The Insecure condition of the colony of Hongkong report of a great public meeting 1878

THE INSECURE CONDITION OF THE

COLONY OF HONGKONG.

REPORT

OF

A GREAT PUBLIC MEETING,

HELD AT VICTORIA, HONGKONG, ON

MONDAY, THE 7TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 1878.

COLONIAL

OFFICE

KIRRARY

HONGKONGP!

PRINTED AT THE DAILY PRESS"

WYNDHAM STREET.

OFFICE,

7864 Pamp".

1878.

(EOFYU)

 

THE INSECURE CONDITION OF THE

COLONY OF HONGKONG.

REPORT

OF

A GREAT PUBLIC MEETING,

HELD AT VICTORIA, HONGKONG, ON

MONDAY, THE 7TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 1878.

OLONIAL

OFFICE

PARY

HONGKONG:

PRINTED AT THE "DAILY PRESS

WYNDHAM STREET.

1878.

OFFICE,

:

THE INSECURE CONDITION OF THE COLONY

OF HONGKONG.

REPORT OF A GREAT PUBLIC MEETING,

Held at VICTORIA, HONGKONG, on MONDAY, 7th OCTOBER, 1878.

The objects of the Meeting are set forth in the following Requi- sition and Summons :-

To

C. F. A. SANGSTER, Esq.,

Sheriff of the Colony of Hongkong.

SIR,-We, the Undersigned, beg to request that you will call a PUBLIC MEETING to be held at the City Hall, in the City of Victoria, in this Colony, on MONDAY, the 7th day of OCTOBER next, at 3 o'clock in the Afternoon, for the following purpose:-

1. To consider and discuss the existing state of insecurity of Life

and Property in the Colony.

2. To pass such Resolutions as may be deemed advisable by the

Meeting.

We have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient Servants,

P. RYRIE. and 63 other Signatures.

Hongkong, 27th September, 1878.

IN

HONGKONG TO WIT.

N compliance with the above requisition, I hereby summon and convene a PUBLIC MEETING of the Inhabitants of this Colony, to be holden in the Building known as the CITY HALL, on MONDAY, the Seventh day of OCTOBER, 1878, at 3 o'clock in the Afternoon,

Hongkong, 1st October, 1878.

C. F. A. SANGSTER,

Sheriff.

The Sheriff, Mr. SANGSTER, having read the advertisement, de- clared the meeting opened and asked it to elect a Chairman.

Mr. NELSON-I beg to propose that Mr. Gibb take the chair. The motion was carried by acclamation.

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The CHAIRMAN-Gentlemen, with so large a meeting as this it is ridiculous to try to make oneself heard in a room like this. I therefore propose that this meeting be removed to the open air.

The meeting was accordingly removed to the Cricket Ground. The CHAIRMAN-Gentlemen, having this meeting it was neces- sary to ask a gentleman to act as secretary for us, and Mr. Caldwell was good enough to say he would do so. You have heard the requisi- tion for the meeting read by the Sheriff. I, in common with my fellow countrymen and other Europeans in this colony, as well as many influential Chinese gentlemen, signed that request, not in any captious or disloyal spirit, but in a fervent, anxious, and loyal hope that this meeting might be a means of suggesting a remedy, which has become so necessary from the great state of alarm in which the recent numerous burglaries and reports of dreadful attacks have placed us. Gentlemen-I come here to-day not in any disloyal spirit.—(Hear, hear.) I hope we all meet in the same spirit.- (Cheers.) I trust my fellow Colonists, you Chinamen, will give your vote dispassionately, knowing what you are voting for, and with no feeling of evil one way or the other.—(Hear, hear.) Gentlemen, we have come to a state of alarm, for what reason it is not for me, indeed, I cannot, say; but I have my own opinions about it. I have lived here many years, and I can look back to a time when, many years since, a similar state of alarm existed. But the administration then governing us took very anxious thought to form repressive measures, and such acts were framed as in my belief did tend to check that crime, as was soon shown by the decrease. Gentlemen, I think of late these acts have been somewhat relaxed, and I think a return to them might help us very considerably. Gentlemen, I refer more particularly to the use of the cat. It may be a cruel punishment, but severe acts call for severe measures.(Hear, hear.) But, while we are all warm-hearted and peace loving, we must have repressive measures for bad offences. Gentlemen, I think with those acts and the fact of deportation crime did decrease here, and a strict return to those laws will again put us, I believe, on a safe basis.—(Cheers.) Gentlemen, I see around me a very large number of influential and industrious Chinamen. They know as well as I do of the existence of a very dangerous class on the mainland and about here which we must take care to keep in order. Gentlemen, with these few words I think I may consider the meeting

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opened and I will be glad to hear what people have to say in regard to the subject before us.

Mr. FRANCIS (Acting Police Magistrate)-May I ask, Sir, before we go any further-

The CHAIRMAN—Yes.

Mr. FRANCIS-Whether this meeting is to be an honest public discussion of the present state of the colony or whether a number of gentlemen have come here who have discussed the matter and decided the question amongst themselves, with resolutions ready prepared and drawn up, and their speeches cut and dried, to ask the assent of this meeting to them. The object of the meeting, as mentioned in the advertisement, was to discuss and consider the present state of the colony and suggest certain remedies. If, after the discussion, certain resolutions are proposed as the natural and proper outcome of that discussion, they may have some weight, but if resolutions cut and dried are put forward, and speeches equally cut and dried to support them, I doubt very much whether this meeting can have the weight it ought to have.--(Cries of “Yes.”)

The CHAIRMAN-I think Mr. Francis has made remarks which, from my few words, can be hardly called for. I said this was an open meeting, and it is an open meeting.

Mr. FRANCIS-That is not an answer to my question.

The CHAIRMAN-I beg your pardon. I am not in a position, and would not if I knew, tell you what is going to take place. I think you are entirely out of order in asking for the resolutions.-(Cheers.)

Hon. W. KESWICK (M.L.C. and Justice of the Peace)--Gentle- men, after the words to which we have listened, and in the presence of such an assemblage as I see before me, and considering the gravity of the occasion which has called this meeting together to-day, I, with great diffidence, address you; but when the welfare of the colony is at stake I think it well that there should be no hesitation on the part of those who feel keenly for its welfare in speaking out.-(Cheers.) The head of the Executive, for eighteen months past, has in the opinion, I believe, of the majority of the colonists been wanting in that firmness which we expect a Governor to exercise in the repression of crime-(Cheers) from the very best of motives I have no doubt, and from a feeling of humanity which we must all respect, though we may consider it misplaced frequently. It is, as the Chairman has

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mentioned, not in any disloyal spirit that I make a single remark here to-day. I would support now and in the future, as I have in the past supported, every act of any Governor which I thought worthy of support.-(Loud cheers.) But it does appear to me, when we look across to the mainland and consider the position of this island-that we are only a stone's throw from the coast of Kwangtung, which, though it contains and has produced the most enterprising of the people of China, also contains within its borders the most lawless- I think it behoves the Government of this colony to be most careful about the admission into the colony of those whom there is good reason, from the sentences of our courts, to know are dangerous. I have always had a feeling that instead of crowding our gaols with the scum of the neighbouring province it would be well if we deported them--- send them back to the places from whence they come, there to exercise a more honest calling than the one they practise here.-(Cheers.) Gentlemen, I have a resolution to propose. I hope that it will be con- sidered fairly, and, if it represents the opinion of this meeting, adopted. I don't say that crime is wholly to be attributed to the want of repressive measures, for we know that at all times the colony has been subject to attacks, but it is only by severity we have overcome them, and I believe that severity again would be beneficial. I could say more, gentlemen, but it would be very much to the same effect. The resolution I have prepared-as I am happy to inform Mr. Francis -(Cheers)—is to this effect :-

That during the past eighteen months, life and property in this colony havo been seriously jeopardized and a feeling of insecurity, the result of recent events, has been engendered, which in the opinion of this meeting has been mainly caused by a policy of undue leniency towards the criminal classes.

I look upon it as a modest expression of opinion, and I do not ask one single man here to vote for it unless he feels he can do so con- scientiously.-(Loud cheering.)

Mr. W. REINERS (Austro-Hungarian Consul)-Gentlemen, I fully concur in what Mr. Keswick says and I have great pleasure in seconding this proposition.-(Cheers.)

The CHAIRMAN-Gentlemen, before putting the resolution to the meeting I must ask if any gentleman wishes to make further romarks upon it or wishes to propose an amen Iment. Is there any amendment ? Gentlemen, I would ask you to express your approval.

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Mr. FRANCIS-Will you allow me to make a remark, and that is to move as an amendment that the last clause of that paragraph be struck out, that is, that which expresses the cause of the insecurity.

The CHAIRMAN—Will you put it on paper?

Mr. FRANCIS advanced to the table amid derisive laughter, and, having a copy of the resolution given to him, struck out from it the words "which in the opinion, etc." He then said-The reason why I ask, gentlemen, that the last three lines of the resolution should be omitted is this. I don't suppose there is any doubt in the mind of any gentleman present as to the state of insecurity in the colony-(" No, no ")-property is in great danger and life is in great danger. About that there can be no doubt, but this resolution is a double-barrelled one, and while affirming that in which we all concur it goes on to bring in at the end something else which ought to be dealt with as a separate question-("No, no ")—and about which there may be a difference of opinion.

Hon. T. C. HAYLLAR (M.L.C., Q.C.) received with hisses, discon- tinued on the call of the chairman, said-Perhaps, gentlemen, as a man who took part in a commission of some importance some years ago, I may be permitted to make one or two observations. (A Voice-" Speak out.") I will speak out as loud as I can, but perhaps my voice is not so loud as it ought to be in the open air. Gentlemen, in the years 1871 and 1872 I had the honour of sitting on a commission with a great number of other gentlemen of this colony who made certain recom- mendations to the Government. Among other things our recommen- dations involved an increase of the police force of at least 150 men. That resolution was practically embodied by the Superintendent of Police in the financial estimates of the year 1873. The financial estimates asked the Legislative Council for a vote of 750 men instead of 600 odd men which were then the whole force. That, gentlemen, was not agreed to, and from the year 1870 up to the present time the police force has never been increased, although the whole of the duties, I should suppose, have been increased, one-third. We divided at that time the city of Victoria into 200 beats. It is at present divided into 87, and I put it to you that, as was universally recom- mended by a very large commission of gentlemen, these 87 beats are not nearly enough for the police of this colony to patrol at night.

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Not only that, but so much does the police force from time to time become reduced that it actually happens that very often some men have to patrol two beats, and on the night of this sad attack, which every one laments, in Wing Lok-street, I am in a position to assert that Hongkong had for its protection during the night five European policemen. ("Question, question.") There were three or four others. One was taking charge of Mr. Huffam's papers that night, another, who was supposed to be guarding the town, was guarding the Go- vernment Offices. (A Voice." Government House.") One or two were on special duties, and actually that night there were but five European policemen. Besides that there were in the Central district only about thirty-five Chinese and Sikhs. Of these a very small proportion were armed, and in supporting Mr. Francis's amendment I put it that a state of things like that is sufficient to attract criminals, and I put it that it has been really an act, not of neglect, because no one thought at that time the attack was going to take place, but that the insecure state of the town was one of the main elements which led to the attack that night. ("Question, question.")

The CHAIRMAN-Order, gentlemen, please.

Mr. HAYLLAR-Now, gentlemen, Mr. Francis has moved an amendment to a resolution as to undue leniency. Without in the least degree seconding Mr. Francis's remarks as to the right of gentlemen to bring resolutions down here, which I think no public meeting could be conducted without, I say this, that it is very difficult to know exactly what undue leniency is referred to. As to the use of the cat, all I know is that the only thing which has been substituted for the cat has been whipping on the breech. That I believe is a very severe punishment, which has been carried out with great severity in the gaol.

A VOICE-For boys and girls.-(Laughter.)

Mr. HAYLLAR-I have no doubt the honourable gentleman in his childhood has often experienced it. It is a very painful operation to all concerned. Now, gentlemen, I am very much obliged for the patience which has been extended to me while uttering very unpopular sentiments. But I want to put this. There being forty or fifty policemen to guard the centre of the town, there being no effectual means of communication between the police in order to bring effectual resistance'

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LONIAL

OFFICE

:

this

colony

porbyfared

to take

we find a body of about eighty men armed come to commit a great crime. They did not seem to come life unnecessarily.-(Cries of Oh, oh.")-They came prepared to protect their own lives. They came to take life doubtless if they were attacked-(Laughter.) Gentlemen, I am very much obliged to you for leading me a little closer to the point, and that is this:- We find some sixty or eighty desperadoes, armed, prepared to take life if they were attacked. Well now this, gentlemen, was a very marked attack, and I ask you, gentlemen, to consider whether, when these men came here, they in the least degree considered whether, if caught, they were going to be whipped on the breech or on the back. Gentlemen, I don't think that is a thing that could enter into their consideration.-("Time, time.") I have a few more words to say. I put it these men intended to get off and that was the reason they came armed. They expected to get off, and therefore I don't think any undue leniency of this Government, with regard to whipping, or hanging, or anything else, could influence them. They came here armed to prevent being caught.

The CHAIRMAN-Gentleman, I must put the amendment before the resolution, the amendment being-

That during the past eighteen months, life and property in this colony have been seriously jeopardized and a feeling of insecurity, the result of recent events, has been engendered.

Mr. FRANCIS-Will you pardon me for saying I don't think your explanation has made the amendment clear.-("No, no.") My amend- ment is substantially that the two questions should be separated.

The CHAIRMAN-You gave me a resolution which has been seconded by Mr. Hayllar.

Mr. FRANCIS-Which has been struck out.

The CHAIRMAN-Allow me to call you to order. I think a more gross insult to me could hardly be made.-(Cries of "Turn him out, turn him out.")—No, no ; let him remain.

Mr. FRANCIS-I will be neither put down nor intimidated. What Mr. Gibb read out just now as my amendment was the words I pro- posed to leave standing.

The CHAIRMAN-What did I read out?

Mr. FRANCIS-You read out the first words, which I left standing.

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Mr. HAYLLAR-Pray, let me say that Mr. Gibb read out the words which I understood were the amendment.

Mr. FRANCIS made an attempt to speak again, but was met with a cry of "You don't know what you are talking about."

The CHAIRMAN-Am I to put the resolution to the meeting? Mr. HAYLLAR-Mr. Gibb put to the meeting the resolution I seconded, as I understood it.—(Hear, hear.)

Mr. FRANCIS-Well, if Mr. Hayllar is against me in that way I must simply-(The remainder of the sentence was inaudible to the reporter). You put a resolution which it seemed to me contained two propositions, one that a great state of insecurity existed in the colony, and the other that there was a certain cause for it. The amendment I proposed was to cut off the last part. I don't touch the state of the colony. I proposed to strike out the assertion that a certain person or course of action was responsible for that. I appeal to the gentlemen present if it is fair to mix up the two things, one on which we all agree and-

Mr. HAYLLAR-That is what Mr. Gibb has put.

Mr. FRANCIS-And the other on which there may be some dif- ference of opinion. I am in your hands entirely, but I want to show I clearly understand at least what I am doing.

Mr.

The CHAIRMAN-I think if I put it here it meets the case. Francis makes an amendment to the resolution, and Mr. Hayllar seconds that, the amendment being "That during the past eighteen months life and property in this colony has been seriously jeopardised and a feeling of insecurity, the result of recent events, has been engendered."

Mr. FRANCIS-May I be allowed to state my amendment in my own words ?—("No.")

The CHAIRMAN-They are your words. A gentleman has seconded your resolution.

Mr. FRANCIS-My amendment is that the words at the end of that resolution be left out.-(Cries of " they are.")

Mr. W. LEGGE-We have had his resolution before the meeting, seconded by a member of the bar, who understood what he was saying, and I think we have no reason to go any further.

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Mr. MEHTA-I would like to put a rider to the amendment, if I have a right to do so.

The CHAIRMAN-A perfect right.

Mr. MEHTA-I propose that the amendment proposed by the Government officials present at this meeting, Messrs. Francis and Hayllar (laughter and applause)-be not accepted. What I want to propose is that the resolution as made be put.(Hear, hear.)

The CHAIRMAN-Gentlemen, I want your approval on disap- proval of this amendment. Those in favour of the amendment will be good enough to hold up their hands.

Two hands were held up.

The CHAIRMAN-Now, I must put the resolution, which is "that during the last eighteen months, etc.”

Carried with three dissentients.

Mr. NG CHOY-The Chinese cannot hear what is going on. The CHAIRMAN-Why do they not come forward? We must go on with the meeting.

Mr. NG CHOY-I want the resolution to be put again."

The CHAIRMAN-I cannot put a resolution which has been carried; we must go on with the meeting.

Mr. NG CHOY-It is not fair. The Chinese do not understand what is going on.

Mr. Lowcock-We cannot help it. I wish every Chinaman understood what was being said, but we cannot speak Chinese.

The Chinamen then, at a signal from Mr. Ng Choy, moved off the ground, cheering as they went.

is-

Mr. W. H. FORBES-The second resolution, which I propose,

That in the opinion of this meeting there is no necessity for any change in the laws and police regulations of the colony, but that the remedy for the existing state of affairs is in a firm and unfettered administration of the laws as they stand, especially those relating to the punishments for crimes with violence. That flogging in public has been found to be the only really deterring punishment for the class of criminals frequenting the colony, and to its suspension and the suspension of other necessarily stern modes of treat- ment enforced during previous Governments is attributable the daring bold. ness which has lately characterised crime in Hongkong.

Mr. GRANVILLE SHARP-I have been requested to second this resolution. I am very thankful that, owing to a favourable North- east wind which set in a few hours after my departure from

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Shanghai, I am altogether unexpectedly present at this second typhoon within the last week. I am able most thoroughly and heartily to protest against this party character being thrown into this loyal meeting. Gentlemen, I don't know that there is any one in Hongkong who has had more to do with the intelligent Chinese merchants than I up to within this day last month, and I am able most thoroughly to say that the resolution which was first proposed and the resolution which is now before you, have the entire and full concurrence of the most respectable and intelligent members of the Chinese community. It is quite right that in undertaking an inquiry of this kind we should guard ourselves against selfish motives, and I think we may with truth say that our merchants in China are not hard and unreasonable men. I believe that in no part of this world can a body of gentlemen be found showing so large an amount of consideration and kindness towards each other, and towards the weak the poor, the sick, and the bereaved, as has been manifested for half a century past by the wealthy, and oftentimes by the unfortunate, merchants in China. We are surrounded by a native population of one hundred to one, and it is only by a preservation of that supersti- tious veneration for the prestige of the British character by which we are enabled to keep the masses of the Chinese in check. The progress of education amongst them is greatly calculated to break down that prejudice and reverential feeling with which they regard all things foreign. They are becoming more and more familiar with us, and as a consequence in some degree there is a growth of that contempt which is proverbial. But our danger is not from the natives by whom we are surrounded, but from the masses of the Kwangtung province, which has been truly described by Mr. Keswick to be the most violent and the most demoralised of the whole Chinese empire. It is quite right in dealing with criminals that a due regard should be paid to the reclamation of the criminal, but I hold that the first duty of a foreign minor population placed in the midst of a major and enormously preponderating native population, is not the reforma- tion of the Chinese criminal, but the protection of life and property, which is the inherent right of every one of God's creatures. It is impossible that we should rightly teach these vagabond visitors from Kwangtung in the same way as we deal with the criminal population of the British Empire, ninety-nine out of every hundred of whom have

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been brought up in our blessed Sunday schools and have within them a sense of right and wrong. We have the highest authority that the magistrate is to be a terror to evil-doers and a praise to them that do well. Which comes first? Is it the praise that comes first? No, it is the terror. "He beareth not the sword in vain," and our magistrates ought to be firm and ought to be encouraged on occasion to use the sword. At the first introduction of that new system of discipline in the Colony which was most unwillingly forced upon us, and which was brought forward in the time of the best Governor we ever had, I walked down myself to the first infliction of public corporal punishment-not that I desired to witness what is a cruel sight, but that I desired by my presence to give a certain amount of sanction and approval to that which might have been misunderstood by those outside the colony and those at home-which might be blamed as being too cruel. I saw the first flogging given, and I say that flogging had a most salutary deterrent influence. Of the natives present this afternoon many have come here, and I think I may say- with the concurrence of this meeting-have been brought here under a misconception.-(Applause.) Let me say that I hope it was not an intentional misconception. But I believe they have come here under a misconception of the object and purpose of this meeting. This meeting is not an adverse one to the Chinese community of this colony, but a meeting which, as I believe-indeed, I am sure-would have had a month ago, when I was here, their hearty approval. It is not the educated classes, the merchants, the honest traders, the working coolies, the diligent shopkeepers, the enterprising Chinese builders of Hongkong—it is not against these we have canse of com- plainant. It is against the strangers who come to Hongkong, who know nothing of our colony, who come to find an El Dorado of riches and a place of unpunished crime. The two thousand Chinese who come here daily throughout the year, these are the men with whom our quarrel is, and not those men who have surrounded our circle to-day. (Applause.) On my way down from Shanghai I took up the Municipal Report, and what do I find there on the subject of flogging? I find that in the British Settlement of Shanghai, where the population is very limited, they have had no less than 730 floggings during the last year, and that of these 730 floggings 529 were of over 50 strokes and a large proportion of over 100 strokes-and you know

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what that punishment amounts to. Then I say these two thousand who come here daily and who are daily witnesses in Canton, and elsewhere, of the cruel punishments of China-they come here and find, as has been truly represented, a place of very relaxed discipline.

(Hear, hear.) For it to be supposed, gentlemen, that any system of imprisonment for these low classes of Chinese-hungry, poor, miserable, desperate men--can ever take the place of corporal punish- ment is vain, vain, vain!—(Hear, hear.)-I notice during our recent criminal sessions our Judges have been inflicting punishments at the rate monthly of thirty years' imprisonment; and at what cost? For mere maintenance alone, without the expensive buildings and remu- neration of officials, of $50,000 per annum. Do you come to China to toil and perspire for this ?—(Hear, hear.) No, sir, if this goes on we shall have to fill Stone-cutter's Island Gaol again—(“No, no”)— and build another costly structure elsewhere. In conclusion, I do not believe that such men as Sir John Smale, such amiable and kind men as our present Acting Chief Justice and Puisne Judge, benevolent men -I do not believe they are in favour of the recent relaxation of discipline; and if they are not who should be ? I think I can repeat, for my own self, and for everyone here present, the sentiment with which this meeting was opened by our excellent Chairman, that this is not a mutinous meeting—it is an orderly, quiet, constitutional meeting. We have every right to speak here, and that what we say shall be passed by common acclamation, and then that having the concurrence of this meeting, it shall be laid before our Governor, whose experience, and amiability I may say-(A laugh.)-Don't smile. I believe our Governor is an amiable man, and I believe this relaxation of discipline has been permitted from, and has been the outcome of, the very best motives and intentions. And I believe when he finds the unanimity with which these resolutions are passed he will now give, as he has on former occasions given, every considera- tion to the expression of the public sentiment. I have great pleasure in seconding the motion which has been proposed by Mr. Forbes.— (Loud Cheers.)

The CHAIRMAN-Will any gentleman move an amendment, or does any gentleman wish to make any remarks on the resolution?

Mr. T. I. BoWLER-As it is evident that attempts have been made to cause dissension, I move, "That this meeting views with

A-

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annoyance and displeasure the efforts which have been made to bring about dissension between the Chinese and Europeans.”

The CHAIRMAN-You are not speaking to the resolution, Mr.

Bowler.

Mr. FRANCIS-I should like to speak on the subject of the resolu- tion. Well, gentlemen, with many of the assertions contained in that resolution I concur. I have never been, I am not, in favour of the repression of corporal punishment. I believe that for many of the offences committed it is the only proper punishment. But you know very well that with the disapproval of the Colonial Surgeon, or any other medical man, no Governor in this colony dare carry it out in the face of public opinion in England, and the whole force of this colony combined could not carry that resolution into effect. It is the humanitarian party in England who are in favour. In passing that resolution I do say a great change in the law and police are necessary, and for the reasons already set out by one of the speakers. This colony is not situated in the midst of a peaceful country; it is situated, as Mr. Sharp and others pointed out, with thousands and thousands of lawless characters within half-a-mile or a mile of our borders. There- fore, police regulations such as we have, which are only suited for quiet times and in a quiet country are not suitable to this colony. The Police ought to do double duty; an arrangement ought to be made to carry that out. There are police duties on the streets; there ought also to be quasi-military duties on the roads. No man who has thought on this subject can be of opinion at this moment that the Police Force is properly and thoroughly organised, having in view the neces- sities of the Colony, or that that is the fault of the present Governor, who found it as it is.

A VOICE-Why did he not alter it ?

Mr. FRANCIS-It is not the fault of the present Governor, who proposes alterations and who is dependent on the approval of the Home Authorities. If you want to blame anyone, it ought to be the system of centralisation which prevented Sir Richard MacDonnell, one of the strongest Governors we ever had, from carrying out many of his measures. Hongkong is governed not here, not by the Governor on the spot, but by the fiat of the Secretary of State in London. Every one of you must know that not one single thing, not one single item

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of expenditure, can be incurred until it is sent home. You must know that within the last six months scarcely anything could be attended to at home. I believe no severe punishment such as public flogging would be approved in the face of public opinion at home.

A VOICE-What about the men-of-war's men ?

Mr. FRANCIS-That is sanctioned by the Home Government for purposes of their own. If they like to sanction it out here they can.

A VOICE-Let us have a Naval Surgeon.

Mr. FRANCIS-Well, gentlemen, if you want anything like fair play in the discussion of this you must admit the police force wants reorganising. There ought to be semi-military duties on the borders of the colony and the Water Police must be strongly reinforced. Now, gentlemen, what are the kind of offences that have caused alarm during the last six months? A certain number of burglaries—

A VOICE-A great number.

Mr. FRANCIS-A great number if you wish. Not one of these burglars has been caught. Is that the fault of the Governor ?

The CHAIRALAN-No one said the Governor.

Mr. FRANCIS-Another observation that might be made is that no burglar in the existing state of the law could be punished by flogging unless he was caught with weapons in his hand, and if you reflect you will see that two or three clever burglars might have committed all the burglaries which have been committed. I have been as great a sufferer as any one. I have been robbed three times in the house I am in now.

The CHAIRMAN-This has nothing to do with it.

Mr. KESWICK-The resolution says nothing about the numbers of the police force. It is the regulations and the laws-nothing to do with the numbers.

Mr. FRANCIS-My suggestion with reference to that is that the laws want altering and the police force re-organising. As to the alteration of the law, I simply want to point out this, that the most important and valuable law in force at home for dealing with criminals, the Habitual Criminals Act, has not been introduced here.

A VOICE-Flogging is the law.

Mr. FRANCIS-But there has not been one case in which flog- ging might have been inflicted during the last several sessions. There have been no foggings and no sentences of flogging during the

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last four or five months. Flogging can have a

do

with the increase of crime because not one of the criminals has been detected, for which the Police Force is responsible.-(Hear, hear.)

The CHAIRMAN—You should move a resolution.

Mr. FRANCIS-I am simply speaking to the resolution. The resolution was then put and was carried, no hands being held up against it.

Mr. RUTTONJEE-The next resolution has been placed in my hands, and I regret it has been so only since I have been at this meeting. Nevertheless, I will move it very readily, and with very few remarks. Gentlemen, most of you are aware that I have lived in China a number of years-thirty-two years, twenty-two of which I have spent in Hongkong, and I do not remember during this long period such a state of alarm and excitement with regard to the safety of life and property to have existed as is now prevailing. And I don't think you attach the blame to the police. (Hear, hear.) The police, considering their number and duties, have done their work remarkably well.-(Applause.). You know the cause of this abnormal state of things. It is very easily traceable. There are not two opinions about it among the foreign community, and even the Chinese community, I think, were of the same opinion until the hour of the meeting. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I think this agitation is very properly brought on. With these few remarks I beg to propose this resolution, which is that

This meeting views with great apprehension the opinion of the Colonial Surgeon with regard to the effect of the use of cat-o'-nine-tails on the backs of criminals and the action of His Excellency the Governor in respect thereto, and proposes that a commission of medical men be appointed to inquire into the matter.

Mr. W. S. YOUNG-I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution.

The CHAIRMAN-Gentlemen', has any one any remarks to make in regard to this resolution, or any amendment to propose to it? It is a very simple one.

Mr. HAYLLAR—The only thing I would say about that is that a commission has been appointed, and has been sitting for a long time. I don't know whether that would make any difference to the resolution.

A VOICE-The public are not supposed to know that.

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Mr. Lowcock-The commission has finished its sittings and we have heard nothing about it.

The resolution was then put and carried unanimously.

Mr. H. H. NELSON (Justice of the Peace and Vice-Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce)—Gentlemen, I have to propose the fourth resolution. In doing so I will say for myself, as several gentlemen have said for themselves before me, that it is not in any captious spirit I come here to propose the resolution. The remarks which have been made by one or two gentlemen would imply that this meeting was an indirect, or perhaps direct, attack upon the Governor. Gentlemen, we don't come here to attack the Governor.—(Hear, hear.) We come here because we are forced by circumstances to endeavour to state-and to state in no uncertain terms-the feelings which we have in reference to the conduct of a certain department of the Government of the colony. If any other man were Governor and the same circumstances existed equally would we be here to state the opinions which we hold in reference to this matter. We in Hong- kong, gentlemen, are men who have work to do-who have but little time to work up statistics, to check them when they are made up; or to attend to any matters of public interest. As a rule we would much prefer to let things take their course,

even if they were going slightly wrong, simply from our inability to devote any time—or hardly any time—to public duties. We are not an ex- citable community. We don't take every opportunity to get up meetings and attack institutions. We, I venture to say, are recognised as a community which has self-respect, and we should be wanting in that self-respect if we allowed the things to go on under our noses which have been going on and take no notice whatever, but sit down calmly and submit.—(Hear, hear.) Gentlemen, this character, which I say this community is entitled to, will have its due weight when it is known there has been a meeting of this kind in which the resolu- tions have been adopted—a weight which would never have been felt had the tone of the community been of a different kind. It is not my object in coming here to-day to lecture on the resolution I bring for- ward. I think it expresses the views of certainly the majority of this meeting. I will read it-

That in the opinion of this meeting the almost total abolition of the system of deporting habitual criminals, which in most cases means simply

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returning the deported to the place from which they came to violate the laws of the colony, is injudicious and will result in gaol accommodation having to be provided for an undue proportion of the criminal population of the south of China, at an expense the colony should not be called upon to bear.

Gentlemen, in the question of deporting there is no sentinent. Really, when we have to consider the class of men we have to deal with, the idea of keeping them here to reform them instead of sending them back to the place from whence they come does not bear discussion. It is not the idea of sensible men, but of enthusiasts.-(Applause.) They come here to violate the laws of this colony in very large numbers. Chinamen arrive in this place for the purpose of violating the laws which protect us, and which equally protect that vast number of Chinamen who went away a few minutes ago at a wave of the hand of one man. Why should we in Hongkong have to increase our gaol accommodation when it has been found that a certain action, a certain decided positive action on the part of the Government is capable of keeping the criminal population in tolerable order, at any rate from swarming on our island? (Hear, hear.) I, as a Justice of the Peace, took occasion some months ago to remark on that subject in the book kept in the gaol for that purpose. I noticed the number of prisoners had gone up from 342 to 545 or 546 in six months. I took the liberty of noticing this, and suggesting that some little action should be taken to inquire how it all came about. Gentlemen, I heard no more about it from that day to this. I merely mention this to show that there is an increase of prisoners in the gaol, and this colony is compelled to provide for it. Gentlemen, if this goes on it will not be 540 but 1,040 we will have in this place. I move the resolution with great pleasure.

Mr. A. MACCLYMONT-The meeting has been somewhat pro- longed, and I will not detain you with any unnecessary observations. One of the learned counsel spoke of the centralisation that governs this colony, but I think the colony may congratulate itself that there is a centralisation, because before now it has profited by it. The fallacy in the speeches of the two learned counsel has been an in- sufficient distribution of what is called the middle term.-(Laughter.) They have told us, sir, that because the police are not so good as they should be, therefore other measures which have been found to have a repressive effect should be abolished. They might have told us that turkeys are poultry, and, because a hawk is a bird, therefore hawks are

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poultry too. (Laughter.) With reference to the subject of the re- solution, I may be permitted to say that the past experience of the colony has shown deportation to be a very valuable instrument in the repression of crime. We find on one side of this question men who by their enterprise and capital have made the colony one of the most important dependencies of the Crown, and on the other only three learned barristers who seem to be actuated by the sense of gratitude and a hope of favours to come. On the one hand we have the entire mercantile community of Hongkong, and on the other hand we have as the apologists of His Excellency the Governor three learned bar- risters. But apart from this we find that deportation is the law, and it ought to be administered until it is constitutionally repealed, and I think if this meeting fulfils no other object than this, failing relief, it should make its voice heard at the doors of Her Majesty's Ministers in London, and its message should be a request that the laws shall be administered without favour or affection, and that the abolition or enforcement of any particular law shall not depend upon the mere ipse dixit of any Governor, however able or energetic.-(Loud Cheers.)

The CHAIRMAN-Before putting this I should like to know if any one wishes to make any remarks or move an amendment in any shape.

Mr. BOWLER-In the case of a man named Low Awan, arrested for unlawful possession, Mr. Francis, in discharging the man, said the constable had no right to stop or even search a man whom he suspected of one thing or another. The people who have been deported return to this colony if they can, and if branding has been done away with and there is no means of identifying them, what is to be done? As to deportation, it is no use deporting them unless they are branded, or some means of identification provided, and the policemen must be allowed to arrest a deported criminal or one whom he suspects.

The CHAIRMAN-That has nothing to do with the resolution. The resolution was then put to the meeting and carried unanim- ously.

Hon. H. LowcoсK (M.L.C. and Justice of the Peace)-Gentlemen, not having been previously aware that there was an objection to preparing resolutions, or even a few remarks, I must plead guilty to having

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prepared not a speech, because I don't know how to make one, but a few remarks on the resolution. I therefore hope you will allow me to refer to a few heads which I have made on paper in relation to the resolution. I presume all of us here present entertain the same feeling of regret for the necessity which has called this meeting together; but I do not think I am asking you, as my fellow-citizens, to believe too much when I state that I have never felt greater pain or greater regret in the performance of any duty than that which now comes into my hands. But it is a duty, and I must go through with it, hoping to receive the support of the meeting in carrying the resolution. From what has fallen from those who have already addressed you, and from the manner in which the previous resolutions have been passed and received, it is quite clear that this community is dissatisfied with the policy of the Government as regards the administration of the laws and the treatment of criminals; while I regret there is reason to believe that the machinery composing the Government has been worked lately in a manner quite inconsistent with the proper per- formance of those functions for which it had been arranged; in fact, that for so long a time there has been so little accord between the head of the Government and almost all of the different departments, that the machine is quite out of order and does not work as the public have a right to expect it should. Who is to blame for this? We cannot say that others must answer. But what is the remedy? I think you will, with me, answer that it is clear that we are powerless to re-arrange the various parts of the engine or machine and make it work in the smooth, easy, regular manner it did prior to its derange- ment; and it therefore only remains for us to seek help elsewhere- from Her Majesty's Government. Therefore, I would ask you to pass the resolution I now propose.-(Loud Cheers.) It is as follows

That this meeting is strongly of opinion that it is desirable that Her Majesty's Government should appoint a commission from England or from some colony other than Hongkong, with full powers to inquire into the present administration of the Government of this colony, especially as regards the application of the criminal laws, the carrying out of the sentences of the courts, and the relations existing between the head of the Government and the other officials in every department.

Gentlemen, the want of concord of which I have spoken it is unneces- sary to speak of in detail, but I think I ought to mention one or two circumstances as a proof of the statements I have made. First, then, I will refer to the application of the laws and the carrying out of the

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sentences of the Courts. Chief Justice Smale's sentences of flogging "with the cat " were disallowed. They were sentences, therefore, I presume, they were the law. They were disallowed, without any medical examination of the prisoners, on the plea that the use of the cat would cause consumption. Second-In spite of the existing laws, both public and private flogging with the cat have been abolished.

Mr. FRANCIS-It is not true.

The CHAIRMAN-That is strong language.

Mr. Lowcock-The same gentleman applied the term to the Chairman before.

Mr. FRANCIS-I applied no such term to the Chairman. The CHAIRMAN-Something very like it.

Mr. Lowcock-Third-Deportation and tattoo marking behind the ear have also been practically abolished. Fourth-In spite of the law, no returned deportee can now be proceeded against, without the Police first obtaining the Governor's personal approval; thus the Governor individually interposes between criminals and the law. Fifth-Discredit has been thrown on the administration of justice by impugning the action of the Supreme Court, the death sentence in the Shek-O murder case having been commuted on the plea that the prisoner had not been defended by a solicitor as well as a barrister. Sixth- Acting Chief Justice Snowden's application to have his defence of the Supreme Court published in the Government Gazette, following the publication of Chief Justice Smale's letter, was disallowed. With regard to the relations existing between the head of the Government and the other officials, we know the most serious estrangement is known to exist between the Executive and the Judiciary. How then can the law be carried out? If the Judges do not receive sup- port in their sentences, is it any wonder crime increases? The con- templated abolition of the Registrar-General's office is a step so serious that some better reason should be given for it than is at present known. The resignation of the Board of Examiners for Chinese studies was caused by an utterly undeserved attack upon its members. These, gentlemen, are the reasons why I have made the statement I have, and I would ask you to consider them in voting for or disap- proving the resolution I have placed before you.-(Loud and prolonged cheering.)

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Mr. N. J. EDE (Justice of the Peace)-I beg to second that.- (Applause.)

Mr. FRANCIS-I would ask permission to apologise to Mr. Lowcock. I am informed he was speaking only with reference to the cat. I thought he was speaking of corporal punishment generally.

Mr. Lowcock accepted the apology.

Mr. FRANCIS-In reference to that resolution I would like to make another remark. The Governor-

to

Mr. LowCock-Permit me, before you proceed further, say I have not attacked the Governor personally, and therefore you are not called upon to defend him.--(Cheers.)—" Who excuses himself ' (Loud cheers.)

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Mr. FRANCIS-I am not going to defend. I was merely answer- ing a certain remark with reference to Mr. Hayllar and myself, but I may say that anyone who can hear that resolution read and can say the object of the meeting was not to pass that resolution and lead up to it by the previous ones, must be wanting in common sense.— (Groans and hisses.) There is no danger of intimidating me.

Mr. Lowcock-There is not the slightest intention to intimidate. any one. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. FRANCIS-I will also apologise to Mr. Gibb if a word I said could be understood as imputing a want of truthfulness.

The CHAIRMAN-Thank you, thank you.

Mr. FRANCIS-When a man makes a mistake the best thing he can do is to apologise.

Mr. GRANVILLE SHARP-I should like to say a word. I was very hopeful indeed this resolution might have been overruled, because I believe it is the only resolution in which there can be the slightest thought of reflection-although I believe it is not meant-upon His Excellency the Governor. We all know very well that from the very frst entry of Mr. Pope Hennessy into Hongkong there has been a feeling of isolation and estrangement between him and the public.

Mr. FRANCIS-Before he came.

Mr. Lowcock-How dare you say that?

The CHAIRMAN-Order, please.

Mr. Lowcock-1 beg your pardon.

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Mr SHARP-That has increased until out of it has come in- difference and enmity. We have heard from His Excellency a great deal about the British Constitution. We all know what the British Constitution is, as recognised by Her Most Gracious Majesty, namely, that the Government of her wide Empire shall be administered con- sistently with the highest interests of the millions of its inhabitants, and as nearly as possible in accordance with their wishes. I believe there has been a great deal of mauvais honte between the Governor and the colony. The proposer of the resolution has asked who is to blame. Gentlemen, I think we are all to blame. ("No, no.") Gentle- men, I think we are all to blame for the indifference which we have manifested to public affairs.(Hear, hear.) We are all too busy with the almighty dollar—(“Oh! Oh!")—and we have very little time even for the important politics of this important colony. I think His Excellency would have done well had he found more time to converse with our three non-official members, than whom you cannot find three men in Hongkong or China who will better repay a half-hour's con- versation-men who are more full of valuable information. Now the question occurs to me, not only is the Governor to blame for not having tapped these sources of valuable supply; but have these gentlemen done all which they possibly could do as the representatives of the community in enforcing upon the Governor the views which they and so many entertain and which have been to-day expressed ? Does His Excellency know for certain these opinions prevail, not only in Hongkong, but at all the coast ports and in Shanghai and Japan? The Governor's policy is universally condemned. Have these things been brought to His Excellency's notice? I believe, if they were brought, and as this meeting has the power to bring them, and as they will be to-morrow, we shall find that His Excellency will be amenable to the force of public opinion. Are we not strong enough in Hongkong to manage our own affairs but we must wash our dirty linen before the world. I am ashamed for Hongkong-("Oh, oh")-in that the people have been indifferent. Who has attended the meetings of the Legislative Council to uphold the hands of our members when they have all protested against some act inaugurated by His Excellency. And, gentlemen, excuse me, but you are to blame; we are all to blame; we are all to blame.-("No, no.") We have all been much perplexed at the policy already adopted of seeking to enlist the sympathies of

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the world against Hongkong by the publication in the Government Gazette of His Excellency's views of our errors and shortcomings. Now it seems to me we are adopting the same policy to-night. We are calling upon others outside to come and look at our differences in- stead of settling them ourselves. I believe an effort has been made, but the principal failure has been the want of support to our non- official members by this community. I am very sorry to divide the meeting in any way. I begged that the resolution might be withdrawn -("No, no.") Perhaps I had no right, coming so late on the scene, to even suggest it, but I do so. I feel we are wrong and I desire to propose an amendment, which is

That His Excellency the Governor is hereby requested to direct that a watch committee be formed consisting of the three non-official members of the Legislative Council, with three bankers, one American, one German, and one Indian merchant, of which three members, consisting of one Member of Council, one merchant, and one banker form a sub-committee. That the duties of the watch committee be the general supervision of police matters in Hongkong and its dependencies, for which purpose the Governor be re- quested to clothe them with substantial powers.

I have to thank you for your patience.

Mr. HAYLLAR-I will second that with pleasure.

Mr. NELSON-I would merely suggest, in reference to the pro- posal of Mr. Sharp, that however kind it may be, and however good in its feeling, no committee of the kind he suggests could perform the duties efficiently and well. In this colony we pay heavy taxes for all these things to be done for us. No merchants, no bankers in the place, can give the time necessary to superintend the working of the Government Departments of this colony, or any one of them, in a competent manner.

The amendment was then put to the meeting and only three voted for it.

The original resolution was carried with three dissentients.

Mr. A. P. MACEWEN-Sir, in proposing the last resolution I think there remains very little to be said but to ask you to support it, as the ideas expressed by speakers at this meeting have met with such unanimous approval. It is as follows:-

That the Chairman of this meeting do forward these resolutions to the Honourable the Colonial Secretary, requesting that His Excellency the Go- vernor will forward a copy of the same to the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies by the first opportunity.

Sir, when first the proposal to hold a public meeting to take into con- sideration the present insecure state of life and property in this Colony

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was mooted, I suggested, in its stead, that the matter should be fully discussed in Conncil by the three gentlemen who represent the public in that Assembly, men who by their long residence in China and also by the high commercial positions they occupy, would have had the full confidence of the public in any discussion that took place. Upon making inquiries, however, I was told that Unofficial Members have very little voice in that Council and that their opinion was rarely con- sulted upon matters of interest connected with the colony. Now, certainly this would appear to be the case, for let me ask how many meetings of the Legislative Council have taken place since Mr. Hennessy assumed the reins of Government now more than eighteen months ago. Not half-a-dozen; while under former Governors meetings of Councils were frequent. Matters in which the public have an interest were openly and freely discussed, and it is certain that the same open and straightforward way of conducting affairs connected with this colony is not pursued under the present régime. Sir, the time is passed when the public can afford to wink at this milk and water policy. Why, let me ask you, should householders large and small, already heavily taxed, be obliged to keep an extra staff of watchmen to guard their property and also their lives from a lot of villainous cut-throats, attracted, I maintain, to the colony by the laxity of the law hitherto existing. A sure and effective cure is the following. Let the magistrates instead of inflicting paltry fines of 10 cents or short terms of imprisonment, have the power to inflict summary chastise- ment on all rogues and vagabonds. Let them be taken from the magistracy and publicly flogged at the whipping-post. I see the increase of crime in the Colony is, put down to the cheap rate of fares now existing between Canton and this port. In my opinion the famine in the Kwang-tung Province has also had a good deal to do with it. You may rest assured that if a Chinamen bent on depreda- tions in this Colony knew that if caught he would receive a lash for every cent he paid for his passage-money he would confine his thieving propensities to his own country. By public flogging crime would rapidly decrease, and the hordes of thieves at present hiding here would quickly disperse. And if Mr. Ng Achoy will put this fair and straight to his countrymen whom he has here under his thumb, he will find they will one and all agree with him. Sir, in conclusion, the supporters of Mr. Hennessy, I think, may be classed under two

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heads those who support him to serve their own ends, and those who have no interests at stake in the Colony, I am supported in making this statement by the fact that the bulk of the professional men, all the bankers, every merchant of standing, and every tradesman of respectability, are unanimous in condemning his policy. It remains to be seen which is the stronger of the two, the unanimous voice of public opinion or Mr. Hennessy and his satellites.-(Applause.)

Mr. C. D. BOTTOMLEY Seconded.

The resolution was put to the meeting, and carried amid cheering:

The CHAIRMAN-I hope what has taken place may be the means of doing good.

Mr. FRANCIS-I beg to propose a vote of thanks to the Chairman.

Three cheers for the Queen were called for and warmly given, and a cheer for the Chairman.-Daily Press.

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