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Title: The 'Fan Kwae' at Canton Before Treaty Days 1825-1844
Author: Hunter, William C.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Cover
    'FAN KWAE'


[Illustration: HOUQUA.]




    (_The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved_)


During the days of Old Canton, the Middle Kingdom deigned to suffer the
presence of a small number of 'foreign barbarians' on the banks of the
Choo, or Pearl River. Their residences consisted of Factories built
expressly for them, and originally destined one for each nationality.
They were contiguous, except where separated by three streets of narrow
dimensions which led from the suburbs of the city to the river which ran
in front of them.

No other port than that of Canton was open, nor had there been one since
1745, and no foreigner was permitted on any pretext to enter the country
or even the city outside of which he lived. The actual relations of the
Chinese Government with Western nations consequent upon the treaties
have caused such an entire change from the old mode of transacting
business, as well as in the life then led by the few foreign residents
at Canton, that a narration of the peculiar conditions of both (as they
were) is now, as a Chinese official would say, placed 'on record.'

    PARIS: _March 31, 1882_.


Even the departure of a vessel from New York for Canton in 1824 was a
rare occurrence. Neither had it yet become fashionable to place the
accent on the _last_ syllable in the name of that distant port. It would
have appeared pedantic. Years after, only, did it become _ton_! As the
ship cast off, the neighbouring wharves were crowded with lookers-on,
national and private flags were run up to the mastheads of sea-going
craft lying near.

Cheers were heard as she glided into the river, and the ship 'Citizen,'
Captain E. L. Keen, passed Sandy Hook in the evening of October 9 of the
above year, bound to the Central Flowery Land. Friends and relations who
had accompanied us thus far now took leave, and returned to the city in
the pilot boat, steam tugs not having yet come into existence.

The 'Citizen,' of 498 tons was one of seven ships[1] owned by Mr. Thomas
H. Smith, of New York, who had been for many years engaged in the China
trade. She had already made two voyages to Canton, and before leaving on
her present one, had been newly coppered and 'thoroughly' overhauled,
the better to withstand the westerly gales she was likely to encounter
on her return passage off the Cape of Good Hope in the winter season.
The crew consisted of thirty-two men and boys, with two officers. One
of the latter, the second officer, as well as Captain Keen and ten
or twelve of the men, had served on board privateers in our last war
with Great Britain, while eight sailors had just returned from a three
years' cruise in the Pacific, on board the U.S. 74 'Franklin,' Commodore
Stewart. As usual at this time with vessels bound on Eastern voyages,
the 'Citizen' was well provided with arms and ammunition--not only for
the risk of pirates in the Atlantic, to whom her valuable cargo offered
great temptation, but from possible mishaps while passing through the
Eastern Straits.

The cargo consisted of 350,000 Spanish dollars in kegs (no letters of
credit on London bankers then existing), furs, lead, bar and scrap
iron, and quicksilver. Passengers were not taken except under peculiar
circumstances. I should have been the only one, in virtue of being
destined for Mr. Smith's Factory at Canton, but just before sailing
a Scotch gentleman presented himself at the office, and sought for a
passage on board. The letters he bore were of a high character, among
them being one from the celebrated Mr. Hume. His name was Fullerton,
and his vocation that of surgeon in the English East India Company's
service. He was allowed to go in the ship, and proved to be a most
intelligent and amiable person.

He had made several voyages to India and China, was full of anecdote
and pleasant conversation, thereby relieving the weariness of the
journey. The medical advice he most cheerfully gave rendered him a
valuable addition to us, particularly on the occasion of the ship
taking fire just before making Sandalwood Island, when one of the men
was so seriously injured that his life was despaired of for a time; but
although he managed to get back in the ship to New York, he never did
a day's work after the accident. My fellow-passenger was only known
on board as Doctor Smyth. He had come to New York expressly to get to
China in an 'out of season' vessel, which ours was. We had no idea of
the object he had in view, and he volunteered no information. There was,
however, a little mystery in the matter.

On our arrival at 'Lintin' we had scarcely anchored when my
fellow-passenger took fast[2] boat and went to Macao. Soon after, we
heard that he had there engaged two young Chinese small-footed women
to accompany him to Calcutta, from whence he took passage with them
for England as a 'speculation.' Subsequently we learnt that he was
associated in the enterprise with Captain C----, also of the Honourable
East India Company's service, on board whose vessel he had filled the
office of surgeon. While in England, these 'Golden Lilies'[3] had the
honour of a presentation to H.M. George IV. The enterprise, however, was
not successful. It met with great opposition in certain quarters, and
finally it ended by those young daughters of 'Han'[4] being returned to
their own country.

Some years after, in the winter of 1832, I last had the pleasure of
shaking hands with my old shipmate at Canton. He was then surgeon of the
Honourable Company's ship 'Lady Melville.'

We had the misfortune to lose the ship's cook about five o'clock on
the morning of the twenty-fifth day out, when he sprung into the sea.
We had rushed on deck at the cry of the 'cook overboard,' and heard him
shout as he passed the ship's quarter, 'You are all going to--(a most
uncomfortable place of one syllable, beginning with the letter H), I'm
going to Guadaloupe.' The ship was instantly brought to the wind, a man
sent aloft to keep the poor fellow in sight, and a boat lowered in a
trice, but suddenly he disappeared. We resumed our course. The crew had
often been amused while about the galley to find its 'monarch' with an
open Bible in one hand, and reading aloud from it, while prodding the
salt junk in the boiler with a 'tormentor' in the other! They thought
him a 'queer fellow,' particularly as he would caution them as to their
wickedness in blaspheming, and their utter disregard of the future! We
had heard through the officers of those erratic ways and strange conduct
for a 'ship's cook,' but no one imagined that his head was turned.

The next morning the chief officer discovered on our starboard beam a
three-masted felucca, under small sail, standing as ourselves. It was
nearly calm; presently the 'little stranger' steered for us, manned a
certain number of sweeps, and seemed to have a great number of men on
board. She was about 140 or 150 tons burthen. While examining her with
our glasses, a sail was set on her jigger mast. There seemed to be a
general wish that she would 'come on,' in spite of what was unmistakably
a heavy swivel gun amidships. We showed our colours, to which no reply
was made. At last we seemed to have fallen in with the traditional
'long, low, black schooner,' metamorphosed into a felucca for the
nonce. Suddenly the man at the wheel directed the attention of the mate
to another sail just appearing on our larboard beam; she was steering
to the southward, with a light air and under a crowd of sail. As she
approached, she proved to be a schooner of the size of our revenue
cutters. A barque also hove in sight, bringing up a stiff squall, with
heavy rain. The felucca was next observed standing on the same course as
ourselves. We trimmed sail to the wind, and hauled up to the eastward;
presently, the wind increasing, the schooner crossed our bows, almost
within hailing distance--a beautiful object to look at. She set all
studding sails as she went by us, with a fore skysail, and that other
unusual sail, now, perhaps, never heard of, and then not common, called
a 'ring tail.'

We crossed the equator on the thirty-first day out, with a good easterly
wind, which hauled to the south-east and blew stiffly. A few days after
we discovered a good-sized barque standing in for the coast of South
America. She hoisted Brazilian colours. Her decks, forward of the
mainmast, were crowded with negroes, while abaft we observed several
dark-brown gentlemen, the captain, officers, and supercargoes, perhaps.
She was evidently a slaver returning from the West Coast of Africa, with
a full cargo of ebony. She crossed our bows within a few hundred yards,
and on gaining our starboard side, our dark-brown friends raised their
panamas, and waving them, wished us 'Bon voyage.' This vessel proved to
be the last 'living thing' we saw for a period of nearly fifty days,
except albatross, whales, and Mother Carey's chickens.

Passing within a short distance of Tristan d'Acuna to correct our time,
we then began the long tedious running down 'easting.' The weather was
generally fine, with a bright sun; it was in the summer season. Our
course between 43° and 45° south latitude. The sea ran 'mountains high,'
the crest of each wave breaking in masses of sparkling diamonds, then
losing itself in this wilderness of waters, an indescribably magnificent
sight. The ship rolled gunwale under, receiving on board vast quantities
of water, which swashed fore and aft and from side to side, at times two
or three feet deep. Gradually this frightful chaos of warring winds and
furious seas became a matter of course, while Captain Keen gave way to
his delight in exclaiming, 'How splendidly she behaves,' or, 'She rides
the seas like a bird;' and thus we went on, with little change, until we
made the island of Amsterdam.

We then steered direct for Sandalwood Island, across a pleasant
south-east trade, with nothing material occurring until two days before
sighting it.

After the cook had left us so abruptly for Guadaloupe, it was arranged
that the chief steward should fill his place for the cabin, while some
of the crew offered their services for the forecastle and steerage; thus
everything went on well in this respect. Before we now made the land,
taking advantage of the fine weather and smooth sea which prevailed, all
hands were occupied in caulking the bends and the deck, while, as had
before happened, the leak decreased. The 'officer of the kitchen' for
the day referred to was a fine young sailor about twenty-five years of
age. Being in the galley in the afternoon, about seven bells, watching
a pot of pitch being boiled, it overflowed, and the contents fell among
the burning coals. Instead of immediately clapping on the lid, he seems
to have lost his head, and in attempting to unship the pot from the
hook it capsized, and in a moment everything was in a blaze, burning
the poor fellow so fearfully that he had to be carried to his bunk. His
lower limbs were almost peeled, and had it not been for the presence of
the 'doctor,' he would inevitably have died.

We passed close to the harbour and town of 'Dilly,' which displayed the
Portuguese flag.

Two years before, the ship 'Ontario,' Captain Depeyster, belonging to
the owner of the 'Citizen,' called in at Dilly for supplies on her way
to Canton, and was totally lost in coming out of the harbour.

The loss of the 'Ontario' gave rise to the longest passage ever made
between Whampoa and New York. Captain Depeyster left Dilly, with the
treasure saved from the wreck of his ship, for Batavia, and there
chartered the American brig 'Pocahontas,' to carry it to Canton. Mr.
Smith's agent there rechartered her to take as much of the proceeds of
the treasure as she could carry in teas and silks to New York, where she
safely arrived in charge of the first officer, Mr. Teel (Captain Snow
having died on the passage), close upon ten months from Whampoa.

'A good full,' cries out the second mate to the man at the wheel as
a breeze springs up. A first-rate 'old salt,' and as odd a fish, our
second mate, as need be. I have been time and again amused with the
yarns he has spun during his first watches. Of the war of 1812 he is
full of anecdotes. He is always on the dolphin-striker when porpoises
are around us, and usually strikes successfully. Anything not done in
a sailor-like fashion excites him, and we hear him cry out, 'You'll
never be a sailor. You were not shaped for a sailor. You were cut out
to handle a musket, not a marlin-spike.' 'Sailors,' said he to me one
evening, 'have their prejudices like others; they have always a run
upon soldiers, more perhaps in joke than in earnest. A sailor will say,
"Give me a messmate before a watchmate, a watchmate before a shipmate, a
shipmate before a dog, a dog before a marine, a marine before a soldier,
a soldier before--the devil." If you ask why a _marine_ in preference to
a soldier, the answer is, because he knows the difference between the
best bower anchor and--a "chaw of baccy!"'

We now steered for Dampier Straits. Having left Booro astern, we were
struck with a sudden and violent squall, resembling more a tornado.
The rain poured down like a deluge, the rattling of the thunder and
the vividness of the lightning were frightful. Our maintopsail-yard
was snapped asunder in the slings, the fore and mizen topsails flew
into ribbons; the jib disappeared from the bolt ropes. Each flash of
lightning was succeeded by the darkness of Erebus, while in the midst of
all, the loud voices of the officers and the replies of the men created
a turmoil such as I had never witnessed.

The squall was luckily of short duration; it came upon us during the
dog watch, but so intelligently did all hands do their duty, that by
midnight another maintopsail-yard was crossed, the sail bent, the other
topsails and the jib replaced, and we were making good way with all sail
set, 'low and aloft,' including royals and flying jib. The stars shone
out with increased brilliancy, all things had returned to a condition
of perfect quiet, so had one watch to their hammocks, and no sound fell
upon the ear save the ripple of the water under the bows. We had noticed
before, and this night particularly after the squall, a strong spicy
odour, the air seemed 'breathing an aromatic redolence.'

As we neared Pigeon Island, the vast and imposing one of New Guinea
being to our right, numerous canoes came alongside. The appearance of
their inmates was singularly repulsive; the wool on the heads of these
Papuans was of so fertile a growth, that it reached a diameter of over
two feet, while from the application of chunam, it becomes a dirty,
uncertain red, hideous to behold. By means of baskets attached to
ropes, we carried on a trade, giving in exchange for shells, plantains,
papayas, stuffed birds of paradise, and ingeniously made baskets,
everything in the shape of cast-off garments that we could muster. It
was thought a mockery when I offered an old straw hat for a bird of
paradise, but everything seemed fish that came to their net, and to
my surprise the bucket returned with the coveted prize. On the return
of the ship to New York I sent it home, and it proved a rare and most
acceptable gift. We anchored near Pigeon Island during the night, and
the next day entered the Pacific Ocean.

We hove to close to the Pelew Islands, to allow a crowd of canoes to
come alongside, that we might obtain further supplies of fruit, shells,
and yams, and thereby get rid of the remainder of our old clothes. The
natives were considered as unoffensive, but this was not justified by
an attack made by them, just before we passed, on a schooner from Java
to Lintin. Her deck was crowded with natives, who had been permitted to
come on board, and while bartering, suddenly the crew was fallen upon
and several killed, all who could taking to the rigging. Plundering
then commenced. The 'boarders' were having it their own way, but had
overlooked the cook, who had shut himself in his galley. Bolting one
door, he suddenly commenced a liberal distribution of hot water on the
assailants, who, being entirely naked, plunged overboard with astounding
shrieks and yells. The men aloft quickly descended. Seizing handspikes,
they were in time to cut off the retreat of many who had been inspecting
the cabin lockers, the bodies of these were thrown overboard, a few
musket shots hastened the departure of the canoes, and the schooner
continued on her journey.

Our course was north-westerly, the crew employed in putting the ship
in order. After passing through the Bashees, one of the men being over
the side, to reeve the lower studding sail tack, he tumbled overboard.
The second officer, to whose watch he belonged, threw him a rope, which
he _just_ caught and was soon hauled up on deck. 'You must have been
asleep,' said Mr. Hughes, who then asked him if the water felt warm or
cold. When the officer came in the cabin later, he exclaimed, 'That
fellow wouldn't have fallen had he not been fast asleep; but it is lucky
for him he "awoke in time" to get hold of the rope, or he would have
gone down.' This is a specimen of what 'Jack' calls 'sojer's comfort.'
They had what they called 'sailor's comfort' every Saturday afternoon in
the middle watch. It consisted in overhauling their chests and bags, or
mending their clothes, on the system, as they said, of putting a patch
next to a patch, as being neighbourly, but never a patch upon a patch,
as that was beggarly. Many of the men remembered, as boys, the wearing
of 'pig tails,' and their being mutually dressed, preceded by the
calling out in the 'foksle' of 'Tie for tie,' or, 'Tie me, I'll tie you,
and damn all favour.'

No happier crew were ever 'rocked upon the cradle of the deep' than
the one of which the 'Citizen' was composed. This was the result of
uniformly taut but considerate treatment, the best of food, good grog,
and no _needless botheration_, while the utmost harmony prevailed
between Captain Keen and his officers. On the return of the ship to
Canton, on her second voyage after, in 1827, Captain Keen related the
homeward passage of 1825, which was an unusually hard one. The ship was
forty days from point Natal to the Cape, knocked about in the teeth
of westerly gales and frightful seas, and referring to his crew he
remarked, 'No better men ever manned a ship.'

We made the coast of China at 5 A.M. on February 11, 1825. A pilot came
on board off the Lema Islands, took us through the channel of the same
name, having to starboard the then 'terra incognita,' 'Hong Kong,' and
anchored the ship under the island of 'Lintin,' at 2 o'clock P.M., 125
days from New York.

       *       *       *       *       *

The island of 'Ling Ting,' or the 'Solitary Nail,' commonly called
'Lin Tin,' was at this time the anchorage of the 'opium store ships,'
and temporarily of vessels whose destination was Whampoa (with some
exceptions). On the arrival of an American ship, she communicated with
her agent at Canton by means of a 'fast boat,' meanwhile despatching
another one to Macao for a pilot to take her inside the river. The
_exceptions_ were the ships of the English East India Company, and
country ships from India having no opium on board (those which had
anchoring at Lintin to deliver it); these then took pilots off Macao and
sailed directly to the 'inner anchorage,' as Whampoa was called. The
Lintin anchorage was not, however, only an opium station. All vessels
bound to Whampoa were loaded with general cargo, or with rice only, and
were subject to what were called Cumsha and Measurement charges. These
were very heavy in the case of the former, but moderate in the latter.
It was therefore an object for a vessel entering the river with only
part of a general cargo to fill up with any freight that might offer,
and thus reduce the heavy charges referred to, or to send up what she
had on board, if of moderate quantity, in another ship, then load with
rice and go on to Whampoa, if she was to load with tea for her return
voyage. It almost always happened that these arrangements could be made,
as arrivals were continually taking place with rice cargoes or general

After a week's detention at Lintin, the 'Citizen' was directed to
receive any river freight that might offer, and proceed to Whampoa.
In passing the Bogue[5] Forts, the main topsail was backed while the
pilot went on shore to exhibit his pass to the Mandarin, with whom he
returned to the ship, ostensibly to verify description with fact; but
it is unnecessary to say this had become a mere matter of form. After
a glass of wine, and presenting the old gentleman with a few sheets of
writing paper, which, I found out afterwards, were considered a great
treat, I offered him a box of a then recent invention, viz., friction
matches; they astonished him mightily, and he left us with numerous
'Chin-chin's' and best wishes for 'good wind and good water,' equivalent
to a quick passage. We anchored abreast of French Island on the 20th.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in the year 1745 that Yung Ching, the third Emperor of the
present dynasty, ordered all foreign trade to be confined to the port
of Canton, universally known as Whampoa. Separated by a branch of the
river from French Island stands Dane's Island. These were so named from
the privilege that those nationalities originally enjoyed of occupying
bankshalls or storehouses upon them, wherein to shelter the crews while
smoking ship and overhauling after the desperately long passages they
must have made from Europe. All vestiges of those buildings have long
since disappeared, but numerous decaying tombstones, half buried beneath
earth and weeds, still tell the tale. The regular tea season being over,
we found few vessels at Whampoa, and these, as with the 'Citizen,' were
designated, 'out of season ships.' The northern side of the anchorage
is formed by the important island of Wang-Po; the river is named the
Wang-Po, and the same is applied to the anchorage. The words mean the
'Yellow Anchorage.' On the island is a large town of many thousand
inhabitants, almost all of whom are directly or indirectly connected
with the foreign shipping, as compradores, stevedores, blacksmiths, &c.

The Choo, or Pearl River, commonly called the Canton River, presented a
vastly different appearance on the 21st February, 1825, from what it did
twenty years later. It was then crowded with native vessels, including
those immense coasting junks which have now almost entirely disappeared.
They then made voyages to the northern and southern ports of China, to
the Celebes, Borneo and Java, and to Singapore, as well as to Manila.
Long tiers of salt junks lined the shore of the island of Honam; these
brought cargoes from Teenpak and places on the coast south-westward of
Macao. They were owned by a corporation of salt merchants, who enjoyed
a monopoly of the trade, and, to prevent smuggling, a special fleet of
cruisers was organised by the local government. The penalties against
a clandestine introduction of salt were as severe and more rigorously
carried out than even against opium. The merchants were an influential
body, as much considered as the Hong merchants, whom they rivalled in
wealth. The number of cargo boats from the interior, of passenger boats,
floating residences and up-country craft, with Government cruisers
and flower boats, was prodigious. To these must be added sampans,[6]
ferry boats plying to and from Honam, and quantities of barbers' boats,
vendors of every description of food, of clothes, of toys, and what
would be called household requirements if in shops on shore; besides
boats of fortune-tellers and of theatrical performers--in short, imagine
a city afloat, and it conveys a very correct idea of the incessant
movement, the subdued noises, the life and gaiety of the river.

But now, an additional interest was added to this floating scene, from
its being the first days of the Chinese new year. The noise of gongs,
as a compliment to the meeting of mutual acquaintances or when one boat
or junk arrived or set sail, was startling; and finally, the red and
gilt patches of paper, on which words or sentences were written in large
black characters, appropriate to the opening of the new year, formed
another conspicuous feature on every kind of craft. Ships' boats were
usually furnished with paddles, which were always brought into use from
below the Dutch Folly to the landing place in front of the factories.
The oars of our boat being therefore replaced by them, with skill and
patience, after two hours from Whampoa, we landed at 'Jackass Point,'
so memorable in the days of old Canton. Crossing the Square, under
the guidance of Captain Keen, we entered the Suy-Hong, and met with
the kindest reception from Mr. Jacob Covert and Oliver H. Gordon, the
special agents of Mr. Smith, and from the two younger members of the
office, John H. Grosvenor and Thomas Bloodgood.

Having been sent by Mr. Smith to Canton expressly to study the Chinese
language preparatory to entering his office there, as the difficulties
to be overcome in providing a teacher for me proved insuperable, Mr.
Covert decided to send me at once to Singapore, where a college had
been commenced in which foreign students could be received, and which
might be ready for the purpose. I went, therefore, to the Straits in
the Bombay ship 'Good Success,' Captain Poynton, and arrived at my
destination in the month of April, after seventeen days' passage.
I took letters to the Resident, Mr. Crawford, and others, and was
consigned to Messrs. A. L. Johnston and Co. The college, however, had
not only not been finished, but there was no prospect of its being. My
friends, therefore, after taking information from Malacca, where the
Anglo-Chinese College was in full operation, sent me there in a small
native brig. We arrived after four days' passage from Singapore. During
the two months that I passed at Singapore I was the guest of Mr. and
Mrs. Christopher Read in their bungalow on the ascent of Government
Hill. I shall never forget the parental care of my host and hostess.
They soon caused me to forget that I was the youngest of strangers
in, to me, a most strange land. To this day I recall their quiet and
unaffected efforts to make me at home, and the drives they took me in
their palkee gharrie. The novelty of everything interested me; it was as
if I had landed on another planet. At that time the site occupied by the
present town of Singapore was being cleared of its primitive jungle.

The Anglo-Chinese College was in every way adapted for instruction, and
I continued in it as a student of Chinese until the end of December
1826. I then left in the ship 'Bengal Merchant' for Canton. She was
loaded with cotton and opium, and not a fast sailer. Captain Brown was a
most pleasant and agreeable gentleman, full of jokes and amusing stories
with which to while away the time. We anchored at Singapore, which gave
me an opportunity to see my old friends the Reads, Mr. A. L. Johnston,
and to run up to Government House to make my salaam to Governor and
Mrs. Crawford and their nieces, being received everywhere with a kindly
welcome and the exclamation, 'How you have grown!' Continuing on our
voyage, we passed through the Caramatta Passage, the Java Sea, Straits
of Salayer, and into the Pacific by Dampier's Straits again. Between the
Pelews and the Bashees we fell in with a typhoon _au grand complet_. At
night the sea was as white as snow and of portentous height, coming
upon us with the full uninterrupted sweep of the Pacific. We anchored at
Lintin after a passage of sixty days.

Mr. D. W. C. Olyphant had arrived in 1826 as the successor of Mr.
Covert; Mr. Gordon had entered the office of Messrs. Russell and Co.,
No. 2 Suy-Hong. The American Factory had been entirely built anew
since 1825, and to it I betook myself. In addition to Mr. Olyphant
were Charles N. Talbot and Charles W. King. Mr. Talbot was filling the
office of U.S. Consul, and the flag was daily hoisted in the Square in
front of the house. No. 1 Suy-Hong was occupied by James P. Sturgis,
No. 3 by John R. Latimer, and No. 4 by John P. Cushing, T. T. Forbes,
and John Hart. With Mr. Olyphant I called on, and made the acquaintance
of, the Rev. Dr. Morrison, who had recently returned from England. Soon
after I underwent a searching examination by him of the progress I had
made in my Chinese studies at the Malacca College, and he pronounced
it to be 'good.' There was no intention, however, that they should be
discontinued, and in a few days I was placed under the tutorship of Le
Seen-Sang. The tea season was over; all but one or two 'out of season'
ships had sailed, but of those remaining was my old home and 'first
cradle of the deep,' the 'Citizen,' and it was not long before Captain
Keen and I again on board at Whampoa 'fought over the battles' of our
voyage out together.

       *       *       *       *       *

The year 1827 was a dull one so far as business was concerned, and I
read Chinese with my teacher 'Le.' At length the tea season commenced
in October. When the ships began to arrive, unpleasant news came
also. My brother, of the office of Thomas H. Smith and Son (as it
had become), wrote me that 'difficulties' existed in the affairs of
the house. Finally it stopped payment and went into liquidation, but
from causes not attributable to its China business. The Canton agency
had therefore to be closed. Consulting with Mr. Olyphant in regard to
myself, he advised me to return to New York, where only my position
could be arranged. As usual at the time of which I write, certain
indentures between employers and _employés_ were usually drawn up. They
existed between Mr. Smith and myself. In them, he engaged to send me to
China for the purpose of acquiring the Chinese language, and then to
be employed in his Factory at Canton, as clerk or Factor, and I was to
render him service until I should have reached the age of twenty-one.
It was a long time for me to look forward to in 1827. Several ships of
the New York house were loading which had arrived in regular course
before insurmountable difficulties had occurred. Amongst them was the
'Mary Lord,' Captain Rosseter. I left in her and arrived in a good
run of 120 days. My fellow-passenger was Mr. Daniel Stansbury, whose
name has become identified with the American trade at Canton from his
having been the inventor of a measuring rod, by which cargoes were ever
after measured. It proved to be an instrument of wonderful accuracy and
rapidity, simple in the extreme, as well as the most convenient that can
be imagined. 'Stansbury's measuring rod,' now proverbial, dates from our
last war with Great Britain, 1812, when the inventor, being at Canton,
and business with the United States suspended for some time, in his days
of forced idleness he conceived the actual mode of measuring cargoes,
which up to that time had been measured with the foot rule!

My interviews with Mr. George W. Bruen, the partner of Mr. Smith, led
to no other result than the cancelling of the indentures, without
indemnity. Not long after Mr. D. W. C. Olyphant himself returned to
New York, leaving Messrs. Talbot and King at Canton, with the view of
establishing a house there of his own. His first purchase was a very
fine ship named the 'Roman,' Captain Lavender, of about 500 tons. He
offered me a passage out in her, for the _chance_ of being employed
in the new house, which afterwards occupied for a great many years
so distinguished a position in the commercial community in China. I
accepted the _chance_ and sailed in the 'Roman' in October. We were in
all six passengers. The father and brother of Mr. Charles N. Talbot
going out for the trip; Mr. Talbot, senior, had already been to Canton
in 1802 or 1803. Two of the others were the Rev. E. C. Bridgman and
the Rev. David Abeel. They were the first American missionaries to the
Chinese. The former became one of the most accomplished Sinalogues of
the day (which I _do not_ attribute to my having given to both these
gentlemen daily lessons on the passage out!), while Mr. Abeel was the
_first_ United States Consul appointed at _any_ port north of Canton,
being commissioned to Amoy.

       *       *       *       *       *

We sailed in October, and anchored at Lintin in February, _viâ_
Dampier's Straits, in 134 days. I was received by Mr. Talbot, who, from
the yet uncertain advices from New York as regarded future business,
could hold out no encouragement for me of office work; but, failing
any other house, I was always welcome to a return passage in the
'Roman.' There were very few American houses then in Canton, and they
were Agencies; moreover, they seemed provided with youngsters, and I
accordingly prepared to leave again for New York. Meanwhile, however,
Mr. Talbot busied himself on my behalf, but the stay of the 'Roman'
was short and she was soon to be despatched. There appeared absolutely
nothing to be done. A few days before the ship sailed, while in my room,
occupied with my luggage, one of the Chinese servants came to me, and
said, 'Mr. Talbot chin-chin you come down.' I went accordingly, and was
introduced to Mr. Samuel Russell, the chief of the house of Russell &
Co. He had heard, he said, from Mr. Talbot, of my probable return home
in the 'Roman,' and had come to invite me to his office. I accepted
the offer, and in the evening I was duly installed at No. 2 Suy-Hong.
This was on March 24, 1829, and it became my uninterrupted home until
December 31, 1842.

       *       *       *       *       *

The word 'Factory' was an importation from India, where the commercial
establishments of the 'East India Company' were so designated, and
synonymous with 'agency.' It is well to explain this, as it is now being
confounded with 'manufactory.'

The space occupied by the foreign community at Canton was about 300 feet
from the banks of the Pearl River, eighty miles from Macao, sixty miles
from Lintin, forty miles from the Bogue Forts, and ten miles from the
Whampoa anchorage. In breadth from east to west it was about 1,000 feet.
On it stood the Factories, which comprised the dwellings and places of
business of each nation originally under one roof. The line of frontage
was uniform, all looking due south. The distinction of _new_ given to
_one_ of the two buildings occupied by the 'Company' applied to that
one which was rebuilt after the great fire of 1822, which destroyed all
the others, with a few exceptions, as well as, according to official
accounts, '12,000 Chinese houses, shops, and temples in the western
suburb.' Each Factory consisted of a succession of buildings, behind
one another, separated by narrow spaces or courts, and running north.
The front ones were numbered 1, those back of them, nearly all of three
stories, No. 2, 3, and so on. The least numerous Factories were then
in the American Hong, the greatest number were in the Danish and Dutch
Hongs, which contained seven and eight respectively.

The Chinese word 'Hong' was applied to any place of business, but
was more particularly used to designate the Hongs of the 'Security
Merchants' whence Hong Merchants or any foreign Factory in its entirety.
It signifies a row of buildings. By the Chinese, the places of business
of foreigners were known as 'Foreign Hongs;' those of the Security
Merchants as 'Foreign Hong Merchants.'

Beginning at the west, stood the Danish Factory; adjoining it were
Chinese shops in its whole length, forming New China Street, which here
intervened, separating it from the Spanish. Next the French, and by its
side in its whole length, that of the Hong Merchant Chungqua; Old China
Street here came in, and against it was the American, then the Imperial,
by its side the Paou-shun, next in order the Swedish, the old English,
and then the Chow-Chow.[7] Now came a small narrow lane, the renowned
Hog Lane, most appropriately named. The high walls of the new English
Factory bordered the lane, having as next neighbour eastward the Dutch,
and next to this stood the Creek Factory. The latter took its name from
a small creek, which, running down along the walls of the city, here
emptied into the river. Originally this creek formed the ditch of the
west side of the city.

The entire number of buildings, therefore, was thirteen. Immediately in
their rear, and running east and west, was a long, narrow, but important
street, named 'Thirteen Factory Street.'

From the front of the new English a long broad terrace projected towards
the river, its columns supporting an entablature, whose pediment bore
the arms of England with the substitute of 'Pro Regis et Senatus Angliæ'
for 'Honi soit qui mal y pense.' The Dutch company ('Maatschappay')
possessed a similar terrace, with the national arms and motto 'Je
maintiendrai.' These two, the English and Dutch Companies, were the
direct successors of those founded on December 31, 1600, and in 1602
respectively. The English Jack, the Dutch, the United States, and the
Spanish flags, were daily, in 1825, hoisted before those respective
Factories, and were visible from a great distance. The Spanish flag
represented the Philippine Company. The French flag was hoisted on
December 13, 1832, after an interval of thirty years; it denoted simply
the Canton residence of the Consul, as the trade of that country was
insignificant, while the Swedish, Danish, and Imperial (Austrian) direct
commerce had ceased, and no other Western nation traded directly with
Canton. Portugal was confined in her commercial relations to her own
colony of Macao; Russia to Kiachkta. From the port of Cha-po, on the
east coast of China, two junks sailed annually to Nagasaki. Siamese
vessels would occasionally be seen at Whampoa, when conveying tribute
bearers on their way to Pekin, and not far from the Factories was the
residence of the Ambassadors.

At the northern extremity of Old China Street, and facing it, stood
an extensive and handsomely built series of buildings, in the Chinese
style, called the 'Consoo' House, or 'Council Hall of the Foreign
Factories.' It contained numerous suites of rooms for receptions and
business, with open courtyards, and was always kept in excellent order
and cleanliness by the Chinese in charge. It was the property of the
Hong merchants collectively, and was maintained by funds appropriated
by them for the purpose. When any event bearing upon the foreign
trade required it, such as new regulations, or confirming old ones,
or a revision of duties, the 'Tai pans' or _Chiefs of Houses_ would
be invited to meet the Hong merchants and discuss the subject. Any
foreigner went if inclined, and would occasionally learn of many
official acts, having a bearing upon business, and even upon his daily
walks or boat-pulling on the river, which may have come under the notice
of the authorities, who would have suggested shorter journeys or the
exercise of care from collisions. It was also in the Consoo House that
the Hong merchants met, or a committee of them, in the rare cases of
bankruptcy or pecuniary difficulties of one of their number, and it
was the depository of books of accounts relative thereto, as well as
of records of meetings. The entrance to it was by a flight of broad
granite steps, through large heavy folding doors of a highly polished
and valuable wood.[8] Being a handsome specimen of this style of Chinese
architecture, foreign visitors to Canton were taken to see it as one of
the sights.

The Factories were the individual property of the Hong merchants,
and were hired of them. By law, no women were permitted to enter
them, nor were guns, muskets, powder, or military weapons allowed to
be brought within the gates. Entrance to the rear Factories was by
arched passages running through those in front. The lower floors were
occupied by counting-rooms, go-downs, and store-rooms, by the rooms of
the Compradore, his assistants, servants and coolies, as well as by
a massively built treasury of granite, with iron doors, an essential
feature, there being no banks in existence. In front of each treasury
was a well-paved open space, with table for scales and weights, the
indispensable adjuncts of all money transactions, as receipts and
payments were made by weight only, except in some peculiar case. The
second floor was devoted to dining and sitting rooms, the third to
bedrooms. As almost all were provided with broad verandahs and the
buildings put up with care, they were quite comfortable, although
in every respect devoid of ornamental work. In front of the middle
Factories between Old China Street and Hog Lane ran a broad stone
pavement, and this bordered an open space running down to the banks of
the river, a distance of about three hundred feet. On the east side
it was bounded by the wall of the East India Company's landing place
and enclosure, and on the west by the wall in front of the landing and
enclosure of Chungqua's Hong. The Chinese were prohibited from loitering
about this 'Square,' as it was called. On the corner of Old China
Street and the American Hong stood a guard-house with ten or a dozen
Chinese soldiers, acting as police to prevent disturbance or annoyance
to the 'foreign devils.' On the edge of the river, facing the 'Pow
Shun' and the Creek Hongs were 'Chop' houses,[9] or branches of the
Hoppo's department, whose _duty_ it was to prevent smuggling, but whose
_interest_ it was to aid and facilitate the shipping off of silks (or
the landing of cloths) at a considerable reduction from the Imperial
tariff. A few pleasant words, accompanied by a fee, would secure a
permit for the boat of the 'Wandering Eagle' to be allowed to pass all
revenue cruisers 'without molestation' on her way to Whampoa.


    Island of Honam.


    A. _Pwanting Qua Street._
    B. _New China Street._
    C. _Old China Street._
       _X Guard House._
    D. _Hog Lane._
    E. _The Creek._
    F. _Jack Ass Point._
    L. _Old Clothes Street._
    N. _Old Tom Linguist._
    O. _Carpenters Square._
    P. _Bridge Over Creek._
    G.H.J. _Custom Houses._
    K. _King Qua's Hong._
    M. _Mau Qua's Hong._
    H. _Hou Qua's Hong._
    X. _Honam Joss House._
    Y. _Hou Qua's House._
    Z. _Pwanting Qua's House._
    _CH._ _Consoo House._

The words Factory and Hong were interchangeable, although not
identical. The former, as will have been seen, consisted of dwellings
and offices combined. The latter not only contained numerous offices
for _employés_, cooks, messengers, weighmasters, &c., but were of vast
extent, and capable of receiving an entire ship's cargo, as well as
quantities of teas and silk. When speaking of their own residences,
foreigners generally used the word 'Factories;' when of a Hong
merchant's place of business, the word Hong. The Swedish Factory,
however, seemed to enjoy the distinction of going by its Chinese
appellation, viz. 'Suy-Hong.'[10]

I have been thus specific in the description of these world-renowned
Factories, as they were subsequently razed to the ground consequent
upon Sir Michael Seymour's bombardment of the city of Canton. When I
last visited the site, nearly thirty-five years after I first took up
my residence in them, it was literally unrecognisable. It presented
a scene, the desolation of desolation; there remained not one stone
upon another! For more than one hundred years they had formed the sole
residence of foreigners within the limits of the vast Chinese Empire.
The business transacted within their walls was incalculable, and I think
I am safe in saying that from the novelty of the life, the social good
feeling and unbounded hospitality always mutually existing; from the
facility of all dealings with the Chinese who were assigned to transact
business with us, together with their proverbial honesty, combined with
a sense of perfect security to person and property, scarcely a resident
of any lengthened time, in short, any 'Old Canton,' but finally left
them with regret.

In no part of the world could the authorities have exercised a more
vigilant care over the personal safety of strangers who of their own
free will came to live in the midst of a population whose customs and
prejudices were so opposed to everything foreign, and yet the Chinese
Government was bound by no treaty obligations to _specially_ provide
protection for them. They dwelt at Canton purely on sufferance. Neither
Consul nor any other official representative from abroad was directly
acknowledged as such, and yet the solicitude of the local government
never flagged. In addition to the guards always posted at the corner of
the American Hong and Old China Street, others were stationed in various
directions in the suburbs frequented by foreigners, in order that any
Chinese who might be troublesome could be driven off, or that they
could escort back to the factories those who were uncertain of their

During the north-east monsoon fires were quite frequent in the densely
populated suburbs lying north of the factories. When they threatened the
foreign quarter the Hong merchants, acting in consonance with the known
wishes of the Mandarins, would send gangs of armed coolies to assist in
the removal to boats provided by them of books, papers, treasure, and
personal effects. All strange Chinese would be ruthlessly driven from
the Square, and an unobstructed passage to the boats secured. I have
witnessed this repeatedly. Should a foreigner get into a disturbance
in the street, and it was generally safe to say it was through his
own fault, the Chinamen went to the wall. When a mob of many thousand
ruffians invaded the Factory Square, as in November 1838, shortly
preceding the opium surrender, and with stones and missiles of all sorts
drove the foreigners inside their gates, which they were forced to
barricade, a not unnatural anxiety prevailed amongst us as to what might
be the result. Yet this attack was _caused by foreigners, who interfered
with the Mandarins_ while attempting to carry out Government orders.

All foreigners who came to Canton, from the first arrivals, were
considered as having no other object than that of commerce. The
English and the Dutch made their appearance in the first half of the
seventeenth century; successively arrived, the Danes, Swedes, and
Austrians (Imperialists). The Spaniards invited the Chinese to their new
settlement at Manila for a time, and afterwards they themselves came to
the provincial city.

Some amongst these different nationalities, tradition said the Dutch,
had _red hair_, which led the Chinese facetiously to apply the term
'Red-headed Devils' ever after to all foreigners alike. They themselves
give to the whole of their own race the name of 'Black Hair'd.'

The authorities framed eight regulations for the especial government
and control of these divers people from afar. They date from the year
1760, and are curious enough to recall. Never having been abrogated,
they were assumed to be in force always. They were confirmed by an edict
of the Emperor Kea-King in 1819, after a revision in 1810. Some of them
came to be disregarded by the foreign community, particularly those
referring to the Gardens, the Honam Temple, and pulling in their own
boats on the river; but so far as regards women entering the Factories,
an infringement of them in this essential particular took place in
1830, as will be seen hereafter. The chief sufferers in the event of a
disregard of any important item of the regulations would of course be
the Hong merchants. The 'Eight Regulations' were now and then brought to
the Factories by a Linguist, as an intimation that they were not to be
considered a 'dead letter.' Translated into English they read thus----

    _Regulation 1._--All vessels of war are prohibited from
    entering the Bogue. Vessels of war acting as convoy to
    merchantmen must anchor outside at Sea till their merchant-ships
    are ready to depart, and then sail away with them.

    _Regulation 2._--Neither women, guns, spears, nor arms of
    any kind can be brought to the Factories.

    _Regulation 3._--All river-pilots and ships' Compradores
    must be registered at the office of the 'Tung-Che'[11] at Macao.
    That officer will also furnish each one of them with a licence,
    or badge, which must be worn around the waist. He must produce
    it whenever called for. All other boatmen and people must not
    have communication with foreigners, unless under the immediate
    control of the ships' Compradores; and should smuggling take
    place, the Compradore[12] of the ship engaged in it will be

    _Regulation 4._--Each Factory is restricted for its service
    to 8 Chinese (irrespective of the number of its occupants), say
    2 porters, 4 water-carriers, 1 person to take care of goods
    ('go-down coolie'), and 1 mā-chen (intended for the foreign word
    'merchant'), who originally performed all the duties of the
    'House Compradore,' as he is styled to-day.

    _Regulation 5_ prohibits foreigners from rowing about the
    river in their own boats for 'pleasure.' On the 8th, 18th, and
    28th days of the moon 'they may take the air,' as fixed by the
    Government in the 21st year of Kea-King (1819). All ships'
    boats passing the Custom-houses on the river must be detained
    and examined, to guard against guns, swords, or firearms being
    furtively carried in them. On the 8th, 18th, and 28th days of
    the moon these foreign barbarians may visit the Flower Gardens
    and the Honam Joss-house,[13] but not in _droves_ of over ten
    at one time. When they have 'refreshed' they must return to the
    Factories, not be allowed to pass the night 'out,' or collect
    together to carouse. Should they do so, then, when the next
    'holiday' comes, they shall not be permitted to go. If the ten
    should presume to enter villages, public places, or bazaars,
    punishment will be inflicted upon the _Linguist_ who accompanies

    _Regulation 6._--Foreigners are not allowed to present
    petitions. If they have anything to represent, it must be done
    through the Hong merchants.

    _Regulation 7._--Hong merchants are not to owe debts to
    foreigners. Smuggling goods to and from the city is prohibited.

    _Regulation 8._--Foreign ships arriving with merchandise
    must not loiter about outside the river; they must come direct
    to Whampoa. They must not rove about the bays at pleasure and
    sell to rascally natives goods subject to duty, that these
    may smuggle them, and thereby defraud His Celestial Majesty's

       *       *       *       *       *

Originally there existed two English East India Companies, the oldest of
which was incorporated in 1579. In the year 1600 they amalgamated, and
received a charter from Queen Elizabeth. At the same time they assumed
the title of the 'United East India Company,' and as a trade-mark, a
heart with two transverse bars, bearing in the four divisions thus
formed the letters V. E. I. C.

[Illustration: V E I C]

This trade-mark had acquired such a well-merited reputation at Canton,
that it was considered unnecessary to examine any package of merchandise
that bore it. A simple exhibition of musters was made, when transactions
were concluded, and the original packages forwarded unopened to all
parts of the Empire. The Company's vessels first arrived at Canton
between 1650 and 1660, and tea was first used in England in 1666.

By the Chinese the Company was known as Kung-Se, the characters
signify 'United Affairs.' By the Canton community its representatives
collectively were universally referred to as 'The Factory.' They were
much more numerous than the members of any other establishment. In 1825,
the 'Factory' consisted of Sir James Urmston, chief; Messrs. W. H. C.
Plowden, Marjoribanks, and J. F. Davis, of whom two, with the chief,
formed a select committee; of writers (as usually called) there were
about twenty; an inspector of teas, Mr. Reeves; chaplain, the Rev. R. H.
Vachell; surgeons, Pierson and Colledge; and an interpreter, the Rev.
Dr. Robert Morrison.

The 'Factory' entertained with unbounded hospitality and in a princely
style. Their dining-room was of vast dimensions, opening upon the
terrace overlooking the river. On the left was a library, amply stocked,
the librarian of which was Dr. Pierson; on the right a billiard room.
At one extremity of the dining-room was a life-size portrait of George
IV. in royal robes, with crown and sceptre, the same that had been taken
by the Embassy of Lord Amherst to Pekin, offered to and refused by the
Emperor Keen-Lung, and brought to Canton overland. Opposite to it hung a
smaller full-length portrait of Lord Amherst.

From the ceiling depended a row of huge chandeliers, with wax lights,
the table bore candelabra, reflecting a choice service amidst quantities
of silver plate.

I was glad to have witnessed this sight, unique in that distant quarter
of the world, to reach which the old adage would apply, 'it was not
every one who could get to Corinth.' Soon after I landed at Canton, I
had the honour of a first invitation to dine with the 'Factory' and must
confess that at my then age I accepted it with fear and trepidation. One
of the _invité_ from the Suy-Hong, Mr. Oliver H. Gordon, accompanied me.
Our way led through the great outer gate, past the 'chapel' whose spire
bore conspicuously a large clock, the only one in Canton, and by which
everyone regulated his watch; then up a broad flight of stone steps to a
verandah, crossing which one entered the library and reception room as
well. When the hosts and the guests had assembled, large folding doors
were opened and we entered the noble dining-room, whose brilliancy and
cheerfulness and gorgeously furnished table I see _now_. At the remote
end of the room were grouped the Chinese servants of the Factory and of
the guests, in caps and long robes, who immediately took up their places
behind their respective masters as soon as seated.

About thirty gentlemen were present, including Mr. Bletterman, chief
of the 'Maatschappay;'[14] Mr. Hollingworth Magniac, of the 'licensed'
house of Magniac & Co. (predecessors of the present firm of Jardine,
Matheson, & Co.); Mr. Thomas Dent, of another 'licensed' firm, Thomas
Dent & Co.; and several of my own countrymen, including Mr. Benjamin C.
Wilcox and John R. Latimer.

But the days of the Honourable East India Company were now unconsciously
drawing to an end. It had existed for 250 years! It ceased as a
'commercial' body in 1833. Many members of the 'Factory' were then
removed to India and there took up civil appointments. Messrs. Astell
and Clarke alone remained at Canton to close up outstanding affairs,
and finally left in December 1839. Twenty-five more years were accorded
to the Company after 1833 to transfer to the Crown the splendid empire
those enterprising merchants had founded in India, and in 1858 its sun

Few now remain who witnessed the final breaking up and departure of
'the Factory' from Canton; personally, there was much regret, as it had
always been a marked feature in the community. The 'Outside' Merchants,
unshackled from licenses, hailed it as an auspicious day, opening up to
them visions of prosperity, which soon assumed the form and substance of
reality. As an event to be placed 'on record' as the Chinese say, the
first 'free ship' with 'free teas' was loaded at Whampoa and despatched
for London on March 22, 1834, by the still existing house of Messrs.
Jardine, Matheson, & Co. The vessel was named the 'Sarah,' Captain

The principal teas shipped by the Company were Bohea and Congo. One may
judge of their qualities by their selling in England from 'two shillings
and sixpence up to sixty shillings per pound, while sound common Congo
is selling to-day at sixpence farthing'! (Messrs. J. C. Sillar & Co's
tea circular of February, 1881.) The Company imported English-made
woollens and cottons and raw cotton from India. The most important of
the licensed houses in 1825 were Magniac & Co., Thomas Dent & Co.,
Ilberry, Fearon & Co., Whiteman & Co., and Robertson, Cullen, & Co.
(Colonel Fearon, who commanded the detachment of troops on board the
East India Company's ship 'Kent,' burnt in the Bay of Biscay, 1825, on
her way to Calcutta, was a brother of the Mr. Fearon just named.) Their
transactions were with India, and in the aggregate on a very extensive
scale. They received raw cotton from the three Presidencies; opium
from Bombay and Calcutta; rice, pepper, tin, &c., from the Straits of
Malacca. The local name for their business was the 'Country Trade' the
ships were 'Country Ships' and the masters of them 'Country Captains.'
Some of my readers may recall a dish which was often placed before us,
when dining on board these vessels at Whampoa, viz., 'Country Captain.'
The ships were 'Country' built as well, and of teak; they were not fast
sailers, but comfortable and substantial. They made one voyage annually,
rolling up the China Sea before the south-west monsoon and rolling down
again with the north-east. Some of them, as the 'Sulimany,' the 'Fort
William,' the 'Futty Salaam,' were not far from their eightieth birthday.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Hong merchants (collectively, the Co-Hong) as a body corporate date
from 1720. From that year, except for a short interval before 1725,
they were the monopolists of the foreign trade. The principal ones, in
1825, were Houqua, Mouqua, Pwankeiqua, Pwansuylan, Chungqua, Kingqua,
and Gouqua. The affix _qua_, which is usually supposed to be a part of
the name, is simply a term of civility or respect, and is equivalent to
Mister or Sir. The word means literally to 'manage' or 'control.' The
number of the 'Co-Hong' was limited to thirteen.

Their establishments commenced on the creek already referred to, and
extended eastward on the riverside, whereby the shipping off and landing
of cargo were attended with great facilities. They were the 'warehouses'
in which were received all the teas and silk from the interior, and
in which these articles were repacked, if necessary, weighed, matted,
and marked, before being sent to the ships at Whampoa. The boats in
which they were conveyed were of a peculiar build, with circular decks
and sides, and from their resemblance to a melon they were called
'water-melons' by the Chinese, but by foreigners they were always
referred to as 'chop-boats.' They were of the capacity of 500 chests
of tea, or 500 piculs of weight. The orderly and intelligent despatch
of business at the Hongs was characteristic of the Chinese, as were the
neatness of all packages and the dexterity with which they were handled.

The Hong merchants were the only ones officially recognised by the
Government, and no goods bought of 'outside' Chinese could be shipped
off except through one or the other of the 'Hongs,' which received
thereon a tax, and in whose name they were reported to the Hoppo. The
'outside' merchants had, however, become of great importance, their
transactions were on an immense scale annually. As manufacturers of
silks, of floor-matting, nankeens, crapes, grass-cloth, and a host of
less important articles, many of them had amassed great wealth; at the
same time, they were always assumed, officially, as confining themselves
strictly to such things as were necessary for the 'personal use' of
foreign residents. In fact, it was 'custom' from time to time for the
authorities to remind them of this, and even to enumerate the things
which they were only allowed to furnish. As a curiosity they may be
recorded--clothing, umbrellas, straw hats, fans, shoes, and so on!

The Hong merchants were responsible to the Hoppo for the duties on all
exports and imports. They alone transacted business with that officer's
department--viz., the 'Customs'--by which foreigners were spared trouble
and inconvenience. It may be as well to mention here that the 'Hoppo'
(as he was incorrectly styled) filled an office especially created
for the foreign trade at Canton. He received his appointment from the
Emperor himself, and took rank with the first officers of the province.
The Board of Revenue is in Chinese 'Hoo-poo' and the office was locally
misapplied to the officer in question.

As controllers of the entire foreign commerce of the port of Canton,
which amounted annually to many millions of dollars, if the benefits
derived therefrom were of vast importance, the responsibilities were
also great. For infractions of 'regulations' by a ship or by her agents
they were liable. It was assumed that they could, or should, control
foreigners residing in the Factories as well as the vessels anchored at
Whampoa. In both cases they were required to 'secure' due 'obedience.'
Every resident therefore had his 'sponsor' from the moment of landing,
as every ship had hers, and hence the Hong merchants became 'security
merchants.' My own was Houqua, who of course represented some others
also, and in view of these mutual relationships we would jocularly call
them 'our horse godfathers.'

The purchases of the East India Company were divided amongst the Hong
merchants proportionately, in shares, of which fourteen fell to the lot
of Houqua.

The position of Hong merchant was obtained through the payment of large
sums of money at Pekin. I have heard of as much as 200,000 taels, say
55,000_l._ sterling. If the 'license' thus acquired was costly, it
secured to them uninterrupted and extraordinary pecuniary advantages;
but, on the other hand, it subjected them to calls or 'squeezes' for
contributions to public works or buildings, for the relief of districts
suffering from a scarcity of rice, as well as for the often imaginary or
over-estimated damage caused by the overflowing of the 'Yang-tsze-Keang'
or the 'Yellow River.'

'Well, Houqua,' you would say on some visit, 'hav got news to-day?' 'Hav
got too muchee bad news,' he would reply; 'Hwang Ho hav spilum too
muchee' That sounded ominously. 'Man-ta-le[15] hav come see you?' 'He
no come see my, he sendee come one piece "chop." He come to-mollo. He
wantchee my two-lac[16] dollar.' It was the old complaint, a 'squeeze'
and this time a formidable one. 'You pay he how mutchee?' 'My pay he
fitty, sikky tousand so.' 'But s'pose he no contentee?' 'S'pose he,
N^{o.} 1, no contentee, my pay he one lac.' This actual incident will
show the sort of demands upon the senior Hong merchant (each one being
called upon in his turn) and their pecuniary importance. They knew at
the same time that the object of the 'squeeze' was exaggerated, and,
even if necessary, that only a modest portion would go to the repairs
of the banks of the river, the mandarin thinking that his own personal
wants were far more pressing. They might try to parry the question,
they might succeed in getting the sum asked for diminished, but they
could not escape. Payments would also be made by them to the Hoppo on
the occasion of his return to Pekin, on the appointment of a successor,
as well as to the chiefs of the Revenue Board in that capital; but such
as these had a _raison d'être_, they secured influence and protection,
and besides, the sums paid were voluntary and comparatively moderate in

As it added to their dignity and privileges, the Hong merchants
purchased nominal rank, the insignia of which was denoted by a button or
coloured globe attached to the apex of the cap. Of this they might be
deprived for offences against the law or for bankruptcy; then a wearer
of it in local parlance would be 'unbuttoned,' or deprived of this
significant emblem of his social and public status.

The occupation of a 'merchant' in China is looked down upon by wealthy
landed proprietors, by the _literati_, and by those who have risen to
official rank through their own talents; but bankruptcy is considered
degrading and even criminal.

Bankrupts are first deprived of any nominal rank they may possess before
being so adjudged by law. Previous to my arrival at Canton one case
of a bankrupt Hong merchant had taken place. The penalty for a member
of the Co-Hong was transportation to E-Lee. Only one other occurred
during the remainder of the period of the existence of the Co-Hong. The
last exiled bankrupt was Mān-Hŏ. He had been a general favourite with
the foreign community, was a person of courteous manners, and in every
respect a well-bred and kindly man. He had borne on his cap the 'blue
button' which denoted the third rank--principal--and it gave him the
privilege of a certain title on his cards, &c. The books and affairs
of his Hong passed into the charge of the Co-Hong for examination, the
result proved most unsatisfactory, and when it was laid before the Hoppo
he was declared bankrupt, and sentenced to transportation for life to
E-Lee (the present Kuldja), on the north-west frontier. It is commonly
spoken of by the Canton Chinese as the 'Colo'[17] country. Few know its
geographical position. Preparations having been made for his departure,
at a moment when some officials were leaving for that remote province,
Mān-Hŏ, with other condemned persons, was placed under their charge. The
boats, having all these on board, anchored off the Factories. Many of
his old Chinese and foreign friends went on board to say goodbye. One
of the latter handed him a letter, in which was expressed sympathy for
his misfortunes. And it added that a sum of money, subscribed by the
Hong merchants and themselves for his personal comfort, had been placed
with reliable servants of his own, who were accompanying him of their
own accord. Neither the Government nor the Hoppo objects to such aid
being rendered by relations and friends to one who by misfortune or bad
management has incurred the penalty of the law, if not excessive. In the
present case the amount was 10,000 dollars.

In a few hours after, the convoy left on one of the most dreary journeys
that can be imagined. It occupied several months, involving constant
transhipment to other boats, now over execrable roads in the most
comfortless of bamboo chairs, then on pony back, and frequently on foot.

A very long time after his departure we heard, by the return of one of
his servants, that Mān-hŏ had been at first set to work as 'sweeper'
in a temple, which he was able to compromise into a purely nominal
'office.' Again, that he had managed to get about him sundry comforts,
such as E-Lee possessed, which is saying very little. Years passed, when
we at once heard of his death and of the arrival of the body at Canton
(in charge of the servants who had remained with him) for interment in
his native place.

After Mān-hŏ left Canton I saw, in the hands of one of the above foreign
contributors, his promissory note for $60,000, bearing interest at 5
per cent. per month. This was not exorbitant, under the circumstances
in which it was given. The current rate of interest, with the best
security, was 1 per cent. per month on running account, while 2 to 3 per
cent. on temporary loans per month was common.

As a body of merchants, we found them honourable and reliable in all
their dealings, faithful to their contracts, and large-minded. Their
private residences, of which we visited several, were on a vast scale,
comprising curiously laid-out gardens, with grottoes and lakes, crossed
by carved stone bridges, pathways neatly paved with small stones of
various colours forming designs of birds, or fish, or flowers.

One of the most beautiful was that of Pwankeiqua, on the banks of the
river, three or four miles west of the Factories. The number of servants
in these private 'palaces,' as they would be called elsewhere, was very
great, comprising, with those ordinarily in attendance, doorkeepers,
messengers, palankin bearers, and choice cooks. We had occasional
opportunities of judging of the skill of the latter by an invitation to
a 'chopstick' dinner, signifying that no foreign element would be found
in it.

We would be served with such delicacies as birds'-nest soup,[18] with
plover's eggs and Beche-de-Mar, curiously prepared sharks' fins and
roasted snails; these forming but a very small proportion of the number
of courses, which ended with pastry of different sorts. The liquids were
wines prepared from rice, called 'Samshoo,' also from green peas, from
a fruit called Wang-pe, and others whose names we never knew. The wines
were served in tiny silver or porcelain cups, each placed on handsomely
worked silver stands.

These feasts were very enjoyable, even when their novelty had worn off;
the host, full of _bonhomie_ and politeness, never failing to escort us
to the great outer gate on leaving, and place us under the charge of his
coolies, who would there be waiting with large lanterns bearing his name
to escort us back to the Factories.

It is not true, as has been supposed, that on these convivial occasions
the guests were served with roast or boiled 'puppy' as a _bonne bouche_,
and I am sure that the author of the following lines gave way to his
imagination after a 'chopstick' dinner with 'green pea' wine when he
wrote them, or to fortify a current joke:--

    The feast spread out, the splendour round
      Allowed the eye no rest;
    The wealth of Kwang-Tung, of all Ind,
      Appeared to greet each guest.

    All tongues are still; no converse free
      The solemn silence broke;
    Because, alas! friend Se-Ta-Che
      No word of Chinese spoke.

    Now here, now there, he picked a bit
      Of what he could not name;
    And all he knew was that, in fact,
      They made him sick the same!

    Mingqua, his host, pressed on each dish
      With polished Chinese grace;
    And much, Ming thought, he relished them,
      At every ugly face!

    At last he swore he'd eat no more,
      'Twas written in his looks;
    For, 'Zounds!' said he, 'the devil here
      Sends both the meats and cooks!'

    But, covers changed, he brightened up,
      And thought himself in luck
    When close before him, what he saw
      Looked something like a duck!

    Still cautious grown, but, to be sure,
      His brain he set to rack;
    At length he turned to one behind,
      And, pointing, cried: 'Quack, Quack.'

    The Chinese gravely shook his head,
      Next made a reverend bow;
    And then expressed what dish it was
      By uttering, 'Bow-wow-wow!'

Numerous instances of munificence and generosity can be recorded on
the part of the Hong merchants. I relate some of the _senior_ one as
illustrations. He would accept the direct consignment of an American
ship, if it was commanded by an old friend. Such a one came to Whampoa,
commanded by Captain C----, having on board a cargo consisting in
a great measure of quicksilver. The price of this article was much
depressed at the time. It was landed at Houqua's Hong and stored,
he offering to take it at its market value. Several months elapsed,
when the close of the south-west monsoon foretold 'business,' and the
Factories began to look out for return cargoes for their ships of new
teas daily arriving. Quicksilver still remained without demand. At the
price it bore, a considerable deficiency would exist in the capacity
of the vessel and the quantity of teas which could be bought with the
proceeds. At the same time news had arrived of an improvement in prices
at New York which exhibited a large profit. Captain C----, therefore,
judging it better to sell his quicksilver and load with all the despatch
he could with as many teas as it would purchase, closed the sale, which
was, in commercial phraseology, 'puttee book' (duly recorded). Tea
purchases were then immediately made, in the course of which Houqua
said to his consignor, 'Olo flen,[19] you shall have a full cargo to
return with; I will furnish it, you can pay my next voyage--you no
trub' (give yourself no anxiety). Everything being thus definitely
arranged, the vessel commenced loading, and was half full, when Houqua
came to Captain C---- and informed him that a sudden demand had arisen
for 'quick'[20] on the part of northern merchants returning to their
provinces, that it had advanced materially in value, and he had been
credited with the parcel he brought out _at the price of the day_;
moreover, that he had cancelled on his books the first purchase. This
generous act on the part of his consignee enabled Captain C---- to leave
with a full cargo, all paid for, and made a difference in the outturn of
his voyage of nearly 30,000 dollars. This information I received some
years after at Canton from Captain C---- himself.

An American gentleman, who had resided many years at Canton, and had
possessed a considerable fortune, met with serious losses. The hope
of regaining it induced him to continue operations, in which he was
materially assisted by Houqua. They had been, as was usually said, in
the words of the place, 'olo flen.' Time passed, considerable sums were
placed at the disposal of Mr. W----, no reference being made to them by
the Hong merchant, until, at the end of a second or third year, Houqua's
and his accounts were compared, and the balance in favour of Houqua was
72,000 dollars. For this amount he took a promissory note and it was
locked up in his strong box. From knowing Chinese, I was often behind
the scenes on similar occasions, not that the holder had any doubt of
irregularity on the part of the signers, but simply to translate them
into his language for his own satisfaction. It may be stated here that
not a single Chinese then existed at Canton who could read or write
English. I found that these notes bore simply the endorsement of sum and
date with the names of the drawers. Time still went on; Mr. W---- had
frequently expressed a desire to return to the United States, but hoped
that a 'good turn' would take place in his affairs and enable him to
cancel his note. It was cancelled in a most unexpected manner!

One day, when on a visit to his Chinese friend, the latter said, 'You
have been so long away from your own country, why do you not return?'
To which Mr. W---- replied that it was impossible--he could not cancel
his note, and this alone would prevent him. Houqua enquired if the
bond, only, kept him in Canton, and if he had not some means wherewith
to provide for a residence at home? The answer was that no other debts
existed, and he was not without resources--but the note!! Houqua
summoned his purser, and ordered him to bring the envelope containing
promissory notes from the treasury. Taking out that of Mr. W----, he
said, 'You and I are No. 1, "olo flen;" you belong honest man, only no
got chance.'[21] He then tore the note up, and throwing the fragments
into the waste-paper basket, added, 'Just now hav settee counter, alla
finishee; you go, you please.' That is to say, 'Our accounts are now all
settled, you can leave when you like.'

When the English troops, under Sir Hugh Gough, on May 21, 1841, had
taken up a position on the heights north of the city walls, and were
prepared to attack, they were prevented doing so by a despatch from
Captain Elliot, the British Superintendent of Trade at Canton, then on
board the cutter 'Louisa,' lying off the Factories. He informed Sir
Hugh Gough that the city had consented to pay a ransom of six millions
of dollars, and directed him to return to the ships in the river with
the forces. This was a judicious and humane arrangement, brought about
by Captain Elliot. Had the city been entered, the loss of life would
have been dreadful, to say nothing of the destruction of houses and
property. There would, moreover, have been but little glory to gain, as
it was in a state of defence utterly inadequate to resist 2,200 English
soldiers and sailors. The authorities of the city, having concluded
the arrangement for the ransom, began at once to look about for money,
and as usual _reminded_ the Hong merchants that something liberal was
expected of them.

They contributed 2,000,000 dollars, of which Pwankeiqua gave 260,000,
Houqua 1,100,000, and the others 640,000. A belief exists amongst the
Chinese that there is an invisible agency influencing man's career
in life, which they call 'Fung Shuy,' literally 'wind and water.' A
striking illustration of this belief was brought out on this occasion.
Houqua availed himself of the _accident_ of contributing, to express his
gratitude to 'wind and water' for notable incidents in his own life,
and in this way, mentally, he apportioned his donation. For himself, in
recognition of his 'prosperity,' 800,000 dollars; for his eldest son,
200,000 dollars for unswerving filial piety; and 100,000 dollars for his
youngest son, who happened to be born when he himself had just completed
the full term of a 'cycle,' or sixty years. This is considered a very
happy coincidence, or No. 1 'Fung Shuy.' For the total sum, Captain
Elliot was handed three promissory notes, drawn by Messrs. Russell & Co.
at thirty days' date in favour of Houqua, by whom they were endorsed to
his order. Captain Elliot deposited them for collection with Messrs.
Jardine, Matheson, & Co. and Dent & Co. These firms had removed their
offices to Macao, as well as Messrs. Russell & Co. The notes were for
400,000, 400,000, and 300,000 dollars respectively. At this time the
last-named house held about two and a half millions of dollars belonging
to their constituent, the endorser. As an instance of the just pride
Houqua took in his remarkable position and of his commercial sagacity,
a few days before the maturity of the three notes a letter was received
from him in Chinese at Macao, which read thus:--

'Benevolent Elder Brother,[22]--The notes endorsed by me to Elut,[23] as
you know, will soon be due. Offer to pay them at once. You will see by
calculating that if the money is now accepted there will be a gain of
over nine hundred dollars by the discount. May all your days be as one.'

Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co. and Dent & Co. were immediately
communicated with, the notes came in for payment, and were cashed, less
the discount, which amounted to a little short of a thousand dollars!
The next time I saw Houqua in Canton he talked merrily over the close
of the transaction, and said, 'My all same, "Ba-Blo."'[24] The old
gentleman liked to compare himself with that famous house with which,
through Messrs. Russell & Co., he had had for years important business.

Demands of money on the Co-Hong never ceased. One instance was a
requirement by the Viceroy that they should pay off the indebtedness of
three of their own number to 'outside barbarians.' They were Hingtai,
Mouqua, and Kingqua. Houqua then paid $1,000,000, Pwankeiqua $130,000,
Pwan Hoyqua $70,000, Samqua and Saoqua each $50,000, Footai $90,000.
I mention this circumstance as a feature of 'Old Canton;' it being a
measure taken to prevent complications with Governments beyond the sea.

In contrast to the style of official language, private letters from the
Hong merchants left nothing to be desired in civility. Here is one of
many. In the year 1837, a few of us younger members of the community
established the 'Canton Regatta Club,' for boat-pulling and sailing on
the river, our chief amusements and mode of taking the air. Nothing like
a club had yet existed. Presently the Hong merchants, in virtue of their
office as 'guardians' of our persons, as well as our 'securities' in
the eyes of the local government, on hearing of the club organisation,
being apprehensive of accidents, they wrote this letter to one of the

    'Ham Tak, venerable old gentleman,--We beg respectfully to
    inform you that we have heard of the intention of our respected
    elder brother and other chin-te-le-mun[25] to race boats on
    the river. We know not if this is true, but heretofore it has
    not been custom. Should the authorities hear of this, we your
    younger brothers would be reproved, not mildly, for permitting
    you to act so indiscreetly. On the river, boats are mysteriously
    abundant; everywhere they congregate in vast numbers; like a
    stream they advance and retire unceasingly. Thus the chances of
    contact are many, so are accidents, even to the breaking of
    one another's boats, to the injury of men's bodies, while more
    serious consequences might ensue.

    'We therefore beseech our worthy senior[26] to make known to
    the other chin-te-le-mun that they would do well to refrain from
    contesting the speed of their boats on the river, so that after
    troubles may not accumulate. Then all will be well. Daily may
    your prosperity increase, without difference.


The amount of Houqua's fortune was frequently a subject of debate;
but on one occasion, in referring to it in connection with his
various investments in rice-fields, dwellings, shops, and the banking
establishments known as shroffs, and including his American and English
shipments, he estimated it, in 1834, at twenty-six millions of dollars.
Assuming the purchasing power of money at that time as being but twice
greater than at the present day, it would now represent a sum of
$52,000,000. He was a person of remarkably frugal habits (as regards
his style of living) from choice and from being of a feeble frame of
body. His generosity was boundless, and in accounts he was singularly
methodical and precise, never multiplying them beyond what was
absolutely necessary. The two or three rooms which he occupied during
hours of business in his vast, well-regulated Hong were furnished with
simplicity itself.

He withdrew from general business with the foreign community after
the Honourable East India Company left Canton, and confined himself
exclusively to the house of Messrs. Russell & Co. Through them his
foreign business was entirely managed. His yearly shipments to London
of those celebrated Chops of Congo, grown on his family estates in the
Woo-E country, were well known and appreciated in the English market.
His transactions were on a very important scale, and he entrusted them
to his Canton agents, through whom they were carried out, with the
well-merited confidence which they inspired. They embraced England,
the United States, and India. As another illustration of his generous
nature, I may refer to an affair that took place nearly fifty years ago,
in which his orders were not complied with. We had shipped a cargo,
principally of raw silk belonging to himself, which he had ordered
from the silk country. It was sold at a large profit. His instructions
were that the proceeds should be returned in East India Co. bills on
Calcutta. To our surprise and his disappointment, the result of the
sale was invested in a cargo of British goods. It was as injudicious
an arrangement (free trade then beginning) to ship largely of English
manufactures as his own shipment was sagacious, for but little silk was
exported immediately after the opening of the trade. The result showed a
difference of many thousand dollars to his detriment. On the deviation
of orders becoming known Houqua was at once informed that he should not
suffer for this breach of instructions, and for the loss we would credit
his account.

The old gentleman replied, 'My consider, my show you to-mollo'--that is
to say, he would think it over and let us know his decision 'to-morrow.'
The following day he was at the office, and this was his decision,
which he emphasised by striking the floor with his cane--Write to Mr.
C----[27] and tell him he must be more careful in future, 'must take
care.' He accepted the woollens, and refused to accept any indemnity.

This last chief of the world-renowned 'Co-Hong,' which ceased with the
treaties after an existence of 130 years, died at Honam on September 4,
1843, aged seventy-four, having been born in the same year with Napoleon
and Wellington, 1769.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next to the Hong merchants, other Chinese were closely allied to the
foreign community as 'Linguists'--so called, as it used to be remarked,
because they knew nothing of any language but their own. They were
appointed by the Hoppo to act as interpreters, and were duly licensed.
Besides, this was in accordance with the orders of the Pekin Government.
As up to treaty days, neither Consul nor Vice-Consul of a foreign nation
was 'officially' acknowledged, whenever either one of these officers
made a communication to the Hoppo, it had to be done through the Hong
merchants, to whom the despatch was taken by a Linguist. The reply would
be addressed to these merchants, who were directed to make known the
answer to the 'Chief' of the nation, that 'he might reverently inform
himself of it and be duly obedient' (a matter of form).

The principal Linguists were 'Old Tom,' 'Young Tom,'[28] and 'Alantsae.'
They were at the head of numerous assistants employed in the ordinary
business of foreigners, such as attending upon Mandarins from inside the
city while examining merchandise being landed or shipped off, and making
up reports of the duties for those officers to take to the Hoppo's
office for registration and subsequent collecting. Their duties were by
no means light. They were liable to be summoned at any moment, night or
day, in connection with the multifarious matters in which their services
were required. They were always ready and ever willing, and proved a
wonderful convenience to the community at large. Through them we applied
for permits when going on a trip to Macao, for the shipping off of an
entire cargo of teas or for landing one of foreign goods. All details
of whatever nature were regulated and attended to by them. By law and
'old regulations,' on an excursion on the river, to the 'flower gardens'
a few miles off, or to the Great Buddhist Temple at Honam, opposite
the Factories, a Linguist _should_ personally attend. One was also at
our disposal for a visit to any other place to which the 'regulations'
or 'old custom' permitted us to go. It may be added at the same time
that the 'regulations' which required his personal presence on such
occasions were not strictly enforced, but they were never abolished.
The object of the Mandarins in enjoining upon the Linguists that one of
them should accompany foreigners in their walks or boating excursions
was from the best of motives--that these should not lose their way or
become involved in collisions with the people arising from ignorance
of one another's language. It was the duty of a Linguist to distribute
amongst the Factories any Government proclamations having reference to
their affairs, relating to vessels at Whampoa or the 'receiving ships'
at Lintin. In regard to these last the Linguist would 'translate it,'
and point out that the 'Man-ta-lee' said, 'if they did not immediately
get up their anchors and return to their own countries or come to
Whampoa, cruisers would be sent down to drive them away, and no more
patience manifested.' Then would come the time-honoured question of 'You
savee?' or, 'Do you understand?' with the usual addition of, 'This time
the Mandarin is _really_ in earnest.' The precious document would then
be deposited in the leg of his stocking or in his boot (the customary
receptacles), and with 'My chin-chin you'[29] he would pass on to our
next-door neighbour.

During the shipping season, from October to March, the Linguist of a
ship in course of loading would be summoned in the evening to a foreign
counting-room (if necessity required), and was frequently detained until
long after midnight while lists of teas to be shipped off in the morning
were being prepared. With these lists he would then be obliged to go to
perhaps several Hongs, to see that the teas were in readiness and 'chop'
boats ordered to convey them to Whampoa. These duties often involved a
whole night's work, but no sign of impatience or inattention was shown.
When a vessel was ready to be measured, the Linguist informed the Hoppo,
who then ordered an officer to Whampoa to attend to this duty, and he
was always attended by a member of the Linguists' establishment called
the 'mandarin' or 'official' Linguist. Should she be under despatch, the
Linguist furnished the agent with a memorandum of the 'Measurement and
Cumsha' charges, and at her final departure he brought to his office
the 'grand chop,' or port clearance, which was only delivered to him
when he had furnished the Hoppo with receipts or certificates of the
import and export duties having been paid, and satisfied him that all
formalities had been fulfilled. When a fire broke out near the Factories
they were immediately in attendance.

They were, as a body, 'our all in all.' The senior Linguist, popularly
known as 'Old Tom,' was a remarkable man, both physically and mentally,
one whose calmness and self-possession never forsook him. Whether
threatened by the authorities or scolded by foreigners, he never gave
way to ill-humour. He was wonderfully adroit in making everything smooth
with the mandarins and pleasant to the 'outside barbarians,' even in
questions the most irreconcilable.

Each vessel anchoring at Whampoa incurred a Linguist fee of $250. For
every chop-boat landing her inward cargo, $15.22. Her outward cargo was
taken to her by the sellers of it, at their own risk and expense.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most important Chinese within the Factory was the _Compradore_.
He was secured by a Hong merchant in all that related to good conduct
generally, honesty and capability. All Chinese employed in any factory,
whether as his own 'pursers,' or in the capacity of servants, cooks,
or coolies, were the Compradore's 'own people;' they rendered to him
every 'allegiance,' and he 'secured' them as regards good behaviour and
honesty. This was another feature that contributed to the admirable
order and safety which characterised life at Canton. The Compradore
also exercised a general surveillance over everything that related
to the internal economy of the 'house,' as well as over outside
shopmen, mechanics, or tradespeople employed by it. With the aid of his
assistants, the house and private accounts of the members were kept. He
was the purveyor for the table, and generally of the personal wants of
the 'Tai-pans' and pursers.[30]

The treasury in which all the cash and valuables were kept was under
his charge, which was no light matter, as with some houses the amount
of cash was extremely large, frequently over a million of dollars and
rarely under $150,000 to $200,000. During the dull season, from April to
October, the principal books of accounts, all important correspondence
and letter books were also deposited in it. For many years after
1824, no such thing as a copying machine was known; all copying was
done by hand, and this exacted greater care of business letters and
papers, while as no Banks existed in the old days, each house was its
own banker. The position of a Compradore was therefore one of great
responsibility, and I never knew of but one betraying the trust reposed
in him. Although his pay was comparatively small, say $250 or $300 per
annum (the pay of our own was raised to $500), his perquisites, from
sources which had long been in existence, and had become 'olo custom,'
were very important. As the balance of the American trade was greatly
in favour of China, large quantities of Spanish and Mexican dollars were
yearly imported to make up the deficiency arising from comparatively
little other import cargo. Teas and silks, and many minor articles
coming under the general head of 'Chow-chow,' were bought for cash.
Thus every ship from the United States brought largely of dollars at
times--as in the case of the 'Citizen,' $350,000, while in 1831 three
vessels alone brought $1,100,000. Added to these supplies, opium was
invariably sold for cash, and so were bills on London when they came
into use; consequently all this money passed primarily through the hands
of the Compradore. He derived a profit from the process of _shroffing_
which it underwent before being deposited in the treasury; but after
the goodness of a parcel and its exact amount were ascertained, he was
liable for any bad money that might afterwards be found amongst it. He
paid the Shroff one-tenth of a dollar per one thousand for examining
it, while the fixed charge by the Compradore was one-fifth. This formed
an important sum. Another one of his perquisites was five copper cash
(about a halfpenny) per dollar on all payments, no matter to whom or on
what account, of odd sums less than one thousand dollars, which charge
was borne by the payee. He also derived benefit from loans or advances
made to 'Outside' Chinese merchants (and from them) on contracts for
silks and other merchandise entered into with his employers, while on
all Factory supplies he received also a percentage. In the year 1823
occurred the first and only robbery by a Compradore that came under my
knowledge. He was in the service of one of the two most important of
the American houses, then occupying No. 3 of the Suy Hong. He had made
use of a large sum belonging to the firm for his own speculations, and
it was accidentally discovered. Mr. A----, the then chief of the house,
went directly to Houqua, the Compradore's 'security,' and reported the
loss. The man himself was sent for, and, greatly to the indignation
of his patron, confessed to having used the money for speculation,
intending to replace it, but the unexpected examination by Mr. A---- had
not allowed him time to do so. Houqua sent the deficiency to the firm
the same evening. It was over $50,000.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have seen who and what were the Co-Hong, the Outside Chinese
merchants, the Linguists and Compradores, and what their respective
relations with foreigners were. There now remains the _Shroff_, or money
dealer, whose services were indispensable, particularly in receipts.
They were manifest daily and hourly in the broad arched passages passing
through the Factories, along which, as was constantly said, one could
never move without seeing heaps of silver being examined and hearing its
metallic ring as successive quantities were poured in and out of copper
scales. Scarcely a day or even an hour passed without this glittering
accompaniment of old Canton life.

Pieces of silver as well as dollars were shroffed and weighed before
being deposited in the treasury. When that was done, dollars had
no longer a distinct existence, for in commerce the Chinese treat
silver and gold as they do lead, iron, or copper. In this they show a
characteristic good sense, and are rewarded by it in the facility with
which all money transactions are carried on. As the result of long
experience, the imported dollar was found to be worth 717/1000 taels
in weight, and this became the standard in all current book accounts.
No coined money exists in the Empire except copper cash, with which
every one is familiar. The use of it is confined to the daily wants of
the people, and it never enters into transactions of importance, except
when money-changers replenish their stocks. The convenience of such a
circulating medium gives facility to every one, no matter how humble his
requirements, and was a wise piece of legislation. The obverse of the
coin bears the name of the Emperor during whose reign it was made, in
Chinese characters, with two others which mean 'circulating value.'[31]
Commerce, on the other hand, stood in need of a larger representative
of value, and this was supplied by gold and silver bars or lumps in
portable sizes. Bar gold bears a small proportion to bar silver in
quantity, and is in oblong pieces usually of ten taels in weight, and
silver[32] in oval lumps called 'shoes' of various sizes and values.
There is no Government interference in the manufacture of these bars and
shoes for purposes of trade, no more than there is of any other metal,
while the guarantee of their purity and value is simply the stamp of the
Shroff or money house by which they are issued.

As a natural consequence of the non-existence of gold or silver coin,
imported dollars, from being continually weighed and stamped when
passing from hand to hand, became 'chopped dollars' or 'cut money'
in Canton phraseology, the first from being stamped by the Shroff on
examining them, with any character which he may select, and which
is his guarantee of goodness. In the shapeless form which they thus
acquire, payments are made by weight in taels, and its component parts
of mace, candareens, and cash.[33] This custom of weighing metals
has existed in China since 903 A.D. If any money stamped by a Shroff
on examination proved bad, it was exchanged by him, but such cases
were extremely rare. A small pair of scales for money transactions is
generally carried by Chinese attached to a waistbelt.

Shroffs examined all amounts brought to them by any one, but went
to the foreign Factories, to the Hong merchants or other customers,
when required. The charge was small, and the amount of silver passing
yearly through their hands was enormous, as amongst the Chinese all
transactions were for money or its representative.[34] Shroffs were also
'changers'--providing when required either Sycee, chopped dollars, or
gold--as well as bankers, making loans or receiving deposits. The floors
of their shops are covered with brown tiles, and at the end of the year
they can sell the privilege of removing the floor for the chance of
finding scraps of silver which may have escaped through the interstices
of the tiles, the buyer of the privilege replacing the floor at his own
cost. I have heard of as much as fifty taels (about $70) being paid to
an important Shroff-shop for such a transaction.

Several descriptions of dollars were imported from 1825, previous
to which time the most numerous were those of Carolus IV. of Spain.
These kept the preference above all others, and were currently known
as 'Old Heads.' So accustomed were the Chinese to this dollar, that
when Carolus III. or Ferdinand VII. were offered, they were taken with
reluctance, while the 'Old Head' commanded a premium, and it thus became
an exception to the general rule of 'breaking up.' For a long time they
had been taken by dealers in raw silk from the middle provinces, in
whole dollars, and finally so much prejudice existed in their favour
that they would take no others except as cut money. This caused them
to advance in value to 10 and even 15 per cent.; finally, during one
season, we sold to the senior Hong merchant $60,000 at a premium of 30
per cent.,½ receiving in exchange $78,000 in cut money. Ferdinand VII.'s
dollars became 'New Heads,' and next came into favour, there being a
diminishing supply of the 'Old,' but they were never at more than 1 to 2
per cent. premium. Of other kinds there were Chilian, Peruvian, Mexican,
and United States, which were submitted to the process of breaking up,
and were never in greater favour with the Chinese than cut money. They
were not 'old custom,' and they could not reconcile themselves to the
new effigies or legends which they bore. Now and then, if wanted for a
special occasion, Mexican dollars could be passed at a small premium,
say 1 or 1½ per cent. It is very probable, as often supposed, that the
Shroffs had much to do with these varied transactions; they were behind
the scene and perhaps they had, as many of the establishments belonged
to wealthy proprietors, who used them for purposes of speculation in

Book accounts, as has been said, were kept in dollars and cents by
foreign houses, at the conventional rate of 717/1000 of a tael per
dollar. There was but one exception, that of the English East India
Company, which adopted the more rational system of Chinese currency.
Payments for raw silk were made at 750/1000, for teas 720/1000, musk
750/1000, as well as for some kinds of opium. As all Chinese produce
went by weight, even raw and manufactured silk, and as all computations
were in decimals, this system contributed to the ease with which
business was carried on.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Pigeon-English_ is the well-known name given to that unique language
through the medium of which business was transacted and all intercourse
exclusively carried on between the 'Western Ocean' foreigners and Canton
Chinese. For years after my arrival but three foreign residents were
Chinese scholars--namely, Doctor Morrison; the present Sir John Francis
Davis, the last Chief of the English East India Company's establishment;
and one American, myself--while 'Pigeon-English' had grown up with the
early days of foreign intercourse with the port of Canton. It is not
difficult to arrive at the creation of this particular and strange
language. Foreigners came to Canton for a limited period, and would not
or could not apply themselves to the study of so difficult a language as
the Chinese, of which even a sufficiency for commonplace purposes was
not easy to acquire, and if acquired would be useless anywhere else. The
local government also placed serious obstacles in the way of learning
it, to the length of beheading a Chinese teacher for giving lessons.
This is on the authority of Dr. Morrison, who related to me an instance
that took place before I arrived, and he further informed me that for
years after his own arrival in 1807 he was obliged, as a protection
to his own teacher, to study at night in a room with lights carefully

On the other hand, the shrewd Chinaman succeeded in supplying this
absence of the knowledge of his own language by cleverly making himself
familiar with _sounds_ of foreign words, and conforming them to his own
monosyllabic mode of expression, at the same time using simple Chinese
words to express their meaning. He thus created a language, as it may
be called, deprived of syntax, without the logic of speech, and reduced
to its most simple elements. It took firm root, became the conventional
medium of intercourse in respect to transactions of enormous value and
magnitude, and exists in all its vigour and quaintness to this day.

It was undoubtedly an invention of the Chinese, and long anterior to the
appearance of the English at Canton in its origin, as may be proved by
the admixture of Portuguese and Indian words still to be found in it,
the latter having probably been originally made known by those primary
visitors from the western world _viâ_ India. The English came more than
a hundred years after; words from their language were then gradually
incorporated, and increased with the disappearance of the Portuguese,
who confined themselves to their own growing colony of Macao, until,
finally, the former became the principal traders, and thus this language
became known as Pigeon-English.

The word 'pigeon' is simply a corruption of 'business' and with its
companion means _business_-English. Of Portuguese origin we have the
most undoubted proof in such words as _mandarin_, from mandar, to order;
_compradore_, from compra, to buy; _joss_, from Deös; _pa-te-le_, from
padre; _maskei_, from masqué, never mind; _la-le-loon_, from ladraŏ,
a thief; _grand_, from grande, the chief, as, for instance, 'grand
chop;' _junk_, from the Portuguese sound of Chuĕng in the dialect
of the East Coast, where they first traded. Of Indian words we have
_bazaar_, a market; _Shroff_, money-dealer; _chunam_, lime; _tiffin_,
luncheon; _go-down_, from kā-dang; _lac_, one hundred thousand; _cooly_,
a labourer; _chit_, a note or letter; _bungalow_, a cottage; _kāārle_,
curry, and others.

Some peculiarities of expression and application of two words constantly
used in Pigeon-English may be mentioned. The language was by no means
confined to those of foreign, but it contained quite a vocabulary of
words of Chinese origin; it was, in fact, a very mixed tongue. 'Chop,'
for instance, is of perpetual occurrence. It is the same as 'chŏ,' which
signifies literally any 'document.' A shopkeeper's bill is a 'chop,'
so is an Imperial edict or a Mandarin's proclamation; a cargo-boat is
a chop-boat; it does duty also for a promissory note, a receipt, a
stamp or seal, a license for shipping off or to land cargo, a mark for
goods, or a permit. 'First quality' is expressed by 'first chop,' and an
inferior according to quality is No. 6, 8, or 10 'chop,' the worst of
all. When a cooly is sent on an errand requiring haste, he is told to
go 'chop-chop.' A 'first chop' man speaks for itself, so does 'bad chop

The variety of uses to which the compound word 'chow-chow' is put is
almost endless, and in some cases have a directly opposite meaning.
For instance, a 'No. 1 chow-chow' thing signifies 'utterly worthless'
but when applied to a breakfast or dinner it means 'unexceptionally
good.' A 'chow-chow' cargo is an assorted cargo; a general shop is a
'chow-chow' shop; provisions of all kinds are classed under the general
head of 'chow-chow;' and, as may have been remarked in the list of the
Factories, one was called the 'Chow-chow' from its being inhabited by
divers Parsees, Moormen, or other natives of India.

Although by the Chinese all foreigners were called 'Fan Kwaes,'
or 'Foreign Devils,' still a distinction of the drollest and most
characteristic kind was made between them. The English became
'Red-haired devils;' the Parsees, from the custom of shaving their
heads, were 'White-head devils;' Moormen were simply 'molo devils.'
The Dutch became 'Ho-lan,' the French 'Fat-lan-sy,' and the Americans
'Flowery-flag devils.' The Swedes were 'Suy' and the Danes 'Yellow-flag
devils.' The Portuguese have never ceased to be 'Se-yang kwae,' thus
retaining the name first applied to them on their arrival from the
'Western Ocean' (which the words signify), while their descendants,
natives of Macao, are 'Omun kwae,' or 'Macao devils' from the Chinese
name of the town.

In the Canton book-shops near the Factories was sold a small pamphlet,
called 'Devils' Talk.' On the cover was a drawing of a foreigner in
the dress of the middle of the last century--three-cornered hat, coat
with wide skirts, breeches, and long stockings, shoes with buckles,
lace sleeves, and in his hand a cane. I have now one of these pamphlets
before me. It commences thus, 'Yun,' and under it is its 'barbarian'
definition, expressed in another Chinese word whose _sound_ is 'man.'
After many examples of this kind come words of two syllables--thus,
'kum-yat' with their foreign meaning expressed by two other Chinese
characters pronounced 'to-teay' to-day--and so on to sentences, for
which the construction of the language is peculiarly adapted. This
pamphlet, costing a penny or two, was continually in the hands of
servants, coolies, and shopkeepers. The author was a Chinaman, whose
ingenuity should immortalise him. I have often wondered who the man was
who first reduced the 'outlandish tongue' to a current language. Red
candles should be burnt on altars erected to his memory, and oblations
of tea poured out before his image, placed among the wooden gods which
in temples surround the shrine of a deified man of letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although during the south-west monsoon little general business went
on, transactions in Opium were very active. It was the period when the
new drug arrived. Sales were made to brokers for cash (only) against
orders on the receiving ships. The orders would be sent down by 'smug
boats,'[35] which carried the Opium to its several destinations. These
boats, of a peculiar build, were of great length and beam, the latter
increasing rather disproportionately abaft to give quarters to brokers'
agents who always went with them. The crews numbered from sixty to
seventy men, who, like all Chinese boatmen, were singularly good
sailors, intelligent and very active. They plied the oars sitting on low
benches ranged on both sides of the deck, while additional propelling
power was provided in an enormous mainsail and a foresail made of mats,
bamboos, and rattans. The armament was one large gun in the bows,
swivels, spears, and flint-lock muskets purchased from foreign vessels.
The 'smug boats' differed from Government cruisers in a less powerful
armament, smaller crew, and in the hull being bright varnished instead
of painted 'black and red,' which are the colours of the latter.

On delivery of the opium, the receiving ships were paid five dollars
per chest,[36] which was called 'cumsha' (literally 'gold sand'), and
two dollars for 'demurrage' if the order was not presented within seven
days. It was always repacked, before being taken from the ship, in mat
bags, then marked with the owner's private sign and the weight. At times
as many as one hundred chests, in bulk, would form a single cargo, whose
market value was from $150,000 to $200,000. The Canton agent received
five, afterwards reduced to three, per cent. commission on sales. The
time occupied in unpacking, weighing, and repacking would occupy but a
few hours. The crews of the receiving ships were mostly Manila men and
some Lascars, while the shroffs, carpenters, and boats' crews, cooks and
servants were Chinese.

It is needless to say the opium trade was prohibited by Imperial edicts
as well as by proclamations of the Canton authorities. The Chinese who
dealt in 'foreign mud'[37] were threatened even with capital punishment,
but so perfect a system of bribery existed (with which foreigners had
nothing whatever to do) that the business was carried on with ease and
regularity. Temporary interruptions occurred, as, for instance, on the
installation of newly-arrived magistrates. Then the question of fees
arose, but was soon settled unless the new-comer was exorbitant in his
demands, or, as a broker would express it, 'too muchee foolo'--i.e.
'the man is crazy.' In good time, however, all would be arranged
satisfactorily, the brokers reappeared with beaming faces, and 'peace'
and immunity reigned in the land.

Opium was never found for sale in Chinese shops at Canton, nor were
there any signs by which one could judge where it was prepared for sale
or for smoking, it being used in no other form.

The Canton officials rarely made any reference to the Lintin station;
but sometimes, compelled by form to do so, would issue a proclamation
ordering vessels 'loitering at the outer anchorage' either to come into
port or sail away to their own countries, lest the 'dragons of war'
should be opened, and with their fiery discharges annihilate all who
opposed this, a 'special edict.'

Another branch of the opium trade was on the East Coast, where vessels
of moderate size, belonging to two foreign houses at Canton, were
stationed, say, near Amoy, Chin-Chew, Cup-Chee, and the island of Namao.
They received supplies by brigs and schooners (all in this business
being known as 'coasters'), which, starting from Lintin, touched at the
anchorages above on going up to deliver, and on their return collecting
the proceeds of sales. As an opportunity offered to get a practical
experience of this trade, which was carried on with all the secrecy
possible by the few engaged in it, I availed myself of a suggestion
from the house to take a run up to Namao. We owned at the time a
Boston clipper schooner called the 'Rose,' which, in 1837, was about
leaving for that anchorage with a quantity of opium sold at Canton for
delivery there, and an additional number of chests to try the market.
The whole cargo consisted of nearly 300 chests of the Canton value of
about $300,000. I joined the vessel at Capshuymun from Macao with an
English gentleman, my guest there, whom I invited to accompany me. The
'Rose' was soon ready for sea; we made sail and started with a moderate
south-west monsoon. She was a foretopsail schooner of about 150 tons
register, with her scuppers within two feet of the water. The weather
proved delightful, the wind steady, and the sea smooth. We kept an eye
upon the barometer, it being the taiphoon season, and a sharp look-out
upon the fleet of 'fishing boats' which covered the water, and the crews
of which were peaceable fishermen or cut-throat pirates according to

We anchored on the inside of the island of Namao on the third day,
close by two English brigs, the 'Omega'[38] and 'Governor Findlay.'[39]
Inshore of us were riding at anchor two men-of-war junks, with much
bunting displayed; one bore the flag of a 'Foo-Tseang' or Commodore.
Knowing the 'formalities' to be gone through with the Mandarins, we
expected a visit from one, and until it was made no Chinese boat would
come alongside, nor would a junk, not even a bumboat. We had no sooner
furled sails and made everything shipshape, when 'his Excellency'
approached in his 'gig,' a sort of _scow_ as broad as she was long.
Besides the oarsmen, there were official and personal attendants,
in grass cloth with conical rattan hats and flowing red silk cord
surrounding them to the brim. He himself sat majestically in an
arm-chair smoking quietly. A large embroidered silk umbrella was held
over his head, while servants with fans protected him from the attacks
of flies and mosquitoes. He was received at the gangway by Captain
Forster. His manner and bearing were easy and dignified. When cheroots
and a glass of wine had been offered, the 'Commodore' enquired the
cause of our anchoring at Namao. The Shroff[40] gave him to understand
that the vessel, being on her way from Singapore to Canton, had been
compelled, through contrary winds and currents, to run for Namao to
replenish her wood and water. Having listened attentively, the great man
said that 'any supplies might be obtained, but when they were on board,
not a moment must be lost in sailing for Whampoa, as the Great Emperor
did not permit vessels from afar to visit any other port.' He then
gravely pulled from his boot a long red document and handed it to his
secretary, that we might be informed of its purport.

It was as follows:--


    As the port of Canton is the only one at which outside
    barbarians are allowed to trade, on no account can they be
    permitted to wander about to other places in the 'Middle
    Kingdom.' The 'Son of Heaven,' however, whose compassion is as
    boundless as the ocean, cannot deny to those who are in distress
    from want of food, through adverse seas and currents, the
    necessary means of continuing their voyage. When supplied they
    must no longer loiter, but depart at once. Respect this.

    Taou-Kwang, 17th year, 6th moon, 4th sun.[41]

This 'Imperial Edict' having been replaced in its envelope and slipped
inside of his boot (for service on the chance of another foreign vessel
'in distress'), his Excellency arose from his seat, which was a signal
for all his attendants to return to the boat except his secretary. The
two were then invited to the cabin to refresh, which being done, we
proceeded to business. The Mandarin opened by the direct questions,
'How many chests have you on board? Are they all for Namao? Do you go
further up the coast?' intimating at the same time that _there_ the
officers were uncommonly strict, and were obliged to carry out the will
of the 'Emperor of the Universe,' &c.; but our answers were equally as
clear and prompt, that the vessel was not going north of Namao, that
her cargo consisted of about 200 chests. Then came the question of
'Cumsha,' and that was settled on the good old Chinese principle of 'all
same custom.' Everything being thus comfortably arranged, wine drunk
and cheroots smoked, his Excellency said, 'Kaou-tsze' ('I announce my
departure').[42] We escorted him to the side, over which he clambered
with the aid of his secretary; we saw him safely deposited under his
brilliant silken canopy, and in a short time rejoin his junk.

Chinese buyers came on board freely the moment they saw the 'official'
visit had been made. A day or two after, several merchant junks
stood out from the mainland for the anchorage. As they approached we
distinguished a private signal at their mastheads, a copy of which
had been furnished to us before leaving Capshuymun. We hoisted ours,
the junks anchored close to us, and in a surprisingly short time
received from the 'Rose' in their own boats the opium, which had been
sold at Canton, and there paid for, deliverable at this anchorage.
It was a good illustration of the entire confidence existing between
the foreign seller in his Factory at Canton and the Chinese buyers,
and of a transaction for a breach of any of the conditions of which
there existed no legal redress on one side or the other. This parcel,
whose value was $150,000, had been already packed in bags, marked and
numbered, at Capshuymun. The Chinaman who held the order of the Canton
house for its delivery, on coming on board unfolded it from a cotton
handkerchief, smoked a pipe or two and drank a cup of tea with the
Shroff while it was going over the side, then took leave of us with the
usual 'Good wind and good water,' or, 'May your voyage be prosperous!'
The junks had anchored, mainsail to the mast, and as the last bag was
received on board the anchors were at the bow and they standing to the

Various attempts had been made to establish 'floating' depôts further
north, for which purpose even the coast of Corea had been visited,
as well as the port of Ke-Lung on the north end of the island of
Formosa. The clipper 'Sylph,' Captain Wallace, sailed up to the Gulf
of Leaou-Tung, having on board the celebrated Prussian missionary
Gutzlaff, who, for the privilege of distributing the Scriptures and
tracts, acted as interpreter for the sale of opium. The Rev. M. Gutzlaff
was an 'old coaster,' his first appearance in China being as passenger
from Singapore in a Chinese junk. As he had also studied at Malacca,
there was a fellow-feeling between us. The first foreign opium vessel
stationed on the East Coast was the 'Colonel Young'[43] in 1831, her
tender, running between the station and Lintin, being the 'Fairy.' M.
Gutzlaff was for some time on board the former, and, from his knowledge
of the Chinese coast dialects, could make himself very useful. He
resembled a Chinese very much, while _they_ declared him to be a 'son
of Han in disguise'! The accounts of his travels along the coast and
in the interior which he gave me on his return were very curious and
interesting. He would leave the brig and be absent many days together.
On one occasion he nearly reached the frontier of the Canton province;
on another he penetrated to the Bohea tea-country, in the province of
Fŭh-Keen. He described the people as hospitable and kind. Sedan-chairs
of a rustic sort were furnished to him, with food without stint, and he
never failed to find quarters for repose and refreshment in a temple.
His object in travelling, besides the acquisition of knowledge, was
the distribution of tracts. On visiting a town or village he would
distribute translations of 'The Word of Life' and administer 'Lee's
Antibilious.' Landing one day in the ship's boat, she was capsized, and
he found himself rolling about in the surf with 'The poor man's friend,'
a box full of 'Saints' Rest,' to which he clung, and packages of
'Cockle's pills,' while in momentary alarm that he and the boat's crew
(four Caffres) would be picked up by shovel-nosed sharks.

At the end of a fortnight I decided to return to Capshuymun and Canton.
My friend Mr. N---- was agreeable, but the question was, how and when?
The 'Rose' had still a considerable quantity of opium to dispose of, and
would not probably be ready for a month. In this dilemma two days went
by, when the schooner 'Harriet'[44] came in from the northern stations.
She was a small fore and aft craft of nominally 100 tons, built at Macao
by Hamilton, an American ship carpenter, and was commanded by a friend,
Captain Hall, who consented to take us back to Capshuymun. After she
had received treasure from the three Namao vessels, her entire freight
consisted of $430,000 in value of gold bars and Sycee-silver. We went on
board with our traps and servants, and were soon under way. The cabin
being, of course, of preposterously small dimensions, and overrun with
ants, cockroaches, and centipedes, with which we should have interfered,
we made ourselves comfortable on deck--dining, smoking, and joking _al
fresco_. We anchored at Kow-Lung just in time to escape an unusually
heavy taiphoon. We rode it out there; then sailed to Capshuymun, and
from thence direct to Canton by fast boat.

The 'Rose' subsequently foundered in a taiphoon,[45] on July 21, 1841,
only one of her crew being saved, a Portuguese Sea-cunnie,[46] who
was for three days on a plank. He was picked up by my old friend and
shipmate, Captain Fraser, in the 'Good Success,' thirty miles from the
Grand Ladrone.

This tedious review of the opium traffic, as existing during the first
fifteen years of my residence at Canton, will give the reader a correct
idea of the mode in which it was carried on. The confiscation of 20,052
chests by the Imperial Commissioner Lin, in 1839, checked the local
trade for a time, but did not do away with it. Up to this period it had
indeed been an easy and agreeable business for the foreign _exile_ who
shared in it at Canton. His sales were pleasantness and his remittances
were peace. Transactions seemed to partake of the nature of the drug;
they imparted a soothing frame of mind with three per cent. commission
on sales, one per cent. on returns, and no bad debts! To the agent each
chest was worth 20_l._ sterling, one year with another.

Consequent upon the seizure of the English-owned opium, the city of
Canton, lying at the mercy of Sir Hugh Gough, was ransomed, as has been
said, for $6,000,000, and this sum was afterwards appropriated by the
British Government to indemnify its owners, who had delivered it up,
either directly, or indirectly through their Canton agents, in obedience
to the command of Captain Elliot, 'for surrender to the Imperial
Commissioner on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.'

The amount of the ransom was much below the ordinary market value, even
of its cost; on the other hand, no one could foresee to what a low price
it _might_ fall, through the measures which were being taken by the
Pekin authorities to 'put an end for ever' to 'opium smoking' in their
dominions, and the whole arrangement was, under the circumstances, a
very reasonable one.

The largest quantity surrendered by any one house was 7,000 chests; we
came, I think, third on the list, with 1,500 chests; the remainder was
principally in the hands of English, Parsee, and other native of India
firms. The appointment and approaching arrival of the Imperial Envoy
became known at Canton in the latter months of 1838. The local Mandarins
therefore began a system of harshness towards dealers in order to appear
vigilant and active in the carrying out of old decrees. This led to much
cruel punishment, to the execution of one man in the Square in front
of the Factories, in December 1838 (by way of casting obloquy upon the
foreigners), and an attempt to strangle another one there in February
1839. This latter caused an unprecedented riot, led to an attack upon
all foreigners who happened to be out of their residences, several
of them being injured, and to the Factories being besieged by many
thousands of vagabonds, who kept up an incessant attack on windows and
gates with stones and brickbats.

They tore down and used as 'battering rams' the heavy posts of which
the small enclosures in front of each Factory were constructed, yelling
and shrieking like so many wild animals. We were rather anxious that
some should force their way in, as we had distributed broken bottles
in great quantities up and down the main entrance to our own Factory,
No. 2 Suy-Hong, our enemy being a barefooted crowd, while against the
other great casks of coal had been rolled; we were not gratified by
seeing the efficacy of the first protection. The mandarins had brought
an 'opium dealer' to the Square about noon, in order to strangle[47]
him there. The Cross was already driven in the ground, and in a few
minutes it would have been all over, when an unusual hubbub of something
extraordinary being about to take place attracted the attention of some
foreigners who were on the Square at the time. Instantly the news flew
from Factory to Factory, when all we could muster, perhaps seventy to
eighty, rushed out to stop the proceeding. I acted as spokesman on
behalf of all present, and protested against the Square being turned
into an execution ground. The Mandarin in charge said that the orders
he had received must be carried out, that the Square was a portion of
His Celestial Majesty's Empire. He was told that might be, but it was
leased to us as a recreation ground, and that we _would not permit_ its
desecration by a public execution! This was a bold thing to say. During
this short interval the scene was a most extraordinary one. There was
the cross, and close to it the victim with a chain about his neck, held
by two gaolers, all looking on with a quiet curiosity. The servants
of the mandarin were supplying him with constantly renewed pipes; his
attendants, a few soldiers, and his chair-bearers, seemed more amused
than anything else. There is no telling what might not have taken place
had it not been for a boat's crew who happened to come from Whampoa that
morning. They belonged to the old East India Company's ship 'Orwell,'
Captain 'Tommy' Larkins, formerly of that Company's service, and a
well-known and general favourite in the community. These sailors had
been wandering about the Square, but gradually approached the spot and
looked on. Seeing the drift things were taking, suddenly they seized the
cross, smashed it in pieces, and began to lay them over the heads and
shoulders of the executioners and any Chinamen within reach. The gaolers
dragged the prisoner away. Jack tore down a tent that had been pitched
for the mandarin, capsized the chairs, the table, with the teapot and
cups, and would next have attacked the mandarin himself had we not
interfered to protect him. We were much relieved when his Excellency
and his aids were carried away and no harm done to them, and we found
ourselves in possession of the ground. Then cried out one of the sailors
to another, 'I say, Bill, we don't get such a lark as this every day!'

The siege of the Factories by the mob was continued throughout the
afternoon, the guards at the corner of the American Factory were obliged
to retreat after ineffectual efforts to clear the ground of our
assailants, and things looked very serious. In the 'Imperial' Factory,
Captain St. Croix, of the 'Alexander Baring,' had collected all the
inmates, armed with such weapons as they had amongst them, revolvers and
fowling-pieces, and proposed a rush out, but happily no demonstration
was made. There were without doubt eight or ten thousand of the vilest
of the population seemingly bent on the destruction of the 'foreign
devils.' Towards five o'clock some one suggested that it might be worth
while to get notice of our situation to Houqua. It looked as if the
Mandarins had left us at the mercy of the mob, while the streets were
completely blocked, and no Chinaman probably thought of going on such
a mission. Mr. G. Nye (an American gentleman) and myself undertook to
go and see him. Getting on the roof of No. 4 'Suy-Hong' we managed to
cross to that of a shop in Hong Lane, through which we descended, and
after some exertion reached the street in the rear of the Factories,
called the 'Thirteen Factory Street,' which led to Houqua's Hong. We
found the old gentleman in some trepidation from the news that had been
already brought to him, but he seemed quite ignorant of the Square and
the Factories being at the mercy of the crowd. He at once despatched a
messenger to the 'Kwang-Chow-Foo,' the chief magistrate of the city, and
we returned the way we had come. About half-past six o'clock, to our
great relief we heard the approaching sound of the gong, denoting the
coming of the officers, and witnessed from our verandah the immediate
dispersion with whips of the rabble. No one was spared, the sight of
the numerous soldiers in attendance on the Mandarins caused a rush
towards every outlet from the Square, and even to the river, where
several were drowned, not a boatman offering them the least assistance.
Wide open flew the Factory gates, and in an instant their imprisoned
occupants appeared with looks of relief indescribable. The Mandarins
passed the night on the ground, chairs were procured for them, official
lanterns were lighted, and, conscious of the entire safety which we now
enjoyed, and without being disturbed by the hourly beating on gongs
of the different watches of the night, we all turned in. The next
day everything reassumed its normal state of comfort and safety. The
'victim' had been strangled at the public execution ground, to which he
was taken from the Square. Approaching the Mandarins in the morning to
thank them for their timely assistance (rather a 'cool' thing to do, as
some one remarked, seeing we had taken the law in our own hands and had
driven away the officer of justice the day before!), they received us
very courteously, and assured us we had 'nothing to fear!'

This was the most serious of many provocations inflicted by foreigners
upon the authorities. We treated their 'chops,' their prohibitions,
warnings, and threats, as a rule, very cavalierly. We often spoke of
their forbearance and wondered at the aid and protection they extended
to us; in fact, they considered us more as unruly children, people who
had never had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with 'Taou-Le,' or

When the Imperial Government took the unlooked-for measure of seizing
the English-owned opium and punishing the native dealers, the day seemed
to have arrived when the trade in it would really cease. The Canton
houses had been forcibly deprived of their stocks; the supply on the
East Coast, under the control of very few of them, was diminishing,
with no fresh supplies to look forward to. Quantities which were on
their way from India were being landed at Singapore or sent over to
Manila, while further shipments from the former country were entirely
suspended. On all sides a complete darkness existed as to what would
be the result. Holders were offering to sell at Singapore for next
to nothing; the article was in reality a drug indeed. Even as low
as $150 to $200 per chest became its nominal value in the Straits.
This was the condition of the 'opium question' which quickly followed
the confiscation. The foreign community, with the exception of the
Americans, had all left Canton, and at first took up their quarters
on board of ships at 'Kow-Lung;' but having been bombarded out of
that anchorage by the mandarins, 'Toon-Koo,' at the mouth of the
'Capshuymun,' became the general rendezvous. One day a clipper schooner
got under way and stood seaward, and some time elapsed before she was
heard from again. She had taken on board a few chests of opium that
had arrived since the seizure. At the moment of sailing a letter was
handed to the captain, directing him to open one of two others enclosed,
after he should have got clear of the land. On doing so he found that
he was ordered to make the best of his way to Singapore, to land the
opium he had on board, and deliver the unopened letter to his consignee
there, by whose instructions he would be subsequently governed. The
schooner consequently proceeded on her voyage, the captain not having
the slightest intimation of the object of it. Simply, he was directed
to reply to any enquiries on arrival that he had brought down opium.
The twenty chests were landed at a moment of the day when the Bund was
crowded with Moormen, Jews, Parsees, and Chinese, all opium holders or
brokers. No letters had of course been received by them, but at the
unprecedented sight of twenty chests being landed they concluded that
now indeed 'God was great and Mohammed was his prophet,' and that China
had at last resolved to permit no more poisonous drug to be landed on
its shores. Before twenty-four hours had passed, so adroitly had the
agent made his plans, that, aided by clever brokers, he secured nearly
700 chests, quietly, here a little and there a little, at prices 'dirt
cheap.' Opium had been unsalable at Singapore, many of the holders
were unable to hold, and some were under orders to sell for whatever
they could get, and 'have done with it;' the average of the purchase
in question was $250 per chest. The twenty chests were re-shipped to
the schooner, the newly purchased were taken on board, and after a very
short detention she sailed, whither no one knew. She was bounding up the
China Sea. Her destination was the East Coast, and there her cargo was
readily disposed of at an average of $2,500 per chest.

Inside of the city of Canton, as we heard from Chinese, the price rose
to $3,000, while the sale of it or the smoking of it was almost a matter
of life and death--the latter was the penalty threatened and even
carried out against those who were known to indulge in it. The Imperial
Commissioner was on the spot; he was inexorable, consternation prevailed
throughout the Chinese community, but we heard from good authority that
the number of the beheaded was not large.

While the opium trade was going on, discussions often occurred as to
the morality of it, as well as to the effect of smoking on the Chinese.
None of the Hong merchants ever had anything to do with it, and several
of the foreign houses refrained from dealing in it on conscientious
grounds. As to its influence on the inhabitants of the city and suburbs
at large, they were a healthy, active, hard-working, and industrious
people, withal cheerful and frugal. They were intelligent in business,
skilful in manufactures and handicrafts. These traits are inconsistent
with habitual smoking, while the costliness of the prepared drug was
such as to render a dilution of it (to bring it within the means of
the masses) utterly harmless. Amongst the wealthier classes, no doubt,
it was more or less common, this we knew; but I myself, and I think I
may safely say the entire foreign community, rarely, if ever, saw any
one physically or mentally injured by it. No evidences of a general
abuse, rarely of the use of the pipe, were apparent. I remember one man
having been brought to a missionary hospital to be treated for excessive
smoking of opium, but he was looked upon as a Lion and much was made of
him. In fact, smoking was a habit, as the use of wine was with us, in
moderation. As compared with the use of spirituous liquors in the United
States and in England, and the evil consequences of it, that of opium
was infinitesimal. This is my personal experience during a residence at
Canton, Macao, and Hong Kong of forty years.

       *       *       *       *       *

For many years after the first foreign merchants came to Canton, they
were not permitted to remain after their vessels were despatched, but
were obliged to leave in them. In the case of the great Companies
such as the English East India and the Dutch, it gradually became a
great inconvenience. These, therefore, retired to Macao, where in time
residences were specially built for their accommodation. (The old Dutch
factory there, which had stood for over a century, was destroyed by a
taiphoon in 1875.) The removal from Canton to Macao took place at the
close of the north-east monsoon, simultaneously with the commencement
of the dead season, when the market would have been cleared of teas and
few or no vessels at Whampoa. Macao possesses a delightful climate,
completely within the sea breezes, and is beautifully situated; it
moreover offers in its entirety perhaps a unique specimen of Western
colonies in the Eastern world as they existed 250 years ago--in
its forts, churches, and walls, its convent, senate-house, and the
extensive, solidly built, private residences.

The Bay of Macao, looking eastward, is strikingly like that of Naples.
The fine houses which border it are protected by a broad esplanade,[48]
supported by a sea-wall with a low parapet. The view from it is
very fine across the outer harbour in a north-east direction to the
islands of Lantoa and Lintin; to the north lie the 'Nine Islands,' and
south-westerly is the anchorage called 'Taypa,' between the islands of
Montanha to the west and Cabreta to the east. This anchorage is about
three miles from Macao, and (as well as the two islands) is under the
sovereignty of the Portuguese. West of Macao is the inner harbour, which
separates it from the island called the 'Lappa.' On it in the early
days the Portuguese built villas and laid out gardens, but they were
subsequently abandoned from an inability to protect them effectually
from Chinese marauders and pirates, and in 1825 a few vestiges of them
only remained.

The departure from Canton of the Factory was annually quite a
circumstance. From fifteen to twenty 'chop-boats' were drawn up at
the Company's landing, of which some were converted into sleeping
apartments, for which their high decks and capacious holds, which were
floored off, afforded ample space. On either side were large windows,
with curtains and movable shutters, for protection against rain. Others
were appropriated to several milch cows and their keepers, for supplies
for the journey, as well as books and papers of value. The members of
the Factory, rarely fewer than twenty to twenty-five, occupied the
others with their personal servants; and, what with Compradore's men,
cooks, and coolies, the entire number was not less than 250 to 300
persons, including the boats' crews. On the arrival of the Linguist with
the Government permit, the fleet set sail amidst the beating of gongs,
burning fire-crackers and small squares of red paper, as a propitiation
to the gods presiding over rivers and streams. The boats always took the
Macao passage, as it was called, which is a broad stream branching off
from the Pearl River, about a half-mile westward of the factories and
running due south; consequently they passed the Factories, affording
altogether a fine sight. The distance to Macao, taking the curves of
the river, is about 120 miles, and the journey averages three or four
days. As the return to Canton formed also an event in local life, being
at Macao when the Company left in October 1831, I was glad to have the
opportunity of availing myself of an invitation from Mr. Majoribanks,
the then 'Chief,' to go up with them. A chop-boat was placed at the
disposal of young John Robert Morrison and myself, and the following
particulars of the trip to the provincial city are from a letter written
by me at the time to a relation in the United States:--

    On board the 'Golden Galley,' Macao to Canton: October 4, 1831.

    It was the intention of the Factory to embark on the
    1st, but the departure was postponed to the 2nd. A circular
    was then sent to the members, requesting them to be on board
    their respective boats by half-past ten the next morning, at
    which time they were to get under way. Accordingly, my chum
    and I joined our chop-boat, anchored in the inner harbour
    with thirteen others, which composed the fleet. Presently a
    signal was made by the boat of Mr. Davis, Chief of the Select
    Committee, hoisting its mainsail, and in a few minutes we were
    sailing in line through the harbour. We numbered, including
    invited guests, thirty-eight foreigners. Three of the boats
    (which in foreign measurement would be of, say, 120 tons) were
    full of Factory coolies, cows, and provisions, the latter in
    addition to each one having a supply on board sufficient for
    three days. Our chop is large and comfortable; we have a cabin,
    by means of partitions, 14 feet by 10 and 7 feet high, and
    forward of it is another for our servants, the cook, and stores.
    Two couches, one on either side, serve for beds, added to which
    are tables, toilette arrangements, and everything complete,
    with cleanliness the most perfect. We breakfast and dine as
    regularly and in as good style as on shore. Some boats have four
    gentlemen and others five, as arranged among themselves. They
    are chartered by the Factory twice a year, and each one receives
    one hundred Spanish dollars for the trip up or down. Provisions
    and furniture--in fact, all things needful--are also supplied by
    the Company. We have not with us all the members, some remaining
    awhile longer at Macao; but amongst those now on their way to
    Canton are Dr. Colledge and Padre Vachell, as well as that
    other important personage, the Steward Canning! The Company's
    Compradore also accompanies the fleet, with three or four fast
    boats under his control for carrying messages, making visits,
    or distributing fresh milk. So you see everything is as cosy as
    possible. The crews, numbering about fifteen men to each boat,
    manage them with surprising dexterity. These Chinese boat people
    are perhaps unequalled by any others in the world. They are not
    only active and intelligent, but good-natured and obliging, and
    seem anxious to get on as quickly as possible.

    Now that I have given you a sketch of our accommodation,
    I will go on with our passage from the inner harbour. While
    passing through it, volleys of fire-crackers were let off,
    and gongs were beaten by way of 'chin-chining Joss' for a
    safe and pleasant passage. A little later dinner was served,
    and a No. 1 dinner it was. Crab soup to begin with, an ample
    dessert, Hodgson's pale ale, superb La Rose and sherry, with
    custard-apples, plantains, and other fruits. We turned in at
    eleven, but slept little, as the wind was dead ahead after
    entering the 'Broadway,' so I was up early and on deck. The
    fleet was hard at it, tack and tack to windward. We found
    ourselves in the middle of it, those to windward about three
    miles off, and those to leeward about the same distance. At
    eight o'clock we passed the Mo-tow, or 'Knife-grinding,' Fort,
    which was once a stronghold of the celebrated pirate Apotsae,
    who pillaged all the country round about. Near to it were
    lying two of His Celestial Majesty's men-of-war junks. The
    day's supply of fresh milk was brought on board, and at eight
    breakfast, which was attended with difficulty, from the heeling
    over of the boat. We entered the 'Heang-Shan'[49] River, but
    at 11.30 were all obliged to anchor within five miles of the
    city, as it had begun to blow a violent gale, the rain coming
    down in torrents. On the morning of the 5th, cloudy and rainy,
    but the wind abating somewhat and the tide being favourable, we
    hove up, and at 8.30 passed Heang-Shan. We expected to anchor to
    receive the customary visit of the mandarin, but he may not have
    felt inclined to turn out in such weather. It happened that the
    Compradore, who had gone up in a fast boat the evening before,
    procured from him his seal to the Company's 'chop,' which
    allowed us to go on without anchoring; but through all this fuss
    and his absence we lost the milk for our after-dinner tea! On
    the morning of the 6th the Compradore was again alongside, and
    made it 'all right' with _us_ by threatening to come again with
    mutton for dinner; and, considering what we have 'undergone'
    since leaving Macao, it will be very acceptable.

    The scenery on both sides of the river is celebrated for
    its beauty, and we enjoyed it much. The banks are lined with
    orange and lemon trees, peaches and lychee. On the summit of a
    high hill stands a seven-story pagoda. If you ask a Chinaman
    its object or use, he replies that it is 'Joss pigeon,' and you
    are as wise as you were before. In reality, the Chinese believe
    that these buildings bring prosperity on the region and ward off
    evil influences. The river is crowded with boats crossing from
    one bank to the other, filled with all sorts of country produce
    or passengers, who stare their very eyes out in looking at us.
    Further on we pass another fort, with a curious name, the 'Old
    Duck,' and on the riverside opposite is another called 'Greatly
    Excellent.' In the afternoon a fine strong breeze sprang up, and
    we made rapid progress, passing still another fortification,
    called the 'Mouth of the Great Gate.' We were compelled to dine
    on a superb roasted capon, with _et ceteras_ as usual. We just
    touched at 'Che-nae' for the official formality, and soon after
    the Western Fort was passed, when we saw the innumerable lights
    and lanterns of the provincial city; and at 8 P.M. glad enough
    we were to find ourselves once more in 'Old Canton.'

The Dutch East India Company followed the same programme to and from
Macao. The members of this Company were never so numerous as that of the
English. There were usually two gentlemen to manage all affairs, with
three or four 'writers.'

Under various pretexts, other foreign merchants managed to remain at
Canton the year out. One was that their import cargo not having been
sold, consequently the tea and other merchandise which they had shipped
was unpaid for. This, if not considered reasonable, at all events had
the effect of causing the authorities to overlook their presence, and
gradually that article of the 'old regulations' became a dead letter.

Having seen the manner in which the great Companies went between Canton
and Macao, it will be curious to follow the 'private' individual and
the formalities that had to be gone through (which, however, applied to
those Companies as well). A linguist was sent for, to whom was given
the name and nationality of the person requiring a permit for Macao,
and he would take them to the Hong merchants. Three or four of these
would then petition the Hoppo that the request might be granted. Amongst
these merchants must be included the one who 'secured' the foreigner
in question. On the third day after, the linguist would reappear at
the Factory and give notice that the luggage, &c. must be examined by
an officer from the Hoppo's office, which having been done, the permit
would be given to the head boatman, and on the fourth day the boat
could proceed on her journey. It must not be supposed that these old
'government regulations' were never infringed, for in my own case,
in 1830, being ill, I asked Houqua to use his influence that I might
leave at once, and in twenty-four hours my papers were ready and I was
off. The boats in which foreigners travelled to and from Macao (except
occasionally if a large party, when they took chop-boats) acquired the
name of 'inside fast boats.' They were large and commodious, with cabins
in which one could stand up, broad raised seats on two sides, covered
with clean matting, on which one slept. They were furnished with green
Venetian blinds. In the centre of the cabin stood the dining-table,
and over it a lamp was suspended. The accommodation was ample for four
persons. Abaft the main cabin was a smaller one, for the servants and
cook; then came the stern-sheets, occupied by the helmsman and two
or three men to work the main-sheet. On one quarter was the kitchen;
forward of the principal cabin was a flush deck to the bows; there
stood the foremast, and ten to twelve oars could be used. The crew
consisted of twelve or fifteen men, always alert, hard-working, and
good-natured. The trip down the river or up was particularly enjoyable;
the respite from office duties imparted a new sensation; and, if made
in the south-west monsoon, nothing so exhilarating after the close hot
Factories as this breeze fresh from the sea. The entire cost of the trip
was for the boat eighty dollars, and the invariable 'cumsha,'[50] ten or
fifteen more, according to one's humour after a quick or tedious passage.

The official papers were four in number, to which on the particular
occasion now referred to a fifth was added.

No. 1. The petition from the Hong merchants applying for the pass to
Macao, which read thus:--

    Whereas it is our duty to petition for permits for Macao, it
    now appears that the barbarian merchant, H----, having clearly
    set forth that on a former year he came to Canton to trade, now
    wishes to visit Macao. Not daring to resort to illegal ways,
    he has begged us to entreat the favour of an official passport
    being granted to him, that he may submit it for inspection at
    the several stations on the route. Such being the barbarian's
    wishes, we petition that he may be officially permitted to

    _Memorandum._--The barbarian merchant H---- is provided with
    one sword and one gun for the protection of his person, as well
    as with clothing and cooking utensils.

    (Signed)   HOUQUA     MOUQUA

    Taou-Kwang: 19th year, 4th moon, 15th sun.

No. 2. The Hoppo's answer:--

    The request is granted. He may go to Macao. This must be
    shown at the several custom-houses on the route, and on arrival
    at Macao it is to be surrendered to the collector there.

    (Seal of the Hoppo.)

    _Note._--To be countersigned at the West Fort and at Che-Nae.

No. 3.

    This pass is to be countersigned along the whole route
    to Macao. Yu, by Imperial decree Acting Hoppo for the Port
    of Canton. Raised two degrees! Whereas it is evident that,
    to ensure safety and uninterrupted travelling between Canton
    and Macao, barbarians should be furnished with passports for
    exhibition at the custom-houses on the way, that they may be
    allowed to proceed, and the time of arrival and departure at
    each is to be noted on them. All difficulty thus removed, and
    no excuse for loitering or wandering, how can disturbances
    arise? On arrival at Macao the pass must be delivered to the
    custom-house there, to be returned to this office and cancelled.
    It is highly important that they (to whose hands it shall come)
    attend to this injunction.

    _Memorandum._--One boat, containing one barbarian named
    H----, who in the 4th moon, 16th sun, starts from the capital.

    (Seal and date.)

    Countersigned at the

    West Fort       16th, arrived evening,  left evening.
    Che-Nae         17th,    "    daylight,   "  daylight.
    Hiang-Shan      18th,    "    midnight,   "     "
    Macao           18th,    "    evening.

(I fill in the dates with arrivals and departures as they took place.)

No. 4.

    Yu [as above].

    Whereas, by the will of the Great Emperor, he controls
    all matters relating to the trade of the Outer Ocean, now
    grants the merchant H----, by means of the boat belonging to
    Yip-Paou-Chang, liberty to proceed with fine teas, &c., to Macao
    for sale. Herein are registered the articles he takes with him
    on which the duties have been collected, viz.:--

    63  catties[51] of tea, in five boxes.
    4   large silver spoons.
    8   small silver spoons.
    45  catties of oil, in two jars.
    10     "      pictures.
    36     "      preserves, in one box.
    27     "      salt fish, in one package.
    612    "      wooden ware, in eight boxes.
    30  pairs of shoes, in one box.
    270 catties of iron ware, in three boxes.
    18     "      hams, in one package.
    1   wooden table.
    27  catties of white sugar, in one package.
    3   small oil paintings.

    The barbarian merchant H---- also takes the following
    personal stores:--

    524 bottles of foreign wine.
    30  foreign knives, with 30 forks.
    30     "    glass cups and bottles (decanters).
    1   trunk of woollen clothing.
    2   boxes of shaving-head implements (razors).
    250 catties of foreign clothing.
    30     "      fragrant water.
    200    "      lead.
    70     "      divers eatables.
    1   glass mirror.
    1   large glass lamp.
    20  catties of foreign crockery.
    10     "      copper ware.
    30     "      candles.
    10  pieces of foreign fragrant soap.
    1   foreign gun and 1 sword.
    1   hat and 1 spyglass.
    270 catties of foreign white paper.
    5   pictures with glass fronts.
    40  catties of rolled tobacco-leaves (cheroots).
    1   foreign white woollen blanket.

As my departure for Macao on this occasion took place a month or two
after the surrender of the opium, unusual strictness was observed
for fear that some of the nine foreign merchants selected by the
'Kinchae'[52] as hostages might escape. The following extra document was
therefore issued:--

No. 5.

    An extra permit granted by the officer appointed by
    the Imperial Commissioner, occasioned by the opium affair,
    and stationed in front of the foreign Factories, to take
    cognisance of all foreigners arriving at and leaving Canton.
    Le, waiting preferment, specially appointed, now reports to the
    Kwang-Chow-Heĕ.[53] It having been brought to my knowledge that
    the boat owned by Chang, having on board the barbarian H----,
    leaves this 16th sun of the 4th moon for Macao, no delay must
    take place. Moreover, as neither of 'the nine' forbidden to
    leave are on board, custom-houses will permit her to pass.

    No. 196.   (Signature of the Kwang-Chow-Heĕ),
    and endorsed, 'To be returned and cancelled.'

The House Compradores were always glad to avail themselves of such an
opportunity to send to Macao a lot of 'Chow-chow' cargo on their own
account, a privilege we never refused. This accounts for the sentence in
No. 4--'proceeding to Macao with fine tea for sale.' Whence came the 200
catties (266 pounds) of lead was a mystery to me, but the 270 catties
of 'iron ware' were iron chests, and 270 catties of foreign white paper
certain office books of accounts and stationery, removed from the
Canton offices in consequence of the unsettled state of affairs, with a
quantity of house stores, &c. The details of everything is peculiarly a
Chinese idea, and as similar documents are now no longer issued, and the
_inside_ passage to Macao never taken under former circumstances, they
are curious in their way. The _outside_ passage, by the way of the Bogue
and in splendid steamers, is now the order of the day.

       *       *       *       *       *

The word _tea_ is of Chinese origin, being a corruption of _tay_ in
the Fuh-Keen dialect, the province from whence it was first exported
to Europe. The leaf has always retained its name of tea in the West,
notwithstanding that in Canton, from which port it has been shipped for
nearly 250 years, it is called _chā_. This word means the _infusion_,
while _chā-yip_, analogous to 'leaves for infusion,' is the tea of
commerce. The varieties are very numerous, and are classed under the
heads of _black_ and _green_. It is only within fifty-five years that
_Oolongs_ and _Ankoys_ have been shipped, and chiefly to the United
States. These are of a light brown colour. _Blacks_ consisted of
_Bohea_, _Congo_, _Souchong_, and _Powchong_. The first derives its name
from the celebrated _Woo-E_ Hills of Fuh-Keen; the second signifies
_Workmen's_ tea; the third 'small seeds;' and the fourth 'seeds in
bundles,' it having been always done up in paper packages. _Greens_
were, 1, 'Young Hyson,' 2, 'Hyson,' 3, 'Hyson Skin,' 4, 'Gunpowder,'
and 5, 'Imperial.' The first means in Chinese 'before the rains' (when
it was gathered), the second the 'opening of spring,' and the third the
'refuse or end of the crop.' The Chinese name of the fourth signifies
'small pearls' and of the fifth 'large pearls.'

In addition to these were formerly shipped Campoi, Hung-Muy, Sung-Lo,
Caper, and Woping; but they have now lost their distinctive names, and
if shipped at the present day are merged into other kinds more popularly

The choicest of all teas, and which we saw only on special occasions,
when it came with the annual New Year presents from the Hong merchants,
was 'Padre Souchong,' so called from its having been grown by the
priests of a famous monastery. The whole quantity was small; it was
put up in canisters of two or three ounces, and was currently supposed
to be sent to the Emperor. His Celestial Majesty deigned as a rare
favour to present some of it to the most favoured of the high officers
of Government at Pekin, and they in their turn, as a great compliment,
forwarded a portion to the Hong merchants. This was in return for
valuable watches set with pearls, for clocks, musical snuff-boxes, or
'smellum water' (as the Chinese call lavender-water and eau de cologne),
which foreign objects it was customary to send to influential mandarins
for favours in the past and those in prospective.

The following tradition exists as to this peculiar tea. In spite of the
assertion that the entire annual crop is 'offered up to the reigning
Emperor,' it is brought to Canton, but in a very limited quantity.

    In a deep recess of the Woo-E (Bohea) Hills, surrounded
    by shrubbery and trees, almost impenetrable to the human eye,
    stands the Temple of the 'Silver Moon.' Its antiquity is so
    great that all traces of its origin are lost. The temple has
    been inhabited from time immemorial by a family of the 'Tea
    Sect,' which, at the period of the year coinciding with the
    maturity of the leaves, makes offerings to its patron saint of
    fine tea. Close by the temple stand three small tea trees, which
    are tended by the family. They produce but _one_ catty each.
    These trees were originally planted thousands of years ago by
    divine hands, and they have never been known to yield more nor
    less than three catties (4-1/3 pounds).

The original paper of which this is a translation was given to me by
Pwan-Suy-Lan, with a small canister of this famous tea; but on asking
him if he considered it to have been originally planted by 'Joss,' he
answered, he thought not, but that 'he own come'--that is to say, 'it
sprang from the ground spontaneously.' It was known that the senior Hong
merchant received the greatest quantity of it. As with Pwan-Suy-Lan and
Pwankeiqua, Houqua's family had long been tea planters in the Bohea
Hills, and were so when they first came to Canton, soon after foreign
trade was confined to that port (as he frequently observed to me), about
the year 1750.

Well-to-do Chinese drink black tea, but not usually _new_ tea. They keep
it in closely-shut earthen jars for a couple of years before using it.
This moderates the acrid or pungent quality which new tea possesses more
or less, and renders it softer and more acceptable to the taste.

       *       *       *       *       *

As if to make all things work comfortably, the setting in of the
south-west monsoon brought foreign ships to Whampoa to receive cargoes
of teas, which were meanwhile arriving from the interior, from August to
November; and the north-east monsoon, as the ships loaded and left the
port in succession, blew them down again. The only exceptions were known
as 'out-of-season ships,' of which there were rarely over two yearly.
These came east about _viâ_ Gilolo or Dampier's Straits, and they took
away the last teas of a season. An occasional ship, trusting to good
weatherly qualities, would take the Palawan passage _late_ in the year,
beat up under the coast of Luconia to Cape Boleno, and then stretch
across the China Sea; but it was dangerous from its numerous shoals, and
a vessel would be dreadfully knocked about, even if successful. About
1830 or 1831 a bold and successful attempt to set the north-east monsoon
at defiance was made by the _first_ opium clipper. She was called the
'Red Rover,' and was commanded by Captain Clifton, owned at, and from
Calcutta. It was considered a most extraordinary performance.

The earliest shipments of a season were made from Whampoa by the East
India Company, in November usually. They consisted of contracts made at
the end of the previous year. They could be seen in large quantities
stored in the Hongs, waiting the first ships to come in. These teas
were currently known as 'winter teas,' and went to keep up the quantity
of one year's supply which the Company was bound by its Charter to
keep on hand in London at all times. Continuous shipments followed, so
that by the end of the year or a little later their vessels were all
away. To the United States green teas were exported almost solely until
about 1828, when the first blacks were shipped; after that date they
became a feature in the trade. Contracts were made for the new season's
teas, either at fixed prices, or, if it was an object to get a ship off
quickly, then the prices were governed by those of the opening of the
market. The 'opening' of the tea season was eagerly looked forward to;
and such was the contrast between the busy and the dull season that
during the former we were repeatedly in the offices until two o'clock in
the morning. The seasons of 1830 to 1838 were particularly active ones,
and besides business with India, England, and the West Coast of America,
our own house had frequently at Whampoa at one time ten to fifteen ships
(in the year 1833 twenty-two), every one loading teas and silks for the
United States, and, after 1833, vessels loading for England as well.
It was during one of these years--I think 1834--that we despatched the
_first_ English vessel from Whampoa that had yet carried a full cargo of
free teas to New South Wales; she was named the 'Royal Saxon,' and was
commanded by Captain Robert Towns.

The final loading of a ship consisted of all sorts of odds and ends
reserved for the last moment, and shipped off by what was called the
'chow-chow chop.' More valuable cargo, not ready in time for the regular
cargo boats, could also be sent to Whampoa by this conveyance. It was
a great convenience, while all other shipping off was conducted on the
strictness of the laws of the Medes and Persians, with documents without

When the market had been cleared of teas, the vessels despatched and the
business of the season over, contracts were made with the Hong merchants
for the next season. These contracts were often of great pecuniary
value. They consisted of teas of certain qualities and kinds, in
packages of chests and half-chests, sometimes at fixed prices, at others
at the opening prices after they should have arrived, and deliverable
at the customary time. No other record of these contracts was ever
made than by each party booking them. No written agreements were drawn
up and signed, nothing was sealed or attested. A wilful breach of
contract never took place, and as regards quantity and quality, the Hong
merchants fulfilled their part with scrupulous honesty and care. I am
speaking of the first twenty years of my own personal experience.

Entire cargoes of teas were purchased and shipped from a few small
canister musters, and were weighed by taking the average of a few chests
from each 'chop.' A 'chop' of tea was always an uncertain quantity,
blacks numbering 400 to 600 chests, sometimes more or less, and greens
from 120 to 200 chests. The chest contained originally 100 catties,
or 133-1/3 pounds, the halves and quarters in the same proportion,
while boxes were locally packed with canisters of various sizes. The
inconvenience of these larger packages, both in size and weight, caused
a reduction to be made in them gradually until the chest averaged
about eighty catties. Some of the packages shipped at this time have
completely disappeared, and we hear no longer of five and ten-catty
boxes, nor of one, two, or three-pound canisters.

Valuable invoices of silk piece goods were bought and shipped from an
examination of only a piece or two taken at random from any box we might
choose to have opened. They consisted of satins, crapes, sinshews,
levantines, black handkerchiefs, sarsnetts, lutstrings, and pongees,
besides great quantities of yellow nankins, almost all of which articles
have now ceased to be exported.

As a natural consequence of the integrity of the Chinese merchants, we
had neither receipt nor check-book. Payments were made by the Compradore
of large amounts on simple scraps of paper signed with the initials of a
firm. No promissory notes existed, and consequently there was no 'bill
book.' There was no post office, there were no postages, and no copying

We had no custom-house business to attend to; our inward cargoes were
landed and stored, and our outward ones shipped off, by the Linguists,
to whom we had but to intimate in which Hong the former should be landed
or the ship to which the latter were to be sent. All merchandise was
purchased at long price, and all sold at short price; this was the rule,
and saved us an infinity of trouble. We were under no apprehension as
to the outturn of the quality or weight of the teas and silks which we
shipped. The ingenious process of augmenting the brilliancy of tea by a
clever facing of 'Prussian blue' or 'Chinese yellow,' of adding to the
bulk by an admixture of chopped willow or elm leaves, of increasing its
weight by iron filings, was not yet practised by those 'heathen Chinee.'
Possibly the absence of these 'industries' formed a very primitive mode
of carrying on business!

On the other hand, we were obliged to make our own ink (out of powders
from England), in which we resembled the Jews, who arrived in China and
settled at Kae-Fung-Foo any time between B.C. 1122 and 249! Historians
have not settled this point, but they have ascertained that, whenever
it might have been, 'those people used split bamboos for pens, and at
the Feast of Tabernacles made sufficient ink for the ensuing year'! Our
letters and shipping documents were despatched under wafer or seal, as
no such thing as envelopes yet existed (they had been in use in China
for centuries!), nor did we enjoy the luxury of postage-stamps. Moreover
every consignee of a ship was his own 'post office' for all letters
brought out by her, and he delivered them to suit his own convenience. I
have known cases in which outward letters were delivered when the vessel
that brought them was outside the Bogue, homeward bound. This custom of
not always delivering letters on the arrival of a ship from the United
States was mutually understood, and considered as the privilege of any
house. It can easily be imagined that a New York firm, in sending the
'Huntress' to a market 12,000 miles away for a valuable cargo, might
suffer greatly in its interests if she carried letters from a rival
house deliverable on arrival, informing its correspondent that it should
despatch the 'Levant' shortly, give him particulars of her outward cargo
and orders for a return one. Thus very reasonably, letters were detained
until the agent of a ship had concluded his purchases--at least he had
the privilege of detaining them. There was, of course, the chance of the
passage out, and the difference that might result to the quickest ship.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a ship had anchored at Whampoa, the pilot reported her arrival to
the Hoppo through a branch Hoppo station at that place. This would be
done, not by giving the name of the ship, but that of the captain. Two
boats were then made fast to her, to see that no smuggling was carried
on; they were attached one on each quarter. Meanwhile the agent would
select a Hong merchant to become 'security' for her and a Linguist to
transact her business with the Hoppo's office, to send boats to bring
her cargo to Canton, and to take to Whampoa her outward cargo, and these
were all the 'official' duties that the agent had to attend to.

Before she could open hatches, the formality of 'Cumsha and Measurement'
had to be gone through. The first word signifies 'present,' and was
a payment made by the earliest foreign vessels for the privilege of
entering the port; and the second is equivalent to tonnage duties. On
a day of which notice was given to the agent, a specially appointed
mandarin from the Hoppo's office was sent on board, attended by pursers
and numerous servants. He was always received with some ceremony, and
regaled with wine and biscuit. As with all the officials, they were men
of a good deal of dignity and ease of manner. The captain would receive
him at the gangway, while all hands were rigged out in their 'Sunday
suits.' After the ordinary salutations, enquiries as to the passage out,
&c., the measurement would be made by one of the attendants attaching
the end of a measured tape to the forward part of the rudder head and
running it to the after part of the foremast, then calling out the
length, which others would note in writing; the breadth was then taken
amidships close abaft the mainmast, between the plankshears, which
being booked, a calculation was made of the dimensions for duty. As the
details were peculiar I give those of the ship 'Maria' (Captain Evans),
of New York, whose tonnage was about 420 (Canton, June 1830).

    Length, 67 covids; breadth 22; total
      147-4/10 covids. Deducting one-fifth
      according to the regulations for
      second-class ships. Equal to taels[54]   842.2.8.5
    Loss in converting into Sycee-silver
    For work of converting, 1/5 per cent.
    Cumsha                                     810.6.9.1

    The Hoppo's 'opening barrier fee'           480.42.0
    Transport to Pekin and weighing in
      Government scales                          
    To the Superintendent of the Treasury                   116.42.4
        Add 1-1/10 per cent. converting into

    Difference in weights between Canton and
      Pekin, 7 per cent.                         
        At 72 per dollar, are $5,092-59/100       Taels  3,666.6.6.7

Vessels coming to Whampoa with rice only were subject to the modified
port charges of $1,150 up to the year 1833, but in that year, owing to
a great famine that existed, they were done away with. The Viceroy Loo
then issued a lengthy proclamation, in which the Hong merchants were
ordered to make known the cessation of those charges to 'all the foreign
barbarians,' 'who would leap for joy, and go backward and forward in
search of rice cargoes.'

The 'Cumsha and Measurement' having been duly disposed of, a permit
was granted for 'opening hatches,' and the unloading went on
uninterruptedly. The outward cargo was then shipped off, and the
vessel ready for sea. Tea ships exclusively met with no great delay at
Whampoa--on the average about three months--but if silks constituted her
homeward lading, frequently six months passed before they were ready.
It then happened that not a solitary foreign vessel remained at the
anchorage; I have seen this to occur on several occasions.

When finally loaded, application was made through the Linguist to the
Hoppo for the 'Grand Chop.' This was at once delivered on ascertaining
that all formalities had been fulfilled and duties collected. It was a
large sheet having a broad border, on two sides of which was the figure
of a Dragon (the symbol of the Celestial Empire). They were always the
same in form, and printed from wooden blocks, with blank spaces to be
filled in with the name of the captain, number of the crew, list of
armament, and date of issue. The following is a translation of the grand
chop of the ship 'Maria,' Captain Evans:--

    Chung, filling the office of Hoppo by Imperial appointment,
    issues this in obedience to his will. When Western Ocean ships
    have been measured, paid their duties, and departed, should bad
    winds and water drive them to the shores of another province
    (not being within the accorded limits of trading), if it is
    found that they possess this sealed discharge they must be
    allowed to continue their voyage without delay or opposition.
    Which is on record.

    Now the foreign merchant ship 'Ewan' having loaded with
    merchandise, goes to the Hwa-Ke[55] country, there to manage
    her business. She has been measured, and duties incurred by her
    have all been settled, as customary. As she is now departing,
    this is given as a clearance into the hands of the said merchant
    to grasp and hold fast, so that, should he meet with any other
    custom-house, he must not be detained. Military stations to
    which it may be shown must also let the said vessel pass without
    interruption, and not induce her to remain and trade that they
    may be benefited by any charges or duties. Should they act
    otherwise, it will give rise to trouble and confusion.

    According to old regulations, the guns and ammunition and
    other arms she carries for her defence are herein enumerated.
    An unnecessary quantity is not allowed, nor has she dared to
    receive on board contraband articles. Should it have been
    discovered that these rules were broken by her, this permission
    to sail would assuredly not have been granted.

    Respectfully examine this _and depart_.
    (Hoppo's seal.)

    Sailors                   26
    Great guns                 4
    Shot                     100
    Swords                    10
    Muskets                   10
    Fire-physic (powder)     200 catties

    Taou-Kwang: 11th year, 10th moon, 12th sun.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Whampoa Compradores_ who attended upon American and other foreign
ships received their licenses from the Hoppo's office. They were,
like their Canton brethren, a notable class, and fulfilled for the
ships the same offices as the latter did for the Factories. It was
another illustration of the perfect system that existed, whereby all
having business at the port were aided in every manner for their own
convenience and security. The Whampoa Compradore for American vessels in
eight cases out of ten was 'Boston Jack'. He was much considered by his
countrymen on the island, and ever civil and obliging. He had once made
a passage to Boston as steward, and returned to Whampoa, _viâ_ Cape Horn
and the north-west coast of America, in a small schooner of about 200
tons called the 'Cossack,' on board of which was Mr. Oliver H. Gordon as
supercargo. 'Boston Jack' was very fond of relating his experiences on
board of the 'Cossack,' particularly off the Horn, where, as he would
say, 'too muchee strong gale; sea all same high masthead--no can see
sky, no can see water,' meaning that in the turmoil of the elements one
could see nothing. By his countrymen he was looked upon as a very 'great
gun;' he was a favourite with the Americans, and finally died at a good
old age, 'universally regretted' and much missed!

The grand chop having been received from the Hoppo, the pilot was
obtained at Whampoa. As the ship got under way, the Compradore's
'cumshas,'[56] according to 'olo custom,' were brought on board. They
consisted of dried lychee, Nankin dates (the 'latest dates,' as they
were christened), baskets of oranges, and preserved ginger; then, amidst
a firing off of crackers attached to the end of a long pole from the
Compradore's boat--'to awaken the gods to the vessel's departure,' that
they might vouchsafe to her 'good wind and good water'--she departed. As
in entering the river, she hove to off Anonghoy Fort at the Bogue, that
the pilot could exhibit his pass. Sailing by Macao, this individual was
cast off, and soon outside, she was rolling down the China Sea--homeward

The English East India Company's ships were divided into two fleets,
which came in alternate years. Each fleet consisted of about twenty
vessels, a certain number of which were appointed for China _viâ_
Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta, while the remainder were direct ships.

They were splendid vessels of 1,800 to 2,000 tons. Some belonged to the
Company, others were chartered usually for a certain number of voyages.
Many of them were built in India of teak. In time of war they sailed
under convoy; the gun-deck then carried a suitable armament, of which
good use was made in several encounters--notably in the southern part
of the China Sea, when, under Admiral Duckworth, a French squadron was
beaten off, and on other occasions in the Bay of Bengal. They sailed
under the flag of the Company, which resembled that of the United
States in its alternate red and white stripes, having for its field the
English Jack. The discipline on board was that of a man-of-war, and they
differed in no respect from one except that they did not fly the pennant
or carry a special body of marines. Besides the commander, the officers
were six in number, several midshipmen, surgeons, and purser, together
with the usual complement of warrant officers. Those of the fleet told
off for India conveyed troops and munitions of war, for service in the
Company's possessions there.

No finer sight of the kind could be seen in any part of the world than
the Company's fleet collected at Whampoa, with their inward cargoes
discharged, and every ship in beautiful order, waiting for teas.
Those formidable vessels were not of the modern clipper model, but
broad-backed, with swelling sides and full bows. On board everything was
neat, everything indicated system, discipline, and force. The oldest
captain (in date) daily hoisted his pennant as Commodore. Daily one of
the ship's boats came to Canton in rotation, independently of others
on individual service. The hospitality of the captains and officers
was generous, and, as some of them had bands on board, it was a treat
indeed to be included amongst the guests. The 'Vansittart's' band even
came to Canton to play in the Factory on one occasion, and regaled the
entire community by playing in the Square. The music attracted many
Chinese also, it being to them a wonderful novelty. The bandsmen wore
a uniform of red coats. We were all looking on and listening, when
suddenly a Chinaman exclaimed, 'What for he makee so muchee noisee?'
'Noise!' said one of the barbarians; 'may Fo[57] run away with you--that
no belong noise, belong music. You no likee?' 'Hae-yah![58] my how can
likee, all make mixee--_my_ China music No. 1; _he_ too muchee foolo!'
What he would have added we couldn't tell, but suddenly he darted off,
crying out, 'What for you kick my?' and made the best of his way up Old
China Street. Soon afterwards the crowd became so numerous and so noisy
that to avoid further 'complications' the band was withdrawn inside the
Company's Factory and the Square cleared, and not very quietly, as the
Chinamen's bare heads resounded with the thwacks which were laid on
them, but it took place with great celerity. That was the first and only
time a foreign band of music was heard to play in the Square.

Exports by 'country ships' to India consisted of tea, coarse porcelain,
paper umbrellas, silks, and a multitude of 'chow-chow' articles,
together with enormous quantities of silver and bar gold. For the
latter a special chop, called 'money chop,' had to be obtained from
the Hoppo. It was these repeated shipments of treasure that attracted
the attention of the local authorities, and through whose reports in
connection with the foreign commerce of the port they were made known to
the Government at Pekin. As a natural result, Imperial edicts were sent
down forbidding shipments of such quantities of money, as being for the
purchase of 'foreign mud,' to be introduced by stealth into the 'Middle
Kingdom,' against prohibitions successively issued, warning all engaged
in the trade 'to desist and not to incur the Imperial displeasure,'
while any Chinese co-operating in it were to be severely punished. But
the immunity so long enjoyed, with the inherent weakness of the Chinese
Government, caused foreigners to believe that any serious attempt to put
a stop to the trade was simply impracticable. The Imperial edicts were
considered as so much waste paper. Opium was imported and sold, while
'the oozing out of fine silver' went on as usual.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the 'Outside' Chinese Merchants several were of much consideration,
and of an integrity and intelligence in business unsurpassed by the
mercantile classes of any other country. Such men were Washing, Cumwa,
Linchong, Wo-Yun, Yeeshing, Keet-Chong, and others. An incident in
relation to Yeeshing, serving as an illustration both of his honesty and
unselfishness, may be related.

On the occasion of the great fire in 1822, enormous quantities of
private property and of merchandise were destroyed, and opportunities
offered when, without the possibility of discovery, the latter,
particularly, could have been concealed and reported as having been
consumed by the flames. Mr. John P. Cushing, of the house of Perkins &
Co., had placed with Yeeshing 5,000 pieces of crapes to be dyed, whose
value was about $50,000. There was, of course, no insurance upon them,
nothing of the kind existing at Canton. A day or two after the fire
Yeeshing entered Mr. Cushing's office, exclaiming,'Hae-yah! Hae-yah!'
'Well, Yeeshing,' enquired Mr. C., 'how fashion?' To which he replied,
'My have loosum my house, my shop--alla finishy, too muchee trub.' Mr.
C. began to express his sympathy, with the conviction that he too was
involved in the loss, when Yeeshing continued, 'My alla finishy, only
when my take out you crape (to save it) hav loosum 84 peecee, how can
my, no too muchee trub?' He had saved Mr. Cushing's crapes, but had lost
his own dwelling and its contents, with an important quantity of his own
goods and chattels, in doing so.

Keet-Chong, named above, possessed an estate on French Island, on which
his family had resided for more than 800 years. It was of moderate
extent, the dwelling spacious, and, as he used to say, 'all thing no
have changee.' He showed me on one occasion his genealogical tree
(which Chinese families keep with scrupulous care), and which ascended,
according to it, to the Sung Dynasty (967 to 1281 A.D.). This dynasty
immediately preceded the Yuen, or Mongol Tartar, family, the first
emperor of which was Kublai Khan, grandson of 'Jengis Khan.'

The custom exists among Chinese of not using their family names
in business, either for firms or individuals. They assume certain
designations by which they are known, are responsible, and recognised by
the authorities. As examples, Houqua, whose family name was Woo (from
which _How_), was known commercially as 'Ewo.' Pwantingqua, whose
family name was Pwān, was known as 'Tung Foo,' and the family name of
'Washing' was Moo. The choice of these names is singularly diversified
and sometimes very droll. In passing through any business street you
see on a small sign attached to a pillar at the side of a door such
firms as 'Peace and Quiet,' 'Current Gains,' 'Collective Justice,'
'Perfect Concord,' 'United Concord.' I have seen 'Tan-E' (which means
literally 'Solitary Idea'), 'Perfect Record,' 'Three Unities.' Where
something of a more imposing nature is chosen--as, for instance, 'George
and Thomas Sandbank, Sons and Nephews'--a double name, such as 'The
Record of Perpetual Harmony,' would be adopted. One is struck with the
use of short inscriptions on narrow sheets of red paper over doorways,
at the foot of stairs, over weights and measures, everywhere and on
everything almost. On entering an outer door you observe above it, 'May
the Five Happinesses enter the abode' (longevity, riches, posterity,
love of virtue, and a natural death), while within may be seen, 'May
wealth flow in abundantly;' and not a bad one, 'For idle persons there
is no admittance.' 'As wheels revolve, so may supplies and sales
continue;' 'Customers come in numbers, like the gathering of clouds;'
'Here are sold superior goods, in whose prices there is no change;'
'Rich customers are perpetually welcome;' 'Daily may there be weighed
10,000 taels' (May the transactions amount to that sum); 'From a single
cash, may 10,000 be derived' (these last two may be seen over scales
and weights); and so each object has its peculiar, if not appropriate,
device. You read on each one of a pile of water-tubs, 'The bucket of
superlative peace;' on chests, 'The box of great tranquillity;' over
inner doors, 'May happiness attend the opening of the door;' and over
shelves and drawers, 'When opened, may prosperity follow;' at the top
of a stairway, 'May the going up or down be calm and peaceful.' On the
sterns and bows of boats and junks you may read, 'Prosperous gales
and smooth seas' (which in Canton jargon is simplified to the usual
expression 'Good wind, good water'); 'Grant favourable breezes;' 'A fair
wind is riches;' 'The moon's rays shine upon and enliven the waters;'
'The dragon's head produces horns of gold' (an allusion to the bows of
a junk, which are supposed to represent the head with the large eyes of
the dragon), signifying, 'May the voyage be successful.'

       *       *       *       *       *

The first foreign newspaper published at Canton was in 1827; it was
called the 'Canton Register,' and was printed on a small hand-press
lent for the purpose by Mr. Alexander Matheson, of the then house of
Magniac & Co.[59] Its size was but a little more than that of a large
sheet of foolscap. The editor, who himself was the first compositor, was
a young American gentleman named Wood, of Philadelphia, and son of the
celebrated tragedian. He was a person of great versatility, mentally and
materially; he abounded in wit, was well read, and of no fixed purpose.
Having ceased to be connected with the 'Register,' he entered the
office of Messrs. Russell & Co. about the same time with young Irving,
a nephew of Washington Irving. One day, one of our Parsee friends,
Nanabhoy Framjee, came in for bills on London 'in small pamphlets'
(moderate amounts each), and it was Wood's business to fill them up.
Our office, one of three, was the general rendezvous of Russell & Co.'s
captains, and on the day in question five or six of them were present,
talking over purchases in carpenter's square of camphor-wood trunks,
lacquered ware boxes, writing desks, &c. The bills having been made out
were left on Mr. Low's desk for signature. Suddenly from the 'Tai-Pan's'
office we heard a great shout of laughter, and that gentleman appeared.
'Wood,' said he, handing him one of the bills, 'I doubt if Baring's will
accept this, or even Nanabhoy take it; read it over.' Wood did so, and
to his confusion saw that B. B. & Co. were requested to pay to the order
of Nanabhoy Framjee, Esq., 'one hundred lacquered ware boxes,' which in
his absence of mind he had caught up from the skippers. Not very long
after, Wood took up his quarters in the French Factory, and established
a second newspaper, called the 'Chinese Courier,' which had but a short
existence. Amongst his other accomplishments was that of sketching,
for which he had a remarkable talent, and he was, moreover, a maker of
verses! One evening at dinner at his house, several being at table, the
conversation ran upon poetry, and some impromptu verses having been
made, something led to a challenge to Wood to parody Byron's 'Know'st
thou the land,' confining the words entirely to local matters and
things. He accepted the challenge, and when we again met he read after
dinner the following, on which we congratulated him, as being _good_
for Canton!

    Know'st thou the land where the nankin and tea-chest,
      With cassia and rhubarb and camphor, abound?
    Where oft in the Hongs, by the coolies' foul feet pressed,
      They pack their Boheas in a way to astound?

    Know'st thou the land where in vain you endeavour
      To sell your fair longcloths or barter your yarn?
    Where you fidget and fret, be you never so clever,
      And find all your profits are going 'astarn'?

    Know'st thou the land where the drug in its glory,
      With cotton and betel-nut, govern the day?
    Where Patna or Malwa's the theme of each story,
      The life of each anecdote, solemn or gay?

    Know'st thou the land where the fair, unprotected
      By the lords of their destinies, wither alone?
    Where woman's a slave, by her tyrants neglected,
      And the only bright jewel they sigh not to own?

    Where lips which were formed to breathe of devotion
      To affectionate spouses or lovers provoke;
    Instead of confessing their tender emotion,
      Give forth all their sensitive feelings in _smoke_?

    'Tis the land we now live in--the land that would shame
      The world by its valour, invention, and worth;
    Where the page of her history glows with the name
      Of her sage,[60] and her warrior,[61] the pride of the earth;

    Where tea is the potion great deeds to inspire,
      And emperors deign (and if _they_, who will not?)
    To watch the decoction, themselves, on the fire,
      And write prosy odes to the 'pride of the pot.'

    Tho' fairest Hwâ-Te[62] are thy gardens of flowers,
      And sweet every blossom that flings to the breeze
    Its perfume, decks with its tints thy gay bowers,
      Or clings on its vine to thy moss-covered trees;

    Yet fairer the lands we have all left behind us,
      And gayer the flowers and purer the air.
    Do we need in our exile this rhyme to remind us
      Of the hearts that are glowing with love for us there?

    Farewell then to tea-chests; the loosened sail flying
      Expands to the breeze and chides our delay;
    Now past is the parting, the 'chin-chin,' the sighing
      Of all the poor 'devils'[63] who _can't_ get away!

Wood and a brother resident, an Irishman named Keating, had at one time
a 'little difficulty.' Mr. Augustine Heard acted for him, and Mr. James
Innes, an 'old school' and eccentric Scotchman, for the latter. Much
correspondence took place between them as to where the question should
be washed out in 'blood.' One side chose French Island, at Whampoa;
the other Lintin, as being beyond the interference of the Chinese
authorities in case of 'accident;' but through the good sense of the
'_best_ men,' and to the gratification of common friends, the dispute
was arranged--because, as Wood said, 'There was no abbey in which to lay
a body.' After a residence of nearly ten years at Canton, Wood removed
to Manila, and established himself on a coffee and sugar plantation
at Jala-Jala. His letters from this new abode were full of wit and
mirthful to a degree, even in describing bad crops caused by visits from
Messrs. Taiphoon, Drought, & Co., or the destruction of his fences by
wild buffaloes, while he never could get a night's sleep from the many
snakes of preposterous dimensions which made themselves 'at home' in his
bungalow, and pursued the most 'harmless' of rats across the ceiling, up
and down posts, and across the floors 'under his very eyes.' At length
he quitted Jala-Jala and joined the office of Messrs. Russell & Sturgis,
at Manila. Under their generous auspices and considerate kindness he
ever after found there a home.

He was the first person to introduce the art of photography in Manila,
and through his teaching many Mestizos[64] became proficients, and
practise it now as a profession. He made one short visit to Europe, from
which he returned delighted, and one to myself at Macao (thirty years
after we first met at Canton). At length for poor Wood the 'tolling of
the bell' was heard; he died, full of years, after an extraordinary life
of great personal worth, great unsteadiness of purpose, and, as far as
worldly success went, a great unsuccess.

       *       *       *       *       *

Under certain circumstances foreign residents could 'offer up' petitions
at the city gates! It was a privilege that had its origin a long
while ago. At the same time it was discouraged by the authorities,
while strict orders were given to the guards at the gates to keep a
sharp look-out and close them if any number of barbarians were known
to be approaching. This old custom originated in some question, such
as praying for a diminution of duties (all duties being more or less
arbitrary), or for permission to ship off an extra weight of silks,
which was fixed at a certain number of piculs per vessel,[65] and called
the 'silk privilege,' or on some matter affecting their personal
comfort. The Co-Hong frequently co-operated with us, recommended our
petitioning, and even themselves made a draft paper. Answers to these
petitions were invariably received, when the Hong merchants would
prepare for us a rejoinder, if necessary.

Great precautions were taken to keep the intention as quiet as possible,
consequently all who were disposed to join a party in presenting a
petition were advised in time. None were more anxious to accompany it
than the younger members of the community, who considered it great
fun! To refer to a particular case, directly in front of the American
Factory, at the river side, there existed a huge mound of earth and
rubbish that had its origin with the great fire of 1822. While the new
Factories were going up and the damaged ones being repaired the workmen
and coolies threw all sorts of rubbish on the spot. Subsequently it
became a depository of refuse of all sorts, and finally a resort of
loathsome beggars, of whom many died on it; but beyond obtaining the
carrying away of the dead bodies, all efforts by the foreigners to get
the whole thing removed had proved ineffectual.

The Hong merchants now and then sent a number of coolies, but they made
small impression upon it; and at length, mostly at their suggestion that
it was 'Mandarin pigeon,' it was resolved to present a petition at the
city gates, which they themselves prepared and we copied.

On the day agreed upon, therefore, the party going were quietly advised
and informed at which gate to meet. Taking different streets in small
numbers of three or four, all drew towards the 'petition gate,' as we
called it, and suddenly with a rush entered it. The surprise of the
guards was complete. They hastily closed the ponderous outer gate to
prevent the Chinese entering and possibly creating a row. Seeing the
petition on red paper held up above our heads, they knew from experience
the object of our visit, and forthwith despatched a messenger to the
Hoppo's 'Ya-Mun.'[66] Any annoyance caused us by Chinese lookers-on
or by any who tried to crowd about us called for prompt 'whipping' by
the soldiers, as was always the case, letting foreigners have their
own way, and laying it well over the shoulders of their own countrymen
who attempted any interference or who did not 'move on' fast enough.
It happened that on a previous occasion of petitioning an unpleasant
incident occurred, which arose from a fancied insult; blows had been
exchanged, and certain words used by an excited member of the foreign
party in reference to the soldiers became a tradition, 'Knock them down,
friend Olyphant, they are only tea and rice,' and the best of the joke
was that the speaker was a Quaker and Mr. Olyphant one of the quietest
men in the world, and the last person to strike any one.

Such exhibitions were much to be deplored as encouraging the belief that
foreigners were indeed 'unruly devils'--a pugnacious, wild, boisterous
people. Presently we heard the sound of the gong and the loud cries
of lictors preceding the Mandarin calling out his rank and office as
well as keeping the street clear. The space between the large outer
and inner gate is the thickness of the wall, about thirty feet, and
twelve to eighteen feet broad, the quarters of the guard, about twenty
or twenty-five in number, being in recesses on either side, and in this
space petitions are received. The Ta-Yin[67] (great man) having entered
with other Mandarins and attendants, after salutations and surprise at
seeing so many foreigners, they seated themselves on chairs brought
by their followers. He then commenced by telling us of the extreme
impropriety of entering the gates in opposition to the will of the 'Son
of Heaven,' cautioned us to be wary how we did the like again, lest we
might check the flow of Imperial benevolence towards all coming from a
distance, &c. &c., which was the usual opening formula, when a Linguist
being found cut and dried on the spot (sent privately by the Hong
merchants), stepped forward, knelt on both knees, and 'handed up' the
petition. In the meantime it was a strange sight to see the houses, shop
doors, and windows inside the city full to overflow of Chinese, intently
looking on in profound stillness and curiosity.

His Excellency, having read the paper, said in placing it in the hands
of an officer that a communication would be sent to the Hong merchants,
'that we must return to our Factories, be henceforth reverently
obedient, when all would be well, otherwise His Sacred Majesty, Ruler
of all under the Sun, notwithstanding that he was the incarnation of
consideration for all beyond the Western Ocean, might be provoked to
withdraw his beneficent,' &c. &c. 'That the laws of the Celestial Empire
must be obeyed,' and this was the closing formula.

Business being thus ended, a disposition was shown for a little
conversation. Acting as interpreter, I was invited to speak of the
distance of our countries from the 'Celestial Flowery Land,' how many
moons it took to come and to return; all which was done in laying great
stress upon the clear light of day into which we emerged as we left
our own gloomy shores and approached the 'Middle Kingdom'! Questions
were asked as to our respective nationalities, our names also; and
in their attempts to repeat such as Zacharia, Krieroffski, Burr,
and Brown, they turned to one another and laughed heartily at their
unsuccessful efforts. The teapot and servants to prepare the infusion
being indispensable in the suite of Mandarins (as well as pipe-bearers),
tea was presently offered to us; we in exchange 'offered up' Manila
cheroots. No one exhibited the slightest impatience, no matter how many
hundreds of Chinese were obliged, outside or inside, to make great
détours to reach other gates.

The Mandarins being provided with two watches each, next began a
comparison of time; they asked our ages, how long we had lived within
the benign sway of that 'Almighty Ruler' under whose protecting wings we
found ourselves; and being assured, in reply to other enquiries, that
in our distant countries now and then a sun, very occasionally two or
three moons, with a rare glimmer of a star, might be seen, they rose
from their seats, took leave, and were soon out of sight. The great
gate was then opened after a violent effort, with a loud grating of its
enormous hinges, and the 'foreign devils' returned to the Factories,
after an hour or two agreeably passed. The petition in question resulted
in the Hong merchants receiving orders for the immediate removal of
the unsightly mound, of course at their expense. They were effectually
carried out and the ground was levelled off. It then became the
favourite resort of the Indian servants of Parsee and Moormen residents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Until the summer of 1829 the most important of the American houses was
that of Perkins & Co. It was the oldest one existing, without change
of name, of all the foreign firms, having been established soon after
a visit made by Mr. Thomas H. Perkins with two vessels to Canton in
1798. The house was represented until 1807 by Mr. Bumstead, who was then
succeeded by Mr. Cushing. For comparison with the size of merchant ships
at the present day, it may be noted that this gentleman came out in
the ship 'Levant' (Captain Proctor), of 264 tons! Mr. Cushing became a
partner in the Boston firm of J. and T. H. Perkins, and managed that of
Perkins & Co., of which he was also a partner continuously until 1828,
without leaving Canton, when he returned to Boston in the ship 'Milo,'
arriving there on September 17.

To Mr. Cushing succeeded Mr. Thomas T. Forbes, who, on returning from
a visit to Macao in his yacht, was unfortunately drowned in a taiphoon
on August 9, 1829, together with Mr. S. H. Monson, the book-keeper of
Russell & Co. On this sad event taking place, amongst his papers was
found a sealed letter addressed to Russell & Co. It requested them, in
case of accident to himself, to take charge of the local business of
his own firm, as well as that of J. and T. H. Perkins. They did so,
and naturally came with it that of Houqua, who had been the intimate
personal friend of Mr. Cushing during his unbroken residence of over
twenty years in Canton.

When the news of Mr. Forbes's death reached him, Mr. Cushing was in
England, where the 'Bashaw' (Captain Pearson), one of the ships of his
Boston firm, was loading for Whampoa. He returned to Canton in her,
arriving in the month of August 1830. Arrangements were then definitely
concluded by which Russell & Co. were officially appointed sole agents
for the Boston house, that of Perkins & Co. being wound up, while the
important foreign business of Houqua was then also definitely secured to

Towards the close of 'ante-treaty' days, the house met with a serious
loss in the violent death of another book-keeper, Mr. George C. Perkins,
of Boston. He entered the office as assistant book-keeper,[68] and
subsequently took charge of that important branch of the business.
He was about thirty years of age, very systematic and methodical, a
well-read man, and of most agreeable manners. He left Macao on a visit
to the United States, and was returning by the way of San Francisco to
resume the duties of his office. Having arrived near Hong Kong, he left
the ship in which he had crossed the Pacific, for Macao in a fast boat
with all his baggage. Supposing it to contain gold, coming from the
'Gold Hills' (by which name California is known to the Chinese), the
cupidity of the boatmen was excited. They threw Perkins overboard in the
Lantao Channel, and he was drowned. On the event being made known to
the Canton authorities, their search for the boatmen was so energetic
that they were soon discovered in the midst of a number of fast boats
anchored in Anson's Bay, and beheaded.

       *       *       *       *       *

The year 1830 was an unprecedented one in the annals of foreign life at
Canton, by reason of the coming to the Factories of several English and
American ladies from Macao, in 'direct opposition to old regulations.'
The Mandarins were thoroughly at their wits' ends by so extraordinary an
occurrence. 'Chops' began to circulate freely. The ladies were ordered
to leave forthwith, and without one moment's delay, otherwise the 'Son
of Heaven,' 'so considerate for all beyond the sea,' would withdraw his
compassion, and, and--in fact, had the world been coming to an end, the
authorities could not have been more thoroughly alarmed. In a letter
written at the time, I find the following, dated April 8, 1830:--

    Went in the morning to the 'Company's' chapel with several
    Americans to hear the Rev. Mr. Vachell preach, and to see the
    'foreign devil females,' as the Chinamen call them. They were
    Mrs. Baynes, wife of the Chief of the Factory, Mrs. Robinson,
    and Mrs. Fearon, but _she_ is the beauty of the party! Mrs. B.
    was dressed in true London style, which, much admired by us, is
    considered 'frightful' by the Chinese. It was quite a strange
    thing to see foreign ladies in the 'Celestial Empire,' an
    occurrence which had never before taken place! After a few days
    they left, but not until the mandarins threatened to stop all

On November 12 of the same year I find the following:--

    What will Canton turn into, and where will bachelors find
    rest? Nowhere. Mrs. and Miss Low and other ladies are at this
    moment here! The second day after they arrived several old
    codgers were seen in immense coats, which had been stowed away
    in camphor trunks for ten or fifteen years, and with huge
    cravats on, and with what once were gloves, on their way to make

    _13th._--Called on the Tai-Pan's wife and niece, and
    entertained them with descriptions of local worthies such as
    'Houqua,' 'Mouqua,' and 'Gowqua,' 'Man-Hop,' 'Wa-Hop,' and
    'Tung-Hop'--a jumble they had never heard of, and names that
    amused them immensely.

    _22nd._--Evening Church service at Talbot's, the Consul,
    at No. 1 American Hong. The ladies and a good number of
    gentlemen present. At half-past nine we accompanied the former
    to show our fashionable street, Old China Street, its shops
    shut at that hour; but some Chinamen passing began to cry out,
    'Foreign devil women!' when instantly every door was opened and
    lanterns appeared. In less than ten minutes we were completely
    surrounded, and had to beat a hasty retreat. We were not at all
    molested; it was simply surprise and curiosity; and on arriving
    at the gate of the Hong everyone quietly dispersed.

    _24th._--The Chinese are not so far out in calling us
    barbarians. Two or three from No. 2 Suy-Hong called on the
    ladies. Coats, gloves, and cravats--such cravats! I heard one
    say when he returned, 'Thank God that is over!' and then call
    for jacket and black neck-ribbon! He next lighted a cheroot, and
    looked as if a great burthen were off his mind. In the evening
    dined at Charles N. Talbot's; all bachelors, of course! A fine
    little party; but I dissipated too much, and the sooner bedtime
    comes the better. Bad habit of dining out in this country; I
    think I shall swear off, no getting home without being observed!
    I hope the ladies in No. 1 did not see me come in!

    _30th._--The ladies took their departure this evening. They
    went on board the boat that was to convey them, escorted by all
    the American gentlemen. While returning from Jackass Point an
    inveterate bachelor said, 'I hope we shall never be _bothered_
    with ladies in Canton again!' but he was a notoriously crusty
    old fellow.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having lost a fine retriever named Rover, and an English friend a small
pug named Bop, I caused a 'reward-card' to be posted on the walls of
Chungqua's Hong. As these 'cards' have a peculiar phraseology, I give a
translation of the one in question:--

    On the 10th day of the 1st moon of the present year two
    foreign dogs strayed, one from the Suy-Hong and one from the
    Dutch Hong, and have not been seen to return. Long ears and
    a long tail adorned the one, which had also a brown star on
    its breast, the body being of the colour of 'fragrant ink.'
    The other was a small dog, with cropped ears and a tail of no
    length. His body was spotted in variegated colours of brown and
    white. The larger dog was named 'Lo-Wā,' and the smaller 'Pŏ-Pā.'

    This is to give notice that should any 'superior man'
    know where they are, or if they have been 'misled,' and will
    inform, he shall be rewarded with _flowered red money--two great
    rounds_[69] for the big one, and one great round for the little
    one. Even should they have been _stolen_ (_an inconceivable
    thing!_), if the person who took them will bring them to
    Suy-Hong No. 2 he Shall still be rewarded, and clemency used
    towards him. This placard is real; its words will not be eaten.

    Taou-Kwang: 14th year, 15th day, 1st moon.

The poor dogs were never found, and the Compradore insisted upon it that
'some man hav chow-chow he,'[70] and we supposed so too.

       *       *       *       *       *

On February 27, 1831, Mr. Russell and Mr. Cushing took their final leave
of Canton in the 'Bashaw' (Captain Pearson), for Boston, the former
with the satisfaction of having founded a house in that distant port
which, under his sagacious management, had secured the confidence and
consideration of the entire foreign and Chinese mercantile community, as
well as of its numerous foreign correspondents in all quarters of the
world. Its present world-wide reputation renders it needless to say that
it still exists, and has become one of the oldest, if not _the_ oldest
firm whose style has undergone no change eastward of the Cape of Good
Hope. Mr. Russell was a native of Middletown, Connecticut, a person of
singularly gentle and benevolent disposition. There was about him a
suavity and charm of manner which under no circumstances ever deserted
him. Throughout a long life he enlisted the esteem and respect of all
who knew him. Of his considerate forbearance under great provocation I
can vouch from personal experience. From my first entrance in the office
he was desirous that I should make myself acquainted with book-keeping.
Its mysteries he first taught me. However incorrectly the tyro
appreciated the relative bearing of successive transactions or bungled
in recording them, he was corrected with a patience and kindliness of
manner that knew no bounds, and the encouragement he thus received at
length led him to a clear idea of the respective value of debit and
credit, as well as to the knowledge that they were 'the two factors
which formed the base of all mercantile transactions.'

The younger members of the office, as a slight testimony to the paternal
kindness which they had received from their worthy 'Tae-pan,' invited
him to dine with them, to consider himself as their guest, at a 'parting
dinner.' He graciously accepted, and seemed pleased at the idea. We
invited Mr. Cushing and his old friend Houqua. The latter could not be
present, but sent us a very choice bird's-nest soup for the occasion.
We sent to Manila for a _fine_ turkey, and on its arrival put it out to
board on Honam, with injunctions that it should be well fed. The turkey
was a very rare bird at Canton and supplies came from Manila. Ours
looked rather haggard on arrival, and the Compradore attributed it to
its being 'very tired,' but added that it would be No. 1 when killed,
fat and presentable. The day came, and with it the dinner. At the proper
moment a great dish was placed upon the table and the cover removed in a
triumphant way, only to exhibit, to our horror, a lot of legs and wings
of the turkey, but as to body next to nothing!

Not the least remarkable feature of Old Canton life was the 'Factory,'
as the common dwelling and common place of business of all the
members, old and young, of a commercial house. The system begat mutual
confidence. All affairs, past, present, and future, were discussed at
the table, and became as familiar to the clerks as they were to the
partners. While the latter imparted their own views and experiences,
the former benefited by them. The knowledge thus acquired was applied,
each in his special department, to a more intelligent co-operation,
which contributed to a general harmony in current affairs or special
enterprises. And so also in regard to other subjects. The younger
members had the advantage through this daily 'family' intercourse of
acquiring much useful information on a diversity of subjects. There were
few if any Principals, who had not had in different parts of the world
experience of men and things, who had not adventures to relate--how
unexpected difficulties were overcome or chance advantages availed of.
In daily exercises or pastimes all associated together; whether for
walking, for boating, or sight-seeing, 'Tae-Pans' and 'pursers' shared
them together. Should one of the former take the helm to-day, and one of
the latter an oar, to-morrow saw the order reversed.

At length, as the elders retired, leaving, as was always the case, vast
and important affairs in course of execution, they did so with the
conviction that their successors possessed the qualifications to carry
them on to a logical termination, as well as to initiate new ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before leaving us Mr. Russell had placed me in charge of the books and
accounts. We were excessively busy during the year, as, in addition
to orders for teas, those for manufactured silks were unprecedentedly
large. In May I was on the sick list; Doctor Bradford[71] sent me to
Macao in July for change of air, whence I returned in October. A serious
relapse took place in December, and, as a 'last chance,' passage was
taken for me in a small ship called the 'Howard,' of about 400 tons,
for New York. It was supposed the 'sea air' might have a good effect.
I was carried to the ship in such a state as to leave small hope of
reaching New York alive. We sailed from Whampoa early in February 1832.
(To replace me in the office, George R. Sampson was engaged, afterwards
Sampson & Tappan, Boston.) Down the China Sea the weather and progress
were good; we passed out into the Indian Ocean between Pulo Crockatoa
and Prince's Island, which took us ten days. We had a light 'trade' to
the Cape; there we were met by a succession of north-westerly gales,
which detained us twenty-two days. We were becalmed on the Equator a
long time; but at length arrived at New York, on the 162nd day, my
health perfectly restored.

I was delighted to meet again Mr. Samuel Russell, then at the 'Clinton
Hotel,' as genial and kindly as always. He asked me to breakfast, to
meet Mr. Joseph Coolidge, Junior, about to leave for the office at
Canton, and afterwards I was invited to make him a visit at Middletown,
where I had the pleasure to make the acquaintance of Mrs. Russell, a
charming, quiet lady, whose reception of me was of the kindest.

The 'Roman' was now again fitting out for Canton, under my old shipmate,
Captain Lavender. He had made several voyages in the 'America,'
belonging to Mr. Thomas H. Smith. Mr. Olyphant consented to my going in
the ship, and there was no other passenger on board. It was not yet the
usage for China ships to take passengers, nor would they take general
letters. We sailed on October 25, 1832, after a very short stay at home.
This time we took the Gilolo passage into the Pacific. At five A.M. of
March 5, 1833, we made Fo-Ki Point, on the coast of 'teas, silks, and
cassia,' and at 5.30 P.M. anchored under the peak of Lantao, in the
Lantao Channel, in 131 days' passage. Lavender despatched a fast boat to
his agents at Canton, Messrs Olyphant & Co., advising his arrival, while
I took another and arrived at the Factories in the evening of the 9th.

Thus ended a second 'run home' (as those trips were euphemistically
called) of a year each. These 'runs,' however, were in reality nine
months of listening to 'what the wild waves were saying,' 'and wandering
about at home,' unknowing and almost unknown, for three months; to being
subjected, while there, to sleep on mattresses and pillows filled with
feathers in the summer months, with the thermometer at any height you
please, instead of on the clean, cool, hard rattan mat or mattress of
bamboo shavings, as in Canton, where it was rarely over 96° at midnight.

It was not until eleven more years had passed that I took another
'run.' This was from Macao in 1844 in the 'Prince of Wales,' of Bombay
(Captain Jones), to Galle, then in the steamer 'Seaforth,' from Colombo,
_viâ_ Cannanore and Mangalore, to Bombay, with a trip to Mahableshwar
and Poonah for 'sight-seeing;' then to Aden and back to Bombay in
the East India Company's steamer 'Atalanta;' thence to Macao, _viâ_
Singapore, in the splendid new clipper 'Mohr' of about 280 tons,
belonging to Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co., and commanded by 'my old
friend,' Fraser, who was second officer of the 'Good Success' in 1825,
to Singapore.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the end of 1833 we had the misfortune to lose our estimable chief Mr.
W. H. Low, whose health failed from incessant application to the duties
of his responsible position. He took passage in the Company's ship
'Waterloo,' for England, with his family, and some months after we heard
of his death at the Cape.

       *       *       *       *       *

The same year was notable for the hitherto unprecedented event of the
marriage at Macao of a young American lady, Miss Shillaber, of Boston,
to Doctor Thomas R. Colledge, of the Company's 'Factory.' It was a
brilliant affair, and celebrated with more than usual éclat from its

       *       *       *       *       *

The quitting of Canton by the Honourable East India Company in 1833
was succeeded by the arrival of Lord Napier on July 25, 1834, as
'Chief Superintendent of the English Trade.' His lordship landed in a
boat belonging to the country ship 'Fort William.' This vessel being
secured by the Hong merchant 'Sun-Shing,' he was held responsible,
conducted into the city and imprisoned. As Her Majesty's representative
declined to correspond with the Viceroy through the Hong merchants,
the latter issued a proclamation on September 5, in which he spoke of
this 'contumacy' as a breach of the existing laws and regulations of
the Empire--of his Lordship having come to Canton officially, without
the permission of His Imperial Majesty, and requested him to return
to Macao pending a reference to Pekin; adding that, if he refused to
leave for Macao, no Chinese should serve him in any capacity. The
proclamation being pasted on a thin board, was suspended at the gate
of his Lordship's (the East India Co.) Factory and guarded by about
twenty soldiers. No sooner was this done, than the Chinese within the
building, half frightened to death, and fearing that the soldiers would
enter, rushed upstairs and reported what had taken place. Lord Napier,
who was at dinner with Sir George Best Robinson and others, instantly
left the table and came down to the gate. The proclamation was at once
removed, and, apprehensive of something serious, Lord Napier despatched
a messenger to Captain Blackwood, of H.M.S. 'Imogene,' then outside the
Bogue, to send him a guard of a dozen marines, and to come with his own
vessel and her consort, the 'Andromache,' to Whampoa with all despatch.
This being done, his lordship retired inside the Factory with his suite,
and the gate was bolted. At midnight Sir George left Canton in a small
cutter to join the two frigates. Very soon the marines arrived at the
Factory, the Square was filled with Chinese soldiers, and war junks and
boats were gathered on the river. All communication with the Whampoa
shipping was cut off, and orders were issued that no English boats
should come to the city. The Viceroy had also requested the American
merchants not to allow boats from their vessels to come up except on
urgent business. It is needless to add that the whole foreign trade of
the port was entirely stopped. At the time the disturbance took place,
one of our captains, Hepburn, of the ship 'Nile,' was in the Factory,
and having been assured by the Linguist that he should be provided with
a Chinese boat to take him to Whampoa, had sent his own back to the
ship. On the 6th, when ready to start, we found that the Linguist could
not procure one. I therefore ordered my own, a small schooner yacht,
the 'Ferret,' to be made ready, and together we left Canton at four
in the afternoon. We passed through a fleet of about fifty war boats,
filled with men and armed to the teeth. Presently, to our surprise, we
met a small English cutter, having on board Captain St. Croix, of the
'Alexander Baring,' just arrived from London, on his way up with our
despatches. I told him it was useless to attempt to get through, and
brought him with us to the 'Nile.'

The next day, September 7, Mr. Coolidge, Mr. A. A. Low, and Mr. Cabot
made their appearance; they had pulled down for the 'Baring's' letters,
having heard of her arrival soon after I left. The 'Union' schooner next
hove in sight, coming from Macao, with Mr. George R. Sampson and a Dutch
gentleman, Mr. Vandermulen, on board. I took them out and brought them
to the 'Nile.'

Later in the day, Coolidge, Low, and Cabot started with the 'Baring's'
letters, in the hope of being able to get to the Factories; but on
arriving at 'Houqua's' Fort, about half-way, first one and then another
ball flew over their heads, which brought them to. A war boat came
alongside, with a Linguist on board; he told them it was useless to
attempt going on, as, owing to these troubles with the English, the
Viceroy had issued an additional order, that to prevent 'the innocent
from suffering with the guilty,' no foreign boat could come to Canton.
They pulled back to the 'Nile.' We found ourselves, therefore, all
prisoners at Whampoa, including another American, named Gorham. We
styled ourselves 'the Canton refugees,' and threw ourselves upon the
hospitality of our friends the captains of the six American vessels
then at the anchorage. And this rather eventful day closed with a
dinner on board the 'Coliseum' (Captain Stoddard), with whist in the
evening on board the 'Nile.' The next day we dined on board the 'India'
(Captain Cook, of Salem), and quartered ourselves upon our friends as
follows:--Coolidge, Vandermulen, and myself, on board the 'Nile;' Low on
board the 'York;' Cabot, Sampson, and Gorham, on board the 'Coliseum.'

_September 26._--At last we have safely arrived back at our old quarters
in the Factories, after being 'refugees' at Whampoa for just twenty
days. The commotion is still great, and we are cautioned about going far
from 'home.' The streets are full of rowdies and blackguards, who abuse
us in words far from complimentary, and make signs as if beheading us!
Nevertheless we are comfortable enough as far as 'Jackass Point' or Hog
Lane, and can look up 'Old China Street' without bodily fear.

The return to Canton immediately after 'hostilities' had ceased by the
departure of Lord Napier was worth making, if only to see the enormous
preparations that had been made against an attempt by the boats of the
frigates. We took the Junk river passage, and met with no obstructions
until we had passed Houqua's Fort and got abreast of the 'Lob Creek'
Pagoda. Here we were brought to and ordered to pull alongside of a
large mandarin boat, crowded with a ferocious looking lot of fellows,
and half-starved as well, to judge from the avidity with which they
seized upon some biscuit we threw among them. We were in two boats--one
with Captain Tonks, of the Bombay ship 'Lord Castlereagh,' Mr. Low,
and Sampson, and my own small gig, with myself alone. A petty officer,
wearing an opaque white button, got in Tonks's boat and directed him to
a junk, on board of which was a Linguist, and I followed. We reached the
Factories four and a half hours from Whampoa.

Correspondence between the Hong merchants (as intermediaries of the
Viceroy) and Lord Napier, which his lordship would not comply with, was
the only mode that could be expected under the existing foreign and
Chinese relations. The Viceroy could not set aside that yet unrepealed
system, nor enter into personal communication with any foreign
representative. To do so, special authority from the Imperial Government
was indispensable. The entire difficulty therefore was caused by Her
Majesty's representative persisting in requiring of the Viceroy that
which the latter could not grant. Naturally, the 'Napier War,' or, as
locally called, the 'Napier fizzle,' was the result. It was coupled,
too, with an entire stoppage of all foreign trade from September
2 to September 24, which was a very serious thing, and entirely
unjustifiable in the absence of a declaration of war. The mortifying
result was that Lord Napier had to renounce his expressed determination
to remain at Canton. The British Government should either have obtained
official recognition from Pekin for their representative, or simply have
appointed a Consul whose dignity could not have been infringed upon by
his being placed on the same footing as Consuls of other foreign nations.

On September 21 Lord Napier quitted Canton with his suite for Macao.
As the frigates proceeded towards the Bogue and Lintin, so did the two
chop-boats of Lord Napier, _pari passu_, towards his destination by the
inner passage. He was convoyed by several Chinese men-of-war boats. At
length his Lordship arrived on the 26th. The humiliating end of his
ineffectual attempt to correspond directly with the local government
aggravated an illness brought on by the vexation and excitement he had
undergone from the day of his landing from the 'Fort William's' boat,
and on October 11 his Lordship died at Macao.

       *       *       *       *       *

The years 1835 and 1836 were unmarked by any event out of the regular
course. The business of the house was taking a great extension
(purely as agency); but in 1837 occurred the failures in London of
three important banking houses having a large American connection.
We had negotiated their 'credits' for some of our constituents to a
considerable amount for the payment of teas and silks. Those houses were
Thomas Wilson & Co., George Wildes & Co., and Timothy Wiggin, commonly
known as the three W's. These failures were within a short time of each
other. On reference to our register of bills drawn, we found the total
amount of which we had not yet received advice of payment or acceptance
to be close upon 200,000_l._ They were all drawn on 'clean credits,'
without 'collaterals' (which were not yet in vogue), and at six months'
sight. We had confidence in our American constituents, but as the
shipments occupied, say, four months in getting to market, and could
only be sold at the usual credit of six months, very little margin of
time existed. Our own credit, however, was the first consideration. One
of our partners, then in Boston, had in his charge a very large amount
belonging to Houqua, who gave us an order on the former to hold at our
disposal any sum required. Enclosing this, we directed remittances to be
made to Messrs. Barings of a sufficiency to cover all such bills on the
W's as could not be relied upon for payment by those for whose accounts
they had been drawn, and simultaneously we informed Messrs. Barings that
remittances would be made to them to provide for such bills, so that our
signature could be promptly honoured.

Communication with the Western world was long in those days; there were
even no 'clipper' ships yet. Accustomed, however, to such delays, we
waited patiently the result. Our first advices were from London. They
informed us that the writers, Messrs. B. B. & Co., would honour all
bills bearing our name on the three bankrupt houses in question. This
was a gratifying thing, as they had not yet received our communication
above referred to. Everything worked with regularity. Some of the firms
for whose accounts the bills had been drawn were ready to meet them,
others furnished securities, and the ultimate loss was inconsiderable
on the whole account. So rapid had been remittances from our Boston
partner that, when the final account current was received at Macao
from London, 1840-41, the balance of interest was in our favour, while
Houqua was recouped in full as payments were made to our home partner by
American constituents.

If I am not very much mistaken, 1837 was the first of those years ending
with '7' which have become proverbial as attended with great commercial
troubles in the Western world.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the year 1838 (November) Mr. William Jardine took his departure from
Canton. He founded in 1832 the house of Jardine, Matheson, & Co., on the
closing up of that of Magniac & Co., which until then had been under the
management of Mr. Hollingworth Magniac. Mr. Jardine had been a surgeon
in the marine service of the Honourable East India Company, and had made
several voyages to Bombay and China. He had made the acquaintance of the
celebrated 'Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy,' that prince of Eastern merchants,
that philanthropist--the building of the hospital which now bears his
name, and the construction of the Bund from the island of Bombay to
Basseen, being amongst the numerous works which were carried out at
his own expense for the comfort and welfare of his countrymen. He was,
moreover, the first native inhabitant of the Presidency, and I think
of India, on whom was conferred the dignity of Baronet by the British
Government. The business transactions of Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy with
Jardine, Matheson, & Co. became of a colossal scale.

The vast commercial operations of Mr. Jardine Seemed to be conducted
with sagacity and judgment. He was a gentleman of great strength of
character and of unbounded generosity. To him belongs the shipping of
the first cargo of 'free teas' to London, at the end of the two hundred
years of close monopoly of the East India Company. As a peculiarity of
his character, it may be mentioned that, in his own private office in
the Creek Factory, a _chair_ was never seen--a hint to any who may be
bothered with gossips or idlers during business hours!

A few days before Mr. Jardine's departure from Canton, the entire
foreign community entertained him at a dinner in the dining-room of the
East India Company's Factory. About eighty persons of all nationalities,
including India, were present, and they did not separate until several
hours after midnight. It was an event frequently referred to afterwards
amongst the residents, and to this day there are a few of us who still
speak of it.

Mr. Jardine was succeeded in the management of the house by Mr. (the
late Sir James) Matheson, who finally left China on March 10, 1842,
after a residence of about fifteen years. He was a gentleman of great
suavity of manner and the impersonation of benevolence. As the 'Chinese
Repository,' in noting his departure from Macao, said: 'On his leaving
the foreign community lost one of its most enterprising, able, and
liberal members.'

       *       *       *       *       *

On February 26, 1839, execution of a Chinese, said to be an
opium-dealer, took place in front of the American Factory. The officers
had chosen the hours of the afternoon when nearly all the foreigners
were away in their daily walks or on the river. The man was tied up and
strangled in a twinkling, and all had rapidly returned up Old China
Street with the body. On landing from our boats we found the few who
had not been away collected in the Square, and heard from them what had
happened. The only public notice that could be taken of this affair
was to discontinue the daily hoisting of the national flags before our
doors; nor were they re-hoisted until March 22, 1842.

The appointment of a 'Kin-Chae', or Imperial Envoy, to Canton, for
the express purpose of putting a stop to the opium trade, had now
become known. This appointment--only made on an occasion calling for
extreme measures--was conferred upon Lin-Tsih-Soo, and involved control
not only over all the Canton authorities, but those of the southern
and south-eastern provinces. His Excellency 'Lin' was the son of an
independent gentleman of Tseuen-Chow in the province of Fuh-Keen who
lived on the revenues of a porcelain manufactory, in which he himself
had worked as a day labourer it was said.

The 'Kin-Chae' at length arrived at Canton on Sunday morning, at
half-past eight o'clock of March 10. Two gentlemen and myself went
on board of a small schooner lying off the Factories to witness his
arrival. He was seated on board of a large official boat, with a few
red- and blue-button Mandarins standing a little to the rear, so that we
had an excellent view of him personally. He had a dignified air, rather
a harsh or firm expression, was a large, corpulent man, with heavy
black moustache and long beard, and appeared to be about sixty years of
age. His own boat was followed by a great many others, on the sides
of which, on a black ground, were painted in gold letters the rank of
the principal occupants, while flags of various colours were displayed
abaft. The crews were neatly dressed in new uniforms of red trimmed
with white, and conical rattan hats of the same colours. These boats
contained the principal officers of the city, civil and military, from
the Viceroy to the Superintendent of the Salt Department. The walls of
the 'Red Fort,' nearly opposite the Factories on the Honam shore, were
lined with soldiers, as were those of the 'Dutch Folly,'[72] arrayed in
bright new uniforms. Both shores of the river, every door and window,
and every spot of standing ground, were thick with people. Everyone was
observing the novel scene quietly and as curiously as ourselves. No
other boat of any description was moving about; all were lying close to
the shores, and a universal silence prevailed. Besides my companions and
myself, not a 'foreign barbarian' was to be seen in the vast gathering.

On the 17th the Hong merchants, the Linguists, and the Compradores
(except our own) were summoned to an audience of the 'Kin-Chae.' They
obeyed it with fear and trembling. The object was to ascertain who,
amongst the foreigners duly registered as occupying the Factories, and
whose names had been forwarded to Pekin eighteen months before, were
still present and in the opium 'business.' Russell & Co. not having
been included, our Compradore was not 'invited,' at which he appeared
particularly delighted.

On the 18th the Kin-Chae sent for the Hong merchants. They were charged
with having connived at the opium trade, and his Excellency threatened
to strangle some of them if it was not _instantly_ put a stop to! They
were also accused of allowing foreign dealers in 'smoke' to reside in
their Factories, and were very much frightened, as one of them said,
'No hav see so fashion before.' Forthwith they met in 'Consoo' to
deliberate, and remained until late in the night.

On the same day the first edict from the 'Kin-Chae' to foreigners was
issued. It ordered all Opium held by them to be surrendered, and that
they should sign bonds to discontinue the trade, 'under penalty of
death.' It became very clear that his Excellency was not to be trifled

On the 19th, Messrs. Matheson, Dent, Green, Wetmore, Dadabhoy Rustomjee,
and Daniell met the Hong merchants at the Consoo House, and were
informed by them verbally of the commands of the 'Kin-Chae,' which were
a repetition of the foregoing, with the addition that the opium was to
be destroyed. Moreover, if his Excellency's orders were not complied
with, the consequences would be serious. There were at this time 15,000
chests on board of the 'receiving ships' at Lintin, and 5,000 chests at
the coast stations, and the cost of all over $12,000,000.

The foreign community thought to propitiate the 'Kin-Chae,' after the
receipt by them of his '_unalterable_' commands, by offering to give up
a _certain_ quantity. This had been suggested by the Hong merchants,
who, no more than ourselves, supposed the 'Kin-Chae' to be serious in
insisting upon _all_ that was held. A meeting was therefore convened in
the Danish Hong, on the night of March 21, at which nearly everyone was
present, as were also the Hong merchants, who assembled in an adjoining
room. They were as anxious as we were to avert the threatened troubles,
should the 'Kin-Chae' not listen to 'reason,' as they expressed it. In
fact, throughout, while we were prisoners in the Factories, as will be
seen, for six weeks, under threat of death and constant, unheard-of
pressure, they did what they could to alleviate our condition through
appeals to the 'authorities of the City.' All this was done with very
great risk to themselves. Their presence at the meeting was from a
desire to know the decision to which it might come, that they could
report it to the 'Kin-Chae' as quickly as possible, and, in fact, we saw
by his reply that it had been made known to him between five and seven
on the morning of the 22nd.

An hour or two before the meeting, Houqua made his appearance at our
office, and requested Mr. Green, the then chief, to add 150 chests of
opium to the quantity he intended to offer on behalf of Russell & Co.
to the general subscription, for which he himself would pay. The cost
of these chests would have been $105,000! The gentlemen present at
the meeting, on behalf of their firms subscribed 1,034 chests in all,
of the value of $725,000. These were offered to the 'Kin-Chae,' but
disdainfully refused. All communication with the shipping at Whampoa was
then cut off; quantities of soldiers collected near the Factories, as
well as on the river, while several days before, all the gates opening
to the rear of the Factories had been bricked up.

Before the promulgation of the 'Kin-Chae's' proclamation to foreigners,
I was invited by the senior Hong merchant to translate from English
into Chinese a communication that had been prepared by his Excellency,
conjointly with the Viceroy[73] and Lieutenant-Governor of Canton,
addressed to Her Majesty the Queen of England. This arose from the
original having been translated into English, and the Imperial Envoy
was desirous to judge for himself if the latter version conveyed the
sense of the Chinese. Having consented, I passed four hours of a very
cold day at the Consoo House in accomplishing the task. There were
present a delegate from the Commissioner, a Mandarin of the fourth rank
(light blue button), an inferior officer, Houqua's grandson, Mouqua
and Kingqua, and two Linguists. The document was a most extraordinary
one. Prominent is the bombastic style, the outcome of ages of dominion,
ignorance of Western official forms through an absence of diplomatic
intercourse. It said: 'In dealing in opium, regardless of the injury it
inflicts upon the Chinese people, an inordinate thirst for gain controls
the actions of these foreign merchants.' With an idea that the use of
it was prohibited in England: 'We have heard that England forbids the
smoking of opium (within its dominions) with the utmost rigour; hence
it is clear that it is deleterious. Since, then, the injury it causes
has been averted from England, is it not wrong to send it to another
nation, and especially to China?' Then there is an appeal to personal
feeling: 'How can these opium-sellers bear to bring to our people
an article which does them so much harm, for an ever-grasping gain?
Suppose those of another nation should go to England and induce its
people to buy and smoke the drug--it would be right that You, Honoured
Sovereign, should hate and abhor them. Hitherto we have heard that You,
Honoured Sovereign, whose heart is full of benevolence, would not do
to others that which you would not others should do to yourself.' The
grandiloquent then appears: 'Our great Emperor maintains Celestial lands
and foreign nations in equal favour; he rewards merit and punishes vice;
and, as is the heart of heaven and earth pure and incorruptible, so is
his own. The Celestial Dynasty rules over ten thousand[74] nations,
and in the highest degree sheds forth its benign influence with equal
majesty.' This is in the sense of grandeur or stateliness. It ended
thus: 'By manifesting sincere and reverential obedience[75] mutually
will be enjoyed the blessings of great peace! Heaven will protect your
Majesty; the Gods bless you, lengthen your years, and grant you a happy
and an honourable posterity.' I never heard if this document reached its

On March 23, every Chinaman in the Factories, from the Compradore to
the cook, left by order of the 'Kin-Chae,' and were threatened with
decapitation if they dared to return. The day before, Mr. Lancelot Dent,
chief of Messrs. Dent & Co., had been _invited_ to enter the city and
meet his Excellency, which he declined to do. Other but ineffectual
attempts by the authorities to induce him to go were also made, when, on
the 24th, Captain Charles Elliot, Her Majesty's Superintendent of Trade,
arrived from Macao, and immediately assumed charge, on behalf of the
English residents, of the perplexing question of the 'total surrender
of the opium.' The street in rear of the Factories was now filled with
soldiers, a strong guard was also placed in the 'Square,' and a triple
cordon of boats drawn up from the Creek to the Danish Factory. The whole
community were thus prisoners in the hands of the Chinese. Provisions
were not allowed to be brought in, no one was permitted to go beyond the
'Square,' and matters assumed a decidedly serious aspect. We overcame
the difficulty of provisions in this way. The Chinese soldiers being
entirely unaccustomed to foreigners, there was a danger that 'trouble
would arise;' the Hong merchants therefore represented this to the City
authorities, and offered to send their _own coolies_ to keep watch at
the different gates of the Factories.[76] This was agreed to, and the
double object was gained in supplies of firewood and provisions, which
were at night stealthily brought to us by them.

On March 27, on the 'Kin-Chae's' demand to Her Majesty's Superintendent
'that all the opium under the control of the English merchants should be
given up,' 20,283 chests were tendered and accepted, and 'Chunpee' fixed
upon as the place of delivery. To control the delivery, Mr. Alexander
Johnston, Deputy Superintendent, was furnished with a conveyance, and
left Canton on April 3. The 'receiving ships' moved up to the Bogue,
where the entire quantity was handed over to officers (appointed by the
'Kin-Chae'), who caused it to be destroyed in deep trenches on Chunpee
heights. Thus 'reverent obedience' was shown. Captain Elliot remarked,
in his despatch to her Majesty's Government, dated March 30, 1839:
'This is the _first time, in our_ _intercourse with this Empire_, that
its Government has taken the _unprovoked_ (?) initiative in aggressive
measures against British _life_, _liberty_, and _property_, and against
the dignity of the British Crown.' No words could more strongly confirm
everything herein said in relation to the safety of property and life
which we had enjoyed at Canton. But the despatch contained not a word of
the provocation given by foreigners in continuing the condemned traffic
under constantly repeated injunctions against doing so, and persistent
warnings to discontinue it. I, of course, do not blame my brother
merchants at Canton, no matter to what nation they belonged, as we were
all equally implicated. We disregarded local orders, as well as those
from Pekin, and really became confident that we should enjoy perpetual
impunity so far as the 'opium trade' was concerned.

The night of March 24 was one of unusual brilliancy in its cloudless
sky and full moon. The Factories, forcibly abandoned by several hundred
Chinese (estimated at eight hundred) at a moment's notice, resembled
somewhat places of the dead! Their foreign occupants were thus left
literally in a complete state of destitution as regards service of any
kind, not even a scullion being allowed to remain. The consequence was
that they were compelled, in order to _live_, to try their own skill in
cooking, to make up their own rooms, sweep the floors, lay the table,
wash plates and dishes! It may be supposed that it produced discontent,
complaints, and impatience. Not at all; we in the Suy-Hong--and it was
the same with our fellow-prisoners in the other Factories, with few
exceptions--made light of it, and laughed rather than groaned over the
efforts to roast a capon, to boil an egg or a potato. We could all
clean knives, sweep the floors, and even manage to fill the lamps. But
there were mysteries which we could not divine; our chief, Mr. Green,
after a vain attempt to boil rice--which, when prepared, resembled a
tough mass of glue--proved a most wretched cook, and took to polishing
the silver, but abandoned that and finally swept the floor! Mr. Low
conscientiously did all he could, but after toasting the bread to death,
and boiling the eggs till they acquired the consistency of grape-shot,
he abandoned that department, and took to one not exacting so much
exercise of mind, and 'laid the cloth' dexterously and well. The rest
of us, from modesty or a feeling of sheer incapacity, did no more than
was absolutely necessary. It would have been unfair to rob the others
of their laurels! Some one had to fill the pitchers; anyone could draw
a cork, or even boil water. Thus, by hook or by crook, we managed
to sustain life--of which the 'bread' was nightly supplied to us by
Houqua's coolies. They also brought (made up in bags, as if 'personal
effects' or 'blankets to keep off the dew,' thus passing the guards)
edibles of all sorts.

During the day we met in the Square, which became 'High 'Change' of
experiences in desperate efforts to roast, boil, or stew. Some went the
length of considering it great fun; others heaped unheard-of blessings
upon the heads of His Celestial Majesty, Taou-Kwang, and his envoy 'Lin.'

No two men were so unctuously abused; _as if_ the vilifiers themselves
had always followed strictly the 'Eight Regulations' under which they
lived! What amusement all this created.

By May 2, 15,501 chests had been given up, when the servants were
allowed gradually to return, and the whole quantity, 20,283 chests,[77]
completed on the 21st. On the 27th Captain Elliot returned to Macao,
and on the 30th the opium clipper 'Ariel' left for Suez direct with
despatches for the British Government. She returned on April 2, 1840.

Between May 6 and 21 many foreigners were permitted to leave the city,
and went to Macao or Whampoa. Captain Elliot, before going himself, on
the 22nd issued a notice to British subjects that they also were to
leave, and by the end of the month they had left; and there remained
no foreigners but Americans, about twenty-five in number. On the 29th
I left with all books, papers, &c., not actually required at Canton,
in company with six other boats for Macao, containing Parsees and
several English, including Doctors Cox and Dickson. On the way down
we were joined by four large chop-boats with Messrs. Lindsay & Co.'s
establishment, and John Shillaber and others from Messrs. Jardine,
Matheson, & Co.'s. The trip was most enjoyable; we dined or passed the
day with one another, and arrived nearly at the same time at Macao on
the night of June 1. The Mandarins who came on board at Che-Nae and at
Heang-Shan were civil as usual, and seemed perfectly indifferent to what
had passed at Canton.

       *       *       *       *       *

The surrender of the 'British-owned opium' was followed by events to
which the foreign trade had from its foundation at Canton been a
stranger. Now were initiated political relations between the vast
and unknown Empire of China and European nations--the first that had
existed. No treaty had yet been entered into, except with Russia for
regulating its trade and arranging boundaries. Russian and Chinese
commercial relations had existed between two frontier towns (separated
but by the boundary line) well known as Kiachta and 'Mae-Mae-Ching.'[78]

No Western officer was yet officially recognised, even of the rank of
Consul or Vice-Consul, and all communications between one or the other
and the Canton Government were through the intermediary of the Co-Hong.
The consequences, therefore, that might grow out of the delivery of the
opium filled the foreign community with anxiety. The Americans had not
delivered any American-owned opium, of which we held at the time of
surrender about fifty cases of Turkey, but they determined to remain
in the Factories and continue their business. The English on leaving
placed theirs in charge of the American houses. A large share of it fell
under the control of Russell & Co., and, to facilitate negotiations with
its new constituents outside, one of the partners opened an office on
board the English ship 'Heroine,' at 'Kow-Lung,' and subsequently, when
all foreign vessels were driven away from that anchorage, at Toon-Koo.
Several ships of the firm, including the 'Lintin,' were kept running
between these places and Whampoa with British goods at thirty to forty
dollars per ton, and Indian cotton at seven dollars per bale, and
receiving on board no freight unless consigned to the house. A very
active business was carried on under the American flag, greatly to the
convenience of English friends, as well as to their profit. Teas were
the returns for these inward cargoes, which were brought down to the
anchorage and shipped from Toon-Koo for England.

While the shipments were going on an English vessel of about 900 tons
arrived from Singapore, named the 'Cambridge' under the command of
Captain Douglas. Being offered for sale, she was purchased by Russell
& Co., and her name changed to 'Chesapeake' of eventful memory. Loaded
with British goods, valued at 150,000_l._, with her deck full to the
top of the rail, she was despatched for Whampoa, in charge of Captain
Gilman. She had of course been put under the American flag. There was
very little time to spare, as a blockade was to commence in a few days.
On June 22, 1840, H.M.S. 'Volage,' and subsequently the 'Hyacinth,'
took up their positions off Chunpee[79] at the moment the 'Chesapeake'
sailed by. She was the last vessel that entered the port. She arrived at
her destination and delivered her cargo, which was landed at Canton in
regular course.

The Chinese had thrown a great raft across the river just above the
second bar, in anticipation of hostilities with the English. They then
thought the best thing to do was to purchase a large foreign ship, arm
and man her, and anchor her above the raft, as an additional protection
against the barbarian war ships. Application being made to Mr. Delano,
the then chief of Russell & Co., who had never left Canton, a bargain
was concluded for the 'Chesapeake.' The American flag and papers
were removed, and she was made over to the Mandarins. Her 'Cumsha and
Measurement' charges, amounting to about _$_8,000, were abandoned. The
Mandarins took charge and began to fit her out as an 'auxiliary defence'
to the raft, and thus stop 'English men-of-war' which 'from vainglory
or conceit might dare to attempt the inner waters.' Two great eyes were
painted on her bows. Great streamers hung from every mast to the deck, a
multitude of flags of all colours and shapes--bearing such words painted
thereon as 'Courage,' the 'Yang-Yin,' and the 'Pā-Kwa,'[80] together
with the rank of the officer in command--were arranged around the
taffrail. In short, she became the Chinese emblem of everything 'mighty
and victorious!' She would strike would-be assailants with consternation
and despair!

Meanwhile her armament was sent on board. Cannon of every available size
were ranged on her two decks; round shot, stones, and other missiles
were accumulated in quantities; nor were bows and arrows forgotten,
nor quantities of muskets, flint-lock and percussion, and the more
familiar matchlock. Her crew consisted of Whampoa Chinese (amongst many
others)--these were accustomed to foreign vessels, and no better sailors
than they--Manila men, Seedies,[81] and Lascars, runaways from country
ships. There were probably four or five hundred men on board.

Thus equipped she was towed down to her appointed station amidst an
inconceivable beating of gongs, the explosion of fire crackers, flying
serpents, and fiery dragons--thanks to which and her two bow 'eyes' she
arrived in safety and anchored.

This was a few days before February 26, 1841, when the Bogue Forts
were captured by Sir Gordon Bremer. The 'Unconquerable' was then
taking powder on board in large quantities, packed in jars, which were
promiscuously stowed on deck and between decks, as usual. She was so
engaged also on the 27th, having a great number of chop-boats and
other small craft alongside. Suddenly appeared the smoke of a steamer
approaching from the Bogue! It turned out to be H.M.'s ship 'Nemesis,'
Captain Hall. She had the 'singular audacity to approach the barrier,'
and when within an easy distance, the 'unheard-of temerity' to try
the effect of a Congreve rocket on the emblem of 'victory and might.'
The aim was true, and like a flash--or in a 'flash'--ship, crew, and
contents, boats, all disappeared from the face of the waters! The
explosion was terrific, and was distinctly heard at Canton, a distance
of thirty miles. Not a human creature was reported to have survived!
For years after there was to be seen on the left bank of the river the
bottom of the ship. It had been separated from the hull as if sawn off
in all its length; and it gradually disappeared through the combined
efforts of Chinese boatmen, who broke up and carried it piecemeal away.

The English forces having moved up to Canton, a suspension of
hostilities was agreed upon on March 20, 1841, and the port was again
free. Local disturbances, however, broke out, and, on May 22 following,
a mob of Chinese plundered and burnt down the East India Company's new
Factory, the Dutch, and the Creek. On the 25th, Sir Hugh Gough landed
near Pwantingqua's country house and took possession of the heights
overlooking the city. The authorities then ransomed it for six millions
of dollars, of which five millions were paid on the 31st, when the
forces left Canton and foreign vessels again entered the port.

The carrying trade on the river now ceased. Lying in the outer waters we
had the 'Lintin,' the 'Lantao' the 'Lema,' and the 'Ladrone.' The former
commenced her career in China as Russell & Co.'s 'receiving ship' in
1830. She was well constructed to carry a large cargo, and her sailing
qualities were fair. Her career and ultimate fate were singular. With
the exception of shifting stations during the taiphoon seasons, her
anchors were never raised for nine years, when in 1839, as related, she
resumed her original vocation of a sailing ship up and down the 'Pearl'

During this state of idleness for our ships, I received information from
Mr. Delano that Houqua was disposed to send orders to India for cotton.
Prices had naturally fallen there during the blockade and troubles at
Canton, while the non-importation for several months had caused a great
rise. Three of the ships were despatched and 100,000_l._ remitted to
Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. The funds were in East India Company's
bills on Calcutta. The 'Lintin' sailed for Madras, the 'Lantao' for
Calcutta, and the 'Lema' for Bombay, thus securing so much tonnage for
the cotton, while other vessels were to be chartered at those ports. The
first vessel, however, that arrived with a portion of the purchases was
the Swedish ship 'Calcutta,' and she had anchored in the Taypa only a
few days when she was driven on shore in a taiphoon. In due time our
own ships arrived. The 'Lintin' was then despatched a second time, but
got no further than Singapore, when her captain, Townsend, in direct
breach of orders, and under various pretexts, took in a cargo of rattans
and returned to Macao! His 'accounts' being refused, he brought an
action against us in the Macao court.

It was still going on when I left Macao in 1844. The legal papers had so
accumulated that they seemed sufficient to 'dunnage' the ship. Asking
the clerk of the court one day if he thought it would _ever_ be settled,
he made the same reply that he had repeated for years: 'Se senhor, mā,
hum poco tiempŏ!' ('Certainly, sir, but it requires a little time').

The 'Lintin,' however, was sent to Whampoa. The first English treaty
with the Chinese having been broken, further preparations were made
for defence, and the authorities, not discouraged, sought for another
foreign ship--this time for service nearer the city. They took a fancy
to the 'Lintin;' she was sold to them, and towed up the river by a
great fleet of small boats. An eye[82] was painted on each bow; she was
completely unrigged to her lower masts, and, amidst a confused noise
of gongs and fireworks, she was anchored just below the Dutch Folly,
opposite the city.

On the day appointed for 'making her over' various high Mandarins with
many followers came on board. Captain Endicott, who was in charge, had
caused certain refreshments to be laid out on the cabin table with which
to regale these officers. They consisted of several junk bottles of gin
and brandy, a jug or two of water, hard biscuits and cheroots! Before
accompanying them over the ship, he invited them to the cabin.

As he said when relating the circumstance to us, 'after drinks all
round and a weed' we returned on deck to look about the vessel; next
we visited the between-decks, and the Mandarins pronounced everything
highly satisfactory. Seeing a Scuttle-Butt[83] pump, it attracted the
attention of one of them, who took it to be an 'engine of war,' and
asked to be informed as to the manner of its use! They soon after took
leave and returned to the city. 'Thank heaven,' said Captain Endicott
to a gentleman whom he had asked on board to see the Chinese officials,
'that's over; now that they are off, let us go down and take a drink
and a smoke.' On getting to the cabin they found that _everything_--the
gin and brandy, cigars, biscuits, even the water-jug, pitcher, and
tumblers--had all been walked off with by the followers of the high
dignitaries! A Chinese crew and naval Mandarin took possession, as
Captain Endicott pulled away from his 'old home' for so many years. She
was then duly turned into a Chinese man-of-war. There were the usual
insignia of invincibility, triangular flags, on which were figures of
dragons swallowing the moon, the 'Yin and Yang,' circles and zigzag
lines, emblematical of thunder and lightning.

The commanding officer of all this destructive paraphernalia, with the
peacock's feather in his cap, a large silk umbrella held over his head,
seated himself comfortably in a bamboo chair, smoking his pipe.

Other formidable preparations for war were duly made in a provision of
worm-eaten guns, matchlocks, spears, and shields. She would soon have
been ready for an encounter with any of the English sloops, whether the
'Modeste' or the 'Algerine,' perhaps even the 'Herald;' but one night
a great freshet took place. The violence of the tide was such that she
swerved at her anchor from right to left, struck on the rocks close to
the 'Folly,' slid off, and went down in deep water! The Chinese then set
to work and unshipped her masts, leaving a stump of the foremast about
seven feet above the deck, and placed upon it a diminutive lantern. This
served thenceforth as a 'lighthouse' to guide boats up and down the
river! It was the _first_ lighthouse in Canton waters 'on record.' When
I last saw the stump of the mast, twenty-eight years after, a great bank
of mud had formed around the hull, and a faint glimmer from a penny dip
in a small paper lantern marked the last resting-place of the 'Lintin.'

       *       *       *       *       *

The seizure of the opium in its consequences was _the_ feature in the
breaking up of the exclusive conditions of foreign trade at Canton, as
it had existed since 1720. The peculiar conditions also of social life
were doomed, as was that perfect and wonderful organisation, the Co-Hong.

On August 10, 1841, Sir Henry Pottinger arrived at Macao as Her
Majesty's sole plenipotentiary and Minister Extraordinary. Negotiations
with the Mandarins were carried on simultaneously with the capture of
cities on the coast. The material losses and destruction of life to
the Chinese were incalculable, particularly through suicide by those
helpless people. An English officer who was present at the taking
of Chā-Po in May 1842 wrote to a friend at Macao that on landing,
about 3,500 strong, under cover of the men-of-war, the most terrible
enormities were committed. He then goes on to say: 'After the city had
been captured, I entered more than a hundred houses, and in each there
were not less than two, and in many eight, persons found dead. They were
the bodies of mothers and daughters who had committed suicide from a
dread of becoming prisoners; 1,600 dead were buried after the battle,
of which more than one-half were Tartar soldiers, who in despair of
repelling the enemy, and preferring death to defeat, had _nearly all_
destroyed themselves. Is not this a splendid exhibition of patriotism?'

The losses of the English on this occasion by the official accounts were
one colonel, one sergeant, and seven men killed, seven officers and
forty-seven men wounded; and so on to the end, the pigmy against the

At length the treaty of Nanking, in which the Chinese consented to
pay an indemnity of _$_21,000,000, was signed off that city, on board
of H.M.S. 'Cornwallis,' on August 29, 1842, by his Excellency Sir
Henry Pottinger, the Imperial Commissioners Ke-Ying and E-Leepoo, and
New-Keen, the Viceroy of Keang-Nan and Keang-Se. And thus concluded the
first European war with China, one of the most unjust ever waged by one
nation against another.

The next treaty was that of the United States, which was signed at the
village of Mong-Hā (Macao) on July 3, 1844, by Mr. Caleb Cushing and
Ke-Ying. Together they were the 'knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the
grave' of Old Canton.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Chinese had not looked with satisfaction upon the concessions
they had been obliged to make to an overwhelming military and naval
force, which had caused them the loss of myriads of lives, often under
circumstances of great atrocity, of unheard-of suffering, as well
as of many millions of dollars independently of the war indemnity.
The ordeal was a terrible one; but they gained by it the, to them,
unenvied _privilege_ of falling in with Western ideas. Encouraged by the
confidence inspired by so _great_ a _privilege_, they now contract for
loans of money, they build vessels of war on European models, and drill
their soldiers in foreign tactics; they provide themselves with Western
arms of precision--in short, they are putting on their armour. They are
in full career of a diplomacy in which Ambassadors or Ministers--that
is to say, 'spies upon one another'--watch over the interests of their
respective countries. With the sword at their throat they have become
members of what is facetiously called the 'Brotherhood' of Nations!

1823 TO 1844.

The house of Russell & Co. was constituted on January 1, 1824, in
succession to that of Samuel Russell & Co., which had existed from
December 26, 1818, to December 26, 1823. It is known amongst the Chinese
as 'Kee-Chang-Hong.' It confined itself strictly to agency business.
From January 1, 1824, until the middle of 1830 the sole partners were
Mr. Russell and Philip Ammidon. In September 1829 Mr. Wm. H. Low arrived
from Salem in the ship 'Sumatra' (Captain Roundy); and in November 1830
Mr. Augustine Heard, Senior, arrived from Boston in the bark 'Lintin'
(Captain R. B. Forbes). These two gentlemen (Mr. Low and Mr. Heard)
became partners in the house, the first until the end of the year 1833,
when, having been obliged to leave Canton from ill health, he was landed
and died at the Cape of Good Hope.

During the term of 1834-5-6, consequent upon the death of Mr. Low, were
admitted Mr. John C. Green (special agent at Canton of Messrs. N. L.
and G. Griswold, of New York), Mr. John M. Forbes, who had arrived in
the 'Lintin' to join the office in 1830, and Mr. Joseph Coolidge, who
arrived in 1832; and Mr. Heard retired.

The term of 1837-8-9 saw the withdrawal of Messrs. Forbes and Coolidge,
the first on December 31, 1838, and the latter on December 31, 1839.
Were admitted on January 1, 1837, Mr. A. A. Low (nephew of Mr. W. H.
Low), who had come out to join the office in 1833), and Mr. W. C.
Hunter. Mr. Edward King (who came out in the 'Silas Richards,' Captain
Rosseter, 1834), was taken in the office on arrival, and became a
partner on July 1, 1837; Mr. Robert B. Forbes (who arrived in the
'Bashaw' in October 1838) was admitted January 1, 1839, and became the
chief of the house.

The term of 1840-41-42, Mr. A. A. Low having retired, began with the
admission of Mr. Warren Delano (formerly of the house of Russell,
Sturgis, & Co., of Canton and Manila). He succeeded Mr. Forbes as chief
of the house when the latter left for New York in the 'Niantic' on July
7, 1840. Mr. Russell Sturgis, also a former partner of Russell, Sturgis,
& Co., became a partner on January 1, 1842. Mr. King and Mr. Hunter
retired on December 31, 1842, left Macao in February 1844 for New York,
_viâ_ the Cape (in the ship 'Akbar,' Captain Hallet), and the retirement
of Mr. Sturgis took place on December 31, 1843.

This is but a rapid _résumé_ of an interval of twenty years. A history
of the house from its foundation to the present time--a period of sixty
years--has been compiled by a former partner. The work, which would
prove of interest to its many friends, its old associates, and their
successors, may be published.


Just a Cycle ago, a gentleman came on board the ship 'Citizen,' as she
anchored at Lintin, China, from New York, to hear the _latest_ news she
may have brought--125 days old!--the interval was a short one at that

Such as Canton _then_ was in its commercial, social, and domestic life
it has been for two generations a sealed book; nor will the world ever
see its like again! May those who _now_ seek China Opened be as well
received, as little molested, as much protected, as were those over whom
the ægis of treaties never existed, and as bountifully rewarded as those
whose enterprise led them to what was _then_ a 'mysterious land.'

It is _now_, through the untiring encouragement and assistance of the
gentleman above referred to (and who will, I trust, excuse my naming
him)--Robert B. Forbes, Esq., of Boston, U.S.A.--that I have reproduced
in the foregoing pages the days of Old Canton, with which we became
familiar; regretting that to restore those scenes--all of which we saw,
and part of which we were--it fell not to a more able pen.

    W. C. H.



[1] Viz., 'The Huntress,' 'Beaver,' 'Europa,' 'America,' 'Maria,' and
'Mary Lord.'

[2] A fast pulling and sailing boat.

[3] A poetical term for small-footed women.

[4] One of the most famous Chinese dynasties, 2nd and 3rd centuries
A.D., from which the name 'children of Han.'

[5] _Bogue_ is a corruption of the Portuguese word _bocca_ (mouth). When
the Portuguese first approached it, about 1525, the strong resemblance
of the red sandstone eminence to the left of the narrow mouth of
the Pearl River to a tiger's mouth, caused the exclamation, still
perpetuated in its name, 'Bocca Tigre!' The Chinese name for it is 'the
Lion's Gate.'

[6] _Sampan_, a small skiff or boat.

[7] 'Chow-Chow,' mixed.

[8] Siamese teak.

[9] Any Mandarin or official station was locally known as 'Chop-house.'

[10] The Chinese name for Sweden is Suy-Kwŏ.

[11] An assistant-magistrate. Up to 1848 Macao was under the joint
government of the Portuguese and Chinese.

[12] At this time the ships' Compradores were engaged at Macao, and not
at Whampoa.

[13] Buddhist Temple.

[14] The Dutch East India Company.

[15] 'Man-ta-le'--Pigeon-English for 'Mandarin'

[16] A lac is 100,000.

[17] Pigeon-English for 'cold.'

[18] The best quality of birds' nests was brought from Java. This
'whimsical luxury' was worth 4,000 Spanish dollars per picul of 133-1/3

[19] Pigeon-English for 'old friend.'

[20] Pigeon-English for 'quicksilver.'

[21] 'Unfortunate.'

[22] A complimentary term.

[23] Captain Elliot.

[24] Baring Brothers & Co.

[25] Pigeon-English for 'gentlemen.'

[26] A complimentary term.

[27] One of our partners whom we had sent to London. Lord Byron once
wrote of him to Murray as full of 'Entusymusy;' so we called him

[28] Their Chinese names were Tan and Tung, but these words not being
readily distinctive to the foreign ear, they both became Tom, while
'Old' and 'Young' were added to suit their respective ages.

[29] 'My compliments to you.'

[30] The chief of a foreign house was known as 'Tai-pan.' The word
signifies 'head manager.' The assistants or clerks were called
'pursers.' This word was undoubtedly taken from the office of 'purser,'
whom the Chinese had only known as transacting business for the
commanders of the East India Company's ships. The latter enjoyed the
privilege of forty tons of space (English measurement) in each vessel
homeward, which involved the presence at Canton of the 'pursers' to act
for them in selling their outward and buying their homeward investments.
The 'pursers' frequently hired a portion of a Factory (when to be had),
and resided in it more or less while their ships were at Whampoa.

[31] Since the Conquest the reverse bears the name of the Emperor in
Manchoo Tartar letters.

[32] Known as 'Sycee,' which means literally 'fine silk.'

[33] 10 cash = 1 candareen, 10 candareen = 1 mace, 10 mace = 1 tael.

[34] Bar gold, Sycee silver, chopped dollars.

[35] The Chinese called these boats 'scrambling dragons' and 'fast

[36] A chest contained 1 picul = 133-1/3 pounds.

[37] Often so called in official language.

[38] The 'Omega' belonged to Dent & Co.

[39] The 'Governor Findlay' to Jardine, Matheson, & Co.

[40] All opium vessels carried Shroffs.

[41] The Chinese character which represents 'day' is literally 'sun.'

[42] When a Chinese takes leave, he says, 'Kaou-tsze' ('I inform you of
taking leave').

[43] The 'Colonel Young' belonged to Jardine, Matheson, & Co., as well
as the 'Fairy.'

[44] The 'Harriet' belonged to Jardine, Matheson, & Co.

[45] Literally 'great wind,' not those destructive storms which occur
but once in three or four years, unroof houses and tear ships to pieces;
they are called Teĕt-kuy, 'iron whirlwinds.'

[46] Country ships and coasters carried Manila men--Portuguese of
Bombay or Macao--as helmsmen; they hove the lead, &c., and were called

[47] Strangling is by means of a wooden cross driven into the ground
to which the prisoner's neck and outstretched arms are secured. A more
ghastly and ignominious death than beheading.

[48] Called the Praya Grande, temporarily destroyed by the taiphoon of

[49] The Fragrant Hill.

[50] 'Cumsha' means 'a present.'

[51] A catty is 1-1/3 pounds English.

[52] The Imperial Commissioner.

[53] A subordinate officer of the chief magistrate's department.

[54] The currency being taels, mace, candareens, and cash.

[55] 'Flowery flag,' the United States.

[56] Presents to the captains and officers.

[57] Buddha.

[58] A very common exclamation on any occasion.

[59] The late Sir James Matheson was the reputed founder of the foreign
press in China (_The Canton Register_); but it was an open question
whether it was he or Mr. Wood. I contributed to that paper (translations
from Chinese) when started; but in the consequent daily intercourse with
Wood, he never hinted that he was not its sole founder. If my memory
serves me Sir James was at the time on a trip up the coast. Nevertheless
there is but one 'old Canton' who can decide the point, the present Sir
Alexander Matheson.

[60] Confucius.

[61] Kung-Ming, a celebrated warrior of the third century A.D.

[62] Celebrated gardens, near Canton, visited by foreigners.

[63] 'Fan-Kwae,' foreign devils.

[64] The offspring of European Spaniards and natives.

[65] The privilege was 140 piculs weight.

[66] Public office.

[67] Equivalent to Excellency.

[68] At Macao, 1841.

[69] Whole dollars were so called put up in red paper--a neat way of
paying small sums.

[70] 'Eaten them.'

[71] The resident physician of the foreign community, apart from the
Honourable East India Co. He was from Philadelphia.

[72] An old Chinese fort so called, east of the Factories.

[73] The capital of Canton province is Show-King-Foo, and was the
residence of the Governor-General of Canton and Kwang-Se. Consequent
upon the former becoming the seat of foreign trade, the Governor-General
removed there, and second to him is the Lieutenant-Governor. He is now
styled Viceroy.

[74] Figurative for 'a great many.'

[75] These and similar expressions in Chinese official documents,
over which Western people make such an absurd fuss, are no more to be
taken literally than the vulgarised form of 'your obedient servant.'
In the present case 'reverential obedience' is to be taken as 'serious
co-operation,' so the Blue Button pointed out to me.

[76] That no one might escape.

[77] The Canton agents talked over the question of half-commissions on
consignments thus withdrawn. It was argued that their Indian principals
would recover from the British Government, a charge sanctioned by
commercial usage. The half-commissions were assumed to be about 300,000
dollars. No unanimous decision was arrived at, but on the quantity
delivered up by Russell & Co.--nearly 15,000 dollars--the charge was

[78] Buying and selling town.

[79] At the mouth of the Bogue.

[80] Yang-Yin, one of the chief features of which, in some mysterious
way, gives notice of impending change of fortune deduced from the
Pā-Kwa, a complicated system, of very remote antiquity, of divination.

[81] Natives of Africa, sweepers, &c.

[82] The 'eyes' on the bows of Chinese junks gave rise to the
expression, 'No got eye, no can see,' under the erroneous foreign belief
that the Chinese attributed to them the power of seeing and avoiding
danger. This is very far from the fact. The bows of sea-going junks
represent the head of a _dragon_, with expanded jaws and full round
eyes, and being the symbol of the Chinese Empire, it is used as a carved
eagle may be on an American vessel, without occult power attaching

[83] A 'Scuttle-Butt' is a cask with a square hole in its bilge, kept on
deck to hold water for daily use, which is drawn by means of a hand-pump.

Transcriber's Notes

The author's name is William C. Hunter.

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Hyphen added: hard-working (p. 87).

Hyphen removed: mastheads (p. 1).

P. 3: added "a" (my fellow-passenger took a fast boat).

P. 3: "Sandal Wood Island" changed to "Sandalwood Island".

P. 32: "Mr. Holingworth" changed to "Mr. Hollingworth".

P. 94: "the first ships tome co in" changed to " the first ships to come

P. 130: "We styled oursveles" changed to "We styled ourselves".

[Illustration: Back cover: KPT & Co.]

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we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.