Europe in China/Chapter 13


The Administration of Sir Henry Pottinger.

August 10, 1841, to May 8, 1844.

Sir Henry Pottinger arrived (August 10, 1841) in Macao after what was then called 'an astonishingly short passage' of sixty-seven days, by the overland route. It is stated that his arrival was warmly hailed by all the British residents. No wonder, for with his advent as Her Majesty's Sole Plenipotentiary and Minister Extraordinary to the Court of Peking (charged also with the duties of the Chief Superintendency of Trade) doubts, as to the permanency of the British occupation of Hongkong, began to vanish. Not that he proclaimed the Queen's approval of the cession of the Island, or that he came to undertake the Government of the new settlement. But Sir Henry at once gave to those that met him the impression that the days of vacillation and yielding to Chinese cunning and duplicity were over, and that England was going now simply to state its grievances, formulate its demands and insist upon immediate redress.

Sir H. Pottinger did not disturb Mr. Johnston in his office of Acting Governor, and that meant a good deal. As the latter had now ceased to be Superintendent of Trade, Sir Henry appointed him Deputy Superintendent. But what confirmed the general belief now gaining ground that Hongkong would never be surrendered by the British Government, was an announcement which Sir H. Pottinger made in a Notification issued at Macao (August 12, 1841) stating that 'the arrangements which had been made by his predecessor (Captain Elliot), connected with the Island of Hongkong, should remain in force until the pleasure of Her Majesty regarding that Island and those arrangements should be received.' Mr. Johnston accordingly continued his duties as Acting Governor, whilst Sir H. Pottinger went North with the expedition, and occupied towards Sir Henry the same position which he had previously held in relation to Captain Elliot. In fact, Mr. Johnston acted 'on behalf' of Sir H. Pottinger as Governor of the Island until Sir Henry himself assumed the Government of the Colony.

About noon on August 21, 1841, Sir H. Pottinger arrived in Hongkong by the steam-frigate Queen. He landed immediately, visited all the departmental offices, inspected the public works and expressed himself much pleased with the appearance and evident progress of the new Colony. In consequence of dispatches which arrived just then, he directed Mr. Johnston to discontinue all further grants or sales of land, but allowed Captain Elliot's arrangements to remain as he found them. He gave orders for the expedition to start for the North at once, leaving behind seven war-vessels, with the steamer Hooghly under the command of Captain J. Nias, C.B., to guard the harbour and mouth of the Canton River, whilst Major-General Burrell, with a garrison consisting of a wing of the 49th Regiment, the 37th Madras Native Infantry and the Bengal Volunteers, was to see to the defence of the Colony. Literally overwhelmed and oppressed with the variety of affairs that demanded instant attention, Sir H. Pottinger returned in the evening on board the Queen, paid another hurried visit to some of the Government offices next morning and then started (August 22, 1841) to overtake the expedition, having spent in the Colony barely twenty-four hours.

The work of organizing the administrative machinery of the Government now continued unchecked. A Colonial Surgeon's Department, under Mr. H. Holgate, was established (August, 1841) but subsequently disallowed. A Notary Public and Coroner was appointed (September, 1841) in the person of Mr. S. Fearon, who acted also as Interpreter and Clerk of Court. Captain G. F. Mylius took charge of the Land Office (September, 1841), with the able assistance of Lieutenant Sargent who acted as land surveyor and made the first map of building lots. A small granite Gaol building, on the site now occupied by Victoria Gaol, was completed, and the erection of a Court House near the site of the present Masonic Hall was commenced (October, 1841). At the same time Colonel Burrell constructed a fort on Kellett Island for the protection of the eastern section of the harbour, destroyed two masonry forts erected by the Chinese at Tsimshatsui in 1839, and constructed in their place two batteries for heavy pieces in the same locality. On the arrival of the French Frigate Erigone (December 8, 1841), which brought Colonel de Jancigny on a commercial mission to China, the port was for the first time saluted. The American men-of-war delayed this courtesy for several years longer.

The progress of Hongkong was furthered by disturbances which occurred at Canton (December 14, 1841), causing a number of European merchants to remove their offices from Canton to Hongkong, and by the blockade of the Canton River by Captain Nias' Squadron (December 1, 1841) which caused numbers of salt junks to resort to Hongkong and to make the Colony, for some time after, the centre of a considerable trade in salt. On his return from the North (February 1, 1842), Sir H. Pottinger at once countermanded this blockade and ordered restoration to be made to the Chinese whose junks and cargoes had been sold by auction. He also discovered to his great annoyance, that the Acting Governor, Mr. A. R. Johnston, under a misconception of the hurried instructions given to him on August 22, 1842, had framed rules for fresh grants of Crown-land and had allowed additional lands to be assigned to applicants. Sir H. Pottinger, therefore, now renewed his prohibition against granting land to general applicants. Nevertheless, he did make some grants to persons chiefly in the employ of the Government and also to some of the charitable institutions such as the Morrison Education Society, the Medical Missionary Society (Dr. Hobson), the future St. Paul's College, and the Roman Catholic Church.

Without reference to Elliot's former declarations of the freedom of the port, Sir H. Pottinger issued (February 6, 1842) a proclamation notifying that, pending the receipt of the Queen's gracious and royal pleasure, the harbour of Hongkong (like that of Chusan) should be considered a free port and that no manner of customs, port duties or any other charges, should be levied on any ships or vessels of whatever nation or on their cargoesHe then proceeded (February 15, 1842) to Macao and removed the whole establishment of the Superintendency of Trade from thence to Hongkong (February 27, 1842). The staff of this Department (under Mr. A. R. Johnston, as Deputy Superintendent), consisted of E. Elmslie (Secretary and Treasurer), J. R. Morrison (Chinese Secretary and Interpreter), L. d'Almada e Castro, A. W. Elmslie, and J. M. d'Almada e Castro (Clerks), Rev. Ch. Gützlaff and R. Thom (Joint Interpreters), J. B. Rodriguez, W. H. Medhurst, and Kazigachi Kiukitchi (Clerks). These two measures of Sir Henry, the removal of the Superintendency to Hongkong, and the encouragement he held out, by the confirmation of the freedom of the port, to Chinese and foreign vessels to resort to Hongkong, were generally viewed, in combination with the purchase of the Commissariat Buildings, and the large sums now spent in the erection of barracks, hospitals, naval and victualling stores, as an indirect intimation that the settlement on Hongkong would sooner or later receive official recognition as a British Colony. Even the news of the debate which took place in the House of Commons on the subject (March 15, 1842), unsatisfactory as it was, did not shake the faith now generally placed in the future of Hongkong. For the words of Sir Robert Peel (who had meanwhile stepped into the place of Lord Palmerston) 'that, really, during the progress of hostilities in China, he must decline to commit the Government by answering the question as to what were the intentions of the Government regarding the Island of Hongkong,' were read by the residents in the light of the above measures of Sir H. Pottinger.

Ever since this belief in the permanency of the British occupation of Hongkong gained ground, some of the leading British merchants, instead of merely opening branch offices at Hongkong, began to break up their establishments at Macao and Canton and to remove their offices to the new settlement. Contrary to the views of a minority which stubbornly preferred Canton, they expected that Chinese trade would speedily gravitate towards Hongkong, if but the freedom of the port were strictly and vigorously maintained by the Government. Indeed, the experience of the Colony's first eighteen months fully bore out the soundness of their views. As soon as the rumour of the expected permanency of the new settlement began to spread abroad, there set in a rapid and steady influx of Chinese traders as well as artizans and labourers flocking together in Hongkong from all the neighbouring districts, and business was flourishing. In October 1841, the total population of Hongkong, including both the troops and residents of all nationalities, was estimated to amount to 15,000 people, three times the amount at which the population stood six months previous. With the advent of the cool season (October, 1841) sickness was noticed to decline all of a sudden and the spirits of the community were considerably cheered by the appearance, on the new Queen's Road, of the first carriage and pair imported from Manila, as a sign of the coming comforts of civilization.

A fresh indication of the intentions of the Government to retain permanent possession of Hongkong, was given by a Notification of Sir H. Pottinger, which appeared in the first locally printed newspaper, the Friend of China and Hongkong Gazette, issued on March 24, 1842, under the editorship of the Rev. J. L. Schuck and Mr. James White (subsequently M.P. for Brighton). In this Notification (dated Hongkong Government House, March 22, 1842) Sir H. Pottinger announced his intention of appointing a Land Committee to investigate claims, to mark off boundaries, to fix the direction and breadth of the road, now for the first time called 'Queen's Road,' and other public roads, to order the removal of encroachments, and to assign new locations for dwellings of Europeans and Chinese. At the same time. Sir H. Pottinger expressly notified that no purchases or renting of ground from the natives, formerly or now in possession, would be recognized or confirmed, unless the previous sanction of the constituted Authorities should have been obtained, 'it being the basis of the footing on which the Island of Hongkong has been taken possession of and is to be held pending the Queen's royal and gracious commands, that the proprietary of the soil is vested in and appertains solely to the Crown.' The same principle was also applied to reclamations of foreshore. But the fact that Sir H. Pottinger referred in a public document to an officially recognized and defined footing on which the Island had been taken possession of, convinced everybody now that the formal recognition of Hongkong as a British Colony had already been decided upon and was only delayed pending diplomatic and war-like dealings with the Peking Government.

The promised Land Committee, consisting of Major Malcolm, Captain Meik, Lieutenant Sargent, Surgeon W. Woosnam, and Captain J. Pascoe, was appointed (March 29, 1842) and instructed to recommend the amount of remuneration to be given to native Chinese, for ground which was in their possession previous to the British occupation of the Island and which had been appropriated, to select spots for public landing places, to define the limits of cantonments, to fix the extent of the ground to be reserved for H.M. Naval Yard and for private commercial ventures in the shape of patent slips, and finally to recommend a watering place with a good running stream of water to be reserved for the shipping. The points previously mentioned and not now included in the instructions of the Committee were no doubt left to the discretion of the Land Officer, Captain Mylius, who had been provided with a new Assistant, Mr. E. G. Reynolds. The separation of the Land Office from the Public Works Department was, however, soon after disapproved (May 17, 1842) by the Home Government.

Another important problem which Sir H. Pottinger now took in hand was the regulation of the currency of the settlement. For this purpose he took the dollar for a standard and fixed the rate at which Indian coins and Chinese copper cash were to be accepted as legal tender. A proclamation (March 29, 1842) stated, that two and a quarter Company's rupees should be equal to one dollar; one rupee and two annas (or half a quarter) equal to half a dollar; half a rupee and two annas equal to a quarter dollar; 1,200 cash equal to one dollar; 600 cash equal to half a dollar; 300 cash equal to a quarter dollar; 533 cash equal to a rupee; 260 cash equal to a half a rupee; and 133 cash equal to a quarter of a rupee. Subsequently (April 27, 1842) Sir H. Pottinger issued, at the suggestion of the leading English firms, a further proclamation declaring Mexican or other Republican dollars to be the standard in all matters of trade unless otherwise particularly specified.

Sir H. Pottinger organized also a Post Office (under Mr. Fitz Gibbon, succeeded by Mr. Mullaly and R. Edwards), which was to receive and deliver, free of any charge, letters or parcels. This office was located on the hill just above the present Cathedral, and the communication between the office and the ships was under the charge of the Harbour Master. The erection of substantial barracks on Cantonment Hill (S. of present Wellington Barracks) and at Stanley and Aberdeen, was also taken in hand and pushed on vigorously.

All these measures of Sir H. Pottinger contradicted the rumour which was persistently going about that the cession of Hongkong was not officially recognized and that the Government was prepared to relinquish Hongkong in case the Chinese Government should, in the coming negotiations, raise any serious objection on that score, and to be satisfied in that case with the opening of some treaty ports. That the Home Government had at this time, in order not to prejudice the pending negotiations with the Chinese Government, left the question of the permanency of the new Colony in abeyance, is evident from the fact that in June, 1842, just before leaving Hongkong to rejoin the expedition, Sir H. Pottinger received a dispatch from the Earl of Aberdeen 'directing that this Island should be considered a mere military position and that all buildings &c., not required in that light, should be discontinued.' Sir H. Pottinger, however, knew perfectly well that the necessities of British trade would be sure to bring sooner or later a ratification of the cession of Hongkong, regarding which he stated in a dispatch to Lord Stanley (July 17, 1843) that he had always been of opinion that the sole or at least chief object of it was to secure an emporium of trade. The fact that Sir H. Pottinger's measures all rested on the assumption that the occupation of Hongkong would never be annulled, gave a fresh impetus to the growth of the settlement. In March, 1842, the population, then estimated at over 15,000 people, was stated to include 12,361 Chinese, mostly labourers and artizans, attracted to Hongkong by the high wages obtainable here, and numbers of large buildings were reported to be in course of erection. The Central Market, then South of Queen's Road, opposite its present site, was formally opened (June 10, 1842) and farmed out to a Chinaman (Afoon); all the roads were improved and extended, a good road, in the direction of Stanley, completed as far as Taitamtuk (June, 1842), and a picnic house built at Little Hongkong by Mr. Johnston, Major Caine and a number of other private subscribers.

Apart from all these signs of material progress, there are also evidences of the higher interests of religion and education receiving now recognition and attention in Hongkong. The building of a Roman Catholic church was commenced, in June 1842, on a site in Wellington Street granted by Government. A Baptist chapel was opened in Queen's Road (July 7, 1842) by the Rev. J. L. Schuck, by subscriptions obtained from the foreign residents and visitors. The Morrison Education Society of Canton and Macao, which for years past had supported various Mission Schools in the Straits and in China by money grants and (in 1841) started at Macao a training school (under Mr. and Mrs. Brown), now arranged to remove its establishment to Hongkong and commenced (October, 1842) building a large house on Morrison Hill on a site granted by Sir H. Pottinger (February 22, 1842), who became the patron of the institution (April 5, 1842). In autumn 1842, a Naval Chaplain, Mr. Phelps and Mr. A. R. Johnston started a subscription by means of which a room was erected on the site of the present Parade ground for occasional services in connection with the Church of England or any other Protestant denomination.

When the news of the conclusion of the Nanking Treaty and the consequent confirmation of the cession of Hongkong reached the settlers (September 9, 1842), no particular rejoicing took place, for the recognition of the cession had all along been to the local community a mere question of time or of official etiquette. The merchants were yet unaware of the serious crisis now at hand for the commerce of the Colony in consequence of the cessation of the war and the opening of five Chinese ports. On the contrary, the expectation appears to have been entertained that these measures would forthwith enhance the prospects of the Colony. 'We are nearly bewildered,' apostrophized the Editor of the Friend of China (September 22, 1842), 'at the magnificence of the prosperous career which seems now before us. Our Island will be the single British possession in China. What more in praise of its prospects can we say than this? Already we hear of teeming projects fraught with good for our Island.' The conclusion of the war and the departure of the fleet and troops, which considerably desolated the harbour, affected for the present the social life of the community far more than its commerce, which continued in its old grooves yet for a little while longer. With the return to Europe of the expeditionary forces, which left behind (December 24, 1842) only 700 men as a garrison, the settlement now entered at last upon its normal condition of a purely commercial community.

Consequent upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Nanking, the British Government took immediate steps for the formal organisation of a distinctly Colonial Government at Hongkong, by transferring the management of local affairs from the Foreign Office to the Colonial Office. The Superintendency of Trade and the direction of the new Consular Service in China, subject to the Foreign Office, were, however, for the present combined with the office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony. On this basis an Order in Council was issued (January 4, 1843) establishing in Hongkong the Court of Justice, with Criminal and Admiralty Jurisdiction, which nominally had existed, since the time of Lord Napier, in Chinese waters, under an Order of the Privy Council of December 9, 1833. This Court was now endowed with jurisdiction over British subjects residing within the Colony or on the mainland of China or on the high seas within 100 miles of the coast thereof. Three months later (April 5, 1843), the Privy Council issued Letters Patent, under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, erecting the settlement on the Island of Hongkong into a Crown Colony by Charter, and on the same day a Royal Warrant was issued, under the Queen's Signet and Sign Manual, appointing the Chief Superintendent of Trade, Sir Henry Pottinger, Baronet, K.C.B., as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony of Hongkong and its Dependencies, to enact laws and to govern the Colony with or without the assistance of a Council. A grand ceremony was performed at Government House on May 20, 1843, when Sir William Parker, by order of the Queen, invested Sir H. Pottinger with the insignia of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. When the ratifications of the Nanking Treaty were exchanged (June 26, 1843) between Sir H. Pottinger and the Chinese Commissioners who had come to Hongkong for the purpose, the Charter of Hongkong and the Royal Warrant were read out at Government House before a large assembly of residents, and subsequently published (June 29, 1843) by proclamation in the Gazette. The same proclamation fixed the name of Her Majesty's new possession as 'the Colony of Hongkong,' (not Hong Kong, as previously used), and the name of the city as 'Victoria.' The Governor, having previously (June 17, 1843) sworn in Mr. Johnston (Deputy Superintendent of Trade), Major Caine (Chief Magistrate) and Mr. C. B. Hillier (Assistant Magistrate), as the first Justices of the Peace, now appointed 43 more persons, among whom there where 15 officials, as additional Justices of the Peace. As these unofficial Justices represent the leading merchants of this earliest period of the Colony, we append their names. They were, A. Jardine, A. Matheson, W. Morgan, W. Stewart, G. Braine, J. Dent, F. C. Drummond, D. L. Burn, W. Le Geyt, P. Dudgeon, T. W. L. Mackean, H. Dundas, C. Kerr, J. F. Edger, A. Fletcher, J. A. Gibb, W. P. Livingston, W. Gray, H. R. Parker, J. Holliday, J. Wise, J. A. Mercer, P. Stewart, J. White, A. Wilkinson and J. M. Smith. The office of Deputy Superintendent of Trade having been abolished, Mr. Johnston was now appointed Assistant and Registrar to the Superintendent of Trade, with about the same staff as before. The Colonial Government was now organized as follows:—Sir H. Pottinger (Governor), Captain G. T. Brooke (Military Secretary and A.D.C.), Captain T. Ormsby (Extra A.D.C.), Major-General G. C. D'Aguilar (Lieutenant Governor), Lieutenant-Colonel G. A. Malcolm (Colonial Secretary), R. Woosnam (Deputy Colonial Secretary), Ch. E. Stewart (Treasurer and Financial Secretary), J. R. Morrison (Chinese Secretary and Interpreter, afterwards succeeded by Rev. Ch. Gützlaff), Rev. V. Stanton (Colonial Chaplain), R. Burgass (Legal Adviser), A. Anderson (Colonial Surgeon), L. d'Almada e Castro (Chief Clerk), D. Stephen (Book-keeper), Major W. Caine (Chief Magistrate), Ch. B. Hillier (Assistant Magistrate), D. R. Caldwell (Interpreter), Lieutenant W. Redder (Harbour Master), A. Lena (Assistant Harbour Master), A. T. Gordon (Land Officer and Civil Engineer), Ch. St. George Cleverly (Assistant Surveyor), W. Tarrant (Assistant to Land Officer), M. Bruce (Inspector of Buildings), and F. Spring (Postmaster). An Executive Council was formed, consisting of the Hon. A. R. Johnston and the Hon. W. Caine, and a Legislative Council, from which for the present unofficial members were shut out, was constituted. It consisted of the Hon. A. R. Johnston, the Hon. J. R. Morrison (who died soon after, greatly lamented), and the Hon. W. Caine, with R. Burgass (the Governor's legal adviser) as Clerk of Council. A public seal was supplied to the Colony from England (September 5, 1843) and Her Majesty's approval was obtained (December 6, 1843) for the above-mentioned appropriation of the name Victoria for the rising city of Hongkong.

During the year 1843, the religious and missionary agencies in the Colony bestirred themselves considerably in the general interest. Funds had been raised in 1842 for the erection of a Colonial Church, at first intended to be a sort of Union Church for both Churchmen and Nonconformists. A Colonial Chaplain having been appointed in England at the request of the local Government, which disapproved the proposed union, services were conducted (since June, 18-43) by Naval Chaplains in a temporary structure now called the 'Matshed Church,' and a building (the present St. John's Cathedral) was ordered to be commenced at Government expense and meanwhile dedicated to St. John (October 17, 1843), though building operations were delayed for several years as the Home Government postponed its sanction. It was, however, locally decided that the Colonial Chaplain should have sole charge of the Church. The Chaplain, Rev. V. J. Stanton, preached his first sermon in the Colonial Matshed Church on December 24th, 1843. The R. C. Prefect Apostolic, Fra Antonio Feliciani, consecrated the building erected by him at the corner of Wellington and Pottinger Streets as the R. C. Church of the Conception, on June 18th, 1843, when a Seminary for native clergy was opened in connection with it. The Mohammedans built (in 1843) a Mosque on the hill thenceforth called Mosque Gardens (Moloshan). The Chinese, who had already four temples from 75 to 100 years old, viz. one at Aplichow (dating from 1770 A.D.), one at Stanley, one in Spring Gardens (Taiwongkung), and one at Tunglowan (Causeway Bay), commenced building their City Temple (Sheng-wong-miu) on the site of the present Queen's College. The American Baptist Mission, under Dr. Deane and Dr. Ball, started in 1843 a Chinese (Tiechiu) Church in the Upper Bazaar (Sheungwan Market). In addition to the establishment of the Morrison Education Society's School on Morrison Hill (opened November 1, 1843), Dr. Legge of the London Missionary Society transferred to Hongkong the Society's Malacca College, opening (November, 1843) a Preparatory School and a Seminary for the training of Chinese ministers, which was (in autumn 1844) located on the London Mission premises in Aberdeen and Staunton Streets as the Anglo-Chinese College (Ying-wa Shü-ün). The Colonial Chaplain, Rev. V. J. Stanton, immediately on his arrival (December 22, 1843), made preparations for the opening of a Training School for native ministers in connection with the Church of England, on a site previously granted for the purpose by the Government (May 26, 1843), under the name of St. Paul's College. In autumn 1843, the Protestant Missionaries of Hongkong (Legge, Medhurst, Milne, Bridgman and J. Stronach) commenced the work which eventually resulted in a new Chinese translation of the Bible, known as the Delegates Version, the best in style and diction (though not in literal accuracy) that has ever been produced to the present day.

Several Hospitals also were established during this year. The Medical Missionary Society of Canton and Macao (originally established in 1838 through the efforts of Dr. Peter Parker, and largely aided by the London Missionary Society) opened a Hospital (June 1, 1843), under Dr. Hobson of the London Mission, on the hill now occupied by the Naval Hospital (above Wantsai). The Seamen's Hospital (on the site of the present Civil Hospital), started (as above-mentioned) at the instigation of a promise of a donation by Mr. J. Rustomjee (which was never paid), was built by means of a public subscription of $6,000 and with additional funds generously advanced by Jardine, Matheson & Co., and opened by the Committee, in August, 1843 (with 50 beds), under the charge of Dr. Peter Young (of the Hongkong Dispensary, then located in the 'Bird Cage,' South of its present location), who gave his services gratuitously.

These Hospitals, together with the Naval and Military Hospitals (on the site of the present Barracks near Hawan) were soon overcrowded with patients. For in summer 1843 occurred an extraordinary outbreak of Hongkong fever which, during the six months from May to October, carried off by death 24 per cent. of the troops, and 10 per cent. of the European civilians. It was noticed that this virulent fever ravaged chiefly the extreme eastern and western ends of the settlement, whilst the central parts of the city and especially the Gaol escaped almost untouched. At Westpoint Barracks (above Pokfulam Road), where the Indian troops had lost nearly half their number in 1842, sickness was so universal in 1843, that the European troops stationed there were hastily removed (July 20, 1843) on board ships in the harbour. In the year 1843, the total strength of the European and native troops was only 1,526, but, as 7,893 cases were treated in the hospitals during the same year, it appears that on an average each man passed through hospital more than five times during that dreadful year. The deaths among the troops on the Island amounted to 440, out of 1,526 men, or 1 in 3½, the cause of death being fever in 155 cases, dysentery in 137 cases, diarrhœa in 80 cases. The number of men invalided or unfit for duty was such that frequently no more than one half of the men of a company were able to attend parade and sometimes there were hardly five or six men, out of 100, fit for duty. The sanitation question was now at last taken up by the Government, and a Committee of Public Health and Cleanliness was appointed (August 16, 1843) with authority to enforce rigid sanitary rules among all classes of residents, but no effective measures were undertaken. Those rules were subsequently formulated by Ordinance No. 5 of March 20, 1844.

The land policy of the Government caused considerable dissatisfaction among the merchants. There was no objection on the part of the mercantile community to a revenue being derived from land; on the contrary they were of opinion that, Hongkong being guaranteed to be a free port, long leases and annual rents should be the sole source of revenue, to the exclusion of all other forms of taxation, such as duties on goods sold by auction, auctioneers' licence fees, registration fees, market farms, etc. Mr. A. Matheson expressed the unanimous views of Hongkong merchants when he stated that it was a most unadvisable course for the Government to attempt raising any other revenue than the land rents, at any rate until the Colony should have advanced considerably in wealth and population. But the great grievance of the merchants was that the conditions of Captain Elliot's sales of land had not been fulfilled by the Government, and that merchants who, trusting in the good faith of the Government, had bought land and expended large sums on buildings in the expectation to have a permanent property at an annual quit rent, did not get the land granted to them in perpetuity but were peremptorily called upon to take leases of 75 years only or to surrender their land. There were minor complaints, that some of the sales of January, 1844, were fictitious, that there was a great deal of deception practised in the purchase of land in 1840 and 1844 by parties who bought land without really intending to hold it, and that such practices had been encouraged by negligence on the pare of the Government in enforcing the conditions of sale and in collecting the land rents. The Colonial Treasurer (R. M. Martin) collaborated some of these statements by the allegation he made that, out of the whole amount of land-sales from June 1841 to June 1844, amounting to £3,224 per annum, only £641 had actually been paid. Land jobbing, in fact, was at that early time already one of the great evils of Hongkong. But it was not confined to merchants only, for the same Colonial Treasurer alleged that, with the exception of the Attorney General (P. J. Stirling) and himself, almost every individual connected with the Government was identified with the purchase and sale of building land in the Colony. In fact it is evident that the land sales of 1843 and 1844 gave rise to the first local outburst of the gambling mania. 'Men of straw,' said Mr. A. Matheson, 'gambled in land and raised the price of it upon those people who were bonâ fide purchasers.'

Proceeding on the legally correct but historically false and unjust assumption that the lawful land tenure of Hongkong dated from the exchange of treaty ratifications, the Secretary of State had laid down the following principles as a basis for the future land policy of the Government, (1) that the Governor should abstain fron alienating any land for any time greater than might be necessary to induce tenants to erect substantial buildings, (2) that no grants or sales of land that bad taken place previous to the exchange of the Treaty ratifications should be deemed valid, (3) that all equitable claims and titles of land-holders should be inquired into with a view to confirmation, (4) that the payment of rents should commence from the day when the Treaty ratifications were exchanged, and (5) that henceforth no land should be sold except by public auction, at a reserved minimum price, equal to the value of the annual rent. On this basis, the Governor appointed (August 21, 1843) a Committee, consisting of A. T. Gordon, Land Officer and Colonial Engineer (Head of the new Public Works Department), Captain de Havilland (Assistant Surveyor), Ch. E. Hewart (Financial Secretary), assisted by R. Burgass (Legal Adviser). The instructions of this Committee were, (1) to inquire into the equitable claims and titles of all holders of land, (2) to define the classes to which particular lots should henceforth belong, (3) to fix their annual rent, and (4) to arrange for the sale of further lots. The Committee accordingly inquired into and settled all claims on land previously sold, and granted leases of 75 years in all cases of proved ownership. It was on the basis of the above-mentioned principles, that the land-sale of January 22, 1844, was held, when about 25 acres of land, divided into 101 lots, each about 105 feet square, were sold for £2,562 annual rental, prices ranging from £11 to £88 annual rental, at an average rate of £20 per lot or £100 per acre. The solution of the land question was pushed a step further by the establishment of a Registry Office (Ordinance No. 3 of 1841), which provided ready means for tracing all titles to landed property. It was laid down by law that thenceforth all deeds, wills, conveyances and mortgages relating to land, should be registered within a certain time after execution. But what kept discontent rankling in the minds of many was the fact that the Crown had refused and in spite of all remonstrances persisted in refusing to confirm, as a matter of right. Captain Elliot's land sales, disavowing in fact any grants of land made prior to the signing of the Treaty, and prohibiting the granting of perpetuities.

The newly-established Legislative Council commenced its sittings on January 11, 1844, and displayed an extraordinary amount of energy. Within four months the Council compiled, considered and passed twelve Colonial and five Consular Ordinances, that is to say about one Ordinance each week. The Council began its labours by grappling, boldly rather than wisely, with one of the congenital diseases of the Chinese social organism, which has survived to the present day, viz. Chinese bond-servitude, a contractual relationship which, from a moral point of view, is indeed but a form of slavery but which differs widely from that kind of slavery to which the Acts of Parliament had reference. Ordinance No. 1 of 1844, intended to define and promulgate the law relating to slavery in Hongkong, was promptly launched by the Council (February 28, 1844), but wisely disallowed by the Secretary of State on the ground that the English laws as to slavery extend by their own proper force and authority to Hongkong and require no further definition or promulgation. Among six other Ordinances passed on the same busy day (February 28, 1844), there was one (No. 2 of 1844) intended to regulate the printing of books and papers and the keeping of printing presses, which the community considered needless and premature but which remained on the statute book until 1886. Another (No. 3 of 1844), organising the Land Registry, above mentioned, also became law. A third (No. 4 of 1844), intended to obviate an evil which, to the present day, troubles the Colony in connection with the practice of shipmasters to leave behind destitute seamen (locally called beachcombers), was unfortunately disallowed. Another batch of five Ordinances was passed on March 20, 1844. One of them (No. 5 of 1844) dealt with the preservation of order and cleanliness and was subsequently repealed by No. 14 of 1845. Another (No. 4 of 1844) provided that, pending the arrival of Chief Justice Hulme, all civil suits should be settled by arbitration. Another Ordinance (No. 7 of 1844) limited legal interest to 12 per cent., whilst again another prohibited the unlicensed distillation of spirits (No. 8 of 1844). Three more Ordinances were passed on April 10 and two on May 1, 1844, dealing with the illegitimate trade with ports North of 32° N. L. (No. 9 of April 10, 1844), with the regulation of summary proceedings before Justices of the Peace (No. 10 of April 10, 1844), with the licensing of public houses and the retail of spirits (No. 11 of May 1, 1844) and with the establishment and regulation of a Police Force (No. 12 of May 1, 1844).

Unfortunately, however, the zeal of the Government in organizing the various departments of the Civil Service, in pushing on the erection of costly public buildings, and in legislating for a Colony which was yet in its swaddling clothes, appeared now to the colonists to outrun, not only the actual growth of the community, but even its prospective future for years to come. There were indeed twelve large English firms established in Hongkong, representing numerous constituencies in the United Kingdom. There were further half a dozen Indian firms, chiefly Parsees, but ever since the Treaty of Nanking and the introduction of steam navigation, the share of the Parsees in the China trade had commenced to dwindle down rapidly, being gradually pushed out by Jewish firms from Bombay, and those Parsees who remained preferred to conduct their business at Canton. There were further some ten or so private English merchants of smaller means. Then one might point to the many brick godowns, commercial offices and private residences scattered along the shore. There were shipwrights (Kent and Babes) and even a patent slip at East Point, where Captain Lamont launched (February 7, 1843) the first Hongkong-built vessel (the Celestial, 80 tons). There were, besides the Friend of China (established March 17, 1842), actually two other newspaper offices, the Eastern Globe and the Canton Register. The former of these papers published (January 1, 1843) a long list of local buildings and a series of lithographs of public edifices was published in London about the same time. In spite of this architectural activity. Sir H. Pottinger reported (January 22, 1844) that the erection of houses could by no means keep pace with the demand for them. Even so late as November 11), 1844, Lord Stanley pointed out that the terms fixed for the disposal of land had evidently been no discouragement to building speculations. There were some large floating warehouses in the harbour, notably the Hormanjee Bomanjee belonging to Jardine, Matheson & Co., and the John Barry belonging to Dent & Co. Finally, there was a brisk business done in opium by half a dozen British firms. Unfortunately, however, as to other business, there was since the commencement of 1844 next to none in Hongkong, although the Chinese population continued to increase and reached, in April 1844, a total of 19,000 Chinese, including now even a sprinkling of some 1,000 women and children. The cessation of the war, the opening of the port of Shanghai (November 17, 1843) and of four other Chinese ports, coupled with the gradual increase of steamers in place of sailing vessels, had disorganized the old lines of business both on the Chinese and on the foreign side, had scattered and drawn away to those open ports capital and enterprise at the expense of Hongkong. In addition to these causes detrimental to Hongkong, the Chinese Authorities did everything in their power to discourage trade with Hongkong, whilst the Hongkong Government appeared to the merchants to work into the hands of the Mandarins. All the sanguine expectations, entertained since 1841, that business would flourish at Hongkong just as it used to flourish at Whampoa, gradually vanished from month to month ever since the exchange of the Treaty ratifications. Hongkong now seemed in 1844 to be at best a second Lintin, the flourishing centre of a limited and illegal trade in opium, but palpably shunned by the legitimate Chinese trade. Numbers of Chinese merchants in Canton would have been willing enough to send down to Hongkong junks laden with tea, rhubarb, camphor, silk and cassia, and to send back those junks to Canton freighted with India cotton or yarn or English piece goods, but the Cantonese Authorities set their faces against it like a flint. It had been the fond dream of British, merchants that, whilst indeed foreign vessels could only trade with the five open ports, natives of China would be allowed to bring goods from any port of China, and convey British goods from Hongkong, in Chinese junks, to any part of the coast of China, so that Hongkong would become the centre of a vast junk trade, and of a coasting trade possessing infinite capabilities of expansion. We can well imagine what was their disappointment, when they learned that the Chinese copy of the Supplementary Treaty, signed at the Bogue (October 8, 1843), contained, over Sir Henry's signature, the following words, not to be found in the English text:—'At ports within the other provinces and within the four provinces of Canton, Foochow, Kiangsu and Chehkiang, such as Chapou and the like places, all of which are not open marts, Chinese merchants shall not be permitted there arbitrarily to apply for permits to go to and from Hongkong, and if any persist in doing so, the Coastguard Officer at Kowloon shall, in concert with the British Officer (at Hongkong), forthwith make investigation and report to their superiors.' When Sir H. Pottinger, a few months previous, announced (July 22, 1840) the successful conclusion of a Supplementary Commercial Treaty, embodying rules and regulations for the conduct of trade at the open ports and a detailed tariff of duties, he had unfortunately accompanied the announcement by some well meant exhortations addressed to British merchants in general, though intended for a few low class individuals, implicated in systematic smuggling transactions. These exhortations, by their vituperative generalities rather than by any definite insinuations, had given great offence and caused the beginning of a breach, between Sir Henry and the mercantile community, which widened as the miscarriage of the Supplementary Treaty concluded, at the Bogue became apparent. Sir Henry made a great secret of some of the provisions contained in the Supplementary Treaty of October 8, 1843. It was known that Article XII contained the startling words, 'it is to be hoped that the system of smuggling which has heretofore been carried on between English and Chinese merchants, in many cases with the open connivance and collusion of the Chinese Custom-house Officers, will entirely cease.' But for a long time it was not known that, on this ground, Articles XIV and XVI not only confined the Chinese junk trade of the Colony rigidly to the five Treaty-ports (virtually to Canton alone), but required the appointment of a British Officer in Hongkong who was to report to the Chinese Customs Officers the nature of the cargo and other particulars of every Chinese vessel resorting to Hongkong and to condemn and report, as an unauthorized or smuggling vessel, every junk trading between Hongkong and any unauthorized port of China. As regards further provisions, injurious to the interest of the Colony, the Journal des Débats stated later on (Monday, September 30, 1844) what at the time was the subject of acrimonious discussion in the Colony, that Sir H. Pottinger, in concluding the Supplementary Treaty, had been the victim of unworthy trickery (supercherie); that the Chinese diplomatists, profiting by the ignorance of the English Plenipotentiary, both of commercial affairs and of the Chinese language, and by the bitter feeling which existed between him and the English merchants who would have been able to advise him, bribed by a sum of money the interpreter who was employed to replace the late Mr. Morrison; that thus the Chinese diplomatists slipped into the Chinese text, unbeknown to Sir H. Pottinger, alterations and suppressions bearing on all the provisions made but particularly on the 13th and the 17th Articles, the immediate effect being that these Articles now strike with nullity the establishment of Hongkong, exclude the Colony from any participation by transit or coasting trade in the commence of the different nations with the five ports, and, in fine, restrain, almost as before the war, the commerce (of Hongkong) to the port of Canton alone. Some of the passages of the Chinese text, which were suppressed in the version submitted to and published by Sir H. Pottinger, were, according to the Journal des Débats, translated in England by the most learned professors of the Chinese language as follows. Article XIII. 'Every Chinese merchant who shall purchase merchandise at Hongkong can only ship it in Chinese bottoms provided with passports delivered at Hongkong. These passports and these permits will be viséd at every time and on every voyage by the officers of the Chinese Custom-house in order to avoid contravention.' Article XVII. 'Both (vessels from Hongkong of under 75 or 150 tons) one and the other, shall pay one mace per ton each time they shall enter port (at Canton). All that shall exceed 150 tons will be considered as large vessels coming from abroad and, following the new tariff, shall pay five mace per ton. As to Foochow, Amoy, Ningpo and Shanghai, as no coasting vessels enter those ports, it is useless to make any regulations with regard to them.' These two articles, says the Journal des Débats, 'coincide and link together with a degree of art which we could not but admire, if their consequences were not equally injurious to the coasting trade of all nations by excluding them, or nearly so, from the four ports so recently opened. In point of fact, according to the text of these articles, it becomes exceedingly ruinous to land at Hongkong merchandise destined for the Chinese continent. … Thanks to the drawing up of the Supplementary Treaty, freedom of commerce with the northern ports is become illusory, the privilege nominal.'

With reference, no doubt, to the foregoing statement of the Journal des Débats, which is, however, supported, as to the correctness of the translation here given, by statements which previously appeared in the Chinese Repository (March 1844), in the Friend of China (April 13, 1844) and subsequently (July 31, 1844) in the Commercial Guide, Sir Henry, later on (December 11, 1844), made the following remarks at a public entertainment given in his honour at the Merchant Tailors' Hall in London. 'A very erroneous impression went abroad through, I believe, some papers on the continent, that there had been some mistake committed in the (Supplementary) Treaty. That is quite incorrect. It arose from the necessity of my making public an abstract of the Treaty, while the Chinese published the whole, and a translation was made with many important omissions. Having been asked seriously whether there was any ground for the allegation that mistakes had been committed, I am happy to say that there was no cause whatever for alarm.'

In the absence, however, of any positive denial of the points really complained of, this negative and evasive statement of Sir H. Pottinger failed to satisfy the mercantile community of Hongkong. They did not for a moment believe the absurd allegation that Sir H. Pottinger's interpreter had been bribed, but they were convinced that, when Sir H. Pottinger signed the Chinese text of the Supplementary Treaty, he was ignorant of some of the objectionable provisions it contained, and that by his known aversion to a literal English version to be submitted to him for publication, and by his being content (for unexplained reasons of his own) with an English abstract, the Chinese Mandarins were enabled to slip into that version which they submitted to him for signature, provisions which, while looking in a free English translation like harmless prolixity of diction, had the effect of limiting the Hongkong coast trade to dealings with Canton under arbitrary restrictions (differential duties) and excluding it (by a flourish of the pen) from the other open ports.

Sir H. Pottinger, it was said, fumed and fretted when he discovered how he had been duped by Kiying and the other Commissioners, whom he and all Hongkong had honoured as exceptionally meek and truthful men. The Cantonese Authorities had all along put an embargo on all trade with Hongkong, but now claimed Sir H. Pottinger's express authority for doing so. At all the Treaty ports the Chinese officials frowned at any reckless Chinaman who had the hardihood to apply for a permit to ship goods to Hongkong, telling him that he was a base traitor to the national cause and ought to be dealt with accordingly. On June 7, 1841, Captain Elliot had 'clearly declared that there will be an immediate embargo upon the port of Canton and all the large ports of the Empire if there be the least obstruction to the freedom of Hongkong.' Had Sir H. Pottinger now carried out this threat, the Chinese would have yielded at once. But he shrank from a renewal of the war and from the confession that he had been duped by Kiying as much as Elliot was duped by Kishen. So he confined himself to diplomatic remonstrances, a game in which Europeans have always been worsted by Chinese Machiavellis. Under these circumstances, not only were Chinese merchants afraid of entering upon any commercial dealings with British or Chinese firms in Hongkong, but even among the mass of the Chinese population of the districts near Hongkong the notion got abroad that the Hongkong Governors were powerless in the hands of the Mandarins, and that the Chinese Authorities might punish artizans and labourers, resorting to Hongkong or settling down in the new Colony, by subjecting their relatives on the mainland to extortion and maltreatment. As trade could only be brought to Hongkong by guaranteeing perfect freedom from custom and excise exactions and inspiring native and foreign merchants with confidence in the Colonial Government. Sir Henry's Supplementary Treaty, by destroying both the freedom of the port and confidence in the independence of the Hongkong Government, unwittingly annihilated for the time all chances of Hongkong becoming the centre of the coasting trade. Successful as a diplomatist, dictating the terms of peace forced upon the Chinese at the point of the bayonet, Sir Henry appeared now to have been an utter failure when he attempted to negotiate a Commercial Treaty on equal terms with astute Chinese diplomatists. The principal points for which Sir H. Pottinger may be blamed consist in his leaving the important opium question entirely in statu quo ante and in omitting to secure for Chinese subjects residing in Hongkong freedom to trade (in Chinese bottoms at least) with the whole of China. It is said that when this truth at last forced itself upon the recognition of Her Majesty's Government, the proposal to raise Sir Henry to the peerage, in reward of the glorious negotiation of the Nanking Treaty, was dropped in view of this signal failure of the Supplementary Commercial Treaty.

The Chinese had yet other objections to Hongkong. The sea all around the Island was infested by pirates whose headquarters and stores of supplies were (falsely) believed to be under the direction of a Chinese resident of Hongkong enjoying official patronage. Sir H. Pottinger endeavoured (since May, 1843) to induce the Chinese Authorities to co-operate with him in putting down piracy in Hongkong and Canton waters, but his efforts were neutralized by corruption on the Chinese side and resulted only in further measures militating against the freedom of the port. For no other reason did the Canton Authorities condescend to co-operate with Sir Henry in this matter, but because it enabled them to persuade Sir Henry to place additional restrictions on Chinese junks visiting Hongkong. Moreover, as pirates ruled the sea all around Hongkong, so highway robbers and burglars seemed to have things their own way all over the Island. Government House even was entered by burglars (April 20, 1843), three mercantile houses (Dent's, Jardine's, Gillespie's) were attacked in one and the same night (April 28, 1843), the Morrison Institution was plundered by robbers who carried off the Chief Superintendent's Great Seal (May 19, 1843), and James White's bungalow was attacked and held by an armed gang until some sepoys opened fire upon them (February 23, 1844). No European ventured abroad without a revolver, and a loaded pistol was kept at night under every pillow. The principal merchants kept armed constables in their employ for the protection of their property, having no confidence whatever in the Colonial constables. Jardine, Matheson & Co. kept twelve armed men to protect their premises at East Point at an expense of £60 a month. Every private house inhabited by Europeans had its watchman going the round of the premises all night and striking a hollow bamboo from time to time in proof of his watchfulness. The scum of the criminal classes of the neighbouring districts looked upon Hongkong as their Eldorado and upon English law as a mere farce. Major Caine's floggings seemed to have no terror fmthem, and imprisonment in the Gaol, the healthiest locality of Hongkong, appeared to the half-starved gaol-birds of Canton a coveted boon. The Government now (May 1, 1844) made arrangements, a fortnight before Sir H. Pottinger left Hongkong, to organize a Police Force, thenceforth known among the Chinese as 'green coats' (Lukee), but as the discharged English and Indian soldiers of whom the corps was made up were helpless, in their ignorance of the native language, without the assistance of Chinese constables, and as the latter were of the lowest order, this establishment of a Colonial police made things rather worse. An order was also issued (May 10, 1843) that no boat on the harbour should leave its moorings after 9 p.m. and that, on shore, Chinese should carry lanterns after dark and not stir out of their houses after 10 p.m. Incendiarism, robberies, murders, piratical exploits on land and sea were in no way diminished by the foregoing measures. The nursery of crime was a heavily armed contraband trade in salt, sulphur and opium, established and vigorously developed by the lowest classes of Chinese residents in the Colony, doing as much injury to the best interests of Hongkong commerce as to the revenues of the Chinese Government.

No wonder that Hongkong was in bad odour among the Cantonese officials and people, that Chinese trading junks now commenced to give the harbour of Hongkong a wide berth and that the Chinese mercantile community, which had just begun to develop, disappeared even more rapidly than it had come. But what a depressing effect all this had on the mercantile prospects of the Colony may easily be imagined. English merchants now began to fear that the Colony was an egregious failure. Chusan was freely spoken of as being after all vastly preferable to Hongkong on sanitary and commercial grounds. Among the merchants, regrets were heard on all sides over the amount of money sunk in investments in land and buildings.

A summary of the complaints which the mercantile community gave expression to on sundry occasions, may be of interest. The allegations made against Sir H. Pottinger at the close of his administration were as follow: (1) that, relying upon the validity of Elliot's and Johnston's land-sales and expecting perpetuity of tenure, British merchants spent from $25,000 to $200,000 each, in buildings and improvements, but that Sir Henry advised the Home Government, ignorant of these facts, to grant them only leases of 75 years; (2) that he thus broke faith with the mercantile community after he had, from 1841 to 1843, used every endeavour, both by facilities temporarily offered to early occupants of land, and by the threat of the penalty of forfeiting their purchases to all who did not commence building, to induce British merchants of Macao and Canton to remove to Hongkong; (3) that, in negotiating the Nanking Treaty, he studiously neglected to provide for any extension of the ground allotted to the foreign community in Canton, or indeed for adequate facilities for building on the space they formerly occupied in Canton, and this with a view (at one time openly avowed) of forcing the British merchants at Canton to settle in Hongkong; (4) that, with a view to make the Colony pay its own expenses, he imposed on the colonists all sorts of financial and commercial restrictions and taxation, whilst giving the British community no municipal powers nor any representation in Council; (5) that, in the case of the Supplementary Treaty, acting as Plenipotentiary, he signed away the freedom of the port and betrayed the commercial and maritime interests of the Colony by giving the Canton Mandarins every facility to strangle the young commerce of Hongkong; (6) that, acting as Governor, he may have sought to further the interests of the Crown but failed to identify himself with the interests of British trade in Hongkong, being too proud to consult the views of the leading merchants, deaf to the voice of the press and callous to the wants of the people; (7) that, influenced by prejudices against the opium traffic and ignorant of the complexity of the commercial problem involved in it, he was in a fog as to the real requirements of the commerce of Hongkong and mistakenly assumed the rôle of a coast-guard officer of Chinese revenue, counteracting in every respect those free trade principles on which the commercial prosperity of the Colony in reality depended; (8) that, whilst doing everything to foster the illusion that Hongkong would immediately become a vast emporium of commerce and lavishly spending money on official salaries and buildings, he neglected the commonest sanitary measures and, instead of increasing the force of 28 police constables so as to provide at least a night patrol for Queen's Road, appointed a ridiculous corps of 44 Magistrates; (9) that, by irregularities connected with the Survey Department, which he placed under the charge of a relative of his own, and by looseness in the management of land-sales, as well as by granting Crown-lots to officials, he furthered the growth of a regular gamble in land and house property; (10) that he unduly postponed the organization of civil jurisdiction, left the Magistracy for years in the hands of a military officer having no legal knowledge or instinct whatever, whilst the Criminal Sessions, presided over on one occasion (March 8, 1844) by himself, were a solemn farce, and his final measure of handing over all civil suits to arbitration by Justices of the Peace was a reckless measure unsuited and injurious to the Colony; (11) that socially he isolated himself to such an extent that he never was in touch with any section of the community, whilst he, and the civilians nearest to him in office, thinking that the community were but opium dealers and smugglers intent only upon robbing the Government, acted throughout on the principle of not granting anything that could possibly be withheld.

It remains to sketch briefly the social life of this period. After the departure of the fleet and of the troops of the expedition, in the winter of 1842, the social life of the Colony underwent, as above stated, a sudden revolution. Previous to that time the head centre of social entertainments was formed by the head-quarters, where diplomatists, military and naval officers and local Government officers, domineered, and the leading merchants were but condescendingly admitted. With the commencement of the year 1843, the mercantile community had the preponderance, the Governor and his favourite officials insulated themselves at Government House, whilst the principal merchants kept open table for military and naval officers and visitors, gaining for themselves by their boundless hospitality the title of merchant princes. The European mercantile community (prevailingly British, but interspersed with a few German, American, Dutch, French and Italian merchants), now became the pivot of the social life of the Colony, and the more the Governor became estranged to them, the closer were drawn the bonds of social intercourse between the merchants and the officers of Her Majesty's Army and Navy. Major-General Lord Saltoun (since November 3, 1842) made himself popular as President of the local Madrigal Society, Major-General D'Aguilar and his staff rapidly became and continued to be (for a short time) the favourites of the whole community. Even Commodore Parker (since June 22, 1843), of the U.S. Frigate Brandywine, and his officers (in 1843 and 1844) vied with Rear-Admiral Sir Th. Cochrane (since June 11), 1842) and the officers of H.M.S. Agincourt in reciprocating the social entente cordiale which reigned every where in the Colony, outside of Government House and Government Offices. A theatrical company from Australia enlivened the winter evenings of 1842. A slightly better company (Signor Delle Casse) visited the Colony in winter 1843 and continued to occupy the Royal Theatre till 1844. But the annual races and regatta were, during this administration, still held in Macao, for which purposes a general pilgrimage to Macao occupied the latter half of the month of February in 1842 and 1843. The sympathies of the community were powerfully aroused at the news of the Cabul disasters, and a public subscription was immediately raised (October 13, 1842) for the relief of sufferers in Afghanistan. The whole community was in mourning when one of the heroes of Cabul, Lieutenant Eldred Pottinger, the brother and expected successor of the Governor, died at Hongkong, particularly as his death happened so soon after the decease of the Hon. J. R. Morrison (August 29, 1843) whose death was viewed as 'a national calamity' and was followed three weeks later by the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Knowles (November 7, 1843). The birth of the first British subject ushered into the world in Hongkong (January 20, 1843) was the occasion of much social humour; whilst, a year later, the rumour that the Governor, in view of the insufficiency of house accommodation procurable in the Colony, meditated billetting all military officers upon the European inhabitants (January 13, 1844), aroused an extraordinary amount of sarcasm. Between the public press and the Governors of Macao and Hongkong there arose (since January, 1844) a good deal of acrimonious discussion, which led to historical inquiries as to the exact title under which the Portuguese held their Colony. The cause of the misunderstanding was the fact that the original draft of an Ordinance published by Sir Henry, on January 26, 1844, to extend the law of England to all British subjects in China, particularized Macao as 'situate within the dominions of the Emperor of China,' and that this was viewed by the Governor and loyal Senate of Macao as a gross violation of international law and comity. Between the Canton and Macao communities on the one hand and the European community of Hongkong on the other hand, there was constant and intimate social intercourse. Though every commercial house readily accommodated visitors, there were several flourishing hotels, first 'Lane's Hotel' (1841 to 1843) and then (since May 1, 1844) the 'Waterloo' (Lopes) and the 'Commercial Inn' (Maclehose).

With the commencement of the year 1844, the foreign community of Hongkong began to be divided between friends and enemies of the Colony. Sir H. Pottinger, whose health was undermined by the strain of his diplomatic worries and by the influence of the climate, and who had never courted friendly relations with the leading British merchants, now began to show more plainly than ever that he held no higher opinion of the typical British Colonial trader than that which the Duke of Wellington held in the days of Lord Napier. And the British merchants, feeling themselves classed by the Governor with, smugglers and pirates, and resenting the mismanagement of the Supplementary Treaty, were not slow in attributing to Sir H. Pottinger a considerable share in the supposed ruin of Hongkong commerce. The officials and the community were thoroughly out of touch with each other; the newspapers freely libelled the Surveyor General, the Chief Magistrate, the Postmaster and other officials, whilst the official reports sent to Downing Street were believed to paint the iniquities of the merchants in glowing colours. In short the Colony of Hongkong earned in these early days the soubriquet, which it sustained for several decades later, of being both 'the land of libel and the haunt of fever.'

Such was the state of affairs when, to the astonishment of the colonists, Sir John Davis, the former successor of Lord Napier in the Superintendency of Trade, arrived with his suite in Hongkong (May 13, 1844) to relieve Sir H. Pottinger. The latter, it appeared, had been promised the next vacancy of the Governorship of the Presidency of Madras, which settlement, though nearer to the Equator, was then justly considered to be not by any means so hot a place for a British official as Hongkong had by this time become. Three years previous the editor of the Canton Register had assumed the role of the prophet and uttered the following diresome vaticination. 'Hongkong,' we read in the Canton Register of February 23, 1841, 'will be the resort and rendezvous of all the Chinese smugglers; opium smoking shops and gambling houses will soon spread; to those haunts will flock all the discontented and bad spirits of the Empire; the Island will be surrounded by floating Shameens (haunts of vice) and become a gehenna of the waters.' Such was the voice of Hongkong's Cassandra in 1841, and by the time that Sir H. Pottinger's administration closed, this prophecy seemed well nigh fulfilment. It may be doubted if Sir Henry returned to England in a much happier frame of mind than Captain Elliot whom he had superseded but hardly excelled.

When Sir H. Pottinger, after another visit to the Bogue for the vain purpose of patching up the Supplementary Treaty, left the Colony (June 12, 1844), the leading local newspaper, expressing the harsh views entertained at the time by the residents, spoke of him as a man 'who, with all his brilliant talents, appears either to have been utterly devoid of a sense of the moral obligations imposed upon him, his heart being perfectly seared to the impression of suffering humanity, or deliberately living in seclusion among a few adoring parasites whose limited intellects were devoted to pander to the great man's vanity.' Exaggerative as this statement appears, the general verdict of the mercantile community on Sir H. Pottinger's regime certainly was, that the deserved fame of the Plenipotentiary had been seriously tarnished by the acts of the Governor.

Upon his return to England he was sworn in as a Member of the Privy Council and the House of Commons voted him a pension of £1,500 per annum. He did not immediately take up the Madras appointment but went first to the Cape Colony (1846 to 1847) as Governor, and then held the governorship and command-in-chief of Madras Presidency till 1854. Born in 1789, he died in 1856, but 67 years old, at Malta.