Editor: R.L. Jarman
Author:N/A ISBN: (10) 1-85207-970-3 Published: 1996 Paper: Printed on acid free paper Binding: Library bindings See sample pages:
This collection of administration and related reports covers the first 100 years of British rule in Hong Kong. On 26th January 1841 Hong Kong was occupied by British forces; two days after this initial occupation, on 28th January 1841, a Royal Proclamation placed the civil administration in the hands of Captain Elliot, then Chief Superintendent of Trade of British Subjects in China. It naturally took time for the whole apparatus of colonial government to be developed in Hong Kong and for the standard reporting back to London to be established. Foremost among the reports that had to be sent back to London was the annual Blue Book: the collection of all available statistics for the colony, with details of all income and expenditure (including official salaries and pensions), and with the Blue Book was sent the Governor´s report summarising the events of the year.
This series has been established in its complete form for the first time by Robert Jarman, who also provides an archival introduction.
This collection of administration and related reports covers the first 100 years of British rule in Hong Kong. On 26th January 1841 Hong Kong was occupied by British forces; two days after this initial occupation, on 28th January 1841, a Royal Proclamation placed the civil administration in the hands of Captain Elliot, then Chief Superintendent of Trade of British Subjects in China. Captain Elliot was succeeded in his post as Chief Superintendent by Sir Henry Pottinger on 11th August 1841. A year later, on 29th August 1842, the British occupation of Hong Kong was recognised and confirmed in the Treaty of Nanking. The final stage of this takeover took place on 26th June 1843 when Hong Kong was proclaimed a Crown Colony and Sir Henry Pottinger became its first Governor.
There are no annual reports for these earliest years of the British presence in Hong Kong; but there are details of the income and expenditure of the fledgling administration which were presented to the British Parliament. There is also the report presented by the Colony´s Treasurer, Mr Martin, which describes the administration of the area at this point.
It naturally took time for the whole apparatus of colonial government to be developed in Hong Kong and for the standard reporting back to London to be established. Foremost among the reports that had to be sent back to London was the annual Blue Book: the collection of all available statistics for the colony, with details of all income and expenditure (including official salaries and pensions), and with the Blue Book was sent the Governor´s report summarising the events of the year.
Some of the reports were never published and these are reproduced in these volumes for the first time ever. The rest were published, though the method of publishing them changed over the years. Until 1886, all British colonial reports were published together in an omnibus report presented to Parliament entitled "Reports exhibiting the past and present state of Her Majesty´s colonial possessions"; from 1887 onwards each colony´s report became a separate publication. The actual publisher of the reports changed, too. From the beginning until 1919, Parliament itself published these reports as Command Papers; from 1920 onwards the Colonial Office published them through the agency of His Majesty´s Stationery Office. This series has been established in its complete form for the first time by Robert L. Jarman, who provides a detailed introduction to the sequence of reports, including archival references for each document.
Detailed narrative and statistical summaries provide an exact and cumulative picture of the development of the colony from its foundation. The reports cover: Principal events; Trade and industry; Public works; Legislation; Finance. Relations with China can be followed from reports of trade and political events in Canton and the hinterland. The development of Hong Kong trade and finance can be traced in great detail. The issue of the prospectus for the 'Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Co.' is reported in July 1864. The progress of public works and civil administration in the colony is indicated by reference to specific construction projects and to new legislation. Political difficulties and civic unrest are reported and there is frequent news of losses from both typhoons and piracy in the China seas.
The arrangement and division of the volumes in this publication reflects the successive changes in title, method of publication, and type of report. The arrangement is as follows:
Volume 1 contains the early reports from 1841-1844 before the system of annual reports was started; it also contains all the reports for 1844-1886, during which period the reports were published as one section of the omnibus "Reports exhibiting the past and present state of Her Majesty's colonial possessions".
Volume 2 contains the reports from 1887-1903, during which period colonial reports were published separately and not in a compendium. The title changed with the 1890 report but the form of the contents remained the same. There are two separate reports for the New Territories in this volume.
Volume 3 contains the reports from 1903-1919, continuing the particular sequence from Volume 2.
Volume 4 contains the reports from 1920-1930, during which period the form and title remained the same as for the years 1890-1919, but the publisher changed from the House of Commons to the Colonial Office through the agency of HM Stationery Office. Volume 4 also contains the Historical and Statistical Abstract of the Colony of Hong Kong 1841-1930.
Volume 5 contains the reports from 1931-1939, during which period the form (for all) and the publisher (up to 1938) were the same as for the period 1920-1930 but the title was changed to "Annual Report on the Social and Economic Progress of the People of Hong Kong".
Volume 6: no composite annual report was written for 1940/41 or 1941/42, but we do have certain departmental annual reports (viz: medical; education; botanical; prisons) and financial estimates, and these have been reproduced. At the end of this period, the worsening of the war situation prevented the preparation of any further reports until the beginning of British Military Administration in August 1945.
Key documents From: Historical and Statistical Abstract of the Colony of Hong Kong 1841-1930:
1841. Principal Events: H.K. is taken over (26/1) and Govt. administered by Capt. ELLIOT as Chief Superintendent of the Trade of Br. subjects in China in accordance with proclamation issued by him (29/1), which also declared that Chinese should be governed by laws of China and others according to laws of Gr. Britain. 2nd proclamation (1/2) promised free exercise of religious rites, social customs and private rights. Br. and foreign merchants came from Macao to prospect (Feb.). Building commenced (March). Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co. erected first substantial house and godowns at East Point. Military and naval establishments first located near West Point and mercantile centre at Wong Nei Cheong Valley but this proved too unhealthy. Chinese settled to the W. of this valley in "the Canton Bazaar" and near site of later Central Market in "the Bazaar". About 2,000 Tan-ka or boat people came to Colony. In 1st issue of H.K. Govt. Gazette (1/5) Ch. Magistrate appointed and in 2nd issue (15/5) original census published. Proclamation of 7/6 declared H.K. a free port. At 1st sale of lands, subsequently disallowed, 33 marine lots aggregating about 9 acres sold for total annual rent of £3,032. Outbreak of malignant malarial fever in June, violent typhoons on 21-22 & 25-26/7 and destructive fire on 12/8 retarded progress of new Colony. Harbour Master, Clerk of Works, Colonial Surgeon and Land Officer appointed.
1861. Principal Events: Emperor of China HIEN FUNG died (Jan.), and Prince KUNG head of regency. Occupation of Canton by allies terminated 21/10. Kowloon Peninsula formally handed over to Great Britain (19/1) and discussion with regard to military lands there at once commenced. Piracy of "North Star" 4 miles out of H.K. Three district schools merged into new Govt. Central School. Trade & Industries. H.K. Chamber of Commerce formed and establishment of Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs opposed by it. Public Works. Accommodation for 610 Scholars provided for Central School in Gough Street. Robinson Road with bridge across Glenealy laid out. Police Stations built at Pok Fu Lam and Shau Ki Wan; latter superseded in 1872. Quarters for signalmen provided on Peak. Lock Hosp. constructed this year afterwards became part of Govt. Civil Hosp.
1864. Trade & Industries. Prospectus issued in July of H.K. & Shanghai Banking Co.; 6 banks already established at H.K.
1910. Principal Events. All opium divans in H.K. and the N.T. closed (1/3). Opium Farm let for 3 years at $1,183,200 p.a. (1/3). H.B.M.´s Government make the Colony a grant of £9,000 for the year 1910 on account of loss of opium revenue. Foundation stone of H.K. University laid by Sir F. D. Lugard (16/3). Endowment fund of University stood at $1,239,828 (exclusive of $96,460 promised) on 31st Dec. Considerable scarcity of water owing to dryness of the season, but heavy rains in June removed anxiety. Plague cases decreased to 25, the lowest since 1897. Trouble at Macao with pirates on Colowan Island: Portuguese troops and gunboats engaged: many pirates escaped; some afterwards arrested at Cheung Chau Island in the N.T. (July). British section, Kowloon-Canton Railway, opened by Sir Henry May (1/10). Portuguese Republic proclaimed in Macao (10/10).
1925. Principal Events. Piracy of s.s. Hong Hwa (15/1). Joint Conference of China Medical Missionary Association and the Hong Kong and China Branch of the British Medical Association (20/1). Hong Kong´s offer of £250,000 to Home Government as a contribution towards Singapore Base announced (5/3). Death of Dr Sun Yat Sen in Peking (12/3). Pirate attack on Tai O (25/3). H.R.H. Prince George arrived in Hong Kong (28/5). Anti-foreign riots at Shanghai (30/5). H.E. the Governor laid foundation stone St. Stephen´s Girls´ School (6/6). Anti-foreign riots at Chinkiang (7/6). Anti-foreign riots at Hankow (11/6). General Strike declared (20/6). Hong Kong Volunteers mobilised (21/6). Attack on Shameen (23/6). Arrival of Vice-Admiral Sir E. Alexander-Sinclair, K.C.B., M.V.O. (25/6). New National Government inaugurated in Canton (3/7). Po Hing Fong collapse, in which Mr. Chau Sui Ki was killed (18/7). Postponement of June Settlement by the Legislative Council (20/7). Piracy of s.s. Kwok Ning (5/10). Opening of new wing, St. Joseph´s College (23/10). Sir R.E. Stubbs left for Home (31/10). Arrival of the new Governor, Mr. C. Clementi (1/11). Sir M. Nathan, a former Governor, visited Hong Kong (10/11). Opening of new Y.M.C.A. at Kowloon (26/11). H.E. the Governor met Elders of the New Territories (5/12).