[Two letter ledgers of P&O Company's Hong Kong superintendents.]
Two quarto binders with index leaves; first vol. with 71 numbered letters (most multi-page); second with 229 inserted sheets, numbered in blue wax pencil. Some wear.
A pair of agents' ledgers containing copies of the correspondence to and from the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's superindendents in Hong Kong, each with manuscript indexes at the beginning, detailing the day to day activities of the agents, with the arrivals and departures of the company's ship, with accounts of the cargos, passengers and profits. The first volume contains the correspondence of William Macaulay (d.1879), who later became managing director of the company. The second relates to Henry Hope Joseph (c.1849-1931). He also records memos about a surcharge for £125 'Around the World' ticket holders should they wish to visit the Chicago World War via the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a letter of complaint from Bombay Yarn and Opium importers about their bales being damaged by sea water. However within these three months Joseph had to deal with two serious incidents: the shipwreck of SS Bokhara and the collision between SS Ravenna and the Japanese naval cruiser Chisima. The Bokhara was driven onto a reef off Sand Island (Pescadores Islands) by a typhoon on 10th October. 125 drowned and 23 saved, of whom only two were passengers, members of the Hong Kong cricket team returning from a match against Shanghai. The documents attached translations of coded telegrams (Bokhara is referred to as 'Baclulite'), newspaper clippings, copies of letters to the Directors in London, accounts of salvage and the burial of the dead. The collision of SS Ravenna and Chishima occurred at 30 November 1892, when the cruiser cut across the mail steamer's path: the Ravenna hit Chishima amidships, cutting it in two. The warship sank with the loss of her captain and 74 crew, with the Ravenna taking only minor damage on her bow. The ledger contains three original photographs of the damage, taken in dry dock, with a damage report, first-hand accounts, and discussion of the forthcoming Naval Court of Inquiry at Yokohama. Although the letters show the intention of P&O to demand damages from Japan, the company ended up paying £10,000 compensation (covering the cost of the Chishima but nothing for the crew). Japan established 'Maritime Anti-Collision Regulations' in the wake of the incident. Henry Hope Joseph was appointed a joint General Manager of P&O in 1899. A unique compilation of trading links in and out of Hong Kong by P & O including list of cargoes, incidents, problems with staff etc. Must be viewed! Index of contents at front.
[Ref: 35793] £4,600.00