The Life and Adventures of a
British Pioneer in China
General William Mesny
"WHEN I arrived in Shanghai at the latter end of 1860, the times were stirring. China had a gigantic rebellion on hand, and had only just got clear of a foreign war. Shanghai was then all bustle and activity. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese refugees from the famous cities Soochow and Hangchow were then in Shanghai or the neighbourhood. Several ports on the Yangtze had been opened to trade, but the Taiping rebels were then strongly encamped in the valley of the Yangtze. Foreigners were in demand for convoying silk boats plying between Shanghai and the silk districts which were then occupied by the Taipings, amongst whom it was dangerous for Chinese Imperialists to venture without the protection of a foreigner, under a foreign flag. Large sums of money were sent from Shanghai in these boats. Some of them, however, were attacked and looted by native pirates on their way to the silk districts. This did not deter other foreigners from venturing and arming themselves in a manner calculated to be sufficient to prevent capture by pirates."......William Mesny
This was the China that greeted William Mesny, an 18 year old sailor from the English Channel Islands, when he quit his ship to seek his fortune in this land far from home. An autobiographical account of his amazing life and adventures in China was published in serial form in his weekly newsletter,
Mesny's Chinese Miscellany,
between 1895 and 1905. And herein we offer those stories, and more, for your entertainment and enlightenment.