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242 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

which it requires to encircle the earth, at the rate of 9 miles and upwards the hour, 
for 1896 consecutive hours. 

As I write this, the abstract of another ship the Comet, E. C. Gardner, from San 
Francisco to New York, is received. She, too, has made the passage in 83*3 
days, sailing during the interval 17,496 statute miles, and averaging 210 miles a 
day. She, however, except merely by doubling Cape Horn, did run through the 
region of the trade-like winds and heaving swells of the South Pacific, which 
favoured the Sovereign of the Seas to such an extent ; and therefore no fair com- 
parison can be made as to the relative sailing qualities of these two ships. 

There is another circumstance, however, connected with this voyage of the Sove- 
reign of the Seas, which is worthy of attention, for it is significant, and a fact 
illustrative of the revolutions in the way of business which are being quietly wrought 
by the time-saving devices of the age. This splendid ship, after unloading her 
cargo in California, was sent to glean after our whalemen, and she came home with 
oil gathered from them at the Sandwich Islands. 

This adventurous class of our fellow-citizens resort there in such numbers that 
the fees annually paid by the government for the relief of the sick and disabled 
seamen there, amount to upwards of 50,000 dollars. 

Now, if the Pacific Railway were built, the thousands of American seamen, and 
the fleets of American whale ships, that annually resort to those islands for refresh- 
ment and repairs, would resort to California. There they would be in their own 
country ; the oil would probably be sent home on railway, instead of by clipper 
ship, and all the advantage of refitting so many ships, of treating and recruiting so 
many men, would inure to the benefit of our own-citizens. Respectfully, 

(Signed) M. F, Maury, 

Lieutenant U. S. Navy. 

XX. — Chusan^ with a Survey Map of the Island. By Sir 
J. F. Davis, Bart., F.R.S., F.R.G.S. 

Read June 13, 1853. 

The importance of this island was sufficiently demonstrated by 
its capture on two successive occasions by a British force, and 
its retention (on the last) for a period of four years, as a guarantee 
for the fulfilment of the stipulations of the treaty with China. If 
any additional considerations could augment the importance of 
Chusan, it would be the vicinity of the position to Japan, and its 
intervening between the mainland of China and that other nation 
which once actually occupied it, and which is fast becoming an 
object of interest and speculation to the civilized world. What- 
ever may be the result of the pending American expedition to 
Japan, it is certain that the new current of adventure, setting 
westward across the Pacific, must find Japan, with Chusan, the 
first outposts of the Asiatic Continent in that direction ; and 
Christian states must inevitably be involved in relations, amicable 
or otherwise, with those hitherto secluded regions. The object of 
this paper is to illustrate a Map of Chusan, completed by actual 
survey during our last occupation of the island, when Brigadier 
(now Sir Colin) Campbell had the command, and to add such 
other details as could be collected from various sources (chiefly 
through Dr. Gutzlaff) in several visits to the spot. The last was 

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Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 243 

in 1846, on my surrendering Chusan to the Chinese government, 
according to the provisions of the treaty of Nanking, 

The Chusan group appears at first to have been occupied by 
fishermen. The islands were in the seventh century incorporated 
with China, although the control at first exercised was of a pre- 
carious nature. Tradition states, that an emperor of the Soong 
dynasty, who held his court at Hang-chow during the Mongol 
invasion, fled to Chusan for shelter. During the Ming, or next 
Chinese dynasty, the Japanese, then the most commercial nation 
of Eastern Asia, made Chusan their entrepot, and carried on a 
lucrative trade. Having afterwards gone to war, on account of 
the illtreatment of their countrymen by the Chinese, they took 
possession of the island and kept it for many years. This fcrms 
a singular parallel, as far as it goes, with our own case. Chusan 
subsequently reverted to the Ming, or Chinese dynasty,* whose 
representatives, long after the Manchow Tartars had taken pos- 
session of China, sought refuge there and defended themselves. 
But the Manchows at length became masters of Chusan and 
surrounded Tinghae, the capital, with a wall. They made it, 
moreover, a naval station, such as it was found by our force in 

The latitude of Jos-house hill, to the right of the landing-place, 
near Tinghae, is 30° 0' 24" N., and its longitude 122° 6' 24" E. 
of Greenwich. The island lies from N.W. to S.E., with a cir- 
cumference of 51| miles, the extreme length being 20, the extreme 
breadth 10, and the least breadth 6 miles. The hills which 
traverse the whole island with their various spurs, render the 
divisions of the territory natural ones ; and the valleys between 
them contain the small towns or villages with their population, 
which all belonged to the Hien of Tinghae, dependent in its turn 
on the superior district, or Foo, of Ningpo. The town of Tinghae 
stands about half a mile from the beach, of irregular form, nearest 
approaching a pentagon ; in length about 1200 yards from N. to 
S., and 1000 in average breadth. The surrounding wall is 
nearly 3 miles in circuit, with four gates, each defended by an 
outer gate having a side approach. The ditch on the outside of 
the wall is interrupted on the N.W. side by a spur from a neigh- 
bouring hill, which projects into the town, and forms an easy 
access to an attacking force on that side. This hill constituted 
the head-quarters of the Cameronian regiment in 1840. On the 
arrival of the British force in that year, the population of Tinghae 
numbered from 25,000 to 30,000. 

Upon the S. coast of the island, the plains consist mainly of 

* The new aspirant has assumed the title of " How Ming" or " Latter Ming" 

R 2 

244 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

alluvial tracts gained from the sea, and still on the increase. 
There are in some places threefold dykes, showing the gradual 
encroachment of human industry upon the deep. On the northern 
coast the case is different; there the sea, unchecked by those 
numerous islands which to the S. act as natural break-waters, 
beats with great violence on the shore, urged by the prevailing 
N.W. winds; and the inhabitants have with incredible labour 
reared solid stone walls in the most exposed spots, to prevent the 
salt water getting into their rice-fields. 

The valley in which Tinghae stands is called Yungtung, and is 
one of the most extensive in the island, being 4 miles long by 
3 broad. Standing nearly on a level with the sea, and copiously 
irrigated by canals, it is well suited to rice cultivation. It is 
enclosed along the S. front by an extensive dyke. This was in 
1841 considerably raised and converted into a line of batteries, 
which our force easily took in flank. 

Proceeding westward we come to Yen-tsang, a valley which (as 
its name imports) contains extensive salt-works. It is still lower 
than the former, and protected by a double row of dykes. Our 
men-of-war generally anchored in front of this. The inland 
valley of Chae-ho opens into it, and sends a stream through it to 
the sea. 

Further W. along the coast, and penetrating N. into the interior, 
is the extensive valley of Tsze-wei, richly cultivated with rice and 
sweet potatoes. The plain in the immediate vicinity of the sea 
bears traces of having been recently gained from the water, and 
the dykes are in some places fourfold. One was, during 1843, 
in actual process of construction, a proof of the confidence of the 
natives in their new masters. This lowland is divided by spurs 
from the hills ; and insulated hillocks, which at some time or other 
were evidently islets, rise from the plain. The distance between 
it and the island of Kintang* (called by us during the war 
"Silver Island") is inconsiderable. 

Chae-ho is an inland valley to the eastward (divided into Upper 
and Lower, or North and South Chae-ho), running parallel with 
the former nearly N. and S., but the smallest of the two. Its 
romantic scenery was an object of admiration to every one. There 
are considerable mountains at the sides, and the land gradually 
rises to the W. and N., where it terminates in some lofty and 
bleak elevations, the most barren as well as highest portion of the 
whole island. 

The westernmost valley of the S. coast is Tsinkong, which 
winds W. and N., and is again subdivided by spurs from the 
hills. Close to it is Tsatsoo, called by us " Blackwall Island;" 

* The nearest point of communication with the mainland of Ningpo. 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 245 

and the harbour is formed by three islets, which at some points 
approach so near to the Tsin-kong side as to make the harbour 
look like a river. One very high pass leads into the Tsze-wei 
valley on the E., and several smaller ones join it to Tae-sha on 
the N. 

The last-mentioned, or " Great Sandy" Valley, consists of three 
narrow and separate divisions, running between ridges of hills in 
a N. and N. W. direction towards the sea, opposite to the island of 
Chang-pih Shan. This forms the north-western extremity of 
Chusan, connected with Tsze-wei by a pass over the mountains, 
as well as with Seaou-sha Aou, or " Little Sandy Valley." 

Seaou-sha gradually extends in breadth northward towards the 
sea. There is a branch of the Tsze-wei division with which it 
stands in immediate connexion southwards ; while a long and 
narrow defile leads off inland to Chae-ho, through a country of 

Going now in an easterly direction round the island, we arrive 
at Ma Aou, or Horse Valley, the second large plain in the island, 
and an extensive tract of the most fertile soil. With the exception 
of the mountain road which leads to Chae-ho, the hills around 
this are not very high. 

The narrow valley of Kan-Ian runs parallel with it, and spreads 
towards the sea. The hills inland to the S. are lofty and 
sterile, but the pass leading into Pih-tseuen is not very high. 
This valley of " white springs" spreads over a considerable plain, 
forming the centre of the northern valleys, and lying opposite to 
Yung-tung on the S. In that direction it communicates with 
Seaou-see, which consists of two verdant plains, yielding in fertility 
only to Pih-tseuen, and further S. with Yung-tung by the high 
Tung-kaou Ling, or " Pass." 

Further E, along the N. coast, is Pe-chen Aou. This 
lies opposite to the island of Lan-sew-shan, being in some 
places very narrow between the hills, while in others it extends 
more inland. Pe-chen is subdivided by several passes until it 
reaches further eastward to Tachen, the easternmost of the northern 
plains, a district of considerable magnitude extending along the 
sea-shore, and running inland into several smaller valleys, which 
are connected with Tung Aou, Leu-hwa, Poo Aou, and To Aou 
to the S. 

The last-named is on the south-eastern extremity of Chusan, 
with its harbour at Sinkeamun, which harbour is land-locked by 
the opposite islet of Lokea. Going now due W., we arrive at a 
mountain pass which leads into Leu-hwa. This consists of two 
large and several small valleys winding along at the foot of 
mountains, and opening to the W. on the extensive plains of 
Tung Aou, which is again subdivided into the inner and outer. It 

246 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

contains the largest level space on the island, and towards the sea 
has extensive alluvial plains, well situated for the manufacture of 
salt, which engages the attention of the greater portion of the 
poorer classes. 

Wooseay, consisting of several small divisions, joins it on the 
W., and has likewise a narrow strip towards the sea ; and after 
crossing two small valleys, one of which is called Yang Aou (from 
the fruit peculiar to tne island), and the other Tsing Aou, we 
again reach Yungtung and the town of Tinghae, from whence 
we set out. 

The Map of Chusan shows the direction of the mountains, run- 
ning principally across the breadth of the island. The greater 
part of the surface is hilly ground, in geological character generally 
corresponding with the adjacent group, and consisting chiefly of 
granite. No volcanic traces have yet been discovered, although 
several of the Japanese islands, at a short sailing distance, are of 
that class, and among them Sulphur Island has an actually burning 

On most of the hills there is a moderate coating of earth, which 
permits the growth of grass and fir-trees ; and industry has im- 
proved their natural advantages to the production of sweet potatoes 
and other vegetables. The climate of the island, in 30° lat., 
is admirably suited to the vine, as are also the declivities of the 
hills ; but the Chinese make no wine from the grape. Bamboo 
groves are planted, notwithstanding the comparatively high lati- 
tude. The tea-shrub grows in many places luxuriantly. An 
exception occurs in the highest ridges about Seaou-sha, Chae-ho, 
and Ma Aou, which are comparative barrenness, fit only for herds 
of goats. In some places artificial terraces have been constructed, 
and, as the supply of water is considerable, the earth thus retained 
by stone walls produces good crops of rice. The inhabitants have 
been very diligent in the construction of paved paths across the 
hills, which facilitate the communication at all seasons of the year. 
There are also small Budhist temples built in these passes, where 
the passenger is supplied with tea, the leaves of which the sur- 
rounding peasantry contribute gratuitously. 

At a distance these elevations often look very wild, but on a 
nearer approach it is found that no soil has been lost, the smallest 
patches having some productive cultivation. Every poor man 
may choose an unoccupied spot on the hills and prepare the soil 
for trees or vegetables, paying little more than a nominal rent, 
and remaining the undisputed owner as long as he continues to 
cultivate it. 

The ground-rent of the whole island appears to be very light. 
According to a return obtained by Lieut. Shadwell, of the 98th 
Regiment (for some time holding civil employ), there are three 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 247 

rates of rent, as in the rest of China. The irrigated ground, or 
Tien, pays annually per mow, 110 copper coins in money, and 
something under 2 caltics of rice. The dry ground, or Te 9 
where corn and vegetables are grown, pays 88 copper coins, and 
about H caltics of rice. The remaining ground, called Shan, 
or hills, pays only 3 copper coins, and nothing in kind. The 
object of a part payment in grain may be to preserve something 
like an average corn-rent. 

There are many small streams running from the mountains and 
crossing the plains into the sea, of which the largest is the Tung- 
keang, east of the town, which reaches the harbour close to Jos- 
house Hill. At high water, the native boats can ascend this only 
a short distance, to a place called Tung-keang Poo, where a 
number of merchants carry on an active trade with the neigh- 
bouring main. There is not a valley without its stream ; some 
with boats, sluices, and bridges. Many are dry during the 
summer, but when the rains fall they furnish sufficient water for 
the canals and reservoirs. The canals in some places form a 
network, and furnish a supply to every rice-field. Though not 
constructed by persons of professed science, they prove to have 
been laid out on the best plan, and are examples of practical skill. 
It is only within the town itself of Tinghae that these canals are 
noxious, exhaling most offensively in summer. 

During part of the winter, the canals of the lowest valleys over- 
flow and cover the fields, though most of the roads and paths are 
sufficiently raised for keeping up the communication. The inun- 
dation which occurred in 1843, at the commencement of October 
(during our occupation), was unprecedented. The clouds seemed 
to come down in a mass, and the water accumulated with such 
rapidity that no precautions could abate its violent effects. The 
western part of the island exhibited a sheet of water, out of which 
the hills rose as islands. Immense pieces of rock were swept 
down by the torrents from the mountains, bridges and causeways 
destroyed, some of the rivulets changed their beds, while many of 
the most fertile fields remained covered with gravel; but on 
ordinary occasions, the sluices are sufficiently adapted to letting 
off the waters, however great the quantity. The wet and dry 
seasons here and at Hongkong* are reversed ; in the south the 
winter is dry, and the flooding rains fall during summer. The 
difference of lat. about 8°. 

As to climate, very accurate tables were kept during our long 
tenure of Chusan. Considering the position of the island, in 30° 
lat., the average temperature is remarkably low ; but the influence 

* This word is often written as two separate ones ; but there is no better reason 
for writing Hong Kong than Chu San or Lon Don, 

-248 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

of the sea tempers both the extremes in comparison with the 
opposite main. In the beginning of the winter of 1841, while the 
snow at Ningpo fell above a foot in depth, and remained on the 
ground for several days, there was a mere sprinkling at Chusan. 
North-westerly winds prevail throughout the year, and it is only 
during July and August that the heat is oppressive to Europeans. 
In 1843 the weather was still so cold during some part of May as 
to render a fire comfortable. Nature revives generally about the 
beginning of February, when the first blossoms of the plum-tree 
make their appearance. The real flower season is in April and 
May, when the whole surface of the country is decked in the 
brightest colours. Cherries are ripe in May, and a great variety 
of vegetables brought to market, including peas and beans. In 
June the grain harvest commences, and most of the blossoms 
diminish. A new cultivation takes place this month. Crops of 
rice, with millet, coriander and other seed§ are then sown, and 
rain falls to July. In September the weather is generally cool 
and dry, and the temperature delightful in October, during which 
the last of the rice harvest is brought in. The sweet potatoes are 
ripe in September. The first hoarfrost is seen in November, and 
during December it often freezes severely ; but the ice does not 
remain so long as on the main. Most of the trees being deciduous, 
the island looks bleak during the winter. The fan-palm, how- 
ever, grows in the open plains, and even the plantain in sheltered 
nooks; but this last, though it blossoms, brings no fruit to 
maturity. Opinions were at first very unfavourable as to the 
healthiness of the climate, and the terrible mortality among the 
troops in 1840 seemed to justify the worst that could be formed. 
Certainly the rice-fields, which are nothing but marshes, alternately 
flooded and dry, might lead to the conclusion that the exhalations 
must be unfavourable to European constitutions. But in 1840, 
much of the ill effect might be ascribed to the influence of the 
war. The fever was then prevalent among the natives, and 
carried off large numbers of them. Subsequent experience, from 
1842 to 1846, when the island was peaceably restored, convinced 
the most doubtful that the climate is really salubrious, and that 
the mortality among the troops in 1840 was caused chiefly by the 
want of wholesome provisions and good lodging, joined to the 
effects of samshoO) the deleterious Chinese spirit. Fevers occa- 
sionally prevail during the summer months, but they seldom resist 
the use of quinine. The Sepoy troops from India suffered from 
the cold of the winter. 

In its productions Chusan does not materially differ from the 
adjacent mainland of Ningpo. The sleek and small cattle, and 
the buffaloes, larger than those in the south, are used exclusively 
for the plough, and never slaughtered for the use of the Chinese, 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 249 

so near to the head-quarters of Budhism in the neighbouring 
island of Pooto. The small cultivators do not keep a bullock, 
but there are men who hire them out for the value of about 8d. a 
day. There are no grazing pastures, the cattle being driven to 
the mountains, and receiving very little fodder besides. The soil 
being very adhesive, ploughing is a difficult process; but, not- 
withstanding the smallness of the cattle, they are very efficient, 
and more than one is seldom or never seen in a plough. Horses 
are not used for agricultural purposes, and the Chinese govern- 
ment does not allow the common people to have them in their 
possession. There are, however, asses of a very strong descrip- 
tion, and a mule is occasionally met with. These are used 
exclusively for riding ; while all burthens are either transported 
in boats or on men's backs. A small species of goat is killed for 
its meat ; but they give very little milk, an article of which no 
Chinese ever makes any use whatever. During the British occu- 
pation many flocks of Tartar sheep were brought over from the 
main, and throve extremely well ; but they were killed entirely 
for the consumption of the English. Pigs are not so numerous 
as on the main, and are sometimes imported from thence. The dog 
is of the common Chinese breed, like the Esquimaux variety; 
and occasionally a very diminutive Japanese dog is met with. 
The island is too well peopled to leave much range for wild 
animals ; a few small deer seem to be the chief. 

Fowls are of the largest description, in fact of the Ningpo 
breed. Ducks are reared in immense quantities by the peasantry. 
There are large establishments where the young are artificially 
hatched, and sold at the rate of forty ducklings for a dollar. 
Even geese are hatched in a similar manner. A few pheasants 
and woodcocks were found by English sportsmen. Wild swans 
come during the winter in hundreds, and occupy the extensive 
watery flats ; as also wild geese and wild ducks. Our people 
shot snipes in the rice stubble, but they are not disturbed by the 
natives. The presence of our force, and the demand for game, 
gradually induced the Chinese to pursue it; but the principal 
part comes from the main. 

One of the dainties in the waters of Chusan is the yellow, or 
mandarin fish, which, during April, May, and June, is caught 
round the island in such quantities as to occupy above a thousand 
boats. It is a large fish, rather flat, and of a yellowish hue, and, 
when fresh, nearly as handsome as the gold-fish, with a dorsal fin of 
the same colour. When caught, it is immediately sold to merchants 
who are on the spot, with large boats filled with ice, in which, being 
carefully packed, it is taken over to the main, and thus sold all 
over the country. The flesh is good, and when a little seasoned 
with sauce, possesses an excellent flavour, highly estimated by 

250 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

Chinese gourmands. This fishery forms an important branch of 
industry, and occupies a considerable portion of the islanders. 
A small species of shark, of a dark grey colour, is also caught 
during summer, and, being salted, is sent to other parts of China. 
The shallow, muddy seas in this neighbourhood abound in fish, 
and produce herring, mackerel, mullet, pomfret, ray, sole, sturgeon, 
and other varieties. 

Of reptiles, a black snake is very common, and found in the 
fields ; but, from the little heed taken by the natives, it may be 
supposed to be innocuous. There is another large snake that 
frequents houses, pursuing rats, and other vermin, with great 
hostility ; and, as it is harmless, the natives do not discourage it. 
It is black on the back, with a yellowish-white belly, and grows 
to six or eight feet in length. The silkworm is reared by only a 
few families, but the position and the climate of the island would 
insure success in a more extensive cultivation of its produce. 

Chusan does not abound in wood. This scarcity is not the 
fault of the soil, but owing to the thriftless habit of cutting down 
all the growth of the hills as it rises up. The most frequent, 
perhaps, is the useful tallow-tree (Stillingia), spared and cultivated 
on account of its produce. It is found principally on the banks 
of streams, where it blossoms in May, and the berries form in 
bunches, coming to maturity in October and November. By 
this time the leaves are of a beautiful red, the pods containing 
the seeds burst, and these seeds make their appearance coated 
with white tallow, and about the size of a pea. Suddenly the 
leaves fall off, and the trees, from the whiteness of their berries, 
look as if they were in blossom. The natives then cut the branches, 
gather the berries, boil and press them so as to make the tallow 
run into a fat, which, when congealed, resembles the animal 
tallow, but is less firm and consistent. The island produces a 
large quantity of this substance, especially in the north-western 
districts, and exports largely. 

The varnish-tree, which somewhat resembles the fig, thrives 
also very well in Chusan. The oil or varnish extracted is inferior 
to that produced in Ganhoey, which may perhaps be from another 
plant. The natives excel in applying it to wood-work of all 
kinds. Their furniture, and the framework of the best buildings, 
are beautifully varnished ; and the durability of the coating is 
such as to insure its superiority to all oil-painting, and other 
contrivances for protecting wood against the influence of climate 
and time. The tree might be introduced with great advantage 
into Europe. 

The camphor-tree also flourishes at Chusan, and will grow to 
a large size if permitted. The natives, however, only use the 
wood, and do not extract the resin as they do on the main. This 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 251 

tree, too, might be well introduced in Europe, being very orna- 
mental and sufficiently hardy. A kind of elm, of which the 
blossoms, when dried, are used as a dye-stuff, and much esteemed 
by the Chinese, grows on the banks of streams. The dwarf fir 
and oak are as common as the full-grown trees are rare. The 
banian ficus is even in this latitude a beautiful tree, and, as in the 
interior of China, planted for religious purposes round temples 
and other public buildings. A slender graceful pine is cultivated 
for ornament ; and the people show superstitious veneration for 
the cypress, which they plant chiefly near graves.* This peculiar 
sort is the Cupressus pendula, or " weeping cypress," brought to 
England by Mr. Fortune. The Chinese say that this tree soon 
decays, but the wood is firm and fragrant, and esteemed by their 

The natives possess apricot, peach, plum, apple, and pear trees, 
but take no trouble to improve them ; and the fruit is consequently 
of the most wretched description. The Loquat, and some kinds of 
oranges, grow well without much care. The best fruit in the island 
is what has been erroneously styled " arbutus," which it very 
closely resembles both in fruit and leaves, being at the same 
time quite a different tree. The Chinese call it yangmei, and 
Mr. Fortune says it is — 

" A species of Myrica, allied to the Himalayan M. Sapida, noticed by 
Frazer, Royle, and other writers. The Chinese variety, however, is much 
superior to the Indian. Indeed, I believe the Chinese have both, but use the 
Indian as a stock for grafting on. There is a very large plantation of this tree 
in Chusan, and the fruit was beginning to be brought to the market during my 
stay. The trees were bushy, round headed, and from fifteen to twenty feet 
in height. They were at that time loaded with dark red fruit, not unlike, at 
first sight, the fruit of our arbutus, although very differently formed (inter- 
nally) and much larger." 

It is well worth introducing in England. 

" The oil plant, Brassisa sinensis (Mr. Fortune observes), is in seed, and 
ready to be taken from the ground in the beginning of May, and there is a 
great demand for the oil which is pressed from its seeds. I may state that 
this plant is a species of cabbage, producing flower stems three or four feet 
high, with yellow flowers and long pods of seed like all the cabbage tribe. 
In April, when the fields are in bloom, the whole country seems tinged with 
gold, and the fragrance which fills the air, particularly after an April shower, 
is delightful." 

He adds, — 

" The flora of Chusan, and all over the main land in this part of the pro- 
vince of Chekeang, is very different from that of the south. Almost all the 
species of a tropical character have entirely disappeared, and in their places we 

* " When I am dead, inter my body on the brow of some unfrequented hill, and 
plant the fir and the cypress thickly around/' — Chinese drama, 'Heir in Old Age/ 
p. 34. 

252 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

find others related to those found in temperate climates in other parts of the 

That new and beautiful plant, the weigelia rosea, was first dis- 
covered, Mr. Fortune tells us, in the garden of a Chinese man- 
darin, near the city of Tinghae on this island. " It was loaded 
with its noble rose-coloured flowers, and was the admiration of all 
who saw it, both English and Chinese." It is fortunately quite a 
hardy plant, and flourishes in the open air in this country. 

The tea-shrub is grown almost everywhere on the island, but 
treated with little care, and left almost wholly to itself. The 
produce is accordingly of an inferior kind. It seldom grows above 
four feet in height ; and occurs sometimes wild among the 
mountains. The utmost care taken by the natives is to weed a 
little round the plants ; and so congenial does the climate appear 
withal, that the plant still thrives, and produces good crops of 
leaves. There are, on an average, two gatherings in the year. 
The first commences in April, and comprises the young and finer 
leaves. Old and young women are then busily employed in 
gathering them, while the mistress of the family keeps up a slow 
fire under a large iron pan, into which they are thrown. When 
sufficiently heated, a strong man receives them into an oval basket, 
and kneads them with all his might in order to press out the 
superfluous moisture. They are then spread out on a large frame 
of wicker work, under which a little fire is kept up. This process 
is repeated after an interval, and the tea is subsequently sorted 
and picked, and sold to small merchants, who export it to the 
main, principally Soo-chow. The finest tea fetches about a 
quarter of a dollar (or one shilling) per catty, of 1| lb,, and suits 
the Chinese ; though, on account of the slightness of the firing, 
it is not calculated for the foreign market. Chusan exports 
about 30,000 dollars worth every year, besides its own con- 

The bulk of the inhabitants give their whole time to the culti- 
vation of rice, the summum bonum of every Chinese, who affects 
to pity those countries which do not grow it. "Wherever the 
smallest spot can be converted into a rice-field, they are ready to 
abandon any other culture, though it might seem more advanta- 
geous. Notwithstanding this, however, there is not sufficient pro- 
duce for the consumption of the island, and one-fourth the annual 
supply is brought from Tae-choo. They have the white, red, and 
no-me, or old man's rice. The first resembles Carolina rice in 
the largeness and whiteness of the grain. The seed is first thickly 
sown in a small bed in the spring. Thence it is transplanted 
into the field in bunches, and placed very exactly in rows. The 
greatest care is taken to provide an ample supply of water, with 
which the field is flooded ; and the tread-wheels are constantly 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 253 

raising water to the different levels in dry weather. Every weed 
is carefully pulled up, and the appearance of any is considered 
discreditable to the cultivator. The grain is ripe about the month 
of August: after being first bent down by the farmer, it is sub- 
sequently cut off, and thrashed out by beating against the inside 
edge of a large basket or tub, provided with raised sides to pre- 
vent the loss of the grain. Next it is dried, freed from straw 
and other impurities, and laid up for use. To disengage it from 
the husk, they pound it in large stone mortars, and then winnow it. 
The coarser kinds are placed in a stone mill, which is put in motion 
by a bullock, and a rotatory grinding separates the chaff from 
the grain. The crop that has been last put into the ground 
arrives at maturity in October, or even as late as November ; 
but this crop, on account of the uncertainty of the weather, is 
liable to be spoiled before it can be gathered in. The produce 
varies from twenty to thirty fold. 

One of the most graceful and prolific grains in Chusan is the 
Barbadoes millet, which grows to a great height, and is said to 
produce an hundred fold. Towards harvest time, when rice is 
getting scarce, it is made into cakes of a reddish hue, and thus 
constitutes the food of the people. The large thick stalks are 
used for fuel. There are besides two other kinds of millet, of a 
fine grain and very white, which are used instead of rice. 

The wheat is of an inferior description. There are two dif- 
ferent species, both of which have a low stalk, and one is un- 
bearded. The Chusanites cultivate it like rice, transplanting it 
in bunches, but without the irrigation. Of the flour they make 
cakes and vermicelli, and use the grain extensively in distilleries. 
The barley is small, and ground down by the poorer classes to 
mix with their rice. Buckwheat is grown in small quantities on 
the most sterile lands, and also found wild. 

The attempts to introduce our common potato succeeded in 
some measure ; but the sweet potato grows so successfully on the 
brows of the hills, that it constitutes a cheap and excellent food 
for all. The yam and taro are grown, but the latter is small 
and insipid. The fields produce a variety of summer and winter 
beans, as well as green peas. The radishes, turnips, and carrots 
are very fine ; but the variety of kitchen vegetables is not great. 
The brinjal (a species of soJanum) grows in perfection, as well 
as cabbage, lettuce, and spinach, with cucumbers, melons, and 
pumpkins. There is the large Petsae or Peking cabbage (more 
like a lettuce in appearance), which is salted or pickled and eaten 
largely by the Chinese. Ginger, of an excellent description, is 
common, and the coriander seed is cultivated on ridges. The 
fields, to a large extent, are covered with crops of mustard, the 

254 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

seeds of which are exclusively used for expressing the oil, a con- 
siderable item of export. 

The cotton shrub is largely cultivated near the sea, and espe- 
pecially on lands which have been gained from the water, and 
still contain saline particles. Both the white and the brown, or 
nankeen, cotton are grown, but the latter only in small quantities. 
Each is of a very fine fibre, superior to what is imported from 
India, but also twice as dear, and by no means of so long a 
staple. The yu hemp-plant, from which grass-cloth is made, 
grows almost wild, and is cut down twice or even thrice a-year for 
the sake of the fibres. The women, however, do not work it into 
a texture, but merely spin it into thread, and use it for sewing, 
probably on account of its strength. 

The only walled town in the island is the capital Tinghae. 
One-third of the ground-plan of this has no habitations. The 
level sides of the wall are encompassed by a ditch, that stops 
short on the hill which enters the city on the north-west. The 
wall is 18 feet high and 15 feet thick, and on the west and east 
sides nearly in ruins, notwithstanding the extensive repairs by the 
Chinese in 1841. The parapet remains in a very few places. 
The hill enclosed within the wall on the north-west side is a spur 
from the neighbouring ridge, and was occupied in 1840 by the 
26th, or Cameronian regiment, so many of whom fell victims to 
disease, and were buried there. The city is traversed by canals, 
which are a real nuisance, without any countervailing advantage. 
The largest street is that which runs in a straight direction between 
the south and north gates ; the rest are small and short — many of 
them mere lanes. There are four gates at the cardinal points, 
forming the outlets of the principal streets, and also a water-gate 
between the west and south gates. The buildings are mostly of 
an inferior description, with the exception of two temples, dedi- 
cated to ancestors, and to the guardian idol of the city. In the 
former is the largest representation of Budha that has been met 
with. A few of the richer classes have long, rambling houses, 
walled in within a court containing a whole series of buildings. 
The shops of the better traders are very showy ; but the common 
people have mere mud hovels, or paltry dwellings put together 
with tiles and stones, without regard to warmth, ventilation, clean- 
liness, or comfort. Many of them are built in squares ; and in a 
little space, which four Englishmen would find too narrow for an 
habitation, there are perhaps forty Chinese huddled together. 
Tinghae would not, in fact, rank with a good country-town in 
England. Before our occupation it had a suburb towards the 
sea, called Taou-tow, consisting of streets, some wood-yards, dis- 
tilleries, and stores, all of which were levelled with the ground, 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 255 

and their places supplied by barracks. Temple, or Jos-house, 
Hill, which commands the town and harbour, and was in 1841 so 
diligently fortified by the Chinese, is 800 yards from the south 
gate, and 122 feet high, close to the beach, with a canal on the 
east side. The dyke along the front of Yungtung valley w r as 
converted by the notorious* Yukien into a breast-work against an 
attack by sea, and has since been falling into decay. During 
our occupation a new suburb, calculated to surpass the old one in 
extent and solidity, gradually rose up at Tungkeang Poo, some 
way up the Eastern creek or canal, and houses were daily rising 

The harbour of Chusan is formed by the island itself on the 
north ; Trumball and Macclesfield islands on the south ; Grove 
Island and Beacon Rock on the east; Guardhouse and Tea 
Island on the west. It is well landlocked, the water varying 
from four to eight fathoms ; but the currents are strong, with not 
very secure holding ground : they run nine knots per hour. 

The largest place next to Tinghae is the town or village of 
Seaousha (Little Sandy Valley), a manufacturing station, where 
they make agricultural implements. Ta-chen has also a small 
town, as also Sinhea-mun to the east, and Tsinkong (or Sinkong) 
to the west. By far the greater portion of the population lives in 
villages and hamlets, which are scattered all over the island, and 
found in the most secluded spots. The richer landholders gene- 
rally assemble their tenants in a very large enclosure, where a 
whole clan lives together with children and children's children, 
and this generally constitutes a village in itself. 

The people of Chusan are shorter than the Chinese on the 
mainland ; and there is no doubt of a considerable mixture of 
Japanese blood ever since that people possessed the island. It is 
well known that the Japanese are universally of short stature. 
Though often strong-limbed, the Chusanites are not a fine race. 
Their women are particularly unattractive : owing to the habit of 
drawing their hair very tight, or some other cause, they lose 
their hair early, and become bald. The materials of dress are 
generally the same in both sexes. In summer they are clothed 
in grass-cloth (called Hea-poo, or summer cloth), mostly dyed 
blue, and some wear next to the skin a strange garment com- 
posed of a bamboo net-work ; that is, small sections of bamboo 
(like bugles) formed with string into a species of net, which pre- 
vents the upper garments coming into contact with the body. 
On festive occasions they are gaily decked out with the help of 
embroidery. The better classes wear the fine stuffs of Hang- 
chow and Soo-chow. Since the introduction of our calicoes the 

* ' China during the War, and since the Peace/ vol. i. p. 184. 

256 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

cleanliness and comforts of both sexes have advanced ; and this 
applies to the lower orders as well as the upper. In winter they 
wear stuffed cotton dresses, mostly of light-blue colour ; a few, 
also, sheepskins, and the more respectable classes, furs, which, 
during our stay, gradually gave way to broadcloth and camlets. 
The lower orders dress by no means so extensively in woollen as 
the cheapness of our long-ells might lead one to expect ; and this 
is the more surprising as contrasted with the considerable con- 
sumption of English cotton goods. A thick and coarse kind of 
Russian cloth was much in use; but of late the merchants of 
Ningpo, as well as the people of Chusan, seem to have preferred 
our manufactures, which, though thinner, are more durable, and 
retain their appearance longer than the Russian. The general 
introduction of woollens must be a work of time ; but, as a proof 
of the growing consumption, may be mentioned the great falling 
off in those silk manufactures which were formerly used as either 
linings or covers for fur dresses, as these were worn outwards or 

Few ragged persons are met with ; but the thrifty housewives 
understand patchwork thoroughly, and the warmth and thickness 
of the garment increase in proportion as it is mended. The 
under-garments of all classes are generally in an abominable state ; 
nor are the richest ashamed of vermin and cutaneous diseases. 

All classes of people are gross feeders ; and, strange to say, the 
only articles of food for which most of them entertain an aversion 
are beef, milk, and butter. This seems originally grounded in 
the old Budhist superstition, in regard to the flesh at least. Rice 
is the basis of the daily food of all, eked out among the poor 
with barley, sweet potatoes, and millet. They have three hot 
meals a-day ; and even the beggar has a number of small messes 
with which to season his rice. The richer classes, even on com- 
mon occasions, have as many as twenty small saucers before them, 
containing pickled fish, cockles, salted vegetables, soy, and similar 
condiments. The sea furnishes the largest quota in this account, 
and the ingenuity of the people in preparing these marine deli- 
cacies is remarkable. Whatever is highest seasoned and most 
pungent pleases them best. The consumption of meat is but 
small, as in the rest of China ; and even pork, in such general 
use elsewhere throughout that country, is but sparingly eaten at 
Chusan. On the occurrence of festivals they prepare dishes 
which, in point of elaboration, might rival the productions of 
finished cooks ; and it is by no means uncommon to see as many 
as seventy following each other in succession. Generally, how- 
ever, they are very moderate in their habits. Even the use of 
the distilled spirit called samshoo, so general on the arrival of 
the British, very much declined subsequently, in consequence of 

Sir J. F. Davis on Ckusan. 257 

the many restrictions it became necessary to impose for the sake 
of the troops. The consumption of opium was very small in com- 
parison with that at Sincapore and Hongkong. 

The town of Tinghae and its suburbs had, at the commence- 
ment of 1843, about 27,500 inhabitants, including men, women, 
and children ; a large number, considering the small extent of 
buildings. But even this large number, strange to say, under 
the government of foreign conquerors, increased towards 1846 
(when the island was restored) to above 35,000. Our census did 
not extend to the whole island, of which the population can only 
be assumed at 200,000 besides. Notwithstanding the general 
fertility, and the cultivation of rice in every available nook, con- 
siderable importations of grain are required. 

Dr. Gutzlaff, who was for some time civil magistrate at Chusan, 
reported that 

" Nine-tenths of the inhabitants live from hand to mouth, upon a very 
miserable pittance. I have gone from cottage to cottage, from hovel to hovel, 
in order to satisfy myself about the means of subsistence among the majority 
of the labouring classes, and found it at a very low level. An artizan, who 
understands his work tolerably well, receives, besides his daily food, about 
60 copper cash (the twentieth part of a dollar), or 2jc7. With this he has 
to maintain his family ; but they contrive to subsist upon such a pittance, and 
the reason is, that the wives understand how to eke out a trifle ; and the 
children, almost as soon as they can walk, are taught to contribute something 
to the common stock. Even under such pinching poverty they are seldom 
heard to grumble, seeming to understand their duties better than their rights, 
and never looking to others for aid as long as they can move themselves. The 
poverty met with in the houses, accompanied by unabated cheerfulness, is a 
characteristic of the Chusanites.* When, after having prohibited begging in 
the streets, all the paupers of the island were collected, we had about seventy 
individuals, and these were either old, decrepit men and women, or blind and 
maimed people, who justly claimed our charity." 

Any one in the town may carry on what business he chooses, 
having first served an apprenticeship, and been for some time a 
journeyman. In the country valleys, however, the poorer classes 
depend entirely upon the more prosperous landholders, and, though 
slavery does not exist, they have to work as hard as any slaves. 
There is no legal restraint ; the bond is merely social, the landlord 
being in some measure responsible for supplying his peasantry in 
time of scarcity with provisions at a certain rate. There is an 
extraordinary restriction as to the transport of grain from one 
valley to another (just as there is in China, from one province to 
another), because it is believed that if this transport were allowed, 
the price in the immediate neighbourhood would rise. Owing to 
this absurdity, the price of rice in Chusan itself varies sometimes 
surprisingly in the respective districts. 

The Chusanites are not fond of the sea like the people of Fokien ; 

* Perhaps of the Chinese in general. 


258 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

but on land they resemble their own buffaloes in the patience with 
which they tread day after day through their inundated rice-fields. 
Being able to bear much fatigue, and perfectly hardened against 
the inclemency of the weather, they are subject to few diseases, 
The two that prevail most are " jungle fever" and elephantiasis. 
The former is at times very malignant, and carries off numbers in 
a short time, as was the case in 1840, partly perhaps the conse- 
quence of the war. The latter displays itself in the swollen legs 
of the patient, which increase in size gradually until his death; 
though this complaint, however incurable, does not seem much to 
shorten life, as many who are afflicted with it reach old age. 

No male above twenty years of age remains single if he can 
help it, and the women are married as early as sixteen. An old 
unmarried woman is unknown, nor are old bachelors often met 
with. The advantages attending the married state, according to 
Chinese institutions and notions, keep up the population to a high- 
pressure state ; but there are few families with more than four or 
five children. The disproportion between sons and daughters 
cannot be ascribed to natural causes, and it is admitted that female 
infanticide prevails here as in other parts of China. The females, 
notwithstanding their cramped feet, work very hard both at home 
and in their fields ; but the men never oblige them to plough or 
perform the labour of cattle, as is the case in some parts of China. 

A wedding is celebrated by all with more expense and display 
than any other event of life. The parent of the bride receives a 
certain sum of money, as soon as they agree to marry their 
daughter, but they at the same time furnish' her trousseau. The 
men are generally too poor to have more than one wife, and the 
conjugal tie is pretty lasting. The wives are remarkable for 
their quarrelsome dispositions and passionate behaviour when once 
roused. t 

They do not attend much at home to the education of their 
children, beyond teaching the daughters to sew. The sons at about 
six years of age go to school if the parent can afford it, and pay 
perhaps the value of two or three dollars annually to the teacher. 
In those establishments of course none but the most elementary 
knowledge is taught. The boys learn to read the sacred books of 
Confucius, and to write a legible hand, and leave school as early 
as twelve or fourteen years of age. Those who intend to repair 
to the public examinations, and choose a higher walk of life, con- 
tinue longer at school and subsequently read at home. When 
we first took possession of the island, there were two colleges 
wherein the youth of maturer age studied to become guaduates, 
but the sum total of the learning, as usual, did not go beyond 
explaining the classical books (those of Confucius), and writing 
essays. As some thirty were advanced every year to the grade of 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 259 

Sew-tsae, (bachelor) there was a great deal of emulation among 
them. A few of the elder having obtained the rank of Keu-jin 
(licentiate), and one of them even promoted to a magistracy in 
Ilonan province, literature was held in some esteem and reputa- 
tion on the island. Nevertheless the mass of the population, in 
consequence of their extreme poverty, can neither read nor write, 
and this is the more remarkable, as in most parts of China few of the 
male sex can be found entirely devoid of an elementary education. 

The character of the population comprises the usual mixture of 
good and bad. It has been shown that they are a hardworking and 
patient race, and easily guided when once their confidence has 
been gained ; but, like their countrymen on the mainland, they 
are commonly lying, thievish, and faithless. The most solemn 
asseverations amount to nothing, and nobody considers himself 
obliged to perform promises unless bound by something more 
cogent than a mere sense of duty. They are fond of litigation, 
easily awed into obedience, orderly and quiet; but of course 
ignorant and narrow minded, and incapable of comprehending 
anything beyond the range of their very limited experience. We 
have seen that they are patterns of contentment, cheerful bearing, 
and patience under difficulties ; but in their social dealings they 
are knaves, and, whoever has the power and opportunity to do it, 
oppresses and takes advantage of his neighbour. During our four 
years' tenure of the island as conquerors, martial law found them 
very quiet and orderly subjects, and had little or nothing to do 
the whole time. 

Such religion as they possess consists in the forms and rites of 
the grossest idolatry. In the town, and in the numerous valleys, 
there are abundance Qf temples (called by our p.eople Jos-houses) 
built by subscription on nearly the same models according to their 
respective sizes. These serve for the varied, and somewhat incon- 
sistent, purposes of schools, taverns, gambling-houses, and theatres. 
They are generally built, in the country, at some romantic or 
picturesque spot, in some hilly pass, or some wooded nook, and 
derive more of their attractions from this than from their archi- 
tecture. In them are to be found a few clay images of gods 
or deified heroes rudely executed, and in the larger ones is a 
priest who subsists on alms, and rather degrades the ecclesiastical 
character by acting at once as tavern-keeper and waiter to the 
travellers or visitors. Both temples and priests belong to the 
Budhist religion, and the hierophants are of the lowest order of 
uneducated people, satisfied with a bare subsistence. All their 
business is to burn incense before the images, keep the lamps 
trimmed, and on festive occasions light up the building; or, at 
other times, they are working in the field ; for to some of the 
temples a piece of land is attached as an endowment. They 

s 2 

260 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

exercise no influence upon the minds of the people, but are generally 
treated with contempt. 

Altogether different from these are the preachers of the Taou 
sect, or Rationalists,* of whom there are about thirty in the town 
of Tinghae, and some in the country. They read sermons at 
burials, marriages, times of sickness, and other domestic occasions, 
and also exercise the office of exorcists, the Chinese being espe- 
cially afraid of ghosts. The punishment of hanging was viewed 
by the natives at Hongkong as a comparatively indifferent matter, 
as long as the bodies were delivered to the relatives, to be interred 
with the usual ceremonies ; but when the order was given that 
they should be buried within the precincts of the gaol, the terrors 
of both hanging and imprisonment were both much increased, and 
with salutary effect. 

The priests of Taou wear no distinguishing badge, nor do they 
maintain celibacy, but lead a secular life among the people at 
large. In their professional capacity they recite in a drawling 
tone discourses which only the initiated can understand, and will 
go on for five days for a single dollar. The common people look 
upon them more as sorcerers than teachers. 

In many houses there is a domestic shrine, where the inmates 
light a lamp and burn incense ; but, subsequent to the occupation 
of the island by the English, idolatry of all kinds very much de- 
clined. Their gods had perhaps fallen into discredit since the 
untoward results of the war. Occasionally a procession might be 
seen winding its way through the streets ; but only the rabble were 
to be found in its train. The mass of the people really live without 
religion, totally unmindful , of anything but the supply of their 
physical wants. The only Sabbath in the whole twelve months is 
the New Year ; all the rest is a round of unceasing daily toil, to 
those who are condemned to labour. 

The occupation of nineteen in every twenty of the inhabitants is 
agriculture. A large portion of the soil is held by families, not 
individually, but according to the Chinese rule of domestic 
clubbing. On letting lands to the cultivators, a stipulation is 
made for one half of the produce in kind, and, when the harvest 
arrives, the corn, on being beaten out, is put into scales and thus 
equally divided. The cultivator pays the tax to Government, 
according to the nature of the land, at so much per mow, a space 
that will produce at the most 8 peculs of paddy, or rice in the 
husk. The farmer must provide all the means of cultivation, and 
holds his lease, as tenant at will, entirely at the pleasure of the 
owner, who seldom lets above ten mows to one farmer, generally 
only five, with the produce of which the latter must manage to 

* Described in * The Chinese/ vol. ii. 

Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 261 

Their agricultural implements are of the most simple description. 
The ploughshare is a piece of cast iron ; the spikes of the harrow 
consist of knives which cut sideways. After the second rice 
harvest is off, they plough the fields, allowing them either to lie in 
large clods, or sowing a species of clover, which is used, not for 
feeding cattle, but as a manure. This is confirmed by the obser- 
vation of Mr. Fortune, who says, — 

" After the last crop of rice has been gathered in, the ground is immediately 
ploughed up, and prepared to receive certain hardy green crops, such as clover, 
the oil plant, and other varieties of the cabbage tribe. The trefoil, or clover, 
is sown on ridges to keep it above the level of the water, which often covers 
the valleys during the winter months. When I first went to Chusan and saw 
this plant cultivated so extensively in the fields, I was at a loss to know the 
use to which it was applied, for the Chinese have few cattle to feed, and these 
are easily supplied from the road-sides and uncultivated parts of the hills. On 
inquiry I found that this crop was cultivated almost exclusively for manure. 
The large fresh leaves of the trefoil are also picked and used as a vegetable by 
the natives." 

Their main reliance, however, is on the most disagreeable, 
though perhaps the most fertile, manure so universal in China. 
They keep it in small water-proof tanks, and promote fermentation 
by throwing substances into it. They are in this respect extremely 
filthy, and with senses more obtuse than might be readily imagined. 
For peas, and some other vegetables of the pulse tribe, they use 
dry ashes as manure, throwing it into the drill prepared for the 
seed, and thus manuring the plant rather than the ground. The 
discovery of Liebig, that beans and peas contain Caseine, a sub- 
stance identical with the curd of milk, has been familiar to the 
Chinese for centuries ; and bean- curd, or cheese (called by them 
Tow-foo), is commonly hawked about the streets. 

They transplant almost every article from a seed bed, no matter 
whether green vegetable, grain, or pulse, and assimilate the culti- 
vation of nearly everything to that of rice. In the case of the 
sweet potato (a convolvulus), they cut off the sprouts and plant 
them, after having dug up the previous crop. These sprouts are 
an article of trade ; and, to improve the quality of the potato, people 
from great distances on the coast of China come over to Chusan 
and plant whole tracts of hills, with a certain stipulation regarding 
the produce.* 

Chusan has but few manufactures. Some weavers make up 
coarse stuffs of cotton from yarn which has been spun by the 
cottagers ; but the home-made article is not sufficient to clothe more 
than a portion of the population. There are some forges con- 
stantly at work in Seaou-sha (the Little Sandy Valley) for providing 

* Might we not either prevent, or greatly mitigate, the potato disease, by taking 
more pains in the importation of seeds from parts of the world where the complaint 
has not yet appeared, or climates better suited to the original nature of the plant ? 

262 Sir J. F. Davis on Chusan. 

agricultural implements ; and the salt works on the coast, make up 
the total of industry apart from agriculture. Within the town of 
Ting-hae, during our occupation, a considerable business was 
carried on in the carving and varnishing work, which exists in Such 
perfection on the opposite coast at Ningpo. Nothing can exceed 
the durability and neatness of furniture prepared in this maimer. 
The greatest care is bestowed on bedsteads, of rather little taber- 
nacles which constitute both a bed and dressing-room within them- 
selves, and on which a profusion of carving and inlay-work is 
lavished. One of these obtained a prize at our Great Exhibition. 
Previous to our occupation of the island, a great number of 
junks which traded between the N. and S. touched at Chusan, 
anchoring in the harbour of Ting*hae, where the suburbs formed 
a depot for merchandise. The presence of our shipping seemed 
to discourage this resort ; but iSinkeamun to the eastward con- 
tinued to be a place of rendezvous for a great number of vessels, 
chiefly fishing craft, which ranged at large among the group of 
islands, and along the embouchure of the Keang, manned prin- 
cipally by Fokien sailors. These adventures are partly carried on 
with the capital of the island ; and some Fokien firms, who traded 
in company with Chusan merchants, were established in Ting-hae. 
Thus the most necessary article in China next to rice, that is, fish, 
was provided for the adjacent main from the Chusan group, whose 
shallow seas and landlocked roadsteads are unusually favourable 
to fishing. The other principal exports were coarse black tea, 
cotton, vegetable tallow, sweet potatoes, and some wheat. The 
larger junks were driven away by our capture of ihe island, but 
the smaller craft seemed to increase. They came from Wunchow, 
Taechow, Shihpbo, Seang-shan, Ningpo, Sbaouhing, Hangchow, 
and Chapoo, bringing the produce of their respective districts, and 
principally rice, as well as Sycee silver ; in return for which they 
bought our cotton manufactures, opium, a few woollens, and some 
Strait's produce, But the European trade at Chusan never ap- 
proached the anticipations of many sanguine speculators. The 
neighbourhood of Shanghae and Ningpo was alone enough to 
attract and engross the main part at those large marts, esj>ecially 
the former. Compared, however, with what existed previous to 
our arrival, the trade was active, and many of the native traders 
of Tinghae became comparatively opulent ; a result which they 
could very little have anticipated, from what they must have been 
accustomed originally to regard as a great calamity. 

Should Japan become in any degree open to European trade, 
Chusan, from its vicinity, must occupy a still more important posi- 
tion than it has ever done yet. The new whaling-trade, established 
by the Americans in the adjacent seas, would find it a most con- 
venient spot for refitting and supplies, for which they now resort 

Sir J. F. Davis on Ckusan. 263 

to Hongkong. Nothing more would be then required to complete 
its prosperity but an increased cultivation of tea and silk, for both 
which products it possesses the exact geographical position and 
climate which are found most favourable on the opposite coast of 

Previous to our occupation, Chusan and all the smaller islands 
of the group constituted a district under the jurisdiction of Ningpo. 
The principal civil authority was a magistrate of the rank of Hien; 
with two subordinates at Tinghae, and several others on the other 
islands, under his charge. He transmitted about 10,000 tales and 
30,580 shih of rice annually to the government on the main. 

At the head of the military establishment there was art admiral, 
with about 20 to 30 war-junks, and a nominal force of 5000 to 
6000 men. A great part of these were mere men of straw, 
whose pay and allowances were drawn, in Chinese fashion, by the 
mandarins. It was seldom that a tenth of the number could be 
mustered, and it was said that at our first attack in 1840 no more 
than 500 men were forthcoming. Upon the temporary evacuation 
in 1841 the importance of the position was fully perceived by the 
Chinese government, and three generals, with about 10,000 men, 
were sent over expressly, at the same time that a militia was 
raised on the spot. On the second capture in 1841 these three 
generals all fell, one in action, and the two others by their own 
hands. After the conclusion of peace the Chinese government 
endeavoured to retain some authority over the island, notwith- 
standing our occupation by treaty, and an officer was stationed at 
Taekoshan with this view. But his improper interference became 
soon checked by the adoption of summary measures, and the in- 
habitants were thereby taught that no divided sway would be per- 
mitted during our occupation. When British rule became ex- 
tended over the island it was the first object of our officers to put 
a stop to the violences and disorder which had prevailed during 
the war. Native constables were established in all the valleys ; 
and these being generally men of substance and influence, and 
supported by our authorities, succeeded in restoring order and 
ensuring the security of person and property. There was, besides, 
a small and effective police, which, being backed on occasion by 
military means* expelled the thieves and robbers from the island. 
In a short time crime decreased, nothing was lost that did not in 
time become restored, or its equivalent recovered. The exemption 
from all taxes during our tenure of the island tended of course to 
conciliate the good-will of the people ; and upon its evacuation in 
1846 the Emperor's government did not deem it prudent to 
alienate the Chusanites by demanding past arrears from them. 
Their experience of British rule under circumstances of military 
conquest can hardly have failed to convey a favourable impression ; 

264 Schomburgk on the Peninsula and Bay of Samand. 

and the stimulus given to the trade and industry of the island 
rendered the war, in its ultimate results, a benefit rather than an 
infliction to the inhabitants themselves. 

It is almost needless to observe that the progress of the civil 
war, and the vicinity of Chusan to Nanking (the most likely seat 
of government for a possible Chinese dynasty) are circumstances 
which may bring this important and highly-favoured island into 
very prominent notice. 

XXL — The Peninsula and Bay of Samand, in the Dominican 
Republic. By Sir R. H. Schomburgk, H.B.M. Consul at the 
Dominican Republic, Corresponding F.R.G.S., &c. 

Communicated by the Foreign Office. 
Read June 13, 1853. 

History. — Columbus, returning to Spain after his first discovery 
of the New World, passed, on the 12th of January, 1493, a high 
and beautiful headland, to which he gave the name of Cabo del 
Enamorado, or the Lover's Cape (at present called Cape Cabron). 
Further eastward he saw another, which he named Cabo San 
Feramo (at present known as Cape Samana), the most eastern 
point of the so-called Peninsula of the same name. Doubling 
this headland, he saw a fine gulf of such an extent before him 
that he supposed it to be an arm of the sea, separating Hispaniola 
from some other land. 

Here he anchored, and having sent his boats ashore, they 
were received by natives, who, from their ferocious looks and 
undaunted manners, appeared quite different from the mild and 
pacific people the Spaniards had hitherto met. They were of a 
ferocious aspect, and had painted themselves hideously in various 
colours. Some were armed with war-clubs, others had bows of 
more than a man's length ; their arrows were pointed with hard 
wood or with bones. One of their number having ventured on board, 
Columbus was induced to suppose him to be of the Carib tribe, 
and resolved to act with caution, and, having regaled his visitor, he 
sent him on shore ; but, as the boat approached the land, upwards 
of fifty armed savages rushed from an ambush. They were ap- 
peased by the warrior in the boat ; and, having landed, the 
boat's crew mixed with the natives and endeavoured to bargain 
for some of their weapons, when, in an unexplained manner, 
mistrust arose ; the natives seized their bows and clubs, and 
provided themselves with cords, as if they intended to capture 
their visitors. The Spaniards immediately attacked them, 
wounded two, and put the rest to flight. "This was the first