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haps to the extreme. "It may be here remarked," says Mr Russell of the Times, writing on the 18th August, "that no civil officer now regulates his conduct by Governor Canning's proclamation, even as it was modified by the Commissioners; and," so much is the case otherwise, "settlement-engagements for revenue
have been made with chiefs who, so late as June last, attacked our police, and plundered their posts and villages!" So expired Lord Canning's proclamation. We wish the moral discredit of it could be as easily erased from the memory of the natives of India, and wiped from the fair escutcheon of British honour.
Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.
WE left the north of China, and sailed from the important city of Tientsin, bearing the cheering intelligence to Shanghai of a treaty of peace having been concluded between the Empires of Great Britain and China, and of the advent of a great era in the history of the latter nation. Henceforth, thanks to allied arms and allied diplomacy, China was open to the enterprise of the missionary, traveller, or merchant, and the ships of England might not only visit her seaboard, and enter her harbours, but were at liberty also to penetrate to her farthest borders, by means of that noble stream, the Yang-tsi-Keang, which flows by and through her richest, and hitherto most secluded, provinces. Many other valuable concessions were made; but those above mentioned were those most fraught with change to the "Central Land," and with high promise to British interests, commerce, and policy.
A thorough appreciation of the present unhealthy condition of the European mercantile intellect located at the "Five Ports" in China, car
us through the anticipated ordeal, of being told by the majority of our belligerent merchants that we had not slaughtered half enough
VOL. LXXXIV.-NO. DXVIII.
Chinamen, and enabled us to smile at captiousness, that seemed to think nothing was gained so long as they had to pay taxes or dues to contemptible mandarins ! Happily, people at home would think more wisely and more disinterestedly upon the subject, and England would rejoice that so much good had been wrought with so little violence, and that our arms, though they had punished severely, were free from the charge of injustice and robbery. All in Europe, who had ever known or read of China, would appreciate the humiliation that the proud and exclusive Court of Pekin must have endured, when it yielded the points which have already been made public through the medium of the press. Therefore, Anglo-Chinese opinions did not press heavily upon our spirits-but the heat did! What a constant exercise of ingenuity it is to procure a draught of fresh air—or, more correctly speaking, a draught of air only-during the July heat of a Shanghai summer! There is nothing fresh or pure at that unhappy period; all Nature stinks aloud; and any one gifted with acute olfactory nerves in Shanghai, must necessarily suffer from nose-ache, until all sense of smell is lost, or thoroughly
blunted. Unsavouriness and closesteaming heat apart, Shanghai is replete with interest. Situated in a rich and highly cultivated plain, near the mouth of the "Son of the Ocean," as the Chinese figuratively style the Yang-tsi-Keang, and on the eastern seaboard of the great valley which stretches north to Pekin, and west to the mountains of Sychuen, closely connected with most of the important cities of this empire by means of a wonderful ramification of canals, Shanghai is, in fact, the Liverpool of China, and likely still more to rise in commercial importance as the results of the Treaty of Tientsin develop themselves.
It was on Saturday the 18th June 1842 that the boats of the British fleet opened the port of Shanghai to the ken of the world; and to-day, sixteen short years afterwards, the value of the European and American exports and imports amounts to no less than twenty-six millions of dollars per annum, or, at the present rate of exchange, six millions sterling, of which the lion's share goes to or comes from Great Britain and her colonies. These figures give some idea of the progress of commerce in a city, even in this slow-moving country; but the scene of vitality and bustle Shanghai affords to the visitor is still more striking. At this moment eighty odd sail of splendid clippers, fleet-footed racers of the deep sea, from London, Liverpool, Aberdeen, and New York, are riding at anchor off the quays; flags and pennons, as varied in colour as their owners and consignees are numerous, flaunt gaily in the fervid zephyrs that waft anything but ambrosial smells from the fields and gardens of a people who are far too practical to care for the filthy means whereby their vegetables are brought to market in such marvellous perfection. We know that directly the monetary crisis in Europe has ceased to react upon the firms established here, and that the new crop of teas shall have arrived from the tea-growing districts, every wharf which projects into the river will be inaccessible for the throng of lighters pressing around them, and that crowds of sweltering coolies or porters will wail over their
burdens, ever repeating their melancholy cry of "Ah-ho! ah-ho-ho!" Allah be praised that that busy scene has not yet commenced; for then our only hours of rest, from 4 o'clock until 7 o'clock in the morning, would be broken, and heat, stench, musquitoes, combined with coolies, might drive us to desperation, and to take a passage home in the first Peninsular and Oriental mail-boat, and thus mar our anticipated visit to Japan. The lull in European commerce does not appear to have checked Chinese activity wherever money-making is to be done; and although, in their jargon, Messrs Smith, Brown, and Robinson "have makee broke! or "that new chop tea no catchee yet, by bye can do," yet that in no way affected the Chinaman's line of business. In the city, about the river-side, and in narrow pestiferous streets, there is a clang and din of commerce. Oily, strong-smelling men rush past you carrying loads of sugar or fusty bags of rice; here piles of rattans impede the way, or bundles of dye-woods rattle about your shins; and then all the conglomeration of foul smells is suddenly mastered by tubs of some abomination brought from the Eastern Isles to tickle the palates of the sons of the Flowery Land! Put on a pith hat, spread a thick cotton umbrella, take advantage of every streak of shade thrown by tree or wall, and let us watch the entrance of the Soo-chowfoo Canal. Numbers of boats are passing and repassing; some carry native merchants or brokers, who have been doing, or are going to do, business in Shanghai. In spite of the unpretending appearance of their comfortable boats, tens of thousands, in dollars, are about the figures in which their inmates carry on their mercantile transactions. Smooth, silvertongued Asiatics as they are-adepts at lying, chicanery, and duplicitythey are commercially honest nevertheless. Good faith in mercantile transactions they have found to be advantageous; and, being an eminently practical race, they adopt the advantageous virtue, and as a rule (not without exception) they practise it. But the same man who will, to the uttermost farthing, account to his
brother-merchant for thousands, or assist him in a commercial crisis, will unblushingly defraud his government by the grossest perjury, and subscribe remorselessly to a fund for procuring the heads of foreigners, or destroying a European community with arsenic-Howqua and Canton to wit. Besides these boats full of passengers, there are barges carrying the greatest amount of goods, and drawing the smallest conceivable amount of water; some months hence they will reach the remotest points of the empire with their precious freight of tropical or European produce. Such the scene on the Soochow Canal. Now look up the river above the fleet of clippers, steamboats, and men-of-war, at that forest of masts, like a mass of pine-trees stripped of branch and leaf; they are the native vessels of Shanghai. Only the pool below London Bridge can offer a similar sight. This season, certainly, these vessels are unusually numerous here. Fear of the allies, and the exaggerated reports of the "fierceness of the uncontrollable barbarians" commanding her Britannic Majesty's gunboats, have induced their owners to remain in port until peace was declared. Our news has evidently reached them, and the clang of gongs, much discordant music, and the noise of crackers, during the early watches of the past night, are demonstrations of John Chinaman's delight. He has the prospect of again being able to push into the outer waters, under the slender protection of the smoothfaced Queen of Heaven, who, in her smoky little shrine under the junk's poop, smiles approvingly on the poor junk-seaman's offering of a cup of weak tea, and a candle of pork fat painted bright vermilion. All day, and all night long, according as the tide serves, these industrious fellows are moving up or down the stream, ever heaving in cables, or hoisting and lowering their quaint-cut sails. Hardy must they be, as well as industrious; they seem to have but one suit of clothes, and only a inat to sleep upon; their food is simply rice, and salt-fish enough to swear by, and their pay is very small; yet they face the tempests of a sea which
is full of danger to our well-formed barks and expert seamen. And then, after a long and toilsome voyage, the junk-sailor often endures sad cruelties from pirates, whose ships are ever prowling about in the neighbourhood of the centres of commerce. Still, in spite of typhoons and pirates, and the competition of European vessels that already have entered the field against them in the coasting trade, the native craft have apparently in no wise diminished in number; and it is probable, indeed, that more junks sail to and from Shanghai at the present day than prior to the opening of the port to European commerce. Apart from the scenes of activity which the waters around the city of Shanghai afford, I may add that the "bund" or quay which forms the river-face of the European quarter, together with the magnificent abodes of the merchants, and no less imposing consulates, convey an idea of the wealth and prosperity of the community, which is fully supported by their establishments, yachts, horses, and mode of living. Even the ministers of the Protestant churches, judging by their dwellings, partake of the general wellbeing of Shanghai. Rectors at home on £600 per annum live not in such houses; and poor curates in England, desirous of enjoying conjugal life, and bearing light to the benighted heathen, may, by enduring a considerable amount of heat and many smells, do far better in China (in a temporal point of view at least) than by slaving in the fever-haunted homes of the poor of an English city. The missionary in China may not expect, like the merchant, to make a rapid fortune and retire, but nevertheless it is a fine field for active sons of the Church. There is for them the prospect of promotion to vacant Eastern bishoprics; or, if gifted with more questionable zeal for the interests of their country and their religion, they may become political agents or Government interpreters.
He who at the latter part of July, at Shanghai, found anything to admire or write of, might boast of some energy and good health. Personal comfort was then entirely hopeless.
The temperature for a week ranged from 86° to 98° Fahrenheit, and on deck, in the shade of our awnings, often stood at 104°. Sunstroke was frequent. Even the Chinese labourers, employed in coaling the ship, were more than once struck down; the men-of-war lost one or more men by this awful and sudden death; and even as late in the afternoon as 4 P.M., a European policeman was killed by coup-de-soleil, through incautiously exposing himself on the bund. Every one on shore or on board found a perfect state of mental and bodily quietude actually necessary for the preservation of health; and we thought with a sigh of our brethren and kindred who, in as high a temperature, and almost as insupportable a climate-that of Oude or Rohilcund-were obliged to labour for their country's honour in spite of sunstroke and disease.
At this season all the residents of Shanghai look painfully unhealthy, sallow, and listless. Those afloat, and not acclimatised, suffer much from boils, rush, whitlows, and similar ail ments, by which strong constitutions seek relief when tried by great heats and pestiferous exhalations.
It is true that the mercantile community, feeding and living in an artificial state, cooled by punkahs, and supported by the consolation that in three or four years time they would return to Europe or America with fortunes, may be able, with Spartan fortitude, to smile at their sufferings; we were otherwise situated, and can safely aver, after more than twenty years' wandering through one portion of the tropics or another, varying their heat occasionally with extremes of cold equally objectionable, that a hot calm off the Bonny River in Africa, or the most sultry day PortRoyal or Saugor Island can produce, is Eden itself when compared with the foul stew called a hot day in Shanghai.
We acknowledge that, for seven months-ay, and if you please, eight months-the climate of Shanghai is delicious; the ice, the mutton, and the game, all are unexceptionable; but heaven preserve us from a third time visiting it in the dog-days of a Chinese summer!
Even the arrival of the English mail hardly served to rouse us from our lethargic discontent. Canton had become a horrid nightmare, and we were supremely indifferent as to the squabbles of Governor Bowring of Hong-Kong, and Mr Commissioner Hwang, Governor-General of the Quang-tung and Quang-si Provinces. We could only listlessly glance over the terrible edicts they had each fulminated against the other. It was too much for us that hot day to attempt to read the tremendous despatches of an Indian General, who, with five hundred sailors, soldiers, sepoys, and irregulars, had fought some twenty pitched battles with a numerous and desperate foe, whose flanks he enveloped, whose rear he threatened, whose columns he crushed, whose centre he pierced, whose line he enfiladed, rolled up, and came down upon perpendicularly! But we could read and re-read Sir Colin Campbell's clear and soldierlike reports, and hoped that, after all, the real fight was where the gallant Highlanders led.
Shortly after the mail arrived, certain intelligence reached Shanghai from the north of China, that the Court of Pekin, acting in perfect good faith, and in fulfilment of its contract, had already despatched two high officers to Shanghai to arrange the terms of the future transit duties, and to revise the present tariff of taxes on foreign imports and exports. These functionaries. could not arrive for some weeks; and, in the mean time, a good opportunity offered for the British ambassador to proceed to Japan, and there secure to Great Britain the same privileges the Americans and Russians had of late been so active in compelling the Japanese government to grant them.
Then, amid clouds of coal-dust and a tumult of baggage and livestock, we prepare to bid Shanghai good-by-not with a sigh, for who ever sighed or said they were sorry to quit any port in China? We can sympathise with the poor Highflyer's officers and men, who will, like those of the frigate Pique, swing daily round over one spot, until beefbones, old boots, and broken bottles,