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INDO-CHINA, FRENCH

monthly, and as reorganized by the decree of the 8th of August 1898 is composed as follows: the governor-general (president); the general commanding as head of the troops; the rear-admiral commanding the naval squadron of the Far East; the lieutenant-governor of Cochin-China; the residents superior of Tongking Annam, Cambodia and Laos; the director-general of finances; the director of the contrSle financier; the head of the judicial service of Indo-China; the director-general of the customs and excise of Indo-China; the directors-general of agriculture, forests and commerce; of public works; of posts and telegraphs; of health; and of public instruction; the treasurer-general of Indo-China; the director of the school of medicine at Hanoi; the president of the colonial council of Cochin-China; the presidents of the chambers of commerce of Saigon, Hanoi and Hai-Phong; the presidents of the united chambers of commerce and agriculture of Annam and Cambodia; the presidents of the chambers of agriculture of Tongking and Cochin-China; four influential natives; the chief of the cabinet and the governor-general's secretary. This list sufficiently indicates the departmental services, by means of which the general government is carried on. The Superior Council meets not only at Hanoi, the seat of the government, but also at Saigon, Hué and Pnom-Penh. It delegates its powers to a “permanent commission” consisting of thirteen of its members, and dispensing with the attendance of the local authorities of regions other than those in which the place of meeting is situated. The Superior Council meets annually to receive the general budget and the local budgets which “must be accepted by the governor-general at a session of the Superior Council.”[1] It must also be consulted on the distribution of military credits, and on the credits to be devoted to public works. The contrôle financier, which scrutinizes and sanctions all measures of the public services involving outlay of money, is dependent on the ministry of the colonies. Its returns have to be communicated to the governor-general.

The governor-general is also assisted by a “council of defence,” comprising the chief military and naval authorities.

Justice.—The whole of Indo-China is, in principle, subject to French justice, represented by a court of appeal and a certain number of tribunals. Before 1898 the administration of justice was not centralized. There was a court of appeal at Hanoi, and another at Saigon. But the decree of the 8th of August 1898 established one court of appeal for French Indo-China: two chambers sitting at Saigon and the other two at Hanoi. Three tribunals of commerce are established at Saigon, Hanoi and Hai-Phong. There are courts of first instance at Saigon, My-Tho, Vinh-Long, Ben-Tre, Chau-Doc, Kantho, Soc-Trang, Tra-vinh, Long-Xuyen for Cochin-China, at Pnom-Penh for Cambodia, and at Hanoi and Hai-Phong for Tongking. These courts are supplemented by juges de paix in Cochin-China, and there are juges de paix at Nam-Dinh (Tongking) and Tourane; elsewhere in the protectorates the residents perform judicial functions. There are criminal courts at Saigon, My-Tho, Vinh-Long and Long-Xuyen in Cochin-China, at Hanoi in Tongking and at Pnom-Penh in Cambodia. In Cochin-China Annamese law is administered in the French courts in suits between natives, but native tribunals have been superseded. In Annam-Tongking, outside the sphere of the French tribunals, the natives are subject to Annamese justice, represented in each province by a mandarin, called the An Sat, and in Cambodia the natives are subject to the native tribunals. At the same time, whenever a French subject or European or other foreigner is a party in an affair, French justice only is competent.

Public Works.—The order of the 9th of September 1898 placed the public works of Indo-China under the “direct authority of the governor-general as regards works entered to the general budget account.” There is a director of public works in Indo-China at Saigon, a director of engineering in the other countries. In 1895 a “special service” was created in Tongking to consider railway business.

Posts and Telegraphs.—The country is divided into two sections for the purposes of this service, the one comprising Annam, Tongking and Upper Laos, the other Cochin-China, Cambodia and Lower Laos. The post and telegraph offices in Indo-China number about three hundred. Tourane communicates by submarine cable with Amoy in China, thence with Vladivostok and Europe.

The Army—Land Force.—The military services are under the authority of a general of division commanding in chief. The European troops in 1907 comprised four regiments of colonial infantry with 22 batteries of artillery (10 in Tongking and 12 in Cochin-China). The native troops, numbering over 18,000, comprised four regiments of Tongkingese tirailleurs (sharp-shooters), two of Annamese, a battalion of Cambodian and a battalion of Chinese tirailleurs, a squadron of Annamese chasseurs or light horse and two companies of engineers.

Sea Force.—Indo-China is protected by the naval division of the Far East. In addition five gunboats are stationed at Saigon and a third-class cruiser and some minor vessels at Hai-Phong.

The Policing of the country is performed by natives (the garde indigène) under European officers and by the gendarmerie coloniale, which is reinforced by native auxiliaries.

Money, &c.—The monetary unit is the piastre, which is of variable value, having fallen from 4.50 francs to 2.40 francs and fluctuating round that figure. The chief native coin is the sapek of zinc or tin, six hundred of which strung together form a ligature, a tenth of which is called a tien. The piastre is worth 2700 sapeks. The unit of weight, the picul, equals 60.4 kilos, (about 133 ℔); the thuoc-moe equals .425 metre (about 17 in.).

Education.—The Annamese are intelligent and have old intellectual and artistic traditions. In consequence the promotion of education has been assigned to a special council (Conseil de perfectionnement de l'enseignement) selected from Frenchmen and Asiatics particularly qualified for membership. Among its preoccupations are the reconstitution of the schools of Chinese characters in Cochin-China, the remodelling of the programmes of the triennial examinations in Annam and Tongking (see Annam) with a view to completing them with a summary knowledge of French and science, the improvement of the teaching given in the pagodas in Cambodia and Laos, and the foundation of a university comprising classes for natives. In 1906, in Cochin-China, where the largest sum (£45,000 in 1906) is devoted to instruction, 22,500 children received a French education.

Finance.—The unification of the budget brought about by M Doumer (decree of the 31st of July 1898) specially contributed to that of the government. The financial scheme is based on the political. Just as a single central government directs the various local governments, so in addition to the general budget, comprising the revenue and expenditure of the supreme government, there are several local budgets, including the revenue and expenditure incidental to the individual provinces.

The general budget in 1899 and 1904 is summarized below:—

Receipts.  Expenditure. 
1899   £1,968,770  £1,639,800
1904 2,809,851  2,797,031

While direct taxes, e.g. the poll-tax and land tax or (in Cambodia) the tax on products, are the main sources of revenue for the local budgets, those for the general budget are the indirect taxes: (1) customs (£619,616 in 1904); (2) “régies” and other indirect taxes (£1,733,836 in 1904), these including the excise on alcohol, the monopoly of the purchase and sale of salt, and the monopoly of the purchase, manufacture and sale of opium.

The chief items of expenditure in 1904 were the following:—

Public Works  £385,680
Customs and “régies” 618,654
Naval and Military Services  527,663
Loans[2] 417,421

Shipping.—The following table shows the total tonnage of shipping entered and cleared at the ports of French Indo-China in 1905 and its distribution over the countries of the Union:—

Country. Tonnage.

Entered. Cleared.



 Cochin-China  1,117,054  1,007,510 
 Tongking 242,119  348,947 
 Annam 28,065  26,406 
 Cambodia 2,520  2,012 



 Total  1,389,758   1,384,875 

Over half the tonnage was French (698,178 tons entered); the

  1. This does not apply to the budget of Cochin-China, which is voted by the colonial council and approved by the governor-general alone.
  2. This does not include the expenditure on account of the 3% loan of £8,000,000, which is inscribed in a special account. The debt of the government-general of Indo-China is composed as follows:—
     Nominal Capital.   Nominal Capital 
    in circulation on
    Jan. 1, 1907.



     2½% Loan of 1896 (Annam-Tongking) £3,678,000  £3,342,800 
     3½% Loan of £8,000,000 issued from 1899 to 1905  8,748,260  8,640,060 


     Total £12,426,260  £11,982,860