Chapter 2. Westerners Draw Their Boundaries: Insular Living and Its Exceptions

So it was a most startling revelation to find myself in a very smart, purely foreign settlement, as entirely isolated from the native city as though they were miles apart, instead of only being divided by a canal, which constitutes this peaceful green spot an island.1

—Mrs. Constance F. Gordon-Cumming, January 9, 1879

In the later nineteenth century, the bulk of the foreign community in Guangzhou was increasingly separated from the city proper and its population. The island of Honam (Mandarin Henan) on the south side of the river became an industrial enclave for foreign business, while the newly constructed island of Shamian became the center for foreign social life. Some foreigners continued to live outside of Shamian, notably a few merchants who were comfortable in the Honam quarters, a few American businesses that tried to rebuild on the old factory site, the British consul who maintained a yamen inside the walled city, and a range of foreign missionaries. Parts of the following discussion will chart the spatial and social isolation of the foreign community from the everyday life of the rest of the city, the development of building practices between Western patrons and Chinese contractors, and the shaping of missionary practice within the city. The spatial strategies of foreigners in Guangzhou in the later part of the century reveal an attempt to come to terms with more defined dialogues of identity and alienation.

Modest Living and Work South of the River: Honam

In the immediate aftermath of the Arrow War, the foreign merchants faced the problem of how to go about their business, with long-standing factory residences no longer an option. Though many firms moved their headquarters to Hong Kong or Shanghai, over a century of practicing business in Guangzhou meant that even those firms who moved the base of their operations elsewhere still often felt the need for a branch office in the city. With the potential destructive power of the Cantonese populace now a substantial concern for most foreigners, the search for accommodation first centered on the large island of Honam (Mandarin Henan), directly opposite the old factory site on the south bank of the river. Honam actually means “south of the river.” Though most of the large island was fairly rural in nature well into the twentieth century, the northwestern tip was occupied by a village-like suburb that was essentially a less dense version of the western suburbs of the city on the other bank. Modest houses clustered around the inland lanes, while large hongs and pack-houses that had been used as temporary encampments for the allied troops during the war fronted directly on the river. This landscape was punctuated by the largest Buddhist monastery in the city’s environs and the substantial residence of the Howqua merchant family. The inhabitants of the southern suburb, besides being fewer in number, had the reputation of being milder and more hospitable than the Cantonese denizens of Guangzhou proper. The separation from the latter element, often blamed for destruction of foreign property, combined with large facilities already prepared for conducting the business of importing and exporting, made Honam a logical choice.

The foreign community would take up residence on the river frontage of Honam initially around 1859; some firms would stay there for a couple of decades. Contemporary observers compiling a guide to the treaty ports of the Far East noted, “Honam frontage was rented by foreign firms who altered native buildings into sufficiently comfortable temporary dwelling houses.”2 The buildings that greeted them on the south bank were not unlike slightly smaller versions of the long, narrow, two-storied buildings interspersed with courtyards that composed the Thirteen Factories, albeit largely without the Westernized façades (Pl. 16). The enclosed first stories, the verandah-clad second stories, and the rows of side-gabled roofs echoed almost exactly the configuration of the Thirteen Factories, though there was a total lack of any space like the factory square. This, on the one hand, restricted recreational possibilities, but, on the other hand, also seemed to be prohibitive of the violent incidents that had so plagued the Thirteen Factories.

An image of the interior of one of the foreign premises survives, apparently dating from around 1870 (Fig. 2.1). Representing Nye & Co.’s hong, the photograph from the Peabody Essex Museum’s collection depicts the long interior passageway in the center of the business premises used by Gideon Nye, an American merchant who had been a resident of the city since before the Opium War. The stone-and-brick-paved passage, flanked by the tall masonry piers and capped by the tile roofs that are hallmarks of Cantonese vernacular building must have recalled the interior of the Thirteen Factories.3 The striking, one-point perspective created by the lines of the corridor, rhythmically punctuated by atmospheric bands of light and shadow indicating the courtyards or skylights, brings to mind the description of the foreign factories having individual blocks articulated “like the distinct glasses in a telescope.”4 Westernized features of the building seem largely to be confined to the louvered shutters of the second story and a possibly imported and prefabricated front door with sidelights and transom. The latter element was very typical in American residences of the era, and here undoubtedly served the same purposes of allowing light into the entryway and providing the security measure of seeing who was at the door before opening it.

Figure 2-1

Fig. 2.1

Nye & Co.’s Hong on Honam, Canton (interior). This photograph captures the great central corridor of the Massachusetts firm’s godown and residence. It probably gives a rather accurate impression of what a view must have been like within one of the original Thirteen Factories. Nye continued to dwell on Honam even after most of the foreign population moved to Shamian. Used with the permission of the Peabody Essex Museum (TR2015.3).

Almost all the foreigners in the city would have dwelt in and conducted business in premises like these into the early 1860s. Though the British concession on newly developed Shamian Island started to draw away foreign firms after 1862, when residential construction there began in earnest, Honam continued to host the dwellings of some foreigners, especially those attached to both the liberties and frugalities of the previous era, and the business premises of a number of firms. In 1870, though many of the British firms had moved to the new concession, the American firms of Nye & Co. and Heard & Co. still remained on Honam, as well as a scattering of merchants from the Germanic states and a large number of Parsee business houses.5 The largely Cantonese-style buildings were comfortable enough for some of the foreigners. A substantial number of Parsee businesses were still on Honam even in 1886.6

The foreigners who decided to stay on Honam seem to have gradually followed the lead of the more showy residences on Shamian and adopted a more Westernized style of building. Gideon Nye, by now American vice-consul and a resident of Guangzhou for over four decades, while perhaps maintaining the property depicted above as business premises, described his place of residence in 1882:

My present residence here, known as “Lam Kee Hong” . . . being a European-built detached house of brick and stone with open spaces in front and rear as well as on the East & bounded by a narrow street on the west, on which there is only a single Chinese one story shop opening on the canal, on which my house is situated. My premises are solely occupied by the Revd. Ernest Faber and myself and our respective servants.7

Nye wrote this description in a letter arguing for a lowering of his fire insurance rate. One of the benefits of a residence on Honam was a lower density of buildings, which lowered the chance of damage by catastrophic urban fires. The fact that this was a “European-built detached house” seems to contrast with his earlier premises, an urban Cantonese building type.

Though foreign residence, with the exception of some missionary buildings to be discussed later, gradually declined in the northwestern region of Honam, the area continued as a place of business for foreign and Chinese firms into the twentieth century. A visitor in the 1870s noted, “all the English houses, or Hongs, with one exception alone, do their business in the settlement, but have to go to Honam to weigh their teas previous to shipment.”8 As such, the area bears witness to a trend of separation of the industrial spaces of business and manufacture from the spaces used for dwelling and administrative tasks. This trend was almost universally observable throughout the Western world during the second half of the nineteenth century, so the foreign firms in Guangzhou simply mirrored practices in their home countries.

Chau T’au Street on Honam continued to be a primary location for foreign firms’ warehouses into the twentieth century.9 Also on the same street were Chinese businesses of interest to the Western firms, namely, a large reed-matting factory and Choy Song Tea Hong, the largest tea processors in the city.10 The industrial character of the area would have given a Cantonese vernacular impression of brick walls surmounted by tile roofs and punctuated with doorways sporting the regionally popular sliding wooden security bars. Scottish photographer John Thomson stated, “The native tea-firing establishments of Canton adjoin the river, or the banks of a creek, and a granite or wooden wharf is one of their most indispensable accessories.”11 Tea rolling, weighing, firing, and tasting were all-important parts of the process for preparing teas for exportation. Foreign tea dealers all possessed their own tasting rooms for the purposes of quality control and creating blends for foreign tastes. A photograph of one such room from the Peabody Essex Museum collections illustrates a typical tea office in Guangzhou from the late nineteenth or very early twentieth century (Fig. 2.2). The firm’s principal tea taster and a younger foreign assistant stand attended by local employees. Rows of canisters line the walls and trays and cups are lined up for sampling. The room is otherwise unadorned and, like most such industrial or trade-related spaces, equipped mainly for functionality.

Figure 2-2

Fig. 2.2

Tea tasters in tea office, Guangzhou (anonymous). The interior of a turn-of-the-century tea taster’s office can be compared to a similar setting half a century earlier as shown in Pl. 11. The room seems at once more solely functional and more systematized than its predecessor. Used with the permission of the Peabody Essex Museum (TR2015.2).

As the scale of shipping in the city increased around 1900, a new, larger type of warehouse facility appeared on the back reach of the Pearl River along the western banks of Honam. The British firm of Butterfield & Swire (in Chinese called Tai Gu, often spelled Tai Koo), a large shipping interest with commodity-producing factories (particularly sugar refineries) in other Chinese cities, opened its Guangzhou branch in 1892.12 By 1898, the company’s warehouse space on the north side of the river leased from the Imperial Maritime Customs Station was too confined, apparently resulting in delays in shipping.13 During the years 1898 and 1899, the firm’s Guangzhou agent, J. R. Greaves, investigated and then purchased a tract in the area of Honam called Pak Hin Hok for new godown space. This area, on the periphery of the densely populated part of the island, was formerly dominated by a village of lime burners, but already had some warehouse facilities on it.14 Greaves sketched the site plan of the property he had originally scouted (Fig. 2.3).15 This sketch probably reveals the configuration of a typical late nineteenth-century warehouse complex. On a long narrow lot, it possessed a wharf and a walled compound behind it that from front to rear included a small “semi-foreign” brick house (probably an office); a spacious godown containing a small kitchen space; an open courtyard half surrounded by brick and tile work sheds; and, at the rear, brick “coolie” houses for the laborers.

Figure 2-3

Fig. 2.3

Plan, prospective godown property on Honam, c. 1898. This sketch reveals the layout of what was probably a typical godown complex in Canton in the late nineteenth century. Consisting of a landing, an office or house for the warehouse clerk, a large godown, open space for handling goods, and a barracks for the Chinese laborers. This complex on Honam reveals the removal of the physical aspects of business, and the Chinese staff associated with them, completely away from the foreigners’ dwellings. Used with the permission of John Swire & Sons, Ltd. (SOAS Archives, John Swire & Sons Papers, JSSII 1/5, folder A23).

By early 1902, Greaves was able to acquire this and adjacent lots, registered in the British Consulate as the 196,000-square-foot extra concession lot 34, on perpetual lease from its owner, Cheung Kop.16 Between 1902 and 1908, improvements on the property were carried out to the order of eight godowns, four “built of iron” and four of bricks with tiled roofs.17 In addition to these buildings, the complex included three steel wharves, nine hardwood piers, two brick bungalows (presumably for lower-level foreign staff—like the “tallyman” in charge of enumerating cargo—as the managerial staff had a residence on Shamian) and “native quarters.”18 One of the wharves had a tramway installed to make the movement of heavier goods more convenient. Surviving, if not particularly detailed, photos from before 1908 reveal that the inexpensive property on Honam was used to construct long, low gable-ended warehouses that enabled goods to be stored without the bother of moving them onto upper stories. 19 These new types of warehouses were apparently found universally convenient, and Butterfield & Swire shipping prospered in Guangzhou:

With these facilities the firm are [sic] able to deal very expeditiously with cargo, and, instead of it being necessary for the steamers sometimes to remain for upwards of a week, they are now generally ready to continue their journey a few hours after arrival. The godowns and wharves are under one roof, are excellently ventilated, and, as nearly as possible, fireproof. They are a great boon to shippers, and the Chinese are not slow to realise the advantages which the firm offer [sic].20

Continued expansion and improvement through the 1910s attested to the facility’s continued value.21 Though the popularity of Honam as a place of foreign residence waned by the 1880s, its generally peaceful atmosphere, long waterfront, low population density, and hence low property prices made it an ideal place for the unattractive aspects of foreign business, particularly the warehouses. The continued use of the island for renting and building workspace would allow the Shamian foreign concessions to develop as a neighborhood with a more leisurely and bucolic design than had been possible in the Thirteen Factories.

A New Era but a Separate Peace: Dwelling on Shamian

The British-constructed island of Shamian (Fig. 2.4) would, in the wake of the destruction of the foreign factories during the Arrow War, become the center of foreign life in Guangzhou, enjoying this status into the 1920s. Shamian (literally “sand-face”) started its existence as a long, low sandbar in the bend of the front reach of the Pearl River, and supported small Chinese forts laid to ruin during the Sino-British wars. In April 1859, principals of British firms suggested the site for new factories to H. M. B. Consul Sir Rutherford Alcock, who pursued estimates for the construction of a granite sea wall around it and other site preparation.22 The site importantly offered protection from riots and fire. The decision to build was finalized in late May 1859, the imperial government leased the site on a quit-rent, and the construction was financed by $280,000 from war indemnities paid by China and $325,000 from the British and French governments.23

Figure 2.4

Fig. 2.4

Aerial photograph of Shamian, c. 1930. Though considerably more built-up than in c. 1870, the leafy and rectilinear impression of early twentieth-century Shamian is still evident in this view. From Liang You Publishing Co., The New Canton.

Reflecting the proportion of finances provided by each government, the British would possess four-fifths of the island and the French one-fifth. Two main avenues were laid out running east to west, with a third lane that would only later be turned into a wider street running the length of the northern end of the island. Five north-south roads divided the island up into blocks. A “bund” walk ran along the top of the retaining wall along the riverfront. The area between the bund and Front Avenue, in the earliest era called Consular Road, was retained for public recreation. The blocks of the British concession were divided up into eighty-two lots. Six of these lots were retained for the British consular complex, and the nearly triangular lot at the western terminus of Front Avenue was reserved for a church and parsonage. The rest of the lots were auctioned off in September 1861.24 The easternmost two blocks that formed the French concession were divided into twenty-four lots, but were not built upon for nearly thirty years after the island’s construction. A French doctor visiting Guangzhou during the period noted that there was nothing on the French concession but “a vast space, covered in bad grass, without signs of habitation.”25

Building on the rest of Shamian was at first also tentative. The first permanent buildings to be completed seem to have been Christ Church and its accompanying parsonage. These structures are likely the oldest foreign-designed edifices still extant in Guangzhou today. The British had obtained war indemnities from the Chinese government for the church on the old factory site to the order of $18,464.20, which they promptly organized a committee to spend.26 By early April 1862, the “Canton Church Society” had solicited and received now-lost plans and estimates for the church and parsonage.27 The architect of the church is recorded as a Mr. T. W. Kingsmill “of Hong Kong” and the designer of the parsonage as a Mr. Carl Brumstedt “of Canton.”28 Thomas W. Kingsmill (1837–1910) was a civil engineer and architect who had decided to move to China, later becoming a long-time resident of Shanghai. There, he became the designer of the first Royal Asiatic Society building in 1871, authored an article on the Daodejing, and, as late as 1900, was still running an architectural office.29 Unfortunately far less is known of Brumstedt, other than that he died before the project was fully underway.30 As a result, Kingsmill moved to Guangzhou briefly to oversee both projects.31 Initially, most of the church was to be finished by early January 1863, and the tower in March of that year, but it appears that the building was not completed until at least a year later.32

Stylistically, Christ Church displays a general neoclassical vocabulary, falling stylistically somewhere in between the parish churches of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century London and a nineteenth-century adaptation of Renaissance Italian architecture (Fig. 2.5). A rectangular building, with triangular gables on its south (liturgically west) and north (liturgically east) ends and a three-tiered tower over the entrance, it has changed very little since the late nineteenth century. The primary changes appear to be the replacement of the apse end window, cosmetic alteration of ornament on the tower, the replacement of balustrades with solid panels, and on the first story the replacement of panels with scored rustication. The interior saw a succession of cooling technologies, from nineteenth-century punkahs to ceiling fans by 1938, but these are now gone. The exterior color of the building has also changed. Now a bright yellow with details picked out in white, it was originally “a stone colour in two shades.”33 Otherwise, the simple neoclassical details of the building remain much the same as when it was constructed. The church was estimated to be able to hold 120 people and, in its early years, hosted morning and afternoon services on Sundays and daily prayers at 8:30 a.m.34 From 1885 to the beginning of the twentieth century, however, Christ Church lost its chaplaincy, and ministers from various missionary societies conducted the services.35

Figure 2.5

Fig. 2.5

Christ Church, Shamian, late nineteenth century. The appearance of the church itself remains much the same today, although it is surrounded with a higher wall and is now across from a major hotel (the result of land reclamation and construction c. 1980). This photograph interestingly hints at a polychrome paint scheme. From Long, The New America and the Far East, p. 814.

The parsonage, probably built a few years after the construction of the church, still survives, but is stripped of much original detail. The outside, originally painted in two shades of “stone” color, is now covered with a monotonous layer of stucco or cement. The main entrance faced the central avenue, with an elevation punctuated by arched windows and a slightly projecting central entrance bay. One benefit of the isolated situation of the parsonage lot was that the arched windows could be carried to all elevations of the building, allowing ample air circulation. The interior retains some of its original detail. The south entrance opens onto a mezzanine landing between a sunken ground floor and the story above. The broad, twelve-paneled south door remains, as do many simple molding details and a few mantles. An intimate description of the building was left by Mrs. Gray, wife of the first chaplain on Shamian, in her memoir, Fourteen Months in Canton:

It is in the Italian style of architecture, built in two stories, with two deep verandahs at the back of the house, looking upon the river. You enter a good-sized hall, and on your left is the drawing-room with two windows opening to the ground at each end, and three windows running down the side of it. From the verandah you step on to a narrow piece of grass which separates us from the bund or walk on the river wall. From the front door you face the wide grass walk, which goes down the entire length of the settlement.36

At least the airy quality created by the windows, which caused Mrs. Gray to describe the situation of the house as much as its fabric, has survived to the current day. The two verandahs on the river side of the house simply referred to a two-storied verandah, and are now enclosed.

Other buildings on Shamian emerged more slowly, and at first some lots were occupied by temporary structures. The island was described as it appeared in the mid-1860s:

For the first two or three years after its completion, the only buildings undertaken were a Church and Parsonage (occupying the extreme western point of the site, and built from the indemnity allotted in compensation for those destroyed by the Chinese in 1856) and three substantial residences erected by as many firms. The remaining lots were for the most part occupied by temporary bungalows constructed of bamboo and matting, which, although delightfully cool as summer residences, were necessarily abandoned in winter for houses rented in Honam. Many of the merchants by whom the lots were purchased in 1861 have since withdrawn altogether from Canton, whilst others have hesitated to expend considerable sums in building while trade (so depressed) preferring to rent the Chinese buildings they occupied in Honam, notwithstanding the discomfort, inconvenience, and heat under which residents suffer (being deprived of southerly winds).37

The depressed conditions of trade and, for the Americans, a civil war, combined with the opportunities created by other treaty ports, had slowed the substantial architectural reestablishment of the foreign community. In 1865, only two companies, Moul & Co. and Reiss & Co., listed their offices in a business directory as being on Shamian.38 In the spring of 1866, Guangzhou possessed only around sixty European and American residents, including about a dozen missionaries and the employees of nine British, five American, and four German business houses.39

Besides the church and parsonage, the buildings of the earliest phase of construction on Shamian have been little documented. The British consular complex, constructed in 1865 and replaced with new buildings in the early twentieth century, originally had a complete set of plans, which have since been lost.40 From consular correspondence, however, it is possible to gather an impression of how it was. The initial design involved the same Carl Brumstedt who was the architect of the parsonage; it is plausible that Kingsmill completed supervision of the construction after Brumstedt’s death on this project as well.41 These men seem to have been working in close contact with Charles St. George Cleverly, the surveyor general of Hong Kong.42 The overall arrangement of the complex seems to have been buildings arranged around three sides of a courtyard and surrounded by a “substantial wall.”43 Brumstedt described each of the buildings in a letter to the consul. Of the consul and vice-consul’s residences, the forward two wings of the complex, he said:

These two buildings are on the same plan with the difference of the treasury in the Vice-Consul’s residence. They comprise each on the ground floor, a drawing room, dining room, study or private office, storeroom and pantry, hall and staircases, and on the first floor, four bedrooms with two dressing and two bathrooms, the dressing and bathrooms for each of the front rooms to be partitioned off in the front verandah if necessary.44

The needs of the consul’s household had changed dramatically since the Thirteen Factories era, as these men now lived in detached dwellings capable of housing a domestic family unit and probably guests as well. Surviving, if poor-quality, snapshots of these buildings from the south around 1900 show hipped-roof masonry buildings with wraparound, segmental, arched verandahs and some sparse neoclassical details.45 This style of dwelling would set the pattern for Shamian architecture for the next three to four decades. Brumstedt went on to note that the interpreter’s and assistant’s residence:

constituting one building are also alike in plan, and contain each on the ground floor a drawing room and dining room with pantry on the verandah, hall, and staircases; and on the first floor two bedrooms and one dressing room, and two bathrooms in the north verandah.46

This building had a semi-detached or duplex plan, and was on one end of the back or north range of buildings. The center of the north range of buildings was probably occupied with the consular offices, which Brumstedt said “consist of five rooms, vizt. consul’s, vice consul’s , interpreter’s and assistant’s offices and a count room.”47 This building possessed an arcaded verandah and a triangular pediment over the central entrance.48 Bearing up the other corner of the north range was the new function, now that the British concession was self-governing, of the constable’s quarters, which

comprise in the ground floor the lock-up with w.c. attached, storeroom and servant’s room, and room for the boatmen, hall and staircase, the first floor containing for the constable’s use, a bedroom, dining room and sitting room, with a bathroom in the verandah. Attached to the constable’s quarters on the south side is a room for the office coolie’s and a servants washing room and w.c.49

The constable had the least luxurious quarters of the British employees. When the complex was built in 1865, it is probable that the “office coolie” room was for the consulate’s most “professional” local employee, its linguist and packet agent, Ng Mun Ching. The other Cantonese employees were house servants, accommodated in a detached service building: “Each residence has the requisite outhouses for kitchen, servants’ rooms & c. & c. in a separate building for convenience and safe-guard against fire.”50 This spatial removal of domestic servants from the dwelling had profound social implications to be discussed later.

The earliest known paintings of Shamian depict it as a newly constituted island, devoid of much vegetation beyond some newly planted trees.51 The first trees were recorded planted on Shamian in spring of 1864, and in 1865 plans for plantings were increased:

The belt of trees around Shameen was completed, the vacancies caused by the Typhoon and by acts of evil-disposed persons were filled up. At intervals of 25 feet trees were planted on each side of the Broad Road running East and West and of the cross roads, and in the North side of the Garden Road.52

What vandalism was conducted by “evil-disposed persons” is unknown. A gardener, A Ching (note “A” or “Ah” or “Ya” is a common familiar prefix to names sported by Guangdong tradesmen) was commissioned to plant seven different varieties of trees around the island, including willow, mango, and loquat, in addition to banyan.53 Interestingly, in the early paintings, the buildings between the church and the consular complex are portrayed as being very much in the vein of the Thirteen Factories or the factories on Honam, being in essence two-story, Cantonese vernacular, ranged buildings with side-gabled roofs. This is the only record of such building types on Shamian; it is probable that the buildings were short-lived. It may be that these were the facilities of the first handful of companies to locate on the concession. If some belonged to Reiss & Co. or Moul & Co., their short existence would make sense, given that the former company disappears from Guangzhou directory listings by 1870 and the latter by 1874.

Views dating from the 1870s show that the hipped-roofed rectangular buildings of the consulate and parsonage were prototypes for later construction. A photo shows that out of the canopy of young trees protrude numerous blocky, hipped-roof buildings, some now along the central avenue in addition to the ones on the front avenue (Fig. 2.6). In the front row are the parsonage, church, commissioner of customs residence, the primary offices of Deacon & Co., the low-slung German consulate, and Augustine Heard & Co.’s premises. Deacon & Co.’s secondary “bungalow” is visible behind the parsonage. The mountains in the distance can only be imagined today, as modern Guangzhou’s dense urbanism blocks them out completely from the river.

Figure 2.6

Fig. 2.6

View of Shamian, c. early 1870s (detail). This shows the front row from left to right, the parsonage, Christ Church (followed by a pair of buildings peeking in from the second row), the commissioner of customs residence, Deacon & Co.’s front office, the German consulate, and Heard & Co. The buildings on the second row are more difficult to identify, but the one on the far left is undoubtedly Deacon & Co.’s bungalow. Photo from author’s collection.

A second view dating from around 1870 takes the form of an engraving after a photograph by Scots photographer and writer John Thomson, and was published over a decade later in the British serial The Graphic (Fig. 2.7).54 Taken almost certainly from the top of a pawn shop tower located between the main steamer landing near the old factory site and Shamian, the engraving looks over the entire island facing almost due west. Rows of hipped and pyramidal tiled roofs stretch out in two rows along the front and main avenues. An apparent third row of buildings between the two mostly in reality consisted of some offices of the foreign-staffed Imperial Maritime Customs (on the left, the nearest building after the unidentified modest hipped-roof structure) and the rear range of the British consulate (the three buildings next along that side of the central avenue), with some service buildings beyond. The ordered and open dwellings and offices of Shamian contrast strikingly with the dense and organic Cantonese neighborhood in the foreground.

Figure 2.7

Fig. 2.7

“Shamien, the Foreign Settlement” (after a photograph by John Thomson). The looming portrayal of the Chinese city in the foreground contrasts dramatically with the orderly European village on Shamian in this view intended for British popular consumption. The portrayal of cultural difference, or “otherness,” is sharply delineated. From The Graphic, September 22, 1883, in author’s collection, also with consent of the Illustrated London News Picture Library.

The defensive nature of the island becomes readily apparent, as the canal or moat removes foreigners from the city. The island is connected only with two small bridges on the east and north, carefully regulated by Chinese policemen in guardhouses.55 The conventions of the image, with dark and dense lines in the foreground and lighter and more gradual shading in the background, only serve to emphasize the separateness of the foreigners’ existence. This detachment from the city was frequently noted by visitors, among them Constance F. Gordon-Cummings, an intrepid world traveler of the Victorian era, when she stated, “Indescribable, however, is the contrast between the peace and calm which here reign and the crowds and dirt and bustle of the great Chinese city, from which it is only separated by a narrow canal bridged at two points.”56 The contrast is even more notable, and more Sinophobic, in the writings of another lady world traveler, Mrs. Brassey. She commented of Shamian, “From the quiet country park, full of large villas and pretty gardens, you emerge into a filthy city, full of a seething, dirty population, and where smells and sights of the most disgusting description meet you at every turn.”57 The contrast of the Western settlement with the adjacent western suburbs of Guangzhou was too pronounced not to be intentional. Though physical and security barriers, in addition to the open environment, served to keep much of the local traffic of the city out, residents of Shamian were always reminded of their surroundings, however, not only by the city across the canal, but also by the boat people, who frequently used the shelter of the island’s canals and who refused to be moved by the protests of the foreigners.58

The impression of Shamian during this era as a quiet, pastoral but orderly suburb was much voiced by contemporary inhabitants and visitors. Mrs. Archdeacon Gray, resident for over a year, noted in the spring of 1877:

It is a small island, only a mile and a half in circumference. The bund encircling it is ornamented by a row of banyan trees, which look so green at this time of year. The houses in the settlement are very handsome and the whole of it is beautifully laid out. The walks are all bordered by the banyan-trees. I am much struck with the tropical plants I have seen in the gardens, especially with the palm-trees.59

Annie Ward Spinney, wife of Imperial Maritime Customs commissioner William Spinney of Salem, Massachusetts, concurred with the assessment of the edenic appeal of the place. Mrs. Spinney came to China and lived in various cities as a result of her husband’s acquisition of various posts with the Chinese governmental customs department, run by foreigners as an immediate consequence of concessions made after the Arrow War. Upon taking up residence on Shamian in July 1887, she wrote to her mother, Mary Ward:

The houses are in two rows, and we are on the best row, the outer, near the river, where we get a delightful breeze all day and night. The great tennis courts beautifully green lie between us and the water and they do look finely in the afternoon when lots of people are flying about and playing there The whole place is a garden. There are trees in long straight rows or scattered about here and there and there are flowers everywhere. We went round the whole island yesterday and did not see one really unsightly spot.60

The tennis courts were formally organized in the late 1870s, and have existed in various forms down to the current day on the same spot, in front of the block immediately east of the British consulate. The park-like landscape of the island even took on a slightly rural cast, as visitor Mrs. Brassey noted, “At the back there are compounds with kitchen gardens, and under the trees dairy cows are grazing. Every household appears to supply itself with garden and farm produce, and the whole scene has a most English, home-like appearance.”61

Even earlier than the arrival of the tennis courts, a public flower garden in front of the British consulate had appeared, as a British visitor of six months’ residence, Walter William Mundy, recounted in a passage that seems to imply that the utopian surroundings directly caused blissful social harmony:

The settlement is so loved by all, that it is often called the Paradise, as everything is supposed to be nearly perfection, all the residents being regarded as fellow members of one large family, from which the backbiting and scandal so rife in small communities is supposed to be entirely banished. The roads are of grass, with beautiful avenues of trees; outside these are good paths of chunam. There is also a small flower garden, where the children play.62

The arrival of women and children, as indicated both by the informants and by the descriptions above, influenced the desire for public amenities and the atmosphere of a foreign community no longer strictly dominated by hard-drinking bachelors and husbands removed from their wives. Among the early recreational amenities other than those already mentioned, but without much visual documentation, were a public hall with a stage and dance floor, a bowling alley, boathouses, and a club with billiards and reading rooms.63 The billiards tables were apparently staffed with “markers” who were “Chinese boys, many of whom play a good game.”64 All of the pleasant aspects of Shamian led to a further disengagement from the city proper. As Mrs. Gordon-Cumming noted, “Here is transplanted an English social life so completely fulfilling that the majority of the inhabitants rarely enter the city!”65 There is also a hint that the pride with which the Shamian denizens beautified their island was rooted in the rivalry of the now-reduced Guangzhou foreign community with their peers in other treaty ports. It was observed of former US Secretary of State William H. Seward, upon his visit to Guangzhou at the end of 1870, that “he found the foreign settlement more spacious and elegant than the people of Shanghai and Hong Kong allow it to be.”66

Presenting a European Face: A Survey of Houses on Shamian, 1870–1900

Foreigners chose to articulate their cultural difference from the Cantonese of the surrounding city by building houses that reflected European identities, though many of the buildings were in fact constructed by local contractors. A small collection of images can serve to illustrate a good cross-section of the polished offices/residences. As already mentioned, most buildings on the island in this period had two stories and hipped or pyramidal roofs, and, as both Mrs. Gray and Mrs. Gordon-Cumming indicate, they were stylistically thought of as specimens of “Italian architecture.”67 There were no Italian designers, nor even Italian residents, engaged in the construction of Shamian’s dwellings. What this seems to have meant to the observant ladies was that the buildings were not only neoclassical, and drawing at least vaguely on Italian Renaissance architectural precedents, but also that most sported arcaded verandahs, presumably conjuring up images of Italian palaces, townhouses, and villas. In essence, that the buildings were classical and adapted to a warm climate seem to be the qualifications that warranted such a stylistic assignment. The building type, whose origins remain obscure but are possibly connected with British India, was new to Guangzhou but probably already in use in other treaty ports and, most notably and influentially for the region, in the colony of Hong Kong.

Some of the first “close-up” documentation of the initial generation of foreign houses on Shamian was provided by a disaster that damaged and destroyed some of them, namely a waterspout accompanying the typhoon of April 7, 1878. In the United States consular correspondence for that year, a map of Shamian (Fig. 2.8) was included to show the path of the waterspout and its damage. The plan shows the locations of each residence existing on Shamian, including the US consulate, which had just moved from a building on the north side of the canal to a rented dwelling on the island.68 It indicates that about twenty-six different dwellings and offices stood upon on the island. Many of these buildings occupied adjacent front and back lots, one for the main residence and one for the support buildings behind.

Figure 2-8

Fig. 2.8

Plan of Shamian with drawn path of waterspout, 1878. This map shows the individual lots of Shamian and the path of the waterspout’s devastation. Despatches from the United States Consuls in Canton, 1790–1906, United States National Archives and Records Administration.

A photographic album in the British Library contains several images showing buildings after the hurricane, including some views of the much more devastating effects of the storm on the traditional Cantonese buildings in the western suburbs.69 The views, published by the China Mail out of Hong Kong, include two buildings in the direct path of the waterspout. The first view (Fig. 2.9) shows the residence of Pustau & Co., located in the second row of buildings, on the corner of the Central Avenue (a.k.a. Parkes’ Avenue) and Bridge Road.70 The caption states that the west wall, between two and three feet thick, hence of load-bearing masonry, was detached from the rest of the building, and that the silk godowns and boundary walls, which seem to have been a standard feature of the commercial houses of the era, were completely destroyed.

Figure 2-9

Fig. 2.9

Pustau & Co. after typhoon/waterspout, 1878. Though falling within an overall typology, small stylistic touches gave each house its own distinct identity. The small, semicircular projection in the central bay perhaps acted to establish this firm’s identity. Copyright: The British Library Board (India Office Records, Photographic Album 337/3-35).

The second view (Fig. 2.10) shows a couple of buildings on the more densely built-upon Front Avenue (a.k.a. Consular Road).71 The building in the foreground with the large arched verandah bay is indicated by the caption as the German consulate, while the building on the other side of Bridge Road is identified by the map as Heard & Co.’s house. The apparently quite badly damaged building at the edge of the frame is Jardine, Matheson & Co.’s house. Here the walls or balustrade-clad railings that surrounded Shamian lots during this era, enclosing yards and gardens, are clearly shown, if in a rather damaged state. These images of Shamian houses of the 1870s show a degree of uniformity of size and type, largely differentiated by stylistic features such as verandah shape and ornament. Hipped-roofed, white- or stone-colored, and verandah-clad structures lined neatly in rows were undoubtedly the general impression of late nineteenth-century Shamian. Enclosed rooms on the second-story side verandahs of both Pustau & Co. and Heard & Co. seem to indicate that the practice of placing bathrooms on the verandah, as mentioned in the descriptions of the British consulate buildings, was quite common. Pustau & Co.’s classical pilasters, its stone or more probably ceramic porch balustrade, and its roof parapet, show considerable expense was invested in an elegant street appearance. The German consulate is somewhat more restrained, with segmental verandah arches linked by a running stringcourse, but also with a balustrade, displaying a functional concern with the depth and ample bowed front of its verandah. Heard & Co.’s house was perhaps one of the more economical houses of the era on Shamian, sporting only plain porch piers on the second-story verandah, as well as prefabricated cast-iron railings.

Figure 2-10

Fig. 2.10

German consulate, Heard & Co., and Jardine & Matheson after 1878 typhoon/waterspout. The original German consulate building on Shamian was distinguished by its broadly arched and bowed bays on its façade. Heard & Company on the other hand seems a rather utilitarian box, reflecting the fact that the firm’s headquarters had moved to Hong Kong by this point. Copyright: The British Library Board (India Office Records, Photographic Album 337/3-38).

The commissioner for Guangzhou’s branch of the Imperial Maritime Customs lived in a stately house on the double lot across the “Parsonage Road” from the English church. It was almost certainly one of the first-generation buildings on the island. A photograph of the building in 1893 (Fig. 2.11) shows a four-bayed, arcaded verandah, an interesting tiled roof composed of multiple pyramids, and a rounded central bay on the side containing a secondary entrance.72 In addition to the curved side bay, the scrolled brackets supporting broken segmental arched pediments over the side windows lend the building a hint of generalized baroque-revival or “Second Empire” flavor. What is apparently a metal aviary pavilion sits in the front garden.

Figure 2-11

Fig. 2.11

Imperial Maritime Customs commissioner’s residence, c. 1893 (Photographic album compiled by Anna D. Drew, Canton, Aug. 24, 1893). The commissioner of the Western-run Chinese customs service enjoyed a privileged position across from Christ Church, with a whole house allocated for himself and his family. The large yard, complete with metal aviary, is notable. Harvard-Yenching Library of the Harvard College Library, Harvard University.

The semi-detached house built for the customs deputy commissioners and/or married assistants is also recorded in a surviving photograph (Fig. 2.12). There was no indication of the building being a double residence, excepting the presence of two front doors. Overall, the building seems to obey the hierarchy of official rank, given that it possesses less exterior ornament than the commissioner’s residence. Notably, this photograph, as many others intended as souvenirs of foreigners’ time in Canton, hides any hint of the presence of a Chinese location or the local servants who served as household retainers.

Figure 2-12

Fig. 2.12

Imperial Maritime Customs deputy commissioner and married assistants’ semi-detached house—with three-story, multiple-occupancy structure in the background, c. 1870 (not attributed). From author’s collection.

An early twentieth-century promotional publication illustrates a couple of other buildings of the 1870s and 1880s. The original building (Fig. 2.13, top) of the Arnhold, Karberg & Co. firm, a business based in Denmark and the German states but with many American and British employees and business connections, was constructed in 1872 and destroyed in the first decade of the twentieth century.73 This building was elaborate indeed, with front and side in antis pediment-capped porticos, round medallions in second-story arch spandrels and pediments, and first-story piers broken by a central molding supporting segmental arches revealing a hint of Victorian machine aesthetic. This building would have been just east of Heard & Co. and Jardine and Matheson, so an accurate impression of Front Avenue during these decades starts to form.

Figure 2-13

Fig. 2.13

Arnhold, Karberg & Co. buildings on Shamian (1872, top; 1905 replacement, bottom). The Danish-founded import firm originally inhabited a house that combined neoclassical pediments with banding and segmental arches influenced by Victorian machine aesthetics. The 1905 building that replaced it was one of the first reinforced-concrete buildings on the China Coast (see Chapter 4). From Wright and Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions of Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Other Treaty Ports of China, p. 789.

From the same source as that containing the Arnhold Karberg house comes an image of the original form of the Shewan Tomes & Co. office building (Fig. 2.14).74 This building was probably constructed in about 1881 as the new offices of the American firm of Russell & Co., which had finally decided to move its offices onto Shamian. Shewan Tomes, a British firm, bought out the assets of Russell & Co. when it went out of business several years after the likely construction date of this building.75 In many respects a rather restrained arcaded structure, it sports circle medallions in arch spandrels like the Arnhold Karberg building, suggesting perhaps that its builders were affiliated more with the earlier period of construction than with the fin de siècle. This building still exists in a much altered form as a second story has been added and much detail has been lost in a twentieth-century re-stuccoing. A now vanished building that, with its narrowed end-bays, seems to have borne relation to the offices of Russell & Co. and Shewan Tomes & Co. can be firmly dated. In 1888, the Shameen Hotel (Fig. 2.15), the first hotel on the concession, was constructed facing the north canal as a double-hipped-roof block with a one-story western wing.76 The circular spandrel ornament and squat, plain piers bear a very firm resemblance to the Shewan Tomes & Co. building, though the rusticated two-story end piers give the hotel a slightly “dressier” appearance.

Figure 2-14

Fig. 2.14

Shewan Tomes & Co.’s offices (likely built as Russell & Co.’s Residence, c. 1881). The balustrades and arches of this building’s verandah are very typical of foreign architecture in Canton during the period. From Wright and Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions, p. 792.

Figure 2-15

Fig. 2.15

Shameen Hotel, c. 1895, by R. C. Hurley. The original Shameen Hotel, which faced the north canal and the western suburbs of the Chinese city, seems to have been two typical late nineteenth-century foreign houses butted together. From Hurley, The Tourist’s Guide to Canton the West River and Macao (advertisement).

A group of semi-detached or duplex-plan residences were also constructed in this period. The London Missionary Society residence was one of the first of this type to be built on Shamian. The property in old British concession lot number 56 was chosen and built upon in 1871 to house the supervisors for the group’s missions in Guangzhou.77 Though no visual existence exists for the structure as actually built, it probably bore close resemblance to the plans and elevations submitted by a contractor, “Aling,” who was later underbid by one of his peers (Pl. 17).78 The hipped roof and arcaded wraparound porch are recognizable as typical of the era on Shamian. The building is principally set apart by its double entry and stripped-down ornamentation. The greater significance here is that the elevation and plan by “Aling” illustrate the impact that Western patronage was having on Chinese building practice. Previous to this era, Chinese builders worked in modular fashion and from verbal instructions, but the necessity of cross-cultural transactions would demand the adoption of Western conventions of providing a plan, elevation, and, eventually, section.

Other buildings and fragments of buildings still exist from this period of Shamian’s construction. Another building of the duplex type was constructed for the mission supervisors of the British Wesleyan Methodist Mission in 1886, immediately to the west of Russell & Co.’s new building.79 This building suffered a catastrophic fire but the façade remains (Fig. 2.16). The building is distinguished by the arches of its verandah being tied to the cornice by ornamental keystones, the fine dentils in the cornice, and the triangular pediments over its twin entrances. Another double house from this era or the decade after still exists in its entirety adjacent the old London Missionary Society house site, with a façade even more heavily decorated with columns, piers, and pediments. A pair of buildings facing south on Central Avenue in the second block from the western tip of the island (old lot numbers 43 and 44) could have been built as early as the 1870s. At least one, and perhaps both, buildings were associated with the German firm of Carlowitz & Co., and originally would have been stylistic twins. By the first decade of the twentieth century, the eastern building of the pair acquired the addition of a full third story and was firmly identified as the premises of Carlowitz & Co. (Fig. 2.17).80 An historical photograph of the rear of these buildings (right) and the adjacent Canton Club (left) shows that they were originally the same height and even seem to have shared service buildings in the rear of the lot (Fig. 2.18).81 The two buildings share many features, including corner quoins, first-floor porch piers with geometrically patterned moldings, second-story Tuscan columns paired over the front entrances, and central passage plans. They also only have verandahs on their front elevations, a perhaps necessary economy of space as they seem to have been built on subdivided lots, the adjacent Canton Club owning the other half of the lot occupied by the eastern building. An unassuming building on the eastern corner of the westernmost block of Central Avenue might be fairly early. Its plain rectangular piers on lower and upper stories, which now have been in-filled but were originally supports for a wraparound balcony, recall the piers of Heard & Co.’s only slightly fancier building on Front Avenue. Apparently built as the house of the British firm Birley & Co., by the turn of the century it had been purchased as the final home of Deacon & Co., an active British tea and import-export firm that had occupied other sites on Shamian since the 1870s. 82

Figure 2-16

Fig. 2.16

Wesleyan Methodist Mission residence. A semi-detached house, this building would have had the entrances in middle bays of the two halves, rather than adjacent each other. The voussoirs, pilasters, and pediment suggest that various missionary societies could pursue whatever amount of architectural elaboration their budgets could support. Photo by author, 2002.

Figure 2-17

Fig. 2.17

Late nineteenth-century residence, inhabited by Carlowitz & Co. in 1908. This building originally had two stories and was the near double of its neighbor. The third story was likely added in the early twentieth century. Photo by author, 2002.

Figure 2-18

Fig. 2.18

“Shameen Island, occupied by foreigners,” 1885–87, by Afong Lai. This represents Shamian from the canal side (north). Here are the rear of lots for German firm residences (see Fig. 2.17), in their original state, on right and Canton Club on left. The German firms shared a two-story outbuilding, though only the eastern (left) one had another one-story building that, given its lack of a chimney, was likely a storehouse. The latter building also had what apparently was a kitchen garden surrounded by a hedge. Used with the permission of the Peabody Essex Museum (PH34.45).

Another modest house (Pl. 18) of Dr. J. F. Wales, the medical officer for the Canton branch of the Imperial Maritime Customs from the mid-1880s through the mid-1890s, stands today as a fairly intact relic of the period. This house, with its naïve proportions and wide banded arches, with keystones that seem to recall an earlier architectural period, was, with the hotel, probably one of the first buildings to face the north canal.

Starting in 1889, the French finally began to build upon their fifth of the island, and to allow other nationals to build upon it.83 In a photograph from the first decade of the twentieth century (Fig. 2.19), the Front Avenue row of buildings in the French concession appears behind the new gazebo in the French garden.84 On the far right (east) is the building of a French business, the next building was the original Banque de L’Indo-Chine building, and the next building to the left was the French consulate.85 All but the building on the far left survive today, but only the building on the far right retains much of its original detail. The main departure of these buildings from the precedents of previous decades is the consistent abandonment of verandahs on the sides of the buildings, presumably for economy of space. The French post office, in the southeastern curve of the island, dates from this era and survives in a remodeled, somewhat Art Deco mode.

Figure 2-19

Fig. 2.19

Front row of French concession, c. 1900. This view illustrates the separate French garden with its gazebo, and the 1890s first generation of building on the far eastern end of Shamian. From Long, The New America and the Far East, facing p. 1116.

Figure 2-20

Fig. 2.20

Row house, built c. 1890. Increasing demand for space in the last decade of the nineteenth century led to the introduction of the row house typology into the architectural language of the foreign community, particularly with regards to the South Asian traders conducting business under British protection. Photo by author, 2006.

A striking, intact building from this period at the eastern end of the French concession survives in the form of a row of two-story townhouses once inhabited by South Asian traders (Fig. 2.20). It is still the initial sight the visitor confronts when crossing the eastern bridge onto the island. These four row-houses present a tidy appearance with their lightly scored first-floor rustication and second-story Roman Doric colonnade. Another row-house complex, once known as Karanjia Terrace, also still exists perpendicular to the Central Avenue in the first block after the French concession. The introduction of the new building type was part of the larger trend at the fin de siècle to accommodate an increasing population on the island. Even before the French started construction on their end of Shamian, United States Consul Charles Seymour charted the increasing pressures on the island in 1886:

The officials of the Chinese Maritime Customs (foreigners) are being transferred from dwellings in the Chinese portion of Canton to dwellings on Shamien with the foreign community as fast as desirable buildings can be bought, or hired for long leases. Several new commercial firms and establishments have been opened on Shamien the past two years. Thus, the demand for desirable and well located buildings on Shamien has nearly exhausted available sites and buildings; and unless some arrangement is made to secure one of the two or three desirable locations by a lease of five or ten years, the United States Consulate will be driven back to some inferior structure on one of the rear lots facing the canal, or sent across the canal into “Chinatown,” or across the river to Honam, away from the foreign community and business houses.86

The Americans routinely rented rather than owned their consulate, so such an influx of inhabitants on Shamian was obviously of great concern. At the beginning of the next century, the trend to increase the size of buildings on Shamian would escalate dramatically, but until that period the types of two-story dwellings illustrated above shaped the lives of most of the foreigners in the city.

Western Official and Commercial Buildings Outside Shamian

The general trend of foreign dwelling during the 1860s and 70s was migration from Honam onto concession lots on Shamian. There were, however, several exceptions to this. The major commercial attempt to settle beyond the limits of Shamian was undertaken by the American commercial houses of Russell & Co. and Smith Archer & Co., which attempted to construct an “American concession” on part of the old factory site. The British and French governments maintained official residences in the form of yamen inside the wall of the “Old” or “Manchu” city. There are also a few recorded but poorly documented private residences outside of Shamian. It is worth noting that, well into the 1880s, Gideon Nye, who had begun his career in the Thirteen Factories era, was comfortable enough with his Cantonese neighbors to maintain his residence on Honam where a Portuguese-run hotel also existed. Some Imperial Maritime Customs employees had residences in the city suburbs. Just on the other side of the eastern canal from Shamian, the main office and storage building of the Imperial Maritime Customs existed as a large framed building with a jerkinhead roof and cupola. Another official and primarily work-related facility was the British vice-consul’s residence, offices, constable’s quarters, and jail at Whampoa. This complex existed from 1864 to circa 1890, and is documented only by a site plan.87 The site was sold to the Imperial Maritime Customs in 1890, which replaced the earlier buildings with a plain, if functional, two-story combined office/residence, which still stands.88 While most of the buildings and complexes mentioned above were largely functional in their locations, some were motivated largely by the dynamics of identity and power. The “American concession” and the consular yamen specifically are worth examining in terms of how they made ideological statements with their placement within the city.

The most notable business house outside of the British concession in the 1870s was a double house on a large lot, intended to be an “American concession.” Russell & Co. leased the site from the current scion of the Howqua merchant family in 1867, and then in 1879 they purchased it outright.89 Russell & Co. intended to develop the site, close by the main steamer landing, as the concession ground for many if not all of the American firms in Guangzhou. Only the Russell & Co.–Smith Archer house was ever built. Some plans exist for both the site and the Russell–Smith Archer building itself, but are currently too fragile to be reproduced.90 The initial plans for the site show a row of four double houses, of which the building photographed by John Thomson (Fig. 2.21) around 1870 was intended to be the second from the western end of the site.91 There also survives a later (1879) site plan (Pl. 19), which shows that this building was the only residence to be constructed there.92 The building itself is of the hipped-roof, arcade-clad verandah type already discussed in conjunction with Shamian, with the exception of its ample dimensions. The front verandah was twelve bays wide.

Figure 2-21

Fig. 2.21

American concession, c. 1870 (photo by John Thomson). A photograph of the American concession as built, which only ever housed two firms. The compound was built on the former Thirteen Factories site, thus the enormous amount of cleared space around it, where poor Chinese presumably attracted by employment on the riverfront apparently built the illustrated shanties. From Thomson, China and Its People, Vol. 1, Plate XVI.

The construction of the American concession site and house was accompanied by building contracts with the contractor Aling, documents rare in the history of nineteenth-century Chinese building. The contracts, specifically between Russell & Co. and Aling, “Chinese Carpenter and Contractor” of the Feng or “Foong” firm were written out both in English and Chinese.93 Several contracts exist for different aspects of the building of the “American concession.” One contract was drawn up for the leveling and filling in of the site, for the wall around the site, and for Russell & Co.’s pack-house. One contract was drawn up for the sea wall that kept the river at bay in front of the site. The respective Russell & Co. and Smith Archer & Co. halves of the house actually had separated contracts, even though Russell was acting for the other firm in the construction. One reason for the piecing out of jobs into separate agreements may have been Aling’s apparent preference for being paid as the job progressed rather than all in one sum at the end.

The Chinese and English contracts are in fact good translations; there is little or no variance between them, barring the problem of one word versus a description for certain objects. The contracts had been accompanied by plans drawn by Aling, or at least bearing his stamp, “Aling Canton.” The contracts also bore the stamp and Aling’s “chop.” The contracts are very specific with regard to materials and dimensions. The parties also agreed that the contractor would provide all materials, with the exception of, for the house, the iron grates and iron door to the treasury. The specificity of the contract is a testament to the thoroughness with which the Russell & Co. employees had now become accustomed to conducting business with local merchants and craftsmen—a clear agreement could head off future conflict. As for Aling, he was the most respected contractor among the Western community, and could readily produce plans and Western-style architectural drawings in plan, section, and elevation for his projects, such as those for the London Missionary Society house on Shamian (Pl. 17). Whether local builders’ ability to adopt Western design techniques was developed at the end of the Shisan Hang era or during the construction of Shamian, it difficult to say. What is certain is that, by the 1860s, Cantonese builders had learned, either from locally resident foreigners or professionals called in from Hong Kong, to meet all the design needs of the bulk of Guangzhou’s foreign community. They would continue to do so until the arrival of permanent Western-style architectural offices in the early twentieth century.

The American concession was intended to lie within the precincts of the western suburbs. This may have reflected the greater comfort felt by American firms at being neighbors to the Cantonese populace, though it should be emphasized that the new American factory grounds were surrounded by a wall of at least six feet in height and a guardhouse by its south gate.94 Russell & Co. was, however, generally one of the foreign firms most respected by Cantonese traders. The loyalty of their local employees also reflected their positive reputation. The American firms may well have desired a separate site to emphasize their distance from aggressive British foreign policy, and therefore make themselves less likely to be a target of Cantonese riots. The development of the Old Factory site moreover reflected concerns over rights of residence.95 The Americans seem to have been very concerned about being bullied by the British administration should they move onto Shamian.96 The uneasy relations between the Americans and the British reached their high point when the Americans, particularly Russell & Co., requested a share of the Canton Garden fund, the indemnity paid by the Chinese for the destruction of the gardens in front of the Thirteen Factories, in order to plant the new “American concession” grounds.97 The Americans reasoned that they had heavily invested in the gardens that were destroyed and therefore were entitled to a share of the funds.98 The British, however, as the victorious power coming out of the Arrow War, had control of the indemnity and told the Americans that they were free to move to Shamian, as some German firms had already done, refusing to allow the Americans any share of it.99 With the exception of the traditionally Anglophile Augustine Heard & Co., the alienation of the American community from the British development on Shamian took a while to fade. The American consulate was in a building on the north side of the Shamian canal until the mid-1870s. It was not until about 1881, after Smith Archer left Guangzhou, that Russell & Co. gave up on its less-than-lively “American concession” and moved onto Shamian’s Central Avenue.

The implications and powers of residence are even more clearly illustrated in the instance of the British and French consular yamen. During the occupation of Guangzhou during the Arrow War, British and French officials and troop detachments occupied several of the yamen, or residences and offices, of Chinese officials within the walled city. The British would keep possession of part of the yamen of the city’s head Manchu general as their consulate. The French set up a consulate in the “treasurer’s” yamen. The governor’s yamen (Ye’s former residence) in the “new” or southern part of the walled city, was claimed by the French for the Catholic Church, and would later be demolished to become the site of the Catholic cathedral. Given that the yamen had been primary targets during the siege of the city, repairs needed to be undertaken. British reporter G. Wingrove Cooke noted in February 1858 of the yamen of the Manchu general:

It is rapidly returning to its former grandeur. In an incredibly short space of time the Chinese workmen, set in motion by barbarian dollars, have repapered all the walls, botched up all the holes, and, mowing ways through the bamboo jungle, have discovered little nooks with terraces and small bridges, and curious pavilions—gentle accessories to the mighty halls which are to form the quarters of the forces.100

The part of the Manchu general’s yamen that the British adopted as consular quarters is well documented. In some consular correspondence to the Department of Works from the 1880s, the British part of the complex is described:

The grounds at the Yamun are divided into two enclosures each of which covers an extent of about four acres. The outer enclosure forms the deer park, the inner contains the dwelling houses and gardens most of which are in the Chinese style.101

A more detailed description of the consul’s city residence is offered by photographer John Thomson:

The consular residence is entered by a round opening in the wall, through which we can catch a glimpse, as we approach, of a court adorned with rockeries, of gold fish in vases, and pots of rare shrubs set in ornamental china stands. The house itself consists of two flats, and is purely Chinese in its construction. The only other buildings of importance in the enclosure are a suite of apartments built in a row, and approached by granite steps, frequently used for the accommodation of visitors. . . . The photograph is taken from the steps of the row of buildings just noticed, showing a portion of the garden.102

A photograph from around 1890 (Fig. 2.22) shows the architectural fragments in the garden at closer range, revealing the details of the elaborate stone stairs that are part and parcel of officially sanctioned, high-status Chinese architecture, with the ruin of a two-story building beyond. Architecturally, the British consul’s portion of the yamen was less impressive than the southern parts of the complex, still occupied by the Manchu general. The “two flats” occupied by the consul as his house were a simple, three-bay-wide, two-story garden pavilion.103 This pavilion is shown from the side in an 1893 photograph (Fig. 2.23). The entrance through the moon gate described above is visible, though to whom the sign inscribed in English, “PRIVATE,” by the entrance was directed is a mystery. The rows of plants in pots are typical of Guangdong, or Lingnan, gardening. By the turn of the century, a tennis court had been installed in the park.104 Though a few attempts had been made to make the complex amenable to the British consuls, the buildings were largely as they were upon rehabilitation after the Arrow War.

Figure 2-22

Fig. 2.22

British consular yamen (photographic album compiled by Anna D. Drew, Canton, Aug. 24, 1893). The elaborate marble balustrade signals that this was previously the garden of a rather high-status Chinese building. Harvard-Yenching Library of the Harvard College Library, Harvard University.

Figure 2-23

Fig. 2.23

British consular yamen, showing residence (photographic album compiled by Anna D. Drew, Canton, Aug. 24, 1893). Another photo showing a section of a fairly extensive traditional Chinese courtyard complex, this also contains the hints of the work of a Cantonese gardener, with the flowerpots carefully lined up along the entrance walk. Harvard-Yenching Library of the Harvard College Library, Harvard University.

The British consular yamen was, in fact, rented from the Chinese government to ensure right of entry into the city gates.105 Although some consuls lived in the yamen, or at least took an interest in it, the Department of Works files reveal that the complex would periodically fall into rather complete disrepair when the buildings and gardens were neglected.106 By 1908, the complex was of little interest to the consulate and it was in turn subleased to the British cadets of Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements for use as a residence when they were sent to Guangzhou to study the Chinese language.107 This use was also eventually abandoned, but the property was not returned to the Chinese until 1928.108 The primary function, then, of British occupation of portions of the Manchu general’s yamen involved relations with the imperial Chinese government. Rather than being primarily for the comfort and accommodation of the consul (remembering that a consul’s house was part of the Shamian government complex), the building was maintained as insurance of entry into the city as well as a symbolic possession of seats of power within the walled city. The same could be said for the French consular yamen, as the French consulate staff before the 1890s was routinely small. The French consulate was sometimes staffed only with “acting” officers, and by the mid-1880s had its own building in the British concession of Shamian. The French yamen was also in the garden part of its complex, and by the turn of the century had been given to the French government school, or École Pichon, run by Catholic clergy.109 While the “American concession” and the consular yamen were spaces that housed temporarily notable and important presences in the city, by the turn of the century, foreign private residence had been rather thoroughly consolidated onto Shamian. The importance of these sites lies in the fact that they are displays of power and identity within the city and suburbs. While Shamian’s physical removal from the city sent one message, the placement of these complexes within local neighborhoods had other purposes. With reflections of power and social motivations for choosing sites within the city having been studied, an examination of power within the western precincts is now warranted.

Domesticity and Division: Inside the Foreign House and Yard, 1865–1900

Despite the increasing separation of the foreign community from the everyday life of the traditional city, Westerners had dealings with substantial numbers of Chinese people both at home and at work. Although foreigners living on Shamian and their visitors might sometimes wish to give the impression that “No Chinese, save employees of the foreigners, may come within the reservation,” the reality of life inside and outside involved continual Sino-foreign interaction.110 Chinese not in the employ of foreigners entered Shamian fairly regularly, and, by the early twentieth century, the resident Chinese population on Shamian was approximately three times that of the Westerners.111 The foreign inhabitants and environments reveal a curious duality between denial of being surrounded by the Chinese metropolis and reliance on local employees to conduct both business and household affairs. The built environment also reveals shifting modes of domesticity, with the arrival of women and children, and social life, with the changing roles of and attitudes towards Chinese peers and employees also emerging.

Foreign houses in Guangzhou served either as simple residences or as combined residential and office quarters. Those houses serving dual purposes usually had offices on the first floor and dwelling spaces on the second. Houses usually possessed a rear yard dotted with outbuildings, a notable departure from previous company lots in Guangzhou. The foreign houses fell within certain basic parameters. They were one or two stories tall, and either detached single dwellings or double houses, with the exception of the late introduction of the row house, circa 1890, in the form of Karanjia Terrace and the other French concession terrace. Enough evidence exists for several foreign houses to make useful case studies of the spatial arrangement of the everyday world of foreigners and their employees.

Two of the earliest buildings that can be discussed are two double houses, the Russell & Co.–Smith Archer & Co. “American concession” of 1867/68 and the proposed plans of the London Missionary Society dwelling on Shamian of 1870/71. The Russell & Co. scheme was widely documented (see Fig. 2.21, Pl. 19). A Thomson photograph shows the building and complex soon after its initial construction, while a site plan dates from nearly a decade later. The major difference between the two is the addition of a godown and a comprador’s house on the western end of the house and yard, which was the half associated with Russell & Co. There also exists an unattributed plan in the Heard & Co. papers with labeled rooms (Pl. 20) that shows the plan of half a double house, which in terms of its number of front and side bays, the entry bays, the enclosure of the rear corner porch bay, and the alignment of rear service buildings is almost identical to the eastern half of the house and yard in the Guangzhou site plan.112 The proportions and features of the building in this plan also match the specifications in the building contracts that still exist for the site.113 While it would be rather exceptional for the plans of Russell & Co.’s building to be in their competitor Heard & Co.’s papers, it is possible that at some point Heard acquired the plans as a result of some interest in potential offices in the “American concession.” A possible relationship also exists between the plan and the building, as the central stair hall is a design feature that was common in contemporary buildings on Shamian.

At any rate, the plan indicates how the interior of the Russell & Co.–Smith Archer & Co. building was probably arranged. In this scheme, the first floor is largely dedicated to business. Upon entering the front door, the visitor is greeted by a substantial “hall,” which because of its proportions undoubtedly served as a waiting room in addition to a circulation space. This space led immediately into the office on one side and the stair hall immediately ahead. Behind the office was the centrally located comprador’s room, behind it the “boys’” room, and directly across from it a treasury with thick stone walls. The rear verandah possessed enclosed functional rooms for tea and other storage. Behind this was the kitchen and cook’s room, and behind that, the godown. The second story was dedicated to the living quarters of the Western employees, including, notably, the social space of parlor and dining room in the front and bedrooms and a pantry on the sides and rear, with enclosed bathing rooms on the rear verandah.

This spatial arrangement shows some continuity with the old factories, while introducing a few innovations that point towards the houses of the following couple of decades. The placement of local employees’ quarters below and the Western staff’s quarters above reflects fairly directly the spatial relationship of previous factories. The southern view towards the river of the social spaces mirrored the arrangement in the Shisan Hang. On the other hand, the godown, kitchen, and cook’s room have been moved outside of the house, though the kitchen building was connected to the main dwelling by a breezeway, no doubt to simplify the transportation of food in inclement weather. This spatial innovation seems to take advantage of the extra space the firms now had to remove potentially dirty, odorous, and dangerous (in terms of fire) functions from dwelling space. The continuities of spatial arrangement here result from continuities of business practice. The house seems to have accommodated an all-male foreign staff: two men in Smith Archer and three in Russell & Co.114 The comprador’s room and the boys’ rooms being inside the house reflects not only a continuing ease with being under the same roof as local employees, but also the role of the comprador as a house manager, although by this point he was often acquiring more duties as chief Chinese business manager.115 In the meantime, the “boys” also shifted in their roles, from acting as simple valets to taking on more messenger and house management roles. The appearance of a comprador’s house on the western, Russell & Co. side of the double house during the 1870s reflects something about the changing role of this employee. As he acquired more important responsibilities with regard to the large-scale business of the house, he perhaps required the additional privacy of a separate house as terms of his employment. On the other hand, it may also represent the declining status of Chinese employees within the “household” of Western firms as well as newly segregationist attitudes.

The London Missionary Society plans for a house on Shamian (Pl. 17) show many similarities to the Russell/Smith Archer building. The same local contractor, Aling, drew up the extant plans, although the missionaries had a restricted budget and actually adopted a cheaper, now lost plan for a building of reduced dimensions from Aling’s competitor Leung Poon.116 The arched verandah wraps around nearly three-quarters of the building, with an enclosed service room on the last bay on the sides. The stairwell is again in the center of the building. This would continue to be the pattern in Guangzhou’s foreign dwellings. Presumably because since it is just circulation space, the stairwell is the area least requiring a window for harnessing a breeze during the steamy Guangzhou summer. Room uses are not, however, noted on the missionaries’ plan. The large room on the first floor of the building no doubt served a public or business function, and the enclosed rooms on the second-story verandah are surely bathing rooms opening from bed chambers. The rest of the room functions are difficult to infer from the plan. A certain level of privacy can be inferred, however, as all rooms seem to communicate only with the hallway, rather than directly between themselves. The servant’s buildings and kitchens that the missionaries requested are not indicated on the plan, but were likely in a similar arrangement to the “American concession” outbuildings.117 Whether any local employees had quarters inside the house is unknown.

By the time of Annie Ward Spinney’s account of her domestic environment in the form of letters to her mother in 1887, there is a more total break with the shared quarters of the Old Factories and the “American concession” building. She and her family lived in the eastern half of the customs deputy commissioner and married assistants’ dwelling (Fig. 2.12). In her pencil sketch of the plan of the house and lot (Fig. 2.24) that she inhabited with her husband, an Imperial Maritime Customs officer, she indicates servants’ quarters now all removed to buildings in the rear. The house itself had a form that is fairly familiar by now. The plan shows half of a double house, with a full verandah across the front and rear and a partial verandah on the side.118 The entry was, unlike in the two plans discussed above, through the side, where it opened onto the hall. Actual entrance to and egress from the house was not limited, however, to the hall door. Mrs. Spinney noted, “Almost all of the windows in the house open like doors and it is hard to tell which are doors and which are windows.”119 The stairs were in the hall in the center of the house, and the public spaces, an ample parlor and dining room, are on either side of the entry, with a storeroom and small pantry wing rounding out the ground floor. Offices were now absent, partially to accommodate an entire family, and also specifically in this instance because the places of business for the customs service were in a nearby portion of the city.

Figure 2-24

Fig. 2.24

Ground and floor plan of eastern half, Imperial Maritime Customs deputy commissioners’ residence, 1887, by Annie Ward Spinney. Though a rough pencil sketch, Mrs. Spinney’s plans are labeled and therefore important documents of the spatial usage of the foreign house in Canton in the late nineteenth century, as well as their more transient features (such as garden plantings). Used with the permission of the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum (Fam. Mss. 957).

In Mrs. Spinney’s sketch of the upper floor of the dwelling (Fig. 2.25), a very complete picture of Victorian domestic existence forms, as she even indicates the furniture in each room.120 The master bedroom and sitting room take advantage of the breeze from and view of the river. The verandah is furnished with a small table, armchairs, and a couple of chaise longues for warm weather relaxation. Three bathing rooms interrupt the verandahs. A further touch of Victorian domesticity, explicitly connected with female inhabitants, is the small sewing room at one end of the hall. The two rooms that opened onto the back of the house were “Frank’s room,” a library or study, and the “spare room,” initially allocated to the couple’s children. In the warmest times of year, however, the children found it too hot in the rear of the house, where the lack of air circulation made it stuffy; in a much appreciated gesture, the Spinney’s neighbor in the double house, customs inspector Captain T. E. Cocker, set up small beds with mosquito netting on his side of the front verandah for them.121

Figure 2-25

Fig. 2.25

Upstairs plan of eastern half, Imperial Maritime Customs deputy commissioners’ residence, 1887, by Annie Ward Spinney. This rare document shows rooms’ use, and the furnishings of the private realm of Mrs. Spinney’s upstairs. The small room off the hall to the right is a sewing room, a clear architectural sign of the presence of the late-nineteenth-century, upper-middle-class American housewife. Used with permission of the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum (Fam. Mss. 957).

Mrs. Spinney gave a rather full description of her domestic environment in 1887:

The great wardrobe in Frank’s room and the wardrobe and linen press in the sewing room are of camphor wood. The spare room is furnished in lighter red wood similar to your dining room chair and sofa in color, and my bedroom has black furniture, both dressing tables and wardrobes have immense mirrors in them. The rooms look a little bare though the furniture fills them more than you would think from the drawing, by and by when it is cooler and I can put up curtains, etc. I think they will look very nice.

There is a punkah over Frank’s desk and over my dressing table. The amah sits on the floor in the hall and pulls mine while I do my hair and I find it a great comfort when I have to dress to go out to dinner. My sitting room has every door and window protected by mosquito doors and here I always take refuge to write and here we sit in the evening when we have anything to do. More often we are lazy after our eight o’clock dinner and prefer a walk on the bund in the moonlight or a long chair on the veranda which looks very inviting with its dim lights, easy chairs, and plants and flowers all about.

[D]oors and windows are open day and night. The windows have blinds outside that can be closed and the verandas are supplied with Venetian curtains so I can have the light regulated to suit me without stopping the breeze.122

One of the notable qualities of Mrs. Spinney’s descriptions is the importance of features that provide comfort in Guangzhou’s tropical environment. Coming to terms with heat and mosquitoes were minor obsessions in her correspondence. The architectural implications of these concerns were a proliferation of blinds, mosquito netting, and even “mosquito doors,” which seem to have been an early form of screen door.

A few other Shamian house plans exist due to the renting of houses by the often financially strapped American consulate. The first plan in the series (Fig. 2.26) shows the one-story bungalow that the consulate rented between December 1882 and December 1886 from an absentee owner (probably an heiress), Mrs. Mary Thomas of London, England.123 The building was located on Front Avenue, immediately west of the German consular lot. The plan, one of the few records of Shamian’s early one-story buildings, shows a house well adapted for ventilation. In addition to the shelter of the wraparound “verandah with blinds,” the prevailing breezes could be harnessed by opening up the double doors between the front room (a “consul’s reception room, parlor, and business room”) and the rear hallway. When the breeze from the south was replaced by a breeze from the west, a side hall door could also be opened and a curtained bed niche at the other end of it provided comfortable repose. The room functions shown were labeled by the consulate, but the opening of the large (30’×41’) front public room onto the dining room through double doors was definitely intended for a social core of the house. The dining room was in turn served by the room for “ice boxes, crockery, & supplies” across the side hall behind it. Two bedrooms occupied most of the eastern side of the house. The room behind the northern bedroom was the office for the humbler aspects of consular business, namely the “Chinese interpreter’s, Chinese writer’s, and gen’l business office.” Household servants dwelt in a wing extending on the back west side that ended in the kitchens. As Shamian developed further, these functions were completely removed from the house to outbuildings. An outbuilding at the rear of the lot was occupied as a storeroom on one side and the “Chinese writers refreshment room” on the other side, indicating that these official employees held high enough status in the eyes of the consul to be granted their own retreat from the business of the consulate.

Figure 2-26

Fig. 2.26

Plan of US consular bungalow, Shamian, 1885 (from Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton). This property, like all nineteenth-century United States consulates in Guangzhou, was rented, but the presence of the large front room that could be used for official events was clearly one of the attractions of this property. Despatches from the United States Consuls in Canton, 1790–1906, United States National Archives and Records Administration.

The second plan (Fig. 2.27) in the consular correspondence shows the bungalow of Ernest Deacon, principal of the firm of Deacon & Co., who was then preparing to sail home to England.124 The Americans, about to be turned out of their former residence, which had been recently sold, were at the end of 1886 looking for a new location, and this building was viewed as a pleasant option. On lot number one at the very western tip of the British concession, it had, unusually, its main entrance on the western elevation. Its main passageway ran west to east, but the wraparound verandah with enclosed bathrooms on the rear and eastern elevations are by now familiar. No room designations are indicated, but it appears that the larger rooms on the north side of the house may have been the social rooms—another aberration for Shamian.

Figure 2-27

Fig. 2.27

Plan of Ernest Deacon’s bungalow (old lot 1), Shamian, 1886 (Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton). The east-west alignment of the passage and multiple windows in every room reveal a motive to maximize the cooling benefits of the breeze along the river, appropriate for a property on the westernmost tip of the island. Despatches from the United States Consuls in Canton, 1790–1906, United States National Archives and Records Administration.

By 1888, the US consulate had found a home in a smaller two-story building, probably located on the lot at the northwest corner of Central Avenue and the second north/south road from the west rented from Dent & Co.125 The plan (Fig. 2.28) reveals how the spaces were allotted in the late 1890s (previously, Consul Seymour, by whom the previous two sketch plans were drawn, apparently only used one of the front rooms as an “official” space).126 At the turn of the century, the business aspect of the consulate had taken over the first floor of the house, with a general office and consular office in the front and a reception room and Chinese writer’s office behind. The main entrance and stair hall opened onto the west elevation, but the front offices had French doors that allowed more immediate access to the offices.127 The second story held two bedrooms, a private parlor, and a dining room, an arrangement that would surely have been considered the bare minimum for a household on late nineteenth-century Shamian. The servants occupied outbuilding service quarters and a kitchen not illustrated in the plan.128 These more confined spaces illustrate the impact at the turn of the century of demand for real estate on Shamian on the always somewhat cash-strapped US consular service.

Figure 2-28

Fig. 2.28

Plan of US consul’s residence, c. 1900 (Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton). This plan shows the demands of official functions on the first floor, while the second floor performed more private functions. Despatches from the United States Consuls in Canton, 1790–1906, United States National Archives and Records Administration.

While the function of rooms inside these houses is sometimes illustrated in plans, the interior appearance of late nineteenth-century rooms is more elusive. The furnishing of the foreign house in Guangzhou was meant to provide maximum comfort and, increasingly, a “home-like” domestic feeling. Imported rather than locally produced furnishings seem to have become increasingly available. Mrs. Gray, more positively disposed to things Chinese than Mrs. Spinney, discussed setting up her housekeeping in the parsonage in a letter to her mother:

We have visited many of the old chinaware shops, and have picked up, even in these two or three days, some good pieces of ancient blue china, so our drawing-room begins to look home-like. You must remember that the Chaplaincy is already furnished. We have purchased some small, square, Chinese carpets, some of which are yellow in the ground colour, with devices in blue; others white in the ground colour, with most curious patterns in serpents, ancient characters (such as Shau, meaning longevity), and various animals. In make they much resemble tapestry. We could, had we wished, have bought European carpets, as we saw some hanging up in the street where we made our purchases, and I believe that the houses in Shameen generally are carpeted with them; but we intend to embellish our house as much as possible in the Chinese style. On our arrival (which was somewhat unexpected) at the Chaplaincy, the whole house was in disorder, and the dining room floor was in the hands of a painter; but a very short time sufficed for the Chinese boys to arrange the furniture, and as the floors are painted in sitting-rooms as well as the bedrooms, there is no need to lay down carpets, as with us in England.129

The Grays not only acquired Chinese decorative arts from the shops in the city, but were also visited by a local salesman bearing silks and tapestries, though how the salesman convinced the bridge guards to let him onto the island is not detailed.130 Mrs. Gray’s enthusiasm for things Chinese would be disappointed just a few days later in 1877, when she visited some of the other houses on Shamian:

We paid several calls on Wednesday, and found most of our friends at home. I was glad to have an opportunity of seeing the interior of the houses in our settlement. I was much struck with their English appearance, carpeted as they are with English carpets, many well-known engravings hanging on the walls. The black wood furniture and the large verandahs alone make one realise that one is in the East, when seated in one of these large drawing-rooms. I think when Europeans return to their native lands, they must feel very much disappointed with the contracted, cramped houses they have to live in.131

Mrs. Gray’s observations are not the only place where the tension between Western and Chinese furnishings can be felt.

Photographs of what is probably the interior of the customs commissioner’s house (Fig. 2.11), circa 1893, survive in the album of Anna Davis Drew, wife of an American Imperial Maritime Customs commissioner.132 One photograph shows the hall and interior stairwell of the house (Fig. 2.29). Spare, classically derived piers frame a Western-style, turned baluster staircase. Renaissance Revival chairs flank the stairs, while Chinese stools and vases dot the periphery of the hallway and Chinese scroll paintings hang over one of the chairs and what is probably a Chinese-produced Rococo Revival–influenced hall table. A hanging lamp in the foreground is Western, while a Chinese lantern hangs in the stair hall. A photograph of what was probably the front parlor has a rather Western ambience (Fig. 2.30). Here is displayed one of the imported wall-to-wall carpets noted by Gray. Western chairs dot the room, while the shadow of a piano appears in the left foreground. A few small stools and tables are of Chinese manufacture, but the mirrored sideboard is almost certainly American or European. Framed foreign prints hang on the wall, and the curtains, while perhaps sewn of Chinese material, are in the Western mode.

Figure 2-29

Fig. 2.29

Hall and interior stairs, presumed to be Imperial Maritime Customs commissioner’s residence (photographic album compiled by Anna D. Drew, Canton, Aug. 24, 1893). While the architecture and many of the furnishings seem very Western, the entry hall contains large specimens of Chinese porcelain, highly carved furniture, a Chinese lantern, and a Chinese bird-and-flower scroll painting, perhaps symbolic of the wealth to be had in the China trade. Harvard-Yenching Library of the Harvard College Library, Harvard University.

Figure 2-30

Fig. 2.30

Interior (probably front parlor), presumed to be Imperial Maritime Customs commissioner’s residence (photographic album compiled by Anna D. Drew, Canton, Aug. 24, 1893). This room, in contrast to the entry hall, would qualify, as expressed by Mrs. Gray, as having an “English appearance.” Harvard-Yenching Library of the Harvard College Library, Harvard University.

While most of the photographs show a Westernized house, one corner of the dwelling (Fig. 2.31) shows a hodge-podge of Chinese artifacts assembled in a mode reminiscent of orientalizing Aesthetic Movement interiors of the fin-de-siècle West. Besides the Eastlake-influenced gas light, only the pier glass over the mantle, the family photographs, and a print of an early nineteenth-century lady, and possibly a stool in the foreground, are decorations from the West. Chinese embroideries and silks are draped everywhere, though one tapestry on the left has been arranged by its owner in the form of a butterfly. Beside a lamp made from a porcelain vase, Chinese religious sculpture and incense burners crowd the mantle. Guardian lions protect the silk-clad stand for some of the family photographs. The decorative horror vacui that was an integral part of the Victorian and, specifically, “Aesthetic Movement” design mentality here feeds the display of appropriated objects. There appears an irony in the collecting and displaying of goods in their city of origin along the mode of what was sanctioned by European and American designers and artists who had never been there. The objects themselves have been completely divorced from a context so very near at hand. The tensions between a home-like interior and one that takes advantage of the bustling Cantonese art and craft market is, however, a concern that would probably never have been raised if not for the arrival of women and families, an important occurrence only too obvious from the source of the writings and photographs discussed above.

Figure 2-31

Fig. 2.31

Interior (with Chinese “collection”), presumed to be Imperial Maritime Customs commissioner’s residence (photographic album compiled by Anna D. Drew, Canton, Aug. 24, 1893). Plentiful Chinese objects are here displayed, not in Chinese fashion, but to the somewhat cluttered taste of the contemporary Aesthetic Movement in the West. Harvard-Yenching Library of the Harvard College Library, Harvard University.

To return to Mrs. Spinney’s plan of her Guangzhou dwelling, the allotment of three-quarters of the ground floor to social space was no accident. While visiting was a prominent pastime in the Shisan Hang, the arrival of families on Shamian only enhanced the practice. As Mrs. Gray’s writings imply, social calls were a requirement of her husband’s position. They were even more important for Annie Spinney. A bit nervous at being “the only Customs lady here,” she found visits an important relief from what must have been a somewhat lonely existence.133 Not long after her arrival, she fondly recalled a dinner at the British Consulate:

The table was very pretty, with its candles, fruits, and flowers, it was cool under the punkah, and the dinner was good; after dinner we all went out on the verandah, there was a little singing a good deal of talking, and then we all came home.134

Her letters frequently examined the social dynamics of the concession, and within four months of her arrival, she could assert, “we have dined at almost all the houses now.”135 Another typical fête attended by Spinney was a “severely classical” concert at the German consular residence that was “very late,” beginning at half-past nine and ending at eleven forty-five, preceded by dinner with some of the customs “bachelors.”136 Some consuls took their ability to entertain as a matter of national pride. The gregarious US consul of the 1880s, Charles Seymour, described his use of the consular bungalow residence in the middle of that decade in an attempt to impress upon the State Department the need to find an appropriate building for the consulate:

During some turbulent scenes in Canton, Americans and other foreigners have gladly taken shelter, lodging, and meals, at this Consulate, to the extent of its capacity for entertainment; and on many social and festive occasions, parties numbering thirty, forty, fifty, and between sixty and seventy, have had good cheer and pleasant welcome at dinners, dances, and other festivities, which had a tendency to keep American colors at the front; and I shall sincerely regret being compelled to lower the character of the Consulate, after faithfully endeavoring to lift it out of the miserable condition in which I found it; when it had no standing socially or officially, either among natives or foreigners, in the most important city of the Empire.137

That Seymour was thoroughly dedicated to keeping up a prominent profile for the United States through grand entertainments is confirmed by a story in the Hong Kong newspaper, The China Mail. On the arrival of the American minister to China in April 1886, the consulate hosted a whole series of “magnificent banquets” to introduce the ambassador to all of the “important” American, European, and Chinese residents of Guangzhou, for which the foreign community “contracted a very large debt of gratitude to Consul Seymour.”138 While Seymour’s rented bungalow was probably the most modest consular residence on Shamian, it had enough space for lavish social events that could secure Americans a certain amount of status.

Social occasions inside foreign houses were not the only times for the foreign community of Shamian to engage in genial interactions. Walks on the bund, tennis matches, plays put on by an amateur theater society at the club, and balls were all important parts of social life in late nineteenth-century Shamian. Photographs from costume balls punctuate Anna Drew’s photograph album. Visitor Walter William Mundy was immediately swept up into Guangzhou’s foreign social life:

The first night I arrived, there happened to be a ball given by a resident before returning to England. As the night was wet, we had the chairs round after dinner to take us there. Outside the building there was quite a posse of chair-coolies, all in different costumes, holding lanterns with the names of their masters in Chinese and English. The whole looked fantastic and somewhat weird. The entrance was decorated with much taste, and everything was admirably got up. The great drawback was of course the scarcity of ladies, many having to dance with two or three gentlemen for one dance.139

Ladies were not yet common enough for an Englishman newly experiencing treaty port life, but they were now the center of social attention. This ball was a far cry from the ribald behavior recounted by supercargo Bryant Tilden in the earlier part of the century. Where men dancing together was then a great lark, it would have been scandalous on Shamian. The servants here were notably left outside. Exclusively European social life was the rule on Shamian, but some exceptions also existed.

By and large, Western women came to Guangzhou with their husbands or as missionaries. For this reason, some men, for want of a domestic life now becoming the mainstream among the foreign community, and undoubtedly also for more personal reasons, courted local wives. The most explicit source for these relationships is the memoir of L. C. Arlington, an employee at different times of the Imperial Maritime Customs and the Chinese postal service (another Western-run Chinese government agency) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Speaking of inter-ethnic relationships of varying degrees of formalized status, among the customs staff in particular, he stated:

Some of these “housekeepers” were, however, loyal to their foreigners, and absolutely refused to leave them. Such exceptions were well paid for their loyalty; they were literally covered with jewellery and costly silks and satins, and had the best of everything their masters could give them. Indeed, many of these men treated their Chinese partners and wives—for several were married—better than they would have treated women of their own country and class. These females ran the household arrangements, they controlled the servants.140

He then continued by saying that some women (perhaps missionaries?) married Chinese husbands, and did not fare as well under their husbands’ expectations of wifely duties. Later in the same chapter, Arlington states, “Ever since foreigners first visited Canton the Cantonese women have catered to their wants, so they, more than the women of other provinces, understand the foreigner best, and are on the whole more amenable to reason, which of course the white man appreciates.”141 Granted, it is unclear why Arlington, whose general tone is conventionally racist but not Sinophobic, discusses a topic generally avoided by other writers. Though included in his chapter on Guangzhou in the 1890s, the location and time of the following anecdote is also unclear:

The Customs Chief Tidesurveyor was also married to a Chinese woman whose father was a cargo boatman. She, however, used to give herself great airs. One night at a largish dinner party, when ham was being served, she said to the guest sitting next to her, “My father, you know, used to boil his ham in champagne.”142

Here is the appearance of a Chinese wife at a notable social event, in a clearly still uncomfortable situation. Her presence alone is notable, but it almost certainly cannot date much before the turn of the century.

Visits by Chinese officials to the tables of Shamian consulates were common enough. These visits were important for making affairs run smoothly between foreign interests and the regional Chinese government. While they were mostly business meetings, a certain level of hospitality was always expected. A US vice consul of the 1890s noted that “in conformity with a long established custom the Canton Consuls are expected to furnish light refreshments in the shape of wine, cakes, and sweetmeats to each Chinese Official who makes a formal call.”143 On special occasions, such as the visit of a dignitary from the home country or a national holiday, Chinese officials could be invited to banquets or other entertainments at Shamian consulates. One such occasion was July 4, 1898, at the American consulate:

The “Glorious Fourth” was celebrated right royally at the American Consulate, which was elaborately and tastefully decorated for the occasion. Consul Beldoe was “at home” from 10 a.m. and received his guests in a reception room in which the American, Chinese, and British flags were conspicuously displayed. Amongst the callers were the foreign Consuls, the Commissioner of Customs, the Viceroy, the Governor of Kwangtung, the Hoppo, and the Commander of Manchu troops, many of the European merchants, Mr. Heung, R. Williams, Dr. Swan and Dr. Hobson the heads of medical missionary establishments. One of the most interesting features of the decorations was a fine portrait of President McKinley and a very old copy of the Declaration of Independence with the autographs of the subscribers to that immortal document. The Doctor was in one of his brightest moods and made everybody feel quite at their ease, so that all was “merry as a marriage bell.”144

After treating the Chinese viceroy and his attendants to tiffin (a light lunch), the US consul hosted a screening of “a cinematograph exhibition that was both interesting and instructive.”145 The modest confines of the consulate, through decoration, display, and technological spectacle, could still serve the United States’ interests by impressing Chinese official guests.

Apart from official consular events, Archdeacon and Mrs. Gray were among the few that seem to have accommodated Chinese dinner guests at Shamian. Most Westerners during this period would not have conceived of Chinese, no matter how well off or important, as real friends or social peers, a trend reinforced by the language barrier. Archdeacon Gray, always more friendly with Guangzhou’s citizens than almost all his fellow foreigners, and fluent in Cantonese, was a good friend to the household descended from the principals of the great Howqua family firm of cohong days. Mrs. Gray hosted Chinese guests at the parsonage, prominently “Mr. and Mrs. Howqua,” at least twice. The Grays engaged in a series of exchanges of social visits with the Chinese merchant family.

Mrs. Gray gave a rather detailed account of the events of one of the festivities. The arrival of the guests proceeded according to Chinese protocol, with the arrival first of gifts of exotic caged birds borne by household servants; and then of the Howqua women and children, attended by their amahs or maidservants; and finally of the men.146 The ladies, with elaborate makeup and resplendent clothes, were borne in their sedan chairs right into the entry hall.147 The first order of business, in parallel with the Grays’ visits to Guangzhou’s houses and gardens, was, as requested by the guests, a tour of the parsonage compound.148 The Grays had intended to serve a Western-style dinner, with men and ladies seated next to each other, but the shocked Chinese ladies, after initially saying they just came for a visit and did not require food, agreed to eat if they were served separately, before the men.149 The Grays complied. Dinner was, however, served with knives and forks, a fact that, combined with the strange-tasting, English-style food, caused some distress, although masked, to the Howqua ladies.150 They seemed more at ease when the meal came to an end, with desserts to indulge their Cantonese sweet tooths.151

After dinner, the ladies asked to see the Shamian gardens, then mainly in front of the consular compound. Mrs. Gray complied, although she was apparently rather self-conscious about taking her Chinese friends out in the segregated atmosphere of the concession.152 The event became a bit of a spectacle, as the lady guests, with the interesting exception of the wife of the head of the family, all had bound feet; after initial attempts at walking to the garden, they had to be carried on the backs of their amahs.153 After the return to the parsonage, the ladies smoked tobacco pipes until the men emerged from their dinner, apparently much more appreciated and consumed.154 After many “chin-chins,” the ladies left in their chairs, followed after a pause by the men.155 Red visiting cards arrived later to signal the guests’ safe arrival home.156 Similar protocol was followed in other Chinese visits to the Grays, including one by a former “chief justice” of Sichuan Province.157

The Grays actively cultivated relationships with the merchants and officials of China. They viewed the invitation of Chinese guests to the parsonage as a polite and necessary response to the hospitality they enjoyed in several of Guangzhou’s prosperous Chinese households. They accepted and sometimes appreciated the practice of local etiquette on these visits, and how could they not when visits were generally accompanied with lavish gifts? The Grays’ engagement with and hospitality towards Chinese guests were, however, quite a rarity among the inhabitants of Shamian. The anxiety of Mrs. Gray in trying to accommodate her guests while also being conscious of the rarity of her and her husband’s social behavior on Shamian belies the emergent racist atmosphere of the concession. The Western master–Chinese servant relationship was more typical of Western relations with the Cantonese on late nineteenth-century Shamian.

After the construction of the concession island, the relationship of Chinese servants to their Western employers substantially changed. Now they were no longer protected by the cohong system with its intermediaries that had flourished in the Shisan Hang, and while obtained by the comprador they now served directly at the pleasure of the Western households. The arrival of Western women on the island was also important in this relationship, as they often assumed the institutionalized, nineteenth-century wifely role of supervising all of the inner workings of the household. It is not surprising therefore that the accounts of household staff derive once again from the writings of the women of Shamian.

Mrs. Gray commented on her servants:

You will be amused to hear that we have a coolie whose duty is simply to rub the books to prevent the damp from spoiling them, and to see that the white ants are not attacking them. He is supposed to take down a certain number of books daily, and to rub them each in turn. He is such a curious looking old fellow, and works deliberately with long pauses, and an occasional whiff of a pipe to lighten, I suppose, his arduous duties. Of course he is related to our chief servant. You will find in all houses that the compradore surrounds himself with his relations. The old man of whom I speak is Mak’s uncle, our second waiting-boy is Mak’s son, and one of our coolies is Mak’s cousin.158

This passage reveals, in addition to a luxurious quantity of inexpensive hired help by Western standards, that familial networks still played an important part in the hiring of servants in the late 1870s. Mrs. Gray then went on to explain the practice of paying “kumshaw,” whereby servants hired on the word of other servants would pay a commission to the recommender and, likewise, shopkeepers would pay servants for recommending their businesses to the foreigners.159 The Grays, perhaps because of the constraints of the parsonage lot, followed the somewhat anachronistic practice of having the servants’ room within the house.160 They had an informal relationship with their servants, even to the extent that the archdeacon engaged his servants in a practical joke on his wife, serving her rat, cat, and dog, which she had hitherto refused to eat.161 This frivolity and informality was, as with so many things about the Gray household, the exception rather than the rule.

Chinese business practices seem to have flourished under the permissive roof of the Grays, but a decade later Annie Spinney’s relationships with her servants would take on a completely different form and tone. The Salem native inventoried her servants:

The Customs furnishes us with gardener, watchman, house coolies, and two chaise-coolies so all we have to get are a boy, cook, and amah. So our expense will be much less here [than in] Peking though food is so much more expensive. The cook has been in the house for more than ten years, he is tip top. He likes the place for he would not go to the British Consulate when the Ohlmers were leaving.162

This passage reveals several important factors in the employer–servant relationship. The “standard issue” servants were employed directly by her husband’s office. The family employed more personal servants, those integrally involved with the internal functioning of the household. The latter operated independently, and in the case of particularly talented ones had a fair amount of freedom to find situations that suited them. The Spinney’s masterful cook was the object of competition with and of attempted hiring away by other households.163

Annie Spinney’s tone when discussing servants besides her cook, though, was exasperated and judgmental. She disliked her first “boy,” a combination of butler and errand runner, to the point that she had him replaced; then, of the “new boy,” she said he was “neither good nor bad” but that “he has lived in America and it certainly has not improved his manners.”164 She worked closely with her gardener, but, though generally pleased with her yard on Shamian, could not escape an arrogant and racist attitude towards him:

We have quite a big garden and a gardener who understands his work but has to be looked after a little or will do some essentially stupid and Chinese things, such as planting all his seeds at once so that everything comes up in a lump and is finished all at once.165

Hence the gardener, who had so far quite adequately tended the magnolia trees, flower beds, flowers in pots, ferns, and vegetable gardens indicated in Spinney’s plan and writings, was designated a dim member of an inferior race because he failed to keep the garden in a rather unobtainable perpetual bloom. Of the hardworking amah, who when not taking care of the children or dressing her mistress seems to have been condemned to operate the punkahs, Mrs. Spinney said very little, other than to recount with bemused condescension the maidservant’s tale of a dragon causing a typhoon.166 It is also telling that in her letters Spinney never once mentions her servants’ names.

By the Spinneys’ time, the servants on Shamian were viewed as inferiors to be kept at arm’s length from their masters and mistresses. This is reflected in the architectural arrangements of the household. Annie Spinney’s site plan (Fig. 2.24) shows a long, narrow building attached to the house by a long, covered corridor with “asphalt” paving. Four servants’ rooms, a kitchen, and a separate servants’ kitchen occupied this building. Many servants’ quarters on Shamian were combined with kitchens, which were removed from the main house to avoid fire hazards, heat, and odor but paid little attention to the comfort of servants. An additional servants’ quarter was at the rear of the lot, along with a hen house and a building “intended for stable—used by gardener, watchman, and tailor.” Servants’ buildings could be one or two stories tall; examples can be seen in the rear view of the Canton Club and the Carlowitz & Co. dwelling (Fig. 2.18) and an extant building in the range in the rear of a French concession terrace row. In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, foreigners had not only separated their settlement from the city but also their Chinese employees spatially from their household. Separate and inferior “other” spaces were created by the Westerners on Shamian for people they no longer conceived of as like themselves, that is, they were “others.”

A Problem of Translation: Missionaries Confront (and Inhabit) the City

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, there was one foreign population that did not segregate itself from the populace: missionaries. The whole reason for this group’s presence in Guangzhou was to engage the populace, whether as evangelicals, “civilizers,” or simply helpers (i.e. doctors and educators). Though a few missionary enterprises had offices or residences on Shamian, most of the work of the missions was dispersed throughout the city suburbs. Missionary compounds, chapels, hospitals, and schools were locales of foreign interface with the city and, as such, shaped cross-cultural interactions in the city. They were also, however, the foreign spaces most freely reinterpreted and shaped by the Cantonese populace.

Missionary enterprise in early nineteenth-century China was generally confined to the area around the Thirteen Factories, where the missionaries had their residences. Even Dr. Parker’s hospital, sponsored by the non-denominational but largely Congregationalist-supported American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, served its large Chinese clientele from a large room in the Chowchow Hong, opening onto Hog Lane. With the increasing ability of foreigners to move throughout the city after the Opium War, however, some missionaries began to move into the city’s suburbs. Little information exists about the earliest mission stations in the city, but in 1853 Elder I. J. Roberts, a Baptist with the American Board, who was about to move to a mission in Shanghai, described the premises he had been inhabiting for a number of years in a neighborhood of Guangzhou’s southern suburbs called “Tung-shih-koh”:

These premises have been a foreign residence since 1845, have proved healthy, have become well known as a preaching place among the people, were built up newly of brick in 1848, & a kitchen and a well added in 1853; they are conveniently located upon the river about two miles below the foreign factories at a point that can be reached by boats at all times during either high or low tide, and are located propitiously for the mission work in a family neighborhood.167

The description shows concerns that would become typical in the writings of missionaries of all stripes in the late nineteenth century. The compound is located in a place where it can be accessed by and visible to large numbers of local people, but is also in a good location for addressing the “right sort” of people, hence a “family neighborhood.” The location also needed to have the somewhat defensive measure of easy access to the main foreign neighborhoods.

Roberts included a diagram of the site, which reveals the components and arrangement of the station, though unfortunately little about the appearance of the buildings. The diagram shows a long, narrow urban lot typical of the suburbs with river frontage. From the river, there was an open but walled space that provided access to the river, then a front road with a schoolhouse facing onto it. The compound also abutted a road perpendicular to the river that allowed independent access to its other parts. Between the schoolhouse and the next building, a two-story chapel, there was a walled “large garden” with a well. Next to the chapel, at the northernmost end of the compound, was the missionary residence, with a two-story dwelling, kitchen, and small garden. This shows that as early as the 1850s, the standard formula of residence, chapel, and schoolhouse (or, later, dispensary, depending on the missionary’s expertise) had been developed for missionary stations.

In terms of numbers, the largest presence in Guangzhou in the late nineteenth century was that of the American Presbyterian Board, and the closely allied and in fact overlapping interdenominational Medical Missionary Society of China. These groups founded the Canton Hospital, largely a direct descendant of Dr. Parker’s hospital in the factories.168 The employees of these missionary societies were so numerous that even when American business with the city had all but temporarily disappeared during the last decade of the nineteenth century, an American presence in the city was still notable. Occupying temporary quarters between 1856 and 1865, the hospital and its associated missionary compound would find a permanent location and be constructed between 1865 and the 1880s.169 The complex was situated on the riverfront, on what was in Renjiqiao or Yan-tsai Street, in the southern suburb of Kuk Fau. This was a short distance across the eastern creek from the old factory site. A photograph, probably dating from the turn of the twentieth century, shows the complex in a fully developed state (Fig. 2.32).170 The front two buildings date to the second half of the 1860s, the one on the right being the doctors’ residence and perhaps their offices. The building on the left was initially a missionary residence, but later either shared its function or was converted to a girls’ or women’s school. A full catalogue of the hospital facilities was put forth by Reverend B. C. Henry in the early 1880s:

A residence for the physician, extensive wards, dispensing room, and chapel were erected, to which additional buildings have been added from time to time, as the growing needs of the institution required, until there are now five successive lines of good, substantial buildings, four of which are devoted to the accommodation of patients. The rear line, which is built in two stories, contains wards for the better class of patients, who, by paying a small amount of rent, can be accommodated with separate rooms. The latest addition, in the way of architecture, is the large and commodious structure on the site of the old chapel. It is in two stories, the upper and more spacious constituting the place of worship for the native church. It will seat over six hundred comfortably, and is said to be the finest Protestant church for the Chinese in the south of China. Underneath is a smaller chapel and reception room for out-patients, in which a daily service is held for those residing in the hospital, and special services on dispensing days for out-patients. Large, well-lighted operating-rooms, lecture-room, and laboratory occupy the remainder of the ground floor.171

The hospital would become a landmark in the city, both for the large size of the compound and for the good work it did, earning from the Cantonese the moniker “Hospital of Broad and Free Beneficence.”172 Architecturally, however, the verandah-clad, two-storied, hipped-roof forms of the buildings were nothing new on the urban landscape.

Figure 2-32

Fig. 2.32

American Presbyterian Board–Medical Missionary Society of China compound, late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The hipped-roof houses are typologically very similar to buildings on Shamian. There is a chapel with a spire on the northern end of the compound. The towers in the distance are Cantonese pawn shops and secure storage. Used with the permission of the Council for World Missions and the SOAS, University of London (CWM/LMS/China/Photographs, Box 2, Folder 6, C38).

Life in the American Presbyterian mission compound seems to have been generally placid, even in times when anti-foreign feeling caused problems for other mission stations. This was likely due to the proximity of the compound to the rest of the western community and also to the immense service the hospital provided to the Cantonese. By some accounts, by the 1920s the hospital, perhaps the first large Western-style hospital in China, had treated at least a million patients.173 Because of its size, interdenominational nature, and safety, this compound became a center for coordination and of community for the foreign missionaries. British Wesleyan missionary John A. Turner said of the site in the 1880s:

On Sunday evenings an English service is conducted in the reception room of the large American Presbyterian Mission Hospital at Kok Fau. All the missionaries who are able to do so assemble here with their wives and families, numbering about forty or fifty persons, when each in turn (irrespective of denomination) occupies the pulpit, and on the first Sunday in the month administers the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to his brethren. The Canton missionaries are further accustomed to hold a Conference once a quarter to discuss questions affecting mission work; these meetings are also useful in promoting mutual acquaintances and brotherly love.174

By the early twentieth century, the compound had made it into the tourist guides, no doubt in part because Dr. J. G. Kerr, one of the hospital’s supervisors, wrote an early guide to the city during the late nineteenth century. At this time the compound was described as having eleven buildings, including a three-story medical college; the hospital had 300 beds.175

The only other mission compound of this scale was the architecturally grand French Catholic mission and cathedral (Fig. 2.33). This institution would not enjoy such felicitous relations with the local population. This was partly due to its site—in the wake of the Arrow War, Vatican and French agents produced documents claiming title to the site of Governor Ye’s official yamen:

Whereupon, from among the numerous deeds of trust and conveyances of land forthcoming from the Vatican was one of the former purporting to prove that a plot of eighteen acres in the heart of Canton had once been possessed by agents of the Church. The Chinese authorities were naturally astonished at this, as the site in question had been occupied by the Government House from time immemorial, and they immediately entered their protest. But the French commander said, ‘If you have no power to give it, I have power to take it’; and he proceeded to occupy the premises with a military force. Already reduced to a heap of ruins by the fortunes of war, all that remained of the Chinese structure soon disappeared, and on this very spot arose in process of time a Roman Catholic Cathedral, towering in solitary state over the flat-roofed city. So far from being impressed with the beauty and sacred character of the edifice, the Chinese generally look upon it as a monument of robbery and a constant reminder of their duty to cherish the feelings of hatred and revenge.176

Figure 2-33

Fig. 2.33

French Catholic cathedral, constructed 1860s–80s. Incongruously seeming to have been dropped into Canton’s city fabric from thirteenth-century France, the cathedral is a landmark of exported French academic design. Photo by author, 2002.

The ill feeling of much of the populace towards the cathedral was further accentuated during the Franco-Chinese War of the early 1880s. Its sharply pointed, approximately 150-foot tall spires, which were in early twentieth-century views the most visible edifices in the cityscape, were understood even by Western visitors as violating traditional feng shui principles.177 The controversial French and sometimes Vietnamese staff of the cathedral complex was somewhat isolated from the rest of the foreign community; as one chronicler noted, they “are apt to keep aloof from the Europeans, because the cathedral lies at some distance from the foreign concession, but they give their consul plenty of work.”178 Located in the “New City” or southern section inside the walls on modern day Yide Street, the Sacre Coeur or Cathedral of the Sacred Heart slowly rose above the city between the 1860s and 1880s.179 Built of limestone, the edifice is almost an archaeological essay in the revived French Gothic style, with the exception of gargoyles that bear a close kinship with Chinese Buddhist iconography of guardian lions (Fig. 2.34).

Figure 2-34

Fig. 2.34

French cathedral, detail. This view shows a “Chinese gargoyle.” These waterspouts seem to be the primary place where the Chinese congregants saw their ethnic identity represented in the building, otherwise a nearly archaeological exercise in the French High Gothic style. Photo by author, 2002.

French architect Achille-Antoine Hermitte, freshly emerged from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, came to China after winning the competition for the Hong Kong City Hall, and then went to work in French Indochina, where he designed the governor general’s palace in Saigon.180 The enablers of Hermitte’s vision were ethnic Hakka stonemasons from Wuhua in eastern Guangdong.181 Besides being skilled, these men were likely chosen because of the Hakkas’ reputation for being more positive towards Christianity and foreigners than the “bendi” Cantonese. Besides the cathedral, the French Catholic complex hosted a range of missionary enterprises, including a school and an orphanage, which by the first decade of the twentieth century hosted 467 Chinese children.182 These efforts, combined with the factors that some people in the region had been Catholic since perhaps the seventeenth century, ensured a flourishing number of constituents for the cathedral.

The smaller Protestant missions in Guangzhou faced more of a challenge in gaining converts. While the ritual and sensuality of Catholicism made gaining converts in China comparatively easy, the Protestant effort relied on conveying an understanding of belief and doctrine that depended on the verbal translation of abstract ideas. The evangelical strategies and environments created by the smaller Protestant missions can be charted in the activities of the British groups, the London Missionary Society (LMS, largely a project of the English Congregationalists) and Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. Both of these groups, it will be noted, maintained central offices on Shamian, while their activities were spread throughout the city and the province of Guangdong.

Beginning in the early 1860s, the genial and practical Rev. John Chalmers developed the material and organizational infrastructure for the London Missionary Society’s Guangzhou efforts. By 1870, Chalmers oversaw the construction of the society’s double house on Shamian, previously mentioned. By 1873, he hired and supervised a Chinese builder in constructing a chapel in Shakee, in the western suburbs not far from Shamian. Chalmers’ recounting of the opening of the Shakee Chapel shows that the building was of interest to more than just the congregation he and his peers had managed to attract:

A beautiful and commodious place of worship has been built and the opening services now being held are I feel convinced the occasion of a general revival. The churches of our mission in Canton, Fatshan, and Hong Kong, and those of other missions have vied with each other in their endeavours to adorn the place with elegantly carved mottoes and inscriptions, and other friends, as well as the builder of the chapel, who are not Christians, have made similar contributions. The congratulations of the other churches are generally accompanied with regrets that ours should still be the only one which has made any considerable effort towards self-support.183

Though no record has yet surfaced of the building itself, it was Chinese-built and -decorated. Though the focus within the chapel was the preaching of Christianity, the building was also, arguably, viewed in terms of a Chinese religious building, that is, as a handsome neighborhood social center, hence the broad interest in the community. The mention of congregational “self support” is also noteworthy. To the foreign missionaries, this was one of the greatest indications of success, and meant that they had created a church that functioned like the ones at home. Though strong bonds and mutual support existed between Chinese Christians of different cities, this goal frequently proved elusive.

The London Missionary Society had a smaller, plainer, and less successful chapel or “preaching hall” in the eighth ward of the city. Both chapels were staffed by preachers Leung Alo and Au Fungchi; in 1875, Chalmers pointed out, “To them has been left in great measure the public preaching to the heathen.”184 Although Chalmers did on occasion preach himself, the hands-off approach of the LMS seems to have made their Cantonese congregations fairly independent and resourceful. This left Chalmers free to pursue, besides overall management, endeavors such as compiling a Cantonese dictionary for the use of missionaries.185 Just after Chalmers departed to manage the entire LMS regional efforts from Hong Kong, records show that, even in the anti-foreign atmosphere of 1884, the Shakee Chapel regularly had between 300 and 500 at services, while the Eighth Ward Chapel had only about 150.186 Rev. T. W. Pearce arrived to take Chalmers’s position in 1881, but due to the anti-foreign riots of the early 1880s little new was accomplished immediately. In 1886, Pearce oversaw a change of venue for the smaller chapel—in a move based purely on the desire to search for more fertile evangelical grounds, the Eighth Ward Chapel was closed and a new chapel was opened on Honam.187

The Shakee Chapel continued to play a dominant role in the evangelical endeavors of the LMS for several decades. It had the advantage of being in both a heavily trafficked area and a neighborhood where the inhabitants were generally tolerant of Westerners. It received a further boost in 1888 or 1889, with the construction of a book room, apparently both a library and store.188 In attempts to perhaps literally “sell” religion, the appearance of the chapel from the street would be transformed:

We are about to build at the Sha Ki Chapel a book room. The space between the street boundary wall and the Chapel front on both sides will then be turned to good account. Instead of a brick wall in front with a wooden entrance gate the Sha Ki Chapel building will when the book room is completed resemble a shop & will have a front almost entirely of glass protected by wire netting.189

The LMS missionaries were definitely finding a way to get the Cantonese inside their doors, but they may not have been doing much towards their goal of converting heathen souls. Even before the book room opened, the missionaries were finding that their spaces had been appropriated for purposes that suited the Cantonese:

In Canton we can always preach to a crowd. Congregations come in to while away an idle half-hour, to be amused, to hear a story, to look at the maps & pictures on the walls, or to ask questions about foreign countries & foreign goods (specimens are sometimes brought & shown), to talk with in a good humoured way [or] banter the foreigner.190

The report goes on to say that it was the missionaries’ impression that it was a challenge to make the Chinese understand that what they preached “has repercussions for actual life.” 191 In 1891, the mission report states of the book room, “Anything with pictures or English in it sells” and that religious texts did not.192 The missionaries had made a space in form of a chapel and book room available to the Cantonese community, which in turn used it to their own purposes, namely to indulge their curiosity about the West.

In 1891, the earnest if frustrated and high-strung Rev. Pearce, “who was unable to do much work on account of nervous debility, and who was ordered by the doctor to get complete rest for a year or two,” was replaced by more aggressively business-minded missionaries.193 They brought with them new ideas about how the Guangzhou mission should be run. The Honam chapel was sold, as the area was now well covered by American and other missionaries, and a new one was opened up in an area of the city less frequented by foreigners, the sixth ward near one of the northern gates:

The importance attached to our opening in this place by one antagonist is seen from the fact that the Confucianists immediately rented a shop on the opposite side of the way & only a few doors removed for the preaching of the Sacred Edict.194

The decision was made in 1899 to abandon the Shakee Chapel and open a new, larger one not far away on Tsung Kwai San Kai Street. This was based on the need for more space, but also on proximity to the bulk of their most successful congregation and yet far enough away not to attract the “unruly mob” of the curious who popped into the Shakee Chapel from the major thoroughfare.195 The new chapel in the western suburbs took two years to complete, with a native preacher, supervised by one of the missionaries, as general contractor, operating on a foreign architect’s plans.196 It was one of the few missionary neighborhood chapels of Guangzhou with a visual record in the form of interior photographs (Fig. 2.35).197

Figure 2-35

Fig. 2.35

“New LMS Native Church, Canton,” showing the interior of the London Missionary Society preaching chapel, western suburbs of Guangzhou, c. 1901. Though the basic architectural form of the chapel is typical of many a small Protestant church, and has such period touches as the faux-painted iron columns running down the center, Chinese touches such as the calligraphy scrolls and traceried manzhou windows show the investment of the Cantonese congregants. Used with the permission of the Council for World Missions and the SOAS, University of London (CWM/LMS/China/Photographs, Box 3, Folder 9, C72).

Construction of the Tsung Kwai San Kai Chapel was interrupted by a scandalous incident. In late July 1900, the roof in the pulpit end of the chapel collapsed.198 This resulted in the dismissal of the local preacher, who had been left on his own to supervise construction.199 Within a few weeks, the missionaries had called in architect John Lemm, of 64 Queens Road, Hong Kong, and who may or may not have been the architect whose plans were used, to investigate the cause of the collapse.200 The verdict he presented was that the collapse had three causes: the inferior quality of the Cantonese “blue” bricks used for the building; the use of iron straps that were too thin and the mixing of hardwood with less reliable Chinese fir in the construction of the king post trusses; and the small size of the masonry wall plate that supported the trusses.201 The photograph (Fig. 2.35) shows these formidable Western-style trusses, now supported by thick masonry buttresses inserted to correct the problems that caused the collapse. The mixing of traditional Cantonese building techniques with what was for the builders a rather experimental Western roof technology was at the root of the collapse, and suggests that the preacher/amateur contractor should not have been wholly to blame for factors undoubtedly outside his sphere of knowledge.

The photograph of the chapel as finished shows a large rectilinear space with a peaked ceiling. A skylight occupies the center of the ceiling. Marbleized columns of cast iron or wood run down the center of the sanctuary, supporting the previously problematic king post trusses, now also reinforced with curvilinear metal brackets. Between the columns running down the center of the space is a beaded board wooden screen with carved triangular and segmental arched details on the top, carved with Chinese vine patterns. The partition seems to have been put in place for separation of the genders during the service. It had not been uncommon in the preceding decades for missionary services to be held at different times for men and women, but with this new large chapel permitting joint services, gender separation was apparently continued spatially, likely in this instance from Chinese rather than missionary preference. Two doors surmounted by fanlights at the entrance and pulpit ends continued the two-part scheme, as did the two pulpit end tracery windows. These, in floral and geometric patterns, may have had colored panes, as was then becoming common in the western suburb (xiguan), which still prides itself on the continued presence of many colored and wood-traceried “manzhou” and threshold windows. Chinese vegetal patterns on the ornamental chair rail and painted underneath the wall molding, as well as flower carvings on the buttress capitols, also display the contributions of local craftsmen. Finally, the calligraphy scrolls bedecking the walls make this environment a true blend of East and West, though perhaps not to the extent of the old Shakee Chapel.

The pattern created by the basic form of the LMS chapel had a fairly long life. Another, if late, example known through surviving plans is the United Brethren’s Honam Chapel, constructed in 1919 by the Cantonese contractors, Shing On Company.202 Essentially a long, narrow box with a hipped roof and Western roof trusses, the plain rectangular structure was probably never even as elaborate as the LMS chapel, and reveals the form that the missionaries thought of as functional.

With the construction of the new LMS chapel in the western suburbs, the missionaries also decided to follow a trend, perhaps initiated by the American Presbyterians, and open an English-language school. The school, in place by 1900, was adjacent the new chapel and the Chinese preacher’s house.203 The decision to start the school was put forth as a way of attracting new people to the London Mission, due to the increasing popularity of Western education among the upper and middle classes of Guangzhou. As the mission report states, “The demand for an English education at Canton is very great and we felt that the school might soon be self-supporting.”204 The school, private and charging tuition, did in fact attract a substantial number of students, but they came mostly to learn English and Western disciplines rather than to study Christianity; the LMS made few converts through the institution. Though the school was moderately prosperous, by 1902, competition was felt with the opening of two large, free, and secular (two factors with obvious appeal) English schools under the Ellis Kadoorie Foundation.205 Once again, little visual record exists of the buildings, apart from a group photograph showing the class of the LMS Canton or “City of Rams” School, probably in 1901, as judged from the number of students, standing in the side yard of a Western-style building that is partially visible behind a tree.206 This could be the school “with vestry and anteroom below,” or alternatively the “preacher’s dwelling with bible school and women’s waiting room below” mentioned in the 1900 LMS building inventory.207 The building had an arched and balustraded verandah in front, followed by two side window bays and a side entrance, followed by another window bay—perhaps indicating a building with the central passage–side hall plan seen in other foreign buildings of the era. The importance of the building here, however, is not necessarily its form, but rather its location and institutional function.

The evolution of the British Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society paralleled that of the London Missionary Society. Possessing a somewhat larger staff from the beginning, their efforts proceeded a bit more quickly. These included churches in both the western and eastern suburbs of the city, where their missionaries were more frequently the preachers than in the case of the LMS. By 1886, the Wesleyans also had a book room, a boys’ school in the city’s tenth ward, and a high school on Honam.208 They used their offices on Shamian as headquarters for a larger provincial missionary effort, which included preachers, teachers, and doctors in other cities in Guangdong by the turn of the century. Unfortunately, little record survives of the Wesleyans’ building projects in Guangzhou.

By the turn of the century, a number of new missionary groups had arrived in Guangzhou, including the Berlin Missionary Society, the American Southern Baptist Convention, and the Church of England Missionary Society. The missionaries from the American denomination with Germanic heritage, the United Brethren in Christ, arrived in 1889, but lodged with other American missionaries until they constructed their own missionary compound in 1898.209 A few photographs survive of the Brethren’s Beth Eden Compound (Fig. 2.36), whose construction on the very northwestern tip of Honam was supervised by Dr. H. K. Shumaker.210 Images show the three-story physician’s residence and a one-and-a-half-story frame building with a recessed porch, probably a school building, and a yard, all surrounded by a wall. The masonry walls, arched verandahs, and hipped roof of the physician’s residence are familiar in the language of foreign dwelling in Guangzhou. The three stories, single structural bay depth, and what appears would have been an “I-house” plan borrowed from the vernacular of the American Midwest and Upper South are innovations, undoubtedly due to the supervision of Dr. Shumaker. The second building is altogether a departure, given its frame construction and recessed porch. Outside the Beth Eden compound, by 1905 the Brethren had a street chapel on Honam, a number of day schools, two medical dispensaries, and a girls’ boarding school or “seminary.”211 Two years later, the denomination would add a foundling home across the river at Huadi, but discussion of this facility belongs in a later chapter.

Figure 2-36

Fig. 2.36

United Brethren’s Beth Eden missionary compound on Honam. In this aerial view, one can see the masonry physician’s house with its hipped roof, which was rather shallower than most of its contemporary buildings in Guangzhou, apparently a variant of the Midwestern American I-house. The balloon frame building beyond, possibly holding a clinic or school rooms, also reveals the impact of American vernacular architecture on this particular compound—one wonders whether it was in fact assembled from prefabricated elements shipped from abroad. From Mathews and Hough, The Call of China and the Islands, facing p. 33.

Foreign buildings had, by the turn of the century, been scattered throughout various parts of the city owing largely to missionary efforts. While some of these buildings were solely religious, missionary-sponsored schools and other institutions became sought after for Cantonese with a “modernizing” ethic. Although firm in their desire to convert the largely uninterested Cantonese to Christianity, the missionaries were, in part unintentionally, the group of foreigners that would lead the way in desegregating the foreign and Cantonese worlds.

Neighboring Sparks, Local Flames: Violence and Space in the 1880s

While the 1860s and 1870s saw peace between foreigners and Chinese people, tensions began to mount around 1880 between Guangzhou’s vast populace and its small Western community. While certain segments of the Cantonese painfully remembered the city’s humiliations during the Arrow War, of which the British and French consular yamen and the Catholic cathedral were continuing symbols, the immediate cause of rising anti-foreign sentiment was French expansionism. The French had rapidly expanded their control in Southeast Asia from an initial mid-nineteenth-century base in Cochin-China (modern southern Vietnam) and Cambodia northwards. By 1882, they occupied Hanoi, and the Nguyen dynasty rulers of Annam, a traditional tributary state of China, had requested Chinese intervention. By 1884, the French and the Chinese were at war, though no actual part of the official conflict directly touched Guangzhou. Unlike some earlier instances of Cantonese-foreign conflict, all Westerners tended to be subsumed by broader anti-foreign sentiment in the early 1880s. Against this backdrop, local sparks set off notable disruption between Cantonese and foreigners in the late nineteenth century, and buildings once again became targets.

On September 15, 1880, a minor incident signaled rising tensions. A fire broke out in the sheds occupied by ethnic Hakka stonemasons working on the French cathedral that was subsequently extinguished by the ethnic Cantonese.212 In the words of the British consular correspondence, “The Hakkas had shown themselves ungrateful for the service thus rendered, and the firemen left the spot without thanks, but without shew [sic] of retaliation. The bystanders took the matter up.”213 The Hakkas and later some of the resident French and local Catholics, dragged members of the gathering Cantonese crowd inside the cathedral precincts, which obviously excited the situation further.214 A group of Cantonese had assembled in protest outside the cathedral, or as then British Vice-Consul E. H. Parker (one of the main sources on the incident) nonchalantly recalled, “I had just finished ‘tiffin,’ sent off my guests, and was drinking my coffee alone, when a note from Père Béal was placed in my hands: it was to the effect that an attack on the cathedral was threatening.”215 Parker’s view of the incident was largely from behind a desk. As the British head consul and the French consul were at that moment both away, he found himself in charge of the situation. Dispatches flew back and forth among Parker and the Chinese viceroy, various missionaries, and the two “Viceroy’s gunboats” in the river.216 These boats were in fact manned by foreigners, one set of British and one of French, and seemed to await Parker’s command at least as much as they did that of Chinese officials.217 The Chinese head guard of the Shamian bridges had them fully manned, and the viceroy, who sallied forth to attend to the situation and had his sedan attacked by the rioters, reportedly had 2,000 troops installed around the cathedral complex, thus stemming further escalation.218 While the long-standing ethnic tensions between Hakka and Cantonese may have been the origin of the disturbance, the cathedral itself was the lightning rod for conflict. In the end, however, the French properties avoided severe damage, but the Protestant missionaries were in fact a bit upset because “no one . . . had given them a thought.”219

Though this incident caused little real damage, it was followed nearly three years later on September 10, 1883, by a far more damaging riot, on an occasion when “the mob had a fairly good excuse,” as Parker put it.220 Though the event must be seen against the backdrop of the pending Sino-French conflict, the immediate cause was the death of a nineteen-year-old Cantonese man. The young man, alternately said to be an employee of the Chinese postal service or a runner for a Chinese businessman, was pushed or “kicked” off the steamer packet Hankow by a Westerner, said either to be a Portuguese watchman or “a drunken Englishman named Logan.”221 Apparently, a total of three people were pushed overboard, but the other two were rescued.222 The ship shoved off, away from the gathering and angered crowd. Upon learning that the agent for the ship was Russell & Co., now installed on Shamian rather than the “old factory site,” the crowd veered towards the concession island with intent to confront the company.223 Some discretion and goal-oriented behavior was initially present in the crowd, as they passed by the customs office, a Western building full of foreign employees though in the service of the Chinese government. Upon achieving Shamian, however, the crowd apparently completely lost control. Foreign houses on the eastern end of the island were indiscriminately attacked and not a few set on fire.

The total number of buildings damaged was recorded with some variance, but it seems that five residences, including the recently repaired house of Pustau & Co. (Fig. 2.9) as well as the assembly and theater building called “Concordia Hall,” were destroyed beyond repair.224 Other buildings were looted but not destroyed, including the London Missionary Society double house, where it was reported, “Most of the moveable articles of value have been carried off except our books which remain nearly intact.”225 The crowd had even begun battering down the gates of the British consulate complex when “someone in authority called out ‘Not that house, not that house’” and they “turned aside.”226

This action by the Cantonese crowd fell largely into the pattern of many mid-century riots, when houses were attacked as surrogates and symbols of Western presence but foreign people themselves were not directly attacked with intent to injure. A correspondent to the China Mail even noted, “The mob evidently were not so much bent upon murder as plunder and destruction, or they could have taken our lives easily.”227 There were no foreign casualties. Furthermore, the locals who lived with or near the foreigners acted in their defense. When houses across the rear canal were attacked, foreigners who lived there were concealed by Cantonese people in the neighborhood, who also fought off some of the rioters.228 When segments of the rioters finally reached Russell & Co.’s house in the middle of the island, they were met with resistance from fellow Cantonese: “the servants of the hong fought with might and main, driving the rioters off three times.”229 Another assault by the rioters was then driven away by the startling appearance of some foreigners who had armed themselves and began to fight back: “To see five or six men sweeping down on the rioters at Russell & Co.’s accompanied with an Indian war whoop, and the consequent dispersal of the mob at that point, is a little comical to look back upon.”230 The rioters finally left the island when a full battalion of Chinese troops arrived, displaying a flag, “which after being held up in front of the mob authorizes the military to fire upon rioters.”231

The underlying source of anger here is unknown. Sino-French tensions may have been universalized to all foreigners. Alternatively, there may have been pent up resentment at the park-like privilege of Shamian itself. A letter of Rev. Pearce of the London Missionary Society perhaps suggests the latter, though the main impression he leaves is of the riot’s results and some bafflement at the incident:

Charred timbers & heaps of bricks lie where scarcely more than a week ago white houses stood out from among the trees making a scene suggestive in the highest degree of tranquility & comfort & if one judged from the size & beauty of the dwellings, of the financial prosperity of the foreigners; we were living on a volcano though that fact was only partially known, & to some was not evident at all. The volcano has been active & we see the revolution in the destruction of more than one third of the foreign households.232

The killing of a young Cantonese man, while tragic in itself, released some simmering sentiment amongst a segment of the local populace, which still restrained itself to acting against the symbol of foreign high-handed separateness, Shamian. This was really the last riot against the foreign presence that had as its models the incidents of the Opium War era. In outlying areas beyond the city, some mission stations would be attacked during the Sino-French War, but it was the end of direct violence towards foreigners and their property in the city proper during the nineteenth century. The riot did accomplish one lasting result in the lack of enthusiasm the British and French consuls now had for dwelling in their city yamen:

Since the riotous years of 1883 and 1884 the British and French Consuls have not found it pleasant to reside at the large garden consulates of their governments in the vicinity of the high Chinese officials in the northern part of the City of Canton, or to pass through the streets in exciting times. As recently as October 1884 the British Consul had his sedan-chair surrounded and his chair-bearers jostled aside by a rude crowd of natives; and the French Consul in that year was compelled to invoke the protection of the Chinese authorities on the streets of Canton, and had Chinese soldiers continually at the French Yamen for protection of the Consulate of France. Both British and French Consuls now reside on Shamian.233

The fragile boundary between the foreigners and the city had been crossed, with great psychological impact. The reaction, however, was retrenchment. Foreign interests in the later 1880s became more invested in a segregated Shamian, and apart from missionaries would remain separate from the city for almost a quarter of a century.

The Later Nineteenth Century and the Two Worlds of Guangzhou

The threat of Western military domination in the wake of the Arrow War, the foreign fear of Cantonese riots, and the arrival of Western women and families all profoundly shaped cross-cultural spatial relations in Guangzhou. Shamian was an island designed to be a separate, Western world, away from continuous interaction with the Cantonese and their city, which had previously been a daily necessity. The models for settlement were the tree-lined avenues of prestigious neighborhoods in large European and American cities. With the arrival of foreign women and families, business functions became spatially separated from domestic ones, and were sometimes (for instance, in terms of the Imperial Maritime Customs dwellings) moved outside of the house altogether. Likewise, the local household servants were increasingly distanced from the Euro-American households both in spatial and social terms. They had become subordinates rather than independent employees, and at least one of Shamian’s women considered it her duty to look make sure servants she considered racially inferior did not cause mischief. Assumptions about Western racial or cultural superiority, manifest in the foreign partitioning of spaces, had replaced the feeling of communal enterprise that had been the rule in the Thirteen Factories era.

Although Guangzhou always operated as a fully autonomous Chinese city, unlike for instance Shanghai, the late nineteenth century produced several architectural symbols of Western power and potential domination. The construction of Shamian, with its immense retaining walls, guarded bridges, and quick access to transportation on the Pearl River, was itself an assertion of Western, and particularly British, strength. The Americans, receiving this message clearly, sought briefly their own, separate space within the city out of fear of potential British coercion. The appropriation of official yamen within the walled city by British and French consuls sent an indisputable message of domination. In a move both humiliating to the Cantonese populace and violating of Chinese tradition and belief, the construction of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on the site of Ye’s yamen would broadcast across the city skyline what Western powers were capable of doing.

Yet for many Cantonese and foreigners, ill feeling did not necessarily prevail. The consuls’ love of display and conspicuous consumption, while couched in national pride, found an outlet in festivities designed to unite important members of the various foreign communities and Chinese officials. Rare foreigners, like the Grays, were curious about and even affectionate towards the Cantonese and their city, and found their efforts at cross-cultural interaction returned in kind. Even servants, a prominent instance being Annie Spinney’s cook, could develop a certain prestige among the foreigners if they did their job well, and some had enthusiasm for their work.

The real surprise, in an era otherwise dominated by cultural distance, was discovered by the missionaries, the only group of foreigners that lived in or routinely moved through the city. Though at times targets of anti-foreign aggression, it was their business to relate to the Cantonese at a one-on-one level. What they found was not, as hoped, large numbers of religious converts. Rather, they found a large segment of the Cantonese populace eager to learn more about the West and to adopt, selectively, Western goods, knowledge, and practices and make them their own. The hospitals, schools, and book rooms dispersed around the city by the missions would have a larger impact on Guangzhou than any coercive symbol erected or appropriated by the foreign powers. Though the exclusive nature of Shamian would remain for some years, the dawn of the century would find Chinese and Western worlds once again merging, both spatially and socially.

1. C. F. Gordon-Cumming, Wanderings in China (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1886), p. 34.

2. William Fredrick Mayers, N. B. Dennys, and Charles King, The Treaty Ports of China and Japan (Hong Kong: A. Shortrede and Co., 1867), p. 131.

3. Some evidence indicates that the central passages of the Thirteen Factories were in fact articulated with semi-circular vaults—the post and lintel arrangement of Nye’s hong would be more typical of buildings of the city at large.

4. Tiffany, The Canton Chinese, p. 214.

5. Morris & Co., Morris’s Directory for China, Japan, and the Phillipines, & c. (Hong Kong: Morris & Co., printed by Charles A. Saint, 1870), pp. 3D–5D. The business directories published out of Hong Kong in conjunction with various firms and newspaper offices are good sources for which firms are in residence in Guangzhou in this period.

6. Robert Fraser-Smith, The Hong Kong Directory and Hong List for the Far East, for 1886 (Hong Kong: Robert Fraser-Smith at the Office of the “Hong Kong Telegraph,” 1886), pp. 209–10.

7. Letter from Gideon Nye to Deacon & Co., agents for China Fire Insurance Company, dated December 16, 1882. Baker Library (Ms766 [1858–1898] N994—Vol. 3b). Harvard University.

8. Walter William Mundy, Canton and the Bogue: The Narrative of an Eventful Six Months in China (London: Samuel Tinsley, 1875), p. 79.

9. Dr. J. G. Kerr, A Guide to the City and Suburbs of Canton (Hong Kong: Kelly & Walsh, Ltd., 1904 edition), p. 46.

10. Ibid.

11. John Thomson, Illustrations of China and Its People (Reprinted, New York: Dover Publications, 1982—orig. 1873), Vol. 1, Plate 21. See also Mundy, Canton and the Bogue, p. 79.

12. Arnold Wright and H. A. Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions of Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Other Treaty Ports of China (London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Co., Ltd., 1908), p. 790. For a discussion of the firm’s organization and history (particularly in other treaty ports), see Sheila Marriner and Francis E. Hyde, The Senior John Samuel Swire, 1825–98: Management in Far Eastern Shipping Trades (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1967).

13. John Swire & Sons Papers (JSS II 1/5 folder A23), School of Oriental and African Studies Archives, University of London, and Wright and Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions, p. 790.

14. Kerr, A Guide to the City and Suburbs of Canton, p. 46, and John Swire & Sons Papers (JSS II 1/5 folder A23), SOAS Archives, University of London.

15. John Swire & Sons Papers (JSS II 1/5 folder A23), SOAS Archives, University of London.

16. John Swire & Sons Papers (JSS I 6/2, Swire Property Book, p. 27), SOAS Archives, University of London.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

19. From Wright and Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions, p. 790.

20. Ibid.

21. John Swire & Sons Papers (JSS I 6/2, Swire Property Book, p. 27), SOAS Archives, University of London.

22. British Library, MSS.EUR D754.

23. Ibid., p. 8.

24. Ibid.

25. Dr. Max Durand-Fardel, La Chine et Les Conditions Sanitaires des Ports (Paris: Librairie J. B. Baillière & Fils, 1877), p. 136. The doctor stated, “Quant à la concession française, ce n’est qu’un vaste espace, couvert de mauvaises herbes, sans vestiges d’occupation.”

26. H. Staples Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shameen, 1859–1938 (Self-published, 1938), p. 34.

27. British Foreign Office, China Correspondence (FO 17/373, dispatch no. 101).

28. Ibid.

29. The Chronicle & Directory for China, Japan, Corea, . . . for the Year 1900 (Hong Kong: “Daily Press” Office, 1900), p. 195. He is also continuously found in previous directories from the later nineteenth century. On Kingsmill in Shanghai, see

30. British Foreign Office, China Correspondence (FO 17/373, dispatch no. 101).

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid., and Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shameen, 1859–1938, p. 35.

33. Mrs. J. H. Gray, Fourteen Months in Canton (London: Macmillan and Co., 1880), p. 5.

34. Mayers, Dennys, and King, The Treaty Ports of China and Japan, p. 138.

35. Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shameen, 1859–1938, p. 36.

36. Gray, Fourteen Months in Canton, p. 5.

37. Mayers, Dennys, and King, The Treaty Ports of China and Japan, p. 133.

38. The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan, and the Philippines for 1865 (Hong Kong: “Daily Press” Office, 1865), pp. 166–69.

39. Mayers, Dennys, and King, The Treaty Ports of China and Japan, p. 138.

40. Ibid., pp. 133–34, and British Foreign Office, China Correspondence (FO 17/373). Reference to the plans was made in the foreign correspondence copybooks. The plans, if they survived into the twentieth century, were most likely burned in a 1948 attack on the second consular complex. Most of the land records for Shamian and other British citizens’ property in Guangzhou were destroyed in this event.

41. British Foreign Office, China Correspondence (FO 17/373, dispatch no. 5).

42. Mr. Boyce’s 1899/1900 reports to Secretary of Works on Legations and Consulates (WORKS 10-56/6, p. 77), The National Archives, Kew, UK. The attribution of the designs to Cleverly comes only from this source, written nearly forty years after construction.

43. Mayers, Dennys, and King, The Treaty Ports of China and Japan, pp. 133–34.

44. British Foreign Office, China Correspondence (FO 17/373, dispatch no. 5, inclosure 2).

45. Mr. Boyce’s 1899/1900 reports to Secretary of Works on Legations and Consulates (WORKS 10-56/6, p. 78).

46. British Foreign Office, China Correspondence (FO 17/373, dispatch no. 5, inclosure 2).

47. Ibid.

48. Mr. Boyce’s 1899/1900 reports to Secretary of Works on Legations and Consulates (WORKS 10-56/6, p. 78).

49. British Foreign Office, China Correspondence (FO 17/373, dispatch no. 5, inclosure 2).

50. Ibid.

51. From Patrick Conner, Chinese Views—Western Perspectives, 1770–1870: The Sze Yuan Tang Collection of China Coast Paintings and The Wallem Collection of China Coast Ship Portraits (Hong Kong: Asia House, 1997), plate 5.

52. Trustees of the Canton Garden Fund, as quoted in Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shameen, 1859–1938, p. 10.

53. Ibid., pp. 10–11.

54. The Graphic, September 22, 1883, pp. 292–93.

55. Mundy, Canton and the Bogue, p. 80. This source indicates the practice was well in place by the early 1870s.

56. Gordon-Cumming, Wanderings in China, p. 35.

57. Mrs. Brassey, Around the World in the Yacht ‘Sunbeam’ (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1889), p. 353.

58. Rev. J. MacGowan, Pictures of Southern China (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1897), p. 296.

59. Gray, Fourteen Months in Canton, p. 6.

60. Annie Ward Spinney Letters, Box 1, Folder 4, letter dated July 4/6, 1887. Phillips Library of Peabody Essex Museum.

61. Brassey, Around the World in the Yacht ‘Sunbeam’, pp. 352–53.

62. Mundy, Canton and the Bogue, p. 82.

63. Ibid, pp. 82–83.

64. Ibid.

65. Gordon-Cumming, Wanderings in China, p. 34.

66. Olive Risley Seward (ed.), William H. Seward’s Travels around the World (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1873), p. 235.

67. Gray, Fourteen Months in Canton, p. 5, and Gordon-Cumming, Wanderings in China, p. 34.

68. Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform] (Washington, DC: National Archives, 1965).

69. Photographic Album, India Office Collections (373/3), British Library.

70. Ibid., image 35.

71. Ibid., image 38.

72. Anna Davis Drew Album C, Harvard-Yenching Library. Anna Drew, an American, was the wife of a deputy commissioner of customs.

73. See Wright and Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions, pp. 788–90.

74. Ibid., p. 792.

75. Another enclosed map in Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform] from a letter in1886 shows the lot currently occupied by the building as Russell & Co.’s.

76. Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shameen, 1859–1938, pp. 20, 22. Also, the photograph from an advertisement in R. C. Hurley, The Tourist’s Guide to Canton, the West River, and Macau (Hong Kong: Noronha & Co., 1895).

77. London Missionary Society, Council for World Missions, South China Missions. Incoming Correspondence (Box 7, Folder 1, Jackets B and D) and Reports (Box 1, Folder 6), SOAS, University of London. A plan for this building also existed but has since gone missing.

78. Ibid. There were plans for the building as constructed, but they were in outgoing correspondence, a body of documents that has not survived.

79. Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, China Correspondence, Canton. Box 489. Letters dated May 12 and July 14, 1886. SOAS, University of London.

80. See photograph in Wright and Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions, p. 794.

81. This photograph is in the Peabody Essex Museum Collections (PH 34.45) and is labeled simply “Shameen from canal side, rear of some lots,” but the buildings are identifiable in profile, cornice details, and position with respect to Christ Church.

82. See Robin Hutcheon, The Merchants of Shameen: The Story of Deacon & Co. (Hong Kong: Deacon & Co., 1990), pp. 45, 50–51.

83. C. C. Wakefield, Future Trade in the Far East, (London: Wittaker & Co., 1896), p. 60.

84. John D. Long, The New America and the Far East (Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 1907), Vol. 5, p. 1116.

85. See Wang Tan, Ma Xiuzhi, et al., The Architectural Heritage of Modern China: Guangzhou (Beijing: Zhongguo jianzhu gongpu chubanshe, 1992), p. 47. Attributions from this book are not always accurate, but for these buildings I have few other sources, although the Banque d’Indochine attribution is verifiable in Wright and Cartwright, Twentieth Century Impressions, p. 792.

86. Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform], Letter (No. 116) to Asst. Sec. of State James D. Porter from Consul Seymour, November 15, 1886.

87. WORKS 10-55/2, The National Archives, Kew, UK.

88. Ibid.

89. Perkins-Russell Papers, Folder 26b-8. Baker Library, Harvard University.

90. Perkins-Russell Papers, Folder 26b-13. Baker Library, Harvard University.

91. See Thomson, Illustrations of China and Its People, Vol. 1, Plate 16.

92. Perkins-Russell Papers, Folder 26b-13. Baker Library, Harvard University.

93. Perkins-Russell Papers, Folder 26b-7.

94. Ibid.

95. See Perkins-Russell Papers, Folder 26b-10, and Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shameen, 1859–1938, pp. 11–14.

96. Ibid.

97. Ibid.

98. Ibid.

99. Ibid.

100. George Wingrove Cooke, China: Being “The Times” Special Correspondence from China in the Years 1857–58 (London: G. Routledge & Co., 1858), p. 365.

101. Notice “Maintenance of the Yamen grounds at Canton,” 1883, WORKS 10-37/2. UK The National Archives, Kew, UK.

102. Thomson, Illustrations of China and Its People, Vol. 1, Plate 17.

103. Some photographs of later date survive of parts of the complex. See, for example, photograph album 08-19B-(148-155) in Hong Kong Public Records Office.

104. Ibid.

105. WORKS 10-37/2. The National Archives, Kew, UK.

106. Ibid.

107. Ibid.

108. Ibid.

109. See Kerr, A Guide to the City and Suburbs of Canton, p. 26.

110. Quote from John L. Stoddard, John L. Stoddard’s Lectures: Japan and China, Vol. 3 (Boston: Balch Brothers Co., 1897), p. 274.

111. Chinese traffic on the island, as viewed from official proceedings in 1923, seems to have always been present. See British Foreign Office Papers, Foreign Concession Dossier—Shameen (Canton) 1919–25, FO 228/3193 (dispatch no. 147). The National Archives, Kew, UK. Good census data for Shamian is not available until 1911, but then it shows a remarkable consistency in the proportion of resident Chinese to Westerners. See Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shameen, 1859–1938, p. 22.

112. This is misattributed in Yen P’ing Hao, The Comprador in Nineteenth Century China: Bridge between East and West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970), p. 67. Hao says this is the Shanghai premises of Russell & Co., which it is not. Plan is in Heard & Co. Papers (EQ-6-1: Plans of Property in China and Japan). Baker Library, Harvard University.

113. Perkins-Russell Papers, V. 26b, folder 7. Baker Library, Harvard University.

114. Morris’s Directory for China, Japan, and the Phillipines, 1870 lists A. B. Buckley and H. C. Low for Smith Archer’s house and John M. Forbers, Jr., silk inspector J. Dubost, and F. Jorge for Russell & Co.’s. (p. 5D).

115. See Hao, The Comprador in Nineteenth Century China: Bridge between East and West, Chapter 4.

116. London Missionary Society, Council for World Missions, Incoming Correspondence Box 7/Folder 1/Jacket D, SOAS.

117. Ibid. and Box 7/Folder 1/Jacket B.

118. The plan is found in Annie Ward Spinney Letters, PEM. Originally attached to letter of October 20, 1887, but now in a separate folder.

119. Spinney Letters, Letter of July 23, 1887. PEM.

120. Ibid., letter of July 23/24, 1887. Spinney sent the upper-floor plan to her mother earlier than the ground floor/site plan.

121. Ibid., letter of July 13, 1887.

122. Ibid., letter of July 23, 1887.

123. Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform], Letter (No. 92) to Asst. Sec. of State James D. Porter from Consul Seymour of December 31, 1885, and Letter (No. 116) to Asst. Sec. of State James D. Porter from Consul Seymour, November 15, 1886.

124. Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform], Letter (No. 116) to Asst. Sec. of State James D. Porter from Consul Seymour, November 15, 1886.

125. Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform], Letter (No. 111) to Asst. Secretary of State David J. Hill from Vice Consul Hubbard Smith, June 30, 1899. See also Letter (no. 10) to Asst. Sec. of State David J. Hill from Consul Robert M. McWade, June 15, 1900.

126. Ibid.

127. Ibid.

128. Ibid.

129. Gray, Fourteen Months in Canton, pp. 6–7.

130. Ibid., pp. 217–19.

131. Ibid., p. 17.

132. Anna Davis Drew Album C. Harvard-Yenching Library.

133. Spinney Letters, Letter of July 4/6, 1887. PEM.

134. Ibid., letter of July 13, 1887.

135. Ibid., letter of October 2, 1887.

136. Ibid., letter of September 9, 1887.

137. Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform], Letter (No. 116) to Asst. Sec. of State James D. Porter from Consul Seymour, November 15, 1886.

138. The China Mail (Hong Kong), April 27, 1886.

139. Mundy, Canton and the Bogue, p. 82.

140. L. C. Arlington, Through the Dragon’s Eyes: Fifty Years’ Experiences of a Foreigner in the Chinese Government Service (New York: Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1931), p. 153.

141. Ibid., p. 156.

142. Ibid., p. 157.

143. Despatches from United States Consuls in Canton [microform], Letter (No. 111) to Asst. Secretary of State David J. Hill from Vice Consul Hubbard Smith, June 30, 1899.

144. The Hong Kong Telegraph, July 18, 1898.

145. Ibid.

146. Gray, Fourteen Months in Canton, p. 163.

147. Ibid., p. 164.

148. Ibid.

149. Ibid.

150. Ibid., pp. 165–66.

151. Ibid., p. 166. Of Chinese styles of cuisine, Cantonese food embraces sweet flavors perhaps the most readily.

152. Ibid., p. 168.

153. Ibid., pp. 167–68.

154. Ibid., pp. 168–69.

155. Ibid., p. 169.

156. Ibid.

157. Ibid., pp. 359–63 passim.

158. Ibid., p. 77.

159. Ibid., pp. 77–78.

160. Ibid., p. 75.

161. Ibid., pp. 106–7.

162. Spinney Letters, letter of July 4/6, 1887. PEM.

163. Ibid., see also letter of October 2, 1887.

164. Ibid., letter of October 20, 1887.

165. Ibid., letter of August 4, 1887.

166. Ibid., letter of September 9, 1887.

167. Papers of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (S. China) [microfilm], Annual Report, December 31, 1853.

168. See Harriet J. Noyes, History of the South China Mission of the American Presbyterian Church, 1845–1920 (Shanghai: Presbyterian Mission Press, 1927), pp. 48–50.

169. See Sara Tucker, “The Canton Hospital and Medicine in Nineteenth Century China 1835–1900,” (doctoral dissertation, Indiana University, 1982), particularly pp. 159–165 passim.

170. From (and courtesy of) Council for World Missions, LMS, China, Photographs. Box 2, Folder 6, #C-38. SOAS. Labeled “Canton Hospital to the left can be seen the Girls’ and Women’s school of the American Presbyterian Mission.”

171. Rev. B. C. Henry, The Cross and the Dragon or Light in the Broad East (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph and Company, 1885), pp. 272–73.

172. Ibid., p. 273.

173. Noyes, History of the South China Mission, p. 50.

174. John A. Turner, Kwang Tung or Five Years in South China (London: S. W. Partridge & Co., 1894), pp. 38–39.

175. Kerr, A Guide to the City and Suburbs of Canton, p. 36.

176. L. N. Wheeler, The Foreigner in China (Chicago: S. C. Griggs and Company, 1881), pp. 238–39.

177. Gordon-Cumming, Wanderings in China, p. 57. Mrs. Gordon-Cumming notably even uses the term feng shui in her discussion of the issue.

178. Prof. Edward H. Parker, as quoted in Rev. Bertram Wolferstan, The Catholic Church in China from 1860 to 1907 (London: Sands & Company, 1909), p. 305.

179. Graham E. Johnson and Glen D. Peterson, Historical Dictionary of Guangzhou (Canton) and Guangdong (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 1999), p. 29.

180. “Cathedrales d’Asie,” in Le Monde Colonial Illustre, No. 128, April 1934, pp. 56–57. Thanks to Prof. Lily Chi of Cornell University for providing this reference.

181. Johnson and Peterson, Historical Dictionary of Guangzhou (Canton) and Guangdong, p. 29.

182. Wolferstan, The Catholic Church in China from 1860 to 1907, p. 447.

183. London Missionary Society, CWM, South China, Reports. Box 1 (folder 8) 1873. SOAS.

184. Ibid. Box 1 (folder 10) 1875.

185. Ibid. Box 1 (folder 12) 1877.

186. Ibid. Box 1 (folder 19) 1884.

187. Ibid. Box 1 (folder 21) 1886.

188. Ibid. Box 2 (folder 23) 1888.

189. Ibid.

190. Ibid.

191. Ibid.

192. Ibid. Box 2 (folder 26) 1891.

193. Ibid.

194. Ibid. Box 3 (folder 33) 1898.

195. Ibid. Box 3 (folder 34) 1899.

196. Ibid. Box 3 (folder 36) 1901.

197. London Missionary Society, CWM, China, Photographs. Box 3, folder 9, no. 3. Labeled “New LMS Native Church, Canton.” SOAS.

198. London Missionary Society, CWM, South China, Incoming Correspondence. Box 14 (folder 5, jacket A) 1900. SOAS.

199. Ibid.

200. Ibid. Box 14 (folder 5, jacket D).

201. Ibid.

202. United Brethren Foreign Missions papers (2279-5-1:02). United Methodist Archives, Drew University.

203. Ibid. Box 14 (folder 5, jacket B).

204. Ibid. Reports. Box 2 (folder 31). 1896.

205. Ibid. Box 3 (folder 37). 1902.

206. London Missionary Society, CWM, China, Photographs. Box 3, folder 11, no. 9. Labeled “London Missionary Society Boys’ School, Canton” and ibid. Reports. Box 3 (folders 36). 1901.

207. Ibid. Reports. Box 3 (folder 35). 1900.

208. The Seventy Third Report of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (London: Wesleyan Missionary Society, 1887), pp. 176–80, passim.

209. J. Bruce Behney and Paul H. Eller, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1979), p. 238, and A. W. Drury, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (Dayton, OH: Otterbein Press, 1953), pp. 603–4.

210. Ibid., and “Map of Canton and Environs Showing United Brethren Territory in South China.” United Brethren Foreign Missions collection. United Methodist Church Archives. GCAH. Images from UBC Archives, United Methodist Church Archives. GCAH. and G. M. Mathews and S. S. Hough, The Call of China and the Islands (Dayton, OH: Foreign Missionary Society, UBC, 1911), facing p. 33.

211. Behney and Eller, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, p. 238.

212. Enclosure 1 of dispatch number 27 (9/23/1880). British Consular Correspondence, FO 17/837.

213. Ibid.

214. Ibid.

215. E. H. Parker, John Chinaman and a Few Others (New York and London: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1902), p. 96.

216. Ibid., pp. 96–99.

217. Ibid., see also Chronicle & Directory for China, Japan, the Philippines & c. (1882), p. 305.

218. Parker, John Chinaman and a Few Others, pp. 97–99.

219. Ibid., p. 99.

220. Ibid.

221. China Mail, Serious Disturbance at Canton: Houses on Shameen Burnt and Looted [pamphlet] (Hong Kong: China Mail, 1883), pp. 1, 2, 6, and Parker, John Chinaman and a Few Others, pp. 99–100.

222. China Mail, Serious Disturbance at Canton: Houses on Shameen Burnt and Looted, p. 7.

223. Ibid., p. 2.

224. Smith, Diary of Events and the Progress on Shamian, 1859–1938, p. 19.

225. London Missionary Society, CWM, China Correspondence. Box 9 (1880–1883), Folder 4. SOAS.

226. Dispatch number 19 (9/11/1883), British Consular Correspondence FO17/933.

227. China Mail, Serious Disturbance at Canton: Houses on Shameen Burnt and Looted, p. 4.

228. Ibid., pp. 6, 7.

229. Ibid., p. 3.

230. Ibid., p. 4.

231. Ibid., p. 3.

232. London Missionary Society, CWM, China Correspondence. Box 9 (1880–1883), Folder 4. SOAS.

233. Letter No. 116 of November 15, 1886. Despatches, United States Consuls in Canton. [microform]

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!