Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World
This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in
the world by JSTOR.
Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries.
We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial
Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early-
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please
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
A&Us = VctUey
Ling 3 Mountain pte^a
Mitn. - Channel
Ho - River
t\tbhshed for the Journal of the Rnva] Geographies] SocietyfarJuhn Murray^
O ¥ F I C IAL S IT It V EYS.
To accompany a Memoir on the Island
SIR JOHN FRAXCIS DAVIS B«*»
Scale of Ceo graphic a 1 Miles.
CjfriChm ffoit I*!
i\ ion * ! <*
'■'■\'G AO« -^ Ofe^
e Royal Geographical Society;bv.Juhn Miin,n Allmtiarlc St, London. 1853.
Dra*rn £ lath byA.Fgtwrwiajm, 9, Chin-nig Crca
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"
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
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
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 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
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
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
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,
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/
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,
" 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.
VOL. XXIII. S
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
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
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
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
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