The Boxer Rebellion Project


Letter from Shamenn, Guangdong Province, describing internal turmoil in China (July 23rd, 1913)

Letter sent from the Victoria Hotel, Shameen, Canton, by an employee of the Commissioner of Education, presenting current events, including political problems in Guangdon Province.

Letter from Shameen's Victorial Hotel, dated July 23rd, 1913

The Victoria Hotel, Shameen

Canton, July 23rd 1913 

Dear Carleton,

Your most interesting view cards of Williams College and the Greylock Range (that is a most beautiful scene !) reached me finally over here. They had had a good deal of travel, haven’t they? Crossing the continent three times before finally setting sail for China! Your comments on them enhance their value a hundred fold. Please accept my sincere thanks for the trouble you have had with these—but now you know the method, you can see what a lot of meaning each one will have for me in the future.

The Panama Canal stamp was appreciated, too, I have seen only a few of that set and what I’ve had so far I have exchanged readily with collectors over here—but I don’t take them off the postcards. I want stamp and watermarks and handwriting all to remain to supplement the picture.

I was certainly more certainly more fortunate than I had dared hope, having your birthday letter reach you just on time! The steamers leaving Hong Kong are of so many different lines and of such differing speeds that it wasn’t really to be expected that I would time letters so exactly. But I sent off three birthday letters in April and each one of the other two, also, arrived on the very day!

I wonder if you are in Northfield now. Probably you are, but I think Ill send this to the White Plains address for it will be a month before arriving there.

You would like to be here right now, I am sure, for there is quite an upheaval in China at present and “War and rumors of War” fill the air. Only four days ago we were startled by placards and proclamations announcing the Independence of this province of Kwang Tung! It cam almost like abol out of the blue sky. Few people could have expected such a sting. A new Governor General had taken office only a few days before and he—in connection with the Provincial Assembly—declared the Independence of the province as a protest against the Central Government, with a dozen special charges in their indictment of the President, Yuan Shih Kai.

It is an odd state of affairs and no one know what the outcome may be. Probably all will come to a peaceful ending, there has been no fighting in Canton so far, since the proclamation, but the British at Hong Kong have rushed a couple of gunboats and a “destroyer” up here to protect our little island, and I understand that three hundred British soldiers are to be encamped on Shameen in a few hours—as an additional measure for our safety.

The Home Office in England has cabled to have all troops at Hong Kong “in readiness” and has stopped the home leave of the Governor of Hong Kong, he was going in a week to enjoy a tranquil holiday in England. Hong Kong is a great depot of ammunition and storehouse of supplies, and only a few hours from us by rail or steamer.

It is extremely interesting to be in the midst of all these preparations, although few really think they will be needed. It is rather a novelty for me, although I have been in the Argentine Republic during revolutions.

By the time this reaches you, I daresay the cable will have given you all the details and this “Second Revolution” —as many call it—will be at an end.

My own affairs will be delayed by this, if not injured, I am afraid. The Commissioner of Education—with whom I work directly—is probably to be removed—simply because he holds his appointment from Yuan Shih Kai and is not as ardent a patriot as the members of the present revolutionary party!

Give my love to all the family, please, it is a long while since I have heard from them, but I hope all are well.

Affectionately, Aunt Carrie

P.S. I expect to leave Hong Kong Aug. 19th—by the “Minnesota” again—and am due at Seattle Sept. 13th.