After passing through the gorge known as Tung-lo-hsia ten miles from Chungking, the laoban tried to attract my attention calling me from my crib and pointing with his chin up the river repeating "Haikwan one piecee," which I interpreted to mean that there was an outpost of the customs here in charge of one white man; and this proved to be the case. The customs kuatze or houseboat was moored to the left bank; the Imperial Customs flag floated gaily over an animated collection of native craft. We drew alongside the junk and an Englishman appeared at the window.

"Where from?" he asked, laconically.


"The devil, so am I. What part?"


"So am I. Town?"

"Last from Ballarat."

"My native town, by Jove! Jump up."

I gave him my card. He looked at it and said, "When I was last in Victoria I used to follow with much interest a curious walk across Australia, from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Melbourne done by a namesake. Any relation? The same man! I'm delighted to see you." Here then at the most inland of the customs stations in China, 1500 miles from the sea, I met my fellow countryman who was born near my home and whose father was a well-known Mayor of Ballarat City.

Like myself he had formerly been a student of Melbourne University, but I was many years his senior. What was his experience of the University I forgot to inquire, but mine I remember vividly enough; for it was not happy. In the examination for the Second-year Medicine, hoping the more to impress the Professors, I entered my name for honours - and they rejected me in the preliminary pass. It seems that in the examination in Materia Medica, I had among other trifling lapses prescribed a dose of Oleum Crotonis of "one half to two drachms carefully increased." I confess that I had never heard of the wretched stuff; the question was taken from far on in the text book and, unfortunately, my reading had not extended quite so far. When a deputation from my family waited upon the examiner to ascertain the cause of my misadventure, the only satisfaction we got was the obliging assurance "that you might as well let a mad dog loose in Collins Street" as allow me to become a doctor. And then the examiner produced my prescription. But I thought I saw a faint chance of escape. I pointed a nervous finger to the two words "carefully increased," and pleaded that that indication of caution ought to save me. "Save you it might," he shouted with unnecessary vehemence; "but, God bless my soul, man, it would not save your patient." The examiner was a man intemperate of speech; so I left the University. It was a severe blow to the University, but the University survived it.

My countryman had been five years in China in the customs service, that marvellous organisation which is more impartially open to all the world than any other service in the world. As an example, I note that among the Commissioners of Customs at the ports of the River Yangtse alone, at the time of my voyage the Commissioner at Shanghai was an Austrian, at Kiukiang a Frenchman, at Hankow an Englishman, at Ichang a Scandinavian, and at Chungking a German.

The Australian had been ten months at Chungking. His up-river journey occupied thirty-eight days, and was attended with one moving incident. In the Hsintan rapid the towline parted, and his junk was smashed to pieces by the rocks, and all that he possessed destroyed. It was in this rapid that my boat narrowly escaped disaster, but there was this difference in our experiences, that at the time of his accident the river was sixty feet higher than on the occasion of mine.

Tang-chia-to, the customs out-station, is ten miles by river from Chungking, but not more than four miles by land. So I sent the boat on, and in the afternoon walked over to the city. A customs coolie came with me to show me the way. My friend accompanied me to the river crossing, walking with me through fields of poppy and sugarcane, and open beds of tobacco. At the river side he left me to return to his solitary home, while I crossed the river in a sampan, and then set out over the hills to Chungking. It was more than ever noticeable, the poor hungry wretchedness of the river coolies. For three days past all the trackers I had seen were the most wretched in physique of any I had met in China. Phthisis and malaria prevail among them; their work is terribly arduous; they suffer greatly from exposure; they appear to be starving in the midst of abundance. My coolie showed well by contrast with the trackers; he was sleek and well fed. A "chop dollar," as he would be termed down south, for his face was punched or chopped with the small-pox, he swung along the paved pathway and up and down the endless stone steps in a way that made me breathless to follow. We passed a few straggling houses and wayside shrines and tombstones. All the dogs in the district recognised that I was a stranger, and yelped consumedly, like the wolfish mongrels that they are. From a hill we obtained a misty view of the City of Chungking, surrounded on two sides by river and covering a broad expanse of hill and highland. I was taken to the customs pontoon on the south bank of the river, and then up the steep bank by many steps to the basement of an old temple where the two customs officers have their pleasant dwelling. I was kindly received, and stayed the night. We were an immense height above the water; the great city was across the broad expanse of river, here more than seven hundred yards in width. Away down below us, moored close to the bank, and guarded by three Chinese armed junks or gunboats, was the customs hulk, where the searching is done, and where the three officers of the outdoor staff have their offices. There is at present but little smuggling, because there are no Chinese officials. Smuggling may be expected to begin in earnest as soon as Chinese officials are introduced to prevent it. Chinese searchers do best who use their eyes not to see - best for themselves, that is. The gunboats guarding this Haikwan Station have a nominal complement of eighty men, and an actual complement of twenty-four; to avoid, however, unnecessary explanation, pay is drawn by the commanding officer, not for the actual twenty-four, but for the nominal eighty.

My two companions in the temple were tidewaiters in the Customs. There are many storied lives locked away among the tidewaiters in China. Down the river there is a tidewaiter who was formerly professor of French in the Imperial University of St. Petersburg; and here in Chungking, filling the same humble post, is the godson of a marquis and the nephew of an earl, a brave soldier whose father is a major-general and his mother an earl's daughter, and who is first cousin to that enlightened nobleman and legislator the Earl of C. Few men so young have had so many and varied experiences as this sturdy Briton. He has humped his swag in Australia, has earned fifteen shillings a day there as a blackleg protected by police picquets on a New South Wales coal mine. He was at Harrow under Dr. Butler, and at Corpus Christi, Cambridge. He has been in the Dublin Fusiliers, and a lieutenant in Weatherby's Horse, enlisted in the 5th Lancers, and rose from private to staff-sergeant, and ten months later would have had his commission. He served with distinction in the Soudan and Zululand, and has three medals with four clasps. He was present at El Teb, and at the disaster at Tamai, when McNeill's zareeba was broken. He was at Tel-el-kebir; saw Burnaby go forth to meet a coveted death at Abu-klea, and was present at Abu-Kru when Sir Herbert Stewart received his death-wound. He was at Rorke's Drift, and appears with that heroic band in Miss Elizabeth Thompson's painting. Leaving the army, C. held for a time a commission in the mounted constabulary of Madras, and now he is a third class assistant tidewaiter in the Imperial Maritime Customs of China, with a salary as low as his spirits are high.

Chungking is an open port, which is not an open port. By the treaty of Tientsin it is included in the clause which states that any foreign steamer going to it, a closed port, shall be confiscated. Yet by the Chefoo Convention, Chungking is to become an open port as soon as the first foreign steamer shall reach there. This reminds one of the conflicting instructions once issued by a certain government in reference to the building of a new gaol. The instructions were explicit: -

Clause I. - The new gaol shall be constructed out of the materials of the old. 
Clause II. - The prisoners shall remain in the old gaol till the new gaol is constructed.

In Chungking the Commissioner of Customs is Dr. F. Hirth, whose Chinese house is on the highest part of Chungking in front of a temple, which, dimly seen through the mist, is the crowning feature of the city. A distinguished sinologue is the doctor, one of the finest Chinese scholars in the Empire, author of "China and the Roman Orient," "Ancient Porcelain," and an elaborate "Textbook of Documentary Chinese," which is in the hands of most of the Customs staff in China, for whose assistance it was specially written. Dr. Hirth is a German who has been many years in China. He holds the third button, the transparent blue button, the third rank in the nine degrees by which Chinese Mandarins are distinguished.

The best site in Chungking has been fortunately secured by the Methodist Episcopalian Mission of the United States. Their missionaries dwell with great comfort in the only foreign-built houses in the city in a large compound with an ample garden. Their Mission hospital is a well-equipped Anglo-Chinese building attached to the city wall, and overlooking from its lofty elevation the Little River, and the walled city beyond it.

The wards of the hospital are comfortable and well lit; the floors are varnished; the beds are provided with spring mattresses; indeed, in the comfort of the hospital the Chinese find its chief discomfort. A separate compartment has been walled off for the treatment of opium-smokers who desire by forced restraint to break off the habit. Three opium-smokers were in durance at the time of my visit; they were happy and contented and well nourished, and none but the trained eye of an expert, who saw what he wished to see, could have guessed that they were addicted to the use of a drug which has been described in exaggerated terms as "more deadly to the Chinese than war, famine, and pestilence combined." (Rev. A. H. Smith, "Chinese Characteristics," p. 187.)

Not long ago three men were admitted into the hospital suffering, on their own confession, from the opium habit. They freely expressed the desire of their hearts to be cured, and were received with welcome and placed in confinement. Every effort was made to wean them from the habit which, they alleged, had "seized them in a death grip." Attentive to the teacher and obedient to the doctor, they gave every hope of being early admitted into Church fellowship. But one night the desire to return to the drug became irresistible, and, strangely, the desire attacked all three men at the same time on the same night; and they escaped together. Sadly enough there was in this case marked evidence of the demoralising influence of opium, for when they escaped they took with them everything portable that they could lay their hands on. It was a sad trial.

Excellent medical work is done in the hospital. From the first annual report just published by the surgeon in charge, an M.D. from the United States, I extract the two following pleasing items.

Medical Work. - "Mr Tsang Taotai, of Kuei-Iang-fu, was an eye witness to several operations, as well as being operated upon for Internal Piles" (the last words in large capitals).

Evangelistic Work. - "Mrs Wei, in the hospital for suppurating glands of the neck, became greatly interested in the truth while there, left a believer, and attends Sunday service regular (sic), walking from a distant part of the city each Sunday. We regard her as very hopeful, and she is reported by the Chinese as being very warm-hearted." She will be converted when the first vacancy occurs in the nursing staff.

During my stay in Chungking I frequently met the French Consul "en commission," Monsieur Haas, who had lately arrived on a diplomatic mission, which was invested with much secrecy. It was believed to have for its object the diversion of the trade of Szechuen from its natural channel, the Yangtse River, southward through Yunnan province to Tonquin. Success need not be feared to attend his mission. "Us perdront et leur temps et leur argent" Monsieur Haas has helped to make history in his time. The most gentle-mannered of men, he writes with strange rancour against the perfidious designs of Britain in the East. In his diplomatic career Monsieur Haas suffered one great disappointment. He was formerly the French Charge d'Affaires and Political Resident at the court of King Theebaw in Mandalay. And it was his "Secret Treaty" with the king which forced the hand of England and led to her hasty occupation of Upper Burma. The story is a very pretty one. By this treaty French influence was to become predominant in Upper Burma; the country was to become virtually a colony of France, with a community of interest with France, with France to support her in any difficulty with British Burma. Such a position England could not tolerate for one moment. Fortunately for us French intrigue outwitted itself, and the Secret Treaty became known. It was in this way. Draft copies of the agreement drawn up in French and Burmese were exchanged between Monsieur Haas and King Theebaw. But Monsieur Haas could not read Burmese, and he distrusted the King. A trusted interpreter was necessary, and there was only one man in Mandalay that seemed to him sufficiently trustworthy. To Signor A - - - then, the Italian Charge d'Affaires and Manager of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, Monsieur Haas went and, pledging him to secrecy, sought his assistance as interpreter.

As Monsieur Haas had done, so did his Majesty the King. Two great minds were being guided by the same spirit. Theebaw could not read French, and he distrusted Monsieur Haas. An interpreter was essential, and, casting about for a trusted one, he decided that no one could serve him so faithfully as Signor A - - - , and straightway sought his assistance, as Monsieur Haas had done. Their fates were in his hands; which master should the Italian serve, the French or the Burmese? He did not hesitate - he betrayed them both. Within an hour the Secret Treaty was in possession of the British Resident. Action was taken with splendid promptitude." M. de Freycinet, when pressed on the subject, repudiated any intention of acquiring for France a political predominance in Burma." An immediate pretext was found to place Theebaw in a dilemma; eleven days later the British troops had crossed the frontier, and Upper Burma was another province of our Indian Empire.

Monsieur Haas was recalled, and his abortive action repudiated. He had acted, of course, without orders; he had erred from too much zeal. Signer A - - - was also recalled, but did not go because the order was not accompanied with the customary cheque to defray the cost of his passage. His services to England were rewarded, and he retained his engagement as Manager of the Flotilla Company; but he lost his appointment as the Representative of Italy - an honourable post with a dignified salary paid by the Italian Government in I.O.U.'s.

Chungking is an enormously rich city. It is built at the junction of the Little River and the Yangtse, and is, from its position, the great river port of the province of Szechuen. Water-ways stretch from here an immense distance inland. The Little River is little only in comparison with the Yangtse, and in any other country would be regarded as a mighty inland river. It is navigable for more than 2000 li (600 miles). The Yangtse drains a continent; the Little River drains a province larger than a European kingdom. Chungking is built at a great height above the present river, now sixty feet below its summer level. Its walls are unscalable. Good influences are directed over the city from a lofty pagoda on the topmost hill in the vicinity. Temples abound, and spacious yamens and rich buildings, the crowning edifice of all being the Temple to the God of Literature. Distances are prodigious in Chungking, and the streets so steep and hilly, with flights of stairs cut from the solid rock, that only a mountaineer can live here in comfort. All who can afford it go in chairs; stands of sedan chairs are at every important street corner.

During the day the city vibrates with teeming traffic; at night the streets are deserted and dead, the stillness only disturbed by a distant watchman springing his bamboo rattle to keep himself awake and warn robbers of his approach. In no city in Europe is security to life and property better guarded than in this, or, indeed, in any other important city in China. It is a truism to say that no people are more law-abiding than the Chinese; "they appear," says Medhurst, "to maintain order as if by common consent, independent of all surveillance."

Our Consul in Chungking is Mr. E. H. Fraser, an accomplished Chinese scholar, who fills a difficult post with rare tact and complete success. Consul Fraser estimates the population of Chungking at 200,000; the Chinese, he says, have a record of 35,000 families within the walls. Of this number from forty to fifty per cent of all men, and from four to five per cent, of all women, indulge in the opium pipe. The city abounds in opium-shops - shops, that is, where the little opium-lamps and the opium-pipes are stacked in hundreds upon hundreds. Opium is one of the staple products of this rich province, and one of the chief sources of wealth of this flourishing city.

During the nine months that I was in China I saw thousands of opium-smokers, but I never saw one to whom it could be applied that description by Lay (of the British and Foreign Bible Society), so often quoted, of the typical opium-smoker in China "with his lank and shrivelled limbs, tottering gait, sallow visage, feeble voice, and death-boding glance of eye, proclaiming him the most forlorn creature that treads upon the ground."

This fantastic description, paraded for years past for our sympathy, can be only applied to an infinitesimal number of the millions in China who smoke opium. It is a well-known fact that should a Chinese suffering from the extreme emaciation of disease be also in the habit of using the opium-pipe, it is the pipe and not the disease that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred will be wrongly blamed as the cause of the emaciation.

During the year 1893 4275 tons of Indian opium were imported into China. The Chinese, we are told, plead to us with "outstretched necks "to cease the great wrong we are doing in forcing them to buy our opium. "Many a time," says the Rev. Dr. Hudson Taylor, "have I seen the Chinaman point with his thumb to Heaven, and say, 'There is Heaven up there! There is Heaven up there!' What did he mean by that? You may bring this opium to us; you may force it upon us; we cannot resist you, but there is a Power up there that will inflict vengeance." (National Righteousness, Dec. 1892, p. 13.)

But, with all respect to Dr. Hudson Taylor and his ingenious interpretation of the Chinaman's gesture, it is extremely difficult for the traveller in China to believe that the Chinese are sincere in their condemnation of opium and the opium traffic. "In some countries," says Wingrove Cooke, "words represent facts, but this is never the case in China." Li Hung Chang, the Viceroy of Chihli, in the well-known letter that he addressed to the Rev. F. Storrs Turner, the Secretary of the Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade, on May 24th, 1881, a letter still widely circulated and perennially cited, says, "the poppy is certainly surreptitiously grown in some parts of China, notwithstanding the laws and frequent Imperial edicts prohibiting its cultivation."

Surreptitiously grown in some parts of China! Why, from the time I left Hupeh till I reached the boundary of Burma, a distance of 1700 miles, I never remember to have been out of sight of the poppy. Li Hung Chang continues, "I earnestly hope that your Society, and all right-minded men of your country, will support the efforts China is now making to escape from the thraldom of opium." And yet you are told in China that the largest growers of the poppy in China are the family of Li Hung Chang.

The Society for the Suppression of Opium has circulated by tens of thousands a petition which was forwarded to them from the Chinese - spontaneously, per favour of the missionaries. "Some tens of millions," this petition says, "some tens of millions of human beings in distress are looking on tiptoe with outstretched necks for salvation to come from you, O just and benevolent men of England! If not for the good or honour of your country, then for mercy's sake do this good deed now to save a people, and the rescued millions shall themselves be your great reward." (China's Millions, iv., 156.)

Assume, then, that the Chinese do not want our opium, and unavailingly beseech us to stay this nefarious traffic, which is as if "the Rivers Phlegethon and Lethe were united in it, carrying fire and destruction wherever it flows, and leaving a deadly forgetfulness wherever it has passed." (The Rev. Dr. Wells Williams. "The Middle Kingdom," i., 288.)

They do not want our opium, but they purchase from us 4275 tons per annum.

Of the eighteen provinces of China four only, Kiangsu, Cheh-kiang, Fuh-kien, and Kuangtung use Indian opium, the remaining fourteen provinces use exclusively home-grown opium. Native-grown opium has entirely driven the imported opium from the markets of the Yangtse Valley; no Indian opium, except an insignificant quantity, comes up the river even as far as Hankow. The Chinese do not want our opium - it competes with their own. In the three adjoining provinces of Szechuen, Yunnan, and Kweichow they grow their own opium; but they grow more than they need, and have a large surplus to export to other parts of the Empire. The amount of this surplus can be estimated, because all exported opium has to pay customs and likin dues to the value of two shillings a pound, and the amount thus collected is known. Allowing no margin for opium that has evaded customs dues, and there are no more scientific smugglers than the Chinese, we still find that during the year 1893 2250 tons of opium were exported from the province of Szechuen, 1350 tons from Yunnan, and 450 tons from Kweichow, a total of 4050 tons exported by the rescued millions of three provinces only for the benefit of their fellow-countrymen, who, with outstretched necks, plead to England to leave them alone in their monopoly.

Edicts are still issued against the use of opium. They are drawn up by Chinese philanthropists over a quiet pipe of opium, signed by opium-smoking officials, whose revenues are derived from the poppy, and posted near fields of poppy by the opiurn-smoking magistrates who own them.

In the City Temple of Chungking there is a warning to opium-eaters. One of the fiercest devils in hell is there represented gloating over the crushed body of an opium-smoker; his protruding tongue is smeared with opium put there by the victim of "yin" (the opium craving), who wishes to renounce the habit. The opium thus collected is the perquisite of the Temple priests, and at the gate of the Temple there is a stall for the sale of opium fittings.

Morphia pills are sold in Chungking by the Chinese chemists to cure the opium habit. This profitable remedy was introduced by the foreign chemists of the coast ports and adopted by the Chinese. Its advantage is that it converts a desire for opium into a taste for morphia, a mode of treatment analogous to changing one's stimulant from colonial beer to methylated spirit. In 1893, 15,000 ounces of hydrochlorate of morphia were admitted into Shanghai alone.

The China Inland Mission have an important station at Chungking. It was opened seventeen years ago, in 1877, and is assisted by a representative of the Horsburgh Mission. The mission is managed by a charming English gentleman, who has exchanged all that could make life happy in England for the wretched discomfort of this malarious city. Every assistance I needed was given me by this kindly fellow who, like nearly all the China Inland Mission men, deserves success if he cannot command it. A.more engaging personality I have rarely met, and it was sad to think that for the past year, 1893, no new convert was made by his Mission among the Chinese of Chungking. (China's Millions, January, 1894.) The Mission has been working short-handed, with only three missionaries instead of six, and progress has been much delayed in consequence.

The London Missionary Society, who have been here since 1889, have two missionaries at work, and have gathered nine communicants and six adherents. Their work is largely aided by an admirable hospital under Cecil Davenport, F.R.C.S., a countryman of my own. "Broad Benevolence" are the Chinese characters displayed over the entrance to the hospital, and they truthfully describe the work done by the hospital. In the chapel adjoining, a red screen is drawn down the centre of the church, and separates the men from the women - one of the chief pretexts that an Englishman has for going to church is thus denied the Chinaman, since he cannot cast an ogling eye through a curtain.