Crime and Government at Hong Kong. A letter to the editor of the “Times,” etc | Thomas Chisholm ANSTEY | 1859
















1859 .






Returning to England from Hong Kong,

upon sick leave, within the last few days, I have had

my attention called to some observations of the

Times newspaper of the 15th ultimo, upon the case

of that Colony, as disclosed in certain Petitions to

Parliament from several towns corporate in the

north, also presented during my absence from these

shores, and praying enquiry into the same.

I thankfully acknowledge the kind and flattering

terms in which my part in the affair is treated. But

I find myself under the obligation to point out some

facts, in which , except as witness, I am personally

unconcerned, and which , not having before him the

papers which relate to them , or even a simple state

ment of their contents, the writer has very much mis,


In doing so, I am actuated by the merest sense of

what is due to public justice. The course of justice

cannot but be much impeded by the prevalence of

an erroneous opinion, as to the nature and gravity

of the accusation ; and public opinion , as it is called,

is but the reflex of the opinion of the public jour,

nalist.. If his eye be dark, how great is the dark.

ness !

I purpose, therefore, in the brief compass of these

pages, to present a clear, concise, and truthful state

ment of the main points in that much bruited case



of the colony of Hong Kong, which call for the

enquiry proposed by the Parliamentary Petitions.

I shall state nothing which will not be established,

if Mr. Edwin James, M.P. for Mary-le-bone succeeds

in obtaining the papers ; of his intention to move for

which, I am glad to see he has given notice.

But, before I do so, let me notice one preliminary

error, suggested, doubtless, by those who fear expo

sure,, and which, unless removed, may render enquiry


It has been urged on the British public, that the


quarrels and bickerings of a little community ought

not to occupy the attention of Parliament.

I do not understand the position .

If it be meant that the case is one of quarrels and

bickerings, I do not hesitate to say, that the objection

argues an entire unacquaintance with the facts of the

case, or else the conscious and deliberate purpose, of

averting enquiries, by misleading the public as to their

nature .

It is a case of crime ; not of constructive, but of

direct and positive crime, in its most familiar ac

ceptation. It rests upon evidences sworn and un

sworn , documentary and oral, official and private..

If established, it inculpates of extortion, bribe

taking, corrupt alliances, malversation, resetting of

pirates, felons, and murderers, and other offences

of no speculative or uncertain character, a number

of English people, in the Government employ abroad,

filling offices of rank in a British colony, and even

representing to the eyes of foreign powers the majesty

of British empire .

If disproved, it inculpates the witnesses, of con

spiracy and falsehood .


To treat such a case as one of mere provincial

brawling and discord, is as preposterous as it would

be for the Times' reporter of the Crown cases on the

late Circuit, to describe them in like manner, and to

lament the unhappy prevalence of all kinds of mis

understandings, between the prisoners on the one

side, and the prosecutors, witnesses, juries, and judges

on the other.

But, if it be meant that the relative importance

or unimportance of the community, which suffers the

wrong, and witnesses the disgrace, is to determine

the question, whether the one and the other are or

are not to receive redress and chastisement, at the

hands of the Parliament and the British people, I

am sure that the good sense of every right-thinking

man ,will repel the unworthy suggestion.

If England will plant, she must cherish, her " little

communities ."

If Hong Kong was thought of so much impor

tance, as that its cession by the Court of Pekin , was

made the price of the Peace of Nanking, in 1842–3 ,

and its wellbeing the main pretext of the second

Chinese War, in 1856, surely the demeanour of those,

to whom England has confided the care and manage

ment of that position, is not a " little " matter, nor

one in which England ought to feel no manner of

concern .

If the objects which, as we may still read in the

despatches of the period of that cession, were the

protection of the persons and property of the English

and foreign merchants trading with China, and the

affording, to China herself, an opportunity of learn

ing and appreciating England and her institutions,

from a “ little ” model of both, to be exhibited from


Hong Kong, were then thought of sufficient weight

and value, to necessitate our persisting, in our demands

of the cession, upon the reluctant Chinese Plenipo

tentiaries, it may not be altogether idle now , in 1859,

to ascertain whether it be indeed true, as asserted,

that the design is already, after a sixteen years' trial,

effectually frustrated , and this by the rapacious,

corrupt, and felonious actings, of the very men to

whom the experiment had been entrusted.

And, to put it on the lowest ground, that of per

sonal grievance, -if it be indeed the fact, that men

of honour, after having been tempted by Govern

ment to quit their proper sphere at home, and to

take their part in the administration of justice to

that " little community,” upon the faith of being

supported in their performance of that important

branch of the model experiment, have been insulted,

degraded, and deprived of their bread, through the

influence of pirates, and other criminals, in the coun

cils of the local Government - is it too much to

expect, that their cause will be judged, and avenged,

by the great community which sent them forth , upon

a mission so requited ?

But then, it is said, ( and an honourable member

who borrows the thought, quotes, in its favour, to his

constituents, the supposed precedent of the Ceylon

case ), — why not hold your enquiry at Hong Kong ?

Why trouble the mother country ? Why demand

& judgment upon evidence not laid before the

judges ?

The objection answers itself.

Any one, who knows the routine of Downing

Street, is aware, that, in all cases like the pre

sent, the accused Colonial official has the last word .


And not only the last word, but the further ad

vantage of being able to conceal his defence, - (gene

rally consisting of unfounded recrimination ), -- from

the party demanding justice at the hands of the

Secretary of State.

For no communication, from the party complain

ant, is so niuch as perused by the minister, unless

forwarded open through the Governor ; -- the intention

being, that the latter shall have the opportunity of

perusing, and, if he can , of refuting it.

Every such communication, forwarded otherwise

than according to that rule, is returned to the writer,

without comment.

But, -- this being the close privilege of the local

Government alone, -- no such opportunity is accorded

to its victims or opponents .

They know nothing of the case stated by the ac

cused , unless, perchance, after the final decision of

the controversy, when the knowledge comes much too


Therefore, if it be indeed true, that the inculpated

officials of Hong Kong, after having once a fortnight

from the 10th May, 1858 , until the 10th March , 1859,

despatched to Downing Street, their allegations and

proofs, in disculpation of themselves and those whom

they protect from the vengeance of the criminal law ,

failed so egregiously, in their endeavour, as this last

objection supposes,-- .surely they should, now at least,

and without more enquiry, ( particularly such enquiry

as one conducted by a Hong Kong executive is

shown to be ), be declared unfit to hold their present


Incapacity at least is fully made out. What graver

charge remains against them, may be matter for the


consideration of my successor,and of the Crown side

of the Supreme Court. But that is a question which

does not belong to the Executive.

Nor is the Ceylon case any precedent for this.

There, the enquiry was commenced in Parliament.

Here, neither Parliament nor Downing Street began

to interfere until after the close of the investigation

at Hong Kong

There, the chief witnesses were in the colony, and

the bulk of the documentary evidences in the archives

of its Secretariat. Here, the whole of the latter, if

the Hong Kong Government are to be believed, after

being by that Government publicly twice produced

and read at Hong Kong, are now in Downing Street ; *

and many of the former, including myself, have left

the Colony and are in England.

There, no decision consequently had been arrived

at. Here, the Secretary of State has arrived at a

decision ; has announced it in Parliament; and has

carried it into effect.

And yet, even there, the recognised fitness of a

partial enquiry at Ceylon before a Comunission, was

not allowed to supersede or even to suspend the in:

quisition ordered by Parliament. Contemporaneously

the two enquiries went on, and the final Report of

the Commons' Committee combined the results of

both .

In the present case, it will be found unnecessary to

adopt either proceeding.

The facts are salient on the pages of the papers,

which embrace, I am glad to see, the judge's notes of

* Letters from Acting Colonial Secretary Bridges to the Attorney

General (Nos. 303 and 478), dated Hong Kong, 25th May and 9th

August, 1858.


the trial hereafter referred to, and for which the

member of Marylebone has asked.

I proceed briefly to classify those facts under their

proper heads .



As for every other colony, so for Hong Kong, the

Imperial Government, moved by a desire of prevent

ing the recurrence of a frequent source of embarrass

ment and abuse had, in 1856, wisely determined that

the duty and power of the officer, administering a

Colonial Government, should be deemed to be such,

and no other, as are “defined in Her Majesty's Com

mission , and the Instructions with which he is fur

nished ." *

In Colonies, possessing what is called “ reponsible

Government, ” the power and responsibility of the

executive Government may be, for aught I know,

shared with that officer by his Colonial Secretary and

other subordinate heads of departments, who are

called his “ Ministers.” But in colonies not so go

verned, at all events in that of Hong Kong, the

terms of his " commission and instructions " confer

* “ Rules and Regulations for Her Majesty's Colonial Service."

London : Queen's Printers. 1856. III. , 8. 4.


all the power and impose all the duty of the Supreme

Administrator of Government under Her Majesty,

upon the Governor or acting Governor ; leaving to

his subordinates , including the Colonial Secretary,

the duty of superintending their several departments,

and the power necessary to its performance, and

nothing more .

This arrangement, you will perceive, leaves to the

Colonial Secretary — for the rest an officer of high


rank, and a member of both councils -- no proper

function but that of organ of the supreme will of the

Governor, in his relations with all the other depart

ments of Government, and the community at large.

He has no independent power of action in that

regard ; nor can the Governor confer such upon him ,

unless specially empowered by his “ Commission," or

“ Instructions,” to delegate any portion of his own ,

and only so far as he is so authorised.

No such right of delegation existing in the case of

the Governor of Hong Kong, any attempt to delegate

must there be illegal, and the delegation a nullity;

and the duty, not only of the Supreme Court, but of

the departments of Government itself, in such a case,

have been too clearly expounded by Lord Mansfield

and the Court of King's Bench, to need a new expo

sition at this day.

Yet such an endeavour was made so recently as

the 20th January, 1858.

Advantage was taken, for that purpose, of the ab

sence of Mr. Mercer, the Colonial Secretary, upon

sick leave in England ; a gentleman of honour and


His locum tenens was a Dr. Bridges, D.C.L. , who is

an Attorney-Barrister, of Hong Kong, whose clients


are chiefly Chinainen, and who had been raised by

Sir John Bowring, LL.D., to that post ; with liberty

to carry on his professional business, pari passu,

with that of Acting Colonial Secretary.

By his advice, as he swore at the trial, hereafter

noticed, a “ Circular defining the functions of the

Colonial Secretary," was adopted by the Governor

on the 20th January, 1858, and “ circulated for the

information and guidance of all officers of the Colonial


It appeared, however, from the same sworn evidence

of that functionary, that it was never sent home to

the Secretary of State.

I, therefore, reprint it in extenso ; -- for it is a very

extensive delegation of authority, by Sir John Bowring

to his Acting Secretary, and a very illegal one, and

one under which gross frauds have been committed

on the administration of justice, for the protection of

malversation and crime.

Hong Kong, 26th January, 1858 .

His Excellency the Governor is pleased to direct that the follow

ing rules, defining the functions of the Colonial Secretary, be cir

culated for the information and guidance of all officers of the

Colonial Government.

1. That no official communication of ANY DESCRIPTION WHẢTSOEVER

is to be addressed BY ANY MEMBER OF THE GOVERNMENT to His Excel

lency the Governor, except through the Colonial Secretary.

2. That the Colonial Secretary is the organ through whom the

official instructions of the Government are to be communicated, and

that, except on matters of daily routine, THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS

ARE SUBJECT TO HIS AUTHORITY as the organ of the Government.

3. That before submitting ANY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT to His Excel

lency the Governor, it is the duty of the Colonial Secretary to

satisfy HIMSELF that the document in question is of a proper nature

for the notice of the Supreme power : and should he entertain ANY

DOUBTS on this scoré, thé Secretary is authorised To REMIT TÅE





4. That every document submitted to His Excellency the Governor

may be observed on by the Secretary, for the information of His

Excellency ; and that the former is expected to point out anything

in such document he deems worthy of observation .

5. That the Secretary is bound to report to His Excellency the

Governor every matter of importance which may come to his know

ledge; but that, with regard to QUESTIONS OF DETAIL which may be




6. That the SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS of the Government are , IN ALL


emanating FROM THE GOVERNOR HIMSELF ; and the Secretary will be

responsible to His Excellency for any abuse of his authority.

I do not know that any Government officer, except

the governor of the gaol, obeyed the mandate. I

know that at least four heads of departments, in

cluding myself, protested against it, and withheld or


refused our obedience. Of these, the chief magistrate

of police, Mr. Davies, complained in his place in

Legislative Council, demanded explanations, which

were not granted, and menaced the governor with

resignation of his office, if the measure were con

firmed in Downing Street. But Downing Street has

not yet been consulted .

Our jealousy, well founded in law, was equally

founded in policy. We knew the antecedents of the

man , into whose hands the governor, whether moved

by love of ease, or by a worse motive, had thus

surrendered his power .

His professional malpractices were notorious in

the Colony. One of them was recorded in the

Parliamentary blue books of 1857; and it was one


of such gravity, that the levity with which the

Chief Justice of Hong Kong treated him , when, to

use his own words, “ he threw himself on the mercy

of the Court," * was still a matter of surprise to

every man .

Sir John Bowring himself, in 1856, when Dr.

Bridges was absent from the Colony, had made no

secret, -- either to the Colonial Secretary ( Mr. Mercer ),

whom he nevertheless replaced, or to myself, who

protested from the first against his appointinent,--- of

his Excellency's personal dislike to Dr. Bridges .

He had even justified that dislike by imputations

of a very serious kind, suggested by the notorious

fact, that a great part of the Doctor's emoluments,

when Acting Attorney General, before my arrival

in the Colony, were derived from pawnbroking loans

to low Chinese, upon deposits of opium , and at ex

orbitant interest.

It was equally notorious, that the animosity was

reciprocal; and it was admitted by Dr. Bridges, at

at the trial already referred to, that, whilst filling

the office of Acting Attorney General, in 1855 , he

had induced the same defendant ( Mr. Tarrant,

the editor of the Friend of China, a Hong Kong 3

newspaper ), to insert a very celebrated libel upon Sir

John Bowring ; and that he had even sent him the

libel with the view to such publication.

In fact, the intensity of their mutual hatred, was

even greater than that which , as will presently

appear, existed at the same time, between two of

Dr. Bridges' friends, the Lieutenant Governor, and

* Parliamentary Papers (155) , 1857. (Sess. 2.) "“ Poisoners of

Hong Kong ;" pp. 25-6 .


Mr. Caldwell, alias Sam Kwei, but which, as will

be also seen, was, in Mr. Caldwell's judgment,

powerless to obstruct his own preferment, since the

reputation of the former was at his mercy.

Added to the above facts, was the startling one,

that, in every attempt made to bring to justice the

malpractices of the same Mr. Caldwell or Sam

Kwei, hereafter to be noticed, in connection with

his notorious piratical associates, the “ Jonathan

Wild ” of Hong Kong and the China Seas, the

convict Mah Chow Wong, Dr. Bridges had been

always active and successful on the side of the ac:


All things considered, therefore, it was not sur

prising, that so much opposition was manifested, on

the part of honest servants of the Crown, even at the

risk of loss of office in Hong Kong and permanent

disfavour at home, to an encroachment, already ob

jectionable enough because of its intrinsic illegality. 2

Their opposition was fruitless. The " accroached ”

and illegal power was unscrupulously brought into

play, and became the first step to further usurpation.

Sam Kwei ( Mr. Caldwell ), now more than ever the

right hand of administration , was encouraged, in his

turn, to invade the important department -- hitherto,

by the wise jealousy of the Colonial Legislature,

shielded from all foreign interference -- of Superin

tendent of Police.

The remonstrances of the conscientious and zealous

officer, Mr. May, at the head of that department, were

met with insults, or else threats of suspension.

Nearly the same treatment was experienced by

every other independent department.

The doctrine of the corrupt reign of Charles the


Second, that, in every supreme government, there en

dures ever the right of direct initiative and controlling

interference with every office in the State, was openly

acted on .

Chinese convicts and gaol-birds of Mah Chow

Wong's gang were employed as spies, and preferred

to the ordinary detective service. Mah Chow Wong

himself, from his cell, had the honour of directing

one or two false arrests and malicious conspiracies, to

pervert the administration of justice.

The functions of the stipendiary police had been

curefully defined by the Colonial Legislature. From

those proper duties they were now constantly with

drawn, and, under “ Sam Kwei's ” znanagement, em.

ployed on whatever service it seemed good to the

intruders to set them.

Arrests were made without warrant or just cause.

Nocturnal visits to respectable tradesmen's houses

upon groundless pretences — forcible entries vexa

tious searches ---- all kinds of annoyance were brought

to bear upon the obnoxious.

Nor were the outrages confined to Hong Kong.

Illegal forays for the same purposes were made

against the Chinese of the mainland, the subjects of

the Pekin Government ; and in some of them, innocent

men were kidnapped in their beds, brought to Hong

Kong, and afterwards discharged.

In every instance, the informer was either Mah

Chow Wong himself, a member of his secret society

or clan, or some one in some manner connected with

him or it. In no instance can the same be said of the

outraged victims of the system .

The police were most unwilling instruments. They

detested alike Dr. Bridges and Mr. Caldwell, by either


or both of whom they were personally commanded

on every such occasion. But they were forced to

obey. As to Mr. May, their lawful superintendent,

he was not even notified of these démarches. It was

not until after the doing of the mischief, that it came

to his knowledge. He remonstrated in vain, or only

to be censured for the remonstrance. He returned

to the charge ; and he requested that at least the corre

spondence might be laid before the Secretary of

State. He was threatened with dismissal, and the

correspondence was not sent to Downing-street.

The truth was, as confessed by Dr. Bridges at the

trial so often referred to, that nearly every portion of

Dr. Bridges' side of it, consisted of private letters

unofficialised, and not recorded in the archives of the


It was a significant revolution in the conduct of

public business, and one admitted by himself, on the

same occasion, to have been introduced by him

generally into all the departments of the public


From the portions of the correspondence, referred

to by Dr. Bridges under the same cross-examination,

it appeared that some endeavour had been made by the

Superintendent of Police and others, to call Sir John

Bowring's attention to the alarming consequences of

these systematic irregularities. But it also appeared,

from the Governor's own minutes, that the mere act of

complaining to himself of these irregularities of his


secretary, was considered by his Excellency an " in

subordination ,” deserving the suspension of the of

fender ; --- and that every officer of Government was

expected to render to the private and unrecorded notes


of His Excellency's delegate, the same obedience as

to the official mandates of the Governor himself.

It would be difficult to overrate the evil impression

which these proceedings produced on the minds of

the Chinese of Hong Kong and the empire.

They had always known that Mah Chow Wong,

the great Hong Kong pirate, was the partner of

Mr. Caldwell, the magistrate ; and that the latter had

inade himself useful to Dr. Bridges, in the way of his

profession of lawyer, and his trade of money lender

amongst the Hong Kong Chinamen.

But now they saw the latter, wielding all the pre

rogatives of the Queen, hoisting the viceregal flag,

demanding royal salutes, and taking precedence of her

generals and admirals.

They saw men, to use the authoritative language of

one of themselves respecting him, ( I quote from the

Report of the Opium Farm Monopoly Committee of

the Legislative Council as printed by authority ),*

doing anything he likes with the Government,

making a law one day, and tearing it to pieces the



They saw him investing himself with the tre

mendous powers,, which the Queen had conferred on

the governor of Hong Kong, for the destruction of

Chinese pirates,-taking counsel of their confederates

for the employment of those powers,_and associating

them to himself in the conduct of every enterprise

undertaken against persons proclaimed as pirates,

on no better evidence than the denunciations of

Mr. Caldwell and Mah Chow Wong.

It was the " reign of terror" at Hong Kong, spread

* Votes and Proccedings, &c., in the Hong Kong Government Gazette,

of the 6th July, 1858.



ing wide its mischievous influence over the neigh

bouring coasts, to the great scandal of Her Majesty's


Already had semi-official remonstrances, in the

name of the small Portuguese and Chinese traders at

Macao, against the encouragement so afforded to the

pirates who infested them even in their own waters,

been verbally addressed to Dr. Bridges, by the late

governor of Macao, the Chevalier de Guimaraes,

but with no effect.

The Chinese of the empire now began, on their

side, to beseech the merciful forbearance of their

formidable neighbours.

I have myself seen petitions from the Main, praying

Dr. Bridges' government not to resent, as offences

against the Queen of England, proceedings taken by

the petitioners within the Chinese territory, to recover

the possession of land there situate, against Chinese

wrongdoers holding it by the strong hand, in the face

of аa decree rendered by the proper Chinese court.

That opportunity was afforded me by the parties

themselves. These men having presumed to present

such petitions, in a case where the Mah Chow Wong

gang were the adverse occupants, and, consequently,

the interest of the petitioners was adverse to that of

Dr. Bridges' Hong Kong government, were contempt

uously ordered to withdraw themselves and their pe

titions too from the Secretariat.

From the printed translations of someof the petitions,

which appeared in the Government organ , I made

some extracts at the time, and these still remain in

my hands. The originals, themselves I ventured to

return, enclosed in a letter from myself ( 6th July,

* He has very lately returned to Lisbon .


1858 ) to the Secretariat ; where, unless burned, they

now are . I regret to add, that my own well-meant

recommendation of their prayer received the usual

answer — that the Government "saw no occasion for

its interference."

The case was, nevertheless, a hard one; and the

language of the petitions very striking.

They were well-known to the Hong Kong authori

ties, as the representatives of the Tung family, -- crown

tenants, under the emperor of China, of all the arable

and pasture lands of Hong Kong, at the date of the

cession of that island to Her Majesty. They had held

their lands for about thirty years before the cession ,

paying rent to the emperor. The Crown lease had

been granted in perpetuity ( “ infinite " ) to the original

lessee and his assigns ; and they were assignees for

valuable consideration.

The Colonial Government, however, took possession

of the lands themselves, on the cession in 1842-3,

supposing that by virtue either of the cession itself,

or the law of " prize," all private properties became

vested in Her Majesty. They had at that time no

law advisers in the colony ,

No compensation was made to the dispossessed Tung

family. A branch of it is living at Hong Kong in

great poverty . The elder branch retired to the

opposite coast, within the sight of Hong Kong, but

in the Empire of China ; where they had still an estate,

called Tsim Shar Choy.

Some time back, however, it became notorious in

Hong Kong that these unhappy men had lost even

that estate, and that a number of pirates and re-setters

of such were in possession , under title from the

redoubted Mah-Chow Wong.



It became thenceforth an eyesore and a nuisance to

the local trade; the head quarters of the East Coast

pirates; a place of custody and torture for prisoners

kidnapped by Mah -Chow Wong from Hong Kong ;

and the chief depôt of all colonial plunder.

Until the publication, however, of these petitions,

it was not generally known in the Colony how these

men had obtained possession , and by what influences

they had maintained it.

It should not be forgotten , that it was not until

long after the conviction and sentence of Mah-Chow

Wong, in the Hong Kong Supreme Court, for piracy,

that these poor men gathered courage to petition

Dr. Bridges' Government at all.

It may also be, that they were partially emboldened

so to do by the notoriety of the then pending

enquiry into Mr. Caldwell's ( Sam Kwei's ) proceedings ,

which I shall hereafter notice, and of which it was

was then impossible to foresee the strange and start

ling conclusion that soon followed .

Be that as it may, the petitioners represent, that by

“ violence" and “ usurpation ," Mah-Chow Wong, and

his banditti from Hong Kong, had first succeeded in

dispossessing them of their estate, and planting it

with an armed garrison ; that the Court of the Sun-On

Mandarin , within whose jurisdiction the property

was situate, having been applied to by the petitioners,

had heard the cause and adjudged restitution in their

favour; that, in the interim , Mah -Chow Wong had

himself been tried at Hong Kong for piracy, convicted

and sentenced to fourteen years'transportation ; that,

from his gaol, he had nevertheless, given orders to

his " companion," a person named 'Ng Ting Shing,

to keep the land on the opposite shore, by force ;"


that, by the proclamation of the Mandarin, they, the

petitioners, were encouraged and directed to arm

their friends, and resume possession by the strong hand

in like manner ; and that they were making prepara

tion to do so, when it occurred to them that, as their

expedition to the point of land, where the property

lies, must necessary be effected in boats, the objects

of that expedition would be misrepresented at Hong

Kong, by Mah -Chow Wong's friends there, and

perhaps a naval force despatched against them, as

though engaged in some piratical enterprise.

Then they give this remarkable reason , to justify

their apprehension. They say, that the wrongs

already suffered were done by that pirate, simply

because “ the above mentioned lawless fellow , Mah

Chow Wong, has so much reliance on THE ENGLISH

POWER IN THIS SETTLEMENT ; ” and therefore, that if,

availing themselves of the lex rei sitûs, and the

judgment of their Court, they were now “ to contend

with 'Ng Ting Shing in battle on the other side, the

troops of his Excellency may do something wrong to

them, if they ( the troops) would listen to the wrong

saying of the people who are ignorant of the state of

things ; ” in other words, that Her Majesty's forces,

misled, as frequently has happened, by false informers

of the Jonathan Wild class, will deal with them as

sea and land pirates.

Yet his Excellency was of opinion, that there was

nothing in such a case, to demand the vigilance or

anxiety of Government.

I believe that the friends of the alarmed peti

tioners had recourse to the British community in this


The petitions themselves were printed in the


China Mail; but the community was already put on


its guard by the following “ Notice,” largely adver

tised in the different journals, both in English and in



TUNG WING - FOOK - TONG , of Sun-On district, was formerly sole

Proprietor of the Island of Hong Kong, and of the hills and coast on

the North side of the Harbour under the general name of Tsim

Shar- choy . The Island of Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain ,

and Tsim Shar-choy was alone left to TUNG WING - Fook - Tong . But

MAH-Chow Wong, with OONG Tin - Sing, and the late Oong Min

TOONG, established themselves under the name of SAN -LOONG

TONG, and took possession of Tsim Shar -choy. Lately, TUNG WING

Fook - Tong petitioned the Magistrate of Sun -On to examine Tung's

claim to Tsim Shar -choy, and the Magistrate issued aa Proclamation,

declaring that Tung WING - Fook - Tong is the true Owner of the pro

perty, and Mah-Chow Wong has no right to it. Though MAH

Chow -Wong is now a convict in prison in Hong Kong, yet his wife

has sent OONG TIN - Sing to lay claim to Tsim Shar-choy, stating that

those Comprador Boats belonging to Mar -Chow -Wong's people,

which supply the Foreign Shipping with provisions, need fear no

one, but may act as they please at Tsim Shar- choy, independent of

its Proprietor and his claims. TUNG WING -Fook - Tong hopes that

the Foreigners will not take aa biassed view of this matter.


Hong Kong, 19th July , 1858. per Yun Loong .

I have not heard whether the petitioners re .

gained their property, or whether their expedition

proceeded. But, if it did, thanks to the appeal thus

made by them to the good sense of the British,

military and naval, as well as civil, the pirates of

Hong Kong did not, on that occasion, obtain the

countenance of the British flag.

Whilst such was the terror produced abroad, it may

well be imagined what was the “ public opinion ,” and

what the policy, of the Hong Kong Chinese, in

dealing with the acting Colonial Secretary.


His practice, both as attorney and barrister - for

such it was, long before that amalgamation became

sanctioned by ordinance — became very extensive

indeed. I do not remember exactly enough to speak

with confidence ; but I think it was at this period,

that he put up the Chinese signboard, which still

adorns his door-post, in the Queen's Road, informing


all Chinese litigants that the inmate is “ Bridges

[ Bi-li-ji -si ], the distinguished graduate-in -law , and

“ lord of legal knowledge,” who moves all courts for

clients, in small and great things, in unclean and

clean . At all events, he was even now in the full

enjoyment of that reputation ; and, moreover, it was

the general impression of the Chinese community,

that the retainer, as counsel, secured in him the chief

member of the Government.

For that impression, if he had ever taken any step,

or shown any inclination to prevent or reverse it, he

would not deserve to be blained . It was the unhappy

consequence of the original sin of choosing a

practising barrister to fill, albeit provisionally and

only for a season, those high executive appoint

ments. But, as the Legislative Council has well and

unanimously resolved, Dr. Bridges having, on the

contrary, so combined the anomalous practices, and

deliberately so demeaned himself in the exercise of

each, as necessarily to produce that impression upon

the minds of the observers, he is justly blameable for

its existence. And of this, the very case which

brought down upon him from that body the heavy

censure of disqualification for the offices he had so

disgraced, affords a lively illustration.

For revenue purposes, the retail of opium at Hong

Kong was, by one of his Ordinances of 1858, created


into a Government monopoly, and put up for farm

to the highest bidder by tender. A certain day

was appointed, beyond which no tenders could be re

ceived. At the end of that day, the highest bidding

was ascertained, and declared in the Secretariat.

Nevertheless, two days afterwards, a new bidder

offered himself, in the person of a Chinese convert,

Chun -tai-kwong, whose name had been shortly before

mentioned by his bishop with much honour in Exeter

Hall . The bidding, a still higher one, was received,

and the grant of the farm ordered to be made out in

his favour, as soon as his sureties and himself should

have perfected their recognisances.

This was done at the Secretariat some days later ;

and, in the meantime, an undertaking had been come

to between the intended grantee and a Chinese ser

vant of the Acting Colonial Secretary, by virtue of

which Chuntai Kwong prepared himself to retain the

latter, as counsel for his monopoly, when granted .

This retainer took place in the office of Dr. Bridges

at the Secretariat, and the time chosen was that of

the perfecting of the recognizances, and immediately

before the grant of the farm . The offer of a fee of

four hundred dollars - a large fee for a retainer on

behalf of a monopoly which could not exceed a year,

and might be earlier determined — is admitted by

Dr. Bridges himself to have been accepted on that

occasion ; and the money was paid over that night to

the before -mentioned Chinese servant.

What else passed at that interview has been va

riously stated, and will never be fully made known.

The sureties had been ordered out of the room before

it had commenced , and the chief clerk of the Secre

tariat, the only other person who might have wit


nessed it, was called in only to hear Dr. Bridges declare

that the retainer was not to bind him to act as

counsel against the Government, so long as he was a

member of it .

But on rejoining his surety ( Mr. Hoey, a publican ),

Chun -tai Kwong informed him, that he had given the

Acting Colonial Secretary only a portion of what he

intended -- a mere “ cumshaw ” (gift)—and that the

retainer would be aa thousand dollars ;-giving, as his

reason for this intended profusion, the statement

elsewhere quoted, from the pages of the subsequent

Report on the case, to the effect, that the imposing

position of the man , considered as a member of the

Government and Legislature of Hong Kong, made such

profusion necessary .

Mr. Hoey, having reported these words to me a

few days afterwards, I thought it my duty to refuse

to be a depository of so scandalous an accusation,

and,, in my turn, reported it officially to Dr. Bridges

himself ; recommending him , at the same time , to

summon Chun Tai Kwong before the proper tribunal ,

that of the magistracy , in order to his commitment

for trial , as a public defamer of the Government .

Instead of so doing, Dr. Bridges invited first

Mr. Caldwell, to examine Chun Tai Kwong, and

then, one by one, two other Government officers,

to join them in a private and unsworn examination of

Mr. Hoey at the Secretariat.

No material discrepancy in their statements was

elicited ; and Dr. Bridges was forced to content

himself with the declaration of Chun Tai Kwong,

that he never meant to say that he ( Dr. Bridges ),

expected more than the four hundred dollars ; and the

joint declaration of Chun Tai Kwong, and Mr.


Hoey, that they intended no reflection on his


This proceeding having been severely commented

on in the Hong Kong Register, one of the local

newspapers, by a gentleman, since deceased, who

denounced it as something much worse than the

corruption imputed to Mr. Butt, by Mr. Roebuck, -

Dr. Bridges came down to the Legislative Council,

laid the article before them, and obtained a com

mittee of his own nomination, and consisting of

his own personal friends of that day, to enquire

whether his character for " integrity ” was in any

way impaired by the circumstances of the case.

Notwithstanding this somewhat narrow limitation

of the matters referred to, the Committee, after

taking all the evidence, laid on the table their

unanimous report, afterwards agreed to by the

Council itself, with equal unanimity ; from which I

extract the following paragraphs.

After expressing their opinion , that, so far as the

question of the tenders was concerned, there was

nothing in the evidence before them to impeach the

honour or honesty of the acting Colonial Secretary ;

the Committee proceed to recapitulate the circum

stances connected with the retainer, and to say : *

“ These proceedings, in the opinion of your Com

“ mittee, show the want of a due appreciation, by

“ Dr. Bridges, of the demands of his high and im

portant offices as acting Colonial Secretary, member

"66 of the Legislative Council, and member of the

" Executive Council ; and denote an absence of that

proper sensitiveness — which should have made him,

* Report and Proceedings of the Committee, printed in the Hong

Kong Government Gazette of 19th June, 1858.


“ above all other persons, foresee and avoid all posi

“tions of possible conflict between his Public and

“ Private Duties, which in the case of the opium

“ inonopoly were sufficiently obvious.

" That Dr. Bridges should hold the offices men

“ tioned, and, at the same time, retain the privilege

“ of practising as a barrister, however undesirable a

“ state of things, is one for which he cannot be

" blamed. But the limits, within which he would

" avail himself of his privilege, were under his con .

6 trol. He fixed the limit, that he would not act

“ against the Government: and the place, in which he

“ informed his client of this fact, was most unhappily

66 chosen .

“ Further, he should have seen that any one, more

“ particularly a Chinaman, must think that he would

greatly gain, by employing, as his counsel, a high

" officer of Government; through whose means,

“ changes, so beneficial to himself, had been made, at

" the last moment , in a public ordinance ;* and that

“ the monopolist, and the Chinese community gene

“ rally, would conclude, however erroneously, that

" the official so retained, and the Government of

66 which he was a member, were open to private in

16 fluence .

“ That such must be the effect of Dr. Bridges'

“ conduct on the minds of the Chinese, there cannot

“ be any doubt.”"

On the 6th July following, this Report being again

* This refers to the fact, that, in committee upon the Opium Farm

Ordinance, after Chun Tai Kwong was assured of obtaining the

grant, Dr. Bridges introduced, and carried through, amendments,

whereby larger powers and empluments became vested in the grantee.

They are set out in the evidence,


read, on the motion of the chairman of Committee, it

was unanimously agreed, that, “ the Council do agree

with the Committee in their said Report."*

On both occasions, Dr. Bridges was present, but


The silence was the more remarkable, since the

acting Colonial Secretary had expected a very

different result from the Committee, from the moment

when he proposed its nomination, down even to the

presentation of the Report.

So confident, indeed, was he, and so little delicate

in expressing his confidence, that only the evening

before the presentation of the Report, he accosted the

chairman (the Honourable Mr. Davies, chief magis

trate of Hong Kong) on the subject, and greatly to

that gentleman's disgust, congratulated himself on the

excellent way in which, as he said, he had managed to

get out of the scrape, by obtaining such an inquiry,

as was sure to end in clearing himself and silencing

all future accusers . He then went on to compare his

conduct, in that respect, with the conduct of his friend,

the Lieutenant-Governor (Colonel Caine) , in the years

1846–9 ; when publicly charged, not only in the

newspapers of Hong Kong, but before Earl Grey,

then Sccretary of State for the Colonies, with being

principal, or accessary, in certain very gross cases of

extorting money and taking bribes from Chinese

grantees of crown hereditaments.t He said : “ The

“ Colonel was wrong in not doing as I have done.

“ If I, like him , had held my tongue or hushed it up,

“ I should never have hoped to hear the last of it.

* lIong Kong Government Gazette, of 17th July, 1858.

+ See Article VI. in Mr. E. James's Notice of Motion for Papers ;

where, by mistake, the year 1849 is omitted.


“ As it is, I shall be cleared you know ; and nothing

" more will be said ."

The chairman heard him in silence. Next day,

those boastings received their proper reproof, in the

appearance of the Report.

Still, there was the chance of concealing from the

Imperial Government the extent of the disaster. But

this demanded the suppression of the Evidence on

which the Report was grounded .

The Report, therefore, appeared in due course,

amongst the votes and proceedings published in the

official journal,* but without a particle of the

Evidence. In this shape, it was sent home to the

Secretary of State, with the accompanying cxplana

tions of the censured officials.

After the departure of the mail, and not till then,

the Evidence was suffered to appear ; and, inasmuch,

as by the order of the Legislative Council, and, in

ceed, by the routine of the procedure, the Evidence

ought to have originally accompanied the Report, the

latter was, on this occasion, republished, to accom

pany the Evidence.t

In the mean time, Dr. Bridges, and his few ad

herents in the colony, had openly boasted expressly

their confidence, that by keeping back the Evidence

and forwarding the Report alone, in the first instance,

he ( Dr. Bridges) would be able to obtain, through

the influence of his friend at the Colonial office

Arthur Blackwood,I a speedy decision of his case,

* Hong Kong Government Gazette, 5th June, 1858.

† Ib., 19th June, 1858.

The pressure of colonial business compels a distribution of it

among the clerks of the Colonial Office; and, to this gentleman, the

business of the Hong Kong Government is said to be confided by

the Secretaries of State. I disclaim all belief in Dr. Bridges's state

ment with regard to him. I only record it.


before the Evidence, which would be delayed till a

subsequent mail, could arrive. And, when it did

arrive, Sir E. B. Lytton, they thought, would be en

joying his parliamentary recess in the country ; nor

was it likely that the decision, once made, would ever

be reconsidered .

The result, I regret to say, so far answered their

expectations, that the retirement of Dr. Bridges from

office, which these proceedings necessitated, but which

was delayed until the 30th August ( nearly two

months), was stated, so recently as the 20th January

last, by Sir John Bowring himself, at a meeting of the

Legislative Council,* to have been acknowledged by

a despatch “ thanking him for his valuable services,"

but “ containing no opinion favourable or unfavour

.able to the finding of the Committee upon Dr.

Bridges' conduct in relation to the Opium Farm.”

But all further explanation was peremptorily re

fused . .

The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Davies ( from whose

uncontradicted speeches on that and a former occa

sion I gather the most important of the above facts ),

having read his Minute of Protest against these sus

picious proceedings, the same was entered upon the

Minutes ; and it is now, I presume, in the hands of

the Secretary of State.

It is as follows :- *

At a Council held on the 4th Inst., I submitted the following

motion for debate.

“ That his Excellency the Governor be requested to lay before

the Council, all correspondence between the local Government and

the Secretary of State for the Colonies with respect to the proceed

ings of this Council on this subject of the Opium farm privilege,

* Daily Press of 22nd January, 1859 . † 10 .


and other matters referring to it by Dr. Bridges then member of the

Council, and particularly with respect to the selection of the com

mittee of enquiry, thereupon appointed by this Council ; the conduct

of its proceedings, the drawing up of its report, and the confirmation

by this Council of the said report.”

The honourable, the Lieutenant -Governor, Colonel Caine, then

acting Governor and Chairman of the Council, refused to allow any

discussion whatever on the matter. I now respectfully enter this my

protest, against such refusal of the Lieutenant-Governor, with my

reasons for thinking the motion a proper one to be discussed . My

reasons are these :

It is obviously desirable, unless special reasons be shown to the

contrary, that this Council, which appointed the committee of en

quiry , and unanimously adopted its report, should be officially and

certainly informed , whether any, and if any, what communications

on the subject have been sent by the local Government to the

Secretary of State, and whether any , and if any, what communica

tions in reply have been received by the local Government from the

Secretary of State ; and it is neither advisable nor respectful to this

Council, that it should thus be left as a body in complete ignorance

on the subject. It is still less advisable when many members, if not

every individual member of the Council, must have heard and read

in the local newspapers reports, as to the nature of the corrè

' spondence referred to . If the correspondence is such as it is reported

to be, it contains a great amount of error, falsehood and slander,

and it is only by the production of the correspondence that the

Council can ascertain, the truth or falsehood of these reports.

I have been informed that some members of this Council have

stated, and I have read on more than one occasion in the local news

papers, that Dr. Bridges, then acting Colonial Secretary, and him

self the party whose conduct had been under enquiry by the com

mittee referred to ; forwarded to Downing street the report of the

committee immediately after it was presented to the Council before

the evidence was printed, and with his answer to it, in which answer

he charged Mr. Dent and myself, the only members of the con

mittee, with injustice and falsehood and hostility to himself. He

stated, it is reported, that through some management of Mr. Anstey

we were appointed, because we were hostile to him, that we con

ducted the proceedings of the committee under Mr. Anstey's in

fluence, and that the report, which purported to be ours, was not so

but was really drawn up by Mr. Anstey. The Council knows that


some of these statements are untrue, and I denounce them not only

as untrue, but as the very opposite of true ; slanderous they clearly

are . Had I been allowed to speak in favour of my motion, I could

have given facts in evidence of their untruth . I shall only here

state that I have no doubt that the honourable Mr. Lyall would , if

called upon, relate circumstances which manifestly contradict the

notion that I was actuated by any hostility to Dr. Bridges. I say I

could have given facts in evidence, but I should not have considered

it necessary to do so until I had ascertained by the production of

the correspondence that the above statements had been made in it.

But the public reports do more than allege that correspondence

went hence to Downing Street which should not have gone ; they

further assert that no communication has ever been made to the

Secretary of State, that the report of the committee was unani

mously approved by the Council. Until I know whether this

statement is true, I refrain from remarking on it, I might be but

fighting shadows. But how am I, how is this Council, to be in

formed of its truth or falsehood except by the production of the cor

respondence ?

The reports do not even stop here ; they allege that a dispatch

has been received from the Secretary of State highly complimentary

to Dr. Bridges and approving of his conduct in reference to the

Opium monopoly. Surely if there be a dispatch of this nature

virtually condemning a report, unanimously adopted by this Council,

it is desirable that the Council be informed thereof, and it can only

be properly informed by the production of the correspondence.

These reports of communications sent home, which should not

have been sent home,-of facts not communicated to the Secretary

of State, which ought to have been communicated to him ,—of a

dispatch received from the Secretary of State, virtually reflecting

on the conduct of the Council, may be true or may be untrue, but

they are certainly very widely known and believed, and one of them

relating to the dispatch of the Secretary of State appeared in the

" China Mail,” a newspaper which , although it is denied that it is

the Government organ , does certainly appear to have more ready

access to official information than the other newspapers, and which

in its account of the proceedings of the Council which adopted the

the report of the committee of enquiry, curiously enough omitted

all mention of the important fact that the report was so adopted .

It will scarcely be contended therefore, that it is not of importance

that the truth or untruth of these reports should be known to


Mr. Dent, Mr. Anstey and myself, whose honour and honesty, it is

said , have been called in question ; to the Council whose conduct

also has, it is said, been disapproved by the Secretary of State ; to

the Government here, that these reports, so injurious to its character

for sincerity and justice, may, if untrue, be contradicted to the

Secretary of State, that he may learn whether he has been deceived

or not ; to the public, who are present by their representatives at

our sittings, in order that they may know whether any secret in

justice has taken place. It is only the production of the corre

spondence before the Council which can satisfy any one on these


For the above reason I think that the motion for the produc

tion of the papers was a proper one for debate, and for the same

reasons, I respectfully protest against the refusal of the Acting

Governor to allow any discussion whatever on the subject.


I had ceased, for months before this debate, to be

summoned to the Council --my suspension from the

Attorney -Generalship having occurred in August.

But I am informed , by Mr. Davies and others who

were present, that the above narrative is quite cor

rect. Further observation I feel to be superfluous.

It was testified on oath, by the same Dr. Bridges,

when supporting the inuendoes laid in the information

of seditious libel, at the trial already referred to,* that,

during his Secretariat, he and Sir John Bowring

made up the Government of Hong Kong ; but that, if

any other person had been Governor, by the word

“ Government,” the Executive Council ought to be

understood ; since such was the tenor of the Queen's

Commission. Sir John Bowring, he said, was inca

pable of governing, but through some single person

to whom he could surrender himself,

* “ The Queen v. Tarrant” ; Hong Kong Criminal Sessions of

Supreme Court, for November, 1858.



It was a terrible thought which tha confession

suggested to those who heard it .

On those who have perused the foregoing pages,

and who will follow me to the end, the impression

will be not less painful.

For there is yet to be told the worst portion of the

case as it affects Dr. Bridges ; and it will best be told

in its connection with that of Mr. Caldwell and Mah

Chow Wong

But first a few words to explain in what manner,

during this disgraceful period of the Colonial history ,

the control of the Executive Council over the actors

-a Council still kept alive in nominal compliance

with the letter of Her Majesty's instructions-- was

rendered so powerless, as the startling admission just

cited from one of them , proves it to have been.


This body is appointed, by the Queen's Instruc

tions, to consist of the Governor as President , and

three officers as members --the Lieutenant -Governor,

the Commander of the Forces at Hong Kong, and the

Colonial Secretary

From the date of my arrival in the Colony ( 30th

January, 1856 ) , down to that of my departure

( 30th January, 1859 ) , the Lieutenant-Governorship

-an useless and expensive sinecure -- has been held

by an invalid officer, Lieut.- Colonel Caine, formerly



of H.M. 26th Cameronians, which regiment he quitted

in the early days of Hong Kong, for colonial employ

ment . He was successively Chief Magistrate and

n Colonial Secretary, before obtaining his present lucra

tive post. He has been long endeavouring to obtain


leave to retire, upon a pension of equal amount ; and

Id for this cause, amongst others, is most anxious to

n. stand well with the local authorities.

From the same date, down to the accidental arrival

r, at Hong Kong, in June, 1857,> of the General of the

English forces before Canton, the Colonel command

rs ing the garrison at Hong Kong was always the

ce Second Member of the Executive Council.

as His military rank made him independent of local

ust interest and intrigue ; at the same time that his Colo

nial station enabled him to acquire that local know

ledge, without which his efficiency , as the only check

upon the proceedings of his colleagues, would have

been of very little worth .

During the period in question, an officer of high

ability and honour, Colonel Hope Graham, of H.M.

59th Regiment, ( with a brief interval of sick -leave,

during which another of my friends, Lieut.-Colonel

Dunlop, R.A., provisionally replaced him), had com

manded the Hong Kong garrison , and, in that capacity,

held the second seat in the Executive Council. He


nd was next superseded in favour, first, of Brigadier


Garrett; of General Ashburnham ; and, lastly, of Ge

he neral Straubenzee; as those military Commanders, of

the Canton Expedition, successively arrived from Eng.


land at Hong Kong, on their way to their proper

destination . I do not know whether the supersedeas


was owing to the inordinate desire of the Governor to



surround himself with Councillors of higher than




ordinary rank, or to the shrewd supposition of Dr.

Bridges, who by this time had succeeded to office, that

inexperienced strangers from England, too much en

grossed, moreover, with the concerns of a difficult

expedition elsewhere, to addict themselves to colonial

affairs, were little likely — absent or present - and

three weeks at least in the month they were sure to

be absent — to exercise a vigilant control over the

proceedings of the Local Executive ;-or to both of

those causes .

But I cannot help thinking, that the supersedeas

was illegal—those officers, albeit superior in rank to

the commanding officers at Hong Kong, not being

themselves in actual command there, within the spirit

and meaning of the Royal Instructions.

And I feel persuaded, that the very letter of those

Instructions was violated, by the omission to resume

the seat in Council, and restore it to the Hong Kong

Commander, when the same was actually again va

cated by the departure of his General from the Colony

to Canton, leaving him again in the possession of his

pristine military command within the Colony.

There now remains, therefore, the third and last seat

in the Executive Council : - that of the Colonial


For rather more than aа twelvemonth after my ar

rival, and again for about two months before my depar

ture from the Colony, a man of honour and worth, the

Honourable W. T. Mercer, Esq. , filled that office. Un

happily forthe Colony, the interval was one of sick -leave;

and the acting appointment to all his offices, being va

cant, was bestowed, as I have said , on Dr. Bridges.

Thus, during the period to which the gravest of the

incidents of the present case belong,—this was the

composition of the Executive Council :


1st. The Governor and Acting Colonial Secretary,

representing — I believe - three votes on the side of

themselves ;

2nd. The Lieutenant -Governor, strongly urged , as

I have said, by the alternate influences of hope and

fear, to give them and their measures an implicit sup

port, under all circumstances ;

And, 3rdly, The Commander-in-Chief at Canton ;

generally absent from the Colony, always ignorant of

its affairs, and feeling himself, as military men in such

cases are too apt to feel, bound, to give his unhesi

tating support to the Local Government in Council,

whensoever present, and able to attend it.

Not that his presence was required ; for Two made

a good and sufficient quorum .

To such a council, so constituted, the Bridges' and

Caldwell administration resorted with confidence, and

all other Government servants with dismay.

The results were answerable.

For presuming to give evidence against public

criminals, some of these Government servants were ,

by that Council, suspended-and suspended illegally

- because in their absence, and without citation, hear.

ing, or opportunity to know the evidence against

them, or to adduce evidence in their own defence . *

For the like offence, in like manner, and with the

same disregard of law and justice -- and what these


men might have dreaded most -- the prohibitions of

Downing Street,—ť other Government servants have

* In re Willis ; and in re Montagu :-E. F. Moore, Pr. C. Ca.

† The " Rules and Regulations for Her Majesty's Colonial Service

(Ed. 1856), peremptorily forbid any proceeding to suspension (ex

cept in extreme emergency), unless upon citation of the officer,

“ fülly communicating to him the charges," and " after such azi in.


been, by the same secret tribunal, tried, condemned,

and if not actually suspended too, menaced with that

punishment;; - and then insulted with a remission of

the same !

On the other hand, every act of administration,

which needed, in the judgment of its authors, the

sanction of the Council, was sanctioned as soon as

laid before it.

Every appointment to vacant offices, or to offices

of new creation, which needed ratification, was ratified

in advance .

Not a Crown Grant, however odious or imperfect,

which needed to run in the name of the Governor in

Council, was disappointed of that formality.

How could there be protests ?

Who was there to protest ?

Not the absent or ignorant General;

Not the Lieutenant Governor, Colonel Caine, who

knew what he had to hope from the favour, and to

fear from the malice, of the confederates !

The former is not known to have dreamed of such

a thing

If we are to believe Mr. Caldwell, the latter

(Colonel Caine) did, at an earlier period, go to the

verge, but not a step beyond,--- and paused just in

time not to exasperate the formidable gang into

action .

It was on the occasion of Mr. Caldwell's elevation,

from the lower grades of the police department, and

“ terval as will allow him a reasonable time for preparing his defence ” ;

-apprising him, moreover, whether he is to defend himself orally,

or in writing, before the Council ,” or what is “the rule which has

" been laid down by it .” — ( Reg. 79—83 , pp. 25–6. )



the command of his “ convoy " cruizer, the “ Eaglet,"

to the Commission of the Peace. There was some

hidden opposition somewhere to the disgraceful

selection .

The same Lieutenant- Governor was denounced by

Mr. Caldwell himself - I am so informed, at least,

by the Superintendent of Police, who heard the

denunciation -- as being the mover of that opposition

to his preferment.

At the same time, Mr. Caldwell observed, with an

oath , that, although he knew he had the Lieutenant

Governor's ill-will in every matter, he did not fear it.

“ He would, if he had the power, and dared to use it,

be glad enough to get me out of the island . But, so

long as I live, I have him in my power, and he knows

it. He knows, that I am almost the only person left

now, who can ruin him , by telling the truth about that

old affair of his ."

If the opposition ever was made, it was probably

relaxed, for it certainly did not prevent Mr. Caldwell

from becoming a Justice of the Peace. I do not

know if the message was, at that time, conveyed to

Colonel Caine . But he is certainly a long time in

possession of the fact I have just mentioned ; an

official or a semi-official enquiry having been made

concerning it.

I became aware of it only in July last, as well as

of the explanation of what, by " that old affair,” is to

be understood. It was told me, by way of moderating

the astonishment I felt, on learning that Colonel Caine

was present, and concurring in the “ unanimous "

resolution of the Executive Council, to suspend me

without a hearing :-

I Ibeing, at that moment, in posses

sion of a private note from himself to me of a day or


two preceding, whereby he had expressed his willing

ness to answer certain questions I had proposed to .

put, when called before the Council, on my defence .

That note is now in Downing.street.

The enquiries, which this strange piece of informa

tion induced me at once to institute, enabled me to

obtain the perusal of a number of old printed papers,

consisting of newspaper articles, affidavits, deposi

tions, and official and unofficial correspondences, in

cluding those with Downing-street ; all published and

commented on by the Hong Kong press, many years

before my arrival; and none of which had ever

elicited, from Colonel Caine, a prosecution for libel, a

counter -statement, or even a contradiction.

The period of the case, to which I refer, com

mences with 1846, and ends with 1849. But the case

itself is not yet ended ; for it has not yet received the

judicial investigation to which it ought to have been ,

in the first instance, submitted ; but to which, at this

late hour, it is not likely that it can be now submit


ted without a failure of justice, from the probable

deaths of witnesses, and disappearance of docu


Yet, in the faint hope of some better result, I will

briefly state wbat is the result, to which the perusal

has brought me, of such of the documents connected

with it, at Downing-street, as have already, in the

way described, been published and circulated in the

colony of Hong Kong.

Mr. William Tarrant was Registrar of Deeds at the

Land Office, Hong Kong, in the years 1846-7 .

His diligence, ability, and trustworthiness in the

discharge of the duties of that office, are attested by

his official superior, the Honourable Mr. Cleverly , the

present Surveyor-General.



The fees payable on the registration of deeds are

regulated and defined by Ordinance. It was one of

his duties to see that these, and these only, were paid

in strict conformity with the ordinance, by persons

coming to register their deeds.

It was another of his duties, and, in the case of

Chinese, a very irksome one, to see that no persona

tion or other fraud was practised by applicants for


1. It was his general duty, as a public servant, to re

port to his official superior all cases of fraud, or mis

feasance, coming, in any way, under his eye.

In the performance of those duties he made several

reports, the whole of which were well-founded , and

were so considered by Mr. Cleverly and himself.

There was a charge against one Chinaman of

fraudulent attempt, by misdescription, or personation,

to obtain the registration , in his own name, of land

belonging to another.

There was a charge of extortion of moneys under

colour of presents, or fees, payable to the Colonial

Secretary himself .

There were charges of previous levies of moneys

by the same person, and in the name of the same

officer, from applicants for leases of lands and

markets .

It was represented, that the prime criminal, in these

cases, was a Chinaman , Comprador to the Colonial

Secretary, and very much in his confidence.

It was further represented that the scoundrel, on

being reproached with the crime, had boldly re

asserted that he had Colonel Caine's own authority

for what he did ; and that the money was really

levied, by him, for the Colonial Secretary.


Instead, however, of taking the course, recommended

to him both by Mr. Cleverly and Mr. Tarrant, in the

belief of his innocence of all complicity with the man ,

who had, as they thought, thus abused his name,

instead of bringing his Chinese comprador before the

police court, to answer for the misdemeanours with

which he was thus charged, -- it seemed good to

Colonel Caine to treat the accusation as a gross in

vention — to slight it altogether -- to reprimand Mr,

Tarrant for an excess of duty -- to inform him that

his functions of Registrar of Deeds were of the

merest mechanical order, and that it was his duty to

hear, and see,, and say nothing, --- and to point his

meaning by the illustration, that if he were asked to

register the familiar but erroneous position of the

moon being made of green cheese, it was his duty to

ask no questions, but to do it.

Mr. Tarrant, however, persisted in taking another

view of his duties ; and Mr. Cleverly appeared to

think the matter a serious one : -- and the Lieu

tenant-Colonel found himself compelled to act .

But, instead of following the advice they had given

him , and prosecuting his Chinaman for extortion and

false pretences, it was against Mr. Tarrant that he

instituted criminal proceedings, on a charge of con

spiring with certain Chinamen falsely to accuse ; and

he, at the same time, procured his suspension from

the Registrarship.

With great magnanimity, he forbore to prosecute

Mr. Cleverly, and allowed him to retain his office.

The matter being appealed home to Secretary Earl

Grey, the Hong Kong officials were by his Lordship

ordered to reinstate Mr. Tarrant in his office, and to

make good to him all arrears of salary which had

accrued due since his suspension .


It appears, however, that, in the certain anticipa

tion that such would be the righteous judgment of

Earl Grey, Mr. Tarrant's persecutors had, in the in

terim , abolished the office, and , nearly at the same

time, reorganised it, but under a slightly different


Consequently, all the benefit that poor Mr. Tarrant

has hitherto derived from Earl Grey's decision, has

been the receipt of all salary, for the weeks inter

vening, between his suspension from office and the

nominal abolition of the office itself. But he has

never been restored to the public service, nor com

pensated for the wrong done him.

He has not even been able to obtain his own trial,

for the misdemeanour with which he was charged.

Colonel Caine was never ready.

In the first instance, his Comprador, he said, had

left the colony, and there must be a postponement on

that ground .

Why he allowed the man to leave, without his pre

sence at the trial being secured in the usual manner,

he could not say .

Months elapsed ; and every month brought with it

the appearance of Mr. Tarrant and his attorney at

the bar of the Supreme Court. But still the Colonel

was not ready

A Mr. Molloy Campbell, a personal friend of the

Lieutenant-Governor, was, at that time, the Acting

Attorney -General.

To him, at length, Mr. Tarrant's attorney gave

notice of his intention to move the Court for his

client's discharge, unless brought to trial forthwith.

The ground was, that Colonel Caine's Comprador,

for whom all this delay was prayed, was ascertained

to be living quietly within Hong Kong after all !


The application being made, the Chief Justice

expressed a strong opinion of the unfairness of all

these proceedings, but advised Mr. Tarrant, instead

of accepting his discharge, to stand his trial at

an approaching Session . The Acting Attorney

General having undertaken to bring on the case

for trial, Mr. Tarrant acceded to the advice thus given

him by the Chief Justice.

Before the time arrived, the Chief Justice was

himself suspended upon a charge, chiefly supported by

Colonel Caine, and recognised to be false the moment

the proceedings reached Downing Street. He

was, therefore, reinstated, without delay, and with

honor .

But, during his Honour's absence from the colony,

the Acting Attorney General had become Acting Chief

Justice .

The still untried Mr. Tarrant, appeared at the

Sessions appointed. But the Acting Chief Justice

refused to preside at his trial ; alleging the indeli

cacy of sitting, as Acting Judge, upon an informa

tion signed by him , as Acting Attorney General .

It was replied, that the delicacy did him honor ;

but that it had not prevented him from trying, at

the same Session, sundry prisoners, whose case, in

that respect, was the same as Mr. Tarrant's ; and

that he ( Mr. Tarrant) was quite willing to waive

all objection on the score of delicacy, if delicacy

there was in the case, and to proceed at once to his

trial .

The Acting Chief Justice, however, persisted in

the refusal; and , as there was no other Judge in the

island, the case was abandoned .

Mr. Tarrant, being thereupon discharged for the


time, has not as yet been fortunate enough to get

any one to try him, or even to prosecute.

More than ten years have, nevertheless, elapsed

since his last appearance in that case .

Colonel Caine's Comprador, has, since then , lived

on , and carried on all kinds of business, in Hong Kong

and Canton .


I heard of him last, as being, at the latter city,

in the spring of 1858. It was told me, but I can

not credit it, that a certain official had been indis

creet enough to recommend him , as Comprador, to

the mess of an East India Company's Regiment

in garrison there. It is certainly stated, that he

was their Comprador about that time, but left them

suddenly with their plate.

The proceedings in Mr. Tarrant's case having ex

cited certain misgivings in his mind , he took an early

opportunity of satisfying them.

One of the extortions was alleged to have been

committed on a market lessee. The man had mort

gaged his lease deeply, and had got into trouble.

Mr. Tarrant took an assignment of the mortgage ;

thereby entitling himself to the possession and inspec

tion of the lessee's market books.

He turned to the date of the alleged extortion.

It was said to have amounted to the large sum of

1,600 dollars.

Under that date, there was an entry in Chinese,

for “ duty -money” paid to “ Kanna Kane” (Colonel

Caine) of two hundred dollars. But, within seven

days, there were as many more, each of the same

sum , each for “ duty money, " each to “ Kanna Kane;"

in all, sixteen hundred dollars.

In the now very remote hope of being able to stimu


late an investigation, he published forthwith, in the

Friend of China, a facsimile of those entries, with an

English translation .

Colonel Caine held his peace .

Nine years later Mr. Tarrant again published

them , and in the same newspaper.

Colonel Caine still held his peace.

His conduct was thereupon represented to the Se

cretary ofState . But the result is still unknown . * The

papers are included in Mr. James' notice of motion .

I ought here to add, that Mr. Tarrant's well

meant interference, to prevent the lessees from pay

ing more than their lawful Crown fees to the

Colonial Secretary, was fatal to the interests of those

immediately advised by him .

They had objected; —" If we do not pay this

bribe, the Comprador says that we shall not have

our leases after all , but soinebody else will .” With

reluctant hesitation, however, they at last con

sented to be persuaded by Mr. Tarrant, that the

Comprador lied ; and they acted on that persuasion.

Two or three days afterwards, Mr. Tarrant was

accosted by them in the street, with much violence

of reproach . “ You bad man !” they said ; “ we

told you so. Our leases are not to be made out.

Another man has got them . All this coines of

not paying the cum shaw, that Colonel Caine's Com

prador told us to pay!"

I can give no opinion on the extent to which the

Colonial Secretary of that day was culpable ; or

* Correspondence, in the case of Mr. Tarrant and the Comprador.

of the Honourable Major Caine, from 3rd July, 1847, to 27th Dec. ,

1849 .


whether Mr. Caldwell's dreaded testimony can carry

the case much further .

It is certain that he was so, to at least this extent :

that he acted like the guiltiest, and obstructed the

course of criminal justice, and occasioned much

scandal to the British name.

I cannot think that, having, as he must have, the

humiliating sense of tliese heavy imputations, and of

having done nothing to remove them ,-- his presence

in the Executive Council can be of the least value to

it ; or tend, in any way, to give efficiency to that

body, for the repression or detection of the corrup

tions of the Hong Kong government .

1 pass on to the next head .




The Registrar -Generalship of Chinese, formerly an

inferior office in the Superintendency of Police, was

made, in 1846, a department of co -ordinate power ;

and the functions of Justice of the Peace and Pro

tector of Chinese were annexed to it.

During the Bridges' administration, in 1857, it was

raised, byordinance,into a distinct departinent, and one

of superior emolument to that of the Superintendency

itself ; and the visitatorial, and other arbitrary powers


of the above office, were so largely increased, in

favour of the individual then recently raised to them ,

as to attract the notice of Downing Street, and to

cause the disallowance of the most dangerous of those

new provisions ; but not until they had done much

mischief, in the manner in which he had exercised

them .

A new Ordinance, omitting those provisions, was

accordingly prepared in the following year ; and it

passed into a law, on the very day, when the first dis

cussion on the malpractices of the individual, who still

retained those offices ( Mr. Daniel Richard Caldwell ),

with regard to Brothels' Licenses took place in the

Legislative Council ;—that is to say, on the 10th May,

1858. *

In the interval, however, his other office, that of

Crown Licenser of Brothels, had been specially created

for him . I was known to be wholly opposed to the mea

sure ; and once already I had defeated the attempt to

carry it through the Legislative Council. I had no ob

jection to sanatory regulations, for purposes, strongly

and conclusively urged, by our naval and military

commanders in those regions, for many years past ;

and I had even proposed a measure, for the indemnity

of such as submitted themselves, to such regulations,

against prosecution under the local law. But, to any

system of Crown Licenses for Brothels, upon payment

of Crown Fees, I was altogether hostile.

Dr. Bridges, therefore, urged the occasion of my

absence on sick-leave, during the autumn of 1857, to

make one last attempt to pass his measure ; remarking

* Compare the two Ordinances in question :-Ord. No.6 , of 1857,

and No.8 of 1858 .


to a member of Council, who was doubtful as to its

details, that, unless it were passed quickly, it would

not pass at all ; “ For you know ," he added signifi.

cantly, " who is coming back next month.” About a

fortnight before I did come back, it had passed into a

law ; and Mr. Caldwell had added the Crown Licenser

ship of Chinese Brothels to his other enormous pre

rogatives, having under him a Portuguese named

Grandpré, a friend and partner, as Assistant.*

Mr. Caldwell himself is a native of St. Helena, and

apparently of mixed blood. His father, a common

soldier in a local militia corps, brought him, when

young, to Pulo Penang, where, and at Singapore,

his youth was passed in various inferior occupations

ashore and afloat. His character was, to say the least

of it, not high at that time; - and , when Sir George

Bonham , then administering his Straits' government,

was promoted to that of Hong Kong, it was with dif

ficulty, it is said, that His Excellency was induced to

tolerate, even in a comparatively inferior post in the

police of Hong Kong, the man who had left behind

him , at Singapore, a very damaging notoriety ; and

who had taken shelter in Canton and Hong Kong,

only to acquire a worse.

It was stated, by a friendly witness, recalled for the

purpose by Mr. Caldwell himself, before the Commis

sion hereafter to be mentioned, that his ( the wit

ness's) former partner, Mr. Innes, employed Mr.

Caldwell " to smuggle opium in the Canton river.” †

This was before the first Chinese war. None but the

* Ordinance No. 12, of 1857 (24th November, 1857).

† Printed Minutes of Evidence before the Caldwell Commission

of Enquiry Tong Kong, (pp. 44, 47 ; sec pp . 61 , 79, 82).




most daring and atrocious of Chinese outlaws were

employed ; for none others were qualified to enter into

the service of the Europeans, on board of the fast

boats so employed. They were, in fact, — nearly all

without exception , -- river pirates of the most despe

rate character. This circumstance alone does not

seem to have prejudiced him overmuch with the Can

ton community ; for such was " the custom of several

merchants at that time;" and, consequently, “ as a

shipmaster, he was as much respected as the generality

of the class."

But there was a graver report, according to

another witness, concerning him , which “threw him

under a cloud entirely with the community in China ;

—that he had not accounted for the proceeds of some

opium which had been entrusted to him for sale.

This was in 1840."

Mr.Caldwell himself admits, * that, in that same year,

he left the Canton river and trade, and took service

(as an interpreter) under the Commissariat at Chusan,

where Colonel Caine, then a captain , and whom he

had accompanied thither, was commandant . In 1843 ,

he says,, after some intervening cruises on the coast,

he entered the service of the Hong Kong government,

as magistrate's clerk ; Colonel Caine having then been

from May 1841 , chief magistrate there.

Colonel Caine's opinion of his fitness for office was

entirely founded on " his being a smart person, and

possessing an excellent knowledge of the (vulgar or

colloquial) language.” There were all sorts of “ ru

mours ” and “ complaints ” against him , it appears .

* Printed Minutes of Evidence before the Caldwell Commission

of Enquiry . Hong Kong, (p. 90. Compare p. 82. )


But “they made no impression on him ( Colonel

Caine) ;” for, since they were not " official complaints,"

he thought that " he could not place reliance upon

them .”

. What was their nature he would not tell ;

“ would rather decline answering, as to what he had

“ heard about Mr. Caldwell, from his (Colonel Caine's)

" acquaintance with this part of the world , to the

present time. He was not aware of any connection

“ between Mah Chow Wong and Mr. Caldwell, ex

e newspapers,

cept by hearing of this, seeing it in the

“ and hearing it stated in the Council Room on one

“ occasion - perhaps on more than one occasion . "

Here the Lieutenant-Governor's revelations ceased.

He objected that he was not at liberty to reveal the

secrets of the Executive Council. The objection was

allowed. It was an untenable objection, in the face

of the Governor's mandate to all officers to appear

and give evidence ; and this was the only instance in

which it had been allowed. The objection and the

allowance thereof are carefully omitted from the Go

vernment printed minutes !

The " connection " with Mah Chow Wong, never

theless, was a quite notorious fact, and it lasted from

the beginning of Caldwell's humble employment in the

police court, in 1843 , down to the final departure

is it final ? -of that pirate from the shores of Hong

Kong, in 1858 , a convict under sentence of transpor

tation for fourteen years .

In the meantime, Caldwell had risen in the public

service to the ranks, successively, of Inspector of Police,

Assistant Superintendant of Police, Interpreter to the

Supreme Court, Registrar-General and Protector of

Chinese, Justice of the Peace, and Licenser of

Chinese Brothels.

During a few months only of those sixteen years-

E 2


namely, from towards the end of 1855 to about the

middle of 1856 he had been out of Government em

ployment ;-seduced it seems, by the large profits and

exciting adventure of a life on boardof thearmed steamer

Eaglet,” the common property of himself and Mah

Chow Wong. It was not long, however, before the

embarrassment of his own affairs, and the flight from

Singapore of his brother Henry-the defaulter and

fraudulent trustee, from whom his capital is supposed

to have been derived — compelled him to sell his

interest in the “ Eaglet ” and return into the Go

vernment service .

But , amid all these vicissitudes, and at every stage

of his career, the “66 connection " with Mah Chow

Wong, and the gang or clan of that miscreant, was

maintained unrelaxed. It may have been, as the

Superintendent of Police,* in his evidence alleges it,

the bond of friendship; oreven ,-if an older resident,

and a senior officer in the public service, the marine

magistrate and governor of the gaol,t is to be credited

—that of affinity, through a woman named Awoong,

by concubinage and adoption, according to Chinese law

and usage, which cemented that " connection .” But

it was at least sufficiently well-founded, on the basis

of a common interest, to need none of those supports

from the affections.

The Governor's own Commissioners of Enquiry

have not been able to ignore the fact. There can be

no doubt, they say, that the “ connection ” has

existed ; that it has been “ long and intimate ;” and

that it has ripened into, at least, one “partnership in

* Mr. May, J.P. The frequency of these references to the printed

and unprinted documents makes citation laborious.

† Mr. Inglis, J.P.


a lorcha ;" for that is “ even admitted by Mr. Cald

well.” That all this while, Mah Chow Wong was a

“ notorious” pirate, is what Mr. Caldwell “ must

have known ." *

Those only who are farniliar with the History of

Jonathan Wild in all its details, can fully comprehend

the part, which this “ connection ” of Chinese pirate

and European officer of police, has had in the Reign of

Terror, as I have called the administration of govern

ment, under Sir John Bowring, at Hong Kong.

But, even to those not so prepared by study, I do

not despair, representing, from the records published,

in a moment of infatuation , by the Hong Kong Go

vernment itself, such a picture of their proceedings

as shall leave no doubt, even in the most sceptical

mind, as to the quality of that " connection , ” their

designs, and their acts ; and the consequent and ne

cessary duty, of all honest men, whether in the service

of the Local Government, or enjoying a position of

independence, to do their utmost to detect and expose

the guilt, and bring down conviction and punishment

upon the confederacy , and all who abetted or pro

tected it .

An experience, acquired by thirteen years of

service, as Superintendent of Police, Magistrate, and

Coroner, entitles Mr. May's evidence on this head to

great consideration and respect. He tells the Govern

ment Commissioners : -

“ I have for many years known Mah Chow Wong.

“ I knew that that man was Mr. Caldwell's principal

" and most relied -upon informant. ... My knowledge

" of Mah Chow Wong arose from iny knowing that

* Printed Report, p. 2.


“ Mr. Caldwell used him as an informer. Every per


son connected with the Police Department, and the

" Chinese community generally, knew of the position

in which Mah Chow Wong stood to Mr. Caldwell.

“ Up to the date of my letter of the 20th July (1857],

“ I believed , as I therein expressed , that Mr. Cald

“ well was the dupe of Mah Chow Wong. I judged

“ this partly from believing, that Mr. Caldwell was

" under family influence. * When I found out,

. .

“ from the examination of Mah Chow Wong's books

" and papers, the extent and variety of the villanies

" of Mah Chow Wong, I was, very much against my

will, and led by common sense, necessitated to alter

66 >

my opinion about his being a dupe .”

Mah Chow Wong, that is to say, “ Horse-boy

Wong," -- for his true name is Wong Akce, was

first known to the British community as a stable

servant ;- next, as a small shop-keeper ; --- and, at

length, as a rich merchant and ship-owner at Hong

Kong .


It is a saying of the Chinese Mandarins, that " SO

long as a thief does not leave the empire, he can be

“ traced and caught: --but let him once get to Hong

“ Kong, and you lose him for ever." He settles

down under the rule of a Bowring, a Caine, or a

Bridges, and, enjoying the protection of the Caldwell

of the day, pursues his avocations in peace and con


That was the true source of Mah Chow Wong's

prosperity. The notoriety of his character was no

hindrance to him . He enjoyed the protection and

alliance of Mr. Caldwell. He commanded a secret

* The family connection with Chinese people is here alluded to .


society , and made himself the master of his clan .

Their members were to a man police -informers — and

pirates; and, ashore or afloat, his purposes were

equally well served . Even the European police of

the island were indirectly, yet almost entirely, placed

at his disposal. He was the Jonathan Wild of Hong

Kong ;—he received tribute from the hordes of the

pirates of the China seas, who infested our trade, and

robbed and murdered our people ;-he levied black

mail from those who were spared ; -- he equipped

piratical expeditions on his own account ; - he shel

tered those of his friends, and betrayed those of his

enemies : -- he denounced as pirates those who were

innocent of piracy, and his denunciation was destruc

tion ; for the Hong Kong Government, having his

simple assurance , needed no further proof to set in

motion the forces of Her Majesty ; - and the finding

of the Commission itself * confirms, to the letter, the

statement of the official witnesses, that, almost as he

thought fit, numbers of the Hong Kong Chinese were

arrested or liberated, boats and property seized or

restored ; and yet, on no occasion could any of his

victims be found to appear openly against him, and

demand justice for those misdeeds; for the Chinese

were “ in terror of their lives.” And wherefore ? Let

one of those witnesses explain the reason.

“During the whole of that time, whenever reference

was made to Ma-chow Wong , either by subordinate

" officers of police, by old European residents , or by

“ Chinese, they always coupled his name with some

epithet having reference to his bad character. As a

* Report, etc., pp . 2, 3.,

† Mr. May, J. P.; Evidence, ubisupra, pp. 29.40.


“ matter of repute and notoriety, I know that Ma

“ chow Wong has, for years, been considered an ex

" tortioner, a recipient of bribes from gambling -house

“ keepers, a confederate of pirates, and a receiver of

" stolen goods. I also know, that, because of his well

“66 knownposition with regard to Mr. Caldwell, which

every Chinaman in the colony very well knew, Ma

“ chow Wong was supposed to be in possession of

great power, and was held in great dread. Of the

" extent of the dread I became fully aware, when it

was iny duty to investigate the cases against him .

“ I spoke to very many Chinese of standing and

“ property, and they all exhibited a knowledge of

“ his evil character, but a reluctance to do more than

own it.

€ “ As an instance ,-at the time that an appeal was

" made to his Excellency for the pardon of Ma-chow

Wong, I knew that aa Chinese petition , numerously

signed, had been presented in his favour. Late

one evening, one of the wealthiest, perhaps the

wealthiest, Chinaman in the colony came to me,


" and said, that he also represented the feelings of

" another wealthy Chinaman . The man said in

• broken English, ' I am almost afraid to come to

you, I come all same thief ; but I want you to tell

" the Governor, that the Chinese who signed the

" petition dared not refuse to do so ; but, if the

" Governor really wants to know, what those people

mean, who signed it, let him give each of them

Wone black ball, and one white one, and there won't


" " be very many in favour of Ma-chow Wong. ” I

“ told him , “ I can't tell the Governor any such non

sense. If you are a race ofcowards,you must bear

" the consequences :"‫" ܝ‬


And it was with this inan that, according to Mr.

Caldwell himself, * — who reluctantly admits the fact

after it had been proved by inany witnesses,-a part

nership, in at least eight Chinese lorchas, subsisted ,-

from the beginning of 1855 , if not earlier, down to the

end of 1856, if not later ;—for the Colonial Register of

the “ Kee-loong-poo-on "" lorcha was not cancelled in

the Colonial Secretariat before April, 1857 ;—at all

events, during a period, ominously contemporaneous

with the period ofthe well-known story of the piratical

lorcha " Arrow ! ”

All of these lorchas, as I gather from the same tardy

confession , " carried the ' Eaglet's' flag;" - the armed

steamer, already mentioned ; — which was also part

owned by Mah - Chow Wong, commanded by Mr.

Caldwell in person ,, and “ principally engaged,” con

fesses her engineer, “ in conveying Chinese merchant

junks up and down the coast," or, as he elsewhere

more emphatically calls it, “ the convoy business.” ť

In such a connection, it is easy to conceive that it

became a very profitable business. Mr. Caldwell

himself incidentally speaks of as many as ninety -two

Chinese junks, being under his convoy at one time.

To Mr. May, on another occasion, his words were ; 6

“ Such is the fame and terror caused by the ‘ Eaglet,'

that many vessels have applied to us ; and we are


thinking of granting the ' Eaglet's ' flag as a pass of

protection .” | That flag would have been a more

effectual “ protection " against the trembling Chinese

-whatever the character of the vessel bearing it ,

than Mr. Caldwell's illegal certificate, under his office

seal , at a subsequent period, was able to afford to

* Evidence, etc. , pp. 90-95 ; Report of Commission , p. 22..

+ Ibid., p. 75.

> # Ibid ., 95-140 .


suspicious vessels, attempting to break the blockade

of the Canton River, against the vigilance of our

cruisers employed to enforce it . *

The " convoy business ” unhappily needs no ex

planation now ; since the horrid events of the last two

years in the Ningpo and Min rivers, have shed their

blood-red light to illustrate its meaning.

It is no longer permitted , to any man , to doubt the

truth of Dr. Mac Gowan's solemn denunciations from

Ningpo, about a year after the last cruise of the

“ Eaglet . ” +

Being personally cognisant of the severe and

“ protracted sufferings of the people, among whom I


dwell, necessity is laid upon me of exposing the

“ cruelties inflicted on them , and of appealing for

“ sympathy in their behalf.

66 One disastrous result of the late war with Eng


“ land was the discovery by the Chinese of the im


potence of their rulers. Multitudes were, conse

quently, soon arrayed against the Government,

“ particularly on the seaboard, where weakness and

“ incapacity were most palpable . Piratical fleets

“ became so numerous, as almost to destroy the

" coasting trade ; poor fishermen , even , were not


exempt from spoliation. It was seldom, however,

" that great cruelties were practised. Instead of acting


on the maxim of western pirates, that dead men 6

666 tellno tales,'- they seemed to hold, that ' dead men

can furnish no more spoil ; ' and, accordingly, cap

5 tured, seamen and vessels were always redeemable

by money. A deputation of the captors repaired

* Evidence, etc., pp. 31--91 . 9)

+ " Remarks on Chinese Foreign Relations,” Parts I. and II., pp.

2, 3 (Shanghae, October , 1857),


" to port, negociated for the highest obtainable sum ,

" and then returned with the ransom to release their

« prizes.


“ As a corrective of this growing evil, merchants

" and traders paid liberally for foreign convoy : an


arrangement which for aa time was mutually advan

tageous. As the junks sailed in fleets, a moderate

" contribution from each vessel secured it exemption

" from a heavy black-mail ; while the foreigner was

“ merely delayed a few days on his voyage. Even

" the imperial navy profited by it ; -- admirals put to

sea in fair weather, going out with the ebb and



returning by the flood, and performing a cruize in

safety. Those were halycon days; but, unhappily,

"66 they were brief; in so much that they are now well

nigh forgotten .


Convoying became an object of competition. The

proximity of the Macao Portuguese, with their

“ simple lorchas or sloops, inanned to a great extent


by Manilamen or Cantonese, enabled them to under.

“ bid those who sailed square -rigged vessels; and soon

" the Lusitanian colours displaced all others from

of this line of business . Abuses quickly sprang up ;

“ causing mariners, fishermen, and coastlanders to


sigh for the times, when native pirates pursued

“ their comparatively harmless vocations. The poor

people were formerly chastised with whips; now

" with scorpions. Smuggling, also, the never-ceasing

“ vice of foreigners, assumed a systematic form at

" the non- consular ports.

“ Lorchamen often dictated , to Custom -house offi

cers, the amount of duty to be paid for the whole

“ fleet; reserving to themselves the sum abated.

" While intimidating mandarins ashore, they prae


6 tised cxtortions on their protégés. It became no

longer optional with the native craft to employ

convoys; they were not at liberty to decline pro

“ tection, nor were they consulted as to the amount

“ they were to pay. From this, the transition to


piracy was easy ; and robbery and murder at sea

were followed by like crimes on land. Whole vil

lages were reduced to ashes, the men butchered,

" and the women violated ; some being carried off to

" the lorchas, and retained in purchased exemption

“ from such treatment, by paying large sumsof money .

“ No sum , however, was sufficient to redeem a mother


" or daughter, whom the fiends determined to take to

" their vessels. Chinese officers, who attempted to

" thwart these buccaneers, were killed on the spot or

captured and held to ransom . The number of un

" offending natives who have been put to death — 1


some of them tortured in a most diabolical manner

would not be credited if told . Much of my

“ surgical practice in China has been due to these

piracies and forays. Of course, the loss of the


Chinese in property has been proportionably great.

" No device that could be employed , for raising


money or supplies, was left untried. The store of

yams, dried fish and fuel laid up for winter's use

“ in the hut of the solitary peasant,—the only goat,

6 and last fowl of the farmer , —were ( and still are,

" for the evils yet exist) carried off by the foreign

“$ 6 marauder . The fisheries were subjected to heavy

" charges, for this coercive protection.

“ Adventurers, who could not command a lorcha,

“ fitted up native boats, carrying on depredations in

“ estuaries and rivers. Others opened offices in the

56 small towns, for the sale of passes, which boats,


" crossing from headland to headland , were com

pelled to possess,, in order to escape greater exactions

“ when under weigh.

“ Not a small part of the wrongs, perpetrated by

" these boats were by natives, under the cover and

protection of foreign habiliments. In such great

“ fear are foreigners held, that few possess the courage

“ to withstand even their effigies. A bold and un

" scrupulous man may do almost anything with im

punity. In illustration of this, I shall be excused

“ in briefly adverting to an incident, the particulars

" of which I made public, at the time of the occur


rence . At the mouth of the Ningpo river is a

“ small village of saltmakers, at which the salt com

“ missioner stations a deputy. This officer, after

being beaten and compelled to swallow excrement,

“ was driven away by Portuguese, who came and

“ collected the salt gabel in the name of his Consul.

“ A copy of the proclamation, issued by the mis

creant, I myself copied , and sent to that Consul at

“ Ningpo.

“ About nine-tenths of these sanguinary harpies

were Portuguese. The balance consisted of vaga

“ bonds from every maritime state under heaven,

representing almost every class in society. I have

“ known a Cossack, from the Lena, rob a Chusan

“ fisherman of the leavings of one of my piratical

townsmen, a former member of the New York bar,

" at that time in the Portuguese service. ....


" What course, it will be asked, did the local autho

“ rities pursue towards the invaders ? They simply

“ remonstrated. When, for a brief period, the duties

• of U. S. Consul at this port were imposed on

me, I was frequently applied to, by H. E. , the 7


Tautai, for information as to the nationality of the

parties, who, in boats and lorchas, were oppressing

“ the people. Chinese officials, on the coast, are in

“ constant dread of provoking the ire of any foreign


power ; they believe that we are all linked toge

ther, and that any one would resent the least re

s sistance which another might experience .

“ With the exception of the intimation furnished by

" the case of a score of Japanese pirates, who were

publicly boiled to death in the streets of Ningpo

( 1406, A.D. ) , by order of the envoy of that country

" at Peking, the natives have have been led to


suppose, that foreigners are amenable to no law :

" and they submit to this havoc, as to the pestilence,

" typhoon, or earthquake —the

— the irresistible powers of

66 nature .

" For the past few weeks the coastlanders have

enjoyed comparative peace, owing to foreign in

“ tervention ;-an

; intervention made, be it observed,

" under circumstances which absolve the Chinese

" from any obligation of gratitude. The circum

“ stances were briefly these.-- Cantonese pirates, re

garding their Christian rivals with envy, have long

“ been endeavouring to supplant them in convoying

“and levying black-mail. Many were the conflicts,

" and varying the success, of these interesting

belligerents, and great was the loss of life and


property. In almost every instance, however, such

respect had one party for the ability of the other to

" inflict harın, that these losses were on the part of

" the unfortunate clients.

66 More formidable rivals to the Portuguese were

some Frenchmen , who opened an office at Chinhai ,

“ for transacting business in the protecting line, and


“ became successful competitors for guarding —that

is, plundering — the Chusan fisheries. Being few in

“ number, they were soon put hors de combat by the


jealous Portuguese, who demolished the dwelling,

destroyed the boats, and mangled the bodies of the


new firm . The French and Cantonese then united

“ against the common enemy, but suffered a bloody

" defeat in the first encounter . To avenge them

“ selves on the triumphant Macao-men , the Cantonese

portion of the coalition raised a powerful fleet, and

“ engaged a number of Frenchmen , a few English

inen and Italians, and a couple of Americans, to

* lead on the assault. Meanwhile, complaints from

“ the discomfited French, were received by the

“ Macao authorities, who forthwith authorized

“ H. I. M. ships-of-war to apprehend the offenders.

" When, in pursuance of her commission, the Capri

“ cieuse came up the river, the massacre of the un

“ fortunate Portuguese had already been, in part,

accomplished , by their foreign and native enemies.

“ On that, and the following days, between forty

" and fifty poor wretches, some of them innocent

" of any offence, were barbarously murdered ; and

" under circumstances, it must be confessed, little

“ creditable to some of the foreign residents.

“ It is owing to the hurricane thus briefly de

“ scribed, that the present calm exists ; and it is

probable, that, in consequence of the attention

“ which the case has excited, a considerable period of


repose will now be enjoyed. Yet similar transac

" tions, to those recited, must recur frequently, so

long as Chinese and foreign relations remain on

" the present basis.

“ I have already expressed my conviction, that the


" evils, which afflict this land from without, are

mainly owing to the concession of extra -territo

riality to Europeans and Americans. This abdica

" tion of authority is rendered more incompatible

“ with the well-being of the empire, by the presence

“ of foreign colonies, in one of her most important

provinces. Hong Kong and Macao, can appear to

“ Chinese statesmen in no better light than plague

spots, and to no inconsiderable extent. Such , it.

“ must be admitted , they have proved. Thence sail

" the lorchas, which defy and lay waste the country.

" There collisions are to be expected and provided

" against; and towards them must be exercised eternal

“ vigilance, to thwart the aggressive barbarian.

“ The abuses, to which those possessions on the

“ coast of this now only semi-independent empire give

birth, are, as regards the English colony, restrained

“ to no small degree, by wholesome correctives. The

" local press is eagle-eyed in detecting official remiss

ness, and fearleşs in animadverting on all acts of

public or private oppression. The coolie traffic,

“ though capable of being made a source of profit to

" the port, is constantly reprobated by the colonial

press. Moreover, the Hong Kong executive has,

on various occasions, adopted active measures for

“ redressing wrongs inflicted on the Chinese. But,,

" above all, and more to be relied on , is that public

“ opinion in England, which sympathises with

suffering in every clime.”

On the part attributed to the “ Eaglet," in some of

these buccaneering forays, there will be found, in

the Minutes of the Commission, so often referred to,

traces of some very imperfect examinations of persons


then serving on board, with their equivocating and

unsatisfactory answers.

But the direct, frank, and unequivocal written

confession, drawn up subsequently by the Chief

Magistrate, from the mouth of one of her engineers,

not examined before the Commission, will, no doubt,

receive in Downing Street and Parliament all that

attention, which, even to the extent of an acknow

ledgement of its reception from the Magistracy, has

been so I am informed by the Chief Magistrate

himself -- hitherto denied to it, on the part of Sir John

Bowring's Government.

As if these connections with the head of Chinese

pirates were not sufficient for Mr. Caldwell's purpose,

whatever that purpose may have been, we next find

him contracting, according to Chinese law and usage,

a marriage with his concubine Ayow, a singing girl

from a Chinese brothel, * and the reputed sister, by

adoption, ( or “ sworn sister") of another Chinese girl,

Shap Lok , inmate and keeper of a brothel at Hong

Kong ; and who, --such is one of the reluctant

findings of the Caldwell Commission,t – in the year

* Both Mr. Caldwell, and Ayow his wife (whom he called as a

witness ), admit the character of " singing girl," but deny that the

domicil was a brothel. But the direct evidence of her early

friend, Mr. Inglis, J.P., and that of Mr. May, leaves no doubt of the

fact. Compare Minutes, pp. 18. 22.

† Report, p. 2. It is true that, in their ignorance of the English

law, by which alone they conceived themselves bound strictly to

govern their enquiries, into the fitness of Mr. Caldwell for the Com

mission of the Peace, the Comnission, whilst they find the “ reputa

tion,” of sistership and affinity, find that there is no other proof

of the fact; as if there were need of any ! In the same mistaken

notion of the effect of reputation in matters of pedigree or character,



1858, received from a Chinese pawn- broking firm , a

large bribe, avowedly for having tampered with the

administration of criminal justice.

There had been made, through Mr. Caldwell, à

most improper, yet most successful, application to

Dr. Bridges' Government,-- for the remission of the

sentence of transportation, passed by the Supreme

Court, on one of their partners,—who had been con

victed of the offence of receiving stolen goods, under

very aggravated circumstances; and against which

application the Chief Justice, the jury, and the

Attorney -General, had strongly protested.

This Shap Lok was the go -between, who negotiated

the business, and the hand to receive the bribe ; --

only a small portion of that bribe being intended for

her own recompense ;-at least, so it was understood

between her and the Chinese applicants.

The punishment of fourteen years'transportation

was altogether remitted ;-and the short term of im

prisonment for three years — certainly not more than

three - was substituted.

The bribe was thereupon duly paid.

With reference to these deplorable facts, the Com

missioners ' Report is as follows :

“ It has also been proved that a Chinese female

they rejected the testimony of a score of witnesses, who came to prove

the family - connections of Mrs. Caldwell.

It is curious that she, and even her husband, in denying her own

sistership with Shap Lok, admit that of their respective mothers

(pp. 27, 29) , and that “ Chinese connections" were only thrown off

by her after her “ conversion ” to, and marriage in, the Church of

England, some years after their first intercourse and they do not

deny that, even now , Shap Lok " frequently " sees him officially at

his own house and, on those occasions, sees Mrs. Caldwell also (p.96 ).


" named Shap Lok, who had been in FREQUENT COM

MUNICATION WITH Mr. Caldwell (and is reported,

“ but not proved, * to be a sister, by Chinese usage,

" of Mrs. Caldwell), received from the Foo Tai

“ pawnshop, the sum of FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS ;

“ because the sentence on a pawnbroker, belonging to

“ the said shop, had been mitigated, as was supposed,

through her influence; and that she received a

“FURTHER sum of FIFTY DOLLARS, for her personal

" trouble in the matter."

It would have been well for the Commissioners to

have found, more distinctly, the object for which the

first of these sums was levied .

But, as they distinctly do state that this is one of

their unanimous findings, “ in support of the infer

ence that Mr. Caldwell is unfit to be aa Justice of the

Peace;" but from which inference from the facts so

found, they, by a bare “ majority ” + dissented, the

public are left to suppose that, in the unaminous

opinion of that Commission ,-as the fifty dollars,

were appropriated to the personal compensation of

Shap Lok, for her agency and “ frequent communi

cation " with Mr. Caldwell in the matter,—so the

four hundred dollars were appropriated , in some

manner, to the benefit of the agent, through whom

the purport of these communications had been so

successfully pressed, upon the depositary ofthe Queen's

Prerogative of Grace.

If so,, it adds to the gravity of the case, that it is

of a date so recent as the spring of 1858 — a period

* See the preceding note .

† Sworn by their Chairman, on cross-examination, at the subse

quent trial of the Queen v. Tarrant, to have been a majority of ONE


F 2


posterior by many months to the conviction of Mah

Chow Wong, to the discovery of the entries in his

trade books and private papers, so seriously incul

pating Mr. Caldwell, and compromising his official

accomplices , and to the terrible warning, which those

parties received, in the production—before the several

public departments , the Executive Council, and even

the community at large ( for the Government organ ,

the China Mail newspaper, had published them as

widely as its own circulation extended ) , — of the

proofs and evidences of their guilty connivances and

procurements on the behalf of, at least, that one con

victed criminal, - of, at least, that one member of the

great Chinese gang.:

I say , that it adds to the gravity of the case. For

it shows the sense they still entertained of their per

sonal security, strength, and pre-eminence , even on

the very eve of the mock enquiry, into what is called

the Caldwell Case .

In that point of view, I think it a more instructive

example, than many instances of older date , which

the witnesses against that man adduced , to justify their

opinion of his character ; but all of which the Com

inissioners have silently

· Doff'd aside,

And bid them pass ,"

without " finding " or notice !

I here allude to the atrocious part which Mah Chow

Wong himself and hisother confederates had, in the cap

ture,-in 1857,—under the false imputation of being

pirates, of upwards of seventy “ longhaired” Chinese re

bels, some on the high seas,—others relying peaceably on

British protection , — and in their surrender, without a


trial, to the cruellest of deaths, at the hands of the.

Imperialists on the opposite shore to Hong Kong ;

and this at a time when, under the supposition that

we were at war with the latter, as we then professed

to be, the murdered men had been soliciting our al

liance with the Tai Ping Wang, and offering their

help in the common quarrel, as they imagined it.*

I allude to the charges brought against him by

Mr. May, J.P. , Superintendent of Police, imputing

complicity with Mah Chow Wong in the celebrated

" Gold Dust Case; " where the latter culprit, with his

aid, deceived Mr. May into the surrender, into the

hands of aa false claimant, belonging to the Mah Chow

Wong, of the portions of the stolen property which

Mr. May's vigilance had recovered, and of which he

had taken custody, on behalf of the absent owner.†

I allude to the evidence of the Assistant Police

Magistrate, Mr. Mitchell, on the pending accusations

of Mr. May, J.P., against Mr. Caldwell and Mah

Chow Wong, in connection with the felonious removal

of tin slabs, belonging to Sic-Qua, of Canton, com

mitted at Hong Kong some years ago, and commonly

called the “ Tin Case .” | At the request of his

friends, the firm of Messrs. Gilman and Co. , Mr.

Mitchell acted, he says, in that matter for Sic-Qua,

and employed Mr. Caldwell, then Assistant Superin

tendent of Police, to aid in the recovery of the goods.

That firm was then represented by Mr. Hudson, now re

sident in England, as is his senior partner, Mr. Gilman,

* Minutes, pp. 47,52, 88, 95. And see the contemptuous terms,

in which this surrender is spoken of by the Imperialists, in the

papers printed in the Hong Kong Gazette, April, 1857 .

† Minutes, pp. 38, 45 .

Ibid , pp. 43, 56–78.


and able to give his evidence as to what was the cha

racter of the assistance so rendered . “ The impres

sion ,” according to Mr. Mitchell, “left on his mind ,

was one highly unfavourable to Mr. Caldwell, as to

want of honesty ."

I allude to the audacious but too successful at

tempts to defeat justice, of which, according to the

same two last-named justices of the peace , Mr.

Caldwell was guilty, so recently as the end of 1856,

and whilst still commanding the “Eaglet,"—in favour

of his partner, the same Mah Chow Wong ;—then

under charge of forcibly obstructing the police, with

intent to prevent, and with the effect of preventing,

the arrest of a Chinaman there present, on a well

founded charge of robbery. The robber escaped.

But, in the absence of Mr. May, Mah Chow Wong

was released, and the charge against him dismissed,

through the personal interference of Mr. Caldwell,

with a court uninformed of the circumstances.

And finally — not to multiply instances, for they are

many — I allude to the vindictive prosecution-quite

unsuccessful to convict, but quite successful to terrify

him into leaving the jurisdiction -- of Tongakii, the

best and most honest of all the Chinese interpreters,

employed in the public service - upon a false charge

of felony :-a prosecution ,, coincident in date * with

the conviction of Mah Chow Wong, promoted by the

gold -dust convict himself, and by Pang -poi.ying ( “ a

teacher from Government House ” ), and brought into

action, with Mr. Caldwell's aid , by the sudden arrest of

the man ; whose innocence was immediately after esta

blished to the satisfaction of a jury, and whose real

* See notice of Motion , by E. James, Esq. , M.P. Article 7 .


offence consisted in his having stood in the way of

his two accusers, in their attempts to procure their

pardons. For it was through his great local know

ledge, that all attempts, to throw discredit upon the

conviction of the first had been defeated! ; and it was

he, whose translation of the books and papers of the

other convict, Mah Chow Wong, had armed Mr.

May with the means of withstanding the shameless

efforts, in which Mr. Caldwell and his associated

Executive Councillors were then (October, 1858 )

engaged, to make out a plausible pretext for the

pardon of the last-named convict.

And yet, there is one incident, connected with Mah

Chow Wong, on which the Commission have come to

two findings of a most remarkable character — too re

markable, indeed, not to deserve to be noticed

together, and under one separate head, in the present

classification .


They say, that " they think it unnecessary to make

any other observation , regarding the charge [against

“ Mr. Caldwell], of audaciously denying, that the

“ books and papers of the pirate's Hong contained

any evidence of Mah Chow Wong's guilt, of having

“ deceived the Executive Council in the inquiry had,

“ relative to Mah Chow Wong ( ! ), and of being con

56 victed of falsehood by Mr. May - than that there is

no evidence of Mr. Caldwell having deceived the

• Executive Council.” From which, I presume, we are

to infer, that there is evidence of the truth of all the

other particulars contained in the recited charge ; as

to which, however, there is no finding at all ; “ further

observation ” being “ unnecessary ".

And yet, in the very next page, they say, they do

think it not “ unnecessary,” and, by way of continua


tion of this bungling and often contradictory " obser

servation ,” return to the subject, and “ state” as

follows :


“In the course of the Inquiry, it has come to our

knowledge, that, previous to the appointment of the






It is true, that they absurdly add -- for they had 2

only the guilty party's word , for the palliation of that

gross outrage on the public records of the Supreme

Court and Superintendency of Police, -and, above all,

on the course of public justice,—that ;

“ It has been CLEARLY PROVED , that their destruc

" tion was ordered solely because they [occupying

" in all the space of a cubic foot] encumbered the

“ Chinese Secretary's office ;"*** -- [ to which, not being a

Colonial office at all, they did not, in any way, belong ;

being there merely on the Plenipotentiary's request,

as will be presently seen , to have the loan of them

from their proper departments above mentioned, for

a66 special purpose and for a limited period] ; “ while

“ it appeared that they were then of no value, and

- could not be required .”

But, as upon the subsequent trial of the Queen

v. Tarrant, the Chairman of the Commission, after

having heard the cross -examination, upon oath, of

both the persons, upon whose evidence the above

apology was received by the Commission, did hiinself

declare, upon his own cross-examination, that, as

compared with their former unsworn testimony, their

* Compare Mr. Mongan's evidence in the Queen v. Tarrant, as to

the volume of these documents,


latter and sworn testimony really amounted to " new

evidence ” on this point, -- it would be unfair in me to

criticise further this awry excuse, offered in good

nature, and upon an erroneous belief, -- produced by

direct mis-statement-of an utterly inexcusable crime.

I shall, therefore rejecting this superadded matter

--confine myself to the “ observation” and “ state

ment ” which together form , in fact, one substantial


..And I proceed to do so under the next following

head .






Mau Chow Wong had been charged before the Police

Court, in July, 1857, on two informations, for piracy,

and confederating with pirates.

The sitting magistrate was, in the first instance,

Mr. May, J.P., and afterwards Mr. Davies, the chief

magistrate ; an order to that effect having been ob

tained by Mr. Caldwell, J.P. , through his influence

> ‫ܙ‬

with Dr. Bridges.

If the chief magistrate was selected, because—a new

arrival in the colony-he was likely to know but little

of the pirate's history, there was, in the two cases be

fore him , inore than enough to make him very con


versant with the main incidents in that history, long

before he found hiinself in a position to commit both

cases for trial in the Supreme Court.

But Mr. Davies has publicly acknowledged, that, but

for the skill, patience, and zeal displayed by Mr. May,

from the outset of the case to the end, complete justice

would not in all probability have been done .

For Mr. Caldwell, J.P., instead of lending his ser

vices, as a detective,* to the Government, did his best

to defeat the prosecution. It was he who found bail

for the prisoner—and his own servant, one Sze-Kai,

but recently out of a debtor's prison, was recommended

by him to be Mah Chow Wong's responsible bailsman ,

and on that recommendation, accepted -- a fact found

by the Commission.t It was by him that Mah Chow

Wong's witnesses were marshalled. It was he who

procured his own attorney to appear for the culprit,

instructed him , and assisted him at consultations. It

was by him , in fine, sitting on the bench as justice of

the peace, that attempts were made, at an early stage

of the first case, to prime the chief magistrate with

thoughts favourable to the prisoner ; until Mr. Davies

found it necessary to remind him , that the alleged

Chinese affinity with that prisoner, through his ( Mr.

Caldwell's ) former concubine, Awoon, made it highly

indelicate to be there sitting on the bench at all, whilst

Chinamen were amongst the spectators, and, on the

same ground, caused him to be warned to stay away

from that bench during the subsequent examinations.

The books and papers of the pirate had been seized

in his Hong: They contained numerous entries, of

Mr. Caldwell's participation in the secret business and

profits of the pirate. There were entries of moneys

* Ordinance of 1857. # Report, p. 2.


received from him -- of moneys paid or payable to him

--- of arms, stinkpots, and munitions of piracy, supplied

by, or through, him - of his connection, as agent or

manager of the ' Sun -on -Wo ,' or House of the Sun-on

people at Hong Kong, (the gang of Mah Chow Wong)

—of communications with the Chinese enemy on the

opposite shore, at a time when rewards for Barbarian

heads were the subject of every proclamation - of deal.

ings with gambling-houses at Hong Kong -- of ad

ministration of Mah Chow Wong's estate of Tsim

char-chew already mentioned, on the other shore, the

rightful inheritance of the Tung family, - and of the

transactions of the now confessed partnership in the

lorchas. At a preliminary examination, some of these

items were read out openly in a crowded police court.

Mr. Caldwell knew he could not but have known

the existence of these dishonouring entries. But he

made no sign of knowledge. He continued, after as be

fore, and even to the last, openly to befriend the pirate

whose hand had recorded those entries to his discredit ;

he tried to prevent a committal, and he failed ; he

tried to prevent a conviction in the Supreme Court,

and he failed ; he tried to strip that conviction of all

its fruit, and , but for Mr. May, the Superintendent of

Police, and Mr. Dixson , the Government Printer, he

would have succeeded . As it happened, however , even

that hopeful attempt failed also ; and it has since failed

so often as renewed, the facts being too strong and

notorious ;-until at length, after more than a year's

expectation, the confederates have been compelled to

send forth Mah Chow Wong to his place of transporta

tion . He was sentenced in the first week of September,

1857. He was not sent away from Hong Kong,, until

the end of November, 1858.


The pretext, on which both Dr. Bridges and Mr.

Caldwell wished the Executive Council to grant the

pardon and release of the miscreant, was, that the

evidence, on which the conviction was, to their minds,

and to those of Mr. Day (the prisoner's counsel, who

was afterwards appointed to be my successor) , and

of Mr. Stace, the prisoners and Mr. Caldwell's

attorney, not satisfactory.

But, even assuming their pretended doubts to be

well founded, there was still another information

against him for aа fresh piracy, and on much stronger

evidence, outstanding against him. Sir John Bow

ring, in the Legislative Council, on the 10th May,

1858, indeed, hastily declared, that he had ordered a

nolle prosequi upon the latter information ;* an arbi

trary and illegal interference with justice, which it

would be hard to charge against His Excellency, upon

such slender ground as his own unsupported asser

tion ;-opposed, as that assertion is, to the evidence of

his Acting Attorney General and his Acting Colonial

Secretary, and to the probabilities of the case .

That it was determined, however, to release Mah

Chow Wong, even pending that second information,

because of the pretended want of evidence against him

to support the first, there can be no doubt whatever .

For it is now admitted by Dr. Bridges himself, and

upon oath .

And I will now narrate the steps by which that

result was to be arrived at.

The pirate's books and papers had been considered,

by the Supreme Court, the principal evidence against


It was now resolved to rest his claiın of pardon

* Minutes, etc., pp. 49, 88.


upon the bold denial, of their containing any evidence

whatever of his guilt ; and the “ scientific" evidence

of Mr. Caldwell - competent enough in the colloquial

dialect, but hardly able to read the Chinese character

-was vouched in proof of that assertion .

Access had been allowed him to all the books and

papers at the Police Office, and, apparently, at the

Supreme Court ;-and, by a more criminal indulgence

an order was made for the delivery to the “ convict's

friends," of the residue, which had been left at the

Central Police Station ; and this order was presented

by Mr. Caldwell himself, as the “ friend” of the con

vict ; and it was executed in his favour.

But a very simple circumstance had occurred, which

seriously hindered the working of the scheme. Mr.

Dixson, the Government printer — from of old steady


and vigilant in his distrust ofthe connection" between

Mr. Caldwell and Mah Chow Wong*—had heard with

surprise of the intention to pardon the convict, and

let him loose again upon the community.

To defeat this design, he printed in his newspapert

an analysis of so much of the contents of the books

and papers as convicted Mah Chow Wong and also,

but with hesitation , some of those which did the same

for Mr. Caldwell .

Mr. Dixson was invited to attend the Executive

Council, and give in the authority for his version.

Mr. Dixson did attend ; and, after being browbeaten

by the Government, he says, as if — not Mah Chow

Wong, but— " he himself was on his trial,” did, with

Mr. May's permission, vouch Mr. May and the “ Two


Memoranda,” which , with Tong Akii's help, he had

* Minutes , pp . 6-9 .

† The China Mail, 17th Sept. , 1857 .


compiled from those documents. Mr. May, who was

also present, produced and verified those “ Memo

randa," and they were read aloud by the clerk.

Their contents being to the effect above stated,

the reading excited the greatest sensation in the

minds of all present. Nor was this sensation dimin

ished, when, at the Governor's instance, a private

report, negativing the existence of any suspicious

entries, or of any entries whatever, except a few

unimportant ones, was also produced and read.*

It is now admitted, that this report had been prepared

and presented by Mr. Caldwell himself — the party

under suspicion of practising deceit upon the Govern

ment ; — that the books and papers had actually been

referred to him for that purpose ; —that, although the

Acting Chinese Secretary, Mr. Mongan , had been

directed to " help " him , the chief part in the exami

nation had fallen the accused, and that the labour

of his assistant ad been " very cursory " ; — that all


these documents had meanwhile remained in the

custody of the Chinese clerks of the Plenipotentiary,

Sir John Bowring, with whom they had been lodged

by Dr. Bridges, on his obtaining the loan of them

from the magistracy, for the purposes of this pre

tended examination ; - and that there is no doubt

that, even before they reached Mr. Mongan's hands,

already an abstraction of documentary evidence - and

this for the express purpose of enabling Mah Chow

Wong to make out his fiction of a lack of evidence

and so entitle himself to a pardon , -- had taken place.

“ The council," says Mr. Dixson, an eye-witness,

* Evidence for the Crown in the Queen v. Tarrant ; November

Session , 1858.


was very suddenly broken up." Under all the cir

cumstances, and the more especially because strangers

were present, I can very well imagine it.

These facts becoining public, a show of zeal was

needed to quench the scandal .

A new reference was directed, but to Mr. Wade, this

time, the chief Chinese Secretary. Dr. Bridges

caused the papers - including Mr. May's “ Two

Memoranda"- to be submitted to that gentleman for

his opinion and report. Only he forgot to inform

him, that Mr. Mongan was of opinion that some of the

documents had been abstracted by the friends of

Mah Chow Wong, subsequently to the preparation of

those “ Memoranda" by Mr. May.

In Mr. Wade's possession these documents remained ,

down to his departure with Lord Elgin's mission to

the North of China. He left behind him, in the

Chinese Secretary's Office, the books and papers of

the pirate's Hong, but not Mr. May's “ Memoranda. ”

These, by some accident, were confused with the

papers of the mission, stowed in his despatch box,

and so carried to the north . No communication

having been made to him on the subject, from Hong

Kong, it was not until his return to Shanghae, to

wards the beginning of this year, that he learned that

they had been inquired after by Mr. May, and their

very existence ignored, or even denied, by Dr. Bridges

and Sir John Bowring, and the grossest aspersions

cast on the veracity of those who asserted them to

have been in his custody. When I left Hong Kong

for England, the arrival of those important documents

from Shanghae was hourly expected.

During the proceedings in this case of Mah Chow

Wong, from his third or fourth appearance in the


Police Court, down to about six weeks after the sifted

books and papers of his Hong, and the “ Two Meino

randa ” of Mr. May, thus got into Mr. Wade's hands,

I had been absent in India upon sick leave. I never

heard a syllable of what had occurred, until after my

return .

But I now endeavoured to recall the attention of

Government, to the scandalous connection between

Mah Chow Wong and Mr. Caldwell; on which I had,

on the 4th July, 1857, already officialised His Excel

lency, begging a reference to the heads of the Police

and Jail Departments; and on which the gentlemen

in question, Mr. May, J.P., and Mr. Inglis, J.P. , being

so referred to, had expressed sentiments in unison with

mine, and had moreover submitted, in illustration

and support of those opinions, facts previously

unknown to me.

In the presence of these endeavours, on iny part,

of the general distrust of Mr. Caldwell amongst the

public departments, and of the conviction, which

every one, conversant with the proceedings in Execu

tive Council, must have entertained, of the dishonest

purpose, with which he had composed his false compi.

lation of the entries relating to the convict and himself,

it cannot but have occurred to the minds of Sir John

Bowring and Dr. Bridges, that, as well the originals,

as Mr. May's “ memoranda” from them , were now of

as much importance as ever, -if, indeed, they had

not become— (regard being had to the use I was like to

make ofthem )—of still greater importance, than when

the question they were used to solve, was merely one

of the guilt or innocence of a Hong Kong Chinese


Therefore their destruction , at such a juncture,


by the hands of those officials themselves, must be

regarded, not merely as a wanton waste of public

records belonging to another and an independent

department of the service,—but, much more, as a deli

berate spoliation of evidence, the production whereof

was known to be, at the period of such spoliation,

most necessary to the due determination of imputa

tions of the gravest magnitude, on the character and

conduct of that officer, whom the Hong Kong Govern

ment had made the sole representative of the Queen

of England, before the eyes of Her Majesty's Chinese

subjects, -- the sole medium through which they were

to receive and learn their lesson, of allegiance and

loyalty, to the still higher Majesty of English Law.

Nevertheless, that spoliation of evidence was com

mitted ;-by the hand of Mr. Mongan, in obedience to

the orders of Dr. Bridges, and with the assent — so the

latter asserts — most certainly with the tacit connivance

-of Sir John Bowring.

The guilty mind can rarely, with safety to its scheme

of defence, condescend upon particulars, and least of

all upon dates.

In the present instance, it is to me nearly indifferent,

whether I take, as the true date of spoliation , the un

sworn and more favourable computation, with which

the Caldwell Commissioners suffered themselves to

be amused, or that computation -- probably much less

untrue - which , under the pressure of a cross -exami

nation upon oath, was wrung from the Acting

Colonial Secretary, Dr. Bridges, at the trial in the

Supreme Court.

In the first hypothesis, the burning of the docu

ments took place between the 20th and the 30th

March, 1858.



In the latter, it was “ about six weeks before the

“ fact, of their having been burned , was made known


by Government to the Commission ; which appears

by their minutes to have not been made known to

them until the 17th June then following.

In either hypothesis, the spoliation of evidence was

perpetrated, long after my conclusions and intentions

were fully apprehended.

Only, if the latter hypothesis be the true one - and , -

since it is the latest,, and also given in upon oath,

and, therefore, the more mature of the twain , I am

bound to assume that it is the least untrue -- it will -

follow ,—that the said spoliation did not take place


until about five days, at least, after the debate of the

10th May last, * in the Legislative Council upon the

case of Mr. Caldwell's connection with Mah Chow

Wong - in which debate, the Government and Dr.

Bridges both admitted that the documents were, at

that time, in existence and producible — about two

days after my own resignation of the Justiceship of

the Peace,† on the express ground of Mr. Caldwell's

being still retained in the commission of the peace,

about a day after the second debate ( 14th May, 1858 ),

in the Legislative Council on the same subject, when

the former admission of their existence was reiterated.

--about two days before the date of my appeal to the

Secretary of State, t - and about the same number of

days before the first official announcementę ofany in

tention, on the part of the Bowring and Bridges'

* Minutes, etc. , p . 32.

+ Letters of the 13th May, 1858, to the Acting Colonial


Letter of the 17th May, 1858, to Lord Stanley , M.P.

$ Letter of the 17th May, 1858, to myself.


Government, to institute any inquiry whatever into

any matters which the production of those documents

—if not destroyed - could, by any possibility, have

elucidated .

In either hypothesis, therefore, I am prepared to

adopt the language of the libel, which formed the

subject-matter of prosecution, in the Queen v. Tar

rant, and to say of this spoliation of evidence ,

in its connection with the absurd findings of the

Caldwell Commission with respect to it , -- that, if

“the principal charge broke down " -it was solely

" through a contemptible and damnable trick, .on the

part of the Government - a trick, which should

certainly be punished in some way or other : for it

“ is farcical to suppose, that it was not performed

" after deep meditation, and with reference to con

sequences." *

For these words, which , in the judgment of those

spoliators of evidence, amounted to seditious libel

against the Queen, Mr. Tarrant, the proprietor of

the newspaper in which they appeared, was put upon

his trial for that misdemeanor. It is true, that he had

merited prosecution, for daring to give evidence, before

the Caldwell Commission of the early life and conversa

tion of the Protector of Chinese and Brothels' Licenser.

I subjoin a concise, but on the whole, accurate

report of the proceedings and evidence, which I find

in the Daily Press.t

* Friend of China , newspaper, 28lh July, 1858 .

+ Daily Press, newspaper, 31st November, 1858.






The Eighteenth day of November, One thousand eight hundred

andfifty - eight.

Hong Kong towit . - The Acting Attorney -General charges William

Tarrant, of the Colony of Hong Kong aforesaid , Editor of the News

paper- called the Friend of China, with having, with intent to move

the Queen's subjects to hatred and contempt of the Queen's Go

vernment in the said Colony, and to cause it to be believed that a

certain grave and scandalous charge having been preferred, with

others to the said Government, against Daniel Richard Caldwell,

Esquire, Registrar-General of the said Colony, and submitted to the

investigation of a Commission appointed for that purpose by Sir

John Bowring, the Governor of the said Colony, and which said

charge might have been satisfactorily proved before the said Com

mission, but for the interference of the said Government to prevent

it, the said Government had perpetrated some wicked and con

temptible maneuvre for the purpose of preventing, and in effect

had thereby prevented , the establishment of the said charge to the

satisfaction of the said Commission , heretofore, to wit on the twenty

eighth day of July in this present year, one thousand eight hundred

and fifty -eight, in the Colony aforesaid , falsely and maliciously

printed and published a certain scandalous, false, and malicious

libel of and concerning the said Government according to the tenor

and effect following ( that is to say ), “ the principal charge” (mean

ing the said charge against the said Daniel Richard Caldwell)“ broke

down ,” (meaning that the said charge was not established to the

satisfaction of the said Commission ) “ through a contemptible,

damnable trick on the part of Government ” (meaning the said

Government), " a trick which should certainly be punished in some

way or other, for it is farcical to suppose that it was not performed

after deep mediation and with reference to consequences ."

(Signed) FREDK . WM , GREEN .

William Tarrant, take notice that you will be tried on this In

formation at the Criminal Sessions at the Supreme Conrt, to be

holden at Victoria, in and for the Colony of Hong Hong, on the


eighteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand

eight hundred and fifty -eight, and following days.

A. WEATHERHEAD , Clerk of Court.



The Queen against William Tarrant.

And now the said William Tarrant in his own proper person comes

into Court here, and having heard the said information read , says

that he is not guilty of the premises charged in the said information

or any part thereof.

And for a further plea to the said Information, the said de

fendant protesting that he is not guilty as aforesaid, nevertheless,

according to the form of the statute in such case provided , says that

the said alleged libel in the said Information mentioned was printed

and published by him, the said defendant, after the passing of the Act

of Parliament of the seventh year of the Queen, chapter ninety -six ,

to wit on the day and year in the said Information mentioned , and

not otherwise; and that, before the composing , printing , and pub

lishing of the same alleged libel, to wit on the 26th day of January ,

in the 21st year of the said Queen , one William Thomas Bridges

did, by connivance with Sir John Bowring , in the said Information

mentioned , unlawfully , contemptuously, and against the express

declaration of the said Queen and of the Government of the Queen ,

accroach , assume and usurp unto himself the Government of the

said Colony, and the powers, authorities, and duties thereof within

the same , and in particular, the authority to bind the obedience ofthe

several departments of and subordinate to the said Government of

the said Colony, and to require command and compel the several

officers thereof, in all cases, to consider, respect, and render obe

dience, to all instructions given by him , the said W. T. Bridges, as

though the same instructions had emanated , or should emanate, from

a Governor lawfully appointed by the said Queen , in and for the

said Colony ; and such his unlawful accroachments, assumptions,

and usurpations did - on the day and year last aforesaid - publish and


notify unto the several proper officers of all the said departments

respectively, for the information and guidance of them , and of all

other officers of the Colonial Government, to wit, the said Govern.

ment of the said Queen in the said Colony, and with intent to cause

and compel them respectively to submit to his pretended authority,

and to obey him , the said W. T. Bridges, and his said accroached,

assumed , and usurped Government, and other his accroachments,

assumptions, and usurpations aforesaid . And the said defendant fur

ther says, that the said William Thomas Bridges did afterwards,

to wit, on the day and year last aforesaid , act in and exercise his

said pretended authority and other the functions, powers, and

authorities of his said accroached , assumed , and usurped Govern

ment, and did, from the day and year last aforesaid , for aa consider

able time, to wit, down to the composing , printing , and publishing

of the alleged libel, continue so to accroach , assume, and usurp as

aforesaid , and so to act in and exercise the samepretended authority ,

and other the said functions, powers, and authorities as aforesaid .

And the said defendant further says, that, during the said continuance

of the said W. T. Bridges so to accroach , assume, and usurp, and

so to act and exercise as aforesaid , and before the composing , print

ing, and publishing of the said alleged libel, to wit, on or about the

month of May, in the twenty - first year of the said Queen , he, the

said W. T. Bridges, did unlawfully, contemptuously , and against

the express declaration of the said Queen , cause certain public

papers and records of the said Queen, of great value and importance

to the peace and good order of the said Colony, and to the honour

and reputation of the Queen and her Government, and whereby , if

preserved and produced , the truth or falsehood of certain criminal

charges and accusations, theretofore made and then pending before

the Queen against the said Daniel Richard Caldwell, would appear,

and which were then in the said accroached, assumed , and usurped

power of the said W. T. Bridges, to be burned and destroyed, to

wit, in the said Colony, by the hands of certain persons, unto

the said defendant unknown , then having the custody or possession

of the said papers and records respectively , and did thereby de

feat, avoid, and make impossible whatever inquiry the said Queen

or her said Government might, and otherwise would have directed

to be made, into the truth or falsehood of the said charges, and

the contents of the said papers and records respectively, to wit,

in the said Colony ; and the said W. T. Bridges did there


upon, to wit, in or about the month of June in the said 21st year

of the said Queci, publicly, to wit, in the said Colony, avow and

acknowlege his having so caused the said papers and records to be

burned and destroved as aforesaid . Wherefore the said defendant, at

the said time and place, in the said Information mentioned , did print

and publish, of and concerning the said W. T. Bridges and of his

said accroached , assumed , and usurped Government as aforesaid, the

said alleged libel in the said Information mentioned , with intent

and in order that the said W. T. Bridges, and the said certain other

persons unknown, might be lawfully punished for their several and

respective actings in the premises. And the said defendant does

aver , that it was for the public benefit, that the matters, charged in


the said alleged libel in the said Information mentioned , should be

printed and published as aforesaid , and that the particular fact by

reason whereof it was for the public benefit that the said matter so

charged should be so printed and published as aforesaid, was and is

that the said alleged libel was so printed and published by the said

defendant in order to the lawful punishment of the said W. T.

Bridges, and of the said other persons unknown, who then and there

were guilty of the lawful and contemptuous actings aforesaid . Without

this, that he the said defendant did, at the time in the said Informa

tion in that behalf alleged or ever print or publish the said alleged

libel, with the intents or with the meanings in the said Information

respectively alleged, or with any or either of the same respectively.

And this the said defendant is ready to verify. Wherefore he prays

Judgment of the Court here, and that he may be dismissed and dis

charged of the premises in the Information above specified

( Signed ) W. TARRANT.



On the part of the prosecution ;

De Injuria sua propria, absque tali causa ;

On which issue wasjoined.


The Government called three witnesses -

First, · Dr. Bridges,

late acting Colonial Secretary ; Mr. Mongan, acting Chinese

Secretary ; and the Honourable Mr. Cleverly, the Surveyor


The evidence of the first -named witness (Dr. Bridges, the ex

Colonial Secretary ), was to the effect, that he had been Acting

Attorney -General in 1854 and 1855, and Acting Colonial Secretary

in 1853 and 1858 — that by Government he understood the Governor

and himself, and no other person or Council, that by a Circular

Memorandum of the 26th January, 1858 (which was produced ), the

Governor had required all departments to attend to every instruc

tion of his (Dr. B.'s ), whether it had emanated from the Government

or not; and the Governor had also empowered him to intercept and

reject official letters on their way to His Excellency, if he thought

fit — that the Attorney -General (Mr. Anstey), the Colonial Trea


surer (Mr. Forth), the Chlef Magistrate (Mr. Davies ), and the Super

intendent of Police (Mr. May ), had refused to obey this Circular as

illegal — that Mr. Anstey had written to the Secretary of State


about it - that Mr. Davies had demanded in Legislative Council

thàt the Secretary of State should be consulted - that Mr. May had

officially requested in his own case that such a reference might be

made - that Dr. Bridges did not know that, from first to last, the

Secretary of State had ever been consulted or informed by the

Government on the subject — that Mr. May's letter had not been

referred home, but the writer had been threatened with suspension

or censure for “ insubordination ” - that the other public depart

ments had submitted to the arrangements made by the Circular

that he (Dr. Bridges) had, whilst Acting Attorney -General, libelled

Sir John Bowring, the Governor, in the same newspaper ( the

Friend of China ), by inserting therein an extract from Legare's book ,

with intent to ridicule him ( which libel was read in open court ],

but that he did not consider it a " seditious " libel — that it did not


follow from Sir John and himself being the " Government,” that a

personal libel against either or both of them would be necessarily

" seditious" that his own libel against Sir John was personal, "

not “ seditious" that he could not say what was a seditious libel

without seeing it that he could not say whether the libellous

History of the Greek Loan, if published here from the Annual

Register for 1826, would be a “ seditious " libel or not that Mah .

Chow Wong was a notorious pirate and confederate of pirates, to use


the Doctor's own words, and had been a bad character for years

that Mr. Caldwell's alleged intimacy with him was equally notorious

- that Mr. Caldwell had made strong efforts to obtain the pirate's

pardon , but had been foiled by the production before the Executive

Council of certain papers found on a pirate named Beaver, during

an inquiry into the items of Mr. May's memo. taken from the

papers previously seized in the hong of Mah -Chow Wong the pirate

- that, but for Mr. May's memoranda having been produced, the

Governor would have pardoned Mah - Chow Wong long before the

production of Beaver's papers - Mr. Caldwell was accordingly

directed to examine the papers themselves, and compare them with

the newspaper report — that Mr. Mongan was merely to assist him

- that Mr. Caldwell reported that the papers did not implicate even

Mah - Chow Wong, much less himself - that Mr. May's memoranda

being then produced in Council, and Mr. Mougan being unable to

say more than that his own examination of the papershad been very

cursory ," a new inquiry was ordered to be made by his official

superior, Mr. Wade--that Mr. Wade's report was either never made,

or never produced that he (Dr. Bridges) had been asked what was


to be done with Mah - Chow Wong's papers that he had ordered

them to be burned ; and that, as to Mr. May's memoranda, he never

knew what had become of them from the time Mr. May put them

into his hands. He admitted that, notwithstanding the finding of

the Caldwell Committee, his notorious connection with the pirate,

and all the reports of the various departments - especially from the

Chief Magistrate, of aa date subsequent to the Caldwell Commission

inquiry, and which were read in Court to him Mr. Caldwell had

not been cailed to account by Government, because he had done

nothing worthy of being called to account for.

The evidence of the second witness (Mr. Mongan, the Assistant

Chinese Secretary ), proved that Mr. Caldwell examined part of the

papers without their having first gone through his hands -

- that

when the papers were received, one of the packages containing them

had been opened that it was his conviction that the papers had

been tampered with, and some abstracted, before they came under

his charge - that his impression was, that the motive for so tamper

ing with them was the removal of the evidences of guilt against

Mah - Chow Wong, whose release it was Mr. Caldwell's object to

effect that he had applied to the Governor as to what was to be

done with the papers C

that the Governor referred him to Dr.


Bridges — that Dr. Bridges had told him to burn them and that


the libel was true thus far at least, that a contemptible, damnable trick

had been practised in suppressing those papers.


The evidence of the third and last Government witness (Mr.

Cleverly , the Surveyor -General) proved that he had been the Chair

man of the Commission of Five appointed by the Governor to inves

tigate Mr. Caldwell's conduct --- that two were against Caldwell, and

two for him , of whom one (Mr. Lyall) had been named as a friend

of Dr. Bridges, and to protect his interests. That he was very much

surprised when he learnt that the Mah - Chow Wong papers were

burnt that he had heard them referred to in the Legislative

Council in Dr. Bridges' presence on the 10th and 14th May, which

was long after the period when it is stated that they were burnt,

and they were spoken of as if then in existence - that the demeanour

of the Governor and Dr. Bridges on those occasions was such as to

lead him and everybody to suppose them still in existence that -

the Caldwell Commission had been left to trace the papers, and that

it was not until late on the 16th June, when concealment of the fact

was impossible, that the destruction had been confessed that the

Governor had repudiated the act in toto —· that, during the Caldwell

investigation , the evidence of at least twenty witnesses had been

rejected , which should have been taken , This was done by a

mistake, into which they had been led by the erroneous advice of

Mr. Day, the counsel appointed by Dr. Bridges to assist them —

that the Government has refused to allow the Attorney -General's

protest against Mr. Day's conduct to be printed -- that Mr. Caldwell

used to interrupt and make gestures to the witnesses deponing against

him , which he, as chairman , on the Attorney -General's remonstrance,

had stopped - that since the report of the committee had been


handed in , further evidence against Mr. Caldwell had come to his

knowledge that the evidence of Dr. Bridges and Mr. Mongan was

so different from what had been given by them before the Commis

sion , as to amount to “new evidence" -and that Dr. Bridges had

openly declared before the Commission, that he felt himself bound

as a brother Freemason to stand by Caldwell, a statement suppressed

in the minutes .

So closed the evidence for the Government.

The result was an immediate verdict for the de.

fendant, without calling on his counsel for the defence.


That there might be no doubt of the jury's mean

ing, I, as counsel for the defendant, reminded them ,

that he had not only traversed the entire information

by the ordinary plea of “ Not Guilty,” but had also

pleaded, in justification of the libel, certain facts,

viz., that the government libelled was not the Queen's

lawful Government, but the " accroached and usurped ".

government of one Dr. Bridges ; that the libellous

matter was true; and that the publication thereof

was for the common good.

I then asked them ---

“Gentlemen, do you find for the defendant on

both these issues ? ”

And their foreman answered

16 We do ! ”

They were a special jury of merchants and bankers.

I was afterwards assured by one of them , M. Vaucher,

the French Consul, that,-far from being prejudiced

in the defendant's favour, his bias, if he had one, was

to spare so great a reproach to Her Majesty's Govern

ment, as such a verdict on such an issue could not

fail to cast; but that the facts were too much for

him .

To my application for costs against the Crown, the

Chief Justice answered most readily

“You shall certainly have them !”

Nor was this the only disgrace sustained by the

Government that day.

On the face of the voluminous and conflicting de

positions of the crown witnesses, in the court of the

magistrate who had committed the case for trial,

wholesale perjury was manifest ; insomuch that my

friend, Mr. Green , the acting attorney -general, in


preference to abiding my threat of exposure, found it

prudent not to endorse the names of the greater

nuinber of them on his information .

Of the three whom he did call, nevertheless, the

first and principal witness, Dr. Bridges, was mate

rially contradicted, not only by the other two, but

also by himself, and this on matters of fact within his

own knowledge.

Laying hold of these startling contradictions, the

defendant, in publishing to his readers the victory he :

had gained over his prosecutor, distinctly charged the

late acting Colonial Secretary with deliberate perjury

in the witness-box ; assigned the particulars of his

charge ; and invited a new prosecution of himself for

preferring it.

So pointed was the accusation , that Dr. Bridges

found himself compelled, by the pressure of public

opinion, to notice it.

But, to the wonder and derision of every one, the

only notice he did take of it was, by circulating,

through another of the newspapers, a letter, informing

the world that he meant to take none at all.

This affectation of indifference did not serve. It

came too late. Within the past twelve months, he

had twice personally prosecuted the same newspaper

--- in the absence of a material witness--- for alleged

libels of a much less serious character ; and the very

perjury, now charged against him, had respect to

evidence, given by him in support of a third prosecu

tion, instituted against the same, in the name of his

own Government.

Consequently, his present determination not to

prosecute, when considered in its natural connection


with the solemn contradictions given on oath, by the

Chief Magistrate, the Surveyor-General, and another

witness, to his own sworn depositions in the police

court, upon matters where an honest mistake, on

either side, was impossible — not to speak of the in

trinsic incoherencies of his own testimony — made the

worst possible impression on every one in the com

munity :

Except only on Sir John Bowring. For so I interpret

the astounding fact, communicated to me by the last

mail, that, since my departure from the colony, his

Excellency has dared to confide into his hands the

responsible duty of locum tenens — for fee and reward

-to the acting Attorney -General in the Supreme

Court ;*—to the renewed terror of the peaceable

Chinese, and to the indignation of the British ;-albeit,

to the wonder perhaps of none, Chinese or British .

Hong Kong Government, at the best, is an ex

pensive occupation - exceeding the local revenue

and demanding a yearly Parliamentary grant.

It may be doubted whether the new House of

Commons will approve the extra allowances, required

to defray the cost of these ever-recurring instances of

corruption and misgovernment.

* Case of the murderers on board of the “ Mastiff,” Hong Kong,

February Sessions, 1859.




The appointment of this Commission arose out of

the following circumstances.

On the 10th May, 1858, the Registration Ordinance

of 1858, already referred to, had reached its last

stagein the Legislative Council.

On my way to attend it, a letter from the Superin

tendent of Police was placed in my hands, to be laid

before the Council, with a view, I presume, to the

question, whether some security should not be taken

against abuse, before the final passing of a measure,

which confirmed so many of the prodigious powers

vested in Mr. Caldwell, under the condemned ordi

nance of the year preceding.

That letter charged positively, that he had already

turned to the profit, of himself or his friends, the large

powers, similarly vested in him by the much more

recent ordinance, which made him Licenser of Chinese


That letter specified the “ Licensed Brothel No.

48 " - a brothel therefore licensed by himself — as

being one, in which he was interested either as im

mediate or as head landlord — the land on which it

stood (“ Inland Lot 241 B.” ), being his property.

I read this letter in my place in Council. My

reasons for doing so—the demeanour and conduct of

the accused and his confederates -- the unanimous

vote of the Council in favor of the incapacitating

clause, which I thereupon moved to add to the Regis

tration Ordinance,—and the ulterior consequences of

these proceedings,-are correctly stated in my printed

evidence before the Commission :

* Minutes, etc. , pp 1, 2.


I knew it was perfectly hopeless sending in any report to the

Executive Government, as Mr. Caldwell was always held up as quite

necessary to the administration of the colony. My second reason

was, that I wished to induce the Legislative Council to do with the

Registration Ordinance what they had neglected to do with the

Brothel Ordinance, and insert a clause disqualifying Mr. Caldwell

and his family from deriving any pecuniary benefit in the exercise

of his functions with regard to that measure. On going into Com.

mittee, accordingly, I moved that clause, and the Committee adopted

it without aa division. The Governor and the Acting Colonial Secre

tary appeared, however, much opposed to it ; the Governor treating

the charge as ridiculous, and the Acting Colonial Secretary as


Dr. Bridges stated himself to be professionally aware of the fact

that Mr. Caldwell had parted with every inch of land he possessed

in the colony before he became Licenser of Brothels, and that he

had acquired none since.

I protested, of course, against this mode of dealing with a charge

which I said I had made upon my liability to punishment if it was


Then Mr. Cleverly ( the Surveyor General), expressing his con

currence with Dr. Bridges (the Acting Colonial Secretary ), proposed

to go down and examine bis books, and returned with the state

ment, that the lot 241 B was registered in the name of Mr. D. R.

Caldwell; on which the Governor apologised to me for having

doubted my statement.

Some one suggested, that perhaps the Crown -rent might not be

paid by Mr. Caldwell, but by somebody else ; to which the Colonial

Treasurer, Mr. Forth , said , he had just examined his books, and his

clerk, Mr. Gilmour, who was present, could tell that the money had

been paid by Mr. Caldwell's own hand ; to which the clerk assented .

The matter then dropped for the time. But about half an hour

afterwards, Dr. Bridges having communicated with Mr. Caldwell,

Mr. Caldwell made his appearance in an adjoining room , and sent in

a written memorandum to Dr. Bridges, which that officer, rudely

interrupting the gentleman who was speaking, insisted on reading

to the Council. He observed , with an air of triumph , “ There now

I thought so-Mr. Caldwell says it's aa mistake ; and it is a mis.

take;" and he read the memorandum to us, which purported to lay

the blame on his lawyer, Mr. Stace, who ought to have registered


the transfer of this brothel lot from Mr. Caldwell to a purchaser, but

had not. He emphatically denied that he owned a single inch of

land in the colony.

I observed that Mr. Caldwell had forgotten to say a word about

paying the ground-rent with his own hands, which could not have

been by mistake.

Dr. Bridges said he did not pay it with his own hands.

I said, “ In a matter like that, I would rather believe the evidence

of an impartial witness like Mr. Gilmour, whom we had heard, than

the simple denial of the accused person ;" upon which Dr. Bridges

said , that he said nothing of the kind .

Mr. Forth, however, confirmed my statement of Mr. Gilmour's,


I then asked His Excellency, whether he really meant to say, that

any charge, brought by any person, above all a person in my posi

tion, could be disposed of, or even met, by the broad denial of it on

the part of Mr. Caldwell.

The Governor said that he really thought Mr. Caldwell had met

it - upon which the matter dropped. In consequence of this, I

wrote my letter of the 13th May, * which has been put in.

Previous to the next meeting of Council, which was on the 14th

instant, I received, from the Colonial Treasurer, the return of Crown

rents paid on 11 lots. I reserved this document until I should hear

what would be the result of a discussion which I knew the Colonial

Treasurer was going to commence on the subject of lot 241 B, and

I advised him to say nothing about the remaining 10 lots.

As I expected , the Governor read from the chair, in reply to the

Colonial Treasurer, a letter (L) from Mr. Caldwell, referring to lot

241 B, and reiterating the statements of his former memorandum .

Mr. Forth had, on the morning of the 11th instant, brought into

the Governor's room Mr. Gilmour, who contradicted Dr. Bridges'

statement of his words used on the previous day — and said that the

rent of this lot was paid, as I had asserted, in propria persona, by

Mr. Caldwell, on the 26th February. Consequently, Mr. Caldwell,

unable any longer to deny this fact, admitted it ; but added , that he

did this merely

m to oblige a poor Chinaman , who was ignorant of our

language and customs, -which to my mind, as I told the Governor,

was a confession of agency for a brothel.

I then asked, whether Mr. Caldwell had made any explanation as

to any other lots besides 241 B ? and was answered, No.

* Resigning my office of Justice of the Peace for Hong Kong .


er, te

inch di Upon which II gave in this document ( List of Ground -rents, see ap

pendix B in letter C ) * in to the Governor, shewing that if there had

abou been one mistake, there had been eleven mistakes , all in one day.

at have I pointed out that three of the eleven were specially mentioned as

having been transferred to Chun -atsoo, previous to the payment of

26th February ; from which I said it was perfectly clear that the

other eight had not been transferred .


No explanation was given by the Governor, by the Acting Colo


nial Secretary, or by anybody whatever, in answer to this important


* Return of Crown Rents paid by D. R. Caldwell, Esq., for the

nour's Half -year, ending on the 25th December, 1857.

On Interest, Lot No. 79 £6 16 113

241 6 0 10 1

241 a 013 1

2426 0 6 3

262 0 8 3 £8 14 7}

odmet 238 C 0 9 9


240 0 10 11

250 1 1 9 £2 2 5

These Lots were trans- 204 4 2 0

ferred to Clum Atsoo,


i hea prior to this payment. } 381


1 17

1 17



£18 14 63

B, and

Paid on the 26th February, 1858.

to the The above Lots were paid by Mr. Caldwell in propriâ personâ;

to lot but he requested me to make out the receipts on account of Lum

im . Ateen ,* Chun Alaint and Chun Atsoo .I

t into ( Signed ) DAVID GILMOUR,

idges Treasury Clerk .

at the 11th May, 1858 .

a, b5


* Admitted by Mr. Caldwell (Minutes of Evidence, &c.), to be his wife's

at he doctor, and to attend his family professionally as such.

of our † Admitted by the same, to be his doctor's concubine.

:rnor, # Stated by the same to be sister to his wife, Mrs. C.

[ All this documentary matter has been suppressed by the Local Government.

on as The Chairman (Mr. Cleverly ), in his cross examination, in the Queen v.

Tarrant, verifies some correspondence between himself and Dr. Bridges, on

the prohibition to print the documentary evidence ).




document ; nor could any one say who were Lum -ateen , Chun -alai,

and Chun -atsoo - names which Mr. Gilmour said had been spelt


over to him by Mr. Caldwell.

The debate that day, the 14th, closed with a renewed expression,

by the Governor and Dr. Bridges, of their high appreciation of Mr.

Caldwell's conduct, in the face of this evidence, and I have not heard

that Mr. Caldwell had attempted any further explanation. I have

already put in the strong testimonial contained in Dr. Bridges's letter

of the 17th, which I take to be aa further judgment upon this com

plaint. I have therefore a right to say, that the charges now under

investigation, have been already disposed of by the Executive


Even if the suggestion that there had been any mistake in the

matter had not, under the above circumstances, already been proved

to be false, I might point out to the Commissioners that it is on the

face of it ridiculous and absurd, inasmuch as it is the daily and im

mediate duty of the Registrar General, by Section 5 of the Ordinance

which gives him power to register Brothels, not only to ascertain

correctly the actual state of their title and occupancy, but to record

those particulars on the spot, and communicate the same to the

Colonial Secretary. The Section requires, that in those records

shall appear the names of the immediate Landlord or Lessor of the

licensed brothel, and also of the Crown Lessee or Tenant of the plot

of ground on which the same may be standing or built; and this is

for the purpose of the speedy and summary conviction of these per

sons, whether they are the immediate offenders or not against the


The evidence of one of the Commissioners, who

was also a member of the Legislative Council, and

present on both days, confirms this statement of

the result of the discussion .

It further confirms me as to another important fact,

which I had stated in my official correspondence ; but

not wishing to do more than was necessary to the

matter then in hand, I did not give in evidence be

fore the Commission .

That evidence is as follows :*

* Minutes, etc., p. 88.


My impression , from what was said in Council on the 10th and

14th of May, certainly was, that His Excellency and the Acting

Colonial Secretary were convinced that Mr. Caldwell had cleared

himself from the charges then brought against him, and that there

was no need of further inquiry.

My strong impression is, that I did hear the Acting Colonial

Secretary say in debate, that he saw no harm in Mr. Caldwell's

servants being interested in brothels, and, on being reminded that it

might lead to improper persons being licensed to keep brothels, I

certainly think I did hear him say, that as any person wishing to

become a brothel-keeper must be an improper person, that would

be of no consequence.

My resignation was not accepted.

Under these circumstances, and considering that

the decision of the Government -- for decision it was

--left ine no other resource, I gave formal notice on

the 13th May, of an appeal to the Secretary of State.

On the 17th May, I despatched my letter of appeal of

that date, for transmission to Lord Stanley, M.P.,

through the usual channel.

In reply, I was then informed by Dr. Bridges, that

an inquiry being contemplated before a Commission,

to be nominated by the Government, my letter of

appeal was stopped in the Secretariat.

I had, however, taken the precaution to prepare a

duplicate, which I now forwarded, through the post

office ; adding a few lines expressive of my hope that

the Minister would consider these strange circum

stances, as constituting a case for departing from the

routine of his office, and for reading the duplicate so

transmitted. At the same time, I duly informed Dr.

Bridges of what I had done; protesting against this

tardy concession of an inquiry in a form so palpably

intended as a baulk .

Late in the evening of the 22nd May ,—which fell

H 2


on a Saturday, -- I was notificd by Dr. Bridges, that

the Commission was then issued ;* and a " list" of

“ charges," said to have been extracted from my

correspondence and speeches, was enclosed.

I lost no time in protesting, once and for all,

against that most absurd and dishonest compilation.

My protest was afterwards renewed, again and again,

in writing and verbally, in Council, in Court, before

the Commission itself, and in my correspondence with

the local authorities and with Downing Street. The

Legislative Council and the Commission received and

adopted my protest. But, from the first occasion

down to this instant, no notice whatever has ever

been taken of it, in any communication to myself,

direct or indirect, on the part of the Government, or

in any of their notifications. Neither did it move


them in any way to revoke their "“ list" of charges, or

qualify its language or arrangement, or to abstain

from publishing it in the Hong Kong Government

Gazette, with the mendacious statement, that such

were the charges I had brought.

I subjoin a copy of my first protest from my

manuscript. It was admitted in evidence by the

Commission , and is the suppressed document ( A ).


Monday, 24th May , 1858.


After office hours on Saturday, the 22nd instant, I had the

honour of receiving yours of that date, covering " a copy of the

charges to be forwarded to the Committee appointed for investigating

the accusations brought by me against the Registrar General."

Had it reached me at an earlier period, you should have had my

reply to it the same day.

* It was post-dated, however, the 20th May, 1858.

† Minutes, etc., p. 1 .


I have the honour to remind H. E. of my appeal to the Secretary

of State, and of his own repeated absolutions of Mr. Caldwell, against

which I have presented that appeal.

I do this the rather, because I perceive that, at least two of the

charges " or accusations " which are contained in H. E.'s " list,"

-I mean Nos. 15 and 16 — were stated to Lord Stanley and to none

else, in my letter of the 17th instant, and no where else, and merely

by way of support to the charge which I did make and prove, but

which H. E. overruled, that of being concerned in the brothel, No.

48, or the management thereof..

Not willing to obstruct any enquiry which H. E, may be now ad

vised to make into the subject matter of my appeal, I must respect

fully decline to accept any share in the responsibility, attaching to the

examination of aa document, not yet referred back , for that purpose, by

the minister to whom alone it was directed .

Not desiring, in the least, to shelter myself from whatever interro

gatories I may be asked to underly, or to withhold whatever help I may

be asked to afford , I must not vitiate or waive my appeal to the Im

perial Government.

Therefore, not inhibiting the course, now at the twelfth hour taken,

I must not sanction it,-ready to be a witness, II deny that I am any

longer an accuser,-altogether eschewing the function of prosecutor

before aa Tribunal, now, as H. E. informs me, on the point of being

named by him, to investigate a case which, I am aware , has been


already judged by H. E. himself,--Ishall, nevertheless, cheerfully fur

nish the members of the Commission collectively, or individually, with

whatsoever assistance they may think me capable of rendering, in the

course of their enquiry.

I cannot close this protestation, without including my grave objec

tions to the way in which the “ List ” has been preparedl ; both with

respect to what it omits and to what it contains.

I. To what it omits --Because it does not contain the least reference


to some of the stronger facts : e. g., the “accusations" ( for H. E ..

holds these and “ informations” to be synonymous) brought by Mr.

Cleverly and Mr. Forth, on the authortty of the Land Office and

Treasury books, and by Mr. Gilmour, the Treasury Clerk , on his own

authority, corroborated at the last inoment by the confession of Mr.

Caldwell ; and importing against the latter, not only the guilt charged

> 1

in No. 17 of the “ List , " and others of its “charges,” but also that

of a twice-repeated falsehood told in defence, and to which I presume


the 14th “ charge, ” in its extraordinary vagneness, relates ; and also

the conduct of Mr. Caldwell, in his character of “ friend” of the

pirate, after his conviction, in applying for and obtaining the all-im

portant documents and effects of theconvict, then at the Police Station ;

also his previous conduct at the Police Court, nolle prosequi on the

stronger charge ; and aa number of other matters, not specified in the

letter of the 13th instant, which H. E.'s decision of the 10th instant,

in Legislative Council, compelled me to send in .

II. To what it contains : Because it is not a true and faithful ab .

stract of what I really did say or write :

1. To the Governor in Council ;

2. To the Secretary of State ;

or 3. To yourself. as Acting Colonial Sccretary.

1. For the reasons already assigned in aa former letter, I waive all

bencfit of the privilege of debate,” invented by H. E.'s own “ stand

ing orders,” a few months ago, and, so far as I am concerned, submit

to be “ questioned out of Council by Government for what I have said

or done in Council.” But I cannot help thinking that H. E., before

approving of the " List " before me, ought to have had his attention

called to the fact, that the “ privilege ” was also intended to enure for

the benefit of third parties. And I abstain here from recording the


charges” to which I particularly refer, and in which a name is

mentioned .

2. With regard to the Secretary of State, I have above signified

my determination, not to incur his Lordship's censure by publishing,

except to H. E., the “charges ” said to be contained therein .

3. But, as to my correspondence with yourself, commencing on the

6th July, 1857, occasionally re-appearing during the latest months of

the last winter, and revived and pressed from the 13th instant to this

date inclusive, I do most confidently aver , that the effect thereof can

not be truly ascertained from the analysis supposed to be furnished

in the “ List of Charges "-charges, many of which are but studied

varieties of the same charge, many imperfectly stated, some mere in

ferences from the presumed establishment of the rest, and others never

made at all, or, if made, expressly alleged to be merely probable or

doubtful, or otherwise qualified .

i . Of the first are " charges" 2,2 5,5 14, 15, and 17 ; 3, 4, 6, 12,

and 16 ; and 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 , and 12.

2. Of the second are " charges " 2, 6, 7, 8, 11 , 12, 13, 14, 16,

and 17 .


3. Of the third are " charges " 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 .

2 >


4. Of the fourth are charges " 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14 .

For reasons already suggested, I must not offer any advice to H. E. ,

touching the mode of supplying the deficiencies or correcting the ex

cesses of the “ List," with respect to the statements in Council or the

letter to Lord Stanley .

But I have no hesitation in saying, that the whole of my correspon

dence with you, including the appendices, ought to be laid before the

Commission, together with this my very respectful remonstrance.

I have the honour to be,


Your very obedient servant,

( Signed ) T. C. ANSTEY .

The Hon . W. T. Bridges, Esq., D.C.L. , A.CS.

I likewise subjoin that “ List of Charges," as printed

by Dr. Bridges, in the Hong Kong Government Gazette,

and also at the head of the “ Report.”




1. With being unfit to be a Justice of the Peace [an inference ).

2. With having a scandalous connection with a Brothel licensed

by himself, namely, Brothel No. 48.

3. With having passed a portion of his life among Chinese out

laws and pirates [involved in No. 6, 7, 9, and 13].


4. With an alliance with some of the worst Chinese in this

colony through his wife a Chinese girl from a Brothel.

5. With being a speculator in Brothels and Brothel Licenses ( in

volved in No. 27.

6. With being long and intimately connected with Mah -Chow

Wong ; and that that connection is still subsisting ; and that the

principal link in that connection is the bond of affinity by adoption,

according to Chinese law .

7. With being in the habit, on Mah - Chow Wong's unsupported

information , of arresting and discharging persons, and of confiscating

or restoring property .

8. That the Chinese dare not now complain of the connivances


and procurements of Mr. Caldwell, the patron of the outlaw Mah .

Chow Wong ( an inference ).

9. With having procured bail for Mah - Chow Wong : such bail

being a servant of his own (Mr. Caldwell's ), who had been but a

month before in prison for debt.

10. With audaciously denying that the books and papers of the

Pirate's Hong contain any evidence of Mah- Chow Wong's guilt;

with having deceived the Executive Council in the enquiry had

relative to Mah - Chow Wong ; and with being convicted of falsehood

by Mr. May.

11. With being partner with Mah - Chow Wong in a lorcha ; and

that there were entries in Mah - Chow Wong's books, and made by

him, of moneys paid to Mr. Caldwell on account or out of the pro

duće of plunder made at sea .

12. With harbouring Mah - Chow Wong's wife after his conviction .

13. With inducing the Attorney - General, at the beginning of

1857, to order the release of a great number of men who Mr. May

knows to have been pirates, and who Mr. Caldwell ought to have

known at the time were pirates.

14. With buying land in the colony since December last, when

he became Licenser of Brothels.

15. With having once owned three unlicensed Hong Kong Bro

thels at a time.

16. With having a Chinese sister-in - law by blood or usage, who

in 1856-57 was keeping Brothels.

. 17. With receiving the monthly rack - rentals of houses, and in

particular of a Brothel standing on 11 Crown Lots , down to the

present month of May .* *

18. With having informed Mr. May , that he, Mr. Caldwell, was

a member of a Secret Society.

19. With having informied Mr. May, that although he would not

himself take bribes, he would not object to his wife doing so .

Lastly, I subjoin the “ Report ” itself. For it con

tains the account-meagre and unsatisfactory though

* The real charge, and one which was fully proved upon them ,

is entirely omitted ! It was, that , for months after his acceptance of

the Licensership, he continued to be the registered and ostensible .

owner and manager , even to the payment of Crown rent for the

property , on which the Brothel stood .


it be -- which the Commissioners have given of their

own proceedings and notions.

But I must first premise that, even with that dis

honestly prepared “ List ” to hamper them, their

findings would have been far more unfavourable

to Mr. Caldwell, but for some unhappy mistakes into

which, as stated on oath by their Chairman, in the

Queen v. Tarrant, they were led by their assessor,

Mr. Day, of the local bar.

* For, under his advice, they accepted Mr. Caldwell's

verbal statement, in every instance, as evidence, for

or against, himself, as he chose to give it ; treating it,

in the first case,, as " satisfactory explanation,” and in

the second instance, as “ admission .”

And, under the same advice, they rejected as

“ hearsay, ” all evidence of “ reputation ," whether asto

pedigree or character ;—thereby voluntarily depriving

themselves of at least twenty witnesses in attendance,

and of a hundred who might have been summoned .

And, lastly, they held themselves to be so bound,

by the wording of the “ List,” as to have no other

muddle term , between finding for and against the

charge ” as laid, except passing it by, sub silentio ;

a proceeding of which I have already furnished many


And yet, with all this, their “ Report ” was a mere

compromise, effected in a couple of hours, for the sake

of peace , if not to save the mail.

Three of them — a majority -- were Legislative


Councillors .

These remarked that there stood among the notices

for the next day, a motion of mine, for omitting, from

the estimates, the post of Registrar-General and

Protector of Chinese, as useless and mischievous.


They further observed that , “ as they were going

" to vote for it, and it was sure to be carried, Mr.

" Caldwell would be got rid of in that way most

* effectually. Why put a stigma on him now , which


might prevent him from gaining some employment,

“ of a lower grade than his present office .”

So they all agreed to sign the Report ; trusting to

the morrow to cure the mischief they were doing.

For some

Unhappily, that morrow never came.

how the compromise got wind .

The Legislative Council was immediately prorogued

sine die, and did not meet again for more than two

months ;-by which time, my suspension had caused

that notice of motion to drop !

With this explanation of their Report, I now

proceed to set it forth in extenso .


Council Chamber , Saturday, 17th July, 1858.

Sir,-We, the Members of a Commission appointed by Your

Excellency, on the 20th day of May, 1858, to inquire into and

report upon certain charges brought against Mr. Caldwell, the

Registrar -General, having inquired into the same, do now report,

That we commenced our public proceedings on the 27th of May

last, and have had Twenty -five Sittings, extending over a period of

Seven Weeks; that we have examined upwards of Fifty Witnesses,

and a vast mass of Documents; and have extended our inquiries

into a number of matters, some of which, irrelevant as they may

now appear, were so woven into and combined with the immediate

subject of inquiry, that it was not considered safe to leave them

unexamined. We allowed ourselves great latitude as to the kind of

evidence we admitted, and were obliged to do so particularly in the

matter of hearsay evidence, though not to the extent which the

Attorney -General (who sent in a protest on the subject) considered

justifiable or even necessary. We may observe here, that the same

gentleman also forwarded a protest against the manner of taking


Chinese evidence, as being, in his opinion, palpably favourable to

Mr. Caldwell. But we now repeat, what the Chairman stated at the

time of the reception of the protest, that we consider the Attorney

General's complaint totally unfounded .

We have experienced great difficulty in our labours : First, from

the nature, arrangement, and wording of the charges - some of

which it appeared unnecessary, as it certainly was most distasteful

to us to inquire into ; Secondly, from the reluctance of witnesses to

give evidence ; and Thirdly, and especially from the refusal of the

Attorney -General to act as accuser, or to recognise the charges as

his charges. Under these circumstances, we considered it advisable

to engage the services of Mr. Day to act as examiner, parties in

terested being informed that he would receive at his Chambers any

information which it was intended to bring before the Commission .

On the subject of our inquiry we report :

That charge 2, has been satisfactorily met and explained by Mr.

Caldwell, * though there existed strong prima facie grounds for

bringing it.

That charge 4 is not proved ; but that there were grounds for

bringing it.

That no proof whatever has been brought forward in support of

charge 5 .

That charge 14 is not proved as regards Mr. Caldwell himself,

though it appears that Mrs. Caldwell has had transactions in land

and houses for her sister since December last, when Mr. Caldwell

became Licenser of Brothels ; but that there is no evidence that Mr.

Caldwell had any knowledge of such transactions.

That charge 15 has not been proved .

That no proof has been given in support of charge 16, but that

there were grounds for bringing it.

That there is no proof whatever of charge 17, and that there were


no sufficient grounds for bringing it.

That there were no grounds whatever for bringing charges 18

and 19.

That there were no grounds whatever for bringing charge 3.

That with regard to charge 6 , a long and intimate connection

* By a simple denial of interest, although the agency or nominal

ownership was not denied, but admitted , both by himself and his

alleged vendée, the Chinese quack, Lum Ateem, “ his family phy

sician" (pp. 11 , 12).


between Mr. Caldwell and Mah -Chow Wong has been proved , but

that there is no proof of any connection by affinity, according to


Chinese law or custom .

That with regard to charge 7, it is proved that Mr. Caldwell has

been in the habit, on Mah - Chow Wong's unsupported information ,

of arresting persons; but that there is no evidence as to his confis

cating or restoring property.

That as regards charge 8, there is no evidence of any connivances

or procurements of Mr. Caldwell; but that it is manifest that the

Chinese are very averse to give evidence against him.

That as to charge 9, it has been proved, that Mr. Caldwell aided

in the acceptance of Sze -kai, his former servant, as Bail for Ma- 3

Chow Wong; and that Sze -kai had been imprisoned for debt, for a

few days, a short time previously.

That we think it unnecessary to make any other observation

regarding charge 10, than that there is no evidence of Mr. Caldwell


having deceived the Executive Council.

That with reference to charge 11, a partnership with Mah -Chow

Wong in aa lorcha is proved, and in fact admitted by Mr. Caldwell;

but that there is no evidence as to payments to Mr. Caldwell out of

the produce of plunder made at sea .

That as to charge 12, there is no evidence whatever.

That of the fact stated in charge 13, of the release of the men

upon Mr. Caldwell's representation as to their character, there is no

doubt whatever; and that it appears incomprehensible how any

person , with Mr. Caldwell's knowledge of the Chinese language, and

holding the appointment he did, could have been ignorant of the

boats in which the men were seized, and that one at least of these

men was a notorious pirate, particularly as it is in evidence that

Mah - Chow Wong was connected with the boats.


That with regard to charge 1 , it being only a matter of inference,

we find in support of such inference that a sum of money was

offered by a Chinaman as a mark of gratitude to Mr. Caldwell, for

being instrumental in the release of a lorcha seized by pirates, in

which the man's father was ; but that this money was refused by

Mr. Caldwell, and on such refusal that it was offered to Mrs. Cald

well as a present to the children . A majority, however, of the

Commission do not feel satisfied that Mrs. Caldwell accepted this

* But see pp. 50 and 56 ; where Mr. May distinctly gives evidence

to that effect.


money. It has also been proved that a Chinese female , named

Shaplock, who had been in frequent communication with Mr. Cald .

well (and is reported , but not proved , to be a sister by Chinese

usage of Mrs. Caldwell), received from the Foo T'ai pawn-shop

the sum of 400 dollars, because the sentence on a pawnbroker

belonging to the said shop had been mitigated , as was supposed,

through her influence, and that she received a further sum of 50

dollars for her personal trouble in the matter . Further, since the

commencement of this inquiry, Mr. Caldwell has, solely upon the

information conveyed in an anonymous letter that certain property

had been stolen , personally and without the assistance of the police,

searched a room in the occupation of Assow, the Police Court

Interpreter, whom Mr. Caldwell knew to be about to give evidence

before the Commission. Mr. Caldwell, in the opinion of the Com

mission, acted in this matter injudiciously, to say the least of it.

Notwithstanding these facts, coupled with the circumstance of

Mr. Caldwell's connection with so notorious a character as Mah

Chow Wong, it appears to a majority of the Commission , that,

although Mr. Caldwell's original appointment as a Justice of the

Peace may have been injudicious, they do not necessitate so strong a

measure as his removal from that office.

Finally, we would state that in the course of the inquiry it has

come to our knowledge, that previous to the appointment of the

Commission, certain papers connected with Mah - Chow Wong's trial,

and which might have been of service to the Commission, have

been destroyed; but it has been clearly proved that their destruction

was ordered , solely because they encumbered the Chinese Secretary's

Office, while it appeared that they were then of no value, and could

not be further required.

We have the honour to be,

Your Excellency's

Most obedient humble Servants,






To His Excellency



ETC. , ETC. , ETC.


Surely enough, and more than enough, was found,

even by this wretched “ Report,” to disqualify Mr.

Caldwell for all employment under the Crown ;-if

not to set the police authorities upon his track.

Yet Dr. Bridges and Sir John Bowring affected to

regard the “Report,” as tantamount to a finding,

" that none of my charges had been substantially


proved ," and, the decision of the Commissioners in no

other light than as an exculpation of him .” I was

therefore notified of their intention, to summon an

Executive Council for the purpose of suspending me

from my office. *

In my reply, I demanded a hearing for myself and

ту witnesses before the Executive Council ; and ,-no

other attention being paid to my demand, beyond in

forming me that the Council had condemned me

already, and a renewal of the intimation, that Sir

John Bowring was about to submit to that body the

propriety of my suspension, - I lodged my protest

against its jurisdiction to proceed, in so flagrant a

violation ofthe law of the land and the Queen's regu

lations, already noticed .

In the face of my protest, they met on the 7th

August last, and, without taking any notice of it, or

communicating with me in any way, pronounced the

sentence of suspension from that date, and published

it in their Government Gazette of the following week.

This was done in terrorem to the other European

witnesses ;—none of whom, however, have as yet been

suspended, albeit threatened with suspension . But

the Chinese Interpreter, Assow , in the very face of

their own Commission's Report, was dismissed at

* Letter of Dr. Bridges, A.C.S. (No. 433 ), 23rd July, 1858.


the same time for giving his evidence against the


The Assessor to the Commission, Mr. Day, was

gratified with my place. His death , in the following

month, opened the way to the present occupant,

Mr. Green, a gentleman of honour and courage, and

one who has openly expressed his disgust at the

manner of my suspension, and the pretences alleged

for it.

And now I find, from the newspaper reports of

parliamentary proceedings, that Sir John Bowring,

driven from the ground taken by him on the 24th

July, is engaged in an attempt to divert attention from

his disaster, and to arrest it upon a counter charge

against myself.

Sir E. Lytton has informed the House, that Sir J.

Bowring imputes to me a breach of special confidence,

in giving the evidence I did give before the Com


A few words will show the absurdity and untruth

fulness of that imputation .

You will have seen, that I not only took no part in

the promotion of that method of inquiry, but, on the

very ground, that thereby the official confidence of the

Imperial Government would of necessity be violated,

protested against it. It was the spontaneous act of

Sir John Bowring's Government.

By the terms of their warrant of Commission, as

printed by authority,* the Commissioners were directed

to call for whatsoever evidence they thought fit, and

more especially such as, without a plenary absolution


Report and Minutes, Pref. p. i.


of the servants of Government from all official confi.

dence or secresy, was not attainable.

And not only were all servants of Government so

absolved from that obligation, but they were even

commanded to hold it as nought, after the following

fashion, by His Excellency himself.

“ * And I do hereby empower you (the Commission)

“ to demand and obtain access at all times to all and

“all manner of papers, records, and documents, relat

" ing to the subject matter of the said Commission,

“ and in the custody or under the control of the

“ several public departments within this colony, and,

“ from time to time, to call before you and examine

“all persons superintending or employed in or under

"any of the said departments, AND I DO HEREBY




Nor was this clause in their warrant suffered by

the Commissioners to become a dead letter.

One of them compelled Dr. Bridges to give evidence

as to the connection of his protégé, Caldwell, with

the Chinese spy system .†

In like manner, the Marine Magistrate, Mr. Inglis,I

was most reluctantly induced to furnish them , with

reminiscences of the early habits and connections of

the Chinese wife of the same “ Protector of Chinese." .

On each occasion, the unwilling witness was re

minded of the above-cited passage of the warrant,

and of his peculiar liability to censure, as a Govern

ment servant, in the event of disobedience to the

tenor thereof.

* Report and Minutes, Pref. p . 11 .

† Minutes of Evidence, etc. , 28th June, 1858 .

# Ibid , 11th and 16th June, 1858.


In no other capacity than as a witness, summoned

under the hand of the Chairman, did I ever offer

myself to the notiee of the Cornmission ; and , even

then , I never missed an opportunity, from the first


day of the inquiry to the end,* of “disclaiming the

charges as made out on the charge list.”

Nay, my steadfastness in the course I had marked

out to myself, of taking no part in the inquiry but as

a summoned witness, is made the subject of animad

version, if not of complaint, by the Commissioners


In their Report,f they say that they “ had expe

“rienced great difficulty in their labours : First,


" the charges ; some of which it appeared unnecessary,

as it certainly was most distasteful to them to

inquire into ; Secondly, from the reluctance of wit



nesses to give evidence ; and Thirdly, and ESPE





There was, therefore, no “ breach of confidence "

upon my part ; but, on the contrary, the strictest

obedience to the Governor's own warrant.

Further evidence has been since then obtained

against Mr. Caldwell — both as to his past acts, and

as to his continued malpractices.

In one case, I a verdict has established the credit

of witnesses, whose testimony, if good for any pur

* Minutes, etc. , pp. 1-3, 30, etc. etc.

| Report, p. 1 .

Cheong -shew -Shek v. Endicott ; tried at Hong Kong, before

the Chief Justice and a special jury, 1 & 2 Dec. , 1858. Compare

the Caldwell Commission Minutes , pp. 31 , 3.



pose at all, made out, against Mah - Chow Wong and

his gang, one of the cases of extortion narrated by

Mr. May, J.P. , and myself, before the Caldwell Com

mission , and against Mrs. Caldwell a participation in

the same-and it cast upon Mr. Caldwell (who gave

his evidence most unsatisfactorily ) a very strong suspi

cion of having been engaged, so lately as the autumn

of 1857, in an attempt to defraud.

In other cases, yet more recent — for which I must

refer to the correspondence asked for by Mr. James—

his conduct in obstructing the due administration of

justice, has led to results, which have received public

animadversion, both from the Supreme Court and from

the Magistracy.

And still he remains the Chinese Registrar -General,

Protector, and Brothels' Licenser, and one of Her

Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Hong Kong.

I left that colony, upon sick certificate, on the

30th January last ; exactly three years, to an hour,

from my first arrival on its shores.

On my return hither, I find myself no longer

Attorney -General;—my suspension having been con

firmed, on grounds not yet stated, but which, I am

happy to learn, are not those alleged by Sir John

Bowring — whatever those may be, for I have not seen

his despatches — nor such as are not reconcileable with

personal appreciation and respect.

Once, during my Parliamentary career, it fell to

my lot to vindicate a public servant who had, in like

manner, deserved the anger and hatred of a corrupt

East Indian Proconsulate : -- and I did it unsolicited,

and without consulting him , and yet with entire

success .

The absence of imputation makes it unnecessary


for me to attempt, for my own character, a similar

vindication :—and I gladly forbear.

But the good cause, for which I have suffered, I

leave to the public spirit of Englishmen, their con

sciences, their love of constitutional liberty, and their

knowledge of law and right.

The rest I resign to fortune.

I am, Sir,

Your very obedient servant,


Late Her Majesty's Attorney -General

for Hong Kong.


16th April, 1859 .

‫‪: :‬‬ ‫‪ .. :‬ہا‬






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