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Miscellaneous correspondence, 1830-1939

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS JM/K60

Scope and Contents

Originals, copies and extracts of letters, notices and other correspondence of Jardine, Matheson & Co. and other correspondents, with a few related papers:

1. A manuscript translation of a notification from the Hong merchants to Jardine, Matheson & Co., Dent & Co. and others, 18 March 1830, 'concerning debts that may hereafter be contracted'.

2. A typescript notice addressed to Magniac & Co., dated Glasgow, 22 December 1831, announcing the death that morning of Mr Mathieson, recorded on the reverse as received on 4 July 1832.

3. An undated typescript extract made by Gerald J. Yorke from a letter from Jardine, Matheson & Co. to [John] Macvicar, 14 November 1832, regarding the bills drawn or circulated by the company.

4. An unsigned, annotated letter to James Innes, in James Matheson's hand, dated November 1832, containing instructions for his voyage along the coast to sell opium, and a second, undated note written in pencil in William Jardine's hand.

5. A typescript copy of an extract from the 'Canton Register' of an address by the Commanders and Officers of the Honourable East India Company Service to William Jardine, Canton, November 1833, signed by John Hine, Robert Scott and W.R. Blakely, Members composing the Committee of Management in China.

6. An undated typescript copy of an extract from an unsigned letter from Canton to John Purvis, 8 March 1837, regarding Purvis's plan of establishing himself at Canton.

7. An undated typescript copy of an extract from an unsigned letter from Canton to B.C. Wilcocks, Philadelphia, 8 March 1837, regarding Jardine, Matheson & Co.

8. A manuscript copy of a letter from Yen of the Hingate Hong, Canton, describing his business career and current financial problems, and the role Mr Jardine could play in helping him, dated Canton, 19 April 1837.

9. An English manuscript translation of a letter from the Hong Merchants to James Innes, 17 November 1838, 'respecting his shop in China Street'.

10. An undated typescript copy of a letter from George Chinnery to James Matheson, 1 December 1838, regarding Chinnery's sketch books.

11. A copy of an unsigned manuscript letter from Macao, 21 June 1839, regarding a claim for indemnity in relation to opium, involving Magniac, Smith & Co.

12. A blank pro-forma addressed to R.C. Jenkins & Co., Agents of the New Oriental Life Insurance Co., requesting the grant of a life policy, 183[ ].

13. A draft unaddressed and unsigned letter regarding opium, c. 1830s.

14. An empty envelope addressed to Jardine, Matheson & Co., c. 1830s, with the following note on the reverse: 'Please Kindly let me Know will there be any ship that will leave this for Madras in a month or two from your care and oblige. Yours Somjee Visram'.

15. A manuscript copy of a letter from a group of British merchants at London to Viscount Palmerston, Foreign Office, 12 April 1841, expressing their objection to the government ratifying the treaty entered into by H.M. Plenipotentiary in China, followed by the minute of a Conference of 21 April 1841 between a deputation from the East India and China Association and other merchants with Lord Palmerston at the Foreign Office, signed by J. Jejeebhoy.

16. A short manuscript letter from Alexander George Fraser, Lord Saltoun, Hong Kong, to William Lister, Macao, 3 June 1842, thanking him for his letter.

17. A manuscript notice from Jardine, Skinner & Co., Calcutta, 25 March 1844, announcing that they have authorised John Johnstone to sign for the firm per procuration from this date.

18. A manuscript copy of a letter from Frederick W.A. Bruce, Colonial Secretary, Victoria, Hong Kong, to Alexander Matheson and Crawford Kerr, 8 August 1844, informing them that H.M. Government will contribute towards the expense of building a new church, and enclosing a letter from Bruce to the Revd V. Stanton and A. Anderson, 8 July 1844, regarding the same subject.

19. A manuscript copy of a letter from Eugenio de Otadui to Mr Smith regarding matters associated with the dissolution of Otadui & Co., undated (c. 1844). There is a short note below the letter discussing its contents.

20. A manuscript copy of a letter from Alexander Matheson, Hong Kong, to George Chinnery, 5 April 1845.

21. A pro-forma addressed to Arbuthnot & Co., Madras, 1846, recognising the statement of account received in relation to the closure of the author's account.

22. A pro-forma addressed to Remington, Crawford & Co., Bombay, c. 1846, recognising the account current received in relation to the author's account.

23. A manuscript letter from David Jardine, Calcutta, to David Jardine, China, 28 November 1849, regarding various matters.

24. A manuscript copy of an unsigned and undated letter to Howqua and other members of the Cohong accusing the Cohong of imposing a bond on foreigners in transgression of the orders of the Emperor, followed by a reply from ten Hong merchants defending their actions, dated 6th Moon, 28th day [mid-19th century].

25. A rough manuscript copy of a note informing the recipient of the consignment of a cargo to their care, undated [mid-19th century]. The note is undated and unsigned, but the author indicates that letters can be addressed to him at Alsop & Co.

26. A manuscript copy of a notice stating that the co-partnership under the firm of W. Scott & Co. was dissolved by mutual consent by W.S. (written in pencil) and Adam Scott, dated Hong Kong, August 1852. An undated notice in pencil below records that Adam Scott's interest and responsibility in the firm ceased on 27 March.

27. A manuscript letter from H.J. Tarrant, Hong Kong, to T. Hunt of Messrs Smith & Brimelows, Victoria, Hong Kong, 11 January 1854, enclosing two accounts. Only one of the accounts is included - a duplicate of an account for the preparation and registration of a bill of sale for the transfer of the 'Troubadour' from Murrow & Stephenson to Thomas Hunt, dated Hong Kong, 4 October 1853. There is also a undated manuscript draft of a document by H.J. Tarrant retaining a barrister or attorney of Victoria (name to be completed) for enforcing the settlement of all his claims and demands in Hong Kong, undated, and a manuscript letter from W.H. Moore, Whampoa, to Thomas Hunt & Co., 10 January 1854, instructing the company to pay J.C. Cowper fifty two dollars and thirty four cents (Tarrant's letter also refers to Captain Moore).

28. An envelope of Matheson & Co. Ltd labelled 'Re Daniel Magniac' containing 1) a manuscript letter from Hollingworth Magniac, London, to David Jardine, Hong Kong, 2 September 1854, enclosing a manuscript extract of a letter from the late William Jardine, Canton, to Magniac, 10 January 1828, and 2) a manuscript letter from Hollingworth Magniac, London, to David Jardine, Hong Kong, 29 September 1854, with its envelope.

29. A manuscript letter from Hollingworth Magniac, London, to David Jardine, Hong Kong, 2 September 1854 (different to that in no. 28), including the envelope addressed to David Jardine, Hong Kong. Both items are in a second envelope addressed to David Jardine at Hong Kong.

30. A printed circular letter from Jardine, Matheson & Co., Hong Kong, 9 May 1855, reporting on its business.

31. An unsigned manuscript copy of a letter from [Jardine, Matheson & Co.], Hong Kong, to A.W. Macpherson, San Francisco, 4 July 1856, regarding his outstanding debt to Falkner, Bell & Co.

32. A letter from E.M. de Busche, Hong Kong, to Augustine Heard & Co., Hong Kong, 10 January 1857, stating his desired method for the payment of promissory notes drawn by the company's Shanghai firm in his favour for the sum of £6,000.

33. A printed copy of a letter from C.L. Peel, Secretary, Red Sea and India Telegraph Co. Ltd, London, to the Secretary to the Government at Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, 15 January 1859, regarding the company's steps to promote the establishment of telegraphic communications between England and the Australian colonies.

34. A typescript copy of an unsigned letter from Old Canton to the Editor of the 'Hongkong Register', 27 January 1859, criticising the Review of the Year of the 'North China Herald'.

35. A manuscript extract from a letter from Mr Kinnear, Yokohama, to Mr Hamilton, 31 January 1860, regarding Mr Keswick.

36. A letter from William Keswick, Kanagawa, to Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong, 14 May 1860, regarding pay for Chinese workers and the movement of cargo, including problems in relation to the latter. There is also a typescript copy of the letter.

37. Printed copies of letters from John Fitzpatrick to the Editors of the 'China Mail' and 'Daily Press', Hong Kong, 25 July 1862, regarding his dispute with 'Count Scala'.

38. A short manuscript letter from W.C. Hunt, Hong Kong, to H.C. Endicott, Hong Kong, 31 January 1863, regarding a remittance, and a short undated note from Hunt to Endicott.

39. A manuscript letter from Thomas Hunt & Co., Hong Kong, to Thomas Hunt & Co., Shanghai, 26 November 1863, regarding wages and contract matters, enclosing a short account.

40. A typescript letter from Edward Vincent [to Jardine, Matheson & Co.], 18 April 1865, promising to write to them in length in due course.

41. A blank pro-forma typescript letter addressed to Harrison, Young and Scrymgeour, Trustees of the Estate of J.M. Purvis, Singapore, giving assent to the indenture of assignment of 4 July 1865 made by Mr Purvis in favour of his creditors.

42. A printed copy of a letter from Fred H. Trouton, Manager, Australasian Steam Navigation Co., Sydney, to J. Shoobert, Secretary and Agent, Bulli Coat Mining Co, 10 December 1866, expressing his satisfaction with the company's coal and accepting its tender to supply his fleet.

43. A manuscript receipt of A. Magniac for gunpowder, 8 February 1867, in Chinese and English.

44. A printed copy of a letter from F.A. Willson, Sydney, to (blank) Foundry, San Francisco (address not completed), June 1867, regarding the quality of Bellambi and Bulli coal. The letter includes a copy of F.H. Trouton's letter to J. Shoobert, 10 December 1866, described above.

45. A printed copy of an unaddressed letter from Daniel Patridge, 'Berwick Walls', Shanghai, 23 October 1867, regarding the scale allowance of the 'Berwick Walls'.

46. A printed notice of the death that day of Robert Henderson, dated Towerville, Helensburgh, 19 May 1868.

47. Two printed copies of a 'Memorandum on which is based the Chop, proposed to be issued to Teamen and others', followed by a covering letter from A.R. Hewlett, Foochow, to George Dent, 18 November 1868, describing the memorandum, prepared for Dent in 'protest against the general carelessness in preparing and packing the Tea brought to this market, and particularly against certain fraudulent and pernicious practices, whereby the trade is brought into disrepute, and threatened with permanent injury'.

48. A sheet containing a printed letter from Geo. J.W. Cowie, Secretary, Shanghai Dock Co., Shanghai, to S.J. Gower, 13 August 1869, and a copy of a letter from S.C. Farnham & Co. to Cowie, 6 August 1869, offering Tls. 9,000 for the purchase of the New Dock Property, an enclosure to Cowie's letter to Gower.

49. Undated manuscript extracts from letters from Edward Whittall to James Whittall, probably from the 1860s or 1870s.

50. A manuscript letter from Alexander Michie, Shanghai General Chamber of Commerce, Shanghai, to Hugh M. Matheson, Chairman of the Committee of London Merchants, London, 16 June 1870, regarding the committee. A manuscript note records that Michie was a member of Jardine, Matheson & Co.

51. The last page only of a manuscript letter from Alexander Michie, undated (mid-to-late nineteenth century).

52. A printed circular letter from J. Macandrew, London, to the importers and exporters of merchandise trading with India, the Straits, China and Japan, 20 January 1872, regarding the revision of the bills of lading used by steam vessels trading to Eastern Ports via the Suez Canal.

53. A printed letter from William Hargreaves, London, to G.B. Dixwell, Hong Kong, 5 March 1872, defending himself in the light of the recent criminal proceedings against him. A modern covering note reads 'Circular from Wm Hargraves re insolvency'.

54. A sheet containing a printed copy of a letter from R. Knight, Assistant Secretary to the Government of Bengal, to Jardine, Skinner & Co., Calcutta, September 1873, enquiring about the production of Indian jute in China, followed by two enclosures drawn from the papers of an inquiry into Indian fibrous products in 1804: an extract from a Public General letter from the Court of Directors to the Governor-General in Council, 29 February 1804, and a letter from W. Roxburgh, Botanical Superintendent, to J. Shore, Secretary to the Marine Board, 21 August 1804.

55. A letter from Dan Storkes, no place, to Hugh Matheson, 3 December 1873, regarding Storkes' interview with Mr Patterson.

56. A press cutting of a notice from Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong, 3 April 1875, requesting consignees of cargo by S.S. 'Thales' from Calcutta, Penang and Singapore to send in their bills of lading for countersignature and to take delivery of their cargoes. The cutting is affixed to a pro-forma note by B.E. Emanuel, Shipping Reporter, 'Hong Kong Times' Office requesting payment for paper.

57. A manuscript notice by Ko Achee of 33 Wellington Street, Hong Kong, 23 April 1876, announcing his imminent departure from Hong Kong for Bombay and requesting the submission of any demands upon him and the payment of debts owed to him on or before 1 May.

58. Short extracts from two typescript letters from John Bell-Irving, Shanghai, to William Keswick, Hong Kong, 18 November 1876 and 23 November 1876, regarding a Chinese railway.

59. An unaddressed typescript covering letter from Henry S. King & Co., London, 24 July 1880, for a statement of their account to the end of the past half-year (not included).

60. A manuscript letter from Yamaon Yose (?), Tokio, to Mr Matheson, 22 October 1881, informing him of his promotion to Executive Councillor, having been Minister of Public Works previously.

61. A manuscript letter from Julian Pauncefote, Foreign Office, to Mr Matheson, 5 October 1882, regarding his application on behalf of Mr Shida.

62. A manuscript copy of a letter from Schneider & Co., Paris, to Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong, 6 January 1886, outlining the arrangements for cooperation between the two companies, preceded by a short letter from Sociètè Anoyme to Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong, 7 January 1886, expressing its agreement to these arrangements.

63. A manuscript letter from the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, Yokohama, to William Aitchison, 15 June 1887, and a copy of a manuscript letter from William Aitchison, Yokohama, to Mr Easton, 15 June 1887, regarding property records relating to Bluff Lot No. 155.

64. A tissue paper copy of a manuscript letter from William Aitchison, Yokohama, to the Scottish Life Assurance Company, Edinburgh, 28 May 1888, regarding his life policy.

65. A manuscript letter from Mr Jauncey recommending the bearer for employment, no place, 12 August 1891.

66. A manuscript letter from Jardine Matheson, [Shanghai], to Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong, 21 September 1891, regarding a payment due to the Mei Wu Foo.

67. A typescript copy of a letter from William Keswick to J.J. Bell-Irving, Hong Kong, 30 April 1897, regarding Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s New York agency, numbered in pencil no. 140.

68. A typescript copy of a letter from William Keswick to Mr Cameron, 17 October 1899, regarding railway construction in China.

69. A manuscript letter from C.W. Dickson, Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong, to William Keswick, London, 12 June 1902, regarding the sale of Marine Lot No. 102 (Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s old offices) and Shanghai Lot No. 530.

70. A manuscript letter from John Bell-Irving, Lockerbie, to [C.H.] Ross, 31 May 1915, regarding property at Hong Kong.

71. A typescript copy of a letter from F.H. Bugbird, Jardine Matheson, Yokohama, to David Landale, London, 24 June 1916, regarding Russian government bonds.

72. A typescript copy of a letter from F.H. Bugbird, Jardine Matheson, Yokohama, to C.H. Ross, London, 30 June 1916, regarding an unspecified proposal from the Consulate.

73. An extract from a letter from F.H. Bugbird, Jardine Matheson, Yokohama, to C.E. Anton, 28 April 1917, regarding the sale of the steamer 'Robert Dollar'.

74. A typescript copy of a letter from David Landale to H.F. Scudamore, New York, 15 December 1927, regarding December and January maturities.

75. An envelope containing a typescript private and personal letter from W.J. Keswick, New York, to D.G.M. Bernard, 4 April 1932, regarding Jardine, Matheson & Co.'s agreement to be represented by Balfour, Guthrie & Co. Ltd at New York.

76. A manuscript letter from Hugh E.C. Whittall, engineer, Chernex sur Montreux, Switzerland, to James Steuart, London, 27 February 1933, regarding Steuart's enquiry about James Whittall, with biographical notes about the Whittall family added in pencil below.

77. A typescript copy of a letter from G.W. Sheppard to the Editor of 'The Times', 29 December 1939, regarding the problems for British shipping and trade in China.


  • Creation: 1830-1939


Conditions Governing Access

Nos 1 and 8 have been removed due to their bad condition, and are not available to readers.


1 envelope(s) (1 envelope)

Language of Materials



Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Fair to bad condition (mostly fair). The letter from E.M. de Busche, 1857 (no. 32) has significant damage from insects. The correspondence between William Aitchison and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, 1887 (no. 63), and the letter from William Aitchison, 1888 (no. 64), are in a poor condition, including damage by insects.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were found among the uncatalogued documents in the Archive, including among the documents that now constitute Series F. A note records that the two letters from Frederick Bruce, 1844 (no. 18), were given to Matheson & Co. Ltd by the Baker Library, Harvard University, in 1975.


The documents listed below were transferred from the previously-uncatalogued material that now constitutes Series F. Some of them were numbered in a rough listing of these papers which pre-dates the cataloguing projects that began in 2007. A copy of this listing is kept in a green folder in the box of miscellaneous lists and notes regarding the Archive which is stored in the Special Collections Office on the Fourth Floor of the Manuscripts Department.

The following numbered letters are described in the original listing:

No. 1, notification from the Hong merchants, 1830 (no. 886 in original listing); no. 4, letter from James Matheson, 1832 (no. 1033); no. 17, notice from Jardine, Skinner & Co., 1844 (no. 733); no. 19, letter from Eugenio de Otadui, c. 1844 (no. 727); no. 24, correspondence with the Co-hong, mid-19th century (no. 684); no. 26, notice re W. Scott & Co., 1852 (no. 1113); no. 27, letter and papers of H.J. Tarrant, 1854 (no. 1110); no. 32, letter from E.M. Busche, 1857 (no. 975); no. 38, letter and note from W.C. Hunt, 1863 (no. 997); no. 57, notice by Ko Achee, 1876 (no. 185); and no. 65, letter from Mr Jauncey, 1891 (No. 744).

The following documents also originated from the papers that became Series F:

No. 8, letter from Yen of the Hingate Hong, 1837 (originally Box 12, Bundle 7, No. 37); no. 9, letter from the Hong Merchants, 1838 (Box 12, Bundle 7, No. 14); no. 15, letter from British merchants, 1841 (Box 11, Bundle 4, No. 28); no. 39, letter from Thomas Hunt & Co., 1863 (Box 13, Bundle 6, No. 5); no. 63, correspondence between William Aitchison and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, 1887 (Box 12, Bundle 4, No. 14); and no. 64, letter from William Aitchison, 1888 (Box 10, Bundle 3, No. 15).

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom