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West River

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Title:
West River Report on trade conditions, etc., in 1897
Creator:
China. Imperial Maritime Customs.
China. Hai guan zong shui wu si shu
Place of Publication:
Shanghai
Publisher:
China. Inspector General of Customs. Statistical Department.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
22 p., 3 maps

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Subjects / Keywords:
China. Hai guan zong shui wu si shu
Genre:
Government documents
Temporal Coverage:
1890 - 1897
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- China -- Pearl River
亚洲 -- 中国 -- 珠江
亞洲 -- 中國 -- 珠江
Coordinates:
22.766667 x 113.633333

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General Note:
Also published in: London, P.S. King & Son.

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SOAS, University of London
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This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial License. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.

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Full Text
NON-RESIDENT SECRETARY'S
OFFICE.
CHINA.
IMPERIAL MARITIME CUSTOMS.
II.SPECIAL SERIES: No. 25.
WEST RIVER:
REPORT ON TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., IN 1897.
PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF
I be fwopectof fttuml of uotomo.
SHANGHAI:
published at the statistical department op the inspectorate general of customs,
AND SOLD BY
kelly & walsh, limited : shanghai, hongkong, yokohama, and singapore.
LONDON: p. s. king & son, 2 and 4, great smith street, Westminster, s.w.
_.
[Price $2.]
1001.




Inspectorate General of Customs,
Peking, 25th May 1900.
The following Despatches were received in the beginning of 1897,
at moments when the opening of the West River to Foreign trade was
expected, or immediately after that event had taken place. They are now
printed as a record of the state of affairs existing at the time and of the
anticipations which some experience of the Liang Kwang country enabled
the then Canton Commissioner to form. Three years have since elapsed,
and comments on West River trade as it now actually exists are being
freely made: these Despatches will tend to show how much merchants
could at the time have reasonably expected of the opening of the River,
and how far, and to what extent, suitable efforts to develop it have led
to results in accordance or at variance with expectations.
JAS. R. BRAZIER,
Chief Secretary.




WEST RIVER:
REPORT ON TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., IN 1897.
Custom House,
Canton, 30th December 1896.
SIR,
1.Since I have been here I have been giving some attention to the
subject of the West River, its possible early opening to Foreign trade, what is
wanted in connexion with its opening, what may be expected of it from a commercial
point of view, and what it is capable of from that of the navigator. I have talked
to many who seemed interested in the subject, and to some who might have been
expected to be and were not. I have studied the subject to some extent, and, finally,
during the past few days, I have made a trip on the river.
2.Lately I heard that the Hongkong, Canton, and Macao Steamboat
Company had sent one of its captainsClarkeup the river to explore its
capabilities: he wrote several reports and prepared a map. Of these I have
obtained copies. The fullest, which looks like a sailor's, is, as far as its commercial
aspect goes, not to my thinking very useful to us; but it gives views and opinions
as regards navigation which seem to have value. I have therefore had as much of
it as I thought worth your perusal copied. This copy I send you herewith, having
first here and there annotated on it my own views on certain points touched by
Captain Clarke. I also send you a tracing of his map, somewhat revised by myself.
My impression is that his representation of the neighbourhood of Wuchow city does
not give to a person who had never been there as good an idea of the place as it
might do. I have therefore made a rough sketch of the locality myself, and had its
shape improved by Tidewaiter Hyland. This, which is on an ordinary sheet of
foolscap, I send you herewith. It is not accurately to scale, but it is probably near
enough for any purpose you are likely at the moment to want it for.
1
No.j^Sp.
I.G.


2
WEST RIVER i
3.As to my personal experience. I left here with the Fumunt-sai and
Customs house-boats in tow on the morning of the 24th December, reached Wuchow
midday Christmas Day, left the next afternoon, and got back here 011 the forenoon
of the 28th. I was accompanied, as my guests, by Mr. Beauclerk, Secretary of
Her Britannic Majesty's Legation at Peking; the Honourable T. Whitehead,
Chairman and representative of the Chamber of Commerce at Hongkong; and
Mr. C. C. Platt, Private Secretary to the Governor of that Colony. I may observe
that the composition of a party having so official and influential a look was more or
less accidental, as no member of it was asked for any but purely personal reasons.
4.It seems well to begin by stating the points in connexion with the
opening of the river which have occurred to me. In doing so I have only considered
the possibility of Wuchow, or the river up to Wuchow, being opened to Foreign
commerce, though I have reason to think its opening to Nanning-fu is thought
desirable and possible. These are :
i. What appear to be the trade prospects, local and general, of the
West River ?
20. From what port is the trade of the West River likely to be done ?
30. What is the navigation like, and how is the river accessible from
existing centres of trade ?
4. What is the local outlook at Wuchow from a Customs standpoint ?
5.I think I am correct in saying that the impression of all those who have
seen the West River this seasonand there were several parties besides my own up
there at Christmaswas of a disappointed kind. The river is a fine stream, easy
enough to navigate, picturesque, its banks. abundantly marked by pagodas, temples,
and such buildings, which I take as indications of a prosperity once, if not still,
existing. There are towns and markets every few miles; severalfor example,
Samshui (H 7jt), Shiuhing H), and Takhingchou (f$ M ffi)seem at least as
important per se as Wuchow. The banks are hilly, the affluent streams small and
insignificant, and such trade as is done from riparian points is evidently only done
by more or less difficult and expensive land routes. The numbers of vessels met
were few. Rafts of poles, junks laden with, firewood, and passenger-boats (some
treadmill stern-wheelers) were the principal vessels met. The river is now at its
lowest and its current at its weakest, and it might be said, therefore, that this is
the wrong season for seeing the trade. This for down stream I admit, but I imagine
that it is now that up-river business, if there was much of it, should be specially in
evidence. The Likin people at Tu-ch'6ng M)/r the frontier station for Kwarigtung
* Colloquially known as Doshing.


A.Ground now principally occupied by market
garden*, said to have been bought by
Messrs. Jardink, Mathkson, & Co., but
marked by now stone* stating that it
belongs to fpj, who is reported to be
Mesa re JanniNR, Mathkson, & Co.'s Hong-
kong comprador.
B. Frontage said to belong to Native Customs.
0.Frontage said to belong to Chinese merchants.
D.Here outside city wall there are temples with
grounds, fish ponds, a parade ground, and
some cultivated ground.
E. Frontage said to have been acquired by Messrs.
Huitbiikiei.u & Swiiik somewhere about
F. The whole of this bank is quite steep and pre-
cipitous. Tow-path and anchors of junks
are 100 feet above present water level.
The Fu-ho is full of smell junks and
passenger-boats not above, say, 50 to 50
feet long.
G. A mudflat 100 yards wide at least.
H.I.ikiu Station on pontoon for exports.
1.laical Tax Station on pontoon.
J.Salt Tax Station.
K. Local Customs Station.




trade conditions, etc., 1897.
3
and Kwangsi, told me that they got their revenue principally from wood, grain, and
medicines, and that trade was bad and tending to diminish. Generally, they spoke
in a pessimistic strain. Tu-ch'eng, an open market town, is said to be a place of
considerable business and to be well served by land transit. Shiuhing looks the
biggest and most thriving town on the river. It has been stated to me that
proposals are being made to open several ports on the river. I have come to the
conclusion that there is no demand for any this side of Wuchow, unless it may be
at the junction of the North and West Rivers, somewhere near Samshui; but even
there it does not seem to me that such is, under present conditions, urgently
necessary, unless it is proposed to open the North River as well as the West. At
the same time, I must express the opinion that the extension of the Yangtze
principle of passenger stations and ports of call, but on a broader and less cumbrous
system, would be very desirable. In that case 1 think trade in this modified form
might be permitted at Samshui, Shiuhing-fu, Takhingchou, and Tu-ch'eng, but I
do not think such is called for elsewhere. There seems very little business done in
the immediate vicinity of the river, and the country appears sparsely populated. I
am told that is a comparatively new condition, and that it arises from the facts that
life and property have become insecure near the river, that piracy and brigandage
are frequent, and that many families have moved inland. The farming and country
people whom I saw at those places where we went ashore looked to me fairly
well off.
6.At Wuchow itself there were no very apparent evidences of a big trade.
The town is not large, is dilapidated, dirty, and mean. I could see no manufactures,
no industry, and no appearance of trade. There were a fair number of boats
anchored in the main river, and a still larger number in the Fu-ho (glj fcf) or Kuei-
kiang (t£ here about 200 to 250 yards wide. The boats were nearly all small
say, from 30 to 50 feet long,for the reason, I was told, that their trade is mostly
in narrow and shallow waters. There were a few large passenger-boats. The best
and busiest part of the city seemed to be the western suburb, outside the wall
and between it and the Fu-ho. Here were many restaurants, tea-houses, and such
provisions for those passers-by who, I am told, do what business is done there and
give the place its commercial importance. Among the craft anchored there were three
flying the house-flag of Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co.two laden with kerosene,
covered by Transit Pass and intended for conveyance up the Fu-ho to Kweilin;
the third, a passenger-boat, was occupied by the firm's agent, Mr. F. Watts, and
his wife. Mr. Watts called on me and talked freely and interestingly of local trade
and affairs. He said there was really no properly so-called local trade at Wuchow,


4
west river:
and that the business there was a transhipment business in Kweilin and Fu-ho River
cargoes. Kweilin, the provincial capital, is said to be about 400 li from Wuchow
in a northerly direction. He did, however, say, and I can quite believe it, that
the trade of the latter place was really considerably more than present appearances
would indicate. Among other information of interest which he gave me was some
concerning the opium trade. He tells me a great deal of Yunnan opium passes
Wuchow; that all the opium used in Wuchow is of this kind; that Foreign drug
is never seen there; that Yunnan opium is now as well prepared and as good as
Turkish; that it can be bought in Wuchow at $320 per picul, all taxes paid;
that the aggregate of all Likin paid in Kwangsi on Yunnan opium in transit is a
little over .Tts. 6 per picul; and that a further payment of Ts. 14 or so, which
can be paid in instalments at various places or in one lump sum at Tucheng, is
sufficient to free the opium all over Kwangtung or into Canton city.
7.Although I admit appearances do not quite give any very encouraging
promise of an extensive trade at an early date, I have conceived the idea that a fair
amount can within a reasonable time be developed. The river is a fine, easily
navigated waterway; it directly serves a large area of country, and in its vicinity are
no common indications of mineral wealth. There seems enough coming and going to
warrant the anticipation of a considerable passenger trade. As I estimate the
opinion of the Foreign merchants, it'is the carriers of men and cargoes rather than
the dealers in goods who desire and anticipate whatever advantages may at first
accrue from the opening of the river. As to how far it may become the great trade
route from the west, how far its opening to steam traffic may divert trade from other
routes to it, and how far and on what lines the resources of the country through
which it passes are capable of development, I do not care to speak in decided
terms, which, I feel, could not be authoritative. Much will depend on political
considerations; still more, probably, on the new local taxation arrangements which
are sure to follow on the opening of the river; to a considerable extent, I am sure,
on how far the Transit Pass is used and honoured.
8.The trade of the West River, and especially that having Wuchow as its
centre, is mostly done directly with Canton and Fatshan, and, strangely enough, with
the latter- place especially. I'was told all the Wuchow banks draw and sell bills on
Fatshan, and that it is not possible to buy a draft directly 011 Canton city. There is,
however, necessarily a considerable trade with Canton, for it is there that imports
from and exports to Foreign countries have their market. I cannot find out clearly
whether there is at present any direct trade with Hongkong and Macao, but I am
inclined to think if there is any it must be insignificant in amount. This point is of


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
5
consequence in deciding on what lines the steamer would run : whether directly from
Hongkong into the West River west of Macao, perhaps vid Macao, or into the West
River vid inland waters; or whether the West River would more likely be served
by a subsidiary line of steamers of light draught, and for the time being of small
capacity, starting from Canton and proceeding through inland waters into the river.
I am inclined to think that what is likely to suit best is the line from Canton with,
for the present-, perhaps an occasional direct steamer for Hongkong. It will be
natural, however, that the Hongkong people should be anxious to cultivate a direct
trade with Hongkong, but it does not seem to me the trade of the West River can for
some time ignore Canton any more than the trade of the Yangtze can get away from
Shanghai. In any case, no doubt the trade will have to be done under some special
regulations, among which will be provisions laying down the routes through the delta
which vessels may and may not follow. It hardly seems likely that the opening of
the West River will mean the opening of every creek in its delta to every vessel,
large and small, whether owned by a reputable company or a shady individual.
In framing such regulations, the model of those for the Yangtze would naturally
suggest itself, but the general opinion is that the latter have become more or less an
anachronism. It then occurs whether it would not be better now to make de novo
entirely original regulations for the West River, and hope that they may some
day serve in modified form for the Yangtze. First, will a Chinkiang Pass" be
required for vessels proceeding from a Foreign'port, i.e., Hongkong or Macao? If
so, it would be only natural that the vessels should be called upon to deposit papers
with our Kowloon and Lappa offices before entering the river or its delta streams.
It seems as if it would be desirable to confine steamers from the Foreign ports to
the route (i.) vid Macao, or (20.) to the one vid Wangmoon, Kerr Channel, and
Maiming, shown on the map. These are the natural and least roundabout channels,
and the only ones which serve vessels of the necessary draught at all states of the
tide. On the other hand, the vessels from Canton should, in my opinion, be required
to go vid Shawan Channel, Taileong, and Maiming. This is the only channel passable
at all times for vessels drawing as little as even 6 feet. The channel vid Kumchuk
is at most times available and convenient for vessels up to 6 feet draught, but there
are shallow places in the creeks where the Fumuntsai touched bottom at low water,
and the Kumchuk Rapid is not passable in all tidal conditions. The Fat-shan route,
though nearestand with Fatshan as a port of call especially desirable,is only
available at high water, and then for no very large craft.
9.:If it is decided to give vessels an option of routes, I think they should
be required to declare, before leaving Canton or when passing their Chinkiang,"


west iii ver :
the route they propose to take, and should be given a Customs Pass issued for that
one route, to the exclusion of every other.
10.As to local matters at Wuchow. From the map you will get, I hope,
a fair idea of the place. At present the river is very low, almost at its lowest.
What is apparently the high-water level stands in at least 150 yards from the
water's edge on the left bank of the West River, and nearly as much on the east
bank of the Fu-ho. The interval is a sloping mud-flat. The tax stations are
floating, and there are also pontoons anchored off the foreshore, which are used as
shops and restaurants. The houses, like those at the mouth of the Han, have only
their backs resting on terra Jirma; the fronts are supported 011 stone, brick, or
wood pillars, 20 or 30 feet high at least. The houses are poor, and the shops only
do a petty trade. Regarding land, I heard Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co. had
bought, near about the site indicated on the map, a considerable piece of ground,
20 or 30 mote, it is said. I saw one of the boundary stones placed on the ground
at what I may call high-water level. I am told that the land purchased cost them
$10,500; it is registered in the name of Ho (fnf), a Cantonese, who is, I believe,
their Hongkong comprador. One of the front stones was engraved as follows:
This somewhat unusual marking attracted my attention, and makes me wonder
how far it has any legal significance or justification. I did not get any definite
information about the China Merchants Steam Navigation Company's property, nor
about Messrs. Butterfield & Swire's. I am inclined to think that the story of
Messrs. Butterfield & Swire having bought on the site indicated is inaccurate,
as I am pretty sure in such a position, apparently temple ground, the land could
not be sold with a proper title. Mr. Watts, Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co.'s
agent, told me that there was foreshore land in the market, but that there was
something of a "boom" in anticipation of the place being opened to Foreign trade.
The boom," however, seems to have somewhat subsided according to his account,
as he says land for which a dollar a square foot has been recently asked is now
offered at 20 cents. I made no definite inquiries with a view to satisfying our
own possible requirements; I did not show any official interest, but if Mr. Watts
speaks accurately, land can be bought at a price. I think we should locate below
the junction of the Fu-ho for present purposes, and that we should, try to locate
our dwellings on some of the higher land, though there is not much of that which
is not used as a graveyard.
ft fnf
* *
m
, apparently meant to show that foreshore rights were all the riparian owner's.


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
7
ii.In case we have to open business at Wuchow on short notice, I think
there is at least dwelling accommodation available for a few men in temples outside
the city; but the situations of all are, in consequence of the proximity of stagnant
pools, I fear, insalubrious.
# I am, etc.,
R. E. BREDON,
Commissioner.
To
SIR ROBERT HART, BART., G.C.M.G.,
Inspector General of Customs,
PEKING.


8
west river i
ENCLOSURE.
The following notes, etc., were copied from reports made by Captain W. E. Clarke,
of the s.s. Heungshan, to the Secretary of the Hongkong, Canton, and Macao Steamboat
Company, dated ioth August 1895 an Hongkong, 10th August 1895.
Channels to West River.For your valuable consideration I will now make a few remarks
about the different channels to be used for the West River trade, etc., and a few suggestions
as regards the type of vessel most suitable for such trade. The channels to be used for West
(1.) River are as follows:Direct from Hongkong, viz., Broadway, or mouth of Si-kiang, west of
(2,) Macao,- either by Macao Roads, viz., Bugio Channel, or outside the islands. Junk Fleet
Entrance, Wangmoon and Kerr Channels, or Sainam Channel. By adopting this channel it
would be possible to stop or call at or close to some very important places of tradeShikki,
(3.) Heungshan city, and Sainam. Tamchow Channel, with chance of stopping close to large towns
of Shuntak and Yungkee.
By any of these routes vessels could pass with a draught of 6 to 8 feet and a length
of 200 feet.
(l.) Type of Vessel.From Canton, viz., Hamilton and Brick-kiln Creeks, viz., Kumchuk
or Shuntak branch to Samshui; draught not more than 6 feet. In suggesting the type of
steamer best suited for the West River service direct from Hongkong to Wuchow, I would
sa^ the twin-screw would be.the best. From Canton direct the stern-wheel type would be
the most suitable for crossing into the West River or as far as Samshui; but beyond this
and as far as Wuchow there is during summer plenty of water for a single or twin screw
steamer of 8 feet draught, and 6 feet during winter months. Good speed would be required,
for in the rainy season the force of the current at the Shiuhing Pass is very great, about
6 miles per hour. For the ports in the delta the best kind of vessel would undoubtedly be
the stern-wheel typesmall vessels, with frequent sailing.
It will be well to remember that the Chinese are already in this business with their
* Tovnnrj NUvc steam-launches,* and with their mode of working you will never be able to cut them out.
jpasscngci oc ^^ ^ commencement of a new trade, such as that to Wuchow, I am bound to believe,
after considering all things, that the company's steamer White Cloud would do very well
to open the trade with, if between March and November; after which, and profiting by the
experience gained, she might be offered as a propitiation to the gods at a good price: then
build craft suitable for the business in every way.
Who shall say that Wuchow will be opened ere the year closes ? As well say that the
British flag shall wave over Canton city at the same time. In conclusion, I would respectfully
remind you of the great difficulty of obtaining any good reliable information on the subject
before us and in which we all have such an interest. In my opinion, nothing short of going
right over the ground and obtaining correct information at sight will have the desired effect.


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
9
The company should be prepared to send some qualified officer of the service to inspect and
gain all the information possible during this autumn.
Trusting that the little information that I have been able to gather on the subject of
the West River trade and the few remarks I have made may be of some service to the
company in which I have the honour of serving.
Hongkong, 12th February 1896.
I have the honour to place at your disposal herewith the information gained during
my recent trip up the West River to Wuchow-fu concerning the navigation of the West
River, its trade and passenger traffic, etc.; also the result of my exploration of the different
channels across the delta of the Canton River.
On Tuesday the 14th January 1896, at 4.15 p.m., we started on our journey in ordinary
lio-tau (house-boat) and proceeded towards Wuchow, arriving there at 9 a.m., 21st instant;
departed again on the 23rd, and arrived at Canton 10 p.m., 28th.
The navigation of the West River from the entrance west of Macao to the junction of
the North and West Rivers outside Samshui to within 21 miles of Wuchow is simple enough,
but from that distance up great care would have to' be exercised, especially in the dry or
winter season; for at this distance the water shoals to 7 feet (second bar), and from 9 miles to
within 2 miles of Wuchow the passage is through one great reef of rocks, with 6 feet depth
of water in places and a very narrow channel. The water is said to be very low this season
exceptionally low,probably caused by a very dry season following the dry one of 1894.
The approach to, and city water frontage of, Wuchow forms a very good and safe
anchorage, quite free of dangerous rocks or sandbanks. The depth varies from 10 feet close |
in shore to 30 and 40 feet about mid-stream.
The water about and below Wuchow is lowest during the nth, 12th, and ist moons,
beginning to rise about middle of 2nd month, until it reaches its highest in the 5 th,'6th, and/or
7th months, rising 30 feet, 40 feet, and some years to 50 feet, above its lowest level in dry
or winter season, after which it commences to fall rapidly, in 9th month.
The city of Wuchow is well situated for trade, and especially for cargo in transit.
It has 1J miles* of frontage facing the south and three-quarters of a mile facing the Query: lmiic.
River Fu-ho, with plenty f of room for extension as the business parts increase. + Doubtful
Vessels trading here would moor to hulks or to tlidir moorings right off the south
front of city. Any sight (sic) close to where the Custom House might be located of course
would be the best.
The city contains about 3,000 houses and a population of between 25,000 and 30,000.
The people of these parts seemed to be kindly disposed towards Foreigners generally. The |
merchants and traders were naturally very desirous to have steamers trade to and from the
port and that Wuchow should become a Treaty place.
The principal trade of Wuchow with eastern ports is with Canton, Fatshan, Sainam,
Samshui, and Kongmoon.
2


10
west river i
Cliinese goods and products of course form the bulk of the cargo.
To Canton: rice, oil, beans and beancake, tea, medicines, silk, sugar, opium, Hax, and
tobacco.
To Fatshan and district: much the same stuff.
Imports from Canton district and Kongmoon: kerosene oil, cotton yarn, cotton piece
goods, iron, rice (cheap), brasswork, glassware, etc.
The traffic on the river at this time of year is decidedly dull; in fact, there does not
seem to be any general trade at all. This may be accounted for by the very low state of the
river generally and the perfect dryness of most of its tributaries.
The passenger traffic on the river at this season is also very dull.
Passengers are carried from place to place in small ordinary stern-wheel boats, the
number of passengers averaging about 50 per day between the small places, and between the
larger towns about 100 per day.
We were informed that the launches employed to carry the revenue (treasure) between
Wuchow and Canton have been in the habit of carrying passengers between the two places
at from $2 to $3 per head.
I have no doubt that during the busy summer season, when the water of these rivers
has risen considerably, there is a great increase in trade and passenger traffic on this great
waterway,;
Surely it *is possible that with the opening of Wuchow as a Treaty port, with a good
calling-place at the junction of the rivers, with steam traffic freely introduced, the Transit
Puss system fully recognised to places beyond Wuchow in the west and north-west, trade must
and would increase, bringing back some portion of that great and rich trade that once flowed
over these waters with means and facilities now waiting to enter the scene of new life and
activity; surely this is what would happen.
Let us do all in our power to hasten the day when all this shall be brought about, for the
sake of the tens of thousands of hungry, hard-AVorking souls along its way."
I would respectfully call your attention to the necessity of considering the matter of the
great need of another open 'port (Treaty) at the junction of the rivers outside of Samshui; for
however absurd it may seem to recommend you to agitate for the opening of a port at the
junction when the opening of Wuchow may be as far off as ever, I can assure you that unless
something of this kind is done I cannot see how this business is to become a grand success,
for at present the bulk of the Wuchow trade centres about Fatshan and Canton, the goods
being passed through to Sainam and Samshui, and there transhipped to Wuchow and other
places on the river. The same rule applies with return cargoes.
And so, in my opinion, unless these trade facilities are given to steamers, much of this
exchange produce and other goods will remain by the Native craft, more especially if launch
towage is increased.
The following will, I hope, convey my reason for the above:The navigation from Canton
of vessels of 6 feet and over to Wuchow must be made by the more southern channels across the
delta. The idea of using the Fatshan branch is not practical for many reasons.


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
11
In using the southern channelsHill,- Taileong, entering West River at Mahningthe
distance covered will b<* about 100 miles to the junction, distant 45 miles from Canton. Why,
may I ask, or is it likely that a merchant at Fatshan, Sainara, or Kongmoon should send
his goods to Canton in order to send them by steamer? No; he would surely send them
direct. But give him the chance to ship them at the junction, I feel certain he would adopt the
improved conditions of trade. The same argument holds good with down cargo and passenger
traffic generally.
In looking ahead there is another reason, perhaps a greater one than the above: for
with a port at the junction it would be quite possible to run a direct service from Hongkong
via Macao or delta ports, and by means of a special type of steamer to navigate the Fatshan
branch, and so form the connecting link or feeder between Canton and the junction port in the
west. I may here mention that the distance direct from Hongkong to Wuchow via delta
channels is about the same as that from Canton, while via Macao it is only slightly further,
viz., 234 miles =16 miles.
In the above I have had to write at some length in order to make my reason clear for
suggesting the further agitation of the necessity of a Treaty port at the junction of the rivers.
It will, in my humble opinion, be much better to do so now than after Wuchow is opened. I
place the matter before you with all due respect.
Report continued on Navigation of Delta Channels.
I beg to report the result of my recent journeys during January and February of this
year across the delta of the Canton or West River, in order to ascertain which channels would
be most suitable for the navigation of .the company's vessels to and from Canton a and West
River ports.
On the 10th January I started off in the Portuguese Government launch Gawota, kindly
placed at my disposal by the Harbour Master of the port of Macao for the trip. Proceeded by
Broadway of West River to the entrance of Mahning junction, entering here and crossing along
into the Taileong Channel,- noting all soundings and other marks of interest. I entered the
Tamchow Channel, and proceeded down tips channel to the entrance at Wangmoon or Junk
Fleet Entrance. All these channels could be easily navigated by vessels of 7 feet draught and
about 150 feet or more in length the year through.
From the entrance I returned to Macao via Keeho and Cumsingmun.
On Wednesday, 5th February, at 8.30 a.m., started off from Canton by Native boat and
proceeded down Whampoa Reach.to the second bar, entering by Hill Passage, with depth of
water from 8 to 25 feet, rounding Forbes Point into the Saiwan (Shawan) Channel, carrying
similar depths of water. Crossing over into the Brick-kiln Reach with 10 feet low water springs,
which is a good wide reach and could be navigated until coming to Kumchuk Creek, which
is very narrow, but carries good depth of water until we reach its western entrance, where the
rapids are formed by a reef of rock right across the inlet.


12 west river i
Here the water is very shallow at this time of year in the centre passage, 6 feet only, and
3 feet covering the rock.
During the rainy season there is greater depth of water, but the rapids are so strong that
it would be madness to try and pass through, excepting at slack tide, when the wildness of the
rushing water ceases somewhat.
It was a marvellous sight to see the stream rushing over this reef, while immediately
without and within the water was beautifully calm. I can well imagine what it must be like in
the freshet season.
The bones of a few Native craft (salt junks) lying beached close inside speak volumes of
the danger of these rapids.
During my journey across the delta I called at the large cities of Shawan, Taileong
(Shuntak), and Chunchune, proceeding by very narrow and shallow creeks to these places.
Taileong is a very prosperous city, which to my mind surpasses in richness of temples
and residential homes that of Canton or any other place in South China. Its people (about
50,000) are well fed and clothed, healthy looking, and happy. It is the most moral city I have
yet visitedgambling and all other vices are strictly forbidden.
Chunchune, another large town, lately increased very much in size and population,
carrying on h direct trade with Hongkong; it has two markets and does a very brisk business
with surrounding country. Between these places and Kumchuk in the west there are several
large places, all doing good business.
In former report .I gave some particulars of the great prosperity of these parts.
What a contrast with some of those poor, miserable, desolated places along line of West
River!
Returning from Kumchuk in the west by way of Brick-kiln and Chunchune Channels;
the latter is rather difficult to navigate, as it has a sandbank in middle with only 5 feet low
water springs in channel. Passing from here into very narrow channel,'and from that into
passage leading into Hamilton Creek, and making exit at Mariners Point, in Blenheim Passage;
thence to Canton by usual channels. I have now passed through the four available channels
across the delta from Canton, and from the experience gained I come to the following con-
clusions, which I have the honour to place before you for the guidance of the company:
(ist.) Canton to Samsliui junction via Fati Creek and Fatshan branchabout
45 miles. Channels too narrow aud shoal to be practical under present
circumstances. The type of vessel suitable for these channels would be
quite unsuitable for long distance beyond junctiorf to Wuchow.
(2nd.) Blenheim Reach, Hamilton Creek, Chunchune, Brick-kiln, and Kumchuk
Creeksdistance, 65 miles. Good for vessels of 120 feet and not more
than 6 feet draught for dry season; could use these channels throughout
the year, excepting when rapids at Kumchuk would not permit exit; they
could then pass down Taileong Channel and out at Mahning: The increase
in distance,, about 12 miles.


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
13
(3rd.) Canton, proceeding by Whampoa Pieach to second bar; enter Hill Passage,
Shawan, Tamcliow, Taileong Channels; exit at Maiming to junction
distance, about 100 miles. Vessels of 150 or 175 feet in length,, and
not more than 6 feet draught in winter, on account of shoal channels
close to Wuchow; 8 or. 10 feet draught in summer, or from March until
Octoberthe type of vessel best suited being the single or twin screw,
much depending on speed required. Experience of the amount of
trade will determine this. This kind of vessel, by being able to use
these channels, would be the most suitable for the long run beyond
Samshui west.
(4th.) For a direct route from Hongkong we may enter the Wangmoon and pro-
ceed vid Kerr Channel, with exit at Mahningdistance to junction, about
100 miles, and Wuchow 218 miles. The same kind of craft as above.
(5th.) Hongkong direct vid Macaodistance, 116 miles to junction, and Wuchow
234 miles. Same kind of vessel, or larger, if trade demanded it.
By the various channels the distances are as follows:
(ist.) CantonFatshan branch...........165 miles.
(2nd.) Hamilton, Brick-kiln, and Kumchuk ... 183
(3rd.) ., Kumchuk, and Mahning 195
(4th.) Hill, Taileong, and Mahning......218
(5 th.) HongkongWangmoon and Kerr Channel . 218
(6tli.) Macao and Broadway.......234
As before mentioned, the bulk of the trade of Wuchow centres about Canton; therefore
it will be necessary for at least the present to make Canton the starting point when Wuchow
is declared an open port.
The service could well be started with the two small vessels now under course of
construction for the company; or should the trade be opened before they are completed, it
would be an easy matter to charter vessels for the time being. The White Cloud, Kwonghoi,
Taion, or Pasig would do during the summer months. Any kind of old craft would do to
begin the trade with. Suppose we start the business with two vessels: say, one to leave
Canton at 10 a.m., in order to give her time (speed about 10 knots) to pass across the delta
before dark, and arriving at Wuchow the next day at 8 or 10 a.m.; the vessel at the other
end leaving Wuchow at 2 p.m., pass reef before dark, and strike entrance to delta at daylight,
arriving Canton about noon next day; so that there would be a departure or arrival on
alternate days at each place. These times would allow of ordinary stoppages at calling station
for passengers, etc., should it be allowed.
On this system you could commence the trade, and if the same warranted it by great
and quick increase, larger vessels could be placed on the run at any timeat least, during the
wet season, when there is plenty of water in the river.


14
west river i
During the winter season, when the trade is slack, the smaller vessels could be used. I
do not think the trade of the West River will develop very quickly unless under the most
favourable circumstances, which would mean as follows:The opening of Wuchow^ Nanning-fu,
and some other place west, Pose, port at junction, and calling station all along line of river;
steam traffic on river west of Wuchow, and on lower river; Transit Pass system fully recognised,
etc. The Chinese Government is far too blind to see or care for the happy result this move
would have for the millions of the poor of these provinces.
Finally, I would most respectfully mention the great need there will be, when steamers
commence running on these channels and rivers, to engage men (Chinese) as pilots, possessing
that local knowledge so necessary when the best charts and directions are but poor guides.
Those we have' of these parts are merely guides, and poor ones at that. There are many
dangerous rocks to be correctly located (and the hardest one of all to remove will be the official
or mandarin rock).
(Note,TIlc vertical lines denote my concurrence in the views expressed in the paragraphs
opposite which they are placed.R. E. Bredon, Commissioner.)


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
15
Custom House,
Canton, 30th January 1897.
SIR,
Enclosed I send you copy of an extract from a report made to
Messrs. Butterfield & Swire by one of their staff, Mr. Dowler, 011 the subject
of West River trade. There is not very much in it beyond what it says about
ports of call. I send it, however, because it contains what may be the ultimate
views of the firm on that subject. There is no firm in these parts which seems
to me to be taking so business-like an interest in the question of the West River,
and I believe it is very likely to lead the Hongkong Chamber of Commerce on'the
West River question, and to impress the stamp of its opinion 011 any memorial likely
to be presented to Her Britannic Majesty's Minister in Peking on the subject.
Mr. Herbert Smith, representing the firm in Hongkong, kindly placed this
extract at my disposal.
I am, etc.,
R. E. BREDON,
Commissioner.
To
SIR ROBERT HART, BART., G.C.M.G,
Inspector General of Customs,
PEKING.
No. 3,430-
LG.


16
west river i
ENCLOSURE.
Extract from a report on the navigation of the West River made to Messrs. Butterfield
& Swire by Mr. Dowler, one of the firm's employes, who visited Wuchow-fu in its interest:
Navigation of the River.
In view of Captain Clarke's more practical report, which will be in your hands later
on, I shall only refer to this subject briefly. Up to within about 25 miles of Wuchow-fu
(l^ jHI I not think a finer waterway than the West River need be wished for. There
is plenty of water for river steamers at all times of the year, good landmarks, and few obstacles
to navigation: but beyond Tu-ch'eng M) a most disappointing change is apparent. Nasty
reefs of rocks and shallows become frequent, and for the last 5 to 6 miles the channel is literally
broken up with rocks. There is no doubt this portion of the river will require the most cautious
navigation; for in the low-water season there will be the shoals with rocky bottoms to contend
with, and as the water rises the reefs of rocks will become hidden dangers.
The river is at its lowest during the nth and 12th moons, and I think the soundings
mentioned above, i.e., 7 feet on the second bar and 6 feet below Kwangtung Rocks (|g£ §g
may be taken as the lowest water, as everything points to the river being exceptionally low this
winter, owing to the unusually dry period which has been experienced. From the appearance
of the river banks, I should say the rise in summer is not far short of that of the Yangtze.
Prospects of River Steamers.
Though it appears to me that the value of the West River route to Foreign trade
is over-estimated, I think there is an opening for a line of steamers between Canton and
Wuchow-fu. At first they would probably be principally dependent on passenger traffic, which
is now only moderate, but would, I am confident, develop, and in time I think a fair amount
of cargo might be looked for. Canton certainly appears to me to be the best terminus, not
Hongkong, as the passenger traffic is in this direction; but it would be most important that
provision should be made for transhipping piece goods and yarn from the Hongkong boat to
the Wuchow steamer at Canton without their being subject to Likin in course of transhipment,
which the Native authorities would doubtless try on, to enable this valuable freight to be
diverted to the West River route. From what one can judge of the intermediate places, I
think the only passenger stations of value would be Shiuliing (Ijji Jg) and a point at the
Samshui junction; but it would also be desirable, if possible, to obtain the right to
establish them at Houliu (J§L gg), or Loyuengchong (|g |§ fjfj), Lukpo fg), Utshing (igfc
Takhingchow Jg and Tu-ch'eng at some of which, if the service is supplied by
small boats, it might prove lucrative to call either regularly or at times.


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
17
Boats of the large steam-launch class would probably prove best as pioneers of the line,
and they should be of light draught, say not exceeding 6 feet, not only on account of the
shallow places in the winter below Wucliow-fu, but also to allow of their availing of one of
the short cuts to Canton instead of having to take the circuitous route via Macao. The
Fatshan branch route seems impracticable, but I understand there is sufficient water for a boat
drawing 6 to 7 feet by way of Junction Canal (J§ ^ fcf), Taileong J£) an(i Tamchow (fj[ JJj)
Channels, and Captain Clarke is now trying the Saiwan '/ff) and other channels, which
would reduce the distance.
Should the trade develop and the small boats become insufficient to cope with it,
experience would have been gained by which to judge whether to replace them with larger ones
or whether it would be more expedient for them to tow flats, as I understand is the case on the
Irawadi. The latter system would have the advantage that the value of the property at risk
in the dangerous waters near Wuchow would be very much less than that of a large light-
draught river steamer.
As Likin and other launches, drawing up to 5 to 6 feet, run up to Wuchow-fu, I take it
that pilots knowing the river would be obtainable.


18
west river i
No. 3,485. Custom House,
T C
Canton, lUh March 1897.
SIR,
1.Feeling that 48 hours in the country and a few miles walking
exercise would be personally advantageous, I decided 011 Saturday last (13th) to
get it by running up to Samshui to have a look at the new Treaty port. I left
here in the Fumuntsai at 7 a.m., accompanied by Mr. Fraser, Her Britannic
Majesty's Acting Consul, and Mr. Ross, of Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co., who
has been up there and knows the country. We proceeded through the delta of
the West River via Kumchuk, not by the route I have defined as the one best
suited for ordinary steamer traffic, though suitable for shallow-draught vessels. It
is about 20 miles shorter than the route via Saiwan Channel and Maiming.
2.We arrived at Samshui about 3.30 p.m., and at once landed. That evening
we walked through Samshui, over the country to the westward of it, and through
Hokow (m P) I am sending, as an annex of this despatch, but to follow in a day or
two, a rough sketch of the waterways and the country generally around Samshui. It
is not to scale, as most of the measurements were merely paced, but it gives a good
general idea of the vicinity. A few soundings taken by Captain Barton, Fumuntsai,
give some notion of the depth of water, which is now apparently at its very lowest,
and should be useful if the port and anchorage have to be defined.
3.Samshui as a general name for a district may represent a trading centre,
but Samshui as a city is perfectly insignificant. There is absolutely no sign of
businessone might almost say no sign of lifewithin its walls. There is a general
air of squalor, dilapidation, and decay. There are 110 respectable shops and 110
indications of any industry, with the exception that in many houses one sees a single
loom at which a woman or girl sits weaving common cotton cloth from yarn,.mostly
from Bombay. There was not even a respectable grain shop. Street-stands and
hawkers, not one of whom seemed to have a stock-in-trade worth a dollar, were doing
a petty local business; but everything is got from outsidefood from Hokow, and
other things from Sainam. The Magistrate's yamen is about as dilapidated as every-
thing else. That of the military official, a Tu Ssu, is new and very unpretentious.
There was about the gates a motley crowd of sellers of small wares, who seemed to
exist to supply the wants of a dozen prisoners chained to stones carried on their
shoulders or under their arms. -We walked half-way round the city walls, the entire,
circuit of which is perhaps 3 miles, and we noticed that much of the space within
them was occupied by gardens and cultivated land, especially the north-west corner.


trade conditions, etc., 1897. 19

Near the west gate there were the ruins of what seems to have been a considerable-
sized granary, built, as were most of the dwelling-houses, of sun-dried bricks. I
should say the whole population of Samshui city does not exceed 3,000 souls.
4.We went out of the west gate and walked westward half or three-quarters
of a mile along a ridge of irregular hills cut into by, and rising somewhat abruptly
above, low-lying land used for paddy growing. Most of the higher land is covered
with graves, but one ridge running almost due west and close up to the eastern
branch of the North River is not used as a graveyard, and here and there is covered
with pine trees. It would seem that this land might be made available as residence
sites, being under a mile from what will probably be the business centre ; but I am
afraid it would be difficult to obtain, as it seems to be common land belonging to a
village occupied by the Li clan and spoken of as Jl (=3 fin
5.Samshui city is protected from the .inundations of the river by a long
embankment, which is half a mile from it at the nearest point. It runs the
whole way from Sainam to a point up the North River which I did not see. The
land inside is barely, if at all, above the low-water level of the river, but it is fully
protected, a$ we were told, in all but exceptional seasons. On the river side of the
embankment runs a creek like a moat, dryas it is at .presentat low water. The
material forming this protecting structure was apparently got by digging out this
creek.
6.At the junction of the eastern mouth of the North River and what I
may call, for want of a better name, the Sainam River stands, on a narrow strip of
fairly high land outside the embankment, the village of Hokow. All the business
of Samshui seems to be done here, but that business seems to be only with vessels
passing to and fro and with the city of Samshui. There is apparently no important
trade, no warehouses, or good residences; it seems 4as if the place existed on account
of the presence there of the Hoppo's station, a Likin station, and a Salt Commis-
sioner's station. I expect later there will be much transhipment business here for
the North River, but I doubt is much cargo transhipped there now, for I assume
it goes up the North River in the same bottoms in which it arrives. Hokow, the
Hoppo's deputies tell me, is frequently under 5 or 6 feet of water during, the
summer. The river, however, does not seem to rise and keep high for weeks at a
time as the Yangtze does. The inundations come occasionally and suddenly from
freshets, and subside in a few days. When one does come, every one in Hokow has
to rapidly clear out of the houses and camp on the embankment.
7.There must be a considerable trade passing Hokow, for the Hoppo's
deputy told me the Likin station, which is under the charge of an expectant Prefect,


20
west river :
collects Tts. 200,000 per annum. He said the Hoppo's station collects very little
Duty, being mainly for visaing the papers of vessels which are supposed to have
paid their Duties elsewhere. However, the office must be pretty well -occupied, as
there are four ssu-shih in charge and a considerable staff. This station, still known
officially as Ssu-hsien-chiao (S R $§), was originally some distance off on an island
in the West River, at the place marked on the map. O11 an average, according
to the deputy's statement, 70 vessels pass the station daily. There seems to be
a large passenger business, most of it with Canton, whence it is just about a
day's journey by Native boat. The evening we lay there at least a dozen large
stern-wheel passenger-boats passed by us, all well filled with people.
8.There is a good, well-paved, stone road between Samshui and Sainam
along the embankment; there is also a path, somewhat shorter, along the river bank.
We went in a sampan from Hokow to Sainam, say 3 miles, in about 40 minutes.
The current was in our favour; it always runs in the same direction, not being
affected by tide. We landed at the further end of the town, near the Kuan-ti Miao.
This temple, though not the largest, is one of the most substantial buildings of the
kind I have seen in China, and the best specimen of the most ornate type of Chinese
architecture. Though not clean it was in good condition.
9.Sainam ( is a long, narrow, open town with two or three streets
parallel to the river; it must be nearly a mile in length/ The houses on.the river
front are run out beyond the bank 011 piles, and stand now 15 to 20 feet above the
water; they front on a street and have their backs to the river. Opposite this
town, across the river, there is a considerable suburb built on an island; most of
the godowns and large business or wholesale houses seem to be there. I should say
Sainam, including the suburb, has 40,000 to 50,000 inhabitants. It is governed by
an Assistant Magistrate, a subordinate of the Samshui Magistrate.
10.I have no doubt whatever that Sainam is the real trade centre of all
this district, and its having been.left outside the Treaty port will probably leave
it a much less valuable concession to Foreign trade. The business in the streets
seems almost like Canton. There are good shops, many industries, and a bustling
trade. All sorts of Foreign goods seem on sale, and there are many shops devoted
to the supply of the well-to-do. Jewellers, watch and clock sellers, and picture
shops are there in abundance, and the grain shops are large and busy. Cotton piece
goods, prints, chintzes, woollens, and such wares are freely on sale, and Bombay
yarn is evidently very much in demand. We went into one shop which was crowded
with countrywomen;by the way, women seem to form more than their fair share
of the population in those parts;they were all buying yarn. The shopkeeper told


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
21
us the yarn was brought from Canton, and that the Likin on it amounted to $7.50
per bale of 3 piculs (400 lb.), or anywhere from 7 to 10 per cent, ad valorem. We
calculated his profits could not have been more than 8 per cent. He was retailing
.the particular yarn we saw at 25 cents a pound. Everywhere we went in the
districtand we were at times 9 or 10 miles from Sainamwhen we asked a Native
where they bought their things we were invariably given as answer, Sainam.
11.I am aware from private information that Kongkun (ft is included
in the port of Samshui, so' I assume the promontory on which the village stands
and the land between it and the West and Sainam Rivers may be purchased and
occupied by Foreigners. If this is not allowed I cannot see any advantage which
has been gained by its opening; indeed, it seems to have been placed in the Treaty
somewhat under a misapprehension, and I daresay mainly because Captain Clarke
in his sketch mapwhere he entirely misplaces the site of Kongkunputs near it
the words cc proposed Treaty port." We had the greatest difficulty in locating
Kongkun at all until we had almost walked into it. Nobody, not even the Hoppo's
people, at Hokow seemed to know anything about it, and neither Captain Clarke
nor Mr. Ross, both of whom went up to prospect the locality, seems to have ever
been in it. It is a very commonplace, insignificant, dirty Chinese village, with
apparently 110 trade or industry, and, like all the other places in the neighbourhood,
depending on Sainam for its supplies of everything. The West River off its western
end I have indicated as an unsafe anchorage from the strength of the current and,
I may. add, from the neighbourhood of rocks. The south or Kongkun side of the
Sainam River is too shallow.
12.As to prospects of navigation, anchorage, place of business, and residences,
1 shall now ask you to follow the map.
13.Captain Barton, Fumuntsai, made a few lines of soundings, which are
laid down upon the map. From these it may be inferred that no vessel of more
than 8 feet draught can get very n£ar Hokow at low water. If ocean-going steamers
are ever likely to come to Samshui they will have to anchor a good way off, and in
laying down anchorage limits that fact will have to be borne in mind. The only
available deep water seems to be in the West River, just off Kongkun (ft ;{&); but
here, even at the very low water, there is a strong current, and I am afraid at high
water it would be an unsafe anchorage for vessels and a difficult place to handle
cargo-boats in.
14.For river steamers it seems that the best and indeed only anchorage is
in the Sainam River, east of Hokow. There is sufficient water all the way for over
2 miles above Hokow, but beyond the rock marked on the map there is a sand-bar


22
west river i
which seems to block the river the whole way across. Sometimes, according to our
sampan girl, there are not more than 2 feet of water on it, and her statement was
corroborated by others. /The suggested anchorage would not perhaps be more than
200 or 250 yards wide, for the river shallows very rapidly as one approaches the.
south bank; we could not get within 50 yards of the shore in a gig. The idea of
anchoring in the east mouth of the North River occurred to me, but the shallow
water near the shore on the east bank makes this impracticable. As far as I can
see, therefore, there is only the one available anchorage. It will be suitable enough
for shallow-draught river steamers, and by that class of vessel the trade must be done.
15.As to where business will be done: of course it should be near the
anchorage, if possible. It seems that, undesirable as it is for several reasons, we
are forced to choose the narrow strip of land between the river and the embank-
ment. How much of it will be available will depend upon how far the port is
allowed to extend in the direction of Sainam. On the map are shown two pieces,
marked A and B. There is another unoccupied piece between A and Hokow.
These pieces were located by Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co.'s agent,. Mr, Ross.
B is perhaps 500 yards long and 250 to 300 yards broad; it is the best piece, as it
gives room for godowns and offices, and is what Messrs. Jardine, Matheson, & Co.
would like to buy. It is, however, said to be school endowment land, and as such
I am afraid might be hard to get; but the Hoppo's deputy told Mr. Fraser, in
answer to a question, that he did not think it impossible to arrange for its purchase
through the officials. The site A would suit us for an office and examination shed
if we could get a piece on the wider part of it. A site between A and Hokow
would also suit us, but it is very narrow there, and I am told is held by a great
number of small owners, and for that reason is likely to be difficult to get. The
breadth of the land could probably be increased by filling in the embankment creek
or moat, but that would be expensive and would only be necessary if the demand
for land became more pressing than it at the mfrment is. As a result of my visit,
and having reference to your telegram about land at the new ports in which you
said Samshui can wait," I thought it as well to wire you that there was very
little land available, and I thought 110 time for waiting. I would advise, if possible,
to secure a piece of land either between A and Hokow or on A itself. I do not
know what buyers are in the market, but there are sure to be several. The German
Consul and two of his compatriots arrived at Hokow while we were therepeople
here say they started the moment they knew I was gone, but I do not take that
remark seriously,so I assume German mercantile interests as well as British will
be represented. If I hear anything more about land there I shall let you know.


trade conditions, etc., 1897.
23
16.As to residences, it seems to me the only available places are (i.) the
north-west corner inside the city; (20.) the hill to the westward, which I have
described as village common land ; and (30.) the slopes of the hills opposite Hokow
and about Kongkun. None of these are quite all that could be wished. The
necessity of passing through the city is a great objection to the first; there is less
objection to the second if the ground could be bought; tlie third is the most
promising. To both the two latter there is the objection that inundated and
irrigated land are too close, and the chances that the neighbourhood is malarial are
considerable. The Kongkun side would, I think, afford accommodation for consulates
and residences, as the outlook is good, but being principally to north and east
perhaps not the very best. However, the residence question is not so pressing as
the office one, and it can wait. As temporary accommodation for office and quarters,
I am afraid boats must be made available; there seems nothing else to use.
17.As incidents of my trip, I may mention that I saw a proclamation
posted, announcing the regulations for Transit trade, and stating that they were
published at the request of Mr. Fraser, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul; also one
announcing the opening of the new postal system in accordance with regulations
forwarded through Commissioner Bredon. Both were issued by the Samshui
Magistrate. The former was posted at Samshui, the latter at Sainam. It is also
agreeable to relate that though we walked through 8 or 10 towns and villages wre
met with 110 discourtesy ; on the contrary, all questions we asked, whether of people
on the roads or in the shops, were answered in a pleasant spirit. We were amused
by .observing that the general good demeanour extended even to the animals, for
not a dog barked at us, and the buffaloes that occasionally occupied the narrow
paths and from whom one expects aggression, simply stopped and looked at us
with an air of benevolent curiosity.
I am, etc.,
R. E. BREDON,
Commissioner.
To
SIR ROBERT HART, BART., G.C.M.G.,
Inspector General of Customs,
PEKING.






II.SPECIAL SERIES.
No. 1.Native Opium....................................................... Published 1864.
2.Medical Reports: 59th Issue (First Issue, 1871).................. 1900.
3silk..................................................................................................... 1881.
4.Opium.................................................................................................................................... 1881.
5.Notices to Mariners: Nineteenth Issue (First Issue, 1883) 1901.
6.Chinese Music.......................................................................................................,, 1884.
7.Instructions eor making Meteorological Observa-
tions, and the Law op StormIFt the Eastern Seas 1887.
,, 8.Medicines, etc., exported prom Hankow and the other
Yangtze Ports, with Taripp op Approximate Values 1888.
9Native Opium, 1887.............................................................................................. 1888.
10.Opium: Crude and Prepared.................................................................. 1888.
11.tea, 1888.......................................................................................................................... r§89~.
12.Silk: Statistics, 1879-88........................................................... 1889.
13.Opium: Historical Note; or the Poppy in China.......... 1889.
14.Opium Trade: March Quarter, 1889............................................,, 1889.
15.Woosung Bar : Dredging Operations.............................................. 1890.
16.Chinese Jute............................................................................................ 1891.
17.Ichang to Chungking, 1890........................................................................ 1892.
18.Chinese Life-boats, etc.................................................................................... 1893.
19.Report on Sound Trials of Sirens.................................................. 1895.
20.Chungking : Business Quarter and Mooring
Grounds, 1896......................................................................................................,, 1896.
21.-China's Defective Currency: Mr. Woodruff's Reme-
dial Suggestions.............................................................................................. 1897.
22.Railways and Inland Taxation : Mr. Bredon's
Memoranda concerning............................................................................ 1897.
23.Outward Transit Pass Procedure at Canton :
Provisional Rules........................................................................................ 1897.
24.International Marine Conference, Washington, 1889 1898.
25.West River: Report on Trade Conditions, etc., in 1897 1901.
k


HIGH GROUND
By Captain Barton, Fumuntsai
On entering Samshui Reach, and after passing rocks on
point A, steer over to opposite shore till point B comcs in
one with Pagoda (if at low water).
If point B is covered, then steer for Likin Station till
rock 0 is in one with tower B, and the lowest water obtain-
able will be 8 feet at ordinary L.W.S. up to within 10 feet
of rock.

Ground
CITY
MAG/STRA TE
W. OA1,

mwif
TEMPLE
GATE

LARGE
VILLAGE

EMBANKMENT
VILLAGE
SMALL,
v,llagi
flooding
LOW
TO
Mulberry
MThX^Ot/S^
VILLAGE/
XI HO HOW
i
about J-Ou y \ Bo
L,K,N stat^
'Clump of \ (l
Tree s
jszfcJbssHjpuse
'7b sap
\ 07lty few !
\ feet here '
C/TY
Ilexagorval
Tower with clump
of Trees
flock in one with Tower
S A / N A M
at low- uaicr.
VILLAGE
FLOODED IN SUMMER
^ eraser
% HILL
ISLAND
Cultivated' Flat Ground
FATS HA Art
FORT
/SLAND

^fjf^f.fS

F L A K £


111
SUSfENCHOW1

\VfLLACE \
CHAQWAN
VILLAGi
v/Llag\
SANHU



FROM NOTES BY
Mr. E. H. ERASER, H.B.M/s Consul,
Mr. R, e. BREDON, Commissioner, Canton Customs,
AND
Mr. C. H. ROSS.
VILLAGE


SAILING NOTE.
By Captain Barton, Fumuntsai.
JY approximate
On entering Samshui Beach and after passing rocks on
point A, steer over to opposite shore till point B comcs in
one with Pagoda (if at low water).
If point B is covered, then steer for Likin Station till
rock C is in one with tower D, and the lowest water obtain-
able will be 8 feet at ordinary L.W.S. up to within 10 feet
of rock.
FROM NOTES BY
Mr. E. H. FRASER, H.B.M.'s Consul,
Mr. R, e. BREDON, Commissioner, Canton Customs,
and
Mr. C. H. ROSS.


Full Text

PAGE 1

NON-RESIDENT SECRETARY'S CH IN A. OFFICE. 11 IMPER,IAL MARITIME CUSTOMS. !I.-SPECIAL SERIES: No. 25. WEST RIVER: REPORT ON TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., IN ...----PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF SHANGHAI: llUBLISBED AT THE STATISTIC A L D EPARTMEN'l' O F 'l'HE INSPECTORATE GENERAL OF CUSTOMS, AND SOLD B Y KELLY & WALSH, UMI'l'ED: S IIAN G HAI, HO N GK ONG, YOKOHAMA AND S INGAP O RE. LONDON: P. S KING & SON, 2 AND 4, GRFJ A'l' S MI'l'l:I STREET, S.W. [ P1'ice $2.] 1901. r f I

PAGE 3

INSPECTORATE GENERAL OF CusToMs, PEKING, 2 stlz May I 900. THE following Despatches were received in the beginning of 1897, at moments when the opening of the West River to Foreign trade was expected, or immediately after that event had taken place. They are now printed as a record of the state of affairs existing at the time and of the anticipations which some experience of the Liang Kwang country enabled the then Canton Commissioner to form. Three years have since elapsed, and comments bn West River trade as it now actually exists are being .. freely mCl,de: these Despatches will tend to show how much merchants could a.t the time have reasonably expected of the opening of the River, and how far, and to what extent, suitable efforts to develop it have led to results in accordance or at variance with expectations. JAS. R. BRAZIER, Chief Secretary.

PAGE 5

WEST RIVER: REPORT ON TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., IN 1897. I. G. SIR, CusTOM HousE, CANTON, 3oth Decembe1 r 896. r .-SINCE I have been here I have been giVmg some attention to the subject of the vVest River, its possible early opening to Foreign trade, what is wanted in connexion with its opening, what may be expected of it from a commercial point of view, and what it is capable of from that of the navigator. I have talked to many who seemed interested in the subject, and to some who might have been expected to be and not. I have studied the subject to some extent, and, finally, during the past few days, I have made a trip on the river. 2.-Lately I heard that the Hongkong, Canton, and Macao Steamboat Company had sent one of its captains-CLARKE-up the river to explore its capabilities: he wrote several reports and prepared a map. Of these I have obtained copies. The fullest, which looks like a sailor's, is, as far as its commercial aspect goes, not to my thinking very useful to us; but it gives views and opinions as regards navigation which seem to have value. I have therefore had as much of it as I thought worth your perusal copied. This copy I send you herewith, having first here and there annotated on it my own views on certain points touched by Captain CLARE:.E. I also send you a tracing of his map, somewhat revised by myself. My impression is that his representation of the neighbourhood of W uchow city does not give to a person who had never been there as good an idea of the place as it might do. I have therefore made a rough sketch of the locality myself, and had its shape improved by Tidewaiter HYLAND. This, which is on an ordinary sheet of foolscap, I send you herewith. It is not accurately to scale, but it is probably near enough for any purpose you are likely at the moment to want it for. 1

PAGE 6

2 WEST RIVER: 3.-As to my personal experience. I left here with the Fumuntsai and Customs house-boats in tow on the morning of the 24th December, reached \Vuchow midday Christmas Day, left the next afternoon, and got back here on the forenoon of the 28th. I accompanied, as my guests, by Mr. BEAUCLEllK, Secretary of Her Britannic Majesty's Legatioi1 at Peking; the Honourable T. WHITEHEAD, Chairman and representative of the Chamber of Commerce at Hongkong; and Mr. C. C. PLATT, Private Secretary to the Governor of that Colony. I may observe that the composition of a partj having so official and influential a look was more or less accidental, as no member of it was asked for any but purely personal reasons. 4.-It seems well to begin by stating the points in connexion with the opening of the river which have occurred to me. In doing so I have only considered the possibility of Wuchow, or the river up to Wuchow, being opened to Foreign commerce, though I have reason to think its opening to Nanning-fu is thought desirable and possible. These are:-I 0 \Vhat appear to be the trade prospects, local and general, of the West River? 2. From what port is the trade of the West River likely to be done? 3 \Vhat is the navigation like, and how is the river accessible from existing centres of trade ? 4 \Vhat is the local outlook at W uchow from a Customs standpoint ? 5.-I think I am correct in saying that the impression of all those who have seen the West River this season-and there were several parties besides my own up there at Christmas-was of a disappointed kind. The river is a fine stream, easy enough to navigate, picturesque, its banks abundantly marked by pagodas, temples, and such buildings, which I take as indictttions of a prosperity once, if not still, existing. There are towns and markets every few miles; several-for example, Samshui (=. *), Shiuhing t 1:1), and Takhingchou (f.!f!.i !I :!+I)-seem at least as important per se as Wuchow. The banks are hilly, the affiuent streams small and insignificant, and such trade as is clone from riparian points is evidently only clone by more or less difficult and expensive land routes. The numbers of vessels met were few. Hafts of poles, junks laden with. firewood, and passenger-boats (some treadmill stern-wheelers) were the principal vessels met. The river is now at its lowest and its current at its weakest, and it might be said, therefore, that this is the wrong season for seeing the trade. This for down stream I admit, but I imagine that it is now that up-river business, if there was much of it, should be specially in evidence. The Likin people at Tu-ch'e,ng the frontier station for Kwangtung Colloquially known as Doshing.

PAGE 7

A-Grauad MW vrincil"'llr occupied by uu.rket gMrtltnll, Mid to hv e beea boua:bt by lol..s..ra. J ... !ifATIIUOfl, & Co., but anrked by ne 1tating th1t it be\ongA t.n fii.J, who i R reported t.o be M-n. J .. & Co.'s H o ng knngoomv.-..l n r B.-Front.ase .... id w belons W N&ti,e 0.-to'rontageuidWUelungtoChinuemerclnDt.l. D.-Her. ontllirle w" U 111-e lempl u with ground, hh l"'nrl, & t:anuie go-uund, 1nd IOn!Hlll 'flter leol. The Fu-hu ill full o f junk. &nd 11ut above 30 tn 50 fONt long. Q. A taud&.t lOO yard& wid e B.-l ,ikiuStatiouullpontuuuforuport.l. 1.T .. jl'lRIn. J ,-$..\tTexSt.&t.ion. lt.-Lue.ol C uRtutM Sutio11.

PAGE 9

TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 3 and Kwangsi, told me that they got their revenue principally from wood, grain, and medicines, and that trade was bad and tending to diminish. Generally, they spoke in a pessimistic strain. Tu-ch'eng, an market town, is said to be a place of considerable business and to be well served by land transit. Shiuhing looks the biggest and most thriving town on the river. It has been stated to me that proposals are being made to open several ports on the river. I have come to the conclusion that there is no demand for any this side of Wuchow, unless it may be at the junction of the North and \V est Rivers, somewhere near Samshui ; but even there it does not seem to me that such is, under present conditions, urgently necessary, unless it is proposed to open the North River as well as the West. At the same time, I must express the opinion that the extenRion of the Yangtze principle of passenger stations and ports of call, but on a broader and less cumbrous system, would be very desirable. In that case I think ttade in this modified form might be permitted at Samshui, Shiuhing-fu, Takhingchou, and Tu-ch'eng, but I do not think such is called for elsewhere. There seems very little business done in the immediate vicinity of the river, and the country appears sparsely populated. I am told that is a comparatively new condition, and that it arises from the facts that life and property have become insecure near the river, that piracy and brigandage are frequent, and that many families have moved inland. The farming and country people whom I saw at those places where we went ashore looked to me fairly well off. 6.-At Wuchow itself there were no very apparent evidences of a big trade. The town is not large, is dilapidated, dirty, and mean. I could see no manufactun;)s, no industry, and no appearance of trade. There were a fair number of boats anchored in the main river, and a still larger number in the Fu-ho (i[IJ iPJ) or Kuei kiang (f! it), here about 200 to 250 yards wide. The boats were nearly all smallsay, from 30 to so feet long,-for the reason, I was told, that their trade is mostly in narrow and shallow waters. There were a few large passenger-boats. The best and busiest part of the city seemed to be the western suburb, outside the wall <:wd between it and the Fu-ho. Here were many restaurants, tea-houses, and suc.h provisions for those passers-by who, I am told, do what business is done there and give the place its commercial importance. Among the craft anchored there were three flying the house-flag of Messrs. JARDINE, MATHESON, & Co.-two laden with kerosene, covered by Transit Pass and intended for conveyance up the Fu-ho to K weilin; the third, a passenger-boat, was occupied by the firm's agent, Mr. F. W A'l"rs, and his wife. Mr. WATTS called on me and talked freely and interestingly of local trade and affairs. He said there was really no properly so-called local trade at Wuchow,

PAGE 10

4 WEST RIVER: and that the business there was a transhipment business in Kweilin and Fu-ho River cargoes. K weilin, the provincial capital, is said to be about 400 li from W uchow in a northerly direction. He did, however, say, and I can quite believe it, that the trade of the latter place was really considerably more than present appearances would indicate. Among other information of interest which he gave me. was some concerning the opium trade. He tells me a great deal of Yunnan opium passes W uchow; that all the opium used in W uchow is of this kind; that Foreign drug is never seen there ; that Yunnan opium is now as well prepared and as good as Turkish; that it can be bought in Wuchow at $320 per picul, all taxes paid; that the aggregate of all Likin paid in Kwa.ngsi on Yunnan opium in transit is a little over Tts. 6 per picul ; and that a further payment of Tls. I 4 or so, which can be paid in instalments at various places or in one lump sum at Tucheng, lS sufficient to free the opiuni all over K vvangtung or into Canton city. 7.-Although I admit appearances do not quite give any very encouraging promise of an extensive trade at an early date, I have conceived the idea that a fair amount can within reasonable time be developed. The river is a fine, easily navigated waterway; it directly serves a large area of country, and in its vicinity are no common indications of mineral wealth. There seems enough coming and going to warrant the anticipation of a considerable passenger trade. As I estimate the opinion of the Foreign merchants, itis the caiTiers of men and cargoes rather than the dealers in goods who desire and anticipate whatever advantages may at first accrue from the opening of the river. As to how far it may become the great trade route from the west, how far its opening to steam traffic may divert trade from other routes to it, and how far and on what lines the resources of the country through which it passes are capable of development, I do not care to speak in decided terms, which, I feel, could not be authoritative. Much will depend on political considerations; still more, probably, on the new local taxation which are sure to follow on the opening of the river; to a considerable extent, I am sure, on how far the Transit Pass is used and honoured. 8.-The trade of the West River, and especially that having vVuchow as its centre, is mostly clone directly with Canton and Fatshan, and, strangely enough, w'ith the latter place especially. I' was told all the Wuchow banks draw and sell bills on Fatshan, and that it is not possible to buy a draft directly on Canton city. There is, however, necessarily a considerable trade with Canton, for it is there that imports fiom and exports to Foreign countries have their market. I cannot find out clearly whether there is at present any direct trade with Hongkong and Macao, but I am inclined to think if there is any it must be insignificant in amount. This point is of

PAGE 11

TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 5 consequence in deciding on what lines the steamer would run: whether directly from Hongkong into the West River west of Macao, perhaps via Macao, or into the West River via inland waters; or whether the West River would more likely be served by a subsidiary line of steamers of light draught, and for the time being of small capacity, starting from Canton and proceeding through inland waters into the river. I am inclined to think that what is likely to suit best is the line from Canton with, for the present, perhaps an occasional direct steamer for Hongkong. It will be natural, however, that the Hongkong people should be anxious to cultivate a direct trade with Hongkong, but it does not seem to me the trade of the West River can for some time ignore Canton any more than the trade of the Yangtze can get away from Shanghai. In any case, no doubt the trade will have to be done under some special regulations, among which will be provisions laying down the routes through the delta which vessels may and may not follow. It hardly seems likely that the opening of the West River will mean the opening of every creek in its delta to every vessel, large and small, whether owned by a reputable company or a shady individual. In framing such regulations, the model of those for the Yangtze would naturally suggest itself, but the general opinion is that the latter have become more or less an anachronism. It then occurs whether it would not be better now to make de novo entirely original regulations for the West River, and hope that they may some clay serve in modified form for the Yangtze. First, will a Chinkiang Pass" be required for vessels proceeding from a Foreign port, i.e., Hongkong or Macao? If so, it would be only natural that the vessels should be called upon to deposit papers with our Kowloon and Lappa offices before entering the river or its delta streams. It seems as if it would be desirable to confine steamers from the Foreign ports to the route (r0.) via Macao, or (2.) to the one vict Wangmoon, Kerr Channel, and Maiming, shown on the map. These are the natural and least roundabout channels, and the only ones which serve vessels of the necessary draught at all states of the tide. On the other hand, the vessels from Canton should, in my opinion, be required to go via Shawan Channel, Taileong, and Maiming. This is the only channel passable I at all times for vessels drawing as little as even 6 feet. The channel via Kumchuk is at most times available and convenient for vessels up to 6 feet draught, but there are shallow places in the creeks where the Fumunt::;ai touched bottom at low water, and the Kumchuk Rapid is not passable in all tidal conditions. The Fatshan route, though nearest-and with Fatshan as a port of call especia.lly desirable,-is only available at high water, and then for no very large craft. 9.-If it is decided to give vessels an option of routes, I think they should be required to declare, before leaving Canton or when passing their '' Chinkiang,"

PAGE 12

G WEST ElVER : the route they propose to take, and should be given a Customs Pass issued for that one route, to the exclusion of every other. 10.-As to local matters at \V uchow. From the map you will get, I hope, a fair idea of the place. At present the river is very low, at its lowest. \Vhat is apparently the high-water level stands in at least r so yards from the water's edge on the left bank of the \Vest River, and nearly as much on the east bank of the Fu-ho. The interval is a sloping mud-flat. The tax stations are floating, and there are also pontoons anchored off the foreshore, which are used as shops and restaurants. The houses, like those at the mouth of the Han, have only their backs resting on te't"ra firm a; the fronts are supported on stone, brick, or wood pillars, 20 or 30 feet high at least. The houses are poor, and the shops only do a petty trade. Regarding land, I heard Messrs. J ARDINE, MATHESON, & Co. had hought, near about the site indicated on the map, a considerable piece of ground, 20 or 30 mmb it is said. I saw one of the boundary stones placed on the ground at what I may call high-water level. I am told that the land purchased cost them $ 1 o, soo; it is registered in the name of Ho ( (PJ), a Cantonese, who is, I believe, their Hongkong comprador. One of the front stones was engraved as follows: fiiJ 7]\ iM apparently meant to show that foreshore rights were all the riparian owner's. This somewhat unusual marking attracted my attention, and makes me wonder how far it has any legal significance or justification. I did not get any definite information about the China Merchants Steam Navigation Company's property, nor about Messrs. BuTTERFIELD & SwmE's. I am inclined to think that the story of Messrs. BuTTERFIELD & SwrRE having bought on the site jndicated is inaccurate, as I am pretty sure in such a position, apparently temple ground, the land could not be sold with a proper title. Mr. VvATTS, Messrs. JARDINE, MATHESON, & Co.'s agent, told me that there was foreshore land in the market, but that there was something of a "boom" in anticipation of the place being opened to Foreign trade. The "boom," however, seems to have somewhat subsided according to his account, as he says land for which a dollar a square foot has been recently asked is now offered at 20 cents. I made no definite inquiries with a view to satisfying our own possible requirements; I did not show any official interest, but if Mr. WATTS speaks accurately, land can be bought at a price. I think we should locate below the junction of the Fu-ho for present purposes, and that we should try to locate our dwellings on some of the higher land, though there is notmuch of that which is not used as a graveyard.

PAGE 13

'rRADE CONDI'riONS, ETC., 1897. 7 1 r.-In case we ha.ve to open business at vVuchow on short notice, I think there is at least dwelling accommodation available for a few men in temples ontside the city; but the situations of all are, in consequence of the proximity of stagnant pools, I fear, insalubrious. I am, etc., R. E. BREDON, Commissioner. To SIR ROBERT HART, BART., G.C.M.G., Genentl of Custom,q, PEKING.

PAGE 14

(1.) (:J.) (3.) (1.) ""' Towing N"thc passcnge?-bonts. 8 WEST RIVER: ENCLOSURE. The following notes, etc., were copied from reports made by Captain W. E. CLARKE, of the s.s. Henngshcm, to the Secretary of the Hongkong, Canton, and Macao Steamboat Company, dated wth August 1895 and r 2th February 1896:HoNGKONG, roth Angttlit 1895. to W'est Rive1.-For your valuable consideration I will now make :t few remarks about the different channels to be used for the '\Vest River tradP, etc., and a few suggestions as regards the type of vessel most suitable for such trade. The channels to be use
PAGE 15

TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 9 The company should be prepared to send some qualified officer of the service to inspect and gain all the information possible during this autumn. Trusting that the little information that I have been able to gather on the subject of the \Vest River trade and the few remarks I have made may be of some service to the company in which I have the honour of serying. HoNGKONG, r zth Februa?'Y r 896. I have the hononr to place at your disposal herewith the information gained during my recent trip up the West Hiver to Wuchow-fu concerning the navigation of the West Hiver, its trade and passenger traffic, etc.; also the result of my exploration of the different channels across the delta of the Canton River. On Tuesday the 14th January 1896, at 4.15 P.M., we started on our journey in ordinary (house-boat) and proceeded to wards \V uchow, arriving there at 9 A. M., 2 r st instant; departed again on the 23rd, and arrived at Canton ro P.M., 28th. The navigation of the West River from the entrance west of Macao to the junction of the North' and West Rivers outside Samshui to within 21 miles of Wuchow is simple enough, but from that distance up great care would have to be exercised, especially in the dry or winter season ; for at this distance the water shoals to 7 feet (second bar), and from 9 miles to within 2 miles of Wuchow the passage is through one great reef of rocks, With 6 feet depth of water in places and a very narrow channel. The water is said to be very low this seasonexceptionally low,-probably caused by a very dry season following the dry one of 1894. The approach to, and city water frontage of, Wuchow forms a very good and safe anchorage, quite free of dangerous rocks or sandbanks. The depth varies from ro feet close in shore to 30 and 40 feet about mid-stream. The water about and below wuchow is lowest during the r rth, 12th, and rst moons, beginning to rise about middle of 2nd month, until it reaches its highest in the 5th, th, andjor 7th months, rising 30 feet, 40 feet, and some years t6 50 feet, above its lowest level in dry or winter season, after which it commences to fall rapidly, in 9th month. The city of Wuchow is well situated for trade, and especially for caTgo in transit. It has r} miles* of frontage facing the south and three-quarters of a mile facing the Query: 1 mile. Hiver Fu-ho, with plenty t of room for extension as the business parts incTease. t Doubtful. Vessels trading heTe would moor to hulks or to moorings right off the south front of city. Any sight (sic) close to where the Custom House might be located of course would be the best. The city contains about 3,000 houses and a population of between 25,000 and 30,000. The people of these parts seemed to be kindly disposed towards Foreigners generally. The merchants and traders were natnrally very desirous to have steamers trade to and fi.om the port and that WucllO'w should become a Treaty place. The principal trade of \Vuchow with eastern ports is with Canton, Fatshan, Sainam, Samshui, and Kongmoon. 2

PAGE 16

10 WEST RIVER: Chinese goods and products of course form the bulk of the cargo. To Canton: rice, oil, beans and beancake, tea, medicines, silk, sugar, opmm, flax, and tobacco. To Fatshan and district: much the same stuft: Imports from Canton district and Kongmoon: kerosene oil, cotton yarn, cotton p1ece goods, iron, rice (cheap), brasswork, glassware, etc. The traffic on the river at this time of year is tlecidedly dull; in fact, there does not seem to be any general trade at all. This may be accounted for by the very low state of the river generally and the perfect dryness of most of its tributaries. The passenger traffic on the river at this season is also very dull. Passeugers are carried from place to place in small ordinary stem-wheel boats, the number of passengers averaging about so per day Let1Yeen the small places, and bet\Yeen the larger towns about 100 per day. 'Ye were informed tlmt the launcl1es employed to carry the revenue (treasure) between Wuchow and Canton have been in the habit of carrying passengers between the two places at from $2 to $3 per head. I have no doubt that during the busy summer season, when the water of these rivers hns risen considerably, there is a great increase in trade and passenger traffic on this great waterway,;_ Surely it .is possible that with the opening of Wuchow as a Treaty port, with a good calling-place at the junction of the rivers, with steam traffic freely introduced, the Transit Pnss system fully recognised to places beyond W uchow in the west aml nortl!-west, trade must and would increase, bringing back some portion of that great and rich trade that once flowed over these waters with means and facilities now waiting to enter the scene of new life and activity; surely this is what would happen. us do all in our power to hasten the day when all this shall be brought about, for the sake of the tens of thousands of hnngry, hard-working souls along its wa:r,. I would respectfully call your attention to the necessity of considering the matter of the great nee1l of another open 'port (Treaty) at the junction of the rivers outside of Samshui; for however absurd it may seem to recommend you to agitate for the opening of a port at t.he junction when the opening of \Vuchow may be as far off as ever, I can assure you that unless something of this kind is done I cannot see how this business is to become a grand success, for at present the bulk of the Wuchow trade centres about Fatshan and Canton, the goods being passed through to Sainam and Samshui, and there transhipped to W uchow and other places on the river. The same rule applies with retun: cargoes. And so, in my opinion, unless these trade facilities are given to steamers, much of this ex:change produce and other goods will remain by the Native craft, more especially if launch towage is increased. The following will, I hope, convey my reason for the above :-The navigation from Canton of vessels of 6 feet and over to \Vuchow must be made by the more southern channels across the delta. The idea of using the Fatshan branch is not practical for many reasons.

PAGE 17

TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 11 In using the southern channels-Hill, Taileong, entering West River at :Mahning-the distance covered will bs about 100 miles to the junction, distant 45 miles from Canton. Why, may I ask, or is it likely that a merchant at Fatshan, Sainam, or Kongmoon should send his goods to Canton in order to send them by steamer? No; he would surely send them direct. But give him the chance to ship them at the junction, I feel certain he would adopt the improved conditions of trade. The same argument holds good with do\vn cargo and passenger traffic generally. In looking ahead there is another reason, perhaps a greater ime than the above: for with a port at the junction it would be quite possible to run a direct service from Hongkong vic1 Macao or delta ports, and by means of a special type of steamer to navigate the Fatshan branch, and so form the connecting link or feeder between Canton and the jnnction port in the west. I may here mention that the distance direct from Hongkong to vVuchow via delta channels is about the as that from Canton, while via Macao it is only slightly further, viz., 234 miles = 16 miles. In the above I have had to write at some length in order to make my reason clear for suggesting the further agitation of the necessity of a Treaty port at the junction of the rivers. It will, in my humble opinion, be much better to do so now than after Wuchow is opened. I place the matter before you with all due respect. REPORT CONTINUED ON NAVIGATION OF DELTA CHANNELS. I beg to report the result of my recent journeys during January and Febrnary of this year across the delta of the Canton or \V est River, in order to ascertain which channels would be most suitable for the navigation of .the compa'ny's vessels to and from Canton.and West River ports. On the 10th January I started off in the Portuguese Government launch Gawota, kindly placed at my disposal by the Harbour Master of the port of Macao for the trip. Proceeded by Broadway of West River to the entrance of Mahning junction, entering here and crossing along into the Taileong Channel, noting all soundings and other marks of interest. I entered the Tamchow Channel, and proceeded down tqis channel to the entrance at Wangmoon or Junk Fleet Entrance. All these channels could be easily navigated by vessels of 7 feet draught and about 1 50 feet or more in length the year through. From the entrance I returned to Macao vic1 Keeho and Cumsingmun. On Wednesday, sth February, at 8.30 A.M., started off from Canton by Native boat and proceeded down Whampoa Reach. to the second bar, entering by Hill Passage, with depth of water from 8 to 25 feet, rounding Forbes Point into the Saiwan (Shawan) Clllinnel, carrying similar depths of water. Crossing over it:tto the Brick-kiln Reach with 10 feet low water springs, which is a good wide reach and could be navigated until coming to Kumchuk Creek, which is very narrow, but carries good depth of water until we reach its western entrance, "here the rapids are formed by a reef of rock right across the inlet.

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12 WEST RIVER: Here the water is very shallow at this time of year in the centre passage, 6 feet only, and 3 feet covering the rock. During the rainy season there is greater depth of water, but the rapids are so strong that it would be madness to try and pass through, excepting at slack tide, when the wildness of the rushing water ceases somewhat .. It was a marvellous sight to see the stream rushing over this reef, while immediately without and within the water was beautifully calm. I can well imagine what it must be like in the freshet season. The bones of a few Native craft (salt junks) lying beached close insitle speak volumes of the danger of these rapids. During my journey across the delta I called at the large cities of Shawan, Taileong (Shuntak), and Chunchnne, proceeding by very narrow and shallow creeks to these places. Taileong is a very prosper9us city, which to my mind surpasses in richness of temples and residential homes that of Canton or any other place in South China. Its people (about 50,000) are well fed and clothed, healthy looking, and happy. It is the most moral city I have yet visited-gambling and all other vices are strictly forbidden. Chunchune, another large town, lately increased very much in size and population, carrying on !1 direct trade with Hongkoug; it has two markets and does a very brisk business with surrounding country. Between these places and Kumchuk in the west there are several large places, all doing good business. In former report .I gave some particulars of the great prosperity of these parts. What a contrast with some of those poor, miserable, desolated places along line of \V est River! Heturniug from Kumchuk in the west by way of Brick-kiln and Chunchune Channels ; the latter is rather difficult to navigate, as it has a sandbank in middle with only 5 feet low water springs in channel. Passing from here into very narrow channel,' and from that into passage leading into Hamilton Creek, and making exit at Mariners Point, in Blenheim Passage; thence to Canton by usual channels. I have DO\V passed through the fot'tr available channels across the delta from Canton, and from the experience gained I come to the following con clusions, which I have the honour to place before you for the gi.1idance of the company:-(rst.) Canton to Samshui junction via Fati Creek and Fatshan branch-about 45 miles. Channels too narrow and shoal to be practical under present circumstances. The type of vessel suitable for these channels would be quite unsuitable for long distance beyond junctiorf to Wuchow. (2nd.) Blenheim Reach, Hamilton Creek, Chunchune, and Kumchuk Creeks-distance, 6 5 miles. Good for vessels of I 20 feet and not more than 6 feet draught for dry season; could use these channels throughout the year, excepting when rapids at Kumchuk would not permit exit; they could then pass down Taileong Channel and out at The increase in distance, about I 2 miles.

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TRADE ETC., 1897. 13 (3rd.) Canton, proceeding by Whampoa Heach to second bar; enter Hill Passage, Shawan, Ta,mclww, Taileong Channels; exit at Maiming to junctiondistance, about roo miles. Vessels of r so or 17 5 feet in length, and not more than 6 feet draught in winter, on account of shoal channels close to \Yuchow; 8 or ro feet umught in summer, or from March until Oct,ober-the type of vessel best suited being the single or twin screw, much depending on speed required. Experience of the amount. of trade will determine this. This kind of vessel, by being able to use these channels, would be the most suitable for the long run beyond Samshui west. (4th.) For a direct route from Hongkong we may enter the Wangmoon and pro ceed via Kerr Channel, with exit at Maiming-distance to junction, about roo miles, and Wuchow 218 miles. The same kind of craft as above. (Sth.) Hongkong direct vid, Macao-distance, I 16 miles to junction, and 234 miles. Same kind of vessel, or larger, if trade demanded it. By the various channels the distances are as follows:(1st.) Canton-Fatshan branch 165 miles. (2nd.) Hamilton, Brick-kiln, and Kumchuk (3rd.) Kumchuk, and .Thlahning 195 (4th.) Hill, Taileong, and Maiming 2!8 (5th.) HongkongW augmoun and Kerr Channel 2 I 8 (6th.) Macao and Broadway 234 Wuchow As before mentioned, the hulk of the trade of \Vnchow centres about Canton; therefore it will be necessary for at least the present to make Canton the starting point when \V nchow is declared an open port. The service coultl well be started with the two small vessels now under course of construction for the company; or should the trade be opened before they are completed, it would be an easy matter to charter vessels for the time being. The White Gland, Kwo?lghoi, Taion, or Pn8ig would do during the summer mont.hs. Any kind of old craft would do to begin the trade with. Suppose \\'e start the business with two vessels: say, one to leave Canton at ro A.M., in order to give her time (speed about 10 knots) to pass across the delta before dark, and arriving at W uchow the next clay at 8 or IO A. M.; the vessel at the other end leaving \Vuchow at 2 P.I>L, pass reef before dark, and strike entrance to delta at daylight, arriving Cnnton about noon next day; so that there would be a departure or arrival on altemate clays at each place. These times would allow of ordinary stopp::tges at calling station for passengers, etc., should it be On this system yon could commence tll8 trade, and if the same warranted it by great and qnick increase, larger vessels coul
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14 WEST RIVER: During the winter season, when the trade is slack, the smaller vessels could be used. I llo not think the trade of the \Vest River will develop very quickly unless under the most favourable circumstances, which would mean as follows :-The opening of vVuchow,_ Nanning-fu, and some other place west, Pose, port at junction, and calling station all along line of river; steam traffic on river west of Wuchow, and on lower river; 'l'ranr;it Pn,ss Rystem fully recognised, etc. The Chinese Government is far too blind to see or care for the hn,ppy result this move would have for the millions of the poor of these provinces. Finally, I would most respectful
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TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 15 No 3 Cusro:ar HousE, .) I. G. CANTON, 30th January r897. SIR, ENCLOSED I send you copy of an extract from a report made to Messrs. BuTTERFIELD & SwmE by one of their staff, Mr. DowLER, on the subject of West H.iver trade. There is not very much in it beyond what it says about ports of call. I send it, however, because it contains what may be the ultimate views of the firm on that subject. There is no firm in these parts which seems to me to be taking so business-like an interest in the question of the West River, and I believe it is very likely to lead the Hongkong Chamber of Commerce on' the West River question, and to the stamp of its opinion on any memorial. likely to be presented to Her Britannic Majesty's Minister in Peking on the subject. Mr. HERBERT SMiTH, representing the firm in Hongkong, kindly placed this extract at my disposal. To I am, etc., R. E. BREDON, SIR H.OBERT HART, BART., G.C.M.G., InspectO?' of Customs, PEKING. Commissioner.

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16 WEST RIVER : ENCLOSURE. Extract from a report on the navigation of the West River made to aressrs. BuTTEHFIELD & SwiRE by Mr. DowLER, one of the firm's employes, who visited Wuchow-fu in its interest:NAVIGATION OF THE RIVER In view of Captain CLARKE's more prnctical report, which will be in your hands later on, I shall only refer to this subject briefly. Up to within about 25 miles of Wuchow-fu (Mf 1-1 }(f) I do not think a finer waterway than the West River need be wished for. There is plenty of water for river steamers at all times of the year, good landmarks, and few obstaCles to navigation; but beyond Tu-ch'mg (I$ a most disappointing change is apparent. Nasty reefs of rocks and shallows become frequent., and for the last 5 to 6 miles the channel is literally broken up with rocks. There is no doubt this portion of the ri ve.r will require the most cautious navigation; for in the low-water season there will be the shoals with rocky bottoms to contend with, and as the w::tter rises the reefs of rocks will become hidden dangers. The river is at its during the I r th and I zth moons, and I think the soundings mentioned above, i.e., 7 feet on the seccmd bar and 6 feet below Kwangtung Rocks fi NH), may be taken as the lowest water, ::ts everything points to the river being exceptionally low this "inter, owing to the unusually dry period which has been experienced. From the appearance of the river banks, I should say the rise in summer is not far short of that of the Yangtze. PROSPECTS OF RIVER STEAMERS. Though it appears to me that the value of the West River route to Foreign trade is over-estimated, I think there is an opening for a line of steamers between Canton and vYuchow-fu. At first they would probably be principally dependent passenger traffic, which is now only moderate, but would, I am confident, develop, and in ti,me I think a fair amount of cargo might be looked for. Canton certainly appears to me to be the best terminus, not Hongkong, as the passenger traffic is in this direction; but it would be most important that provision sl10ulcl be made for transhipping piece goods and yarn from the Hongkong boat to the vVuchow steamer at Canton without their being subject to Likin in course of transhipment, which the Native. authorities would douutless try on, to enable this valuable freight to be diverted to the West River route. From what one can judge of the intermediate places, I think the only passenger stations of value would be Shiuhing < If) an
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'l'RADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 18 9 7. 17 Boats of the large steam-launch class would probably prove best as pioneers of the line, and they should be of light draught, say not exceeding 6 feet, not only on account of the shallow places in the winter below Wuchow-fu, but also to allow of their availing of one of the short cuts to Canton instead of having to take the circuitous route .Macao. The Fatsh::m branch route seems impracticable, but I understand there is sufficient water for a boat drawing 6 to 7 feet by way of Junction Canal 'tW (pi), Taileong (7\. and Tamcbow OJ Channels, ;md Captain CLARKE is now trying the Saiwan (fP ffl') and other channels, which would reduce the distance. Should the trade develop and the small boats become insufficient to cope with it, experience would have been gained by which to judge whether to replace them with larger ones or whether it would be more expedient for them to tow flats, as I understand is the case on the Irawadi. The latter system would have the advantage that the value of the property at risk in the dangerous waters near Wuchow would be very much less than that of a large light draught river steamer. As Likin and other launches, drawing up to 5 to 6 feet, run up to Wuchow-fu, I take it that pilots knowing the river would be obtainable.

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18 No. 3A8s. I. G. SIR, WEST RIVER: CusToM HousE, CANToN, r 'dth .MaTch r 897. I.-FEELING that 48 hours in the country and a few miles walking exercise would be personally advantageous, I decided on Saturday last (13th) to get it by running up to Samshui to have a look at the new Treaty port. I left here in the Fumuntsr1-i at 7 A.M., accompanied by Mr. FRA8ER, Her Britannic Majesty's Acting Consul, and Mr. Ross, of Messrs. JARDINE, lVIA'l'HESoN, & Cu., who has been up there and knows the country. We proceeded through the delta of the vVest River VLtl Kumchuk, no!; by the route I have defined as the one best suited for ordinary steamer traffic, though suitable for shallow-draught vessels. It is about 20 miles shorter than the route vict Sai\van Channel and Malming. 2.-We arrived at Samshui about 3.30 P.M., and at once landed. That evening we walked through Samshui, over the country to the westward of it, and through Hokow (ijiJ 0). I am sending, as an annex of this despatch, but to follow in a day or two, a rough sketch of the waterways and the country generally around Samshui. It is not to scale, as most of the measurements were merely but it gives a good general idea of the vicinity. A few soundings taken by Captain BARTON, Fwnuntsai, give some notion of the depth of water, which is now appa,rently at its very lowest, and should be useful if the port and anchorage have to be defined. 3.-Samshui as a general name for a district Inay represent a trading centre, but Samshui as a city is perfectly insignificant. There is absolutely no sign of business-one might almost say no sign of life-within its walls. There is a general air of squalor, dilapidation, and decay. There are no respectable shops and no indications of any industry, with the exception that in many houses one sees a single loom at which a woman or girl sits weaving common cotton cloth from yarn,.mostly from Bombay. There was not even a respectable grain shop. Street-stands and hawkers, not one of whom seemed to have a stock-in-trade worth a dollar, were doing a petty local business ; but everything is got from outside-food from Hokow, and other things from Sainam. The Magistrate's yamen is about as dilapidated as everything else. That of the military official, a Tu Ssz'l, is new and very unpretentious. There was about the gates a motley crowd of sellers of small wares, who seemed to exist to supply the wants of a dozen piisoners chained to stones carried on their shoulders or under their arms. -\Ve walked half-way round the city walls, the entire., circuit of which is perhaps 3 miles, and we noticed that much of the space within them was occupied by gardens and cultivated land, especially the north-west corner.

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TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 19 Near the west gate there were the ruins of what seems to have been a considerable sized granary, built, as were most of the dwelling-houses, of sun-dried bricks. I should say the whole population of Samshui city does not exceed 3,000 souls. 4.-W e went out of the west gate and walked westward half or three-quarters of a mile along a ridge of irregular hills cut into by, and rif'!ing somewhat abruptly above, low-lying land used for paddy growing. Most of the higher land is covered with graves, but one ridge running almost due west and close up to the eastern branch of the North River is not used as a graveyard, and here and there is covered with pine trees. It would seem that this land might be made available as residence sites, being under a mile from what wilt probably be the business centre; but I am afraid it would be difficult to obtain, as it seems to be common land belonging to a village occupied by the Lr clan and spoken of as _t E :f1i. s.-Samshni city is protected from the .inundations of the river by a long embankment, which is half a mile from it at the nearest point. It runs the whole way from Sainam to a point up the North River which I did not see. The land inside is barely, if at all, above the low-water level of the river, but it is fully protected, a$ we were told, in all but exceptional seasons. On the river side of the embankment runs a creek like a moat, dry-as it is at .present-at low water. The material forming this protecting structure was apparently got by digging out this creek. 6.-At the junction of the eastern mouth of the North River and what I may call, for want of a better name, the Sainam River stands, on a narrow strip of fairly high land outside the embankment, the village of Hokovv. All the business of Samshui seems to be done here, but that business seems to be only with vessels passing to and fro and with the city of Samshui. There is apparently no important trade, no warehouses, or good residences ; it seems us if the place existed on account of the presence there of the Hoppo's station, a Likin station, and a Salt Commis sioner's station. I expect later there will be much transhipment business here for the North River, but I doubt is 'much cargo transhipped there now, for I assume it goes up the North River in the same bottoms in which it arrives. Hokow, the Hoppo's deputies tell me, is frequently under 5 or 6 feet of water during the summer. The river, however, does not seem to rise and keep high for weeks at a time as the Yangtze does. The inundations come occasionally and suddenly from freshets, a.nd subside in a few days. When one does come, every one in Hokow has to rapidly clear out of the houses and camp on the embankment. 7.-There must be a considerable trade passing Hokow, for the Hoppo's deputy tolcl me the Likin station, which is under the charge of an expectant Prefect,

PAGE 26

20 WEST RIVER: collects Tls. 20o,ooo per annum. He said the Hoppo's station collects very little Duty, being mainly for viseing the papers of vessels which are supposed to have paid their Duties elsewhere. However, the office must be pretty well occupied, as there are four ssti-shih in charge and a considerable staff. This station, still known officially as Sstt-hsien-9hiao 'if iW), was originally some distance off on an island in the West River, at the place marked on the map. On an average, according to the deputy's statement, 70 vessels pass the station daily. There seems to be a large passenger business, most of it 'vith Canton, whence it is just about a day's journey by Native boat. The evening we lay there at least a dozen large stern-wheel passenger-boats passed by us, all well filled with people. 8.-'.fhere is a good, well-paved, stone road between Samshui and Sainam along the embankment; there is also a path, somewhat shorter, along the river bank. We went in a sampan from Hokow to Sainam, say 3 miles, in about 40 minutes. The current was in our favour; it always runs in the same direction, not being affected by tide. \Ve landed at the further end of the town, near the Kuan-ti Miao. This temple, though not the largest, is one of the most substantial buildings of the kind I have seen in China, and the best spe cimen of the most ornate type of Chinese architecture. Though not clean it was in good condition. 9.-Sainam CjJj m) is a long, narrow, open town with two or three streets parallel to the river; it must be nearly a mile in length.' The houses on .the river front are run out beyond the bank on piles, and stand now 15 to 20 feet above the water; they front on a street and have their backs to the river. Opposite this town, across the river, there is a considerable suburb built on an island; most of the godowns and large business or wholesale houses seem to be there. I should say Sainam, including the suburb, has 40,000 to so,ooo inhabitants. It is governed by an Assistant Magistrate, a subordinate of the Samshui Magistrate. ro.-I have no doubt whatever that Sainam is the real trade centre of all this district, and its having been .left outside the Treaty port will probably leave it a much less valuable concession to Foreign trade. The business in the streets seems almost like Canton. There are good shops, many industries, and a bustling trade. All sorts of Foreign goods seem on sale, and there are many shops devoted to the supply of the well-to-do. Jewellers, watch and clock sellers, and picture shops are there in abundance, and the grain shops are large and busy. Cotton piece goods, prints, chintzes, woollens, and such wares are freely on sale, and Bombay yarn is evidently very much in demand. VVe vvent into one shop which was with countrywomen-. -by the way, women seem to form more than their fair share of the population in those parts ;-they were all buying yarn. The shopkeeper told

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'l'ltADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 21 us the yarn was brought fi:om Canton, and that the Likin on it amounted to $7.50 per bale of 3 piculs (400 m.), or anywhere from 7 to 10 per cent. ad valo'!'em. \Ve calculated his profits could not have been more than 8 per cent. He was retailing .the particular yarn we saw at 25 cents a pound. Everywhere we >vent in the district-and were at times 9 or ro miles from' Sainam-when we asked a Native where they bought their things we were invariably given as answer, Sainam. I 1.-I am aware from private information that Kongknn (f.I. t.JO is included in the port of Samshui, soI assume the promontory on which the village stands and the land between it and the West and Sainam Rivers may be purchased and occupied by Foreigners. If this is not allowed I cannot see any advantage which has been gained by its opening; indeed, it seems to have been placed in the Treaty somewhat under a misapprehension, and I daresay mainly because CLARKE in his sketch map-where he entirely misplaces the site of Kongkun-puts nem' it the words "proposed Treaty port." We had the greatest difficulty in locating Kongkun at all until we had almost walked into it. Nobody, not even the Hoppo's people, at Hokow seemed to know anything about it, and neither Captain CLARKH nor Mr. Ross, both of whom went up to prospect the locality, seems to have ever been in it. It is a very insignificant, dirty Chinese village, with apparently no trade or industry, and, like all the other places in the neighbourhood, depending on Sainam for its supplies of everything. The West River off its western end I have indicated as an unsafe anchorage from the strength of the current and, I may. add, from the neighbourhood of rocks. The south or Kon:gkun side of the Sainam River is too shallow. 1 2.-As to prospects of navigation, anchorage, place of business, and residences, I shall now ask you to follow the map. I 3.-Captain BARTON, Fwnuntsai, made a few lines of soundings, 'which are laid clown upon map. From these it may be inferred that no vessel of more than 8 feet draught can get very Hokow at low water. If ocean -going steamers are ever likely to come to Samshui they will have to anchor a good way off, and in laying dovvn anchorage limits that fact will have to be borne in mind. The only available deep water seems to be in the West River, just off Kongkun (f.I. tl); but here, even at the very low water, there is a strong current, and I am afraid at high water it would be an unsafe anchorage for vessels and a difficult place to handle cargo-boats in. q.-For river steamers it seems that the best and indeed only anchorage is in the Sainam River, east of Hokow. There is sufficient water all the way for over 2 miles above Hokow, but beyond the rock marked on the map there is a sand-bar

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22 WEST RIVER: which seems to block the river the whole way across. Sometimes, according to our sampan girl, there are not more than 2 feet of water on it, and her statement \Yas corroborated by others. ,The suggested anchorage would not perhaps be more than 200 or 250 yards \vide, for the river shallows very rapidly as one approaches the. south bank ; we could not get withi11 50 yards of the shore in a gig. The idea of anchoring in the east month of the North River occurred to me, but the shallow water near the shore on the east bank makes this impracticable. As far as I can see, therefore, there is only the one available anchorage. It will be suitable enough for shallow-drn,nght river steamers, and by that class of vessel the trade must be done. r 5.-As to where business will be done : of course it should be near the anchorage, if. possible. It seems that, undesirable as it is fol' several reasons, we are forced to choose the narrow strip of land between the river the embank ment. How. much of it will be available will depend upon how far the port is .. allowed to extend in the direction of Sainam. On the map are shown two pieces, marked A and B. There is another unoccupied piece between A and Hokow. These pieces were located by Messrs. J ARDINE, MATHESON, & Co.'s agent,. Mr. Ross. B is perhaps soo yards long and 2 so to 300 yards broad ; it is the best piece, as it gives room for godowns and offices, and is what Messrs. J ARDINE, MATHESON, & Co. \vould like to buy. It is, ho\vever, said to be school endowment land, and as such I am afraid might be hard to get; but the Hoppo's deputy told Mr. FRASER, in answer to a question, that he did not think it impossible to arrange for its purchase through the officials. The site A would suit us for an office and examination shed if we could get a piece on the wider part of it. A site between A and Hokow would also suit us, but it is very narrow there, and I am told is held by a great number of small owners, and for that reason is likely to be difficult to get. The breadth of the land could probably be increased by filling in the embankment creek or moat, but that would be expei1sive and would only be necessary if the demand for land became more pressing than it at the mbment is. As a result of my visit, and having reference to your telegram about land at the new ports in which you said Samslmi can wait," I thought it as well to wire you that there was very little land available, and I thought no time for waiting. I would advise, if possible, to secure 11 piece of land either betvveen A and Hokow or on A itsel I do not knov,r what buyers are in the market, but there are sure to be several. The German Consul and two of his compatriots arrived at Hokow while we were there-people here say they started the moment they kn.ew I \vas gone, but I do not take that remark seriously,-so I assume German mercantile interests as well as British will be represented. If I hear anything more about land there I shall let you know.

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TRADE CONDITIONS, ETC., 1897. 23 16.--As to residences, it seems to me the only available places are (r0.) the north-west corner inside the city; (2.) the hill to the westward, which I have described as village common lan4 ; and (f.) the slopes of the hills opposite Hokov\' an Cl about Kongkun. None of these are quite all that could be wished. The necessity of passing through the city is a great objection to the first; there is less objection to the second if the gro.und could be bought; the third is the most prmmsmg. To both the two latter there is the objection that inundated and irrigated land are too close, and the chances that the neighbourhood is malarial are considerable. The Kongkun side would, I think, afford accommodation for consulates and residences, as the outlook is good, but being principally to north and east perhaps not the very best. However, the residence question is not so pressing as the office one, and it can wait. As temporary accommodation for office and quarters, I am afraid boats must be made available; there seems nothing else to use. 1 j.-As incidents of my trip, I may mention that I saw a proclamation posted, announcing the regulations for Transit trade, and stating that they published at the request of Mr. F.RASEit, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul; also one announcing the opening of the new postal s)cstem in accordance with regulations forwarded through Commissioner BREDON. Both -vvere issued. by the Sarnshui Magistrate. The former was posted at Samshni, the latter at Sainam. It is also agreeable to relate that though we walked through, 8 or r o towns and villages \Ve met with no discourtesy ; on the contrary, all questions we asked, whether of people on the roads or in the shops, were answered in a pleasant spirit. We were amused by .observing that the general goocl demeanour extended even to the animals, for not a clog at us, and the buffaloes that occasionally occupied the narrow paths and from whom one expects aggression, simply stopped and looked at us with an air of benevolent curiosity. I am, etc., R. E. BREDON, Commissioner. To SIH ROBERT H .\RT, BAHT., G.C.lYI.G., InspectO?' Genentl of PEKING.