Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/215

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155
THE PROVINCE OF HONAN

and Kweichow. Szechwan opium, being the cheapest, is widely used. Its price varies from 400 to 500 cash per ounce. The Honan drug is from 500 to 600 cash; Shensi, 800; Kansu, 900 cash to 1000 cash per ounce. Foreign opium costs as much as from 800 to 1600 cash for a similar quantity.

The coalfield of Lushan and Ruchow forms a plateau a few hundred feet high and twenty-three miles broad. It separates the valleys of the Sha and Ru rivers. Very little lump coal is produced in this field, but it is a "caking and coking coal of tolerable purity." The greatest depth at which the Chinese work is 400 feet. North of Honan Fu is a considerable coalfield which supplies the railway.

Flooding of the mines had rendered this work difficult. Two thin seams of coal have been passed, but the main seam still remains to be worked, 50 feet below the 500 feet depth already reached. There are Chinese-worked mines in the neighbourhood of Kong Hsien, Mih Hsien, and Pao Hsien, with an output of 20 tons per mine every ten days.

 

The peoples of China exhibit considerable variation of character. The Canton merchant and Shansi banker are found far beyond the limits of their own provinces in many of the important cities of the Empire. The Honanese, on the other hand, do not care for travel.[1] Their view of the world is limited by their own horizon. The majority are farmers—somewhat rude and uncouth in manner, easily roused to anger, quick to take offence. They are of an independent turn of mind, and will not brook reproof; very conservative, they do not welcome foreign innovation. In certain districts the anti-foreign feeling runs high, and the people would rejoice if all "barbarians" were expelled. In other districts they are very friendly, and welcome the stranger in their midst. They are distinctly intelligent, and are often marked by strong individuality.

Poverty and squalor prevail; the people are indifferent

  1. Many of the craftsmen, however, in Shansi are Honanese.—Ed.