These so-called official or provincial banks never inspired any great respect among the Chinese. At first, of course, they cut into the business of the regular native and Shansi banks. The native banks were affected because, besides doing Government business, the official banks were allowed to do the regular merchant and trade business. They affected the Shansi banks, because the provincial authorities stopped depositing surpluses with them. They continued, however, to do their business through the native banks. The main endeavour of the official banks was to make both ends of provincial government finance meet. And when that was the object in view, it was useless to expect them to cater for the trade in the usual manner or to use the advantages they had over ordinary banks with a view to obtaining sufficiently large profits. There is no doubt that they did try to make profit, but not in the usual way. These official banks were the greatest offenders in connection with the unrestricted issue of paper money in the latter years of the Manchu regime. For nearly 800 years China had been suffering from periodical influxes of the Government paper. Although even during the reign of Hien Feng in 1853 paper was issued for large amounts, such money was getting out of circulation and was almost being forgotten at the time when the official provincial banks began to make use of paper money. There was never any attempt at redemption or maintenance of reserves, sufficient to meet possible demands for silver. In justice to the regular management of these official banks, it must be stated that the issues of paper money were not made on their own initiative, but mainly on the compulsion of the provincial authorities. They could not very well refuse, except at the risk of the extreme displeasure of the officials; and incurring their displeasure was usually a prelude to closing their business. So the management of these banks chose the lesser of the two evils and began to throw out paper as money. Even up to date it has never been properly understood what proportion of the original profit of the paper issue went to the provincial governments and what proportion to the management of the banks. No proper accounts were kept. The probability was that notes were simply circulated at first without any calculation of the profit to the bankers, and the provincial governments took from these banks whatever silver they could lay hold of. The responsibility for the issue of the notes was also not properly fixed. The banks were provincial Government banks, although, for all practical purposes, no sort of control was exercised over them. When these banks issued notes it was not possible to apportion responsibility for such in a proper manner. The people, of course, took it for granted that this paper money was good enough, although they knew that in the past paper issues had been utterly discredited. A slight explanation is necessary to understand the popularity of these notes when they were first issued. The people were, by this time -In the ports at least - accustomed to the foreign bank-notes; and there was no question of the reliability of these notes or the ability of foreign banks to redeem them in silver. Secondly, the inscriptions on these Chinese notes were ambigious, so much so that that it was thought that they were Government or bank-notes - according to the inclination of, and the interpretation put upon the inscription by, each individual.