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China. The Canton Trade.

° Amoy ° Fuzhou, Pagoda Island ° Canton (Gunagzhou) ° Qingdao ° Hong Kong ° Fuzhou ° Macau ° Ningbo-Zhoushan ° Qingdao ° Peking (Bejing) ° Shanghai ° Tianjin ° Tientsin ° Whampoa ° Yangzhou ° Xiamen ° Pirates in the China Seas
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Canton (Gunagzhou)

During the Zhou Dynasty (1045 B.C. – 256 B.C.) the Cantonese peoples suffered from famine for many years. Legend has it that one day five immortals riding five goats with rice ears each of a different color descended from heaven and blessed the area with favorable weather that produced rich harvests. Thus, this city is also known as the "Five-Goat City (Wuyangcheng)." To express their gratitude to the celestial beings, the locals erected the "Five Immortals Temple."

The Portuguese in Macau, the Spanish in Manila, Arabs from the Middle East and Muslims from India were already actively trading in the port by the 1690s, when the French and English began frequenting the port through the Canton System.

Early in the 19th century, British merchants began smuggling opium into China in order to balance their purchases of tea for export to Britain. In 1839, China enforced its prohibitions on the importation of opium by destroying at Canton (Guangzhou a large quantity of opium confiscated from British merchants. Great Britain, which had been looking to end China's restrictions on foreign trade, responded by sending gunboats to attack several Chinese coastal cities. Other companies were soon to follow: the Ostend General India company in 1717; Dutch East India Company in 1729; the first Danish ship in 1731, which was followed by a Danish Asiatic Company ship in 1734; the Swedish East India Company in 1732; followed by an occasional Prussian and Trieste Company ship; the Americans in 1784; and the first ships from Australia in 1788.

Howqua (1762-1843)

Howqua: The Hong Merchant.

Howqua, whose real name was Wu Bingjian, was the leader of the Canton Cohong, and a leading Hong merchant in the Thirteen Factories of Canton (Guangzhou). The Hongs or factories of Canton were trading associations that were authorized to trade with foreigners.

Although he was born “Wu Bingjian”, the Europeans who did business with him knew him as Howqua, because they found his Chinese name hard to pronounce. Howqua was sometimes called Howqua II, because his father, the founder of his company, had also been known as Howqua to Europeans.

Before the First Opium War, China’s Manchu-led Qing Dynasty tightly restricted foreign trade. Canton was the only port where authorized Chinese merchants were allowed to trade with foreigners.

As one of the leading Chinese merchants in Canton, Howqua, became very wealthy. To westerners he was the best known of the Chinese merchants in Canton in his time. Howqua traded with the British, but according to this obituary by the British East India Company, he favored American traders over British. This was partly because it was more profitable for him to deal with independent American merchants than with the monopolistic British East India Company.

Howqua died at the age of 75, soon after the end of the First Opium War. At the time of his death some estimates say he left behind about 20 million taels (the silver currency of China at the time). In modern American dollars, Howqua’s fortune may have been worth almost $250 million.

(The Hongs at Canton from the south east with a regatta on the Pearl River.)

China.The Hongs at Canton.

China, unable to withstand modern arms, was defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing (1842) and the British Supplementary Treaty of the Bogue (1843). These provided that the ports of Guangzhou, Jinmen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, and Shanghai should be open to British trade and residence; in addition Hong Kong was ceded to the British.

China's subsequent attempt to block the entry of diplomats into Beijing as well as Britain's determination to enforce the new treaty terms led to a renewal of the war in 1859.

June 28, 1850, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

Commercial Steamers. We understand that some difficulty has occurred at Canton in regard to the steamers Spark and Hong Kong, the Chinese objecting to their currying cargo; and as the vessels are not suffered to unload, the owners hold the authorities liable for demurrage. We are not aware that there are any specialities in the present case, but otherwise, there can be no doubt how the dispute will end. There is nothing in the treaties against Steamers carrying cargo nor about Steamers at all and they are clearly admissible on payment of port charges.

It may be remembered that four yeurs ago the Corsair was detained for a similar cause, but after a little negotiation the matter was settled, and shortly aftlerwards Sir John Davis announced officially that "his correspondence with the Chinese Minister had terminated in His Excellency Keying acquiescing in the right of Commercial Steamers to carry merchandise as well as passengers and letters." Doues Seu repudiate the arrangement of his predecessor? Or do the owners of the steamears refute compliance with any of the conditions agreed upon? China Mail.

May 1, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California


Pagoda Island. The Canton River is said to be infested with more pirates than has been known before for many years; and hardly a passage-boat goes from Hongkong but she is attacked, and the passengers and cargo plundered. A pirate lorcha, with some EuropeChina.ans, or men dressed as such, is also said to be prowling about the mouth of the Bogue, on the lookout for unfortunates.

H. M S. Lily had an encounter with three piratical junks, about the 1st ult., and after a few discharges from her guns sunk them, swarming with human beings.

There are four British vessels of war at present in China, viz: the Contest, 12 guns, at Ningpo; the Lily, at Amoy, 12 guns; the Nemesis, 6 guns, at Canton, and at Hongkong the Royalist, of 6 guns. A formidable fleet!

The Hongkong papers publish further particulars of the massacre committed on board the barque Victory by the Coolies. There were 362 of these on board the vessel when she left Cumsingmoon, the majority of whom landed at Pulo Ubi, after plundering the vessel. The captain (Mullin), second officer, and several of the crew were murdered and thrown overboard, and the vessel carried up the gulf of Siam. The first and third officers and several of the ship's company reached Singapore and the steamer Salamander, with them on board, proceeded to Pulo bi, and captured a number of the mutineers. The massacre was committed with the ship's arms, which the Coolies obtained possession of. The first officer was made to navigate the vessel to the gulf of Siam, where she was abandoned.

The Friend of China, in noticing the departure from Hongkong of H. B. M. Hastings, congratulates its readers on the deliverance from their midst of a vessel with such a refractory crew, but deplores the absence from Victoria harbor of a British man-of-war to protect that port against piratical incursions.

The examination of the mutineers of the ship Challenge in Hongkong took place before Police Magistrate Hillier, who committed nine of the ringleaders. They were to be sent forthwith to the United States for final judgment.

Another fire occurred in Canton on the 2d March. Upwards of 200 shops, in the locality known as the Ty-ho-kee, about a mile west of the factories, (further up the river,) were totally consumed. The wind was fortunately from the eastward, or the consequences might have been more serious.

China.China Clipper.

Mr. Howes, chief mate of the American barque Racehorse, and Mr. Hartley, chief mate of the opium clipper brig Lanrick, were drowned at Bombay, Jan 16th, while crossing the harbor in a sailboat.

Complete files of China exchanges having been received since our summary of general intelligence from advices by the Challenge was made up, we are now enabled to present late news of the progress of the rebellion.

Fears were entertained, at the date of our last accounts from the seat of war, for the safety and quiet of Canton. These fears are now dispelled, for while the Imperialists hold possession of Kwei-lin-foo, the capital of Kwang-si, and the adjoining province, CanTun will remain safe, says the China press.

Up to the latest writings from that city, the disturbances in Kwang-si had been steadily increasing. The insurgents had strengthened their side by the capture of Yung-ngan-chau, a superior district town Pinglow-fu, about forty miles west of the Cassia river, and southwest from the chief town of the prefecture. Their real force and position are difficult to ascertain, for the authorities in Canton have taken particular pains to prevent the publication of all news relating to the outbreak. It is estimated that upwards of 30,000 Imperialists have been sent to the province to suppress this rising.

The following is published in the Friend of China as the, latest despatch from Canton regarding the rebellion.

"The ink of this writing was not dry when we received the following item of intelligence. "Teen-teh has ordered his troops to proceed from five different points to attack the city Kwei-lin-foot; in consequence of which the Tartar General is in a great fright, and has sent dispatches to Sen demanding an immediate supply of men and money. The dispatches were received here yesterday. Another letter refers to troubles in Hainan, but, together with some late gazettes, translations must stand over."

We continue our account of the progress of the war from the correspondence of the same paper.China.China.

"We hear that on the 8th day of the present month the rebels descended from the Chee-king hill by the north aide. A troop consisting of more than ten thousand was ordered to lay in waiting at the mouth of the Pak sha ka, or White Sand Stream, while a troop of old and weak, consisting of between six and seven hundred, was ordered to take the district city of Sow yun. The magistrate of Sow yun having observed this, went and asked for immediate assistance from the guarding troops, that were posted in the neighborhood, and at his request, an army of above eighty thousand men got under way under the Generalssimo Par Tsin Tick, who, on his arrival at the said district, and when he had seen the number of the rebels who were attacking the city at the time, ordered the battle to commence at once by the beating of the drums. The rebels fell before them and ran. The Tartar troops immediately gave chase, but after passing the Pak sha ka, some of the rebels rose from their ambuscade, so that they were afraid to proceed, but after finding that the concealed troops were but few they continued the chase again. The rebels tired several guns at them, but no balls were observed. When the rebels saw that the Tartar troops were hard after them they fled, being afraid to join in battle.

The Generalissimo Par Tsin Tick, seeing this, (thinking there were do more troops in ambush,) commanded his men to give chase, but after a abort pursuit, they came to a deep valley, where there was only one passage, and when they could see no appearance of the enemy, as they were halting in doubt at this point, a shower of cannon balls fell upon them from behind, and more than 1,000 men were killed, and the hidden rebels made their appearance in all directions. The Tartar troops ran for their lives, and more than 3,000 of them were captured. The Tartar General is afraid that they will take the capital city, Kwei lum, therefore he had ordered all the troops to come and guard it."

"A dealer in medicines has sent home the following news: he states that in consequence of the farmers of Sze cheuen province having received nothing of the last crop, the price of paddy and rice is now four times higher than usual. Those who have died from hunger are innumerable, which has caused many of the people of Tai yuy, Sing chun, Poo kong, Ning-shan, and other districts to turn rebels. He further reports that there was an earthquake in the district of Ning yun foo, which continued for half a day, and a report was laid before the Mandarins that more than 10,000 houses were thrown down and 7 or 8.000 human being destroyed."


March 25, 1885, London and China Telegraph

The death of Sir Harry Parkes through typhus fever would at any time be the cause of deep regret; but at a critical moment in the relations of the Chinese Empire with the great Powers of the West his loss is well nigh irreparable.

Born in 1828, Harry Smith Parkes had become a Chinese scholar as well as resident at the early age of fifteen. In 1843 he was assistant to the Rev. Charles Gutzlaff, Chinese Secretary and Interpreter to Sir Henry Pottinger, the plenipotentiary who negotiated at Nanking the first English treaty. Less than three years later he was appointed interpreter to the present Sir Rutherford Alcock, at that period Consul in succession at Amoy, Foochow, and Shanghai. It was in the year 1848 when serving at the last of these places, that Mr. Parkes obtained the first opportunity of showing his zeal and capacity in the public service. An outrage had been committed on some English subjects at Tsingpu, a small town thirty miles distant from Shanghai. Three missionaries were attacked there and ill treated by the mob. Mr. Alcock determined to obtain reparation from the Viceroy of the province, and he therefore sent a mission, with Mr. Parkes. as interpreter to Nanking. The object was completely attained, and Mr. Parkes who had himself been attacked by a mob at Foochow a few months previously and barely escaped with his life, was specially complimented on the skill and tact with which he had conducted the negotiations with the Viceroy of the Liang Kiang. Early in 1856, after having accompanied Sir John Bowring to Siam and brought the treaty home to England, he was appointed on his return, by that officer Consul at Canton in succession to Mr. Alcock.

Harry Smith Parkes
British Commissioner of the Allied Commission at Canton.

He assumed this office at a very at a very important moment in English relations with China. The Nanking Treaty, far from effecting a settlement of the question, had left many points open, and among these none had assumed greater importance than the right to enter Canton.

Before Mr. Parkes became the lieutenant of Sir John Bowring, the dispute had reached such an acute stage that war would have undoubtedly ensued but for the diversion of public attention to the quarrel with Russia. It was on the 8th of October, 1856, that Mr. Parkes reported to Sir John Bowring that the Chinese official had boarded the lorcha Arrow at Canton.

The Arrow had a British master, and claimed a British license, but it was discovered afterwards that this license had been allowed to lapse. At the same time that Mr. Parkes reported the event to Sir John Bowring he wrote to the principal Chinese official, the Commissioner Yeh, calling his attention to this "very grave insult," and demanding the restoration of the crew. No one who studies the events from 1843 until 1856 will deny that a second war with China was simply inevitable. Whether the final provocation was to be the Arrow outrage or the persistent refusal to admit our Consul and hold official relations in the Governor's Yamen within the walls, or some other cause, the collision could not have been put off for any lengthy period. The English authorities on the spot decided on measures of reprisal, and it fell to the lot of Mr. Parkes to make the official notifications to the Chinese mandarins after the capture of the forts in the Bogue and at the Barrier by Sir Michael Seymour.

The Chinese Government, or more correctly speaking the Commissioner Yeh, refused to make the smallest concession to the threats of Mr. Parkes or the vigorous acts of the English Admiral. Mr. Parkes was ordered to state that unless compliance were made to all the demands of his Government "the Admiral would proceed with the destruction of all the defences and public buildings of this city and of the Government vessels in the river." Still Yeh remained obdurate, and the operations against Canton continued. In all of these Mr. Parkes took a foremost part, and it was proof of the ascendency of his character that the Chinese even at this early period of his career identified him with the vigorous proceedings of Sir Michael Seymour, Yeh always speaking in his proclamations of Consul Parkes having opened fire on the provincial metropolis."

Three weeks after the first complaint at the seizure of the Arrow , Mr. Parkes had the satisfaction of entering Yeh's Yamen in the city. The operations for the capture of Canton had to be postponed in order that instructions and reinforcements might be received from Europe, but when they were received Mr. Parkes' knowledge of the Chinese language and people was again employed to warn the people in the more exposed portions of the town of what was coming. In distributing these placards Mr. Parkes and his companions met with many dangerous and some ludicrous adventures. Once on landing they caught a Mandarin in his chair, and pasted him up with the barbarian papers, bidding his bearers carry him through the city. The Chinese gave proof of their sense of humour by showing that they enjoyed the joke as well as its perpetrators.

When Canton was captured, the English success promised to be deprived of half its value through the escape of Yeh, for it seemed almost hopeless to expect to capture him in the midst of the dense population of a large city like Canton. Here, however, the efforts of Mr. Parkes were indefatigable, and at last he discovered a clue as to Yeh's place of concealment. With the aid of Captain, now Sir, Astley Cooper Key and 100 sailors he penetrated into the interior of the Chinese city. Baffled at the Public Library, where he expected to find him, and which indeed Yeh had only just left on the arrival of the English party, he hastened, following up a fresh clue, with his companions to a different part of the town, where he found the Chinese leader on the point of making his escape over the wall. The capture of Yeh was exclusively due to Mr. Parkes, and it is not saying too much to affirm that it was an event of hardly less importance than the capture of Canton itself. The name of Mr. Parkes continued to represent in the eyes of the Chinese the most formidable personage in the English camp, and while Commissioner at Canton the large reward of $30,000 was offered for his head.China.Treaty of Tientsin, 1858.

Having taken this prominent part in the events prior to the signature of the Treaty of Tientsin, Mr. Parkes was destined to have a not less important share in those which followed the refusal of the Chinese to ratify that treaty, and the repulse of Admiral Hope's squadron before the Taku forts in the spring of 1859. He accompanied Sir Hope Grant's expedition to the north, and after the landing of the allied forces at Pehtang it was he who discovered that that place had been evacuated by its defenders, and also that they had formed a plot to blow it up on the entry of the foreign troops. At the capture of the Taku forts Mr. Parkes crossed the river Peiho with a flag of truce to summon the southern forts to surrender. The task was one of extreme danger and delicacy. The Mandarins refused to show themselves, and as he and his small party passed below the walls they could see the gunners with their lighted matches through the embrasures. They pressed on, however, to the General's yamen in the rear of the forts, and had the satisfaction of securing the object of their undertaking. Prince Tsai, the Emperor's nephew, was deputed to reopen negotiations, and Mr. Parkes was instructed to go forward to meet him at Tungchow, while the allied forces under Sir Hope Grant and General Montauban advanced more slowly towards that place.

Mr. Parkes, with some civilians and officers, and an escort of Sikh troopers, reached Tungchow in safety, and on his arrival he met Prince Tsai. The discussion, instead of proving short and satisfactory took an angry turn; and it was only after five hours' discussion that the Chinese officials showed any signs of complying with the demands of the European commanders. On the following morning Mr. Parkes and some of his companions retraced their steps towards the advancing army, while the others, with most of the Sikhs, remained at Tungchow.China.China and the Seas.

On their way back many signs of military preparation were observed, and on the very plain on which was to have been the English camp the Chinese army was found drawn up in battle array. Under these circumstances a great responsibility was thrown upon Mr. Parkes and he proved equal to the occasion. He had in the first place to warn Sir Hope Grant of the impending danger, and in the second to make a final effort to impress upon Prince Tsai the folly and danger of the treachery about to be carried out. He sent on Mr. Loch and two Sikhs to warn Sir Hope Grant, and while he rode back to Tungchow with one English dragoon and one Sikh horseman the rest of the party were instructed to remain in their places to convince the Chinese that they suspected and feared nothing. Mr. Parkes reached Tungchow in safety, and hastened into the presence of Prince Tsai. By this time the Chinese Commissioner had obtained as much delay as he could hope for, and to all the remonstrances of the English representative his only reply was, "There can be no peace, there must be war."China.Capture of the Taku Forts.

Mr. Parkes had performed his duty; it only remained to save his party by this time augmented by Mr. Loch, who had chivalrously returned to share his peril, Captain Brabazon, and two fresh Sikhs. They rode as rapidly as they could away from Tungchow, but on passing from Chan Chia Wan into the plain they found that the battle had begun. They still carried a flag of truce, and Mr. Parkes, as the one chance of safety and at the request of his companions, rode through the ranks of the Chinese army to find the General Sankolinsin, and claim a safe conduct according to the usages of war. When found that commander, instead of receiving his prisoners with consideration ordered his soldiers to treat them with every kind of indignity forcing them to make the kowtow, and binding their hands and legs. When it was seen that the battle was going against them, they placed all their prisoners, for the rest of the party were treated in a similar manner in springless carts and sent them off to Peking.

The agony they endured was indescribable. The cruelty with which they were treated during their long confinement in the Chinese capital could not be surpassed and must always excite the liveliest indignation. Most of the prisoners died under their sufferings; but Mr. Parkes, although the special mark of Chinese malignity as the best known, was after a time treated with a little more consideration on account of his fluent acquaintance with the Chinese tongue. He was able to threaten them, too, that if any of the party were hurt Peking would be razed.

During the negotiations the Chinese agreed to release Mr. Parkes by himself but he refused to accept his liberty unless the same favour were also accorded to his companions, Mr. Loch and the two troopers. It will not be forgotten that it was in expiation of this outrage and the accompanying acts of cruelty that the Summer Palace was destroyed, and when Lord Elgin entered Peking to ratify the Treaty of Tientsin, Mr. Parkes was sent into the city to arrange the details and select the building for the ceremony as some atonement for what he had undergone. After the close of the Peking campaign he accompanied Admiral Hope on his expedition up the Yang-tse-kiang, and during the latter part of the War he acted as Consul at Shanghai. In 1862 he was rewarded for his exceptional services with the honour of the Bath, being probably one of the youngest recipients of that order of knighthood; and three years later he was appointed Minister at Yeddo, in succession to his old friend and chief, Sir Rutherford Alcock.

Engraving of the Bomboardment of Canton

China.Bombardment of Canton.

Sir Harry Parkes remained eighteen years at the Japanese Court, and during that period he was connected with all the important events which have accompanied the development of the enlightened policy with which it has identified itself.

He was also a close observer of the long internal struggle for power between the party of progress fighting for the restoration of the Mikado as a constitutional sovereign and the great Daimios. He took the chief part in negotiating the commercial treaties which regulated our trade, and during the last few years of his residence in Japan he was actively engaged in an interchange of views between the Japanese Government and our Foreign Office on the subject of their revision.

The Japanese Government on more than one occasion benefited by his advice, which was always in favour of moderate counsels and of avoiding foreign entanglements. It was while on his last visit to England, four years ago, that he received the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, with which he was highly gratified as a proof that his labours had not been unappreciated. In 1883 he was transferred from Tokio to Peking, thus crowning his long career in the public service. His tenure of this post was destined to be only too brief. In Sir Harry Parkes we have lost not merely a rare Chinese scholar and an experienced Eastern diplomatist, but a man of high courage, inflexible resolution, and unwavering confidence in the destiny of England, of which he had so long been an illustrious representative. No other member of our consular service had the same close connection with so many of the most striking and important passages in the most critical period of our relations with China, and throughout them all, he bore himself with credit to himself and with advantage to his country.

The late Sir Harry Smith Parkes was the son of Mr. Harry Parkes of Birchill's Hall, Staffordshire, where he was born in. 1828. He married, in 1856, Miss Plumer, daughter of the late Mr. Thos, Plumer of Canons-park, Middlesex, and granddaughter of the late Sir Thos. Plumer, Master of the Rolls, which lady predeceased him in 1879.

From the CANTON REGISTER, October 22

We heard yesterday, for the first time, that Lin, the High Commissioner, issued orders to any Englishman to instant death who should land at Macao, during his Excellency's visit to the settlement on the 3d ult ; these murderous orders were to be in force for that day only. This barbarous measure would seem to betray that his Excellency was in bodily fear, and that he dreaded retaliation for the piratical attack on the Blath Joht, perhaps not undeservedly.

We stated last week that the Hong merchants had after a short absence, returned to Macao, and that, the agreement entered into between them and a weiyune of the Commissioner on one side, and Captain Elliot and a Committee of British merchants on the other, had not been sanctioned by the Commissioner. It appears that at Henngshan the Hong merchants were met by a messenger from the Commissioner, who upbraided them and the weiyune for having entered into the agreement of permitting the discharge of British ships at Chumpee, His Excellency having since altered his mind, and insisting now on the British ships proceeding immediately to Whampoa and signing the new bond threatening with destruction by fire and sword the shipping at Hongkong, if, in three days, these new orders were not complied with. The Hong merchants were ordered to convey this to Captain Elliot and the committee of British merchants, and returned to Macao on Friday last week, with the exception of Howqua, who proceeded to Canton.China and the Seas.Canton. 1858. River Trade.

They accordingly made their calls of duty, and entreated such of the Committee as had not left for Hongkong, to consent to their ships proceeding to Whampoa, and received, of course, an answer in the negative. From the tenor of the official documents translated by Mr. Morrison, and of which only the two first have yet been received. Mr. Morrison having accompanied Captain Elliot to the Bogue, It will be seen that the Thomas Coutis, having submitted to the signing of the bond and proceeded to Whampoa, made the Commissioner believe that by annulling the temporary arrangement entered into with his consent, the British shipping at Hongkong would follow her example, and that be would soon have the whole of the ships in his power at Whampoa; but we hope that a few will be found bold enough to do so, though we regret to say that another English vessel, the Royal Saxon, Captain Towns, with a cargo of rice from Batavia, has since applied for and obtained a pilot, and left the roads of Macao for the Bogue on Tuesday last. The captain of the ship applied, we hear, for leave to take his wife to Whampoa; this was not granted, but he was directed to leave her at Macao, where she would be under the special protection of the Chinese authorities.

China and the Seas.Thomas Allom. Dinner party at a Mandarin's House.

Captain Towns has, we understand, signed six copies of the bond which will no doubt be sent up to Peking several compliances with the commissioner's orders, meanwhile a chop bas been placarded, ordering the English to proceed immediately either to Whampoa or to their own country; all servants that were with such of the English as had returned to Macao on the faith of the settlement agreed to last week, were again ordered to leave, and the Chinese prohibited from supplying them with provisions. About two hundred men are encamped at the barrier in tents; four hundred more are said to be in Casablanca, and more are expected. For what purpose this new demonstration of force has been made we cannot guess at, unless it be to enforce the chop from one of the Macao authorities, ordering three English ladies that lately returned from Hongkong, to leave Macao again within three days; failing which to be driven hence by eight hundred men.

-- Canton Press. November 2

Pirates preying on shipping in Hong Kong waters were a constant problem, and not all were Chinese. A famous English renegade, William Fenton, was eventually brought to trial in 1851, sentenced to three year's hard labor, then deported. An American pirate, Eli Boggs, was tried for murder and piracy in 1857 and deported.

During these trade development years, Chinese authorities were unable to prevent to control the trade of opium, which lay in the hands of the English, who attempted to create an opium monopoly in Hong Kong. The monopoly was unsatisfactory, so licenses were sold -- at $30 a month -- to sell raw opium. By 1858, with the Treaty of Tientsin, which legalized opium sales in China, the drug was also taxed by the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs.

During the 1850s and 1860s, opium was listed as part and parcel of the cargo being brought into San Francisco and sold through it's auction houses through advertisements in the Daily Alta California. Despite the formation in 1874 of the Anglo-Oriental Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade in England, it was not until 1891 that the first serious attempt was made to suppress opium in Hong Kong. But it was 1909 when the export from Hong Kong of prepared opium was forbidden to any country which prohibited its import. However, use of opium remained legal in Hong Kong until the second world war.

Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited was established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between Europe, India and China. The inspiration behind the founding of the bank was Thomas Sutherland, a Scot who was then working for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. He realised that there was considerable demand for local banking facilities in Hong Kong and on the China coast and he helped to establish the bank which opened in Hong Kong in March 1865 and in Shanghai a month later.

Soon after its formation the bank opened agencies and branches around the world. Although that network reached as far as Europe and North America, the emphasis was on building up representation in China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. In Japan, where a branch was established in 1866, the bank acted as adviser to the government on banking and currency. In 1888, it was the first bank to be established in Thailand, where it printed the country s first bank notes. From the outset trade finance was a strong feature of the local and international business of the bank, an expertise that has been recognised throughout its history. Bullion, exchange, merchant banking and note issuing also played an important part. By the 1880s, the bank was acting as banker to the Hong Kong government and also participated in the management of British government accounts in China, Japan, Penang and Singapore. In 1874 the bank handled China s first public loan and thereafter issued most of China s public loans. By the end of the century, after a strong period of growth and success under the leadership of Thomas Jackson (chief manager for most of that period from 1876 to 1902), the bank was the foremost financial institution in Asia.

January 29, 1896, Echo, London, United Kingdom

Imperial Porcelain Stolen

A considerable robbery of some priceless porcelain from the Imperial Palace at Peking has recently come to light. It is alleged that over 300 large and small pieces of green jade, peach blow, sang de boeuf, rose pink egg shell, black hawthorn, and other rarities are missing. The principal curio shops in Pekin are said to have been closed, and their owners arrested, while a number of pieces have been recovered from foreign collectors at Tientsin and Peking. A well-known Peking dealer who has been in Shanghai for about a month has left for the north, overland, at the summons of the authorities, to answer for his subordinates. One execution is already reported.

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