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Chapter 13 — SHANGHAI

IN an earlier chapter, I said that the history of Shanghai formed one of the backgrounds to my life in China. Here to begin with is a little picture of its origin:—

The Genesis of Shanghai was this wise:
Long ago Duke Yü said to Wang, let there be land. And there was land; for Wang built a great stone wall in the shallow waters of what is now called Hangchow Bay and connected it to dykes of mud and reeds on the sand banks. So he controlled the movement of the waters and bent nature to his will; the tall reeds on the islands and the islets grew and spread, and the incoming and outgoing tides bringing their load of silt, dropped it among their roots — silt from the Himalayan plateau carried by the Yangtsze river. Thus islands formed and grew and merged one with the other, so that there were only creeks between. But still they covered at highwater springs, until seaward from the mainland there came farmers who dyked the creeks and sowed their crops in the rich fertile soil; and these farmers bred and spread, and in the course of time made dry land of that great area which lay between the wall and where Chinkiang now stands. Thus was the sea changed to land, except for the Tahu lake which stays a remnant of the former state. And here and there, where rivers met, cities sprang up — Soochow, Shanghai, Hangchow and many others. All this was brought about by that great stone wall that, as legend has it, Wang built long before the siege of Troy.

The building of that wall was no small matter, for in the bay the water of the tide, as it flowed in, fell over itself and formed one long rushing travelling wave, which, when the sun and moon pulled together, had a height of nearly twenty feet and a speed of many miles an hour; thus the wall had to stand the pressure of that swirling mass, and so its stones were dovetailed.

That, with a great wealth of detail, I gathered — by means of a translator — from a set of rare old Chinese volumes, The Annals of Soochow,(1) which at one time I possessed. It throws some light on how the Great Plain of China, formed by the Yellow river, grew until it reached its monstrous size. It throws some light on how the ancient Chinese valley-dwellers spread and bred on that highly fertile plain until their total in the plains and valleys reached four hundred million souls.
1 — Whether the Yü named in these Annals was the Great Yü may well be questioned. Dr. Morse, to whom this chapter has been referred, merely says: The Great Yü functioned over 4000 years ago (2280-2205 B.C.).

The Hangchow bore was mentioned early in the fifth century B.C. An old sea wall was rebuilt A.D. 713. The present wall dates from A.D. 910.'

Now of those cities that sprang up in the plain that Wang made, Shanghai was comparatively unimportant. It was unimportant until the British Fleet sailed up the Yangtsze river to find a place of trade.

That was in 1842.(2) And then commenced a curious piece of history, epochal in the future story of the world. For by that choice Shanghai was destined, in years still yet to come, to be the greatest port in all the world; and to be a pivot on which world politics will move. It was not made. It grew. It was organic in itself and a sport at that — unique, like nothing else on earth.
2 — I am, however, informed by Sir John Pratt that according to his researches the native trade of Shanghai at that date was very great, far greater than that of Canton, and with a tonnage comparable to that of the Port of London. This is a revolutionary piece of information for us who thought we knew something of our modern Chinese history.

In the early days of our intercourse with China we were greatly affected by the glamour of the empire. The Chinese were barbarians to us, of course (as we were to them), but what magnificent barbarians — if not in general, in some particulars. China was judged partly by the tales that Marco Polo told of the wonders of the Court at Kambulu; and the story of the invasions by Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan was known better than it is to-day.(3)
3 — Regarding this Dr. Morse writes: ` China was judged less from Marco Polo (thirteenth to fourteenth centuries) than from the Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses of the Roman Catholic missionaries of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and G. L. Staunton and H. Ellis writing for the English public in 1793 and 1816. The two last were in particular much impressed by the high degree of civilisation of the Chinese. The British officials who were chiefly impressed by the power of the Chinese Empire and desired to treat it with great consideration were those in Downing Street. When one of the governing class (Lord Napier, Sir John Davis, Sir John Bowring, Sir Geo. Bonham, Lord Elgin, etc.) arrived in China he at once saw and wrote that nothing but armed force would obtain any concessions from the Chinese, and that two or three fifty-gun frigates would be enough.

' The supercargoes of the East India Company at Canton were in a difficult position. They objected strongly to submission to derogatory conditions which their directors in Leadenhall Street tended to require of them; but having protested to the Company they carried out their orders loyally.'

Some of our officials mistook the insolence of the mandarins for a mark of the greatness and the power that they represented.

We could of course make war upon the country to secure a decent trade arrangement, and later to break down her diplomatic isolation — that lay quite clearly within the limits of the code — but it was an era of exactitude in conduct, and between war and no war there lay a gap of no alternative. And so we taught the Chinese, who hitherto had only known of force whichever way it worked — for them or against them — the idea of sovereign rights.

As an example of punctiliousness, of the compunction to do anything that was not strictly proper according to the code, consider the situation at Shanghai when in 1854, during the Taiping Rebellion, it was threatened with incursions by the Imperial troops, who were investing the City proper. It just happened that we were not at war with China at that moment.

The settlement was in very real danger of being overrun by soldiers out of hand; but its soil pertained to Chinese sovereignty; how then could foreign troops be landed to protect our interests? But of course this punctiliousness was of an academic nature, and of course a means of circumventing it was found by a legal fiction or — to use the modern language of the League of Nations — a formula. That formula is worth the reading; it was laid down by Mr. Alcock, the British Consul, — with the French and American Consuls — at a meeting of Land Renters in 1854, which was assembled for the first time under a new Code of Municipal Regulations:—

' The necessity now pressing upon the community for the immediate establishment of a Municipality in some form was to be traced to the impossibility, by any exercise of consular authority, of making permanent provision for the security of the settlement without a municipal constitution. And on this part of the subject he deemed it most important they should have a perfect, clear and correct knowledge of all the facts; and see the true bearing of the question at issue upon the position of the community, the naval forces and the civil authorities, both foreign and Chinese. To give that cosmopolite community legal status: an existence as a body capable of taking legal action and of lending a legal sanction to measures required for their defence, there must be some organization to take the form of a representative council with municipal powers and authority. The functions to be exercised on their behalf by such Council were no longer those of a Road and Jetty Committee, but involved the protection of life and property from causes of national disturbance in the country where they were located, from sources of disquiet and danger within and without the settlement, where a large native population bid fair to dispute possession with the foreigner for every rood of ground within the limits. And one of the first acts of such Municipality, or rather one of the first and greatest benefits naturally flowing from its creation, would be the legalization of the many measures hitherto forced by a stern necessity upon the naval and civil authorities on the spot, but which could not be justified on any principle of legality.'

The compunction in this matter existed not only with the Consuls. The British and American Admirals held the view that for them to take part in the protection of the settlement would constitute an act of war for which no authority existed.

Thus Mr. Alcock further said:-

` Neither Great Britain nor the United States, nor France, had undertaken by Treaty to protect their subjects ashore in Chinese territory, nor could they, by Treaty, legally do so without the assent of the Chinese Government. As a matter of self-preservation, however, the Municipal Council could do these things.' And then came the legal fiction that the Council, having that right but not the power to exercise it, had ` every moral right to call in anybody and everybody to help it.' It was on those grounds that the navies took a hand.(1)
1 — Seamen from the men-of-war may have been reluctantly used to protect the settlement before the utterance of Alcock's dictum, but I doubt it. The speech was made on the 11th January 1854, and the ' Battle of Muddy Flat ' — the only considerable fighting that took place — occurred on the 3rd April following.

That happened in 1854, when the settlement had existed for twelve years. I propose to tell — very briefly — its story from the beginning, and I made that jump to the time of the Taiping Rebellion to indicate the medium, as it were, in which the organism of the settlement had its growth. It was a medium of official compunction as regards the means to meet the needs of the community. Consequently from an early date the residents learnt to rely upon themselves, to develop their governance as best they could by local arrangement with the Chinese mandarins; and in that endeavour the Consuls as a rule identified themselves with the community. It was the diplomats who, having made no provision in the treaty for the government of a settlement, opposed the growth of means to meet that lack.

[click] The Treaty of Nankin 1842.
[click] "The Opium War" explained by David C. Hulme

The Treaty of Nanking was signed in 1842. It opened Shanghai and other ports to foreign trade and provided that British subjects, with their families and establishments, shall be allowed to reside, for the purpose of carrying on their mercantile pursuits, without molestation or hindrance.' A supplementary treaty signed the next year made brief provision for the purchase or rent of ground and houses. There was no word in either of the treaties as to the conditions under which communities of foreigners were to live on Chinese soil. That I think was inevitable. No one could foresee what the conditions of those communities would be; over the situation hung the sanctity of sovereignty — that, in a peace condition, must never be impugned; and, in effect, the policy adopted was ` wait and see.' It must be remembered that even exterritoriality — freedom from Chinese jurisdiction — was not included in the Nanking Treaty, though the principle was already recognized. The Supplementary Treaty provided, however, that regulations to govern the communities should be drawn up jointly by the local Chinese officials and the British Consuls; and it is important to note that no provision was made for submitting such regulations either to the British or the Chinese higher officials. I think that the framers of the treaty knew that the solution of the problem of the governance of the settlements must be the result of a gradual give and take and could not be — at all events at first — a subject for diplomatic action.

The first regulations — named Land Regulations — appeared in 1845. They defined the boundaries of the settlement, and made provision for the construction of roads and jetties, a Committee for the purpose being formed of ` three upright merchants ' selected by the British Consul. All the power under the regulations was centred in the latter, even in respect of other foreign interests. That, of course, was an untenable position, and British jurisdiction over foreigners in general did not last for long.

The French had got their own settlement from the Chinese in 1849, but for many years the French Consul was its only occupant. The Americans did the opposite; they acquired land and formed a colony in Hongkew in about 1848, and in 1861 organized a small police force of their own, but it was not until 1863 that an American settlement was formally arranged for; and immediately afterwards its residents voted in favour of amalgamation with the English settlement, which then took place.

For the first ten years the conditions in the settlement were very primitive; Chinese authorities exercised full control over all the Chinese there; and there was no organized police force — either Chinese or foreign; though the regulations laid down the right to hire watchmen.

We now come to 1854, to the time of the Taiping Rebellion, when Alcock made that speech of his. So far there had been no real municipality. There was the French settlement in which the French Consul lived in solitary glory, and which later had a history of its own; there was Hongkew, where some Americans resided but without a formal settlement; and there was the British settlement in which the British Consul, assisted by the Committee of Roads and Jetties, reigned, except that other Consuls governed their own nationals. Within that settlement lived the whole community of whatever nationality, and so the anomaly of a British domination grew and led to difficulties, for example, about the use of ensigns other than the British. In consequence the British Government decided to give the settlement a status in which all had equal rights and in which the special functions of the British Consul should devolve on the Consuls as a whole.

In the details of this act the French and American Consuls — there were no others at the time — collaborated, and then were produced the Land Regulations of 1854. Now what about that speech of Alcock? There is not a word in it to show the reasons for internationalizing that are named above.

The reasons given are confined to that academic view of legalizing armed defence on China's soil. There may well have been a feeling of delicacy about referring, for example, to that matter of the flags and cognate things; and the other reason gave a better chance for rhetoric; but it was not eyewash. It was obviously considered a very serious affair, that breach of China's sovereign rights in peace time, though it makes curious reading nowadays. And so the Shanghai municipality, carried in the womb of time for twenty years, was born. It was a curious birth, brought about unconsciously because it was ripe for happening, but consciously owing to the fact that the joint parents — the three Consuls — were alarmed at their responsibility in connection with the need for a breach of China's sovereign rights. So they hatched their baby and shifted their responsibility to it: they placed a crown upon its head and rendered it obeisance.(1) In later years the successors of these Consuls repudiated the offspring of their body; they tore the crown from off his head and made him as subordinate as they could. But he never forgot the quasi- royal birth he had and always hankered for his sceptre; and being a lusty youth he fought for it and kicked against restraint and subordination.
1 — But viewing this affair more historically and less picturesquely, one sees that there may well have been other factors in the situation; and one can feel confident that the principle concerned stood no chance of being supported by the British Government for any length of time.
wbr> Inaugurated with that great dignity of language by Mr. Alcock the Municipal Council had to deal, when the Taiping Rebellion was ended, with the condition of Chinese sovereignty in the settlement. There were needs of government which the Chinese could not meet; there were Chinese official acts within the settlement that became beyond endurance; there was the crying need for an organized police; so partly by mutual agreement, partly by unnoticed evolution, and partly by some pressure, there arrived in due course effective self-government by the Municipality. It succeeded, for example, in suppressing the open functioning of the Chinese police within the settlement, and that was by means of pressure to which the Chinese yielded with reluctance. Dominating the situation was the fact — unexpressed and perhaps not even thought of — that, while there was antagonism between Chinese right and needs of the community on which the Council's acts were based, there was a very real community of interests between the two.

What was good for the settlements was good for China; what was bad for China could not be good for the settlements.

That unstated principle was the soil in which grew — step by step — the unique governance of Shanghai. It was a beneficent anomaly outside the scope of treaty stipulations. In the years to come the diplomats stood off and watched the strange growth of their abnormal and precocious ward and did not like it; they could not help materially because the thing was so illegal; they could not always interfere materially because what was done was so often obviously necessary. And even when in much later years an occasion arose where their interference was needed with great urgency it was not forthcoming: the power to do so had atrophied by lack of use.

In general that growth, so irregular but so efficient in its process, was very admirable — this gradual creation of a constitution by a Council formed of business men — with the Consuls in the offing. It is what I meant when in that sketch of its origin I said that Shanghai was organic in itself and a sport at that.

There is a curious feature about the history of the French settlement. It was formally included within the scope of the code of 1854, but after promulgation the French Minister repudiated that inclusion without making the fact public.

Some ten years later, when that settlement began to be inhabited, its independence, as notified by its own set of municipal regulations, came as a great shock to the rest of the community.

There remains the question of the jurisdiction over the Chinese in the settlement in those early days. In that matter the British Consul from 1852 or earlier functioned specially.

Acting magisterially in association with the Chinese officials — a Weiyuan doubtless sitting with him — he dealt with trivial offences; while serious ones were sent to the City magistrate.

Later, the American Consul — at least — took a share in these proceedings.

From 1854 to 1861 the Taiping rebels ravaged the country for many miles around, and the wretched peasants flocked to the settlements for refuge. At the end of '62, by which time a thirty-mile zone had been cleared of rebels, there were a million and a half of refugees, and a year later — at the fall of Soochow — these were joined by perhaps another quarter million. Then they began to dribble out, and more rapidly after Nanking fell in July '64, so that at the end of '65 the Chinese in the settlement were reduced to less than 150,000.

To meet the problems resulting from this monstrous influx a Defence Committee had been formed; and, when the situation began to remedy in '62, it turned its mind to other things.

It realized the arrival of a nodal spot in the history of the place. Obviously it was the moment to think of what had gone before and what the future might produce; and to consider a new departure. So that Defence Committee of merchant princes put their heads together, and with the words of Alcock about the great importance of the Council still pleasantly within their memory, put forward the proposal that the settlement should have a Free City status — and so a magistracy of its own. It was a most natural ambition. Equally natural was Sir Frederick Bruce's condemnation of it. That Minister took occasion also to criticize the Council's policy in general — their disregard for the letter of the treaties; for example, the encouragement which they had given to Chinese to live within the settlement, and the restrictions placed on the taxation of the Chinese population there by their officials.

And so the inevitable happened. In 1864, Sir Harry Parkes was British Consul. With a very virile personality he was the exponent of the strict observance of Chinese rights, more or less regardless of local expediency as viewed by the merchants; and he, in negotiation with the local Chinese authorities, produced the Mixed Court system. In 1869 a new set of Land Regulations were issued by the foreign Ministers under which the fiction of 1854 — that the authority for extraordinary action rested with the municipality — was discarded. A Court of Consuls was formed to whose jurisdiction the Council was now subjected; and, in effect, there was a reversion to the principle of Consular guardianship of 1845.(1) But in spite of this curtailment of its powers and the disapproval of its aims and policy the Council continued a potent force, and went its way regardless to a great extent of the dicta of the diplomats.
1 — This set of regulations was never submitted formally to the Chinese authorities for their consent. This, however, was not due to any lack of desire to do so, and still less to any disregard for China. It was due to certain cogent (reasons which so far, I believe, have not been made public.

There is ample evidence that these regulations were tacitly accepted by the Chinese authorities.

It should be understood that in what goes before I am not contributing to history. I am merely trying to give a picture from a certain point of view; so I stress and exaggerate to some degree the fictional grandiosity of the Council's birth. Thus does the artist, unconsciously perhaps but rightly, depict the moon upon his canvas at twice its real size, and so, however obscure the reason may be, gives it its proper value in the picture.

For the next development in the story of the settlement it is necessary to turn to general Chinese history for a little while.

The year '98 was pregnant with evil and misfortune. Four years before there had been the disastrous war with Japan, and now foreign aggression was at its height. The country was seething with discontent; the mixture of anti-foreign and anti-dynastic fermentation was in progress, which two years later led to the Boxer movement. But other forces were in play: those of the desire for reform as opposed to revolution; and Kang Yu-wei was the leader of that movement. Officials were in it, if they were not revolutionaries; Chang Chi-tung, a great viceroy, became ardent in its cause; and then Kwanghsü, the thirty-years-old Emperor, became inspired with the same idea and brought Kang Yu-wei to court. Kwanghsü had reigned since '89 when the Empress Dowager had relinquished the regency, though she remained a power behind the throne and something to be reckoned with. So when the Emperor's edicts for reform became extravagant, she emerged and intervened, and he knew that her purpose was to lock him up. So Kwanghsü appealed to Yuan Shih-kai, who then was Provincial Judge of Chili and in command of troops, to turn the tables on her and lock her up instead; and a feature of the scheme was that the Viceroy YungIu, a partisan of the Empress Dowager, should be summarily beheaded. Yuan is said to have betrayed the Emperor to Yunglu, but there is some doubt about the extent of that betrayal. Anyhow the Empress Dowager won the day, occupied the throne again, immured the Emperor in the Pavilion of Peaceful Longevity, and then started on the extermination of reformers. Dr. Morse in his International Relations of the Chinese Empire writes of decapitations at that time; but I was told of gruesome things, for example, of a victim in a heavy coffin being sawn in two — and lengthwise.

I will digress here to say something of the Emperor. I fail to understand why he should be handed down in history as a poor thing — a subject for contemptuous pity. He is said to have had an immature mind and to have been mentally anaemic. Yet the initiative in action for reform was his, however much he may have been guided by Kang Yu-wei.

He issued some forty edicts on important matters in a hundred days; and when his liberty was threatened he tried to take most daring counter measures. He was physically weak; it is likely that the Empress Dowager encouraged him in habits that would make him so; and yet in spite of it he made that strenuous effort to redeem his country. That he was unwise to rush things is obvious; but so have others been without being branded for it as semi-idiots. That after his downfall he collapsed is not astonishing; he was a victim waiting for his certain doom, which took so long to come, for it was ten years later that it overtook him, whatever were the means employed; and in between, when the Empress was raging in her preparations to flee from her capital in the Boxer time, he had to look on while his beautiful PearI concubine was thrown down the well that lay in front of the Pavilion of Peaceful Longevity.

Kwanghsü made a noble, however unwise an effort, and he died a martyr to the cause of progress.

At the time of the Empress Dowager's coup d'état the Chinese officials at Shanghai had for long relinquished the right to make arrests within the settlement, though every now and then they did it just the same — but surreptitiously. But they had not lost their right of jurisdiction over their nationals who, without being permanent residents there, took refuge within its borders. These were handed over on request with a minimum of formality. As for the Chinese residents, the Mixed Court dealt with them except when the crime was beyond its competence to deal with, and then these also were handed over to the purely Chinese court.

The Empress Dowager was raking out the cities for reformers.

The settlement, although not as yet a certain refuge, was safer than elsewhere, and reformers congregated there for such protection as it gave and for the means of going overseas if necessary; and of course the Empress Dowager wished to rake the settlements as well. I have forgotten whether she succeeded in netting any victims before the Council, supported by the Consuls, took another step in the arrogation of Chinese legal rights. It refused to hand over a refugee except when a prima facie case was made out against him in the Mixed Court as a common criminal; and political offenders they would not hand over in any circumstance. The act was more than merely justified; there was nothing else to do; to hand over reformers — worthy and patriotic men — to be killed and worse was quite impossible. The act served China well; again was shown that principle of community of interests, however antagonistic rights might be. It was J. O. P. Bland, the Municipal Secretary at the time, now a publicist and the author of several books on China, who led in that affair of '98.

A few years rolled by; the Boxers came and went; Japan and Russia fought on Chinese soil; the Manchu dynasty was ejected from the throne; Yuan became President of China, and, with the blessings of the Western world, made himself mere or less dictator, on which rebellion broke out against him. That was in 1913 — the monarchical affair came later.

So from the time when the Right of Asylum was established in 1898 to the time of the first rebellion against Yuan was fifteen years. Bland, had he stayed, could have been counted on, knowing as he did the genesis of that measure of emergency, to guard against a gross misuse of it; but he had left. Other people came and went: members of the Council, busy men of affairs; members of the Chamber of Commerce; members of the China Association — they would include a barrister perhaps, but all were busy. And the Consuls came and went just ordinary men who happened to be consuls instead of something else and with no special brand of intelligence; and they dealt with yesterday, to-day, and tomorrow; fifteen years ago did not come within their purview.

A feature of Shanghai was its mutability; a constant change of its constituent parts; there was continuity of growth because it was a living and strongly healthy organism, and to some degree it had a corporate instinct like the instinct of a herd, but there was little continuity of thought about the process of that growth. So what with the outside interests of these people in business and play; what with mere inertia and uninteIIigence; and above all what with the working of the unexpressed practice of the Council that ' what they had they held,' the Right of Asylum continued to function not only when the purpose of it had expired but when the operation of it was inimical to every interest except that of common criminals. In ninety per cent. of cases prima facie evidence against a murderer and an eye-gouger — the latter a specialty in local crime — was impossible to get. Intimidation of witnesses alone prevented it — they too would have had their eyes gouged out. So Shanghai became a place where criminals fleeing from the process of the Chinese courts were immune from interference; the settlement was their headquarters. And from that to allowing stations where rebels were recruited to fight against the Central Government — that happened in the French settlement — was but one step more.

Here comes the curious thing. The detriment and evil of the situation was realized; it could not but be. But somehow in those fifteen years the Right of Asylum — its origin forgotten — had come to have the glamour of a sacred principle; it was as sacrosanct as a sacrament; and it took on a special British cloak of immutability as an example of our virtue in ' playing cricket ' in all affairs of life — even to our detriment.(1)
1 — A. M. Kotenev in Shanghai: its Mixed Court and Council quotes a proclamation to show that the Council took prompt action to prevent an abuse of the Right of Asylum. It did take certain steps when the scandal of the situation became outrageous; but even then they were quite inadequate.

By 1913 I had been in touch with settlement affairs for eighteen years. No one else had such a continuous official connection with the place. I had of course no official connection with the municipality, yet in one way and the other my business had brought me in close contact with Sino-foreign affairs; and in a limited way I had made a study of the growth of the Council's powers and policy. There came the second revolution and its suppression for a time; and Admiral Tseng, who now became Military Governor, was the leading Chinese spirit in trying to tidy up the situation and put down the extra brand of lawlessness which that revolution carried in its wake; and then of course he came up against the Right of Asylum. Tseng appealed to me about it — the unfairness of the thing, the obvious detriment to Chinese and foreigners alike, the folly of a procedure whose only function was the protection of the criminal; and that was how I came into the matter.

The Inspectorate gave me leave to act — again that generosity of trust. With reluctance my chief even gave me leave to come out in the open, but I did not use it; I always feared publicity and the jealousy and other things it caused; so I kept behind the screen and tried to push others into the limelight.

My object was to get some smart young barrister to take the matter up, to talk at a meeting of the ratepayers, to urge the China Association in the matter — to be a publicist in fact.

Oppe promised me to do it, but the Great War was on, and he volunteered and was killed. Then I tried another who co-operated for a time, but later dropped the matter.(1) So I was left to do the best I could alone by talking privately to public men and writing to the papers.

I have the letters that I wrote him on the subject; they may be useful later to one who writes the detailed history of the settlement.

Some time later Grant-Jones, the British Mixed Court Assessor, with whom I had not at that time discussed the question, started, and apparently on his own responsibility, a new procedure for handing over criminals, which went a long way towards what Tseng and I desired; and I for one gave him great credit for his wisdom and pluck in breaking with tradition.

Whether my agitation had any influence in that change I never knew.

In November 1915 came Tseng's murder. He was shot in the street in the International Settlement. The presumption at the time was that he had been killed by the Kuomintang, but even then there were whispers that Peking was responsible for the deed. He had been reticent with me about the monarchy affair, though he expressed to me his disapproval of what he knew to be a monstrous folly, and he showed grief because of his devotion to Yuan Shih-kai. After the tragedy I recognized the portents of his recent manner: he knew, I think, what was with certainty impending over him, and made no effort to avert it. But I am still in doubt as to who arranged for the killing of my friend.

My stricture on Shanghai covers a very brief period. Until the second revolution that mad obsession of the sanctity of asylum did no great harm except to the settlements themselves.

The period of serious harmfulness was brief — was measured by a year or two. An obsession is a stubborn thing; a cure is slow. There was a strong inertia against a change in practice, but it gave way before a slow recovery of sanity.

That folly of asylum favoured — quite unintentionally — the party that is now in power, and which more or less must stay so; and thus it is not a card which can be used by it against Shanghai. But apart from that it cannot be put in the balance against the great benefits which the settlement has conferred on China. Putting that temporary error on one side, Shanghai has been a centre of stability, of sanity, of progress; it has been an object-lesson of many things: of governance, of sanitation and, above all, of justice in legal procedure; and it has been a refuge for the persecuted.(1)
1 — I purposely abstain from any comment on the immediate and stupendously important problem of Shanghai. The subject is far too controversial for this book.