Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and other Treaty Ports of China/Swatow

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SWATOW.

SWATOW, or Shan-tau, one of the ports thrown open in 1860 by the Treaty of Tientsin, lies at the main mouth of the River Han, which is here about a mile wide, and forms the entrepot and harbourage for a rich and flourishing hinterland, of which the ancient capital is Cha'o-chow-fu. In its setting of rush-covered, sandy dunes, vallevs laden with orange trees, crags in wild disorder, and distant, venerable mountains, Swatow is rightly named "the beautiful," and its climate, removed from either extreme of heat or cold, is healthful and invigorating. The trade of the port was originally carried on by sailing vessels, which had to pay a hundred dollars per mast each time of entry — a profitable source of revenue when it is remembered that in the early days the harbour often gave shelter to as many as fifty sailing ships. The first steamers to touch at Swatow were those of the Douglas and Peninsular and Oriental Companies, which scheduled three sailings a week from Hongkong for Swatow, Amoy, and Foochow. In course of time the Peninsular and Oriental boats were withdrawn from the run, but for upwards of fifty years the Douglas Company have maintained a regular service, though latterly they have had to face strenuous opposition from the Japanese.

The former prosperity of Swatow depended largely on the sugar industry. Fleets of native junks and numbers of foreign steamers came into port from Newchwang laden with bean cakes as manure for the cane planta- tions, which extended for hundreds of miles around, and everybody and everything lived more or less directly by and on sugar. Now, however, Javanese, Hongkong, and heavily subsidised Japanese sugars have practically driven the local product from the market ; the industry is dead, and all the factories are closed. The tea industry has also dwindled to insignificance, and an attempt to intro- duce flour-milling was speedily frustrated by competition from Hongkong. But, neverthe- less, the trade outlook is hopeful. There is a steady appreciation of land values, which may be taken as an indication that Swatow is slowly realising its destiny as a great emporium, with ever-extending railway com- munication, and a growing ste.uner service along the great trade routes of Eastern commerce. The decline of the former staples has already in some measure been balanced by an enormous development along other lines of industry, thanks to the wealth brought, or remitted, to the country by Chinese coolies, who have emigrated to the Malay Peninsula and elsewhere, and found prosperity. The extent of the coolie emigration from Swatow may be gauged from the latest available figures for one vear, which are as follows : — To Hongkong, 12,876 ; lo the Straits Settle- ments, 52,678 ; to Sumatra, 8,971 ; to Bangkok, 46,246 ; and to Saigon, 5,786. The coolies are sent as " assigned servants " to the agents of large Chinese sugar, rice, rubber, indigo, tobacco, fruit, and other planters in the respective countries ; and there can be little do;ibt that this traffic, in spite of its repulsive local sobriquet, " the small pig trade," is not without advantage to a district where, owing to over-population, infanticide is of common occurrence.

The manufacture of pewter-ware, earthen- ware, coarse paper, and drawn-lace fabrics has received considerable impetus, while, in addition to limited quantities of sugar and tea, fans, grass-cloth, indigo, oranges, jute, bamboo-ware, oil, tobacco, eggs, tinfoil, ver- micelli, macaroni, &c., are exported. Imports, via Shanghai and Hongkong, consist princi- cipally of cotton and woollen textures, American fiour, wheat, cotton yarn, kerosene oil, metals, opium, ramie fibre, rice, beans, bean cake, matches, &c. The net value of the trade of the port coming under the cognisance of the foreign Customs in 1906 was Tls.43, 159,013, as compared with Tls. 47,948,050 in 1905, and Tls. 49,280,786 in 1904. Quite a feature of the commercial activity of Swatow is the extraordinary enterprise of the Japanese, who since the war have overrun the country and have made their way into almost every department of trade.

The population of Swatow, estimated at about 35,000, contains an increasing per- centage of Europeans and Japanese, and quite a city of detached villa residences, each with its trim garden, is springing up, and finding its way through the older parts of the town — a marvellous change since the days, less than half a century ago, when the foreigner was strictly forbidden entrance to Swatow, and had to remain for safety on Masu, or Double Island, lying just inside the river mouth about four miles below the port. On the shore opposite Swatow, at the foot of a range of rugged heights, lies the settle- ment of Kak Chieh, where the British Consul and a few other Europeans reside, but with this exception all the foreign houses and representatives conduct their business in the town itself. Various schemes of reclamation have been undertaken, and in this way about 2ii acres have been added to Ihe available building land. It is interesting, and, indeed, curious, to remark ihat in Swatow and the surrounding district no bricks are used in the construction of the houses, the substitute being a form of concrete into the composition of which a peculiar local clay, in admixture with oyster- shell lime and water, enters largely. This material hardens into a solid wall, and appears to last quite as well as the bricks so generally used in other parts of China. The local government of Swatow and the surrounding district is vested in the Taoutai, a high Chinese official, who resides in the Yamen, or Court-house, at Cha'o-chow-fu. The present holder of the oftice, recently arrived in the district, is a man of action, and under his supervision the local police, who were formerly under mercantile administration, have been brought to some state of efficiency, and much better order prevails in the towns than formerly. Assisting the Taoutai are the Chief of Police ; the Tung Hi magistrate, who settles the disputes among natives, and metes out punishment in Swatow ; and the Chow Yang magistrate, who deals similarly with Kak Chieh, and the district on the southern shore.

There is a fairly large staff of Customs officers attached to Swatow, and they are usually fully employed, as the number of vessels entering and clearing the port is increasing year by year. For many years the Customs Department had to perform their functions and live on Double Island, and it was only after exterminating a couple of hundreds of desperadoes, rowdies, and fanatics, that they succeeded in occupying the present site on the mainland. New Customs offices are now being built on a portion of the reclaimed land. The yearly duty collected by the Imperial Customs at Swatow amounts approximately to Tls. 1,500.000.

There are three post offices—the German, the Imperial Japanese, and the Imperial Chinese; the latter, which is under European supervision, is the best managed. New post offices are being constructed, and. near them, examination halls and quarters.

There are no public works at present, though a waterworks scheme has been projected. An electric lighting plant was at one time installed by private enterprise, but, owing to dispute amongst the directors upon the subject of finance, the plant was closed down after working only four months.

Among the largest commercial undertakings are those of the Royal Dutch and Asiatic Petroleum Company, Limited (which absorbed the Shell Transport and Royal Dutch Companies, established in Swatow for many years). and the Standard Oil Company. Both are doing a thriving business. On the other hand, the sugar refinery erected at Kak Chieh, by Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co., Ltd.. was closed, partly on account of the disfavour into which Swatow sugar fell, and partly owing to the heavy taxes imposed by the Government. It remains to this day known as the "white elephant" of Swatow.

The religious and educational institutions of the district are doing useful work. A branch of the English Presbyterian Mission was established in Amoy in 1847, and it was extended to Swatow in 1857, and to Formosa in 1870. There is now a centre in Chao-chow-fu. The Mission has a theological college at Swatow, a high school for boys, with room for forty scholars, and a high school for girls, with accommodation for about sixty. Dr. Lyall has charge of a general hospital, and Dr. Beath of a women's hospital; and there is also a book shop in connection with the Mission. The clement of commercialism so often deplored in relation to mission work is entirely absent, as the Mission is self-supporting.

There is also an Anglo-Chinese college, named the "To Chiang," after the river. It was built entirely with Chinese capital, subscribed by merchants in Swatow, half of the sum of $40,000 being given by Mr. Chen Yu Ting. It was commenced in 1905 and completed in the following year, affording accommodation for one hundred scholars. It is under the control of the English Presbyterian Mission.

There is also a branch of the Mission Catholique, under the Rev. Fr. Douspis; while on the Kak Chieh side the American Baptist Union has an establishment.

There are no temples in Swatow of any age or interest, except, perhaps, the large temple, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, on Double Island.

Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States have Consular representation in Swatow.

There are two clubs, each provided with a billiard room and library. The Swatow Club has two tennis courts, while that at Kialat, on the opposite side of the river, has a fine bowling alley. The use of these clubs by members' wives on certain afternoons for their "at homes" adds much to their value in the social life of the community.

 

 

Tcitp d838 temple of kwangin.jpg

TEMPLE OF KWANGIN.

 

CHAO-CHOW-FU.

 

Chao-chow-fu, the provincial capital and seat of local government, is easily reached from Swatow, the journey of 24½ miles being covered in an hour and a half. The railway was constructed by Japanese contractors for a syndicate of Singapore Chinese, with a capital of $2,000,000. Work was begun in 1904, and the line was opened for traffic on November 25, 1906, though as yet no freight is carried. The engines and rails are of American make, but the carriages, like the working staff, came from Japan. The line lies through charming scenery—orange groves, rice-fields, and tobacco plantations, interspersed with bananas, persimmons, and other vegetation, succeeding each other in pleasing panorama.

Chao-chow-fu, which is 6½ li in length and 3 li in breadth, and is surrounded by high moss-grown walls, pierced at intervals for cannon, has a population estimated at about 120,000 inhabitants.

The Roman Catholic Church, a majestic pile, completed in 1905, rears its lofty spire near the railway station, and is one of the first objects to arrest attention. It bears solid witness to the perseverance of the sturdy priests, who, after years of unremitting toil and endless trouble, succeeded in erecting it upon the site of what was once a stagnant pool of water.

The narrow streets of the poorer part of the town teem with life, human and animal. They give place to more spacious quarters, where attractive-looking shops display a wealth of foreign goods of all descriptions, and beyond are walled lanes leading to charming residences.

■;*-, mmm H H f *- * ii « 5i, iflfptp > ' 'i?l1ll4*^i l> *) « « f 4iftA ' ■ HAN SAN INSCRIPTIONS. [See page 832.] There are many sights of interest. A swinging bridge of boats across a branch of the River Han leads to the famous Han San, a mountain looming green and high, with bamboo groves and clusters of ferns on its sides. Here is situated the ancient temple of Han Kung Tze, dedicated to the manes of Han Boon Kung, a sage and philosopher, who flourished under the Tung dynasty. There are some classic inscriptions on the massive granite slabs, and with great difficulty impressions of them have been obtained for inclusion in this work. The temple is now a Government school: the idols have been removed, and in the stately halls sit young lads imbibing from foreign teachers the wisdom of the West.

 

Tcitp d840 han san and vicinity.jpg

HAN SAN AND VICINITY.

 

The great Buddhist temple of Kwanyin, the goddess of heaven, is situated in the heart of the city, its gate guarded by four huge monsters, hideous of mien, and grotesquely carved. Worshippers chew paper, and throw the pellets at the bodies of these monsters, fully believing that luck will follow if the pellets stick. The image of the goddess, of cunning workmanship, is secluded by embroidered hangings and gilded screens, and high up in the mystic rafters hangs an enormous bell of full and silvery tone. A kitchen, erected four hundred years ago, contains seven huge iron pots and cauldrons, wherein former generations of monks boiled their rice and water.

The mountain Kam San may be reached in chairs, and from the summit, approached by steps, an enchanting view unfolds itself. What is now a Government high school, in the neighbourhood of the mountain, was at one time occupied by General Fong, who, though himself a sybarite of the first order, maintained such perfect discipline in the district by cutting off the heads of thousands of malefactors that his name has become a byword for justice and cruelty. The mountain is strongly fortified; nests of modern guns being concealed under evergreens and waving banana trees.

The Sai Fu temple is renowned for the deep cuttings in the solid rocks, containing, in addition to the usual moral maxims of Confucius, a number of pieces of poetry made and cut by amateur poets, inspired by the genii of the mountain and the compelling beauty of the surroundings.

A short distance to the north of the city are located the widely known hot and cold mineral springs of Jao Ping, accessible in a few hours either by chair or boat. The journey from Cha'o-chow-fu occupies seven or eight hours, and the traveller is well repaid by the beauty of the scenery in the neighbourhood of the springs. The waters are charged with sulphur, soda and other minerals and with natural carbonic gas, and have valuable therapeutic properties. The town of Jao Ping itself is without much interest, its inhabitants, for the most part, being engaged in agriculture.

 

 

HIS EXCELLENCY WOO SHU.

 

His Excellency Woo Shu, the Taoutai of Chao Chow, was born in the Yunnan Province of China in 1860. Educated at Peking, he secured the highest degree of the Chinese Imperial Academy (Han Lin Yuen Phien Shui). He was appointed Censor of Peking and Judge of the South Gate, and was afterwards promoted to be Censor for informations and Memoralist of the provinces of Kiangnan, Shantung, Kweichow, and Chihli. Then he became Chief Examiner's Assistant and Censor of the Punishment Department of Peking (Chi Su Chong), and in May, 1906, was appointed by imperial decree to be the Real Incumbent of the Hui, Chao, and Chia Prefectures and Districts, and Taoutai of Swatow. Arriving in Canton in November he presented himself to the Viceroy Chou and was asked to act temporarily as Taoutai at Kau, Lui, and Yang Prefectures. While still in this office he was invited to serve temporarily as Taoutai of the Chung Yai Prefectures, but, owing to urgent affairs in the Kau, Lui, and Yang districts, he could not take up this appointment and, being recalled to Canton, he was Acting Provincial Treasurer and Financial Commissioner for three months, after which he entered upon the duties of the post to which he had been originally appointed by imperial decree. He is now the highest Chinese authority in the prefectures and districts under his control. Owing to his careful supervision, the police force in Chao Chow and Swatow, which was formerly under mercantile administration, has been brought to a high standard of efficiency His Excellency has recently issued a proclamation to the newly organised police force of Swatow to level the roads and reconstruct a bridge for the convenience of the carriages plying from the Chao Shan railway station to the town of Swatow. He is also organising a Clearing Thoroughfares Department, and is engaged upon several other important and necessary reforms. He is a straightforward, CHAO CHOW AND SWATOW RAILWAY COMPANY, LTD., SWATOW. I. The Opexing Ckrejkixy. 5- H.E. Cheong Yuk Nam (Managing Director-General;. . On'e ok the Company's Trains. . SWATOW Station. . Engine Sheds. clear-minded Chinese official possessing the administrative ability and practical knowledge requisite for carrying his schemes into effect.

Tcitp d566 page decoration.jpg

Tcitp d842 woo shu governor of chao chow.jpg

HIS EXCELLENCY WOO SHU,
Taoutai at Chao Chow.

MR. P. F. HAUSSER.

Tcitp d842 p f hausser british consul at swatow.jpg

P. F. HAUSSER,
British Consul at Swatow.

Mr. Pierre Fredk. Hausser, who has been British Consul at Swatow, since October, 1906, was born in 1856. He matriculated at London University, and was appointed a Student Interpreter in China in 1878. He has held positions in the Consular service in a number of places in the Chinese Empire, including Taiwan, Amoy, Kiukiang, Pagoda Island, Ningpo, and Wuchow. Mr. Hausser, who is an excellent linguist, was employed on special service with the Burma-China Frontier Commission from 1897 to 1899.
Tcitp d566 page decoration.jpg

MR. A. H. HARRIS.

Tcitp d842 a h harris customs commissioner of swatow.jpg

A. H. HARRIS,
Commissioner of Customs, Swatow.

Mr. A. H. Harris who has been the Commissioner of Customs at Swatow since April, 1907, is the son of the late George A. Harris, of the Madras Civil Service, the grandson of the first Lord Harris. Born in 1863, he was educated privately, and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he won the Davis Chinese Scholarship. Entering the Imperial Maritime Customs in 1883, he was for four years secretary and interpreter to Admiral Lang, R.N., the organiser of the Peiyang Navy. He has been acting as a Commissioner of Customs since 1900, and opened the new Treaty port of Changsha, the home of conservatism, in Hunan, in 1904. In recognition of his services, Mr. Harris has received the Order of the Double Dragon, and the Civil Rank of the Third Class from the Imperial Chinese Government.
Tcitp d566 page decoration.jpg

MR. G. T. MURRAY.

Tcitp d842 george t murray newspaper reporter.jpg

GEORGE T. MURRAY.

Mr. Geo. T. Murray is a man who, embarking on a business career, has, in later life, devoted considerable time to literature, and, having travelled extensively, has won a high reputation on account of the attractive and interesting manner in which he has placed the impressions of his journeys on record. He was born in Florida in 1862, and, after being educated in private schools, commenced business in San Francisco as a merchant. With a pocket-full of introductions he came to China and joined the Customs

service. He has been stationed in Foochow, Chefoo, Chinkiang, Hankow, and Shanghai, remaining in the last-named place for nineteen years. It is his boast that his footprint has marked every continent of the world, and the experiences he has met with during the course of his wanderings have been related in many articles in papers and magazines in all parts. As "Tat" of the China Morning Post he is well known, and he was a constant contributor to the East of Asia quarterly magazine during its existence. He is the author of "The Land of the Tatami," which is regarded by recognised authorities as one of the best guides to Japan, to the people of which country Mr. Murray is most partial. At the present time Mr. Murray writes largely for Social Shanghai, the popular monthly. Mr. Murray occupies much of his leisure with fishing and shooting.

MR. HENRY LAYING, L.R.C.P. (London), M.R.C.S. (England), has a large and remunerative practice in Swatow in partnership with Dr. C. H. D. Morland and Dr. F. L. Mansel, and is one of the best known surgeons in the district. Born in Norfolk in 1860, he was educated at Christ's Hospital (Blue Coat School), London, and afterwards studied medicine at the Westminster Hospital.

In 1888 he came to China to relieve Dr. B. S. Ringer (since, retired) in Amoy, and in 1889 purchased the practice of the late Dr. John Pollock at Swatow and took over that gentleman's various appointments. In 1900 he was joined in partnership by Dr. C. H. D. Morland and in 1904 by Dr. E. L. Mansel. The firm has charge of the Seamen's Hospital and possesses to an exceptional degree the confidence of a large section of the native population.

DR. E. L. MANSEL was born in Hertfordshire in 1 868, and was educated at Haileybury and at Aberdeen University. He studied also at the London Hospital, taking his degree as Doctor of Medicine in 1896. He has seen service with the Field Force in South Africa; is an enthusiastic sportsman and very fond of shooting.

DR. C. H. D. MORLAND, F.R.C.S. (England), 1897, was educated at Royesse's School, Abingdon, and studied medicine at St. George's Hospital, London, Durham University, and King's College. He became M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. in 1888, and obtained the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Durham with second-class honours in 1890, and became a Fellow of the Roval College of Surgeons (England) in 1897.

CAPTAIN HY. FREWIN.

CAPTAIN HENRY FREWIN.

Captain Hy. Frewin is the oldest foreign resident in Swatow, and a pioneer of trade in this district. His career has been varied and interesting. Born in London, in 1830, he went to sea at the age of fourteen, and for many years was trading in the Indian and Chinese seas. As gunner of the frigate

VIEW OF CHAO-CHOW-FU. Sfsoslrio. he saw a good deal of fighting in the Burmese War, of 1852 53. and was awarded the silver medal. Now he carries on the business of a nvirine surveyor, living a quiet and retired life. He is a vegetarian, and to this fact, coupled with his simple habits, he attributes his longevity. He is married, and has one son and one daughter.

MR. S. J. DEEKES.

Mr. S. J. Deekes, the agent in Swatow- for the China Mutual Life Insurance Company, is a traveller of wide experience, and an enthusiastic sportsman. Born in Warwick- shire in 1876, he has, during the thirty-two years of his life, visited many countries, and followed a variety of occupations. He conducted a private trading enterprise in I'ganda for some time ; he served throughout the war in South Africa ; and he knows Australia thoroughly. While in South Africa he was a prominent member of the Wanderers C.C., but in whatever country he may happen to be, his ability to score runs on the cricket field never seems to desert him.

HE. LIU PAHG K£T.

Mr. Lim Pang Ket holds the responsible position of compradore to Messrs. Butterfield & Swire, in Swatow. He was born at Chow Yang, in 1861, and, after receiving a thoroughly sound education, went to Canton and Shanghai, and opened businesses in both places. He had some little experience, also, of trade in Singapore, and is interested now in several commercial ventures, in various districts. He is a director of the Taikoo Tsng Bank, and manager of the Yen F"ung Bank. In his position as compradore he is greatly assisted by Mr. Ah Pow Lee, who joined Messrs. Butterfield & Swire, in 1883, at Shanghai, was transferred to Hankow, and later to Swatow, where he has been Mr. Lim Pang Ket's right-hand man since 1902.

MESSES. BEADLET & CO,

The firm of Bradley & Co. was established in Swatow, in i860. Since that time branches have been opened at Hongkong and Shanghai. Swatow, however, has always remained the headquarters of the Company, and from here the general policy of the business is directed. Bradley & Co. are imjiorters of and dealers in general merchandise, managers and pro- prietors of the Swatow Ice Factory ; managing owners of the Shan Steamship Company, which, however, is now reduced to only two steamers ; while amongst their chief agencies are those of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank- ing Cfirporation, the Peninsular and Oriental and other steamship lines, including the Japanese : and Lloyd's and various other prominent insurance offices. Their corre- sponding London house is Richardson's, of Billiter Square Buildings. The original partners in the firm were Messrs. C. W. Bradley and T. W. Richardson. Mr. C. W. Bradley retired in i868 and has since died, and the present proprietors, iK'side Mr. T. W. Richardson, are Messrs. A. MacGowan (Swatow), A. F"orbes (Hongkong), and George A. Richardson (Shanghai). Mr. Thos. Wm. Richardson was born at Edinburgh, in 1834, and was educated at the Sc(.>ttish N'aval and Military Academy, and at Edinburgh I'niversity, He arrived in Hongkong in 1855. went to Canton in the same year, and in 1856, proceeded to Takao (South Formosa). He joined Messrs. Tait it Co., of .moy, in 1857, but three years later commenced business at Swatow, in conjunction with Mr, C. W. Bradley, under the style of Bradley & Co. He is .nilso liead of the tirni of Richardson's, in Billiter Square Buildings, but, though he has a house in London, he prefers the climate of Swatow, and has his residence there for the present. Mr. A. Macgowan was born in Aniov, in 1868. He was educated at Blackheath, London, but returned to China in 1884, and, joining Messrs. Tait & Co., represented them in South Formosa for three years. In 1897 he became connected with Messrs. Bradlev & Co.. at Hongkong, and a year later came to Swatow. He is secretarv of the Swatow Club.

MESSES. GALLON & CO.

The business of Messrs. Gallon & Co. has been very much restricted in certain par- ticulars owing to various regulations passed by the Chinese authorities, as to the value or necessity of which there is a considerable difference of opinion. But, in spite of these obstacles, the volume of the firm's trade has increased rapidly, and as merchants and commission agents they now hold a recog- nised place in the commercial life of the town. They commenced operations at Swatow in October, 1905, and supplied the machinery, &c., for the Swatow Electric Iwight Company. This enterprise is capable of great expansion, but, at present, the Com- pany is entirely managed by Chinese, and the introduction of improvements is slow. Messrs. Gallon & Co. also inaugurated the cattle trade between Swatow and Manila. They made several shipments, and there were bright prospects of largely increased orders when the Chinese authorities pro- hibited any further exportations. The regulation, which was supposed to be of a temporary nature, came into force on May 13, 1906, and, at the time of writing, in spite of repeated endeavours to get it repealed, it still remains law. As the reason for this the authorities say that the exportation ot cattle left an insuflicient number i'or ;igri- cultural purposes. But, as bullocks only were shipped and all agricultural work is done by the female and water buffaloes, it appears probable that if the restrictions were removed no inconvenience would be experienced, whilst a good source of revenue would be obtained by the Customs and a considerable amount of money would be brought into the port. Gallon & C<j. are agents for the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, and the Vacuum Oil Company. They are also endeavouring to secure the contract for the erection of machinery in a big waterworks scheme, recently floated.

Mr. William Gallon was born in June, 1878, at Wallsend-on-Tyne, Northumberland. He entered the British Navy when he was sixteen and a half years of age, and came to China first in H.M.S. Dulo. He purchased his discharge at Hongkong in August, 1901, and started business in Swatow four years later.

WELL-KNOWN CHINESE AT THE COAST-PORTS.

Chokv Chkx Poxii (Koochow). 2, I.im Ni;k Kah (Anioy). 3. I.im I. a Saxo (Swatow). . H. TIKXSIXKIK) (Koochow). . H. Manxchow (FoochowJ. I.IM I'AXG KKT (Swatow).