwong Si attempted to deal with the scarcity of rice by compelling rice merchants to sell at reduced prices. They hid their stock until part of it spoiled. The starving people were incensed and beat the magistrate.

The Kwong Si Foo Yuen intervened, degraded the magistrate and executed 3-4 villagers. This made matters worse and a general insurrection is said to have followed. Four Heen magistrates have been murdered and 3,000 Manchu troops are being sent from Canton.

Vol 3 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd November 1830

On 1st February 1827 J H Bletterman, the old Dutch consul, rented the entire Dutch Hong to Marvanjee Hormusjee for $1,400 (Spanish) p a. (Hormusjee is a partner in M/s Ilberry Fearon) The agreement provides for a porter at the front gate to close both that door at 10pm daily and a locked gate onto Old China Street, to which Hormusjee has the key, but which will be bolted on the inside after 10pm as well.

(This information came out in the MacKenzie inquest, see below, and throws a little light on Bletterman’s own prosecution by the Dutch government)

Vol 3 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd November 1830

The jury in MacKenzie’s inquest was selected from more or less the entire Canton community and finally comprised John MacVicar (foreman), Samuel Russell, J R Latimer, Thomas Fox, E de Otadui, C N Talbot, Wm S Spawforth. Lancelot Dent, George Parkyns, John W Graham, Wm Pigott and P Ammidon Jr.33

The body was laid out at C Bovet’s premises and identified.

Bovet says he was taking tea with MacKenzie and Capt Auger at his house (4 Dutch Hong) at about 7pm when a Chinese servant of Marvanjee Hormusjee requested for a key to the Old China Street door to which he agreed. He has held the back-door key for 4-5 days since the watchman disappeared. Shortly afterwards Hormusjee’s clerk Mr Damiao de Noronha arrived with the same request and got the same answer. Noronha asked Bovet not to lock the door at 10 pm as usual or if he must do so, to give him the key. Bovet did not deliver the key as he insisted it be returned to him to which the clerk did not agree.

Noronha returned a second time and met Bovet on his way back from locking the back door early. He took Bovet aside at the top of the stairs and warned him if he went outside he would be attacked by a group of Parsees.

Later Bovet heard sounds of the back gate being broken open and went out to prevent it. In view of what Noronha had said, he carried a sheathed sabre with him. He found 4-5 Parsee servants breaking the door. They had been drinking. Bovet told them to stop and accompany him to Mr van der Meulen’s comprador to whom he would deliver the key. One Parsee seized Bovet’s sabre and the others fell on him with iron bars. He ran back inside and told Capt MacKenzie he intended to load the guns, fearing the Parsees would follow and make an attempt to enter the house. He heard a disturbance outside as he was running upstairs and looked out seeing a noisy crowd of Parsees and some Chinese.

He was still loading the guns when Capt Auger brought MacKenzie upstairs. He was bleeding profusely. Bovet was shocked and retired to his room for an hour and a half to recover. Then he tended MacKenzie frequently during the night. He was unconscious until about 7 am when he died.

The next witness was Wm Haylett. He was sitting in Fearon’s house when he heard the back door being broken and Bovet’s voice scolding the people outside. He looked out and saw Bovet had a sabre which he tried to draw but the three Parsees took it off him. A short fight ensued and Bovet ran away with the Parsees chasing.

Dr J H Bradford tended MacKenzie at 7.40 pm. He had several head wounds bleeding heavily; skull fractured. He debrided the wounds, dressed them and put him to bed. MacKenzie was not fully conscious. He saw him again at 11 pm – headache and nauseous but pulse weak so did not bleed him. Visited again after midnight – the same. Visited again at 2 am – delirious and feverish. Bled him copiously. Did not see him alive again.

James Ilberry Jr was in Fearon’s house. He heard the disturbance and went to the window. Looking down he could see three Parsees arguing with Bovet in Portuguese. He thought none of them were drunk. One Parsee had a lantern and had any of them looked up he might have recognised them, but they did not.

Marvanjee Hormusjee said after the dispute commenced and Bovet clearly would not surrender the key, he told his servants to break the door if it was locked as his tenancy contract says it will not be locked before 10pm.

Ah Kau, house comprador to Ilberry Fearon & Co was sworn (by cutting off a chicken’s head). He saw two Parsees breaking the back door. Bovet approached with a sword followed by a third Parsee. There was a fight. Bovet’s sword was seized. Bovet ran home. A European with dark clothes came out of Bovet’s house with an umbrella and struck a Parsee with it. All three Parsees then set upon him and knocked him down. Ah Kau could not look.

Ah Kiu was sworn (another chicken) with W C Hunter again interpreting. The European with the umbrella struck first. He was then overcome and beaten down by the three Parsees using clubs.

The Jury concluded MacKenzie’s death resulted from blows from the three Parsees.

Vol 3 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd November 1830

A considerable part of the inferior Damaun has now been disposed of although an early improvement in Malwa is not expected. There is little demand for Turkish. New dollars are scarce and at a 1¼% premium. Sycee delivered Lintin is at a 6¼% premium. Ships for Calcutta have little return cargo.

Several insurance agencies have reduced premiums on general risks by ½% for 6 months cover since 20th October.

Vol 3 No 23 – Monday 15th November 1830

J R Morrison, son of Rev Dr Morrison, has been appointed translator to the British Factory This should help to ameliorate misunderstandings.

Vol 3 No 23 – Monday 15th November 1830

Letter to Wm Baynes, President of the Select Committee, from some country traders:

The Viceroy has published two notices on the factory walls – one the annual proclamation about servants and the other prohibiting foreigners from using sedan chairs. They are couched in offensive language and designed to bring contempt upon us. We will not submit to indignity. We hope you will remonstrate with the Viceroy.

Sgd James Innes, on behalf of some British residents, 16th October 1830

Baynes’ Reply:

A party of Company ships’ officers have presented a strong remonstrance at the City Gate to the Viceroy as requested. If you do likewise we will co-operate.

Viceroy’s Lee’s response:

I have received complaints from both the Select and the British country merchants. The barbarians bring foreign women to Canton. These women were formerly allowed to stay on ships. Later for compassion they were allowed to live at Macau. They are not allowed in Canton and all the nations have hitherto respected this law.

In 1751 the Dutch merchant Lau Lin brought a foreign woman into the Swedish Hong. She was seized and sent to Macau. In 1769 the English merchant Fei Shun brought a foreign woman secretly into Yee Wo Hong (the predecessor to How Qua’s present factory). She was also arrested and sent to Macau. The Hong merchants, Linguists, compradors etc of the day were all chastised and degraded. Foreign women found in Canton will always be sent back to Macau. For years the foreigners have not tried to bring women to Canton. It showed they understood the law and respected it.

Now Baynes brings his foreign woman (fan foo) to live in Canton. Having been ordered to remove her, he introduces the matter of Chinese government officials being escorted by their families. Officials must be resident in their Courts before they can have their families with them. When they go about on public business they may not take their wives, etc. This is a fixed law. It is like Baynes being sent to work in Canton – his argument is specious. He should remove his woman to Macau to avoid severe scrutiny.

Foreigners are not allowed to use chairs. If it is raining or they are sick they may be supported by others. This is not something to argue about.

Since the reign of Kien Lung, foreigners are not allowed to connect with Chinese to avoid breaches of the law. This is for your protection but you misunderstand it as an insult. You are really too stupid. These are old laws that have always been respected. Comply so there will tranquillity. Do not create disturbances. Do you come here to trade or to make trouble? Send your woman back to Macau where she may stay temporarily. Do not be presumptuous and ask for chairs. Obey the law in future.

The Hoppo on the same subject:

Baynes for the Company and Innes for the country merchants both present petitions in Chinese. Foreigners are allowed to trade in China since the commencement of the Ching dynasty. For over a century their conduct at Canton has been strictly regulated. The language, dress and customs of foreigners and Chinese are different. To trade here you only have to obey the law. If you object to the law, you are not obliged to come.

Since 1792 we have annually published the notice that Baynes now objects to. He has lived here several years. How can he profess ignorance? Perhaps in your country you are important men but here in Canton you act as merchants. You must awaken your sense of propriety. Riding in chairs and bringing women to the trading factories is forbidden. Your fixed place is in Macau. Your women can reside there temporarily. You come to Canton solely to trade. There is no place for women here. If you need to attend to your families you can apply for a passport and visit Macau. Why do you make trouble over every little thing? The Wah Yan (Chinese) and the Yee (Barbarian) must be separated. You must think about this over and over until the meaning penetrates your minds. Do not be fooled by troublemakers. The Hong merchants are to enjoin this on the foreigners.

Next the Manchu General King’s reply:

The laws of China are fixed and foreigners have long known them. From time to time officials make proclamations so you are not ignorant of legal requirements. These proclamations are for your benefit so that traitorous natives dare not make disturbances but you misunderstand the purpose of disallowing your use of chairs and forbidding foreign women to come to Canton. As a result you whine and present petitions.

I am not involved in the management of barbarians but your egregious petition must be refuted. Foreign women have never been allowed in Canton. You alone come here to trade. You should stay quietly in your factories until your goods are sold and your requirements bought and then go away. Sitting in sedan chairs is not for you. All this difficulty is because of your limited understanding.

Vol 3 No 23 – Monday 15th November 1830

A memorial to Viceroy Lee from Peking reveals he has mentioned the costs of building a new fort at the Bogue.34

“The Fu Hau (tiger’s mouth – the Bocca Tigris or Bogue) in Tung Kwoon guards the sea entrance to Canton. In the east is Sha Tsui hill; on the south side is Tai Tsui. There are two forts in the east and one opposite. You wish to build another one to reinforce the pincers. It will cost about 7,500 Taels together with barracks and officers’ houses etc. The Hong merchants should pay government for it as it is necessitated by the presence of foreigners and you will disburse funds to the artisans and workers so the works are completed quickly. Appoint officers to take charge and report when it is done.”

Vol 3 No 23 – Monday 15th November 1830

A few sales have been made. Some junks came for Patna and Benares but Malwa is still not in demand. The smuggling boat owners complain that the coast guard has maintained a strict vigilance and appears genuinely intent on intercepting their shipments.

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

Jahangir’s son and his wife’s brother have commenced an insurrection of all the Muslims in Turkestan. A caravan of convicts en route from Canton to Ili has turned back until travel is safer.

The Canton Treasurer has been ordered to send 1,000,000 Taels to fund renewed war.

At the same time a revolutionary group calling itself Ching Leen Wui (pure lotus club) has arisen in Shensi.

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

Editorial – On 23rd October the company’s ship “Ann and Amelia” arrived from Calcutta with the Governor General’s orders for the removal of the President of the Select (Wm Baynes) and his two principal officers (Millet and Bannerman).

They are replaced by Charles Marjoribanks and John Francis Davis who now form the Select with the previous fourth, James Nugent Daniell, and a new man Thomas Charles Smith (who soon becomes sick and leaves).

Although the change is deeply regretted, the new men bring a wealth of experience. It is difficult to assess the damage flowing from this demonstration to the Chinese that the former Select’s actions were not approved. The chief merit of the old Select’s policy was to prove the fallacy of Chinese indifference to trade. That had been the main lever by which they exercised their oppressive policy. Indeed we heard it rumoured that at the conclusion of last season’s negotiations, after the Viceroy had threatened to return the company’s petitions unopened, he had the Hongs solicit the Select for a renewal of trade.

Several advantages were obtained by the dismissed officers:

  • The apparent attempt to reduce the Co-Hong to 2-3 members, as occurred in 1814, was frustrated and the numbers have now been nearly doubled;
  • The port dues have been reduced and recovery of overcharges is easier;
  • The duty on cotton, which was increased to pay for Man Hop’s failure, has been returned to its original level, and
  • Finally we won the privilege of the country merchants to address officials in Chinese (previously only the Select could do that).

When we consider that the rules had been characterised as immutable and that two British Embassies were considered as tribute missions, we can see the value of the Select’s actions. We had even been hopeful of senior company men becoming British consuls in China. We append below the Address of the British country merchants to the departing Select members:

“We regret your retirement. Your efforts to increase the prosperity of the Company’s trade have also helped us. Your policy has stopped the encroachments of local officials. They oppress when they can, but yield to firmness. You obtained relief for us from onerous conditions that threatened the continuance of trade. You have removed some indignities so derogatory to Britain and your efforts to allow family life at Canton were welcomed.”

Sgd 17 English, 5 Parsee and 2 Portuguese traders and by 7 ship owners and masters.

Baynes replies:

“The trying circumstances in which we find ourselves are alleviated by your kind words and the knowledge we have done our duty. You residents of China best understand the imperative need for the actions we took.” 30th November.

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

Editor – Given this local attitude, the comment in the London Times below is absurd:

“The Select has been recalled because they fomented a dispute with the Cantonese officials to protect their personal interests rather than those of the Company. The company’s officers are supposed to be excluded from the lucrative private trade and this will now be strongly enforced.”

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

Accusation of the country traders to the Viceroy:

“Publishing proclamations in Chinese to the local people forbidding foreigners to consort with prostitutes and other libellous statements are calculated to bring the foreign community into disrepute with your people. Your purpose is to disgrace us before the populace.”

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

Letter to the Editor – It is pleasant to see the Americans, who have for so long ‘submitted passively’ to the Chinese, joining the general cry to allow families to reside together in Canton – husband with wife, parent with child.35

Several English ladies have long resided at Canton with their husbands and the government seems to tolerate it. It was the heavy guns and 150 sailors outside the British factory that accomplished this.

I am a visitor but I think the English community at Canton is itself to blame for most of its problems. If the community was united and abjured national and commercial jealousy it could obtain reasonable conditions.

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

The Federal legislature of America has enacted a fiscal law reducing tea duty by 50 – 66%. It becomes effective on 1st January 1832. To protect importers, the law provides that all tea imported before the effective date but remaining in the Customs warehouse at the effective date, will be taxed at the new reduced rate.

On the present level of import this will reduce the U S national revenue by $1,500,000. Coffee and cocoa duties are also reduced and will cause a revenue loss of the same amount but, as those duties are proportionately smaller, this initiative should stimulate American tea-drinking

Vol 3 No 24 – Saturday 4th December 1830

Patna and Benares are suddenly in demand, both for cash and on time-sale, and prices rose to $880 per chest but this last few days has been less brisk.

Inferior Damaun Malwa has been selling at reduced prices and destroying the market for the higher quality supply unless sold at a loss.

The Select has not received the subscriptions it needs and has improved its rate of exchange for Bills on Calcutta to 204 Sicca rupees per $100 Spanish.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

An invasion of Chinese Turkestan about 150 miles N W of Kashgar occurred on 26th September by Muslims of the An Tse Yan tribe.

Yang Yu Chun, who distinguished himself in the war with Jahangir, is given two million Taels to supply and transport an army beyond the Great Wall to the area. Chang Ling is sent to take control of the Muslim cities in Turkestan.

Peking is taking the report seriously. An order has come down to Canton to postpone public works. The Viceroy, Governor, Manchu General and Hoppo who so recently jointly asked permission to take decisive action against the foreigners are now told to conciliate us for economy.

In this respect there are still 3-4 foreign wives resident in the factories.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

With the death of the Viceroy of Kiang Nan, a vacancy appears on the council of six that forms the Emperor’s inner cabinet.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

The rebellion in Kwong Si that we reported recently has ended with the Miao people retiring back into the mountains and the government forces electing not to pursue them further.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

The Jesuit Father Premaire who came to China in 1698 wrote a book on Chinese language in Latin that contains a fund of information. The work remained in manuscript in the Paris Library until 1825 when the English Lord Kingsborough paid a Chinese immigrant £50 to make a copy which he then gave to the Anglo-Chinese College in Malacca with sufficient funds to publish it.

It has now been printed in 262 pages of quarto with the copyist’s index. The oppressive Asian weather causes our sinologists to die young and books are essential.

Premaire visited Macau and wrote of the beautiful Jesuit mission on Isla Verde. Now the island is a wilderness.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

The Chinese government has drawn the conclusion we feared concerning the replacements in the Select Committee.

The following Edict against the late President Baynes, who is now resting in Macau, is a predictable response. It suggests to the Emperor that foreigners are freely able to visit the yamen of the four principal officers of government. Not only are we not allowed to approach any of their offices, but we are forcibly kept out of the entire walled City of Canton consistent with their oft-stated aim of preventing fraternisation.

The records of the Company’s factory at Canton, which were printed a few years ago in a report of a committee of the House of Lords, show that foreigners used to often visit officials within Canton city. They stopped visiting due to the trouble and inconvenience of travelling within the city. We did not appreciate the value of a privilege we so easily abandoned but now we do and we want to reclaim it.

The Viceroy’s edict:

“Last year the Company’s ships were kept out of port whilst the Select threw-in dunning petitions to alter the established system of trade. Although these were presented in the name of the then Taipan Plowden, they were in fact the work of his assistants Baynes, Millett and Bannerman. The delay they caused allowed our export cargo to become mouldy and our merchants lost money.

“This year Baynes brought his women and maid servants to Canton and when he realised his offence was discovered, he ordered sailors to come up at night and bring five brass cannon and other guns and set up military defences in the factories we provide to the foreigners for their trade.

“This is rebellion.

“It would have been just to eradicate those who resort to violence in our country but the trouble was fomented by Baynes alone so I forgave the others and did not stop their trade. Now Baynes has sought to slip away as though nothing had happened and Marjoribanks, Davis and G B Robinson have applied for passports to come to Canton and manage the Select in his stead.

“How Qua and the other Hong merchants are ordered to have the new men say clearly where Baynes is confined and when he will be produced to face justice. No delay is allowed or they will also be guilty.”

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

The Viceroy, Foo Yuen and Manchu General have united to memorialise the Emperor:

Foreigners live in Macau in Spring and Summer and come to Canton in Autumn and Winter for trade. Whilst they are bartering goods with the Hong merchants they reside in the factories at Canton.

Foreign women are not permitted to land. At first they had to stay on the ships. In 1751 they were permitted to stay at Macau. In 1769 an Englishman Fei Shun brought a foreign woman to live at Canton. She was seized and taken back to Macau and a strict prohibition was enjoined on the foreigners. The records are available for inspection. Since then there have been anecdotal reports, after the event, of foreign women being brought secretly to Canton and staying several days but we have no formal records of these reports. This year foreign women were again brought to Canton to live here secretly. As soon as orders to remove them were being prepared, they co-incidentally returned to Macau. Now Baynes, the English chief, has brought his woman to Canton.

Moreover the foreigners when alighting from their boats, sit in sedan chairs or shoulder carriages to enter their factories. Baynes then visited the four of us36 and asked that women might come to Canton. The language used was unclear but proud. We rejected his request. Then a rumour circulated amongst the foreigners that soldiers would be sent to remove the woman. Baynes became fearful of the consequences of his act and ordered 100+ soldiers with cannon and guns to come furtively at night in small boats and defend the foreign factories.

We vigilantly kept watch to prevent a confrontation and ensure no traitorous Chinese took advantage of the foreigners’ ignorance. It seems to be genuinely true that they were protecting the woman and did not know that cannon are forbidden to them in Canton – only 2-3 muskets per ferry boat are allowed for self-protection on the river. We soothed them and the soldiers and small arms were removed but the cannon remained. Then the Hong merchants were told to further soothe them. They were told that time was required before foreign women could be approved at Canton.

This trouble was caused by Baynes. He brought his woman to Canton and then he brought cannon as well. These are rebellious acts against the regulations. We have ordered that the foreign woman be arrested and taken back to Macau and that the cannon be removed.

If they obey, we suggest they be permitted to continue trading. If they delay, we will punish and expel them and stop their trade. The foreigners’ disposition is unfathomable and unyielding. We have not used soldiers on this occasion but it might be necessary in future. This business involves foreign visitors and the dignity of your Empire so we reverently request the Imperial instruction on it.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

Letter to the Editor – There is confusion over our reasons for bringing soldiers to Canton. I have lived here a long time and can explain. Security of persons and property is fundamental to commercial confidence. The Select Committee here duplicate the functions of Ambassadors and Consuls elsewhere. They claim the inviolability of the factories in the same way an embassy house is inviolable. Generally the Chinese recognise this, whilst asserting a right of control, and seldom does a capricious official infringe upon it.

Early in October as the first Company ships were entering the river, the Canton Provincial Government increased its customary level of oppression. MacKenzie’s murder in the factories and the Viceroy’s assertion of jurisdiction in it, is an example. All edicts issued at this time had one aim – the degradation of foreigners:

 The prohibition on chairs which we have used for years,

 The prohibition on ladies joining their husbands which was commonplace in the previous season.

Before this oppression could gather pace, the Select Committee acted forcefully. A statement of grievances was put forth to which all merchants subscribed.

The Viceroy responded with a threat to remove Baynes’ wife by force within three days. It seems the Hong merchants, who should have predicted this result and advised him better, kept quiet. The Governor had made a threat of aggression which the Emperor will surely repudiate. Baynes could do more or less anything in response. The consequences of his threat were now thrown back on the Viceroy. There was never any question of fighting. It was the principle of preventing forced entry to our factories that was at stake. If that had been ceded, all confidence would be lost. What would have become of the three Parsees?

In 1821 a similar threat involving HMS Topaze drove the Company and most country merchants to their ships and trade was suspended for several weeks. The Chinese realised that trade was the engine by which all their coercions and exactions were powered.

On this occasion you will have noted that trade continued throughout the period that the sailors were around the factories defending them. The truth is that trade is equally necessary to both parties and ultimately the Provincial Government must compromise rather than permit its stoppage. This knowledge is of incalculable value. Once it is understood, all the boasts, threats and posturings of the officials become meaningless.

And it is invariably the case in China, contrary to that oft-repeated assertion of immutability, that in the acquisition of privileges the frontier either advances or retreats. It never stays still. Thus I expect the new representatives of the Company to never resile from the position obtained by Baynes. The Chinese will ensure that the “privilege frontier” is not stationary and it is up to our new team to determine if it is to advance or retreat.

Sgd A British Merchant, 8th December 1830 (the pen name associated with Wm Jardine)

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

Sycee silver is scarce. No supply is to be had at less that 7% premium.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

“Petition of the British Merchants in China to the Commons in Parliament Assembled”, dated 24th December 1830:

With the end of the Company’s charter approaching, we wish to express our grievances against the corrupt and oppressive rule of the Chinese government. Britain has treaties with all its important trading partners regulating trade. In China the matter is left to the local authorities in Canton, a venal group who purchase their appointments and use their time to extort, unopposed by their own government or ours. The burdens placed on trade are often not sanctioned by Peking and are sometimes in defiance of the Imperial will. The reports of the local authorities to Peking mis-state the situation and we have no means of correcting misunderstandings.

We only come here for trade. Since the beginning privations were unparalleled but China was far from England and trade was small. It could not concern the national interest. In the 18th and this century trade has increased in spite of restrictions to the point it should concern you and warrant a permanent and honourable basis.

The goodwill of China is worthless. Only its fear has value. We remind you of the results of the last two embassies to Peking. Only the refusal to kow-tow produced a beneficial moral effect on the Chinese. We recognise those embassies were intended to improve our situation. We see H M ministers instructed Lord Macartney as follows

Trade in China is discouraging, hazardous and precarious. It is concentrated at Canton where Chinese trade associations monopolise it. Our people are denied access to Courts or equal treatment under law. These conditions are scarcely compatible with civilised society.”

The results of two British embassies, like those of other European countries, show nothing is to be gained by diplomacy.

The history of foreign intercourse with China shows firm opposition to arrogance and pretension gets results. The Portuguese in Macau adopted a servile policy and sank into poverty and decay. Even violent opposition can get friendly treatment from the Chinese while obedience produces enhanced oppression. Many historical examples exist:

 After Admiral Drury surrendered Macau (which he had garrisoned to prevent French possession) a series of foul proclamations were issued against him.

 At about the same time a leading pirate who had murdered indiscriminately and ravaged trade for years was received by the Governor, honoured and nominated to an official position.

This submissive spirit is most strikingly observed in the Manchu conquest whereby the most populous Empire in the world was subjugated by a tribe of ignorant barbarians.

We particularly draw your attention to the law that makes no discrimination between murder and manslaughter. When a foreigner is responsible for the death of a Chinese, the chief of his nation is required to identify the man and deliver him for execution. Since we cannot do this, our non-compliance results in stoppage of British trade. This calls for your intervention. It is to the honour of the Company that since 1784, we have effectively resisted this unjust requirement.

We recognise the principle that foreigners should obey the laws of the country in which they reside. In China the protection of law (access to civil courts) is withheld from us. Government power is used to oppress and expresses a principle in which all non-Chinese people are inferior.

We now turn to the commercial difficulties:

  1. Formerly we were admitted to trade at Amoy, Ningpo, Chusan and Taiwan. Now we are restricted to Canton.
  2. Exorbitant harbour dues exclude small ships.
  3. The entire foreign trade is the monopoly of 10-12 licensed government merchants whom the local government systematically milks to the point that respectable men decline to involve themselves in foreign trade in spite of earnest urgings from officials. The government is thus hard-pressed to maintain their monopoly.
  4. The Canton government prohibits foreigners from renting warehouses for their cargoes. The result is inadequate competition and none of our commodities attain their fair market value. This is more heavily felt as all foreign imports arrive at the same time due to the summer monsoon.
  5. From the moment of arrival a foreign ship is frivolously delayed by junior officials for extortion. Import duty is arbitrarily assessed by unprincipled men who demand bribes. It invariably exceeds the Imperial tariff, which is generally moderate, by many times. This tariff is so little known that we find it difficult to name any fixed charge except for a very few articles.
  6. We will not dwell on the indignities this government heaps on foreigners; its edicts, published on walls, publicly accusing us of revolting crimes with the intention of establishing our inferiority in the eyes of the common people thus encouraging the lowest classes to treat us with insolence.
  7. No privation is too small to avoid notice. Access to country air and exercise is strictly curtailed. Wives and children are forbidden to accompany husbands to Canton (for which there is no known authority other than old custom)

We attribute all the difficulties to the character of the Chinese government and not to any want of firmness by the Company. Indeed the Company has been the only body large enough to effectively resist the most onerous restrictions. They have maintained a right of addressing the provincial government in Chinese (thus escaping the idiocies of the Linguists). Their extensive dealings reveal the importance of trade to this self-sufficient people.

With their departure, a higher authority is required emanating from His Majesty. This will remove the prevalent Chinese belief that foreigners in China have forfeited the protection of their own sovereigns (as is the case with Chinese going abroad).

It will be beneficial to have a permanent representative resident in Peking to protect British interests. The Russians who trade on the northern frontier have long had residence in Peking and maintain a college there to learn Chinese. This precedent suggests an insistent British request would be approved.

The successful termination of our war in Burma and the extension of British territories near China are well known in this country. We suspect a remonstrance from you would receive proper attention befitting a British embassy. In the past ambassadors have been portrayed to the people as tribute bearers, coming to offer presents and acknowledge vassalage. The Chinese have succeeded in this very creditably for centuries.

Unless there is a direct intervention of H M Government with Peking no material increase in British commerce should be expected. If this is impossible, we hope you will resolve to acquire an insular possession near the Chinese coast where British commerce can be placed beyond the reach of future oppression. We pray for your consideration and your grant of relief.

Sgd 47 British and Parsee merchants.

Vol 3 No 25 – Saturday 18th December 1830

Jardine to Marjoribanks – here is a copy of our petition to the Commons.

Marjoribanks to Jardine – we agree. We have copied it to our Court of Directors.

Vol 4 No 1 – 3rd January 1831

Russell & Co of Canton, advise that Philip Ammidon ceased to be a partner on 31st December and Augustine Heard joined the partnership on 1st January 1831.

Vol 4 No 1 – 3rd January 1831

A battle has been fought near Yarkand.

Pei Chang, the Chinese official in charge of the town, assembled his army from amongst the traders, residents and convicts of the town, using muskets and portable guns (which the rebels did not have), and repulsed a band of 10,000 insurgents who have created havoc amongst the neighbouring villages. 400 of the Chinese force were killed and 50-60 taken prisoner.

The incident seems unconnected with the invasion near Kashgar. The An Tse Yen, who are identified as the invaders at Kashgar in Chinese reports, are Eleuths (the Kalmucks and Uighurs of European histories.). This is a tribe that was conquered by Kien Lung in 1757 but which appears not to have continued vassalage subsequently. This may explain the ‘frontier of stakes’ separating Kashgar in the east from An Tse Yen lands in the west.

The An Tse Yen are said to look more like Jews than Turks. They comprised the smallest Uighur tribe of about 1,000 families in late 18th century, according to du Halde. Their lands are to the west of the Buriat tribes. They have walled and ditched towns and produce grain, pulses and fruits, of which latter, their peaches are said to be the finest. They are predatory omnivores and hard-working traders. They breed horses and cows and follow the law of Mohamed.

Page 2 of this edition is missing.

Vol 4 No 1 – 3rd January 1831

A party was held for the entire Canton community at the British Factory as part of the Christmas celebrations. Some speeches were made.

Vol 4 No 1 – 3rd January 1831

Petition of the Parsee Merchants to Governor Sir John Malcolm of Bombay, dated 11th May 1829 (signed by 44 Parsees comprising all the native wealth of Bombay and sent with the tacit support of the English trading community at Bombay)

“We are ship owners (controlling about 25,000 tons of shipping) and cotton exporters. Cotton is the only staple that the Bombay Presidency exports. Each year the India Company takes about a quarter and we ship the rest. Formerly we competed with the Bengal merchants who then sold most of their cotton crop to China. The sales of late have been ‘ringed’ by the small number of Hongs in Canton and always produce losses. The native Bengal traders ceased exporting cotton to China 3-4 years ago and sold many of their largest ships to us. They have since concentrated on opium. We Bombay merchants have no other staple to offer in trade but cotton. We cannot emulate the Bengal merchants’ response. Had our losses been moderate we would not complain.

The Chinese government has expressly said there will always be ten or more Hong merchants to exchange goods at Canton and now there are far less than ten. Of these Hongs, the wealthy ones trade only with the Company because of its demand for tea for export which is profitable to those Hongs. Only the under-financed Hongs will trade with individual traders (the country trade) but they cannot handle the entire country market. We have to deal with people who, because their means are limited, often force their cotton purchases onto the Chinese market at absurdly low prices. The opulent Hongs then buy our goods from their impoverished brethren at low prices – that is how the system works.

Firstly, we request you to direct the Select Committee at Canton to petition the Viceroy to make up the full number of Hongs. We suspect the existing Hongs will oppose new entrants as it might promote competition and deprive them of their nefarious profits. If the Viceroy is formally appraised of the situation he may feel obliged to restore the Hongs to their original numbers.

Secondly, when a Hong becomes insolvent, the provincial government forces the continuing Hongs to pay off its debts. Only the principal is repaid over 4 – 6 years. To recover this expense, the continuing Hongs then raise a tax on the foreign trade called Hong Yung (the Consoo Fund) which is so heavy as to accumulate $1,000,000 in a year. When the debts are paid off the Hong Yung continues to be collected. The real Imperial duty is moderate but this Hong Yung and other additions are onerous.

Thirdly, all the Chinese shopmen and individuals who wish to trade with us are not permitted to do so. No matter how small the article is, the Hong securing the foreign trader’s ship peremptorily declines to allow its shipment. We either give up the article or purchase it anew from the involved Hong at an inflated price.

If we had other staples to export to China we would have immediately stopped selling them our cotton as the Bengal traders have done, but there is nothing else.37 If we now try to extract ourselves and sell our ships, everyone knows the situation and the ships will realise very low prices.

We wish you to commend the Select Committee at Canton to relieve us of these grievances or we will be ruined. Many of the richest Bombay merchants are now renting their ships out at derisory freight rates of R20 per candy rather than trade themselves. This level of freight pays half the voyage costs and onerous port fees at Canton.

Our losses are a consequence of the cartel at Canton.

If you will assist us we will instruct our Canton agents to co-operate with the Select in any action they deem appropriate. You have always taken the welfare of your subjects and the prosperity of your Presidency seriously and we hope you will assist us with strong instructions to insure relief.

Sgd Framjee Cowasjee and 43 other Parsee Merchants.

On 13th May 1829 Malcolm replied:

‘A copy of your petition has been sent to the Select at Canton who have been recommended to give their favourable consideration.’ Governor-in-Council, Bombay Castle.

Vol 4 No 1 – 3rd January 1831

30th December 1830 – James Brooke left on the Castle Huntly for London.

Vol 4 No 1 – 3rd January 1831

In the cotton yarn manufacturing districts along the Yangtse valley some unemployment is occurring consequent, it is said, on the introduction of yarn from Europe but the price remains firm and sales are actually just slow.

Vol 4 No 2 – Monday 17th January 1831

The Emperor is irritated by events in Turkestan.

He ordered General Yung Gan from Ili with as many troops as he could muster to meet the invaders but the General replied that the invading force is too large and he will garrison Aksu and the other towns until reinforcements can arrive.

At about the same time, a report was received from Pei Chang saying the invaders were few and he only required 2,000 troops to put them down. The Emperor has ordered Pei Chang to arrest and imprison Yung Gan.

Vol 4 No 2 – Monday 17th January 1831

The Editor wishes to pay tribute to two long-standing members of the English community in China who have just retired and left on the Canning for London.

John Reeves, the Company’s tea taster, has long been amongst us since the departure and death of his friend Dr Livingstone. He was a devotee of the natural sciences and the useful arts and the most knowledgeable foreign resident on Chinese manufactures.

Mr Nathan Dunn of the Society of Friends has sent his large collection of natural products and Chinese arts to his museum in America.

A taste for useful occupation during their leisure hours was a distinguishing feature of both gentlemen.

Vol 4 No 2 – Monday 17th January 1831

Population of China according to the Ming annals:













Vol 4 No 2 – Monday 17th January 1831

Letter to the Editor:

A man who was both a Linguist and Hong merchant, a Christian for 30 years, died a few years ago. His brother Woo Yay, now 60 years old, took over the business and accepted responsibility for his two young nephews, one of whom holds the Hong licence. By integrity and diligence he increased the resources of the house one hundred fold. It is the 5th or 6th Hong in numerical order but second only to How Qua Jr in its business with the Company. As a result Woo Yay added substantially to his personal assets.

This old man has been arrested and imprisoned by Viceroy Lee on the complaint of two other Hong merchants that his recent prosperity was the result of traitorous connections with the Company. They have circulated a report amongst the officials and people saying he was opposed to the tea men and Hong merchants.

The prosecution of a Hong merchant for ‘traitorous intercourse’ with the English is an accusation against our country as well. When a hard-working and diligent merchant can be successfully accused by his malicious brethren of ‘traitorous intercourse’ with us, it is a sad day for trade. What can we do?

In your paper recently, an American advocated implicit submission and an Englishman pleaded for prudential resistance. I think all the foreign merchants should petition their home governments to help put trade with this proud and insolent nation on a proper footing.

Sgd A Scotchman38

Vol 4 No 2 – Monday 17th January 1831

The petition to Parliament that we recently published expresses the almost unanimous view of British subjects in China who are not employees of the Company. Some of the supporters have been resident here for 40 years.

The most urgent concern of the petitioners (i.e. the aspect of Chinese society most objectionable to foreigners) relates to Chinese law and jurisdiction. The appointment of Consuls, such as we have in Turkey, with criminal jurisdiction over their own nationals is preferable. In our Turkish treaty all criminal cases that do not involve a Turk are dealt with by our Consuls under English law. In fact we understand that the Consuls’ jurisdiction has in practice extended over all criminal cases in which Englishmen are involved.

In a most recent work – Macfarlane’s ‘Constantinople’ – it says ‘for many years no execution of Franks (farang, ferengi, Europeans) by Turkish Law has occurred in the Levant’.

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

The 9th Canton Insurance Office (reconstituted annually) and the Canton agencies of the various insurance companies of Calcutta and Bombay offering cover here, have combined capacity to grant policies of over £200,000, any one bottom. Claims payable in Calcutta and London (occasionally in Bombay and China)

The cartel’s rates ad valorem to:


Calcutta, Madras, Ceylon, Bombay

Penang, Malacca, SGP, Batavia, Manila

London (India Company Ships)

London (A1 ships via SGP)

London (E1 ‘tween deckers)

Europe (1st class ships)


















Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

Portuguese government duties at Macau (w.e.f. 1st January 1831):

Duties are assessed on a standard value per picul of each commodity less 20%. Examples of standard values in the tariff are cotton 5 Taels, mercury 45 Taels, tin 10 Taels, mother of pearl shells 10 Taels, white pepper 8 Taels, black pepper 5 Taels, Malacca cloves 28 Taels, etc., all less 20%.

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

The trading season is over. All the Company and Indian ships have left and the British factory has removed from Canton to Macau for the summer holiday.

All traders report that the Canton authorities exhibited a concessionary spirit to the British that is without precedent:

  1. Last year the rubbish tip in front of the factories which had become the abode of lepers and mendicants could not be removed. This year it was.
  2. The Select Committee took up the country trade claims on Chun Qua’s Hong and we are told a considerable dividend is about to be declared.

This will be followed by the final liquidation of the bankrupt Hong’s debts. We are indebted to the perseverance of the Select for this.

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

The course of the war in Turkestan is being kept secret which suggests it is not going well.

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

Viceroy Lee has issued a proclamation:

“Foreign women are not allowed to come to Canton. When the foreign ship arrives in China the women must disembark at Macau and remain there until their ship returns from Canton.

If the foreign ship captain refuses he may be fired upon. If any ship is found to have brought women secretly, its hatches will be closed it, will be driven off and never again permitted to trade.

“The Macau Tung Che is ordered to ensure that no passenger boats come to Canton with foreign women on board. No clemency shall be shown. Tremblingly obey.” 8th December 1830

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

The Foo Yuen Hoo has directed How Qua Jr and the Hong merchants to remind the foreigners that there are old regulations that prohibit foreign women coming to Canton, foreign merchants sitting in chairs and foreigners bringing anything more than side arms to Canton.

Guns are allowed solely to protect themselves on the river. No muskets or cannon can be brought up. The foreigners are to be told that if they oppose the old regulations they will be expelled, by force if necessary.

The Kwongchow Foo has ordered the magistrates to enforce the above order and ensure the two foreign women now in the factories leave for Macau. If they procrastinate they may be forcibly expelled.

Dated 12th January 1831

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

The Hoppo Chung has commended foreign merchants not to trade with the two new Hong merchants Tak Yuen Hong (Tam Ho On Fun) or Mow Sing Hong (Ching Qua).

He says one of his Customs officers reported that Tak Yuen Hong took three gold watches worth $900 from a foreigner without paying and has since disappeared. Tak Yuen Hong has not yet gone security for any ship nor bought any foreign goods. If a new Hong acts this way how can it do business?

Mow Sing Hong has been found to have too little capital. It collected the measurement fees of 2,500 Taels for the ship of Captain Yates but has not paid them over. Let the Customs officers examine these two merchants. If they have inadequate capital they will be prosecuted and I will advise the Viceroy that they have failed.

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

Trade at Ili – The Hasaki King sent his son to the frontier to buy tea. After he had paid, an order arrived from Peking interdicting the sale of tea across the frontier at Ili. The Chinese Commander reports that the King is respectful and obedient. He may take delivery of his tea but must be escorted to the frontier so no resale to Chinese occurs.

A large quantity of other tea has been seized. If the outside barbarians are respectful and obedient it may also be sold to them.

Any other foreigners, particularly the An Tse Yen, are not allowed to trade. They invaded Kashgar not for tea but for territory.

Vol 4 No 3 – Wednesday 2nd February 1831

Trade – a shipment of rattan from one of our trading communities in the Straits was found to have good rattan externally surrounding a core of rotten twigs. These frauds must be detected to preserve Chinese confidence in our goods or it lowers the price of everything.

The departure of the Company’s ships means there is currently no means of exporting treasure. This has depressed the rate of exchange as usual. A silver dollar is now exchanging for Bills at six months sight at 4/- (a 20% discount)

A Correspondent at Manila confirms rice exports are again allowed.

Vol 4 No 4 – Saturday 19th February 1831

The Portuguese Governor of Macau has informed the Company’s Select Committee that he has received orders prohibiting the residence of all foreign merchants in Macau who have not obtained a permit from the home government in Lisbon.

The Governor General of India and the London authorities have been informed. A temporary suspension of execution of this order has been obtained by the Select.

Sgd H H Lindsay, Sec’y to the Select, 14th February 1831.

Editor – It seems the country traders not only rely on the Company for protection from the officials at Canton but also those in Macau. We heard of this interdict months ago but the Macau Governor and the Portuguese community generally thought it was a misunderstanding. Now it seems the order really exists.

The Treaty of 1810 between Portugal and Great Britain (during the United Kingdom’s assumption of the government of Portugal and its colonies except Brazil) provides for reciprocity of commerce and navigation. The 2nd article provides that subjects of each country may trade, travel, sojourn or establish themselves in the territories and dominions of the other. The 6th article is an MFN article – it provides that neither party may give commercial or navigational privileges to another state trading in Asia without granting the same privileges to the other party. Spain has the privilege of trading at Macau. It follows that Britain also has it under this clause.

British ships are not allowed to enter the inner harbour because Chinese regulations permit only Portuguese and Spanish ships. This cannot be sufficient reason to invalidate all the other privileges flowing from this treaty, particularly when one considers that British ladies are commanded by the Canton Viceroy to reside at Macau. Macau’s status is anomalous.

In 1823 the present Governor of Macau was a member of that Leal Senado that invited all foreigners to transact their opium business in Macau with a pledge of hospitality and freedom of trade and many availed themselves of the invitation.

Foreign capital has been the principal source of revenue of the Macau government for many years. All foreigners have unrestricted freedom in British India although foreign shipping pays double duties. Residents of India must be advised of the uncertainty at Macau.

Vol 4 No 7 – Thursday 24th March 1831

Editor – When the anti-opium laws were being rigorously enforced in 1821 by restraining sales from the opium ships at Whampoa, the only possible way to move opium chests around Macau was when they were disguised as other goods. It was the necessity of this precaution that prevented the trade from returning to Macau, not some arbitrary and unilateral decision of the involved merchants as the following correspondent alleges.

Some sort of offshore island was required and the Macau traders have benefited as much from Lintin as everyone else. The causes of Macau’s commercial decline are due entirely to the Portuguese themselves. If they wish to recover their lost prosperity, they should become an entrepot like Manila. It appears probable that free trade will soon be established between China and Great Britain.

Letter to the Editor (translated from Portuguese):

The Governor of Macau told the foreign community over a year ago that they would soon be required to leave. It was not a sudden surprise.

The Treaty of 1810 which you quote has a codicil – people may live in the territories of the other party except those places expressly excluded in a separate article. The list of excluded territories annexed to this treaty includes Macau. You omitted this in your report.

The edict of 1823 that you mention places foreigners trading opium through Macau on a level footing with Portuguese. They both pay the same duty. It does not permit the residence of foreigners. Nevertheless, foreigners have come to Macau to live ever since then without bringing their opium trade with them and have instead laboured to improve facilities at Lintin.

This does not benefit Macau. Sgd Macaista

Vol 4 No 4 – Saturday 19th February 1831

On Tuesday 15th February, Mr Just’s watch shop in front of Pow Shing Hong in the Canton Factories was burgled. The mortar was scratched away between the bricks allowing their removal from the front wall and five clocks were stolen. Several larger clocks, that could not pass through the hole, were found scattered inside the premises. The robbers had made holes in the skirting board preparatory to removing it. Had they succeeded they could have taken everything but it appears they were disturbed. Mr Just routinely removes the most valuable watches and jewellery to his apartment upstairs every night and these were all saved. The loss is estimated at $800.

Some Hong merchants and the magistrate attended next morning to take descriptions of the stolen property. It was found the Hong lamps, which should have illuminated the point of entry, had been stolen the previous night. The removed bricks were precisely where no furniture was placed against the wall. It suggests knowledge of the internal layout.

Vol 4 No 4 – Saturday 19th February 1831

Wm Jardine has circulated the following appeal he has received from the Linguists in which they seek for a return to the rates they charged until this year. They say the foreign petition for a reduction in charges was for the relief of the Linguists as well. This attempt to win our compassion has historically been too successful and facilitated the present system of extortion:

The Linguists Tsai Mow (Old Tom), Wong Yuen (Ah Chow), Pao Leang (Young Tom) and Ho Wui (Ah Tang) request that foreigners themselves hire compradors. Formerly ship compradors paid $660 to the Customs and residence compradors paid $100. Later the country ships consumed less victuals from the comprador and his income reduced to the point the ships paid him $300. Still he could not make ends meet and the Linguists have themselves supplemented the incomes of the compradors for the last ten years. Recently comprador business has decreased still further and each year we Linguists are paying more and more. Now we can subsidise no more. We do not want to cause delay to your cargo operations.

Last year your petition for reduced fees was of considerable assistance to the compradors and $250 was taken off the Whampoa Customs House charges. Still the officials wanted $410 for the ship and a further $100 for the residencies in the factories. The Governor has since fixed this amount as the approved charge. This year we expected the captains to pay $300 as formerly and we would only have to arrange $210. Then we found the captains actually paid only a few ten dollars. Your petition was presented to us as a means whereby you would help the compradors but the captains are alone engrossing the advantage you intended for them.

Since the time we Linguists were prohibited from shipping goods through the Hong merchants, our income has been much reduced. The compradors are in similar difficulties. We believe you want us to manage affairs for your ships but we have to explain the situation to you or you may misunderstand. You should examine the present situation and press the captains to pay $300 this year as in former years. This will alleviate our difficulties temporarily. From next year we wish you to have the captains hire their own compradors for their ship and their residence. Sgd The Linguists, January 1831.

Appended is a list of 35 ships for which the Linguists topped-up expenses with a payment of $14,387 last year.

Vol 4 No 4 – Saturday 19th February 1831

Scandal in Peking – some officials in the Board of Revenue have been forging diplomas of purchased literary rank (Doctorates of Letters) during the last 4 years and selling them. 46 people in Anhwei have been discovered to hold such documents.

The Board’s enquiry has revealed that one official and his group made and sold 20,419 diplomas. Six writers have already been sentenced to death. The Emperor requires a party of other (suspected) writers to watch the executions.

The Board suggests that first, everyone who has been a writer in the Board since the 3rd year of the To Kwong Emperor be sent to the Criminal Board for examination and second, senior officials in the provinces examine the diplomas of purchased rank of their officials carefully. The Emperor agrees.

Vol 4 No 4 – Saturday 19th February 1831

A proposal by Ta Yung to allow the Admirals of maritime provinces to cruise in deep water to facilitate their pursuing and attacking pirate fleets has been rejected. It is feared it would reduce the Admiral’s prime responsibility for his part of the coast.

Editor – This reveals that China has no national fleet but several provincial ones that appear unable to combine.

Vol 4 No 4 – Saturday 19th February 1831

Chinese New Year is approaching and will again cause a complete stoppage of trade. We are now in the stage of settling accounts.

Vol 4 No 5 – Friday 4th March 1831

Residents of the factories are requested to stop their servants throwing rubbish in the area in front of the buildings. There are boats moored at the seawall for removal of rubbish. Instruct them to throw their waste into one of these boats.

Vol 4 No 5 – Friday 4th March 1831

The contents of the Spanish factory on the Praia Grande at Macau are for sale by auction 9th March – furniture, silver plate, glasses, crockery, carpets, lamps, piano, organ, telescopes, model frigate under glass, engravings, oil paintings,

Vol 4 No 5 – Friday 4th March 1831

Peking Gazettes – The An Tse Yen are no longer mentioned in reports from the war in Turkestan. Now it is Yarkand bandits. They have 500-600 horse and 6,000 – 7,000 men according to General Pei Chang and they have assistance from two cities. Pei has nevertheless routed them with his force of 800 soldiers and irregulars.

This is embarrassing for General Yung Gan who declined to engage the enemy with his force of 2,000 – 3,000 saying he was outnumbered. Troops from the Amur, Kirin and from Manchuria are being sent to the war but they are not allowed to travel through the north of Hunan province as the area has not recovered from the effects of the recent earthquake. They will go from Peking to Shansi and thence across the Kea Kwan Pass into Turkestan.

Vol 4 No 5 – Friday 4th March 1831

The Editor of the India Gazette in Calcutta has agreed with us concerning Chinese jurisdiction. He says:

“The Chinese are not entitled to the privileges of international law because they do not permit it to others. They treat all non-Chinese as barbarians and exclude them from all their ports except one. In a thousand ways they treat foreigners as inferiors. To concede to them the rights that we concede to each other would be foolish.

The American government’s instructions to its citizens ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans’ is only tenable if there is reciprocity of justice. We should resist.”

Vol 4 No 5 – Friday 4th March 1831

Letter to the Editor – The Singapore Register complains of your characterising Straits tin as adulterated. Recent tests in Calcutta appeared to establish that a sample contained 50% lead whereas a scientist in Singapore could detect no adulteration whatsoever in the sample he was given.

In the tin samples bought to Canton by a Singapore Chinese last year, three distinct qualities were identified. One was pure and the other two more or less adulterated. Samples of all three were sent back to Singapore to confirm the analyses.

The fact is that tin arrives at Singapore in small amounts on native craft. It is all taken to a single Chinese-owned furnace for re-melting. The smelter offers a guarantee of purity ±5%. He has frequently refunded large sums to Singapore merchants for adulterated tin in the past. Obviously the man with the opportunity to adulterate is the smelter.

The Singapore Register should check its facts more carefully.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

The Canton government has been ordered to send 300,000 Taels to Kweichow but no reason is provided by our informant.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

The Thai embassy left Canton to return to Bangkok on 6th February.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

The Governor of Macau has said that, in his opinion, the late proscription on foreigners residing without a permit at Macau does not extend to those foreigners who are already residing there under licenses granted by his predecessors.

The new rule certainly needs to be interpreted widely otherwise some of us will have nowhere to live in the summer.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

A day of horse races was held at Macau on 7th March. Chinese and Manila ponies were raced separately. A third race was held on the Beacon course which takes the horses briefly out of sight. It was exciting to see them returning to view.

In the afternoon some Chinese soldiers of the Yau Foo commenced target practice at the lower end of the course apparently intending to stop the racing. The officer-in-charge was addressed by the President of the Select (Marjoribanks) and verbally refused to cease but soon after the soldiers were withdrawn.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

Chinese ladies often exhibit extraordinary courage. Recently a woman pushed forwards and seized a pole of the Viceroy’s chair to present a petition against him personally (throwing-in a petition is a capital offence).

She says 30 years ago, when her mother was rich and Viceroy Lee was poor, he borrowed money but never repaid it. Now her mother is poor and Lee is rich, she wants the money back. In the heat of the moment the Viceroy declared the woman mad and ordered her committed. The by-standers thought she was sane and suspected Lee meant to pay her off secretly.

A similar incident occurred on the last day of the old Chinese year as all the officials were being convoyed to the “10,000 Years of Life Hall” to make sacrifice. A widow seized the chair of the Foo Yuen Choo Kwei Chen requesting justice from her debtors. He soon obtained for her the amounts she requested. Choo is popular because he listens to many complaints.

Lee and Choo do not appear to get along together. In all public events they stand apart.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

Piracy still seems to be rife on the coast. On the 21st and 22nd of 12th moon 12 and 8 men respectively were beheaded for it. Few citizens of Canton even knew about it.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

The Emperor has publicly sanctioned the payment of fines in lieu of corporal punishment. There is an authority from the 1st year of Kien Lung’s reign on the subject. Any crime with palliating circumstances can be bought-off by an application of the Board of Punishments to the Emperor and with the consent of the Governor and Foo Yuen of the province involved.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

The Emperor has been advised that it is common practice for appellants from the magistracies to the provincial court to be referred back and, knowing nothing can come of the reference, they instead make their way to Peking to appeal there.

The Emperor requires governors and Foo Yuens, when an appeal comes before them, regardless of the subject matter, to appoint only trusted officers to resolve it and not send the case back to the originating magistracy.

If the appeal has merit the magistrate must be punished. If not, the appellant should receive a slightly increased punishment for his original offence. The same procedure will be used for appeals from provincial courts to Peking.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

The Emperor previously appointed the son of the present King of Korea to succeed his father. Now the boy has died and the King asks for an envoy to come and make sacrifices at his tomb.

The Emperor calls the King the most obedient and respectful of all tributary Kings. He asked the King to not grieve too much and to let him know when he has another son so he may be appointed successor.

He has sent an envoy as requested.

Vol 4 No 6 – Thursday 17th March 1831

The American ship Bashaw (Pearce) has arrived from New York on 7th March bringing M/s Samuel Russell and J P Cushing.39

Vol 4 No 7 – Thursday 24th March 1831

Marvanjee Hormusjee has resigned his partnership in Ilberry Fearon & Co wef 1st March

Vol 4 No 7 – Thursday 24th March 1831

Edict of the Hoppo Chung:

The Hong merchants are supposed to measure the holds of the foreign ships to estimate the quantity of export cargo that a ship can take away. Recently when exports had already been delivered to the Customs House (where there is no storage facility), foreign merchants have been saying that they forgot to measure their holds and their export cargoes are too large. They then request the cargo be sent by another ship (actually scheming to use the part empty ship on some other Asian cargo while at the same time avoiding the heavy duty on transhipment). In this way they evade payment of legitimate Chinese duties.40

In future, before goods are brought to the Customs House, the holds must be measured and purchases be appropriately sized. No plea for remission of export duty on these grounds will be heard in future.



1 All the smuggling at this time is contracted-for in the factories by intermediaries who are only occasionally Hong merchants or Linguists. It is also apparent from personal diaries that foreigners of all nationalities visit the Hong merchants in their country estates far from Canton.

2 The reason for the Emperor’s interest is not identified. The Chinese Amban at Lhasa and Nepalese tributaries have reported their common frontier with British India. The Burmese King Bagidaw, another tributary, has just fought a war with the Company and lost his coastal provinces. British smugglers are active all along the Chinese coast. Finally British influence in Persia may be known in China from Jahangir Khoja’s failed insurrection. It might seem in Peking that the country is being surrounded by the British. It is also the case that shortages in the domestic silver supply are becoming apparent, entirely due to the adverse balance of foreign trade at Canton.

3 Now called Lung Kwu Chau to the west of Castle Peak in the Hong Kong SAR. It was an occasional base for the smuggling trade but unpopular as the current is swift.

4 Unlimited powers, a complete delegation of Imperial authority. When Commissioner Lin arrived at Canton the same character is used to describe his powers but is repeatedly translated in Canton Register as ‘irresponsible’ powers.

5 This is the Captain Burd who shortly establishes rice trade with Lombok and Bali and finally becomes a grocer in the fledgling colony of Hong Kong. He sails everywhere with his wife.

6 Both Ship and House Compradors are employed by the Hong merchants.

7 Yung would invariably be translated as ‘commission’ these days, not tax.

8 The House of Lords report on East India trade, May 1821, page 157

9 Imported pearls from the Persian Gulf are traded by the Parsees. A little of the supply from Ceylon comes to Canton. There is an indigenous supply from the Black Dragon (Amur) River.

10 This is the foreigners’ response to enhanced policing at Lintin – see the Opium chapter. They had formerly obtained an Admiralty Order preventing the Royal Navy from visiting China after the Lintin affair of 1822; they now wish visits to resume to ‘protect’ their trade.

11 The Nine Islands are off the port of Joo Hoi (Zhu Hai) in Heung Shan, north of Macau. They provide an occasional base for the smuggling community. The increased piracy may reflect the decreased foreign trade due to the India Company’s purported withdrawal. The pirates are fishermen or smugglers or farmers as circumstances dictate.

12 The whole island waterfront of Sha Meen is occupied by brothels raised on piles over the tidal mud – customers go there at night by boat in secrecy.

13 Canton officials have always been chary of visiting foreign warships. Few have come for several years since the British Admiralty directed the Admiral at Madras not to visit China consequent on the Lintin deaths and India Company’s commercial loss associated with HMS Topaze in 1822.

National ships that are convoying merchantmen formerly anchored at Anson’s Bay and got compradors there but no convoying has been necessary for many years. Kwok fears fishing boats or Tanka people will supply the ship.

14 A swipe at the Americans who do not complain and do well by basing their trade on consensual terms. America was a French ally in the Napoleonic attempt to promote democracy and destroy the British debt-based financial system until inhibited by the War of 1812.

15 Chinese silver currency is in tenths – 1 Tael = 10 chin (mace) = 100 Fen (candareen) = 1,000 li. These are very precise fees.

16 This seems to suggest overnight stops at Lintin on board.

17 The concept of sale and purchase is slightly misleading. The Company requires a fixed amount of tea and provides mainly Indian cotton (and silver from the indirect opium supply) in payment. It is more or less barter trade with the Hongs but the smuggling trade is necessarily done for cash. This is how the foreigners have deranged the Canton system

18 In the bi-metallic world of 1830 China, debts in gold or silver could not attract interest for inflation, only for non-availability of the capital. In passing I should mention that these internal confidential communications between the Viceroy and his Emperor become available to the foreigners from the Transcription Office where they are sent for fair copy.

19 Excluding the steamer the Company brought out eight years before at the time of the HMS Topaze affair and necessarily shipped back to Calcutta without using it – see the Asia chapter.

20 This was understood to be the end of joint liability of the Co-Hong for the debts of each of its members. Subsequently the Hoppo was able to licence several new Hong merchants and conform with the foreigners’ express wishes. This relaxation introduced a period of several years of Hong prosperity, partly founded on avoidance of Customs duty (the shopman trade) and partly on imports of prohibited goods. On the other hand the foreigners lost their ability to create debt by selling on credit and their consequent power as creditor to direct that Hong merchant’s commercial policies.

21 A lorcha is a ship with a western-style hull above which are three rather short masts rigged with Chinese-style lateen sails.

22 A sort of noter-up system as has been adopted in Western jurisdictions

23 The fermented milk of the mares of Genghis’ hordes which, with millet, were the two Mongol staples when on the move.

24 This is a widespread scam – to delay paying tax it is possible to transfer old liabilities into new liabilities and thus refresh the time available for settlement. It is one of the attractions of trade with outside men who facilitate this evasion.

25 The new Hoppo has concluded that these foreigners, whatever they complain publicly, still keep coming back across dangerous seas year after year. The same people risk their lives and capital, some of their debts from Chinese are unpaid and some die of accident / disease, but still they come. Obviously they must be satisfied. He seems to have concluded they will still come for trade even if the Regulations do not change. He discounts the notion that the Company’s Select operates under the compunction of its Court of Directors to trade co-operatively.

26 It was a response to the foreign traders’ own national monopolies. In British trade only London is open to Chinese imports.

27 The people are genuinely equal. No-one of whatever rank can publicly act unjustly. A beggar with a just cause can bring down an official, provided he can get a hearing, just as the Eurasian youth Flint brought down the Canton Hoppo. Everyone in government service is aware of the pecuniary possibilities of his decisions, if the boss complains his junior, then his junior can complain his boss – bribery becomes a management tool.

28 This is the first public call for war that I am aware of. It is followed very quickly by the Petition of the Country Trade to Westminster, recited below.

29 It is the practise in the ‘informal trade’ to take orders in the factories and to issue a Delivery Order for the buyer to take delivery at Lintin or to issue a receipt for a time bargain deposit. This applies to all contraband.

30 This was Brooke’s unsuccessful attempt at trade. The adventure in Sarawak came later.

31 Subsequent to this accident the China business of Perkins & Co is merged with Russells.

32 It transpires in the next edition that the soldiers have actually come to remove Mrs Baynes who has long been residing in the factories illegally

33 Jardine, Matheson, Innes and the members of that group thought the case should be heard in the British factory as the defendants were British. They declined to acknowledge Netherlands jurisdiction and did not participate in the Inquest.

34 He is responding to the recent confrontational attitude of Baynes, most of the Select and the English country traders – the Select’s stoppage of trade, complaints about regulations, armed marines and cannon brought to the factories as well as women – all suggestive of rebellion in response to the effective Chinese law enforcement against smuggling.

35 This is a stylistic dig at Editor Slade who frequently accuses Americans of ‘submitting passively to degradation.’ The cannon and 150 marines imported into the factories by Baynes indicate the strength of his rebellion.

36 The fourth is probably the Hoppo but he did not sign the Memorial.

37 Actually there is. It is Malwa opium which the Portuguese monopolised until the pass system was adopted at Bombay. The ‘pass system’ was Governor Malcolm’s solution and the commercial salvation of the Bombay Parsees.

38 The accusation was that Woo Yay’s sudden wealth was due to opium trading. He was detained and beaten by the Nam Hoi heen and it transpired that he had earlier given a sedan chair to the President of the Select, not something within the scope of his duty as a Hong merchant. Worse, the chair was green, a colour reserved for the use of officials.

39 Cushing was last reported to have arrived from London in August 1830. He has now returned from New York just 6+ months later. These movements relate to the unexpected death of Thomas Forbes in 1829, the consequent union of the Perkins and Russell China trade, R B Forbes’ appointment to command the Lintin, Russell’s receiving ship, and the maintenance of the relationship with How Qua.

40 This Edict results from the commencement of cargo consolidation at Lintin to reduce the numbers of ships going up the river and thus incurring the measurement and cumshaw fees. Some of these ships discharge their imports and leave in ballast, a superficially unprofitable use of the ship which attracted Customs attention.

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