In 1897 a railway was opened between Tientsin and Peking.
In China he made extensive surveys which, however, were interrupted by the Boxer outbreak; and he, together with his wife, were among those besieged at Tientsin.
By the treaty of Tientsin (1860) Taichu was opened to European commerce, but the place was found quite unsuitable for a port of trade, and the harbour of Tam-sui was selected instead.
After having been vice-consul at Shanghai and acting consul in 1900 at Tientsin, he entered the Foreign Office in 1902 in a subordinate capacity and rose by 1910 to be director of the Political Section.
There are four rivers of some importance in the province: the Pei-ho, with the Hun-ho, which rises in the mountains in Mongolia and, flowing to the west of Peking, forms a junction with the Pei-ho at Tientsin; the Shang-si-ho, which rises in the mountains on the north of the province of Shan-si, and takes a south-easterly course as far as the neighbourhood of Ki Chow, from which point it trends north-east and eventually joines the Hun-ho some 15 m.