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Governor Sir J. Bowring 12 Mar., No.50 Soliciting, with the concurrence of the Executive
Council, a further Grant of 10,000l. to meet the
Extraordinary Expenses of the Colony · · ·
The Right Hon. H. La- | 9 May, No. 63) Acknowledging his Despatches of 28 January and
12 March (Nos. 1 and 3 of series), and stating that
Her Majesty's Government will apply to Parlia-
COPIES or EXTRACTS of any CORRESPONDENCE with Sir John Bowring on
the subject of his Application for a Vote from Parliament to defray the Expense of Measures of Precaution and Defence at Hong Kong, required by the state of Affairs in China.
- No. 1. (No. 18.)
28 January 1857.
(Received 20 March 1857.)
(Answered, No. 63, 9 May 1857, page 7). I HAVE the honour to inform you that, in consequence of the expense to wliich the colony has been and will be put by the measures of defence necessary in the present state of affairs between Her Majesty's forces and the neighbouring province of Kwangtung, I have laid before the Executive Council the question of an application to Her Majesty's Government for a grant of 10,000l., to be duly accounted for.
The Members of the Council, considering that the colony is in no respect responsible for the heavy expenses entailed by our present position, unanimously agreed that a Parliamentary Grant should be applied for; and I have now to make the formal application, with a full sense of its propriety and urgency.
The sum may be regarded as a loan to be hereafter claimed from the Chinese Government, as a necessary indemnity for wrongs suffered by the violation of treaty engagements.
I have, &c.
– No. 2. —
No. 2. Copy of LETTER from W. T. Mercer, Esq., to J. Ball, Esq. W.T. Mercer, Esq.
to J. Ball, Esq.,
14, Moray-place, Edinburgh, 27 April 1857. Sir,
27 April 1857. I have the honour to acknowledge receipt yesterday evening, on my return home, of yours of 24th instant, covering despatch from Sir John Bowring, No. 18 of 28th January last, in which application is made for a Parliamentary Grant of ten thousand pounds (10,000 l.) to meet the increased expenditure to which the colony of Hong Kong has been and will be put by the extraordinary measures of defence necessary under the present position of affairs in the south of China.
On this subject Mr. Labouchere desires any information I can give.
I bey, therefore, to reply that, in consequence of Sir Michael Seymour's inability to detach a suitable vessel from the small force at his disposal, it was unanimously judged expedient by the Governor and Members of the Executive Council to hire and arm a merchant steamer for the purpose of cruizing, particularly by night, through the harbour of Hong Kong and among the neighbouring waters. This step was accordingly taken, and the “ Eaglet” steamer was chartered at the rate of four thousand dollars ($4,000) 115-Sess. 2.
a month. Some minor expenses were also incurred in fitting, manning, and arming her.
It was arranged before my departure that at the conclusion of the month, on the 23d February, this steamer would not be re-engaged, as, if circumstances required a renewal of the precaution, a faster steamer might be procured at the same rate.
I am not sure but that it may have been found advisable to adopt this measure again, as I learnt from Captain Sir William Hoste, at Singapore, that an accident had happened at Rio to the gun-boats going out to China under convoy of Her Majesty's ship “ Cruizer,” and it is probable that, even were the gun-boats sent with Her Majesty's ship “ Highflyer,” to arrive in the end of February, Admiral Seymour would require these to strengthen his somewhat critical position in the Canton river.
It will be seen, then, that a considerable expense was incurred on this one head alone.
But in addition, it was necessary to hire guard-boats for each entrance to the harbour, and the men to work these were about forty (40) in number, enlisted for the purpose among the natives of the Hong Kong villages, who, unlike the general body of Chinese residents, were found willing and even eager to serve on this occasion.
On shore, also, the expenses were heavy; one hundred men (of whom fifty were Europeans) were added to the police force: a sum was set aside for payment of a gaol reserve force, which was composed of seamen imprisoned for refusing duty on board merchant ships, and other misdemeanants of the lighter class.
These numbered between fifty and sixty, and being kept under stricter control, proved more serviceable than even the regular police force.
Then, again, accommodation for the extra men had to be provided, and a house on Hollywood-road was hired by the Civil Government to furnish quarters for a picket of the 59th regiment.
As the police was augmented, means for its better supervision were called for, and Mr. Cluff was appointed second assistant superintendent, as has been duly reported to Her Majesty's Government. His salary is 3001. a year.
Among other items fall the extra clothing and arms, the amount of which must be considerable, though I am not prepared to state it with accuracy.
Nor can I undertake to give in full detail all the sources of expenditure for which the colony had been or was likely to be immediately liable; but money was necessary for compensation to spies, the procural of secret intelligence, and reward for capture of criminals.
It was further reasonable to suppose that the cost of labour and provisions and prices generally would rise, when contracts under the surveyor-general's department and under the sheriff's for gaol supplies might be thrown up, or an advance insisted on, and the actual efficiency of the Government might depend on a welltimed expenditure of the public money.
It will also be remembered that the apprehension and deportation of suspicious characters involved serious expense, and, if I recollect rightly, the first step on this account, the extradition of some one hundred and seventy (170) by the “ Phæbe Dunbar,” has cost upwards of four thousand dollars ($4,000) in all.
It is true that the police rate was increased to 10 per cent. to meet the police augmentation ; but in the first place the sum thus raised would not suffice even for the police expenditure, and in the second it was forcibly felt by the Council, that as the colony had no concern with the cause of disturbance, it was not just that on the colony should fall the heavy weight of the unlooked-for expenditure, and that it was perfectly reasonable to inake application to Her Majesty's Treasury for pecuniary aid, more especially as it was in the power of Her Majesty's Government to enforce repayment of the sum thus advanced by the real authors of the calamities and losses, the turbulent inhabitants of the Quangtung province.
The general question of the propriety of supporting the colony of Hong Kong by Parliamentary grant it will probably be considered presumptuous in me here to discuss; but I trust I shall be pardoned if I recall to remembrance the following paragraph in the Report of the House of Commons' Committee of 1847 :-.
“Nor do we think it right that the burden of maintaining that which is rather a post for the general influence and the protection of the general trade in the
China Seas, than a colony in the ordinary sense, should be thrown in any great
I have, &c.
Colonial Secretary, &c., of Hong Kong.
– No. 3. (No. 50.)
Governor Sir J. Copy of DESPATCH from Governor Sir J. Bowring to the Right Honourable Bowring to · H. Labouchere.
Right Hon. H.
Labouchere, M. p. Government Offices, Hong Kong, 12 March 1857. 12 March 1857.
(Received 2 May 1857.)
(Answered No. 63, 9 May 1857, page 7.) I HAVE the honour to inform you that, with the unanimous concurrence of the Executive Council, I have to solicit a further grant of 10,000 l., to be duly accounted for, in addition to a similar sum applied for in my letter of the 28th January 1857, Financial, No. 18.* My reasons for this application are, that in * Page 3. consequence of the plans set on foot by the Chinese of the Kwangtung province with infinite diligence and pertinacity to drive us from this colony by a continued repetition of attacks upon life and property through the instrumentality of poison, incendiarism, and any and every other mode of annoyance, overt and clandestine, it has been necessary seriously to increase the colonial expenditure. So universal a panic at one time existed among both the foreign and native communities, that we were even threatened with a general exodus, and a very free expenditure of funds for the purposes of defence and protection was absolutely necessary to maintain order and comparative tranquillity. I have been consequently compelled to place the police force upon a footing which may entail a temporary expense at the rate of very nearly 20,000 l. per annum, to say nothing of the various other incidental charges caused by the continuance of the present crisis. It will be, I hope, remembered that the protection thus offered by making this colony secure, extends to a great portion of the foreign community of Canton, and to many Chinese who would suffer at the hands of their own government from friendly feelings exhibited towards us, or useful services rendered. I trust, therefore, that the Imperial Government will not hesitate in applying to Parliament for this additional grant, bearing in mind that, until the outbreak of hostilities at Canton, this colony was in a most flourishing and progressive condition, and that solely in consequence of such hostilities that prosperity and progress could not but receive a serious temporary check which may Jong continue to operate. It is some satisfaction to add, that if our police expenditure has been great, it has at any rate been attended with most beneficial results, and that by a never-sleeping vigilance, the public peace of the colony has, up to the present time, been preserved in a very remarkable manner, considering the unscrupulous enemy we have to deal with ; and as I doubt not Her · Majesty's Government will insist on and enforce the repayment of all expenses caused by the unwarrantable conduct of the Chinese authorities, I consider the assistance now applied for as a temporary aid to be refunded hereafter by the Imperial Treasury of China.
As evidence of the character of the hostilities with which we have to deal, I have the honour to forward translation of a proclamation from the authorities of the Hiang-shan district, which is that which supplies the colony with the · greater proportion of our most valuable and confidential servants.
I have, &c.
Enclosure in No. 3.
Enclosure in No. 3.
TRANSLATION of a Paper forwarded by His Excellency the Governor of Macao.
(Received, 9 March 1857.) Kew, acting chief magistrate of the district of Heang-shan, issues the following Proclamation.
The chief magistrate had some time since the honour to receive the instructions recited below from his Excellency the Governor-general :
“ The English barbarians having assaulted the provincial city, a large body of troops has been assembled for purposes of defence and seizure; and as it is, of course, expedient that all trade with them should be prohibited, and all commercial dealings put an end to, every Chinese of any district [of the province] who may be in business at Hong Kong, or in barbarian service in houses or on board vessels there, is to be desired to return thence to his native place within a given time, Recusants will be severely dealt with as traitors; all their goods and property confiscated; and such of the gentry or elders as screen them will be held equally responsible.”
In accordance with the above it became the duty of the chief magistrate to issue a Proclamation to the effect prescribed, as also to send written instructions to the gentry and elders of the several wards to act as they were therein directed,
Fearing, however, that there may be hamlets and farms here and there to which the injunctions referred to have not penetrated, and being sincerely anxious to prevent the inhabitants thereof from falling into the net of the law, it is the duty of the magistrate now to issue a second Proclamation.
He accordingly notifies to all classes, military and plebeians, that if there be any of their sons or brethren still remaining at Hong Kong, or as employés in barbarian ships or houses, they must call on them to return home within five days, * and to tarry no longer. If they be not forthcoming when the chief magistrate makes his visit, it will be seen that they are still hanging on at Hong Kong; their houses and property will be confiscated, and, as soon as they can be arrested, they will be punished as traitors to China. The gentry and elders [of their wards), as well as their fathers and brothers, will all be proceeded against under the law against collusion. Let the good tremble and obey ; let them not act so as to have hereafter to repent,
A special Proclamation,
Hien Fung, 7th year, 2d moon, 1st day, 24 February 1857.
Acting Colonial Secretary,
- No. 4 No. 4.
Copy of LETTER from H. Merivale, Esq., to Sir Charles Trevelyan.
Downing-street, 8 May 1857.
sideration of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, the copy of a despatch 28 Januars from the Governor of Hong Kong, applying for a grant of ten thousand pounds
to meet the expenses .to which the colony has been and will be put on account of measures of defence consequent upon the present state of affairs in China. I am also to enclose the copy of a letter from Mr. Mercer, the Colonial Secretary, now in this country, explaining more fully the grounds on which this application is made.
In laying these papers before their Lordships, I am to request you to state to them, that although, from the nature of the case, the amount applied for by Sir John Bowring must be to a great extent conjectural, Mr. Labouchere has no doubt that a sum of 10,000 l. will be required to meet the extraordinary demands
No. 18, 28 January
1857, page 3.
27 April 1857,
* The 1st March. There was a considerable exodus between that date and the 5th March.