Europe in China/Chapter 17
The Administration of Sir John Bowring.
April 13, 1854, to May 5, 1859.
uring the ten months of Sir G. Bonham's absence on furlough (1852 to 1853), while Major-General Jervois administered the government of the Colony, the affairs of the Superintendency of Trade were, as mentioned above, separately attended to by H.M. Consul of Canton who, for this purpose, temporarily resided at Government House, Hongkong. That Consul and Acting Chief-Superintendent of British Trade in China was Dr. Bowring.
He had previously gained for himself a measure of European renown and the verdict of public opinion was, to use the words of his own epigrammatic critique of Byron, that more could be said of his genius than of his character. Dr. Bowring's natural abilities were marked by great versatility but appeared to lack in depth. Starting in commercial life and having occupied several responsible posts on the Continent, he distinguished himself as a linguist, as a racy translator of foreign literature, as the author of promiscuous pamphlets on commerce, finance, and political economy, and as a member of numerous Literary Societies. So great was his literary and political reputation, that, when the Westminster Review was started (1824) to expound the doctrines of the so-called philosophical radicals, headed by Jeremy Bentham, and to advocate the views of the advanced liberal party, he was chosen as first editor and successfully held the office for many years in conjunction with H. Southern. During Earl Grey's Ministry, the Government also recognized his abilities and employed him repeatedly, first as Secretary to a Commission for investigating the public accounts, and on subsequent occasions in connection with Commercial Treaties concluded with France, the Zoll-Verein, the Levant and Holland. Whilst in Holland, he received (1829) from the Academy of Groningen the honorary title of Doctor Literarum Humaniorum. In the year 1833 he entered Parliament as Member for Kilmarnock (1833 to 1837) and, after three unsuccessful contests for Blackburn and Kirkcaldy, sat for seven years for Bolton (1841 to 1849). During this period he directed (in 1846) the attention of the Ministry to alleged illegal flogging in Hongkong and took, as a member of the Parliamentary Committee of 1847, a prominent part in the inquiry into Hongkong affairs and British relations with China. He was also for a number of years President of the Peace Society (established since 1816) which labours to procure universal disarmament and the substitution of international arbitration for war. Earl Clarendon and Lord Palmerston thought highly of Dr. Bowring and always remained his staunch supporters. Owing to financial reverses, however, Dr. Bowring had to seek a lucrative post and accepted, in January 1849, a Consular appointment. 'Lord Palmerston,' he says in his autobiography, 'offered me the Consulship of Canton where diplomatic questions with the Central Kingdom were discussed.' His actual occupations in Canton were, however, of a disenchantingly humble description and even during his short tenure of the Acting Superintendency in 1852, he disdained the limits of his little reign and considered himself a disappointed man. However, he adhered to Sir G. Bonham's policy, ruled in peace over the few Consular stations and abstained, while in Hongkong, from all interference with the affairs of the Colony, beyond resuscitating by sundry sinological contributions and by the inspiration of his personal presence the moribund Hongkong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. One of the most valuable papers he wrote at this time is his dispatch to Lord Clarendon of April 19, 1852, in which he correctly and lucidly summed up the policy of the Chinese Government, during the preceding ten years, as one of unflinching hostility and shewed the essential incompatibility of British and Chinese aims in the Far East.
On the return of Sir G. Bonham, Dr. Bowring, instead of resuming his duties at Canton, went on furlough (February 16, 1853) and returned by way of Java to England. There he secured for himself the long coveted appointment to the double office of H.M. Plenipotentiary in China and Governor of Hongkong. On December 24, 1853, he was created by Her Majesty a Knight Bachelor and a warrant issued which, while making provision for the eventual separation of the office of Chief-Superintendent of Trade from the Governorship of Hongkong, appointed Sir John Bowring to be H.M. Plenipotentiary and Chief -Superintendent of Trade, as well as Governor of Hongkong and its Dependencies and Commander-in-Chief and Vice-Admiral of the same. When Sir John received (February 13, 1854) his instructions under this warrant, and found himself also authorized to arrange for a commercial treaty with Siam, lie felt his greatness overpowering him. 'To China I went,' says Sir John, 'as the representative of the Queen, and was accredited not to Peking alone but to Japan, Siam, China and Corea, I believe to a greater number of beings (indeed no less than a third of the race of man) than any individual had been accredited before.' Thus, bearing his blushing honours thick upon him, he sailed to China with the sound of glory ringing in his ears.
When he arrived in Hongkong (April 13, 1854), where he had Colonel W. Caine for his Lieutenant-Governor and the Hon. W. T. Mercer for his Colonial Secretary, he found the community contented and the Civil Service still free from any dissension. The residents were certainly not enamoured with their new Governor but, though they attributed to him an inordinate anxiety for self-glorification, humorously saying that he had come back big with the fate of China and himself, there was no ill-will against him. Stirring times were certainly approaching.
Within a fortnight of his arrival in Hongkong, Sir John received the news of the declaration of war (March 28, 1854) against Russia. Immediately he started off, with the Admiral (Sir James Stirling) for Chusan, hoping to intercept the Russian fleet under the command of Count Pontiatin. It was a wild goose chase. The Russians had left for regions unknown. Meanwhile the fear of a Russian descent upon Hongkong grew apace among the residents. Indeed fear developed into panic (June 3, 1854) when the Lieutenant-Governor announced the defenceless condition of the Colony and in hot haste ordered batteries to be erected. Nothing came of it, however, as the combined Anglo-French squadron kept the Russians at bay on the Siberian coast. The port of Petropaulowsky was bombarded (September 1, 1854) but the land attack failed. The allied fleet, consisting only of six vessels, was too weak for any purpose but that of harrassing the Russian outposts. The Governor returned inglorious. But Hongkong patriotism vented itself in a public meeting (February 21, 1855) which resulted in an amalgamation of sundry private subscriptions that had been commenced, and sums of money eventually aggregating £2,500 were forwarded to the Patriotic Fund in London. This was done as a testimony of the admiration felt in the Colony for the heroic deeds of the British Army and Navy engaged in what was called 'the noble struggle against Russian aggression' and of Hongkong's sympathy with the sufferings consequent thereon. In addition to this, a patriotic address to the Queen was dispatched (March 15, 1855) declaring the approval of the community of the war against Russia and of the alliance entered into with 'the great French Empire,' and expressing a hope that this contest so unavoidably taken up would be vigorously pursued. The excitement was renewed when news came that the Hon. Ch. G. J. B. Elliot, in command of H.M. Ships Sibylle, Hornet, and Bittern, having discovered five Russian vessels in hiding in Castries Bay, had sneaked away, to the disgust of his subordinate officers, not daring to engage the Russians. The matter became afterwards the subject of a court martial in England which exculpated the commander of the squadron. The only event in the Russian war that affected Hongkong directly was the arrival in the harbour (September 21, 1855) of the German brig Greta in charge of a prize crew of H.M.S. Barracouta with 270 Russian prisoners of war and among them Prince Michaeloff. These were the officers and men of the Russian frigate Diana which had been wrecked at Japan. The Greta, having been chartered to convey the Russians from Simoda to Ayen was captured by Admiral Stirling. In November (1855), the Vice-Admiralty Court of Hongkong condemned the vessel as a lawful prize to H.M.S. Barracouta. Great was the rejoicing when the news of the restoration of peace with Russia was received (June 26, 1856). All the ships in harbour were dressed in their gayest, salutes were fired, and thanksgiving services were held in Union Church (July 2, 1856) and on the following Sunday in the Cathedral.
Siam next claimed the attention of Sir J. Bowring. The British Government had long been anxious, in the interests of commerce, to conclude a treaty with Siam, but repeated attempts made in this direction by the Governor-General of India and subsequently (1850) by Sir James Brooke of Sarawak had failed. The United States of America also had been foiled in their endeavour to open up Siam to foreign trade. Sir J. Bowring now tried his hand and succeeded where greater men had signally failed. He began by opening up a private literary correspondence with the young King who had received a European education and, being a kindred spirit likewise endowed with belletristic aspirations, was fascinated by the learned doctor's fame as a literary genius. Consequently, in reply to Sir John's overtures of literary brotherhood, there arrived in Hongkong (August 12, 1854) two envoys from Siam, bearers of a royal dispatch. Sir John adroitly arranged through these envoys an official visit as a proper compliment in return for the favour of a royal missive. Fortunate as he had been so far, he was even more favoured by fortune in securing for this delicate mission, the utter failure of which was confidently predicted on all sides, the services of that astute young diplomatist, Mr. (subsequently Sir) Harry Parkes of the Canton Consulate. Great was the need for diplomacy. There was a strong party at the Siamese Court, determined to make no concessions to foreign commerce. Sir John, therefore, starting for Siam in February, 1855, with but two vessels of war, avoided all display and went to work with the utmost caution. But the promptitude with which every obstacle, that the opposition party placed in the way of the mission, was astutely brushed away, was partly owing to the resource and acumen displayed by Sir Harry Parkes. Within an unexpectedly short period all preliminaries were settled and an important commercial treaty solemnly concluded (April 18, 1855). Sir J. Bowring returned to Hongkong victorious (May 11, 1855) while Sir Harry Parkes proceeded to England to obtain Her Majesty's signature and a year later the ratified treaties were exchanged (April 5, 1856) and supplementary articles signed (May 13, 1856). The great progress which Siam thenceforth made in commerce and civilization and the annually increasing trade which at once sprang up between Siam and Hongkong, date from the conclusion of these treaties, the success of which is in the first instance due to Sir John Bowring.
During his brief tenure of the Superintendency of Trade, Sir John devised, and succeeded in persuading the Earl of Clarendon (in 1854) to adopt, a scheme which has not only endured to the present day but formed the model of Consular organization followed by other nations, and was finally introduced in Hongkong (by Sir H. Robinson) as a Cadet scheme. It was a scheme for supplying the British Consular Service in China with Student Interpreters who, while studying the Mandarin dialect and the written language of China, should make themselves acquainted with the routine of Consular business. In sanctioning the immediate adoption of Sir J. Bowring's plan, the Earl of Clarendon forthwith presented one nomination to King's College, London, and one to each of the three Queen's Colleges in Ireland.
In his relations with the Chinese Government the learned doctor was unfortunate. His experience in the negotiation and formulation of commercial treaties, which had proved so eminently successful in Siam, gave him no advantage in contact with a nation that despised trade. As to literary affinities, there was nothing but contempt on the Chinese side. The doctor's gown of Groningen, which captivated the Siamese King, appeared ridiculous in the eyes of Chinese Mandarins whenever he displayed it before them. The most ingenious and persistent efforts which he put forth to open up personal relations with high Chinese officials invariably met with a stolid rebuff. Sir John saw this very soon but, ignorant yet of the utter futility of peaceful measures, he attempted to gain by direct intercourse with the Court at Peking what he had failed to obtain at the hands of provincial dignitaries. Accordingly he started (September 16, 1854) in H.M.S. Rattler for Shanghai, in company with the French Minister M. Bourbillon, leaving Mr. D. B. Robertson in charge of the Superintendency of Trade at Hongkong, while Colonel W. Caine acted, as before, as Lieutenant-Governor. After some consultations held at Shanghai, Sir John, the U.S. Minister McLane and M. Bourbillon's Secretary proceeded, with H.M.S. Rattler and U.S.S. Powhattan, to the mouth of the Peiho where a conference, vainly expected to result in the opening up of direct negotiations with Peking, had been arranged with deputies of the Viceroy of Chihli. Beyond the opportunity which the foreign Ministers here had of stating their wishes, ventilating their grievances and hinting at intervention in aid of the suppression of the Taiping rebellion, this move was absolutely futile. On their return to Shanghai, the Ministers observed the strictest silence as to the results of their conference at the Peiho. Undeterred by this failure. Sir John was, two years later (October, 1856), on the point of starting on a second visit to the Gulf of Pehchihli, when troubles arose at Canton. But of these later on.
Sir John and the other Ministers had thought they might possibly succeed in securing direct diplomatic intercourse with Peking, without the pressure of an armed demonstration, because the Imperial Government was at this time hardly pressed by the progress of the Taiping rebellion and supposed to be secretly desirous of foreign intervention. Sir John, following the example of his predecessor, and having sent Consular Officers to Chinkiang and Nanking (September, 1854) to report to him upon the stability, resources and prospects of the Rebel Dynasty, came to the conclusion that the Rebel Government was a gigantic imposture. Hence he concluded that the interests of British commerce in the East demanded an abandonment of the neutrality insisted upon by the Foreign Office and he vainly hoped to secure the opening up of China to foreign trade by the offer of foreign intervention. In taking this view, Sir John ran counter to a party powerfully represented in China and in England by Bishop Smith and the Missionary Societies whose views were at the time efficiently advocated by a Consular Officer (T. T. Meadows). 'If the Taipings,' wrote Mr. Meadows, were to succeed, then 480 millions of human beings out of 900 millions that inhabit the earth would profess Christianity and take the Bible as the standard of their belief.' That Sir John, with his conviction of being accredited, as the Queen's representative, to so great a portion of the human race, resisted the temptation of posing as the apostle of the much belauded Taiping cause does credit to his sagacity. But that the ex-President of the Peace Society should think of putting the sword of Great Britain into the scale against the so-called Christian Taipings and eventually draw the sword against the ruling Manchus, was an anomaly which, while it caused his fanatical opponents in China to slander him as being an atheist, alienated from him the attachment of his calm political friends in England.
Meanwhile the Taiping rebels continued their depredations in the central and southern provinces of China. In July, 1854, the city of Fatshan (the Birmingham of South-China) fell into their hands and a panic broke out in Canton (July 20, 1854) resulting in a general exodus of the wealthier classes. Crowds of fugitives took refuge in Hongkong. Kowloon city, opposite Hongkong, was at the end of September, 1854, repeatedly taken and retaken by the Rebels and the Imperialists. The former closed in upon Canton from all sides and commenced a blockade of the Canton River which caused the junk trade of Canton city to migrate for a time to Hongkong. Owing to the general increase of piracy and the facilities for smuggling afforded by the general paralysis of the Imperial revenue service, there sprang up in Hongkong a strong demand for small European vessels (lorchas) which were chartered or purchased by local Chinese firms to convoy fleets of junks or to engage in an irregular coasting trade. Sir J. Bowring fostered this movement by passing two Ordinances (No. 4 of 1855 and No. 9 of 1856) which granted a Colonial register, and the use of the British flag, to vessels owned by such Chinese residents as were registered lessees of Crown lands within the Colony. The capture, by the Taipings, of the Hoifung and Lukfung district cities (in the N.E. of Hongkong) in September, 1854, seriously interfered, for a time, with the market supplies of the Colony. Armed bands of Taipings also paraded the streets occasionally, until the police (December 21, 1854) stopped it by arresting, in the Lower Bazaar, several hundred armed Rebels who were about to embark to attack Kowloon city. About the same time, the Governor issued a Neutrality Ordinance (No. 1 of 1855) to regulate the exclusion from the harbour of armed vessels under the contending Chinese flags and the manufacture and sale of arms and ammunition. Since September, 1854, there was at anchor in the harbour a fleet of war-junks under the command of an alleged prince (Hung Seu-tsung) of the Taiping Dynasty who, with his officers, fraternized with the local Chinese Christians and some of the Missionaries. More than a week elapsed after the passing of that Ordinance without its being acted upon and meanwhile the Colony narrowly escaped (January 23, 1855) the danger of a naval battle being waged in the harbour, as nine war-junks, carrying 2,000 Imperialist soldiers, arrived and anchored west of the Lower Bazaar whilst a large number of Taiping war-junks were lying close to the Hospital-ship Minden. After much delay, however, both parties were ordered off and peacefully departed in different directions. The Taiping fleet returned to Hongkong in September, 1856, when Hung Sen-tsung addressed a letter to the Governor, stating that he had been commissioned by the Taiping Emperor to reduce the Kwangtung province, and asking for permission to charter in Hongkong steamers and junks to convey his troops to Poklo whence they would start operations against the Manchu troops. Sir John Bowring sent a copy of the letter to Viceroy Yeh and vainly claimed some credit for having declined the proposed alliance.
It is worthy of notice that the long continued successes of the Taipings did not induce the Manchu Government to relax its anti-European policy in the slightest degree. Repeatedly did Sir John hint to the Canton Viceroy how valuable the friendship of England might be to him. Again and again he reminded the stolid Mandarin of an accumulation of unredressed grievances owing to his incessant disregard of Treaty rights, and pressed him to concede at least a friendly interview for an informal discussion of the situation. It was all in vain. When Mr. (subsequently Sir) Rutherford Alcock was to be installed in his office as H.M. Consul in Canton, Sir John wrote to Viceroy Yeh (June 11, 1854) and proposed to introduce the Consul to him. Yeh left the dispatch unacknowledged for a month and then informed Sir John unceremoniously that there was no precedent for granting his request. At the close of the same year, when the Taipings blockaded the Canton river and defeated the Imperialist fleet (December 29, 1854) in a pitched battle at Whampoa, the proud Viceroy, in his hour of distress, condescended to ask Sir John to protect Canton city against the impending assault of the Taipings. Sir John hastened to Canton with Admiral Stirling (January, 1855) and, under the pretext of protecting the lives and property of British residents at Canton, took with him a large force (H.M. Ships Winchester, Barracouta, Comus, Rattler and Styx). This move had the desired effect of over-awing the Taiping fleet which forthwith retired. But when Sir John now once more asked Yeh for an interview and alluded to the unfulfilled promise of the opening of Canton city, the ungrateful Viceroy was as intractable as ever. The Earl of Clarendon had, when giving Sir John his instructions (February 13, 1854), specially warned him, 'to treat all questions of unrestricted intercourse with the Chinese with much caution, so as not to imperil commercial interests which, with temperate management, would daily acquire greater extension.' But this policy of waiving at Canton the rights granted to British residents and condoning the insults incessantly offered to them by that proud city, did no good with people like the Cantonese gentry. It merely postponed the impending crisis and put off for a brief interval the day of reckoning for years of continued breaches of Treaty rights. Canton was now the only port in China where the Nanking Treaty was systematically disregarded, and this was done at Canton simply on account of the proximity of Hongkong. The establishment of a British Colony at the mouth of the Canton river was to the haughty Cantonese what German Alsatia is to sensitive Frenchmen: a festering wound in their side, a source of constant irritation.
Yeh Ming-shen, the successor of Seu Kwang-tsin in the Imperial Commissionership and Viceroyalty at Canton and the most faithful exponent of that Manchu policy which heeds none but forcible lessons and is bound by none but material guarantees, was the very man to bring the existing popular irritation to a crisis. He was the idol of the gentry and literati of Canton who had (in 1848) erected, in honour of Sen and Yeh, a stone tablet recording their anthropophagous hatred of Europeans in the following memorable words, 'whilst all the common people yielded, as if bewitched, to all the inclinations of the barbarians, only we of Canton, at Samyuenli (1841) have ever destroyed them, and at Wongchukee (1847) cut them in pieces: even our tender children are desirous to devour their flesh and to sleep upon their skins.' Viceroy Yeh, the representative of this party, hated the power, the commerce, the civilization of Europe even more than any of his predecessors. He was not aggressive, however, nor did he think it worth while to strengthen his defences or his army. Yet he was determined to maintain the supremacy of China over all barbarians. He blamed Seu for having had too much parleying with Plenipotentiaries and Consuls. He would have no interviews of any sort. He would simply dictate his terms to them. As a matter of fact he never granted an interview to any foreigner, though Sir John plied him with arguments and Sir M. Seymour bombarded his residence to obtain one, and he never met a European face to face until that memorable day (January 5, 1858) when his apartments were unceremoniously burst into by the blue-jackets of H.M.S. Sanspareil and he was, while climbing over a wall, caught in the strong arms of Sir Astley Cooper Key whilst Commodore Elliot's coxswain 'twisted the august tail of the Imperial Commissioner round his fist.' But I am anticipating.
From the time of Yeh's assumption of office, the anti-foreign attitude of the literati at Canton became more and more pronounced. There was a brief lull in 1855 and 1856 while the Taipings hovered around Canton city. But when the rebels retreated, the gentry of Canton resumed their hostile demeanour. Inflammatory anti-European placards and handbills were distributed broadcast over the city and suburbs in summer 1856. Englishmen were stoned if they shewed themselves anywhere outside the factories. It was felt on both sides that an explosion was imminent. Yet neither side prepared for the coming struggle.
Such was the position of affairs when, on 8th October, 1856, the little incident occurred which gave rise to the famous Arrow War. The Chinese Annalist tells the story in the following words. 'The difficulty arose through a lorcha (named the Arrow), having an English captain and a Chinese crew, anchoring off Canton with the Russian (sic) flag flying. Now the Nanking Treaty provided for the surrender of such Chinese as shall take refuge in Hongkong or on board English ships. When the Chinese Naval Authorities became aware that the crew was Chinese, a charge of being in collusion with barbarians was preferred and twelve Chinese seamen were taken in chains into Canton.' In reality, the facts were briefly these. Some Chinese crown-lessees of Hongkong had legally purchased in Chinese territory and from Chinese officials a small clipper-built vessel (lorcha) which those officials had re-captured from Chinese pirates. The purchasers, residents of Hongkong, brought the vessel to the Colony, gave her the name Arrow, and in due form obtained for her (in October, 1855) a Colonial register under Ordinance No. 4 of 1855. As the original owners of the vessel (whose rights the Chinese officials had set aside) brought an action against the purchasers in the Supreme Court of Hongkong, the ownership of the vessel was judicially established. The Arrow was then employed in the legitimate coasting trade, open to British ships, and thus visited the port of Canton, flying the British flag, on 8th October, 1850. Although the renewal of her register happened to be several days over-due, that did not in law deprive her of her privileges as a British vessel. Nor did the Chinese Authorities know of it. The unceremonious arrest of her crew on the part of the Chinese Authorities on the charge of 'collusion with barbarians' and their refusal of Consul Parkes' demand that the men be surrendered to him for trial in the Consular Court (as required by the Treaty), constitute the indisputed facts of the case. The only point in which this violation of Treaty rights differed from numerous previous acts of the Cantonese Authorities was the fact that the arrest of the crew involved in this case a deliberate insult to the British flag.
To the Chinese merchants and shipowners residing in Hongkong, the point in dispute appeared to be the question whether their owning vessels, lawfully registered under a Hongkong Ordinance, made them liable to a charge of being in collusion with barbarians. The Admiral on the station, Sir Michael Seymour, rightly looked upon the case as an unprovoked insult to the British flag, such as demanded an immediate apology or redress. Sir John Bowring saw in this move of the insolent Viceroy a good opportunity for settling the question of official intercourse dear to himself and for securing the promised opening of Canton city demanded by the merchants. His Chinese advisers, Consul Parkes and Secretary Wade, saw deeper and recognized in the case, not merely the old foolish assumption of Chinese supremacy, but the unavoidable conflict between Europe and Asia or (as Parkes put it at the time) between Christian civilization and semi-civilized paganism. At any rate, this much is perfectly clear, that, even if the Arrow case had never occurred, hostilities would have broken out all the same.
Sir J. Bowring commenced action by demanding (October 10, 1856) a public surrender of the crew. This was refused. He next demanded (October 12th) an apology. This was also refused. Sir John then authorized the seizure (October 14th) of a Chinese gunboat. Yeh ridiculed such petty retribution and sent word that the gunboat was not his at all. At last (October 21st) Sir John solemnly threatened warlike operations unless an apology was tendered and the crew restored to their vessel within 24 hours. Yeh sent the twelve men to the Consul with a message that two of the men must be returned to him as they were wanted, and refused an apology. Admiral Seymour now stepped in and undertook to avenge the insult to the British flag. He commenced by demanding of Yeh a formal apology and access, for that purpose, into the city. When Yeh curtly refused this demand, there commenced what was thenceforth known as the Arrow War.
The Admiral demolished forthwith some Chinese forts (October 23rd and 24th), and, when this failed to impress the stubborn Viceroy, the Admiral bombarded (October 27th to 29th) his official residence. Contrary to all expectation this measure also failed to elicit an apology. Next the city wall opposite Yeh's residence was breached (October 29th), but Yeh, having removed to a safe distance within the city, defied the Admiral to do his worst, feeling sure that the handful of men under the Admiral's order would not venture inside Canton city which the literati and their trainbands had declared safe from invasion. To move Yeh's colleagues, the Admiral bombarded (November 3rd to 5th) the official residences of the Civil Governor and of the Tartar General. Yeh still held out. The Admiral destroyed another fort (November 6th) and dismantled the Bogue forts (November 12th and 18th). But, when these measures also left the Viceroy as indomitable and intractable as ever, the Admiral informed Sir John that, in the absence of troops, nothing more could be done and retired to Hongkong, whence he wrote home asking for a reinforcement of at least 5,000 men. Chinese and European residents of Hongkong were dismayed.
Now it was Yeh's turn to commence hostilities in his own way. He had previously (October 28, 1856) put a price of $30 on English heads. He now raised the reward to taels 100 per head, called upon the Chinese population of Hongkong to leave the Colony immediately, and placarded the streets of Hongkong and Canton with appeals to the people to avenge his wrongs by any means whatever. In response to this appeal, which had at first no effect in Hongkong, the Canton mob set fire to the European factories at Canton (December 14, 1856) and later on (January, 1857) to the British docks and stores at Whampoa.
In Hongkong, where Taiping rebels and professional pirates and brigands had been making common cause under the aegis of the local Triad societies, the European community was, ever since the Arrow incident, pervaded by a growing sense of insecurity. On 10th October, 1856, a public meeting, summoned to consider matters seriously affecting the interests of the Colony, bitterly complained of the total inefficiency of the Police Force for the protection of life and property. Various forms of registering the Chinese residents, so as to exclude all Chinese whose honesty was not vouched for, were proposed and urged upon the Government with the utmost confidence. Sir John, however, put no trust in the vouchers that would have been produced and shrank from a measure the thorough execution of which would have involved the forcible deportation of the vast majority of the local Chinese residents. His refusal to sanction any of the popular measures proposed by the British community gave great offence and the irritation increased when the fleet retreated from Canton, foiled by Yeh's obstinacy, and more particularly when his placards appeared at every street corner calling upon all loyal Chinese residents of Hongkong to avenge his wrongs and to make war against all Europeans which they could do only by dagger, poison or incendiarism. The European community now felt the enemy lurking in their midst, the British flag successfully insulted, the navy defeated, the Governor indifferent to their danger. What measures the Governor did take, served only to increase the excitement which now commenced to take hold of the community. On 30th December, 1856, a general rising of the mob being apprehended, H.M.S. Acorn was anchored near the Central Market to overawe the Chinese rowdies congregating in that neighbourhood. On the same day an auxiliary Police Force was organized and an attempt was made to enrol volunteers as special constables. The new-year opened with the news that the S.S. Feima, having been attacked by Chinese soldiers, was hulled in several places, and that incendaries had been at work in different parts of the town. The Governor now issued (January 6, 1857) in great haste a draft Ordinance for better securing the peace of the Colony. But the measures it resorted to, greater stringency as to night-pass regulations, deportation of suspected emissaries or abettors of enemies and compulsory co-operation for the extinction of fires, gave no satisfaction to the community in the absence of a Draconic form of compulsory registration. It was once more suggested that every Chinaman not carrying on his person an official badge and registered voucher of his honesty should be deported. The feeling of insecurity increased. Jardine Matheson and Company found it necessary to obtain a detachment of blue-jackets and marines to guard their premises, and the local papers now published a 'daily chronicle of Chinese atrocities.' Within the first fortnight of 1857 this chronicle contained daily items of local outrages such as 'shooting of four men with fire balls upon them; temporary stupefaction of three Europeans after eating poisoned soup; discovery of a headless body in the Wongnaichung valley; firing matsheds on Crosby's premises in Queen's Road Central; capture of S.S. Thistle (January 13, 1857) by Chinese soldiers disguised as passengers, who murdered eleven Europeans and several Chinese and burned the vessel.'
On the morning of January 15th, 1857, a few hours before the mail carrying to England the foregoing budget of news left the harbour, the foreign community was seized by a general panic, as at every European breakfast table there arose the simultaneous cry of 'poison in the bread.' Some 400 Europeans, partaking that morning of bread supplied by the E-sing bakery, owned by a Heungshan man called Ah-lum, suffered more or less from arsenical poisoning. Every 4 lb. loaf of white bread, subsequently analysed at Woolwich (by F. A. Abel), contained grains ·92 per cent. of white arsenic. Toasted bread contained the smallest proportion (·15 grains per cent.) of poison, yet 4 ounces of it were found to contain 2½ grains of arsenious acid. Brown bread contained about 2½ times and white bread about 6 times the quantity found in the toast. Those who ate least suffered the most. Some, Lady Bowring for one, were delirious for a time; many had their health permanently injured; all received a severe nervous shock by the sudden consciousness of being surrounded by assassins. No immediate death was caused by this poisoning incident but some, as for instance Lady Bowring, who had to return to England and failed to recover, were evidently hurried into the grave by it. Even after the lapse of a year (January 17, 1858) the local papers asserted, with reference to the death of a Mr. S. Drinker and Captain Williams of the S.S. Lily, that their deaths had been medically traced to the arsenic swallowed by them on the great day of poisoning. On that memorable morning the excitement was of course most intense. The medical men of the Colony, whilst personally in agonies through the effects of the poison, were hurrying from house to house, interrupted at every step by frantic summons from all directions. Emetics were in urgent request in every European family. Ah-lum, the baker, who for some weeks previous had been worried by messages from the Heungshan Mandarins to remove from Hongkong, had left for Macao that morning with his wife and children, but they also found themselves poisoned, and Ah-lum was returning voluntarily to Hongkong when he was arrested. Strange to say, bis workmen did not run away even after the poison had taken effect, but remained at the bakery until the police, after a delay of many hours, came and arrested 51 men. As many as 42 of them were kept for 20 consecutive days and nights on remand, in an underground police cell, 15 feet square by 12 feet high. It was thenceforth justly termed 'the Black Hole of Hongkong.' The local papers seriously urged the Governor 'to have the whole of the poisoning crew of E-sing's bakery strung up in front of the shop where the scheme was concocted.' Justices of the Peace, shrinking from the application of lynch law, entreated the Governor to proclaim forthwith martial law and to deport every Chinaman whose loyalty could not be vouched for. Though every member of his family suffered from the poison, Sir John remained calm and rejected all suggestions of hasty measures. But to the eyes of the terror-stricken community his firmness bore at the time the aspect of callous indifference. When, by the end of the month, the excitement had somewhat abated, the European residents still complained that nothing was done by the Governor to assure public confidence against the recurrence of a similar or worse catastrophe, and that the deportation (to Hainan) of 123 prisoners, released owing to the overcrowded state of the gaol, increased the general feeling of insecurity.
The result of the criminal prosecution instituted against Ah-lum and his workmen was equally unsatisfactory to the public mind. There was no evidence incriminating the persons arrested, and Ah-lum, who was defended by the Acting Colonial Secretary (Dr. W. T. Bridges), was acquitted by the verdict of an impartial jury. He was, however, re-arrested as a suspicious character and detained in gaol until July 31st, 1857, when he was released, by order of the Secretary of State, on condition of his not resorting to the Colony for five years. A civil action had meanwhile been brought against Ah-lum by the editor of the Friend of China (W. Tarrant) who obtained (June 24, 1857) $1,000 damages for specific injuries, that resulted from eating the poisoned bread sold to him by Ah-lum. The latter was, however, by this time reduced from affluence to bankruptcy. He may have been innocent of any direct complicity, but the community, which unanimously attributed the crime to the instigations of Cantonese Mandarins, would not believe otherwise but that Ah-lum had, in some measure, connived at the diabolical attempt to poison the whole of the foreign residents of Hongkong.
When the news of the outbreak of hostilities at Canton reached England, the several political parties in opposition formed a coalition with a view to censure the Ministry. Lord Derby, supported by Lord Lyndhurst in the House of Lords (February 24, 1857), and Mr. Cobden, supported by Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli in the House of Commons (February 26, 1857), heroically espoused the cause of that innocent lamb-like Yeh and condemned the proceedings initiated by Sir John Bowring in the most unsparing terms. It was said that the Government had one rule for the weak and another for the strong, and that the conduct of Sir John Bowring had been characterized by overbearing insolence towards the Chinese authorities. Lord Palmerston warmly defended the action of Sir John but, as the debate proceeded, it soon became evident that the question involved was not merely the proposed appointment of a Committee to investigate British relations with China, nor even the recall of Sir John, but the fate of the Ministry. However, when Mr. Cobden's vote of censure was carried in the Commons by a majority of 16 votes, the Ministers, instead of resigning, announced (March 5, 1857) that, after passing certain urgent measures, they would dissolve Parliament in order to appeal, on the Chinese question, to the nation. They added that meanwhile the policy of the Government with regard to China would continue to be what it always had been, viz. a policy for the protection of British commercial interests, and that the question of the continuance or recall of Sir John Bowring was one that had been and still was under the grave consideration of the Cabinet. Without waiting for the result of the coining elections. Lord Palmerston sent orders to Mauritius and Madras to mobilize troops for service in China, and forthwith selected the Earl of Elgin and Kinkardine to proceed by the mail of April 26, 1857, as special Plenipotentiary to China. A supplementary force of troops, steam-vessels and gun-boats was immediately dispatched from England. The Viceroy's placards and the poisoning of the Hongkong community, which the Cantonese Mandarins had considered a master stroke of their policy, exercised, at the general elections, a considerable influence towards bringing about the deliberate adoption by the nation of the warlike policy of Lord Palmerston. He returned to power stronger than ever. However, so far as Sir John Bowring was concerned, the debate in Parliament blasted in one fell swoop all his ambitious hopes. Lord Clarendon indeed wrote to him sympathetically, saying, 'I think that you have been most unjustly treated and that in defiance of reason and common sense the whole blame of events which could not have been foreseen and which had got beyond your control was cast upon you.' But there was no comfort to Sir John in such a private declaration of his innocence, seeing that it was accompanied by the official announcement that he had been superseded in his office as H.M. Plenipotentiary in China. This measure virtually left him but the Governorship of Hongkong. But what was that in the eyes of the man who had been accustomed to say, 'I have China, I have Siam, I have no time for Hongkong'? Moreover, the loss of personal friends like Cobden and others, who could not get over the fact that the late President of the Peace Society had been the originator of the latest war, cut him to the quick. Fame now seemed to him but a glorious bubble and honour the darling of but one short day.
Owing to the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny (May, 1857) nearly a year passed by before the troops sent out to China and opportunely diverted to India, were ready to recall the Chinese Government to a sense of Treaty obligations. Meanwhile Viceroy Yeh continued his irregular warfare. The S.S. Queen suffered (February 23, 1857) the same fate as the Thistle and her captain and European crew were assassinated. Incendiarism flourished in a petty way in Hongkong, and Duddell's bakery, inaccessible to poisoners, was fired (February 28, 1857). Mandarin proclamations once more (March, 1857) peremptorily ordered all Chinese to leave Hongkong on pain of expatriation, but as yet with little result. A vast conspiracy was discovered (April 15, 1857) to have been organized in Canton to make war in Hongkong against British lives and property. Attacks on British shipping and even on British gunboats were of frequent occurrence until Commodores Elliot and Keppel (May to June, 1857), by a series of dashing exploits, drove Yeh's war-junks out of the delta of the Canton River and, by a brilliant action near Hyacinth Island, destroyed Yeh's naval headquarters in the Fatshan creek.
On 2nd July, 1857, Lord Elgin arrived in Hongkong. Reluctantly he condescended to receive an address from the British community, but departed presently for Calcutta. He left upon Sir John and the leading residents, whose suggestions he treated in supine cavalier fashion, the impression that his sympathies were rather with poor old Yeh than with his own countrymen. He shewed plainly that he looked upon the Arrow incident as a wretched blunder. Hongkong residents rejoiced to learn that his instructions (of April 20, 1857) included, besides the demands for compensation, for a restoration of Treaty rights and the establishment of a British Minister at Peking, also 'permission to be secured for Chinese vessels to resort to Hongkong from all parts of the Chinese Empire without distinction.' But this hope, like every other local expectation centering in Lord Elgin, was doomed to disappointment. Before his departure he would not even listen to Sir John's urgent advice that the reduction of Canton was a necessary preliminary to an expedition to the Peiho. But when he returned from Calcutta (September 20, 1857), together with Major-General C. van Straubenzee and his staff, he yielded the point as it was then too late in the year for operations in the North. A further delay was necessary to await the arrival of the French Plenipotentiary, Baron Gros, and his forces, as the French, under the pretext of having the murder of a missionary to avenge, desired to co-operate in the humiliation of China. Meanwhile the Canton River had been blockaded (August 7, 1857) by the British fleet and a Chinese coolie-corps of 750 Hakkas had been organized. When all was ready at last, fully a year had passed by since the British retreat from Canton. At last the formulated demands of the Allied Plenipotentiaries were forwarded (December 12, 1857) to Yeh. After ten days' consideration, Yeh calmly replied by a lengthy dispatch, full of what even his friend Lord Elgin characterized as sheer twaddle. He promised nothing but was willing to go on as of yore. An ultimatum was now presented (December 24, 1857) giving him 48 hours to yield or refuse the demands of the Allies. Meanwhile 5,000 English and 1,000 French troops moved into position in front of Canton city without opposition. Yeh had notified the people that, as the rebellious English had seduced the French to join them in their mutinous proceedings, it was now necessary to stop the trade altogether and utterly to annihilate the barbarians. But this appeal to a people without popular leaders was fruitless. Yeh replied to the ultimatum by a reiteration of his trite arguments. So the bombardment of Canton, or the 'Massacre of the Innocents' as Lord Elgin termed it, commenced (December 28, 1857). The fire was, as on former occasions, exclusively directed against the (untenanted) official buildings and Tartar quarters and against the city wall and forts. Lin's fort blew up by accident. Yeh quietly continued ordering wholesale executions of Chinese rebels. Next day (December 29, 1857) Magazine Hill, which commands the whole town, was captured and the city walls occupied without much loss. Yeh remained obstinate. At last, after a strange pause in the proceedings, detachments of British and French troops entered the city simultaneously from different points (January 5, 1858) and, after a few hours of unopposed search, Yeh as well as the Civil Governor (Pih Kwei) fell into the hands of British marines, while the French captured the Tartar General. The question now arose what to do with Canton city and its captured officials. Lord Elgin reluctantly admitted that a successful organisation of the government of Canton city was impossible so long as Yeh was on the scene. So he sent him to Hongkong en route for Calcutta where he died two years later. Whilst Yeh was in Hongkong, Sir J. Bowring had at last (February 15, 1858) the long desired pleasure of an interview with Yeh on board H.M.S. Inflexible. but Yeh would not enter into any conversation and referred him to his interpreter (Ch. Alabaster). Meanwhile the government of Canton city had been settled by the appointment (January 10, 1857) of a Mixed Commission consisting of Consul Parkes, Colonel Holloway of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Captain Martineau des Chenez of the French Navy and Governor Pih Kwei. This Commission, thanks to Sir H. Parkes' organizing genius, succeeded, with the aid of a small force of Anglo-French police and by means of re-instating all the executive and administrative officers under Pih Kwei, in restoring forthwith public confidence and in maintaining perfect order. These arrangements were made by Lord Elgin, at the suggestion of Consul Parkes who was the head and soul of the Commission, contrary to the advice of Sir J. Bowring. The latter opposed such a mixed form of government on the ground that a dual administration of this sort, containing so many elements of discord, would fail to inspire public confidence, produce mutual distrust and clashing of authority, and give the Chinese in other provinces the idea that the barbarians did not really conquer and govern Canton city. Events disproved these vaticinations. For several years, the most turbulent city of the Empire was successfully and peacefully governed by the Allied Commissioners. Trade was immediately resumed and the industries of Canton carried on as usual. The village volunteers in the adjoining districts, with whom Pih Kwei was secretly in league, were kept in check by occasional military expeditions, organized at the suggestion of Consul Parkes and dispatched to Fatshan and Kongtsun (January 18, 1858), to Fayen (February 8th) and far up the West River to a distance of 200 miles (February 19th to March 3rd). The government of Canton city and these military expeditions into the interior of Kwang-tung Province were indeed the only operations in the whole Arrow War that made a good and lasting impression upon the Chinese people. These measures shewed conclusively the ease with which large masses of Chinese can be controlled by a moderate but firm display of European power. They demonstrated also the benefits that would accrue to the Chinese us well as to foreign trade by a real opening up of South-China to the civilizing influences of British power.
Lord Elgin, with his maudlin misconception of the true character of the Manchu Government, proved a signal failure. Like Sir H. Pottinger, he did well so long as warlike operations proceeded, but the moment parleying commenced he allowed himself to be duped. After sending the demands of the Allies to Peking (February 11, 1858) and finding them to his surprise treated with contempt, he took the Taku forts (May 20, 1858) and occupied Tientsin with ease. But, instead of pushing on to Peking and dictating his terms there, he stopped at Tientsin and negotiated a Treaty (June 26, 1858) void of any material guarantees apart from money payments. Instead of retaining at least possession of Tientsin until the ratification of this compact, he retreated forthwith to Shanghai to settle commercial regulations. Next he yielded the main point of his own Treaty (permanent representation of Europe in Peking) and returned to England (March, 1859) only to find, three months later, when the Treaty ratifications came to be exchanged, that the wily Chinese had fooled him. The success with which Yeh had for years disregarded the Nanking Treaty in the South, naturally encouraged the Mandarins in the North to signalize their disregard of the Tientsin Treaty by their action at Taku (June 25, 1859) which permanently injured British prestige in China.
In Hongkong the turmoil continued in one way or other to the end of Sir J. Bowring's administration. On the day when the bombardment of Canton commenced (December 28, 1857), there was among Europeans in Hongkong a serious apprehension of an emeute which found expression in a startling Government notification to the effect that 'in case of fire or serious disturbance' notice would be given by beat of drum and residents would find 100 stand of arms ready for volunteers willing to assist the police. Owing to the frequency of conflagrations, ascribed to a gang of incendiaries headed by the famous pirate chief Chu A-kwai, the Governor offered (May 17, 1858) rewards of $500 for the arrest of the man and $100 for each of his accomplices. This appeal to sordid cupidity in order to further the ends of justice naturally appeared to the Chinese as on a par with Yeh's system of retaliating for the bombardment of Canton by offers of head-money to private assassins and patriotic incendiaries in Hongkong. That barbarous mode of warfare against the Colony was steadily continued by the Mandarins of the neighbouring districts who, in spite of the occupation of Canton by the Allies and even after the conclusion of the Tientsin Treaty, continued to worry Chinese residents of Hongkong into hostile attitude against Europeans. In January, 1858, the Legislative Council had represented to Lord Elgin the continued exactions practised by the Chinese Authorities at Heungshan and especially at Casa Branca (near Macao) on the (Chinese in the employ of Europeans in Hongkong, but Lord Elgin would not listen to the suggestion of the Council that a forcible demonstration be made against those Authorities. When the Mandarins found how comparatively fruitless their proclamations were, they moved the rural militia-associations to compel all village elders to cut off the market supplies of the Colony and to send word to their respective clansmen in Hongkong to leave the Colony immediately on pain of their relatives in the country being treated as rebels (including mutilation and forfeiture of property). This popular measure had its effect. Many Chinese in the Colony now resigned lucrative employment for very fear. A sensible exodus of individuals of all classes commenced and by the middle of July European residents began to feel themselves boycotted. A public meeting was therefore held (July 29, 1858) to discuss the extensive departure of Chinese from the Colony and the stoppage of food supplies. In accordance with the urgent resolutions unanimously passed by this meeting, Sir John boldly departed from Lord Elgin's line of policy and issued (July 31, 1858) a proclamation emphatically threatening the Heungshan and Sanon Districts with the retributive vengeance of the British Government if servants and food supplies were withheld any longer. Copies of this proclamation were successfully delivered at Heungshan by a party of British marines, but when H.M.S. Starling conveyed copies of the same proclamation to Sanon, a boat's crew, while under a flag of truce, were fired upon by the braves of Namtao. Thereupon General C. van Straubenzee and the Commodore (Hon. Keith Stewart) proceeded to Sanon with a small military and naval force and took the walled town of Namtao by assault, with the loss of two officers and three men. This measure had its effect in an immediate restoration of the market supplies of the Colony and an altered attitude of the Mandarins.
In addition to all the excitement which the Arrow War and its by-play of poisoning, incendiarism and boycotting involved, the public life of Hongkong was, throughout this administration, convulsed by an internal chronic warfare the acerbities of which beggared all description. It is not the duty of the historian to drag before the public eye the private failings of individuals nor is it proposed here to enter upon all the details of the mutual criminations and recriminations in which the public men of the Colony and the local newspapers indulged during this liveliest period in the history of Hongkong. But as the eruptions of volcanoes reveal to us the secrets of the interior of the earth, so these periodical explosions of feeling in the Colony give us an insight into the inner workings of local public life. It is necessary therefore to characterize, and trace the real cause of, these dissensions which disturbed the public peace, the more so as these matters became subjects of debate in Parliament to the great injury of the reputation of Hongkong.
When Sir John arrived in the Colony (April, 1854), the public mind had for some years been, and still was, in a state of tolerable tranquillity, and peace reigned within the Civil Service. The only disturbing element was a local newspaper, the Friend of China, edited by a discharged Civil Servant, who generally criticized the Government and most public officers with some animus and repeatedly insinuated that the Lieutenant-Governor (whilst Chief Magistrate) had been in collusion with his comprador's squeezing propensities. The fact that the Lieutenant-Governor allowed five years to pass before he stopped these unfounded calumnies by the appeal to the Court which, as soon as made, consigned that editor to the ignominious silence of the gaol (September 21, 1859), encouraged in the Colony a vicious taste for journalistic personalities. The more wicked a paper was, the greater now became its popularity. Soon another local editor (Daily Press) who, in certain business transactions in connection with emigration, had been crossed by the Registrar General, outstripped in scurrility his colleague of the Friend of China, and commenced to insinuate that the Registrar General was the tool of unscrupulous Chinese compradors and in league with pirates. The Registrar General sent in his resignation (June 11, 1855) but the Government, as well as the Naval Authorities, having perfect confidence in him, he was later on (December 6, 1850) induced to resume his office.
The next source of trouble was the system of Petty Sessions devised by Sir G. Bonham and continued by Sir J. Bowring who appointed (October 4, 1855) 13 non-official Justices of the Peace (subsequently increased to 15) to assist the stipendiary Magistrates. The non-official Justices, however, did not attend the Sessions unless they were specially sent for and the Chief Magistrate, as a rule, sent for them only when he had a difficulty with the Executive. In spring 1856, the Governor several times took occasion to remonstrate with the Chief Magistrate (T. W. Davies) regarding his interpretation of the new Building Ordinance (No. 8 of 1856) in cases of encroachments on Crown laud. The Magistrate, disregarding the minutes of the Executive Council on the subject of that Ordinance, twice (May 23rd and June 3rd) sent for non-official Justices to assist him in cases in which the Crown was prosecutor, and these Justices, representing; the interest of house owners, emphatically concurred in his interpretation of the Building Ordinance. Thereupon the Governor addressed (August 19, 1856) a severe remonstrance to the Justices of the Peace, blaming- all for habitual neglect of their duties in not giving regular attendance at the Petty Sessions (at which half of them had never attended at all) and censuring four Justices with having (May 23rd) concurred in a decision by which the obvious intent of the law was abrogated, and with having (June 3rd) supported the Magistrate in his determination not to give effect to the law. An angry correspondence ensued, in the course of which the Justices, alleging that they had attended in Court whenever they were requested to do so, claimed the right to frame their decisions according to their own convictions and characterized the Governor's action as an attempt to intimidate the stipendiary Magistrate. 'The question at issue,' they wrote, 'is in effect this, whether the law is to be administered according to the judgment of the Magistrates who are sworn to dispense it according to the best of their knowledge and ability, subject to correction by appeal to the Supreme Court, or according to the dictation of the Governor and Executive Council.' The dispute culminated in a passionate public meeting (October 16, 1856). This meeting complained of the retrospective character of the new Building Ordinance (8 of 1850) and the insufficiency of the Surveyor General's staff, of the right given to the Crown to recover costs at common law (Ordinance 14 of 1856), of the exclusion of the public from the meetings of Legislative Council and of the absence of a Municipal Council. In his reply the Governor clearly had the best of the argument but promised a reconstruction of the Legislative Council. He added, however, that this reconstruction would not be based on a representative principle, 'to which the circumstances of Hongkong are, in the judgment of Her Majesty's Government and of a majority of the members of the Executive Council, far from adapted.'
But now a more potent element of discord appeared on the scene in the person of a testy Attorney General who for some reason or other had been sent out, fresh from the House of Commons where he had represented the electors of Youghal (1847 to 1850). While considering it his mission in life to set things right in Hongkong, he seemed to combine, with thorough uprightness of character, a lamentable want of selfrestraint. He was hardly a month in the Colony before he quarrelled with both Magistrates, and scenes of mutual recrimination were enacted in the Supreme Court (June, 1850). This was followed, two months later, by an action for defamation brought by the junior Magistrate against the Attorney General. With the exception of an allegation of defalcations in the Colonial Treasury, which had been placed (in 1854) in charge of its chief clerk (R. Rienacker) and necessitated the appointment (June 13, 1851) of a Commission of Inquiry, there was a brief lull in this internal turmoil, while the public mind was occupied with, and wrought up to great nervous tension by, the Arrow War and its local consequences. In spring 1858, however, the shattered nerves of the community were thrilled anew with a series of Civil Service disputes. The editor of the Daily Press, having gone so far as to accuse the Governor of corruptly favouring the firm of Jardine, Matheson & Co. in the matter of public contracts, was promptly brought to book and sent to gaol for six months (April 19, 1858). About the same time the Acting Colonial Secretary who, being a barrister, had taken over the office on condition of his being allowed private practice, was charged by the Attorney General with collusion with the new opium farmer (an ex-teacher of St. Paul's College) from whom he had accepted a retainer. A Commission (H. T. Davies and J. Dent) inquired into the charge (April, 1858) but, though some slight blame was laid on the Acting Colonial Secretary, his honesty and honour were held unimpeached. Next the Attorney General resigned the Commission of the Peace unless the Registrar General were excluded from it (May 14, 1858). The Governor at once asked the Justices to nominate a Committee of Inquiry. The Justices declined to do so but, when the Committee appointed by the Governor (Ch. St. G. Cleverly. H. T. Davies, G. Lyall, A. Fletcher, John Scarth) advised the retention of the Registrar General in office (July 17, 1858), four of the Justices (J. D. Gibb, P. Campbell, J. Rickett, J. Dent) published their dissent from the verdict of the Committee. Now in the course of this inquiry side-issues had meanwhile been raised which carried the conflict still further. The Attorney General not only impeached the Acting Colonial Secretary's integrity by insinuating that he had burned the account books of a convicted pirate (Machow Wong) to screen himself and the Registrar General against a charge of complicity with pirates, but the Attorney General also publicly divulged an unfavourable opinion, as to the character of the Acting Colonial Secretary, which the Governor had expressed in confidential consultation with the Attorney General. Naturally, the Governor now suspended the Attorney General, and referred the case to the Home Government. Although the Secretary of State, in reply, expressed himself satisfied with the conduct of the Acting Colonial Secretary, the latter voluntarily resigned his office (August 28, 1858). However, when he commenced an action for libel (with reference to the burning of the books of Machow Wong) against the editor of the Friend of China, the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty and the Court awarded costs against the Government (November, 1858). The conduct of the Governor who, to avoid a subpoena served on him in this case, had hurriedly departed for Manila (November 21), 1858) being too ill to attend, provoked much criticism at the time. But unfortunately matters did not stop here. Elated by this measure of success, the editor of the Friend of China, and the suspended Attorney General commenced an agitation in England which only served to bring upon the Colony greater odium and the contempt of the nation.
In January, 1859, a public meeting held at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in the belief that the books of Machow Wong had been burned to screen a public officer from conviction of complicity with pirates, petitioned Parliament to direct such an inquiry as would vindicate the honour of the British Crown and do justice. This example was followed by meetings held at Tynemouth, Macclesfield and Birmingham, and at some other towns public meetings were convened for the same purpose. On March 3rd, 1859, Earl Grey brought the Newcastle petition before the House of Lords, while Sir E. Bulwer-Lytton dealt with the matter before the Commons. The latter stated, that the documents in the case had been referred to a legal and dispassionate adviser of the Crown; that he discovered in them hatred, malice and uncharitableness in every possible variety and aspect; that the documents might consequently be considered a description of official life in Hongkong; that the mode in which the Attorney General had originated and conducted the inquiry, and the breach of official confidence which occurred in the course of the trial, had led the Governor to suspend him; that, after a dispassionate consideration of the papers, he could come to no other conclusion than that the Governor's decision ought to be confirmed; that it was, however, his intention, as soon as possible, to direct a most careful examination into the whole of the facts. Of course the public press treated the whole case in a variety of ways, but the verdict of public opinion in England was, no doubt, that to which the Times gave utterance (March 15, 1859) in a scathing article of which the following is a brief digest.
'Hongkong is always connected with some fatal pestilence, some doubtful war, or some discreditable internal squabble, so much so that, in popular language, the name of this noisy, bustling, quarrelsome, discontented little Island may not inaptly be used as a euphemous synonym for a place not mentionable to ears polite. Every official's hand is there against his neighbour. The Governor has run away to seek health or quiet elsewhere. The Lieutenant-Governor has been accused of having allowed his servant to squeeze. The newspaper proprietors were, of late, all more or less in prison or going to prison or coming out of prison, on prosecutions by some one or more of the incriminated and incriminating officials. The heads of the mercantile houses hold themselves quite aloof from local disputes and conduct themselves in a highly dignified manner, which is one of the chief causes of the evil. But a section of the community deal in private slander which the newspapers retail in public abuse. The Hongkong press, which every one is using, prompting, disavowing and prosecuting—the less we say of it the better. A dictator is needed, a sensible man, a man of tact and firmness. We cannot be always investigating a storm in a teapot where each individual tea-leaf has its dignity and its grievance.'
Black as the case thus put before the home country was, it did not cover the whole extent of Hongkong's internal warfare. The dissensions which, as above recounted, disgraced the public life of the Colony, invaded also the Legislative Council. In the first instance the Members of Council, both unofficial and official, frequently overstepped during this period the limit of their proper functions, occupying themselves with matters having no concern with legislation, and really trenching on the powers of the Executive. Next, the official Members, and notably the Attorney General and the Chief Magistrate, claimed an extraordinary measure of independence. On more than one occasion, and without any previous communication to the Governor or Colonial Secretary, these officials censured the Executive in strong terms. The Attorney General, with whose advent the character of the Legislative Council underwent a marked change, often repudiated the authority of the superior Law Officers of the Crown when their opinions, formally conveyed to the local Government, differed from his. With equal nonchalance he declared that he took his seat in Council as an independent legislator, not as a servant of the Crown, and that he was there, if he thought fit, to criticize and oppose the views of the Executive. Naturally the unofficial Members felt under these circumstances justified in claiming equal liberties.
When Sir J. Bowring became Governor, the Legislative Council was presided over by the Lieutenant-Governor and consisted of 6 Members of whom 2 were non-officials. In 1855 Sir John submitted to the Secretary of State (Mr. Labouchere) a proposal to enlarge the basis of the Council by introducing 4 additional official and 3 non-official Members, giving a total of 13 Members exclusive of the Governor. Mr. Labouchere disapproved of so great an enlargement but sanctioned a moderate addition. This was given effect to by the introduction of the Colonial Treasurer, the Chief Magistrate and one nonofficial Member, the relative proportions being thus preserved and the Legislative Council then consisted of officers of the Government and 3 members of the community. Sir John however added (in 1857) the Surveyor General and in November, 1858, probably with a view to secure the passing of the Praya Ordinance, he further introduced the Auditor General, so that there were 8 official to 3 non-official Members. Against this measure the 'unofficial Members at the bottom of the table,' as Sir John humorously styled them, put in a formal protest (November 20, 1858) and suggested that the nomination of the Auditor General should remain in abeyance until the original number of officials be returned to by the occurrence of vacancies or that the original proposition of Sir J. Bowring as to the number of non-official Members should also be carried out. A memorial impeaching the Governor was talked of, just before he left for Manila, but after further consideration the idea was abandoned. From after the close of the session of 1857 the proceedings of the Council were regularly published and from March 25th, 1858, the Governor allowed the public to be present at the debates.
The principal bone of contention between the Governor and his Legislative Council was the construction of a Praya or sea-wall which was to extend along the whole front of the town from Navy Bay to Causeway Bay and to be named Bowring Praya. The Council heartily approved of the completion (October 1, 1855) of the new Government House (at a total cost of £15,318 spread over many years), the erection of a number of water tanks (1855) and the completion (in 1857) of two Police Stations (Central and Westpoint Stations) and four new Markets. But the projected Praya and particularly its proposed name aroused determined opposition. Sir John's scheme had the support of an official Commission appointed by him to weigh all the objections which could be urged against it, and he assiduously hoarded the surplus funds of several years to provide the means for carrying out his pet scheme. The scheme was published (November 10, 1855) with the announcement that the Governor had power to enforce it under the alternative, offered to unwilling lot-holders, of resumption according to terms of lease. Most of the Chinese lot-holders appeared to be willing to come to terms with the Government, but a public meeting of European owners passed (December 5, 1855) resolutions to the effect that the Governor's plan was defective and inadequate as a public measure, onerous upon individuals and infringing on the rights of holders of marine-lots. The opposition view thus formulated was ably maintained and put before the Colonial Office by the Hon. J. Dent with the support of the other unofficial Members of Council. The Governor's contention was that many marine-lot holders had, for years past, recovered from the sea and appropriated to their own use, against the rights of the Crown, land measuring 298,685 square feet which had been arbitrarily superadded to the respective leases granting in the aggregate other 260,326 square feet. The owners of marine-lots, having thus doubled their respective properties, were naturally opposed to a scheme intended to re-establish the rights of the Crown. However, the Secretary of State (Mr. Labouchere), after considering the objections raised by Mr. Dent, decided against the marine-lot holders and instructed the Governor to proceed with the reclamation work as soon as the needful funds were available. The Chinese owners of marine-lots consented (in 1857) to reclaim, under Government supervision, and to pay rent for A large portion of the Praya in front of their holdings. As their work proceeded, the Governor succeeded in making amicable arrangements also with most of the European holders of marine-lots in front of the city, and that part of the Praya the frontage of which properly belonged to the Government was forthwith taken in hand. But two British firms (Dent and Lindsay), holding the small portion of land situated between the parade-ground and Pedder's wharf, obstinately resisted, though the estimates for the sea-wall and piers for this section amounted to less than £14,000. Finding, in 1858, that a sum of £20,000 of hoarded surplus funds was available for public works, the Governor, who had been advised by the Acting Attorney General (J. Day succeeded by F. W. Green) to proceed by Ordinance, had a draft Bill prepared by a Committee consisting of the Acting Attorney General, the Colonial Treasurer (F. Forth) and the Surveyor General (Ch. St. G. Cleverly). These officers assured the Governor that they were satisfied with the Bill which they prepared and which was published in the Gazette (October 23, 1858). The first reading of the Bill was opposed by Mr. Dent, voting alone. Owing to the Governor's absence on a trip to the Philippine Islands, the second reading of the Bill was delayed until 4th February, 1859. On that day the Governor was confident of success. The Acting Attorney General had assured him that the Bill would pass and would even have the support of one of the unofficial Members. But when the Council met, to consider this Bill on which the leading merchants were at issue with the Governor, the Chief Justice and the Lieutenant-Governor were absent, and Mr. Dent's motion that the Praya question be adjourned sine die was, to the intense surprise of the Governor, carried by six votes against three. The effect on the audience was startling. There was a tragico-comical tableau, which a local artist forthwith perpetuated by some woodcuts published in the Daily Press. It appeared that none voted in favour of the Bill except the Acting Attorney General, the Colonial Treasurer and the Auditor General. The Colonial Secretary (W. T. Mercer) had quite lately returned from furlough and thought the Bill might be considered later on; the Chief Magistrate (H. T. Davies) had not been consulted and thought water-works more urgent; the Surveyor General (Ch. St. G. Cleverly) said he had changed his mind; and all of them claimed the right of voting against the Government.
It must be said to the credit of Sir John that he did not dispute the right of the official Members of Council to vote according to their conscientious convictions. But he had not expected them to vote against his darling scheme without giving him previous notice. Sir John, however, drew one important lesson from this painful fiasco of his Praya Bill, viz. that the leading firms can defeat a Governor and that the public service must suffer if functionaries and especially the higher ones (Attorney General and Surveyor General) are allowed to accept private practice. 'The enormous power and influence of the great commercial houses in China, when associated directly or indirectly with personal pecuniary advantages which they are able to confer on public officers, who are permitted to be employed and engaged by them, cannot but create a conflict between duties not always compatible … One of the peculiar difficulties against which this Government has to struggle is the enormous influence wielded by the great and opulent commercial Houses against whose power and in opposition to whose personal views it is bird to contend.' These words of Sir John, as well as the whole story of this first Praya Bill, indicate a recognition of the fact that the commercial aristocracy created by his predecessor had by this time commenced to exercise a political influence liable to be inspired, occasionally, by the interests of individual firms rather than by unselfish consideration of the public good.
The legislative activity of the Council was, particularly after the arrival (in spring 1856) of the Hon. Chisholm Anstey, the Attorney General, somewhat excessive. He had a passion for reform and set to work, revising local procedure in civil and criminal cases (Ordinance 5 of 1856) and in Chancery (Ordinance 7 of 1856), limiting the admission of candidates to the rolls of practitioners in the Supreme Court (Ordinance 13 of 1856), regulating the summary jurisdiction of the Police Court and appeals to the Supreme Court (Ordinance 4 of 1858) and declaring sundry Acts of Parliament to be in force in the Colony (Ordinances 3 of 1856 and 3 and 4 of 1857). As many as 15 Ordinances were passed by the Council in the year 1856 and 12 Ordinances in 1857. Mr. Anstey received, however, small thanks for his zeal. Shortly after his departure a Colonial Office dispatch was read in Council (January 20, 1850) stating that the legal advisers of the Crown had severely commented on the careless manner in which British Acts of Parliament had been adopted in Hongkong. A lamentable state of affairs was revealed when Mr. Anstey's successor, in admitting the justice of the censure, stated that his own tenure of the office was too uncertain to admit of his commencing any new system of legislation or correcting mistakes for which he was not responsible.
Among the Ordinances of the year 1857 there is one (No. 12 of 1857) which requires special mention as it constitutes the first attempt made by a British legislature to grapple with and control the evils arising from prostitution, by the introduction in Hongkong of the system of registration, compulsory medical examination and the establishment of a Lock Hospital. This Ordinance was the work of Dr. W. T. Bridges, the Acting Colonial Secretary, who was an enthusiastic believer in the philanthropic virtues of Contagious Diseases Acts. Sir J. Bowring, with some diffidence, permitted the Ordinance to pass, stating that he reserved his opinion as to its value; but, when the Chinese community made an energetic stand against the application of the measure to the inmates of houses visited by Chinese, Sir John yielded and thereby deprived the scheme of a fair trial in Hongkong. The problem involved in such a C. D. Ordinance requires, for a just and charitable solution, that unbiassed mind which but few possess. Let it be granted that, in the rural surroundings of the domestic and social life of Christian England, where every form of moral and religious influence is at full play, regulations of the nature of the C. D. Acts would fall under the condemnation of morality and religion as being not only not required but distinct reminders and encouragements of immorality. But it must then also be granted, from the same Christian point of view, that the practice of taking young men away from those moral and religious influences of their rural homes and transplanting them, in the interest of the nation, in an enervating climate, in the midst of all the demoralising surroundings of sensuous native communities, is a proceeding equally to be condemned on the score of both morality and religion. The correct thing would therefore be, to abolish our army, our navy, and our Colonial commerce. This application of the Christian ideal is practically impossible. If, then, we cannot nationally realise the higher ideal of the Christian life and must perforce provide for war and commerce abroad, it is neither a consistent nor a moral or charitable proceeding to apply that impracticable ideal by withdrawing from the men thus placed, in the interest of the nation, in unnatural positions, the small measure of medical safeguards which C. D. Ordinances provide.
The legislative work of Sir J. Bowring's administration is further distinguished by the great attention paid to the interests of the Chinese residents. In March, 1855, Sir John ordered an investigation to be instituted concerning the extensive gambling system which had been in vogue among the Chinese employees of the Government. Strict regulations were made to prevent a recurrence of the evil. The right which Sir J. Bowring gave to Chinese lessees of Crown-lands, to become owners of British ships and to use the British flag in Colonially registered vessels (Ordinances 4 of 1855 and of 1856), has already been mentioned in connection with the Arrow War. As the laws in force in the Colony appeared to tend to the avoidance of all wills made in the Chinese manner. Sir John authorized (Ordinance 4 of 1856) the recognition in local Courts of Chinese wills when made according to Chinese laws and usages. Chinese burials which hitherto studded the hill sides in all sorts of places with graves, were regulated by the establishment of special Chinese cemeteries (Ordinance 12 of 1856). Chinese domiciled in the Colony (and other alien residents) were granted (by Ordinance 13 of 1856) the privilege of seeking qualification as legal practitioners. The government of the Chinese people by means of officially recognized and salaried head-men (Tipos) under the supervision of the Registrar General was organized (by Ordinance 8 of 1858) and a Census Office established. As to the latter, Sir John all along recognized the practical impossibility of individual Chinese registration, but insisted upon a registration of houses. He revised also the night pass regulations extending the time, when Chinese had to keep indoor, from 8 to 9 p.m. The markets of the Colony having hitherto been worked under a system of monopoly, which augmented the price of food stuffs in the Colony, Sir John introduced an Ordinance (9 of 1858) which to some extent diminished the evils of monopoly and transferred to the Government, in the shape of augmented rental, a portion at least of the profit which was before in the hands of two or three compradors supposed to enjoy special official patronage.
But the most effective and beneficial legislative act of this period, and one for which Sir J. Bowring deserves much credit, was the so-called Amalgamation Ordinance (No. 12 of 1858). This Ordinance empowered barristers to act as their own attorneys and thus gave the public the choice of engaging an attorney and barrister in the persons of two or of one member of the legal profession. The evil which it was intended to counteract by this measure consisted in the excessive amount of pettifogging, needless litigation and worthless conveyancing that prevailed in the Colony for many years previous. This evil was supported by adventurers, the riff-raff of Australian attorneys, who had infested the local Courts. Indeed the legal profession of this period was in even greater need of reform than the Civil Service. The Courts were in a continual ferment and the lower one of the two branches of the legal profession was a by-word. Evidence was produced before the Council, shewing not only that the public was systematically fleeced by exorbitant attorneys' bills for worthless work, but that attorneys kept Chinese runners whose duty was to hunt up and to stir up litigation cases, and that the percentage payable to these men was sometimes as much as two hundred dollars a month. There was among the leading merchants as well as among the principal barristers (Dr. Bridges, J. Day, H. Kingsmill) a strong and unanimous feeling in favour of an amalgamation of the two legal professions as a permanent remedy of the existing state of things. This proposal of an amalgamation was further supported by a letter addressed by 50 local firms to the Attorney General, and even the leading attorneys (Cooper-Turner, Hazeland, Woods) were either in favour of amalgamation or remained neutral. But the other attorneys raised a powerful opposition. The question was under the consideration of Sir J. Bowring for six months and he gave both sides full and patient hearing. When the Amalgamation Bill was considered by the Legislative Council (June 24, 1858), Mr. Parsons was heard and examined on behalf of the attorneys but, when he claimed to represent also the local Law Society, it was proved that he had received no authority from that body. After the most painstaking inquiry, the Bill was passed by seven votes against two and exercised thereafter a beneficial influence as long as it remained in force.
The cause celèbre (apart from the actions for libel above referred to) of this period was a dispute raised by General J. Keenan who, since July 11, 1853, officiated in Hongkong as U.S. Consul. After some animated correspondence with the Colonial Secretary (in October, 1855), concerning his views as to Consular rights and jurisdiction over American subjects on board American ships in harbour, the gallant General forcibly took the law into his own hands. In result, he had to answer (November 13, 1855) a charge of rescuing a prisoner (American) from the Civil Authorities charged with assault and battery. The case was, however, amicably arranged and General Keenan became a very popular man in the Colony.
The finances of the Colony gave Sir J. Bowring much anxiety. Finance was supposed to be one of his strong points. But he was hampered in every way and could not achieve much. He succeeded, indeed, in increasing the revenue by the sale of Crown-land, principally marine lots. He was aided in this respect by the surrender (in 1854) of the ground at Westpoint previously occupied by the Navy Department for stores which were removed to Praya East. Sir John succeeded in doubling the revenue within the five years of his administration and the last year of it, when compared with the revenue of the last year of his predecessor, presented an increase of £37,776. But he could not keep the expenditure within the limits of the revenue, although he restrained public works as much as possible. Consequently he had to fall back once more upon Parliamentary grants, obtaining £10,000 per annum for the years 1857 and 1858. These grants were made for hospital and gaol buildings. But by an advantageous exchange with the Rhenish and Berlin Missions he obtained a new hospital at little cost, and by reducing the proposed limits of gaol extension he made some further savings, so that the greater part of the Parliamentary grants, laid out at interest, could be left to accumulate for the purposes of his great Praya scheme, which however broke down at the last moment. After raising the police rate to 10 per cent., Sir John reduced it again (in 1857) to 8½ per cent., only to find that it after all proved insufficient to pay the cost of the police and gaol departments owing to the extra expenses caused by the disturbances consequent upon the Arrow War. In spring 1858, Sir John stated that he had intended to claim from the Chinese Government compensation for the increased expenditure caused by the disturbed state of the neighbouring Districts, but that the appointment of Lord Elgin had taken the power out of his hands. As a matter of fact, the Colony never received any compensation when the accounts between England and China were settled at Canton, at Nanking or Tientsin. The Imperial Exchequer appropriated in each case the whole amount of war compensation paid by China. Sir John deserves credit for having initiated the practice of depositing the surplus funds of the Government in local chartered Banks, paying interest, instead of leaving large sums of money lying idle in the vaults of the Treasury. The opium monopoly was re-instated by Sir John (April 1, 1858) to swell the revenue, but failed to fetch its true price, being let at $33,000 a year. Sir John removed one impost, the productiveness of which, he said, was small whilst its annoyances and inconveniences were great, viz. that upon salt. Sir John claimed credit for having wholly freed salt from taxation, as it became thereby an article of increased commercials importance. He seems, however, to have been oblivious of the fact that, as salt is a heavily taxed Imperial monopoly in China, his action in abolishing the salt tax in Hongkong merely gave a fillip to the Chinese contraband trade carried on by the salt smugglers in the Colony.
Sir J. Bowring paid much attention to the condition of the Police Force. Being at first dissatisfied with its organisation, he appointed (August, 1855) a Commission to inquire into the police system of the Colony and invited the public to give evidence verbally or in writing. Some changes were made in the constitution of the Force (in 1857) and at the close of his administration Sir John considered the outward appearance, discipline and general efficiency of the Police Force to have greatly improved. He stated that the complaints under this bead, which formerly were frequently addressed to the Government, were in 1858 much diminished in number. Considering the indifferent materials from which the selection, for economical reasons, had necessarily to be made. Sir John considered the state of the Force to be satisfactory and creditable to its Superintendent (Ch. May).
It could not be expected that crime would decrease during a period of such extraordinary commotion. Yet the criminal record of Sir John's regime compares, with the exception of the unique attempt to poison the whole foreign community, by no means unfavourably with that of other periods of the history of Hongkong. Indeed, although Hongkong was at this time more than ever the recipient of the scum of Canton and of the vilest and fiercest of the population of South-China, the experienced Superintendent of Police (Ch. May), himself an ex-Inspector of Scotland Yard, reported in 1857 that the proportionate number and gravity of offences committed in Hongkong was considerably less than that of the British metropolis. The execution (in 1854) of two Europeans, who had murdered a Chinese boy on the ship Mastiff, greatly impressed the Chinese residents with the equality of justice dealt out by British tribunals. In 1854 and 1855, gangs of robbers, having their lairs on the hillside or on the Peak, engaged in occasional skirmishes with the police (April 24, 1855) and made a daring attack (November, 1855) on some shops in Aberdeen, when several constables were wounded while the robbers sailed away with their booty in a junk. The conviction (June, 1854) of a Chinese boatman and bis wife of the murder of a Mr. Perkis, the attack made by an armed gang on the comprador's office of Wardley & Co. (December, 1855), a similar attack made on shops at Jardine's Bazaar (January 1, 1856), when several private policemen of Jardine, Matheson & Co. were wounded, and finally the murder (April 1, 1857) of Mr. Ch. Markwick by his Chinese servant, were the principal crimes, unconnected with the war, that attracted public attention during this period. In the latter case, the Registrar General (D. R. Caldwell) pursuing the murderer with the assistance of a gunboat to his native village, obtained his surrender by the threat of bombarding the village. The Secretary of State subsequently expressed his disapproval of this measure. Nevertheless the District city of Namtao was (March 19, 1859) actually bombarded by H.M.S. Cruiser (Captain Bythesea) to compel reparation for the sum of $4,500 which, as the comprador of the Registrar General's Office alleged, bad been stolen by Namtao braves from a Hongkong passage-boat in which he had an interest. These were high-handed measures inspired by the war-spirit of the time rather than by justice.
Sir J. Bowring believed that the spot where almost all crime was concocted in Hongkong was to be found in the unlicensed gambling houses of Taipingshan. In connection with this belief, and in view of the apparent impossibility of finding constables who would not wink at and profit by existing abuses rooted in the inveterate Chinese habit of gambling. Sir J. Bowring boldly proposed to Lord John Russell (September 4, 1855) and subsequently to Mr. H. Labouchere (February 11, 1856) to regulate the vice that could not he suppressed and to adopt the system in vogue at Macao of controlling Chinese gambling houses by licensing a limited number of them. The Lieutenant-Governor (W. Caine), the Acting Colonial Secretary (Dr. Bridges) and the Attorney General (T. Ch. Anstey), strongly supported the Governor's arguments, which were fortified by a considerable array of favourable reports, received from India, the Straits, the Dutch Possessions and the Governor of Macao (I. F. Guimaraes) as to the good results of such a control of Chinese gambling. None but the Superintendent of Police (Ch. May) and the Chief Magistrate (C. H. Hillier) raised a voice of warning. Accordingly a draft Ordinance, 'relating to public gaming houses and for the better suppression of crime,' prepared by Dr. Bridges and assented to by all the Members of Council (Mr. Hillier excepted), was submitted to H.M. Government (April 17, 1856). Although the measure met with a blank refusal on the part of Mr. Labouchere, who would not even consider it, Sir J. Bowring again and again, but in vain, represented to Mr. Labouchere's successors (Lord Stanley and Sir E. H. Lytton) his ardent conviction that the system of licensing vice for the purpose of controlling it was as legitimate in the case of gambling as in the case of prostitution and opium smoking, and that the existing state of things resulted in general corruption of the Police. The problem was left to be taken up ten years later by Sir Richard MacDonnell.
That piracy was specially rampant during this period was natural. The periodical onslaughts which British men-of-war made on the pirates swarming in the neighbourhood of Hongkong appeared to make little impression. Captious critics, both in the Colony and in Parliament, and particularly European friends of the Taiping Government, occasionally threw out doubts whether all the junks destroyed by British gunboats were actually piratical craft or Taiping; rebels or peaceful but in self-protection heavily armed traders, officially traduced by Chinese informers as pirates. H.M.S. Rattler made a successful raid against pirates at Taichow (May 10, 1855). H.M. Brig Bittern burned 23 junks and killed 1,200 men at Sheifoo (September, 1855) with the loss of her own commander killed and 19 men wounded. H.M.S. Surprise, assisted by boats of H.M.S. Cambrian, captured a whole pirate fleet at Lintin (May, 1858) and in result of this action as many as 134 large cannons were sold in the Colony by public auction and purchased by Chinese (probably confederates of pirates) at the rate of $234 a pair. H.M.S. Magicienne, Inflexible, Plover, and Algerine, destroyed (September, 1858) 40 junks, 30 snake-boats, a stockaded battery and several piratical villages. H.M.S. Fury and Bustard captured 12 junks near Macao (December, 1858) and in the same neighbourhood H.M.S. Niger, Janus, and Clown burned 20 junks and killed some 200 men (March, 1859). Mr. Caldwell, by whose information and guidance all these expeditions were undertaken, enjoyed the fullest confidence of the Authorities but incurred, at the same time, much obloquy and animosity on the part of European friends of the Taipings and particularly among the Chinese friends and abettors of the pirates. On 1st June, 1854, a foolish rumour gained credence among the local Chinese population that an immense piratical fleet was coming to attack and plunder the Colony. After the outbreak of the Arrow War such rumours were frequently in circulation owing to the general increase of piracy. As many as 32 piracies were reported in Hongkong between November 1st, 1856, and 15th February, 1857. After that they decreased in frequency. Only 5 cases of piracy were reported in March, 5 more in May and June, and 11 cases between June 28th and August 17th, 1857. One of the foreign associates of pirates, Eli M. Boggs, an American, was convicted (July 7, 1857) of piracy and sentenced to transportation for life, and a notorious pirate chief, Machow Wong, was sentenced (September 2, 1857) to 15 years' transportation (to Labuan). In October, 1857, the schooner Neva was attacked by pirates who murdered the captain and two of the crew. Piracy continued to worry the junk trade until March 1858, and the capture of a Hongkong passage-boat (Wing-sun) made some stir (January 17, 1858), but after that time the number of piracies sensibly decreased and no further attack on European vessels occurred until the day preceding the Governor's departure, when the S.S. Cumfa was plundered by pirates (May 4, 1859).
Owing to the long-continued disturbances in the Canton Province, the population of Hongkong increased, with some strange fluctuations (in 1856 and 1858), from 56,011 people in the year 1854 to 75,503 people in 1858, the average annual increase, during the five years of Sir J. Bowriug's administration, being only 6,915, though in the years 1854 and 1855 the annual increment amounted to 16,954 people. Sir John explained these fluctuations by saying that the returns of 1857 and 1858 were under-estimated by error and that the ambulatory habits of the Chinese residents might account for the inaccuracies of the census of 1856 which reported 71,730 persons residing in the Colony (exclusive of troops). Referring to the year 1850, Sir John reported an increase in the respectability of the Chinese population and stated that a better class of people had commenced settling in Hongkong. It was also noticed in 1857 that the average proportion of Chinese females residing in the Colony was far higher than it had ever been before.
In his report for the year 1854, the Colonial Surgeon (J. Carroll Dempster) urged upon the Government the necessity of securing drainage and ventilation for Chinese dwellings. He stated that smallpox was the principal scourge of the Colony in 1854. In spring 1855, fever raged among the Chinese population, some 800 deaths being reported between 6th February and 28th April. Increased activity of the sanitary department caused, in October 1856, just after the commencement of the Arrow War, much excitement among the Chinese residents owing to the heavy fines imposed by the Magistrates under the new Nuisance Ordinance (8 of 1850) and mobs of turbulent Chinese paraded the streets. The year 1857 was reported upon by the next Colonial Surgeon (Dr. Menzies) as having been distinguished by more than average unhealthiness consequent upon the failure of the usual amount of rain. But the next year was positively disastrous. When Dr. Harland (the successor of Dr. Menzies) died of fever in the year 1858, it was noticed that he was the fourth Colonial Surgeon who had fallen a victim to the climate. His successor, Dr. Chaldecott, reported, as a novel appearance in the Colony, the outbreak of true Asiatic cholera and hydrophobia. Whilst insisting upon the urgent need of improving the sanitary condition of the Colony, repeatedly pointed out by his predecessors, Dr. Chaldecott stated that this first appearance of Asiatic cholera 'was, if not entirely owing to, at least fearfully aggravated and extended by, the neglect of proper drainage and cleanliness, the results of which must act with double force in a community so crowded together as that of Victoria, and in a climate so favourable to the decomposition of animal and vegetable products.' He reported that Asiatic cholera in Hongkong first attacked the worst lodged and worst fed part of the Chinese community, then some Indian servants, next the European seamen bath ashore and afloat and at the same time some of the soldiers of the garrison and the prisoners in the gaol, and that it finally, in three cases, attacked the higher class of European inhabitants of the Colony and in one of those cases proved fatal. The residents of Macao suffered at the same time from the disease and cases occurred among the Allied Forces at Canton and in some of the men-of-war in the River. The disease afterwards visited the East Coast, reached Shanghai and then raged with great virulence over a large part of the Japanese Empire.
The erection of waterworks was repeatedly mooted during this period and particularly in the year 1858. Sir J. Bowring publicly stated that some of the opponents of his Praya scheme (Members of Council) had openly avowed their purpose of swamping the surplus revenue, accumulating for Praya purposes, by diverting it to other and hitherto unauthorized public works, and that it was for this sinister purpose that the construction of waterworks was prominently put forward. One of the principal advocates of the waterworks scheme was the Colonial Secretary (W. T. Mercer). Observing that the paucity of the hill streams on the northern side of the Island renders the procural of a sufficient water supply for the city a matter of extreme difficulty, and noticing also that this want is specially felt in the winter season when conflagrations are most frequent among the Chinese houses, he suggested to lead the water from Pokfulam round the side of the hill, attracting at the same time the smaller rivulets crossing the course of the proposed aqueduct. The Surveyor General estimated the cost of this undertaking at £25,000. Sir J. Bowring, however, opined that it was not the business of the Government to furnish individuals with water any more than any other necessaries of life and that therefore the annual income of the Colony was not fairly applicable to such speculations. Sir John suggested the formation of a joint-stock company, but pointed out, at the same time, the difficulty of collecting a water rate from the Chinese population.
In the sphere of commercial affairs, Sir J. Bowring was unfortunate in coming, almost immediately after his arrival in China, into collision with the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce. When the capture of Shanghai by the Taipings brought the Imperial customs office of that port to a standstill (September 7, 1853, to February 9, 1854), Sir G. Bonham had suggested that British merchants continuing trade there should deposit, in the Consulate, bonds for the eventual payment of customs dues.. The merchants demurred, on the ground that the Chinese Government could not claim duties, as it had ceased to exercise authority and to afford protection, and that American, Prussian and Austrian vessels actually came and went without paying duty on their cargoes. Sir J. Bowring had, before leaving London, discussed the matter with Earl Clarendon and understood him to say that those duties must be paid. By the time Sir John reached Shanghai, the Chinese customs office had been re-established (February 10, 1854), but, after working irregularly, ceased again (March 28, 1854}, whereupon the foreign Consuls agreed to collect duties by promissory notes. Sir John having informed the Chamber of Commerce of Earl Clarendon's decision, the British merchants handed in their bonds for arrears of duties down to July 12, 1854. After making an arrangement with the U.S. Minister that a European Inspector should be appointed to collect temporarily the duties payable to the Chinese Government, Sir John returned to Hongkong (August, 1854) and, to his great surprise, found there a dispatch awaiting him in which the Foreign Office, acting under the advice of the Crown Lawyers, instructed him to return the bonds to the parties by whom they were given. Sir John forthwith ordered restoration of those bonds which covered the period from September to February, but retained the other bonds, as he interpreted his instructions to authorize his doing so. But when the Shanghai Chamber once more appealed to the Foreign Office, Earl Clarendon told a deputation of the East India and China Association (November, 1854) that Sir J. Bowring had received positive instructions not to interfere in any way with the collection of duties. Sir John now suffered unmerited obloquy as the Shanghai merchants, supposing him to have acted throughout in a manner contrary to his instructions, censured his action in the matter as markedly insincere and autocratic. So much more does it redound to the credit of those same merchants, that they, as soon as the news of the Parliamentary condemnation of Sir John's character and conduct in connection with the Arrow War reached Shanghai (April, 1857), immediately passed resolutions enthusiastically defending his character and justifying his general conduct and policy.
The commerce of the Colony flourished throughout this administration. The conclusion of Sir John's treaty with Siam caused, since May, 1855, large shipments of Siamese produce to pour into Hongkong. This caused an immediate revolution of the rice trade which now fell largely into foreign hands, whence resulted a welcome reduction of prices, as famine rates had been ruling in Canton. The opening of Japan, by the Convention concluded (October 14, 1854) by Admiral Sir James Stirling, had no such immediate effect upon the trade of Hongkong, but laid the basis of an important though slowly developing branch of commerce. So also the trade with the Philippine Islands, materially furthered by the opening (June ]1, 1855) of the ports of Saul, Iloilo, and Zamboanga (on the island of Mindanao), waited only for the establishment of regular steam communication to benefit Hongkong more extensively by an annually increasing demand for British manufactures. Chinese emigration continued to develop from, year to year. An emigration officer was appointed by Sir John (May, 1854) with good effect. The first ship-load of emigrants to Jamaica was reported (November, 1854) to have arrived safely at Kingston. The efflux of emigrants to California and Australia (especially to Melbourne) continued to increase. As many as 14,683 Chinese emigrants were shipped from Hongkong in the year 1855, and 13,856 in 1858. The prohibition placed at one time (September 1, 1854) on the coolie trade to the Chincha Islands, when that trade was believed to result in the most aggravated form of slavery, was withdrawn again (February 3, 1855) as measures had meanwhile been taken for the better treatment and regular supervision of Chinese labourers on those Islands. About the same time new regulations concerning the diet and provisions of Chinese passengers in emigrant ships were made (March 7, 1855). Hongkong continued to be the port from which all South-China emigrants, able to pay their passage, preferred to embark for foreiun countries. The existence at one time (March, 1857) of closed coolie barracoons in Hongkong was a shocking discovery, and was immediately put down. Sir John thought the Chinese Passenger Ordinance too stringent as regards Chinese emigrants paying their own passage, though for the emigration of hired labourers under contract he considered the Act much needed. The disturbed condition of affairs within and without the Colony did not interfere much with the trade of the Colony. The junk trade, indeed, fell off suddenly in 1857, during the pause in the hostilities when the Canton River was virtually closed to Hongkong junks, and decreased by 270,244 tons in one year, but it speedily recovered again. The foreign shipping returns for the five years of this administration show an average yearly increase of 487 vessels, representing 251,350 tons, being 68 per cent. The tonnage increased from 300,000 to 700,000 tons of square-rigged vessels. The junk trade improved on the whole in similar proportions. Aided during this period by a great extension of the lines of communication connecting Hongkong with other parts of the world, the Colony not only continued to be the headquarters of all the great commercial establishments in China, but became by this time the most extensively visited port in the Pacific.
The currency question was not advanced in any way by Sir J. Bowring. By order of the Colonial Office he published (July 9, 1857) a notification to the effect that Australian sovereigns and half-sovereigns should have legal currency in Hongkong. But he urged upon the consideration of Her Majesty's Government the inconvenience of making the sovereign the standard of exchange in a country where gold is not legal tender. He also inveighed against the absurdity of keeping the accounts of the Government in Sterling in a Colony where not a merchant, shopkeeper or any individual has any transaction except in dollars and cents. Sir J. Bowring went even further and urged the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury to sanction the introduction of a British dollar and the establishment of a Mint in Hongkong. Unfortunately, this sage proposal was rejected by the Treasury Board on the plea that the mercantile supporters of Sir J. Bowring's notions were merely some Shanghai merchants who had, from dissension among themselves, prevented the introduction of Mexican dollars into that place and whose obvious interest it was to advocate any scheme which, if it succeeded, relieved them from difficulty and, if it failed, would cost them nothing. Sir J. Bowring's call for a British dollar was not only considered a risky and expensive experiment but premature in view of the fact that Sterling money remained, under the terms of the Royal proclamation of May 1, 1845, the standard of value in Hongkong, In this, as in some other respects, Sir John's ideas were in advance of his time.
How far behind the times some worthy men in Hongkong kept lagging, is evidenced by the fact that in spring 1856 the Lieutenant-Governor, Colonel W. Caine, revived the old suggestion, first made by Captain Elliot (June 28, 1841) and then repeated by misguided Hongkong merchants (December, 1846), that Parliament should impose a differential duty of one penny per pound in favour of teas shipped from Hongkong. Colonel Caine thought that, if this measure were adopted, the result would need no demonstration. Sir J. Bowring, however, incisively remarked in his covering dispatch, that the whole system of differential duties was, in his view, obnoxious in principle, fraudulent in practice and disappointing in result. After this, no more was heard of the scheme.
Among the minor commercial topics which ephemerically occupied the attention of the public, may be mentioned the complaint made by the Postmaster General regarding the irregular arrival of mail steamers (December 10, 1854), the breaking up of the Hongkong and Canton Steam Packet Company (December 13, 1854), and a decision given by the Supreme Court (May 2, 1855) to the effect that the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company must forward parcels without unnecessary delay and have no right to leave any of the parcels for Europe behind, at any point on their route, to make room for other cargo.
The fact that the commercial reputation of the Colony had, even by this time, not yet been re-established in England, became painfully evident by an article which appeared (December 17, 1858) in the Times and caused much comment in the Colony. Hongkong was there represented as feeling humiliated and displaced by the opening of so many Treaty ports in China. It was alleged that all the success of British arms in China, so valuable to the rest of the world and so important to the great interests of humanity, was rather carped at by Hongkong merchants, owing to their natural tendency towards their own individual interests. The notion of the writer was apparently that of Mr. M. Martin, whose influence came here once more (for the last time perhaps) to the fore, that the Colony was misplaced at Hongkong and should be removed to Chusan, if a British Colony was at all wanted in China. All the advantages of Hongkong were said to consist exclusively in its proximity to the single privileged port of Canton, the writer labouring under the supposition that Hongkong's successes were merely derived from Canton's difficulties.
The educational history of this period is characterized by a sensible decline of the voluntary schools. The Anglo-Chinese College, numbering from 30 to 85 scholars, was closed at the end of the year 1850 owing to the results not justifying its continuance. Though it had trained some useful clerks fur mercantile offices, it had failed from a missionary and educational point of view, and, recognizing the failure. Dr. Legge courageously closed this College. St. Paul's College continued for some years longer, but Sir J. Bowring, weighing its results in the official scales, pronounced it likewise a failure. 'For the last six years' he said, '250 pounds a year has been voted by Parliament to the Bishop's College for the education of six persons destined to the public service, and not a single individual from that College has been yet declared competent to undertake even the meanest department of an interpreter's duty, though I have no doubt of the Bishop's zeal and wish to show some practical and beneficial result from the said Parliamentary grant. To the missionaries alone I can at present look for active assistance, and their special objects do not usually fit them for the direction of popular and general education.' A new educational movement was initiated (March 6, 1855) by a public meeting which, complaining that Hongkong was still without a Public School for English children, who were educationally less cared for than the Chinese, established amid general enthusiasm a school (thenceforth known as St. Andrew's School) under a representative and highly popular Committee (the Hon. J. F. Edger, A. Shortrede, James Smith, B. C. Antrobus, C. D. Williams, Douglas Lapraik, F. W. M. Green, and Geo. Lyall). But though this School was well started and continued under the fostering care of Mr. Shortrede, the conviction soon forced itself upon public recognition that the Committee's original idea of confining the School to the tuition of the children of British residents was impracticable. Weighed in the popular scales, this School was also found wanting, though it lingered on for a few years longer. But while the principal voluntary schools thus declined during this period, and the smaller day schools established by the Protestant and Catholic missions for the benefit of the Chinese also continued in a languishing condition, the 13 Government Schools, giving a purely Chinese education, flourished and developed both in attendance and in organisation, through the appointment (May 12, 1857) of an Inspector, the Rev. W. Lobscheid. The Acting Colonial Secretary (Dr. W. T. Bridges), while stating (March, 1857) that nothing could well be at a lower ebb than the local educational movement, recognized distinct signs of healthy vitality in the Government Schools (small as they were) which he personally visited.
There is but little to record concerning the religious affairs of this period. Great indignation was aroused when Sir J. Bowring declined (May 25, 1855) the request of Bishop Smith that the Governor should appoint the 6th June, 1855, as a day of fast and humiliation, with reference to the Crimean War and in imitation of the popular action taken in England. Sir John incurred the unjust condemnation of most religiously inclined people in the Colony, but his action was strongly approved by the Colonial Office because the proclamation of a public fast day is a prerogative which even the Sovereign, as the head of the Church of England, may exercise only in the form of an Order in Council. A few years later, Bishop Smith came (October 18, 1858) again to the front by the publication of a stirring letter addressed to the Archbishop of Canterbury in review of the Tientsin Treaty as favourably affecting the prospects of Christianity in the East. This letter, in which the zealous Bishop appealed to the Church for renewed missionary efforts in China, had considerable effect both in England and on the Continent. In May, 1858, a public subscription was raised in Hongkong to obtain, under the advice of Sir F. G. Ouseley, the Oxford Professor of Music, an organ (to cost £125) and a first-class organist. In result a highly trained and talented musician (C. F. A. Sangster) was sent out (in 1800) and he conducted the Cathedral choir for 35 years with great success.
While the social life of Hongkong continued on the whole to center in Government House, Sir J. Bowring occupied to some extent the position held by his literary confrère and one of his gubernatorial predecessors, Sir J. Davis. Both men were about equal in genius and equally unpopular in Hongkong. It was often remarked that the friends and admirers of Sir J. Bowring—and that he had such, there is ample testimony—were mostly non-English. A correspondent of the New York Times (January 4, 1859) represented in glowing colours Sir John Bowring's sociability and intellectuality, alleging that one secret of Sir John's unpopularity 'in the detestable society of Hongkong' was the democratic simplicity he adhered to in his style of living. Among the occurrences which gave colour to the social life of this period, the following incidents may be enumerated, viz. the arrival (August 1, 1854) of the U.S. store-ship Supply, the officers of which had just surveyed extensive coal beds in Formosa; the arrival (August 14, 1854) of the American ship Lady Pierce with her owner Silas E. Burrows; the strike (September 12, 1854) of local washermen who demanded better pay; the presentation (September 14, 1854) by the American community of Canton and Hongkong of a service of plate to Commodore Perry in command of the U.S. Squadron; the arrival (November 1, 1854) from the Arctic Ocean of the discovery-ship Enterprise; a public farewell dinner given (November 20, 1858) to the officers of the 59th Regiment (2nd Nottinghamshire) which had been nine years in China; the series of theatrical entertainments (since January, 1859) given by the officers of the 1st or Royal Regiment who issued season tickets for the purpose.
The following facts may be mentioned as indicative of the progress made by the Colony during this period, viz. the formation, at the instance of Mr. W. Gaskell, of a local Law Society (October 28, 1854); the organisation of a volunteer fire brigade (January 23) and a Chinese fire-brigade (March 7, 1856); the improved lighting of the town, including now also Praya East and Wantsai, 100 oil lamps being added (October 1, 1856) to the previously existing 250 oil lamps, and the lighting rate providing for the whole expenditure (Ordinance 11 of 1856); the establishment at Pokfulam of a number of villas for use as sanatoriums and of farms laid out to grow ginger and coffee (June, 1856); the establishment by Mr. Douglas Lapraik and Captain J. Lamont of new docks at Aberdeen (June, 1857).
The measure of turmoil which the Colony underwent, during this period, through warfare without and within, was added to by accidental calamities. Even before the emissaries of Cantonese Mandarins invaded Hongkong as patriotic incendiaries, some serious conflagrations took place in the central part of the town (February 16, 1855), in Taipingshan (January 27, 1856) and at the western market (February 23, 1856). A harmless shock of earthquake was felt in Hongkong (September 28, 1854), heavy rains did a great amount of damage to drains, roads and Chinese houses (June 22, 1855), and a typhoon passed very near to the Colony (September, 1855) causing much injury to the shipping and the piers, besides burying a number of houses at Queen's Road West by a land-slip, the immediate consequence of the heavy rain which accompanied this typhoon.
The obituary of this period includes, among others, the names of Mrs. Irwin (July 21, 1857), Colonel Lugard (December 1, 1857), Dr. W. A. Harland (September 12, 1858), and Acting Attorney General J. Day (September 21, 1858). Since the death of J. R. Morrison (in 1843), no event in Hongkong was mourned so generally and so deeply as the death of Dr. Harland, who since 1844 had acted as Resident Surgeon at Seamen's Hospital and latterly as Colonial Surgeon, and died of fever contracted while charitably attending on the Chinese poor.
Sir J. Bowring's administration terminated at a time (May 5, 1859) when the passionate comments of the English press, reviewing the Parliamentary discussions of Hongkong's misdeeds, reached the Colony and thereby reproduced a considerable amount of popular excitement. Sir J. Bowring departed, like Sir J. Davis, amid the execrations of a large portion of the European community and the blustering roar of farewell condemnations poured forth by local editors. In one respect Sir J. Bowring fared even worse than his predecessors. Neither Sir H. Pottinger, nor Sir J. Davis, nor in fact any Governor of Hongkong before or after him, not even Sir J. Pope Hennessy, was so extravagantly abused as Sir J. Bowring. The venomous epithets and libellous accusations, continuously hurled at him by the public press (China Mail excepted) until the very moment of his departure, are unfit to be mentioned. It clearly was his personal character rather than his policy that provoked the ire of his political opponents. As in the case of Sir J. Davis, so now the European community marked their dislike of the Governor by lavishing extra favours on the departing Admiral while ignoring the Governor's exit. On 16th March, 1859, the leading merchants presented to Sir Michael Seymour, K.C.B., a magniloquent address and a draft on London to the amount of 2,000 guineas for the purchase of a service of plate, to mark the sense of the Hongkong community of his great services and of the respect entertained for him personally. In his reply, Sir Michael gracefully referred to the advantages he had enjoyed in having had, previous to the arrival of Lord Elgin, the advice and experience of Sir J. Bowring to aid him. But when, a few weeks later, the Governor left the Colony, the European community presented neither address nor testimonial, sullenly ignoring his departure, until the rare event of a public auction held at Government House (May 20, 1859) drew the European community together in sarcastic frolics over their ex-Governor's goods and chattels.
The Chinese community, however, stolidly indifferent to the dissentient views of foreign public opinion, came forward right loyally. Two stately deputations of Chinese waited on Sir J. Bowring at the last moment of his departure and expressed the genuine esteem in which he was held among all classes of the native population, by presenting him with some magnificent testimonials including a mirror, a bronze vase, a porcelain bowl and a bale of satin which bore the names of 200 subscribers. The spontaneous character of these presentations was undoubted and did much to cheer the departing Governor's heart.
On his way home by S.S. Pekin, Sir J. Bowring had the misfortune of being shipwrecked in the Red Sea, but he reached England in safety. He, the advanced Liberal, received the thanks of a Conservative Ministry for his faithful and patient services in Hongkong, but he was, on the other hand, given the cold shoulder in the lobby of the House of Commons by some of his former political friends. After his retirement from the public service on a liberal pension, he lectured frequently on Oriental topics; wrote papers on social, economical and statistical questions; gave addresses at meetings of the Social Science Association, the British Association, the Devonshire and other Societies; studied Chinese and composed religious poems, some of which possess enduring value. Calmly looking back at the close of his life over all the varied events of his chequered history, and viewing his career in China as but a small portion of his life work, Sir J. Bowring penned, in his auto-biographical recollections, the following memorable words. 'My career in China belongs so much to history, that I do not feel it needful to record its vicissitudes. I have been severely blamed for the policy I pursued, yet that policy has been most beneficial to my country and to mankind at large. It is not fair or just to suppose that a course of action, which may be practicable or prudent at home, will always succeed abroad.' Sir J. Bowring died peacefully on 23rd November, 1872, having just completed his eightieth year.