"widely differs from the above-mentioned wicked
practices" of kidnaping and buying and selling of girls into
That the domestic slaves "are allowed to take their ease and have
no hard work to perform," and when they grow up, "they have to be
given in marriage."
That all former Governors had let them alone in the exercise of
their "social customs."
That Governor Elliott had promised them freedom in the exercise of
their native customs.
That infanticide "would be extremely increased if it were entirely
forbidden to dispose of children by buying and selling;" parents
deprived of the means of keeping off starvation by selling their
children would "drift into thiefdom and brigandage."
Following the petition was an elaborate statement on the subject,
full of subtle arguments, misstatements and perversions, together, of
course, with some well-put statements, forming ten propositions in
favor of domestic slavery. Their first claim is not exactly true, as
even Dr. Eitel, who defended domestic servitude, was bound to declare,
namely, That Chinese law does not forbid adoption and domestic
servitude. We have already quoted Sir John Smale's statement of the
Chinese law, which restricted the adoption of boys to the taking of
one with the same surname as the family. And as to the buying of girls
for domestic servitude, though largely _practiced_ in China, yet these
Chinese merchants could hardly have been ignorant of the fact that it
was an _illegality_ before the Chinese law. "The reason of this," says
the Chinese protest, "is the excessive increase of population, and
the wide extent of poverty and distress." But there was neither
over-population nor distress at Hong Kong which should necessitate the
introduction of the practice into that Colony. "If all those practices
were forbidden, poor and distressed people would have no means left
to save their lives,