London. HMSO. 1890. Stock ID #143041
Colour folding map, 13pp, original wrappers, quarto, very good copy. P.D. Coates, author of The China Consuls...(Hong Kong, OUP, 1988) states (p. 171) that for a considerable time, consular promotion of British trade seems to have been largely confined to recommendations and hints in the annual trade reports sent by each consulate to the Foreign Office. They had varied in content and quality according to the man and the place, but good or bad, the Foreign Office had given little encouragement and they were poorly publicized and not well-known to the public.
This report by Clement F.R.[Francis Romilly] Allen (1844-1920) then H M’s Consul at Kewkiang, reviews the import , export, and transit trade recorded at this treaty port in 1889. Kewkiang [KiuKiang] on the Middle Yangtse was opened by treaty with Great Britain in January 1862.
As treaty ports went, Kewkiang was hardly a great success, in comparison with the highly successful Hankow, some 140 miles further up the Great River and opened in the same year. In another place, as mentioned in Coates (p.262), Consul Allen had reviewed Kewkiang’s unspectacular history as a nineteenth century treaty port, concluding in the 1889 report that it would continue in the same old tracks unless something happened to change its fortunes.
Consul Allen was of a whimsical turn of mind, and in this particular report, under “General Remarks, comments that he would place trade reports in two classes. “There are ports at which the year is habitually uneventful, where there is nothing to say about the trade which has not been said a dozen times already, and where there are no possible developments to make remarks on. …. At other ports it may be possible to impart really useful intelligence, and to make observations which may prove of benefit to the merchant in China or the manufacturer in England. A Kewkiang trade report, I am sorry to say, must as a rule be included in the first named class.”
At the same time, he took the trouble to provide a coloured and annotated map of the province (based, he mentions, on one drawn by an American missionary) which adds to the usefulness of the 1889 report.
Like many of his colleagues, Allen was a scholar and sinologue by inclination, and was the translator of the Shih Ching or Classic of Poetry, published in London by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. in 1891. This was, he wrote, "offered to the student of Chinese, hoping that he may find it of some use in supplementing Dr. Legge’s standard edition of the Chinese classics, which will not be superseded in our time".
Kewkiang is one of the old Romanized forms for the city of 九江 Jiǔjiāng. (When referring to this item please quote stockid 143041).