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This is the second of many farewell events involving Sir Thomas Jackson as he prepared to leave Hong Kong in 1902. The first was held on May 14, 1902. I am hoping for help from others in learning more about the Chinese merchants who were honoring him, and will add to the annotations as I learn more.
Sharon Oddie Brown. January 19, 2013.
Update January 24, 2013. Typo corrected re: embroidery "it has not been possible"

 

19 May 1902 Overland China Mail.

 

This same event was also covered in The Hong Kong Daily Press Wednesday May 19, 1902. They described the presentation of an Illuminated address being presented at City Hall (St. Andrews). Otherwise the two pieces were the same, with one typo in the 1st version corrected in the 2nd. The same addresses also appeared in the China Overland Report of May 19, 1902.

 

Address from Chinese.

On the 13th inst.[1], in the City Hall, Sir Thomas Jackson[2], the retiring Chief Manager of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, was made the recipient of a handsome Morocco-bound and silver mounted address from the members of the Chinese commercial community on the occasion of his departure by the steamer Empress of Japan tomorrow[3].

 

Mr. Ho Tung[4] presided, and among others present were Sir Thomas Jackson, Lau Wai Chuen[5], Ho Fook[6], Tam Tsz Kong[7], Leung Shui Kong[8], Liao Tsz Shan[9], Yung Yik Ting[10], Wong Ki Sam[11], Lan Chin Ting[12], Wong Kam Fuk[13], Ho Kom Tung[14], Lo Cheung Shiu[15], Man Kwong Tin[16], Tong Lai Chuen[17], Ip Shun Kam[18], Kan Tin Hing[19], Ma Fat Ting[20], Lau Wan Kai[21], Leung Yan Po[22], Chan Oi Ting[23], Wong Leung Him[24], Fung Shu Tong[25], Leung Pui Chi[26].

 

The Chairman said: -- Sir Thomas Jackson and gentlemen, the Chinese merchants and traders of Hong Kong have met here today and in a body formally to say good-bye to you on your retirement from the field of your labors in the Far East, and they have done me the honor of electing me as a spokesman on this occasion. I do not propose to detain you for many seconds before proceeding to read to you the Address which has been prepared as a result of spontaneous desire on the part of the signatories to record in a fitting manner the high opinion which one and all have formed of you after so many years of personal acquaintance with your urbanity[27], goodness of heart and remarkable genius (Applause). These are qualities the possession of any one of which would suffice to raise a person in the estimation of his fellow man, but when they are all combined in one and that one is as you, Sir, wielding so extensive a power for good or evil as a leader of the financial world of the Farther East, it is impossible for that those who have benefited most by the genius not to recognize it in some fitting manner. (Applause). In our humble opinion, the best means lying within our reach is that of a public Address, which we trust you will accept as a genuine expression of the feelings we all entertain for you. With your permission, Sir, I will now proceed to read the Address. (Applause).

 

To Sir Thomas Jackson, Chief Manager of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, etc. etc. etc.

Sir, --- we, the undersigned members of the Chinese commercial community of Hong Kong, desire, however inadequately, today to pay to you before your departure from Hong Kong on retiring from the Chief Managership of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. our humble tribute of admiration for your high moral character, and to express the very high appreciation in which you have been held by us and the sense of loss which we shall feel when you have left these shores.

 

The Bank, over whose destinies you ruled with such conspicuous ability for the past twenty-six years, enjoys an enormous and ever-increasing clientele, and it may be asserted without fear of contradiction that of the very extensive business which it controls in the Farther East by far the largest proportion is that with China and the Chinese. As belonging to that section of the Corporation's constituents, we feel as of greater worth the value of the testimony which we have the honor to hear to the most consummate tact and ability which have ever been consistently exercised by you in the management of this great institution’s affairs.

 

The colossal success which the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank can now boast of is the more remarkable when a retrospective view is taken into the pages of History.

 

When you first joined the institution in August 1866, the Colony was just then beset by a great commercial depression that made its influence felt in almost all the principle branches of business; the stagnation was threatened by a panic in the following year with the closing of certain leading mercantile firms[28], and was further prolonged through the year 1868 and 1869[29]. This period of decline in the commercial prosperity of the colony, in itself of a serious character, was but the precursor of worst days to come for the Bank, when errors and adversity combined to work the reduction of its reserve fund to $100,000 and the secession of dividends for the year.

 

It was at this critical juncture that you, Sir, were transferred to the helm of affairs as the Acting Chief Manager, only to be confirmed in the substantive appointment five months after.

 

In the face of these difficulties and encumbered as the Bank then was with bad estates, by dint of inherent energy, unceasing care, and indomitable perseverance, the Bank was successfully steered through one of the most acute prolonged financial crises ever known, until from a depth of adversity and disaster, it is been lifted to its present magnificent position of prosperity. The Bank emerged triumphant from a gloom which enveloped it, to a splendor ranking it with the leading banks of the world!

 

The era of its revival was coincident with your appointment to the supreme command, and it is impossible not to see that the increased prosperity which each half-year with but few exceptions, owing to the visages of fortune has recorded, was most closely identified with the name of its Chief Manager.

 

It is not, however in financial matters alone that your influence for good has been exercised for the benefit of this Colony. In spite of the cares and anxieties inseparable from your onerous and responsible duties you have found time to serve the Colony on various public occasions, conspicuous amongst which are your honorary treasure-ships of the Irish and Indian Great Famine Relief Funds [1880]; the Hong Kong Jubilee, the Queens Diamond [1897], and Queens Memorial Funds [1901]and the Typhoon Relief Fund of 1900, the last by its spontaneous manifestation of sympathy evoking from the Chinese of Hong Kong heartfelt gratitude. As member of the Colonial Retrenchment Committee [1894] the Insanitary Properties Commission, and the Queens Statute Committee [1896], respectively, you devoted your valued services no less to the public weal and as a member of the Legislative Counsel [1884-1886] your wisdom was consulted in the framing of laws for the promotion of our good. In the furtherance of the interests of commerce of our world renowned port also you take an important part by sharing with the leading gentlemen of the mercantile and shipping communities, their labors in the Chamber of Commerce. And, finally, in fostering the good works of all classes of charitable and religious institutions in Hong Kong, without discrimination, your private munificence has long been recognized, and, without doubt, will find living monuments amongst those who greatly cherish the name and the memory of a universal benefactor.

 

The urbanity of your demeanor towards all who are brought into contact with you; the soundness of your judgment in counseling those who approached you for advice; and the impartiality of your treatment of the Bank's clients has secured for you the respect of all classes alike. They are attributes that entitle you to the highest admiration, and should serve as a standard for those who come after you to be guided by.

 

The limits of an address to not permit us to dilate upon the unvarying kindness and courtesy exhibited by you towards us as a distinct class, and in counting ourselves to an expression of grateful thanks we beg to proffer you the accompanied token which we hope may be found acceptable as a link in the chain of recollection of the very cordial relations that ever existed between yourself and the Chinese merchants and traders of Hong Kong.

 

In bidding you, Sir, goodbye, we fervently hope your life may long be spared; that you may enjoy in the homeland the fruits of your long years of honest labor in the East in company with your respected wife, Lady Jackson, and family, for whose health, happiness, and continued prosperity, coupled with your own, our good wishes accompany you where ever you go!

 

We have the honor to be, Sir,

your most obedient humble servants,

Hong Kong, 18 May, 1902.

 

Mr. Tan Tsz Kong then read the address in Chinese.

 

The Chairman, addressing Sir Thomas Jackson, said -- we are handing you the address in its present form, as it has not been possible for us to get the embroidered work done in Canton in time before your departure. It seemed to us that, got up in characteristic Chinese style, the Address may be a more interesting memento to you from the Chinese.

 

Sir Thomas Jackson, who was heartily applauded on rising to acknowledge the gift, said -- Mr. Ho Tung and gentlemen, I accept this Address at your hands with very great pleasure. It is a very grateful complement to me on the day before I leave to have such an excellent character given to me and so prettily bound. I have been a long time among you -- longer perhaps the most people -- yet at the same time, I can assure you that I have never tired of Hong Kong[30]. This little spot has been very good to me and very good to my family and we can all look back to the days we spent here as days of great pleasure. (Applause). In Hong Kong, we have a very happy blending of Eastern and Western enterprise. To that happy combination to a great extent -- in fact almost entirely, Hongkong, at the present time, as a commercial market is known all over the world for its wealth, its munificence and its magnificence. We, Sir, in our small way, have cast a pebble or two upon this mountain of prosperity. If we look back to the year 1841 -- the year, by the way, in which I was born -- this colony was merely a fishing village, and when we see it noon [sic now], what sort of an estimate have we got to form of what may take place during the next half century. Why, Sir, I can hardly see any bounds to be set upon the prosperity this place, situated as it is upon the borders of a great empire that will not remain still, an empire that will advance and an empire that may yet astonish the world. (Applause). I would, in conclusion, express my very great thanks to you all gentlemen. I do not wish to detain you much longer. I believe I could say a great deal that perhaps, would give you pleasure and myself pleasure, but I would just earnestly thank you one and all not only for the compliment you paid me now but for your unvarying kindness to me during the whole of my career in Hong Kong. (Loud Applause).

 

On the call of the Chairman, three ringing cheers and a “tiger” were given for the recipient of the address, after which the proceedings terminated.

 

 



[1] NOTE: This is a week after the banquet hosted by the Chinese merchants.

[2] Sir Thomas JACKSON. Chief Manager of HSBC, philanthropist, and community activist. I have chosen to call him an “activist” because he did more than just sit on various charitable boards, he mucked right in.

[3] The ad for the trip was in The Straits Times. I still need to see if I can find a manifest for the trip to see who may have travelled with JACKSON.

[4] Robert Ho Tung (1862-1956). He was a friend not only of Sir Thomas JACKSON, but kept in touch with his family long after Jackson’s death in 1915. He was first knighted in 1915, but angled for a higher order of knighthood. He wrote in 1927 to the King’s secretary, Sir Ronald Waterhouse, demanding a KCMG, and got it 28 years later when he was 92 years old. SOURCE:  The Telegraph. 28 Aug 2011. Chris Moore’s review of Ghosts of Empire by Kwasi Kwarteng (Bloomsbury) See also A Documentary History of Hong Kong: Society. David Faure. Hong Kong University Press.

[5] LAU Wai Chuen

[6] HO Fook (1863-1926) AKA HO Fuk. Compradore, entrepreneur, philanthropist. Brother of Robert Ho Tung. He was a Chinese clerk and interpreter in Registrar-General’s Dept. In 1885, started as interpreter for Dennys and Mossop, solicitors. He was then a compradore with Jardine Matheson and Company and eventually succeeded his brother as head compradore. SOURCE: Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography.

[7] TAM Tsz Kong

[8] LEUNG Shiu Kong: Was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1899. In his younger years was a clerk in the Mercantile Bank. In 1898, he was compradore to A.H. Rennie, and in 1900, Chinese agent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. After 1904, his name is not listed as JP. SOURCE: Carl T. Smith. Chinese Christians: Elites, Middlemen and the Church in Hong Kong.

[9] LIAO Tsz Shan

[10] Yung Yik Ting

[11] Wong Ki Sam

[12] Lan Chin Ting

[13] WONG Kam Fuk. He was part of a Chinese delegation assuring loyalty to the Crown on the heels of the assassination attempt on the life of Governor MAY.

[14] Ho Kom Tung

[15] Lo Cheung Shiu

[16] Man Kwong Tin

[17] Tong Lai Chuen

[18] Ip Shun Kam

[19] KAN Tin Hing. It is possible that this was Kan Tien-hing who served as a compradore of the Yokohama Specie Bank branch in Hong Kong, and was the father of Kan Tong-Po (1887-1963) – a Hong Kong banker. SOURCE: Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography.

[20] Ma Fat Ting

[21] Lau Wan Kai

[22] Leung Yan Po

[23] Chan Oi Ting

[24] Wong Leung Him

[25] Fung Shu Tong

[26] LEUNG Pui Chi alias Leung Long cheung, a native of Heung Shan District, Kwangtung. In 1889, he was elected to the Tung Wah Hospital Committee. He had business interests in the Shui Fung Bank, and was a JP until 1917. SOURCE: Carl T. Smith. Chinese Christians: Elites, Middlemen and the Church in Hong Kong.

[27] The word as it was used then denoted courteousness and polished manners, and had less resonance in this instance as being connected to urban living.

[28] In 1866 alone, six of the eleven banks that had been operating in Hong Kong at the start of the year had ceased operation. One of them was the Agra and Masterman Bank, the bank that had first hired Thomas Jackson in 1864. This extent of a crash exceeds – at least in its impact on Hong Kong - even the international banking failures of 2008.

[29] There was a world-wide depression cause by a number of factors. The Suez Canal had opened in 1869, and there was a burst of trade that was overly ambitious. The telegraphic connections in 1871 between Europe and China had a similar bubble effect. Then Hong Kong was sideswiped by a fall in silver, the basis for Chinese currency.

[30] By this time, he had lived in Hong Kong longer than he had lived in his native Ireland.

 

 

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