Hong Kong: 1873. Ephemera. A three page manuscript letter dated March 12, 1873 from 'Charles' in Hong Kong to his sister 'Anna' in the United States. The letter was sent via San Francisco and the SS Colorado. Charles seems to be a young bachelor making his way in the Orient, and he paints a detailed picture of daily events from a Westerners perspective, but no real indication of why he is there.
Charles and Anna were avid letter writers, this one "No. 6" for the year. He refers to Anna's letters of Dec. 29, Jan. 5, 19 that were just received. He talks of his lack of a Christmas and that most people who live in Hong Kong celebrate by getting "boozy", a sport he did not relish. He "would give more for 1 pound of good tobacco than 1 barrel of the best liquor."
"For a young man who has not much determination, this is the worse (sic) place in the world. There is nothing for him to do but play billiards & drink..."
He responds to Anna's questions about paper suits, which were made in Japan, a Joss house and the custom to accept an offer of tea, 'you will have one of these little cups 7 saucers handed to you...', that he will send the 'Ivory letters to you for Miss Harrington,' and refers to Anna's husband George, other family, and an acquaintance Wiliam Blanchard, a pilot who lived in Shanghai, as well as the 'great fire'. "The only thing I can say of the great fire is that it is too bad - but it may improve Boston by having different planned building and streets." The Great Boston fire of 1872 was Boston's largest and one of the most costly fire-related property losses is American history. He ends by sending his love to other family members and a request for a letter from George.
The SS Colorado was the largest San Francisco-Panama route liner ever to sail the Pacific. She was originally brig-rigged, but was altered in San Francisco in 1866 to enter the China service. In 1867 the Pacific Mail founded the first regular steamship service across the Pacific Ocean, and the Colorado became the first American liner to carry mail across the Pacific to the Orient, which helped pave the way for a rapid expansion of trade between California and the Orient.
4 page folded letter on watermarked paper "Hodgkinson & Co" with writing on 3 sides, 8 3/8 x 10 1/8" with original fold marks. Very good condition. Item #23348