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summer, with the ill-judged exodus of the general and the heads of the Military Departments to the colder climate of Japan, astonished the public at home, and gave rise to no sinall comment and inquiry. Assuming that the men were well housed and fed, not overworked, not buttoned up and martinet-ed about dress and similar minutiæ, not worn out with parades and night duty, there does not seem to be in what we know of the place, any reason for such excessive sickness. No doubt regiments (notably the 59th and Royals) suffered severely there before, but then they had been weakened by a too long sojourn. The question then is, to what this sudden increase of mortality is attributable ? A paper on Hong-Kong in a Military Magazine would be incomplete without some observations on this subject.
l'nquestionably the most common cause of all ill-health in tropical climates is dissipation more particularly the use of spirituous liquors.* As I have said before, the civil government is criminal in its neglect to discourage the extraordinary facilities for vice of all kinds, more particularly drinking, which abound in the town of Hong-Kong. The number of public houses and the like is preposterous; and the registration and inspection of brothels lately adopted is but a specious and illusive check to the evils they cause. Every officer who has served in the station knows that drink is its curse; and it does not seem that our officials have ever taken any means to effectually improve this state of things. Canteens have lately been established, certainly; but they effect only relative good, the evil is the constant use of intoxicating liquor whether inside barracks or out. There is a military recreation room, which is to some extent frequented by the men, but it is no substitute for the free-and-easy public house. The only effective palliative would be the suppression of the drink-palaces which entice the soldier at every yard he walks along the street, holding out promise of comfort, jollity, music, society and freedom-what poor ignorant soldier could refrain from these temptations to waste his money and undermine his health when thrust before his eyes as they are here in the hundred grogshops, which are notoriously supported almost exclusively by the army and navy? There is no one else to support them; the Chinese are an abstemious people, and there is no class of public-housefrequenting poor whites in the Colony. A progressive General would insist on the diminution by one-half (at least) of these pitfalls and lures to his men and would look with little favour on the number (over a hundred) of licensed houses of ill-fame; but, alas! our generals have little influence, are very old and often very timid; and all this vice pays the colony, much more, I fancy, than the amount of the "military contribution” the inhabitants are so angry at being asked to refund.
It is not in the power of the writer to state whether martinet ideas of dress and duty, prevail in the Hong-Kong garrison at present. During all the late wars in China, red-tape found its level; the men were not worried, the dress was suited to the climate
* Vide Dr. Ranald Martin on the Diseases of Tropical Climates.
smartness and uniformity” became subservient to utility and reason, shaving and like abominations were discontinued, (though one General did compel the Shanghai garrison to shave in 1862, after they had been five years unshaven-a feat worthy of old Sir George Brown's worse days !) It is possible that these war-service relaxations of our unfortunate “system” were looked upon with an unfavourable eye by a new general fresh from a home garrison, virtuously shaven, strapped and " buttoned-up” to the latest regulation, it may be, or it may not be, the writer has his suspicions; but “that's not evidence." It is, however, certain that the troops were not properly housed, and therein lies the seeond, immediate and peculiar cause of last year's visitation.
In olden times there were three barracks in Hong-Kong suitable for white troops. (The case of the black troops, both the Indian Regiments and the Permanent Artillery Company of Madras GunLascars, crowded into imperfectly weather-tight mat huts was simply disgraceful ; but was not the fault of the military authorities, as it had been reported home time after time; and as it does not concern the English Regiments, it will not be necessary to pursue the subject.) The best of these, known as the Ordnance Barracks, situated in an airy position half way up the hill, was given over to the local government for colonial puposes (toujours colonial purposes !) both the others are situated low down on the beach, and are very close and warın, and not, as they should be, exposed to every breeze. Now, it is unnecessary to say that the position of these barracks on the water's edge makes the site of great money value, not to mention that the possession of this portion of the beach by the War Department interferes with a much (and justly) desired public iinprovement, viz. the Praya (or continuous wharf along the whole extent of the harbour) planned by Sir John Bowring, Consequently the civil government conceived the idea of causing to be extorted from the Chinese in the treaty of 1860 a piece of the opposite mainland, known as Kaulung or “Cowloon." This like Hong-Kong is a barren biliy spot; but the idea was to level some hills and 6ll in a little of the harbour, so as to afford building room. The low belt near the sea was to be sold, the military establishments at Hong Kong were to become the property of the colony, and ail the soldiery were to be quartered at Kaulung. There are no inhabitants there, the people of a small village which did exist, were evicted and their houses levelled; and it would be but a dull sojourn for the soldier in such an enervating and listless climate, even if it was not unhealthy. If the military could have had the place to themselves, (which they couldn't), it would have had the one great advantage of being distant from the vices of the opposite town—however, all this scems to have been little considered, the soldier's fate didn't touch the “colony," and it was assumed, no one can say why, that this spot was extraordinarily salubrious and in
every way preferable to the island for a cantonment. It appears to have been unforeseen, (notwithstanding the enormous medical staff at Hong-Kong) that the turning of the earth and exposure caused by levelling might have an injurious effect. Montgomery Martin's theory being forgotten or neglected ; and chemical analysis somehow did not show the presence of “morbific influence" in the scanty water of the few wells in the valleys, filled by surface drainage ! Just before the campaign of 1860, some troops had been encamped here for a few weeks in the Spring, and they didn't die—argal, Kaulung was healthy; the prophylactic effects of the hurry and excitement of preparation for iminediate active service not being reckoned. Unfortunately, as Burns sings,
Puir mousie, thou art no thy lane
Gang aft agley ! Mat barracks of the cheap kind deemed sufficient shelter for the poor soldiers were built on the hill-tops, some troops were quartered there to take care of them. Victory, they didn't die! But now the levelling of the hills, and filling up of the low sea lots (which had been eagerly pnrchased by civilian “firins” for stores and godowns”) commenced—alas ! so did disease. A detachment of the 22nd Bombay Infantry were quartered in the tents; they were severely attacked with intermittent fever. The 2nd Battalion of the 20th Regiment remained there till passage was provided to Japan—they suffered very severely. A Battery of Artillery (No. 6 of 12th Brigade--one formed prior to the “Brigade system,” composed of hardy old soldiers, most of whom had had very long service, served in several wars and countries, and were acclimatised by eight year's continuous residence in China,) were sent there from the other side. Their sickness was inconsiderable on arrival, a week afterwards it was over 30 per cent.
The 99th regiment was sent over, at the instance of the Governor of Hong-Kong, in consequence of a quarrel between some of its soldiers and the colonial Malay police, the sickness was still greater among them in a few weeks! These facts were all duly collected and constated by a Medical board, ordered to inquire into the matter by Major-general W. G. Brown, an officer incapable of seeing his men sacrificed to the pecuniary benefit of the colony. It is to be presumed this report went home - however, shortly afterwards the 9th and 11th regiments arrived at Hong-Kong, Kaulung continued to be used as quarters, and the result was a most deplorable access of sickness and mortality, which we would fain hope may be searchingly inquired into, and the guilty punished—if we did not recollect tne Crimea ! A change of Generals at the moment of a general relief of the troops in China was most inopportune, common sense would have dictated that the old General, who had shown himself an earnest, thonghtful and liberal friend of the soldier, should reinain until the
new troops were got into the local groove, unluckily common sense is not obtainable either by seniority or purchase, nor even, sad to say, by a Staff College training. All the accidents of the man can be procured by our preseut system, but, to quote Goethe,
Fehlt leider, nur die Geistige Band ! it somehow does not succeed in eliciting intelligence, the “one thing needful.” It is a sad subject, this of the youth of our country dying to no purpose on a foreigu soil. I will not further pursue it; but of one thing I am convinced—and I take leave to say I have seen more of China, and dwelt there longer than any combatant officer in the Army—if the soldier is more suitably housed, clothed, and treated—if his food is better adapted to the climate, better cuoked, more varied, less inflammatory, and eaten at better selected meal hours than at present--if he has improved facilities for exercise and amusement, and constant and useful occupation--and if, above all, he is induced to believe that strong drink, instead of being a necessary part of his diet, or giving strength, as he is often ignorantly told by those who should know better, did they study their physiologies more deeply,) is the greatest enemy to his health, comfort and efficiency ; * that then there is no inherent reason why the death rate in China should be to any great extent higher than at home. I soleinnly assert that at least three-fourths of all the sick. ness and mortality I have seen among our troops in China, aivat and ashore, in the crowded garrison hospital-wards, the sick bay, or in the field, had for predisposing excitant and efficient cause (however modified by exposure, inalaria, or other collateral circumstances), simply the poison, alcohol.
It is pleasant to leave this subject, to dismiss the thoughts of the dark lonely graveyards, crowded with our countrymen who perished in the prime of youth and strength at HongKong, Canton, Chusan, Tientsin, Shanghai, to banish from one's mental vision the rows of poor pale faces we saw daily in the too-well filled hospitals; from one's ears the too-frequent wail of the Dead March (though this ceremony was often omitted for good reasons, as at Canton and Shanghai), and from one's recollection all the poor fellows, brother officers, and more humble, but often not less respected, comrades, who have left only their memory to their native soil ! and to return to my original design of rudely stitching together such reminiscences of Hong-Kong as might interest those at home whose curiosity may bave been attracted to this, our sinallest and remotest garrison, by the mistortunes of the "puir sodger laddies” who are there guarding our interests.
A summary of the contents of a number of the native newspaper
See an article on “ Camp Life” hy Colonel Sir J. Alexander, 14th Regiment in the United Service Magazine for October 1859 ; also Westminster Review for December 1860; Dr. Ranaid Martin's book, before quoted ; and “the Captain's Guide in Medical Emergencies,” by T. Spencer Wells, F.R.C.S., late R.N.- London 1850.
published in the colony, and edited by a Chinese, which now lies before me, may not be uninteresting. It is entirely in the Chinese character, printed on a single sheet, but commencing on the left page, as with us, instead of the right, according to Chinese custom. Its heading, translated, is, The Hong-Kong Shipping Gazette and Price List, published three times a week, price four dollars (nearly £1) a year. The first page is filled with the current prices of various coinmodities : cottons, rice, copper, quicksilver, alum, opium, drugs, teas, &c. On the second page follows a list of arrivals and departures of ships at the Chinese ports ; then follow about three dozen advertisements, ships and steamers for Singapore, Australia, Annam, Japan, Manilla, Shanghai, California ; several announcements of insurance offices and banks, auctions, commercial firms, land to let, and cards of English solicitors and attorneys, with whom advertisements addressed to the Chinese do not seem to be unprofessional here. Then follow the "news" columns ; " selected extracts from the Peking Gazette" relative to the Chinese magnate Tsang Kwo-fan; “Shanghai intelligence" under various heads; " news from the provincial city of Canton," chiefly police reports of doings in the district magistrate's office; “ home and foreign suimary" relative to the American war; local offences (a fruitful subject), Japanese news, and announcements of public roups. This brings us to the fourth page, with some twenty more advertisements for the most part, as before, from Europeans, but not exclusively so; lands and houses to let, advantages and price of gas, labourers wanted, a Mr. Fa-se-tai (probably Foster or Fawcett) offering to teach English at two dollars a month, invitations to coolies to emigrate to the West Indies, notifications of banks, English books for sale, a Chinese teacher wants employment at ten to twenty dollars (£3 to £5) a month, police notices, &c. Such are the subjects filling this quaint little sheet which has reached nearly its 1200th issue in the number before me, and has sufficient circulation to be profitable. The reader will smile to hear that I have known Europeans who had been for years in the colony, but did not know of the existence of this advertiser, so great a gulf do different language and customs interpose between the two peoples. Yet more than one paper similar kind exists at the other ports, one published at Shanghai being the best conducted and most original.
The existence of newspapers in the Chinese tongue, especially as easy geographical lessons and the like are occasionally inserted by the missionaries, has certainly a tendency to incroach on the isolation of the Chinese, and give them truer ideas of other countries and races of men ; but those as yet started have been either missionary or mercantile organs, and the Chinese employed in their management have been almost exclusively men brought up in the mission schools, who, though often well'informed in elementary foreign knowledge knew but very little of their own country, and could