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JO

CHINAMAN




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES

IN MEMORY OF

CARROLL ALCOTT

PRESENTED BY

CARROLL ALCOTT MEMORIAL
LIBRARY FUND COMMITTEE



v<^



JOHN CHINAMAN



First Edition . . November, 1901.
Second Edition . . September, 1902.




/'ntnlis/>ucf.]



CIl AX(;-l KlI.



JOHN CHINAMAN

AND A FEW OTHERS



By E. H. PARKER

FORMERLY ONE OF H.M. CONSULS IN THE FAR EAST

AUTHOR OF "china, HER HISTORY, DIPLOMACY

AND COMMERCE," ETC., ETC.



SECOND EDITION



No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money"

Dr. Samuel Johnson
I do not love a man who is zealous for nothing "

Dr. Oliver Goldsmith



LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET

1902



TO

MY DAUGHTER
MARY






PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION



THANKS to amiable critics, I am able to intro-
duce an edition more accessible than its pre-
decessor to many who have expressed a desire to
honour it with a permanent place in their own homes ;
and, perhaps I ought to say, at a price better pro-
portioned to its own inconsiderable merit than was
the case with the first edition. No change has been
made in the text — beyond the indispensable correc-
tion of a few inaccuracies. Whether I myself am
responsible for false quantities, doubtful grammar,
and other analogous defects ; whether the publisher
is to blame ; whether the reader has been careless ;
or whether the printer's brains have gone a-wool-
gathering, — all this, like the Bank of England ink,
is a matter of professional secrecy, which ought to
go down with the knowing ones to the grave. Wild
horses shall never tear disclosures from 7ju\ even
though the others be induced under mental torture to
confess.

I take this opportunity of congratulating Europe

1467217



vi PREFACE

upon its improved attitude towards " Honest John."
Within the past few months the capacity of Yiian
Shi-k'ai has been amply recognised. Gallant Japan has
secured her rightful place. Sir Robert Hart has received
high distinction from the Empress-Dowager, who on
her part has bravely " faced the music." A competent
financial adviser has been sent out, and there is every
prospect of /I'^i'/i being shortly abolished. Manchus
can now intermarry with Chinese. Education is coming
to the fore. Missionaries have brighter prospects
before them. And, generally, a feeling that it is better
to forgive — to live and let live — seems to be taking
possession of men's minds.

E. H. PARKER.

Alay, 1902.



PREFACE



SOME books have been likened to molehills : with-
out being exhaustive treatises on the work to
which an author has devoted his life, they serve to
show the direction in which he has been burrowing,
and the soil in which he has been working. Some
such character I would claim for the reminiscences
contained in the following pages. It will be observed
that humble folk are throughout placed absolutely on
a footing with great personages ; I, for one, being per-
suaded that the lowly are just as interesting company
as the mighty. In fact, a (since then very distin-
guished) diplomatist once said to me, as he took
the air upon my consular verandah, when on tour
amongst the treaty ports : — " A celebrated man on
a certain occasion repeated in my hearing the old
remark that the world would be positively astounded
if it only knew with what a very small amount of
capacity and ability it was governed." To this I may
add as a corollary : — " and how much excellence there
is to be found in obscure persons " — such as I describe



viii PREFACE

here ; to one of whom, I may say with gratitude,
I owe my safety if not my life two or three times
over : I consequently give him a place of prominence
in the frontispiece. It will also be noticed that
my experiences with the Chinese have always had
a Quixotic tinge about them ; that is to say, that
I have had to socorrer viudas, enderezar tuertos, and
remediar agravios as often for Frenchmen, Germans,
Russians, Italians, Danes, Americans, Portuguese,
Spaniards, and Chinese as for British subjects ; having
el buen SancJio always at my heel : it would almost
look as though I had gone through a career with the
coat-tails provokingly trailing under the nose of every
man armed with a buckthorn, and always spoiling for
a fight. Ten years after making the above remark,
the same distinguished diplomatist wrote to me : —
" The more rows you are in, the better for you, so
long as you don't cause them yourself" ; and this is
also true,— subject, however, again, to a slight addition :
" and so long as the game is played squarely."

But the main object is not to describe my own
doings ; it is to illustrate Chinese character by means
of concrete examples, docketed and dated so that
they can be verified, either by reference to the persons
mentioned, or to the archives of the countries named.
To the best of my powers, I relate nothing but
what is true ; what I have seen with my own eyes,
heard with my own ears, or searched out with my



PREFACE ix

own brains (or what does duty for brains) ; and it is
quite impossible, therefore, for me to draw convincing
life-pictures unless I introduce the tertium quid of my
own personality, which must consequently be always
regarded simply as a mere peg whereon to hang a
tale. What I wish particularly to point out is that,
shifty and crafty though Chinese officials may be,
they have never been impenetrable to " suasion," so
far as my personal experience goes ; and have never
failed in the end to settle any case, however long
pending. Also that, hostile though the ignorant
Chinese people may often be, I have never found them
inaccessible to "chaff" or reason; nor have they ever
actually injured my person, or any individual whom
chance may have placed under my protection, however
near they may have come to the point of violence.
To the best of my recollection, I have never had
to dismiss a Chinese servant, either private or public ;
nor have I ever found it indispensable to punish,
humiliate, or crush. Possibly self-consciousness of
many imperfections may have instinctively caused
me to refrain from too readily condemning others ;
but whatever the inner inwardness of it may be, the
facts are, I believe, strictly as stated.

I do not say the Chinese are very nice people to live
amongst ; in fact, odi profanum vidgus et arceo was
always my feeling towards them. Yet I have always
met them in a tolerant spirit of equality, and possibly



X PREFACE

that is partly why I survive to state the circumstances
of it all. — Nor, on the other hand, do I deftly insinuate
that my methods have always been good methods, or
my judgment a sounder one than others' judgment : but
in the firm belief that the public, as a body, generally
forms its conclusions more justly than locally concerned
individuals, who often have private axes of their own
to grind, I simply leave the verdict in popular hands.

It will be seen that a consular officer's experiences,
though obscure, may yet be very varied ; and that,
although he cannot pretend to such services as are
rendered by members of " another circle," he still finds
occasional opportunities for proffering a useful hand
in a humble way. If, on the bare retrospect of his
experiences among the Chinese, a mere hack, so to
speak, can summon up such various recollections, it
may be well imagined what a wealth of incident the
more distinguished members of the same service might
recall, did not their diffidence, their modesty, or their
"diplomatic" prudence stand in the way.

I believe with Sir Robert Hart that in attempting
to crush the Chinese spirit we are making a great
mistake, for which we shall pay dearly in the future,
— unless we stay our hand in time ; and there is yet
time. I cannot quite follow, and therefore am unable to
agree with, all the sentimental involutions of his reason-
ing, making mental allowance for the fact that he has
been too practically busy for forty years to fall in at once



PREFACE xi

with the conventional style of mere " writing fellows " ;
but none the less it appears to me that he has stood
generously forward as the one just man among a mob of
degenerate Christians. " This was the noblest Roman of
them all," say I. It is just seven hundred and seventy-
five years ago since the ancestors of the Manchus {i.e.
the old Manchus) destroyed the Cathayan power, and
then took the southern Chinese capital of Pien (modern
K'ai-feng Fu). They imposed an " indemnity of
10,000,000 ounces of gold, 20,000,000 'shoes' of silver,
and 10,000,000 pieces of silk," which is about the sum
the united Powers are now trying to extract. But a
century later the Mongol hordes swept both these same
early Manchus in the East and also the early Russians
in the West out of political existence, only to be them-
selves driven away by pure Chinese one hundred and
fifty years later. This is but one solitary instance of how
the Chinese " eels get used to skinning " ; and I cannot
help thinking, therefore, that we Christians have not only
acted foolishly, uncharitably, and unjustly, but that we
are rousing a feeling of bitter resentment both in China
and Japan, which may have rueful results for us all at
no very distant period ; and more especially for Russia,
France, and Germany : that is to say, unless we decide
to recognise and make allowances for a human nature
which is to all essential purposes our own.

E. H. PARKER.
18, Gambiek Terrace,

Liverpool.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I
BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS

PAGES

An Event in the Snow (January 17, 1878) — The Captive Girl (1879)
— The Joys of Matrimony (November, 1890)— Mrs. Patrick P'itz-
patrick O'Toole (1891) — Death of A-sz (September 28, 1879)
— Suicides (1880, 1890)— The Death of Ano's Brother (May 19,
1884)— Potted Ancestors (1S70-8) I 26

CHAPTER II

THE HAND OF GOD

Cholera at Foochow (September 6 1877)— The Great Canton Tornado
(April II, 1878) Wang-erh and the Cholera (December, 1880)
— A Celestial Coincidence (November 4, 1S92) . . 27 36

CHAPTER III

THE INNOCENTS ABROAD

Chinese Washermen (March 22, 1S77)— The Chinese Diplomat in
Russia (July, 1882) — Chinese in Sumatra (June, 1888)— Chinese
in Australia (August, 1888) -The Chinaman in New Zealand
(October, 1888)— French Chinamen (1888, 1892, 1893)— The
Chinaman in Hawaii (November, 1888)— Don Magnifico (May,
1893) — Chinese Gamblers (September, 1894) . . . 37-61
xiii



xiv CONTENTS



CHAPTER IV
KINGS, POPES, PREMIERS, AND PHILOSOPHERS

PAGES

The Tsungli Ya/utn (1869-71)— Wensiang (June 28, 1871) — The
Taoist"Pope" (September 10, 1880)— The Philosopher Cincius
(October 15, 1881)— Chinese Royalty (July 10, 1891)— The
Emperor of Annam (January 30, 1892) — Chinamen as Princes
(November, 1892)— Vae Victis (November 27, 1892)— The Wild
Kachyns (February, 1893)— His Holiness the Pope (January 27,
1S94) 62-89



CHAPTER V

*' ROWS "—MISSIONARY AND OTHER

Row with Students (November 22, 1872) — The Caged Warrior
(December 15, 1877) — A "Missionary Row" (September 15,
1880)— Falling He Fell, and Falling Emitted a Thud (July 3,
1 881) — An Extinguisher at Wenchow (October, 1884) — A Nice
Little Family Party (October, 1884)— A Chinese "Revolution"
(January 25, 1SS6) . 90-123



CHAPTER VI

PIRACIES AND MURDERS

The Piracy of the Spark (August 22, 1874) — A Piratical Attack

(Fel)ruary 19, 18S4) — A Real Murder (November 17, 1886) —

The Great Murder Case (March, 1890) — The Great Spanish

Murder Case (August, 18S9) — The Piracy of the Namoa

(Deceml)cr, 1890) -Murder Will Out (1S92 3) . . 124-142



CONTENTS XV

CHAPTER VII

FOR WAYS THAT ARE DARK

PAGES

The Government and the Pickpocket (May, 1871)— The Dishonest
Postman (November 4, 1S74)— The Thief on the Roof (1878)
— An Unsolved Mystery (March 9-19, 1880) —Another Dishonest
Postman (June 2 -July 6, 1880) The Head Thief (December 25,
1880)— Who Steals my Purse Steals Trash (April 15, 1881) 143-162

CHAPTER VIH

VICEROYS AND GOVERNORS

Li Hung-chang (1871-72)— The Governor Hii Ying-hung (1872) —
The Viceroy Jweilin (September, 1874) — The Viceroy Yinghan
(March, 1875)— The Viceroy Liu K'un-yih ( 1878-9) - Yiian Shi-
k'ai (1885-6) 163-179

CHAPTER IX

RELIGION AND MISSIONARIES

A Chinese Convert (1871-2, 1885-6) — Mussulmans in China (1869,
1881) — Saul! Saul! why persecutest thou Me? (1878-9) — A
Narrow Escape (October 21 — November 28, 1885)— The Seed of
the Church (February 19, 1881 ; February 11, 1887)— Father
Cadoux (1888, 1892-3)— Roman Catholic Education (1884-5,
1888, 1892-3) — Pagan Christians (May 20, 1893) . . iSo-204



CHAPTER X

HUMANITAS

Chinese Teachers (i867-S)-01d Ow (1874-5, 1878-9)— " Full of
Strange Oaths" (1879) — A Chinese Barrister (1876) — Old Lu
(1874-5, 1878-80; January, 1891)— Doctor Wong (1874-5, 1878)
—The Chinese Z^///-^ (1884)— Chinese Poetry (1879, 1900) 205-228



xvi CONTENTS

CHAPTER XI
ARMY AND NAVY

PAGES

The Chinese Army (October 30, 1870)— A Warrior in Trouble
(October 27, 187S)— A Gallant Admiral (November 17, iSSo)
—A Soldier of the Old School (1880-1)— The Chinese Navy
(May, 1890)— An Instigator of Rebellion (February, 1893)—
Captain Ch'en (1893-4)— Admiral Ting (July 4, 1885; May 8,
1890) -A Coiean Admiral (May i5, 1885)— Captain Teng (July,
1885— January, 1SS6)— A more than Royal Salute (August 27,
18S6) 229-262

CHAPTER XII

PSEUDO-CHINAMEN

The Murderous Mongol (November il, 1869)— The Miao-tsz (iSSi) —
The Corean Mafu (18S5-6)— The Grave of Empire (March 16,
1888) — Joseph the Sinner (1892) — An Annamese Noble (January,
1892)— Sic Transit Gloria (April 29, 18S8) . . . 263-281



CHAPTER XIII
DISTINGUISHED FOREIGNERS

Chinese Processions (November 2, 1870) — Sir E. B. Malet among
the Likin and Philology Men (September II-13 and 17-20, 1872)
— Archdeacon Gray (1874-5, 187S) — Sir Samuel Baker, Pasha
(September 4, 1880)— An Imperial Ambassador (April 7, 1881) —
How the Chinese Telegraphs Used to Woik (December, 18S6) 2S2-303

CHAPTER XIV

RAISING THE WIND

Chancr-erh's Winnings (1878)- Hongkong Salt-smupglers (July 17 —
August 23, 1878) — A Scandalous Squeeze (September 20 —
October 11, 1878)— Who'll Buy My Gingham? (May 12, 1881)—
There's Money in It (18S1) -The Salt-smuggler (1873, 1883) 304-321



CONTENTS xvii

CHAPTER XV
POLICE AND THEIR MASTERS

PAGES

The Manchu Agtnt- Provocateur (June 8, 1880) — The Vagabond
Escort (June, 1881)— My Escort (October, 1881)— The Big
Ting-cKai and the Small Ting-cKai (October i, 1884) — Tit-
for-Tat (March 21, 1891)— The TaotaiCtiVi (1891-3)— A Trucu-
lent Official (July 4-16, 1893) , 322-343



CHAPTER XVI

PERSONAL

Chang-erh (1869-94)— A Dangerous Outing (May 13 I4, 1872) —
The Barber's " Pidjin " (1879)— And He Went for that Heathen
Chines (i88i)—Chang-erh's Villainy (18S5)— That Straight Heart
(1890) 344-359



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



CHANG-fiRH Fronlispicce

THE CAPTIVE GIRL AND HER FRIEND .... Facing p. 6

p'ei yin-s£n's arsenal students and their instruc-
tor, MR, BREWITT-TAYLOR ,, ,, 20

THE OLD JESUIT INSTRUMENTS OF THE ASTRONOMICAL

BOARD (TAKEN BY GERMANY) (.Illustrates Eclipses) . ,, ,, 36

TUNG SiJN THE POET, WITH HIS TWO CHINESE COL-
LEAGUES, 187I ,, ,, 62

THE KING ("emperor") OF ANNAM . . . . ,, ,, 76

TOMB (NANKING) OF THE FOUNDER (1368-9S) OF THE

MING DYNASTY (VISITED FROM CHINKIANG) . . ,, ,, 94

LOOKING DOWN THE CANTON RIVER . . . . ,, ,, 98

PAGODA FROM WHICH A-NO FELL ,, ,, 112

THE KING (now " EMPEROR ") OF COREA . . . ,, ,, 122

PAGODA ISLAND, FOOCHOW RIVER ,, ,, 132

THE BHAMO "CHINA STREET" AND BARBER's SHOP . ,, ,, I40

HIS EXCELLENCY THE VICEROY LIU k'uN-YIH . . ,, ,, 174

THE LATE TAI-WON-KUN, FATHER OF THE KING OF

COREA ,, ,, 178

ONE OF THE SHANGHAI JESUITS* ORPHANAGES . . ,, ,, I9S

"OLD OW" AND HON. J. STEWART-LOCKHART . . ,, ,, 2o8

A student's UP-COUNTRY RETREAT . . « • ,, ,, 2l6

xix



2 BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS

with old swathes tied about his leg, and round
the fragments of the shapeless shoes. Sometimes he
would have a couple of babies in one basket, and
a favourite little dog or a bird-cage or some clothes
in the other ; and if he had strength, would carry
them all slung to a pole over his shoulders : other-
wise they walked a bit, or a neighbour lent a hand.
The mother, with lank cheeks, stumpy feet, and
bedraggled hair, would limp wearily in the rear ;
perhaps the grandparents too. Occasionally they
would have an old wheelbarrow, or a few sticks of
furniture ; but they were all alike gaunt and hungry.
Yet never a word of anger or a movement of
violence : they all wore the patient, obstinate look
of camels or sheep. Of course they begged, and
often whined ; but they were as ready to chaff if
they got nothing as they were to grovel with grati-
tude for food or money. Silver coins were of little
use, scarcely known to most of them, and in any
case unchangeable for the moment, and much too
valuable : one-fiftieth of a penny was enough to
buy a coarse meal. The authorities had provided
thousands of mat hovels, on the walls, outside the
walls — anywhere, so long as private rights were not
invaded, and shelter from the wind was obtainable.
Skilly was served out gratis twice a day. Every
morning I saw dead bodies lying about ; but this
one can see any day on the Beggars' Bridge of
Pekinc?, and in China it strikes no horror into the



A FAMINE-STRICKEN MOTHER 3

imagination. I suppose there were from fifty thou-
sand to one hundred thousand refugees congregated
about Chinkiang, over and above the fifty thousand
regular inhabitants inside. At that time the city
was still half in ruins, and had barely got on its
imperialist legs again since the recapture of 1857
from the Taipings. On January 9, I remember, the
thermometer went down to iT Fahrenheit, and, I
presume from general recollection, remained at pretty
near that figure for the best part of a month after.

One afternoon, at about four, I was rapidly
threading my way amongst the refugees, who were
huddling together in the snow under any scrap of
shelter they could find about the roads, when I
saw a woman of about thirty sitting alone, bolt
upright, on a hank of straw. She wore the usual
blue cotton wadded coat ; her face was covered with
tears and mud ; her nice black oily chignon had
gone to smithereens long ago, and the clotted hair
filled with sand was flying about in the wind over
her shoulders. There is a Chinese poetical saying :
" Approach the tub and sit in the straw," which
means " to be confined " : it ran through my head
at that moment. A good-natured, fat woman from
a small eating-house just then stepped out with a
big bowl of coarse soup, smoking hot. The woman
in the straw was swaying herself to and fro and
groaning ; but she took the bowl greedily, and at
once devoured the contents. I went on with my walk



4 BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS

rather sadly inclined ; but there was no necessity for
scepticism or surprise, for the American consul had
told me but a day or two ago of a similar occurrence
which had taken place whilst he passed along with
his wife, just outside the British consulate. In about
an hour I came back the same way, and the woman
was still there, doing the best she could to wrap up
a small object in her bosom with rags, wisps of straw,
sticks, and bits of old clothes. She was now quite
cheerful, and had a relieved appearance. I gave her
a ten-cent piece, and asked after her condition. She
was quite sprightly enough to answer questions, and,
to judge by her comparatively unconcerned manner,
it was probably not the first time she had found
herself in a fix of the kind. Probably she slept
there, and walked on next morning briskly.

Archdeacon Gray of Canton, when told this story
some months later, capped it with another anecdote,
the details of which, however, are more suitable to
The Lancet than to a character sketch-book. No
" medical men " are ever needed in China ; but a class
of women known as " life-receivers " make things as
comfortable as possible for the patient who can afford
to hire their assistance.

THE CAPTIVE GIRL

In times of war, pestilence, and famine, the kidnapping
and sale of children becomes very prevalent ; but at
all times and in all places it is more or less in vogue



THE TALE OF ONE OUT OF MANY 5

throughout the Empire. It is not easy in any part of
China to question any but the boat-women closely : even
poor peasant girls and shrivelled-up old women think
it good form to run away from any strange man who
may cross their field ; not to say from any foreigner.
Sometimes, however, by accident one comes across a
woman of natural frankness and common sense, just as
in England one occasionally meets a *' lady," free from
affectation, who can talk in a friendly and natural
way to a pauper or rough seaman. In the wilds of
Hu Peh, for instance, I once talked with a single
woman who was sole and absolute mistress of a large
inn. Even wives of the first, or confarreatio, class are
sometimes bought with money before the coinpotatio
(as the Chinese have it) takes place. One of the
coeniptio, or second order wives once told me the
following story. (I may explain that I was trying to
find out by questioning her how many generations
an ignorant woman could go back).

" My ancestors were Hakkas [descendants of coloni
from the north] of the Sin-ning hien city area, on
the south coast, not far from St. John's Island, where
the * Potuki joss-man ' [St. Francis Xavier] died.
During the Red-cap [ = Taiping] Rebellion of about
the sixth Ham-fung reign [1856], the whole place was
being overrun by plundering bands, and the people
were continually crying, ' The rebels are here.' One
day my mother suddenly began collecting a few bangles
and valuables, grabbed me by the arm, and ran with



6 BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS

me as hard as she could up the mountain. My aunt
took another direction. Beini^ Hakkas, of course we
all had big feet, and could get over the ground
pretty quickly. We soon felt very hungry, and had
a difficulty in finding enough to satisfy our cravings
that night. In the distance we could see through
the darkness all the farms in our neighbourhood being
burned. I don't know whether my mother sold me
for food, or whether she merely placed me for safety
in charge of two men of our acquaintance ; but, any
way, she separated from me after a little more
wandering, and the two men sold me for a couple of
dollars to another man : then I was given a good
meal and taken down a stream in a small boat towards
the east, where at a market-town a man offered twenty
dollars for me. He took me to Macao, where I have
since lived with his sister. There were other girls
like myself there, and we were brought up to call
her ' mother.' She was always very kind to us, taught
us sewing, how to keep clean, how to preserve the
hair, teeth, health, etc., to cook, keep house, and so on.
There are plenty of such places in Macao. I have
never heard of any single member of my own family
since, and should not have remembered the above
had you not plied me with suggestive questions. My
* mother ' owned a junk which used to trade regularly
with Pakhoi and Annam. The custom is for such girls
to be bred up at Macao, and either sold for two hundred
to five hundred dollars apiece to natives or foreigners



TENDER MEMORIES 7

on the mainland as wives of the second class, or to
be let out as such on the hire system — i.e. the master
or husband pays so much a month until the price, plus
interest, is made up by instalments. Thus he is not
committed if he is disappointed. If we can coax enough
money out of him, we can buy out ourselves, and then
either resell ourselves to him, or keep the instalments
going to our own profit. In any case, the ' mother '
never plays us false ; and, as you see, I am now here
in Macao on a visit to my ' mother ' and her brother,
although I have now paid her the whole of my
original price, three hundred dollars, and am free."

I went on to question her in her old Hakka dialect,
which she had nearly forgotten, and tried to find out
exactly from whence she came, so that I might make
enquiry if the village still existed. By cudgelling
her memory, she began to recall incidents of how she
used to help her father to plant the rice ; how the
crops were alternated ; how her brothers went to
school in the ancestral temple ; and so on. But when,


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Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerJohn Chinaman and a few others → online text (page 1 of 23)