China 1843-1844 – part 14


Friend of China 13.7.43 edition

The Hong merchants at Canton have agreed to contribute $1,560,000 to pay off the old bankrupt Hong debts. How Qua will pay $1,000,000, Poon Ki Qua $130,000, Gow Qua and Sam Qua $100,000 each, Mow Qua, King Qua and Sao Qua $50,000 each; Foo Tae and Poon Hoi Qua $30,000 each and Ming Qua $20,000.

There are many new native brokers and jobbers entering the opium distribution trade who have no idea of prices and buy solely on the extent of credit available to them from the British wholesaler. They all have no doubt we fought the war to permit opium trade. This has allowed prices to increase. Patna is now $690 – $720 and rising. Malwa is also increasing. Red Rover has delivered 13 chests of Patna and 43 of Benares. Her master reports the results of the 4th opium auction at Calcutta as follows:

1,160 chests sold for an average price of 1,516 Rupees
800 chests sold for an average price of 1,360 Rupees

When news of these auction prices arrived on Saturday, but before the Red Rover officially reported them, 230 chests were bought at $650 – $660 for Patna and $625 – $650 for Benares. Since then the auction prices have been circulated and Patna has risen to $700 and Benares is $675. Now there are enquiries for Malwa but little stock is available and the principal holder is asking $575 per chest. A few piculs (133 lbs) of Turkey have been sold at $460.

Friend of China 20.7.43 edition

Capt Sir J A Douglas, of Battle of Kowloon Bay celebrity, is now in Fleet Prison for debt.

Friend of China 20.7.43 edition

Teas are being exported from Canton on a reduced duty of 4 Taels that has been set unilaterally by the Hoppo.

Opium is selling well. Patna is $790-800.

An assay has just been done by the British consul at Canton to determine the value of all the different silver dollars and Indian Rupees that are used at that port for exchange. Their value in respect of sycee has to be fixed for the new tariff. Details are published.

Friend of China 27.7.43 edition

The Syed Khan (an opium clipper) which arrived from Amoy on 19.7.43 reports cholera is raging through the town and the English men-of-war have gone cruising to avoid it.

Friend of China 27.7.43 edition

Consular appointments:

G Tradescant Lay
Robert Thom
Thomas T Meadows
Wm Meredith
Canton Consul
Interpreter to Lay

Pottinger’s instructions to Consul Lay:

  • All complaints unless trivial will be referred to A R Johnstone.
  • Masters are responsible to you for their crews. They will make written application for Rest & Recreation in Canton. An officer must accompany the men ashore.
  • Her Majesty’s ship at Whampoa will arrest seamen found in Canton without authorisation. You tell the Chief Superintendent of the circumstances and he will take action with the ship owner. You tell the master, owner or consignee that Government expenses will be recovered from them before the Port Clearance Certificate can be issued.
  • You can dispose of straightforward fighting and drunkenness with fines of up to $10 or 5 days prison. No need to record evidence, just make a memo in a book of summary offences. In serious cases, confine the offender and tell the Chief Superintendent for investigation.
  • If you have positive and incontrovertible proof of smuggling or evading duty by a British ship, you will report same to both the local officials and the Hoppo. Tell the master, owner or consignee that you have done so. You will tell them, if they continue to smuggle, you will apply to have their ship removed from the river.
  • A table of fees for consular services is appended.

Friend of China 31.7.43 extraordinary edition

J R Morrison’s translation of Kiying’s proclamation of the commercial agreement, which latter document was obtained from the Commissioners Kiying, Kekung and Ching Yuet Sai:

  1. When the English stopped fighting last year we gave them trading privileges at Canton and four other places. A new tariff of duties is arranged and all other fees and presents are abolished. It will become law as soon as the Board of Revenue’s authorisation arrives. It will apply to all the import / export trade of China with every foreign country.
  2. Weapons will be laid aside and joy and profit will be our perpetual lot. Forget what has gone before. Free yourselves from suspicions and prejudice which only hinder the growth of good understanding.
  3. Canton is open immediately from 1st day of 7th month. The other four ports await the permission of the Board of Revenue.
  4. The English are permitted to reside in Hong Kong. Chinese merchants wishing to take goods to Hong Kong may present themselves at the Customs office and pay the export duty to obtain a pass to clear port.
  5. The English are not permitted to smuggle and will be subject to the law.
  6. Chinese who helped the English soldiers with service or supplies are forgiven. Those who have been caught are released. Those who have not been caught need tremble no more.

The purpose of the new arrangements is justice and impartiality. All you foreign and Chinese merchants should note this.

Friend of China 31.7.43 extraordinary edition

The General Regulations of Trade are also published:

  • Pilotage fees to be fixed by the British Consul at each port.
  • Customs officials will guard each ship and prevent smuggling by deploying a boat of their own alongside or by living on board.
  • Within 24 hours of anchoring, the master will deposit the ship’s papers, manifest and Bills of Lading with the Consul. The Consul informs the Hoppo who assesses duty and permits discharge. The penalties for non-compliance, false manifest and breaking bulk are all contained in this section.
  • The former custom of the Hong merchants to be security for each other’s debts is ended. If you select a bad customer the officials may help but no guarantees are offered.
  • All Entry and Clearance Fees are abolished except a tonnage fee of 5 mace per registered ton.
  • Details of all cargo for discharge must be given to the Consul who will tell the Chinese Customs. Merchants should send a representative to the weighing or examination of discharged cargo for their own protection. If you are not represented at examination you may have no complaint against assessment. If there is a difference of opinion on value, three merchants will attend and the highest valuation of the three is the value for Customs. In cases of disagreement on tare weight – select a few cases at random, weigh them, remove cargo and weigh it, apply the average tare weight to calculate the entire consignment weight.
  • The Customs will authorise some Shroffs and banks to receive duty and their receipts will be considered as Customs receipts. Coins are not pure silver and the Consul will arrange with the Hoppo for valuation of various silver coins from time to time so the duty (expressed in weights of pure silver) is fully paid.
  • Sets of balance-yards and equipment duplicating those used in Canton are to be made available at all ports to both the Customs and the Consul for the settlement of any disputes about weights or measures.
  • Lighters will trade competitively. They are available to all ships. They are forbidden to smuggle. The merchants must take care to select proper agents but if the lighterman absconds with property the Customs officials will try to catch him.
  • No transhipment is allowed without a certificate from the Consul and a representative of the Hoppo present. Any goods otherwise transhipped are forfeit.
  • The Consul may appoint a subordinate to supervise British sailors but the ship’s officer accompanying the seamen ashore remains responsible for them. Chinese officers will not impede native traders coming alongside foreign ships for business.
  • Englishmen complaining about Chinese do so through the Consul. English convicts will be dealt with under English law; Chinese under Chinese law.
  • A man-of-war will be stationed at each port to support the Consul. They are not merchant ships and pay no fees or charges. The Consul will inform the Customs of arrivals and departures of men-of-war.
  • The Consul will be security for all English shipping.1

Editor: Excellent. Very simple – only 48 items in the tariff like Prussia’s 43 (England’s tariff has 1,152 items). Chinese contempt for foreign relations has absolved the English government from having to consider any adjustment of its iniquitous duty on tea. Nearly one half of the English trade is in opium which does not appear in the tariff at all – like performing Hamlet without the Prince!

It’s a shame there is no bonding system introduced at the ports. Anything unsellable at Canton might have been reshipped to Shanghai but that’s unlikely if a new duty has to be paid on export Canton and again on import Shanghai.

Organzine (one of the listed textiles) is a bad translation of the Chinese term. They mean thrown silk. Coarse silk should have been described as waste silk so it can clearly be seen to be ribbons.

But these objections are mere details and overall the thing is a triumph for Pottinger.

The Chief Superintendent’s notice against smuggling seems redundant. With this tariff there is nothing worth smuggling any more.

Friend of China 31.7.43 extraordinary edition

Kiying was pleased with his treatment on HCS Akbar. Hopefully the false impressions about us that dominate the minds of the Court in Peking can be removed.

Friend of China 31.7.43 extraordinary edition

A Canton correspondent says the new system is like the old system but without the responsibility of the Hong merchants for each other. The storing and packing of goods will still be done by Chinese merchants. Under the Company, it was possible to ship off teas at 3 Taels plus cost but now it will cost 4 Taels.

Our correspondent wonders if he can expect permission to build his own house and godown in China.

Friend of China 31.7.43 extraordinary edition

Trade on the East Coast:

  • General trade at Amoy is dull but Malwa is getting $800.
  • At Chusan there are 10 merchant ships in harbour and 5 in the Yangtse River. Trade is fair and opium is $680 for Patna, $620 for Malwa.

Trade at Canton:

  • Total tea exports from Canton up to 30th June 43 (one year) = 47,727,746 lbs
  • It is expected that the opium ships under British flag will all depart Whampoa. Some have already arrived Hong Kong.

Friend of China 3.8.43 edition

John Slade, editor of the Canton Register, died 1.8.43

Friend of China 3.8.43 edition

We think China traders should petition London for a reduction on the tea duty on importation to Britain. Pottinger has given us an excellent opportunity. His tariff puts England to shame.

Friend of China 3.8.43 edition

Canton – much embarrassment is reported in the opium trade by the sudden removal of all the wholesalers and retailers from the river.

Friend of China 3.8.43 edition

Macau reports that Lorchas Nos 11, 19 and 37 have been cut loose from their moorings by pirates and are missing.

Friend of China 10.8.43 edition

Report on the Ann and Nerbudda shipwrecks (Translation by W H Medhurst):

Iliang (Viceroy of Fukien and Chekiang) has reported on his investigation into the massacres at Taiwan by Tahunga. Lt Col Woo Pan Fung, Magistrate She Meih and the other officers who were examined by Iliang all told the same story. Iliang’s conclusions:

  • One of the foreign ships fell to pieces from the bad weather. The other was driven ashore for the same reason. There was no meeting in battle and no enticing of either ship into port in prospect of battle.
  • Facts – In September 1841 a three masted foreign ship anchored near Keelung. On the third day she passed by Wan Jin Tui to the back of Tawoolun Island where she ran onto the reef and fell apart. Some of the crew put out a boat, set sail and escaped. The rest landed in confused groups and asked the local people for help. The villagers seized the people and alerted the local officer. They had been promised rewards by Proclamation. The survivors were made captive and taken to the chief city of Taiwan.
  • On 10th March 42 a foreign vessel was stranded in the roads at Too Te Kung in Tai An and fell to pieces. Some occupants were drowned but most landed and tried to hide themselves. The villagers caught and bound them and kept them in their houses. After three days the civil and military officers arrived and paid rewards. They carried the foreign prisoners away.The guns, weapons, dress and official documents found on the ship at Tai An were from Ningpo and Chinhae. These were all deposited in the arsenal where they still remain.
  • These events occurred during war. Had the General and Intendant murdered these enemy foreigners out of hatred, fortified by the justness of their cause, it might have been understandable but their object was to make a story that would gain them patronage. There is no excuse and they should be punished. I interrogated Tahunga and Yau Yung. At first they persisted with their lies, then they became silent as the evidence was exposed to them and finally they admitted their wrong and solicited punishment. The question of any connection between the foreigners and traitorous people to cause an internal rebellion cannot be resolved. No record of the depositions taken by the General and the Intendant during their enquiry has been kept. The foreigner Denham and the other foreigners have been liberated and cannot now be questioned. In any event, if our senior officials cannot report facts correctly they are unworthy of office.I submit the papers for the Imperial decision.
  • In my instructions the Emperor directed ‘If Iliang practices concealment; if he fails to ignore his regard for the parties concerned, let him ask himself what is the punishment due to him.’ Luminous and bright indeed are these divine commands; brilliant as emanations from the stars themselves. Moreover Li Ting Yu and Soo Ting Yuh (Iliang’s assistants) could tell Kiying what they have heard. I recommend the rewards to the militia at Taian and Keelung be undisturbed. The people there will make trouble if we try to take it back but the grants of honours and distinctions to the civil and military officers must be annulled.

Friend of China 10.8.43 edition

Extract from the Peking Gazettes:

The Emperor Proclaims:

Tahunga and Yau Yung said they attacked and sank an English vessel in September 1841. In March 42 they enticed another foreign ship into harbour and caught and killed many of its crew. They recaptured Chinese weapons, flags and banners. I rewarded them.

Then after peace was declared the foreigners said Tahunga and Yau Yung treacherously massacred shipwrecked seamen pretending they had been soldiers.

Iliang has investigated.

The two vessels were shipwrecked. There was no battle, no enticing into danger and the two of you have admitted as much. You tried to deceive Us to get merit and We hate that. Now you have involved yourselves in the bitter consequences of crime. You are deprived of rank and handed over to the Board of Punishment. Any other officers, excluding the militia and private persons, who were promoted or commended as a result of your false report are to be identified and stripped of their honours.

We act with even handedness and justice to Chinese and foreigners alike.

Friend of China 10.8.43 edition

Editor of the Friend of India on Opium:

The Company’s government is incapable of arresting the consumption of opium. Consumption in China has increased from 4,000 to 40,000 chests. Every inch of the 800 mile coastline has someone willing to smuggle.

Friend of China 10.8.43 edition

5th and final Calcutta opium auction for 1843:

1,585 chests
1,369 chests
1,446 Rupees average
1,295 Rupees average

Friend of China 10.8.43 supplement

Editorial – Lord Ashley’s motion to parliament proposed to end the cultivation of opium in India. Sir Robert Peel’s response quoted Lord Aberdeen’s instructions to Sir Henry Pottinger, above. It cannot be reconciled with the India Company’s sale of the Drug:

Lord Aberdeen must have been writing in extreme ignorance of the subject. Either that or he was giving the express orders of government to commit an act of injustice against a body of its own subjects.

Friend of China 10.8.43 supplement

For any reader wishing to be reminded of Lord Nelson being hunted into his ship by Bailiffs or the Duke of Wellington being imprisoned in his tent by duns, here is a cautionary tale from Mr Oastler’s Fleet Papers of 2nd March 1843:

The Cambridge was manned and armed and sailed from Singapore on 21st May 1839 for China under the command of Captain Sir Joseph Abraham Douglas.

He arrived Macau 7th June to discover Her Majesty’s Chief Superintendent of Trade had just been released by Commissioner Lin. Capt Elliot considered the arrival of the Cambridge a godsend (she was formerly a frigate) and chartered her for 8 months at £14,000. He appointed Douglas as Marine Magistrate and placed the protection of British lives, property and honour in his hands.

To prepare for conflict Capt Douglas had to clear the Cambridge. He bought a smaller ship Mermaid to which he transferred part of his cargo. For the next three months he commanded the Hong Kong harbour station and upheld British honour. The boats of the Cambridge saw action against Chinese war junks and shore batteries. Capt Douglas was injured twice. In return for his gallantry he was thanked by Elliot, by Capt Smith of HMS Volage, naval commander of the force that succeeded him, and by Lord Palmerston.

He and the Cambridge were forever proscribed from entering the waters of China and a reward of $7,000 was offered by the Chinese government for his head. Capt Douglas had to cease trading to the Far East. He sold his ship in a dead market at a loss. Later Elliot’s charter agreement was repudiated by the British government from which Douglas received an adjusted £2,100 in total.

While both Houses of Parliament gave thanks, awards and batta to the soldiers and sailors who fought the Chinese, Capt Douglas lost his fortune and after arrival in London has just been brought a debtor prisoner to the Fleet on 8th February 1843.

Friend of China 10.8.43 supplement

The New York Courier reports on a Committee of Foreign Affairs report to the House of Representatives:

We have appointed consuls to Canton from time to time but they are not allowed in the town and are considered as vassals of the Emperor.

Now our consul Mr Snow says he received an Edict from the Imperial Commissioner and Governor of Canton which he respectfully acknowledged but his reply was returned by the Kwongchow Foo for correction.

It failed to either express gratitude for the Emperor’s favours or to hope for a continuance of trade with China.

It was additionally defective because the Great Ching Dynasty name should be an inch higher than America’s name to indicate its superiority.

As a result of the recent conflict, we think it is now opportune to place our relationship on a basis of equality and reciprocity.

We have proposed to the President an allocation of $40,000 to select appropriate agents and pay their contingent expenses.

Friend of China 17.8.43 edition

Extract from Sir Henry Pottinger’s note to the Imperial Commissioners:

‘… agree that ship masters can hire their own pilots without referring to the Joint Prefect of Macau.

‘To exclude incompetents I suggest a prospective pilot shall get three ship masters to certify his ability on seeing which, the Consul will licence him. This should reduce accidents and ease the course of insurance claims.’

Ship masters are asked to co-operate with pilots asking for these certificates. Pilotage rules for the passage from Bocca Tigris to Whampoa will shortly be announced.

Friend of China 17.8.43 edition


  • The Emperor of China has sent our Queen a golden bedstead, package of silk, pair of ear-rings, needlework shawl, jewellery box and 14 cases of miscellaneous items.
  • Capt Elliot has proposed to the government of the Republic of Texas that it abolish slavery in return for British recognition of Texan independence from Mexico.

Friend of China 24.8.43 edition

The Provincial Government of Canton advises that effective the 1st day of the 8th moon (25th August) all shipping entering the river for Whampoa will stop at the Bogue Forts for examination.

Friend of China 24.8.43 edition

A translation of the new Chinese tariff provided by the Imperial Commissioners is published in this edition

Friend of China 24.8.43 edition

The Friend of India says gross receipts from the opium monopoly this year are about £2 millions. It says if sales continue at the same level for three years, the cost of the Afghan Wars will be paid off.

Friend of China 24.8.43 edition

Commentary on smuggling from ‘an established publication’:

The law loses its moral authority when tax is set so high it allures to evasion and then punishes the offence. It is only necessary to examine the tariff of a country to know if smuggling into that country is widespread or not.

Spain enacts high import duties. British exports to Gibraltar exceed £1 millions. This immense trade is mainly comprised of about seven million pounds of tobacco which is instantly smuggled into Spain. France permits its traders to bond goods intended for smuggling so no duty is paid on the contraband en route. British duty evaded by French smugglers in 1831 was estimated at £800,000 exclusive of tobacco (mainly of brandy at £500,000). British duty on tobacco is 90%. Three-quarters of the tobacco duty payable in Ireland is avoided by smuggling. The Board of Trade demonstrated in 1840 that at least 48% of French silks imported to England paid no duty.

On the other hand British goods to the value of about £2 millions are smuggled annually into France across the Belgian frontier and some through the channel ports. The Belgians used dogs to smuggle and in the decade 1820 / 30 a total of 40,278 smuggling dogs were caught by French Customs and destroyed (11 dogs per day). In 1822, 385 boats and 52 ships were seized by the British preventive service in the act of smuggling. In 1831 the preventive service cost £700,000 – 800,000; 116 smugglers were in British gaols and 64 more were pressed into serving in the Navy.

The total cost of the Customs and Excise departments in 1840 was £2,309,611. In 1835 there were 11,600 Customs officers and 6,072 Excise officers.2

Friend of China 24.8.43 supplement

Letter from our correspondent in Chusan:

Our relationship with the Chinese here has become friendly. They welcome the honour and integrity of our dealings. The place is also very healthy. The location is perfect for access to the most import marts of China. From Woosung we can see the fortifications on the batteries are being rebuilt (with granite facings instead of mud as before). Some opium ships have gone north looking for new markets.

The number of ports that have really been opened by the late war are not five but every port. The Chinese people want trade and the officials are reluctant to interfere – we get nothing but urbanity and kindness from these dignitaries now. There is an immense amount of native tonnage coming from the north and south into the Yangtse but we do not know what is being carried.

Our own trade is satisfactory – Malwa $610, Patna $710-720 but little stock. Vessels coming here with general cargo should always bring a few chests as it is readily sellable.

Friend of China 24.8.43 supplement

Reports from Amoy and Canton:

  • Amoy market is saturated with piecegoods from Hong Kong and prices have collapsed but opium is good. Malwa is at $825.
  • Canton – the former Hong merchants decline to ship teas under the new system and the new Chinese merchants are afraid to begin. Three ships that were secured under the old system (Eliza, Mary and Bahamian) are being loaded but business is dull. In April / May we shipped 17½ million pounds of tea in 29 ships. In June, July and August we shipped a further 3 million pounds in five ships. The new congou crop is arriving and looks excellent – it is comprised of 650 chops at 26 Taels. The British flag was hoisted over the Canton Consulate on 14th August. We all think our voluntary offer to the Chinese to collect their duty is a mistake. The Consul here will need fifty clerks. He has forbidden all boats to land at the steps in front of the Old Company’s Garden. The skippers are furious but we residents are delighted.

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Sir Robert Peel and the opium scrip:

The merchants may expect to get about a half of what they paid the Company originally. The prescribed form of payment will entail them in a further loss of 20% as the four years they were out of the money will be paid at English not Indian interest rates.

In return the life and liberty of Elliot has been indemnified to the Crown and the Company has continued to sell even more opium to replace that which was destroyed.

Effectively Sir Robert has transferred a million pounds from the smugglers to the Exchequer.3

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

American news – Ambassador Cushing leaves for China on 1st July 43 on the Brandywine.

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

The London Mail carries a report from the Paris paper Constitutionnel which says the Emperor of China has given the French immediate free access into his dominions on the same footing as the English.

In consequence a naval squadron under a Rear Admiral is to be sent out.

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Dallas and Co are moving their business from Macau to Canton effective 1.8.43

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

The Comte de Ratti Menton assumed the administration of the French consulate in China on 17.8.43. He offers the protection of the King of the French to all nationals resident in China.

Friend of China, 31.8.43 edition

Editorial – M. de Lagrené is appointed French Minister to China. The Chinese will be unable to get an adequate idea of France because French influence in this part of the world is less than that of even Holland or Portugal. England has a great entrée because of its tea drinking. No other European country uses so much.

England’s relationship with China is like its relationship with Portugal – because we buy so much of the country’s exports we attain an influence in its administration.

It is idle for France, which has no China trade, to seek for a share of English influence here. In 1841 Chinese goods imported into France were valued at FF1,391,811 mainly 127,221 kgs of tea. French exports to China were worth FF61,045 (£2,442). How will the representative of France support the dignity of his nation without either trade or a great fleet of warships?

Usually a Minister Plenipotentiary stays at the court to which he is assigned but the Chinese want nothing of the sort. The Chinese have wisely put our nationals in their country under the charge of our own Consuls.

Pottinger was an envoy. His Plenipotentiary powers were only to allow him to fight a war. We have won our war but we have not obtained permission to send a Plenipotentiary to Peking.

If our ancient trade and military feats do not allow us to station a minister in Peking how does the French government expect de Lagrené to do so? This appears to be another proof of the old observation that the policies of the French abroad are for the effects they produce at home. Like the last French mission to Persia, this is a political pastime between the closure of this session of the Chamber and the opening of the next.

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Trade report from the paper’s correspondent at Chusan:

  • We only get boats from Ningpo. The other towns do not send. We guess they are either officially prevented or fearful of piracy.
  • I went to Ningpo and watched the garrison at archery practice. The target was 100 yards off. Each officer was very graceful and prettily clad in silk. Each fired his three arrows slowly and carefully. About half hit the target. Each then knelt and reported his result to the examining officials.
  • An interesting example of Chinese mercantile independence has occurred here. A soldier pawned his winter clothes but was dissatisfied with the money they produced. He complained to a civil official and the pawn-broker was summarily beaten without trial. The other pawn-brokers have now all closed their shops in solidarity until redress is offered.
  • I went to Chinhae to watch the troops muster. They wore no uniforms but there were so many of them it could only be the army. They each wore one or two swords. Many had long three-pronged instruments. Some had sword blades inserted in long sticks. A few had matchlocks. They were individually fine looking men but displayed no order – just an armed mob.
  • The fortifications of both Ningpo and Chinhae have not yet been reinstated. Some bricks and mortar have been added to the Chinhae citadel but there is still no artillery within.

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

American cotton has become so cheap that much of it could be dumped in China.4

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Canton trade report:

  • The Hong merchants decline to allow their packing houses and warehouses to be used for our trade as their own companies are no longer involved. They say they would be squeezed by the officials if they did, on the assumption it was their trade. Their packing houses and godowns are where the cargoes were historically inspected for Customs as there is no real Customs House in the Canton factories.
  • The outside men still do not dare to commence business.
  • Opium is very satisfactory – Malwa is $740 and Patna $800.
  • Money is in short supply after payment of the Hong debts to us and the many other recent remittances.
  • All other business has stopped and our new Consul is in a state of confusion as to why.

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Calcutta opium market:

  • Prices at the latest auction were 1,485 – 1490 Rupees for Patna and 1,360 – 1,380 Rupees for Benares.
  • The Sylph arrived at Calcutta two days ago and reported the China market firm which caused prices here to rise to 1,530 – 1,540 and 1,425 – 1,440 Rupees respectively

Bombay market per the Gentlemen’s Gazette:

Malwa is 1,110 – 1,120 Rupees ex Bombay. Only the brig Pearl is loading here for China.

Statement of Bombay Pass opium trade:

Imported from Malwa 3.11.41 – 27.6.43
Exported by sea 22.10.41 – 27.6.43
35,887 chests
28,821 chests

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Chusan trade report:

  • Woollens and cottons are selling better but at low rates. The missionaries told the buyers there are more ships coming and the rates should fall, so we had to reduce our prices.
  • Nine foreign ships (named) are in the harbour.
  • Mangrove bark (for tanning) is selling at $3.50 per picul.
  • Opium is slow as sellers are trying to maintain the strong prices that came up from the south. Holders’ requested prices – Malwa $770, Patna $860 and Benares $830.
  • Madras cottons are good.
  • Freight from Chusan to Hong Kong / Macau is 4 Rupees per bale and to Whampoa 6½ Rupees per bale (per Bombay Times).

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Trade reports from Canton and Shanghai:

  • Canton – many of the new congou chops have been taken at the rates indicated in our last notice. 100 bales of new silks have arrived but nothing doing – asking $500 and refusing $460. Total tea exports from Canton in July and August was 2,682,380 lbs. The traders at Canton have elected a committee of seven to consider the effects of the new commercial regulations. These are English – Livingston and Mackean, American – Lejee and Spooner, Parsee – Merwanjee Jeejeebhoy, Cowasjee Pallanjee and French – Durran. Trade is very dull and no tea has yet been shipped under the new system. 28½ Taels was said to have been given earlier for a specially fine chop of congou. How Qua is said to be on his deathbed, mortification having set in to his legs.
  • Shanghai per Lynx (receiving ship) at Woosung. Opium and Straits produce were marginally up from Chusan. Only two ships in the river – Hellas (opium) and Fortescue (general). The authorities will not let the people trade with us until the port is formally opened. We are allowed to visit the city and are treated kindly and courteously by all classes of people. Only opium trafficking at Woosung is connived at by officials at present.

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Manifest of the John Brown (J Thornhill) Bombay to Canton 10.7.43

(This appears typical of the sorts of cargoes traded Bombay to China)


410 bales cotton
25 half bales cotton
356 bales cotton
25 half bales cotton
112 bags gum olibanum
38 bags mother of pearl shell
300 bales of cotton
1 parcel of cotton samples
100 bundles mother of pearl shell
4 bundles elephants’ tusks
234 bales cotton
17 half bales cotton
50 chests opium
2,662 iron bars
1 case of guns
6 bundles true pearls

Pestonjee Merwanjee and Co
Russell and Co
Mahomedbhoy Allabhoy
to order
Samjee Visram
Dent and Co
to order
Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

Parliamentary documents just received show the Indian government’s income from the opium harvest that was mostly surrendered to Elliot for the account of the British government.

(P&B refers to Patna and Benares; M to Malwa, R to Rupee):

Auction dates 160 lb chests Av Price per chest P&B Malwa chests Price per chest M Govt Duty per chest M
4.1.37 6,960 R1,449 ? R1,057 R140
20.2.37 2,490 ?
30.3.37 2,388 ?
12.6.37 5,706 ?
Total 17,545 10,627

1837 – 38 season totalled 28,172 chests producing 38,143,224 Rupees at auction, equivalent to £4,802,872.

2.1.38 6,870 R 752 ? R 913 R140
4.2.38 2,255 ?
23.4.38 3,980 ?
28.5.38 1,975 ?
29.6.38 3,702 ?
Total 18,787 17,517

1838 – 39 season totalled 36,304 chests producing 32,573,225 Rupees equivalent to £4,084,9146

Friend of China 31.8.43 edition

The barque Ronaldson, carrying Mrs Gutzlaff as passenger, touched at Anjer on 9.8.43.

Friend of China 14.9.43 edition

Petition of the Linguists to the foreign merchants of Canton dated 20th August 43 – as printed in the Hong Kong Register:

We used to get the tam tau allowance, ‘piculage’ you called it, of 1 candareen 6 cash per picul on all goods landed and 4 candareens 4 cash on each picul of goods shipped.

You paid it through your Hong merchant to the Hoppo and he sent it to us quarterly.

Since the new system started a month ago we have received a little from the Hoppo but much less than before.

The security merchant used to pay us 100 Taels per ship when discharge commenced, $200 during discharge for handling all the ship’s business and $223.50 when the grand chop (Port Clearance Certificate) was obtained. The foreign merchant also paid us $15.22 per chop boat on cargo landed but nothing on exports as that expense was included in the tam tau.

Now all these fees have been cancelled and are unpaid.

We suspect you foreign merchants never knew what we did as the service provided for you in Canton was an all-embracing one. We will now tell you our part in detail:

  • It is the Linguist who goes to the Hoppo’s office at Canton when a ship arrives and alerts the Customs House to prepare for discharge.
  • He sends four assistants to Whampoa to take down the documents and decipher all the shipping marks and numbers on the cargo.
  • When each chop is loaded onto a chop boat one of these assistants accompanies it back to Canton.
  • On arrival, the Linguist’s assistant attends the Hoppo’s office and gets that official’s man to examine the goods.
  • The Linguist sends four men to sort the goods by chop. He weighs and measures each chop for the Hoppo for duty assessment. He opens sample boxes and bales to verify contents, repacking same and sending off the whole lot to wherever the merchant wants it stored.

For export cargo, the Linguist:

  • Attends the exporting merchant and receives his list of cargoes
  • He goes to the Hoppo and has the Customs Officer attend at the warehouse to examine the exports.
  • He provides four assistants as above to count & / or open boxes.
  • He visits each supplier and collects his shipping notes.
  • Before departure of the ship he peruses the Hoppo’s statement of duties and apportions the costs amongst the exporting merchants.
  • He attends the Hoppo and procures the Grand Chop.

These were the principal trade services of the Linguist in a straightforward case. However, the new system is far more onerous than the old system. Formerly we could get help from the Hong merchant’s staff. Now we are entirely alone.

We have considered various ways of charging for our services. Sometimes a big ship gives us no trouble but a small ship takes all our time. Charging per month would equate the efforts of a hard worker with a slacker. Charging per chop appears to be the least objectionable, but the old regulation still requires changing. We used to get $15.22 for each import chop and nothing for exports. If a ship arrives full and leaves empty we were lucky. If it arrives in ballast and leaves full we are substantial losers. After considering all these variables, we have resolved on the following fee scale:

  • Each chop boat inwards $12
  • Each chop boat outwards $10

This is in addition to the chop boat charter-hire ($12 per day to the boat-owner) and coolie hire, but everything else is included. As chop boats vary in size, the basis to our calculation of the size of one chop is any one of the following:

  • 70 bales Bombay cotton or
  • 80 bales Bengal cotton or
  • 140 bales (6 pcs each) woollens (Spanish stripes) or
  • 140 bales (20 pcs each) long ells or
  • 140 bales (10 pcs each) camlets or
  • 100 bales (50 pcs each) long cloths or
  • 100 bales (c. 30,000 catties gross) cotton yarn or
  • Rice and Teas 50,000 catties or
  • Metals and misc articles 30,000 catties
Signed by the 5 Linguists
Old Tom
Young Tom
Alan Tsai
Young Ah Heen
Pui Qua
(Foon Wo Hong)
(Wo Sheung Hong)
(Ching Wo Hong)
(Shun Wo Hong)
(Tai Wo Hong)

Friend of China 14.9.43 edition

Opinion of R Montgomery Martin of the Colonial Gazette concerning Elliot’s opium scrip:

On the morning of 29th March 1839 Capt Elliot, as Chief Superintendent of Trade and agent of the British Government, published a Notice ‘enjoining and requiring’ Her Majesty’s subjects in China to surrender to him ‘for the service of Her Majesty’ all the opium under their control. He said ‘failing the surrender of the said opium … before 6 o’clock that day, Her Majesty’s Government would be absolved from all liability in respect to it’ but that ‘it was specially to be understood that the value of all British opium surrendered to the said Superintendent agreeably to that notice would be determined upon principles and in an manner to be thereafter defined by Her Majesty’s Government’.

20,283 chests of opium were then surrendered to Elliot and by him to the Chinese Government

The preponderance of the surrendered opium was held by Agents at Canton for the benefit of principals residing far away. The consignees at Canton were mainly Agents of Indian and other merchants many of whom were small traders. The opium was stored in receiving ships at Macau and Lintin, both of which places were effectively beyond the reach of the Chinese authorities.

Two vessels containing 2,400 chests of opium were sent away from Lintin and Macau by respectively J M & Co and Dent & Co and a further 3,000 – 4,000 chests were concurrently dispatched for sale on the East Coast of China.

The holders of the opium at Canton were under restraint of Commissioner Lin but the opium itself was beyond the reach of the Emperor and the holders had earlier resolved never to surrender it.

To enable Her Majesty’s representative to redeem his pledge to the Cantonese Provincial Government, and to deliver himself and other British subjects, owners and non-owners of opium, missionaries, American and Dutch consuls, etc., from a situation of peril, the opium on the East Coast was recalled and contracts then being performed were cancelled.

This loss to the opium merchants was not due to war or embargo or confiscation. The Colonial Gazette classifies it as a loan by the merchants to Elliot to enable him to pay the price of freedom. The Agents brought the opium from places of safety and gave it to the representative trusting in the good faith of the British Government.

Was Elliot authorised to conduct himself thus? By Orders-in-Council he had the powers of the supercargoes of the East India Company. They exercised an absolute control over British subjects trading to China. They could condemn the property and banish the persons of British people disobeying their orders. Thus he had the means of enforcing his orders and the Agent dare not oppose him. The British Government confirmed this analysis when it proposed that one of the objects of the subsequent war was ‘to obtain indemnification for the loss of property sustained by Her Majesty’s subjects’ i.e. the ministry as Principal acknowledges the acts of Elliot, its Agent.

The only remaining question is the amount of compensation to be paid. The British Government has hitherto proposed to act on the basis of ‘invoice cost plus charges’. The statement of losses given to Capt Elliot at Canton contained the invoice value of the surrendered opium plus 17½% for interest and other charges.

The Government has now resolved that the basis of compensation in this case will be the cost price of the opium.7 This is £1½ millions or about $6,000,000. The British government has in fact received twice this amount in compensation from China – it got $6 millions for opium under the treaty and it got the same from Elliot for the ransom of Canton. Lord Aberdeen in his interview with the committee on behalf of the merchants in 1842 admitted that he believed the Canton ransom represented compensation for opium and Chinese state papers, such as we have seen, also view it in this light.

The merchants of course have a claim on the British Government regardless of whether it received compensation from China or not, but in fact here we have the government offering only half of the compensation it has received.

It appears to be a mean attempt by Chancellor Henry Goulburn to use windfall income to adjust the recently published errors between his estimated and actual receipts. Sir Robert Peel should not associate himself with this attempt to get Goulburn off the hook. He appears to be relying on the obloquy that attaches to the opium trade to reduce the amount due to the traders.

The opium trade is sanctioned and encouraged by the British Government. The Indian Government grows and sells Bengal opium. The native princes in the west of the country grow and sell Malwa opium. The Indian Government derives an annual revenue of c. £1,250,000 from sale of the former and the tax on the latter when shipped through Bombay.

In 1832 after closely investigating the entire trade, the British Government declared it ‘inexpedient to abandon so important a source of revenue as the opium trade’. In fact the Indian Government has profited from the destruction of opium at Canton. On 28th November 1839, Capt Elliot wrote to Lord Palmerston ‘I may presume to say that Commissioner Lin has fallen upon the single device which left any hope of supporting the Company’s opium returns of next year. If he had left 20,000 chests … in the hands of the holders, the company must have sacrificed their next year’s supply.’

Bad though the opium trade may be, the British Government has a large stake in it and it will redound little to the credit of a Christian Government if it cheat its heathen partners who have been worse taught and are therefore less culpable.8

Friend of China 14.9.43 edition

London news from the overland mail up to 6th July:

  1. The first tranche of the Chinese war indemnity has arrived and replenished the exhausted British Treasury.
  2. The opium controversy is quiet but Sir Robert Peel has to move the compensation payments for Elliot’s opium scrip soon and it will flare-up again then.

Friend of China 14.9.43 edition

Obituary – How Qua died on 4th September 43. He has been a party to all the important developments in the foreign trade of China for thirty years. He was descended from a respectable Fukienese family resident in the principal black tea district (Cantonese – Mo Yi Shan).

His grandfather was one of the Amoy Hong of merchants, progenitors of the Canton Hong merchants Poon Ke Qua, Chung Qua and Min Qua who were all ordered by the Emperor to remove from Amoy to Canton at the time He stopped trade with the Dutch and the English at Amoy.

How Qua was 75 years old and had long been wasted and feeble but with unattenuated mental vigour. About a year ago one of his foreign friends estimated his wealth at not less than $25 millions nearly all of which was the result of his own hard work. He had large investments in British and American funds.

Our invasion of Canton did him considerable damage. The destruction of the packing houses and their contents by fire cost him a million dollars. He himself said the war cost him $2 millions. His portion of the Canton ransom was $800,000. After that payment, he petitioned the Emperor to be allowed to retire from the Hong. He sent 2½ million Taels of silver with his petition saying it comprised his entire wealth and the Emperor might benevolently remit to him whatever part he thought appropriate to maintain his final years. The petition was refused.

How Qua was opposed to the new system and clung to the old one through which his wealth was mainly accumulated.

He was the guardian and controller of the Consoo Fund and he personally was the man who led the Hong merchants and liaised between Chinese and foreigners.

He owned a large estate in the Canton suburbs and endowed a Buddhist temple within it. Some people suppose the refusal of his wish to retire was linked to the late war and the claims the government might have to make on his services as a mediator. Actually we suspect it was due to his wealth. The Canton and Peking officials may have guessed he was worth more than 2½ million Taels and hoped to squeeze him. As long as he remained chief Hong merchant they could do so.

The astonishing thing about How Qua’s business is that almost to the last day of his life he directed it entirely alone. His knowledge of international trade was encyclopaedic. How Qua liked Americans. It was an American who gave him at an early stage of his career the information he sought of the English in vain.9 The English traders did not like How Qua. It is also true that the existence of the India Company rendered an American association pecuniarily preferable.

Some say he never evaded duties or smuggled goods – that is absurd. He had branch businesses at Soochow, Ningpo, Shanghai and other cities and could hardly maintain trade with competitors who invariably smuggled.

Since the difficulties with opium that manifested with Commissioner Lin, he has absolutely refused to deal in that commodity although these last years have been the most profitable ever. That is a testimony to his patriotism.

Friend of China 14.9.43 supplement

Editorial – The petition of the Linguists, a typical example of the old system, has been granted by the Consul at Canton and an amount of $200,000 will be set aside each year for the five of them in the new system.

Friend of China 14.9.43 supplement

The new French Consul has used the country house of the Hong merchant Poon Ting Qua to present his credentials to the Viceroy of the Two Kwong.

Previously he and Capt Fornier Duplan, the chancellor of his Consulate, received several visits from the Kwongchow Foo and a delegate of the Imperial Commissioner. Two boats from the French corvette Alemene, with crews in full dress and flags flying, left Canton for the merchant’s house at 8 am 6th September 43.

At the ceremony, Ratti-Menton handed his credentials from the French Foreign Secretary to the Viceroy who gave them to the Imperial Commissioner. He had a look and returned them.

The Chinese officials asked many questions about France and its government for over an hour. The suites of the various officials comprised over 200 men. The French get this honour for no effort of their own but as a result of English feats of arms in the late war.

Friend of China 14.9.43 supplement

Congress has voted $10,000 for the American Embassy to China. It will be led by Caleb Cushing as Grand Commissioner with D F Webster as Grand Secretary and John Tyler Jr (President Tyler’s son by his first wife) as private secretary.

John R Peters will represent the American Institute and several attachés from government departments are also included.10

Friend of China, 14.9.43 supplement

A Manchester Chamber of Commerce circular:

The export of plain cottons to China has greatly increased in value (£):

1843 6mth
308,624 lbs

(this last six months looks like an effect of the peace news on English traders)

Friend of China 14.9.43 supplement

From the Bombay Prices Current for 8th August 43:


Calcutta sales


Bombay sales






1,555 Rupees

1,455 Rupees

1225 – 1230 Rupees

Stock in hand

3079 chests

1261 chests

see below

Imported to Bombay with pass 30.11.41 – 1.8.43


Remaining stock

36,063.5 chests



Friend of China 14.9.43 supplement

Samples of recent Bombay export manifests:

the opium clipper Philip Dean from Bombay to Singapore and Macau:

130 chests to Dent and Co

112 chests to various Parsees

75 chests to Lindsay and Co

50 chests to Augustine Heard and Co

25 chests to Russell and Co

12 chests to W Henderson

8 chests to Almada and Sons

5 chests to Elia Dawood Sassoon

1 chest to Manuel de Souza

111 bales cotton to various Parsees

1 chest cornelian gemstones to a Parsee

31 bales of pearls to a Parsee

2 cases wine, respectively for A T Gordon and Pottinger.

Corea departing 2.8.43 to Far East:

3,000 bales of cotton to various Parsees

24 chests of Malwa to Parsees

Ceylon departing 5.8.43 for Canton:

2,700 bales of cotton

549 elephant tusks

44 bags of copper plate

Ship Lord Lowther departing 3.8.43:

3,050 bales of cotton to Parsees

1,000 bales of cotton to Dent and Co

80 packages olibanum to a Parsee

47 chests of Malwa to Parsees

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

The following circular, previously issued by HBM Consul at Canton, has routinely not been complied with, causing traders considerable delay. The rules in it apply at all the treaty ports. It is accordingly important and is reprinted for general information:

  • Manifests may not be vague.
  • The ship’s agent will discover from Consignee the contents of packages marked ‘contents unknown’ and identify the contents before presenting his manifest to the Consul.
  • Woollens will be classified according to the tariff – long ells, broad cloth, camlets, etc.
  • Cottons will be classified according to the tariff – white longcloth, grey longcloth, cambric, etc.
  • Fancy goods – manufactured cloth not in current use should be described as cotton or wool, or mixed wool and cotton, or mixed silk and cotton, etc.

The object is to assign the proper duty to the item. If a few items are mingled together this object is defeated and delays results.

Sgd G Tradescant Lay.

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

Chien Kiang, the native of Chekiang referred to by the Imperial Commissioner in his recent Edict as the man deputed to stir up the Cantonese literati and gentry against the British, has been arrested.

Pu Ching and other officials of Chekiang have published a memorial disavowing him. They say the simple Cantonese were seduced by Chien to assemble in the Ming Lun Hall and were duped into illegal acts by him and two or three of his colleagues.

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

The official named Lu Yuen Ho who manages the island of Chusan is levying taxes in the name of the Emperor. This island continues to be held by Britain for performance of the treaty terms.

It is rumoured the payment of taxes to the Emperor secures the residents of Chusan from piracy and robberies.

Some local people have told the Friend of China Editor that Hong Kong can never be free of piracy and robberies until it agrees to pay tax to the officials at Kowloon.11

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

Advertisement copied from the Singapore Free Press of 11th August 43 – We have opened an agency in China called Boustead and Company. Our group companies comprise Sykes Schwabe and Co of Liverpool, Butler Sykes and Co of Manila and Boustead Schwabe and Co of Singapore.

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

Letter to the Editor – The main complaint of the foreign merchants at Canton against the new tariff is that Customs duty is so low that it is no longer worthwhile to smuggle whereas the administrative and reporting requirements of the Consul appear to suggest that he thinks smuggling is continuing.

Editor – it is! The opium fleet has returned to Whampoa and crowds Blenheim Reach.

This is sublime hypocrisy. In fact British subjects are continuing to smuggle general goods into China using Cantonese middlemen and the costs exceed the tariff but they justify paying more to avoid the delays caused by the Consul’s administrative requirements.

The Chinese must be laughing uncontrollably. We object to the fees they charge and for decades have called them squeezes and cumshaws; then our own representative publishes the rates he charges as fees and we happily pay them. The difference seems to be solely in the fact of publication.

Recently the Linguists explained what they have always done and have received sanction to charge a fee. It begins to seem likely that the whole former arrangement at Canton may be upheld and incrementally reappear as published fees. When one considers that the China-trade produced a revenue of £5,500,000 to the home and Indian governments last year, our position starts to look thoroughly contemptible.

The Americans have none of this consular machinery but manage very well. Their Consul at Canton does no more than if he were at Smyrna or Valparaiso and he satisfies both his own countrymen and the Chinese authorities.

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

The Mahmoudie, Sir Edward Ryan, Lord Amherst and Thalia are all opium clippers but will carry other valuable cargo on inducement. Their speed renders them immune to attack on the high seas.12

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

Amoy trade report:

  • A Spanish brig has arrived at Amoy and is selling Manila rice at $1.50 per picul.
  • Some Patna opium was sold here at over $1,000 a chest recently.

Friend of China 21.9.43 edition

Report from the New Zealand paper The Spectator, as reprinted in the Bombay Times:

The Chinese buy green stone at up to £1,500 per ton. The south island has a green talc slate which the natives call poonamor. A ship from Wellington named Royal Mail has sailed down the west coast of the south island to Milford Haven to collect a shipment of this green slate. Mr Deans, one of our most enterprising colonists, has just returned from Milford Haven and reported the above facts. He says the Royal Mail has already loaded 10 tons of the green stone.

Editor comments – This report misled many traders. The consignment of New Zealand green stone arrived here and turned out to be almost valueless for carving. New Zealand has many valuable minerals but we doubt it will be commercially expedient to export them – the costs of shipping will be prohibitive. The most valuable New Zealand product for the foreseeable future is flax which will soon be in demand in China.

Friend of China 21.9.43 supplement

Singapore trade report – Opium is selling better. We have 1,200 chests but the stock remaining in Bengal is small – about 2,800 Patna and 950 Benares. Calcutta prices are 1,950 Rupees for Patna and 1,550 Rupees for Benares. The Sylph, Water Witch and Persian (opium clippers) are loading here.

Friend of China 21.9.43 supplement

Canton trade report:

  • All foreign merchants in this city are trying to thwart the new system. A lorcha (Portuguese ship from Macau with a western-style hull but rigged in the Asian-style) came up to Jackass Point under the British flag recently, and landed a cargo of printed cotton cloth after doing a deal with the Hoppo’s men direct. The Consul considers these prints to be smuggled goods as they were not reported to him and has applied to confiscate them.
  • The Hong merchants have taken down their lanterns and shingles and have become what used to be called outside men – just ordinary traders.

Friend of China 28.9.43 edition

Bombay exports, from an article in the Gentleman’s Gazette:

Manifest of the schooner Pearl to Singapore & Macau, departing Bombay on 11.8.43

254 chests of opium to Parsee merchants
10 chests to W Henderson
4 boxes Cambay stones13 to a Parsee
1 box of pearls to a Parsee
4 casks of hardware to a Parsee
1 cask of liquor to Pestonjee Ruttonjee

Manifest of the ship Chusan to China, 14.8.43

2,070 bales cotton to J M & Co
217 bags of gum to a Parsee
1 box of garden seeds to Pottinger.

Friend of China 28.9.43 edition

The US frigate Brandywine, corvette St Louis, and new steam frigate Missouri are the squadron deputed to escort the new American Commissioner and his suite to China. The delegation includes all sorts of literary and scientific men. Cushing is going to Bombay overland and will join the squadron there.

Friend of China 28.9.43 edition

Notice dated 23rd September 43 – S J Cook has succeeded to the management of the British Hotel in the Canton factories. “His unremitting exertions will be on a scale appropriate to the wants of his guests.”

Friend of China 28.9.43 edition

Notice dated 1st September 43:

The Albion Hotel at Macau has been bought by Capt A H Fryer.

John Smith’s store and auction room will continue to operate in the Hotel’s godown.

Friend of China 5.10.43 edition

New York Commercial Advertiser reports that Mr John R Peters Jr., son of ex-alderman Peters, will join Caleb Cushing’s delegation.

Mr Peters Jr is a scientist and his addition to the team is at the suggestion of the American Institute. He will be taking machinery models and drawings to promote industrialisation in China. Perhaps in a few years there might be a railway from Peking to Canton.

Friend of China 5.10.43 supplement

The Emperor of China has approved the new tariff and announced that it should be brought into effect in the five ports. To give effect to the requirements of the new tariff the following appointments have been made:

  • Capt George Balfour, Madras Artillery, will act as consul at Shanghai w.e.f. 1.12.42
    Walter Henry Medhurst interpreter at Shanghai 1.12.42
    Frederick Howe Hale surgeon at Shanghai 1.9.43
  • Henry Gribble, the opium smuggler, Her Majesty’s Consul at Amoy w.e.f. 1.10.43
  • Robert Thom consul at Ningpo w.e.f. 1.10.43 but to continue to act as Chinese Secretary of Hong Kong until relieved by Gutzlaff.

A consul will be appointed to Fuk Chow as soon as possible

Friend of China 5.10.43 supplement

Letter from Sir Henry Pottinger at Macau to G T Lay, Consul at Canton, dated 22nd September 43:

I approve your circular concerning vague manifests.
You have told me the Hoppo is getting to grips with the new system and a letter from me to the Imperial Commissioner is now no longer necessary.
Please recall that:

‘it is no part of the duty of the British Government or its officers to render any assistance to mercantile firms or individuals in conducting their business beyond what is expressly laid down in the General Regulations.’

I have in mind the loss of the agency of the Hong merchants which British merchants might think you are there to replace.

Concerning the appeal that you submitted to the Imperial Commissioner on behalf of Mr Coolidge, who requires that obstacles to trade be removed, I think you should have said that it was submitted by Coolidge as the Agent of a British firm and not as an American trader, which appears to be what the Commissioner has understood from his reply. Having said that, the reply is satisfactory for although the obstacles to trade remain, it admits that the Hong merchants are no longer agents of the Imperial government.

Kiying’s reply to Coolidge (through the British Consul) 15.9.43

“Previously Chinese merchants were selected by government and carried on trade on behalf of the foreign merchants. Now the Hong merchants have been disbanded and English merchants can deal with whoever they please. The Chinese government will not interfere.

“Concerning the renting of houses and godowns that concerns Coolidge, the Plenipotentiary has already communicated with us and we instructed the Hong merchants to rent such houses and godowns to you at just and fair prices. But Coolidge says he has difficulties which he cannot resolve.
“If I strictly follow the agreement and do nothing for him it would be unkind. Coolidge’s problem comes from the Hong merchants now being free to rent or not to rent their property just as the English merchants are free to trade or not to trade. This is required under the new system. We cannot compel the Hong merchants to act contrary to their wishes as it is the intent of the new arrangements that everyone is free to do as he likes.

“All I can do is first to send an officer to the Hong merchants to urge and encourage them and second to issue a Proclamation to the people publishing your need of houses and godowns to rent.
“This new system is based on mutual willingness. If money is to be made, the Chinese government will not beg its people to do so, they will certainly do so of their own accord. The foreign merchants should act with justice and carry on their business with a view to the long term. In this way I hope that commerce will be improved to the benefit of all parties.”

Friend of China 12.10.43 edition

Article from the Sydney Morning Herald on the potential of the China market. (in the style of the well-known English article of 1842 on the profit accruing from adding 1” to the tails of shirts sold in China)

Consumption of cotton yarn per 1,000 head of population:


German states / Austria
German Customs League


2,915 lbs
1,821 lbs
276 lbs
86 lbs
16 lbs

If the imports of cotton yarn into China can be increased to the level of consumption in India the increase will comprise over 21 millions pounds. We can have a big increase in trade to China only if the home duty on tea is reduced sufficiently to stimulate consumption to the point that the profit from Chinese tea sales will finance increased imports of cotton. Tea duties in England are 200% on ordinary grades and 100% on luxury grades.

Friend of China 12.10.43 edition

Canton Trade report – dull except Bombay cotton

Friend of China 12.10.43 edition

A poem of hints to Editors entitled ‘how to please all your readers’ is submitted by a reader. Not reproduced here.

Friend of China 12.10.43 supplement

Three of the crew of Lorcha No 11 have been arrested. The ship was scuttled off Chuan Chow on 9.7.43 at which time Dr McKinley and some other Europeans on board were found to have been murdered. The case is under investigation.

Friend of China 12.10.43 supplement

Editorial – Although trade was supposed to stop until the commercial treaty was ratified (except at the military stations at Kulangsu and Chusan and at Canton) it appears that £1,600,000 of British, Indian and Straits produce (excluding all the opium that has been traded) has been sold along the East Coast.

Hitherto the market for British manufacturers in China has been insignificant. The declared value of British and Irish exports to China in 1841 was £862,570 which is considerably less than raw cotton imports and only a fifth of the opium import.

The Chinese are able to make everything that we sell to them very cheaply but the quality of our machine-made cloth is better. Our white cotton long cloth is preferred by the Chinese for under-garments – it is smooth and comfortable.

The late Emperor forbad the cultivation of cotton in certain districts fearing that the rice harvest would be reduced. Now by importing British cottons, more land can be turned over to rice cultivation.

The main obstacle to increasing trade with China is the enormous duty on Chinese produce in England.

From what we know of the Chinese there are many articles currently extensively consumed in America and Europe that could be made more cheaply in China. This is a big subject.

  • There is already an increasing business in making famous British goods in China and shipping them to England for sale. A recent shipment of grey domestics to Barings created a sensation amongst the British cloth manufacturers who prevailed upon the Customs to seize the entire shipment but had to permit its release subsequently. The cloth was then sold at auction in London for local sale or export. The Customs Act, Cap 47, Sec 11, says ‘Any foreign manufactures imported into United Kingdom that have the marks, names or brands of manufacturers resident in UK will be forfeit’. It appears British law does not allow a British manufacturer to produce goods overseas. However, grey domestics are now being manufactured here in quantity at $2 per piece.
  • The introduction of steam navigation is another area of trade that is bound to expand. It is estimated, excluding Canton, that cargo carried in British ships on the China coasting trade already exceeds $20 millions in value. Most of that is opium and treasure which “high value to bulk” items are particularly suitable for carriage by steamer. There is a big saving of interest payments available from the quicker journeys resulting from our ability to steam against the wind which the sailing ships find so difficult. There is also the possibility of passenger traffic to explore.
  • The Americans are getting some good business in China with their cottons and lead. American cotton cloth and twist enjoy a large and increasing market in China. American domestic cottons are much liked by the poor Chinese as they are cheap and durable. America is trying to compete with India in raw cotton. Chinese native cotton sells at 2-3 times the price of Bombay cotton. Manila cotton is about double the Indian price. Hitherto India has had a monopoly of the Chinese cotton market but it will have to bestir itself to successfully compete with the Republicans.
  • Hunt’s Merchants Magazine says American exports of lead to China in 1841 totalled 1,510,136 lbs and it seems very likely to have increased since. It won’t be long before the Americans start competing in the copper trade as well, as big deposits have been found in Wisconsin and north Michigan. American copper is already quoted in the New York Prices Current.

Friend of China 12.10.43 supplement

Canton trade report:

Patna $830-840, Benares $800-810, Malwa $710-715.

Demand has been checked and prices reduced by a recurrence of the old squeezes by Provincial officials.

Friend of China 19.10.43 edition

Edict of Sir Henry Pottinger at Macau, dated 4.10.43:

  • All British nationals are reminded of the contents of Sir James Graham’s Act of 1835, Cap 19, concerning the treatment of merchant seamen on British ships.14
    A list of penalties for infraction of the provisions of this law is appended as it appears to be broken daily. The penalties are applicable against the owners and masters. All British Consuls are instructed w.e.f. 1.12.43 to enforce this act against any ship sailing under the British flag.
    Her Majesty’s and the India Company’s ships-of-war and steamers are to enforce the law when officially requested to do so in writing. These rules also apply to Chusan and Kulangsu so long as they are garrisoned by Britain.
    If a ship leaves crewmen or discharges crewmen without advising the Consul and leaves the jurisdiction, the owners (or consignees of cargo landed) will be held responsible. If the consignees are found not responsible, the action will continue against the owners wherever they might be. The Plenipotentiary is determined to have this law enforced, penalties paid and expenses recovered.
  • The Government of China complains that foreign masters at the Whampoa anchorage are in the habit of discharging stone ballast over side. This should cease. Ballast may not be discharged either in Canton or at any of the newly opened ports. British Consuls are empowered to fine the masters of those ships flying British colours in the amount of £10-25 for each offence. Masters requiring to discharge or load ballast will arrange it through the Consul.
  • Penalties enforceable against owners and masters:
    Carrying unarticled seamen

    Not reading articles to seaman

    Not depositing articles with Customs

    Refusing to pay wages

    Refusing to certify voyage

    Neglecting to make a crew return

    No crew return for ship lost

    Leaving a crewman behind

    Discharging seaman w/o adv consul

    £10 each



    double the sum refused




    Fine and gaol

    A misdemeanour

  • Penalties enforceable against crewmen:
Refusing to join ship

Absent without leave

Long absence


£2 or 30 days gaol

double pay for the period

1 month’s pay

forfeit money & effects

Friend of China 19.10.43 edition

S J Cook has bought the British Hotel at Canton from J S Case and has renamed it the Canton Hotel. All debts incurred prior to 23.9.43 are payable by Case.

Friend of China 19.10.43 edition

Extracts from the Peking Gazettes:

The Emperor has discovered that opium is being smuggled into His palace by Manchu horse dealers. Some have run away and rigorous measures are ordered to prevent a recurrence. A new list of people enjoying the right of entry is published. Princes of the blood and high ministers can enter but their dependents and all palace staff must be registered and wear a numbered badge at the waist. The palace guards are all changed and only guards acquainted with the appearance of the regulars are to be used in future.15

Friend of China 19.10.43 edition

Now the northern ports are opened can we expect a supply of ice? Americans supply ice successfully to India. Hunt’s Merchants Magazine says for the last two years 16 Boston firms have been shipping ice to the East and West Indies and many southern ports. The demand is so great that Boston cannot supply it and extra ice is brought from the interior by rail. Ice used to sell at New Orleans at 6¢ lb. Now it is 1¢. But whereas the old daily profit was $1 it is now $4 such is the increase in volume. The ice is sawn by machine into blocks at least a foot square. The blocks are packed in hay and straw. It is then boxed in thin lumber to make it airtight. In 1840 a Boston company paid $7,000 for straw and hay to pack its shipments. Recently we heard from Calcutta that the ice stock was exhausted and the resulting discomfort of the residents was found to be nearly intolerable. Now we can supply ice from China as well as supply ourselves. We know the Chinese in the northern provinces use ice extensively in the summer but they have never shipped it south. Perhaps this is another market for us to open. The opulent Cantonese spend lavishly on their comforts and would likely consume a lot.

Friend of China 26.10.43 edition

A letter from Kiying to Pottinger dated 8.10.43 is published. The governors of Chih Li and Shantung have jointly memorialised the Court:

On 4th August 43 two 2-masted foreign vessels were seen off Tang Ching, Shantung. They anchored off Liu Kung Tao (an island). On 5th August 43, 3 foreigners, 5 Cantonese and a Kwongsi man landed in a small boat and distributed hand bills advertising opium in large and small balls, woollens and other miscellaneous articles for sale. Our people did not dare to trade with them and eventually the foreigners returned to their ships and sailed away.

On 6th August 43 the same two ships reached Chi Fo Tao (an island) and anchored.

On 24th August they sailed along the sands at the mouth of the Peiho and again anchored whereupon the Commandant and Intendant of Tientsin boarded the ship finding 20 Cantonese and 50-60 black and white foreigners. A Linguist named Cheung said the ship was British and had bought a cargo of cotton and woollen cloth from Singapore (Sin Chow Foo he called it). He exhibited a bill of parcels from the Hong Tih Li (?).

The Commandant and Intendant of Tientsin immediately told them that Tientsin was not an open port but if they were in distress and needed food they would be supplied without charge. They then left and on 25th August 43 the foreigners raised anchor and sailed away.

Now I must request your Excellency (Pottinger) to rigidly restrain these people and have them abandon all hope of trade in ports other than those opened.

I note Your Excellency’s Proclamation (forbidding English ships to trade at unopened ports) had not yet been issued when the above incidents occurred. The ships went away of their own accord once confronted. I merely wonder who they are, where they came from and where they went? I should be grateful if your Excellency would issue a notice to your merchants giving them a month’s notice of your proscription. Any vessel found in ports other that treaty ports after 6.11.43 will be confiscated with its cargo as recently agreed in the commercial treaty.

Pottinger’s answer of 11th October 43:

I will issue the proclamation you request and try to prevent the breaches of treaty you mention. I was glad to learn that the people of your country do not dare to trade with the foreigners. That might be enough on its own to prevent the growth of this smuggling trade. If they sell no goods the smugglers make only losses. I ask you to not provide any comfort to the crews of such vessels but instead to seize the ships and detain and fine the crews. I hope the previous irregularities will cease with the coming into force of the new treaty terms.

Friend of China 26.10.43 edition

The Supplementary Treaty that was signed and sealed at Hu Mun Jai (the Bogue) on 8.10.43 is published herewith. Sir Henry has proclaimed that the Emperor of China has consented to ratify the document without awaiting the signed copy from London. All British subjects, whilst awaiting the formal ratification from London, are nevertheless required to observe the terms of the agreement immediately.

Sgd Pottinger, 18.10.43.

There follows an abstract of the supplementary treaty terms that is not reproduced here. Of particular interest is Pottinger’s prefatory note dated 24.10.43:

The commercial treaty limits trade to treaty ports of which the most northerly is Shanghai. Opium smugglers have been travelling further north than Shanghai. The treaty gives a right to seize ships trading other than at one of the five ports.

Any British merchant ship known or suspected to have gone north of the Yangtse will be deemed to have violated the treaty and will be arrested by any of Her Majesty’s Ships and brought to Hong Kong for enquiry and adjudication. If masters of merchant ships use force to defend themselves they will be treated as pirates.

Friend of China 26.10.43 edition

A Proclamation is issued in the Queen’s name under the ‘Act to Regulate the Trade to China and India’ whereby British subjects are prohibited from trading at any Chinese port other than the five treaty ports or those garrisoned by Her Majesty’s forces. Breach attracts a fine of up to £100 or imprisonment for 3 months.

Friend of China 26.10.43 edition

Robert Thom has published a Chinese and English vocabulary at Canton which is very useful. It also has Manchurian characters in it. It is actually intended to teach English to the Chinese and has been selling very well in Canton. It has been printed at Thom’s expense and is being circulated by him free of charge to all the new consulates for the benefit of Chinese at those ports.

Friend of China 26.10.43 edition

Canton trade report – owing to the imminent departure of the orange junks for Peking,16 the market has been active and considerable sales of Malwa made. Even some Bengal Drug (Patna / Benares) has changed hands at $810- 840 chest.

Friend of China 26.10.43 supplement

Extracts from recent correspondence exchanged between Kiying and Pottinger are published for general information:

25th September 1843 The coast between Ningpo and the Yangtse entrance is characterised by sand banks which shift annually with the south east monsoon making shipwreck common. The most recent was the Levant Packet. Ship masters should take care and consider engaging pilots.
8th October 1843 Along the coast of Kiang Nan and Chekiang are quicksands which are only occasionally apparent. Ships may be caught and sucked down if their masters are not alert to the danger, and
8th October 1843 Our coastal people are prone to abuse some visitors. Your black seamen are ignorant and like to drink wine. They should not be permitted ashore to avoid their getting drunk and being abused by the people
12th October 1843 Pottinger says ‘thank you for the advices. I will notify my people.’

Friend of China 2.11.43 edition

Fires in Canton

24.10.43 at 7pm a big fire started accidentally in Canton at a mechanic’s shop 800 yards northwest of the factories and spread to the river then east along the waterfront. The Danish and Spanish hongs and part of the French hong were burnt down. The foreign merchants were able to carry away their papers and treasure but lost most of their furniture and personal effects – there simply were not enough trustworthy coolies available to remove them. The ancient temple to the God of the North Pole (Pak Tai Mun) has fallen.

The British consulate in the Danish Hong is completely burnt-out but all the ships’ and other papers were saved. The only inhabitable part of the factories is the area between Old China Street and Hog Lane. Following the fire, the mob and thieves caused their usual trouble. Fortunately Capt Keppel with 60 sailors and 20 marines from HMS Dido came up from Whampoa to assist a strong body of Chinese police. One Chinese had to be shot. He had been caught stealing and drew a knife on the marine who confronted him.

About 1,700 houses have been burnt down. Poon Hoi Qua’s hong is destroyed. The Linguists Old Ah Ming and Young Tom are burnt-out. The shops in Mow Qua Street – Li Chun and Hop Mow – are gone. Damage is estimated at $5 millions. Had the wind not moved around to the northeast in the evening, every foreign house would have been destroyed. The British only lost their furniture.

26.10.43 another fire broke out behind the factories in Canton at about 11 pm and destroyed 30 houses.

29.10.43 there was yet another fire that destroyed 400 Chinese houses.

30.10.43 At 11 am on Monday the warship from Cochin China that was moored in front of How Qua’s folly inexplicably exploded.

Friend of China 2.11.43 edition

Amongst the 12,000 coolie emigrants sent to Mauritius (for sugar harvesting) are 468 Chinese. The colonial treasury of Mauritius has been temporarily exhausted in paying a bonus for their importation.

Friend of China 9.11.43 edition

Orders of Vice Admiral Parker to all captains, commanders and commanding officers of Her Majesty’s Ships and those of the Company’s Navy in the China Seas:

The Chinese government will prevent foreign trade south of the Yangtse River except at the five ports. No ship flying British colours may trade on the China coast north of 32nd parallel. Any ship known to have contravened this order will be sent to Hong Kong for investigation. British ships ignoring this rule will not receive protection from Her Majesty’s ships. Ships flying no flag or without indication of their port of registry will be seized for breach of the Law of Nations and the British Navigation Laws and sent to a British port. Anyone landing in China for trade except at the five ports is liable to arrest and detention by the Chinese and a fine of $1,000 per person.

Friend of China 9.11.43 edition

Proclamation of Imperial Commissioner Kiying, Viceroy Kekung of the Two Kwong, Governor Ching Kea Chai of Kwangtung and Collector of Customs (Hoppo) Wan:

The warehouses of the outside men (the new merchants) are identical with those of the old merchants (the Hong merchants).

The old tariff was in the hands of the Hong merchants who acted as Customs agents of the government but they made difficulties for the foreigners. Now the new tariff is settled. Everyone can trade. None is to interpret the law in his own way. Soon the old merchants will note no difference from former days and the new merchants will know they are only required to be honest and straightforward with the foreigners. The old merchants are reminded they may no longer monopolise the trade notwithstanding their former role as government officials in setting the sale prices and levying the various fees.

The new rules are for the benefit of trade. They are not intended to cause difficulty. In the matter of the warehouses and the packing houses, such buildings are indispensable for trade. We are all here to trade. Clearly warehouses should be profitable things for the conduct of business.

The old merchants have obstructed trade over warehousing.17 Now the ships should open their holds and land their cargoes. This Proclamation is issued to let everyone know that there is no difference between the old and the new warehouses and you can use any one of them. All merchants trade on the same footing except those smugglers, cheats and opium peddlers whose defiance will not be endured.

So you new merchants do not trouble the magistrate with further enquiries but listen to the experienced merchants. Since the new regulations were enacted the numbers of ships has increased. Do your business diligently.

Friend of China 9.11.43 edition

Reply of Pottinger drafted while he was still at Macao to Russell & Co’s letter of 21st October 43 asking when King Qua’s debts would be paid:

Victoria, 26.10.43 – Thank you for your letter enclosing a statement of interest due to Framjee Cowasjee (now assigned to Nanabhoy Framjee) noting that his principal in Bombay is pressing for settlement.

I remind you that payment of interest on King Qua’s debt will occur within two years of the final discharge of the capital of such debts.

The agreement that you merchants yourselves made with King Qua was for the payment of the capital within ten years of 1.7.38 so the payment of interest could occur at any time up to 1.7.1850. I have asked HBM’s government for a reference on this subject and will let you know it on receipt.

Friend of China 9.11.43 edition

Editor’s advice – In our issue of 24.8.43 we advised that all inbound ships should report to the Bogue Forts before entering the Canton River. The form to be submitted to the Chinese authorities on river entry is now available for purchase from the Hong Kong government at $2 per sheet. The form is a “sailing letter” and is renewable annually. The extent of security required on each ship depends on class and size and cannot be advised here but when you go to buy your sailing letters the government staff have all the details.

Friend of China 9.11.43 edition

Our Canton correspondent reports a fear amongst the foreign traders that arsonists may be at work. On the evening of 3rd November 43 the undamaged factories had a narrow escape. A house in Old China Street was set on fire. Some British traders saw the flickering light as they passed and broke in. They found the fire source was a box of incendiary material but no identification of the responsible person could be had.

Another mode of arson said to be popular amongst the Chinese, as reported by Chinese merchants, is to attach blue fire to the tail of a cat and set him loose on the roofs where all sorts of dried leaves and incendiary material have accumulated

Friend of China 9.11.43 supplement

Latest developments concerning Elliot’s opium scrip:

In the House of Commons on 4th August 43 Sir G Clark proposed that the holders of Elliot’s opium scrip be paid £1,281,211 or approx £64 (630 Rupees) per chest, which is almost what the Emperor paid to Britain under Article IV of the treaty.

101 MPs were present for the debate. The proposal was opposed by R D Mangles,18 H H Lindsay, John Abel Smith19 and Sir Thomas Wilde20 but no new facts or opinions were presented.

Only 27 voted against the motion.

Peel said that his ministry had never engaged to indemnify the merchants but Palmerston, of the previous ministry, gave, as one of his reasons for declaring war, the need ‘to obtain payment for the opium surrendered to the Chinese by Capt Elliot’. Peel would not repudiate Palmerston but instead promised a detailed investigation. It was always known that the opium could readily be identified as each Agent kept complete records and the Chinese had additionally made an overall record of the marks on every chest. It was also the case that a major part of the stock was supplied by the Indian Government, an agent of the British Government, he told the House.

Friend of China 9.11.43 supplement

Sir James Matheson has become MP for Ashburton, the late Wm Jardine’s former constituency. He has donated £1,000 to extend the facilities of the Caledonian Asylum to girls.

He has also bought Sir Laurence Palk’s estate at Ashburton.

Friend of China 16.11.43 edition

Proclamation of Kiying dated 7th November 43:

“The American Consul has complained that the new tariff has not been amended in respect of foreign ginseng.21 He says an average 20% of each shipment is inferior quality and requests the tariff be applied accordingly.

“The tariff on 1st quality ginseng is 38 Taels per 100 catties. On 2nd quality ginseng the tariff is 3.5 Taels. Therefore foreign ginseng will attract the following duty:

1st quality at 38 x 20% = 7.6 Taels

2nd quality at 3.5 x 80% = 2.8 Taels

“In future, 100 catties of foreign ginseng (fah kay sum) will pay 10.4 Taels duty”

Friend of China 23.11.43 edition

Excerpt from the Manchester Herald:

Russia has increased her purchases of American cotton yarn at Liverpool recently. This goes to produce the cotton cloth it barters across the land frontier with China at Kyakhta. China dictates the terms of this trade. Tea and silk is exchanged for fur, leather, cottons, woollens and linens.

A barter smuggling trade is also connived at by both governments via the Caspian and Siberia.22 There is no prospect of a loss of sycee silver to the Chinese to interrupt this business – they have more to sell than to buy.

The legitimate trade at Kyakhta trebled between 1838 – 1841 but this may partly be accounted for by increased prices. Tea in 1838 was valued at 2,000,000 silver roubles but by 1841 it had increased to 7,000,000 silver roubles and this excludes the black tea cake that the Tartars and Kalmucks drink. Clearly tea costs are increasing but this must also mean consumption in Europe is increasing.

The diplomatic relationship between Russia and China is supposedly conducted in secret by a small establishment of Russian priests at Peking. Ostensibly the priests are there for religious and literary purposes. We suspect that Russia may have just negotiated an extension of trade in the north and northwest to correspond with the changes we have effected by the Treaty of Nanking here (England) and on the China coast. This would explain the increased Russian demand for yarns from Liverpool.

The balance of our trade with Russia is appalling. We buy £7 millions of their goods, they buy £2 millions of ours.

Friend of China 23.11.43 edition

Herr Grube of Dusseldorf has been appointed Prussian Consul at Canton by the Court of Berlin. He will have jurisdiction for the whole Chinese Empire.

Friend of China 23.11.43 edition

Canton report – A few wretches in the cangue are being paraded around the area of the recent fire. All are in poor health and some have already died. Nevertheless they will be exhibited there as a warning to the others for as long as the authorities deem it necessary.23

Another fire occurred north of the factories on 17th November but was swiftly brought under control.

No attempt is being made to rebuild any of the burned houses but a new building for Poo Shing Hong is under construction in front of the old Danish hong.

The authorities at Ningpo have disallowed trade until the British Consul arrives. As a result the foreign merchant ships in port are trading directly with other ships. They off-load at Chin Chu at the mouth of the Ningpo river into the junks of merchants from Chapu. None of the goods are finding their way to Ningpo. The strictness of the Ningpo officials is impressive considering the ubiquitous squeezing that we are accustomed to elsewhere.

Friend of China 30.11.43 edition

Letter of Pottinger to Viceroy Kekung and Governor Ching Kea Chai:

A narrative of a visit by foreigners to Chang Chow in Fukien has just been published in Macau from which I have learned that a group of American missionaries visited the town last month and forced their way in, in spite of local officials’ reluctance and their reference to the treaty.

I cannot accept responsibility for Americans, but I wish you to inform all Chinese officials that should they discover English people acting in this way, they are to be seized and confined and I should be notified so the offender(s) may be brought before a British Consul and dealt with according to our law.

By copy of this letter to all British Consuls in China the publication of this warning is extended to all Englishmen living within the Empire.

Friend of China 30.11.43 edition

China news:

  • HBM Government is paying How Qua $6,000 a year for the ground rent of that part of the Canton factories that they have hired.
  • The spectacle of convicts displayed in the cangue after being convicted of involvement in the recent Canton fires is harrowing. Some are said to have had nothing to eat or drink for ten days. Nevertheless a few foreigners still fear that arson might occur again.
  • A report from Chusan says the Chinese there are becoming inured to our system of administration and appreciate the absence of squeeze.

Friend of China 7.12.43 edition

Report from G Balfour, British Consul at Shanghai, dated 14th November 43:

I have established the Consulate in a street close to the walls of the town between the east and west gates. The port will be declared open to British trade on 17th November 43. All the new regulations will immediately apply.

The port limits extend to Pooshan Point on the left and the battery on the right bank, both below Woosung. The anchorage is at the left bank on the bend where the Woosung Kow creek is located, about ¾ mile below where the waters from the town discharge into the river. All ships must anchor fore and aft, parallel to the river bank, to leave the river road and creek free for navigation.

The Chinese authorities have provided a Shroff for fees and duties at the street leading from the little east gate to the river bank. It has six partners – Yau Hung Yuen, Chow Hu Shing, Mao Hung Ho, Kwok Wan Fung, Chuen Yen Chee and King Yen Kee – any of whose receipts are acceptable to the officials.24

The set of standard weights and measures is in my office. All the various trades and professions here use different scales of weight and merchants are advised to take care to define the scale of weight / measure before concluding their transactions.

I am arranging for a dwelling-house and storeroom. I will also arrange to assay the local silver to establish its value. I am looking for a site for a Customs House in which to examine goods, appoint pilots, etc.

Initially the consulate will be open to all persons at all hours but regular hours of business will be established when things settle down.

Friend of China 7.12.43 edition

The old Hong merchants have persuaded the Imperial Commissioner to permit additional duties on certain articles in order to accumulate a fund for the discharge of their debts.

The new imposts will be published as duties payable by the Chinese exporter in order to avoid trouble with Britain under the treaty, although no doubt the foreign exporter will pay the cost as usual.

Friend of China 7.12.43 edition

Extracts from the Peking Gazettes of September 43:

  • The workload at the Board of Offices has increased. The Emperor directs it be disposed of quickly. The sale of offices at fixed prices is popular and should be extended, but no office should be sold unless a vacancy exists for the purchaser. This means successful graduates and literati will be waiting a long time for office unless they have money.
  • The extensive investigation into the c. 9,000,000 Taels (350 tons) of silver missing from the Imperial Treasury is concluded. The investigating officials report the strong boxes had deteriorated and the silver fell out. The Emperor is not satisfied with this investigative result and all those employed in the Board of Revenue now and previously are held accountable. Some members of the Imperial household have already contributed 220,000 Taels in restitution.
  • The inhabitants of Kokonor (between Szechuan and Tibet) have been fighting the Chinese. Many Chinese troops and some Mongol chiefs25 were dispatched to Kokonor to reassert Chinese sovereignty. The rebels lost and ran away but were pursued and finally surrendered. The army will now be withdrawn and disbanded. The Mongol chiefs will be rewarded for their help and small garrisons will be left at strategic towns to maintain order. Whilst there is no longer a risk of invasion of Szechuan, the province is exposed to continual depredations by robbers who ascend the rivers in large boats and lay waste to the communities along the banks. Many of these outlaws have united with the Miao people to defy Chinese administration. Promises of rewards and threats of punishment are expected to control them eventually.
  • On 22.8.43 an envoy from the King of Ava (the independent interior of Burma) appeared on the Yunnan frontier bringing tribute. He is permitted to continue to Peking.
  • The flooding of Honan and Anhwei in August and September was devastating and the Emperor has ordered all people charged with control of the Yellow River to be punished. Meanwhile subscriptions of 9,000,000 Taels are to be collected to repair the dykes.
  • An 85 years old woman has applied for the release of her only son from the army to care for her. He is an officer at Poo Shan near Woosung. Her request is rejected and, to maintain discipline, the young man is sent to the frontier.
  • The Viceroy of Fukien and Chekiang has requested his punishment be remitted but is denied. The Emperor thinks he should have died for his country instead of abandoning his posts.

Friend of China 14.12.43 edition

HBM Government has leased the land at the Canton Factories previously occupied by the Creek, Dutch and Company’s factories. Part will be reserved for the use of the British government. The remainder will be available to the foreign mercantile community on the same terms as HBM Government has obtained from the landlord. Applications should be made before 20th December 43 to the British Consul at Canton who will register them on ‘first come, first served’ basis. Successful applicants will be expected to build houses. It is not intended to allocate any part of the area to warehousing.

Friend of China 14.12.43 edition

Extracts from the Peking Gazettes:

  • The Emperor orders that the Hoppo at Shanghai should be a fit and proper man, familiar with the proclivities of foreigners.
  • Kiying has set it down as a rule that government expenditure formerly funded from fees derived from the foreign trade at Canton shall in future be drawn from other revenue to avoid a recurrence of the old problem.
  • Imported saltpetre is cheaper than the local supply. The government is encouraging its import but it may only be sold to government salt agents at the five ports.
  • The cases of those people previously convicted of smoking opium are to be referred to the Emperor to consider the merits of their convictions and punishments.
  • Two clans in the Chiu Chow district of Kwongtung have been fighting fiercely. The provincial judge of Canton is to attend the area and reconcile the clans.
  • Liu Kin, who as governor of Chekiang, signed the Nanking Treaty, and was prosecuted for permitting the English to enter the Yangtse, is now allowed to retire. A few months ago the Emperor had determined to execute him.
  • Yishan and his brother Yiking have been ordered to go home, shut themselves in their houses and ponder their misdeeds. They are also threatened with execution.
  • A large sum of money is sent to Kaifeng, capital of Honan, to relieve suffering from the recent flooding.
  • The naval officer who lost his seal while fighting at the west of Canton is transported to the cold country (Ili). Vice Admiral Pao, for not having helped him quicker, is deprived of rank.
  • Native junks are to pay the same duties on tea and silks as foreign ships. All other terms of the domestic and coasting trade remain unchanged

Editor – These detailed instructions for the troublefree conduct of international trade assures us the Chinese government is sincere. It seems all the officials unitedly now want to increase trade.

Friend of China 14.12.43 edition

The Calcutta Overland Star editorial:

Opium is not mentioned in the Nanking Treaty. It is not allowed to be stored in Hong Kong and will be treated as contraband in the five new ports.

Pottinger has issued a declaration aimed at the opium trade that emphatically repudiates all sorts of illicit dealing.

The Chinese have proscribed it but the trade continues.

Pottinger is required to disassociate the British government and his administration from it as clearly as possible. He does not want to be seen protecting the smugglers. He should be praised for the strong way he tries to place trade with China on a firm and honourable footing.

But we should recall that Yu Poo Yun, army commander of Chekiang, was decapitated for not resisting us and other Chinese military officers are under sentence of death. All Chinese civil servants who failed to confront our forces are being retrained and preparations for renewed war are reportedly being made in the interior of the country.

Friend of China 14.12.43 edition

H D Glass was appointed as the Company’s Opium Agent at Bombay in September 1843.

Friend of China 23.12.43 Edition

Barratry – Capt Denison of the American Schooner O C Raymond sailed from Chusan 29th May with the declared destination of Macau but instead diverted to the Sandwich Islands.

Arriving Canae on 11th July he said he was in transit for Sydney and sailed immediately. The ship is carrying $40,000 treasure.

Friend of China, 23.12.43 Edition

A recent UK Regulation has set the tariff on British produce landed at Macau to the same level as British produce landed in Portugal. This is a massive reduction. Had it been announced a few months ago, the foreign traders in Macau would never have moved to Hong Kong.

Friend of China 23.12.43 Edition

Our Canton correspondent reports the Hong Merchants have petitioned Kiying that in order to pay off the Hong debts they need an extra duty of 4 mace per picul on tea and 1 mace per picul of cotton, both to be collected from the Chinese seller.

The Kwangchow Foo has been instructed to investigate the effects of this request before a decision is made.

We should take careful note of this. The Chinese are familiar with the value of precedent. If this is permitted, then immediately we remonstrate over the next addition, we will be hearing that olo phrase ‘olo custom’.

Friend of China 23.12.43 Edition

Calcutta opium report dated 27.9.43

Native holders have been disposing of stock prior to the holidays and Patna prices have fallen slightly to 1,575 Rupees. Benares is firm at 1,550 Rupees.

395 chests have been shipped this week:

To Singapore 80 Patna 35 Benares; To China 65 Patna 20 Benares.
To Singapore 40 Benares; To China 140 Patna, 15 Benares.

Quantity planned by the Company for sale at next year’s auctions:

12,545 chests Patna and 5,807 chests of Benares, totally 18,352 chests which is slightly less than market expectation.

Stock remaining in the Calcutta opium godown at 26.9.43:

New Patna 2,043 chests, New Benares 284 chests, total 2,327.

No old chests available.

Friend of China 23.12.43 Edition

Our Consul at Amoy has extended the port limits by 8-10 miles. The opium fleet from the North formerly touched at Amoy simply to get market information. We doubt this will continue in view of the new inconvenience.

It is also the case that the Chinese at Amoy have become less friendly than those at other ports. Finally whilst the high officials at Amoy are quite encouraging to traders, the junior officials continue to request for squeezes of about the same amount as pre-war.

Friend of China 23.12.43 Edition

Muchanga and others have considered Kiying’s proposals for the collection of Customs Duty, which have already been seen by the Privy Council and the Board of Revenue, and has commended them to the Emperor who approves them.

The Imperial Edict of 14.9.43 has this to say:

  • The Canton Maritime Customs House previously remitted Taels 899,064 and a regular surplus of between 10,000 – 40,000 Taels each year. Now trade will be spread over five ports and the Canton revenue will be reduced. The other four ports, after paying their respective quotas, must assist Canton in making good its quota.
  • We will accumulate three years statistics before assessing the income of the new ports and fixing their quotas. It will then be determined how much each new port will provide to Canton.

3. All extra charges, including those formerly paid into the public treasury, are herewith abolished.

4. On every 1,000 Taels remitted to the Board of Revenue by the Hong merchants there was formerly deducted a freight fee equating with 15 Taels. The extra charge of 25 Taels per 1,000 is now for this very purpose. 55,000 Taels used to be paid in tribute and 100,000 Taels in lieu of ginseng. All these sums were forwarded by the Hong merchants to the Court. They also gave 30,000 – 40,000 Taels to the Superintendent of Grain for charity and made sundry payments to the Hoppo and his people. Since the Co-Hong is now abolished, the tribute will have to be paid from the surplus on the Customs Duties. Ginseng sales are 700,000 Taels per year. But this is too much for the merchants who will in future sell it for whatever they can get.26

5. A sum of 120,000 – 130,000 Taels was sent to the court each year as presents. Now the foreign trade will not pay this and the Hoppo will have to find alternative sources.

6. The Customs Duty on raw silk exports at 10 Taels per picul is less than before. The foreigners now have five ports from which to buy our goods so the inland transit (likin) duties will be reduced. Each port authority must make up this loss to the Duty level that would have accrued to the Emperor had the silk been taken to Canton for sale as formerly.

7. Raw and wrought silks and tea were previously forbidden to be exported by sea by Chinese. Under the new circumstances every ocean-going junk may export these articles on payment of the same duty as the foreigners. This will minimise smuggling.

8. All other aspects of the native trade are to be carried on as before.

9. All fees and payments to individual officers in the Customs Houses are annulled and the Superintendent will henceforth be responsible for all the emoluments of his staff.

Friend of China 28.12.43 edition

Letter to the Editor – Why has Pottinger complained about Americans visiting Chang Chow? No foreigner complained to him. He is not responsible. He says the Americans forced their way into the town and bearded the local authorities.

We used no force to enter the town and spoke reasonably with the officials. No complaint was made until after we hired lodgings and prepared to reside there. Several parties of English visited Chang Chow the same day. Sgd WML

Friend of China 28.12.43 edition

Opium compensation news from London on Elliot’s opium scrip:

The Emperor paid compensation of $6,000,000 equating with £1,315,188. We subtract £33,977 for the cost of 500 chests bought by Elliot to make up the numbers. The balance of £1,281,211 will be paid in £.s.d. per chest as follows:

£ 66. 7. 7½d
£ 61. 11. 3¼d
£ 64. 11. 2d
£ 43. 3. 5d

Claimants are to deposit their scrip with the Paymaster for the Civil Service in London. Payments will commence two days later.

Friend of China 28.12.43 edition

French news reports:

The Paris newspaper Constitutionnel says M. de Lagrené will sail in a 80 – 90 gun ship-of-the-line with three frigates and two corvettes as escort. The Emperor of China judges countries’ strength by the number of ships sent; their riches by the style and presents of their ambassadors.

The ambassador will take 5-6 months to arrive. How will he send his dispatches? The route via the Cape is long and the overland route belongs to the English. If we send via Egypt they will open our diplomatic mails and perhaps delay them even though the security of diplomatic communications is guaranteed under the Law of Nations. We must take care.

La Presse provides a list of all the western embassies to Peking with their dates of arrival and durations:

17. 7.1656
29. 6.1667
1. 5.1753
4. 8.1793
10. 1.1795
stayed 91 days
stayed 46 days
stayed 106 days
stayed 114 days
stayed 91 days
stayed 39 days
stayed 47 days
stayed 35 days
duration unknown
stayed 15 days

The last English ambassador never saw the Emperor as he protested the court etiquette. This is said to require one to proceed from the door on one’s hands and knees. Arriving near the throne, one strikes one’s head nine times on the ground. One then approaches closer to the Celestial Emperor who graciously proffers his left shoe. One kisses the heel repeatedly.27

Friend of China 28.12.43 edition

Friend of China has appointed the following agents:

Herr A von Schrepenberg
Mr R Little
T Hyde Gardiner and Co
Woodward & Castle, Bull’s Head Court, Newgate St

Friend of China 2.1.44 edition

Extracts from the Peking Gazettes:

  • The commander of the banner armies has recommended that all average quality armaments be replaced with superior items. Barracks are to be painted with oil to protect the structure from the weather.
  • The boatmen of vessels transporting lead and copper by river have been in the habit of reporting that a part of their cargo falls overboard on each voyage. This will cease and the masters of each boat will be personally responsible to make good any shortage of weight delivered.
  • Further subscriptions must be raised in Hunan and elsewhere to finance the completion of repairs to the Yellow River embankment.
  • At the suggestion of Viceroy Kekung of the Two Kwong, tribute bearers from the Loo Choo Islands and Thailand need come to Peking only once each four years to spare them the fatigue of the long journey.28

Friend of China 2.1.44 edition

Sir Charles Napier has again asked in the House of Commons on 14th August 43 about prize money for the army in China:

  • He says Canton was twice ransomed, first for $3 millions and later for $6 millions and a year’s batta was promised to the entire invading force but has not been paid.
  • 700 coasting junks were seized in the early course of the war which would normally be regarded as prizes but were returned to the Chinese on the instructions of Admiral George Elliot. Officers of the expedition have received Orders of the Bath and other distinctions but the sailors, who join the Royal Navy in large part to get prize money, have been deprived of their expectation.

Peel replied that the government had not yet advised Her Majesty on the subject. He needed to know the full expenses of the war before he could apportion rewards for service. For example, a sum of $250,000 has been received and Sir Henry Pottinger is being asked what it represented. ‘Until I know the costs of the war falling to the country to pay, I can make no disclosure about distribution of prize money. This does not mean the government is unaware of the bravery and distinction of the armed services’ he said.

Friend of China 2.1.44 edition

Canton, 29th December 43:

A meeting of British merchants was held at the late How Qua’s Hong on 22nd December 43 to allocate the land rented by the British Consul in the factories. Neither tenure nor design of buildings is yet fixed but several merchants have reserved lots.

Friend of China 9.1.44 edition

Extracts from the Peking Gazettes:

  • Ordnance Department – The Manchu General of Fukien and Chekiang has petitioned for more small arms for his garrisons. The Emperor orders 1,254 muskets to be issued and directs that the troops be drilled in their use.
  • The officer-in-charge of the escort for the grain junks from the South has embezzled 3,000 Taels intended for the payment of his escort. He is removed from office.
  • An official of north Hupeh is disgraced for failing to disperse groups of robbers in his district.
  • A soldier became drunk and insulted his officer who inflicted such heavy punishment the following day that the soldier died. The officer has been arrested and is handed over to the Board of Punishments for examination.
  • The Yellow River will soon again increase in volume and further floods are feared. The Emperor has ordered new taxes on the inhabitants of either bank along the threatened part to fund the necessary repairs.29
  • A murder was reported in Chekiang but the responsible magistrate refused to investigate. He has been dismissed.
  • The Provincial Government of Kweichow has been mining copper for several years. The Emperor now permits the ore to be refined and converted into cash.
  • An officer in Peking is sentenced to wear the cangue for killing a robber instead of bringing him alive before the magistrate.
  • The Viceroy of Fukien and Chekiang petitions for the removal of the official in charge of Chusan, named Lin, for incompetence. He has permitted Europeans and Chinese to live together.
  • The late Tao Tai (Intendant) of Taiwan has died. At the suggestion of the Fukien governor, his replacement will be both Tao Tai and An Cha Sze (judge).

Friend of China 9.1.44 edition

Shanghai trade report:

  • A Chinese boy has been shot and wounded by an American hunter. His family and friends wish to stop foreign trade until compensation has been agreed and paid. The British Consul is doing his best but the boy’s family has support amongst the people and the officials.
    The Shanghainese permit no residence within the city to Europeans. They are apparently acting under the instructions of a group of Cantonese merchants who have arrived here from the South and wish to monopolise trade as a Co-Hong. This attempt to use the boy’s injury to establish a new Co-Hong has been rejected by the Consul upon whose insistence a portion of the suburbs is to be made available for foreigners to rent. The locality is quite remote but land costs are very low – 20-30 Taels per mow ($2-$3 per acre) – although merchants may prefer to live in the business district and pay a higher rent.30
    The Consul’s restriction on foreigners carrying firearms was lifted once the American officers who formed the hunting party that shot the boy reboarded their ship Valparaiso (Lockwood) and returned to Chusan.
  • A cautionary tale – the Mazeppa (Fraser) arrived here after the shooting incident and declared a cargo of bales of cotton and woollen goods but, finding there was no market in the troubled atmosphere, Fraser did not land the bales and decided to leave. He applied to the Consul to let the Customs officers survey the goods on board. The Tao Tai, who is involved with the Cantonese group in preventing trade, was alarmed and proposed that no duty be paid. The Consul insisted it be paid and it was the next day.
    Now the Chinese know we are alert to their attempts to establish a new monopoly at Shanghai there is a prospect of improving trade but so far it is very slow. We suppose they will certainly try again.

Friend of China 9.1.44 edition

The Captain of the Swallow failed to deliver letters on his ship for Chusan until a foreign merchant, who knew they were on board, came and demanded them. It seems likely that shipowners know what their captains are doing.

An example should be made in this case. There are so many reports of letters routinely detained at Amoy.

Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement

Canton report – The burnt ruins of the late fire are now nearly covered with new building. New China Street is rebuilt and some houses already occupied. The Danish Hong remains in ruins as there is a dispute between the tenant and owner over terms. The shortage of accommodation in the factories is acute.

We need a postal service. If the government would send a fast boat from Hong Kong every evening, the same as it does for Macau, it would be appreciated.

Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement

Extracts from the Peking Gazettes for October 1843:

Most of the Gazettes we have reviewed are filled with promotions and disgraces of officers, matters concerning land revenue and activities of bandits. The state of the Yellow River clearly weighs heavily on the Imperial mind.

  • Wan Chung, the official in charge of the Yellow River Conservancy is disgraced for spending a lot of money but failing to confine the river within its banks. The Board of Punishments sentenced him to banishment to the cold country (Ili River valley) however the Emperor has allowed him to retire but to hold no office.
  • Improvement of fortifications in the provinces of Kiangsu and Anhwei are complete.
  • In 8th moon, the Emperor directed the Shantung governor to give Imperial presents at Confucius’ temple in Kuk Fow (today called Qufu – Confucius’s birthplace). He does this every year in 2nd and 8th months. On the last occasion, the value of the presents was such that the descendants of the sage were really grateful.
  • The Viceroy of Fukien and Chekiang, Liu Yun Ko, has recommended that several officers who fought at Ningpo and Chinhae should receive awards for bravery.

Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement

The ice houses along the banks of the river between Ningpo and Chinhae are interesting. Each is built on a platform of earth amassed above the surrounding fields and provided with a bamboo frame. This is well- and closely-thatched with paddy straw. The ice is collected in tanks in winter and harvested when sufficiently thick. It is laid down in the bamboo ice house with a thick straw covering which preserves it throughout the whole summer. A drain is let in the floor to take away melt water. Ice is used solely for the storage of meat and fish in the summer months but the Chinese will retail it to foreigners at 80 – 100 cash per bucket. At Ningpo ice is not used by individuals but at Fuk Chow many people cool fruits and sweetmeats with it.

Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement

The complaints of overcharging against HBM Consul at Amoy (Henry Gribble, the ex-Indiaman captain turned smuggler) appear well founded. The discount rate on sycee and opium is 3% not 13% as he charged. Neither should he charge $1 for witnessing an affidavit.

Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement

B Kenny, MRCS London, is residing on a small vessel at Whampoa opposite the Orange Grove and above the Junk River.31

Friend of China 20.1.44 edition

Kekung, Viceroy of the Two Kwong, and Ching Kea Chai, Governor of Kwongtung, advise the British envoy Pottinger, dated 20.12.43:

Fan Ah Sze, Woo Kwan Yu and others planned the death of Sharpe and six others. The boatman Chin Ah Ting and others murdered McKinlay and two Portuguese sailors on the instructions of Chang Ah Yew and Kung Yu Tai.

The Judge has heard the evidence in both cases and found them all guilty. The three criminals Fan, Woo and Chin are to be beheaded forthwith.

Fan Ah Sze who was the author of the attack on Sharpe and also murdered a watchman is sentenced to the lingering death (ling chi) but as he has already died of sickness, we will mangle his corpse in accordance with the law.

His head and those of the others will be amputated and sent to the place of their crimes there to be exhibited on poles as a warning to the others.

Chin Shing Yu and Ching Ah Fu who knew about Fan’s plan but failed to denounce him are sentenced to flogging.

Our findings in these cases have been sent to the Emperor for his glance.

The case of Tang Chao Fung and others is still before the court.

Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement

Public letter to the Shanghai Consul from Pottinger:

Your repudiation of the system of licences that the Shanghai authorities tried to introduce is proper. If the system is not withdrawn as a result of your actions, I will bring it to the attention of the Imperial Commissioner.

You may like to mention this to that Intendant who is seeking to promote it.

You mention that smuggling of silk by Britons has occurred since your arrival. If you can identify the parties, please advise the Chinese authorities accordingly. They are empowered to have the vessel leave port and prohibit further ships or people from that firm from entering port.

It is only thus that the smugglers can be stopped. We must succeed in eliminating them before they ruin the legal trade, irrevocably stain our national character and subvert honest and fair competition.

Friend of China 13.1.44 supplement

Ningpo was opened on 1st January 44. Consul Thom was prevented from getting a dwelling until the city officials interceded with the landowners on his behalf. It’s the same for the merchants. There is widespread reluctance to rent houses and godowns to foreigners.

Friend of China, 27.1.44 edition

London advice – The sycee received from China is valued at £1,334,485.12. Less the freight, it is equal to $6 millions, one of the indemnities due under the Treaty of Nanking.

Friend of China 27.1.44 edition

Trade report from Shanghai dated 9th January 44:

Trade is good. We have completely sold out of piece goods. There are about 2,000 junks in the harbour at any one time and some of them are enormous 1,000 tonners. Shanghai should be an amazing place for British trade. The Consul has done extremely well with the local government. Duty is only paid on those goods that are actually sold and landed.

We just hope Balfour does not get inundated with unworkable orders from Pottinger. He is doing much better than Consul Lay at Canton. There you have to pay duty on all your cargo and the Linguists always cause difficulties. Here we receive every encouragement. So far no cases or bales have been inspected at Customs.

There are five British ships in harbour – Eliza Stewart, Litherland, George IV, Frankland and Wanderer. The opium ships have taken the hint and gone down river to about 2 miles off Woosung. The foreign residents so far are Balfour, Wise, J D Gibb, Evans, White and Capt Wade. Tea and silk is available but the prices are still too high. Malwa is selling well at $880

Friend of China 30.1.44 edition

Pottinger’s letter to Henry Gribble, Consul at Amoy:

The Fukien Governor has strongly complained to me that English people are going into the country beyond the distances fixed by treaty. You told me on 1.1.44 that a party of English officers asked you to permit their travel to Chang Chow and you referred them to the Intendant who had no objections but said that he had no jurisdiction outside Amoy. The English officers left before the Intendant’s message was received.

This party apparently left before my notification to you of 27.11.43 arrived but I did promulgate an order in October abstracting the treaty and requesting all to obey it. How the military commanders at Amoy could have authorised this excursion is inexplicable. You also should have refused them. I will advise the senior army and navy officers on Amoy station of their duty.

You will now agree the limits with the Chinese officials and mark them on a map. If you think the officers exceeded them, you should advise the senior British officer appropriately.

Friend of China 30.1.44 edition

The Lands Officer of the Hong Kong Government is going to Canton to supervise the arrangements for rebuilding on the part of the factories leased by the British government. Some old residents say the present plan is unsuitable. It needs to be considered carefully. The landlord must ensure proper ventilation.

Friend of China 3.2.44 edition

Notice of Major General D’Aguilar to British forces concerning the Plenipotentiary’s complaint of officers of the garrison at Kulangsu Island (off Amoy) travelling beyond the agreed Treaty Port limits into Chang Chow:

This is both a failure in discipline and an infraction of Art VI of the Supplementary Treaty. If these officers were from the army they will be visited with the most serious consequences but the General is shocked that any British officer could overlook an engagement, least of all one made by his Sovereign.

He awaits an explanation.

The General will preserve the honour of the government and maintain the treaty inviolate for the duration of his command.

Friend of China 3.2.44 edition

Letter to the Editor – I am Portuguese. Your Ordinance last week says Macau is part of the territory of the Emperor of China and that the law of England extends to British subjects in Macau and China.

The Portuguese flag flies over Macau and Portuguese soldiers guard the territory. It appears to be a colony of Portugal. The Ordinance is an outrage upon a friendly power. Sgd PP

Friend of China, 3.2.44 edition

The India News reports that instructions have been sent by the Belgian authorities to their agent in Singapore to proceed to one of those ports of China that have been opened under the British Treaty and make arrangements to carry on trade with China.

Friend of China, 3.2.44 edition

India News also reports the marriage of the opium millionaire James Matheson MP to Ms M A Percival of Edinburgh on 9th.

She is the daughter of a deceased Indian army officer. Matheson paid a £100,000 dowry to her and an annuity of £8,000 to her family. A grand dinner was held at his new Ashburton estate afterwards.

Friend of China 3.2.44 edition

The Editor has received a copy of the India News:

It reports that shipping in Hong Kong harbour was one day recently comprised of 85 British, 6 American, 3 Spanish, 2 Hamburg, 1 Swedish and 1 Thai ship. No French vessels were in port then at all.

The French and Americans have both embraced protectionism in their home markets. Why should the Chinese yield to them what they themselves are reluctant to yield to others?32

Friend of China, 3.2.44 edition

The French have published the names of their appointed representatives to China:

M. de Legrené is to be the ambassador; M Ferrière Secretary; M Marv Monge (grandson of the famous savant) and M le Marquis de Harcourt are paid attachés; M Delahante, son of the Receiver General of Lyons, M le Duc de Guiche and M de Macdonald are unpaid attachés; M Xavier Raymond is historiographer; M le Docteur Yvan is physician.

The ambassador expects to stay for a long time and will bring his family.

Friend of China, 3.2.44 edition

Editorial – the war between England and China has no precedent in history. Other wars bring down one king and install another or aggrandise one people and subjugate another. This war was different. A great people had been shut off from their kindred peoples by prejudice long thought insuperable. The fruit of the war has been the partial opening of China to non-Chinese.

Those of us who wish to avail ourselves of the opportunity created by British sacrifice, should be willing to comply reasonably with the revised regulations that Britain applies to the relationship. A rigid performance of our treaty obligations might win Chinese confidence. If the Chinese can be brought to believe that the word of a foreigner can be trusted; that good faith is characteristic of us, then they might themselves dismantle the barriers they erected to keep us out.

Friend of China 3.2.44 edition

India News – A large bell and a pair of huge bronze vases have been brought from China to Buckingham Palace. The bell is 5’ high and 3’ diameter. The surface is mostly covered with raised characters. There are three rows of miniature Chinese figures at the base, middle and top. The figures at the base and middle are seated. A dragon forms the handle of the bell. The vases have dragons sculpted on them.

Friend of China 10.2.44 edition

Rules at Ningpo for British people and trade, promulgated by Consul Thom:

  • All Britons must report to the consulate on arrival.
  • Journeys more than three miles from the walls of Ningpo must be individually approved. If approved the person must take the appointed guide with him.
  • Hunting trips must be approved.
  • No-one will enter houses without invitation, show disrespect in temples, damage or interfere with idols, tombs, etc., break fences, tread on growing plants or in any way show disrespect to the people and their prejudices.
  • You may not visit any other villages or towns nearby.

Thom’s hints to British merchants coming to Ningpo:

  • Weights and measures vary all over China – Ningpo’s differ from Canton’s. To avoid problems, always include in your trading conditions a term applying ‘Custom House Standard’ weights. A set of standard weights & measures are available in the consulate.
  • Ningpo merchants are poorer than Canton Hong merchants. You should witness your dealings and deliveries to avoid repudiation if the market falls. When buying take care not to be defrauded.
  • There are no security merchants. If you give credit it is on your own assessment of the buyer. Barter trade is safest. Always get a sale & purchase note whether buying or selling (a Hong chop), otherwise you cannot evidence the bargain in a Chinese court.
  • Do all these things and, should your trade go wrong, I will try to help but if you neglect to do all these things your case is hopeless. Please don’t bring it to me to recover.

Payment of customs dues:

Three Shroffs shops have been appointed by the Provincial Government to receive the Customs dues at Ningpo:

  • Kiu An run by Yip Kam Hung, a civil servant,
  • Yuen Wo run by Chung Kwong Kin, a Sang Yuen (literary degree) scholar and
  • Ken Wo run by Cheng Shui Tan, a civil servant.

They only accept silver. They will expect you to give sycee; if you give silver dollars they will be melted down and assayed. In every case there is an assay fee.

Consulate business under the treaty:

  • Since opening the consulate on 1.1.44 I have secured three ships – the British ships Helen Stewart and Sir Edward Ryan and the U S barque Oscar, the commander of which last vessel agreed to obey my directions as if his ship was British.
  • Mr Smith of Bell & Co of Macau, who is supercargo for the Helen Stewart, reports that Fang Qua, a merchant formerly of Canton has come to Ningpo to establish a tea monopoly. After I have cleared the Sir Edward Ryan I will try to prevent Fang cartelising the tea trade.
  • The rice price here is high and rising. If we imported some foreign rice it would alleviate shortage, reduce prices and encourage the people to befriend us.

Friend of China 10.2.44 edition

Paris Political Summary – French opinion of the China news:

The ratified treaty with the Emperor of China arrived in London and the press became jingoistic.

Success in war will provide trading advantages to all western countries and to China.

The western world should thank England but the Chinese never will.

Friend of China 13.2.44 edition

Negotiations over compensation for our surrendered opium are again being mooted:

The claimants now say the invoice value they disclosed at the time of surrender represents the real value of the goods.

The government disagrees. It says the invoice value at Calcutta and Bombay rises and falls depending on rumours emanating from China. The rumours originate from the traders themselves for their self-interest. Invoice value is accordingly an unreliable yardstick and actual sale prices at time of surrender are more reliable.

Notwithstanding all that, the government particularly asserts it has no liability to compensate losses arising from a contraband trade.

In this case however, Elliot thrust himself into the middle and took responsibility. The home government (per Palmerston’s instructions) did authorise him to meddle – first to try and get the trade legalised, then to get some regulations agreed. But it was Elliot who undertook to the Chinese to surrender it and, on the face of it, required the merchants, whose stock was beyond the reach of the Emperor, to give it to him to surrender.

Palmerston had warned the merchants about losses occasioned by the ‘more effectual execution of Chinese laws’ such as Viceroy Tang and Commissioner Lin achieved and that the ’loss must be borne by those parties who have brought the loss on themselves’ but he did not have Elliot in mind in either case.

It is the claimants’ position that Elliot’s demand for the surrender of the opium superseded Palmerston’s warning. In these circumstances, if the invoice value is unacceptable, at least government should offer a liberal approximation of the indemnity for that particular stock of opium.

Friend of China 10.2.44 edition

Extract from the Gentleman’s Gazette:

The Treaty of Nanking and supplemental treaty are now both ratified and available. The war was caused by opium but opium is not mentioned in the treaty concluding it. It continues to be contraband under Chinese law and can only be smuggled into China.

The British government has expressly engaged to prevent the Drug being brought into the five treaty ports. It is forbidden in Hong Kong. The British Consuls in the new ports will advise the Chinese authorities of any smuggling that they detect. The Chinese government naturally intends to continue excluding the Drug from all its other ports.

Yet the Government of India continues to allocate land to opium production. An amount of poppy sufficient for 18,000 chests is to be grown for next year’s crop and paid for from public funds. This harvest is intended for the Chinese market in the belief the Chinese addict will not give-up his consumption. Clearly the Company’s government of India is expecting the smugglers to baffle the vigilance or corrupt the integrity of the Chinese preventive service.

The Chinese have cooperated in the Treaty in a spirit of friendship but the opium smugglers must soon damage the peace and friendship that we and the Emperor have agreed.

The least that we should do is to forbid the arming of the opium clippers, a measure that many Englishmen advise. There can be little legitimate reason for merchant ships to be armed with cannon – obviously the ships have the cannon for a shameful reason.

If we continue to permit it, there will be conflicts with the Chinese Customs service, mistrust will grow in the Chinese official mind and this will soon ripen into hostility.

Friend of China 10.2.44 edition

Extract from the Spectator, another London magazine, pursuing the same line of thought as the Editor of the Gentleman’s Gazette:

Any treacherous conduct on Britain’s part will allow the Chinese to assert their lately forsaken notions of superiority. British treachery will justify Chinese treachery. If China’s government is weak, the collusion of British treaty violators will strengthen the rebellious part of the populace and act to further weaken the government, perhaps to the extent it will be prevented from performing the agreement it has made with us.33

We therefore view the recent firmness of Sir Henry Pottinger towards both the English and the Chinese as a reassuring sign.

Friend of China 10.2.44 edition

For the convenience of vessels at Whampoa and Blenheim reaches (the smuggling fleet), the hospital ship will in future be moored off Bombay Creek.

Sgd, M O’Sullivan, MRCSL, 3rd February 44

Friend of China, 13.2.44 edition

Extract from R Montgomery Martin’s Colonial Gazette:

The Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioner’s latest report comments on the nascent coolie trade:

The West Indian committee drew attention to the Chinese who frequent the Straits of Malacca for work. We focused on those who reside in the British Straits Settlements. Any emigrants should have their agreement to emigrate certified by a magistrate in the Straits Settlements. The precise details are still being discussed between the government and the contractors arranging the importation of labour to West Indies.

If the coolies could be taken to West Indies and left free to engage with whoever they choose and a public bounty paid to them, this would be best. But the Chinese are cautious and well aware of their own best interests. They would refuse to go such a long way without the certainty of employment at the end. Accordingly we think the importers will have to contract with the emigrants. We propose that the importer be bound to his contract but the coolie will have options every few months to rescind his agreement, in which case we suggest the importer be compensated from the public purse based on the coolie’s length of service.

We enquired with men familiar with China and the numbers and competency of the Chinese in the Straits should not be doubted. This year (1842) over 6,000 emigrants arrived at Singapore from China. They come from the sugar-producing provinces of China (Fukien, Chekiang, Kwongtung and Kwongsi) and are familiar with its cultivation.

The sugar plantations in Java already use Chinese coolies.

It is said that whether they are already skilled or not, the Chinese are so dextrous and clever they can quickly change from one occupation to another. The Chinese are by far the most industrious and hardy of the Oriental labourers. They know their own value, protect their interests and refuse to be ill-treated. It may be expedient to employ them by the job rather than on a fixed-wage basis. We must take care in the selection process at Singapore and in the wording of the agreements made. It remains to be seen how well they get on so far from home and in company with the Africans.

We think, in light of the desperate need for labour in the West Indies34 and the nature and qualities of the Chinese, that this experiment should go ahead.

Friend of China 14.2.44 edition

Capt Kelly of the Isabella Robertson was landing at Macau, ¼ mile from the Bar Fort, with three treasure boxes containing $7,440, when passing pirates threw fireworks into his boat. The pirates boarded in the confusion and Kelly and his Lascars jumped overboard.

The pirates then took to the oars and escaped in the Isabella Robertson’s own boat with the money. Kelly had anchored Isabella Robertson in Taipa roads. The voyage to Macau from the roads by small boat is too long to go unarmed.

Friend of China 17.2.44 edition

Editorial – New Holland is on the north coast of Australia.35 It would be a good place to grow rice for the China market. The Chinese always welcome any rice we bring for sale. If we sell them manufactured goods we jeopardise some Chinese manufacturer’s employment. If we sell them rice they will be happy.

Port Essington has six months of heat and rain when the temperature is always 80 – 90ºF. Europeans could not farm in that heat. Hong Kong is overflowing with Chinese looking for money.

Port Essington is only a little further from Hong Kong than Singapore and not as far as Penang. We should commend our surplus Chinese population to go to New Holland and farm rice.

Friend of China 17.2.44 edition

Re PP’s letter last week asserting the Portuguese sovereignty of Macau, the Editor has now returned to Hong Kong from that enclave where he went to make enquiries. He reports to his readers as follows:

‘Macau is not a sovereign possession of Portugal. The Portuguese settled at Macau as reward for services provided to the Emperor of China 250 years ago. They pay an annual rent for the privilege. They are allowed to build forts and administer their own subjects under Portuguese law. The Chinese are 90% of the population and are separately administered by Chinese officials based within Macau. Macau is not a Portuguese colony, it is a tenancy.‘

Our readers will recall during our war with China that several English people sought refuge in Macau. The Chinese officials ordered the Portuguese to expel the British which they forthwith did. We accordingly lived for months on board ships in Hong Kong harbour. Again many years before that, the Portuguese gave notice to all British subjects in Macau to quit but upon the English petitioning the Chinese authorities, they were allowed to remain and did remain.

Having said that, we understand that negotiations have commenced between Portugal and the Provincial government with a view to having Macau ceded in perpetuity.

Friend of China 20.2.44 edition

Names of all the senior Manchu and Chinese officials (Viceroys and Governors and Officers of Boards of Central Government) are published in Chinese and English in this edition.

(NB – The list is compiled by young Harry S Parkes in Hong Kong from the Red Book for 1843.)

Friend of China 24.2.44 edition

A list of transit duties payable to the Manchu Emperor for goods transiting the provinces of China is published by Chas Gutzlaff, Chinese Secretary.

Friend of China 27.2.44 edition

The Examiner’s comments on the Treaty:

We have become Customs House collectors, tide waiters and police officers for the Emperor of China. Pottinger believes he will need powers beyond the present law to carry out his duties and has asked the legislature for them.

The charges on our goods and ships are greatly reduced.

The land available to foreign trade at Canton is too small and too expensive – we should have asked for extra warehousing space. The existing warehouses are the property of the old Hong merchants and the exorbitant rents they charge are a continuation of the old system.

Tea is our principal reason for being in China and the export duty on tea remains the same. It is also still applied to the weight not the quality thus the poor consumer who drinks the cheaper varieties subsidises the rich.36

The treaty does not mention opium but Pottinger’s instructions to Consul Lay at Canton indicate he has agreed to keep it out of the five ports.

One good thing – from a merchant’s view – Lord Aberdeen told Pottinger to prohibit the import and storage of opium in Hong Kong which he appears to have disagreed with. The Chinese commissioners have asked Pottinger to leave the matter of opium to them.

The Chinese treaty negotiators have scored another point on precious metals. The treaty permits the import of these in any form but allows their export only as coin. China produces no precious coin so the prohibition on export of precious metals has effectively been maintained.

In recent years the value of silver and gold exported illegally from China annually has been at least £1,500,000 (equivalent to 170 tons of silver per annum).

We foresee the major effect of the opening of new ports will be to multiply the areas for conflict and misunderstandings.

Friend of China 27.2.44 edition

The American frigate Missouri was lost at Gibraltar by fire on 26th August 1943 whilst en route to China carrying Caleb Cushing and his embassy to take up their duties.

The crew and the ambassador were rescued by Sir George Sartorius and the crew of the HMS Malabar. The rescuers also salvaged some property. USS Missouri’s complement has been sent back to USA.

Friend of China 27.2.44 edition

Editorial on China trade:

Mr Thom has reported an attempt at Ningpo to monopolise the tea trade. The Consul at Shanghai has reported unworkably high prices for tea and silk. The rich traders of Canton doubtless have great influence on the tea producers.

Our Consuls will have to be vigilant in preventing cartelization of trade.

Friend of China 5.3.44 edition

Report copied from the Canton Press edition of 2nd March 44:

Caleb Cushing, Minister Plenipotentiary of the US, arrived at Macau roads in USS Brandywine (Parker) on 24th February 44.

His suite comprises:

F Webster, Secretary of Legation, M/s O’Donnell, McIntosh, West, Hernisz and Dr Kane.

After arrival, the Reverends Bridgman and Parker were appointed joint Secretaries of Legation. The minister and his suite will occupy apartments on the Praya Grande until ready to go to the Peiho.

Friend of China 9.3.44 edition

The right wing of H M’s 55th Regiment came down lately from Chusan and their healthy appearance speaks volumes for the climate up north. The regiment is now leaving Hong Kong to return to England after some 20 years of foreign service mainly in India. We wish them a safe voyage.

Friend of China 9.3.44 edition

Treaty Ports’ trade report:

  • Shanghai – the only ships in port are the brig Amelia and the barque Maingay which are both from Singapore and under arrest for having false manifests and smuggling opium. It was not the Chinese who asked for their arrest but the British Consul.
    The ship Urgent from Manila is off Woosung selling her opium there before entering port to sell her piece goods.
    The Lunar New Year holiday is continuing and business is slack. Patna is $925 in town but $850 at Woosung, Malwa is $820. The opening of the port has stimulated regional opium trade. The local fiscal authority has agreed terms for a safe passage via Soochow for opium distribution in the interior.
    Legal trade in imports since opening of this port approaches $400,000 but the smuggling at Woosung is three times that figure. Exports have been quite limited and returns are mainly in sycee. Nevertheless, the prices obtainable for imports are very low.
    The Consul is trying to get the Tao Tai to agree to a bonding system, under their mutual surveillance. He is expected to succeed and it will greatly enhance trade. Its absence is the most obvious defect in the new tariff.
    The foreign community was shocked to discover that many homeless local people perished from exposure in the recent spell of cold weather. We found their bodies in the streets when we went out early. We are now collecting subscriptions to construct a refuge for the homeless.
  • Ningpo – everything very dull. Patna opium is $850.
  • Chusan – Very slow. The opium ships at Woo Ng are the Hellas (owner – Mr A Grant), Mazeppa (J M & Co), Island Queen (Dent) and Lynx (agent unknown). Malwa is selling at $810 for good quality.

Friend of China 12.3.44 edition

A meeting was held in the British consulate at the Canton factories on 6th March 44 to discuss building on the area acquired by the British government. It will require government compunction to push this forward. The traders will never co-operate.

Consul Lay expects to be replaced soon and is disinterested in everything. (NB – The objectionable thing for the few government staff in Hong Kong and the coastal consulates that Pottinger represents is his democratic tendency – he publishes everything. Its like the brief administration of Charles James Fox in London that exposed all the insulting comments of British consuls and ambassadors on their hosts throughout Europe. British official prefer secrecy.) Very few of the merchants attended although their present housing is uncomfortable.

Three plans were submitted of which the few attendees thought the third was the least objectionable (no details available).

Friend of China 12.3.44 edition

The ship Carthaginian came up to Whampoa without stopping at the Bogue as agreed. The Master evaded the Customs cruisers as he had 14 chests of Malwa on his manifest. He delivered his papers to the Consul and started discharging. Mr Lay discovered the opium on the manifest. He confiscated it and fined the captain $700. The captain says he has already discharged the opium and delivered it to consignee but consignee denies both receipt and ownership.

(It seems the Captain was unaware of the new procedure. Now everyone is embarrassed – the Consul for having to seize and fine, the Chinese officials for having a public instance of opium smuggling)

Friend of China 16.3.44 edition

A riot occurred in Canton at 2 pm on 11.3.44. A Manilaman37 from one of the fleet at Whampoa came up to Canton and, amongst other things, beat a young Chinese and cut off of his queue.

A crowd quickly assembled and threw stones at the Manilaman. The disturbance spread to foreign sailors waiting in ship’s boats at the factories but they were restrained from retaliating by some of the foreign merchants.

The sailors were instead sent off in their boats and the crowd finally dispersed at about 6 pm. The Governor’s soldiers did not put in an appearance until the riot was concluded.

The Consul is now drafting an Edict to prevent a recurrence.

Friend of China 16.3.44 edition

The treaty requires us to protect the revenue of China. Our honour requires that we should do so. The merchants are angered that their opium smuggling is disturbed by our Consuls who report it to the Chinese authorities and may cause the contraband to be confiscated. However the supplementary treaty does not allow the Consul to seize British ships carrying contraband. Article 12 puts this duty on the Chinese who take over the affair once its reported to them by the Consul.

We mention this because recently at Shanghai the Consul and the Captain of HMS Wolf, acting on the Consul’s instructions, themselves seized two vessels with manifested opium. HMS Wolf also seized the William IV apparently on the orders of Consul Balfour. The Master of the William IV agreed to receive the opium from the other two ships when they first sought to hide their crime but the trans-shipment was soon discovered.

Those engaged in the opium trade have sufficient opportunity for selling on the coast without taking the drug into one of the treaty ports. Three British ships, all from India, have been seized. The two at Shanghai came via Singapore whereas the Carthaginian at Canton came direct from Bombay.

Friend of China 16.3.44 edition

Shanghai opium smuggling – The Amelia (Alexander) and Maingay (Brown) arrived Shanghai on 1st and 2nd March purportedly unaware of the restrictions on contraband. When the captains realised their error they induced Capt Woodin of the William IV, who was about to sail, to accept their opium and thus remove it from the port. He accepted 100 chests from Maingay and 23 chests from Amelia.

On 8th March 44 Capt Woodin raised anchor having received his papers from the Consul and was already leaving when a boat from HMS Wolf came alongside at midnight and a Royal Naval officer ordered him to stop.

Woodin then feared his ship would be arrested and asked the other two captains to provide small boats to remove the opium before the Consul or his representatives could find it in the morning. 56 chests were discharged and dispatched to Woosung under the Amelia’s First Officer. 26 chests were landed into the house of Ah Poon, a Cantonese comprador, and 47 chests remained on deck and were still awaiting discharge when dawn broke. Woodin then took fright and threw them into the river.

Meanwhile those chests that had been passed to Ah Poon for safe-keeping rapidly shrunk in number and by the evening of 10th March had diminished to 16 chests which were removed by owners to Woosung and put aboard the American opium schooner Swallow. (Editor – the Swallow was the ship criticised at Chusan a few weeks ago.)

Her Master was the only man who agreed to accept the cargo and he charged $10 demurrage per chest. On 16th March the salvage of 72 chests was trans-shipped to the Wanderer which had stopped a few hours at Woosung and she brought the cargo down the coast.

The two importing ships masters were fined $1,000 each and the William IV $500.

The importers’ ships remain seized until Pottinger’s view on the case is known. The William IV is under arrest and is being sent to Hong Kong.

Friend of China 16.3.44 edition

Calcutta opium auction on 8th January 44:



4,000 chests at 1,362 Rupees average

2,000 chests at 1,230 Rupees average

The average sales prices at the January sale equate with $614 for Patna & $554 for Benares (the rate used is about 2.2 Rupees per $1).

Add $10 for freight and 10% for interest, commissions and other charges and the cost to the shippers will not be less than $685 and $620 respectively.

Compare this with the current opium prices in Hong Kong on 14th March 44 – Patna $690, Benares $630, Malwa $680.

At these prices, all the profit goes to the India Company and all the risk to the merchants.

Friend of China 19.3.44 edition

Editorial – It is disappointing to find a ship arriving at Canton with contraband opium on the manifest. The port limits were defined with the opium trade in mind to put the Whampoa anchorage outside the purview of the Consul.

Had the Carthaginian stopped there, the Consul had no authority over him and the Chinese authorities give every assistance to smugglers, short of legalising import of the Drug.

The Emperor wished to prevent Fuk Chow becoming a treaty port on the argument that England sought five ports and Canton and Whampoa were two. The nomination of a British consular agent to Whampoa has given force to the Emperor’s view.

Our merchants should try to make the treaty work. If it does not do so there will be another rupture with China. In another war, the World’s sympathies will be with China.

The major legitimate traders will support the treaty. If other traders are allowed to import opium at the ports, then the entire trade will be opened to everyone.38

Friend of China 19.3.44 edition

The William IV has arrived in Hong Kong and the Shanghai Consul’s award (a fine of $500) has been confirmed.

The balance of the contraband has also been brought back by the Wanderer into Victoria harbour (Editor – this is illegal) and the Governor is to be congratulated for not having enforced the law against it.

Friend of China 19.3.44 edition

Calcutta News – shipments of the first opium sale of the year are:

  • Cowasjee Family has cleared for China with 825 chests of Patna and 265 Benares and for Singapore 20 Patna & 265 Benares.
  • Rustomjee Cowasjee (D & M Rustomjee & Co) is carrying 285 chests Patna and 25 Benares for China and 30 Patna and 215 Benares for Singapore.
  • Red Rover (J M & Co) is bringing 810 Patna and 85 Benares to China.
  • Nut Cut (MacVicar & Co) is bringing 400 Patna and 30 Benares to China and 20 Patna and 190 Benares for Singapore.
  • Sophia Frazer is loading 5 Patna and 25 Benares for Singapore.
  • Ariel (both Dent and J M had a ship named Ariel) is loading 386 Patna and 25 chests Benares for China.

Friend of China 23.3.44 edition

Extracts from the Peking Gazettes:

  • The Emperor notes His revenue this year is much reduced. The Customs officers at Amoy, Ningpo, Shanghai and Canton must take care to ensure silk, teas and rhubarb are not smuggled out. We did not have to complain about this before. If the revenue continues small, the merchants will be responsible for the shortfall.

Editor’s comment – the opening of new ports has not increased the duty yield. Whether the provincial officers are cheating more, or smuggling has increased, is uncertain but the quantity of our exports has definitely increased although the illicit exports to the Straits do not seem to have increased.

The Emperor does not mention import duties. Presumably those are still satisfactory. We suspect the culprit is the new tariff. It is certainly very reasonable on a World scale. We never knew how much duty the Hong merchants remitted and how much of that survived its passage passed the provincial officials to reach the Emperor. Now the Emperor is threatening to have merchants make up the difference, we should be alert to any additional charges.

  • In another Gazette Kang Hong Ling suggests there should be a few Chinese men-of-war cruising on the coast to deter pirates. He says the men doing it now are useless. They should be replaced by active and courageous men under an active and courageous commander, he says.

Friend of China 23.3.44 edition

Advertisement – Wm R Lejee and Wm Couper have retired from our house and Nathaniel Kinsman, Wm A Lawrence and Wm Moore have been admitted to the partnership all effective 1st February 44. The present partners are Wm S Wetmore in New York (a council member of New York University), Samuel Wetmore in Macau and the three above.

Sgd Wetmore & Co.

1 The overall flavour of these Regulations indicate the extent of lost British government support that the smugglers have sustained.

2 This reveals the commercial argument supporting free trade. Governments are unable to prevent smuggling or maintain their revenue from trade whereas by repealing Customs and Excise charges and enacting a tax on employees’ incomes, which is fully supported by the merchants, who actually absorb the costs of collecting it for the ministry, they can maintain revenue. It is additional basis to the alliance between politicians and businessmen in the west (additional to government reliance on mercantile funding of government debt).

3 If a comparison was made, it would likely transpire that the traders got proportionately less from the British government for opium compensation than they previously got from the Co-Hong in settlement of claims in liquidations.

4 The Company’s supply from Bombay to China is of short staple cotton suitable for thick twist to make denim-like cloth. This was the only Bombay cotton that was marketable but even this could not withstand the pressure of American competition.

5 Shipments “To Order” reveal the existence of a financier funding those particular shipments, likely one of the big Bombay traders on its own account or as Agent of a London bank.

6 The original article has the gross receipts from each year’s sales as equivalent to a little over £1 millions but this infers an exchange rate of nearly 40 Rupees to the Pound. All the figures except the initial ‘£1’ in the Sterling equivalent appear compatible with an exchange rate of about 8 Rupees if the initial ‘1’ was changed to ‘4’. I have adjusted my edition of the article accordingly. It is impressive to note how fluently the Company has switched purchases and sales to Malwa to take advantage of its comparatively slightly lower value.

7 The British Government has made enquiries in India and China after the event as to the market price of opium at the time of its surrender. Elliot’s powers also have been incorrectly reported by Martin.

8 This displays the usual forceful presentation of Martin’s opinions. Elliot repeatedly complained to Palmerston and others that the one power he needed to control the free traders was the power to deport which Martin here supposes, wrongly, was Elliot’s all along.

9 The sale price of tea in London.

10 The gentleman who secured How Qua’s business to the Perkins / Russell firm was young J P Cushing, son of Robert Cushing and Ann Perkins. His long virtual imprisonment in the Canton factories permitted his nominee services to How Qua to be kept from the British. Robert Cushing was the son of Colonel John Cushing. Several American sources indicate that J P and Caleb were related but I have not discovered the connection. It appears to have been Cushing who revealed the London sale price of tea to How Qua which information had been denied him by the English.

11 The Hong Kong Government discovered quite early that residents bought licences from China to fish. The Company’s officials stopped the practice. Actually, the Hong Kong Government could only regulate fishing in the harbour. Everywhere outside was Chinese waters. As a result of this government action, about half of the Hong Kong residents of Chek Chu and Heung Gong Chai (later called Stanley and Aberdeen) removed to preserve their livelihoods and the villages were repopulated by people who conducted the British smuggling trade.

12 This is a newly built Lord Amherst and not the smuggling brig formerly deployed on the East Coast.

13 Cambay stones are probably carnelians, which were always popular, but just conceivably agates. The use of strange names was to frustrate the Customs officer.

14 Creating a duty on shipowners and masters to repatriate all seamen on articles.

15 The Friend of China Editor Carr is delighted with this story – horse dealers of the 19th century apparently enjoyed the reputation of used car salesmen today.

16 This is the annual Two Kwongs tribute, a large part of which is kumquat shrubs. As a government fleet, it will not be searched by Customs and should provide an easy and safe means of smuggling to the north.

17 A reference to the late How Qua’s reluctance to rent his godowns to competitors

18 Ross Donnelly Mangles, MP for Guildford, a former India Company writer and later shareholder, Director and Chairman. He was a shipping contractor for the carriage of banishees to Botany Bay and a Director of the New Zealand Company.

19 Partner of Smith, Payne & Smith & Co., financiers of London and Nottingham. He is Wm Jardine’s associate who introduced him to Palmerston. He was formerly a partner in Magniac Smith & Co.

20 Attorney-General and later Lord Chancellor. His fame was built on his successful Defence of Queen Caroline in 1820. Later 1st Lord Truro.

21 America is the only western producer of ginseng, known in China to this day as fah kay sum or flowery flag (American) ginseng. It is used in hot water as an infusion.

22 Apparently a reference to trade through Kazakhstan and across the Amur.

23 They are often chained to a large rock in an open area. The cangue prevents the convict eating or drinking without help as his hands cannot reach his mouth. The punishment refreshes social conscience.

24 Some of these names sound like Cantonese Romanisations.

25 The employment of Mongol armies along the north and western frontiers was an invariable policy of the Ching dynasty to keep the tribes occupied and financed. The Mongols served the Manchu dynasty in much the same way as Hessians served the House of Brunswick in Britain.

26 Ginseng is an Imperial monopoly which the Hong merchants were hitherto obliged to sell at high prices for the account of the Emperor

27 This astonishing suggestion of foot-kissing amused and perplexed me until I read Eamon Duffy’s Saints and Sinners, a History of the Popes, wherein a fake 11th century document known as The Donation of Constantine required European Princes to kiss the Pope’s foot. It seems persuasive evidence that a Catholic priest in China was the source of La Presse’s information.

28 This was a surprise. I had expected Loo Choo (Japanese – Ryukyu) Islands embassies to enter at Chapu where Japanese trade was conducted.

29 Known as “China’s Sorrow” for its predictable flooding every summer on the arrival of melt water from the Himalayas.

30 The beginnings of the International Settlement.

31 He is offering medical services to the officers and crews of the opium traffickers whose ships are moored there for business.

32 Right from the outset the French seldom traded through Hong Kong – there are never any French merchant ships in port, only an infrequent warship – they just maintain a diplomatic presence.

With British attention focused on China, the French establish themselves in Indo China.

33 A perspicacious forecast in light of imported missionary and commercial influence on the leaders of the Tai Ping rebellion.

34 Resulting from British anti-slave trade policy.

35 Port Essington is across the bay from where Darwin was latter built.

36 Pottinger obtained agreement to distinguish the qualities of many other exports for duty but not tea – there must have been strong Chinese reluctance, perhaps in light of extensive mercantile debts due to the indemnities and ransom.

37 The Editor calls him a Filipino whereas the naval historian Basil Lubbock identifies Manilamen as Malays. The Manilamen on the brig Fairy (see above) were certainly Filipinos. I suspect Editor Carr is right on this occasion.

38 It is by having business connections along the coast, and by combining to undersell newcomers as and when they appear, that the two big smugglers monopolise the major buyers on the east and west coasts.

Comments are closed.