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COMMERCIAL PROGRESS IN CHINA.

In the year 1786 a vessel of three As the years rolled on, trade with hundred and fifty tons burden sailed China increased; the merchants, of all from an American port for Canton. classes, found that foreign gold and She was the first to carry the flag of the silver were desirable things to gather United States to the shores of Cathay, into their possession, and that the teas and to begin a commerce that has since and silks and porcelain of the empire assumed enormous proportions. Euro- brought a remunerative price from those pean nations had carried on a limited who came to purchase. For a long trade with the Chinese before that time, time the foreigners trading with China but they were restricted to a single port, had no direct intercourse with the Genand their jealousy of each other prevent- eral Government, but dealt only with ed their adopting those measures of co- the local and provincial authorities. It operation that have recently proved so was not until after the famous “ Opium advantageous.

China was

averse to War” that diplomatic relations were opening her territory to foreign mer- opened with the court at Peking, and a chants, and regarded with suspicion all common policy adopted for all parts of their attempts to gain a foothold upon the empire, in its dealings with the outher soil. On the north, since 1727, the er world. Considering the extremely Russians had a single point of commer- conservative character of the Chinese, cial exchange, and by the treaty be- their adherence to old forms and custween Russia and China all the trade toms, their general unwillingness to do between the two nations was to be con- differently from their ancestors, and the ducted there. Two small cities, one not over-amiable character of the majorthoroughly Russian and the other as ity of the foreigners that went there to thoroughly Chinese, were founded, and trade, it is not surprising that many grew up, side by side, for the purposes years were required for commercial reof international commerce. The name lations to grow up and become permaof the Chinese city (Maimaichin) signi- nent. The wars between China and the fies" place of trade.” Along the whole Western powers did more than centuries northern frontier of the Celestial Empire of peace could have done to open the there was no other settlement of its Oriental eyes and teach the oldest naname or character. In the south was tion of the world that its superiority in the single point open to those who came age had not given it superiority in every to China by sea, while along the coast thing else. Austria's defeat on the field line, facing to the eastward, the ports of Sadowa, whose cannons' echoes are of the empire were sealed against for- still ringing in our ears, advanced and eign intrusion. Commerce between enlightened her more than a hundred China and the outer world was ham- years of peace and victory could have pered by many restrictions, and only the done, at her old rate of progress. The great profits derived from it served to victories of the allied forces in China, keep it alive. But once fairly estab- culminating in the capture of Peking lished, the barbarian merchants taught and dictation of terms by the foreign the slow-learning Chinese that the trade leaders, opened the way for a free interbrought advantage to all engaged in it. course between the East and West, and Step by step they pressed forward, to the immense advantages that an unreopen new ports and extend commercial stricted commerce is sure to bring to an relations, which were not likely to be industrious, energetic, and economical discontinued, if only a little time were people. allowed to show their value.

With a river-system unsurpassed by

use.

that of any other nation of the world, tures annually as by the old system, China relied upon navigation by junks, Probably there is no people in the world which crept but slowly against the cur- that can be called a nation of shoprent when urged by strong winds, and keepers more justly than the Chinese ; lay idle or were laboriously towed or thousands upon thousands of them are poled by men when calms or head- engaged in petty trade, and the compebreezes prevailed. Of steam applied to tition is very keen. Of course, where propulsion, she had no knowledge, until there is an active traffic the profits are steamboats of foreign construction ap- small, and any thing that can assist peared in her waters and roused the the prompt delivery of merchandise and wonder of the oblique-eyed natives by the speedy transmission of intelligence, the mystery of their powers. The first money, credits, or the merchant himsteamboat to ascend a Chinese river self, is certain to be brought into full created a greater sensation than did the For the first few years the steamClermont on her initial voyage along vessels in Chinese waters were owned the Hudson or her Western prototype, by foreigners, who derived large profits several years later, among the Indians from the native trade; but very soon of the upper Missouri. The Chinese the Chinese merchants conceived the very speedily saw the advantages of notion of purchasing steamers and runsteam-navigation on the great rivers of ning them on their own account. No the empire, and were quick to patronize accurate statistics are at hand of the the foreign invention when it was fairly number of foreign steamers now in established. In 1839 the first steam China, but well-informed parties estiventure was made in China. An Eng- mate the burden of American coasting lish house placed a boat on the route and river-vessels at upward of thirty between Canton and Macao, and adver- . thousand tons, while that of other natised it as ready to carry freight and tionalities is much larger. Steamboats, passengers on stated days. For the first with a burden of more than ten thousix months the passengers averaged sand tons, are now owned by Chinese about a dozen to each trip-half of merchants, and about half that quantity them Europeans, and the rest natives. is the joint property of Chinese and The second half-year the number of na- foreigners. In managing their boats tive patrons increased, and by the end and watching the current expenses, the of the second year the boat, on nearly Chinese are quite equal to the Englisb every trip, was filled with Chinese. The and Americans, and sometimes display trade became so lucrative, that another an ability to carry freight upon terms boat was brought from England and that are ruinous to foreign competitors. placed on the route, which continued Foreign systems of banking and into be a source of profit until the busi- surance have been adopted, and work ness was overdone by opposition lines, successfully. The Chinese had a mode just as the same kind of business has of banking long before the European been overdone on the Hudson and else- nations possessed much knowledge of where in America. As soon as the trea- financial matters; and it is claimed that ties permitted, steamers were introduced the first circulating-notes and bills-ofinto the coasting-trade of China, and credit ever issued had their origin dursubsequently upon the rivers and other ing a monetary pressure at Peking. inland waters. The Chinese merchants But they were so unprogressive that, perceived the importance of rapid and when intercourse was opened with the certain transportation for their goods in Western World, they found their own place of the slow and unreliable service system defective, and were forced tr of their junks, but the advance in rates adopt the foreign innovation. Insurwas overbalanced by the increased facil- ance companies were first owned and ities and the opportunities of the mer- managed by foreigners at the open chants to make six times as many ven- ports, and as soon as the plan of secur.

ing themselves against loss by fire or with a railway-system to connect the other casualties was understood by the principal cities, and especially to tas Chinese merchants, they began to form the interior districts, where the watercompanies on their own account, and communications are limited. Railways carry their operations to the interior of in India, where the population is dense, the empire, where foreign trade had not have been found profitable, and the penetrated. All the intricacies of the promoters of the scheme are confident insurance business - even to the for- they will prove equally so in China. mation of fraudulent companies, with There is no system of mail-communicaimaginary officers, and an explosion at tion in China; the Government transa propitious moment-are fully under- mits intelligence by means of couriers, stood and practised by the Chinese. and when merchants have occasion to

By the facilities which the advent of communicate with persons at a distance foreigners has introduced to the Chinese, they make use of private expresses. the native trade along the rivers and Foreign and native merchants, doing with the open ports has largely in- an extensive business, keep swift steamcreased. In this respect China has only ers, which they use as despatch-boats, followed the rule that everywhere pre- and sometimes send them at hundreds vails where men engage in commercial or thousands of dollars' expense to pursuits. On the rivers and along the transmit single messages. It has hapcoast the steamers and native boats are pened that, on a sudden change of actively engaged, and the population markets, two or more houses in Hong of the open ports has largely increased Kong or Shanghae have despatched in consequence of the attractỉons offered boats at the same moment; and some to the people of all grades and profes- interesting and exciting races are resions. The greatest increase has been corded in the local histories. Some of in the foreign trade, which, from small the native merchants have expended beginnings, now amounts to more than much money in purchasing and mainnine hundred millions of dollars annu- taining their despatch-boats, and occaally. As this is all from the open ports, sionally, when business is dull, they get it naturally follows that the domestic up private races, on which respectable trade, tributary to those ports by means amounts of cash are staked. of the numerous canals and rivers, and The barriers of Chinese exclusion coming from a population of more than were broken down when the treaties of four hundred millions of people, must the past ten years opened the empire to be enormously large. Where formerly a foreigners, and placed the name of dozen or more vessels crept into Canton, China on the list of diplomatic and during each year, there are now hun- treaty powers. The last stone of the dreds of ships and steamers traversing wall that shut the nation from the outer the ocean to and from the accessible world was overthrown wben the court points of the coast of the great Eastern at Peking sent an embassy, headed by a Empire. America has a large share of distinguished American, to visit the this commerce with China, and from the capitals of the Western nations, and little beginning, in 1786, she has in- cement the bonds of friendship between creased her maritime service, until she the West and the East. It was eminow has a fleet of sailing-ships second nently fitting that an American should to none in the world and a line of mag- be selected as the head of this embassy, nificent steamers plying regularly across and eminently fitting, too, that the amthe broad Pacific, and bringing the East bassador of the oldest nation should in closer alliance with the West than first visit the youngest of all the great she has ever been before.

powers of the world. America, just Railways will naturally follow the emerged from the garments of childsteamboat, and an English company is hood, and with full pride and consciousnow arranging to supply the Chinese ness of its youthful strength, presents to ruddy England, smiling France, and —but several 'friends of the deceased the other members of the family of pa- Oriental set a rumor afloat that one of tions, graybeard and dignified China, the foreign couriers had descended from who expresses joy at the introduction, the wire, and caused the native's death. and hopes for a better acquaintance in A Chinese mob very soon made short the years that are to come.

work of the telegraph-line. During the time of his residence at In this the Chinese: only followed the Peking as minister of the United States, example of the Southerners referred to Mr. Burlingame interested himself in in the preceding paragraph. When the endeavoring to introduce the telegraph telegraph-line from Cincinnati to New into China, and though meeting with Orleans was built, some of the people opposition on account of certain 'super- along the route supposed it would affect stitions of the Chinese, he was ulti- the fall of rain and injure their crops. mately successful. The Chinese do not A drouth confirmed them in that opinunderstand the working of the telegraph ion, and a great many miles of wire -at least the great majority of them do were torn down in consequence. not--and like many other people else- To avoid all possibility of interference where, with regard to any thing incom- with the proposed line in China, Mr. prehensible, they are inclined to ascribe Burlingame suggested that it be placed it to a satanic origin. They.believe the out of harm's reach by laying it in the erection of poles and the stretching of form of a submarine cable along the wires would disturb the currents of coast. The Government readily adoptFung Shuey (good luck), just as some ed the suggestion, as it would prevent of the residents of Tennessee and Ala- any disturbance by superstitious or illbama, ten or twelve years ago, believed disposed persons wbile the line was the telegraph-wires caused a lack of being tested; as soon as the people rain. Hence their opposition to the were accustomed to its workings and construction of the telegraph; and it satisfied of its harmlessness, the conremains for the prejudice to be over- struction of land-lines could be yencome before electric communication in tured. The concession granted by the China will be a success.

Government was accepted by an AmeriSome years ago, as the story runs, can company, which is empowered to some Americans erected a line fifteen or lay submarine cables, connecting all the twenty miles long, between Shanghae treaty ports from Canton to Peking. and Woosung, the place where all deep- Quite likely, the submarine telegraph draught vessels approaching Shanghae will astonish John Chinaman a great are obliged to anchor. The Chinese deal more than a land-line; if intellimade no interference, officially or other- gence can be flashed instantly along the wise, with the line during its construc- bottom of the ocean, where there is no tion, and allowed it to work for some apparent communication, he will be weeks, which it did very successfully. compelled to admit that a visible, tanThey did not investigate its operations, gible wire on land is a safe and feasible but supposed the foreigners employed route of communication. While the active and invisible devils to run along cable is in deep water, out of reach the wires to convey messages.

Had of anchors, and only to be touched by these bearers of despatches confined the apparatus specially designed for its themselves to their own affairs, their recovery, it will hardly be liable to highway would not have been dis- tbe calamity that befell the Shanghaeturbed; but, unfortunately, a Chinese Woorsung line. Nobody will have a died, one day, in a house that was local habitation in its vicinity except crossed by the telegraph-wire, and ac- where it is brought to shore, and even tually touched by one of the poles. It should it be charged with the death of is not an unusual thing for a Chinese to some unfortunate native, the next of die-thousands of them do so every day kin and the neighbors and friends of the

ne

deceased will not be able to wreak their means, in plain language, “Send me my vengeance and protect others from å trunk.” Mr. Yup complies with the relike misfortune. When John is con- quest, and responds by telegraph, “ Mo vinced that the foreign innovation harms you trunkee you sendee.” His English nobody, and is an excellent medium of is more Californian and less Cantonese communication, he will be not only than that of his Sacramento friend. willing, but anxious to extend its ben- Canton tbrows in the word "piecee" efits through the whole length and (piece) very often, and the same is the breadth of The Middle Kingdom, and case with the Chinese-English spoken connect the interior and seaboard cities in most of the treaty ports. The inby means of the electric wire.*

ventor of pigeon-English is unknown, The foreign houses established in and it is well for his name that it has China will furnish a large patronage for not been handed down; he deserves the the telegraph when completed, and execration of all who are compelled to their example will be an excellent use the legacy he has left; and it is for the native merchants, and especially proper to say that he has received & those who compete directly with the great many epithets, the reverse of revforeigners. In California, the Chinese erent, from irate English and Ameriresidents make a liberal use of the tele- cans. It is just as difficult for a Chinese graph; though they do not trouble to learn pigeon-English as it would be themselves with an investigation of its to learn pure and honest English, and it workings, they fully appreciate its im- is about as intelligible as Greek or Sanportance, and when a message is retard- scrit to a newly-arrived foreigner. In ed from any cause, they are as ready as Shanghae or Hong Kong, say to your their paler-faced competitors to make Chinese ma-foo, who claims to speak complaint and demand the reason for English, “ Bring me a glass of water," delay. In California all messages must and he will not understand you. Rebe sent in English, or at all events in peat your order in those words, and he English characters. Grammatical pre- stands dumb and uncomprehending, as cision is not insisted upon; if it were, though you had spoken the dialect of it is possible many a native-born Ameri- the moon.

But if you say, can would find his telegrams refused by me catchee bring one piecee glass water; the receiving clerks on account of de- savey," and his tawny face beams intelficiencies of style. John, in California, ligence as he moves to obey the order. is at liberty to send his messages in In the phrase, "pigeon-English,” the "pigeon-English," and very funny work word pigeon means “ business," and the he makes of it occasionally. Chin expression would be more intelligible if Lung, in Sacramento, telegraphs to it were “business-English.” Many of Ming Yup, in San Francisco, “You the foreigners living in China have me send one piecee me trunk," which formed the habit of using this and

other words in their Chinese sense, and The proposed telegraph-line has an aggregate sometimes one hears an affair of busi. length of nine hundred miles, connecting the follow- ness called “a pigeon.” A gentleman, .ng cities :

Distance

whom the writer met in China, used to Populalion. in Miles. tell, with a great deal of humor, his 1,000,000

early experiences with the language.

60,000 Hong Kong.

250,000

“When I went to Shanghae,” said he, Swatow

200,000

I had an introduction to a prominent " Amoy...

250,000

merchant, who received me very kindly, « Foo-Chow...

1,250,000 6 Wau-Chu....

300,000

and urged me to call often at, his office. “ Ningpo......

400,000

A day or two later I called, and in“ Hangtchean........ 1,200,000

quired for him. Won't be back for a “ Shanghae........... 1,000,000

week or two,' said the clerk; "he has Total........ 5,910,000

gone into the country, about two hun

" You go

From Canton... fo Macao....

70 75 130 115 120 120 125 60 80

895

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