1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Indo-China, French
INDO-CHINA, FRENCH. The geographical denomination of French Indo-China includes the protectorates of Annam, Tongking and Cambodia, the colony of Cochin-China and part of the Laos country. In 1900 the newly-acquired territory of Kwang-Chow Bay, on the coast of China, was placed under the authority of the governor-general of Indo-China. Cochin-China, a geographical definition which formerly included all the countries in the Annamese empire—Tongking, Annam and Cochin-China—now signifies only the French colony, consisting of the “southern provinces” originally conquered from Annam, having Saigon as its capital. In its entirety French Indo-China, the eastern portion of the Indo-Chinese peninsula, lies between 8° 30′ and 23° 25′ N. and 100° and 109° 20′ E. It is bounded N. by China, on which side the frontiers have been delimited; E. and S.E. by the Gulf of Tongking and the China Sea; W. by the Gulf of Siam and Siam, and N.W. by Burma. The area is estimated at about 290,000 sq. m., with a population of 171 millions, of whom 75 or 80% are Annamese. The French inhabitants number about 13,000.
The configuration of the country is determined by two rivers of unequal importance—the Mekong and the Song-Koi—and a continuous chain of mountains, an offshoot of the great Chinese group of Yun-nan, which, making a double curve, forms an immense S. South and west of this mountain chain the country forms part of the Mekong basin. To the north and north-east of the chain the valley of the Song-Koi, or Red river, constitutes almost the whole of Tongking, of which its delta represents the most fertile and populous if not the largest portion. The small mountainous provinces of Lang-Son, That-Ke and Kao-Bang, however, belong geographically to the Si-Kiang basin. On the east the small province of Mon-Kay, on the borders of Kwang-Tung, forms a little basin enclosed between the mountains and the sea; on the south the province of Thanh-Hoa, although crossed by the small river Song-Ma, forms the extremity of the Red river delta and belongs to it, the two rivers being united at some distance from the sea by a natural channel formed by the junction of a northern branch of the Song-Ma with a southern branch of the Song-Koi. The Red river descends from the mountains of Yun-nan, rising near Tali-fu between deep and inaccessible gorges, and becomes navigable only on its entry into Tongking. Means have been taken to render it available to steam launches, and in consequence of an agreement between the state and the Compagnie des Correspondances Fluviales a service of steamers is provided from its mouth to Lao-Kay. Near Hung-Hoa the Red river receives its two chief tributaries, the Black river from the plateaus of the west—the land of the Muongs—and the Clear river, one of the largest of whose tributaries issues from the Ba-Be lakes. The Black river is navigable for a considerable distance, the Clear river only from Tuyen-Kwang. Between the basins of the Song-Koi and the Mekong the chain of mountains, crowned by tolerably extensive plateaus, covers, with its ramifications and transverse spurs, a vast extent of country little known, although several trade-routes traverse it, thus placing the Laos country in communication with Tongking and Annam. In about 19° N. the mountain-ridge approaches the sea and runs parallel to the coast, presenting on its eastern side a steep declivity which encloses a narrow littoral, in places only a mile or two broad, between the base of its cliffs and the shore. This coast-belt constitutes the habitable and cultivable portion of Annam proper, and consists of alluvial matter accumulated at the mouths of mountain streams, and marshes and swamps enclosed between land and sea by sand ridges heaped up by wind and tide. The high valleys and plateaus originally belonged to the empire, the limits of which, although invaded and occupied by Siamese, formerly extended to the banks of the Mekong. The western slopes form part of the French Laos possessions. The Mekong valley includes Laos, Cambodia and the greater part of Cochin-China. The Mekong (q.v.) is one of the largest rivers of south-eastern Asia, having a course 1900 m. in length. Its mouths, six in number, communicate by means of a navigable canal with the Saigon river (fed by the Don-Nai and the two Vaico rivers), which is navigable by the largest warships, rendering Saigon the most important natural port of Indo-China.
Geology.—The deltaic tracts of the Mekong and Red river are composed of alluvium (generally silicious clay) deposited by the rivers. The mountains from which this soil is derived are granitic in formation, the framework being almost always schists of ancient date, dislocated, folded and occasionally rounded into hills 1000 to 1300 ft. in height, belonging to the Devonian period. Above these schists lie—more especially in the north and south of Tongking—marbles and other highly crystalline limestones, upon which rest, unconformably in places (Nong-Son, Ke-Bao, Hon-Gáy), Carboniferous formations. In the upper part of the Red river valley rich deposits of coal have been found between Yen-Bay and Hai-Duong, in a considerable tract of Tertiary rock. Limestone occurs also in the valley of the Mekong, forming an extensive massif in the district of Lakhon and in the basins of the Nam-Ka-Dinh and Nam-Hin-Bun. These limestones appear to be Carboniferous. In the region south of Lakhon the rock is Triassic, and gold has been found in several districts. The natives collect it in very small quantities by a washing process. In the lateral valleys of the Mekong copper and tin are found. On the course of the Nam-Paton, a tributary of the Nam-Hin-Bun, the natives work a moderately productive tin-mine. Layers of spiegeleisen, limonite and other iron ores are numerous in the Laos states, in which also antimony occurs.
Climate.—The climate of Indo-China is that of an inter-tropical country, damp and hot. But the difference between the southern and northern regions is marked, as regards both temperature and meteorology. Cochin-China and Cambodia have very regular seasons, corresponding with the monsoons. The north-easterly monsoon blows from about the 15th of October to the 15th of April, within a day or so. The temperature remains almost steady during this time, varying but slightly from 78.8° to 80.6° F. by day to 68° by night. This is the dry season. From the 15th of April to the 15th of October the monsoon reverses, and blows from the south-west. The season of daily rains and tornadoes commences. The temperature rises from 80.6° to 84.2°, at which it remains day and night. April and May are the hottest months (from 86° to 93.2°). The damp unwholesome heat sometimes produces dysentery and cholera. The climate of Annam is less regular. The north-easterly monsoon, which is “the ocean-wind,” brings the rains in September. The north-easterly gales lower the temperature below 59°. September is the month in which the typhoon blows. During the dry season—June, July and August—the thermometer oscillates between 86° and 95°. The nights, however, are comparatively cool. Tongking has a winter season—October to May. The temperature, lowered by fog and the rains, does not rise above 75.2° and descends to 50° over the delta, and to 44.6° and even 42.8° in the highlands, where white frost is occasionally seen. The summer, on the other hand, is scorching. The wind veers to the south-east and remains there until October. The temperature rises to over 83°; often it reaches and continues for several days at 95° or even more. The nights are distressingly airless. The Laos country in the interior and lying at a high altitude is cooler and drier. Its deep valleys and high hills vary its climate.
Fauna and Flora.—From the populous cultivated districts wild animals, once plentiful, have retired towards the wooded and mountainous districts. The wild life of Laos includes fairly numerous herds of elephants, the rhinoceros (one- and two-horned; rhinoceros horn is employed as a “medicine”), tiger, panther, brown bear, tree-bear, monkeys and rats, among which are the musk rat, the palm rat and the nu-khi, or rat found in the rice-fields of the highlands, in which its ravages are considerable. In mountain districts the leopard, wild boar and deer are found, and in the neighbourhood of habitations the tiger-cat and ichneumon. The buffalo is commonly found wild in Laos; as a domesticated animal it also holds a prominent place. The zebu bull is used for transport purposes. Attempts to acclimatize the Arab horse and to introduce sheep from Aden and China have failed. There is, however, an indigenous race of horses, excellent in spite of their small size—the horses of Phu-Yen. Among birds the woodcock, peacock and numerous species of duck inhabit the woods and marshes. The goose and guinea-fowl appear, as also the turkey, to have become easily acclimatized. Reptiles (apart from the caimans of the Mekong, which attain a length of over 30 ft., and are much appreciated by the Annamese as food) are extremely numerous and varied in species. The rivers are rich in fish. The sole is found in the rivers of Tongking. The Mekong is fished for two species peculiar to it—the pa-beuk and the pa-leun, which attain a length of nearly 6 ft. All varieties of mosquitoes, ants and leeches combine to render the forests bordering the Mekong impracticable. Peculiar species of grubs and caterpillars destroy the cotton and coffee plantations of Cochin-China. The silkworm may be said to be indigenous in Tongking, where there are several thousand acres of mulberry trees.
The flora is inter-tropical, and comprises nearly all the trees known in China and Japan. The bamboo is utilized in building and a variety of other ways. Formerly the teak was believed not to exist in the forests of Indo-China, but it was found some years ago in considerable abundance, and plantations of it have been made. Certain hard woods are used for marqueterie and other ornamental work. Rubber is also exploited. Cotton, previously cultivated in Cochin-China and Cambodia, gives excellent results in Laos. Tea, of which there are a certain number of plantations in the highlands of Tongking and Annam, grows wild in Upper Laos, and in quality closely resembles the Pou-eurl or Pueul variety noted in Yun-nan. Cocoa, coffee and cotton are cultivated in Tongking and Cambodia. Cinnamon and cardamoms are gathered in Laos and Annam. Ground nuts, sesame, sugar canes, pepper, jute, tobacco and indigo are also grown. The area under rice, which is incomparably the most important crop, is approximately 1,750,000 acres. All European fruits and vegetables have been introduced into Tongking, and with certain exceptions—the grape, for example—succeed perfectly. Measures taken to secure the monopoly of opium have notably increased the cultivation of the poppy.
People.—The population of French Indo-China falls into five chief divisions—the Annamese, forming the bulk of the population in Annam, Tongking and Cochin-China and four-fifths of that of the whole country; the Khmers or Cambodians; the Chams of southern Annam; the Thais, including the Laotians; and the autochthonous tribes classed by the other inhabitants as Mois or Khas (“savages”). Driven into the interior by the now dominant races, these older people have mixed and blended with the peoples whom they found there, and new tribes have arisen, intermingled with fugitives from China, Annam and even Siam. In the north of Tongking people of Laos origin occur—the Thōs round Kaobang, the Muongs in the mountains bordering the Red river. When mixed with Chinese the Muongs and the Thōs are known as the Hung-dans, Māns and Miens. The Muongs are bigger and stronger than the Annamese, their eyes often almost straight. They have square foreheads, large faces and prominent cheek-bones. In the centre and south of the Indo-Chinese mountain chain are found, under a multiplicity of names—Phon-tays, Souis, Bah-nan, Bolovens, Stiengs, Mors, Kongs, &c.—people of Malayan origin mixed with all the races of Indo-China. Laos is inhabited by an essentially miscellaneous population—falling into three main groups—the Thais; various aboriginal peoples classed as Khās; and the Moos and Yaos, tribes of Chinese origin.
Religions.—The Annamese religion is a somewhat vague and very tolerant Buddhism, which in practice resolves itself chiefly into the worship of ancestors. Certain ceremonies performed in Cambodia resemble distantly the Brahminical cult. The Roman Catholic religion has been introduced by missionaries. The course of its history has not been free from catastrophes and accidents. There is an apostolical vicariate in Cochin-China, one in Cambodia and several mission stations in Tongking. Two of these missions are mainly conducted by Spanish priests.
Administration.—Before taking its present form the governmental organization of Indo-China underwent many changes. Originally Cochin-China, the only French possession in the peninsula, was a colony directly administered, like other colonies, by the ministry of marine, and its earliest governors were admirals. Later, as further conquests were effected, Tongking and Cambodia were subjected to the régime of a protectorate somewhat ill-defined, and placed under the authority of residents-general. The seat of the resident-general of Tongking was at Hanoi; of Cambodia, at Pnom-Penh. The government of the colonies having been transferred (1889) from the ministry of marine to the ministry of commerce, and in 1894 to the newly created ministry of the colonies, the control of the residencies passed gradually into the hands of civil agents. Cochin-China, which already by the decree of the 8th of February 1880 had been endowed with a colonial council, had a municipality, a chamber of commerce, and even a deputy in the French parliament. There had thus been three distinct states, each with its own ruler and government. But by the decrees of the 17th of October and the 3rd of November 1887 the unity of Indo-China was determined. By decree of October the post of director of the interior of Cochin-China was done away with and replaced by that of lieutenant-governor under the immediate authority of a governor-general. The functions and powers of the latter official were, however, but vaguely defined before the decree of the 21st of April 1891, which conferred on M J. M. A. de Lanessan, appointed governor-general, the most extensive powers. The residents-general of Tongking, Annam and Cambodia, and the lieutenant-governor of Cochin-China, as well as the military authorities, were placed under him. But this change of policy, which put an end to the system of expeditions and minor military operations, and restricted the power of the residents whilst restoring to the mandarins a share of authority, was unwelcome to numerous interests, which, combining, secured the abrupt recall of M de Lanessan on the 29th of December 1894. The decree of the 21st of April 1891 was not, however, revoked, but the powers it conferred were restricted. After the appointment of M Doumer, successor to M Rousseau, who died on the 10th of December 1896, this decree was again put in force on the former scale, and in 1898 it was supplemented by the decrees of the 3rd and 31st of July, which definitely established the political and financial unity of Indo-China. The governor-general is the sole intermediary between the Indo-Chinese Union and the home government, the powers of which, with few restrictions, are delegated to him. As supreme administrative and military authority, he directly controls the civil services, and, though prohibited from commanding in the field, disposes of the land and sea forces in the country. His diplomatic negotiations with foreign powers must be carried on under the authorization and surveillance of the home authorities. The governor-general is assisted by the Superior Council of Indo-China, which meets 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 contrôle 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.” 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:—
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:—
|Customs and “régies”||618,654|
|Naval and Military Services||527,663|
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:—
Over half the tonnage was French (698,178 tons entered); the United Kingdom came second (284,277 tons); Germany, third (205,615 tons).
Commerce.—The value of the trade of French Indo-China increased from £6,796,000 in 1896 to £16,933,000 in 1905, its average annual value for the years 1896–1905 being £12,213,000.
The following table shows the movement of commerce in 1905:
In 1905 the principal foreign countries from which goods were imported were:
|China and Japan||”||1,473,704|
|Burma and Siam||”||289,542|
|The British Isles||”||141,381|
|The United States||”||126,425|
The principal countries to which goods were exported were:
|China and Japan||”||497,288|
|Burma and Siam||”||80,071|
|The British Isles||”||55,539|
The principal imports were:
|Iron and steel||”||353,214|
|Arms, powder and ammunition||”||170,882|
The principal exports were:
|Dried fish, salt and smoked||for||£151,415|
The customs tariff is substantially the same as that of France, severe import duties being levied on foreign goods. French goods pay no import duty and goods exported thither are exempt from export duty, with the exception of sugar, which is regulated by special legislation, and of various other colonial products (e.g. coffee, cocoa, tea, vanilla, pepper) which pay half the duty applicable to similar foreign products according to the minimum tariff. Goods from French colonies pay no import duty. About 53% of the imports, comprising nearly all manufactured goods of European origin, come from France. China, Japan and Singapore are the other chief sources of imports. The Bank of Indo-China (capital £1,440,000) besides receiving deposits and discounting bills, issues bank-notes and has, till 1920, the privilege of lending money on security.
Communications.—The railway communications of French Indo-China comprise lines from Hai-Phong to Lao-Kay, continued thence via the Nam-Te valley to Yun-nan; from Hanoi northward to Lang-Son and south to Vinh; from Tourane to Kwang-Tri via Hué and from Kan-Tho (Cochin-China) to Khanh-Hoa (Annam) via My-Tho, Saigon, Bien-Hoa and Jiring with branches to Phan-Tiet and Phan-Rang. The three last are the completed sections of a line which will unite Tongking with Cochin-China. The towns in the deltas of the Mekong and Red river are united by a network of canals. The mandarin road following the coast line of Annam connects Tongking with Cochin-China, but the easiest means of communication between these two territories is by sea, the voyage from Saigon to Tourane lasting three days, that from Tourane to Hai-Phong, thirty hours.
History—The beginning of French influence in Indo-China dates from 1787, when a treaty was concluded between Gia-long, king of Annam (q.v.), and the king of France, whereby Tourane and the island of Pulo-Condore were ceded to the latter. The successors of Gia-long were averse from French influence and instituted persecutions of the Christian missionaries and natives, which led, in the reign of Tu-duc in 1858, to the arrival at Tourane of a French and Spanish fleet. The capture of that town was followed early in 1859 by the storming of Saigon, which Rigault de Genouilly, the French admiral, chose as his base of operations. The French and Spanish were, however, too few to take the offensive, and were forced to submit to a blockade, conducted by the Annamese general Nguyen Tri Phuong, at the head of 20,000 troops. It was not till February 1861 that reinforcements under Admiral Charner reached Saigon, and the Annamese were defeated and My-Tho taken. A revolt against Tu-duc in Tongking, and the stoppage of the rice supplies from Cochin-China, obliged the king to submit, in 1862, to a treaty by which three provinces of Cochin-China were ceded and other concessions accorded to France. However, it was only after further military operations that Tu-duc consented to the ratification of the treaty. In 1863 Admiral de la Grandière was appointed governor of Cochin-China and in the same year France established her protectorate over Cambodia. It was under La Grandière that the exploration of Mekong was undertaken (see Garnier, M. J. F.) and that in 1867 the three provinces of Cochin-China left to Annam were annexed. French intervention in Tongking, which began with the expedition of François Garnier to Hanoi in 1873, culminated after a costly and tedious war (see Tongking) in the treaties of 1883 and 1884, whereby Annam and Tongking passed under the protectorate of France. The latter treaty, though its provisions were subsequently much modified, remains theoretically the basis of the present administration of Annam.
From 1884 onwards the history of Indo-China may be divided into two distinct periods, characteristic of the political conception and governmental system adopted by the French government. In the first period, 1884–1891, the French agents in Tongking and Indo-China generally proceeded under cover of the treaty of 1884 with the definite conquest and annexation of Tongking and also Annam. Cochin-China itself openly designed to seize the southern provinces of Annam, upon the borders of which it lay. This policy, momentarily checked by the war with China, was vigorously, even violently, resumed after the treaty of Tientsin (June 1885). The citadel of Hué was occupied in July 1885 by General de Courcy. The Annamese government forthwith decided upon rebellion. An improvised attack upon the French troops was led by the ministers Thu-yēt and Thu-ong. The revolt was promptly suppressed. The regent Thu-yēt and the king Ham-N’ghi (crowned in August 1884) fled. At this time the French government, following a very widespread error, regarded Tongking and Annam as two distinct countries, inhabited by populations hostile to each other, and considered the Tongkingese as the oppressed vassals of the Annamese conqueror. To conquer Annam, it was said, would liberate Tongking. This misconception produced the worst consequences. With the flight of the king civil war commenced in Annam. The people of Tongking, whose submission the court of Hué had not dared to demand, began to rise. Taking advantage of this state of anarchy, pirates of the Black Flag, Chinese deserters and Tongkingese rebels devastated the country. The occupation of Tongking became a prolonged warfare, in which 25,000 French, compelled to guard innumerable posts, had to oppose an intangible enemy, appearing by night, vanishing by day, and practising brigandage rather than war. The military expenditure, met neither by commerce, which had become impossible, nor taxation, which the Annamese could not pay nor the French receive, resulted in heavy deficits. The resident-general, Paul Bert, who hoped to gain the confidence of the mandarins by kindness and goodwill, did not succeed in preventing, or even moderating, the action of the military régime. Than-quan, Hon-Koi, Lao-Kay, Pak-Lun and Kao-Bang were occupied, but the troops were driven back to the delta and almost invested in the towns. Disappointed in his hopes and worn out rather by anxiety than work, Paul Bert succumbed to his troubles in November 1886, seven months after his arrival in the country. His successors possessed neither the strength nor the insight necessary to grapple with the situation. M. Constans, however, appointed “provisional” governor-general after the death of M. Filippini, succeeded to a certain extent in reviving commerce in the towns of the delta. MM. Richaud, Bihourd and Piquet, successors of M. Constans, were all powerless to deal with the uninterrupted “bush-fighting” and the augmentation of the deficit, for no sooner was the latter covered by grants from the mother country than it began to grow again. At the close of the financial year in 1890 France had paid 13,000,000 francs. In April 1891 the deficit again approached the sum of 12,000,000 francs. The rebels held almost all the delta provinces, their capitals excepted, and from Hanoi itself the governor-general could see the smoke of burning villages at the very gates of his capital.
At this point a complete change of policy took place. M. de Lanessan, a Paris deputy sent on a mission in the course of 1887, made himself acquainted with the government and the court of Hué. He recognized the absolute falsity of the story which represented the Tongkingese as the oppressed subjects of the Annamese. He demonstrated the consanguinity of the populations, and after intercourse with the regents, or ministers, of Hué he realized that the pacification of the country depended upon harmonious relations being established between the general government and the court. Appointed governor-general with the fullest powers on the 21st of April 1891, he presented himself at Hué, concluded with the comat an agreement based on the principle of a “loyal protectorate,” and reassured the court, up to this point uneasy under menace of annexation. The comat shortly issued a proclamation under the great royal seal, never hitherto attached to any of the public acts imposed upon the king by the governors, who had been unaware of its existence. In this proclamation the king ordered all his subjects to obey the governor-general and to respect him, and commanded rebels to lay down arms. The effect was immediate—disorders in the delta ceased. The pirates alone, in revolt against the king of Annam and all authority, continued their brigandage. But the governor-general instituted four “military districts,” the commanders of which were commissioned to destroy the pirates. At the same time he placed a force of native police, the linh co, at the disposal of the mandarins, hitherto regarded with suspicion and intentionally deprived of all means of action. Order was restored within the delta. In the mountainous districts infested by pirates roads were opened and posts established. The chief haunts of the pirates were demolished, and during 1893 the foremost pirate chiefs gave in their submission. The Indo-Chinese budget regained its balance. On the Chinese frontier agreements were concluded with Marshal Sou, in command of the Chinese forces, regarding the simultaneous repression of piracy in both countries. But on the Mekong difficulties arose with the Siamese. For centuries Siam had occupied the right bank of the Mekong, and her troops had crossed the river and occupied the left bank. Luang-Prabang was in the hands of the Siamese, who had also established posts at Stung-treng and elsewhere. Friction occurred between the French agents and Siamese soldiery. After the death of Inspector Crosgurin on the 5th of June 1893 the French government occupied Stung-treng and Khong. France demanded explanations and redress at Bangkok, but the court refusing concessions, an ultimatum was presented to the king by M. Pavie, French minister to Siam. The terms of the ultimatum not having been complied with within the given time, the French flotilla, consisting of the gunboats “L’Inconstant” and “La Comète,” crossed the bar of the Menam on 13th July 1893, forced the entrance of the channel, and anchored at Bangkok, before the French legation. A second ultimatum was then presented. It contained the following conditions:—First, the occupation of Chantabun by the French until the Siamese should have entirely evacuated the left bank of the Mekong; secondly, the Siamese to be interdicted from maintaining military forces at Battambang, Siem-Reap, and generally from establishing fortified positions within 151 m. of the right bank of the Mekong; thirdly, Siam to be interdicted from having armed boats on the great lake Tonle-Sap. This agreement was executed immediately, the Laotians being eager parties to it. On the 29th of September 1893 the king of Luang-Prabang made his submission to the French government, and besought it to use its influence with the court of Siam for the return to their families of the sons of princes and mandarins then in schools at Bangkok. The Siamese evacuated the left bank of the Mekong, and France took possession of Laos, a treaty, on the basis of the ultimatum, being signed on the 1st of October 1893. The disputes to which this affair with Siam had given rise between France and Great Britain were amicably settled by an agreement concluded on the 15th of January 1896. This “declaration,” virtually ratifying the treaty concluded in 1893 between France and Siam, settled the limits of the zones of influence of the two contracting powers in the north of the Mekong regions and on the frontiers of Siam and Burma. Great Britain resigned to France the regions of the Muong-Sing which she had previously occupied. The great part of Siam included in the Menam basin was declared neutral, so also the Me-ping basin in the north, Meklong Pechaburi and Bang Pa Kong rivers in the south. The neutral zone, 151 m. wide on the right bank of the Mekong, was formally recognized.
In 1904, by a new Franco-Siamese treaty setting aside that of 1893, Chantabun was evacuated and the neutral zone renounced in return for the cession of the provinces of Bassac and Melupré and the district of Dansai (comprising the portion of Luang Prabang on the right bank of the Mekong) and the maritime district of Krat. By a further convention in 1907 Siam ceded the provinces of Battambang, Siem-Reap and Sisophon, and received in return the maritime province of Krat and the district of Dansai ceded in 1904. At the same time France abandoned all designs on territory of Siam by giving up certain areas obtained for the purposes of railway building on the right bank of the Mekong.
After the recall of M. de Lanessan in 1894 (see above), and before his successor, M. Rousseau, was able to acquaint himself fully with the condition of the country, military expeditions began again and the deficit soon reappeared. Tranquillity, however, being restored, attention was given to public works. On the 12th of October 1895 M. Rousseau left to ask parliament to vote a loan of 100,000,000 francs. On the 10th of February 1896 a law was passed authorizing a loan of 80,000,000 francs, and on the 14th of March 1896 an office for the financial control of the government-general of Indo-China was established. In the interval a French company had obtained from China a concession to prolong the railway from Langson to Lungchow on a tributary of the Canton river. M. Rousseau, who died on the 10th of December 1896, was replaced by M. Doumer, previously minister of finance, under whose government was realized, as has been before stated, the union of Indo-China. On the 20th of December 1898 M. Doumer obtained from parliament authorization to contract a loan of 200,000,000 francs, the proceeds of which were appropriated to the construction of railway lines.
Authorities.—M. J. F. Garnier, Voyage d’exploration en Indo-Chine (Paris, 1873); J. M. A. de Lanessan, L’Indo-Chine française (Paris, 1889); P. Doumer, L’Indo-Chine française (Souvenirs) (Paris, 1905); F. Bernard, Indo-Chine (Paris, 1901), L. Salaun, L’Indo-Chine (Paris, 1903); A. Girault, Principes de colonisation et de législation coloniale (Paris, 1907); M. Petit, Les Colonies françaises (2 vols., Paris, 1902); J. C. Gervais Courtellemont, L’Indo-Chine (Paris, 1902); A. Neton, L’Indo-Chine et son avenir économique (Paris, 1904); A. Pavie, Mission Pavie Indo-Chine (1879–1895); Géographie et voyages (Paris, 1901–1906); H. Lorin, La France: puissance coloniale (Paris, 1906); M. Monnier, La Tour d’Asie: Cochinchine, Annam, Tonkin (Paris, 1899); E. Bonhoure, L’Indo-Chine (Paris, 1900); R. Castex, Les Rivages indo-chinois (Paris, 1904); L. de Reinach, Le Laos (Paris, 1902) (this work gives a very complete bibliography); Annuaire général administratif, commercial et industriel de l’Indo-Chine (Hanoi); Revue Indochinois (Hanoi); C. Madrolle, Guide-Books (Paris, 1904–1907); Bulletin économique de l’Indo-Chine (Saigon). (J. M. A. de L.; R. Tr.)
- See also Annam, Cambodia, Cochin-China, Kwang-Chow Bay, Laos, Tongking.
- This does not apply to the budget of Cochin-China, which is voted by the colonial council and approved by the governor-general alone.
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
Nominal Capital. Nominal Capital
in circulation on
Jan. 1, 1907.
21% Loan of 1896 (Annam-Tongking) £3,678,000 £3,342,800 31% Loan of £8,000,000 issued from 1899 to 1905 8,748,260 8,640,060
Total £12,426,260 £11,982,860
- The transit trade between Hong Kong and Yun-nan via Tongking is of considerable importance (see Tongking).