China 1831-1834 – part 4


Vol 4 No 7 – Thursday 24th March 1831

Insurrection at Yarkand – 4,700 camels are to be sent to the war at a transportation fee of 22 Taels each. The troops coming from Manchuria are to get 4 Taels each for extra warm clothing. Other (Chinese) troops will get 2 Taels each for the journey.1

Vol 4 No 7 – Thursday 24th March 1831

Last summer there was a riot between Chinese and Muslims on the border of Kiang Nan with Hunan. The Chinese officials brought out cannon, lined them up and fired on the rioters who were in a Muslim mosque.

The Emperor has now learned of the incident and expressly forbidden the use of military guns between Chinese people. Fowling pieces for hunting are exempt. Six months are allowed for the surrender of illegal guns after which punishments will be inflicted.

Vol 4 No 7 – Thursday 24th March 1831

The military governor of Ili has 6,700 soldiers under him. He requests to employ 200 more as musketeers. The soldiers’ sons need employment to maintain their families whilst their fathers are away fighting. The Emperor orders land be provided to the young men which they may cultivate themselves or hire out.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

The Peking Gazettes of 3rd March announce that the siege of Kashgar is raised. The Muslims have fled on the approach of the Chinese army from Ili with its militia of convicts. The invaders have retired to the north west. Many have been pursued and killed.

Some of the convicts who assisted the Chinese army at Yarkand have been paroled and are to report back to their home provinces under the control of their local magistrates.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

Another horse racing meeting was held north of Macau on 21st March.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

Two of the sons of How Qua Jr., Wu Tung Yuen, have been honoured in the Peking Gazettes of 21st January 1831. One is made a Doctor of Law after donating 36,000 Taels to repair part of the Canton River bank some 18 months ago. The other, Wu Yuen Hwa, contributed 100,000 Taels towards the recent war in Tartary and is made a Commissioner of the Canton salt monopoly. The value of these donations in Sterling, which are proceeds of foreign trade, is £40,000.2

2-3 years ago How Qua Jr paid $300,000 to change the name of the licensee of his firm from himself (Wu Tung Yuen) to his son Wu Shau Chang. This enables him to avoid attending at the government offices daily and should free him from responsibility for the firm but the change may not have been recognised in Peking where he is still referred to as the Hong Merchant Wu Tung Yuen.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

An old form of kidnapping has been revived by local bandits. Sons of wealthy men are caught and taken to a quiet place where they are required to write dunning letters to their parents. When the money is paid they are released. If not paid the kidnappers kill their captive.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

The To Kwong Emperor is 50 years old this year. He has ordered some special favours for the candidates at the triennial examinations to celebrate the event.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

The magistrate of Sun Wui Heen is Yang Tu Suen, a Anhwei native. The previous Canton Foo Yuen Loo valued his services and posted him to Sun Wui which job is said to be worth 100,000 Taels a year.

On 18th September last year he held a party and got drunk. Whilst he was imbibing, his officers arrested some bandit in the act of requesting a ransom. He heard of the matter and ordered the arresting officer to report but his attendant found the wrong officer by mistake. When that official could not answer any questions, Yang had him beaten from which abuse he died.

Now all his staff refuse to work for him. The next morning he tried to give several thousand pieces of gold to the deceased officer’s next-of-kin but they refused it and instead reported the matter to Canton. Yang also came to Canton to ask the new Foo Yuen for help but that official took away his seals of office.

Vol 4 No 8 – Saturday 2nd April 1831

Manila rice is getting expensive and scarce because of demand in the China market.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

In answer to some wrong information published in London in 1830 that has just come to our attention, we wish to say that the Editor of the Canton Register (J L Slade) is a merchant and not a Company employee. The writer of our Prices Current is also a commercial man.3

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

A riot has occurred on Hainan in Wan Chung district, south east of the principal town of Keung Chow Foo. The Hainanese have one good riot every twenty years. The whole island comprises the foo of Keung Chow, which name is used synonymously for Hainan. It is sub-divided into three Chow containing totally ten Heen. The strait between the island and the mainland is called the Keung Hoi.

There are two rumours about the cause of the present disturbances.

One says the citizens rioted to get rice and attacked two dealers. A military officer sent to stop them was killed.

The second story is that the mountain people of the centre of the Island, the Lee Yan, attacked the lowlanders and killed several Chinese officials.

We hear the Viceroy of the Two Kwong has gone in person at the head of 2,000 men to suppress the uprising. The Cantonese believe the mountain men on Hainan go about naked, have tails like monkeys and eat their food raw. The Governor of Kwong Si has sent the following memorial to the Emperor:

“At Yui Chow on the south coast of Hainan the mountain people have plundered the villages. I have ordered the officials at Keung Chow to restore order and investigate the cause.

“On 26th March they wrote me that there are 1,000 hillmen around Yui Chow who fight with swords and arrows. The government force had guns and killed 100 – 200 hillmen. Some soldiers were wounded by arrows and a baggage carrier was killed. The bandits then fired the long grass and escaped behind the smoke. Some soldiers died in the fire.

“According to the provincial records these bandits have previously rebelled in 1766, 1781 and 1804 and were violently put down.

“The cause of their present dissatisfaction remains unknown.”

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

We show below an extract from the statistics for British trade at Canton during the 1830 / 31 season listing our silver exports and destinations:





Other places


Spanish Dollars


$ 662,440


$ 38,500



114,861 Taels




770,829 (= $1,075,075)

Principal exports bought by the British are tea, brown Nankeens and Silk.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Our recent figures for export of treasure from China last season require amending:

Add Portuguese ships to India

Add U S ships to America

Previous total

Total treasure export

$ 243,308

$ 33,020



Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

The local government register reports that 117 prisoners died in Canton gaols this Spring.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

A tortured male body has been found hanging from one of the trees in front of the foreign factories. Death was not due to suicide but we can only guess why the body had been suspended in front of our houses for us to see.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

The 54 ton schooner Union (built by Edwards at Macau) and some other ships are soon to be deployed as ferry boats between Canton / Macau. This will be useful for residents of both places.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

The censor of Kiang Nan has complained that the provincial authorities there connive with men who take genuine coins and melt them down, add base metal and remake the alloy into coins.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

Several residents of Heung Shan have arrived in Peking to complain about robberies, murders and destruction of houses that occurred there two years ago but were not investigated by the heen officials.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

The Chinese gentry and local old men often meet in the temples to discuss affairs and their opinions influence the magistrates.

In Macau these ‘wise old men’ are particularly opposed to foreigners and wish to have the laws enforced against us. If the magistrate does not listen, they complain to higher authority. These are the people who recently prevented the horse road being built.

There is an old Imperial order that the numbers of houses for foreigners in Macau shall not increase. It is only permitted to repair old houses. If a house is built on land not previously used for building, the magistrates stop the work until they have been satisfied.

Recently some cargoes of rice arrived from Manila. These village gentry attempted to stop Chinese importers from selling above a certain price. They have used their influence to restrict the number of licences that the magistrate has issued for imported rice sales to four and have stationed spies at each shop to observe the prices obtained and prevent the stock being taken away for smuggling.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

In celebration of the Emperor’s 50th birthday several members of the Imperial family have been rewarded with new honours and criminals accused of minor offences have been amnestied.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

General Yang Gan has been accused and found guilty of cowardice by Chang Ling at Aksu. He is to be sent to Peking for the autumn executions.

Vol 4 No 9 – 19th April 1831

Shantung – dredging of the Grand Canal, which has to be done annually for the passage of the tribute grain, will cost 20,000+ Taels in this province this year.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

Society in the foreign factories has been enlivened by the presence of a foreign lady. The authorities are aware of her presence but have taken no action on the assurance she would stay only a few days. She left after a week.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

Woo Yay, the managing partner of Gow Qua’s hong, died in prison on 1st May. He was sent there in December last year for traitorous connection with the President of the Select. Peking ordered the Viceroy to assess his punishment and he commended banishment to Ili but Woo died before he had been informed.

When a man dies in a building the corpse cannot be removed via the common staircase. A hole must be made in the wall and the corpse removed that way. In this case the prison officers requested $7,000 to permit the corpse to be taken to the roof and lowered to the street from there. The relatives refused to pay and passed it through a (cheaper) hole in the wall.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

Foreigners often wish that the works of Smith, Mill and McCulloch on political economy might be translated into Chinese but the mercantile system of Europe would not be valued here. It requires a book expressly written for the situation in China. Mencius and others have said that only benevolence and justice are required. They repudiate the importance of increased personal wealth. Virtue in China relates to poverty not wealth.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

Hainan – the rebel Lee Yan mountain people have been pursued and trapped. The Chinese require the surrender of the ringleader for punishment whereupon they will withdraw their troops.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

Letter to the Editor – In Europe we have legal channels for redress of grievances. In despotic countries there are no such reliable means. When a mob arises in Europe they are punished. When a mob arises in China it is also punished but usually with some relief granted. This commonly occurs in Turkey and Persia as well as China.

It is possible in China to violate a debtor who will not pay. In Western countries a group of creditors may employ litigious scoundrels to catch the debtor and imprison him until his family pays. Which is better is difficult to judge.

In China parents may be held responsible for the crimes of their children and accordingly are given immense power over them. In January you reported a case of parents strangling their profligate son. Infanticide is common world-wide. In England it proceeds from shame (out of wedlock), in India from pride and in China from poverty.

There is biblical authority for parents killing rebellious sons. It seems that the Chinese system has long worked and should not be condemned. Sgd Clement.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

In 1814 the Company’s Select was first permitted to petition the Canton Provincial Government in Chinese. Sir George Staunton drafted the application. The officials said that foreigners were diverse in nature. Some are crafty and some respectful. The government feared that native interpreters would be used and improper language sent up. They concluded that if Select Committee members could write Chinese they might submit petitions on behalf of the President. If not, the petitions must be in foreign language.

It was always understood that the concession applied in Canton only. Petitions to the Emperor must be in foreign language.

Vol 4 No 10 – Friday 13th May 1831

Robert Inglis arrived per Lady Hayes from Calcutta on 11th May.

Extraordinary edition 26th May 1831

Public Notice:

The Select Committee has concluded that British commerce cannot be conducted with credit or security under the revised system adopted by the Canton government. They give notice that unless the system is improved they will cease trade on 1st August 1831.

Sgd H H Lindsay, 19th May at the British Factory, Macau.

Grounds for the unilateral stoppage of trade:

 The seizure, imprisonment and death of the Hong merchant Woo Yay for traitorous connection with the English. We only had commercial relations with him and he was an intelligent and industrious man.

 The recent attack of the Foo Yuen and Hoppo with numerous armed attendants on the British factory at Canton; their forcible entry into the Public Hall of the factory; the concurrent departure of all the Chinese servants of the factory; taking down the King of England’s portrait and damaging it; Threatening How Qua Jr with imprisonment and death; Compelling him and others to remain on their knees for an hour under an accusation of connection with the English; The seizure and enchaining of the senior Linguist and orders for his execution (suspended only on the intercession of the Hoppo and Hong merchants) where after he was imprisoned; Breaking down the factory’s gates leading to the river; Destruction of the quay which was built with the express sanction of the Viceroy; Demolition of walls, uprooting of trees and general devastation of property.

The Hong merchant Woo Yay died after the trading season was concluded. Two members of the Select went to Canton to seek redress but were ignored and the demolition of the company’s property continues day and night. They were told that proceedings against the foreigners will continue. A proclamation has been issued saying inter alia “employment of native servants and presentation of petitions at the city gate are forbidden. Chinese soldiers are to guard the foreign shipping at Whampoa. If foreigners object they are to be expelled and forever prohibited from returning”.

We are reporting the state of affairs to the British government of India and expect that government and the Government of England will support us.

Editor – All this trouble was initiated by the Foo Yuen Choo while Viceroy Lee was away in Hainan. We suspect he was misled by the popular misunderstanding about the removal of the previous Select Committee. He may have supposed it indicated official disapproval of their actions. We hope the new Committee’s action has disabused him of that misunderstanding.

Extraordinary edition 26th May 1831

We are attributing Woo Yay’s death to the envy of the other Hong merchants and the malice of the government. His ‘traitorous intercourse’ was the provision of a green sedan chair to Marjoribanks, the President of the Select. Had we offered him our help, it would have been interpreted as evidence of further ‘traitorous intercourse’. Now his fate is being held out as a warning to the other Hong merchants against non-commercial dealings with the English.

The occupation of the British factory occurred on 12th May. The Foo Yuen with 200 – 300 attendants called on the Hoppo that morning and requested his company to the factory. On entering the building the Foo Yuen directed that the portraits on the walls be uncovered. After the portrait of King George IV was unveiled he turned his chair so his back faced the King. This contempt can be evaluated when compared with the ninefold kow-tow required of a Chinese when he sees the curtain hanging over the portrait of his Emperor.

Extraordinary edition 26th May 1831

For our newer residents we explain that after the great fire of 1822, the debris was dumped in the river and some was used immediately upriver from the factories to consolidate the river bank over a mud flat. Some of that detritus was subsequently washed in front of the factory during the work and our cargo boats could not come alongside the wall at all states of the tide.

We then extended our quay 40 yards into the stream to regain deep water. The walls enclosing the factory square were extended to the new alignment of river bank. Two years ago part of the new land was laid out as a shrubbery. It was the destruction of this extension that engaged the Foo Yuen.

How Qua Jr and Ah Tom, the head Hong merchant and head Linguist respectively, attended and a vigorous discussion ensued with the Foo Yuen but he could not be placated. Even the Hoppo was scolded by him for not preventing the works.

Governor Choo ordered that the new bank be removed and the land reduced to its former size. When the Linguist said he would advise the foreigners accordingly, the Foo Yuen was shocked that he had to consult with the tenants. In his view the Linguist was supposed to control foreigners – why should he discuss with them? Fetters were sent for and the Linguist bound and threatened with immediate decapitation.

Charles Markwick of the British Hotel was passing as the Foo Yuen left. “How dare you be so troublesome” he was told by the Foo Yuen, pointing to the new extension, “we protect your commerce. We executed the murderers of the French (the Navigateur incident) and you remain ungrateful. If you cannot behave appropriately I will ask the Emperor to stop your trade.”

500 labourers have since been employed destroying the new bund and removing the spoil to boats anchored 50 yards offshore from whence it has been dumped in the middle of the river.

On 21st May the Select’s representatives (led by Secretary Hugh H Lindsay) arrived from Macau to remonstrate. He handed over the keys of the British Factory to the Hong merchants to give to the Foo Yuen. The merchants are fearful of delivering the keys as the Foo Yuen said he would hear no contrary opinions on the subject. (Since then Lindsay has delivered the letter and keys again to the Kwong Heep during that officer’s visit to the Company’s garden in Macau) We suspect this surprise action was the Foo Yuen’s personal frolic as we recall the new regulations for trade were promulgated a few days later.

Extraordinary edition 26th May 1831

  • Choo, the Foo Yuen is a widower. His children are dead. He has a grandson who is mentally retarded. He lives only for his job and is deeply patriotic. He had no exposure to Europeans until posted to Canton.
  • The barque Austen has been chartered by the Select to take the correspondence on this dispute to Calcutta and a mail packet to the Directors in England. It will sail 1st June.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

The Foo Yuen declined to receive the company’s letter and keys from the Kwong Heep and no communication is possible. The Select have translated the papers into Chinese and on 31st May published them in placards on the factory walls and around town (an English version is given below). This has produced a sensation amongst the citizens who were unaware of the dispute. The government gave an assurance in 1814 that the factory was inviolable. The Hong merchants are privately conceding that reason is on our side.

The morning after the publication of the Company’s placards, How Qua Jr removed the Select’s letter and keys from the Consoo house where the Kwong Heep deposited them after failing to get the Foo Yuen to accept them.

The Hong merchants say the Foo Yuen will not discuss the matter until the Viceroy’s return. As we all know that the Viceroy and the Foo Yuen do not get on, the inferred conference appears unlikely. We think it is more likely that he will try to gloss over the affair. This is supported by his abstaining from promulgating some other instructions that are believed to have been contained in the Emperor’s recent secret dispatch. We hope our resistance will moderate his future behaviour.

Translation of the Company’s Chinese placard:

We have presented a complaint against the Viceroy, Foo Yuen and Hoppo to the Hong merchants but they dare not deliver it. We gave it to the Kwong Heep but he returned it to the Consoo House. Now we are telling the public:

We come here for trade. We do not want trouble. Our factory has been attacked in our absence at Macau and our property destroyed. Chinese are chained and punished for connecting with us. New unacceptable regulations are proposed for future trade. We give public notice that trade will cease on 1st August unless these evils are removed. Sgd 29th May 1831

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Resolution of the Country merchants, 30th May 1831:

We have seen the aggression against the Company’s property at Canton and the death of an innocent Hong merchant on false charges. Now the Viceroy and Hoppo have made objectionable regulations for future trade. The complaint of the Company lists only a few of the vexations foreigners have. We resolve as follows:

  • The new Trade Regulations aggravate the obnoxious and arbitrary trade system. Normally we would ignore it as law is not enforced in Canton but, when the code is seen together with the recent oppression, a clear plan to degrade British subjects is apparent.
  • We remonstrate with the Chinese government and appeal to the British government. The proposed increased regulation will cause many more petty disputes. We believe ultimate benefit lies in resistance rather than submission.
  • The refusal of the Canton government to receive correspondence from the Company, thus preventing amicable adjustment of disputes, requires decisive steps. From Captain Weddell’s occupation of the Bocca Tigris fort in mid-17th century (by the Catherine, Dragon, Sunday and the pinnace Ann) to Sir Murray Maxwell’s silencing of the same forts in HMS Alceste, it has always been clear in China that violence produces co-operation while submission produces further oppression.

We consequently approve of the recent Company initiative as conducive to the general interests of British commerce in China.

Sgd, Wm Jardine, James Matheson, James Innes, A P Boyd, James H Rodgers, George Horback, James Ilberry, C Fearon, P F Robertson, W H Harton, John C Whiteman, F Hollingworth, Arthur S Keating, Alexander Matheson, T C Beale, A Grant, R Turner, John Templeton, H Wright, Henry S Robinson and J Henry.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Foo Yuen Choo’s memorial to the Emperor

“In Kien Lung’s reign the Viceroy Lee Sheah Yau made five regulations for the control of foreigners coming to this port for trade. Slowly their enforcement has been relaxed.

“In the 9th year of the To Kwong Emperor the foreigners stayed out of the river to press for a reduction of the port fees which was granted. Last year they brought females to live in the factories and stealthily brought cannon by night for their defence. Then they repented but their disposition is deceitful and crafty and the regulations must be enforced rigorously to control them.

“We commend changing the old regulations to accord with the changed times. We have urged the military and the Hong merchants and Linguists to enforce these rules, to make it an engrained habit, so the disturbances by barbarians can be ended. We attach the eight new regulations for your approval:

  1. Foreigners may not winter in Canton. Previously their ships came in 5th and 6th moons and left in 9th and 10th moons. There were about 30 – 40 ships whereas today there are 70 – 100 a year. If their goods were not completely sold, they were permitted to reside at Macau. Now the ships arrive in 7th and 8th moon and depart in 12th, 1st or 2nd moons. When the ships leave the foreign merchants request for passports to reside at Macau. When their ships return they again request for passports to resume their business at Canton. Apart from the English there are Indian and American ships. They come and go unpredictably and are all separately owned. Sometimes the cargo owner has no ship of his own and just sends goods. As there are so many more ships now it is not possible to require them to leave in 9th and 10th moon. The Hong merchants must deal quickly and justly with the foreigners without contracting debts so the foreigners do not stay long. When their goods are sold they must leave and go home or to Macau. There will be no lingering to facilitate dealings with traitorous natives.
  2. Prohibition on borrowing foreigners’ money: When the foreigners left port it often occurred that some of their goods remained unsold and the Hong merchants offered to sell them on consignment. In this way debts were incurred. Foreigners sometimes lent money to Hong merchants to buy tea. In this way, connections were formed. Now the Hong merchants and the foreigners must submit accounts showing their dealings are concluded and what debts remain. Then if a Hong fails, provided the debt has been recorded in the copies of the foreigners’ accounts that are registered with us, it will be paid. This is voluntary on the foreigners but if there is a debt and they do not report, it will not be recovered for them. Any balances due from the Hongs must be paid off in three months and the foreigners’ receipts lodged with government as evidence. If unpaid after three months the foreigner may complain and government will help him. If not, he has no redress.
  3. Foreigners are not allowed to hire native servants. Only Linguists and compradors may be employed by foreigners. Recently the numbers of foreigners has increased and they all require help to look after their goods. The black slaves they bring are too stupid and relate poorly with the Chinese. If our traders go in and out of the foreign warehouses passed these blacks there will be disturbances. We thus allow the ship compradors to employ Chinese to take care of the cargo, watch the factory gates and carry water and stores for the foreigners. He will report their names to the Hong merchant who with the factory comprador will be responsible for them. Should any of these people act traitorously, the Hong merchant and factory comprador will report them for prosecution.
  4. In the factories the foreigners must be restrained by the Hong merchants to prevent disturbances. When the foreign ship anchors, soldiers should search it. Originally an officer and 12 men were sent to Whampoa. They built a matshed on the river bank to receive and examine the cargo. A rowing boat was provided to examine the ship. After the ship left they were recalled. After several years this rule fell into abeyance. In the factories the foreigners can only trade with Hong merchants. This was to exclude the involvement of traitorous shopmen. Foreigners are not allowed to go in and out of the factories unrestrained lest they meet secretly with traitorous natives. The boats they use on the river must not use sails or travel quickly lest they cause accidents. They are not allowed to wander about the villages lest affrays occur.
  5. Foreigners of every nation secretly bring foreign women to Canton factories and they use shoulder chairs to traverse the strip of ground from quay to factory. This has long been forbidden but last year the foreign chief Baynes brought a woman no doubt assuming he may do as he pleases. She came from his own country and was accompanied by female Portuguese servants from Macau. We will reissue orders to all the chief foreign merchants. If they disobey, trade will be stopped. If the Customs cruisers or warjunks find foreign women in ferries on the river they will send them back to Macau. The Tung Che of Macau is to instruct the Portuguese governor of his responsibility to prevent foreign women coming to Macau. Foreigners use chairs a) because traitorous natives supply them and b) because chair bearers will do anything for money. No foreigner may come ashore in chairs. Natives are strictly forbidden to provide chairs to foreigners or provide labour to foreigners as chair bearers. Anyone disobeying will be seized and severely prosecuted.
  6. Foreigners may not bring guns and cannon to Canton. This is an old and very strict rule. Last year the foreigners stealthily brought guns to the factories. The Customs cruisers and the military must diligently discover any such attempts. If they fail, or worse connive, they will be tried and sentenced.
  7. The Company’s captains frequently need to travel to and from their ships and we permit their use of sampans. Other officers and crew also need to travel from ship to shore occasionally. If a foreign headman or Company captain is aboard they may raise a flag. But the Customs House must strictly examine each small boat for contraband. Travel from Macau to Whampoa / Canton and the return journey both require a permit (a red chop, same name as the port clearance certificate). Foreigners may not come and go as they please. When a foreign ship is departing and applies for the Port Clearance Certificate, the Customs House must inform the river forts so they may prepare and examine as necessary.
  8. Foreigners hitherto presented petitions by handing them to the military officer on guard at the City Gate. In future, in the case of a very important matter for the governor, they may petition the senior Hong merchants. They are now forbidden to use the City Gate unless the senior Hong merchants refuse to relay their petition. On those occasions, one or two foreigners may present the petition but there will be no huge processions of foreigners again.

“If these simple rules are not followed then the involved foreign merchant’s trade will be stopped for a month. Petitions concerning trade are made to the Hoppo; those concerning local affairs to the Tung Che in Macau or the Tso Tong in Heung Shan Heen. In all these cases appeals from the local officer’s decision are permitted.”4

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Hainan insurrection – The Emperor has sent a Manchu-General with 1,000 men to finally suppress this riot. It seems the mountain men use poison-tipped arrows and, together with the climate, this is disabling many Chinese troops. Viceroy Lee is said to be still on the island.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

The heen magistrate of Si Ngon was reportedly distressed by the recent murder at Lintin (the coast guard man – see the Opium chapters) and by a defalcation involving his receipts. He has hanged himself.5

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Trade – Some rice has recently been contracted for sale at $5 per 150 catties at Whampoa. Being a rice cargo, the carrying ship is exempt from measurement duty and cumshaw provided she does not take an export cargo. If she does, the contract provides that the approx $900 which will be demanded for “tax” will be deducted from the sale proceeds. Another cargo of lower quality rice has been sold at Macau at $4.60 per 150 catties.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Emperor’s edict on the trade dispute (last paragraph available only)

“….. The foreigners always oppose our rules. Their arrogance and insolence must be checked. If we permit them to continue to treat our law with contempt they will become worse; their pride and lack of self-restraint will increase.

“The Viceroy must be strict in upholding Our civilisation to avoid disturbances by foreigners. He must maintain Our reputation for respectability in government. Promulgate and enforce the eight rules.” 22nd May 1831

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Order of the Hoppo Chung and Foo Yuen Choo against extortion at Whampoa and Macau:

“There is a shortage of rice but few foreign ships bring grain because large bribes are required of them at Whampoa and Macau. We hear a fee of 3 mace is demanded on every 64 catties. Such ships can import a half million catties on each voyage and seldom less than 200,000 catties.

“In the 4th year of the To Kwong Emperor, Governor Yuen of Canton received an Imperial edict to remit the port entrance fee, monthly fee, chopboat charges and measurement charges on ships bringing cargoes exclusively of rice. The Port Clearance fees together with any export duty on cargo taken away continued to be collected as was the monthly and daily fees from the date that exports commenced to be loaded.

“This brilliant exposition of Imperial benevolence has been eclipsed by venal clerks who take $1,000 from each rice ship causing foreigners to be reluctant to further import rice. Although the reported squeeze is anecdotal, we will act against its occurrence. The Customs Houses at Whampoa and Macau will make investigation. The relevant security merchant for each ship likewise. All suspects will be identified to me, the Foo Yuen.

“In future foreign ships bringing rice shall pay the monthly and daily fees only when they commence loading an export cargo and they will also pay the Port Clearance fee. The other charges, relating to import cargo as listed above, are all remitted. If the Customs officers, clerks, waiters, compradors or linguists demand a fee, the Hong merchant and the foreign merchant should report them for punishment.”

Sgd 25th April 1831

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Scarcely one dragon boat has appeared this year although normally there are large numbers. This is connected with the scarcity and high price of food.

A foreigner with 40 years residence here cannot recall rice ever being so expensive as it is now. Fortunately the crop now in the fields promises to be huge and the first harvest will be marketed in a fortnight.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

A gentleman is offering a prize of £50 for the best essay of about 200 octavo pages in Chinese on Political Economy. The essayist should focus on the practical aspects, avoid contention, and write in a convincing way, i.e. he should include those sayings of the Chinese sages that support and / or elucidate the Western commercial doctrine.

The Principal of the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca will be umpire. Essays should be sent to him before 31st December 1832

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

A monthly magazine called the Canton Miscellany commenced in April this year. It is bound in damask silk and costs $2 per number. Proceeds are to be devoted to a useful and benevolent purpose, believed to be support for the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca.

The 1st number contains extracts from an unpublished journal of Amherst’s Embassy to Peking and further extracts should throw better light on the fate of the mission. Then there is a paper on civilisation. Then a brief note by Senex on early foreign trade with China (we hope there will be a lot more on that subject). The author is a good humoured and sensible writer who finds China an agreeable place to live. Many other long term residents regret leaving Canton. Senex attributes this to the comforts and quiet to be found here in comparison to other countries.

The 2nd number contains ’Sketches of the Court of Solo’ and ‘Recollections of India’ but we have no space to consider them here.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

How Qua’s fort, which is about halfway between Whampoa and Canton, is said to have been captured by pirates. They cut off the garrison commander’s ears and cut off his soldiers’ noses and took away all the cannon. The fort is 6 miles from Canton.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

The cause of the An Tse Yen rebellion in Turkestan is becoming clearer. When Chang Ling returned to Peking, Na Yen Ching was left in command at Kashgar to settle everything and ensure future tranquillity. He denied trade to the Muslims beyond the frontier, particularly proscribing the export of tea and rhubarb root.

This infuriated the Muslims who formed connections with surrounding tribes and commenced hostilities. Na has now been degraded and dismissed by the Emperor. His son, who holds high office in Peking, has been demoted to guardsman and may now be seen standing sentry at a palace gate.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

The Governor of Szechuan, Kishen, is promoted to a post in Peking

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Chinese government takes both civil and military officers from all classes of people provided they are qualified. The route to qualification requires a liberal education. Thus very few of the common people can achieve rank. Even when they do, they compete with the families of those who are settled in the privileges of rank.

Imperial officials are amenable to the influence of silver or gold. Wealth is fundamental to influence in China. The sons of rich men all buy degrees. The factors that influence decisions in China are ‘connections’ and ‘wealth’.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

Perfect stagnation of trade prevails. The new Malwa is good quality but each chest only weighs 101½ – 103 catties which is less than the Company supplies and, being soft, is expected to lighten as the cold drier weather develops.

Sellers are asking $800 – 850 per chest and not a ball has been sold. Several time bargains remain uncleared and some sold Malwa is yet to be collected.

Vol 4 No 11 – Monday 6th June 1831

A rice cargo of 4,000 piculs was sold at Whampoa for $2.80 per picul from a ship that will take an export cargo. The decline reflects the expectation of a good local harvest and the Foo Yuen’s opening of the government granaries to supply the poor people.

The high prices and scarcity have prevailed so long and caused considerable distress throughout the country. It has contributed to the slow trade generally.

The last cargo of doubloons from Mexico sold at $16 each and Plata Pina is at 6½% premium.

Cigar exports are temporarily prohibited from Manila.


Vol 4 No 12 (issued 20th June) missing from the British Library copy.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

Letter to the Editor – The tribulations of Canton residence are intolerable. We are confined to the factories, which may flood in summer. We are watched to prevent our leaving. We are denied chairs to travel about. When we go to Macau we have to present ourselves before the Portuguese Governor and apply for a permit to stay there. When a British man-of-war approaches the China coast, officials order her away and deny her provisions and water. For several years all British warships have voluntarily stayed away from China, purportedly so they are not insulted.6 French and American warships still occasionally visit but not British. What have we gained from this submission?

A Committee of both Houses of Parliament recently heard evidence describing the protection of the Company as essential to our national dignity in China.

Of all the foreigners in China, the best treated are those working the opium trade at Lintin. Everyone knows that the boats of these ships are always armed. The Chinese coast guard might fire on H M frigates but never on the armed smugglers of Lintin.

The national disgrace of our conditions is solely to facilitate a trade in tea. Experience has shown that both negotiation and diplomacy have been fruitless. We China-traders must obtain approval for the use of force. The arguments proposing the necessity of the present system are spurious. Conciliation over the last 30 years has availed us nothing. With force we will very quickly obtain our objects. I hope a crisis approaches so we can place our trade on a secure footing.

Sgd A British Merchant, 26th May 1831

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

Letter from How Qua Jr and nine other Hongs to the foreigners reciting an order of the Nam Hoi heen at the behest of the Viceroy:

“On 12th May we received an order reiterating that foreign women are not allowed in Canton. We and the Linguists are to be punished with the cudgel for every offence discovered. If you resist, the Emperor will be asked to order you away and your trade will be stopped forever.”

Order of the Viceroy of the Two Kwong:

“Foreigners of various nations have brought females to Canton. Wu Shau Chang (How Qua’s son, the new licensee of Yee Wo Hong) and the others are to be beaten with bamboos. They may remit this award by payment of a fine. The Linguists Tsae Mow and his fellows are to be cudgelled. The compradors Tseang Ke and others are to be dismissed and handed into the custody of local sureties. They may not remain in the factories.

“Tell the foreigners to obey the laws. If they again bring females I will ask the Emperor to drive them out perpetually.”

The Foo Yuen Choo has since received the Emperor’s order to pardon the Hong merchants, Linguists and compradors. Their cases are to be re-examined. They are now pardoned and their punishments and fines remitted. But the house Compradors will still be dismissed from their posts. They must leave the factories and find sureties if they wish for re-employment.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

Viceroy Lee’s order of 16th May 1831:

“On 2nd day of 4th moon of 11th year of the To Kwong Emperor, Yee Wo Hong (How Qua) reported the Danish Captain Kalen for bringing a barbarian woman (Mrs Keirulf) on 18th day of 3rd moon and living with her in the Yee Wo factory at Canton for a month. When Kalen was appraised of his error he immediately removed the woman.

“I should stop his trade but will be merciful on this occasion. Foreigners coming to China must obey the law. If they have women with them they should be left in Macau to dwell in the Nam Wei’s house. The trade of any person bringing a woman to Canton in future will be stopped. If another foreign woman comes, the Hong merchants, Linguists and compradors will be punished.”

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

Viceroy Lee returned to Canton on 20th June after crushing the Hainan rebellion and executing the ringleaders. He left again on 29th June for Peking.

Our Chinese friends do not expect him to return but to become part of the inner cabinet. The Foo Yuen Choo continues to act as Viceroy.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

Capt W K Lester of the Bombay Artillery was attacked by pirates whilst travelling from Lintin to Macau on a Portuguese lorcha. He arrived at Lintin from Bombay on 17th June on the Hormajee Bomanjee with his wife and two infant children.

On the evening of 18th June at 9 pm he took his family by boat to Macau. There were 5 Portuguese and 1 Danish passenger as well. At 11 pm his boat was attacked by 30-40 Chinese pirates who threw stones and burning rags. All the occupants of Lester’s boat lay down and submitted. He remained standing until a rock struck his head and he lost consciousness. His hands were tied behind him and he was placed face down on a plank while a pirate knelt on his back. The other passengers were attacked and one Portuguese was thrown overboard and drowned.

After the robbery of all their valuables (Lester’s personal loss was c £200), the boat finally made Macau in the evening of the following day. George Best Robinson and Dr Colledge looked after the survivors. The Portuguese judge of Macau, Sr Dr Jose Felippe Pires da Costa, reported the attack to Chinese officials.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

The three Parsees who were implicated in the death of Capt MacKenzie last year were returned to Bombay but no news of their case beyond their arrival there has appeared in the Bombay papers.

In the 9th year of the last reign, the British parliament enacted legislation permitting the trial in England of British nationals accused of killing fellow subjects whilst overseas. It seems relevant.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

The cases of 291 prisoners from gaols around Canton province were reviewed by the Foo Yuen on 25th day of 3rd moon. They have all been sentenced to death. On the occasion of these reviews, it is the custom to open the doors of the Great Hall and call the Foo Yuen thrice. He then interviews the condemned men individually to ensure their names and offences are properly recorded. Finally he gives a fan, a few cash and three buns to each man in the name of the Emperor. Their cases are then referred to the Emperor for inclusion in the mass executions in Autumn. Until then they are returned to their respective gaols.


Pages 63 – 67 missing from the Library copy.


Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

The Viceroy, before his departure to Peking, required the Foo Yuen to return the Select’s (unopened) ultimatum and keys to them. It seems that our attempt to restrain the arrogance of local officials has failed.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

Letter of the free traders to the Foo Yuen, 4th July 1831:

“The new regulations are unjust and immoral. They strike at our reciprocal needs and freedoms. Trade cannot be conducted under such arrangements and we cannot submit to them. We are not guilty of ‘traitorous intercourse’ with natives. You yourself say in the same edict that we have done business here for years ‘with mutual tranquillity’.

“You make the Hong merchants responsible to ‘govern and control’ foreigners. Hitherto we thought their role was to trade. The new duties are quite incompatible with the previous duties. Trade is done between equals.

“The ancient practice has been discontinued. Formerly we were permitted to enter the city and communicate with officials concerning our trade and our governance. You say we may not present petitions at the City Gate. This is allowed by “old custom.” Many of us go there together for protection when presenting petitions. The police officers and soldiers at the Gate have previously attacked us with abuse and blows.

“The factories belong to the Hong merchants and are let to us for an annual rent. Formerly armed sailors came up from Whampoa to guard them but for many years we have relied on the Hong merchants for protection. In 1814 the then Governor guaranteed the inviolability of the factories. The recent attack was an abrogation of that guarantee. It has destroyed our confidence and shown the Hong merchants to be incapable of protecting us. If this outrage is not redressed we will again bring-up our sailors from Whampoa for protection.

“We ask for the usual protection given to nationals of friendly nations and we appeal to the Emperor for relief from your new regulations.”

Sgd Jardine, Innes and 15 other British merchants (names given)

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

Letter to the Editor – The piracy of Capt Lester, who has nothing to do with China, should evidence that the problems here are not simply invented by greedy foreign merchants. We must place our trade here on a proper footing. We are all agreed something must be done. What that is needs to be determined.

“British Merchant” (Wm Jardine) proposes ‘more forcible arguments’ by which I understand him to mean war. I do not agree. War is unnecessary. Whilst we would not lose, the consequences might be quite different from our simple aims of justice and toleration of trade.

The whimsical indignities that the local provincial government heaps on us are not formally known to the Emperor. The memorials we have seen show the Viceroy quite materially misrepresents facts to the Emperor. By proscribing our petitions, the Viceroy ensures he is not contradicted.

Our grudge is with the local government and it can only offer feeble resistance. The situation at present is that the Viceroy does not believe we are determined to change the trading system. Something more than words will be necessary to awaken him.

If Britain decided that the repeated acts of violence on British subjects here was sufficient justification to occupy some nearby island as a measure of self-defence and to deploy a small naval force to protect it, the Chinese would immediately solicit its restoration and an opportunity for a negotiated settlement of our grievances will have been created. We should first sound the popular will in England to see if they wish our trade to be continued.

Sgd An Englishman.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

A sum of $655 has been subscribed by a majority of the Company officers in China and some country traders to send to M/s Rundle and Bridge (the London silversmiths) to make a silver cup for presentation to Captain William Clifton.

It will be inscribed:

‘This cup is presented to Capt Clifton of the barque Red Rover whose several successive voyages between Calcutta and Canton are unprecedented in their speed and reveal rapid communication between the Indian and Chinese empires is possible.’ 1st June 1831

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

The Portuguese ship Conde do Ricardo (Rio Pardo?) arrived from Damaun on 6th July bringing Senor F J Payva to Macau.

Vol 4 No 13 – Monday 4th July 1831

The Chinese have been unusually firm in resisting the prices demanded for Malwa of late. They say they are unsure of the amount to be brought here for sale this season. Yesterday a few sales were made at $800 per picul

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

The Foo Yuen Choo has received the remonstrance of the traders Jardine, Innes et al (here reproduces the above document) and replies:

“Barbarians ought to be obedient to Chinese law. Recently to get lower duties, you waited outside port. You brought foreign women to Canton. You brought cannon and guns as well. These are all criminal acts.

“Afterwards the Viceroy obtained the Imperial sanction to new rules. After selling your goods you may not remain in Canton to check prices or make connections with traitorous natives. The new rules ensure the Hong merchants control barbarians. Most of the new regulations merely restate the old rules which you have known and obeyed for years.

“Now Jardine and Innes presume to say that the new rules are unsuitable for their trade. They object to being controlled by the Hong merchants.

“They complain my entry into the Company’s factory a few days ago. Early in the 4th month I went to the factory on business. It is within the provincial city which is my jurisdiction. I went there with troops and, if the barbarians are not fearful, I will shoot them careless of the effects. They say they are chastised by the soldiers when they go to the city gate to present petitions. That is unreasonable.

“These barbarians Jardine and Innes act from the flattery and sycophancy of the Hong merchants, and the mischievous suggestions of the Linguists and compradors. They should know how to act. If they do not reform they will be ruined by these people. I order the Hong merchants to attend Jardine et al and rigorously counsel them to keep the regulations and quietly conduct their trade. If they again cause trouble they will be severely reprehended and the Hong merchants, Linguists and compradors who instigate their disobedience will be heavily punished.”

The Hoppo’s reply to the same remonstrance:

“Jardine and Innes etc have presented a petition in Chinese. The English have been trading here for a hundred years and have hitherto been respectful. In 1759 the foreigner Flint (in English records called the Eurasian Hung Kam Wui) was led astray by the traitor Liu Ah Pin to oppose the laws. Flint was gaoled in Macau and Liu was executed. In consequence, the then Governor Lee established five rules to control trade and the Emperor sanctioned them.

“Now Jardine, Innes and others say the regulations are unjust and appeal to the Emperor to avoid them. Chinese and barbarians are clearly different and a barrier must be erected to separate them. The dignity of the Emperor requires that his laws be obeyed. How can the barbarians be allowed to indulge their whims in opposition to the law? They assert they are merely disobedient to the Governor but they are disobeying the Emperor.

“It is an old regulation that foreigners may not bring guns but last year they did so. They knew it was illegal. The Emperor forgave them whilst reminding them of the prohibition. Now they request to do it again on the pretext of defending their property. Clearly they are opposed to law. If their trade is stopped they will entirely lose all advantage in coming here. So they should know that if they wish to defend their property they merely have to obey the law.

“The Taipan of the Company (Marjoribanks) is profoundly intelligent. Jardine and Innes are mere private merchants. They are not comparable to the Company’s officers. How can they exceed their status with this proud and wilful petition? It is poorly drafted and I will not examine it minutely but those who kow-tow at the market gate to solicit trade must obey the regulations. You come here for business not to make trouble. If you dislike the conditions you may withdraw from trade. The Hong merchants are ordered to keep Jardine and the others under strict restraint and not allow them to cause further trouble.” 13th July 1831

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

Letter to the Editor – In Woo Yay’s case we should not be concerned with the way the Chinese administer their laws. We are merely concerned to protect our national honour by denying any traitorous intent in our relationships with Chinese. If we are insulted and dishonoured by being publicly associated with traitors then vindication is essential. The Chinese call us traitors merely to justify their treating us as such. This is adequate grounds for interference.7

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

We have published a letter in Portuguese indicating Capt Lester’s report was incorrect. It was not the Judge of Macau who represented his case to the Chinese but the Procurador. This is the Portuguese official responsible to liaise with Canton officials.

The writer claims that the Procurador himself has mandarinate rank and is authorised to punish Chinese in Macau.

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

Numerous piracies have recently occurred on the river. A fortnight ago a Chinese ferry from the factories to Macau was attacked as it emerged from the Broadway (the channel west of Macau – the usual route from Canton) by two boats each containing 20-30 men. The crew and passengers lost everything including the clothes they were wearing.

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

On 15th July a deputation of Hainan gentry arrived at Canton to complain that the mountain men have again revolted. Several hundred peasants and 200 troops have died. The Foo Yuen has sent a force to Yae Chow.

Viceroy Lee has already assured the Emperor that the insurrection has ended.

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

On 25th May an official report at Peking related the death of the Emperor’s eldest son. He was sick last summer and the illness recurred this year. It is said to be inauspicious for the Emperor who attained his 50th birthday this year.

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

Chung the Hoppo obtained his posting here from Kiang Nan, where the Customs receipts have been short for several years. We believe he got the lucrative Canton job to make up his debts to the Emperor.

The current Peking Gazettes show he has made a second payment of 20,000 Taels towards the shortfall (the sooner he pays off the debt the sooner he might be transferred, hence the finely calculated annual repayment). 137,578 Taels remains outstanding. Chung’s successor as Customs collector at Kiang Nan has also fallen short this year by 34,000 Taels and Chung is required to make-up half of it in addition to his earlier debts.

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

Rice – several ships have returned empty from Manila. A plague of locusts has concerned the Spanish government over the adequacy of its own supplies and all grain export is banned.

Vol 4 No 15 – Tuesday 2nd August 1831

Andrew Jardine arrived in the British ship Pascoa from Bombay 27th July

Vol 4 No 16 – Monday 15th August 1831

Editorial – In this issue we continue to discuss the treatment of foreigners in China. It is imperative that a correct understanding of our conditions be impressed on our countrymen at home as we depend on them to ameliorate the situation of the foreign trade in this country. It has now been tolerated so long it will require considerable exertion to change.

The protection of the extensive British trade here does not compare in some London editors’ minds with a revolutionary movement in the Greek islands or a squabble in South America. Now with steam-powered manufacturing and the advent of steam navigation, this Empire offers a huge market for British goods if a free trade system was adopted.

The failure of London editors to recognise the national interest arises from ignorance. For example the Edinburgh Review says of the China trade system:

‘changing policy is achieved by constant reiteration of the new idea. It took a hundred years for us Europeans to repudiate the religious persecution of the Catholics and thirty years of discussion before slavery was abolished. The traders should vigorously persevere in ameliorating their conditions. If they let their cause rest, it is apathy. If it be lost, it is treason.’

Vol 4 No 16 – Monday 15th August 1831

Local news:

  • Viceroy Lee whilst en route to Peking was robbed of 7,000 Taels of clothes and money at Nan Keung. 12 men have been arrested.
  • Those Company ships that have arrived remain below the 2nd bar, purportedly because the Whampoa anchorage is considered unhealthy. The Canton officials are insisting the ships come in to offload as usual. Some officials visited the India Company in Macau recently for discussions.
  • One of the Yue She censors has brought six charges against Viceroy Lee of undignified behaviour
  • The Foo Yuen Choo has been unwell and is refusing all visitors.

Vol 4 No 16 – Monday 15th August 1831

A flood around the Po Yeung lake in Kiang Si (which is filled from the Yangtse River) has killed thousands. We will report further if anything more is heard.

Vol 4 No 16 – Monday 15th August 1831

A comprador named Woo amassed a sufficiency from service at a foreign merchant’s house and recently bought land in Heung Shan from one Yang. In the 5th month of this year when the first rice crop was ready, Yang sent workers to harvest it. Woo hired countrymen to oppose Yang and a battle ensued.

Many men died. The local magistrate has now reported the matter to the Canton authorities.

Vol 4 No 16 – Monday 15th August 1831

Trade – With the approach of the season and arrival of the Company’s shipping, the Chinese merchants are commencing to depress the values of European goods. The shopmen decline to buy saying the fleet remains outside the port and the time of delivery is therefore uncertain.

Vol 4 No 17 – Friday 2nd September 1831

The Select Committee remonstrated with the Foo Yuen, now acting Viceroy, against recent occurrences. The Foo Yuen was irritated and abused the Hong merchants in the familiar style of Chinese administration. The Company’s ships have just moved up to Whampoa. This appears to confirm they were kept out of port for health reasons.

Vol 4 No 17 – Friday 2nd September 1831

A document has been found in Canton. It purports to be an Edict of the Foo Yuen naming various compradors and other servants of foreigners for treasonable activities. We suppose it is a forgery, created for extortion. One named comprador noted something unusual about the paper and alerted How Qua who agreed it was a forgery.

A meeting was then arranged to entrap the culprits who have all been arrested. We hear the forgery was done with the help of a Linguist.

Vol 4 No 17 – Friday 2nd September 1831

Family ties in China are enforced by education and example and the law. This gives the authorities immense power. They are often able to avert a rebellion by arresting the leaders’ families.

We recently reported the occupation of a fort on the river just 4-5 miles from Canton (How Qua’s folly). The pirate who did this was identified and his family to the third generation were all arrested. He has now sent his fleet down river and attended alone at the house where they were kept. The soldiers hesitated to confront him so he approached the gate saying it was unnecessary that so many should die for one. He told the officers they were welcome to seize him, then stabbed himself.

Vol 4 No 17 – Friday 2nd September 1831

Recent editions of the Singapore Chronicle say that port receives trading junks from Shanghai. Shanghai is near to Soo Chow which is a great market for European goods. To travel so far shows commendable enterprise.

Vol 4 No 17 – Friday 2nd September 1831

To enforce the Emperor’s monopoly on salt, the Empire is divided into departments each of which may get salt from only specified places. Canton salt may only be sold up to the northern boundary of Hu Kuang province.

Vol 4 No 17 – Friday 2nd September 1831

The Canton Register Editor requests ship captains to report details of all arriving passengers for publication. When going ashore for a pilot, they are requested to pick up the reporting forms at M/s Markwick and Lane in Canton or from the Tavern on the Praia Grande in Macau.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

Advertisement – The first ship of the year for England. The fast and armed Flying Fish (Gardner) will leave Macau on 23rd September. Freight and treasure only. Apply Thomas Dent & Co.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

The 14 Japanese who were wrecked off Manila and taken to Macau are now in the Consoo House at Canton, being supported by the Consoo Fund. They are to be escorted overland to Ningpo and repatriated from there.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

Some of the culprits in Captain Lester’s piracy have been caught. Apparently their boat was being pursued by the coast guard and sought sanctuary under the guns of one of the opium ships at Kap Soy Mun (the fast-flowing channel between Ma Wan and Lantau Islands, now part of Hong Kong SAR). Some were recognised and assistance given (i.e. these pirates are also smugglers).

The Chinese coast guard then sought the help of another English ship whose officers understood the matter and sent boats for the apprehension of the culprits. The fugitives saw what was happening, abandoned the first English ship and rowed for Lantau. Six were caught on the beach including the ringleader and delivered to the Chinese official.

We understand several war junks are now stationed at Kap Soy Mun and a fort is to be built there but our ‘relaxed trade’ will not be interrupted.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

Astrological portents:

  • At end August the sun appeared pale green both on rising and setting which is indicative in China of impending war or sickness.
  • A week later on 4th September two luminous lines appeared parallel to the horizon which are said to indicate the downfall of the dynasty.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

Chun Qua, who has been imprisoned since his Hong failed, hanged himself in his cell a few days ago. He was found with his feet touching the floor – he must have bent his knees to effect his purpose. He was under threat of the Nam Hoi heen to be put with the common criminals unless he paid $3,000. He was also in expectation of banishment to Ili and was no doubt being treated poorly.

His elder brother, who was a partner in the Hong and a man of wealth, has been allowed to leave Canton and retire to his native place. This comes after living a life of luxury during his imprisonment under the care of the Nam Hoi heen. The Hong’s debts remain unpaid.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

We previously reported the Spanish way of evicting the poorer Chinese residents of Manila from their jurisdiction (the poll tax). We thought they wished to encourage Filipinos to take up the menial work but it seems the control of residence is more general.

In the latest Registro Mercantil we see 38 more Chinese were expelled in June and July but in addition, an American and a Portuguese were also ejected.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

The acting Viceroy Choo Kwei Chen’s response to the Company’s remonstrance:

I have received a letter from the India Company. They say “…. our previous letter was returned unopened. We come for trade and want to be friends.” They continue:

“We cannot submit to oppression. We will obey the Laws of China when exercised fairly but threats and intimidation will be resisted, if necessary at the sacrifice of our interests and lives.

“Our factories cannot be entered by officials unless by appointment. This was guaranteed by your predecessor in 1814.

“We must be able to address officials to avoid misunderstandings and embarrassment. We have long enjoyed this privilege. We believe it cannot be your wish to deprive us of it.

“Chinese natives have recently been prohibited from working for us. We need many hundreds of people. If natives are unavailable we must use foreigners. We leave this matter to your choice.

“The factory quay was built with the express permission of your predecessors. You have destroyed it and goods can no longer be shipped from it. We request it may be restored so we can use our warehouses, located behind it.

“When you entered the factory in May the cover of the King’s portrait was torn down and the picture treated disrespectfully. We venerate our King as much as you venerate yours. Please confirm you do not condone this action.

“The advantages of commerce are mutual. British China trade is more extensive than all other nations together. Many tens of thousands of Chinese rely on it for their employment. We trust you will encourage and protect it.”

The acting Viceroy replies:

“Foreigners must obey the law. In 1827 an accumulation of mud in front of your factories gave you the pretext for extending your land into the river without permission. You build a wall around the new land with a fence on the south east side.8 I insisted it be removed as it was unlawful.

“Subsequently the Hoppo told me it was the Hong merchants who had requested to repair the quay and he had ordered them to resite the quay at an adequate depth of water. I then permitted the works but the Company complained it was not like before. Clearly it is the Hong merchants and the Linguists who have instigated this disagreement.

“Concerning your communications with officials, the Emperor has ordered that anything of importance is to be delivered to the Hong merchants for transmission to the government. Local matters are to be dealt with by the Macau Tung Che or Tso Tong or the Heung Shan heen; trade matters by the Hoppo. You may not go to the city gate to present petitions because it by-passes the proper authority.

“Compradors are provided to you who will arrange men to watch the gate and carry goods etc. The Hong merchants will supervise these natives. It is their responsibility to manage you. We have good and bad Chinese and the compradors must use their skill in selecting suitable people. There is no occasion for you to hire workers. You would not know if you were hiring a bad or a good man. This is for your protection.

“The comment about the cloth over the picture of your King is absurd. I am the acting Viceroy. Since childhood I have understood propriety. It is my natural disposition to give orders respectfully. How could I insult your King? It must be some traitorous native who has stirred you up. You should give your evidence to me so the offender may be punished. Your chief should keep control of his foreigners and maintain the law, not spend his time digging up old regulations. This will evidence his respect and reverence for his King and mine. If he wishes to worship his King he should set up a curtain screen and an altar with incense so all will know what is concealed behind the cloth.”

These are my commands. Governor Choo, 29th day 7th moon of 11th year of To Kwong.

Vol 4 No 18 – Thursday 15th September 1831

Peking Gazettes:

  • A trading ship from Korea was driven aground at Chekiang by gales. The crew and part of the cargo, consisting of cloth, was saved. While drying their goods on the shore a group of Chinese came and stole everything. The Emperor has now implicated some Chekiang civil and military officials and degraded several until the goods be restored.

Editor’s note – This reveals the helplessness of people in junks when driven out to sea. The ships cannot contend with the conditions. Recently an official and his family from Shantung embarked on a junk at Amoy for home but a gale blew him down to Thailand and he only returned with the next tribute mission. We mentioned the 14 shipwrecked Japanese last week.

  • Part of the Imperial treasury containing gold and silver utensils has been robbed. The sentries on duty are arrested and a strict search is being made.
  • Some eunuchs have disappeared. The Emperor orders that any run-away eunuchs are to be returned to the palace superintendent.
  • The Emperor has again visited his tomb and is satisfied. He has called the area the Dragon Spring Valley. He orders that the surrounding buildings be inexpensive to comport with his preference for simplicity.

Editor – Egyptian Pharaohs held the same wish and now their bodies are transported to England and displayed in museums or dissected by anatomists. The Ching Emperors are too concerned for the body and not sufficiently concerned for the soul.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

Framjee Pestonjee operates his shipping agency and trading business from No 3, Powshing Factory.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

A great flood affected Canton on 23rd September and the factories were flooded to a great depth. Many of the larger river craft – chop boats, tea boats and flower boats – were destroyed.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

An unusual event has occurred. Some foreigners returning to their ship at Kap Soy Mun were caught in a squall and their boat overturned. They clung to the hull until two Chinese boats came and rescued them and put them ashore on the Western Brother (one of two similar islands north east of Chek Lap Kok airport) where they righted the boat and assisted them in continuing their voyage.

The following day the foreigners returned to the island to compensate the Chinese and were told $10 would be ample. Normally an enormous sum is requested.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

The Indiaman Marquis of Huntly whilst being piloted from Lintin to Whampoa was driven onto the upper part of the Lintin bar in a squall.

16 company ships had already arrived at either Whampoa or Kap Soy Mun and each sent a large cutter or long boat. A small ship came up from Kap Soy Mun to take off part of the cargo. Chop boats from Canton also took some cargo. Her guns were sent up to the fleet at Whampoa. Finally she was refloated.

She is not taking any water and seems only slightly damaged.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

Four proclamations have been recently issued by the Hoppo. One interdicts communication with natives at the factories; another is against trading with outside men (shopmen) or leaving port without an export cargo, a third proscribes shooting parties, the last deals with chop boats. Here is a summation of all of them:

1. Chinese are forbidden to go to the foreign factories. Some people are said to know a few English words and visit to the factories for trade and smuggling. Now the trading season has arrived the Hong merchants are reminded that they alone are responsible to prevent connections between natives and foreigners.

2. Foreigners are forbidden to trade with outside men (shopmen). Foreigners deliver their imports to their security merchant for sale. They buy their exports from the same security merchant. Recently the foreign country-traders bought exports from outside men. In such cases, no-one is responsible to pay the export duty. Other foreigners take 2-3 chop boats of cargo and try to leave. This is not enough. It causes a deficiency in our revenue collection. Hong merchants will check the foreign ship on arrival, before they become security for it, and ascertain whether it will take an export cargo. They may decline to secure a ship that does not take an export cargo and they may not buy any part of its import cargo. They must request it leave port.

3. Foreign ships at Whampoa continually put out small boats and foreigners ramble about on the shore shooting birds and disturbing the residents. The Hong merchants and linguists must counsel each foreign captain on arrival to restrain his men. If they permit improper conduct they will be responsible.

4. Foreigners always use the large melon-shaped boats (chop boats) to carry goods from Canton to Whampoa. Some boat masters are ex-convicts using assumed names and are willing smugglers. Although an official accompanies each boat it is impossible to check everything on a voyage of 30 Li. Now, several chop boat people have been caught smuggling and delivered to the heen magistrate for punishment. A former regulation required the Hong merchants to themselves build boats for transit of cargo to / from Whampoa and send their own man with the Customs House man to escort the boat. This regulation is revived.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

The gale experienced on 23rd September seems to have been a typhoon. The greatest damage was caused in Macau where it is said to have been the worst typhoon for 30 years. The sea struck the Praia Grande with such force that the granite paving stones were lifted up against the house fronts opposite, smashing doors. The quay in front and to the west of the English factory was washed away together with part of the veranda foundations causing the floor and roof to subside. Many houses were unroofed, walls were blown down and the rice crop was flattened.

Many ferries and some of the fast passage boats in regular use between Macau and Canton were destroyed. One junk was lost with its crew of 50-60 men and reportedly a European. Two boats were wrecked in South Bay (the bay encircled by the Praia Grande) but their crews saved. At least 150 bodies are lying on the shore between Casa Branca and the Josshouse. 100 Chinese fishing boats are also said to have been lost.

The British factory has commenced a subscription to assist the poor.

Three Portuguese crew of the Duque de Cadaval were killed when their main mast collapsed. A large lorcha with a rice cargo was overturned and all hands lost. The British schooner Flying Fish which was anchored in Macau Roads awaiting the last part of her cargo from Canton had to put out to sea and has not yet returned. The Portuguese ship Don Manuel which came in from Kap Soy Mun the day before with a large cargo of opium put down four anchors but was still driven to Po Toi Island with her rudder taken away and all her masts and yards collapsed on deck. She finally gained shelter under the lee of Sam Kok island and returned to Kap Soy Mun on 27th.

The Lintin fleet had removed at this time of year to Kap Soy Mun for shelter and the only damage sustained was to the dismantled ship Levant which went aground and was wrecked but no lives were lost.

The Netherlands barque Willem from Singapore lost all her masts and part of her poop but reached Tai Loo island, 35 miles south west of Macau on 25th and has since procured assistance from Macau. The American ship Galen lost her mizzen mast, fore and main top masts, caps, etc., near the Lima Islands. The British barque Agnes from Singapore lost her foremast on 23rd and cut away her remaining masts. She was anchored 9 miles south of the Grand Ladrone on 27th and expected to arrive soon.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

Memorial to Chun Qua:

He was the 7th child of this family of Hong merchants and 38 years old when he hanged himself. He has a 7th uncle commonly called Chat (7) Qua who now lives in style in Peking. Chun Qua was nicknamed Mr Dundas because his brother, an alleged embezzler, was known to the foreign community as Lord Melville (see the Political Management chapters). Another uncle was a senior official in Yunnan and is now transferred to Canton. The whole family has been enriched by foreign trade.

The elder members of the family took their money and retired leaving Chun Qua, the son of a Cantonese concubine, as the only responsible person on the Hoppo’s licence to the firm. He told me several years ago, when his firm’s difficulties were first appearing, that the strife in his family over money would cause bad luck. Then his father, whom the locals called old tiger, died and the ruin of the house ensued. His brother Liu followed Viceroy Lee’s retinue and has got home with his money. Chun Qua was left behind to sort out the mess.

A few days ago a periodic payment of 2,000 Taels fell due. The government collectors were harsh, his family did not help and he went to a quiet spot near the public office and hanged himself. His wife and eight children have appealed against the magistrate whose underlings abused him.

We hear the Sup Sarm (13) Hong (the community of Hong merchants) are distressed. They have subscribed 3,000 Taels for his funeral and bewail their own fates – witness Con Se Qua, Man Hop Sr and Jr, Woo Yay and now Chun Qua.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

Letter to the Editor – The appearance of South Bay at Macau is beautiful. The new gateway to the Governor’s house and the fine British factory and other buildings to the west are magnificent.

To the east along the quay are bad sights and smells which arise from the licence given to every Chinese to do as he pleases.

Hawkers obstruct the passageway and, adjoining La Palacio (the English factory) and the small fort, little fish are hung out to dry in the sun producing an offensive smell. These fish dealers should not disregard the comfort of their neighbours. There are plenty of other places in Macau where they can dry fish without inconveniencing anyone.

Sgd An Observer

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

Traders from Hupeh province now in Canton have received letters reporting a flood at Han Yang at the confluence of the Han River with the Yangtse River. Destruction is said to be widespread.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

Peking Gazettes:

  • A commoner named Ho Chung from Kansu has arrived in Peking to complain against Na Yen Ching and Chang Ling. He says around Kokonor are Mongol shepherds who live on the flesh and milk of their animals. They buy corn and tea from China, pay the duties and everyone is happy. Now Na Yen Ching has stopped all cross-border trade and cut off these peoples’ subsistence.
    Concerning Chang Ling he says a tribe of black foreigners live around the source of the Yellow River and rob the passers-by. The local Mongols are in fear of them. Chang Ling was supposed to evict them 30 years ago but instead did not disturb them and their depredations have continued. Then 20+ years ago another Chinese named Chang had over 1,000 sheep stolen by these black foreigners. A military officer caught some of the culprits and took them to Chang Ling who released them. Since then for the last 20 years they have been uncontrollable. The population around Kokonor has been halved. The black foreigners consider Chang Ling their benefactor and protector – no-one dares to complain.
    Ho Chung was assessed at Peking to be an ignorant man and his opinions on government were considered inadmissible. He was sent to the Criminal Board for investigation.
  • The Board of Rites has declared that only the eldest daughter of a first wife can claim a right to a title. Other daughters and concubine’s children have no right to a title. It seems some ladies have erroneously been awarded titles recently. The Emperor alone may give a title to an unqualified woman in recognition of eminent virtue.
  • The Chinese term for Muslim chiefs in Tartary is Pikih and derives from the Turkish Beg not the Persian Pasha. At Yarkand several Pikih have been awarded 4th and 5th degrees of Chinese rank.

Vol 4 No 19 – Saturday 1st October 1831

The Danish brig Norden (Moller) arrived from Singapore on 25th September. Captain Burd (later of Bali and Hong Kong fame) was a passenger on the ship

The Alert, just arrived, reports seeing the coppered bottom of a ship off the Lima’s at about 3 miles distance but he could not get closer. We fear it is the overturned hull of the Flying Fish.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Peking Gazettes:

  1. The death of the Emperor that was locally rumoured is unfounded. It was due solely to a strange sunset seen in Canton that featured perihelia.
  2. Viceroy Lee Hung Pin of the Two Kwong is on his way back from Peking with a peacock’s feather down his back for skilful management of the Hainan riots.
  3. The Thai embassy has left for Peking with its tribute
  4. The To Kwong Emperor’s birthday falls on 10th day of 8th moon (this year 15th September) and festivities continued in Peking for 6 days.
  5. Two of the Emperor’s concubines gave birth to sons in July. The boys are named Yik Shau and Yik Yuen

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Local news:

  1. On 6th day of 8th moon the acting Viceroy Choo and 32 senior officials attended the 4,800 candidates for the literary examination of whom 74 (1½%) are to be selected. The examinations conclude on 10th October but celebrations will continue thereafter for several days.
  2. After the recent typhoon, 1,405 bodies were collected from the Macau coastline.
  3. The acting Viceroy Choo, who is a loner and consults with no-one, is believed to have impeached the Hoppo.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

The Macau governor’s recent assertion that only people with permits from Lisbon could live in Macau, has been taken up by Lord Wm Bendinck, the Governor General of British India, in correspondence with the Portuguese Viceroy at Goa. Bentinck avers that Macau is a place provided by China for all foreigners to live (evidenced by the recent edicts on foreign women, etc).

As Macau is the only place where foreigners may stay, the Portuguese licensing requirement effectively means Lisbon is seeking to control who may trade with China.

The Portuguese Viceroy has now instructed the Macau governor to permit all foreigners to reside in Macau at the Portuguese King’s pleasure.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Campbell Marjoribanks, the Company’s President of the Select Committee, has received notes of thanks from Chinese fishermen wrecked in the recent typhoon who became beneficiaries of the subscription he commenced. They say “fuk yuen sum king” – ‘good deeds create happiness’.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Letter to the Editor – Your recent numbers have caused a change of heart in India. China trade was totally uninteresting. Now it has become an important topic of conversation. I expect the Indian press will in future materially help you in your campaign for better trading conditions.

It is now expected that a Company naval force will visit you soon. It is important to consider the qualities of the man in charge of such a mission and particularly the powers he is provided with. Any national representative must be able to go to all necessary lengths to achieve his objectives. The logic behind recent operations at Lisbon is equally persuasive here (a reference to British acts in changing the Portuguese government).

We do not want apologies for past sins, just security of person and property for the future. If we fail, our circumstances will become more humiliating than before. If we succeed we will impress this arrogant nation and extract Chinese respect.

Sgd Consistency, 5th October 1831

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Manila report – The governor has authorised the import of stamped dollars from China but his indicated costs make our disposal of cut dollars to Manila unlikely.

Those that retain their original identity and weight will be bought by the Philippine Colonial Treasury at 1% discount. All others will be considered bullion and received as an article of trade paying 1% import tax and 1% re-export tax. Re-making silver into coins and stamping them with the marks of one of the Spanish colonies of South America will cost 1%.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

The Emperor is without heir since the death of his son. His sons by Chinese concubines have no rights of succession in Ching law. Indeed no Chinese lady can enter the Imperial harem. It is exclusively for Manchu women. The Chinese concubines are housed separately.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

The latest available Peking Gazettes contain one of Viceroy Lee’s reports to the Emperor concerning the insurrection of the ‘black-haired barbarians’ (the Lee Yan) on Hainan Island.

They descended from the hills to the sown and plundered the Chinese farmers. General Sun Tih Fa confronted them and they ran away. The General pursued them into the jungle but the rebels fired the grass and many soldiers died from asphyxiation and sniper attacks. The Viceroy requests that the general be examined and another sent to replace him. Nevertheless his men caught the two ringleaders ‘great lusty face’ and ‘long red beard’.

The Viceroy reports that the Yae Chow magistrate had arrested ‘black-haired barbarians’ indiscriminately and left them in prison where they mostly perished. He had not reported his actions. The Viceroy requests the magistrate be degraded and tried. The Emperor agrees.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Viceroy Lee has also complained of triad activities. The Peking Gazettes report the new version of ‘Sarm Teen Wui’ is a group of criminals united by blood oaths for plunder. They travel the rural areas selling protection to farmers. Those who do not pay have their fields turned over and crops destroyed. These societies were most recently proscribed in the 4th year of To Kwong and since then 400 men have been arrested and punished but still it goes on.

The Emperor suggests a proclamation be published everywhere offering amnesty to those who repent and provide information on the leadership. Those farmers who have been forced into membership (by buying protection) may respond to this.

Viceroy Lee also suggests that unemployed people (who are the triads’ recruits) be given the use of uncultivated land as their own property with the land tax perpetually remitted. This arrangement is already adopted in the four western districts of Kau Chow, Leen Chow, Lui Chow and Keung Chow and many people have thereby been kept from errors.

The Emperor agrees with the caveat that these people should not be abused by officials and tax gatherers.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Peking Gazettes:

  • The occupation of How Qua’s fort appears in recent Gazettes. The Emperor is shocked that pirates are so strong in Canton. He directs that the 9 arrested men be tortured for information and the others quickly apprehended.
  • The deputy governor of Kiangsi says his southern border with Kwongtung is occupied by a fierce minority tribe who rob and rape indiscriminately. He has gone beyond the law and used the army to arrest a hundred offenders but they became sick in gaol. Rather than allow them to die on the road to the Judge and thus escape punishment, he executed the lot. The Emperor approves.
  • Fu Sau Kwei of Chekiang murdered his wife because she was not dutiful to his mother. The court recommends he receive 100 blows and transportation 3,000 Li. The Emperor has added 2 years imprisonment for cruelty because Fu used a sickle to behead his wife but the head and the trunk fell in different places, suggesting the job was not skilfully done.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Editorial – The government of China patronises literature and examines those who wish to serve the country in their knowledge of it, but it excludes all non-Chinese and most Chinese books and focuses on only one class of work for the examination essays.

The identity of this class of books changed from dynasty to dynasty until the Che Tsung Emperor allowed only Confucian classics.

This does not advance knowledge – it fossilises it. A knowledgeable contributor to the Canton Miscellany has just said “at the Anglo-Chinese College in Malacca, the son of a Chinese peasant receives a more liberal education than the son of the Emperor and heir apparent.”

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Cotton – the Nanking crop has been reduced by inundation and the prospects of better sales of Indian and English imports have improved.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Page 109 missing. Page 110 contains the last paragraphs of an edict forbidding foreigners from attending a parade of Chinese armed forces in Canton:

‘The Hong merchants and linguists are to instruct the foreigners accordingly and will be punished if the foreigners disobey. The boat men and chair people are likewise ordered not to bring foreigners or they will be punished severely.’

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Indian opinion of China has developed beyond mere words. The Company’s armed cruiser Clive has arrived in China from Bombay on 10th October and been placed at the disposal of the Select Committee.

If we are to display force to the Chinese it must appear that our willingness to persevere against arbitrary and unjust regulation of trade is intact. We hope more ships will be provided. But if a task force simply visits and leaves without doing anything it will excite derision.

The British community in China is already agreed on what should be done. The present state of trade is the barter of national honour for tea. The Canton trade system is so restrictive it inevitably encourages smuggling and then the officials complain of it. British honour requires that China be humbled. The rationale behind the force recently applied to Portugal is also appropriate here.

Historians will be surprised and doubtful that England at the height of her powers submitted to insult, indignity and oppression when an early exhibition of firmness would have brought China to submission.9

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Letter to the Editor – ‘Consistency’ says he wants security for the future but does not indicate how he will get it. Does he want the new regulations rescinded? Is he proposing a commercial treaty? What will he do if the Emperor continues to say ‘obey the laws or begone’?

Sgd – ‘Look before you leap’.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

Two officers of a Company ship at Whampoa recently took a stroll on Dane’s Island. They had skirted around a large village when their Chinese escort became anxious that they should return. They turned back but this sign of retreat encouraged the islanders to attack them with hoes and bamboos and drive them off.

Their pet dog was captured by the villagers. Lookouts amongst the shipping saw what was happening and sent boats to their rescue. The sailors entered the village, caught 3-4 men and beat them with wooden boat-stretchers before returning to their boats.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

A regatta has been held at Whampoa on Saturday 29th October. Five races for 6-oared gigs, 6-oared cutters, double banked cutters, jolly boats and 4-oared gigs were held.

Vol 4 No 20 – Saturday 15th October 1831

The Canton Dispensary at 3 French Hong can supply passengers and families proceeding on voyages with senna (a purge made from Cassia leaves), Turkey rhubarb (the root is a purge), milk of Magnesia (another purge), castor oil (a purge), Rochelle salts (a purge), Jalap (a Mexican purge), Epsom salts (a purge), ipecacuanha powder (a purge), ginger, carbonate of soda, tartaric acid, sal volatile, cream of tartar, Seidlitz powders, spirits of hartshorn, quinine sulphate, Dover’s powder, etc.


Vol 4 No 21 is missing from the library.


Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

The Whampoa Regatta continued on Friday 11th November with 7 races.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

Viceroy Lee is returning to Canton but is ordered to attend the military reviews in the northern parts of the province first. He is expected at the Mei Ling Pass in 7-10 days. The Emperor has ordered that Chung Tseang should continue as the Canton Hoppo.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

All Chinese exhibit a great dread of involvement with their government. The following case is illustrative:

A shopkeeper came by boat to Canton to sell his goods and having done so was starting to return when his boat woman fell in the river and drowned.

Her body was not found and her husband threatened to prosecute the shop-keeper for murder. The latter paid 100 Taels to prevent the report being made.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

A young Tanka girl has just escaped from a family of kidnappers and exposed them. The Nam Hoi heen has arrested them all.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

Peking Gazettes – The To Kwong Emperor has been reading the history of the 25th year of the Hong Hei Emperor’s reign. He notes the ‘benevolent Emperor‘ ordered his troops to train and develop their horse-riding, archery and courage before they wore armour. He says:

“I see that now after more than a hundred years of government, my garrisons have become careless and remiss. Soldiers may not fight for a century but they must daily be prepared to do so. Officers must be attentive to requirements. Unsuitable men must be replaced.”

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

Opium – some junks have arrived and cleared off a few time bargains in Bengal drug. Patna has reached $940 but Malwa has been sold at $670 although most holders are trying for $700. The duty on landing opium at Macau has been reduced this season on the orders of Goa from $23 per chest to just over $10. This may help to revive commercial activity there.

Saltpetre (a contraband substance within the monopoly of the salt merchants) has advanced in price but some remains on the storeships at Lintin.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

Manila rice is still not allowed to be exported except those shipments contracted for before the embargo was announced.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

The following arrangement has been agreed for the settlement of Chun Qua’s debts. It applies to British debts only but should equitably extend to all others. It is agreed that this is the last time the Co-Hong will be called upon to settle its bankrupt members’ debts.

From H H Lindsay to Wm Jardine, trustee of the creditors:

The 2nd instalment was paid last July. All interest on debts ceased with the payment of the 1st instalment. The remainder of principal will be paid off in three equal tranches before Lunar New Year in each of 1832-1834.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

A boat of the company’s ship Hythe overturned in the Bogue on 17th October en route to Whampoa and the 4th officer and 6 seamen drowned. There were two survivors, One swam to a paddy boat and its crew rescued the other survivor. The two men were put ashore and found an old man who took them to his hut, dried their clothes, fed them and procured a boat for their return.

The Chief of the British Factory has rewarded those involved to encourage assistance to distressed seamen.

Vol 4 No 22 – Tuesday 15th November 1831

Wm Baynes and family, James Bannerman and T C Smith (Select Committee members who commenced the campaign for better trading terms and were dismissed by the Directors on their failure) will leave Macau for London on 17th November on the Duke of Sussex.

S P Sturgis arrived on the Spanish brig Triumfo from Manila on 29th November.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

HMS Challenger arrived at Macau on 6th December to deliver a letter from Governor-General Bentinck of India to the Viceroy of Canton. Bentinck is a personal friend of Marjoribanks. HMS Satellite has passed Singapore en route for China. Admiral Owen has arrived at Penang also en route to China.

The Chinese are alarmed as are the Portuguese but we think violence is unlikely so long as the Chinese believe we are prepared to use it to attain our ends.

The Chinese court circular erroneously says HMS Challenger landed 300 marines at Macau and accuses the English of intending to occupy the enclave as Drury did in 1808.

They have strengthened their night patrols of the town but the Canton government has allowed a comprador to provision the frigate.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

Memorial of Viceroy Lee of 9th December:

“Marjoribanks has reported the arrival of HMS Challenger. I decline to interview Capt Fremantle (of the Challenger). He may present his letter to the Hong merchants. When I have seen the letter, I will issue an order, if appropriate.”

The Hong merchants sent an explanation with this:

“John Davis gave us a letter on 8th December for the Viceroy. We delivered it on 9th. The Viceroy said in the past every foreigner of every nation has delivered petitions to the Hong merchants. Now this English captain wishes to enter Canton and serve a letter on me personally. If the captain will perform the kow-tow to me before delivering the letter I agree; If he wishes to avoid ceremonies he may give his letter to the Hong merchants. The warship on which he comes may not enter the river but must anchor outside. Marjoribanks is to instruct the captain in our regulations.” Sgd 10 Hongs, 10th December.

Marjoribanks to Hongs:

“The Viceroy’s request is unacceptable. We would rather die than kow-tow. I treat the language used in your letter with indifference but if the language is accompanied by an insulting action I will adequately resent it.” Marjoribanks 13th December

Select to the Viceroy (via the Hongs):

“Captain Fremantle is ordered to deliver the Governor-General’s letter to the Viceroy and not the Hongs. His Admiral is on his way and will arrive soon. In 1816 a letter from a British minister was presented to and accepted by the then Foo Yuen. If you prefer you may depute an official to come to the British factory in Macau to receive this one.” 13th December

Edict of the Viceroy to Marjoribanks through the Hongs:

“The letter delivered with tribute in 1816 by an English envoy (letter from Lord Buckinghamshire, ex Hobart, as President of the Board of Control concerning Amherst) had to be reported to the Emperor by express and it was therefore permitted to present that petition within the city. That is not the situation in the present case.

“If the Captain insists to come he may bring two or three attendants in the British sampan (the Company’s sloop Louisa) and attend at the Tien Chu Ma Tau outside the south gate of Canton. I will send an Adjutant General to receive his letter. He should then return forthwith to Macau and await my orders through the Hongs and the Select to him.”

Select’s response:

“The letter will be delivered on 31st December at Tien Chu Ma Tau. Capt Fremantle expects an answer at the pier or at the hall of the British factory.”

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

Bentinck’s letter to the Viceroy was delivered at noon on 31st December at the Imperial landing place (Tien Chu Ma Tau or Queen of Heaven Pier, where the high officials embark and disembark when going to / from Peking).

Capt Fremantle embarked at the Company’s steps in front of the factories with Capt Harris of HCS Clive and various country ship captains and a party of marines. They disembarked at the Tien Chu Ma Tau. The marines formed a line with fixed bayonets. About 100 Chinese soldiers attended at either side. The Chinese officials were in the Sunnyside Pavilion at the end of the path. Two Chinese linguists attended the captain as he came ashore and two Hong merchants awaited him at the pavilion entrance but he did not stop there and walked straight in. The Chinese officials then came forward towards him.

They stood facing each other until Fremantle asked who was to receive the letter. He then delivered it to the indicated official. A Hong merchant described the letter as a petition which drew a rebuke from one of the English present. The foreigners stayed at the threshold of the Pavilion throughout. The delivery seemed honourable but not cordial.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

China is a forbidden land to non-Chinese but Mr Charles Gutzlaff, having practised medicine at Bangkok, has arrived here. He has just completed a coasting voyage along the south and eastern coasts of China where he was welcomed in many places.

We hope he will publish a narrative of his voyage.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

A fire occurred on the night of 9th December in the City. It was an attempt to fire the house of a rich man which is a common occurrence but burned an adjacent hut instead and killed two women and two children within.

These fires are frequent although there is a curfew after 10pm (instituted annually once the winter monsoon starts). The rewards for information against arsonists are 100 Taels for a principal and 50 Taels for an assistant.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

A strong rumour is alive in Canton that may explain Viceroy’s Lee’s recent popularity. He got 300,000 Taels from How Qua for arranging to put his son’s name into the government books (as licensee of Yee Wo Hong) but he told the Emperor that he found the money under the ruins of his yamen (which burned in a recent opium-related fire).

He suggested, as the owner of the money is unknown, that he present it to the Emperor, requesting only a sufficient share to rebuild his official residence.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

The Gazettes mention a vacancy for a Chinese officer at the Russian Academy in Peking. Our Cantonese friends here were very surprised to learn that foreigners live in Peking. Some say if the Russians are allowed, it would be reasonable to have other foreigners also.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

The Board of Revenue calculates that the provinces are in debt to the central government in 17,740,000 Taels of unpaid taxes.

Vol 4 No 24 – Monday 19th December 1831

The name An Tse Yen (the tribe that recently rebelled in Turkestan) turns out to be a corruption of the Persian word Andijan or Indijan, meaning a small place.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

The sloop HMS Wolf arrived 29th December with despatches for Admiral Edward Owen. This suggests his arrival is delayed. His approach has been notified to the Chinese and we hope he comes soon.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

Chang Ling has returned to Kashgar and called for more troops throughout Turkestan. Each province has been told to deduct 2% of its army rations and send them to the troops in Turkestan

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

The petition of the country merchants to parliament was presented in the Commons by Sir Robert Peel on 28th June 1831. Sir George Staunton and Sir Charles Forbes opposed it but the President of the Board of Trade promised his best attention. There was a brief debate and the matter was then remitted to the Select Committee on East Indian affairs for consideration.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

The Indian press accuses British merchants at Canton of wanton readiness to violence and resistance to the laws of the host country.

The true burden of our complaint is the habitual violation of law by the Chinese themselves. We are systematically regarded as inferior and denied access to the local government. English trade with China is now worth £5 millions a year.

In Lord Melville’s 1792 instructions to Macartney he characterised trading conditions as ‘precarious, hazardous and discouraging’. He noted the Company’s trade was restricted to Canton and the Chinese there banded together in a cartel to prevent competition. He said foreigners are denied access to Chinese law or courts and concluded with the King’s claim on the Emperor for protection of the British.

The recent dispute with Portugal which was resolved violently by France, England and America arose from unwarranted unilateral duties placed on British exports delivered at Porto and Lisboa (30% on coal, etc.).

We have a similar problem here although excessive import duty may not be our greatest complaint. In October 1831 the Canton officials demanded and forcibly extracted an increased duty on British cotton piecegoods in violation of their own excise law and without any authorising Imperial edict. The money involved is a thousand times greater than that which ignited the dispute with Portugal. The only remaining task for us to achieve, to bring the Canton situation within the authority of the Portuguese precedent, is to show that friendly relations exist between England and China and are at least partly recognised by Acts of Parliament. It is established by the history and there is a commercial treaty between England and Portugal.

Britain has traded at Canton for over a hundred years and trade questions have been repeatedly asked of the Emperor, the Viceroy and the lower officials and answered by them in the Chinese form (i.e. including a verbatim record of the question along with the answer). The Emperor’s and Viceroy’s replies commonly refer to old custom. We refer the Indian editors to the correspondence of Elphinstone in 1814 and Plowden in 1829 (recited briefly in the newspaper article but not in this abridgement). These formed the basis to agreement and thus comprised a commercial treaty.

It is not good enough for the Chinese to say ‘if you do not like the conditions, you do not have to come’. We have been trading here for over a century. The conditions have got increasingly worse. We have the agreements of 1814 and 1829 but still we suffer.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

The Hoppo Chung issued an Edict on 12th December 1831:

The Select has petitioned that this year their calico imports be divided into 4 classes for the purpose of more precisely assessing duty. These calicoes have been imported previously and duty paid on them. The duties assessed on foreign goods are approved by the Board of Revenue. When my officers declined to allow a discount on the supposedly inferior grades, the correct course was to bring the matter to me for adjudication. Why do these foreigners always wait until the matter has been concluded before sending in their petitions?10

They do not say how much of each class is imported or who the owners are, they just make indistinct post facto allegations. On an earlier occasion this year some calicoes were imported with wet damage. They were distinguished into 70% coarse and 30% fine to take account of the damage (although they were in fact all of the same grade) and the duties adjusted accordingly.

When there is a dispute like this, the foreigner must bring his concerns to me. I will investigate if necessary. But if the foreigner waits and then petitions when the duty has been fixed, I will disregard him for wasting my time.

The officers of each Hong are security for foreign goods and should be alert to ensure investigation is made when necessary. If calicoes are really to be shipped in four classes in future the Hong merchants should know it.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

W C Hunter arrived on the American ship Howard from New York on 27th December 1831.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

Trade – the Hoppo has unilaterally revoked the exemption to duty of rice cargoes. Any ship bringing rice in future will pay the usual duty of $1,359. If she also takes an export cargo she will pay a further $300.11

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

The British Consul at Tepic (in Central America) has written to Marjoribanks that two Englishmen Charles Green and George Nesbitt visited Tepic from Mexico and defrauded many people.

They left for Chile where they obtained a considerable sum under a forged letter of credit. They have since left Valparaiso for Manila and are assumed to be heading for China and India.

Marjoribanks has authorised publication of the letter in the Canton Register.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

Page 7 is missing from the library copy. It recites Bentinck’s letter to the Viceroy. Only the last paragraph on page 8 is available:

‘Please look after this matter so I do not have to consider giving any further support to the merchants’. Sgd W C Bentinck, Simla 27th August 1831

The Viceroy’s reply (through the Hong merchants):

“Captain Fremantle has brought a letter complaining that the Foo Yuen broke down the English landing place and seawall and insulted a picture of the English King.

“At Sup Sarm Hong (the 13 factories) outside Canton is a barbarian hall built by Hong merchants and rented to the English chief and others for use as a temporary lodging. This hall was not built by nor belongs to the English. The landing place was also built by the Hong merchants to receive and send cargo.

“In the 7th year of To Kwong (1828) the Hong merchants built the landing place further out and added a wall around the factory. They did not ask permission and the wall enclosed too much land. I ordered the landing place and wall broken up but the Hong merchants procrastinated and petitioned annually that it be permitted.

“In the spring of 1831 while I was away from Canton, the Emperor learned of the extended landing place and issued an order for its removal. The acting Viceroy had no choice but to immediately destroy the landing place and report to the Emperor when he had done so. He could give no advanced notice to the Hong merchants because the Imperial order was unexpected (but once received had to be instantly acted upon). The factories and their contents were untouched. The Hong merchants have since rebuilt the landing place. They have requested to install rails around the factories that can be opened and shut as necessary. This is now approved.

“Concerning the reported insult to your King, the Company’s Taipan has already reported this and the Foo Yuen has denied any disrespect. His formal response should have long been available to you.

“When my government reported thus to your people, they would not receive the order and again petitioned that they might receive a written response. It has always been the case that when envoys present petitions, that government responses are given to the Hongs who tell the foreigners. There is no precedent for offering a written document.”

The above document, which is addressed to no-one, was repeatedly pressed on Fremantle by the Hong merchants but declined. The Viceroy does not offer to write to Bentinck.12 Fremantle has returned to his ship at Lintin. The Admiral is being appraised of the situation by HMS Wolf (which sailed on the night of 13th January with the Select’s despatches for him) and it is hoped he will soon visit with his squadron.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

Extract from the Canton Court Circular of 31st December 1831:

“Mr Pu, a candidate for a district magistracy and presently a messenger-in-waiting to His Excellency the Viceroy, has received a foreign petition. The Hong merchants How Qua and Mow Qua also attended receipt of the petition.”

Editor – As our readers now include people in India and England who are unfamiliar with Chinese posturing, we will explain that the ‘vapouring’ that characterises an official communication in China is meant for the Chinese populace and not the addressee. It is to reinforce the assumption of Chinese superiority over other peoples of the World.

This article must refer to Bentinck’s letter and characterises it as a petition. It permits the inference that it was delivered to a messenger in the presence of Hong merchants. This is to establish Bentinck’s inferiority. The inference is confirmed by the omission in the Court circular of Bentinck’s last paragraph which contained a threat of force if the grievances listed were not remedied – not something the Viceroy would make public if his assertions of superiority were to be valued.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

On 29th December some chop boats loaded with cargo for the Ann (Agent Wm Jardine, Security King Qua) were stopped from departing the quay. The Customs Officers alleged the ship was smuggling carnelians (red-coloured stones that are always popular in Canton). They had caught two Chinese who had bought carnelians from some Muslim traders on Honam Island and the men said the stones had been brought by the Ann.

Jardine protested by petition (in Chinese) on 31st December saying the ship arrived 3½ months earlier and all imports have long been landed. ‘She is now loading exports. I have heard that some Parsees smuggle carnelians but my ship did not bring the goods, nor did it bring any smugglers or Parsees.’ Jardine was then reported to the senior officers for signing a ‘false’ petition.

Jardine elected to petition the Viceroy. Capt Allen (of the Ann) and two of his officers made affidavits contradicting the allegation of smuggling. The crew was offered for cross examination. The Taipan (Marjoribanks) agreed the petition should be presented at the City gate and Capt Hine with several officers and a body of sailors attended there on 6th January. He was briefed to ensure the Kwong Heep knew the British chief had ordered presentation at the gate and an early reply was needed.

The Kwong Heep appeared and a foreigner who spoke Mandarin explained the petition and requested an early answer (as the loading of the ship had been suspended for over a week). He was interrupted by a Linguist and a couple of Hong merchants and the former tried to talk him down. On failing in this, the Linguist requested he speak Cantonese so he could translate it into Mandarin for the Heep. The Linguist meanwhile sought to assure the Heep that the matter was an unimportant affair and declined to mention the involvement of the British chief or the urgency of the case. Eventually the Kwong Heep, who acted correctly throughout, accepted the petition for the Viceroy; the chop boats were released and (it is rumoured) the Hoppo was reprimanded.

This was an instructive lesson in how go-betweens misrepresent communications between government officers and foreigners. It may also explain the aversion that the Hong merchants and Linguists have to receiving petitions in Chinese – it reduces the flexibility of their interpositions between government and foreigner.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

Marjoribanks held a New Year’s dinner at the British factory for all the foreign community. The President reminded all of the obligation they owed to Bentinck for expressly telling the Viceroy he would protect British traders.

Many toasts were drunk. Mr Lindsay toasted the Emperor of China and thought we would soon be able to communicate with the Chinese government and associate with the Chinese people as we do with others elsewhere.

Vol 5 No 1 – Monday 2nd January 1832

A timber yard caught fire on the evening of 5th January and spread to the packing house of Sun Shing Hong (one of the Co-Hong). 4,000 bales of cotton worth nearly 100,000 Taels were destroyed.

Most of the cotton belonged to the Hong merchant, a young and hard working man, whose misfortune is regretted by the foreign community.

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

The Singapore Chronicle has reported that the quay and steps in front of the foreign factories at Canton have been rebuilt. This is untrue.

Another quay and steps have been built but at such a distance from deep water that they are approachable by the cargo boats only at high tide. We are daily reminded of its inadequacy. It is more like an insult than a reparation.

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

Marjoribanks has retired on health grounds and left on the Duke of York for London. As the ship left Lintin, a salute was fired from all the English shipping. Davis has assumed the Presidency of the Select.13 James Nugent Daniell becomes 2nd member and Charles Millett enters as 3rd member.

An address by 41 British country merchants to Marjoribanks refers to his ‘personal character inspiring the Governor-General to action’ and expresses the hope that ‘your influence in supporting British interests in China will be continued in London’.

Marjoribanks’ reply:

“Our national character and our commercial interests cannot be separated. If one is injured the other is effected. That is the principle I invoked to involve Bentinck in our difficulties.

“I am pleased to see the prosperity of British merchants in China. Their enjoyment here is arbitrarily restricted but I hope they will soon obtain honourable independence.”

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

Hoppo’s reply to Jardine, 2nd January:

“Hoo Ah Yung says he first off-loaded five casks of carnelians from the Ann and delivered them to the upper floor of Fung Tai Hong (the French factory). On his third trip he unloaded nine casks containing 31 bags of carnelian’s and took them to the same place. Lee Ah Ching corroborates him.

“As the Ann is smuggling, its export cargo is stopped.

“Now Jardine says he has heard about Parsees smuggling carnelians but it does not involve the Ann. The evidence is clear and detailed. The Ann comes from Bombay where Parsees come from. Jardine is long in Canton and active in barbarian affairs. He was previously ordered out of the country.14 I will now consider asking the Emperor to enforce that order. Jardine is not like the British chief. He cannot shelter Parsees. This smuggling is audacious impudence. The Hong merchants are to liaise with Tien Pau (i.e. King Qua, the security merchant for the Ann) and confirm Jardine was previously banished.”

Capt Allen’s petition of 4th January 1832 to the Select for help:

“Magniac and Co is my Canton agent. I am accused of smuggling. I need your help. My ship brought neither carnelians nor Parsees. Every smuggler routinely escorts his valuable cargo. I am confident no carnelians have been smuggled on my ship.

“Our imports were delivered on 10th August, four months ago. Two Chinese officers have constantly attended the ship since arrival to ensure no smuggling.15 They know no smuggling has taken place. My ship has never been consigned to Parsees, always to Magniac & Co. It has never previously been charged with a violation against local regulations.

“The winter monsoon is ending and I must leave soon.”

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

Sr Albino Gonsalvez de Araujo, a leading citizen of Macau, has died of lung disease aged 35 years. He was married to the daughter of the late Sr Payva of Macau. Two other leading Macau citizens, Joaquim Jose dos Santos and Francisco Antonio Perreira Thovar, have also died recently.

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

Letter to the Editor – A few people are complaining of the activities of the country traders. Previous to the presidency of Baynes, the country traders were not consulted in matters of policy. They had opinions but made them known circumspectly in order to present a united front to the Chinese.

Our arguments with China are moral. Why did the country traders not sign the address to the urbane Marjoribanks. He is the first in living memory to galvanise the Indian government to action on our behalf.

Sgd A Canton Merchant.

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

The Westminster Review contains an article on Dr Milne’s speech ‘Triad Societies of China and South East Asia’ that he recently presented to the Royal Asiatic Society in London. The reviewer states that triads have been libelled and are in fact liberty-loving people like us – only concerned to remove a despotic government and restore the Ming dynasty.

Dr Milne agrees he does not know the internal regulation of the triad societies but we (the Editor and his contacts) all understand them to be organised crime groups who tax their fellow citizens for the benefit of their own membership. They rob and murder those opposed to them.

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

The Canton Court Circular of 31st December reports that the Foundling Hospital (established in Canton by foreign Protestant missionaries) has inoculated 667 children against ‘overseas smallpox’, apparently during 1831. This institution employs one nurse for every 3-4 children.

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

Mr Lane of M/s Markwick and Lane died at sea on 14th January 1832

Vol 5 No 3 – Thursday 2nd February 1832

Cotton – the yarn and piecegoods on the Winchelsea have been trans-shipped at Lintin for carriage to another market and should not effect our sales here.

Vol 5 No 4 – Thursday 16th February 1832

Magniac and Co Notice – The interest of Hollingworth Magniac in this company will cease on 30th June 1832.

Vol 5 No 4 – Thursday 16th February 1832

The Company’s armed cruiser Clive left Macau for Bombay on 15th February and HMS Challenger is expected to leave at the end of the month.

Vol 5 No 4 – Thursday 16th February 1832

The Select Committee has scheduled the Lord Amherst (Capt Rees) to sail along the east coast of China to ascertain the prospects of trade with other Chinese ports. She will also visit Korea and Japan.16

H H Lindsay will accompany her and the Rev Charles Gutzlaff is interpreter.

Vol 5 No 4 – Thursday 16th February 1832

On the afternoon of 2nd February (chor yat – the 1st day of Lunar New Year), a fire commenced in the wooden huts built on piles along the river bank upstream of the foreign factories. It spread rapidly in a north wind. Many Europeans attended with fire engines. It is only in the event of a fire that the Chinese welcome foreigners with civility.

On this occasion four foreigners, on returning from the scene, met a small official strutting17 across a narrow bridge. He saw the foreigners in front of him obstructed his passage across the bridge and waved them away with his hand. They thought his action peculiar and waited to see what he would do next. He ordered his attendants to approach the foreigners and disperse them, giving a sign with his hand indicating beheading. They failed and the foreigners continued to watch until finally the official walked away.

From enquiry with passers-by the foreigners learned that the official was the Foo Yuen Choo. Readers will recall he created a similar incident with a Briton at the factory last May (the comment to Markwick). It seems the mere sight of a foreigner unsettles the Foo Yuen.

Vol 5 No 4 – Thursday 16th February 1832

We have a copy of the Anglo-Chinese College annual report. Schools for Chinese females have been established at Malacca. Three other schools that already instruct Malays in English are doing well. The report says the College’s work is beneficially influencing the Chinese and Muslim communities.

Jonathan Taylor Jones, an American missionary at Tavoy, Burma, says he runs three schools (at Rangoon, Maulmien and Tavoy). The Tavoy school is taught by a Chinese named Kei Cheung who learned English at the Anglo-Chinese College. He teaches Eurasian boys in English. There are 50-100 Chinese families at Tavoy. This is an example of the way the college’s influence is spread.

Vol 5 No 4 – Thursday 16th February 1832

Letters to the Editor –

1. I am a bachelor in Canton. We are not allowed wives or daughters here. The merchants and manufacturers of England say we knew what privations we would have to bear in coming here, but they should know that the greater the privations we endure, the larger our commissions will be in compensation. Indeed, married men have to maintain two houses, one at Canton for themselves and one at Macau for their families. They have genuine additional expenses to bear.

2. The other day five foreigners crossed the river from the factories to Honam and walked to Whampoa. We followed the river bank and, by avoiding all villages on the way, we were unmolested. Part of the route was through beautiful wooded country with firs and black rocks like highland Scotland. We passed tea farms, sugar plantations and acres of betel leaf growing under straw mats. The ditches were lined for miles with alternate orange and banana trees. The trunks of the orange trees were insulated with straw matting (it was winter). Occasionally we saw a sugar mill powered by buffalo and fed by hundreds of young laughing workers of both sexes. Approaching Whampoa we had to charter native boats to cross two inlets which we managed without an interpreter by offering a few cash. At 4 pm we reached the boat we had sent ahead. I hope more foreigners will take excursions so the natives become accustomed to seeing us.

Vol 5 No 4 – Thursday 16th February 1832

The government of Turkestan has been changed. It remains under the control of Ili but Kashgar, the capital, is downgraded to a military post and the civil government of Pei Chang is moved to Yarkand.

Chang Ling has requested garrisons for Aksu and Wusi which cost is being considered.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

Lyall and Co of Calcutta announce that Hugh Matheson has been admitted a partner on 1st January 1832 and the firm will now be called Lyall Matheson & Co.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

A Canton merchant wishes to alert the community:

The Red Rover (Clifton, agent – Magniac) arrived 28th February and mails on the ship to me from Singapore were delivered on 8th March. In the intervening period many important dispatches have been sent off all over the World from Canton.18

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

HMS Cruizer is due and HMS Challenger will await her at Macau.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

How Qua Jr wants to retire from foreign trade. He has done well from it. Many speculative reasons have been adduced but we will wait for him to explain himself. He must have been considering retirement for many months as he has disposed of all his winter teas and is thus free from this season’s Consoo charges that he would incur if he shipped just one chest. Only by abstaining completely from foreign trade can a Hong merchant avoid his Consoo contributions.

His fellow merchants implored him to continue but the next day he denied them. He says that he will continue to give assistance in liaison between foreigners and government (to withdraw from this would require the Emperor’s consent).

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

Local news – We recently mentioned an insurrection of the mountain men between Kwangtung and Hunan, called Dog Men by the Cantonese. Their rebellion is continuing and on 11th February the Viceroy ordered 500 men up to confront them. It sounds like a replay of the Hainan rebellion last year.

The Si Ngon magistrate (whose jurisdiction includes Lintin and Hong Kong) who committed suicide recently has been replaced by Chang Tik King.

The Kwong Heep is named King. He receives our petitions at the City gate. He is transferred to Peking and the Shun Tak heep named Han will replace him.

In January this year 120+ beggars died in the streets of Canton.

This city has 23,400 people registered as physicians.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

The Tso Tong of Macau informally licenses gambling stalls for $200 per month. The Keung Min Foo and other officers say they wish to suppress gambling and the Tso Tong has had to ‘supplicate’ them.

A foreigner recently left Macau for his home country and gave his head servant a few thousand dollars. The 2nd servant of the household thought the gift should properly be shared amongst all of them. When it was not, he precipitantly complained to police. The Tso Tong called him in whereupon the worker learned that Chinese are not supposed to work for foreigners without obtaining a licence. He ran away. His family does not wish to leave Macau so he must either live apart from them or induce the Tso Tong to close his file.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

Viceroy Lee and Foo Yuen Choo have reconciled themselves. The cause is the English. When we attacked Choo, Lee had to defend him. Choo has sent a secret report about foreign affairs to the Emperor but we cannot get a copy on this occasion because it is not being transcribed in the office where memorials are customarily transcribed.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

Wang Yun Kin a censor at the Tribunal of Rites protests:

Public examinations are held to discover men of talent. In recent years graduates are often found to be untalented.

Candidates carry miniature editions of the classics into the examination hall to crib from. Printers make more and more of these profitable miniatures. Fearing to be searched, the candidates with these miniatures do not answer to their names but instead force their way to a desk and then insist that the examination commence. Many are now emulating them shamelessly in Peking and the provinces.

If this is not stopped not only will the classics be neglected but officials will become dishonest men! I request that miniature books be prohibited and those already printed be burned.

The Emperor says he will have the problem studied.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

Letters to the Editor, apparently from an American (all letters are anonymous)

  • Bachelor” in your last edition only told the half of it. Our unnatural self-denial is like the Catholic priesthood except they abstain for God while we abstain for money. People sometimes say that Canton is not a fit place for a woman. Well, a woman’s place, for better or for worse, is beside her husband.
  • The western world progresses. China remains unchanged. Books are published here but turn out to be new editions of ancient texts. In spite of all that is being said in favour of negotiating “at the cannon’s mouth”, I believe we could do just as well, with greater fairness and justice, by setting up a Chinese Press that issues newspapers and reviews. People may say you have no right to print a newspaper in a foreign country. I say we have a duty to inculcate truth, justice, humanity and the other virtues. Everyman has a right to do right. There is no right to incite sedition, rebellion or anarchy but a right to promote the peaceful reformation of abuses, to promote equity, liberty and social order. We can print in any language. Governments have a right to interdict our publications. People are not forced to buy. The English and American papers at Canton are of limited value because they appeal to one party alone. Surely one of those ‘wooden villages on the ocean’, as Viceroy Lee calls the shipping fleet at Lintin, might harbour a press.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

Throughout the Empire are Customs Houses with Manchus in titular control. During the last few years everyone of these except Canton has failed to collect its budgeted amount. In every case the Head of Customs is held personally responsible for the shortfall. Several of them have been sent to Canton to make up the shortfall from the barbarians. (the Hoppo Chung is best known).

Others have been allowed to return to their tribes in Manchuria and remit part of their prerogative allowances towards settling the debt but these commonly would require several lifetimes to pay off.

The Emperor has now ruled that in future they will not be permitted to go home but will be imprisoned until their families pay.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

The “1,000 character classic” contains four characters per line in verse form. It is learned by most Chinese children by heart but what is little known is that it is also used as a sort of elegant numbering system – each cell for candidates in the Imperial examinations is identified by one of the characters.

The meaning of the classic, so far as we have elucidated it, is a jumble of facts and opinions. A translation has been made by the Reverend S Kidd of the Anglo-Chinese College.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

The Governor of Honan has executed Wang Kwei by the lingering process for killing his father. Wang was mad but remained in the care of his family and had not been restrained. One day he seized choppers in both hands and ran into the street waving them and dancing. His father Wang Foo came home, tried to disarm him and received the fatal blow.

Wang Kwei was somewhat aware his act was disapproved and ran into the hills but was followed and caught. Taken before a heen magistrate he simply stared and looked about wildly. His neighbours and relatives were questioned but would only say he was mad. He was then bound, taken to the market place and cut up.

Vol 5 No 5 – Thursday 8th March 1832

Father Serra was 20 years in Peking as an assistant at the Observatory. He returned to Macau in 1827 and has now gone to Portugal. Before his departure, he provided some brief information about Peking to John Davis who has sent Serra’s deposition to the Royal Asiatic Society in London for publication. Briefly he says as follows:

  • The To Kwong Emperor is thin and toothless.
  • The Empress Dowager is the wife of the last Emperor (Ka Hing) but is not To Kwong’s mother. She has two sons of her own, both idle dissipated louts, of whom the younger was degraded for vice by To Kwong in 1828. While the Ka Hing Emperor indulged in all sorts of vice himself he overlooked his sons as heirs in preference for the more virtuous To Kwong. (supposedly in consideration of the help given to Ka Hing by To Kwong in the rebellion of 1813 in which 70 men equipped for rebellion had entered the palace as the Emperor returned from Jehol)
  • Every three years the Emperor inspects the daughters of those senior Manchus and Chinese officials of 3rd rank or above who have reached 12 years of age and selects concubines from amongst them. If a girl remains unselected after attending three reviews (21 years old), she is not required to attend again.
  • There are 5,000 girls in the Imperial harem chosen from the three tribes of Imperial slaves. All except seven are considered as illegal concubines.
  • Father Serra gives new (unreported) evidence of the viciousness of Ka Hing.
  • He also says the Yung Ching Emperor, the 14th son of Hong Hei, was a usurper. The throne was bequeathed to the 4th son but Yung Ching took the nomination form and placed a ten character in front of the four. He later seized and imprisoned the 4th brother, who was absent from Peking at that time.19

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

The business of M/s Markwick and Lane is being wound-up following Lane’s death and the surviving partner Richard Markwick will then continue business as Markwick & Co.

Magniac and Co is acting for Lane’s widow and Markwick solicits early settlements so she can be paid her share.

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

The disturbance on the border of Kwangtung with Hunan has become serious. 300 of the Foo Yuen’s troops and 1,000 of the Viceroy’s have been sent off to confront the mountain men, who have appointed a general named Chau to lead them. They have occupied a heen and executed the senior civil official, several military officers, a hundred soldiers and more than a thousand local residents.

The rebel leader Chau has allied with mountain men in Kwong Si and can call on tens of thousands of supporters. The nearest insurgents are said to be at Lin Chow, about 4 days march from Canton.20

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

Local news – A party of 9 Americans walking two miles from Canton was attacked by villagers who threw stones hitting one foreigner on the head. All have since returned safely to Canton and the injured man has recovered.

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

It is probable that Chinese recognition of English reluctance to kneel caused the end of the privilege of audiences with the Viceroy until Lt Panton’s forceful display in 1780 (the Madras loans recovery). Bentinck’s emissary Captain Fremantle might have been treated with more dignity had he known of the precedent.

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

Now we better understand the character of Chinese officials we should know that determination and firmness, founded on moral right, has invariably resulted in success. Kindness or indecision always results in defeat. It is very clear that foreigners have lost ground in recent years in the eyes of the Chinese.

In the Company’s records, a Mr Dobell is recorded as attending a dinner on a Company ship at Whampoa given by the President of the Select (Mr Drummond) at which the Viceroy was the honoured guest.

That could scarcely happen today.

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

Peking Gazettes – A provincial governor named Kishen says police pay is too low and exposes junior officers to temptation. They join the thieves for a share of the proceeds of crime, they license illegal activities and they only arrest those crooks who do not pay them or who cause trouble or who have rewards on their heads.

When Keshen was Foo Yuen of Shantung he borrowed 100,000 taels from the Treasury for increased police pay. He put 50,000 taels into improved pay and the other half with the merchants, using the interest to repay the principal sum of his (interest-free) loan.

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

Passenger departures:

Lancelot Dent sailed per Water Witch for Calcutta 20th March

Capt Forbes sailed per Eclipse for Boston 30th March

Vol 5 No 6 – Saturday 17th March 1832

The owners of the mail packets Union and St George which ply Canton/Macau will raise their postage rates on 1st April 1832 as follows:

Letters 10¢; small parcels 25¢; small packages; 50¢; packages up to 2’ square $1

Letters are received and delivered at the boat office Praia Grande and at 3 American Hong, Canton.

Vol 5 No 7 – Saturday 7th April 1832

We lament the publication of opinions that suggest British traders at Canton are determined to go to war with China and the contemptible attacks on Marjoribanks (who obtained Bentinck’s intervention) for the same reason.

Vol 5 No 7 – Saturday 7th April 1832

The rumour in Canton is that the rebellion in north Kwangtung is led by an 18 year old called Lee Tik Ming who issues orders dated in the 1st year of his own reign. He calls himself Kam Lung (Gold Dragon). His men use poisoned arrows to fight and the general commanding the Hunan troops has been killed. A few Imperial soldiers tried to desert to the enemy but were caught and executed. The insurgents have occupied Lin Chow (165 miles NNW of Canton) and Kiang Hwa in Hunan.

People say the hill men have not rebelled due to famine but to overthrow the regime. The insurrection started in January 1832. They are said to have been stocking-up on salt (which has been unusually cheap) for two years in preparation. This is the only necessity for which they were hitherto dependent on the Imperial government for supply. They are said to be connected with some secret societies.

The Canton troops who were sent up to confront them were surrounded and annihilated and their officers executed, it is said. The Hunan army was repulsed at a pass and their guns and ammunition train captured. The Hu Kuang Foo Yuen Woo Yung Kwong (a Cantonese) told the Emperor that the rebels use witchcraft and no triads are helping them. The Emperor categorised Woo’s advice as untrue and degraded him. It is feared the rebels will now travel north towards Peking. The Canton Viceroy is expected to attend personally to command the Imperial forces.21

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

The insurrection north of Canton has become the main thing that Cantonese talk about. The death of the Manchu General Hae of Hunan (part of whose body has been recovered) has produced a coolness in the Imperial forces. Some military units are declining to fight. These Dog Men fought Hong Hei for 18 years. In the Ching annals they have repeatedly been annihilated and now they rise again.

The Emperor has ordered General Yang Yu Chun with the standing armies of 7 provinces to encircle and exterminate them. The rebels are said to have occupied four heen towns – Kiang Hwa, Lan Shan, Kea Ho and Ning Yuen. 2,000 more troops left Canton for the battle this month.

Provincial troops are not supposed to enter other provinces yet many of the men previously sent are said to have died and the usual rule is suspended.

The Manchu General here wants to join the fight but the Foo Yuen objects (Manchu troops are ten times more expensive than Chinese troops22)

Vol 5 No 7 – Saturday 7th April 1832

Admiral Lee, whose war junks have been concentrated at the Bogue since the arrival of HMS Challenger, has ordered that part of his force stationed off Macau need no longer defend the enclave as the English fleet is not coming. He has directed them to attack the coasting pirates instead.

A Chinese report says the Portuguese authorities at Macau asked the Chinese for help, alleging the English Navy would try to occupy their town.23

Vol 5 No 7 – Saturday 7th April 1832

The enslavement of children as domestic servants is permitted in China. This creates a market for a trade in stolen children. During the 2nd moon of this year, 60 – 70 notices were posted around Canton offering rewards for the return of stolen children.

Vol 5 No 7 – Saturday 7th April 1832

Letters to the Editor

  • I appreciate your historical notes concerning early trade at Canton. You will be interested to know that Sir George Staunton reported during the 1811 season, when Macartney’s friend Sung was Viceroy of Canton, that the Select was invited to 9 conferences at Sung’s yamen. Sung gave and accepted entertainments and was in many ways friendly to foreigners.
  • You reported How Qua Jr’s retirement. Knowing the trials of a Hong merchant, his wish is not surprising but the government appointed him. Can he simply retire? The government will certainly call him in for every discussion it has with foreigners. He can only get rid of the profitable part of his business (trade) not the troublesome part (diplomacy). If he retires and withdraws his capital it will reduce foreign trade. I remember more than 20 years ago, he said he wanted to ‘shutty book’ but we induced him to remain. Sgd B

Vol 5 No 7 – Saturday 7th April 1832

Some Muslims from Turkestan have been honoured with the title King by the Emperor and one has been called to reside at Peking but cannot afford the fare. The Emperor has given him a daily allowance for the journey.

Vol 5 No 7 – Saturday 7th April 1832

Taiwan – the Fukienese Chinese on this island have largely subdued the aboriginals. The Chinese call the submissive ones Shu Fan (mature foreigners) and the independent ones Sang Fan (raw foreigners). These aboriginals have a source of gold and silver which they trade with Loo Choo islanders but no other details are known.

Administratively, Taiwan became a foo of Fukien in this dynasty. It was originally three heen – Choo Lo in the north, Taiwan (now Tai Chung) in the middle and Fung Shan in the south – but now Chang Hua to the north and Tam Shui at the northern tip have been added as heen and ting respectively. The Peng Hu islands have been made a ting under Taiwan heen.

Taiwan is without walls and is near the old Dutch Fort Zeelandia.24 It controls 21 Chinese and three Shu Fan villages. Fung Shan (Kaohsiung?) controls 8 Chinese, 8 Shu Fan and 65 Sang Fan villages. Choo Lo (Pu Tai?) is a small town with 4 Chinese, 8 Shu Fan and 30 Sang Fan villages. Chang Hua controls 16 Chinese and 51 Sang Fan villages. Tam Shui has a pallisaded town and citadel controlling 70 Sang Fan villages. It includes Keelung where the Spanish and the Dutch had a fort. Peng Hu islands are presently deserted and contain only ruins (this will interest the smugglers). There are many small rivers running off the central mountain chain but the water is invariably unpleasant to drink. Taiwan harbour is difficult to access; Tam Shui and Keelung are better. Peng Hu has a good deep harbour that would today be useful for shelter. The currents through the Taiwan straits are strong and, unless the wind is fair, Chinese junks are often driven far to the south.

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

One of the leading Hongs is in financial difficulty. It has property but requires official approval to its liquidation. We expect its proprietor will deal with the matter honourably.

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

There are again reports of Cochin Chinese attacks in western Kwong Si.

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

All this social instability within China has caused local officials to become more cautious.

The Manchu General has opened a dispensary for the poor at which he gives away medicines. He has ordered the city’s drains to be cleared because the stagnant water is thought to leak into wells.

Even the Foo Yuen is affected. He has told the police not to prosecute too many gamblers. He says if they cannot gamble they may become rebellious.

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

Errata – The Anglo-Chinese Kalender and Companion:

  • A billiards saloon does not operate at 1 French Hong. It is actually on the ground floor. The 1st floor is entirely occupied by residences.
  • C Bovet (the Swiss watchmaker) lives at 4 French Hong and there is no shop or tavern there.

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

Peking Gazettes – The early numbers of this year have arrived:

  1. Drought and flooding in Anhwei has caused the Emperor to release the granary rice to the poor and to his soldiers; If the state granaries are empty, officials are to give money. Those poor who are affected by flooding in Hupeh are to get seed rice for replanting. The poor of flooded Kiangsi are to get both seed rice and eating rice. Both the last two groups are to repay when they take-in the autumn harvest. Taxes in all affected areas are remitted or postponed.

  2. Numerous Peking city guards have been fined for removing the street curtains after the Empress and Empress-mother passed-by without waiting for the Imperial grand-daughters and harem.

  3. A Korean has been caught in Manchuria stealing ginseng. The Emperor orders him repatriated for punishment.

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

The Company’s sloop Coote has arrived with a secret dispatch for the Select. The indifference of the English parliament to our difficulties suggests no military assistance will be provided to us. We must continue submitting helplessly.

Vol 5 No 8 – Friday 15th June 1832

Notice – Magniac & Co announce that Mr Hollingworth Magniac will retire on 30th June 1832 and the firm will continue under the remaining partners, Wm Jardine and James Matheson, trading as Jardine Matheson & Co.

Vol 5 No 9 – Monday 2nd July 1832

The Cantonese living in the vicinity of the insurrection are now said to be riotous as well. Viceroy Lee has gone to the war zone for this reason. He arrived at Lin Chow on 11th June. We hear the rebels are attacking the Manchu forces but not troubling the Chinese troops. This may suggest triad involvement as those societies were purportedly established to overthrow the Ching and restore the Ming.

The rebels, who know the mountains well, have sent parties off to Kwong Si to plunder and create a diversion. We suppose they hope to draw off Imperial troops. The troops are dissatisfied themselves. Owing to scarcity they are eating old rice from the public granaries.

A new report says Viceroy Lee has been duped. The rebels feigned an attack and withdrew; he pursued and his men unwittingly entered a cross fire zone. Over a thousand are said to have died. It appears the government troops (from several different provinces) are not supporting each other.

Vol 5 No 9 – Monday 2nd July 1832

The recent famines and the subsequent unfair or inadequate distribution of rice is the cause underlying Cantonese rioting. In many places the hungry people are joining robber bands (who always have food). It ensures survival.

Vol 5 No 9 – Monday 2nd July 1832

Two new Hong merchants have been licensed.

  • One is Wong Ta Tung who has just inherited 300,000 taels as his ¼ share of his father’s estate. He paid heavily to get his license and his relatives object. They fear he will eventually become indebted and they will be asked to pay for him. They protested up to the Viceroy but he reassured them that Wong alone would be responsible for his debts. Wong has never met a foreigner or done foreign business. He speaks neither English nor Mandarin. His spokesman is Ah Yau a former Linguist who has just returned from 17 years at Ili for ‘traitorous connections’ with the English. The partner Wong selects will have to be experienced if he is to prosper. He will trade as Fuk Tsuen Hong.
  • The other is Tung Shun Hong. It is run by two men who are well experienced in trade with Europeans and Americans. There capital is 200,000 taels. They will use one of Mow Qua’s warehouses for business. They should benefit the trade.
  • A third applicant styles his business as Yu Lung Hong but its owner has little property and is unlikely to be approved.

Vol 5 No 9 – Monday 2nd July 1832

The Chinese census of 1813, as published in 1825, revealed a population of 362 millions. Reader are advised of a popular habit in China of families understating their numbers in reports to officials.

The census of 1792 showed 307 millions.

Vol 5 No 9 – Monday 2nd July 1832

The Indian agency employee Durant came to China and shipped 2,716 cwt of copper per Sherburne from Lintin to Calcutta for M/s Mackintosh & Co, the great Agency House. On arrival and discharge at Calcutta, the cargo was weighed to reveal a 3 ton (60 cwt) shortage.

It was said a Calcutta lighter operator had bribed the tallyman. The cargo was reweighed more carefully and the precise shortage established as 46 cwt (2.3 tons). Then as the enquiry progressed, a cargo worker was seen leaving the godown with two weights. These were checked at 61lbs when they were marked as 56lbs (½ cwt).

The matter was reported to police who weighed the copper again with true weights and found the cargo fully delivered. Some coolies were arrested and the weighman is being sought.

Vol 5 No 10 – Wednesday 18th July 1832

Insurrection – Most of the remaining troops in Canton, including the Manchus, have been sent off to the scene of the rebellion. The Viceroy has also requisitioned arms, ammunition and 100,000 taels (strangely, he requested for foreign dollars not sycee).

General Yu Tih Piao has died of wounds in a recent engagement. Two Imperial Commissioners are coming to the scene. One is the brother of the Emperor’s favourite concubine (who is the mother of the heir apparent)

Vol 5 No 10 – Wednesday 18th July 1832

Yuen Yuen, Governor of Yunnan, has complained that he gets more convicts sent to his province (4,000 – 5,000 last year) than any other. Yunnan is said to be unhealthy which is why they are sent there. About 3,000+ have funds and a trade to pursue but the others have to be supported by government which Yuen Yuen says he cannot afford.

Vol 5 No 10 – Wednesday 18th July 1832

The Governor of Chekiang has written Viceroy Lee that three foreign ships have arrived off Ningpo and some people landed, two of them Mandarin speakers, who tried to barter broad cloth and piecegoods for silk.25 The Chekiang governor asked who they were as he ‘knew’ that 20 English warships were nearby. He forbad all trade. Later a notice in Chinese from the foreigners was posted in the Ningpo streets. It was copied and sent to Soochow and thence to Canton. It says:

“The English come 16,000 miles around Africa to get here. It shows the spirit of the people. They encounter heavy weather but are skilled seamen. Their ships are seldom lost. They are not attacked by pirates. They bring their manufactures and trade them for Chinese produce. By this means both countries are enriched. They have come here for over 200 years. Their trade produces many jobs.

“People say the English wish to take Chinese land. This is untrue. The British Empire is already enormous. The British government would rather reduce it than increase it. The British government wishes for happiness and tranquillity. It readily avenges oppression and injustice.

“The English come to China for friendly trade. The Manchu Emperor is benevolent but his representatives in Canton oppose him by over-taxing and oppressing foreign trade. Chinese are punished or killed for liaising with English. Large bribes are repeatedly paid to Canton officials. The Emperor knows nothing of this or he would act. Insulting placards are published encouraging the lowest Cantonese to hate foreigners. Riots always occur and peace and trade are disturbed. English sailors are rudely-mannered but kindly disposed. They tolerate insults poorly so riots occur. On their ships they are disciplined but ashore the officials encourage the lower people to insult them and riots result.

“If our two countries can make allowances for differences we can live peacefully together. All English people are ordered by their King to not cause trouble abroad and remember their national honour. Chinese in England enjoy the protection of the same law as English. When we find shipwrecked Chinese sailors we always try to save them. Why do the Canton officials require the people of China to insult and despise us? Chinese are intelligent and industrious but many other peoples are the same. China has many natural blessings but other places are also like that. In England there is tranquillity. The law protects person and property. Religion inculcates peace and goodwill. Arts and science are studied and improved. England takes most of China’s foreign trade. It is good for our two countries to be friendly.

“Chinese merchants are strict and accurate in their dealings. We are the same. An Englishman’s word is his bond. We ask you to think on this and not treat us lightly. Chinese government officials should treat foreigners with respect. Then we will have peace and harmony.”

Vol 5 No 10 – Wednesday 18th July 1832

Edict of the Hoppo and Viceroy, 11th April 1832:

“Ko Tse Tsing, the Tung Che of Macau reports he has visited the outer seas. Three ships were anchored at Sha Lek near the nine islands (off Zhu Hoi). An American ship was anchored off Cabreta Point (Macau). Eleven ships were anchored at Lintin. Two other foreign ships have sunk. We should watch all these ships and not let the fishermen approach and give supplies. They should not be allowed to stay. I will report when they leave.

“Now I the Viceroy know many of these ships have been anchored there for years. One ship has been there for 7 years, another for 3 years. Clearly they are smugglers. The Admiral will investigate and expel them. Let the Hoppo take care of it.

“Now I the Hoppo have repeatedly ordered the Hong merchants to tell the foreigners to remove their ships. I again order them to do so.”

Vol 5 No 10 – Wednesday 18th July 1832

Letter to the Editor – We have all heard of Lord Ellenborough’s attack on your Canton Register newspaper in the Lords. He is misinformed. We know your paper is not translated and sent to Peking. There is no Cantonese official who speaks English and no Linguist who can properly translate it!

He says merchants should submit to the laws of the land they trade in. We do submit to bad laws but we try to get better ones. The perverted institutions of China need reform as much as those in England. Sgd X

Vol 5 No 11 – Thursday 2nd August 1832

Very little information on the insurrection in the north west of this Province is available. The fighting seems to be coming to an end. The following letter was sent by a civilian at Lin Shan to the Manchu General at Canton on 21st or 22nd June:

The Viceroy ordered the troops to advance on 17th June. General Yu Tih Piao led five divisions into the mountains on 20th. The rebels were in prepared defences. Fighting continued for 12 hours. Our troops moved up to within ½ mile of the rebels intending to renew the attack at night but after dark at 8pm the rebels came down amongst us first, while we were still resting. They fired our powder wagons and surrounded many of the men. Our men ran off and many have not been heard from. General Yu was wounded and has since died.

In another action today our troops advanced on Yu Kau Sin, a military post in the hands of a few rebels. As we approached we were ambushed by 2,000 men and driven back with great loss. A second attempt on Yu Kau Sin by a force under officer Leung was also beaten off.

Vol 5 No 11 – Thursday 2nd August 1832

The rich men of Wai Chow have subscribed to a fund to buy rice for the poor of their district.

Vol 5 No 11 – Thursday 2nd August 1832

Placard in Canton – Two pewter incense pots (80 catties each) and a brass incense holder (100 catties) all inscribed with the name of our Hall have been stolen from the Nanking Merchants’ Hall in Creekside Street.

If you return them we will pay $60; If you tell us where they are and we can find them we will pay $20.

Vol 5 No 11 – Thursday 2nd August 1832

Some extensive sales of Malwa, cash and time sales, have been made since 15th July. The cash price has risen to $510-520 and time sales proportionately for 30, 60 and 90 days. In the last few days demand has slackened and some Chinese dealers are selling at $5 – $10 less than what has been paid recently. Patna has sold better and Benares also.

The arrival of the Damaun ships has not effected the market. The new Damaun Malwa appears to be good quality but is not yet tested. The arrivals from Damaun this season have been:




Francisco de Paula



486 chests

499 chests

636 chests

854 chests

536 chests

3,011 chests

Vol 5 No 12 – Thursday 16th August 1832

Insurrection – There have been two battles since our last report. On 13th July the Imperial forces lost 500 – 600 men but on 16th July they reversed the tables and the rebels lost about 400. The rebel force has moved west expecting to get reinforcement from the mountain men of Kwong Si.

Vol 5 No 12 – Thursday 16th August 1832

The magistrate of Sun Wui (the county on the coast, west of Macau) has arrived at Canton to report thousands of triad bandits held a meeting in his jurisdiction recently. They sacrificed cows and pigs and swore an oath of fidelity to each other. He says there were too many of them for him to intervene.

Vol 5 No 12 – Thursday 16th August 1832

The newly licensed Fuk Tsuen Hong has disbursed all its capital in squeezes and fees and has no funds remaining for trade. The Hoppo required 50,000 taels of which Fuk Tsuen paid 40,000 but has not yet produced the balance. It seems he may not commence trading.

Another new applicant is expected to be licensed soon with a Mr Tung in charge. Nothing favorable is said about Tung in the market.

A third is one of the Linguists who is well experienced in foreign trade and has associated himself with a rich partner. He will commence trading next season.

The only surprising thing to us is that applicants for Hong merchant licences should be willing to come forward.

Vol 5 No 12 – Thursday 16th August 1832

We have just experienced a strong typhoon. The inner harbour at Macau was devastated and all shipping in the river estuary seriously affected. Massive granite blocks along the Praia Grande, which had been brought-in to repair the damage from last year’s typhoon, were washed away. Many foreign ships were dismasted, one foundered but most of the crew got off. Terrible carnage was occasioned to the small local craft and bodies have been washing up all over Lantau.

In Macau 10 houses and 7 temples collapsed. 8 passage boats and 50-100 small boats were sunk. Several large trading junks are aground. The Lung Lae, from Cochin China, about 900 tons with a crew of 160, was driven onto the north side of Cabrita Island and the cargo completely plundered. At the Bogue, 5 war junks sank and one officer and 30 men drowned.

1,000 houses in Canton and 20 temples were more or less demolished and 400 people crushed in the collapses. About 230 people from the boats and huts erected along the river bank at Canton have been lost.

In Heung Shan 400 houses and 10 temples were destroyed. Over 90 boats sank and 130 people died.

Six junks which had just departed Lintin for Tientsin were caught in the heavy weather. Four sank with all hands and 400 – 500 chests of Malwa. Only two made it back to shelter.

Vol 5 No 12 – Thursday 16th August 1832

Letter to the Editor, 31st July – Canton is an important trading centre. Commercial intelligence arrives by letter. These mail deliveries should be regulated so the correspondence arrives safely. It is commonplace for a ship to arrive at Macau roads and its mail to be delivered at Canton only 10-14 days later. Why not appoint some trusted person at Macau to act as postmaster?

A morador would be pleased to get $15 – $20 per month for this service. When a ship arrives with letters he can hire a boat and send the letters up immediately to one of the houses at Canton. The boat hire is $5. This and the other charges could be paid by each Canton business-house in turn as they do with the mail-boat from Lintin. The Canton traders already pay per letter for deliveries but must wait for 10-14 days.

With that cost subtracted from the above, my new proposal would be very inexpensive and much faster. We need to do something before the Company’s monopoly terminates as their steward is the only person legally empowered to receive letters at Macau and forward them to Canton.

Vol 5 No 12 – Thursday 16th August 1832

Peking Gazettes – The Kan Poo Lama has arrived at Peking from Lhasa with his retinue. He brings tribute.

Tea sold to Mongols at Kokonor on the N W frontier should come from licensed merchants in Shensi and Kansu provinces but some Hu Kuang tea is being smuggled up there. The frontier officials complain this reduces the market and the revenue of Shensi and Kansu.

Supplement – 16th August 1832

W H C Plowden and his family arrived at Macau from London on Lord Lowther 15th August

Page 91 missing

Supplement – 16th August 1832

A copy of Lindsay’s Chinese proclamation that was published in Ningpo (during the Lord Amherst’s cruise, recited above) has been sent to the Emperor by the Foo Yuen of Shantung. This is an important victory. The Emperor now knows the true nature of affairs at Canton.

He has instructed the high officers of the maritime provinces to drive off the foreign ships and imprison any men who land. But he has also required the Canton government to explain why the foreigners are sailing up the coast and to investigate into the complaints they make.

This has vexed local officials. They rapidly amass large fortunes out of the revenue that should flow to Peking. To continue squeezing they must block the flow of information between foreigners and Peking. They have caused the Emperor to believe all foreigners are troublemakers whilst, at the same time, telling us our harsh conditions are due to Imperial order.

When Viceroy Lee sought instructions on how to deal with the foreigners’ revolt last year, the Emperor told him ‘arrange with liberality and manage kindly’. This makes us value the Emperor’s opinion of foreigners and commerce. A solitary appeal reaching the Emperor is worth all the petitions to local officers in the last century.

Supplement – 16th August 1832

Peking Gazettes, 28th July – A Memorial says only foreign ships from Loo Choo are permitted to come to Fukien to trade. Those that are dismasted etc., may come for repairs but must instantly leave on completion.

A foreign ship has come to the ‘five tigers’ (near Amoy). The naval officers at Min An (the base responsible for ‘five tigers’) should be demoted for not stopping it.26

Supplement – 16th August 1832

Peking Gazettes – Hing Ko, the Chinese Resident (Amban) at Lhasa reports that the King of the Gurkhas (Nepal) has prepared tribute and petitions to come to Peking.

Supplement – 16th August 1832

The petition of the British merchants to parliament seems to have failed. We have just received a copy of the London newspaper Mirror of Parliament which carries more detailed reports on debates than the daily press. Some of the points noted in the Mirror are interesting:

The leading members of both sides of the House gave the petition detailed consideration. Sir Robert Peel, in introducing it, displayed able advocacy and his timing was very good. Mr Astell who is a leading member of the Company’s Court of Directors thought it ‘highly advantageous …. to have some resident at Peking or Canton’. Sir George Staunton declined to support the petitioners’ request for force (the Canton Register Editor avers the petitioners only requested for a diplomatic representative), saying the government of China whilst despotic is not oppressive.

Canton Register Editor – in Sir George’s own book ‘Notices concerning China’ he has recorded his view that it is ‘the natural disposition of the Chinese government to insult and molest and extort from foreigners’ and that ‘it is part of their present system to restrict and restrain foreigners to the utmost to which they will submit’ and that ‘the oppressive measures of the Chinese government have become most odious and intolerable’.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Joseph Fletcher of 5 Pow Shing Hong has commenced a ferry service from Canton to Whampoa and return. The boat will leave Canton at ebb tide and return at flood daily.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Viceroy Lee has told the Emperor that he has 6,000 men at Lin Chow but our Chinese friends tell us there are actually 12,000. A further 10,000 taels has just been sent from the provincial treasury. The Hong merchants are to pay 20,000 taels, the salt merchants 10,000 and officials, high and low, 20,000 collectively to create a fund for further activities against the rebels.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Imperial edict – Viceroy Lee failed to prevent the insurrection commencing or extinguish it quickly after it started.

Lee’s peacock feathers are taken from him, but he will retain his office until the rebellion is extinguished.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Local news:

The Dutch consul has come up from Macau to Canton to deal with the loss of the Netherlands ship Sophia (in the last typhoon) but in the urgency of the moment he neglected to get a passport. On arrival at the Canton factories, the people at the small Customs House tried to search some trunks and baggage that arrived in the same boat.

A foreigner carrying a hunting gun under his arm stopped them but was struck with a bamboo and knocked down. The principal Hong merchants soon arrived but declined to forward a petition of complaint on behalf of the foreigner. The Consul threatened to bring-up the Dutch sailors from Whampoa whereupon the Hong merchants reminded him how useless that had been when the English last did it.

This reference to other nations seems to have caused the Chinese to recall that the Dutch are not troublesome people without good reason and at length the Hong merchants agreed to deliver the complaint to the Hoppo. The head of the small Customs House and two of his men had to attend in the city to explain themselves.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Ku Kin Ming is to open a new Hong – Fung Yu Hong. He is a Hanlin scholar and the uncle of an officer in the provincial treasury. He is 38 years old and has a moderate income. We expect he will have to pay the Hoppo 30,000 taels in cash which is the tariff for a foreign trade licence.

The Linguist Ah Chow (Wong Yuen) has been permitted to retire (provided he finds his own replacement) and is joining Fuk Tsuen Hong to retrieve its affairs. The nominal head of the Hong is inexperienced in trade. The other Linguist, Ah Yiu, who joined the Hong on its opening, has since left having reportedly put the business into total confusion.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

The Lord Amherst returned 6th September. She visited Amoy, Fuk Chow, Taiwan, Shanghai, Ningpo, Chusan, Korea and the archipelago. On her return she stopped a few days at Loo Choo Islands.

This ship, manned by Lascars, has visited a succession of ports along the coast in defiance of the law and not one attempt to ‘drive her away’ was made, although at one port the Company’s officers were offered money to go away.

The prospects of trade with Korea were dashed but at all Chinese ports the local merchants were keen to trade and only the officials prevented it. A little business was done at Fuk Chow only. Gutzlaff or Lindsay will write a diary of the voyage for publication.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Extract of a letter from the Company’s Directors to the Select Committee at Canton, 13th January 1832:

“We understand our order of 26th May 1831 retiring the former committee (Baynes et al) has been misunderstood by the Canton officials. You say they believe your new committee will be more submissive and the country merchants, who want confrontation, agree.

“We regret we cannot permit disobedience of the law forbidding foreign females at Canton. Sino-British trade is too important to British and Indian revenues to be hazarded for personal convenience. Neither can we risk interrupting the tea supply to the British public. It was we ourselves who sought to buy tea from China originally and we must continue. We are not prepared to act on opinions that promote a confrontational policy.

“Even if justice and humanity required us to promote trade by force, it could never be profitable. China is not accountable to any other nation in the exercise of her affairs. She has rejected every approach by European countries to adopt our trading principles.

“The country merchants say nothing is to be gained by obedience and everything by intimidation but defiance only gains temporary advantages. The Chinese soon assert their dominion and, historically, they have invariably deprived you of some advantage which they had earlier yielded. Admiral Drury’s experience at Macau in 1809 and this recent confrontation are examples of the effects of defiance.

“We are struck by the terms that the country merchants use in addressing the Chinese authorities and the freedom with which they comment on Chinese law. We will not ask what business they do in Canton but they have gone their voluntarily for their own advantage.”

There follows Editor Slade’s defence on behalf of the smugglers (continued over the next two editions):

We do not promote violence. As long ago as 1791 Wm Fitzhugh of the Select said we have ‘an ill-founded apprehension for the loss of our trade (which) ‘deters us from urging pretensions to such privileges as would make trade safe and honorable’.

Again in 1816 Sir Theophilus Metcalfe reported the arrival of the British ambassador in the Alceste. A blue button official boarded the frigate at Lintin, identified himself as the Viceroy’s deputy, and made enquiries. Capt Maxwell asked permission to enter the Bogue. He was told the Viceroy must be consulted but ‘no problem’ was indicated. Two days later another official arrived and identified himself as the Viceroy’s deputy. ‘I have already seen the Viceroy’s deputy’ said Maxwell. ‘That man was unauthorised’ says the official. ‘Are you authorised?’ says Maxwell. ‘You will know I am authorised because I will immediately return with the Viceroy’s instructions’ say the official. ‘When?” says Maxwell. ‘Five days’ says the official.

Meanwhile, the compradors would only bring food at night for fear of detection (provisioning the ship had been forbidden). Armed junks encircled her at a distance. Maxwell waited six days – nothing. He sailed to Chuen Pi where a flotilla of boats met him. ‘Anchor or we will fire’ he was told. They fired several guns without shot. Maxwell thought it might be a salute and returned it with blanks. Then some shot was fired. Maxwell put a round over the Chinese admiral’s head and the shooting from the boats ceased. He anchored. That evening a favorable wind arose and he weighed anchor. Four forts opened fire with 80 – 100 guns. The Alceste was struck repeatedly. Maxwell sailed up to the forts to starboard and gave them a broadside. The guns could not be trained on a fort to port which continued firing. Alceste anchored at 2nd bar and proceeded towards Canton the next morning.

The Chinese merchants wanted to hush-up the firing but Maxwell thought the arbitrary acts of the Viceroy must be resisted. He was persuaded to check them and inhibit the extortion of the other officials. He thought trade would then be fine.

Every man who has come to China these last 20 years holds this opinion. The Select told the Co-Hong they could not themselves influence a King’s Officer and the merchants should talk with Maxwell direct. The Select briefed Maxwell on the character of the officials. He was told, if he did not wish to maintain the privilege of entering the Bogue that had been obtained by HMS Lion, the Hongs would arrange for provisioning the Alceste outside. If the ambassador felt we should preserve access to the river, then negotiation is useless – he should perform the act first and talk about it later. Any application to enter would be refused by the Viceroy regardless of the precedent.

Now these latest instructions make the situation completely unpredictable. Absolute submission is unnecessary. China has a right to regulate its commerce as it sees fit.

The complaints of foreigners concern the absence of some laws which they think are fundamentally required, the perversion of other laws and the arbitrary way that trade is conducted, subject to the whims of constantly changing local officials. Some examples of advices sent to London:

  • Letter of the Select of 22nd February 1814 – “… carrying on extensive commerce protected by no law but subject to undefined regulations that allow any interpretation that a corrupt government may give them. Our only hope is firm resistance”
  • Letter of the Select 16th January 1815 – “…the officers of the Chinese government know neither rectitude nor liberality. When an officer is appointed he does not attend to his duties but to the profits that accrue from his office.”
  • Elphinstone to Chairman 23rd February 1815 – “our extensive trade has excited the designs of interested persons and is wholly unprotected by law. The systematic corruption of the officials means those who should protect trade are leagued against it. Trade can be interrupted by an individual and if the Viceroy is unskilled it can be entirely stopped.”

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

The Canton Miscellany has ceased and the Canton Repository has commenced publication this year. It has an interesting article on the right of the Chinese to exclude foreigners. An extract:

“The Chinese Empire is the most interesting field of research on Earth. By what right of inheritance, what law of justice and propriety is it closed to foreigners? It is 3,000 miles east to west and over 2,000 miles north to south and, apart from the Russian establishment of 10 men in Peking, and the enclaves at Macau and Canton, foreigners are excluded. There was a time (under the foreign Yuan dynasty) when we were welcomed ….”

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Edict of the Hoppo, 30th August 1832:

“All small boats going up and down the river between Canton and Whampoa are to be searched for dutiable goods at each Customs Station they pass. The chief foreigners going up and down with their personal baggage are only to be searched at Whampoa and Tsung Suen. Now all foreigners put flags on their boats and claim to be the Taipan to avoid being searched. They do not report what is in their boats, they conceal dutiable goods to evade payment, and when they arrive at Canton they do not wait to be searched but scurry off with their bags. They have clearly and repeatedly been ordered to stop these unlawful acts but still they continue.

“Now the foreign ships are again entering port for trade I issue this order. Taipans are searched only at Whampoa and Tsung Suen. The continuance of this concession depends on their obeying the revenue laws. All other foreigners will be searched at each station along the route. They will not raise flags on their boats. They must not smuggle and at Canton they must submit to search. If they disobey they will be punished and the concession to Taipans will be withdrawn.”

(c.f. advertisement of 27th September in Canton Register – ‘M/s Canton & Macau Passage Boats’ operate the Sylph, the Union (both for six passengers) and the St George (4 passengers). Macau Agent – Markwick & Lane, Canton Agent – Robert Edwards. Rates – 1st passenger Canton to Lintin / Macau $30; Canton to Lintin / Macau via Kap Sing Mun $35. Additional passengers $5. “Gentlemen are advised that their baggage will be searched on arriving at or departing from Canton”)

Editor – Chinese officials make many rules they do not enforce to illustrate their control over but ‘compassion for’ men from afar. It is the Chinese way of getting a sufficient level of cooperation from the fractious foreigners. If they cause trouble, the totality of their infringements could be adduced and it would appear that it was the foreigners who acted unreasonably not the Chinese or their system.

Vol 5 No 14 – Monday 17th September 1832

Shipments of the adulterated Singapore tin which we reported previously have reached London and the price of this commodity has fallen to 60/- per cwt. English tin dealers (agents of the Cornish miners who buy Company imported tin to stabilise the market and maintain the price)27 have ceased buying our tin because of the adulteration.

Tin is often used by Canton merchants as a means of remittance to Europe so we are mentioning this at the beginning of the season.

Vol 5 No 15 – Wednesday 3rd October 1832

14 Company ships have already arrived and the first two will leave on 16th October. The Company’s resident staff are expected to arrive at Canton from Macau very soon to commence business. The flag in front of the factory (which was struck when the Foo Yuen entered last year) will soon be raised again.

How Qua Jr continues to take no part in business. He secures no ships and holds no contracts for teas.

Vol 5 No 15 – Wednesday 3rd October 1832

Viceroy Lee is again ordered to Peking. His property is said to have been confiscated until he explains himself satisfactorily (for his handling of the insurrection). He has handed his seal to He Ngan (one of the Imperial Commissioners dealing with the insurrection) who will act as Viceroy until Loo Kwan, governor of Hu Kuang, arrives to take up the job.

Loo was the Foo Yuen here before Choo Kwei Chen arrived three years ago.

Vol 5 No 15 – Wednesday 3rd October 1832

The insurrection continues. 11,000 men are engaged but only 4,000 – 5,000 are effective soldiers. The rest are lookouts or on garrison duty. 3,000 more have been called from Hu Kuang. On their arrival the uprising should be speedily concluded. The mountain men have proposed peace but the Chinese insist on the leaders and the weapons being surrendered first. This the rebels decline to do. The Imperial costs are thought to be about 2,100,000 taels so far.

Vol 5 No 15 – Wednesday 3rd October 1832

A gentleman from one of the Company ships at Whampoa rowed a small boat a short distance from the fleet and was sitting in it sketching the river banks when some passing Customs officers arrested him, confiscated his drawings and some clothing and held him at a nearby office until he paid a $10 fine and was released. Most of his property has since been returned.

Vol 5 No 15 – Wednesday 3rd October 1832

With the single exception of How Qua, the Hongs have changed. Formerly they bought cargoes at bargain prices, spent fortunes on feasts and, after a dazzling display of prosperity for a few years, sank into poverty and oblivion. Instead of intriguing politicians we now increasingly have businessmen running Hongs. These new Hongs are correctly acting as brokers between the foreigners and the Chinese dealers. As they are trading on their own account, unlike the old Hongs, they are less liable to the frequent squeezes that the Hoppo applies to trade. We suspect it is this inability of the Hoppo to extort as much as previously that has caused him to issue an Edict.

He requires each Hong to provide the names of two rich merchants who will be security for its affairs. Perhaps he believes that if he cannot squeeze the Hong, he will at least squeeze its guarantors. The Hong merchant is presented to the foreigners as an important and influential man. To the officials he is an object for extortion on the slightest pretext. He can never know what share of his profits are truly his. He is compelled to continue in business until death or bankruptcy. We remain astonished that anyone would willingly become a Hong Merchant.

Edict of the Hoppo concerning the four new Hongs established in 1830:

“In 1829 the former Hoppo received the Emperor’s approval to make new Hongs on a trial basis for one or two years and if they were capable, to take bonds from them and allow them to continue. Heng Tai, Chung Wo, Shun Tai and Yun Wu were approved and have now completed two year’s business.

The time has come to get their bonds. Within five days each will obtain substantial sureties from one or two rich merchants and present the documents to me. Their compliance is a pre-condition for securing any Company ship.

Instead of rushing to get bonds, they have been rushing to secure ships. Now three days remain to get the sureties and deliver them. The old Hong merchants will advise the foreigners that they should not trade with the new Hongs until they provide sureties.”

Vol 5 No 15 – Wednesday 3rd October 1832

The Foo Yuen has allowed Ah Chow (Wong Hiu Hoi), the former Linguist, to replace Wang Ta Tung as the licensee of Fuk Tsuen Hong. Wang will continue in the Hong but in an inferior position.

Supplement 3rd October 1832

When people fall overboard in Canton River they usually drown. This is ascribed to the strong and often unpredictable currents. The river flows down to meet the tide coming up and eddies and whirlpools arise. The Chinese call these cross-currents ‘chow chow’ water, whether it occurs along the river’s lower course or amongst the islands in the estuary.

Supplement 3rd October 1832

Editorial – The accelerating march of intellect in Europe is unknown in China. Now another march, that of commerce, is bringing the whole world together in one commercial family. Europeans believe that the Chinese are not governed by the same general laws as the people on the rest of the planet. Anything to do with China excites very little interest in Europe. Without this apathy, people would be more aware of the change that has overtaken us. Previously we travelled the entire globe vigorously exploring and trading. Now we give timid obedience to a weak and imbecile government.

At last, this decline seems to be coming to an end. The voyage of the Lord Amherst shows that the people of China are delighted to trade with us. The 90 ton Kronborg which sailed up to 30º north was welcomed at every port on another recent voyage. It is only the officials who keep us apart. Putting all the trade through Canton increases the price of imports and exports by the expense of inland transit and the onerous fees of the provincial government.

This country will welcome a commercial treaty with us if we make our proposals properly. Sending ambassadors with no confidence in their ability to succeed is not the way; they allow their presents to be called tribute.28 Its not surprising they meet with failure and contempt.

Supplement 3rd October 1832

Gutzlaff is to publish an English / Chinese dictionary. He knows several Chinese dialects. It will be the most compendious dictionary yet. Its moderate price should ensure it’s a best seller. Morrison’s huge academic work is too scarce to become popular.

Supplement 3rd October 1832

The New York Courier reports that the captain of a ship newly arrived there, which left Canton in November 1831 says a confrontation between the British and Chinese has been averted by the former submitting to Chinese control and jurisdiction whilst at Canton. He says that a ship has been sent to Calcutta with this news to prevent the sailing of a British fleet to Canton.

Supplement 3rd October 1832

All foreign traders are familiar with those low and ignorant Customs staff who are responsible to classify our goods for the payment of duties. We have too often given way to their arbitrary ideas on quality, etc. Now Wm Jardine has successfully appealed to the Hoppo against one such classification and obtained a refund of duty.

Hoppo Chung to the Hong merchants 23rd June for Jardine:

“The duty on 1st quality calico is 5 mace per piece, 2nd quality is 2 mace 2 candareens per piece. The duty on cotton palampores is 2 mace per length. Jardine’s cloth appears coarse and foreign. The coloured flower pattern on it is the same as palampores. Palampores are normally 1 chang 2 covids long but these new-style palampores are 7 chang 5 covids long. If the duty is levied on the scale for palampores then, considering the extra length, it will be enormous. But if the duty is levied per the tariff for 2nd quality calico it will be too small.

“In locating a line between collecting the tariff revenue and showing tenderness to foreigners, I have determined that this chintz, although the colours are not first quality, is nevertheless made of threads like cotton. I order it rated as 1st quality calico and taxed at 5 mace per piece. This will produce a duty of less than half of that, had it been classified as palampores.

“Future imports of these ‘new palampores’ will be charged for duty at the old rate. They will not again be confused with chintz. This is to show tenderness to foreigners.”

Supplement 3rd October 1832

When the Emperor is carried about the streets of Peking, all cross streets and side streets along his route are covered with curtains so inferior people (who occupy the passages off the side streets) cannot see him. These occasional travels of the Emperor afford the common people their best chance of appealing to him. When He returned from his recent inspection of his tomb, two commoners knelt beside his route to present petitions about unredressed grievances. They were detained for enquiries.

Their complaints were considered trivial and they are likely to be punished.

Supplement 3rd October 1832

A Laotian ambassador has been to Peking with the decennial tribute of his King – a herd of elephants. The Ching court uses elephants to carry the sacrificial vessels in Imperial processions to and from the temples.

Supplement 3rd October 1832

The Danish ship Kronborg (Capt Lind) arrived from Ningpo on 2nd October. James Innes was aboard her during the voyage as the sole passenger. This ship somewhat emulated Lindsay’s and Gutzlaff’s voyage in the Lord Amherst.

The following newspaper, Vol 5 No 16, is missing from my copy.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

Lancelot Dent arrived from Bombay per Cambridge on 28th October.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

The British barque Sylph sailed for the East Coast on 20th October. Gutzlaff and Alexander Robertson were on board.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

Viceroy Lee fell from grace for his handling of the insurrection of mountain men at Lin Chow. That has now ended with the mountain men back in their fastness and the officials encamped around on the plain. A new town is planned to better hem in the rebels.

Some say they have seen the Viceroy’s boat sailing north with blue lanterns (the sign of death). He was a time-serving and dishonest statesman.

His replacement, Loo Kwan, is expected in Canton on 10th November.29

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

The Macau Tso Tong published a placard on 14th October instructing all Chinese that they may not serve foreigners. This includes wet nurses and women servants for families. Whatever the purpose of provincial legislation about us, we believe it is construed to degrade foreigners and take our money.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

A fire broke out on Sha Meen Island a mile west of the factories at midday on 30th October. Sha Meen is a centre of gambling houses and brothels. A fire there last February caused great loss of life. The houses are all made of wood and built on wooden piles over an extensive mud flat along the island’s waterfront. The spread was so rapid that escape by land or sea was impossible. Large bands of robbers saw the smoke and arrived, intending to seize the girls for ransom. Their numbers overawed the police who were little involved.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

A scuffle occurred in front of the factories between some of the Company’s seamen and the group of Chinese who always loiter there. Soon afterwards, a Company trader was struck by a stone. Together with friends he seized the stone-thrower and handed him over to the officials.

Officials engender hatred of foreigners amongst the populace by enacting insulting laws. It has become dangerous for us to leave our houses. It is strange that the country that stood alone successfully against all Europe (a reference to the last two years of the Napoleonic War when all Europe was allied with France) should submit to this impotent Empire. At present the wall around the factories is adorned with proclamations charging foreigners with all sorts of vice (the Edict about flower girls and boys that is published at commencement of each season). It is time we confronted this degradation.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

The Whampoa Regatta began last Friday and continued the following day. Boats from all the Company’s shipping took part. No accident occurred.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

Lending – when the annual expenses of a province exceed its income it is commonplace in China to ask and receive Imperial permission to borrow from the Treasury. This sum is then placed at interest with reliable merchants. One half of the interest is returned to the Treasury in repayment of principal until the whole amount has been refunded. The other half is used to reduce the shortfall in receipts. At present 100,000 taels of government money has been deposited with the salt merchants at 10% pa for the use of Kwong Si province. It will be completely paid back in 20 years.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

Editorial considerations pursuant on the voyages of Lord Amherst and Kronborg and the crews’ assertion that Chinese merchants are willing to trade with foreigners if the officials would only allow it:

Kiang Nan is probably the richest province of China. It is divided into two provinces – Kiangsu and Anhwei. Kiang Nan junks annually visit our Indian ports and we have a right to ask for reciprocity. All Chinese ports are open to junks from Thailand because the Thai King gives Chinese junks unlimited access for trade. What do British merchants think of this?

The Yangtse is a magnificent river. From Tsinghai it flows through Yunnan, Szechuan, Hupeh and most of Kiang Nan. The estuary is obstructed by sand banks but there are places that might serve as emporiums – Ting Chow and Tah Pau, on the left and right banks of the river, spring to mind. They should be surveyed. If we opened trade with Nanking from one of these places, an immense business would result and we would achieve access to the productive heartland of the Empire.

The Yellow River also flows through several provinces. Its entrance is also guarded by sandbanks but is more accessible than the Yangtse. Probably the best harbours are at the heens of Fau Ning and Kan Tung.

The Woo Sung River is small but navigable. Shanghai is built on its left bank. Ships up to 300 tons can enter. This could be a great channel for British manufactures and employ considerable capital. West of Shanghai is Soo Chow, sited in the richest district of the Empire. In this age of improvement we should extend our enterprise.

Vol 5 No 17 – Saturday 3rd November 1832

The drought last summer caused the Emperor to employ ‘the gate of free speech’ (Kae Yen Loo). This is an ancient institution in which political economists and government moralists countrywide are invited to submit opinions to the Emperor. The censors (ya she) have historically made most use of the procedure. The main domestic concern at present is abuses in the criminal law system whereby innocent people might be detained and maltreated and some die, thus injuring the mandate of Heaven.

Vol 5 No 18 – Friday 16th November 1832

Local News:

  • USS Peacock (Geisinger) has arrived at Lintin 8th November 1832 from Sumatra and Manila. The US schooner Boxer is also daily expected. The Peacock sloop is scheduled to stay 2-3 weeks. No reason for her visit is given but it is presumed to relate to protection of American trade if the confrontation last year is renewed.30
  • The British barque Jamesina (Hector) has returned from the East Coast on 8th November with James Innes, back from his second trip.
    Innes says Morrison’s Chinese Vocabulary (published several years ago) was really useful for him on his East Coast trip in Jamesina. If the entries were better ordered it would have been sufficient for trade without interpreters.
  • Another regatta was held at Whampoa on 3rd, 5th, 9th and 11th November and, for the first time, included boats from the country ships.
  • Intermittent fever is affecting sailors in the fleet at Whampoa. This is due to the rice crop along the adjacent river banks having just been harvested. The process of harvesting permits infectious exhalations to escape from the ground.
  • The partnership of Ilberry Fearon & Co is to be wound-up. James Ilberry Jr left China for London per HCS Asia on 28th November and H G Fearon left per Thetis for Manila and Batavia on 24th November.
  • The fire at Sha Meen which we reported in the last issue consumed 76 houses and 70 boats. It has been attributed to a woman who was boiling water and failed to extinguish the embers.
  • The Nam Hoi Yuen has ordered that access to every street in his district be barred and bolted at 10pm and only police patrols and doctors may pass thereafter. This is to counter burglaries and arson. The residents will pay for the works.
  • A few days ago a party of 70-80 thieves tried to enter a pawnshop near the north gate of the city via the roof. The occupants resisted with spears and the watchman sounded his gong. Soon the gate keepers arrived with a posse and the bandits ran off without their booty. One soldier had four fingers cut off

Vol 5 No 18 – Friday 16th November 1832

The literary examinations throughout the provinces and at Peking recently produced 72 successful candidates.

Vol 5 No 18 – Friday 16th November 1832

Jardine’s recent successful appeal against excessive duty was a good example of what can be achieved here amicably. Here is another:

Recently a drunk measurer from the Hoppo attended the Hong warehouse where Innes’ piece goods are stored. His examination was in the late afternoon. One box containing large handkerchiefs was already opened. Assuming all contained the same he assessed a duty of 50¢ per dozen. The consignee and the Linguist in vain asked the official to examine all the goods. The next morning the assessment was ‘put in book’ meaning it had been recorded and was thus said to be irrevocable.

The only recourse was for consignee to petition the Hoppo for reassessment. The Hoppo replied ‘Foreign handkerchiefs of 2 Sq Covids (29¾ inches square) or more are large handkerchiefs. Foreign importers should sort their goods to assist the assessor.’

Innes petitioned again but was abruptly rebuffed. He petitioned the Foo Yuen but while this was under consideration he was offered and accepted a deal – that his entire shipment would be assessed at 25¢ per dozen with no public announcement being made.

Readers in Europe will think this a trifling affair but the capricious assessment of duty is a serious problem. There is no tariff except for major articles.31 The Hong merchants and Linguists seldom agree on the appropriate rate. Every single assessment requires bargaining with a lowly employee of the Hoppo and sometimes requires a bribe which he shares with the Linguist. The value of the article is not a criterion of duty. Chintzes of 28 yards worth from $3 – $20 are all assessed at the same duty. Goods imported on one day may attract double the duty on the next. How much actually goes to the Imperial revenue is unknown. The only restraint on the number of our complaints is the unpleasant insults from the Hoppo after we initiate one. The Hoppo relies on this to perpetuate his unjust system.

Vol 5 No 18 – Friday 16th November 1832

Article from the Chinese Repository November 1832, by Charles Gutzlaff:

The civilisation and literature of most of Asia originated in China.

Korea, Japan, Loo Choo, Tongking and Cochin China were thus reclaimed from barbarism by importing Chinese institutions. There is a great variety of pronunciation but the languages of all these countries bear many similarities to Mandarin Chinese.

Westerners will know that a similar process caused the barbarians who overthrew the western Roman Empire to absorb Latin jargon.

All these Asian countries examine putative civil servants in their understanding and knowledge of literature – it is this that makes the Chinese character so well understood in Korea and Japan although their civilisations are vastly inferior. “On my recent visit to Korea I found the people acquainted with the Chinese classics and that was the extent of their knowledge” Gutzlaff says.

Vol 5 No 19 missing.

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

The new Viceroy Loo arrived 15th December at Tien Chu Pier and was met by some 70 provincial officials. Loo immediatety performed devotions in the Tin Hau temple. He then changed clothes and went to the Yamen. Outside were 20 kneeling petitioners whom he called into the great hall for interview. At 2pm the Foo Yuen, who has been acting Viceroy but is sick, surrendered his seal.

Loo is about 60 years old. He had a good reputation in his early career but is said to have recently succumbed to venality and solicited bribes.

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

The tricolor is again flying at Canton. It was hoisted by M Gernaert, the French consul, in front of the French Hong on 13th December 1832, for the first time in about 20 years.32

The Canton government charges $100 – $200 per year to hoist a flag under the ‘olo custom’ rule but on this occasion no fee was requested.

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

The sickness afflicting the Foo Yuen Choo appears to be a deep depression brought on by the death of his brother. Officials who visited him recently found him in tears – ‘my only brother is dead, my only son is insane, I am old. Society of men or women does not console me. When I came to Canton I did not know the customs of the people but assumed they were the same as elsewhere in the Empire. I am a careful observer and examined. I found the Cantonese are deceitful. Falsehood prevails in all ranks and all places. There is no truth in man nor honesty in woman. I tried to correct this but failed. Now I am sick at heart and want to leave. The vice and falsehood of Canton is too deeply engrained to be eradicated. I have begged the Emperor to let me go. All is vanity and vexation.

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

The weather has suddenly turned delightfully cold. Cantonese houses are not designed to preserve warmth and stoves do not help. The need is met by thick quilted clothing. On a cold day a Cantonese wears so many clothes, he looks like an eskimo.

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

Editorial on the violence of villagers:

A couple of days ago H H Lindsay and a friend went over to Lappa (called ‘the hills opposite’, Doi Meen Shan, in Macau) to shoot snipe. Lappa is popular with foreigners for walking. On their return, when about ¼ mile from their boat, they realised they were being followed by several men. Three of these abused the Chinese servant who was carrying the men’s gear. Lindsay addressed them in Mandarin whereupon they produced axes and bludgeons. It appeared to Lindsay that this evidenced premeditation and he pointed his gun at the nearest man and told him he would shoot if he came any closer. The man nevertheless struck at Lindsay with his bludgeon, who reversed his gun and hit back. The stock broke over the man’s arm who then rushed in and struck Lindsay with a hatchet cutting through his cheek and lip and breaking several teeth. Another man struck him on the head. They took his gun and other property and were gone in a minute. Lindsay’s friend came along at the end but was knocked down and his gun also taken. Lindsay’s servant called to the attackers not to hit a man when he was down. The party continued back to the boat and eventually returned to Macau. A complaint has been sent to the Tso Tong and Keung Min foo demanding redress.

Last month we reported an attack on some gentlemen not 10 yards outside the factory gates at Canton. At about the same time in Macau two gross insults were offered separately to two English ladies passing in their sedan chairs. Complaints in all these cases produced the reply that redress was out of the question.33

We think the audacity of the Chinese is due to their realisation that we dare not use firearms (for fear of the ‘life for a life’ rule). Attacks in daylight and before witnesses must occur as a result of confidence in the minds of the attackers that they will not be held to account for their crimes. The situation can only get worse for us. Had Lindsay killed his attacker, his own life would have been forfeit. It would have been Terranova again. We of course would never submit to a demand for his surrender and trade would then be stopped.

The remedy for all this is obvious. We should show the Chinese our force. Until that happens we will have to submit to whatever the Chinese wish.

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

A junk master from Taiwan has told a European friend of an insurrection on the island. The governor has received a confirmatory report of this rebellion from the Tung Che of Namoa and the provincial Judge is preparing himself for a trip to Amoy. The rebellion commenced at Chang Hwa Foo, 40 Li from Taiwan City and 26 officials and 2,000 men have reportedly been killed.

The Chinese on Taiwan are either long-term residents or Chuan Chow immigrants (and a few Cantonese). Occupants of a Chuan Chow village on Taiwan stole 5 piculs of sweet potatoes from a neighbouring Cantonese village. The Canton people went to the other village and got their vegetables back but, expecting recurrent thefts if the matter was not formalised, also reported to the officials at Chang Hwa. Those officials came to the Chuan Chow village and, finding five families living there, demanded $1,000 from each to ‘close file’. The Chuan Chow people refused saying the matter had already been settled but the officials took them to Chang Hwa and the Heen imprisoned them to encourage payment.

After a week, when no money was forthcoming, the Heen added a new charge against them of assisting a pirate who had escaped some months earlier. This exasperated the Chuan Chow headman who offered $1,000 to anyone who would kill the Heen. A few days later in daylight the officer and all his attendants were killed at his home. The Taiwan Foo then attended with 500 soldiers and he likewise was killed with many of his men. Several other units also advanced but were beaten off. Now Taiwan Foo (the city) has hired 30,000 men for protection and 50,000 irritated villagers are approaching it. 5,000 troops are being shipped from Amoy.

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

Shensi and Shansi are said to house the richest men of China. The chief money lenders in Canton come from these provinces. Towards the end of the Ka Hing Emperor’s reign, the son of one of these rich men in Tai Yuen Foo set out a large room as a chess board. For pieces he bought girl slaves and dressed them appropriately. The then Emperor, himself an addict to luxury, feigned horror. He fined the man 3,000,000 taels and banished him to Heilongjiang.34

Vol 5 No 20 – Thursday 20th December 1832

J R Morrison has left China on the USS Peacock which is sailing to Cochin China.

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

The Tenth Canton Insurance Office commenced 1st January 1833 (accounts are closed and profits distributed annually). General Agents – Jardine Matheson & Co.

Agents are – Fairlie Clark Innes & Co in London, Remington & Co in Bombay, Lyall Matheson & Co in Calcutta and Charles Thomas & Co in Singapore

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

Portuguese officials administering Macau for 1833:


Judges (2)


Vereadores (3)


Jose Baptista de Miranda e Lima

Antonio Pereira deputising for H A Leiria (absent) and

Francisco Jose de Payva for A G de Araujo (deceased)

B G de Lemos, A S V d’Almeida and Claudio Ignacio da Silva.

Manuel Feliz Pereira

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

Local News – The provincial government has issued a proclamation warning of a fleet of pirates which has arrived in local waters from Cochin China where their activities have been proscribed. Two boats have been captured and the crews say the fleet is of 90 boats. The leader is Leung Chiu Fu a Cantonese from Si Ngon, a large fat man of 30 years. His deputy is Ku Hai Lau, a bearded Cochin China native of 50 years age. Three other leaders are all young Cantonese. The twelve supervisors are also Chinese. The Viceroy offers an amnesty to those that surrender.

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

Complaint of Fan Hin Yeung, 59 years, of Fung’s shop, Wui Kai Street, Kin Po Sze in Nam Hoi, Canton.

“Native rich men monopolise the supply of foreign rice and charge high prices for it. Previously our Governor Yuen Yuen (by restating the exemption from measurement fees) encouraged foreigners to bring rice. Now some rich men, Kam Ching Seen and Hiu Yi Shing, the operators of an oil shop, have conspired with Jardine (who denies the charge) to monopolise all the foreign rice and have accumulated 110,000 sacks of it to influence the market. Hiu Yi Shing will not sell any of it. Previously the government prohibited hoarding of rice. You should tell these rich men to sell it freely and the Foo Yuen should expel Jardine. He has been doing business in the 13 factories for 20 years. All the trouble we have from foreigners is from him. He has lent money to Chang Tsiu’s shop to buy rice and I hear he has loaned money to others to form partnerships and store up to 50,000 piculs.”

“Attached is a list of 16 shops where the foreign rice is stored and its quantity at each.

“Also a list of buyers of foreign rice who are storing it – this includes several security (Hong) merchants.

The Foo replies:

Rice is not expensive now. Why has only one man raised this complaint? The Nam Hoi and Poon Yu magistrates are to investigate and discover if there is another reason for Fan Hin Yeung’s complaint.

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

Letter to the Editor – I have a letter in French that was forwarded to Macau from Calcutta a year ago and is addressed to the Emperor of China. I do not know how to forward it. Now I recall your newspaper is said to be regularly translated by a Linguist and forwarded by the provincial government to Peking. Please publish it so it may be delivered.

The enclosure advertises the curative powers of white mustard.

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

The new Viceroy Loo is unpopular. He spends his days watching plays. He is deaf and consumptive. He declines to see the local officials on ordinary affairs. He has issued a proclamation to the people not to appeal to him from the lower courts unless their case involves insurrection, heresy or bandits.

He told the Foo that he will not do the work of subordinates. His daily list of visitors takes 3-4 lines in the court circular (Lee and Choo both had 30-40 lines).

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

Taiwan rebellion – Troops from Canton have been sent to assist those from Fukien but no news of events is coming out. Taiwan produces most of the grain for Fukien and the camphor for Canton’s export trade (the monopoly of which sale is sold to a private trader) but it is otherwise economically unimportant and Chinese interest is not so much in controlling the island as denying its occupation to others.

They do not care about the eastern side which is occupied by aboriginals.

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

The Emperor has ordered that the export of white lead (tutenague) be stopped as the foreigners have plenty and bring it here for import. If they need supply in future, the Emperor will reconsider his decision. At first he thought it was being smuggled abroad until Viceroy Lee told him the actual situation and he proclaimed this ban.

Vol 6 No 1 – Thursday 10th January 1833

Letter to the Editor – We should have more Chinese translators. In the last few years over 20 men have stopped studying the language while only a handful have started or continued. None of the foreign nations study it except France. The various consuls send their Chinese documents to Morrison and so do the Hong merchants whenever there is a proclamation.35

Some of those are a yard long but they pay nothing for the service.


Vol 6 No 2 missing


Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

How Qua Jr has agreed to return to business. He will accept his usual share of the Hong’s trade next season.36

Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

The inhumane feature of Chinese lower society has just been witnessed by a friend while travelling by boat from Lintin to Canton. He saw the wreck of a sampan with five men clinging to it and rescued them. Four were exhausted and one was apparently dying.

A fishing boat was nearby throughout and he hailed it to take the Chinese ashore. The fishermen asked for $70 for the service so the foreigner took the men back to a receiving ship at Lintin. After two days they recovered and asked to be put ashore on the island (Lintin). We gave them a bag of rice.

Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

Taiwan rebellion – the Imperial troops have been reinforced with an army from Chekiang. The Emperor orders the matter be concluded quickly. He is surprised that the first force (of 5,000 men) was inadequate.

The rebels were reportedly winning and Chinese government casualties were high but the rebel leaders then quarrelled and split into two groups allowing the government troops to rout them.

Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

Capt Durant was boarding a boat at the Praia Grande Customs House to go to his ship Good Success, anchored in Taipa roads, when he was requested to pay duty on his wife. He refused and was beaten by the louts who hang around the Customs House for the purpose.

He was only rescued by the timely intervention of some passing Europeans. It is said that the Customs officer will be punished but we think that unlikely.

Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

Another foreign ship has been reported off Chekiang. She carries a flag saying in Chinese that she is a merchant ship from India. She arrived from the north carrying the crew of a Chinese junk whom they had saved from shipwreck.

The foreigner’s cargo was woollen cloth and other goods so it was assumed to be the same ship that was seen previously but the crew deny it. The Emperor orders it be given no provisions and driven away without violence.

Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

Trade – it is the end of the Chinese Year and trade is stagnant.

Some Bengal Drug was bartered for silk which reduced prices. Malwa has been firm at $700-705 but little happening. The new Bengal supply has not been priced nor has its quality been ascertained. The touch is estimated at 48-50% and the nett chest weight is 120½ catties for Patna, 117¾ for Benares.

The first sale at Calcutta on 20th December sold 2,410 chests of Patna at average prices of 1,133 Sicca Rupees and 1,122 chests of Benares at average 1,109.

The next sales are 20th February (3,000 chests), 20th March (2,000) and 20th April (2,000). Total Bengal supply for the year = 10,500 approx.

Vol 6 No 3 – Saturday 16th February 1833

  • James Matheson arrived at Macau from Bombay per Carron on 10th February.
  • The Jamesina has returned from the East Coast to Lintin.

Vol 6 No 3 – 4th March 1833

Chinese officials at Macau have prevented Chinese workers from serving on any boats outside the harbour. This will stop the off-loading of vessels in Taipa roads.

Vol 6 No 3 – 4th March 1833

A professional singing troupe recently arrived at Macau from Chile and a plan is afoot to hold an Italian opera, perhaps one of Mr Rossini’s offerings.

Vol 6 No 3 – 4th March 1833

Proclamations of the local government show their concern at our recent trips up coast and their wish to show the Emperor that trade here is conducted ‘with benevolence,’ etc.

In response to the English Proclamation published in Ningpo which was sent to the Emperor, Viceroy Loo says How Qua has told him that the Consoo Fund is raised fairly and all trade is done on voluntary basis. If one Hong merchant is unacceptable to a foreigner, he can use another. How Qua is amazed foreigners should be going to other ports. They must be trying to get higher prices, he thinks.

Hoppo Chung likewise says the foreigners are completely happy, particularly since the port charges were reduced two years ago. The English normally send 20 ships but so far this year they have already sent 22. Cargoes are being bought and sold and duty paid in tranquillity without resentment. The Americans and the country traders are also happy.

The names of the ships seen at Chekiang and Shantung are not recognised by the Hong merchants and others here. How Qua says they have gone there as prices are higher in the north than the south. Ships come into Canton via the Grand Ladrone Island (the group of 10+ small islands south of the Sokos and west of the Limas. The only large island in the vicinity is Lantau). If they then proceed to the north they have to pass Namoa (Nam Ngau) where they could be seen and intercepted.37 If they do not enter at Grand Ladrone but continue north, we will not know it. I (Viceroy Loo) will be responsible for ships entering at Grand Ladrone. The northern provinces should be responsible for any other ships.

Finally I will closely check the Hong merchants to ensure they do not cheat the foreigners and tranquillity is maintained. We have ordered Wu Shau Chang (How Qua Jr’s son) to tell the foreigners that no port may be visited except Canton. He is to insist they obey.

Vol 6 No 3 – 4th March 1833

Readers will recall the country traders’ petition to the House of Commons concluded with a wish for ‘the acquisition of an insular possession near the coast of China’. Few can doubt the benefits that would flow from this. The main difficulty is finding a suitable island. It should command the coast of China but be sufficiently distant to fall outside China’s natural dominion. The islands in the Canton River estuary clearly belong to China and occupying any one would open us to a charge of invasion.

Taiwan has too few good ports and too many Chinese settlers to be useful unless we built a particularly strong fort but the rapid currents in the Taiwan Straits make it unsafe. The Dutch, when they occupied Fort Zeelandia, calculated that one in five of their ships would be shipwrecked.

The same would apply to the Bashi and Peng Hu islands.

The Loo Choo’s (southern end of the Okinawa chain) are unapproachable for the present.

The small islands in the mouth of the Yangtse and the Chusan group are too close to China although we previously had a trading post there (Sir George Staunton’s history of the Macartney embassy notes ‘Chusan Group has many safe harbours and is proximate to the main marts of China. They form part of Chekiang province and are near Ningpo from whence 12 junks travel annually to Japan for copper’. Staunton met a man who had served the Company at Ningpo and Chusan. He (Staunton) thought the English factories there had been closed due to pressure from Canton which makes large sums from foreign trade and due to an Imperial policy to restrain communication between foreigners and Chinese.)

This leaves the Woo Nin (Bonin Island) Group at 27ºN 140º E (north of Iwo Jima) which comprises two large islands and 97 small ones. According to Japanese accounts from last (18th) century, the big islands are well watered and have fertile valleys. Big hardwood trees grow and fishing is good. The Japanese use one island as a penal settlement for banished criminals. But according to Capt Beechey of HMS Blossom, who took formal possession of the islands in 1827 for Britain, the islands are uninhabited and no trace of any previous occupation exists. Visiting whalers since report there are now a few settlers who fly the British flag. Tobacco and maize grow well and huge wild pigs are everywhere. Beechey called the main island Peel and its harbour Port Lloyd.

Vol 6 No 4 – Tuesday 20th March 1833

The insurrection on Taiwan has been put down. Troops on reserve at Shantung and Chih Li Provinces have stood-down.

Vol 6 No 5 – Saturday 13th April 1833

Latest accounts from Taiwan suggest the rebellion is continuing.

Vol 6 No 5 – Saturday 13th April 1833

The Chilean opera troupe has agreed to remain in Macau for the summer before continuing to Calcutta on the winter monsoon. They will perform twice monthly commencing with a performance of Il Barbiere.

Vol 6 No 5 – Saturday 13th April 1833

We reported a Chinese proscription on providing cargo-handling to ships in Taipa roads. It turns out this is the work of the Portuguese Leal Senado not the Hoppo. An important part of the Straits trade is discharged in Macau. Almost all the trade landed there is from vessels ‘reluctant’ to enter the river for Canton. The duties and charges equate with those levied at Whampoa. Most of the exports are also from Canton via Macau.

The duties obtained from this transit trade are substantial. Many people are employed in the business. All this is now in jeopardy.

Vol 6 No 5 – Saturday 13th April 1833

The annual insulting proclamation about consorting with flower girls and boys has been pasted up around the factories. The older Chinese know this is false but the young ones blush. The Bengal Hurkaru has recently ridiculed this proclamation and our sensitiveness to it. It mocks us by saying ‘we should not submit passively to this denigration’.

We have to say again that we are not promoting war with China. What is required of foreign powers is the exertion of moral not physical power. If we continue to submit to oppression it cannot get better. If we declared our determination not to submit but to cease trade, those immutable regulations would soon be changed. The Hurkaru Editor should recall Viceroy Lee’s memorial to the Emperor last year ‘… besides there are several hundred thousand poor people who obtain their livelihood by trading in foreign goods. If they should lose their incomes, the evil consequences will be great’.

The Chinese cannot give up foreign trade. It is not the case that, as the Bengal Hurkaru Editor has it ‘if foreigners do not like to be abused and plundered, they have the privilege of going away from the country so as to leave the coast clear for those who will be contented to make their fortunes under such restriction as may be prescribed by the government of the country in which they sojourn’.

Vol 6 No 5 – Saturday 13th April 1833

Edict of Governor Choo (still the Foo Yuen):

I have been here two years and every day I arrest robbers and do little else but the spirit of robbery continues. I feel ashamed. The gentry control the villagers. They must educate their villagers in public morality and make them sincere and respectful.

First they must exhort and persuade. The gentry are born and grow up here in their villages. They know everyone. Each must instruct his own neighbourhood. When one village espouses morality it influences others. Soon a whole heen will be affected and eventually the whole province. Then we will all help each other as of old.

Second plainness and economy should be esteemed. In the rural areas people still tend their fields and their mulberry trees. But in Canton and all the market towns there is excessive gaiety and extravagance. People spend huge sums on vulgar displays. They loiter in the streets buying useless things. Instead of going to the temple to offer sacrifices, they make street exhibitions for the God’s birthday festival. As for funerals there should be no waste. Then the surplus from a good year will be available in the scarcity of a bad one.

(the Foo Yuen’s aspiration to counsel the Cantonese in propriety offends Editor Slade who ridicules this proclamation. His predictable comments are not reproduced here)

Vol 6 No 6 – Friday 3rd May 1833

The Sylph has returned on 29th April from another voyage up the east coast. The passengers were A Robertson and Rev C Gutzlaff

Vol 6 No 6 – Friday 3rd May 1833

L Just & Son has removed its shop from 4 French Hong to 1 Powshing Hong.

Vol 6 No 6 – Friday 3rd May 1833

A list of British-flag ships arriving China in 1832 is given in the paper, with dates of arrival and departure, arrived from where and destination. There are totally 87 ships on the list.38 9 Company ships came from London direct; 24 from Calcutta and 31 from Bombay, 8 from Manila, 6 from Singapore, 4 from Java, 2 from Madras, 1 from New South Wales (and two returned from cruises on the east coast).

Vol 6 No 6 – Friday 3rd May 1833

The Leal Senado at Macau started to enforce its ban on loading / discharging foreign shipping in Taipa roads. A small ship was not allowed to discharge last week but in the recent few days the restriction has been removed. Goods may now be landed and shipped as before.

Vol 6 No 6 – Friday 3rd May 1833

The first edition of the Evangelist has appeared at Canton. Part of the contents is printed in Chinese. We assume it is for distribution to local people.

Vol 6 No 7 – Saturday 18th May 1833

Jardine Matheson & Co has published new insurance rates in the event of war (with Netherlands), fully returnable if hostilities do not break out.

The new rates are effective 15th March 1833. 7% premiums on all goods to Europe including UK, 6% to India and New South Wales, 3% to Singapore.

Vol 6 No 7 – Saturday 18th May 1833

One of our returning east coast ships says officials at Chusan report hostilities on Taiwan are continuing in the north of the island. Most of the Chekiang navy and army have been send over. Chusan officials fear the men of Amoy will join their countrymen on Taiwan and fight against the Empire. Most of the immigrants in Taiwan are from Tung Kan heen, Chan Choo foo and Chaou Chow foo. There are also over a hundred thousand Chiu Chow men from N E Kwongtung. The whole population is supposed to be 2-3 millions.

The Chusan officials say if Taiwan does not supply grain to Fukien there will be a revolt. Already piracy along the Fukien coast is out of control and junks are attacked in sight of coast guard boats. Several junks are going across from Fukien to buy rice in the south of Taiwan. The rice trade from Taiwan to Chekiang and Fukien employs 300 junks. At Tientsin 70 junks serve the sugar trade and Taiwan camphor exports are substantial as well.

The plantation owners in Taiwan are mainly men from Amoy who continue to live in Fukien. They have amassed great capital and their trade is profitable. The friendliness of the Taiwan people to foreigners is well-known although we have had little contact with them.

Vol 6 No 7 – Saturday 18th May 1833

The Sylph has returned. She found many junks anchored off Manchuria laden with produce for the southern provinces. “We spoke with many captains who all dissuaded us from travelling further north for fear of ice but we continued to Kae Choo which is a large trading town with shallow water access. We travelled on to Kin Choo expecting to see the Great Wall but ran aground on a mud bank at high tide and could not get off. 8 Europeans and 13 Lascars rowed 30 miles ashore. They were saved by some very poor fishermen who lent their huts (and heated beds – kang).

They offered to get the Sylph off but said they had to tell the magistrate first. We were shocked. We thought the time required to walk ten miles to Kae Choo and make the necessary explanations would leave the Sylph exposed too long. Nevertheless they drew the long boat up on shore and set off through fertile fields and a thriving peasantry. All the men we met were Shantung colonists. Kae Choo is a large town with high wall. We were told that 2,000 junks trade there each year. We soon attracted a great crowd.

The magistrate asked if our country was tributary to China. We said we had sent embassies. They said it was the same thing and agreed to help us. They took us to the harbour where we met some Fukien men who recognised one of our party as a countryman. They had already pushed their lighters into the sea when the magistrate decided to refuse assistance.

Robertson appealed on behalf of the 80 crew. He also sent a message to the ship’s captain to use every endeavour to get her off ‘until she becomes so leaky that she could not attempt the voyage back’. Then we received word that the ship was safely off and at anchor. We prepared to leave. A detachment of soldiers approached. We told them we were armed. The soldiers left.

We set sail on 3rd December with ice thick on the inside and outside of the hull. We soon arrived at Sha Wei Shan, the northern most of the Chusan group which the Chinese use as a navigational marker to steer for the Woosung River. We call it Marjoribanks Islet. We anchored there amongst several Shanghai junks. On 13th December the weather improved. We saw a dismasted junk abandoned. They had hung a white flag over the side as an indication of their distress. A Ningpo junk went alongside and took off a man but seemed to conclude the cargo was useless and left the rest of the crew on board. When we were aground we had seen several Shanghai junks near us but none had offered help. Now was a chance to assist.

We manned the jolly boat and went alongside. The first and most valuable thing they handed to us was their idol. We threw it in the sea. We got under the stern and took five men off first and another seven on a second trip. The captain told us his junk is No 841 in the Shanghai register and it comes from Tai Koo Shan in Manchuria. He had a cargo of peas and other Manchurian produce. His crew come from Tsung Ming Island. He lost his anchor in rough weather and he threw out part of the cargo and cut away the masts but the vessel was sinking. We got on board and saved some of the crew’s belongings and part of the cargo but they did nothing themselves to help. Eventually we fired the hulk and left. We could not understand why the captain had scuttled his junk. Neither could we imagine how 12 men could handle such a large junk. We suspected they had mutinied as they all owned many more personal effects and clothing than is common, but they denied it.

Alexander Robertson decided to take them to the officials to demonstrate his good faith to government. We took them to the mouth of the Shanghai River and reported to Admiral Kwong and then handed them over. Robertson gave each some money which they said was too little. We did not see them again. We stayed in a building and the officials hung a large sign in front saying we had saved some shipwrecked sailors. We then sailed up the Woosung River into Shanghai. Several of our Chinese crew were recognised and told to halt the ship for consultation but we preferred talking after arrival at Shanghai. The local officials became abusive at our failure to stop but we continued. We anchored in the river and put out a boat with a flag with Chinese characters on it quoting a saying of Confucius about welcoming foreigners.

Hundreds collected and were delighted with the flag. Robertson went to Admiral Kwong’s junk and interviewed him. He asked if we came to trade and said we must get permission from Peking first. We said we would continue up the river whether he permitted it or not. We followed a deep channel of 7-8 fathoms on the northern side and crossed to the other side at the first turn and continued the 14 miles to Shanghai.

At Shanghai we interviewed two senior officials, Sing and Wan, privately. They permitted trade illegally by connivance. They requested a percentage of sales and introduced a merchant who came on board to see our piece goods. We took the long boat into Shanghai finding an estimated 1,300 junks moored in the river. Every day 40-60 new junks arrived. The waterfront in front of the Tien Hau temple was lined with officials. Our flag with Chinese characters was again admired. After a meeting, we adjourned to our ship and waited six days but no-one returned visit. Some poor soldiers had to watch us from tents on the shore. They must have been cold.

We went again closer to Shanghai but Sing and Wan then denied the previous agreement. We felt justified in bringing the ship closer but we only had ten effective crew and did not feel we could safely take it right in to Shanghai. We could buy anything we wanted but could sell nothing. We then met Admiral Poon who permitted us to enter the city and buy or sell what we liked. At the same time he gave orders for the city gate to be shut and hurried off. A villager who became too curious about us was arrested and pilloried in front of the house we stayed in. A sign above the pillory said he was punished for communicating with foreigners.

We asked for provisions and received a lot of livestock and flour but no rice (the Imperial edict prohibiting their giving us provisions referred to rice and water, which they construed literally). The officials refused all payment for the food. We left on 3rd December. Some troops were aligned along the bank and shot at us ineffectually. A hundred well dressed men outside the fort did so also and we gave them a broadside. The officials told us they could not stop us trading outside. They asked us to go to Ningpo ‘where two of our countrymen were waiting’ and take them off. We heard that, after our departure, they pulled a chain across the river. They told the Emperor we had visited only to buy planks and nails. We were generally treated much better than when we came in the Amherst. We hope Shanghai will soon be open to our commerce.

We proceeded to Chusan. Fishermen set up temporary huts on the shore there in the summer months. The monsoon blows north west here and we found a good anchorage at Ta Tseih, the third most northerly island. Ma Tseih is to the south and has a tolerable harbour of 3 fathoms.

On 7th January we saw a large wall built along the coast. It was Kin Shan, a defence built in the Ming against Japanese wako pirates. These colossal constructions are numerous around China. From a distance it looked magnificent and impregnable but close-up it was decayed. Most of the forts along its length had neither garrison nor cannon. We tried to get ashore in the jollyboat but the tide was out and ½ mile of swamp separated us from the coast.

On 8th January we steered for Cha Pu, the emporium of Japanese trade. We saw a huge Japanese junk, about 10,000 piculs (600 tons) burden. These make two trips a year. The staple item of trade is Japanese copper. China returns some manufactures and produce. The trade is an Imperial monopoly and all the crews pay for the privilege. We tried to go aboard but the Japanese refused us. This was the only unfriendly incident on our voyage. The Chinese officials came out and asked what provisions we wanted but we did not intend at first to enter Cha Pu and declined the offer. Later we thought Cha Pu too attractive to miss and went ashore.

The anchorage is shallow and all the junks were aground at low water. There are many fine shops but the streets are narrow and crowded. The main part of Cha Pu has a massive wall in poor condition. Canals bring water throughout the city and provide passage for boats. All the surrounding area is under cultivation. This is silk country and the people appear affluent. The Portuguese used to have a factory here but no trace of it remains.

The officials tried to ignore us but we went ashore. A Manchu General who had arrived with his troops from Hang Chow gave a formidable display by pitching his tents all along the landing area. His troops were equipped with muskets and lighted matches with which to drive us back to our boats but as we advanced they retired and soon the common people in the background surged forwards between the army tents to look at us. The general sent more officers but he had lost control and we were inundated with questions from the fascinated populace.

Within a few days the officials adopted a new strategy of conciliation and allowed us to explore everywhere. We had a brief interview with the general in an empty hut. He was seated on the sole chair wearing a red coral button and some old woollen clothes. A sole minion was ordered to commence the kow-tow as we entered but we did not feel inclined to emulate him. We told him he did not understand the common rules of hospitality. As he provided us no chairs, we will leave. And we did. An aide was sent after us promising chairs but we told him foreigners never change their minds.

Later we met the local Customs official, a young Chinese of polished manners, who told us the Manchu are rude and he would make up for the breach. Subsequently we were well treated. The Governor of Chekiang sent a Manchu official of the Imperial household to interview us. He was an elegantly mannered man and a skilled diplomat. He professed astonishment at the excellence of our ship, its hull, rigging and armaments. He examined a fowling piece and considered it a ‘destructive weapon of which we have no equal’. He thought it fortunate we were friends and had come solely for trade. He said he would report his findings to the Emperor. He said he had seen our last embassy (Macartney 40 years before or Amherst) and was acquainted with the causes of its failure having been involved in the business. We hope he sent a true account to Peking.

Later the Chekiang Foo Yuen himself came to Cha Pu and we were very well treated. We are under a great obligation for their hospitality. No restrictions were placed on us. Whenever we sent a ship ashore all the shops were opened. We visited a small island north of Cha Pu which had a Buddhist temple and school.

On 17th February we arrived at Kin Tang Island, the second of the Chusan group. Many Chinese government boats were awaiting us but we declined to speak with them. They followed our ship so closely that eventually we had to acknowledge them. Admiral Chin came aboard and we conciliated him. Several officers came on board and professed themselves to be merchants. Fortunately our understanding of trade and of the Chinese enabled us to recognise them. Most of the Chusan islands are thickly inhabited. A few are occupied only seasonally. There are many excellent harbours. In the past we traded here for almost a century but never surveyed the islands. The rapid tides and currents of the area require a good survey before we can establish permanent trade here. Raw silk, rhubarb and green teas are produced on the mainland opposite. The fishermen and merchants of Chusan own about 300 junks.

The main island is Ting Hai and has an excellent harbour. The ruins of the British factory are still visible and our country’s name is remembered. Some Ting Hai people asked us why we had left and we were unable to answer them. Now instead of fetching the articles we want from the places of their production, we have submitted to restriction at Canton. Only Japan has been more closed to us than China.

We visited Poo Tu Island briefly. It is occupied solely by priests. The only place in this area where placards against us were published was at Cha Pu and they were taken down by the officials themselves when we asked them to. The principal staple of the common people was sweet potato which they dice and air-dry and pound into flour.

Finally we should mention a beautiful harbour we found south of Ningpo called Shih Pu or Sik Po (San Men Wan). The people there are all traders. No country in Asia has so many good harbours as China. The commercial spirit of the occupants of the maritime provinces will overcome government attempts to restrict trade. The provincial officials already know this and the Emperor will soon.

Vol 6 No 8 – Friday 31st May 1833

Nathan Dunn & Co announce that Nathan Dunn will retire 1st June 1833 and the firm will be continued under the same name by Joseph Archer and Jabez Jenkins.

Vol 6 No 8 – Friday 31st May 1833

Two assistants of Ah Tom the senior Linguist (also known as Old Ah Tom, Kwan Ho, Foon Wo and/or Tsai Mo), have been promoted to Linguist. They are Ah Cheong and Ah Pun.39 Each has paid $10,000 of which $6,000 goes to the Hoppo, $1,000 each to the two King Ching’s (chief clerks in the Hoppo’s office), $100 to each of the six junior Customs officers and the rest to the innumerable hangers-on. There are now 5 Linguists. We exclude Ah Chow since his attempt with Fuk Tsuen to become a Hong merchant last year.

It is now said that Fuk Tsuen agreed to pay the Hoppo $30,000 for his licence but has only paid $10,000. He has to pay the balance before he can get the licence.

Vol 6 No 8 – Friday 31st May 1833

The shortage of rice in Fukien does not seem to affect prices here but the officials have issued another edict against hoarding.

We should mention that a rice cargo was recently charged between 300 – 900 Taels to bring it up to Whampoa notwithstanding the express Imperial edict that there will be no charge on rice imports. A recent Dutch ship that bought a rice cargo had to pay $50 for its port clearance certificate because the Captain had brought his wife to Macau. Yet the officials tell the Emperor that trade is prosperous and the barbarians are grateful. It is difficult to convey to distant readers the ubiquity of squeeze on all aspects of commerce here.

Vol 6 No 8 – Friday 31st May 1833

Concerning the trips recently made up the east coast, the Hoppo has told the Emperor that trading at Canton is good and the foreigners have no reason to go elsewhere. The Viceroy, Foo Yuen and he will ensure the Chinese navy prevents further trips. They will also ensure the Hong merchants do not cheat foreigners and that Customs officials take no more than the tariff for duty. They undertake to report any offenders to the Emperor for punishment.

Vol 6 No 9 – Monday 17th June 1833

Notice – Tak Qua (a shopman) who has traded as Tak Shing in ivory and tortoise-shell at 4 Old China Street for forty years, has moved to 10 Poon Ki Qua Street (which we call New China Street) and has no further connection with the old address.

Vol 6 No 9 – Monday 17th June 1833

The insurrection in Taiwan continues. Cantonese are fighting Fukienese and the former are supported by the officials. Thousands have died.

Vol 6 No 9 – Monday 17th June 1833

A list of British imports and exports to / from China is given for the past year. Bullion shipped out is said to equate with $4,825,755 Sp.

Vol 6 No 9 – Monday 17th June 1833

The Hong merchants, at the behest of the provincial government, have been encouraging foreigners to bring rice to Canton. They intimidate domestic rice dealers from involvement with us but themselves offer very low prices for our supply. There is a high demand in the famine areas and the governor is trying to get us to supply cheap to improve his credit with the Emperor. Against this background we publish a recent Edict on the subject:

“Canton has abundant supplies from the three types of fishing and the seven types of agriculture. The population is large. In the reigns of the Kien Lung and Ka Hing Emperors, foreigners were permitted to bring rice without paying entry duty. This privilege was renewed in the 4th year of the To Kwong Emperor. If they then take an export cargo they must pay the usual duty on it. The Emperor has agreed to renew this privilege but this year the barbarians have brought little rice. We fear it is because the junior staff extort from them.

“Every rice ship has to pay some duties – opening the 2nd bar and direct duties are 480 Taels, weighing the rice is 32 Taels and the grain superintendent’s fees are 116 Taels. No other fees may be levied but some sordid men at the Customs House are levying other charges.

“The barbarians come a long way to bring rice. They are allowed a return cargo. No extortion beyond the customary fees is allowed. All those fees that are not in the tariff are disallowed.

“But foreign rice easily spoils having been exposed to the humid sea air. It must be sold quickly. The Hong merchants who receive the rice and the rice shop owners who retail it should indicate the value they are agreed to pay early so the barbarians can sell quickly. When the rice is discharged it should be distributed and sold quickly. No monopoly in rice is permitted and no export is allowed. Whenever the Hong merchants receive rice cargoes they must advise the government so it may be examined and arrangements made for its quick sale. No extortion is permitted.”

Vol 6 No 9 – Monday 17th June 1833

The people we call Chuen Chow men (Chin Chew in the original) are found all along the coasts of China. They come from Fukien. They mostly come from Chang Chow foo, Tung Gan heen, Tsuen Choo foo and Hing Hwa foo all in the south of Fukien. The inhabitants of eastern Kwongtung (Chiu Chow) are almost indistinguishable and we also call them Chuen Chow men. Most of the emigrants to Cochin China and Thailand are Chuen Chow men. The Fukienese are more numerous but the Chiu Chow men are richer. Taiwan, Hainan and the Peng Hu islands have colonies of Chuen Chow men. All the seaports of the Empire up to Ningpo swarm with Chuen Chow men. They also fish the Gulf of Chih Li, the Yellow Sea and the Taiwan Straits. They live on their boats and infrequently return to their families, preferring the perils of the sea. They are haughty, stubborn, cruel and violent yet generous and honourable (much like us).

On the anniversary of Lao Tse’s birth they make tracks of red embers and run through them barefoot. They are skilled navigators and might invent a more seaworthy boat if allowed but they are restricted to the traditional design by law. If a Chuen Chow junk deviates from the approved design it is treated as foreign in China and made to pay a high duty on its cargo – this would affect their export trade from Thailand and Singapore to China. All Fukien men are natural traders throughout their lives. The gain of a candareen is as interesting to them as the gain of $1,000. I know them well. They are the best navigators in China but poor mechanics and agriculturalists. Their province is stony and barren so many take to the sea. They kill more of their female children than other provinces but a good minority of the male population emigrates and this maintains a balance.

They are a brave people. They were the last to surrender to the Ching. Koxinga is a provincial hero. Their partiality for foreigners gives us the hope that they will be the means of promoting foreign trade in China but it causes them to be stigmatised as traitors. Nevertheless they admire our governments in the Straits and Burma and the huge funds remitted from thence to Fukien shows the benefit of our administration. Their language is difficult to speak and quite different from other dialects but it should repay study. Medhurst’s Fukienese Dictionary, now published at Macau by Morrison, should attract more European study. It is the language of trade everywhere in China except Canton.

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

Several cargoes of Java rice have arrived concurrent with an official order to the Hong merchants to buy 20,000 – 30,000 piculs for a neighbouring district. The Hong have intimidated the outside men from bidding but are making very low offers themselves. The price in our ‘Prices Current’ ($1.80 – 2.20) is accordingly purely nominal. Meanwhile the export of rice from Manila has again been forbidden. Surprisingly the retail price of rice is dropping locally and the Hong merchants, by their low offer price, may be responsible.

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

Charles Gutzlaff proposes to edit a Chinese language newspaper for the information of the natives to counteract the superior and exclusive notions they hold. It will be a monthly. It will not report politics or any other contentious issue but focus on geography, astronomy, philosophy, etc.

Subscriptions are invited for six months at $1 per month minimum which buys 7 copies for distribution to Chinese acquaintances. Each issue will have over 20 pages. 23rd June 1833

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

All British ships are ordered by the Select Committee to surrender their licences to the Company on arrival at Macau / Lintin.

We hear that the Select has asked the Hong merchants to not secure any British-flag country ship applying to come up to Whampoa.

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

The new paper The Evangelist in Macau has been suppressed by the Portuguese Vicar-General after publication of its 4th edition. If we oppose each other for trifling religious or commercial reasons, we will never make any progress with the Chinese.

The new Governor Bernardo Jose de Souza Soares Andreia is said to be a liberal-minded man. We hope so.

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

The country traders have selected Kum Sing Moon (Kiao Island off the Heung Shan coast north of the Nine Islands) as their future anchorage during the summer monsoon. It is conveniently near Macau.40

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

A Parsee has been caught attempting to smuggle carnelians from the Fort William at Whampoa to Canton. They were contained in every piece of the man’s baggage and might easily have been discovered by the Hoppo’s men. The sentry on the ship’s steps discovered the offence. It was the servant of a Parsee merchant who carried the smuggled goods.

The risk to the Fort William was immense. It is customary to leave all goods that might attract heavy duties at Lintin. We advise our Bombay readers that there are numerous ways of getting contraband to Canton from Lintin without endangering a ship. We hope the Bombay shipowners will start a bonding system on all passengers boarding for China.

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

An American ship bringing a rice cargo has paid bribes to the Hoppo in excess of the levels of duty that he has just published as correct in his Edict. The consignee was charged comprador’s and Linguist’s fees. He paid the extra charges of $470 because the chop boats (for off-loading) and the coolies were withheld until he did so.

A British ship with rice also arrived and received the same request. Its master sent a petition through the Hongs to the Viceroy and his reply was to insist only the legal duties be collected. The Customs men then said there had been no withholding of boats or coolies and delivery took place correctly.

The situation is that arbitrary fees will still be demanded and consignees must show firmness and be prepared for delay if they intend to avoid them.

Vol 6 No 10 – Monday 15th July 1833

Peking Gazettes of 27th March report the birth of another son, Yih Hin, to the Emperor.

Vol 6 No 12 – Monday 5th August 1833

The Hoppo has repeated his attempt to prevent the three new Hongs, established in 1831, from trading. He seems to want more money from each first. The Select prevented his succeeding last year as all these exactions are paid eventually by the foreign trade. We hope they will again oppose him this year.

Vol 6 No 12 – Monday 5th August 1833

Our competitor the Chinese Courier (a new English-language newspaper being published in Macau) has a letter from “A Merchant” criticising our report of the attempted smuggling of carnelians by a Parsee from the Fort William.

We were not complaining about Parsees generally although they are well known to be involved in all sorts of smuggling at Whampoa. It was to protect the Fort William, at the request of its Master, that we included the story.

A similar event occurred last year on the Edmonstone involving a Chinese shopman. He was caught and had to pay off the Hoppo. The Customs House officer, who had earlier accepted a small sum from the shopman to permit the goods to land, was also squeezed. That case was different in so far as it involved a conspiracy between the shopman and the Customs House man but not the consignee.

There is another recent case, similar to the Fort William incident, involving the Caledonia in which Parsee servants were again responsible. A large number of carnelians have been found in their baggage.

Vol 6 No 12 – Monday 5th August 1833

Edict of Viceroy Loo to the Hong merchants:

“In 1824 Viceroy Yuen, Foo Yuen Chin and Hoppo Ta requested that foreign ships bringing only rice cargoes be exempted from measurement duty on their import but that they pay the usual duties on any exports. The Emperor agreed. At that time the Pu Chin Sze warned that foreigners are greedy and will probably bring other cargo under the rice and try to smuggle it in. He proposed a minimum import of 4,500 piculs of rice to qualify for the remission of measurement duty and the then Viceroy Yuen approved it.

“Then the Nam Hoi and Poon Yu magistrates said the foreigners have few large ships and many small ones (the ports at which they load rice have limited draft) and if the ship carries a full cargo of rice, although less than 4,500 piculs, it should qualify for remission of duty. This implied a search of the ship to ensure no other cargo is carried.

“Now I find that while many ships are bringing rice, the retail price does not fall. I also find that many ships come with a mixed cargo or, at least, not fully laden with rice. The foreigners are solely concerned with profit. They might hoard rice at their receiving ships or buy it locally and bring it into port as a means of covering their smuggling of other goods.

“The Hoppo has ordered, when the discharge of rice is completed, to examine the holds with representatives of the Viceroy, the security merchant and Linguist to confirm that the hold is empty.” dated 1st August 1833

(Editor – this Edict attempts to enforce a right of search on foreign ships at Whampoa. It cannot be conceded because the officials are dishonest and they will invent non-existent charges and extort more. All foreigners must resist it)

Vol 6 No 12 – Monday 5th August 1833

The Emperor repeatedly extols his officials to be compassionate to outside barbarians. In the Ta Ching Wui Teen we find “whenever outside barbarians meet heavy weather the officers must console the barbarians and give them provisions. The cargo which they bring should be bartered at the market price. When they have repaired their ship they should be sent back to their country.“

Vol 6 No 12 – Monday 5th August 1833

The Chinese distinguish four types of barbarian (Sei Yee) – Man from the south, Teih from the north, Keang from the west and Yee from the East.

In Imperial edicts the word yee is never used. Instead ‘distant foreigners’ are spoken of. Whenever an official or ordinary Chinese talks with a European he never uses the word yee.

Su Tung Po wrote that “the yee and the teih cannot be governed in the same way as China is ruled. They are like brutes and to apply to them the great principle of government would produce anarchy. The former Kings knew this and ruled over them by misrule. To govern by misrule is the way to govern them completely.”

Su’s opinion has since been reduced to practice. Let us hope for better days.

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16th September 1833

The eldest surviving (4th) son of How Qua Jr died on 11th September after a long illness. Of the remaining three, two are still boys and the other is in the Emperor’s service in Peking. The old man constantly tries to retire but the government refuses to allow it. We suppose it requires his wealth in case there are complaints. He previously paid 300,000 Taels to have his son’s name substituted for his own on the provincial government register of Hong merchants. That only saved him from daily attendance at the office.

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16th September 1833

The Hoppo Chung is to stay another year. Normally a Hoppo gets a year to graze in Canton’s ‘fields of bounty’ but this Hoppo will now continue for four. His skill in accumulation has improved with his length of service to make him one of the most redoubtable squeezers in living memory. He must have very powerful friends at Court to remain here so long. He has reportedly paid 50,000 Taels (nearly 2 tons of silver) for the extra year – presumably that is the annual tariff. The payment also gives him some protection against the complaints of the censors.

He gets a return on his investment through surcharges on the Imperial duties, squeezes on people caught acting improperly, sale of jobs in the provincial Customs department and licensing of various activities.

The delay in establishing new Hong merchants is due to his taxing their access to our money. He came here in debt due to a shortfall in revenue at his last posting. Not any more…

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16th September 1833

Cochin China – a popular magistrate has been imprisoned at Saigon by people close to the King. The populace protested on 5th August and freed him. An army unit was sent but its officers were killed. The magistrate has now been placed at the head of the revolt and a request for assistance has been made to Thailand which has had an army on the Cochin China frontier for several months.

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16th September 1833

There has been another flooding in Canton and the factories are under several feet of water. Boats are being rowed along suburban streets and even in parts of the city. The water in the north east part of the town has burst the city wall and flowed out destroying not only wooden shacks but brick and stone houses. Ten thousand houses have been swept away and one thousand Chinese are dead.

Many thousands of displaced Cantonese are being fed by the Governor and kept in temples or the out-houses of the rich. A request to open the government granaries has been sent to Peking (even by express this will take a month to come back). Several graveyards have been washed out and many remains have been seen floating down the river.

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16th September 1833

Editorial on foreigners’ complaints in China:

Most documents published by the Central and Canton provincial governments about foreigners reveal our indignity. They indicate our subserviency, our lack of manly spirit, our implicit submission to arbitrary, unjust and oppressive laws and our readiness to accept any amount of degradation in order to continue making money. Not one European nation can be excepted. All have been willing to dishonour their countries for profit. It is particularly disgraceful because it is unnecessary.

In a few days the annual proclamation in Chinese that commences each trading season will be posted on the walls of the factories and all around the Consoo House warning the foreigners not to consort with male and female prostitutes and all the other disgusting offences with which we are arbitrarily charged. They will require us to ‘tame our pride and obstinacy.’ They are intended to inculcate a belief in the mind of the common Chinese that we are animals.

The flag above Macartney’s boat as he made his way to Peking said in Chinese “English King’s ambassador bringing tribute to the Emperor” and Macartney left it flying supposing trade was more important than reputation.41 That attitude has characterised the tenor of British relations with China for half a century. Well, now we enjoy the fruits of our policy.

We are tolerated as a useful nuisance but confined to a few square feet at an extremity of the Empire. We purchase the privilege of trade by surrendering all domestic enjoyment (no wives and children). We are subject to obnoxious laws from which there is no appeal. We are represented to the common people as an inferior race to whom the Emperor compassionately extends the necessaries of life – tea, silk and lacquerware – while receiving in return useless luxuries like metals, cloth and fur. Our ambassadors are reviled, scorned, robbed and expelled as a matter of course. We have not gained as much for our patient endurance as we might have hoped for.

This situation results from the Chinese recognition of our love of trade. They feel they can take any advantage from people who come so far and, as they probed the limits of our endurance, they found we would tolerate anything for a profit. We have given them repeated examples of our docility. The Chinese are skilful traders. They find in us a willingness to let them make the maximum profit. The foreign trade has provided employment for huge numbers of Chinese in distributing and retailing our goods. At the same time we satisfy that insatiable national vanity that requires Chinese to insult and impugn non-Chinese. And we have yielded time and again in the belief they might otherwise stop trade. Our servility has fertilised their insolence. The self-sufficiency of China has been adduced as evidence of their independence of foreign trade – the Kien Lung Emperor said it in writing to King George III.

Now in Europe there is a growing interest in overseas markets to absorb the surplus of our mechanised factories. But concerning China, the appearance that they are careless of foreign trade and believe it insignificant has caused all commentators to be wary. It is being said that any assertion of our dignity here will bring an end to commerce altogether.

For those people we repeat that the Chinese government cannot end trade even if it wanted to. The smuggling business at Lintin is carried on with ease, regularity and certainty. The provincial government tacitly accepts it. In China as in all corners of the globe, trade finds a way and the people’s wants will be supplied. Napoleon’s Milan and Berlin Decrees failed in Europe, the exclusive laws of Spain failed in South America. The burlesque of Chinese military and naval power here can never stop it. The popular demand for trade is too strong. And yet our self-propagated gospel of Chinese exclusiveness has become the main obstacle to continuing and expanding it.

A long term foreign resident of Canton holds the view that foreigners have lost ground here ever since the unfortunate gunner of the Lady Hughes was delivered up for execution. Before that event foreigners generally held the upper hand, even after trade was confined to Canton. Since then the Chinese have claimed and publicised their superiority with increasing confidence. No doubt they were astonished at the ease with which they obtained our submission but now they are inured to it.

Some people say we should not demonstrate power to the Chinese as it is not our way to thus insist on trade. This is absurd. The Chinese authorities have difficulty deterring bands of robbers – they are inadequate against an insurrection. If we confront them they might prohibit trade. So what? The magnitude of the Lintin commerce is sufficient answer. They can do nothing.

We conclude with some recent proclamations that are mainly interesting for the contemptuous superiority that officials profess over foreigners.

Edict of the Hoppo:

“In 1809 Governor Pih ordered that all foreign merchants, when they have sold their goods and received an export cargo, shall immediately go home in their ships. If there are Hong debts outstanding, one or two foreigners may remain and the Hong merchants will report who stays and be responsible for them until they conclude their affairs whereupon they must leave. If any other foreigner tries to stay he will be driven away.

“Now we have foreigners of all nations living at the factories all year. They operate the smuggling business. This is because Hong merchants do not respect or enforce government instruction. Thus the foreigners become audacious and do as they please.

“This year the Hong merchants are to investigate and list all the foreigners living in Canton – when did they come, what Nation they belong to, in which factory do they live and why do they stay. How can this simple law be disobeyed? Is it intentional disobedience or disrespect for the law? They must now make close enquiry and report the true facts so I may act. If they connive with the foreigners they will be punished.”

The Hong merchants reply:

“We instructed the foreigners as you ordered. Jardine, Matheson and Low (two country traders and an American) have each replied that the World is at peace and ships now come every month of the year.42 They ask that the regulation be changed. They say if they cannot stay at Canton all year their own trade and that of their Principals will be ended.”

Hoppo Chung responds:

“I recite my previous Edict. Its purpose is to restrain the foreigners and assert my legal authority. Foreigners who remain without cause will be expelled. They may stay only a short period after their ships leave to complete their accounts. When finished they must go home or to Macau. They may not indulge themselves in Canton.

“This is an Imperial order. It cannot be ignored. You Hong merchants must enforce it strictly and without indulgence.”

Vol 6 Nos 13 & 14 – Monday 16th September 1833

Peking Gazettes – the floods and drought of recent months have produced famine throughout the Empire. There have been several instances in the last year of Imperial messengers being robbed and killed on their way to Peking. The official dispatches have invariably been left on the messenger’s body but the Emperor is distressed by their delayed receipt.

He castigates Provincial governors for negligence. He particularly mentions the prevalence of opium smoking in the Canton army and the misconduct of the Hunan army en route to Fukien for the late Taiwan insurrection (The first hint that Peking suspects opium use has disabled Chinese soldiers).

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

Notice – Lyall Matheson & Co of Calcutta announce Robert Lyall has joined the partnership on 22nd July 1833. He works at Calcutta with Charles Lyall and Hugh Matheson. The London partner is William Lyall of Lyall Wyllie & Co.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

James Innes operates his business from 1 Creek Hong (i.e. the 1st floor of Jardine Matheson & Co’s factory.)

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

W W Wood, the Editor of the Canton Courier, left Macau on the American ship John Gilpin for Manila 15th October 1833.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

The following 19 Company ships are at Whampoa:

Marquis of Huntly, Rose, Buckinghamshire, Duke of Sussex, Inglis, Thomas Grenville, Farquharson, Vansittart, Waterloo, Lady Melville, Lowther Castle, Bombay, Warren Hastings, Prince Regent, Herefordshire, Kellie Castle, Thames, Castle Huntly and Minerva

The following 7 country ships are in port:

Fort William, Hormanjee Bomanjee, Ann, Pascoa, Glenelg, Earl Clare and Lady Hayes.

They will all provide boats to participate in a regatta at Whampoa on 30th and 31st October.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

Russell & Co have been appointed agents of the Alliance Insurance Company of Calcutta and will accept such risks as their Principal permits. 24th October 1833.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

We recently mentioned the Hoppo’s demand for money from the three new Hongs. The Hoppo frankly says he needs the money, not as a bribe, but as security for the new merchants’ ability to secure ships.

The Co-Hong have declined to pay and petitioned the governor who has decided against the Hoppo. It is wonderful how resistance gets results and strange that foreigners are so reluctant to try it.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

The recent floods have all but swept away the coastal city of Chiu Chow at the north-eastern border of this province.43 The official papers mention 18,000 houses destroyed and many people drowned.

Many other areas are also affected. A subscription is being made. Officials have requested rich men to donate funds for food in return for honorary distinctions or advance of rank. Literary distinctions are also on sale at reduced rates. The various trades have been called to contribute according to their presumed wealth.

The Hong merchants have paid $80,000 of which $30,000 came from How Qua alone, $8,000 each from Hing Tai, Sao Qua and Ming Qua and $5,000 from each of Mow Qua and King Qua. The minor hongs paid $1,000 each.

The silk, cotton and salt merchants are rated at $40,000 for each trade. The officials expect to raise totally $1,600,000. This will be for food and for repair of river embankments.

The administrative fear is that famine will facilitate a rebellion. The stock in the government granaries is quite low for two reasons. First, this year’s land tax (collected in kind) has been remitted to the 2nd harvest so there is nothing from that source yet and second, there was nothing in them prior to receipt of what little could be obtained from the 1st crop. Most of our grain comes from Kwong Si and that province has been as badly affected by the flooding as Kwong Tung.

The Chinese attribute all natural occurrences to the morality of the Emperor. This Emperor must have been singularly amoral during his reign. Every year has brought one tragedy after another. The popular hope is necessarily that the Emperor is a good man but his officials are useless. Cleaning up the government would require great vigour, a quality this dynasty no longer displays. The throne is not dependant on military prowess. It is this background that makes the provision of timely aid to those suffering in this flood so important.

The Foo Yuen Choo reportedly asked one of the richest Cantonese for 50,000 Taels but was told to ‘go away’. He then cautioned the man that the loss of 50,000 Taels was preferable to the loss of everything – it seems the Foo Yuen is alert to the political danger. It has also just been reported that a man who lives a few miles out of Canton was burgled of 4,000 piculs of rice (about 250 tons). He unwisely complained to his local magistrate. All Chinese openly repudiate hoarding but it continues on a massive scale. Most foreign merchants have been approached to organise rice imports. In the interim many fields have been planted with sweet potato, taro and even wheat (which last the Cantonese regard as ‘too heating’ for their taste) as a stop gap.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

Marjoribanks, recently President of the Select, is now an MP (for Berwickshire, 1832-33). He has given notice of a motion

to note Taiwan has declared its independence of China and to consider its effects on the British and Chinese Empires’.

We hope the Commons will attend to this carefully. The occupation of somewhere in this area will soon be necessary and Taiwan is a candidate.

The Taiwan insurrection has ended with the granting of concessions and payment of bribes, the Chinese infantry having been beaten in most of their battles. It is generally assumed that the Chinese retain this rebellious island solely to keep any other occupier out.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

The new governor of Macau, Andrade, is cleaning up the administration there. Macau should be preferable to Whampoa but few shippers or consignees use the facility because of continual peculation. If the government was not so corrupt, all of the Straits produce and many other things would be landed there. If Andrade continues his reforms, he will restore the confidence of the foreign merchants in Macau and bring back its former trade.

The Cantonese government intention to levy the same fees from all ships regardless of size will mean that small ships could profitably use Macau in future. This will give the enclave a source of funds and, if it is allowed to flow through the community instead of being captured by a few top men, the place will be much improved.

Andrade has ordered all members of foreign religious missions resident in Macau to leave. This is because they are sending many missionaries into China in disguise and they seldom come back. Chinese officials are complaining.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

The Foo Yuen Choo has been permitted by the Emperor to retire. He has served here for four years and is to be replaced by the Foo Yuen of Kwong Si. Apart from the incident at the factories in May 1831 and the isolated report of his strange behaviour going to the fire at Shameen last year, Choo has hardly been seen by the foreign community.

It turns out that amongst all the myriad officials in Canton whose invariable interest is enriching themselves, Choo is spoken of as the one honest man. He could have made a fortune. All his colleagues struggle for personal gain and seize it at any risk. Had he simply done his job less well, the money would have rolled in. A real sense of grief pervades the citizens of Canton on his departure. He was genuinely a foo yuen, a soother of the people. He retires to Chekiang province. Several deputations of Cantonese have queued at his yamen to plead with him to stay. It is a politeness but it is seldom offered to public officers in Canton. He was accessible to all the people but on bad terms with most of his colleagues and particularly the ex-Viceroy Lee who is a venal specimen. Some say his reason for retiring is partly due to ill-health and mainly due to disgust at the conduct of the officials which he has witnessed but been unable to change.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

The Emperor has sent some silk to the King of Cochin China as a special present because this is the year of his triennial tribute and because he cared for the crew of a Canton warjunk that was blown down onto his coast a few months ago.

In addition to these favours, the two junks from that country that are presently in Canton are allowed to trade without paying any duty.

Vol 6 Nos 15 & 16 – Thursday 24th October 1833

A correspondent has offered to send us information on Chinese law. We all know that it is the disobedience of Imperial law by local officials at Canton that causes the difficulties for foreigners in China. We have previously mentioned the laws of the Tang and Sung dynasties. The Yuan dynasty was particularly friendly to foreigners. Even the Hong Hei Emperor was fair minded about us. It should not offend the Chinese to be reminded of the principles of their ancestors. However, it is regrettable that the Jesuits, who had access to the government archives and even the Emperor, never assisted their countries by explaining and introducing their own national customs to the Court.

Now English commentators are pressing us to obey the laws of China, we might reasonably ask ‘what are they’? In the autocratic Chinese system the Emperor’s edict is law. Those edicts that concern foreigners should have been sent to Canton for our information. They should be published to put an end to fraud and deception. We deplore the fact that for so many years we have not referred to them in our disputes with provincial officials.

It is also the case that there is no Customs tariff published in English. Both the Imperial edicts and the Chinese Customs tariff are in our possession and we hope to receive translations of the relevant parts before long. The Hong Hei Emperor granted extensive liberties and privileges to foreigners trading at the principal emporia along the coast. We should like to publish that document as well. So long as our actions are founded on the instructions of the Emperor we can expect justice on our side. This can prevent future misunderstanding until such time as the situation between our countries is settled.

Vol 6 No 17 – Friday 15th November 1833

For sale – the privileged tonnage of the late A L Mundell, 4th Officer of the Indiaman Vansittart, is for sale by tender. 2 tons plus 1 ton indulgence (packages in the latter not to exceed 30 catties each).

Vol 6 No 17 – Friday 15th November 1833

HMS Magicienne (Plumridge) arrived 5th November from Manila and will sail for Madras or Bengal. Chinese officials are apprehensive about the visit. We do not know why she is here but it’s a good chance to remit some silver in safety.

Vol 6 No 17 – Friday 15th November 1833

An express has arrived from Peking cancelling the ex Foo Yuen’s retirement. It is said that the reason for the abrupt reversal is his bewailing the venality of Canton and his prophesy of a commotion within 10 years.

The villainy of the corrupt conspiracy that runs this province and procured this change in Peking is incredible.

On 1st November the well-respected comprador of an English firm was seized in front of the factories by a military officer, imprisoned and ransomed for $80. No explanation for the imprisonment or extortion was offered him. The English firm has complained to the Hong merchants and they to the Viceroy but nothing has yet eventuated.

The conspirators are so strongly bound that redress is unlikely. Our servants are particularly exposed. On the one hand they take our money for service; on the other they must routinely and regularly report something about us to satisfy the government officials.

Vol 6 No 17 – Friday 15th November 1833

Vote of thanks to Wm Jardine – Several Company ship commanders and officers, customers of Jardine (he sells their privileged tonnage), held a meeting to express their gratitude to him. They raised a subscription (both here and in England) for the purchase of a piece of plate. A drawing of the plate will be left at the bar of the Jerusalem Coffee House in the Factories for a month for inspection. The following address was presented to Jardine:

“The Company is to be dissolved and this is the last season we will come here. We cannot leave without thanking you for your help. Season after season you have provided us with a succession of valuable kindnesses. There is not one Company servant who has sought your ready and gratuitous aid and been disappointed. When our fleet was kept outside and everyone was losing money, your House tendered its services without fee in executing our orders. Perhaps it will not be long before you yourself retire to Britain. We hope you will take this memento to recollect our gratitude.”

Vol 6 No 18 – Thursday 5th December 1833

The President of the Board of Control (Charles Grant is the present incumbent) has proposed a Bill to the Commons concerning the Company’s monopoly. We have not seen the Bill but Mr Grant’s resolutions are in the English papers:

  • The freeing of trade to Chinese ports is the first provision.
  • The Company will transfer to the Crown all its assets and liabilities and the Crown will assume all the responsibilities of the Company in India.
  • The Crown will entrust the Government of India to the Company under parliamentary regulation and the Company will receive such part of the revenue of India as parliament deems fit.
  • The Bill empowers His Majesty to commission fit persons to protect and maintain British interests in China.

These resolutions are communicated to the House of Lords and their early concurrence, sought in the interests of British commerce.

Resolved by C Grant, Lord Althorp, R Grant, R Gordon, S MacKenzie, Mr Macauley and the Attorney General.

Vol 6 No 18 – Thursday 5th December 1833

Grant, the President of the Board of Control, receives our admiration for his perfect knowledge of the situation of British trade in China. His paper of ‘hints’ contains many prophetic deductions:

“The free trade and the trade of the company now move in different spheres; and except as respects some of the articles of import from India to China, there does not appear to be any room for competition between them. The traders are in fact on good terms with the Company’s servants and they acted in concert with the Factory on the occasion of the last differences with the Canton government.

“But the growth of a body of free adventurers under the wing of an exclusive commerce is likely to lead to consequences of moment; and the division of the British residents at Canton into two commercial classes, so differently constituted and characterised, cannot but add to the embarrassments incident to the relations between the British and the natives.

“The free traders appear to cherish high notions of their claims and privileges. Under their auspices a free press is already maintained at Canton; and, should their commerce continue to increase, their importance will rise also. They will regard themselves as the depositories of the true principles of British commerce, and the feeling of submission which they now manifest towards the authorities at the Factory may gradually be expected to give place to one of rivalry, if not of hostility.”

Editor – May we never be unmindful of the honourable calling here assigned to us, as the depositories of the true principles of British commerce.

Vol 6 No 18 – Thursday 5th December 1833

Sir George Staunton is most recently remembered here for his opposition to the petition of the British merchants to parliament in 1831. He has since redeemed himself by moving a series of resolutions which appear to have been copied from our ‘obnoxious’ petition. Unfortunately when he did so, so many members left the chamber that no quorum remained to vote on them. He has nevertheless told the electors of South Hampshire that he now sees the matter in a ‘new light’ and is ‘not too proud to profit by experience’. It is satisfying to have such an important ally. His resolutions follow:

1. The tea trade is solely sourced from China. It produces £3 – £4 million in annual revenue to the British government and gives employment to much British shipping. Tea has almost become a necessary of life in these islands. The exports of Britain and India to China amount to millions in Sterling and afford a channel for remittance to Britain of that portion of the Indian revenues that is required to meet the home charges.

2. British commerce in China is valuable. It is confined to a port inappropriate both for the export of Chinese goods and the import of European goods. A vast field for commerce would be opened if we can encourage the Chinese government to allow our free trade with its population. The numbers of Chinese people and the resources of their empire equate with those of all civilised Europe.

3. All governments east of the Ganges, excepting the Dutch in Japan, now permit foreigners to participate in most of their trade although we were formerly excluded. The obstruction to trade in Cochin China and other minor states are partly mitigated at Canton where our trade is valuable, and readily capable of improvement, but precarious. All legislative measures we take should derive from consideration of the causes of the present position.

4. Instead of a commercial treaty with an Ambassador at Peking and a Consul at Canton, we trade under the arbitrary acts of the provincial government of Kwangtung. The trade is subject to severe burdens and the traders are oppressively restricted personally.

5. These evils are attributable to the Chinese government and not to any lack of firmness by the Company which, by the magnitude of its trade, has occasionally successfully opposed oppressive acts. The Company has achieved this where the disunited free traders would fail.

6. This sole check on the corrupt provincial government is now to be removed and some equal or greater check must be created under a commercial treaty without which we will be unable to protect our future trade.

7. All prior British embassies to Peking have failed to obtain this but the Russian government has successfully made treaties through commissioners appointed by each side. These Russian treaties not only regulate the frontier but deal with terms of trade.

8. If we cannot obtain something similar, British trade must, as a last resort, be withdrawn from China to some insular position on the coast where it may be continued without oppression or molestation.

9. Finally the state of trade in respect of homicide by foreigners in China calls for the intervention of this legislature. Chinese law on homicide is so unjust and intolerable that British nationals have not submitted to it for 49 years. On each occasion they object, a stoppage of trade results. This has caused us commercial loss and injury and has permitted the guilty to escape along with the innocent. We must create a British Naval Tribunal on the spot to adjudicate all such cases in future.

Vol 6 No 18 – Thursday 5th December 1833

A regatta was held at Whampoa at end-October and early-November. It concluded with two races – one of compradors’ sampans and the other of Tanka boats rowed by Europeans.44

Vol 6 No 18 – Thursday 5th December 1833

Peking Gazettes, 6th September 1833 – The Emperor is pleased with the ending of the insurrection on Taiwan which commenced in the intercalary 9th month, a period of bitter cold weather.

When Hoo Sung Yi, the Imperial commissioner, with Ching Tsoo Lo, the Fukien Governor, and Ma Tse Sing, the General, crossed the straits, they declared an amnesty to the misled people and negotiated peace by the 5th month of this year.

The settlers have returned to their fields and their troublesome leaders have been executed. Many officials have been rewarded by the Emperor with finger rings and silk tobacco pouches.

Vol 6 No 19 & 20 – Thursday 26th December 1833

John Templeton & Co announce that John Middleton has been admitted a partner on 30th November 1833 and the company has been appointed Lloyds Agent for Canton.

Vol 6 No 19 & 20 – Thursday 26th December 1833

The Portuguese Governor of Macau has expelled the Italian agent of the Pope’s Propaganda Fide and three French missionaries, who claim to represent valuable property in China. They are all accused of creating a channel of communication with missionaries in the interior.

Vol 6 No 19 & 20 – Thursday 26th December 1833

At the request of Wm Jardine, we append a copy of his response to the address of the Company’s ship captains that was mentioned in our last:

“My years in the Company were the happiest in my life but I believe I am not worthy of the high praise you bestow.

“I did my duty to my countrymen by lending them my experience of this market and you are simply being generous. I regret the impending dissolution of your service. The management of your ships and the nautical abilities of your officers are unequalled in commercial history.” Wm Jardine 12th November 1833

Vol 6 No 19 & 20 – Thursday 26th December 1833

Charles Grant’s resolutions to parliament for the China trade represent a momentous change, the full effects of which can but dimly be seen. The Chinese Empire is to be laid open to British trade and the previous exclusive system will gradually vanish. We have lost so much ground in the last century. It had appeared that the growth of Chinese encroachments had produced a growth in our submissiveness.

In the Company’s Charter of 1793 it was said ‘in case of any cession of territory by China and the establishment of a new settlement thereon, British subjects, with certain restrictions, may export British and Indian manufactures to it in Company ships at a moderate rate of freight.’ Then Macartney’s failure killed our expectations. The subsequent Charter of 1813 contained no similar provision.

Now Mr Grant has revived the prospect of trade to Chinese ports (plural). Grant’s speech is no longer news but we have to record such a luminous exposé of our situation. Our former chief Marjoribanks also spoke on our behalf in the debate but the newspaper reports all differ on what he said.

Grant’s speech (edited):

The Company has long held an exclusive charter for China trade. It gave up a similar charter for Indian trade a few years ago. What do we do with this trade to promote our interests? The voice of the public has been heard. The events of the last 10-15 years show the monopoly cannot be continued. Our former policy of restrictive trade is no longer recognised as a sound basis to commerce. All our merchants trading to America, Europe and Asia have for years been restrained by restrictive regulations. The spirit of the nation has been aroused and these artificial barriers are to be broken down.

Now we see other nations rising to commercial competition with us and seeking for maritime advantages, we should use our moral and physical abilities to assert our ascendancy and promote a liberal trade regime to attain that state of Imperial wealth and prosperity that is meant for us.

The China trade must be considered under this principle. We cannot continue the Company’s monopoly there for this and other reasons. First, the rapid diminution of Company’s profits from China trade is a consideration. It was this reason that earlier disposed it to surrender its monopoly on Indian trade. In 1830 the Company made £5,830,000 profits on China trade. Last year it made £5,633,000 (-3.4%).45 Second, our political relations with China, the peculiarity of the Chinese character, their national superstitions and their jealousy of the political interference of the Company, all require the monopoly to end. On the one hand it appeared in China to possess no authority even in small matters; on the other it governed rival princes and nations.

In 1715 there were no Hong merchants in China although there were privileged Chinese who dealt with us. Those shrewd people recognised the advantages that the Company had obtained in trade and set about establishing something similar for themselves. At first they failed but in 1760 they succeeded. It might be inferred that the end of the Company’s monopoly should induce an end also to the Hong merchants’ monopoly.

The suspicions of China have been aroused by our feats of arms throughout Asia. They have met us in the frontier states surrounding their empire. During the Nepal War of 1817 and 1818, they discovered our Resident at Kathmandu and were offended – we withdrew our Resident. In Burma the annual Chinese trade caravan was astonished to discover the Company’s army in possession of the capital city of Ava. That made a deep impression on the Emperor.

Another feature was the rapid increase in our China trade. The arrival of free traders caused inconvenience and embarrassment to the Company at Canton. In 1814 free trade was less that 14,000 tons; in 1826 it exceeded 60,000 tons. Company imports and exports to China in 1813 / 14 were together £13,500,000. In 1829/30 they were £11,500,000. During the same period, the private trade was worth under £9,000,000 in 1813 but became £30,000,000 in 1830. The increased numbers of private traders at Canton constituted a floating colony. This produced a possibility of conflicting interests. Grant thought there was no reason for alarm at opening trade to China. Neither did he expect it to be necessary, once having abandoned the monopoly, to later reinstate it if it appeared advisable.

He advocated the need to proceed gradually. The attempt of 1831 had produced safe results.46 The introduction of foreign merchants to the trade, by the equity of their dealing, had induced some security in the minds of the Chinese. The Company was diminishing its trade gradually so the Chinese could accustom themselves to dealing with free traders instead of relying on Company contracts only. This was exactly the way the plan had been developing and it was capable of insensible accomplishment. The Chinese are a commercial people and their ships trade throughout Asia.

They are prepared to alter their commercial system as is evidenced by a memorial from the Canton Viceroy in answer to advice from the Company that a resident foreigner at Canton was required to regulate trade after the charter was determined. The Viceroy (in a message via the Hong merchants) said

‘if your monopoly is dissolved, request your King to send a chief to Canton to manage affairs so there is someone responsible for your country ships and merchants. The celestial Empire’s laws are strict and immutable. You must make safe arrangements for the trade to continue tranquilly’.

The Viceroy himself commented:

‘if it is true we should make arrangements. The India Company should ensure that a chief who understands commerce comes to Canton for general management of affairs’.

Recently an experimental voyage was made along the Chinese coast. It discovered that the natives wanted trade in tobacco but were restrained by the officials. The Emperor has interdicted it and particularly the trade in opium which he wants stopped altogether. He has been advised that this can only be done by the expulsion of the foreigners which is a policy at variance with the professed mildness of Chinese administration. It would be necessary to appoint a chief or a commission of two or three to be permanently resident in China. They would necessarily have extensive powers. A supercargo (the Select) is powerful but these gentlemen would need extraordinary powers to act efficiently. His Majesty should establish such a commission of discreet men who could conciliate the Canton authorities and open more friendly relations. A separation of commerce from the political government of India together with routine impartiality should suffice in time to satisfy the Chinese. Indeed the Company’s supercargoes had already softened some prejudices of the Chinese by their prudent conduct.

Grant now adverted to Staunton’s proposal to first open negotiations with the Emperor. Any change would be hazardous without prior consultation. Bowing to Staunton’s unparalleled expertise, he nevertheless disagreed, and diffidently recalled that the results of previous embassies had been discouraging. Staunton had obtained recognition of the British character but some ambassadors had been disgracefully dismissed. The Russian case was quite different as China was obliged to treat with Russia in view of the long common border. Although the Russians trade with China, the terms of their trade are as humiliating as those at Canton. When the Russians sent two ships to Canton they were expelled as their trade was restricted to the land frontier. Even if we agreed to send an ambassador, this was not the time for it. It is for the Chinese to be alarmed at the changes and initiate discussions. There must be consternation in China before the ‘solution’ of the appointment of a national representative can be offered. If we first prepare the Chinese, their inevitable jealousies will be aroused and the negotiations endangered. Two years ago we considered sending another embassy but after careful consideration abstained from doing so.

Grant mentioned two points on the subject of trade. The Company’s monopoly formally ends in April 1834. Should the Company send more vessels to China thereafter? This was a matter for the Court of Directors but in Grant’s opinion they should not. On the return of the present fleet the market should be opened to all comers. The free traders would handle a considerable supply and the Company had two year’s stock of tea in its warehouses. Some say the Company should incrementally diminish its tea sales to allow the free traders an entry to the market. Others that they should sell it all off quickly. It is improper for this government to interfere in the private concerns of commercial men.

The duty on imported tea is presently 96% ad valorem. A continuation of ad valorem duties will restrain trade. Imports will have to be restricted to a few ports and only periodic sales can be permitted. Such restrictions fetter commerce, injure trade and reduce consumption. A fixed duty should be substituted, rated on the various types of tea, so it does not press more heavily on the poor. This is the advice of the Customs and the tea trade. It would make some teas cheaper and others more expensive. This was how America used to tax tea and it need produce no injury to the revenue.

The second point concerning trade relates to the size of ships allowed to trade to India in future. This is a difficult subject but many experts believe a limit should be set. I myself do not understand the need for it.

Marjoribanks then rose. He is one of the Company’s leading MPs. He had lived 20 years in China and had just returned. He had visited every Indian Presidency and was well acquainted with each. He entirely agreed with the views of Grant:

During his last residency at Canton he received a petition from the British country traders complaining that they had never been cared for by the British government. Provided England received Customs duty on 30 million pounds of tea a year, they said, it seemed she was satisfied. It is now apparent that the Chinese empire will be opened to British trade. The prospects for British trade are greater in China than in any other country. I wish to say that the country traders in China were adequately cared for by our Indian government. Now the system is to be changed fundamentally. British traders can continue to trade in China. What are they complaining about? The Americans have done so successfully for decades. Do British merchants need to visit America for instruction?

In my opinion the Hong merchants are generally inferior men of low station. They are held in such disrepute that good men will not associate with them. A large body of Europeans live in China in harmony with the natives. The increase in trade with China is due to opium. The supply has risen from 4,000 to 20,000 chests annually. Opium smoking is now endemic.

The To Kwong Emperor’s eldest son recently died of an opium overdose though in other respects he led a respectable life. The conduct of European opium traders has provided the Emperor with a bad impression of our character and all efforts to improve the relationship fail for this reason.

The government of China is autocratic. It naturally requires the submission of all. They believe barbarians may not have the protection of law because they are persuaded we would become litigious instead of settling our affairs amicably by discussion and negotiation.

The natives support trade but the government restricts it. I sent a fluent Mandarin speaker (Gutzlaff) along the coast of China. He entered all the ports and visited Korea, Loo Choo and Taiwan as well. Everywhere he went he was treated satisfactorily and found the people desirous of trade. I should tell you that Taiwan has rebelled against Chinese rule and declared its independence. A good understanding could be opened with these islanders and their island lies opposite the rich tea districts.

Vol 6 No 19 & 20 – Thursday 26th December 1833

Editorial – It is difficult to get information on duties payable at Canton. Each item of import or export is taxed as a result of an individual agreement made with the Hong merchant or Linguist who in turn makes another bargain with the Hoppo’s officer, some part of which enters the provincial treasury and a fraction of that is sent to Peking.

The most extraordinary aspect of the system is that foreigners have for so long endured it. Now that the old monopoly system is to end, we hope duties will become more predictable. If the English King asked the Manchu Emperor for a fixed tariff it would be granted.

The Consoo Fund should be adequate to pay ten times the amounts of duty owed to this government by bankrupt Hongs. The payment of duty by Hongs is an annual payment and the accumulation of it is one of the principle causes of their repeated insolvency. The Consoo Fund was established to provide compensation to foreigners for losses due to default by a Hong merchant. Today most Hong merchants have no idea of the size of the Consoo funds – it is known solely to How Qua Jr who has total control over it. Now, in consequence to the Select’s agreement last year, our right of claim on this fund, whatever it is worth, has ended and only nationals of other countries can claim.

The following paper lists the approved Imperial duties. Foreigners are seldom allowed to benefit from reductions in rates of duty such as those in the list. It is only surprising that we have continued to trade here for so long, which is solely due to the windfall profits we make from smuggling and nothing to do with the regular trade. In fact at Lintin we pay a regular tariff in bribes to the local officials but it is more tolerable and predictable than surrendering ourselves to the Hoppo’s pirates at Whampoa.

With the coming of free trade, the Lintin system will grow rapidly unless the British government makes proper arrangements with the highest Chinese authorities. Not only that, but a new Lintin will evolve off every port to which we wish access. This should amply demonstrate to the Chinese the impolicy of restraining trade. It is astonishing that our trading fleet can lie less than 70 miles from the Provincial capital, admirably managed, unharmed and flourishing year after year.

The Canton Customs House Book of Duties:

This is in four volumes with two supplementary volumes. It was published by the Yung Ching Emperor over a century ago to provide uniformity of collections. The first volume regulates the amounts of duty and the measurement charge on ships. It was published in 1725. The other volumes contain additional charges and regulations as they were proclaimed during the reigns of the Kien Lung and Ka Hing Emperors. Few of the printed copies have been updated except the one in the Hoppo’s office and, hopefully, the other Customs Houses.

At Canton where the payer and payee are separated by numerous intermediaries and the tax is paid by foreigners who have no connections in the Empire, many unlawful additions are levied and put into a grossed-up price for the goods involved. The surcharges are obscured by mingling the duty with the price of goods.

We are nevertheless publishing the formal duties in light of the changing situation. We will analyse the contents and compare them with firstly, the manuscript copies available to Chinese merchants and secondly, the revised Imperial revenue laws of 1823 which apply to Canton. It is supposed in Peking that a uniform tariff is applied throughout the Empire.

Volume One starts with an 1825 Edict of the Yung Ching Emperor:

“The Foo Yuen of each province will supervise the Customs department staff. He should show greater kindness to merchants. Our Customs officers are sometimes good and sometimes bad. It is impossible to prevent all extortion or, when merchants resist, to prevent their being bound and imprisoned by the magistrate and prevented from appealing to the Foo Yuen. In this way merchants have been oppressed.

“Now all goods chargeable to duty will be listed and large numbers of books printed. Every commercial venture will receive one copy. In Customs Houses, the tariff will be available for public inspection. It may not be concealed and thus extortion allowed to continue.

“This law is intended to eradicate all such illegal practices. You officers holding Imperial commissions should attend diligently to this and select only honest men as your Customs House examiners. Then you have fulfilled the duties of your station”.

To this is appended an edict of the Board of Revenue:

“We forward the Imperial will to all Foo Yuen and Customs Commissioners in the Provinces. In addition, you should remove all the attendants and hangers-on at Customs Houses who have no employment there so that only the regulated number of superintendents, writers and Customs House examiners remain”.

The tariff itself lists the goods in 16 classes in the early printed copies but this is increased to 20 [the extra four marked (New) below] in later manuscript updates:

1. Silk goods and woollens

2. Cotton and linen goods

3. Carpeting and matting

4. Hats, caps, boots and shoes,

5. Medicinal drugs

6. Miscellaneous articles

7. Folding screens, pictures, figures, lamps (New)

8. Coral, amber, pearls and precious stones

9. Measures, cutlery, silverware (New)

10. Clocks, watches, music boxes (New)

11. All kinds of carved work and musical instruments

12. Cups, vessels, boxes (chiefly snuff boxes but excluding those in 11 above) (New)

13. Paints, varnish, lacquer and stationery

14. Sugar, fruits, other comestibles and wine

15. Preserved game and marine delicacies

16. Odoriferous articles, pepper and tea

17. Oils, wax, alum and sulphur

18. Metals (mainly copper, iron, lead and tin)

19. Bamboo, timber, canes and coconuts

20. Tassel string, ivory, horn, skins and feathers

Everything that is novel is placed under Class 6 – ‘miscellaneous goods’ – and attracts a duty of 2 mace per 100 catties unless, in the opinion of the examiner, the duty is too small for the value of the goods, in which case the duty is assessed more proportionally with an ad valorem aspect.

In the Imperial Revenue Law all duties are classed in five groups – on clothing, foods, useful items, miscellaneous goods and repair articles for ships (this last contains the measurement and other charges on ships). These five appear after the list of 20 classes noted above.

The rest of the first volume contains rules for assessment of duty and a list of goods carried in the coasting trade on which duty may be reduced or remitted.

Measurement charges in respect of ‘western ocean’ ships are applied to first, second and third class ships:

  • First class is 74 / 75 covids or more long and 23 / 24 or more covids wide or where the product of the two exceeds 1,800. Such ships were originally charged 3,500 Taels, revised in 1831 to 1,400 Taels approx.
  • Second class ships are of shorter length and breadth and where the product of the two does not exceed 1,584. These used to be charged 3,000 Taels. Since 1831, it is reduced to 1,100 Taels.
  • Third class ships are 65 / 66 covids or less long and 20 covids or less wide or where the product of the two does not exceed 1,320. These were originally charged 2,500 Taels but are now charged 600 Taels.

The 2nd volume was published for the 1733 / 34 season when uncertainty over the duty on ‘miscellaneous goods’ had become widespread. It stated the comparative values to be used for most miscellaneous goods (those goods on which the 2 mace duty seemed inadequate). It also required a list from each provincial Hoppo at the end of his tour of all newly imported goods not previously listed in the tariff and their values. These were consolidated in the tariff and accordingly the 2nd volume grew between 1734 – 1803 to contain all these new items. The manuscript updates of the tariff continue after 1803 but they are inconveniently listed by date of introduction whereas the printed 1803 tariff classified them in the 20 categories above. This 2nd volume is also called the ‘comparative tariff’. Here is a sample:

Goods – Large clocks are equal to ten ordinary clocks; medium clocks are equal to five ordinary clocks. The duty on ordinary clocks is 1 Tael each

Goods – muskets are equal in value to one telescope; pistols are equal to one quarter of a telescope. The duty on telescopes is 4 Mace each.

Goods – drill is equal to inferior quality longcloth. The duty on longcloth is 2 Mace 2 Candareen per piece.

Goods – crude camphor is equal to one quarter value of refined camphor. The duty on refined camphor is 1 Tael per catty.

From this it may be assessed that a large clock attracts 10 Taels duty, a medium clock 5 Taels, a musket 4 mace and a pistol 1 mace. Drill is 2 mace 2 candareens per piece and crude camphor 2 mace 5 candareens per catty.

The 3rd volume contains a list of Chinese exports showing their estimated values for the purpose of assessing ad valorem export duty. Before the Kien Lung Emperor’s reign, this was 10% but since the first year of his reign it has been 4.9%. From the types of goods listed herein it appears this volume deals solely with western purchases and does not apply to native vessels at all.

The 4th volume is called the “Register of Fees and Charges”. This is a list of charges originally created by Customs House staff and linguists as additional duties for their own benefit. In 1726 the Yung Ching Emperor brought many of these into the formal tariff and over the following years they were all approved to be included. In 1761 their names were changed from the fatuous ‘presents’ of the Linguists to formal names. The regulations for application of these charges are arranged under the names of the large and small Customs Houses (at Macau) where they were first devised. There are some 50 Customs Houses along the rivers and coasts of Canton. The following two extracts illustrate how the system works:

  • Decision of the Revenue Board, 1748 – “At Canton besides the regular duties are ‘ship’s presents’, ‘percentage dues’, ‘piculage’ and ‘allowance for loss on melting’ that were charged by the officers for their personal profit. Between 1726 – 1729 the then Foo Yuen and Hoppo suggested these be transferred to the Revenue Account and we agreed. They were thereafter paid to Peking until 1736 when the then Hoppo Ching Woo Sai drew up a statement of the charges for Imperial sanction. In 1746 the Customs House at Canton burnt down and the Foo Yuen and Hoppo made recommendations for changes in the tariff before a new copy of it was sent to them. These recommendations were not approved as the existing charges had only commenced 10 years earlier. Then Viceroy Tsih of the Two Kwong suggested alterations. He:
Listed other duties levied at Canton that are not in the Imperial tariff

Defined some charges that were ambiguous

Corrected misprinted levels of duty

Removed eight duplications of duty

Omitted those duties that the Emperor had remitted.

“These amendments were all approved by the Kien Lung Emperor in 1748. The governor should now print a new tariff and have it openly announced and published so extortion cannot arise and the merchants are not disturbed. Any changes requested in future must be expressly proposed to this Board for approval so affairs at Peking and Canton proceed in tandem.”

  • In 1760 the Revenue Board decided that “the fees charged at Canton on foreign ships, as well as native junks travelling from foreign ports or from other provinces, by the Hoppo Lee Yung Piao were unknown. Specifically 30 ‘fees and presents’ and 38 charges for ‘inspection of holds’ and the like were so multifarious as to promote extortion. The new Hoppo Yu Pa She is ordered to check if they might be transferred to their appropriate places in the formal tariff.”
    Now the new Hoppo reports the ‘fees and presents’ to officers, official domestic servants, linguists and searchers are all inconsistent with the dignity of the Empire. We have renamed these properly and transferred them to the formal revenue account. The ‘percentage’ and ‘piculage’ fees which were divided into several items have been combined into one charge. We note some of the regular fees are liquidated amounts and permit evil officers to extort. We have fixed these at a certain amount. The traders have also been charged tax on food and boats provided to them. This appears improper except in the case of Customs House boats employed on surveillance of foreign ships. We have fixed this charge and transferred it to the formal revenue account. These modifications have erased all low and petty fees whilst maintaining the revenue in the same amount as hitherto. The tariff is simplified and the sources of illegality are removed. The alterations should be announced publicly. The Emperor approved this and requested that the term ‘devil ships’ in the tariff be amended to ‘western ocean’ ships.

The tariff then proceeds to the charges on foreign shipping.

  • The western ocean ship on arriving at Canton is to be measured. The product of its length multiplied by its breadth ascertains the ship’s class and it is taxed accordingly. A 20% discount is allowed. Payment is in silver and no percentage fee for ‘loss on melting’ is permitted.
  • Weighing fees of 1 mace 2 candareens are levied per Tael of silver paid in duty less a discount of 10%. The weighing scales in the provincial treasury are to be used.
  • A Port Entrance fee of 1,125 Taels 9 mace 6 candareen is levied on each ship (this is reduced to 810 Taels, 6 mace, 9 candareens and 1 cash since 1831). French ships pay 100 Taels more. Surat ships pay 100 Taels less.
  • A Port Clearance fee of 533 Taels 8 mace in sycee (reduced to 480 Taels 4 mace 2 candareens in 1831), discounted by 10%. Payment to be weighed on the treasury scales.
  • Foreign ships whilst in port pay a fee of 2 Taels 6 mace for the first month and 1 Tael 3 mace for subsequent months and pro rata. A 10% discount is allowed and 98% scales to be used (i.e. showing weights of 2% less than the treasury scales).
  • All imported goods are to be levied for duty at the tariff rates. 10% is added for losses by fire. A ‘piculage’ fee of 3 candareens 8 cash is payable on every picul (100 catties) of goods. An additional fee of 1 candareen 6 cash is payable on each Tael of duty due.
  • All exported goods pay 4 candareens 9 cash per Tael of estimated value. The sycee silver to be used for payment of export duties to be weighed on treasury scales and discounted 8%.
  • For every foreign ship taking a general cargo (i.e. miscellaneous or chow-chow cargo) 1 mace is payable in sycee silver discounted 10% and weighed at 98%.
  • On every report of a foreign ship landing bales of cloth, wooden barrels or chests a fee of 2 Taels is to be paid.
  • For provision of carpenters or painters to a foreign ship at Whampoa, 1 mace per head is due.
  • Every chop boat (lighter) provided for discharge or loading costs 2 mace 4 candareens and each sampan accompanying the chop boat receives 1 mace 2 candareens.
  • All imported goods that have cleared Customs are charged 1 candareen per picul (100 catties) on release from the warehouse for the transit up country.
  • All foreign ships pay a daily fee of 6 mace while in the river.
  • All foreign ships while discharging cargo pay 3 Taels 4 mace 8 candareens per day.
  • All above charges to be paid in sycee silver discounted 10% and weighed at 98%
  • All export cargoes on foreign ships attract a fee of 10% ad valorem. The silver used in payment to be of 93 touch and weighed on 98% scales.
  • On piece goods, 1 candareen per piece is levied in sycee silver discounted 8% and weighed on the treasury scales.

Then follows the tariff for native boats at Canton and at the various other Customs Houses throughout the province. The few regulations on Portuguese ships at Macau are combined with the rules for native ships.

The supplemental part in one or two volumes contains regulations fixing the numbers and wages of the Customs Officers and searchers and showing the minimum amount of duty they must collect for Peking. There are 53 provincial stations in Kwong Tung levying fees and 20 more for examining cargo only (including the one on front of the factories and the small one on the Praia Grande in Macau)

The agreed total of revenue to be sent to Peking annually is:

Duty collected at the Customs Houses

Duty on minor items

Duties of fixed amount

40,000 Taels

3,564 Taels

113,000 Taels47

Vol 6 No 19 & 20 – Thursday 26th December 1833

We received a complaint from Los Verdadeiros Amigos de Macau about our previous exposé of fiddles on importing goods to Macau. We publish below an extract (translated from the Portuguese) but the whole complaint is too long (it mentions Fearon repeatedly). We believe there are abuses in the Customs collection and foreign merchants are afraid to land goods at Macau, preferring the certainty but higher apparent cost of Whampoa. We still believe that remedial action would restore Macau to its former greatness. At the time of our previous exposé, there was a plan amongst the merchants to avoid Macau entirely and taking their goods to Canton. This can be activated at any time.

Letter to the Editor (in Portuguese):

The new Governor of Macau is trying to restore the commercial fortunes of the place. If the duties and landing charges were reduced below the cost of freight from Lintin to Macau this would attract business, particularly Straits produce which would almost entirely be landed here. Some obstacles remain.

The new tariff of 1831 does not address ‘per package’ or ‘weight’ fees that are applied so heavily on gruff goods. These fees exceed the duty on flints. On pepper and betelnut they amount to 27¾% of the duty. These fees should be abolished. If not, at least they should only be applied to nett weight as is the duty. A table of fees and coolie hire charges should be published as an appendix to the tariff. This would allow us to estimate the cost of landing goods at Macau.

The coolie hire fee is too high. Coolies earn 160 cash per day but the Customs House coolies require this every 1½ hours. They earn 20½ cash per picul carried. If I hire my own coolies I still have to pay a notional ½ hire fee to the Customs House for its (unused) coolies. Otherwise I have to wait until the Customs House can provide coolies to discharge my boat. Sometimes I wait two days during which time my cargo is lying alongside the quay and exposed to theft.

The boat hire is not a Customs House fee but if the Customs officers on board the boats would observe the weighing of the cargo (at the expense of the cargo owner) and prepare a Boat Note agreeing the weight as reported by the ship to consignee, the boatmen would either have to deliver the full cargo or explain any shortages whilst it was in his care. With rice, pepper and betelnut there is always a 1-2% shortage although they are landed bagged.

If these modifications were made and the transit duty on goods assessed at not more than 1% of value, then the entrepot trade of Macau could be developed and assured.

The future trade with China will probably be in smaller ships than those of the Company. The freights on smaller ships are too small to allow their owners to pay Whampoa charges and most of these ships would prefer to come to Macau. I expect trade will soon become too extensive to permit trans-shipment from small ships at Lintin.

Sgd Anonymous, December 1833 at Macau

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

The Canton Register will in future be issued weekly.

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

In the 8th number of the 2nd volume of the Chinese Repository is an article ‘Free Trade with China’ which contains proposals for extending our political connections with the Chinese government and our trade with its people. It is clearly the work of an experienced trader with long residence here. It is accordingly authoritative and we will be quoting from it in our next.

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

Respondentia Walk48 may not be our lawful ground but it is the only area where we can exercise. We have many Chinese barbers and entertainers in it. We hope the Chinese will note that we willingly share with them the only area which we have for exercise.

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

When Plowden and Davis came to Macau from Canton a few days before Christmas, the Hoppo was annoyed that they had not applied for passports. He accused the two men of clandestine flight from Canton.

The Hoppo is not a provincial government official. He is not involved in the political management of the Two Kwong. The Hoppo is a servant of the Imperial family. His job does not require political acumen, historical knowledge, civil courage or honesty. He collects the revenue for as long as the present system continues. He should not involve himself with the private activities of Englishmen.49

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

The Hong merchants have bought a piece of silver plate to present to Plowden on his retirement. It is a pleasure to see them adopt European expressions of esteem.

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

Fast crabs at Fukien – The Emperor has been informed by the Fukien governor of several fast crabs at Amoy (Ha Mun) and Quemoy (Kum Mun). They have many oars and their speed is uniquely fast. They have cannon and muskets and other arms. They are adapted for robbery or smuggling (These are the ships, like large dragon boats, that smugglers use to get our goods to market).

The Governor says the whole Fukien coast is visited by them and they also operate on the Kwangtung and Chekiang coasts. When the Imperial forces infrequently catch one, the crew abandon ship and swim ashore.

So far he has caught twelve oarsmen and they told him of the location of one of their bases. He attacked this in stormy weather when the smuggling craft could not put to sea and captured 20 fast crabs and some ammunition.

The Emperor replies to the governor that he alone is responsible for what occurs in his Province. He rebukes him for partial success.

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

Revenue problems – Each province only remits to Peking the agreed amount from the Customs receipts, land tax, licensing fees etc. Any surplus is kept for running expenses and the anticipated costs of donations for famine relief etc. Additional income may be subscribed by private people or donated by the gentry (who will donate in return for civil and military awards). These help make-up the amount. But if a very serious disaster befalls, a Province may call on Peking for additional funds.

The Board of Revenue reports that since the end of 1830 it has paid four provinces (the Central provinces) for poor relief and two (Kansu & Hupeh) for military expenses and has not yet got a refund. It requests a rigid economy in public works.

Vol 7 No 1 – Tuesday 7th January 1834

The Province of Chih Li contains the Imperial homeland in Manchuria. The Governor notes none of his military officers have war experience. He requests to exchange military officers with Kansu. The Emperor has allowed it noting ‘it is for the defence of the Imperial lands and not a precedent for other Provinces’.

Vol 7 No 2 – Tuesday 14th January 1834

The British government has considered free trade with China and decided to protect it. We quote from Charles Grant’s letter to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Company:

“experience and observation teach never to distrust the power of commercial capital, when free from artificial impediments, to open for itself fresh markets and to scoop out new channels of operation.”

Now with British support our commerce must ever flourish. The principles under which the Company obtained a monopoly of China trade were false. It has for many years been part of a combined system (with the Lintin contraband trade). It has been a complicated marriage but now principles must give way to private expectation. The only thing that might threaten our trade is inadequate protection of it by Britain.

Vol 7 No 3 – Tuesday 21st January 1834

Letter to the Editor – Last November two of the Company’s ship commanders were travelling by boat from Macau to Canton when they were stopped by an official, confined briefly and their trunks and writing desks seized and taken to Canton where the locks were forced and contents searched.

Their personal effects were kept for 4-5 days in spite of repeated requests from the head of factory through the Hong merchants for their return. Finally the items were sent to the British factory with contents all mixed up, putrid food placed with clothing etc.

This case evidences that we will submit to indignity rather then imperil trade.

I have been keeping old numbers of your paper and see that, at the end of 1829, two officers of the Vansittart were seized in similar circumstances. Only one country ship was then at Whampoa but the private merchants instantly made spirited attempts at protest and got the men released.

How do we explain this? Is our liberty less respected now than formerly? Is the present Governor tougher than Viceroy Lee? Or is the Select Committee uncharacteristically supine now?

Well the present governor seems more liberal to me than Lee was although the Hoppo is the reverse. (for example, you mentioned he scolded our late chief for ‘clandestinely leaving Canton’)

These seizures may occur again and I hope, when the British authorities arrive, they will be willing to protect us. In the meantime, until we have a Consul, it is good to know we can obtain redress if we exert ourselves. Sgd ABC.

Vol 7 No 3 – Tuesday 21st January 1834

Report of the Bombay Committee for Steam Navigation:

The government steamer Hugh Lindsay has been plying between Suez and Bombay taking 19-23 days per trip. The costs to the ship of coal for four voyages a year is estimated at 150,000 Sicca Rupees which sum has nearly been raised by public subscription. One year’s proceeds from the Indian lottery suffices to continue the Hugh Lindsay on its route for two years regardless of freight from passengers and letters. We need another steamer at Alexandria or at least a fast sailing ship to link-up with Malta for conveyance to England.

The Governor-General of India says he agrees. He will make the Hugh Lindsay available to the community for four voyages a year from Bombay to Suez free of charge except for coal; indeed for the first voyage he will also pay for the coal. If the British community in India decides fast communications are worthwhile, a new postal tariff will be published to recover the extra cost. The receipts from postage and passengers are the funds that will make this new service economically viable.

The Governor-General has recommended to the Court of Directors that they set aside an amount of profits for the next few years to promote steam navigation between Great Britain and the Red Sea.

Vol 7 No 3 – Tuesday 21st January 1834

The Hong merchant Hing Tai dined Capt Aplin (of the Company) and his party in a hall facing the river on 19th January. The hall was comfortably furnished and carpeted with a Belgian carpet. It was warmed by an English stove. The room partitions were handsome trellises and the table was laid in the English fashion, albeit with chopsticks.

A succession of entrees were served of which only birds’ nest soup and beche-de-mer were identifiable. Wines from Spain, Portugal and France were served along with warm Siu Hing wine to accompany the dishes. Soup de la Reine was followed by sirloin, saddle, turkey, chicken and game with a variety of Chinese side dishes. Finally some fruit was brought to table. Many convivial toasts were proposed and the servants were well behaved throughout.

Vol 7 No 4 – Tuesday 28th January 1834

Several ships have arrived at Canton from Java.

Vol 7 No 4 – Tuesday 28th January 1834

Charles Grant’s East India Bill passed on 27th July 1833.

Vol 7 No 4 – Tuesday 28th January 1834

It is rumoured amongst the Chinese that a Lascar has been imprisoned in Canton. He is supposed to be the man who caused the death of a villager in the affray at Kum Sing Mun a few months ago. The shipping, in and out of the river, has been circularised and no-one is missing.

Nevertheless, the Company has published a notice on the gates of the British factory on 25th January asking for information to ascertain if the rumour is true and, if so, whether the Lascar is a British subject or in British employ.

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

Canton, 1st February 1834 – The partnership of Jabez Jenkins and J Archer trading as Nathan Dunn & Co is dissolved w. e. f. today and will in future be operated by William Shepard Wetmore and J Archer as Wetmore & Co.

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

We have received a copy of the new China Trade Act. The Act appoints three or more persons to be Superintendents of Trade in China to be based where His Britannic Majesty directs. They are empowered to protect and develop commerce and care for His Majesty’s subjects. They may accept no payment other than their salary. A tonnage duty may be levied on British shipping to China to pay their costs. They can make regulations and impose fines or imprisonment for breach. Courts of Justice will be established for trial of offences involving British citizens in China or on the high seas within 100 miles of China.

Editor – The tonnage duty on British shipping is a disadvantage to the British shipowner. How is it to be levied on the coasting trade (which we now expect to enter and dominate). A percentage of trade would be more equitable. Tea and opium are already heavily taxed. Should not the costs of consulates in China be paid from the general revenue of our country?

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

Marjoribanks has advised parliament on the effect of setting the date for the opening of the China trade at 22nd April 1834. He says this will mean that for the period between November 1833, when the Company’s last fleet sails back, and 22nd April 1834, other nations trading to China will catch our business.

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

The China Trade Bill is proceeding through parliament. The Times of 21st August has the following report:

The request that the costs of Consuls be met from the national revenue has not been met. Lord Strathallan thought the opening of China trade would not produce revenue advantages to England. “The Chinese government would not like the establishment of British courts on Chinese territory. A fee of 1% ad valorem on imports and exports and 5/- on British tonnage would be needed to defray costs. This will produce £20,000 – 30,000 and £50,000 respectively each year.” Lord Auckland clarified that the proposed levels of duties was not fixed and were offered for discussion. It was then agreed that 5/- tonnage dues and a maximum of 0.5% ad valorem on goods would apply.

Lord Ellenborough thought the proposed tax would destroy the trade. He thought the Consuls should themselves be permitted to trade and thus reduce their cash requirement. He thought the government could not stop the Consuls trading anyway – they might carry on business through nominees. He reminded the House of Lords of a recent case in which that had happened. No-one agreed.

The Duke of Wellington thought it would be impossible to establish courts in China without Chinese consent.

The following day the Tea Duties Bill was reconsidered at 2nd reading. Mr Crawford rose on behalf of the London agents of the China traders to complain insufficient time had been allowed to peruse the Bill. All the government negotiations had been with the Company. The free traders had told him firstly there were 8 classes of tea that belonged in the 2nd category (2/2d per pound) but were not listed there and would accordingly attract duty at 3/- per pound and secondly that the Company was exempt from auction duty when selling teas at public sale – the free traders should be allowed the same advantage.

Mr Spring Rice, for the government, said the new duties were already a reduction on the previous duties. The traders had been given sufficient time to protest. Now it was too late.

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

Locally, a qualified free trade has commenced with the country ship Sarah taking a general cargo to London (excluding teas) under a licence of the Select Committee. (NB – the ship has not yet sailed. It is in Jardine Matheson’s agency)

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

Edict of the Viceroy – the foreigner we arrested in connection with the affray at Kum Sing Mun surrendered to us voluntarily. He was not kidnapped. Why does the Company first say it knows nothing of the Kum Sing Mun affair and then try to intercede on behalf of the self-confessed culprit. They say he is blameless but fear he will be executed – this is incomprehensible. In cases of unintentional manslaughter the defendant is not executed in Chinese law.

Editor – the man is Eurasian. He was told he would be tried for manslaughter not murder and assured the proceedings will accord with foreign law. He then surrendered himself.

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

A commentary on the Chinese:

They are an honest and upright people. They characteristically help each other. When one is facing difficulty his friends rally to his aid.

The article continues with an exposition of the chit fund [wui], as operated amongst Cantonese friends and neighbours, to evidence their commitment to mutual aid.

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

A correspondent has provided some hints on policy to shape our future trade with China. We do not agree with all he has to say but publish his views below to promote discussion. The British trade representative, when he comes, should not be trying to change Chinese trade law. Even the cumshaw charge on ships coming to Whampoa, if levied legally, must be paid for now.

The effect of inequitable charges is to maintain the contraband trade at Lintin or Macau. This smuggling trade at Lintin is beyond Chinese reach and ultimately it will force the Chinese to revise their system to preserve their revenue. We do not think our correspondent’s advocation of violence is right although persuasion and diplomacy are known to be ineffective.

Readers of a different opinion should review the documentation concerning Crawfurd’s embassy to Ava after the recent Burmese war. Crawfurd still had the victorious British army standing-by at Rangoon but was unable to achieve anything in negotiations. For every concession on trade he requested, the Burmese wanted something in return and their successes in this diplomacy encouraged them in the belief that what they were being asked to concede was more important than it really was.50

Here in China, whilst we deplore the abuses, let our representative confront the authorities and see what he can do. Meanwhile our Lintin trade will be multiplied along the coast and provide pressure on the Chinese to be practical. Here are the hints for the coming British Superintendent of Trade (from a correspondent):

1. The Consoo Fund is a relatively new tax to compensate foreigners for Hong merchants’ defaults. It was intended to overcome foreign exclusion from the Chinese legal process which prevented us from pursuing our claims through local courts. It was started after the intervention of Capt Panton of HMS Seahorse who visited Canton in 1780 to recover debts of $3,808,075 from the then Hong merchants. By threat, he obtained an interview with the Viceroy. The debts of two Hongs were assessed at £400,000. 50% was taxed off and the balance paid after 10 years without interest.
It is thus clear that the fund was commenced with an obligation to pay nearly a million dollars within ten years. It is applied to all foreign imports and exports and produces more revenue than all the official Imperial taxes together. The problem is in the management of the Fund. There are no joint Chinese and foreign treasurers and collectors to oversee collection and accumulation. We do not know how much is in the fund. We do know that collection is enforced very soon after the import or export of goods but payments (always excluding interest) take three to seven years (e.g. in the failures of Chun Qua and Man Hop). We also believe it is the only large fund available to the Hong merchants to settle government demands for contributions to flood damage, rebellion, famine and plague, etc. We think the money is kept by each individual Hong merchant (the Editor has previously said it was all kept by the senior merchant How Qua) Since the reorganisation of trade in 1831 no claims can be made on it but it is still collected. It should either be abolished or the ability of foreigners to claim on it reinstated and proper management of the fund commenced.

2. Cumshaw is the ‘present’ of approx 1,600 Taels per ship levied on their coming to Whampoa. All ships regardless of size must pay. A ship of 300 tons pays the same as a ship of 1,400 tons yet the later takes five times the amount of cargo as the former. It is additional to the measurement fee. Effectively cumshaw prevents small ships from trading competitively. Instead of coming into the river they are forced to use Lintin and sell to the smugglers. There are today about 40 large ships and over 100 small ships trading to China. If cumshaw at Whampoa was properly tailored it could be applied to 140 ships instead of 40. The only ships excluded from cumshaw are rice ships but only for the importation. These ships give no benefit to British trade as they do not carry our goods.

3. Duties on imports. Effectively there are three classes of goods – those prohibited, those so overtaxed they are smuggled, and those that are taxed more reasonably and form the main staples of legal trade.
The most important prohibited item is opium. It is worth more than all other British imports together. It is brought to Lintin and sold to smugglers. Carrying opium on British ships and storing it at Lintin (which the Chinese consider as the outer seas) is legal for Englishmen. The British Superintendent of Trade will be able only to prevent the Drug being brought up to Whampoa on British ships.
The second class (of excessive duties, which was sometimes paid by the Company but will not be paid by the country merchants) contains camlets. These are taxed at $16 (£3 12s 0d) per piece and it is inconceivable that any could be successfully imported legally.
The third class is of tolerable duties. We wrangle and negotiate on this in the absence of a written tariff (the tariff is listed above but the tiny European community is too busy to attend survey and have it applied). Appeals are to the collector’s boss (the Hoppo) who benefits from the over-taxation and provides no relief. Only appeals to the Viceroy are effective. The Hoppo is normally appointed for one year. This period is so short and he pays so much for the job that he must ‘kill the goose’. We want the tariff recorded and available for inspection.

4. Warehouses. We have none and are forbidden to rent them. Landed goods are either exposed to risks of fire and theft or immediately forced onto the market regardless of demand. If the Chinese will not protect our goods we can do so. If they will protect them we just require the space and the keys so we can prevent fire and theft. We will chose out own time for selling them.

5. Compradors. These men are appointed to both ships and factories and enable the Chinese officials to tax our provisions and supplies.

6. Personal privations. Little open air exercise is permitted. Older men are forbidden to have their families with them; younger men are forbidden to court girls, Chinese or European. Our communications up and down the river are insulted by irritating and expensive attendants. Sgd Delta.

Delta’s table of Consoo charges for 1830 (said to be an average year)

Tea exported in UK ships

Tea exported in US ships

Other countries (estimated)

Rawsilk Nankeens*

Other British exports

Other American exports

Estimated total on exports

252,412 piculs )

54,386 piculs )

21,500 piculs )

3,746 piculs







$ 31,216


$ 60,613


* Canton silk pays no Consoo Charge

Cotton imports

Other British imports

(except opium and woollens)

American imports (except opium, woollens, bullion and bills)

Sub total for imports

Grand Total for 1830

375,961 piculs $125,320

$ 45,805



$ 59,564



If the fund is invested in land and buildings in the Canton suburbs, it should produce 8% per year. Commencing in 1780 and carrying the interest every ten years, starting 1790, we can compute the approximate amount to 1830. After that year the annual collection has nearly doubled and a different basis must be used. Using the 1830 total above as an average annual income, and adding 8% interest each year, produces $251,770,772 at end 1830. Thereafter the increased rate of Consoo contributions (tea at 7 mace 5 candareens picul, silk at 10 Taels picul, cotton at 4 mace picul, etc) produces approx $876,821 per year or $2,630,463 for the three years. Interest for the three years on the accumulated fund is now an enormous $65,387,890 making a total of $319,789,125, or £71,952,553 at 4/6d per $, in the fund.

Against this may be set the value of opium imports, taking 1831 as an average year. This was:

6,660 chests Bengal

12,100 chests Malwa

1,200 piculs Turkey


$ 5,789,794

$ 7,110,237

$ 720,000


Our receipts paid from the Consoo fund:

For Chun Qua debts

For Man Hop’s debts


$ 190,845.40

$ 187,389.65

$ 378,435.05

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

We have received some London news via the Red Rover. The framers of the Tea Duty Bill have been advised to consider 1/6d per pound duty on Bohea, 2/2d on Congou and Orange Pekoe etc., and 3/- on the best teas.

Vol 7 No 5 – Tuesday 4th February 1834

Letter to the Editor – Delta’s calculations are startling but useless.51 We will never know how the Consoo money has been used or how much is left. In the vernacular slang of the officials, a posting to Canton is considered a ‘promotion’ although no change of rank or duty is entailed. It solely reflects the improvement in earning capacity.

I have retrieved the tea export figures for some years of last century and from the early years of this (figures given) from which it appears Delta‘s calculations are nearly 25% over the true amounts. Nevertheless, this charge should be repealed.

Vol 7 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1834

The Tea Duties Bill contains a provision that any damaged teas will still attract duty unless they are abandoned to the Customs.

It also says that teas imported that are already blended will be liable to duty at the highest applicable rate.

Vol 7 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1834

Letter from James Innes of 1 Creek Hong, 19th February 1834:

The President of the Select Committee has libelled me. His servant James Nugent Daniell wrote anonymously to G A Prinsep, Editor of the Calcutta Courier who published the libel.

Copies of the correspondence (except the libellous letter in the Calcutta Courier) are printed. It starts with a printed paper circulated by Innes criticising Plowden and the Select Committee of which Daniell was a junior member (also not published).

No assessment of the merits can be made on the published documents but on learning of Daniell’s refusal to apologise, Innes wrote that if Daniell came out of the Company’s factory onto the esplanade (Respondentia Walk) between 4.30 – 6.30pm on any of the next three evenings, he would give satisfaction.

Vol 7 No 9 – Tuesday 4th March 1834

Chinese spectacles are said to be injurious to sight. The many foci in the lenses due to uneven polishing is the cause. As Chinese spectacles are inexpensive and are widely imported and sold in India we are publishing this information.

Vol 7 No 9 – Tuesday 4th March 1834

Dr Bunge was attached to the Russian ecclesiastical mission to Peking to observe and report on the natural history of the Gobi and North China. His most interesting discovery was the existence of numerous salt lakes which suggests that the area might formerly have been a sea.

He notes the swift transition from desert to sown as one crosses the Great Wall and commends the Chinese for selecting so perfect a natural frontier.

Vol 7 No 9 – Tuesday 4th March 1834

Charles Grant has advised James Ewing MP of details of the free trade arrangements for China.

Private British ships will be able to sail for China after 22nd April 1834. Teas from China shipped from any place east of the Cape of Good Hope will be landed in England after 22nd April 1834. Concerning the Company’s stock (of 2½ years’ supply of teas), it will be sold carefully so as not to disturb the market. The Company also makes silk in Bengal. It will be sold expeditiously – in Bengal if possible.

The company will continue to operate warehouses etc., until its commerce is concluded. Private merchants may rent space and the Company will give notice as it withdraws from warehousing.

Vol 7 No 9 – Tuesday 4th March 1834

H H Lindsay’s account of the voyage of the Lord Amherst has been published by the British parliament. He opines the people wanted trade but the officials stopped it. He did not consider the use of force and decided the prospects were hopeless. He preferred the commercial prospects in Korea.

The only information available on Korea is the account of some shipwrecked Dutchmen, a slovenly Jesuit account and Klaproth’s recent translation of a Japanese work on the subject. This last addresses the geography and political conditions.

Lindsay landed there with a piece of paper on which was written a request for provisions for his ship and an interview with the King. He approached a village and the people came out but were reluctant to let him enter. They denied him provisions but indicated a magistrate lived 30 Li to the north.

Lindsay, Gutzlaff, Simpson and Stephens later returned to the village unarmed and were stopped at the wattle fence where they met the headman Lee sitting on a tigerskin in a chair carried by four men. The villagers pointed to the beach where we could see 20 men building a hut. The British contingent presented a letter and presents for the King but these were quickly returned (too quickly to have been made known to the King). Lindsay recalled a Korean triumph over China – the Manchu, on assuming the government of China, had tried to make Koreans wear the queue and Manchu dress but the Koreans resisted and eventually expelled the Manchu from their country. The villagers recognised the tale but still felt unable to help us.

The Lord Amherst then sailed to Loo Choo where efforts to open trade were equally unproductive. Lindsay returned to Canton in the hope that subsequent adventurers would find their path eased by his attempts.

The Court of Directors in London however repudiated the entire voyage.

Vol 7 No 10 – Tuesday 11th March 1834

Gutzlaff’s Voyages along the Coast of China has been published in New York. He mentions the overseas Fukienese who punctually remit a part of their earnings, however small, to their relatives at home. These are remitted (by a trusted member of whichever Chinese expatriate community they belong to) whenever someone of them is returning home. He gets a small commission for his trouble and is wined and dined before departure. The amounts that accumulate before each remittance can sometimes exceed $60,000.

When the Lord Amherst anchored off Amoy several coast guard boats surrounded it to keep the merchants away. Some traders nevertheless satisfied the official and were able to come aboard. The officials said our trade was confined to Canton and could not be done at Amoy. They produced an Imperial edict of 1817 (a year after Amherst’s embassy) to the officials of Fukien and Chekiang forbidding contact with barbarians.

Gutzlaff nevertheless went ashore at Amoy to appeal by petition. His party passed ranks of old and infirm soldiers in tattered uniforms but their officers were well turned out and armed with bows. They interviewed the Admiral, he sitting they standing, who said the ancient laws of China could not be changed. They referred to the early 18th century edict of the Hong Hei Emperor opening all ports to foreign trade; that Chinese junks freely entered and traded at British Indian ports and that Chinese natives (particularly Fukienese) freely emigrated to British colonies where they were treated equally and remitted money to China. They said ‘we are repeatedly told that the Emperor regards all foreigners with compassion but we have yet to receive any. We ask to trade in all your ports without interference’.

The officials sought to minimise the damage of this presentation by frequent interruptions. Gutzlaff was accused of dishonesty for saying his party would leave once it received provisions. ‘Do not fear that we will resile’ he said. The Admiral of Kum Mun (Quemoy) replied ‘fear you? fear you?’ in that contemptuous way that is familiar to China-traders.

En route to Fuk Chow, bolder measures were agreed upon. On arrival the English rowed boats up the river pursued by the slower moving Chinese boats. They were surrounded by curious but friendly and polite Chinese boatmen. They went ashore bearing their written petition through great crowds and along shop-lined streets to the governor. The buildings were wooden but elegant. A pamphlet describing England was distributed to the citizens on the way. This was the most effective thing we did on the entire voyage. Arriving at a temple we were given water and a young official told us to wait.

Thereafter we were suddenly moved back along the way we had come and told peremptorily to board our boat and be gone. Hwang, a crystal-buttoned official, supervised our ejection. The party returned to the ship which remained surrounded by warjunks until a decision to move the ship into the river was reached. This produced a change in official attitude. Insolence and inhospitality was replaced by blandness and permission to trade was granted. We stayed for two weeks.

We continued to Ningpo and Shanghai but could not get permission to trade. We were told that Chinese junks from the southern provinces are not allowed to trade north of the Yangtse.

Gutzlaff is fascinated by the social cohesion of the people. We must understand the way of thought of these people and the causes of their actions. Our own ideas of the causes of intellectual and physical happiness, our repudiation of tyranny as a progressive form of government, seem inapplicable in China.

Vol 7 No 10 – Tuesday 11th March 1834

The proposed tonnage duty on British ships (to pay for the Superintendents of Trade) will not be collectible from the smuggling trade at Lintin. Those traders are motivated by profit not patriotism. If pressed, they will register their ships as foreign. If an attempt to enforce collection is made it will require a couple of warships on station which will cost more than the collection.

The people who cannot avoid this impost are the ships trading to / from England, i.e. the Whampoa (legal) trade. It is well known that this part of the trade is diminishing because of the costs associated with entering the river for trade – over £600 per ship. 90% of shipping on the British register is small ships that could not economically pay so much. We think this proposed tonnage duty should be abolished.

Vol 7 No 10 – Tuesday 11th March 1834

The China Trade Bill – Sir Robert Inglis noted that the reformed Commons had approved the tonnage duty but the unreformed Lords rejected it and the clause was now up for amendment or deletion.

The Lords had also restricted the jurisdiction of the proposed British Court to Canton.

Mr Crawford asked if it was parliament’s intention to interfere with the opium trade. The Chancellor replied that no interference was intended in any trade, only regulation. Mr Warburton declared that the opium trade should not be disturbed.52

Vol 7 No 11 – Tuesday 18th March 1834

Local news:

  • Our late Viceroy Lee has reportedly died en route to his exile.
  • The 2nd day of 2nd moon is a festival day. This year a rare act of violence occurred at a temple in Sze Po Tai. Rockets are fired off during this festival and worshippers rush to catch the falling sticks for good luck.
    In a dispute for possession of one rocket, Lee Ah Yiu took out a knife and wounded Chow Ah Fa. Chinese disputes are normally bloodless but noisy.

Vol 7 No 11 – Tuesday 18th March 1834

Two fires have occurred. One at Hoi Cheung Sze (the Honam Josshouse opposite the factories) destroyed the entrance hall. The other in Chin Tang Street, west of the factories, burned down two tea warehouses.

Vol 7 No 12 – Tuesday 25th March 1834

First page of this edition is missing.

The Hoppo Chung Cheung has been appointed Keeper of the Imperial Gardens.

Vol 7 No 12 – Tuesday 25th March 1834

From our Macau correspondent – The man brought from Macau as the murderer of a Chinese at Kum Sing Mun remains in detention.

The man who falsely says he is the culprit and the man who importuned him to do so both may be considered guilty of murder at Chinese law.

If the real culprit is found then the substitute’s punishment is reduced by one degree of severity (except for a father who confesses on behalf of a son – in which case the son’s punishment is increased)

Vol 7 No 14 – Tuesday 8th April 1834

In 1833 Capt George Elliot was Secretary to the Admiralty

Vol 7 No 14 – Tuesday 8th April 1834

Private letters dated 23rd October 1833 and received here today from the American ship Splendid say that Sir George Staunton has been appointed Chief Superintendent of British Trade in China on a salary of £10,000 pa. Holt MacKenzie, the well-known Company officer of Bengal Presidency, is second with £5,000 and a Mr Labouchere is third with £4,000.

A magistrate is to operate the British Court in China but is not yet appointed.

Total mission expenses are set at £32,000pa. The three named men were supposed to leave England in December and should thus be arriving soon.

Vol 7 No 14 – Tuesday 8th April 1834

The shareholders of the East India Company, which will cease trading after April, have made a joint stock shipping company to operate all their trading vessels. It will trade with all the Presidencies as well as China.53

Vol 7 No 14 – Tuesday 8th April 1834

It is now Ching Ming festival when the Chinese climb the hills to worship at the tombs of their ancestors. It is called Bai Ching (worship the green of Spring)54

Vol 7 No 14 – Tuesday 8th April 1834

A letter in the Chinese Repository from “A British Merchant” attacking coasting voyages along East China has produced a second from “Another British Merchant” proposing the establishment of a British Chamber of Commerce.

Our immediate prosperity depends on the abilities of the new Superintendents of Trade and we regret seeing Staunton’s name in the list. His previous relationship with the Chinese was as a trader. Now he is to be the King’s representative. The Chinese will never believe he is not still a trader. We all know the low estimate the Chinese officials have of trade and traders. Imagine a junior Chinese official doing business here in his own name – he would immediately be degraded and punished.

The First Superintendent will have plenty of difficulties to contend with. He will have to either obtain a change in the Chinese commercial law for the benefit of both us and the native trading community or insist on our own commercial jurisdiction within China.

Vol 7 No 15 – Tuesday 15th April 1834

The London Morning Herald of 10th October 1833 says two prospectuses have been issued for joint stock associations to promote the China tea trade but few people are subscribing.

Vol 7 No 15 – Tuesday 15th April 1834

News from the Peking Gazettes:

  • The Chinese Resident at Lhasa, Hung Wan, has reviewed what he calls the ‘Chinese and Foreign’ troops of Tibet. They were reportedly well turned out but their arms and ammunition were deficient.
  • The Governor of Canton has petitioned the Emperor on the same subject. We know Chinese military equipment is miserable. They cannot match Europeans in the art of man-killing. We do not want war and hope reason will prevail.

Vol 7 No 15 – Tuesday 15th April 1834

Editor – On 10th April a corpse was found in front of the Danish factory. Another chap was lying nearby in apparent distress. A large crowd of bystanders were watching. Does not Confucian ethics require them to assist?

Vol 7 No 15 – Tuesday 15th April 1834

The Chinese Monthly Magazine is a new paper written in Chinese by a foreigner (Gutzlaff) and printed in Canton. It is sent to subscribers who distribute it free of charge to Chinese friends. No 5 notified readers that the Company’s charter was ending and would not be renewed. No 6 (published in January this year) contains much information on astronomy. Both these numbers have been widely read, copied and resold. We have seen groups of Chinese discussing the interesting map of the northern constellations in No 6. If the author can induce the Chinese to buy his paper, that would be the ultimate test of success.

Vol 7 No 15 – Tuesday 15th April 1834

The French Asiatic Society in April 1833 considered Father Gonsalves publications of 1829 and 1831 – the Chinese grammar (in Portuguese) and the Portuguese / Chinese dictionary. The explanations of terms in the dictionary are only in Chinese which suggests the book is intended to introduce Chinese to Portuguese rather than vice versa. The father is now producing his Chinese / Portuguese dictionary.

At Batavia, Medhurst has published his Fukienese Dictionary but no copy has yet arrived in Europe. At Canton Dr Morrison has produced a Cantonese vocabulary. But the best book is still the Notitia Lingua Sinacae of Father Premare which was recently reprinted at Malacca. This book considers Chinese philosophically and thus elucidates Chinese grammar perfectly.

Vol 7 No 15 – Tuesday 15th April 1834

Chinese public finance – The civil list is well paid but the military is not. The army have fields which they cultivate to maintain themselves and their families. This is an ancient custom. The central government has few expenses and appropriates proportionately more to public works but this expenditure always exceeds expectations and the state remains constantly embarrassed.

The Emperor often complains in the Peking press and urges economy on his officials but nothing seems to improve.

Vol 7 No 16 – Tuesday 22nd April 1834

We have just seen one of the prospectuses for a tea trade business proposed by John Nicholson & Co of Fenchurch Street with M/s Smith, Payne and Smith as financiers. They propose to raise £2 millions for tea trade. The things they say to solicit this huge capital are risible. Quote ‘everyone knows that private traders cannot deal with Chinese merchants on equitable terms. This country will have to buy 32,000,000 lbs tea from private traders who have no capacity or experience in the trade. England will be inundated with all sorts of stuff called tea. The market will be ruined and the revenue diminished. This has already happened in America where their free trade in tea has destroyed the market’. Unquote

(Editor – tea shipped for consumption in America in 1831 / 32 was about 100,000 chests. In the 1832 / 33 season it was 170,538 chests and in 1833 / 34 it was 196,283 chests. So far this year about 60,000 chests have been contracted for shipment before end June. The quality of the teas shipped to America suits the requirements of that nation. It is absurd to say the private trade will be less attentive to quality than the Company. So far as is known the Americans have never pursued an unprofitable trade. They buy to sell. If they cannot sell they will not buy. No arguments can repudiate ‘laissez nous faire’.)

Vol 7 No 16 – Tuesday 22nd April 1834

Canton news – An unusual wedding occurred at the west gate of the City. A woman married a man rather than vice versa. She paid all the expenses of the ceremony and feast. This is rare in Canton but reportedly more common north of the river (Yangtse).

Vol 7 No 16 – Tuesday 22nd April 1834

Last Wednesday a European stopped work at his Canton office at midnight, shut up his writing case and retired. On coming down the next morning at 8 am, the case was missing. He attended his security merchant Mow Qua (Loo Wan Kin) who interviewed the European’s comprador and then recommended a petition to the Foo which was prepared.

On Friday morning Mow Qua’s personal servant arrived with the stolen case. The lock was damaged but contents intact. The petition was not sent and was returned to the European.

Vol 7 No 18 – Tuesday 6th May 1834

Notice – John W Peret, George B Russell, Russell Sturgis and Henry P Sturgis have formed a partnership called Russell, Sturgis & Co to trade at Canton, It will operate in connection with Russell & Sturgis of Manila. 1st May 1834

Vol 7 No 19 – Tuesday 13th May 1834

Editorial – The enemies of the foreigners in China are the officials who purport to represent the Provincial government. When our new Superintendents come, the benefits they obtain for us will extend to the other national groups as well. We cannot afford to have any jealousy expressed by France or America. We need their quiescence so we alone can resolve the dispute with China.

For the Superintendent to avoid the fate of the Ambassadors who preceded him, he must preserve his sense of equality and self-respect in the face of insolent pretension. If he quarrels or stops trade, everyone in England will complain and our Parsee traders, who cannot see beyond the next shipment, will oppose him. If he once yields, he has lost. This is the sort of nearly hopeless job that may not interest the very best candidates.

The aim is to achieve better terms from the Chinese without the expense of war. The Superintendent will have to work on the fears and wants of the Chinese. He should establish schools for future interpreters, philosophers and astronomers. Success may be difficult to achieve but if achieved, it will be remembered by history.

Vol 7 No 19 – Tuesday 13th May 1834

Ke Kung, the new Foo Yuen arrived at Canton on 9th May. He was met by the Viceroy and all the senior provincial officials. The following day he was involved on some chore for the Emperor and is yet to return any of his official visits, an unusual occurrence in a country where etiquette is so highly esteemed.

Ke Kung is a native of Shansi. He has spent the last 4 years as Foo Yuen of Kwong Si. He is slim and enjoys a reputation for firmness and justice. We have often been told such things on the arrival of a new high official and it has not turned out to be accurate but, in this case, his previous record in the neighbouring province suggests the rumours might be true.

He is about 60 years old. He achieved the literary degree of Tsin Sze before entering office. More importantly, he was once a censor in Peking and presented repeated petitions against the profligacy of the Imperial family.

Vol 7 No 19 – Tuesday 13th May 1834

The Hoppo Chung is finally expected to be transferred soon. No doubt there will be a shortfall in the accounts of whatever was short when he commenced. No doubt also that the incoming Hoppo will be saddled with debts to the government before he arrives.

We doubt the Emperor can be as ignorant of what happens in Canton as many profess Him to be.

Vol 7 No 19 – Tuesday 13th May 1834

Canton – for the last two years rice shortages have driven prices above what the common people can afford. This has been exacerbated by the embargo on sugar exports which has limited the market for sugar farmers to domestic demand. This contributed to the windfalls that rice hoarders made.

Now the new rice crop is sprouting and appears to be substantial. The hoarders have opened their granaries and prices are falling. We expect to soon see thousands of tons of sugar again available for export.

Vol 7 No 20 – Tuesday 20th May 1834

Letter to the Editor – Marjoribanks as M P for Berwickshire has written to the President of the Board of Control concerning Chinese affairs and his letter has been leaked to and favourably reported on by the Times, one of the present government’s mouthpieces that is used to gauge public opinion.

He appears to have got all his facts from your paper. The important thing he says is that national resistance against Chinese obstructions is necessary and will certainly be successful. The Times has applauded this. I have no doubt that, with the concurrence of France and America, we will prevail.

Sgd A Canton Shopkeeper.

Vol 7 No 20 – Tuesday 20th May 1834

Local News:

  • Our late Viceroy Lee, who has often been reported dead, has just received Imperial permission to return home from his banishment.
  • The new Foo Yuen has ordered that no frivolous petitions be submitted. He has reduced the petition fee from $5 to 60 cash. This is paid to the officer who seals the petition and arranges attendance of the parties at the yamen.

Vol 7 No 20 – Tuesday 20th May 1834

Political revolution in Asia is caused by oppression, facilitated by government weakness and marked by violence. Asian people, living like slaves, have nothing to lose by a change in government. They submit to the new conqueror rather than fight in defence of their country.

The Tartars conquered all Asia under Genghis but their rule was ephemeral. Europe resisted but was overcome. China contrarily absorbed and adapted each successive conqueror to its own system. Thus China is not ephemeral while the Macedonians, the Romans, and other famous Empires have come and gone.

Vol 7 No 20 – Tuesday 20th May 1834

After last summer’s flooding, the numbers of beggars in Canton this winter rose to an astonishing level. We guess there are 5,000 of them but it could be double that number. Ordinarily only a few die in the streets each year but this year hundreds have perished from malnutrition and exposure. One or two have died near the factories but mostly they are found around the markets or temples of Canton. A correspondent has written on the subject concerning the beggars around the Wan Woo Tei temple, about 100 rods (500 metres) N W of the factories:

“Sir, you have often written on the condition of the poor in Canton. Every other day recently I have walked passed the Wan Woo Tei temple and seen dead bodies lying in front of it. Some are teenagers. Last week (w/e 26th April) I counted 15 bodies on the five mornings I walked passed. We should try to do something about this”. Sgd Philo.

Editor – last week a proclamation was issued indicating the salt merchants had donated coffins for the poor but not a cent is donated for food and clothing for the living. We have visited the temple and seen the emaciated half-naked beings at its rear. They are clearly in the last stage of life. Can nothing be done?

Vol 7 No 21 – Tuesday 27th May 1834

A few days ago a European left the factories at midnight and took a sampan from the quay out to a small fast boat he had hired for the voyage to Macau. He was seized by river police in the sampan, the fast boat was also detained and its master put in irons. He was threatened with being taken to the Customs House and surrendered to the official there. The captive spread out his bedding on the fast boat and slept. In the morning a ransom was requested and refused. Later that morning some Linguists visited the fast boat and the European surrendered the keys to his trunk and writing desk to them for examination. All solicitations for a bribe were declined. The following morning the items were returned to him undisturbed. The letters he was carrying to Macau were kept longer but eventually returned with one opened. The fast boat and crew were taken to the chop (Customs) house.

Last November Plowden, the Chief of the British factory, was similarly stopped, maltreated and detained for a longer period. His trunks and writing desk were broken open and only returned in a damaged condition with contents disturbed. Then the Hoppo issued an edict scolding the Chief for leaving Canton without a passport. Why the difference? We hope it represents a realisation that the old days are coming to an end.

Vol 7 No 23 – Tuesday 10th June 1834

Marjoribanks, MP for Berwickshire, and previously the Company’s President in Canton in 1830-31, has died according to the Globe of 15th January 1834

Vol 7 No 23 – Tuesday 10th June 1834

The British Government Gazette of 13th December 1833 contains Orders-in-Council for officers in China.

The first Order requires that the powers vested in the Company be transferred pari passu to the Superintendents of Trade. All legal powers and penalties of the Company are to be continued under the Superintendents who are required to compile and publish all the rules. A copy of this compilation is to be delivered to each ship master on arrival.

The second Order creates a Court of Justice with Criminal and Admiralty Jurisdiction for the trial of Britons in China or on the high seas within 100 miles of China. The Chief Superintendent will hold Court at Canton or on board any British ship. Practise of the court will accord, so far as possible, with the courts of Oyer and Terminer in England. All trials will be before 12 jurymen.

The third Order empowers the Superintendents to recover from British ships trading to Canton 2/- per registered ton and 7/- per £100 of goods imported or exported except bullion. The value of the cargo is deemed to be the market price less relevant taxes. The ship’s papers and Manifest are to be delivered to the Superintendent by the ship within 48 hours of arrival. Each Bill of Lading will be endorsed to evidence payment. In the event of non-payment, the superintendent will withhold Port Clearance and the ship’s papers.



1 The different pecuniary treatment suggests a colonial mentality of the Ching. The same fear of great expense causes successive Viceroys to avoid calling on the Manchu-General’s services – the Chinese army is cheaper.

2 The British suppose How Qua’s wealth derives from excessive fees on foreign trade. They remain unaware of his foreign trade through American nominees. All the personal names are Mandarin Romanisations i.e. from official sources not the market.

3 I have no information on Editor John Slade’s background. From occasional ‘Letters to the Editor’ it appears he worked in the London Press before coming East and was selected for the job by James Matheson.

The author of Prices Current is unidentified but is likely to be Matheson – it provides him with an opportunity to settle his own prices publicly.

4 These Regulations result from Baynes’ own attempt to revise the terms of trade by breaking them and bringing cannon and marines to the factories for protection. Instead of a relaxation of terms, he obtains a re-statement of the former restrictions. Baynes’ revision was sought after the Viceroy had brought the Lintin smuggling trade under his control. The foreigners are fundamentally unwilling to have the Viceroy dictate terms of trade. They have their own ideas focused solely on increased profitability of business. These blows and counter-blows precede the 2nd Earl Grey’s visit in late 1832 and are the opening shots in the Opium War.

5 See the Opium chapter for the murder. This is the official who now fronts the arrangements between the country trade and the provincial officials since the smuggling removed to the island from Whampoa. He is based at Lintin to inter alia observe the extent of business being done and, I presume, to receive and distribute the foreigners’ periodic payments that are mentioned later in the text.

6 It will be recalled that the warships stay away in compliance with an Admiralty order solicited by the Company to avoid a repetition of the lost profits after the HMS Topaze affair.

7 It is the ‘outside trade’ in the estuary that relies on ‘traitorous connections’ to carry the contraband over the last mile. These intermediaries are sometimes farmers, fishermen, pirates or smugglers depending on which pays best. The legal trade at Canton is involved because the smugglers make their contracts in the factories and the proceeds of their smuggling funds tea exports.

The Viceroy’s success in preventing deliveries from Lintin elicits a response – the foreigners commence landing the goods on the China coast themselves from their own well-armed brigs and sloops. This exclusion from business of the local boatmen incites them to piratical acts to restore their income.

8 This fence was originally built by Chinese labourers which the Editor believes proves the work must have been approved by the officials. In 1830 after Foo Yuen Choo’s demolition, a party of foreign sailors was called up from Whampoa to reconstruct the fence. They had British flags on their wheelbarrows.

9 The reference to Portugal here and earlier relates to onerous duties levied on British exports to the country. British military assistance was given to Pedro to eject his brother Miguel from the succession in expectation he would annul the Customs duties.

10 This reveals an effect of the licensing of country traders coming to Canton and their own wish to restrict access to maintain the astonishing profitability of their little cartel. No country trader can properly attend to all his business – there are not enough hours in the day. He must rely on the all-inclusive service of the Hong merchants. It is in this way that disputes arise over the appropriate level of duty.

11 The habit arose, and is well-evidenced a few years later, of over-stowing general cargo with bagged rice to obtain the tax exemption on grain imports. It was one of the consolidation services provided at Lintin.

I cannot say this is relevant on this occasion and merely note it is exceptional for duty-free rice import allowances to be ended suddenly.

12 Official correspondence with foreigners is strictly regulated since Wu San Kwei.

13 Pending for the return of Plowden who arrives back in August 1832.

14 Editor says Jardine denies being previously expelled.

15 These are the routine superintendence boats, anchored port and starboard of the foreign ship, one from the Viceroy representing the civil power and one from the Hoppo representing the Customs.

16 Bentinck’s express threat of force has been delivered. The Company will now investigate how to apply it. This voyage will inter alia provide navigational information of the ports visited.

17 There was a style of walking affected by officials that is hinted at by the word ‘strutting’. It exuded power. It can be seen in Cantonese opera today.

18 The inference is that ship captains and agents, in this case Clifton and / or Magniac, retain letters possibly containing commercial information until they have got their own replies off.

19 The story is muddled. Yung Ching was the 4th and favoured son of Hong Hei. The 14th son however alleged he had been chosen to succeed and fomented a dispute at the bedside of the dying Hong Hei Emperor. Both Hong Hei and Yung Ching were obliged to continuously fight their brothers and sons for control of the Imperial revenue.

20 It was this insurrection that revealed the predictable effects of opium-smoking to the Viceroy. His troops either did not choose to fight or fought without vigour. He discovered that a majority of them had become smokers.

21 These are the people who previously came down the West River to Canton to barter vegetable oil for opium in the foreign factories.

22 Another aspect of Ching imperialism.

23 Apparently a response to Anglo French involvement in the Portuguese civil war, mentioned above.

24 The fort was built at the southern entrance to Taiwan harbour, since silted up. It is now called Hung Mo Shing – “red hairs’ city” – in Cantonese. ‘Hung mo’ remains an occasional adjective for Western things amongst the Chinese. My wife visited Singapore several years ago and attended a theatre where she was told the film being shown was a ‘hung mo hei’, a red-haired film. There is the famous ‘hung mo’ bridge there as well, built by Western prisoners in the Second World War.

25 Lindsay’s venture on the Lord Amherst (Capt Rees) on behalf of the Company.

26 The Western trade along the coast is well tolerated. This refers to the Lord Amherst voyage. She is employed as an opium smuggler on the East Coast route.

27 This management of a buffer stock is an aspect of commodity trading in the British economic system to mitigate the effects of speculation.

28 An apparent reference to the ‘tribute-bearer’ flag on Macartney’s boat.

29 This confrontation with the mountain men at Leen Chow was an early indication of the extent of opium smoking amongst the Provincial troops. They could not be mobilised to fight. The Editor’s dismissive comment about Viceroy Lee being a ‘time-server’ appears due to his success against Western smuggling.

30 Commander David Geisinger is taking Ambassador Roberts around Asia to open diplomatic connections with those countries.

31 There is a tariff and its prominent details are published elsewhere in this work. It is complex from regular up-dating. It appears Innes may have attended the Customs examination but that seems unusual. More commonly it is the Hong merchant’s staff and the Hoppo’s clerk who together assess Customs duty, the handful of European traders being too busy.

In Pottinger’s talks with Kishen a decade later (leading the settlement of a commercial treaty after the war) it turned out that there is a book listing all duties in the Customs House which the country traders of that time (1842) did not know about. In 1842 all the experienced country traders had either died or been expelled.

32 The tricolor was first hoisted at Canton, without any celebration, on 16th January 1803 by M Piron, the then French agent

33 Outside the factory gates without an escort; riding in a sedan chair – both contrary to the Regulations governing foreigners.

34 Shansi lies on an historical invasion route into China. Profits from provisioning the army at that pass was partly applied to a Bills service throughout China. It was the beginnings of Chinese banking.

35 No doubt a valuable source of early information.

36 The only persuasive reason I have discovered for How Qua’s absence from trade in the 1832 / 33 season is the one contained in Earl Grey’s diary.

37 Namoa is where the foreign smugglers serving the East Coast will shortly establish residences and warehouses. The foreign base is within sight of a coastal fort which allows an inference of army protection.

38 The Viceroy has just told the Emperor that 20 ships come each year. The Canton officials seem intent on concealing the increased trade perhaps to delay renegotiation of the Province’s Customs revenue contribution to Peking.

39 Ah Pun is Ho Pun the linguist who will be punished next year for bringing Napier to Canton. Ah Cheung does not feature again in this narrative.

40 Kiao Island became a very popular resort for the smuggling fleet until the villagers petitioned Viceroy Tang to evict the foreigners which was done in 1836, according to a plaque seen in the village recently (2006).

41 The India Company was paying his fees and expenses.

42 Low has just arrived from New York and is employed as a clerk by Russell & Co but the Editor errs in supposing Jardine and Matheson were present in 1809

43 Chiu Chow city is as far from the coast as Canton. This must refer to some other city, perhaps Shan Tau.

44 Tanka boats are single-oared and require practice to manage.

45 Slightly misleading. The Company is legislatively required to maintain a stock of tea in London. Its diminishing annual purchases in the lead-up to free trade cause this reduction.

46 Baynes’ attempt to overthrow Kwangtung Government Regulation of trade.

47 After a complex tariff, it all comes down finally to these last three lines. This is what must be remitted to Peking annually.

48 The area between the factories and the river, in evocation of the riverside walk at Calcutta.

49 According to Morse, the Hoppo is a Boyi Manchu, a tribe devoted and in service to the Emperor. This ‘clandestine flight’ is referred to again in the 27th May 1834 edition below. It appears Plowden’s writing case was seized and searched.

50 This seems to have been a common Western problem throughout Asia. The British were skilled in fighting; the residents skilled in negotiating.

None of our bilateral treaties fully provided the advantages we expected. It may have been this experience that encouraged expatriate Britons to request for military solutions to commercial difficulties.

51 Delta (young Lancelot Dent) has assumed the Hong Yung (literally the Hong merchants’ commission but called Consoo Fund by the foreigners) was invested annually at 10% over the last several decades and concludes it should now amount to a fabulous sum. In fact contributions were only called when there was a claim against it.

52 I have often wondered why the British Government adopted its policy of non-interference with trade. There is suggestion the merchants said they needed secrecy to prevent foreigners copying their ideas and thus persuaded government to not enquire closely. During the wars with Napoleon, smuggling was essential to British survival and a good part of British trade was smuggled. Britain collected islands around the globe that were well sited for it – Bermuda, Trinidad, Heligoland, Hong Kong, etc.

53 They have also sold the East India Docks to a related party.

54 It is today called Bai Shan, literallyworship hills.’

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