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AN ACCOUNT OF ITS ORIGIN
PERCY HORACE KENT
(All rights reserved)
A. V M.
The following pages represent an atteinpt to record the cir
cumstances of the origin and growth of railway enterprise in China, and to describe the present state of its development. They aim at providing a succinct and unbiassed account of an important aspect of what is known as the Far Eastern question.
The arrangement is not strictly chronological, but rather chronological subject to geographical and historical conditions. The subject, however, demands this treatment, which I venture to believe will be found both logical and convenient.
The Appendices contain copies of the more important railway contracts and other documents, which it is hoped may give the work a value for reference purposes.
A question of some difficulty has been the romanisation of the names of places. At the present time the recognised system is that of Sir Thomas Wade, and a tendency has lately manifested itself to recast the names of places the spelling of which has been long settled by custom. The soundness of this latter proceeding, however, may be doubted, and on the whole it seems desirable to accept such spellings as have been settled by usage, and in other cases to base the romanisation of Chinese characters on the system already alluded to. The spelling adopted by the Imperial Maritime Customs in their returns seems to be based on this principle ; accordingly, it has as far as possible been followed.
In regard to the maps, it should be remarked that no line is shown the construction of which has not been sanctioned by the Chinese Government, although references will be found in the text to schemes which have been more or less seriously discussed. This course has been pursued in order that the maps may accurately represent the present position; the illustration of the somewhat nebulous schemes of the future may safely be left to future editions.