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able utility. At present its trade is much impeded by numerous bands of insurgents, who infest the surrounding country and pillage or destroy whatever falls within their grasp. The Si-kiang differs from other Chinese rivers in the clearness and purity of its waters, and the population living near the banks are exceptionally free from cutaneous disorders: much of the adjoining land is devoted to the growth of the sugar-cane, and the river is principally used for carrying this produce, together with rafts of timber from the Kwangsi forests, to the markets of Canton. With respect to the rivers Min and Yung, which connect with the sea the treaty ports Foo-chow and Ning-po, it may be observed that their importance, as far as foreign interests are concerned, will diminish as fresh treaty ports are opened and more advantageous routes become available; but they must always be most serviceable for native commerce, and contribute in no slight degree to the remarkable fertility and beautiful scenery of the districts through which they pass.
Owing to the absence of official returns, the extent of the native coast and inland trade can only be judged from the number of junks that are observed carrying or discharging cargoes, and this number is sufficiently great to lead to the presumption that the traffic in the rivers and harbours is even more considerable than what might have been deduced from the known population and capabilities of the empire; and if the total tonnage of the junks now employed on the China seas, lakes, and rivers could be rightly estimated, it would be probably found to equal, if not exceed, that of the combined mercantile marine of Europe.
In their export and import junk trade the Chinese confine themselves to Siam, Japan, Cochin-China, and the adjacent islands of the Malay Archipelago. The outward cargoes principally consist of silks, cotton goods, tea, metals, and common crockery; emigrants to Singapore, Manila, and other ports, are also embarked in considerable numbers from the overcrowded maritime provinces. For the return voyage the junks load with grain, pepper, betel-nuts, rattans, edible birds'-nests, &c. Of late years much of this island trade has been conducted by foreign shipping, and so long as the Chinese continue to build upon their present models, this gradual disuse of junks is likely to continue; their bluff bows and flat floors are unsuited to heavy seas, and the knowledge of this fact teaches the pilots to keep, as much as possible, within sight of land: the voyages are, therefore, necessarily tedious, and the cheapness of freight or passage hardly compensates for loss of time. A similar reasoning has led to the opinion that the coasting-trade will, before long, be exclusively carried in foreign holds: the circumstances are, however, very different,
and the light draught and manageable qualities of the junks, together with the local knowledge of their masters, must for many years ensure their general use for that purpose. The coasting-junks are generally vessels between two hundred and five hundred tons burden, and are manned by a skilful but superstitious and timorous crew: the pilots, pretending to little knowledge of navigation beyond the use of the compass, seldom lose sight of the shore, and upon the approach of night anchor under some protecting headland-a precaution most advisable on a coast possessing no lighthouses or landmarks. Notwithstanding these delays, the pilots, through their acquaintance with the prevailing winds and local tides, make rapid passages, and rarely fail in conducting the junks under their charge safe to the harbour to which they are bound.
The chief danger that owners of cargo have to consider is that arising from the prevalence of piracy; and to guard against this the large junks that sail from or to the southern ports are armed with a few pieces of cannon of small calibre, and the crew are supplied with spears, gingalls, and shields. It is found that vessels thus armed, and in company with others, are seldom attacked; and if, on proceeding to the north, they arrive safely above the latitude of the Chusan Islands, their further voyage is secure, as piracy is almost unknown upon the northern seaboard. The cargoes consist principally of sugar, tea, silk, cotton, mats, oil, salt, vegetables, fish, and grain. Rice is also shipped in large quantities, as the present difficulty of transit by the Grand Canal has obliged the authorities to permit its transport by sea. rivers and canals of China represent the high roads of Europe, and the trade upon them is consequently of a very varied description, and has to meet the whole demand of the interior. A detailed account of the nature and extent of the commercial transactions of a population numbering nearly 400,000,000 would be tedious and unnecessary, especially as that population is of a preeminently trading character, and delights in gambling and bargaining, and all the minor details of petty barter. That the numbers of junks and other river craft must be enormous may be readily admitted; but even after all due allowance is made, the total tonnage of the native fleets that daily arrive or sail in or from our treaty ports surpasses the most wide calculation. Seven thousand junks annually drop their anchors abreast of the city of Shanghae. For Hankow this number may fairly be quadrupled : and the crowds of vessels that incessantly sail to and fro upon the waters of Canton and the southern maritime provinces are almost beyond computation.
It has been a constant subject for surprise to manufacturers in
Great Britain that the export trade to China has not increased in such degree as the number and known commercial disposition of the people would justly lead them to expect. They were aware of the extent of the trade with India, and presumed that with equal facilities for commerce the advantages of the China trade would be proportionally greater. This natural deduction has been proved erroneous, and the error has arisen, not from over-estimation of the commercial capabilities of the empire, but solely from a misconception of the character and wants of the people. Previous to the first war our export trade was exclusively confined to Canton and its immediate neighbourhood, and the merchants explained its stagnation by the absence of available means for supplying the Chinese with the goods which they were supposed to so ardently desire. At this time foreigners were treated by the officials with insufferable arrogance or contempt; vexatious hindrances were placed in the way of trade; and, in fact, the general state of our commercial and political relations was altogether unsatisfactory. The disputes arising from the opium traffic brought matters to a crisis, and at last it was comprehended, both by the European community at Canton and the Home Government, that a war was necessary in order to open the country and place our commerce upon an equitable footing. The war took place, and it resulted that we obtained permission to trade freely at five important ports, and were ceded an island, upon which we established a strong military force, and erected naval and mercantile storehouses. Now, then, is the time, thought the Manchester manufacturers, for our exports to pour into China, and cargo upon cargo of cotton and other goods were sent out by them in the expectation of finding a large demand and of realising ample profit. The result was most disappointing. For the two years succeeding the signature of the treaty the novelty of our goods created an exceptional demand; and in 1845 the value of our exports reached the sum of 2,394,8271. sterling, a value which, although far exceeding that of earlier years, was comparatively insignificant. But subsequently to 1845 the curiosity of the Chinese abated, and in 1852, a year remarkable for widely-spread peace and commercial competition, the whole value of our exports to China only amounted to 1,918,2447. sterling; whilst those to India for the same year were valued at nearly 8,000,0001.
Our merchants had then the difficult duty of explaining the apparently inexplicable anomaly of India, with a population less than one-fourth of that of China, consuming above four times the amount of exports, and again the fault was ascribed to the absence of sufficient free ports, and to the restrictions of the Chinese Government.
Government. It was demanded that the Yang-tze-kiang and the
When our exports were first introduced into the markets of the
Including the three ports on the Yang-tze-kiang we have now thirteen ports open to our trade, of which the most profitable are Hankow, Shanghae, and Canton.
The Chinese are a people keenly alive to their own interests, and although partaking of many of the peculiar vices and characteristics of other Asiatics, they stand alone in respect of energy and desire for accumulation. The remarkable extent in which they possess these qualities is not only observable in their own country, but also in those to which they emigrate; and in all the Malayan archipelago their laborious character has already obtained for them a preponderating influence.
With these persevering and self-acquiring qualities our merchants were at the close of the first war rudely and unexpectedly brought in contact. The Chinese were willing to part with their tea or silk in exchange for the Spanish dollars so abundantly supplied to them, but they were not equally willing to allow foreign productions to supersede their own, and consequently the exports to China fell much below the most moderate estimates. Some years have elapsed since this first competition, and, fortunately for the balance of bullion, the proportion between the exports and imports is less unequal; but even at the present time, if it were not for the opium traffic, the excess of the Chinese exports over European imports would have a decidedly detrimental action upon our trade.
In 1860-the year we select for example, because it immediately preceded the war between the Federal and Confederate States of America, and the consequent stoppage of our usual supply of raw cotton-the value of our legal trade with China was as follows:-Imports to United Kingdom, 9,323,7647.; exports from ditto, 5,318,0367.; thus proving a balance against the United Kingdom of over 4,000,000l. sterling. Of the above imports tea represents 6,601,8947., and silk 2,335,1687., or together nearly 9,000,000l. Of the exports cotton represents a value of 3,567,7751.; woollens, 868,1037.; and hardware, cutlery, glass, and other goods complete the total amount. Looking at these statistics it will be seen that our commerce almost resolves itself into exporting cotton goods, and importing tea and silk. The prospects of advance in our export trade are therefore much dependent upon the demand for cotton cloth, a demand which has never been urgent, and which, under present circumstances, is not likely to increase in proportion to the expectations of the exporters.
The Chinese are a cotton-consuming people, for the majority of the men, women, and children in all parts of the empire clothe themselves exclusively with cotton frocks and trousers. The cotton cloth expended in making this native clothing is estimated to represent a value of 175,000,000l. per annum. The average annual value of our cotton imports during the last ten years is not