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Colonial Cases

Newspaper commentary China 1870s

Japan Weekly Mail, 3 September 1870, 414f and see 409-410

[Address by Sir Edward Hornby, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of China and Japan, to the residents of Shanghai.]

 

Japan Weekly Mail, 22 October 1870, 508

[commentary on Chinese legal procedure, taken from the North China Herald]

 

Japan Weekly Mail, 26 November 1870, 564-565

[article about lawyers' fees in Yokohama]

 

The North-China Herald, 2 June 1871

MISCELLANEOUS.

THE SUPREME COURT.

   The new Supreme Court was opened yesterday for the discharge of public business, by Her Majesty's Acting Chief Judge, Charles W. Goodwin, Esq.  It is to be regretted that the first case for trial was that of a seaman charged with the willful murder of the mate of his vessel, but as such cases are happily of rare occurrence in this place, notwithstanding the name which has been attacked to the Settlement as a "sink of iniquity," it is to be hoper that the edifice may be venerable with age before it again becomes the painful duty of a Shanghai jury to adjudicate upon the life of a fellow man. [Description and other details.]

 

The North China Herald, 18 January 1872

   A somewhat curious case came up at the Mixed Court lately, before Chen and Mr. Haas, Acting American Assessor, when a foreigner named Delcour was prosecuted at the instance of a Chinaman.  The plaintiff, a photographer, had, at defendant's order, taken a number of views of "Au Chalet," which were handed to an agent for the sale of the property, the latter getting a commission covering disbursements incidental to the sale should it be disposed of, but receiving nothing if it were not.  No sale was affected; the agent left Shanghai; and the photographer applied to the defendant in this action for payment of his claim of $13. 

   Defendant refused to pay, and plaintiff therefore applied for a summons in the French Consular Court, when he was informed that the defendant was not registered as a French subject, and that the Court had no jurisdiction.  He was advised to try the American Consulate, and on doing so received a similar reply.  The British authorities referred him to the Mixed Court, where, after urging his case for two months, a summons was granted him, of which defendant however, when it was served, took no notice.   Plaintiff was again thrown back on the Mixed Court, which subsequently issued a warrant for defendant's arrest. 

   As defendant was living on the French Concession, the warrant was, as is usual even in the case of Chinese, vised by the French Consul-General, and duly put in force.  Defendant was at once liberated on engaging to appear at the Mixed Court, which he did on Friday morning, and paid the amount under protest that he was a French subject.

 

1872 railway case. This is planned to be published at http://risingpowers.open.ac.uk/documents/Publication/Extraterritoriality_pring.pdf:

Foreign concessions: the past and future of a form of shared sovereignty.

In 1872, an American Vice Consul in Shanghai gathered a small group of American and British investors to purchase a strip of land, on which they built a railway to demonstrate the advantages of this new mode of transportation to reluctant Chinese officials. As we know from Hobsbawm (1968), railroad building was the core of British capitalism at the time, sustaining the steel and coal industry, and it was in need of new markets. In 1876, the Qing government bought the line, but instead of operating it tore it up (Pong 1973). In a letter to the British authorities, Feng Junguang, the circuit commissioner of Shanghai, justified this action by arguing that accepting a railway that was run by a foreign authority would establish a precedent whereby real estate built by citizens of other nations could become extraterritorialised, i.e. exempted from the sovereign authority of the Qing. This would raise a complex set of concerns: railway employees, both foreign and Chinese protégés, ignoring orders of local officials; disputes between railway and local authorities over land use and accidents; attempts by Chinese businessmen to evade the authority of the Qing by hiring foreign front‐men. All of this was already happening in the foreign concessions on the Chinese coast, and by the end of the 19th century, the weakening empire proved unable to prevent the construction of much larger foreign‐owned railways, by Russia and Japan.  

In the brief period of the Wusong Railway's operation, the train hit and killed a local resident. The engine driver, David Banks, was tried and acquitted by the British consular court in Shanghai. The defence argued that the victim had committed suicide, or else had been encouraged by the Chinese authorities to kill himself in order to raise opposition to the railway.

 

The North China Herald, 21 January 1875

SUMMARY OF NEWS

THE MIXED COURT.

   We have now had pretty good experience of the working, and we may add utter inefficiency, of the tribunal known as the Mixed Court.  With every desire to throw over it the cloak of charity, and to keep in the background, so far as was consonant with the ends of justice, its sins of omission, matters are now getting to such a pass that in order to carry on the ordinary municipal government of the settlements, some change in the present system is urgently required.  [Very long account of a recent abduction, calls for a Municipal magistrate.]

THE MIXED COURT

The North China Herald, 4 February 1875

The Mixed Court magistrate was induced in the end of last week to agree to an attempt being made to deal vigorously with the predatory classes of Chinese who infest the Settlements.  In accordance with this understanding, the Police arrested in little more than twenty four hours, over twenty notorious thieves and dangerous vagrants, and on Monday this first instalment of the mass of iniquity was marched up to the court.  It was found, however, when they got there, that so far from being in a fair way to solution, the problem of how to deal with them only began to show its difficulties.  The magistrate was willing that they should be locked up, for three months if the Police pleased - at the Police Station; but this Mr. Stripling strenuously argued against, and his representations were supported by A. Davenport, Esq., H.M. Vice-Consul, who sat as Assessor.  Mr. Stripling pointed out that to compel the Municipality to find these bad characters quarters and board during a term of imprisonment, would be to relieve the Chinese authorities of a responsibility as to their subjects which each nationality in Shanghai bore for itself.  It was suggested that the prisoners should be sent to the Chehsien's Yamen, but this it was feared would only result in  their liberation within a day or two, and their return to their old haunts.  The inadequacy of the punishments meted out to culprits who came before the Court, was referred to as having the effect rather of attracting the criminal class to this settlement than of driving them away; and it was noticed that the severer justice of the Chinese magistrate from the French Settlement, who occupied his brother mandarin's seat during the absence of the latter on a philanthropic mission to Japan in connection with the Maria Luz coolie business, had a most wholesome result.  Chen was understood to say that there was no accommodation at the Mixed Court for so many, but room could be found perhaps for half the number, if the Municipality looked after the other half.  Mr. Stripling represented that the cells at the Stations were not intended to be filled by permanent prisoners.  The police had already to keep too many, in confinement; while as to canguing the crowd, there were not collars available for so many necks. ...

   Consideration of the question of their disposal having been concluded, it was decided that they should be well bambooed the same afternoon, in presence of a foreign sergeant of police, and then given an opportunity of leaving the Settlement within two days, which if they neglected to do, they would be again punished on being caught. The modest "cracksman," as the most eminent member of the profession present, was singled out to wear the decoration of the cangue for three months, a distinction which to a person of his retiring nature will probably prove rather burdensome.

 

The North China Herald, 25 February 1875

SUMMARY OF NEWS.

The Municipal Council having complained of the inadequacy of the system of punishments at the Mixed Court, and the lack of power of the Court, it was decided to ask Messrs. Yates, Haas, and Davenport to report on the question.  We are told that the Mixed Court and police station jails between them will not hold more than 20 to 30 prisoners at one time; so that, when the police one morning brought in a batch of 20 thieves charged with loitering to commit a felony, there was no means of imprisoning them, and they had to be beaten, and let go.  Would not the re-establishment of the chain-gang be advisable?

 

 A letter has been addressed to the treaty Consuls about the increase in crime in the Settlement, and the re-establishment of the chain-gang is advocated.  We were always in favour of that punishment, and strongly deprecated its abandonment.  It is no doubt also very desirable, as pointed out by the consuls, that the Mixed Court should be given filler powers.  The subject is an important one, and we shall look with interest for the Consuls' reply.

 

The North China Herald, 26 June 1875

THE MIXED COURT

   The Mixed Court was avowedly an experiment - started to meet a want which was felt by the Foreign residents to be a pressing and an important one, and it has in its time done good work.  Still its constitution is very far from perfect, and the consuls have wisely consulted the three gentlemen best acquainted with the mode of procedure and the past history of the Court, to offer suggestions as to any improvements that may be made to increase its efficiency.

   The three Repeats of the Assessors are before us, and deserve careful attention.  Dr. Yates first requires fuller powers for the Chinese officer.  He should, in his opinion, be a District Magistrate, with jurisdiction overt the three Settlements.  More stringent powers than have been hitherto exercised should be given for the seizure and sale of a debtor's property.  Punishments should continue to be administered as at present.  The cangue is still to gall the necks, and the bamboo to lacerate the thighs, of labouring coolies; but the chasing-gang, in Doctor Yates' opinion, need not be revived.

   Mr. Haas thinks the present system of punishments unsatisfactory, and advises that Mr. Alabaster's regulations should be brought into use.  H e deprecates the filthy and fetid state of the prisons, and recommends that the "city-sending system" should be given up. 

   The report furnished by Mr. Alabaster is more exhaustive than the documents sent in by the other two gentlemen.  He has had longer experience of the working of the Court than any  foreign officials, and has devoted very considerable time and pains to the examination of the various questions that have from time to time arisen in connection  with its complicated and  delicate procedure.  His suggestions are therefore worthy of all attention, and they are exhaustive.

   First, with regard to the code required.  The difficulties that surround this question are great - fro we are met with the fact that offences which seem of grave moment to a European, are regarded as venal by a Chinaman, and vice versa."For instance, - wrecking, an offence we, as a maritime nation, treat with great severity, the Chinese think quite justifiable; whereas forgery, which used with us to be a capital offence, they regard as venal."  The introduction of the Indian Penal Code is recommended to meet this difficulty; and no doubt the change might be distortable if there were a remote hope of influencing the Chinese to adopt it.  But we fear there is not.  The system of law to which a nation has become accustomed, is one of the last things it is willing to change; and the Chinese, ultra-conservative in all else, are scarcely likely to accept radical reform, at foreign hands in this particular case.

   Next, Mr. Alabaster speaks withy no uncertain voice on the subject of the punishments ordered by the magistrate in the Maloo.  It certainly strikes visitors with surprise, to step aside from the road where the equipages and costume of the foreign passengers represent all the outward marks of modern civilization, and to find themselves watching the administration of punishments that take one back to the times of Plautus - for the cangue is the Chinese version of the furca or the patibulum. We are mot prepared at once to approve all that is alleged against these punishments by Mr. Alabaster, nor to sanction, with Dr. Yates, the continuance of matters exactly as they are.  It is desirable that a culprit should be made more or less uncomfortable; and that the chain-gang system acted as a deterrent to peculating house-boys is frankly admitted.  Any punishment which has a tendency to make an offender ashamed of dosing wrong is good.  The cangue as a mark of ignominy - "Ignominiae magis quam aupplicii cause"- worked well, but floggings that torture and brutalize the sufferer should, on all grounds of mercy and morality, be opposed.

   The recommendation made by me. Alabaster with regard to the utilization of the enormous jail, which at putrescent has an average of twenty prisoners and accommodation for two hundred, we could very heartily commend.  But so many difficulties oppose themselves to the putting his scheme in practical operation, that we despair of seeing it carried out in the present generation.  The admirable example of the Alipore prison is cited with great propriety, and the establishment of a self-supporting and reformatory jail would be an excellent lesson to the Chinese.  But the surrender of the jail by the British Government, the acceptance by the Chinese of a different code of law, and the undertaking by the Municipality of the working of the new jail system, are all necessary preliminaries.  We all know the saying uttered first by a little man and approved by a great one - "the very worst use to which you can put a man is to hang him."   Surely it is nearly as bad to condemn a man to weeks or months of in utility - to leave him to b rood over his part in  sullen gloom, and to punish a citizen for offending society by keeping him under conditions where he must learn to hate it.

   We hope therefore, some day, to see this admirable suggestion carried out, and a jail with its European and Chinese sides conducted on a reformatory plan.  But we fear, for the reasons we have stated, the prospect is not near at hand.  However that may be, a permanent Foreign Assessor would be the only person who could undertake to carry out these extensive and beneficial changes, and we trust the first effort will be directed to having such an officer appointed to the Mixed Court.

 

The North China Herald, 30 July 1875

   CHEN, the magistrate of the Mixed Court, has been appointed to the staff of Li Han-chang.  Chang, the Magistrate who sits in the French Mixed Court, is to take his place in the Maloo.

 

The North China Herald, 14 August 1875

SUMMARY OF NEWS

   When Chen was appointed to Li Hang-chang's staff, a Wei-yuen named Chang, who was lately Magistrate of the Mixed Court on the French Concession, was nominated to succeed him.  But Chang is head of the Lekin Tax Office in the Settlement, and was objected to, on that and other accounts.  The objection has been deferred to, and another official nominated.

   The new magistrate seems a man of very different stamp from his predecessor, and it is remarkable that he seems not to be hampered by the want of power, which was always put forward as an excuse for Chen's leniency.  He is disposed to punish criminals, and he passes fitting sentences where Chen would have suggested the City as the only possible alternative.  Judging from present experience, there will be no great cause for regret if Chen is promoted after his Yunnan experiences are over.

 

The North China Herald, 2 October 1875

   Owing to the new magistrate at the mixed Court sentencing so many native convicts to imprisonment, pressure for room is already beginning to be felt in the c ells of the Municipal Police stations, - the gangs of cangued prisoners, for whom nightly accommodation has also to be found, adding to the difficulty.  At the present rate of police activity and magisterial impartiality, there will soon be a demand for more cells.

 

The North China Herald, 30 December 1875
CONSULAR COURTS
(Hiogo News)
  As we cannot suppose that it is now 1frontea profound secret that "The China and Japan Order in Council, 1865" is about to undergo amendment at the hands of Sir Edmund Hornby under instructions from home, we are not a little surprised that we have as yet seen no expressions of opinion on the subject in either the Shanghai or Yokohama papers, even though the provisions of the existing Order are not so unsatisfactory at either of those ports are they are when applied to such a place as Hiogo, which has a Provincial Court only.
  In the space we can allow ourselves to-day, it would be manifestly impossible to do more than briefly touch on the subject, and we shall most probably take an early opportunity of recurring to it; but there is one thing on which we certainly think no time should be lost in concentrating attention, and that is the question of trial by jury in Provincial Courts.  Other things there are connected mainly with the forms of procedure which it would only be in accordance with the modern spirit of law reform in England to rectify, and we opine that we shall be safe in assuming that various simplifications of practice will take place conjointly with a shorter and less intricate definition of the powers and duties of Consuls and Consular Officials.
  But trial by jury is one of the most pressing wants of this community, as of many others similarly situated.  The position of residents in this matter is not that of persons demanding a favour, but a right, and it lies on the British Government to shew why this right should be any longer withheld from us almost alone among the subject of the British Crown. We are quite aware that it is a favourite topic of discussion with publicists in England whether the course of Justice would not be assisted by the abolition of trial by jury, and this in the present condition of the English Bench may no doubt be true, but it might not be always so, and the opponents of trial by jury too often appear to forget that it is not sufficient for the administration of justice in the Courts to be pure - the people must believe that it is pure.
  When the Order in Council of 1865 was promulgated, it was no doubt felt that there might be practical difficulties in the way of extending the rights of other British subjects to British residents at the less important ports in China and Japan, bit should such ever have been the case, it is certainly not so now.  We desire to see this right in question possessed by such communities as this in the interests of the Consuls themselves, as well as in the interests of the public.
  At present a Consul here has so many and such varied duties that it would be more difficult to say what he is not than what he is, and the duties and responsibilities are too much for any single individual.  To out it mildly, he is all the judges on the English Bench and the Home and Foreign Secretaries roiled into one, and in all the minor affairs of life, and a good many which are far from minor, he is practically absolute.  
  It is a notorious fact that decisions are given in H.B.M.'s Provincial Courts which, whether e=right or wrong, are not respected by the community as being right, and such things tend, more than anything else which could be mentioned, to weaken the foundations of morality and good Government. If we did not see our way to any practicable remedy we should bear with the evil as best we might, but the circumstances with called forth the exceptional legislation of the Order in Council of 1865 have lost their force in such communities as this, and the one chiefly important remedy for the present unsatisfactory state of the administration of justice lies ready to hand.
  That trial by jury, or any other human institution, is absolutely perfect for just ends, no sane man will contend, but it is a right from the protection of which neither British Consulate nor British residents here can in justice be longer excluded.

 

The North China Herald, 29 March 1877

MISCELLANEOUS.

ENGLISH JUSTICE.

   The Times reports at some length the case quoted in several of the last home papers, where a tipsy Irishman knocked off the hat of one of the servants of the Chinese mission, and was  sent to prison for two months with hard labour, for the offence! Here is the story:-

"At Marlborough-street, yesterday, J. Donovan, an Irishman, was charged, before Mr. Knox, with being drunk and assaulting Chang Amaou, servant to one of the Attaches of the Chinese Embassy.  The complainant was sworn according to the Chinese custom.  A saucer was broken, and he knelt while Dr. Macartney administered the oath in this form -

"You shall tell the truth, the whole truth; the saucer is cracked, and if you do not tell the truth, you shall be cracked like the saucer."

The complainant then said that about 2 o'clock the previous afternoon he was walking in Oxford-street with a friend, when the prisoner came up and struck him heavily on the head, knocking off his cap.  A bystander who saw the assault, called a constable and gave the prisoner into custody.

   Yang Ksi, another servant of one of the Attaches of the Embassy, was with his friend, the complainant, walking a step or two behind.  The prisoner came up and he distinctly saw him strike the complainant on the head with sufficient force to knock off his cap.

   Frederick Hedge, of 6 castle-street East, said he was in Oxford-street the previous afternoon, near Veer-street, when he saw the Chinese walking quietly along.  The defendant passed them, and deliberately turned round and struck the complainant on the head - it appeared as with his open hand, knocking the complainant's hat off.  He seized the prisoner, and detained him until a constable came. Replying to Mr. Knox, witness said the prisoner was quite drunk, and when stopped said he did it because he "did not like the religion of those people." 

   The prisoner said he was under the influence of drink, and what he did was more out of play than anything else.  He knew he had no business to do what he did.

   Mr. Knox regretted the occurrence, not for the sake of the prisoner, but for the sake of the character of the country.  The Chinese Ambassador, with his servants, had just landed in England, and about the first day afterwards one of his servants was made the victim of the abominable conduct of the prisoner.  His sentence would show that magistrates were determined to protect strangers in London.  The prisoner would be committed for two months with hard labour.

   Dr. Macartney, who is attached to the Legation, said, on the part of the Chinese Embassy, he wished to express his thanks to several gentlemen who had witnessed the assault, and who were prepared, if necessary, to attend to give evidence.

   Mr. Knox desired Dr. Macartney to convey to the Chinese attendants that they would receive full protection, and to the Chinese Ambassador that every magistrate would take care that punishment should follow any act of molestation."

   Everyone will agree with the magistrate that the conduct of the prisoner was very bad, and deserved sharp punishment - the  more so that it indirectly affects the character of his countrymen - all of whom will suffer in the estimation of their visitors, from the bad behaviour of Mr. Donovan. But to give a man two months for what was evidently done more as a drunken frolic than from any malice, savours of truckling.  If an Englishmen had had his hat similarly knocked off, the assailant would probably have been fined 5s.; and why Pat should be imprisoned for two months with hard labour because the Chinese Ambassador had the previous day landed in England - a fact of which he was probably wholly unaware, passes comprehension. - The offence was certainly worse as towards the Chinaman, than if an Englishman had been in case, because the moral effect would be bad; but there was not the difference between a 5s. fine and 2 months' hard labour.

   We believe in the doctrine of "hospitality to the stranger from afar," but no to this extent.  If a crowd of Chinamen attacked a foreigner here with bamboos, they would likely get so much; yet in this case there was no harm done at all.  There seems to be no accusation of a serious blow; it is only an impertinence - scarcely worse that the epithet of la-lee-loong which salutes every foreigner who walks in the county round Shanghai, and which no attempt is ever made to suppress.

 

The Times, 29 March 1878

CHINA.

The foreign community have sustained a great loss in the death of Mr. Charles Wycliffe Goodwin, who has for many years been Assistant-Judge, and latterly acting Chief Judge, of the Supreme Court of China and Japan.

 

Daily Alta California, 23 May 1878

CONGRESS.

Springer substituted a report from then Committee on Expenditure in the State Department, setting forth ten articles of impeachment against O. B. Bradford, late Consul-General to Shanghai.  Printed and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

The following are the principle articles of impeachment: ... Third, that he was guilty of injustice, tyranny and extortion as Judge of the Consular Court. [There are five specifications under this article.]

 

The North China Herald, 21 February 1879

SUMMARY OF NEWS.

   Charles Wilson, the sailor who was sentenced in November last, by D. H. Bailey, Esq., United States Vice Consul-General, to eighteen months' imprisonment on a charge of attempted manslaughter, escaped during Wednesday night from the U.S. Consular gaol.  The charge, it will be remembered, arose out of a disturbance on board the American ship Gold Hunter, then in the Old Dock, and Wilson, who it was proved fired five or six shots at the police wounding one in the thigh, was condemned as the ring-leader.  He was confined in a cell looking into the street on the northerly side of the gaol, and between it and the gaoler's private quarters there is only a narrow passage.              In the cell he had a moveable bamboo couch to sleep upon, on the front of which are drawers while the back is hollow. This was placed against the outer wall.

   By some means he managed to get into his cell an iron bar about a foot long, which is used to fasten the irons on the legs of prisoners, and also a piece of rope about twenty feet in length.  With the bar and a knife he made a hole in the outer wall close to the floor, under the sleeping couch which, when in its proper place, concealed it from view.  The hole was nearly a foot and a half wide, and squeezing through it he descended into the yard below by means of the rope, and then his next obstacle was the gaol-yard wall.  To scale this would seem to outsiders a difficult task, but any man of ordinary agility can accomplish it from within, there being pillars, which, it was aptly said, appeared to have been built for persons to get over the wall; and a young man like Wilson could easily mount it.

   His absence was discovered about seven o'clock next morning, and the police were at once communicated with.  Shortly after noon the gaoler discovered the runaway concealed in the hold of the British barque Martha, where it was said he had managed to get without the knowledge of any of the crew. It is thought that to enable him to carry out his scheme, he had accomplices in the gaol, but it is rumoured that after he got away his hereabout was divulged.

 

The North China Herald, 28 February 1879

SUMMARY OF NEWS.

   We are informed that Chen, the Chinese Magistrate, has entrusted the control of the Mixed Court to the foreign Assessors during his temporary absence at Soochow.

 

The North China Herald, 7 March 1879

EDITORIAL SELECTIONS.

NATIONAL REGISTRATION.

DURING the past month a certain amount of the attention of the public has been given to the case of a native of Singapore, named Kum Allum, whose recognition as a British subject has for a short period of his life been refused by Her Majesty's Consul.  The question has been complicated with strange proceedings in the Mixed Court, ridiculous placards on our street walls, and, it is rumoured, with conflicting rulings and decisions on the part of the various Judiciary and Consular authorities, in whose jurisdiction it is our privilege to live.  The consequence is that, while the real points of the case have been lost sight of, there have been, on the part of some, unnecessary outcries against a purely imaginary wrong, and, on the part of others, unkind laughter at the spectacle of a Chinaman in an ulster.

   Chinamen are peculiar people, as we all know, but the most peculiar tribe of them ate the dwellers in the Straits Settlements, and their offspring.  They return in large numbers to the Treaty ports of their fatherland, and if "pidgin" is good invariable settle permanently.  On their arrival in China, they find that there are many privileges secured to British subjects by Treaty and by British Law, while, at the same time, these privileges are accompanied by certain disabilities of a more or less onerous character.  They find it is in some cases very convenient to be sued in a Court whose judges are incorruptible, and in others most inconvenient not to be able to secure a verdict when able and willing to pay for it.  Naturally enough, instead of declaring themselves Chinese of British subjects, they have long been wont to accommodate their nationality to the circumstances of the moment, and to assume the citizenship of that country which at any given crisis best protects their immediate interests.  The result of this was, as the archives of many a Consulate and out own columns could show, to cause much acrimonious  correspondence between rival sets of  authorities, each claiming the tight to punish or protect these slippery citizens and to give plenty of opportunities for jobbery.  To put an end to this state of things, Sir Rutherford Alcock some years ago issued a notification that all persons of Chinese descent claiming to be British subjects were not to be recognised as such unless they habitually wore the ordinary dress of Englishmen.  The notification remained a dead letter for years, until the nuisance became so intolerable, that, we believe, strict orders were given to our Consuls in 1877 to carry out this law.  In 1878, in Shanghai, we are informed that the whole of these Straits Chinese refused to comply therewith, and sent a petition home to England through a foreign lawyer, to be relieved from the necessity of wearing the hated European costume.  It has now transpired from the proceedings in Kum Allum's case, that this petition has never been taken the slightest notice of.  When an Englishman refuses to comply with a law, how capricious soever it may be, petitions to the legislative body against the law, and then sets up the petition as a reason for not complying with it, there can be no answer to his petition, or, if any, but one.    The proper course for Kum Allum and his brethren would have been to show the value they put on British citizenship by donning a British costume at once, and thereafter petition, giving their reasons for wishing to be relieved of the obligation imposed on them.

   In the beginning of this year, then, it seems there were no recognised British subjects of Chinese descent in Shanghai.  They had refused to do the one thing which could entitle them to recognition and protection as British subjects.  One of them, Kum Allum by name, seems to have had some difficulties with a friend, and as he had of his own free will rejected his British nationality, he was summoned by the Mixed Court.  This being one of the incidents in his career where the balance of advantage seemed to be decidedly in favor of the assumption of his British character, and to outweigh the inconveniences of ridicule attaching to European clothes, he as once saw fir to comply with the law which he had for more than a year spurned.  Attired as an Englishman he applied for registration, and this her Majesty's Consul at once granted him.  At the same time he seems to have warned him that as he had brought himself by his own act into the Mixed Court, and rendered himself for a period amenable to the jurisdiction of the Chinese authorities by refusing to comply with the conditions upon which alone he could claim the protection of the British authorities, so far as regards all acts and omissions during that period he   was and must be a China man.  This was the course prescribed by common sense, and no palladium of English liberty was invaded.  It would be intolerable that a Chinaman, who happens to be born in Singapore, should come to Shanghai, spurn the conditions imposed upon him by the constitutional authorities by which he may claim British protection, and as soon as he gets into trouble comply with these conditions in order to save himself from the consequences.

   Into the larger question of what constitutes a British subject, we do not propose to enter.  It is very certain that birth on the soil of a country does not make a man a citizen of that country, else all out children born here would be Chinese. [See 14th February, Mixed Curt, 'Disputed Nationality.']

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School