The Sunday Rest Issue in 19th Century Hong Kong


Louis Ha


[in Lee Pui-tak (ed) Colonial Hong Kong and Modern China – Interaction and Reintegration (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press: 2005) pp. 57-68.]


Holidays, although they provide pleasure to be free from work, often touch on religious, cultural, economic and political sensitive issues when they become a matter of allowing or disallowing labour on those days.  It needs even more skill and political wisdom to launch a new holiday that will be well accepted by inhabitants.  According to a recent government decision, the Birthday of Buddha was added as a holiday in Hong Kong starting from 1999.  The decision was a well considered one and welcomed by inhabitants for several reasons.  Firstly, Buddhism has been integrated into the culture of Hong Kong and it is natural to have some kind of celebration on that day; secondly, there is the political wish of China to make Hong Kong more “Chinese” and to balance the many existing holidays connected with Christianity which is regarded as “Western”; thirdly, the new holiday is within the usual quota of annual holidays enjoyed by Hong Kong people which means no extra financial burden is to be borne by anyone.[1] Finally, the friendly relationship between different religious communities in Hong Kong makes the addition of this new holiday not a cause of contention.


In other places and other times, however, matters concerning holiday legislation have often been controversial. For example, in European countries and Canada, Sunday legislation has been debated for a long time concerning matters such as allowing Sunday shopping or not.[2]  In Hong Kong, although Sunday rest is commonly accepted and expected by most people, there is no general prohibition on Sunday labour.  In fact, starting from as early as 1875 all Sundays were prescribed by law as holidays and regarded as dies non in Hong Kong.[3] Government departments, educational institutions, banking, building and trading companies are closed on those days, while shopping malls, markets, restaurants, hotels, transportation and entertainment industry are wide open.  It is a kind of hybrid of Sunday rest and Sunday labour, the origin of which can be traced back to the early years of the British Colony.



The early years


In order to build houses and roads as quickly as possible in the early years of the Colony, Sunday labour was a common practice.  Only the few privileged Westerners enjoyed their real Sunday rest.  The first argument concerning Sunday rest began with a letter to the editor of the Friend of China published on April 24, 1844.  The writer cynically argued that Hong Kong were not a British Colony because the government had not enforced the British law of Sabbath.[4]  One month later, another letter pointed out that 200 workers were employed by the government to dig on Sundays, probably levelling sites for building, causing great nuisance to the nearby chapel where the Colonial Chaplain preached.  The argument was that the government was inconsistent in allowing Sunday labour while paying a chaplain to preach the Bible that forbids such practice.[5]  The Colonial Chaplain was therefore blamed for neglecting his duty to promote the observance of the Sabbath in Hong Kong.[6]  The wish of the letter-writers was to transplant the British system of Sunday observance to Hong Kong.  The government certainly did not find it convenient to do so.  Its position regarding labour was that of an employer among so many others. However, it agreed to give orders to government departments to observe Sunday rest leaving the rest of the society to the conscience of individual employers.  In order to wash its hands on this matter, the government published for general information an order to the Survey General dated June 28, 1844:


"with a view to a better observance of Sunday throughout the Colony, that all Europeans in the service … be thereby afforded an opportunity of attending Divine Service.  In all contracts made in future … Sunday is omitted in calculating the time necessary for the completion of the work contracted for."[7]


In addition to the Sunday holiday, the government later extended its generosity to cover another half day of rest and declared all public offices closed on Saturday afternoons starting from April 29, 1866, except the General Post Office.[8]  The government, however, did not care too much about whether the people or its employees really take the Sunday rest.  On October 16, 1856, a government notification shows that despite clear instruction, the Sunday rest was not observed completely in the Government Departments.


"Whereas it has been represented to His Excellency the Governor that certain Government works are conducted on Sundays, His Excellency has instructed the responsible authorities to take such measures as shall prevent the desecration of that day in such respect ; and as regards works carried on by private persons, His Excellency recommends to all Christian inhabitants, that the contracts with the natives shall be such as may prevent the employment of workmen or labourers on the Sabbath day."[9]


The defenders of Sunday labour argued among others that keeping restaurants open on Sundays was necessary for seamen to prevent scenes of drunkenness on the street for a better general observance of Sabbath. And since the Chinese were no Christians, to enforce Sunday observance on them and to suspend their work, which was usually paid by day, would be unjust, unwise and would practically encourage them to quit Hong Kong by compelling them to observe rules not of their religion.  As for defenders of Sunday rest, their intention was to leave people, especially Christian Westerners, free for religious observance in a worthy environment.  Therefore, Sunday should be kept from the "noisy and disagreeable bawling of Chinese hawkers on Sunday mornings," at least during the hours of religious service.[10]


The Sunday question came up again in October 1867, when John Charles Whyte,[11] a police magistrate, contended in a case of gambling at the Police Court that an arrest on Sunday was illegal.[12] It seems odd that the Sunday rest would have gone so far as to merit such interpretation.  In fact, the Sunday observance was not on the books of Hong Kong law, but many believed that the law of England on Sunday observance should be respected in British colonies.[13]  Once again people pointed out the inconsistency of Government policy. They argued that on the one hand the government built Churches with public money for the spread of the gospel exhorting people to keep holy the Sunday, on the other hand it licensed drinking and gambling houses which were open on Sundays.[14] Accordingly, European business people also adopted contradictory practices regarding the Sunday observance.  They paid workmen to go on with building operations and stone chipping, while they only kept Sunday rest themselves when there was no mail departing the habour.[15]  Despite individual effort to persuade the government to enforce Sunday rest, pragmatism was the rule of day. In the 1870s, the loading and unloading of ships in the harbour and the building operations on shore increased drastically in pace with the prosperity of Hong Kong while taverns for the sale of alcoholics were open during all the hours of Sunday.[16]



Organised pressure


At the end of 1870s, a united force led by Christian leaders was organized for obtaining legislation prohibiting Sunday labour. On May 1, 1879, a deputation consisting of the Anglican Bishop Burdon, the Catholic Bishop Raimondi, and the Rev. J.C. Edge of the London Mission Society presented to the Governor a memorial signed by 110 companies, firms, merchants and residents, requesting the governor to enforce the existing English law on Sunday observance, the Act of Charles II Chap. 7, in Hong Kong.[17]  The effort, however, was in vain.  It is true that the Ordinance No. 6 of 1845 in establishing the Supreme Court provided that British law should be in force in Hong Kong. This ordinance was amended by the Ordinance No. 2 of 1846 which limited the English law to "such of the laws of England only as existed" when the Hong Kong legislature was set up in 1843.  Both were repealed by Ordinance No. 12 of 1873.[18]  The Government easily ignored the request even though it was made by such eminent persons of the society, because by then Hong Kong had become a busy port where steamers hurriedly came and departed, with mail arriving almost every day. In these prosperous times the government judged it not suitable to enforce the law of a general Sunday rest.[19] Not even the devout Catholic governor, John Pope Hennessy, could afford to let Hong Kong workers free from Sunday labour.  To the deputation he could only confirm that Sunday labour was absolutely necessary in all government departments except that of the Survey General.[20]


In the 1880s, the number of ships entering and clearing in Hong Kong ranged from 5,700 to 8,500 with a total tonnage of 5 to 9 million - a volume that doubled that of the 1870s.[21]  By this time, Sundays were already prescribed as public holidays.  However, the competition with Shanghai in shipping business was so strong and the workload in harbour so heavy that Sunday labour became indispensable for the shipping companies. Seamen and clerks employed by shipping companies worked all the year round without a single day of break.[22] The situation became unbearable for the workers. 


In this continuous tension of work, the nature of the Sunday rest gradually switched from a religious need to a physical one involving conflicting interests between workers and owners of the shipping trade.  On March 24, 1888, A.G. Goldsmith, Chaplain of St. Peter's (Seamen's) Church, started a signature campaign among masters and officers of ships visiting Hong Kong.  The object was to petition the governor on obtaining a system of Sunday observance that would remedy the evil of having employees working without any day of rest. The campaign collected 600 signatures.[23]  The effort was made on the part of workers. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, which represented the part of business owners, however, diplomatically commented that the object was "worthy of every encouragement, but in review of the many conflicting interests involved," it could not support the legislation of total cessation of Sunday work in the harbour, "unless an unyielding law applicable to all classes and nationalities or vessels be passed. "


Again, the petition did not bear any fruit. But the opposing positions of workers and employers were clear.  On April 18, 1889, Governor G.W. Des Voeux (governor from October 1887 to May 1891) explained in the Legislative Council that since Hong Kong was a free port without a custom house, the government could not stop the work on Sunday in the harbour by simply closing the custom house. He pointed out that the only means to legislate the cessation of labour on Sunday was either by fine or imprisonment. And then, the law should be general enough to cover all vessels without exception and forbidding Sunday labour on shore too, otherwise it would be unfair. He was convinced that Sunday rest would diminish the wealth and competitive power of Hong Kong, which would cause a violent change in the social condition.[24]  




Change of mind

Two years after this firm statement against Sunday legislation, however, the same governor hurried to pass a law prohibiting Sunday work in the harbour.[25] The change of mind was a result of several factors.  In England, the Duke of Edinburgh, speaking to the Missions to Seamen Society in April 1890, defended the right of British subjects to one day’s rest in the week.  He trusted that in colonies where the people had no votes, the duty of Her Majesty’s government was to see that no injustice was done to the working classes.[26]  That might have changed the attitude of the governor toward Sunday rest but that was not enough to move him to act.  One month later in Hong Kong, the British Mercantile Marine Officers' Association was formed with an initial membership of ten, which increased to over a hundred in less than six months.  Later, by alliance with the Liverpool Association the number stood at over 3,000 and it rose to 15,000 when the Association joined the Federation of Shipmasters and Officers in London.[27]  The Association then made some clever moves.  It started with accepting only British as members, making the association a body representing the interest of British marine officers.  It also made use of two very powerful instruments: its network in England and the pressure of the local press, which was invited to cover all its ordinary meetings.  The Association was not a trade union, yet it had acquired certain support and therefore bargaining power on the question of Sunday labour.


A series of actions to obtain Sunday rest was taken under the leadership of the charismatic Captain Samuel Ashton. A meeting was arranged with the General Chamber of Commerce to discuss publicly the question of Sunday labour in the harbour on October 17, 1890;[28] later a meeting with the Acting Governor, Francis Fleming, on November 18.[29]  The arguments raised during the meetings by both sides were later published on newspapers.  On the one side, it was argued that seamen were not really free to refuse work on Sundays because their jobs would be at stake.  Thus, the Sunday work was forced labour and should be regarded as moral slavery, discrediting the British flag and the government of a crown colony.[30]  On the other side, it was argued that the problem of Sunday labour in Hong Kong was not acute, because it did not affect the same group of British marine officers every Sunday in the year.[31] Also, European supervision for the loading and discharging of cargo during Sundays could be dispensed with.[32] Besides, it would be difficult to apply a law of Sunday rest to every vessel of whatever nationality and whatever design including Chinese junks which sailed on the coast. The Chinese, having no reason to regard Sunday a day of rest, would oppose the stoppage of work on Sundays.[33] The meetings did not obtain any substantial result for the legislation of Sunday rest, but they caused exciting debates in the newspaper for several weeks, creating certain a pressure both in Hong Kong and overseas.[34]

Eventually, the question of Sunday rest in Hong Kong was mentioned in the Parliament of London. But it was not discussed seriously enough to deserve any practical action. Difficulties in prohibiting Sunday labour by law were raised there, and merchants and shipping agents were advised to reduce unnecessary Sunday labour on a voluntary basis.[35] The real question was not tackled.  

It was an article published in the October issue of the London Telegraph that first suggested the Queen could make a gift to Hong Kong on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Colony (1841-1891).[36] And the gift could be the Sunday legislation. The idea seemed to catch the fancy of British officers and things started to move in favour of a Sunday legislation. In Hong Kong, Bishop Burdon gave his own push in his sermon for the celebration of the Colony's jubilee on January 21, 1891. He concentrated mainly on the issue of Sunday rest, advocating it as part of British civilization and exhorting that Sunday rest would show the spiritual side of the British who could care "for something else beside buying and selling."  The sermon received echoes of appreciation in the press.[37]  Another trivial, yet perhaps decisive, factor that hastened the legislation was that Des Voeux was to finish his term of governorship in May 1891.  He might want to leave his signature on the gift of the Queen to Hong Kong.



Sunday legislation

On May 6, 1891, the Sunday Cargo-working Ordinance was passed in the Legislative Council after it was first read one week earlier.[38] The ordinance stipulated that


“no cargo shall be received on board, loaded, worked or discharged from any vessel, within the waters of this Colony on Sunday, unless a 'permit' from the Harbour Master has been first obtained.  "…The penalty will be a fine of "not over $1,000 or in default of payment to imprisonment for any period not exceeding one month. "


One week before the ordinance was to be in force on August 1, 1891, final efforts from Hong Kong were made to London by people against as well as for Sunday rest. The Chamber of Commerce representing the interests of employers presented a petition with 247 signatures against the ordinance requesting that the ordinance be disallowed or repealed. Another petition carrying 743 signatures was in favour of Sunday rest; among the signatories, 579 claimed to have been deprived of the "birthright of an Englishman to Sunday rest.” [39]


The ordinance was not repealed. And ten months later, 20 permits for ships to discharge cargo on Sunday were issued. The permits were obtained by paying a charge ranging from $75 for ships under registered tonnage of 200 and $200 for the tonnage of 2,000 and over.[40] The permit soon became a loophole for working on Sundays as the rapid increase of fee collected for permits showed.  For 1891, the fee collected was $5,000.  In the years 1892 and 1893, it became $7,900 and $13,000, almost ten percent of the Government revenue under the item of various fees.[41]  Shipping companies were quick to propose a loose definition of the term "Sunday" to include only from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and some others proposed the exemption of mail steamers and vessels discharging coal for the ship's own consumption from the fee or a reduction of it.  To make the situation more acceptable, the Sunday Cargo Working Ordinance was amended in 1893 to allow all transit mail steamers to discharge and take in cargo without incurring the fees imposed under the Ordinance.[42]


From the fact that work continued incessantly in the harbour on Sundays despite the fee for the permits, it shows that the effect of the Ordinance to disallow Sunday work was minimal.  Apparently, the only winner of the issue on Sunday rest was the Government who appeared to be civilized enough to promulgate an ordinance on Sunday rest as well as get the extra income from issuing permits.





The Sunday labour or the prohibition of it was like a chronic illness that demanded attention from time to time in the nineteenth century Hong Kong.  It became the topic of prolonged discussion for editorials and letters to the editor at least once every decade.[43]  The Sunday rest, a practice with Western religious connotation, has been closely linked with social structure, economic interest and traditional custom. 

In the nineteenth century Hong Kong, however, Sunday was like any other weekday for the majority of the inhabitants who were Chinese. They used lunar calendars and celebrated the new moon and full moon with big meals saving a long holiday of about fifteen days in the beginning of the Lunar New Year. These traditional monthly and annual feast-days did not fit well with the Sunday rest system.  The long holidays  during the Lunar New Year specially annoyed Westerners who needed the services of Chinese. Their tumultuous public manifestations during these feast days were merely tolerated so far as they were kept within their own residential areas. 

But for the small group of Europeans, Sunday was a day of rest and worship by tradition, and this tradition was meant to be kept to make Hong Kong a European city for their convenience.  They were entitled to do so because according to the mentality of those times, Hong Kong was after all a British Colony.  Western missionaries and devout Christians were specially interested in promoting Sunday rest and in lobbying the government to pass laws forbidding Sunday labour. What they desired was a favourable environment for Christian Westerners to keep their religious observance as well as to share  the Christian faith with the Chinese in observing the Sunday as a holy day.


Yet initially the social structure was not ready for a Sunday rest by legislation. To compete with other Chinese coastal ports, the mail arriving at Hong Kong on Saturday or Sunday required immediate attention and goods on ships needed quick unloading and loading.  So, at first the discussion on Sunday rest was focused on Sunday observance for Christians and on asking the "Christian government" to provide necessary arrangement for the compliance of such duty.[44]  Finally, in 1891, the government responded positively to the demand of the British mercantile marine officers who formed a strong moral pressure in realizing their right of a Sunday rest. An ordinance was passed, but the Sunday rest was not guaranteed or observed.


In the process of debating the issue, Chinese inhabitants were often mentioned.  They were presented either as low-pay labourers who could not afford to rest on Sundays,[45] or regarded as unable to work diligently if they were not forced to work every day.[46] This kind of argument must have been intended to ridicule the over-zealous Christians campaigning for Sunday rest rather than to insult the intelligence of the Chinese. The Chinese then were not in the position to speak for themselves, because all the while during the discussion on Sunday rest, the Chinese were de facto discriminated against by regulation which required them to carry a pass when they stayed out-doors in the city from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.[47] This night pass regulation which was in force from 1843 was cancelled only in 1897,[48] six years after the passing of the Sunday Cargo-working Ordinance.


APPENDICES – Newspaper clippings

Appendix I: Letter to the editor, Friend of China, 4 May, 1844.

Dear Sir, You are aware that the Government employ a Chaplain, for the purpose of enforcing commands of the Bible, and for this purpose two services are held by him at Hongkong every Sabbath.  This is well; but, as if to counteract the too zealous teaching of the said Chaplain, the same Government have had employed, for the last few Sabbaths, in digging on Lord Saltoun's hill, about two hundred China Coolies, in full view of the place where the Chaplain preaches, and so near, that their noise and bustle can be distinctly heard by the audience in attendance upon the said religious services.  Would it not be well for the Chaplain, some of these days, to explain, from his pulpit, that part of the good book which says, that people must not only not work themselves on the Sabbath, but positively forbids them also from employing ANY OTHER persons to carry on their work on that day?  A long time ago I recollect reading something on this subject in the 20th Chap. of Exodus, and 10th verse.  But, perhaps, the doctrine is in some other verse and chapter.  Likely, however, you may have in your possession some good reasons for the above Government plan, or know better than I do how to reconcile the inconsistency.

Yours, &c. ,



Appendix II: Letter to the editor, China Mail, 25 Oct, 1856.

Sir, it is to be hoped that your correspondent "An Englishman" has not the ear of Sir John Bowring, for it would be very much to be regretted should the spirit of the Sabbatarianism, which is so mischievous at home, be introduced here.  To compel the Chinese, who recognise no Divine command for the observance of that day, to suspend their usual avocations, would be not only impolitic, but unjust, and would add another to the already sufficient causes of complaint which they have against the government of this Colony, and tend to promote emigration from rather than towards this island.  Government and private works are all carried on by Chinamen, under Chinese superintendence, and the contracts are always taken by Chinese; and I am of opinion that we should make Christians of them before we enforce on them the observance of Christian holydays.


With considerable inconsistency, your correspondent suggests that Englishmen and Christians should do business on Sunday in order that sailors may get good tipple instead of bad.  Whilst he would make the pagan peripatetic vendor from whom a good many of the Chinese obtain their food, observe the Sabbath strictly.


Hoping, Sir, that you will oppose in your columns and tendency to such tyrannical and uncalled for legislation as that your correspondent proposes, I remain, yours obediently,



P. S.  - Of course I am as much opposed as "An Englishman" to the convicts being made to work on Sunday, for I think it as wrong for a Christian to compel needless labour on the Sunday as to force pagans to cease their labours on that day.


(Notes by the editor) Justitia, we think, has misunderstood "An Englishman”’s object-which was, he says, merely to prevent the noisy and disagreeable bawling of their wares by hawkers on Sunday mornings in the European part of the town - if any part may be called so; - he did not advocate the stoppage of building work, - that had already been done by the Governor; and as for the "inconsistency" of which he is accused - eating and drinking are, he adds, "works of necessity" and the opening, during certain hours of the day, of respectable and well-conducted refreshment-houses for seamen, would on the part of Government be a "work of mercy" calculated to prevent scenes of drunkenness in the public thoroughfares, and indeed to lead to a better general observance of Sabbath.


Appendix III: Editorial, Daily Press, 14 October 1867.


The great Sunday question, cropped up recently at the Police Court, when Mr Whyte contended that no arrest can legally be made on Sunday in Hongkong.


On this point it may be best to say nothing, while the fate of the prisoners in the case we refer to, which is remanded, is still pending.  The Attorney-General is to be consulted about the meaning of the ordinance under which they are charged, and if they are convicted after all, they will have the consolation of knowing that their punishment is strictly en regle.  Meanwhile, they may hope, amongst other aspirations, that the reverence of old English lawgivers for Sunday, may do them good service, even out here, in this un-Sabbatarian colony, and that they may thus escape from custody before it becomes the duty of the magistrate to decided what retribution is deserved by people guilty of the frightful sin in which it is alleged that they had been detected - gambling in an unlicensed house.  In reference, however, to the characteristics of the Hongkong Sunday, to which attention is thus called, most English people here must have been conscious of conflicting emotions.  There are Sundays of many different kinds in different parts of the world.  The English Sunday, which has been at one period of our history a day of the most unrestrained and joyous merrymaking, with a "Book of Sports" under Royal patronage to suggest amusements to the country people and laughing crowds on a thousand village greens; which at another time has been a gloomy interval of rampant fanaticism between the recurring weeks, has become a compromise to a great extent, but is still a battle-ground between Sabbatarianism, and the irrepressible desire of hard-worked men and women for the excitement of pleasure, on the one day of rest from labour.  The predominant religious impulses of the English people give the day a holy colouring, and there need be no fear that in our country, at any time, the Sunday pleasure seekers, however, completely emancipated from existing restrictions they may be, will ever swamp the worshippers and dethrone the church from its preeminence on Sunday.  One by one those restrictions will be broken down, and religion will perhaps be the chief gainer, when Sabbatarianism is altogether beaten out of the field.  On the continent of Europe there are many varieties of Sunday, and the orthodox British tourist sees much to horrify him, though it is often so difficult to distinguish his horror of the way in which "foreigners" desecrate the Sabbath" by their amusements, from his still greater horror of the "Popery" which is infused into their proceedings when they keep it holy.  The Scotch Sunday, perhaps one of the most unmitigated evils at present remaining in this world, is quite sui generis meanwhile, but the Hongkong Sunday is after all the oddest thing in Sunday's we have ever met… .


[1] It was calculated in November 1997 that the total salary of Hong Kong employees for one day amounts to 700 million dollars.  See Ming Pao Daily,Hong Kong. (November 19, 1997).

[2] See Montreal Gazette (November 19, 1994); Winnipeg Free Press (April 3, 1993; August 5, 1993); Financial Post Daily (July 22, 1993).  See also A. H. Lewis, Critical History Of Sunday Legislation From 321 To 1888 A. D. (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1888; Reprint, William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1997).

[3] In 1875, all Sundays with five more days were prescribed as public holidays.  In 1912, the law was amended to include all Sundays and 12 other days as holidays.  The number of days further increased to 16 days apart from Sundays.  At present, the public holidays include all Sundays and 17 other days.  See Hong Kong Ordinance, No. 6 of 1875, No. 5 of 1912, No. 1 of 1947 and No. 9 of 1950. 

[4] Friend of China (April 24, 1844).

[5] Friend of China (May 4, 1844).  Please also refer to Appendix I.

[6] Friend of China (June 15, 1844).

[7] Norton-Kyshe, The History of the Laws and Courts of Hong Kong, reissued in 1971, (Hong Kong Vetch and Lee, 1898), Vol. 1, p. 53.

[8] Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol. 11, p. 105.

[9] Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol. 1, p. 407.

[10] China Mail (October 25, 1856).

[11] J. C. Whyte, graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1847, appointed second police magistrate in 1862, acting judge of the court of summary jurisdiction in 1863, 1866, 1869, and a provisional member of the legislative council in 1866, died in 1871.  See Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol. 11, p. 39, 51, 81, 172, 174, 177.

[12] Daily Press (October 14, 1867).  Please also refer to Appendix III.

[13] China Mail (January 23, 1867).

[14] Hong Kong Mercury (June 14, 1866).

[15] Daily Press (October 14, 1867).

[16] China Mail (May 1, 1879).  See also Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol. 11, p. 284.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol. 11, pp. 511-512.

[19] China Mail (May 2, 1879).

[20] China Mail (May 1, 1879).

[21] Historical and statistical abstract of the Colony of Hong Kong, 1841-1930 (Hong Kong: Noronha & Co., 1932).

[22] China Mail (June 18, 1888).

[23] The petition to the governor (November 9, 1888).  Great Britain, Colonial Office, Original Correspondence: Hong Kong, 1841-1951, Series 129 (hereafter CO 129) /250 p. 149.

[24] China Mail (April 18, 1889).

[25] According to the 1964 edition of the Hong Kong Law Book, the Sunday Cargo Working Ordinance was still valid, although with some amendments made in 1829, 1934 and 1939.

[26] Times (London) (July 25, 1890).

[27] Annual Report of the British Mercantile Marine Officers' Association, 1890.  CO 129/250 p. 169.

[28] Daily Press (October 18, 1890).  Also see Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol 11, p. 423.

[29] China Mail (November 19, 1890).

[30] Dawson (secretary of the Missions to Seamen) to Lord Knutsford (Secretary of State for the Colonies) (September 8, 1890).  CO 129/1248, p. 785.

[31] F. Henderson (General Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong) to W.M. Deane (acting Colonial Secretary) (December 15, 1890).  CO 129/250, pp. 176-178.

[32] Machintosh (Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce) to S. Ashton (President of the British Mercantile Marine Officers' Association) (October 31, 1890).  CO 129/250 p. 156.

[33] Memorandum by J.J. Keswick (April 1, 1891).  CO 129/250 pp. 180-182.  Also see Daily Press (October 18, 1890).

[34] See Daily Press (October 21, 22, 23, 28, 1890).  China Mail (October 18; November 18, 20, 1890).  Hong Kong Telegraph (November 18, 21, 1890).

[35] Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol 11, p. 420.

[36] Telegraph (London) (October 1890).

[37] Daily Press (January 29, 1891).

[38] Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol 11, p. 433.

[39] Daily Press (August 1, 1891).

[40] See Hong Kong Blue Book, 1892.

[41] See Hong Kong Blue Book, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895.

[42] Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. , Vol 11, p. 455.

[43] The newspapers are the Friend of China (1842-1859), the China Mail (from 1845), the Daily Press (from 1857), the Hong Kong Mercury (1866) and the Hong Kong Times (1873, 1876).

[44] China Mail (May 1, 1879).

[45] Friend of China (May 1 and 2, 1844).

[46] Daily Press (October 14, 1867).

[47] Norton-Kyshe, op. cit. Vol. 2, p. 474.

[48] An Ordinance to amend the Regulation of Chinese Ordinance was passed in 1897.  See the Hong Kong Government Gazette (May 8, 1897).