China: A Collection of Correspondence and Papers Relating to Chinese Affairs 1857


Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.

1857 .




izd. 12app i.






OCT 919



t7+t 1 licias




No. Page

1. Governor Sir J. Bowring to Sir G. Grey March 9, 1855 1

2. Lieutenant -Governor Caine to Sir G. Grey March 10, 1


Ordinance, dated March 3, 1856 .. 2

3. Mr. Booth to Mr. Merivale .. June 11 , 4



4. Lord J. Russell to Governor Sir J. Bowring June 22 , 5

5. Governor Sir J. Bowring to Lord J. Russell September 4, — 5


1. The Acting Attorney -General to the Colonial Secretary . August 29 , 6

2. Extract relating to the Working of Ordinance No. 4 of 1855 ,

from the Colonial Treasurer's Memorandum on Estimates, . 7

6. Mr. Booth to Mr. Merivale .. November 30, 7

7. Mr. Labouchere to Governor Sir J. Bowring December 12 , 8

8. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon November 22 , 8


1. Acting Vice - Consul Morrison to Sir J. Bowring . November 15, 8



2. Sir J. Bowring to Commissioner Yeh November 21 , 9


9. The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring March 22 , 1856 10


10. Governor Sir J. Bowring to Mr. Labouchere June 5, 10


Ordinance, dated May 29, 1856 .. 11


11. Mr. Farrer to Mr. Merivale.. August 20 , 12



12. Mr. Labouchere to Governor Sir J. Bowring August 27 , 12



Correspondence respecting the Registration of Colonial

Vessels at Hong Kong.

No. 1 .

Governor Sir J. Bowring to Sir G. Grey.

Sir, Hong Kong, March 9, 1855 .

THE Lieutenant-Governor will in the due order of correspondence send

you an Ordinance No. 4 of 1855, for the regulation of registers granted in the

Colony for vessels under the British flag .

The question presents grave difficulties; a vessel no sooner obtains a register

than she escapes Colonial jurisdiction ; carries on her trade within the waters of

China ; engages probably in every sort of fraudulent dealings, and may never

appear again to render any account of her proceedings, or to be made responsible

for her illegal acts.

The Imperial Act which now regulates the conditions upon which registers

are to be granted, affords in these regions no adequate security against the

unlawful use of the British flag, and the object of the Ordinance is, as far as

possible, to provide such local guarantees as appeared compatible with the general

regulation of Parliamentary authority , and are necessitated by the peculiar

condition of public affairs in China.

I take the liberty of forwarding this short explanation on a matter in which

my functions as Superintendent of British Trade in China required special atten

tion to the subject from the Governor and Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

I have, &c .


No. 2.

Lieutenant-Governor Caine to Sir G. Grey.

Sir, Victoria, Hong Kong, March 10, 1855 .

I HAVE the honour to forward the usual number of copies of Ordinance

No. 4 of 1855 , entitled “ An Ordinance to establish a proper system of Regis

tration for Colonial Vessels."

His Excellency Sir John Bowring, who presided over the Legislative

Council while this Ordinance was discussed and passed, has already written a

despatch in explanation.

I have, &c.

( Signed ) W. CAINE .

[ 120 ] B 2



Inclosure in No. 2 .




No. 4 of 1855 .

By his Excellency Sir John Bowring, Knight, LL.D. , Governor and Commander

in -chief of the Colony of Hong Kong and its dependencies, and Vice

Admiral of the same, Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary and Chief Superin

tendent of the Trade of British subjects in China, with the advice of the

Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

Title . An Ordinance to establish a proper system of Registration for Colonial Vessels.

[March 3, 1855. ]

Preamble . WHEREAS many illegal acts have resulted from the improper use of

registers granted at Hong Kong under the provisions of the Imperial Acts to

vessels employed solely in trading with the mainland of China, and it is neces

sary that legal trading should be protected and illegal trading prevented :

No British vessel I. Be it therefore enacted and ordained by his Excellency the Governor of

without either an Hong Kong, with the advice of the Legislative Council thereof, that from and


register to use the

after the passing of this Ordinance no ship or vessel whatsoever owned by a

waters of this British subject, shall be at liberty to trade in any of the harbours of this Colony,

Colony. unless, in the case of an outward trading ship or vessel, she be provided with a

certificate of registry in conformity with the Imperial Acts of Parliament on that

behalf; and in the case of a China trading ship or vessel she has in all respects

complied with the requirements of this Ordinance.

Declarations neces- II. And be it further enacted and ordained, that henceforward when any

sary for obtaining person or persons shall be desirous of obtaining a register for a ship or vessel in


this Colony, it shall be necessary for such person or persons to forward to the

Colonial Secretary a declaration, in writing, stating whether the ship or vessel

for which such register is sought, is intended to be employed solely in trade with

China, or on more distant voyages, and that according to such statement a

register shall be granted to such ship or vessel, either an Imperial register, as

prescribed by the Imperial Acts in that behalf, or a Colonial register, as laid

down in this Ordinance : Provided always, that should such declaration be false,

or the ship or vessel to which it relates not be employed in conformity with it,

the register thereby obtained, whether Imperial or Colonial, shall ipso facto

become null and void.

Documents neces

III. And be it further enacted and ordained, that a Colonial register shall

sary previous to be given under the hand of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or officer

grant of Colonial

register. administering the government of this Colony, on production of the following

documents :

The harbour-master's certificate, as hereinafter provided by section VII .

A declaration of ownership, with proof thereof to the satisfaction of the

Colonial Secretary .

A joint and several bond of the owner, and two sureties binding each and

every of the several obligees under a penal sum of one thousand dollars, to

comply with all the provisions of this Ordinance and with all the laws binding

on British


subjects with regard to trade with China.

Name of Colonial V. nd be it further enacted and ordained , that it shall not be lawful for

registered ship. the owner or owners of any Colonial registered ship or vessel to give her any

name other than that of her registry, and such owner or owners before such

ship or vessel shall after registry take in any cargo or leave this Colony, are

required to paint or cause to be painted in white oryellow letters, not less than

four inches long, her name upon some conspicuous part of her stern, in a distinct

and legible manner, and both in Roman and Chinese characters, and shall so

keep and preserve the same, upon pain on breach of the provisions of this

section, in addition to any other pains, and penalties, and forfeitures, in this

Ordinance contained, to a penalty not exceeding five hundred dollars.


V. And be it further enacted and ordained, that the register of every Production of

register to


Colonial registered ship or vessel shall be produced once at least every six harbour

months to the harbour-master, who shall endorse the date of such production every six months.

on such register, upon pain on failure of such production of the forfeiture of

such register, unless satisfactory cause for such non-production be shown to the

Colonial Secretary .

VI . And be it further enacted and ordained , that it shall be lawful for Chinese Crown

Chinese residents within this Colony to apply for and obtain Colonial registers, hold


entitled to

provided the person or persons applying as owners be registered lessees of registers.

Crown lands within this Colony, and that such owner or owners tender as

securities for the due performance by them of all the requirements of this Ordi

nance two other Crown lessees , and that such owners and such lessees be

severally reported by the Registrar-General to the satisfaction of the Colonial

Secretary to be each worth two thousand dollars in this Colony, and should such

owner or owners be member or members of any shop or partnership that the

seal ofowner

such shop or partnership be also affixed to the security to be given by

such .

VII. And be it further enacted and ordained , that the certificate to be Harbour-master's

granted by the harbour-master do specify the proper measurement of the ship certificate..

or vessel requiring a Colonialregister, and that such ship or vessel has proper

anchors and chains, canvas sails, her bottom sheathed with metal, and that her

master is a British subject or a person conversant with the English language .

VIII . And be it further enacted and ordained, that aa fee of twenty-five dollars Fees payable.

be paid on the granting of the harbour-master's certificate, and that on the issue

of every Colonial register a further fee of twenty - five dollars shall be paid to the

Colonial Secretary, and that these two sums shall include all charges necessary

for the issue of a Colonial register.

IX. And be it further enacted and ordained, that upon any change of Change of. owner

ownership in any Colonial ship or vessel registered under this Ordinance , such or master.

change as aforesaid shall be indorsed upon her register, under the hand of the

Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or officer administering the Government, upon

the paymentof a fee of twenty -five dollars to the Colonial Secretary, the requisite

declaration of ownership and bond hereinbefore in this Ordinance mentioned and

directed being first duly made and executed : Provided always, that any change

of master be indorsed upon the Register by the Colonial Secretary, and that a

fee of five dollars be charged for the said indorsement.

X. And be it further enacted and ordained , that any Colonial register Duration of Colo

granted under this Ordinance shall be in force and effect for one year from the nial register.

date of such register and no longer, and that such register be renewable by

endorsement on the same, under the hand of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor,

or officer administering the Government, on the payment of a fee of ten dollars :

Provided always, that such register be deposited in the ottice of the Colonial

Secretary one week before the expiration of the year for which the register has

been granted, or if the registered ship or vessel be at sea, then on her return to

the waters of the Colony.

XI. And be it further enacted and ordained, that any infringement of the Penalty for viola

provisions of this Ordinance shall render the Colonial register ipso facto void, tion of Ordinance.

and shall render the ship or vessel sailing under such register forfeit to the

Crown, in addition to the penalty of the bonds hereinbefore set forth.

XII. And be it further enacted and ordained , that all fees payable or Application of fees.

penalties imposed under this Ordinance shall be paid into the Colonial Treasury,

and shall be recoverable in a summary manner before any magistrate or Justice

of the Peace .

XIII . And be it further enacted and ordained, that nothing in this Ordi. boats

Registration of

not interfered

nance contained shall be held to annul or interfere with the registration of boats with.

as established under Ordinance No. 7 of 1846.

( Signed ) JOHN BOWRING.

Passed the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, this 3rd day of March, 1855.

(Signed) L. D'ALMADA E Castro ,

Clerk of Councils.


No. 3.

Mr. Booth to Mr. Merivale .

Office of Committee of Privy Council for Trade,

Sir , Whitehall, June 11, 1855.

I AM directed by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade

to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th May, transmitting, for the

consideration of this Board, an Ordinance of the Legislature of Hong Kong,


entitled “ An Ordinance to establish a proper system of Registration for Colonial

vessels,” and, in reply, I am to request you to point out to Lord John Russell

that the Ordinance in question provides for the granting of two kinds of

registers of vessels, the one called an Imperial register, and the other a Colonial


It provides (section 2) that any person desirous of obtaining a register for

a vessel in the Colony must forward to the Colonial Secretary a declaration in

writing stating whether the vessel in question is intended to be employed solely

in trade with China, or on more distant voyages, and that according to such

statement a register should be granted to such vessel, either an Imperial register

as prescribed by the Imperial Acts , or a Colonial register as laid down in the

present Ordinance.

It then enacts (in section 6) that Chinese residents within the Colony may

obtain Colonial registers, provided the persons applying as owners be registered

lessees of Crown lands within the Colony, and that such owners tender as

securities for the due performance by them of all the requirements of the

Ordinance, two other Crown lessees.

There is nothing in the Act providing that the Chinese residents to whom

Colonial registers may be granted should be British subjects, nor are any local

limits assigned within which the register is to be in force ; and if it be intended

that the grant of a Colonial register shall confer on the vessel the rights and

privileges attaching to a British vessel, it appears to my Lords extremely

questionable whether this depaature from the Merchant Shipping Act ( 17 & 18

Vict. cap. 104), according to which British ownership is an essential condition

(and , in fact, the only condition) of British registry, should be sanctioned by

Her Majesty .

It alsoappears to my Lords deserving of consideration whether, looking to

the effect of registry on the titles to ships,it is desirable to apply to sea -going

Colonial ships owned by British subjects a system of registry different from that

which is provided for in the Imperial Act.

I am , however, to point out to you that by section 547 of the Imperial Act,

theLegislative authority ofany British Possession is empowered by any Act or

Ordinance, confirmed by Her Majesty in Council, to repeal wholly or in part

any provisions of that Act relating to ships registered in such Possession, but

no such Act or Ordinance is to take effect until such approval has been

proclaimed in the Possession , or until such time thereafter as may be fixed by

the Act or Ordinance for the purpose.

The Ordinance in question does not appear to have been passed in exercise

of the power given by the clause of the Imperial Act just cited, and unless it

should appear to Lord John Russell that there are any special circumstances

such as to justify the departure from the policy of the Imperial Act as to ownership

in the case of vessels registered at Hong Kong, it appears to my Lords that Her

Majesty's approval cannot properly be given to the present Ordinance.

I have, &c.

( Signed ) JAMES BOOTH .


No. 4.

Lord J. Russell to Governor Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Downing Street, June 22, 1855 .

HAVING referred the Ordinance passed by the Legislature of Hong Kong,

' to establish a proper system of Registration for Colonial Vessels,” for the

consideration of the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade, I

transmit,for your information , the copy of their Lordships' reply ;* and I have to

request that you will transmit to me any observations which you may have to

the objections entertained by their Lordships to some of the provisions

offer onOrdinance.

of this

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. RUSSELL.

No. 5 .

Governor Sir J. Bowring to Lord J. Russell.

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, September 4, 1855 .

I THOUGHT it right to lay before the Acting Attorney -General, your

Lordship's despatch dated 22nd June, with its inclosure, on the subject

of Ordinance No. 4 of 1855, having reference to registers granted in this colony

to vessels bearing the British flag, and have now the honour to inclose

Mr. Bridge's observations on the subject-matter.

The necessity oflegislation was pressed irresistibly on my attention, not

only as Governor of Hong Kong , but as Chief Superintendent of British trade

in China, in consequence of multitudinous abuses which had grown up, and which

were aggravated by the disorganized state of China, and the confusion produced

by all those discordant elements in which I had been directed by Her Majesty's

Government to preserve a strict neutrality as between political belligerents,

while it was frequently impossible to distinguish the marauder and the pirate

from those who claimed to be rebels seeking only to overthrow the Manchou

Government. And the population of this colony, from its very nature and from

the universality of secret associations, could not fail of being engaged in partisan

ship likely to compromise the British name and the British flag. The difficulty

of deciding who is, and who ought, either by right or expediency, to be deemed

a British subject in a colony, a large part of whose population is constantly

shiiting, and in which we have been established only a few years, is aa difficulty

not only embarrassing as regards the right to claim the British flag, but which

presents itself in many other intricate shapes where Chinamen are concerned.

After much conversation with the Acting Attorney -General, and fully aware

of the great difficulties of legislation, I instructed him to prepare an Ordinance

in which , keeping distinctly in view the provisions of Acts of Parliament, he

would propose such measures as were likely to meet the most obvious local

requirements of the case. The Ordinance was elaborately discussed in the Legis

lative Council, and, with the full concurrence of the unofficial commercial

members, was unanimously passed ; and I am happy to say , its practical opera

tion has been undoubtedly beneficial, and I have no complaints of its enactments

except as regards the payment of fees for surveys to non -officials ; an evil I have

at present no means of remedying - the duty devolving on the harbour-master,

who professes his inability to discharge it.

In reference to the operation of this Ordinance, I beg to submit to your

Lordship’s consideration some observations which have been submitted to me by

the Colonial Treasurer, and which are well worthy of attention ; for while, on the

one hand, it is no doubt desirable that the privileges of hoisting the British flag

should not be conceded without proper securities, it is very desirable that

Chinamen settled in this colony should be able to appreciate the advantages of

their position in the substantial benefits it confers.

I have, &c.


* No. 3.


Inclosure 1 in No. 5 .

The Acting Attorney -General to the Colonial Secretary.

Sir, Hong Kong , August 29, 1855 .


I HAVE the honour to acknowledg the receipt of your communication

inclosing a despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, on the

subject of Ordinance No. 4 of 1855.

Three defects are pointed out by the Home Authorities, in that Ordi

nance :

1. The granting of Registers to Chinese, not legally British subjects.

2. The absence of local limits within which the Register is to be in force.

3. The application of a system of registry to sea-going colonial ships,

different from that provided for in the Imperial Act .

On referring to the date of the Ordinance, which passed the 3rd of March,

1855, it will be observed that of Section 547 of the Merchant Shipping Act

1854, advantage could not be taken , as that Act did not come into force until 1st

May, 1855 .

I am glad to observe that the objections of the Committee of Trade are

made subject to the existence of special circumstances,justifying, in this instance ,

the departure of the Colonial Legislature from the Imperial policy ; for it was

only owing to extremely special circumstances, and to prevent abuses which

might lead to dangerous consequences, that this Ordinance was enacted .

The Colony of Ilong Kong, with a Chinese population exceeding, at the

present time, 60,000, hardly contains ten Chinese who can legally be called British

subjects, for it has not been deemed advisable to naturalize the Chinese here, and

the recent settlement of the Colony prevents the possibility of their having become

subjects by birth. The great proportion of the respectable part of this popula

tion have, however, constituted themselves bondi fide British subjects, by becoming

Crown tenants of leaseholds for long terms of years ( a tenure of which an alien

is incapable ), and by permanent settlement have evinced the clearest intention

of perfecting themselves, in the persons of their descendants, British subjects

secundum leges, as well as de facto. I, therefore, as Law Adviser to the Crown,

deemed it my duty to advise the granting of registers to such Chinese as had, by

becoming Crown tenants, so far as in them lay made themselves British subjects,

and whose discharge of the obligation taken upon them could be guaranteed by

other Crown tenants. But there had been serious complaints from the naval

Commander-in -chief, and from the Consular and Chinese Authorities, of the

abuse by small craft carrying the British flag, of the Treaty Regulations, and as

the prosperity of this Colony (so much increased of late) depends entirely, so far

as regards the native population , upon the coasting trade, which is carried on in

vessels ranging between 20 and 100 tons, it was deemed advisable by the Colonial

Government, that an Ordinance should be passed, which, in no way interfering

with the granting of Imperial registers to long sea -going ships, should yet facili

tate the obtaining of English papers of a certain description by Colonial craft,

and should also give the Colonial Government means which it could not possess

under an Imperial register, of punishing violations of the Treaty with China. It

was not thought necessary to fix the local limits within which the Colonial

register should run , because the character of the craft which require those

registers, and the objects of the local trade, l'ender it a matter of the utmost

improbability that a Colonial registered vessel could go anywhere else than along

the coast of China ; and as the Colonial register is obtained on the strength of a

declaration that the vessel is solely to be employed in trade with China, and a

falsifying of that declaration involves the penalties of the bond which accompanies

the Register, it was hardly deemed necessary to specify any geographical boun


It will be observed that the utmost care was taken not to interfere with any

provisions of the Imperial Act touching long sea-going ships, and as the property

in these Colonial registered vessels is vested almost entirely in Chinese (whose

affairs, made complex by the various ramifications of their peculiar partnerships,

and use of several names for the same individual , it would be almost impossible

to subject to the Imperial provisions for registry, as regards title to ships), the


attention of the Colonial Legislature was not directed to this branch of the

ownership of ships: ; for the more our Chinese residents are left to their own

management of their commercial matters, the more they appear to prosper.

This Ordinance has now been in force for several months, withthe most

beneficial effects, and I most earnestly and respectfully deprecate any alteration

of it, as it is only those actually residing in this Colony, and practically acquainted

with its most peculiar population and their mode of conducting business, who can

be aware of its adaptation for existing exigencies.

Finally, I would again distinctly point out that this Ordinance in no way

interferes with the Imperial Act, but has solely a local application .

I have, &c.

(Signed) W. T. BRIDGES.

Inclosure 2 in No. 5 .

Extract relating to the Working of Ordinance No. 4 of 1855, from the Colonial

Treasurer's Memorandum on Estimates.

59. IF anything has been, and will be, pre -eminently beneficial to this

Colony, it is that very system of granting Colonial registers , particularly to

respectable Chinese settled here, or , as the Ordinance says, “ Chinese Crown

lessees entitled to hold Colonial registers , ” since it has already added to, and

still tends to increase, the coasting -trade in goods the manufacture of Great

Britain, or the produce of India, such as cotton, opium , &c.; and on the other

hand, brings tothis Colony more of the produce of China for export to Europe

and India, or transshipment to other parts of the coast of the Empire.

60. I do not know the laws respecting the granting of ships' registers to

Chinese in the Straits' Settlements and Java ; but I do know that vessels are

frequently arriving in this Colony under the British and Dutch flags, which are

the property of Chinese in Java, or one of the Straits' Settlements ; and only

yesterday, two fine lorchas passed through this harbour under the Portuguese

flag, the owner of which, as also of a square-rigged vessel, is a Chinese at


No. 6 ..

Mr. Booth to Mr. Merivale..

Office of Committeeof Privy Council for Trade,

Sir, Whitehall, November 30, 1855.

I AM directed by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade

to state to you, forthe information of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the

Colonies, that my Lords, having had under their consideration the despatch of

the Governor of Hong Kong, and the report of the Attorney-General of that

Colony, transmitted in your letter of the 23rd instant, on the subject of the

Ordinance passed by the Legislature of that Colony, No. 4 of 1855, “ to establish

a proper system of registration for colonial vessels ,” are of opinion that, in the

peculiar circumstances of the Colony of Hong Kong, the Ordinance may properly

be left to its operation.

I am at the same time to suggest, for the consideration of Mr. Secretary

Labouchere, whether, as some doubts may be entertained as to the lawfulness of

the use of the British flag in vessels registered in the name of Chinese residents,

as provided by the Ordinance , it might not be desirable that an Ordinance

should be passed, under the authority of section 547 of the Imperial Act,

declaring that, notwithstanding anything in the Imperial Act, the vessels in

question, if possessing a Colonial register, and whilst being navigated within the

proposed limits, should be entitled to use the British flag.

I have, &c.

( Signed ) JAMES BOOTH .



No. 7.

Mr. Labouchere to Governor Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Downing Street , December 12, 1855.

I HAVE to acknowledge your despatch of the 4th September on

the subject of the Ordinance passed by the Legislature of Hong Kong, No. 4

of 1855, “ to establish a proper system of registration for Colonial vessels.'

Her Majesty's Government having considered your observations and the

report of the Attorney -General of the Colony, are of opinion that in the peculiar

circumstances of Hong Kong, the Ordinance may properly be left to its opera

tion, and I have accordingly to convey to you Her Majesty's confirmation of the

Ordinance in question.

I inclose, however, for your information and guidance an extract of a letter


from the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade,* suggesting that,

as doubts may be raised as to the lawfulness of the use of the British flag in

vessels registered in the name of Chinese residents, it might be desirable to pass

a further Ordinance providing for that contingency .

I have, &c .


No. 8.

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon.— (Received February 4, 1856.)

My Lord, Hong Kong, November 22, 1855.

A LONG and fruitless correspondence having taken place between

Mr. Consul Alcock and the Imperial Commissioner in reference to lorchas

bearing the British flag, seized within the port of Canton for smuggling salt,

which Iorchas the Chinese authorities had refused to surrender on the requisition

of the Consul, I thought it necessary , in order to prevent a repetition of an

obvious breach of Treaty, to request the aid of the naval authorities, and to

rescue the vessels so improperly detained.

I have the honour to forward copy of a letter from Mr. Acting Vice -Consul

Morrison, announcing that Her Majesty's steam-sloop “ Rattler ” has taken

possession of the lorchas.

I also forward copy of a communication I have made to the Imperial Com

missioner, which I trust will be approved by your Lordship .

As I have alwaysshown every disposition to prevent Her Majesty's subjects

and shipping from violating the laws of China and the engagements of Treaties,

and every determ nation to punish such violations (and I have in this instance

directed the Acting Attorney -General to proceed against the parties for breach

of the Colonial Ordinance under which the registers were granted ), I cannot

allow the Chinese authorities to encroach upon my jurisdiction, however little

sympathy I may feel for those who disregard the conditions on which the pro

tection and privilege of the British flag have been accorded to them .

I have, &c.


Inclosure 1 in No, 8.

Acting Vice- Consul Morrison to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir , Canton, November 15, 1855 .

I HAVE the honour to inform your Excellency that, in accordance with

your instructions conveyed in your despatch of 7th November, a boat's crew

from HerMajesty's ship “ Rattler” yesterday took possession of Hong Kong

lorchas, No. 9, belonging to William Anderson, and No. 14, belonging to a

* No. 6.


Chinese resident of Hong Kong, which had been seized on the 25th of Augus

last by the Chinese police. I await your Excellency's further orders as to how

they are to be disposed of. As soon as I can obtain from the owners a state

ment of the tackle and appurtenances taken from the lorchas, which had been

completely dismantled, I will communicate the same to your Excellency.

I duly acquainted the Chinese Imperial Commissioner with the resumption

of the above-mentioned lorchas, and the reasons for the proceeding.

I have, &c.c

(Signed ) M. C. MORRISON .

Inclosure 2 in No. 8 .

Sir J. Bowring to Commissioner Yeh.

Sir, Hong Kong , November 21 , 1855.

MR . CONSUL ALCOCK has forwarded me copies of his correspondence

with your Excellency regarding the seizure and detention by the Canton

Customs of certain British lorchas alleged to have been engaged in salt


It is provided by Article XII of the Supplementary Treaty that, if any

British vessel be detected smuggling, the Chinese authorities shall be at liberty

to “ seize and confiscate all goods, wbatever their nature or value, that may

have been so smuggled ; and may also prohibit the ship from trading further,

and may send her away, as soon as her accounts are adjusted and paid.”

Such being the course prescribed by Treaty, the Canton Customs, in

seizing and dismantling the lorchas in question , exceeded their authority, and

committed a breach of Treaty.

The Consul applied to your Excellency, and was told that the vessels were

pseudo lorchas owned by Chinese, and that British subjects were in no way

concerned. Your Excellency seems not to be aware that Hong Kong being a

British possession, all persons, English , Chinese, or other there'residing, may

procure registers for boats owned by them , on complying with Colonial

Ordinance No. 4 of 1855 , of which I inclose a translation . The most important

of its conditions, as your Excellency will see, is the giving of a bond by which

the owner and two sureties bind themselves, under a penal sum of 1,000 dollars ,

to comply with all the provisions of the Ordinance affecting registered vessels,

and with all laws binding on British subjects with regard to trade in China.

The allegation of smuggling having been made within the port, the smuggled

cargo alone was seizable. Over the vessels the British Consul alone had juris

diction; and his appeal to your Excellency was made, no less with a view to the

due punishment of the parties offending, than in consideration of those interests

which it is his duty as Consul to protect.

I have applied to our naval authorities to recover the vessels unlawfully

detained by the Canton Customs. They have retaken them , and I shall now

proceed to punish the guilty parties for their breach of the Ordinance.

I trust that your Excellency will instruct your subordinates to be more

cautious in examining the papers of vessels they may have occasion to board .

Vessels bearing the British flag, and in any way offending against Chinese law

within the five ports, must be complained of to the Consuls. Those found to

be carrying it out without authority are liable to serious penalties ; but where

they are entitled to fly it, the British Navy is instructed to resent unauthorized

interference with it as an act of piracy.

Your Excellency will understand that I am simply maintaining the integrity

of British jurisdiction. I have no sympathy with the smuggler ; and of this,

the support I have given to the system which ensures the full payment of all

dutiesat Shanghai should be sufficient evidence. I await but your Excellency's

cooperation to introduce the system at all the ports to which we have access.

I have, &c .




No. 9 .

The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foreign Office, March 22 , 1856.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 22nd of November last, reporting

the steps which you took in consequence of the refusal of the Chinese authorities

at Canton to surrender, when required to do so by Her Majesty's Consul,

two lorchas bearing the British flag, and which had been seized by them on a

charge of being engaged in smuggling salt ; and I have to state to you that

having consulted the Law Officers of the Crown, Her Majesty's Government are

of opinion that you acted properly in calling in the aid of the naval authorities

and in rescuing the vessels soimproperly detained .

I am , & c.

(Signed ) CLARENDON .

No. 10 .

Governor Sir J. Bowring to Mr. Labouchere.

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong , June 5, 1856.

I HAVE the honour to forward authenticated copy of Ordinance No. 9

of 1856 , entitled an “ Ordinance to explain certain enactments relating to


The first clause is inserted in accordance with instructions conveyed in

your despatch of 12th December, 1855 .

The second is intended to apply to the Colonial Registry Ordinance,

No. 4 of 1855, the privilege secured to the Registrar of Shipping by clause 107

of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1851. By this the attendance of the Registrar

(here the Colonial Secretary ) before a court of justice was rendered unnecessary

in the case of an Imperial register, and it is not only reasonable, but advisable,

to provide a like exemption in the case of a Colonial register.

Clause 3 meetsthe case of a Chinese passenger-ship, representing herself

as about to clear for Macao, a voyage under seven days' duration, and there

fore not coming under the Chinese Passengers Act, while in reality she is about

to make a nominal voyage thither, and proceed elsewhere with her coolies or


This clause of course can only affect British ships wherever going, and

foreign ships bound to a British colony.

The last clause renders the Ordinance inoperative until the sanction of Her

Majesty's Government shall have been received.

I beg therefore to hope that this Ordinance, No. 9 of 1856, may meet your

approval, and that you may be enabled to lay it before Her Most Gracious

Majesty for confirmation .

I have, &c.

( Signed) JOHN BOWRING .


Inclosure in No. 10 .




No. 9 of 1856 .

By his Excellency Sir John Bowring, Knight, LL.D. , Governor and Com

mander-in -Chief of the Colony ofHong Kong and its Dependencies, and

Vice-Admiral of the same,Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary and Chief Super

intendent of the Trade of British Subjects in China, with the advice of the

Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

An Ordinance to explain certain Enactments relating to Shipping.

[May 29 , 1856.]


WHEREAS by “ The Merchant Shipping Act, 1854,” and “ The Chinese Preamble. Recites

Passengers Act, 1855," the power to amend the said Acts in their application “ The Merchant

to this Colony is, under certain conditions, reserved to this Legislature, and it Shipping

,” Act,

is desirable to exercisethe aforesaidpower inmanner hereinafter appearing:Be Chin




it enacted and ordained by his Excellency the Governor of Hong Kong , with Act, 1855. "

the advice of the Legislative Council thereof, as follows :

1. The British flag may be lawfully used by any Chinese resident within Chinese residents

the meaning of Ordinance No. 4 of 1855, on board of any ship or vessel regis. may use the British

tered in this Colony in the name of the said resident under the Ordinance regis

flag intered



aforesaid .

II . Every register, certificate, endorsement, declaration , or bond authorized Colonial registers,

or required by the said Ordinance , may be proved in any Court of Justice , or &c. , may be proved

before any person having bylaw or by consent of parties authority to receive by production of

originals or copies.

evidence, either by the production of the original, or by an examined copy

thereof, or by a copy thereof purporting to be certified under the hand of the

Colonial Secretary, or other person who for the time being shall happen to

have charge of the original, which certified copy he is hereby required to furnish

to every person applying at a reasonable time for the same, and paying therefor

the sum of 1 dollar for every such certified copy ; and every document, when so

proved as aforesaid, shall be received as prima facie evidence of all the matters

therein recited, stated , or appearing.

III. Any Chinese passenger-ship clearing outor proceeding to sea from any Definition of a

port in this Colony , or in China, or within 100 miles of the coast thereof, on voyage ofmorethan

any voyage or voyages to any other port or ports, for the purpose of commencing seven days' dura

at or from any such port or ports as last aforesaid , a voyage of more than seven tion.

days' duration, shall be deemed to have cleared out or proceeded to sea upon

the said last-mentioned voyage, from the said first -mentioned port, within the

meaning of the “ Chinese Passengers Act, 1855.”

IV . This Ordinance shall not come into operation until Her Majesty's Ordinance not to

confirmation thereof shall have been proclaimed in this Colony by his Excel. come into operation

lency the Governor. until confirmed and

(Signed) JOHN BOWRING . proclaimed.

Passed the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, this 29th day of May, 1856 .

(Signed) L. D'ALMADA E Castro ,

Clerk of Councils.


























Presented to the Houseof Lords by Command of Her Majesty, inpursuance of

their Address of February 12, 1857.







Presented to the House of Lords by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of

their Address of February 12 , 1857 .







UCI 9 1919


HP. Moral

۱ sinan

auto ay


No. Page


1. Sir H. Pottinger to the Earl of Aberdeen December 20, 1842 1


Nine Inclosures .

2. Sir H. Pottinger to the Earl of Aberdeen December 23, 10



Two Inclosures.

3. The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir H. Pottinger Avril 4, 1843 12

4. Sir H. Pottinger to the Earl of Aberdeen February 5, 1844 13

One Inclosure.


5. Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen January 10, 1845 14

Four Inclosures.

6. Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen ..

January 16, 18

One Inclosure.



7. Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen April 4,

Five Inclosures.

8. The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis August 8, 23

9. Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen April 24 , 23

Four Inclosures.

10. The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis September 23, 27

ll . Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen August 23, 28

Four Inclosures.

12. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen .. October 27 , 34


One Inclosure .

13. The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis November 24, 36

14. The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis January 24, 1846 36


15. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen February 24, 37

Five Inclosures.

16. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen February 25, 41


Two Inclosures .

17. The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis April 24 , 43

23 , 43


18. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen April

Two Inclosures.




19. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen May 8, 47

Two Inclosures.

20. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis .. August 1, 51

21. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen June 17, 51



22. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen June 22,

Six Inclosures.

23. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis September 12, 59

24. Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen .. 59


July 1,

Two Inclosures .

15 ,



25. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston October 62

One Inclosure .


26. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston 30 , 1847 63



Three Inclosures.


27. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .. May 8, 64

One Inclosure.

: ..

28. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston 22, 65



Four Inclosures.

23 , 68


29. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis .. July



30. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston May 31 ,

Four Inclosures.


31. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston June 14, 70

Two Inclosures.



32. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston


July 1,

Two Inclosures .


33. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .. June 14, 73

One Inclosure.

29 ,


34. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston June 74

Three Inclosures.


35. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis October 12, 76

36. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis October 12, 76


37. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis October 12, 77

38. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis October 12, 77

39. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston August 20 , 77

Six Inclosures.


No. Page

40. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston August 28, 1847 81

Three Inclosures.


41. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston September 10, .

Three Inclosures.

42. Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis November 23 , 85

43. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .. .

January 3 , 1849 85

44. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .. February 6, 86

One Inclosure .


45. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston


February 29 , 87

One Inclosure .


46. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston March 4, - 88

Two Inclosures.


47. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston March 13, 89

One Inclosure .

: ..


48. Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston March 18, 90

Two Inclosures.

49. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .. March


25, 92

| |

Twenty -eight Inclosures.

50. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston ,, March 29, 122

Two Inclosures.

51. Viscount l'almerston to Mr. Bonham .. May 29 , 123

52. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham May 29 , 124

53. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston April 10, 124

Four Inclosures.

54. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston April 12 , 126

Twenty -six Inclosures.

55. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .. April 12 , 179

One Inclosure,

56. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .. April 24 , 151

Eight Inclosures.

57. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .. July 1, 168

58. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham July 5, 169

59. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston April 28 , 170

One Inclosure.

60. Mr. Bonhamn to Viscount Palmerston . May 4, 171

One Inclosure .

61. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston May 6, 172

One Inclosure.

62. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston Vay 11 , 175

Two Inclosures.

63. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston June 10 , 178

Three Inclosures.

64. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .. July 26 , 179

One Inclosure .

65. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston July 31 , 181

Three Inclosures.

66. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .. July 31 , 183

One Inclosure.

67. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham August 7, 185


68. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham September 19, 185

69. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston November 2, 185

Three Inclosures.

70. Mr. Bonham to Mr. Hammond November 30, 189

71. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston December 29 , 189

72. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham February 17, 1819 190

73. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham March 5, 190

74. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston January 24, 190

Three Inclosures.

75. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston February 3, 194


One Inclosure.

76. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham May 12, 195

77. Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston . March 5, 195

78. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham June 1, 197


79. Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham October 23 , 1851 197


80. Sir S. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston December 24 , 1849 197


One Inclosure.



81. Dr. Bowring to the Earl of Malmesbury May 17 , 1852 198 .

Two Inclosures.

82. The Earl of Malmesbury to Dr. Bowring July 21 , 200

83. Dr. Bowring to the Earl of Malmesbury October 25 , 201

One Inclosure.

84. Dr. Bowring to the Earl of Malmesbury November 13, 202

Two Inclosures .

85. Lord J. Russell to Sir S. Bonham January 20, 1853 207

86. Acting Consul Elmslie to Mr. Hammond June 19, 1854 208

Two Inclosures .

87. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon July 6, 211

88. The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring September 25 , 212

89. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon July 3, 1856 212

Four Inclosures .


No. Page

90. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon July 8, 1856 214

Three Inclosures.


91. The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring September 8 , 216

92. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon :: i July 17, 217

Three Inclosures .

19 ,


93. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon July 219

One Inclosure.

94. The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring September 25 , 220


95. The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring .. September 29, — 221

One Inclosure.


96. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon September 3, 221

Five Inclosures .

97. The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring November 1 , 224

98. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon . October 8, 224

Five Inclosures.



99. The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring : 8, 228

Cases referred to in the following Papers .


1. Disturbances at Canton , and burning of factories 1

2. Chinese boy accidentally wounded at Shanghae 13

3 Persecution of some Chinese in British employ at Amoy 14

4. Assault on Mr. Vice -Consul Jackson , and Messrs . Martin and Staunton, at Canton.

Question of entrance into the city 18

5. Aggressive conduct of Chinese at Foo-chow 28

6. Attack on Mr. Parkes at Foo-chow 33

7. Attack on Captain Giffard and other officers at Whampoa .. 37

8. Disturbance at Foo-chow -foo, and attack on British hongs 43

9. Ill - treatment of a Malay sailor at Canton 65

10. Disorderly conduct of Chinese near the factories 68

11. Stones thrown at an English boat near Canton 70

12. Firing on an English party, by villagers, near Canton 81

13. Murder committed at Woosung by a Manilla man . 86

14. Affray at Whampoa between Americans and Chinese 89

15. Attack on Missionaries at Shanghae 90

16. Attack on Messrs . Bowman and Johnson 168

17. Attack on Mr. Parish at Foo-chon- foo 185

18. Attack on Mr. Meadows by pirates, near Canton 189

19. Execution of French missionary in Cochin China ( subsequently referred to) 197

20. Interference with native teachers in the service of Mr. Walker, missionary at Foo -chow -foo . 199

21. Attack on Messrs. Dent, Oakley, Macgregor, and Anderson, by pirates, in the Canton river 201

22. Cutrage committed on Lieutenant de Lisle, R.N., and Mr. Curling, at Kow-loon 202

23. Outrage on Mr. Seth, at Canton 208

24. Incendiary placard against foreigners, published at Canton 212

25. Attack on Messrs . Johnston and Whittall, at Canton 214

26. Affray at Foo -chow -foo, and death of Mr. Cunningham, a citizen of the United States 217

27. Murder of M. Chapdelaine, a French missionary, in the Province of Kwang-se .. 219

28. Case of Mr. Burns, a missionary 224

Cases referred to in Papers previously presented to Parliament.

Riot at Canton in 1846, and the proceedings against Mr. Compton.

( Presented to Parliament, 1847 )

Assaults on two British seamen , p. 1 .

Assault on Lieutenant-Colonel Chesney and others, p. 8.

(Correspondence relating to Operations in Canton river. Presented to Parliament, 1817.)

Murder of six Englishmen in the neighbourhood of Canton, in December 1847.

Cases of Piracy on the boat of English vessel the “Shah Allum ," p. 4.

Outrage near Canton on Messrs. Morrison , Macgregor, and Small, p. 8.

Shot fired from aa fort at Canton on Vice-Consul Elmslie, p. 9.

Stones thrown at Consul Macgregor, Captain Mc Dougall, and others, p. 17 .

(Correspondence respecting Murder of Six Englishmen . Presented to Parliament, 1848. )

Serious riot at Amoy, 32.

( Correspondence respecting Emigration. Presented to Parliament, 1853.)


Return to an Address of the House of Lords, dated February 12, 1857 ;


“ Copies or Extracts of any Reports made to Her Majesty's Government of

Insults offered by British Residents at Canton to Natives of that place,

since the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace between this Country and China

in 1842 ; also of any Reports of Insults offered by Chinese to Foreigners .”

No. 1 .

Sir Henry Pottinger to the Earl of Aberdeen .— (Received March 13.)

(Extract.) Macao, December 20, 1842 .

HAVING arranged with Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, that Her

Majesty's steam -frigate “ Vixen," is to reach Bombay in time for the overland mail

of the 1st of February next,I avail myself of the opportunity to make your Lordship

acquainted with the particulars, so far as I have had time and means to investigate

them , of a recent disturbance at Canton, during which considerable damage was

done ; three of the factories (including that one called the English factory) burned,

and the lives and property of many of Her Majesty's subjects, and apparently of

other foreigners, placed for a time in considerable jeopardy.

The first intelligence which reached me at Ilong Kong of these excesses, was

on the 10th instant, by an express boat conveying a variety of private notes which

a friend at this place had received from different persons interested in the matter,

and which he was so good as to forward for my satisfaction. From those notes it

appeared that there had been a violent popular outbreak, which was stated (by

some) to have had its origin in an affray between certain lascars ( Indian sailors)

and lower classes of Chinese, and which had been allowed to go on the whole day.

It further appeared that the Chinese mob, after having been driven back during the

day, assembled in greater force, and at 10 P.M. on the 7th, set fire to three buildings

(the Creek, Dutch, and English factories), in one of which the lascars had been

allowed to take refuge, and that aa marked feeling of animosity towards the English

had been evinced by the rioters. The whole of these notes, however, agreed in

saying that quiet had been restored, although some of the writers stated that a good

deal of excitement continued, and expressed apprehension of a renewal of the

outrages .

I now submit, for your Lordship’s notice, copies of the following documents :

Of aa letter to the Governor-General of Canton , dated 13th instant.

Of a letter, dated 13th instant, to my address, from Lieutenant-General

Sir Hugh Gough.

Of a letter addressed , on the 13th, by Sir Hugh Gough to Her Majesty's

Principal Secretary of State for the War Department, forming Inclosure

to No. 1 .

Of a letter addressed to me by certain British merchants, dated at Canton

on the 13th instant.

Of a letter addressed by the same merchants to Lieutenant-General Sir

Hugh Gough on the 12th instant.

Of the reply made by Sir Hugh Gough to the said merchants, under date

the 13th instant .

Of my reply to the merchants, dated the 16th instant.

Of my reply to Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough, dated the 17th instant.

Of the answer to my letter from his Excellency the Viceroy.

Exclusive of the fact of nearly 200 lascars having gone to Canton without any

apparent control, I have learned that there were several European or American females

there ; that some of them had walked about the outskirts of the city, and had even

crossed the river to Honan , -an exposure which is at total variance with ideas of

decorum and propriety amongst the better orders of Chinese, and which, I have

heard, subjected them to the hootings and insulting indecencies of the rabble. I have

also been told that different persons had publicly talked of selecting spots for their

future country residences in the neighbourhood of Canton ,and had avowedly crossed

the river to Honan for that purpose, which are all indiscretions calculated to give

offence and cause ill -will.



Inclosure 1 in No. 1 .

Sir Henry Pottinger to the Governor -General of Canton .

Hong Kong, December 13, 1842.

SIR Henry Pottinger, Baronet, Her Britannic Majesty's Plenipotentiary, has

the honour to inform his Excellency the Governor-General of Kwang-tung and

Kwangse, that he reached Hong Kong, after visiting the several provinces along the

coast, on the 2nd instant.

It was the Plenipotentiary's purpose quietly to await here the arrival of the

High Commissioner Elepoo, and then to proceed to Canton, where he anticipated

the pleasure of a personal meeting with the Governor -General.

But on the 8th instant, while thus waiting here, he learned, with a degree of

surprise and regret which will hardly permit nim to remain quiet, that several

thousands of lawless people had, on the preceding day, collected about the foreign

factories at Canton, and proceeded to plunder and set fire to the foreign residences,

and that the local authorities were unable to suppress and disperse them , or to save

the factories from being burned .

Having regard to the Peace lately concluded between the two countries, the

Plenipotentiary feels that for him to adopt any military steps for the due punish

ment of these rioters would be neither calculated to sustain the pacific relations

thus established nor consistent with the respect due to the authority of the Emperor

of China. And, therefore, while he has had troops in readiness for the defence of

the mercantile community he yet sees it right first to communicate with the

Governor-General, in the hope that his Excellency will seize and severely punish the

offenders, that such misconduct may be nipped in the bud. Should the Governor

General not have force adequate to this object, the Plenipotentiary will immediately,

on the expression of such a wish by his Excellency, send troops to his assistance ;

but, otherwise it will be needless for him to do so.

The losses, however, suffered by merchants from the plunder of the mob are

considerable ; and the Plenipotentiary imagines that the understanding and sense of

justice of the Governor-General will lead his Excellency to give commands for their

full remuneration .

Further, the Plenipotentiary, when at Amoy, having learned the melancholy

intelligence that the authorities in Formosa had cruelly massacred the British

people cast on their shores, deemed it right to issue distinct proclamations on the

subject, and to address a communication to the High Commissioner Elepoo, with the

hope that due retribution might be inflicted . His communication to the High

Commissioner is now forwarded to the Governor-General , with the request that it

may be duly transmitted ; and the Plenipotentiary has at the same time the honour

to forward for his Excellency's perusal copies of the two proclamations.


Inclosure 2 in No. 1 .

Lieutenant -General Sir Hugh Gough to Sir Henry Pottinger.

( Extract.) Canton, December 13, 1842.

I HAVE the honour to inclose, for your Excellency's information , copy of my

letter of this date to Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the War

Department, acquainting his Lordship with some of the circumstances of the riot of

the 7th instant, as stated to me by gentlemen who were present.

Inclosure 3 in No. 1 .

Lieutenant -General Sir Hugh Gough to Lord Stanley.

(Extract.) Canton, December 13, 1842.

I HAVE the honour to acquaint your Lordship, that having given my final

orders at Hong Kong regarding the force to return to India, I went over to Macao,


pending their fulfilment, and was proceeding thence in the steamer “ Proserpine” to

Canton, with a view to seeing, before leaving China, the new forts that have been

erected on the banks of the river above Whampoa, when, upon our reaching that

place on the night of the 8th instant, several boats pushed off from the ships at the

anchorage with the news of the tumult of the preceding day.

I immediately wrote to Sir Henry Pottinger, ordering at the same time a body

of troops to be held in readiness to move on his Excellency’s requisition ; and

having dispatched my letters by a fast boat, determined to proceed at once to

Canton, as I was informed that great excitement prevailed, and renewed outrage

was to be apprehended. We were obliged to anchor within a mile of the city,

about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 9th, on account of the darkness of the night,

and the vast crowd of boats in the river ; but weighing again at daylight, soon

reached the factories. The mob had by this time retired, and all was quiet ; but I

am sorry to say that we found the whole range of factories east of Hog lane one

mass of ruins.

It appears, from the best information I could collect from the different

merchants who were present, that the riot commenced on the morning of the 7th, in

a trifling dispute between a party of lascars, who, to the number of 170, had come

up on liberty from the ships at Whampoa, and some Chinese fruit-venders, in which

one of the latter was wounded. A tumult arose, two of the lascars were killed, and

others conveyed away, and the mob soon got the upper hand, drove off the Chinese

soldiers who had arrived on the application of the merchants to the local authorities,

entered the factories, plundered the treasuries, and, carrying out furniture, placed it

round the British flag -staff, which was opposite to the old Company's factory, and

set fire to it. Fire was also carried into this building, which was under repair by

the Chinese Government for the reception of the British Plenipotentiary at the

approaching Conferences, for carrying out the details of the Treaty ; and the flames

soon broke out in all directions. The wind being from the west, the factories west

of Hog lane escaped the fire, and they also escaped from plunder, as the mob,

satisfied with the outrage achieved, retired on the renewed appearance of the

Chinese troops.

It is stated that this mob was composed of people of the lowest order, belong

ing not so much to the city as to the neighbourhood, that many were armed with

short swords, and that, although the dispute with the lascars was the immediate

occasion of the outbreak, the rioters wereevidently acting upon a preconcerted plan

under the instigation of influential persons, and were headed by individuals who,

from their dress, appeared to be of the better order.

Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary will have ampler means of ascertaining the

facts ; and the subject belongs more to him than to me, but being upon the spot, I

think it right to observe, that although the Government may have been in the first

instance wanting in activity and decision, it does not seem to be borne out that the

Mandarins connived at the riot. I found, upon my arrival, a guard of Chinese

soldiers under their own officers over the factories ; and this guard, which was soon

afterwards increased to about 500 men, has been since continued, is visited dailyThe



officer of rank, and conduc ts itself in the most quiet and orderl y manne r.

events of the last few days, however , bave confirmed the opinion which I adduced as

a ground for leaving an imposing force in China, that there is an influential body at

this place opposed, froin self-interest, to the stipulations of the Treaty .

The arrival of the steamer on the morning of the 9th, being supposed to be

consequent upon intelligence of the riot, occasioned much sensation, and the Hong

merchants soon after waited upon me. I explained to them, that I had not come

in an official capacity, but had sent a despatch to the British Plenipotentiary, who

would, I had no doubt, take immediate measures for demanding reparation, and

for future security. I recommended to them to use their influence with the

Government and the people to maintain tranquillity, and observed, that the steamer

would, if required, afford protection to the factories. The Quang-heep, a Mandarin

of high rank, called afterwards, but as I considered it inexpedient that I should

meet any Government officer of less rank than the Viceroy, I deputed Lieutenant

Colonel Mountain to receive him, with directions to repeat what I had said to the

Hong merchants. The Quang-heep stated in reply, that the Government was

exceedingly sorry for the outrage that had been committed, and was prepared to

give full consideration to the subject of reparation ; and he concluded with a request

that the steamer might be sent down to Whampoa. He grounded this request upon


the excitement of the populace, observing, that since the news of the Peace the

Government bad discharged its stoutest soldiers and was unable to control the mob ;

but he gave up the point on being told, that it was out of the question pending the

receipt of an answer from Hong Kong to the letters already dispatched .

Since the 9th, alarming rumours have been afloat of excitement amid the

populace, and collections of armed men in the neighbourhood.

Inclosure 4 in No. I.

British Merchants at Canton to Sir Henry Pottinger.


WE take the liberty of waiting on your Excellency with the annexed copy of a

letter which we yesterday addressed to Sir Hugh Gough, together with a copy of his

reply, by which you will perceive that he has consented, in consequence of the recent

attack on the foreign factories,, to allow the steamer “ Proserpine ” to remain off

Canton for the present, for the protection of the British community.

It is unnecessary to trouble your Excellency with the statements, in detail , of

the parties who were eye -witnesses of the riot, or the inquiries which were sub

sequently made, but the result may be stated in a few words :

1. That there appears no doubt of the fact that the attack on the foreign

factories had been determined on for some time previously to its occurrence, and

that the parties employed in it were regularly organized.

2. That although an affray between some Lascars and Chinese was the

ostensible cause of its commencement at that particular time, the attack would have

taken place, sooner or later, had no such circumstance occurred.

3. That the local authorities were unable or unwilling to afford efficient

protection in time to prevent a considerable sacrifice of life and property, and the

causes which occasioned such a result are liable at any moment to recur.

4. That there is spirit of hostility to the English very general among certain

orders in Canton, and that the common people are guided and influenced by parties

who have means and ability of giving effect to their operations in a more systematic

manner, tban could be expected from an ordinary mob.

As no machinery exists at present for carrying on the trade, except by actual

residence in Canton, and, as it is unlikely any change can be made in time for

the management of the present season's business, we consider it of the utmost

importance that the British community should be enabled continue for the present

to reside in their factories, as their withdrawal would, in the existing state of affairs,

necessarily throw the business into the hands of the Americans and others, who,

from their political position and other cause, are not likely to suffer from the

hostility of the Chinese .

The recent occurrences having shown that life and property are insecure under

the protection of the local Government, we beg leave respectfullyto submit to your

Excellency our conviction that the British community cannot with safety remain in

Canton, unless protection be afforded on the spot by our own Government

authorities, and we venture, therefore, to hope chat your Excellency will take into

consideration their urgent request, that their Excellencies the naval and military

Commanders-in -chief may be moved to place such a force for their defence in

Canton as may seem expedient.

Canton, December 13, 1842.

We have, & c.

(Signed) Dent and Co. J. A. Hulbert.

Turner and Co. Framjee Jamsetjee.

Gibb, Livingston, and Co. Pestonjee Cowasjee.

Charles Compton. Hormajee Framjee.

Wm . Fryer . Pestonjee, Merwajee, & Co.

ppro. Bell and Co., J. Mackrill Smith . Jummoojee Nasservanjee.

E. A. Staple . Ruttunjee Framjee.

D. Potter. Burjoorjee Sorabjee.

W. C. Le Geyt.


Inclosure 5 in No. 1 .

British Merchants at Canton to Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough.


THE undersigned, British merchants in Canton, having met to deliberate on

their present position, beg leave respectfully to submit, that inquiry of the Chinese

leads them to believe that the recent attack on the foreign factories was the result

of a pre-arranged determination of the mob, assisted and influenced, it is supposed,

by parties averse to apprehended foreign innovation ; and as the local authorities

were avowedly unable for a considerable time to quell the disturbance and did not

in fact succeed in doing so until after a considerable loss of life and property, we

are forced to the conclusion that the British community cannot be considered safe

in their houses in Canton, without efficient protection from their own Government

on the spot .

Although the local authorities have placed a considerable number of soldiers to

guard the factories, we do not consider that they can be depended upon in case of

another rising of the people; and others represent considerable bodies of men to be

still assembled in the city and neighbourhood of Canton, from whom another attack

may at any moment take place.

Under these circumstances, we beg leave respectfully to solicit your Excellency

to allow the steamer “ Proserpine ” to remain in front of the factories, should such

an arrangement be possible, at any rate until some communication may be received

from Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary, affording information to the British merchants

of his intentions for their future security.

Canton, December 12, 1842.

We have, &c.

(Signed ) Dent and Co. Dirom and Co., p. W. Potter.

Turner and Co. Bell and Co. ,, p. J. M. Smith.

Gibb, Livingston, and Co. C. S. Compton .

Lindsay and Co. , p. Wm. Fryer . Henry Gribble .

Fox, Rawson, and Co., p. E. A. Staple .

Inclosure 6 iu No. 1 .

Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough to British Merchants at Canton.

Gentlemen , Canton, December 13, 1842.

IN reply to your letter received last night, I beg to assure you that I sensibly

feel the critical situation in which you stand .

It is from reluctance to leave you in uncertainty that, although anxious to

return to the head-quarters of the force, I have remained here five days, and am still

waiting in hourly expectation of an answer to the communication which I despatched

to Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary on the 8th instant.

I will accede to your request in regard to leaving the steamer where she is, and

I would decide to remain myself in any event, but I do not apprehend any

immediate further outbreak, and feel that I can be individually of little use here.

Whereas my presence is required with the force. It would be a great satisfaction

to me to hear from Sir Henry Pottinger before I leave you, and I shall delay my

departure as long as possible with that view.

I received through the Quang-heep, on the 9th instant, an assurance that the

Chinese Government is very desirous to maintain tranquillity, and though their

power may be doubtful, I believe the assurance to be sincere. I will take this

occasion to recommend you to be upon your guard, and carefully to forbear from all

that may tend to collision with the populace, pending the result of the measures

upon which the Plenipotentiary, with whom the decision rests, may determine.

I have, &c.

(Signed) H. GOUGH.



Inclosure 7 in No. 1 .

Sir Henry Pottinger to British Merchants at Canton .

Gentlemen, Hong Kong, December 16, 1842 .

I HAVE this day received your letter of the 13th instant, including copies of

one which you had addressed to Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough, and of his

Excellency's reply on the subject of the late disturbances at Canton.

I observe that you assume,

1st. That the disturbance originated in a preconcerted plan ; 2nd, that it would

have taken place sooner or later without the immediately exciting cause of an

affray between certain lascars and the Chinese ; 3rd, that the local authorities were

either unable or unwilling to afford the necessary protection ; and 4th , that there

is a spirit of hostility towards the English amongst certain classes in Canton, who

guide and influence the rabble in their operations.

You proceed to observe that it is not possible to carry on your commercial

pursuits at Canton except by actual residence. You add that your withdrawal

would throw the trade into the hands of Americans and others, who are not likely

to suffer from the hostile feelings of the Chinese ; and you conclude by requesting

that I will move the naval and military commanders-in - chief to place such a force

for your defence and protection in Canton as may seem expedient,

I propose to have the honour of replying to the various points of your letter

in the order in which you have arranged them ; and, in doing so, I hope and believe

that it is not necessary for me to assure you of the unfeigned solicitude which I feel

to promote your interests and welfare, as well as to provide for your comfort and

safety, by every means in my power consistent with the views which my judgment

has led me to form, after the deepest and most anxious reflection on the questions

which those points involve in connexion with the momentous trust which has been

confided by Her Majesty's Government to my guidance .

With respect to the first point. I am obliged to distinctly avow, that no single

fact has come to my knowledge that authorizes me to concur in the opinion you have

expressed on it. On the contrary, the accounts that have reached me show that

a large body of lascars (Sir Hugh Gough states no less than 170) had been allowed

to go up to Canton on leave from the ship “ Fort William ” (and other vessels),

without any apparent control, or any person to look after them ; that they had been

fighting " the whole day” with the Chinese, whom they drove back and kept in

check until towards the evening, when the Chinese assembled in large bodies, and

overpowered the lascars, who were, in their turn , driven back, and allowed to take

refuge in one ofthe hongs that was subsequently burned ; and that only then the

attack on the buildings commenced.

I cannot convey to you my sentiments on this ( first) point more clearly and

simply than by here quoting a portion of a private letter which I wrote on the 13th

instant to Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough, in in answer to one which I had had

from his Excellency on the 11th : - “ I hope the riots at Canton are over, and that

our merchants there will profit by their experience. It seems quite clear that the

crew of the “ Fort William ” and other ships were the originators of the disturbance ;

and, before I make any demand for repayment of the losses from the local Govern

ment, I must be satisfied that some attempt was made to control the lascars. I hold

that not even a boat's crew should be allowed to land without a responsible officer

or person with them ; and if merchants will not enforce some regularity and order

in their ships, they must take the consequences."

The second point is in a great measure disposed of by the preceding remarks ;

and I shall also have occasion to advert to its tenor in considering the fourth one.

I shall, therefore, only here say, that, viewed abstractedly, it is based on mere

surmise, which is by no means admissible in discussions like the present, and in

which all statements adduced ought, I conceive, to be strictly limited to matter that

is susceptible of clear proof.

I think that the insinuated unwillingness (referred to in the third point) of the

local authorities to afford protection is, in no degree, borne out by any of the details

that have reached me up to this moment ; and it not only appears to me to be

disproved by what those authorities have since done with the object of affording

protection, but is likewise at total rariance with the information and opinions that


I have obtained from many different quarters as to the anxiety which both the

provincial officers and the Hong merchants had displayed up to the day in which

the disturbance took place, to avert, as far as they could, the injury to the local

trade and prosperity of Canton , which the late Treaty is calculated to inflict ; and

which anxiety they evinced by a variety of conciliatory arrangements and conces

sions which are too well known to call for particularization in this letter.

As to the alleged inability of the local authorities to afford protection , that

I can only, as at present informed, contemplate in the light of a conjecture. We all

know what an unmanageable thing an exasperated mob is in every part of the

world. Many instances of this truism could be adduced, within all our recollections,

in England and other of the most civilized nations of Europe ; and, before I subscribe

to the correctness of this allegation , I must learn that proper and timely application

was made to the local officer, which, I regret to add, I have strong reasons for

believing was not the case. It may, however, be true that the Chinese authorities

had not the power immediately at hand to restore order when the riot became

serious ; and it may even be hereafter unhappily verified , that they do not possess

the means of preserving the peace for the future ; but, with respect to the first of

these suppositions, it is just and proper, in looking at it, to inquire why our lascars

-one of whom , I am informed, began the riot by stabbing a Chinese were not

restrained by those whose business it was to look after them ; and, as regards the

second supposition, if we admit that it is possible, and investigate the cause, we are

obliged to revert to occurrences which took place before I came to China.

None of you, Gentleman, will suppose me capable for a moment of palliating

the base and barefaced perfidy of the officers of the provincial government in the

progress of events which terminated in the city of Canton being left at the mercy of

Her Majesty's arms in May, 1841 ; but I believe I am quite justified in saying that, up

to that time, there was no general popular feelings of ill-will or antipathy towards the

British nation on the side of the people. It is true that we had, from the earliest

period of our intercourse with this empire, submitted (with a very few memorable

exceptions) to constant contumely and indignity from the Chinese Government

officers; but, so far as the mass of the population were concerned, they were, I have

understood, as civil and as well disposed as I have invariably found them in all

parts of the empire which I have had occasion to visit since the peace was concluded.

It thence follows that the change which at that time came over the people, and

which has gradually led to their present state of exasperation and excitement, must

have been brought about by ourselves, —that is, partly by mismanagement, and

partly by ill-treatment; and I believe both these causes to have had a share in

bringing matters to their present crisis.

The fourth point is so mixed up with those that precede it, that, in examining

it, I might repeat many of my foregoing observations ; but I will spare you the

repetition, and will content myself by asking you collectively and individually,

whether,—with your admitted knowledge of the hostile feeling of certain classes at

Canton, coupled with the influence which you declare you believe those classes to be

able to exercise over the people, and also bearing in mind your recorded belief that,

sooner or later, an outbreak would take place,—you, to whom this letter is particu

larly addressed, as well as all other foreigners, whether subjects of England or not,

can stand forward and conscientiously assert that you have studied the complexion

of the times; that you have in any single iota or circumstance striven to aid me in

iny arrangements as the humble but zealous instrument of the Government whose

protection has been extended to you in an unparalleled degree, and which, I may

add, you are always ready to claim and expect, by endeavouring to dissipate and

soothe the very excitement and irritation of which you so loudly complain ? I may

even ask whether you have not thrown serious difficulties and obstacles, if not

positive risk, in the way of the very arrangements and measures which you so

earnestly desire to see perfected, and which, next to the assertion of Her Majesty's

dignity and honour, have been the leading object of my public actions for the last

eighteen months ? It is needless to occupy your time and swell this letter by

detailing circumstances; but I presume that you will now be ready to allow that it

would have been better had you gone on, as in past times, quietly and unobtrusively

with your mercantile pursuits, until it was announced to you that the provisions of

the recent Treaty were to be considered in full force. Even in the most civilized

parts of the globe such a course would have been equally advisable and expedient;

and how much more so dlo they appear with a jealous, arrogant, and unapproachable



government like that of China, which we bare for ages allowed, and almost

encouraged, to revile and treat us as human beings of a lower grade.

I have now arrived at the consideration of your present position and future

prospects and wishes, as set forth in your letter ; and, with respect to the advantages,

if not necessity, of actual residence at Canton, as well as the probable consequences

that would attend on your being forced to withdraw from that place, I need only

remark that I am fully apprised of those facts, and that I should, and shall very

truly, regret the loss and inconveniences to which you would be exposed by the

latter step becoming indispensable. I trust, however, that it will yet be averted

through the measures which I have in view. But adverting to the closing request of

your communication, I must at once, finally, most explicitly, and candidly, acquaint

you that no conceivable circumstances should induce me to place ller Majesty's

Government in so false and undignified a posture, as I should consider it to be

placed in, were I to send troops and ships-of-war to Canton in opposition to the

request and wishes of the local government, in order that you might carry on your

trade under the protection of such troops and ships -of-war. Such an arrangement,

irrespectively of the conclusive objection to it which I adduce above, would inevitably

lead to further ill-will, heart-burning, and violence, and its only result must be

disappointment, and, in all likelihood, a renewal of hostilities between the Govern

ments of England and China — a calamity which, I feel certain, you will one and

all cordially unite with me in earnestly deprecating.

In conclusion, I have in this letter entered atmore length into an exposition of

my sentiments than may have seemed to you to be called for by the one which you

addressed to me ; but, even before the Canton riots took place, I had imbibed many

of the impressions which I now communicate to you ; and, as a copy of this letter

will be transmitted to Her Majesty's Government, in explanation of the course which

I have decided upon following, I am desirous that the grounds of that decision

should be clearly known to all of you. I had hoped before this time to have had it

in my power to intimate to you the purport of the reply as to late events which

I am expecting from the Viceroy at Canton ; but, owing to circumstances beyond

my control, I am disappointed You shall be made acquainted with it shortly ; and

in the meantime, as it seems to be quite certain that the presence of the small

steamer at Canton is merely a source ofirritation, whilst, in truth, if there be any

danger, she can in no shape ward it off, I have given my ready assent to Rear

Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane's suggestion, that she should be recalled.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 8 in No. 1 .

Sir Henry Pottinger to Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough .

Sir, Hong Kong, December 17, 1842 .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt yesterday of your Excellency's

letter of the 13th instant, with its enclosed transcript of one to Lord Stanley, and,

at the same time, I had a communication from a number of British merchants at

Canton, giving cover to copies of one which the same gentlemen had addressed to

your Excellency on the 12th instant, and of your reply of the following day.

I have given the whole of these documents my most careful reflection, and have

likewise compared the accounts which they give of the late disturbances at Canton,

with those which have reached me from a variety of quarters. The result is, that

I see no cause whatever for thinking that the Provincial Government had any

participation or connivance with the rioters, but I am sorry to add, that I see

reason for believing that the lascars, who had gone to Canton on leave, were under

no control, and that the absence of it on this occasion, has been the immediately

exciting cause of the outbreak.

I have, in my reply, expressed this opinion to the merchants, and have also


informed those gentlemen that it is quite out of my power to send troops and ships

to Canton for their protection, contrary to the wishes of the Chinese local authorities,

as such a step would only lead to serious collision and possibly to a renewal of


Under these circumstances it does not seem to me to be necessary that I should

ask your Excellency to make any alteration in the number or disposition of the

troops who are to be left at this settlement, and I accordingly request that you will

be pleased to give effect to the present arrangements.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 9 in No. 1 .

The Governor - General of Canton to Sir Henry Pottinger.

KE- KUNG, of the Chinese Empire, a Guardian of the Crown Prince, a

President of the Board of War, and Governor -General of Kwangtung and Kwangse ,

makes this communication :

On the 15th instant, the Governor-General received the Honourable Pleni

potentiary's communication, stating that, on the 7th of the month , “ several

thousands of lawless people had collected about the foreign factories at Canton , & c . ”

[The remainder of the Plenipotentiary's letter of the 13th is here quoted ,

entire .]

The Governor-General finds that, on the 7th, at about 4 P.M., he suddenly

beard of the populace at the foreign factories being engaged in contest with

certain black -faced foreigners, when blows were inflicted on either side. The local

authorities, civil and military thereon repaired with speed to the spot, to suppress

the riot, and found that it originated in a dispute about the purchase of fruit.

Having inquired into the matter, they seized some individuals, and the populace

were gradually dispersed.

But, of a sudden , at about 9 P.M., an inner set of apartments in the foreign

factories was seen to be on fire, and burning very furiously ; whereupon the

Governor -General proceeded in person, accompanied by many civil and military

officers of all grades, and attended by fire-engines and hose, to endeavour to

extinguish the fire. But being in the depth of night, and in a confined situation, it

was impossible at once to extinguish it. And the people collected to put out the

fire being very many, lawless ones mingled themselves among them, and took occasion

to rob and plunder. The government troops were therefore ordered to fire on them ,

and to apprehend offenders. High civil and military officers were also deputed (the

death -mandate having been reverently applied for) to repair to the spot, and

suppress the riot. Upwards of ten plunderers were in consequence successively

seized, when the rest of the lawless people fled and dispersed.

Every day since, troops have been on duty, keeping watch day and night, and

all has remained in perfect quiet.

These are the real facts regarding the events of the last few days, seen and

known by all, both the native and foreign, merchant people.

Seeing that it is now the gracious pleasure of the Great Emperor that peace.

and friendly commercial intercourse should subsist between the native and foreign

merchants, the Governor -General, looking with the same regard on one as on the

other, will assuredly not fail to afford the utmost protection in his power. And he.

hopes that the Honourable Plenipotentiary will transmit orders to the Consular:

Officer residing at Canton rigorously to restrain the black -faced foreigners, that they

may not be allowed again to create disturbance, and give rise to such affrays. The

Governor-General, on his part, will also faithfully search after the plunderers, inves

tigate their cases, recover the stolen property, and punish their offences. Each thus


guided by justice, and engaged to repress the bad, quiet freedom from disturbance

will be the natural result. The Honourable Plenipotentiary may set his mind at

perfect rest, and need not send hither any troops.

As regards the money and property plundered from the merchants, the amount

has not yet been clearly ascertained. When, in obedience to liis orders, the Ilong

merchants, in personal conjunction with the merchants of the honourable country,

shall have accurately ascertained the real amounts, the sums shall be sererally

recovered and repaid. The Governor-General being charged with the direction of

the people's affairs, will act with rigid regard to justice ; his desire being that

natives and foreigners shall be united together in sincere good faith, and remain for

ever in quiet — he will not allow that the merchants of the various countries, who

come over such vast seas to trade here, should be involved in loss and embarrass


The communication sent for the High Commissioner Elepoo, shall be immediately

sent by express, inquiring for his Excellency on the way.

A most necessary communication .

Taoukwang, 22nd year, 11th month, 14th day. ( 15th December, 1842. )

No. 2 .

Sir Henry Pottinger to the Earl of Aberdeen.- (Received March 13 , 1813. )

( Extract.) Macao, December 23, 1812 .

I HAVE received from the merchants a reply to my letter to them of the

16th instant, the original of which I have the honour to transmit to your Lordship,

there not being time for a copy to be taken . I also forward a copy of the

rejoinder which I directed to be given.

Inclosure 1 in No. 2 .

British Merchants at Canton to Sir Henry Pottinger.


WE have the honour of acknowledging receipt of your Excellency's letter of

16th instant, and although we are well aware it would be unsuitable for us

unnecessarily to occupy your Excellency's time by further observation on the subject

to which it refers, we trust to be excused for adverting to some points which appear

to call for reply.

Your Excellency is pleased to say that our opinions “ being based on mere

surmise, are not admissible in such discussions as the present ;" but we may be

allowed respectfully to observe, that if the opinions of parties, most of whom were

present in Canton before, during, and after the riot, are deemed unworthy of

attention, we hope they may at any rate not be considered of less value than

reports which have accidentally reached your Excellency at IIong Kong, a place

remote from the scene of action. What ever information your Excellency may

have received leading to a different opinion, we beg respectfully to assure your

Excellency that all evidence which we have since collected,tends only to strengthen

and confirm the views expressed in our former letter.

Even were it admitted, as appears to be assumed by your Excellency, that the

irregular conduct of certain lascars led to the riot, we may venture to observe that

the practice of allowing seamen of all nations to proceed to Canton on liberty, has

been of long standing, and that if, as appears to be the opinion of your Excellency,

such custom was calculated to lead to difficulties, the remedy could not possibly be

considered as resting with the British merchants, who never have had authority to

make regulations for the controlof seamen, nor the power to impose penalties for

the breach of any that it might be deemed expedient to frame.

As your Excellency appears to doubt that timely notice was given to the


authorities of the serious character which the riot had assumed , we shall have the

the honour to forward to your Excellency authenticated statements, showing that

repeated applications were made in vain, through the Hong merchants, for

protection ; and that it is understood the messenger from the Viceroy, who waited

on his Excellency Sir Hugh Gough in Canton, distinctly admitted that such

applications were made, but could not for a considerable time be attended to, in

consequence of aa force not being available.

The most important paragraph of your Excellency's letter remains to be

noticed ; it is the grave charge which your Excellency is pleased to bring against

the English and foreign merchants in the following words, which we extract at

length : “ I will content myselfby asking you, collectively and individually, whether

with your admitted knowledge of the hostile feelngs of certain classes at Canton,

coupled with the influence which you declare you believe those classes to be able to

exercise over the people, and also bearing in mind your recorded belief that sooner

or later an outbreak would take place,-you, to whom this letter is particularly

addressed, as well as all other foreigners, whether subjects of England or not, can

stand forward and conscientiously assert that you have studied the complexion of the

times—that you have in any single iota or circumstance striven to aid me in my

arrangements as the humble but zealous instrument of the Government whose

protection has been extended to you in an unparalleled degree, and which, I may

add, you are always ready to claim and expect,—by endeavouring to dissipate and

soothe the very excitement and irritation of which you so loudly complain ? I may

even ask whether you have not thrown serious difficulties and obstacles, if not

positive risk , in the way of the very arrangements and measures which you so

earnestly desire to see perfected, and which, next to the assertion of Her Majesty's

dignity and honour, have been the leading object of my public actions for the last

eighteen months ?”

In reference to these strong observations, we take the liberty of most respect

fully recalling to your Excellency's recollection, that since your Excellency's arrival

in China, ncarly a year and a half ago, the letter of 13th instant is the first and

only address which has been submitted to your Excellency by the British merchants

individually or collectively, either seeking for information or asking for protection .

That your Excellency's proclamation, dated 12th August, 1841 , distinctly stated

that the mercantile community must carry on their trade at Canton, entirely on

their own risk and peril. That such proclamation was in some measure indirectly

rescinded by one, dated “ Chusan, 14th November, 1842 " allowing the trade at

Canton to continue, although no Government proteetion was even then actually

promised or afforded ; and that during the progress of such trade no protection has

directly or indirectly been afforded or claimed within the port of Canton, at a time

when warlike operations and seizures of Chinese property have been carried on along

the whole coast, and even in the Canton river itself.

We conceive therefore we may be allowed in some degree to dissent from the

opinion of your Excellency that “ the protection of the Government has been

extended to us in an unparalleled degree ;” and considering the serious risk of

person and property which we have incurred, without one word of complaint or

remonstrance, during the whole time that your Excellency has had charge of affairs

in China, we submit that an insinuation that we are over-ready to claim such

protection, is not altogether in accordance with the actual circumstances of the case.

We may be allowed further to observe that none of us are aware of any

occasion on which your Excellency has thought it desirable to seek for our opinions

or co -operation in any way ; the only information which we have received of your

Excellency's views or wishes, being found in certain proclamations made public

during the progress of hostilities ; and we can conscientiously assert that none of us

have erer to our recollection thrown risk or difficulty in the way of your Excellency.

During the past sixteen months we may observe, that the trade in Canton,

although carried on without any protection or control on the part of the British

authorities, has been managed by fewer parties, and in as peaceable and unob

trusive a manner as at any period since the abolition of the Company's Charter ; and

we feel justified in most solemnly denying that the charge ofill-treatment of the

Chinese can with justice be cast upon the foreign merchants. We may safely assert,

that the merchants generally have endeavoured to carry on their mercantile pursuit

in Canton in accordance with former custom ; and in the only case, we believe,

where innovation has taken place, the residence of ladies in Canton, the verylimited


number who have taken advantage of the permission formally granted by the local

authorities, and with the implied , if not expressed sanction, of your Excellency, have

been accider til vi itörs, not the wives of resident merchants. We may add, that no

intimation was, be believe. conveyed to any one, that your Excellency disapproved of

these proceedings, although the circumstances were generally known, untilafter the

attack on the factories.

We beg leave to assure your Excellency that we have been , and are, one and

all, ready and anxious to conform to all arrangements which may be made for the

regulation of our trade and other matters by the officers of our Government, when

duly informed of them ; but we respectfully submit that severe public censure should

not indiscriminately be cast on all the foreign merchants, in consequence of outrages

assumed to have been occasioned by the acts of a few , especially when such acts may

be considered rather the result of the absence of understood regulations, than of pre

meditated irregularity.

As your Excellency have been pleased to lay a copy of your Excellency's letter

before the Home Government, we beg leave to request the ssme course may be pur

sued with our reply.

Macao, December 23 , 1842 .

We have, &c.

(Signed) Dent and Co. Fox, Rawson , and Co.

Turner and Co. p. Dirom and Co., W. W. Dale.

Gibb, Livingstone, and Co. Henry Gribble.

Lindsay and Co. W. C. Le Geyt.

p . Bell and Co., Alfred Wilkinson . D. and M. Rustomjee and Co.

Inclosure 2 in No. 2 .

Mr. Woosnam to British Merchants at Canton .

Gentlemen, Macao, December 24, 1842.

I AM directed by Sir IIenry Pottinger to acknowledge the receipt of your

letter of yesterday's date, and to inform you that a copy of it will be transmitted

(with the other correspondence) to Her Majesty's Government by the steamer now

under dispatch .

His Excellency further directs me to take this opportunity to mention to you

that the Viceroy at Canton has, in reply to the letter which was addressed to him ,

declared his great anxiety, as well as perfect ability, to protect all foreigners, and

has also expressed his readiness to repay such losses as may have been incurred

during the late riots after they shall have been correctedly ascertained and submitted

through Her Majesty's Government.

I have, &c.


Acting Secretary.

No. 3 .

The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Henry Pottinger.

Sir, Foreign Office, April 1 , 1843.

I HAVE received your despatches of the 20th and 23rd of December, respect

ing the disturbances which took place at Canton on the 7th of December , and

inclosing your correspondence on that subject with Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh

Gough and with certain British merchants.

Deeply as Her Majesty's Government regret an occurrence which was calculated

to put in jeopardy the amicable relations so lately concluded between the two

countries, they have nevertheless derived no small satisfaction from the anxiety

shown by the Chinese authorities at Canton to put a stop to the tumult, and to

repress the excesses of the Chinese populace. Her Majesty's Government entirely

approve of your having declined toact upon the suggestion which wasmade to you,

to employ Her Majesty's forces for the protection of the factories at Canton against

the violence of the populace, which the British merchants apprehended might again


lead to scenes of confusion and destruction . There is sufficient evidence to show

that the outbreak of the Chinese mob was, in the first instance, and in all proba

bility exclusively provoked by the negligence of the master of a British vessel, in

allowing his seamen to go on shore without efficient control. Her Majesty's

Government trust that the excesses of those seamen , when thus emancipated from the

restraints of discipline, will prove a salutary lesson to British merchants engaged in

the trade with China, and that they will acquire the conviction that the security of

their persons and property must in no small degree depend upon themselves ; for

Her Majesty's Government cannot hold themselves responsible either for the pro

tection or indemnification of parties who, by their own misconduct, or by their

culpable negligence in omitting to restrain those whom it is their duty to control,

shall render themselves obnoxious to the Chinese Government or people.

I am, & c

(Signed ) ABERDEEN .

No. 4 .

Sir H. Pottinger to the Earl of Aberdeen.—(Received May 5.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, February 5, 1844 .

I HAVE the honour to forward for your Lordship’s information, copy of a

letter which I have addressed to Captain Balfour, Her Majesty's Consul at

Shanghae .

Captain Balfour reported in his letter to which the inclosure is a reply, that

some person who had gone out to shoot about a mile and a half from the

shipping, had fired through a hedge (by which all the farm -houses in that part

of China are surrounded ), and severely wounded two boys, who were brought to

the temporary Consulate some hours after in a very dangerous state, and that it

was believed by Dr. Hale that one would be blind for life.

The Intendant and District Magistrate had each addressed very strong, but

very proper, letters to Captain Balfour on the subject, and he took such steps as

occurred to him at the time to discover the offender, but he (Captain Balfour)

says he was not assisted as he might have been in his search by the local

authorities, who could, he thinks, have had no difficulty in tracing the Chinese

boatmen who took the offender on shore from his ship, as well as two China

men who were stated to have been in company with him when the boys were

wounded .

I have since heard by rumour that the offender's name is now known, and

should it prove so when I next hear from Captain Balfour, and I find he


belonged to the ship “ Valparaiso ,” I shall call on , and oblige, the firm of

Messrs. Dent and Co. to pay all expenses of the wounded boys, and to provide

for their future support, should that become necessary from either or both

having sustained permanent injury.

Inclosure in No. 4.

Sir H. Pottinger to Consul Balfour.

Sir, Government House, Victoria, January 16 , 1844 .

I RECEIVED and perused with great concern your letter of the

2nd ultimo, and its accompaniments, connected with two boys having been

(accidentally) wounded near Shanghae by some person who had gone from one

of the vessels to shoot in the country.

I consider this accident (even admitting it to have been purely such) most

unfortunate at the outset of the trade, and I wish it had occurred to you to

request Commander Vyner, of Her Majesty's ship “ Wolf, ” to call on the

masters of the vessels then at Shanghae to declare on oath whether any, and

what, persons had landed from their vessels for the purpose of shooting on that

particular day on which the accident occurred, and not to have allowed any

vessel to quit the port till the offender was discovered.



I should have deemed any measures you might have adopted on such an

occasion, however strong they might have appeared, to have been quite justified,

and they would have had my full sanction and support.

It is now , however, too late to look to any such step, and I have therefore only

to express my hope that the two boys who were wounded have been taken every

care of, and that they have recovered under Dr. Hale’s professional attention.

I shall be prepared, on hearing from you , to sanction any present (or in

case of permanent injury, such as the loss of eyesight, any small monthly

stipend) you may see fit to recommend for the sufferers, and with this view Í

shall await your further report before I bring the affair to the notice of Her

Majesty's Government. In the meantime, I have but to add that any restric

tions you may think it advisable to adopt in concert with the local authorities

will have my hearty concurrence.

I have, & c.


No. 5 .

Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen .- (Received May 6.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, January 10, 1845.

I HAVE the honour to forward, for your Lordship’s information, copy of

a despatch from Mr. Alcock , at Amoy, on the subject of a seizure and robbery,

committed on the persons of several Chinese in the British service at

Koo -lang -soo.

Mr. Alcock states (as I have heard from other quarters ), that “ this act of

violence is believed to have been committed with the connivance of the manda

rins, the parties attacked having been marked men , from their having been


actively employed by the British during the war.”

I accordingly thought it my duty to bring the subject to the notice of his

Excellency the Imperial Commissioner, by the inclosed letter, considering, as

Mr. Alcock justly remarks, that “ if the Chinese in the service of the British

residents or authoritiesare not protected from injury, but, on the contrary, are

allowed to feel that they are singled out for persecution and annoyance, great

prejudice must result to British interests generally, and to our consideration and

nfluence at each port .”

I received Inclosure No. 3 from Keying, in reply, informing me that he had

sent a “ flying despatch ” to the Provincial Government of Fokien on the subject;

and I trust that the result may be the punishment of the aggressors.

With reference to this subject of persecution, I regret to observe that

Article IX of the Treaty of Nanking, by which the Emperor agreed to publish ,

" under his Imperial sign -manual and seal, a full and entire amnesty and act of


indemnity to all subjects of China , ” &c. , has never been fulfilled.

I have found, in the archives of my office, a Chinese paper which

completely embodies the vindictive spirit that has actuated the Government of

the country , from the first , towards those of its unfortunate subjects who adhered

to us during the war ; and, at the same time, clearly explains and accounts for

all that has happened at Ningpo, Chusan, and Amoy, as well as Shanghae, where


Captain Balfour successfully interposed in favour of a persecuted Chinese in our

service. The paper in question was addressed,, in 1842, to the Emperor, by the

Governor ofChe-keang, and I think it too important not to forward it to your

Lordship as Inclosure No. 4 .

The Emperor enjoins his Ministers to transact this business " secretly ;" and

the reply of the Governor proves that a fitter instrument could not have been

selected for any work involving perfidy and deceit. He recommends that

inquiries should be made whether “ the said traitorous natives have not, at a

previous period, been put down as villains ; and if there is any evidence of their

wickedness, the said constables ought to bring the case forward, and on their

guilt and transgression being proved, they should be prosecuted for their old

crimes. "

No wonder, then, that the chief authority of Che -keang addressed Sir


Henry Pottinger: “ The honourable Plenipotentiary now further makes it his

request that the amnesty should be formally promulgated by the Emperor.

But by the established rules of China, only the great ordinances of gracious

pardons, the remission of taxes and tribute, and such like matters, are promul

gated to the Empire under the formal authority of the Emperor ; no other

matters are thus formally printed and promulgated by the Imperial authority,


and on the present occasion it is difficult to break through this rule.”

To his translation of the above, Mr. Morrison adds this note : “ The manner

in which a formal promulgation of Imperial commands is made, is by printing

the letter of the commands on yellow paper (with a dragon border), vouched

by the names of the high officers of each Province where they are published, at

the end. Even were such promulgation not expressly stipulated for in the

Treaty, there are two very obvious arguments (for insisting on it) :

ist. That what is demanded is A great Ordinance of gracious pardon .'

“ 2nd . That the Emperor's ' denunciations against us have been thus

promulgated , and it is therefore the more imperative that his assent to


peace with

us should be promulgated in the same manner . ”

Notwithstanding these good reasons, the Treaty in this respect has been

completely evaded and set at nought, although Sir Henry Pottinger observes :

“ The Emperor must publish an amnesty to all Chinese subjects in the same

form he promulgates his edicts ; this is also provided for expressly by Treaty .”

Nothing of the kind has ever been done, and the consequences to some of

our former adherents were disastrous . Mr. Gutzlaff observed, in a private note

to myself : “ Fortunately for the poor Chinamen , Thom took Suh-ming's part,

and Balfour, as well as Campbell , that of the other unfortunate fellows ; for

otherwise the proscriptions, and the handing over to the tender mercies of the

mandarins, would have been without end . The tragedy is now concluded . Two

men paid with their lives Captain Bamfield's surrender ; the policemenwere all

liberated ; the Taekosan Mandarin (a great persecutor) retired from office ; and

your Excellency's orders have for ever put a stop to handing over the Chinese

in our employ to their own authorities.”

Without very good and sufficient reasons, and a strict previous inquiry,

this is certainly most carefully to be avoided, for the native Government has

shown its disposition to wound us through the sides of its own people.

Inclosure 1 in No. 5.

Consul Alcock to Mr. Davis .

Sir, Amoy, December 13, 1844.

I HAVE the honour to forward the inclosed copies of correspondence in

reference to an attack made by Chinese villagers, as it is alleged, on two persons,

also Chinese, employed under the orders of the Commissariat, in bringing

supplies for the troops. The village of Foh-kia or Cho-ke, where the attack

and robbery took place, is situated about two miles from Amoy, on the opposite

side of the bay. One of the men in charge of the boat was severely wounded,

and the other carried away and detained .

On receiving Major Haldan's letter, inclosing Mr. Power's statement, I

addressed a letter to the Taoutae, calling upon him to take immediate and

effective steps for the apprehension and trial of the offenders, the release of

the prisoner, and the restoration of the property, or its full value.

The Taoutae in his answer informs me that the village of Cho -ke is not

in his district, and that he has therefore communicated with the Intendant of

Circuit for Chan - chow - foo, in whose jurisdiction the village in question is,

that he may set the prisoner at liberty, and seize and prosecute the offenders.

On the 11th instant I called upon the Taoutae, who informed me that he

had not received any answer, and I much fear that no prompt redress can be

obtained ; I have, however, urged the Taoutae to press for an immediate report

on thecase, stating, also, that if a satisfactory answer were not shortly received ,

I should deem it my duty to make a communication to your Excellency.

I am informed this act of violence is believed to have been committed with

D 2


the connivance of the mandarins, the parties attacked having been marked men ,

from their having been actively employed under the British during the war.

This of course does not admit of proof, otherwise, as a direct infraction of

the Treaty, it would be easily met ; I shall not fail, however, to press firmly

for redress to the persons injured, and especially for the liberation of the man

detained . It is obvious that if the Chinese in the service of British residents

or authorities are not protected from injury, but, on the contrary, are allowed

to feel that they are singled out for persecution and annoyance, great prejudice

must result to British interests generally, and to our consideration and influence

at each port.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 5 .

Mr. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria , Hong Kong , December 22, 1844 .

I REGRET to state to your Excellency that Mr. Consul Alcock, at Amoy,

has written to inform me as follows:

“ Robbery and violence have been perpetrated by certain Chinese at the

village of Foh -ke or Cho-ke, in the Hae -tang district, about two miles (six le) from

Amoy, on the opposite side of the bay, upon certain other Chinese employed by

the British authorities of Koo-lang-soo to purchase stores for the troops. One

man has been wounded ,another made prisoner, the latter being still detained in

the village. Some wood, the property of the British authorities, has also been

seized . "

This coming before me , the Plenipotentiary, & c. , it becomes my duty

immediately to request that your Excellency will give stringent orders to the

local authorities for the punishment of the offenders, the release of the prisoner,

and the restoration of the property thus wrongfully and violently taken. It is

an established principle among us, that any attack made upon persons in the

service of Her Majesty's Government, is an injury which should immediately be

redressed by a friendly Power, such as China now is in relation to England. It

is also in conformity to the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which can only be

maintained by the observance of this rule .

As Mr. Consul Alcock informs me that the local authorities showed a

disposition to delay or evade the redress for which he had applied, and that he

feared these persons were punished , contrary to the Treaty, for having served us

during the war, I have directed him to report further to me upon the subject,

and in the meanwhile have the honour to send this communication to your

Excellency, requesting that immediate steps may be taken on this occasion, in

order that I may report to my Government.

With sentiments of the highest consideration, I have, & c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 3 in No. 5 .

Commissioner Keying to Mr. Davis.


KEYING , High Imperial Commissioner, Member of the Imperial Clan,

and Governor -General of Kwang -tung and Kwang -se, &c ., sends the following


I just now received the communication from you , the Honourable Envoy,

respecting the Amoy affair (here follows the purport of the despatch , dated

22nd December, 1844) .

It appears to me a very regular thing, that the natives of that place (Amoy)

should be hired to buy provisions. Why then, should, just now , robbers plunder


and seize them ? This matter ought to be investigated, and then it can be

properly managed. I have, therefore, addressed a flying despatch to the metro

polis of Fokien, that the local officers might be directed to investigate the matter.

Whilst, therefore, with all severity recovering the plunder and seizing the

robbers, they will give the particulars of this case in their report, and, at the

same time, set the prisoners immediately at liberty, and after having obtained

the robbed articles, send them to the Consul of your honourable nation, that he

may receive the same.

An affair like this, however, requires much writing backward and forward, as

well as inquiry, and will take, as I apprehend, some time. You , the honourable

Envoy, have now already ordered the said Consul to send in a clear detail of all

the circumstances in order to arrive at the truth, and I hope you will commu

nicate the same to me to manage the affair properly.

Whilst, therefore, giving this previous reply, I wish you endless happiness, &c.

Taoukwang, 24th year , 11th month, 21st day. (December 30, 1844. )

Inclosure 4 in No. 5 .

The Governor of Che -keang to the Emperor .

ON the 16th day of the 9th month ( 1842) , your slave received a

letter from the Great Ministers of the Privy Council, stating that, on the 9th

day of the 9th month , an Imperial edict had been issued to the following

effect :

“ These barbarians that have been captured ought wholly to be set at liberty ;

and, as for those traitorous natives that have been taken by force, it is not convenient

that we should kill them , but, if we release them without making minute inves

tigations, it is hard to say that they will not again, at some subsequent period,

play off their old tricks, and thus give rise to future calamities. Therefore, their

names ought severally to be entered on a list, and let a strictrestraint be put

upon them, and measures be taken to guard against them . We, furthermore,

direct the said General and others to apply their whole minds to the proper

management of this affair, and let them carefully and secretly transact this

business, &c. Respect this.

From this I can perceive the all -pervading sacred anxieties in noticing most

trivial things. In order to remove evil your slave has, in obedience to your

wishes, made inquiries, and as these traitorous natives have received sacred

favours they shall not be killed ; but if they are set at liberty, without regula

tions having been made for keeping an eye over them , it will certainly fall out

as is stated in your Majesty's sacred commands, that “ it is hard to say, that

they will not again, at some subsequent period, play off their old tricks, and thus

give rise to future calamities . ” Therefore I , your slave, whilst commanding the

said officers to draw up a list of all the traitorous natives, and to take security

for them on liberating them , have at the same time directed that good regula

tions should be made, and measures be taken for guarding against them .

Now, according to the statement contained in the report of Tseang -wan

king, the Judge of the Che-keang, he has determined upon taking a memo

randum of the names of the traitorous natives, and then sending them back to

their homes, and he has also directed their mandarins to put a strict restraint

upon them , and to take a bond from the constables of the place, and their

neighbours and relations, and then to hand in an account of their names.

Thus we shall act just in the same manner as the law respecting convicts that

are to be transported ordains, and we expect that the said local mandarins will

manage this matter, and the abodes of all those that do not arrive at the stated

season ought to be traced. Moreover, the mandarins should make inquiries

whether they indeed act lawlessly, and punish them with all due severity , and

likewise visit their crimes on their neighbours and relations that originally stood

security for them . Supposing attheir native places someofthem have no relations

or neighbours to stand security for them , the local mandarius are responsible for

instituting true investigations, whether or not the said traitorous natives have

not, on a previous period, been put down as villains, and if there is any evidence

of their wickedness, the said constables ought to bring the case forward , and on


their guilt and transgression being proved, we shall direct that they be,

according to truth, prosecuted for their old crimes .

I, your slave , have minutely looked over the regulations that have been

arranged by the said Judge, which I consider very apposite ; and besides

directing him to manage this business, in accordance with the resolutions agreed

upon , and to communicate these orders to the local officers, that they may do

their duty, and institute inquiries, without gradually getting remiss, I hereby

annex this postscript to my report, which I respectfully present for perusal.

No. 6 .

Mr. Davis to the Eurl of Aberdeen.- ( Received May 6.)

My Lord , Victoria, Hong Kong, January 16, 1845.

WITH reference to my despatch of the 10th instant, I have the satisfac

tion to inclose copy of a letter from Consul Alcock at Amoy, reporting that the

Chinese who had been seized were restored to liberty, and the plundered property

returned .

I have every reason to believe that this was the result of the remonstrance

addressed by me to Keying, on the proceeding of the Amoy mandarins, forming

Inclosure No. 2 in despatch above mentioned .

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure in No. 6 .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Davis .

Sir, Amoy, January 10, 1845.

IN reference to my letter dated 3rd January, 1845, I have the honour to

inform you , that on the 8th instant I received an official communication from

the Taoutae, a copy of which I inclose, stating that the Chinese prisoner had

been liberated, and the wood restored, and further assuring me that the man had

not suffered any ill-treatment, as had been reported .

It does not appear that the parties who thus took the law into their own

hands by seizing Keang-yin have been punished ; but, under the circumstances,

the redress afforded, although tardy, is so far satisfactory, that it is aa distinct

admission on the part of the authorities of my right to claim protection for any

Chinese in the employment of the British from unmerited aggression ; this being a

point which the Intendant was disposed in the first instance to dispute.

I have, &c.


No. 7 .

Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen .— (Received August 2.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, April 4, 1845.

I REGRET to have to forward to your Lordship the inclosed documents

relating to a most aggravated assault by some of the people of Canton, on

Mr. Vice -Consul Jackson and Messrs. Martin and Stanton, as these gentlemen

were inoffensively walking on the outside of the city.

The condition of the English at the provincial capital is such as to call

for a permanent remedy, wereit only to prevent the chances ofsome breach in

our amicable relations with China. The insolence of the people is very much

promoted by our degrading exclusion from the interior of the city, in which my


predecessor acquiesced, under an assurance from the Imperial Commissioner that

it should be only temporary.

I accordingly felt myself called upon to address the Inclosure No. 3 to

Keying, drawing his attention to the provisions of the very first Article of the

Treaty, and calling for the condign punishment of those persons who had so grossly

violated it. As the evident desire of the Chinese Government is to render the

exclusion from the city of Canton permanent, under the convenient plea of the

people's wishes, it would be highly satisfactory to me to be furnished with your

Lordship's views as to the degree of weight which I should be justified in

attaching to the removal of this old and degrading distinction between Chinese

and foreigners.

I regret to say that a circumstance well calculated to encourage the

ill - conduct of both the local authorities, and the people of Canton , is to see our

naval squadron in China reduced to two sailing vessels, and one effective steamer

its actual amount; while the minimum force mentioned by Sir William Parker

himself consisted of five sailing vessels and a steamer.

Inclosure No. 4 was the reply returned by the Governor of Canton tothe

Consul's representation concerning the late outrage, and I have since received

from Keying Inclosure No. 5. He readily promises the punishment of the

criminals ; but the old argument is repeated for excluding foreigners from the

city, viz., the disposition of the people. I have succeeded in defeating the

adoption of this plea at Foo -chow - foo, and with the sanction of Her Majesty's

Government I would undertake to do the same at Canton, where I hesitate only

on account of the acquiescence of Sir Henry Pottinger, on the ground, as before

observed, of the exclusion being only temporary, according to Keying's own

assurance to that effect.

I have, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure 1 in No. 7 .

Consul Macgregor to Mr. Davis.

Sir, Canton, March 19, 1845..

I HAVE the honour to lay before your Excellency the copy of a repre

sentation addressed to me conjointly by Mr. Montgomery Martin, the Rev. V.

Stanton, and Mr. Jackson, detailing theparticulars of anoutrage and robbery

committed upon them whilst walking for exercise in these suburbs. From the

violent gesticulations and behaviour of the rabble, who were aided and

encouraged by those on the rampart, it appears evident that, but for the extreme

forbearance practised by the complainants, the most serious results must have

ensued, some of the robbers being armed with two-handed swords and daggers,

and others with heavy sticks. I am preparing a statement of the affair for his

Excellency Hwang, who is now raised to the rank of Lieutenant-Governor, and,

in the meantime, have requested the attendance of Woo for the purpose of

informing him of it verbally, that no time may be lost in tracing out the indi

viduals concerned in the robbery and violence, and in endeavouring to recover

the property stolen .

I have, &c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 7.

Messrs. Martin, Jackson, and Stanton to Consul Macgregor.

Sir, Canton , March 18, 1845 .

ABOUT 7 o'clock this morning, while walking for exercise along the

north wall , on the outside of the city, we were attacked by several Chinese, who

had been following us, and increasing in numbers from the building known to

foreigners as the five-storied Pagoda. At first they commenced with throwing

stones, whichendangered our lives, and by some of which we were struck. This

attack was aided and encouraged by a number of Chinese, who followed us along


the top of the city wall, hurling large stones, which , if they had struck, would

have killed those at whom they were aimed .

Mr. Jackson was first attacked by men brandishing swords and daggers, his

arms pinioned , and his gold chain snatched from his neck. The Rev. Mr.

Stanton and Mr. Martin, perceiving that Mr. Jackson was not following,

returned to aid him , and were themselves seized ; one of the assailants thrust a

dagger at Mr. Martin's breast, two endeavoured to throw him on the ground ,

and while struggling with them his pockets were rified. The same course was

pursued with Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stanton . The latter lost his watch, the

former still retained his, but everything else was taken . The assailants then leſt

us, but the persons on the wall followed us for some time, hurling large stones

and using menacing gestures and opprobrious language.

Proceeding southward, beneath the wall, to reach the river side, we were

again followed and attacked by another party ; Mr. Jackson received a violent

blow on his chest, and a roof was torn up to furnish large sticks to the assailants.

In this attack Mr. Jackson was deprived of his watch ; our clothes were torn ,

and at one time the people were disposed to strip us. No resistance was offered ,

it was hopeless to have attempted it, not only by reason of the numbers and

weapons of the multitude, but also on account of the attack on us from the

watch -tower and along the walls.

The outrage was entirely unprovoked ; our own official character and the

presence of a minister of religion was a guarantee for peaceful conduct; and had

his presence not restrained Mr. Jackson and Mr. Martin , bloodshed might

probably have ensued . Reaching a more populous part of the suburbs, we

rested a moment, and then proceeded home, but not unfrequently hearing

opprobrious epithets, mingled with cries of “ Kill them , kill them .”

From no nation in Europe would British subjects suffer this treatment ;

there can be no excuse for tolerating a continuance of such conduct towards us

in China, and we think that there cannot be a doubt that the Chinese Govern

ment have it in their power effectually to put a stop not only to the personal

insults which the English daily experience, but also to prohibit effectually the

repetition of the injuries we have experienced. By our prohibition to enter the

city of Canton, the lower classes of the Chinese are encouraged to regard us as

inferiors , and to treat us with marked contumely. No measures that we are

aware of have everbeen taken by the authorities to prevent the constant insults

to which the British community are subjected, and which, instead of diminishing

by time, or being subdued by acts of kindness, seem to become more frequent

and more virulent.

Anxiously desirous tomaintain peace and to promote amity, we make this

l'epresentation, believing that unless the Chinese authorities remedy the evils

complained of, the most serious consequences must inevitably, and ere long,

ensue .

We have, &c.

(Signed) R. M. MARTIN, Treasurer at Hong Kong,

and one of Her Majesty's Council in that


R. B. JACKSON , Her Britannic Majesty's

Vice- Consul at Canton .

VINCENT STANTON , Her Britannic Majesty's

Chaplain at Hong Kong.

Articles of which the Restitution is required .

A watch, capped with brass, and double cased in gold. Cost 85 dollars.

A watch, capped with brass, and double cased in silver. Valued at 45


A gold chain and gold seal, with armorial bearings. Cost 15 dollars ,

A gold pencil-case, Cornelian top.. Cost 12 dollars.

A bunch of keys , and two small keys.

A silver -mounted walking -cane. Value 5 dollars .

A silk purse studded with steel beads.


Inclosure 3 in No. 7.

Mr. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, March 22, 1845.

I HAVE the honour to inform your Excellency that I have received a

despatch from Mr. Consul Macgregor at Canton, detailing a most atrocious

outrage and insult committed by some of the Chinesc people against Her

Majesty's Vice- Consul and two other official gentlemen. The Consul inform.s

methat he has addressed his Excellency Governor Hwang, requiring reparation

against the miscreants who were guilty of the unprovoked attacks on those

gentlemen ; but this is so serious a national question, and connected with

such momentous considerations, that I am obliged to take it up myself.

The very first Article of the Treaty provides that the subjects of Her

Majesty the Queen, and His Majesty the Emperor of China, “ shall enjoy full

security and protection for their persons and property within the dominions of

each other." This attack at Canton was not only against British subjects, but

official persons , one of them the Vice -Consul. I have therefore to call upon

your Excellency to display your sincere desire to preserve good faith and main

tain the terms of the Treaty, by dealing such punishment upon the guilty

persons as the law of China awards against those who attack and wound officers

of Government. The property taken is of very little comparative consequence,

though it will easily lead to the conviction of the offenders. What I have prin

cipally to call for is the condign punishment of the ruffians who made the

cowardly and barbarous attack on three unarmed gentlemen, and I cannot deem

myself satisfied unless they are publicly punished, and unless Mr. Consul

Macgregor has full personal cognizance of their punishment.

This event, and the daily insults to which British subjects at Canton are

exposed, are mainly the consequences of their being still excluded very improperly

from the city of Canton, by which therabble are led to despise foreigners as a

proscribed or inferior people. I am fully persuaded that my Government will

not allow me to acquiesce long in this state of things, which your Excellency on

the 9th July, 1843, informed my predecessor, Sir Henry Pottinger, should be

only temporary. However exemplary the moderation and forbearance hitherto

displayed by the great nation which I have the honour to represent, those princi

ples of equality and of mutual rights which were established in 1842 must be

maintained, and it would be idle to expect continued harmony on any other

terms .

I have directed Mr. Consul Macgregor to keep me fully informed of the

progress of this business from day to day , and I hope that your Excellency will

see the necessity of satisfying me in my just demands for public reparation.

I take this opportunity of renewing to your Excellency the expressions of

my high consideration .

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure 4 in No. 7 .

Declaration .

(Translation .)

HWANG , Governor of Kwang -tung and á Vice-President of the Board of

War, hereby makes a declaration in reply .

I have received a statement from the Consuls concerned, of the various

particulars (relative to) the English officers, Martin and others, three persons,,

having been robbed of their (foreign) watches and other articles, and having had

their clothes torn, been beaten and insulted by (certain) Chinese of the lower

orders, from the perusal of which (the matter appears) exceedingly worthy of deep

felt indignation. On examining into this case, I find, that I had already heard

of it. I find, on examination , that a representation of the District Magistrate

of Pwan -yu has been received, stating that he " has apprehended one of the



robber vagabonds, Chin -a -gan, whom he is now vigorously interrogating about

his companions, in order that they may be apprehended upon proof according to

their names, and the stolen property recovered and given to the custody (of the

proper parties) , & c .,” which is on record.

Now, having received the Consul's statement, 1 have again given strict

ordersto the said District Magistrate, to depute additional and able runners, who

must, in conjunction with the soldiers of the (proper) military station, seize, (and

bring before) the tribunal, the vagabonds who robbed, beat, and insulted the

English officers, for correction according to the laws, in order to be a warning

for the future, and also recover and return to the original owners the articles


Besides communicating with Ke, the High Imperial Commissioner, (that he

may) , in like manner, give orders for the apprehension (of these vagabonds ), it is

fitting that as a preliminary step, I make a declaration in reply to the said

Consul to be communicated by him to the three English officers, that they may

may make themselves acquainted therewith .

An especial declaration .

March 21 , 1845 .

Inclosure 5 in No. 7 .

Commissioner Keying and Governor Hwang to Mr. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, &c.; Hwang, Lieutenant-Governor

of Kwang-tung, &c. , send the following answer :

We just received a letter from you , the Honourable Envoy, in which you

complain about the insult and injury done by the natives to the Vice-Consul and

two English officers, and request that these villains should be severely punished

according to the Chinese laws.

This case has already been represented by Consul Macgregor, and I , the

Lieutenant-Governor, immediately gave directions to the district military to

dispatch the most able soldiers for seizing (those ruffians) , and recovering the

plunder, and to punish them most severely as soon as they were apprehended .

The soldiers then reported that they had already seized one villain, Chin -aton,

who on being put to toiture would not betray his associates. Some of the

plunder, however, is recovered, viz., a gold - cased watch , which an official

messenger transmitted to the Vice -Consul to identify the same, and he having

found it to be the original article, has taken ( the watch ), as is on record.

We, the Great Minister and Lieutenant Governor, perceive that it is very

lawless for natives to wish to beat English officers, and rob them of their watches

and other articles ; fortunately, however, the British functionaries defended

themselves well, and thus were not wounded , which consoles us, the Great

Minister and the Lieutenant-Governor , in some measure. These villanous

natives ought to be seized and punished with severity, in order to deter others

from imitating their bad examples.

We have therefore again strictly ordered the local, civil, and military autho

rities, to adopt means for the seizure of those villains, that they may be punished

according to Chinese laws, and at the same time likewise take measures for

recovering the lost articles ; and as soon as they are obtained , they will be sent

to the Vice -Consul to examine and receive them . This is the previous answer

we forward to you, the Honourable Envoy.

Respecting the entering into the city, we, the Great Minister and Lieutenant

Governor, have again and again with your predecessor Pottinger consulted and

expressed ourselves very explicitly. We also suppose that you, the Honourable

Envoy, are fully acquainted with this circumstance. We, the Great Minister

and Lieutenant-Governor, entertain no other view in this affair, but that (dictated )

by the disposition of the Canton populace, which renders it impossible, and it is

not necessary to reiterate the same (argument).

If you , the Honourable Envoy, will give directions to the Consul and others,


to make inquiries with the Chinese merchants and linguists in the neighbourhood,

you will be convinced that this is the cause.

Whilst wishing you an increasing happiness, we address this important com

munication, &c.

month,, 22nd

Taoukwang, 25th year, 2nd month day. (March 29 , 1815.)

22nd day.

No. 8 .

The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foreign Office, August 8, 1845.

I HAVE read much concern the particulars of the assault on Mr. Vice

Consul Jackson and his companions at Canton, as reported in your despatch

of the 4th of April ; but it is satisfactory to find that the Chinese authorities

exerted themselves for the detection and punishment of the offenders,

It would certainly be desirable to obtain free access to the city of Canton,

and I am prepared to sanction your attempts in that respect. Much prudence,

however, will be required in dealing with the question , and probably there is

more ground for the apprehensions of the Chinese authorities with regard to the

difficulty of controlling the populace at Canton than experience has shown to

have been the case at Foo- chow-foo . But those authorities seem to have the

power, when they have the inclination, to keep the people in order ; and when

they are made to perceive that the responsibility of any breach of the peace

committed by the people will fall upon themselves, they may be expected to

take effectual measures to prevent such an occurrence.

On the other hand, at all events in the outset, it would be incumbent on

British subjects, in gaining access to Canton, to avoid, as much as possible,

placing themselves in situations which might give occasion to disturbance.

With these observations, then , I leave the matter in your hands, merely

cautioning you to conduct any discussion with Keying on the subject with the

utmost temper, and on every account to avoid pushing matters to the extremity

of interrupting the free course of trade in the Canton waters.

I am , &c.

(Signed ) ABERDEEN .

No. 9 .

Mr. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen.— (Received August 21.)

My Lord , Victoria, Hong Kong , April 24, 1845.

IN continuation of the subject of my despatch of the 4th instant, I

have the honour to inclose a reply to the joint letter of the High Commissioner

and Governor, in which they continued to refuse the privilege of ingress to

the city of Canton, on the ground of the people's will .

I show that the impediments in question were solemnly promised to Sir

Henry Pottinger by Keying to be removed within a reasonable time. Nearly

two years have now elapsed during which this invidious and mischievous

distinction between foreigners and natives has existed, placing the former under

the ban of the latter, with the sanction of the Local Government. The people

of Canton deridingly defy the Europeans to enter the city as the latter pass the

gates, and this of course feeds and keeps up the insolence of the Chinese, and

perpetuates the degradation of the strangers Nothing of the kind exists at any

other port ; and it will not be easy to find a sufficient inducement for the

Chinese Government to remove a bar which they silently approve, should its

removal be deferred until after the restoration of Chusan. I only require the

sanction of Her Majesty's Government, for which there is abundant time, and

will pledge myself tocarry the point if supported by that sanction . Article XII

of the Treaty of Nanking expressly stipulates as one condition of the restoration

of Chusan, that “ the arrangements at the ports shall be completed,” which can

E 2


scarcely be deemed to be the case as long as this important point is unsettled at

Canton .

In a memorandum which I furnished to the Foreign Office in December

1842, I foretold that much difficulty was to be apprehended in establishing

desirable relations at Canton, where " old established habits have to be subdued.

and old feelings combatted ;” and this difficulty was enhanced by the forbearance

of Sir Hugh Gough to the armed multitude, which (as already observed by me

to your Lordship ) hung on his rear during his occupation of the heights, causing

them most absurdly to attribute that forbearance to fear.

The mischievous effects of the exclusion from the city are so universally

obvious to every one in this country, that the American Consul has used the

strongest remonstrances in his power, but without any means of gaining his

point, or chance of being attended to.

Inclosure No. 2 is a communication from Keying, which I shall publish,

conveying the satisfactory information that six of the natives who had assaulted

Vice -Consul Jackson and his companions had been duly punished. In acknow

ledging this by Inclosure 3 , I took occasion to notice a very improper draft of a

proclamation to the people of Canton by the District Magistrate (Inclosure 4), a

copy of which was sent to me by Consul Macgregor, with some just remarks as

to its false and derogatory statements, representing the Vice-Consul and his

companions as traders, and putting them altogether on a footing with the rabble

by whom they were attacked. I inform the high officers of my conviction that

they could not have authorized a paper of such evil tendency, and request them

to cause a viore fitting notice to be issued .

I am subjected to much obloquy on account of the moderation of my

measures by a party of the English in this country, and require all the open

support of Her Majesty's Government to make my position such as it

should be.

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 1 in No. 9 .

Mr. Davis to Commissioner Keying and Governor Hwang.

Victoria, Hong Kong, April 7, 1815.

I HAVE had the honour to receive your Excellencies' joint despatch on

t'ie subject of the outrage on three English officers. It is satisfactory to learn

that some of the robbed articles have been recovered, but this is trifling compared

with the exemplary punishment of the criminals. The watches, &c. , having

been found , it will not be difficult to trace the robbers, of whose punishment

your Excellencies promise to inform me hereafter, for which I feel much


With regard to entering the city of Canton, both my predecessor and

myself have led our Government to understand that the exclusion was only

temporary in 1843. The Imperial Commissioner thus wrote to Sir Henry

Pottinger: “ The High Commissioner has now, in conjunction with the Governor

General and Governor, commanded all local magistrates and other officers to

adopt measures for inculcating a better spirit ; and he only waits until the port

is opened and commerce in progress , when all parties settling into a state of

quiet , shall meet together to consult within the city, whenever business may call

them thither. If there be the slightest falsehood in this, may the Highest

regard it.” This was a very solemn declaration, and I cannot for a moment

suppose that his Excellency the Imperial Commissioner was otherwise than

sincere. The peace having now been concluded more than two years, the time

must soon arrive when no objection can exist. The natural disposition of the

people of Canton is towards commerce and mutual intercourse, and if not

purposely encouraged and led astray, as before the war, it is plain that they

will act like the people at Shanghae, Ningpo, and other places.

But admitting that some portion of the ignorant rabble are disposed to act

disorderly, it would not be right to impair the friendly feeling of the two nations

on their account. The Treaty of Peace and Friendship must be observed on

the part of the Chinese Government in deed as well as in word, or your Excel


lencies cannot, with propriety, quote, or bring it to my notice. It cannot be at

once violated on one side, and expected to be observed on the other. To look

for the continuance of friendship, without friendly treatment, is contrary to

human nature .. It is therefore very desirable that the invidious and highly

objectionable exclusion of foreigners from the city of Canton be removed as

speedily as possible .

The High Commissioner very correctly remarked, in his official commu

nication to Sir Henry Pottinger : “ The two nations are now at peace,, without

the slightest ground for jar or altercation. What difference, therefore, can there

be between the inside and the outside of the city ? When , too, Ningpo,

Foo-chow, Shanghae, &c., may be entered , why should Canton be solitary in

this respect ? ”

I quite agree in these just sentiments of his Excellency, and it is m

anxiety to promote the continuance of friendly intercourse that dictates the

present despatch.

With sentiments of high consideration, I have, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 2 in No. 9 .

Commissioner Keying and Governor Hwang to Mr. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, &c. , Hwang, Lieutenant Governor

of Kwang- tung, & c ., send the following answer.


We have made ourselves fully acquainted with the contents of a letter from

you, the Honourable Envoy, respecting the robbery committed upon some British


To settle this case , we had given orders to the local military and civil

authorities to dispatch soldiers , who have now seized the villains, Kwo-a -shun,

Fang -a- kei, Chin-a-gan , Chang-a -shing, Laou- a-yang, and Chow -a-teem , six in

number. They also recovered a gold watch , one gold chain, one seal , one silver

pencil case, and one whip, which have been handed over by a deputed officer to

the Vice -Consul Jackson, who identified them as being the stolen articles, and

received them back , which is on record .

The six villains that were apprehended have now stood their trial . The

two, Kwo-a-shun and Fang-a-kei , have confessed that they stole the gold watch

and other articles. Laou - a -yang, and the other three, acknowledged that they

had taken up stones and pelted (the English officers), and did by no means deny


the fact.

The two accomplices in the robbery, Chin -a-kwei and Leatih, have not yet

been taken, nor have we found means for getting back the silver watch and

restoring the same. Such is the statement of the Pwan -yu magistrate.

I , the High Commissioner, and I, the Lieutenant Governor, perceive that

the established laws of China award 100 blows, and banishment for three years,

to those who have stolen any articles . Kwo-a -shun, therefore, and Fang-a -kei,

who stole the watch and other things, will receive 100 blows, have their faces

marked , and be sent into banishment.

As for the others who engaged in strife, but did not inflict any wounds, the

established Chinese laws would merely punish them with 30 blows. But Laou -a

yang and the others, three in number, were violent and added insult by throwing

stones. Although not inflicting any wounds, still they acted very ruthlessly,

and it would therefore be very improper only to beat them . We have, therefore,

sentenced them to the more heavy punishment of receiving 80 blows, to be

commuted into banishment .

We have, moreover, given very strict orders to apprehend with great severity,

Chin - a -kwei and the other, and to recover the silver watch , which could not yet

be found . As soon as Chin-a-kwei and the other are taken , and this case is

fullyarranged, we shall instantly issue a perspicuous proclamation, warning the

people of Canton never again to commit themselves in this manner.

With regard to going into the city, I, the Great Minister, distinctly stated

to your predecessor, Pottinger, that as soon as the trade was open , and every

thing on both sides quiet, there could be no reason for refusing or rejecting the


proposal, whenever necessary, to enter the city, for holding a consultation, by

joint consent. However, up to the present year, I have found it impossible for

foreigners to go into the city, both from my conversation with the gentry and an

inquiry into the disposition of the people. I, the Great Minister, and I , the

Lieutenant-Governor, have repeatedlyordered the loeal Mandarins to use persua

sion , yet the public is strongly opposed to it, and will not yield . Thus we, the

High Commissioner and Lieutenant-Governor, cannot so easily grant this permis

sion. There are, morcover, respecting this, many other particulars which it is

difficult to enumerate.

From the moment that I , the High Commissioner, and I, the Lieutenant

Governor, transacted the commercial affairs of every nation, we have in all

instances afforded protection and strenuously endeavoured to uphold friendship

and harmony. Should we therefore refuse and prevent this single thing, viz .,

to enter into the city ? Not alone is God our witness that there exist difficul.

ties in this matter, but you , the Honourable Envoy, will also, as we hope,

perceive the dilemma.

We also received an official note from you, the Honourable Envoy,

respecting duties on coarse china -ware and piece-goods, and the manner of levying

those duties on them at Amoy. Having addressed ourselves to the Superinten

dant of Maritime Customs at Canton to investigate the matter, and report it

impartially, we shall give you the result in our answer.

In the meanwhile wishing you every happiness at the spring season , we

send this important document.

Taoukwang, 25th year, 3rd month , 12th day. (April 18, 1845.)

Inclosure 3 in No. 9 .

Mr. Davis to Commissioner Keying and Governor Hwang.

Victoria , Hong Kong, April 24, 1815 .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellencies' joint

communication, in which I am informed of the punishment of six among those who

committed the assault on the English officers. It is highly satisfactory to find

that these ruflians have not escaped punishment, and I trust that the remaining

two will be apprehended .

With regard to entering into the city, I have already stated the necessity

for Canton being placed on the same footing as the other ports in this respect.

Until this is done, the Treaty arrangements for opening all the ports cannot be

considered as concluded. I have referred the question to my Government, and

shall await their decision .

Mr. Consul Macgregor informs me that the District Magistrate of Pwan -yu

had prepared a notice in which the English Vice- Consul and other officers are

falsely represented as persons who trade and enjoy profits with the common

people . It is also stated that these “ three people went on shore,” &c. If English

Officers are thus fallaciously in a public document placed on a level with the

populace of Canton , it can only lead to the generation of bad feeling and the

production of trouble . As your Excellencies have often informed me that you

are sincerely desirousof the continuance of peace and friendship, I am convinced

that you did not authorize such a mischievous document, and that you will

cause a proper one to be published in lieu of it. As everything is preserved on

record, and transmitted to Her Majesty's Government, such a paper as the one

in question would prove in case of future discussions that the people had been

taught by the officers of Government, since the peace as before, to despise the

English . This surely could not be approved by your honourable nation's


I beg your Excellencies to accept the assurances of my high consideration .

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .


Inclosure 4 in No. 9.

Proclamation by the Magistrate of Pwan-yu.

( Translation .)


CANTON is a mercantile emporium for all nations, and foreigners as well

as Chinese ought to live quietly and endeavour together to enjoy the profits of

trade. The Chinese must not be overbearing, and because being natives insult

strangers .

On the 11th day, 2nd month of the present year (18th March, 1845), the

British Vice-Consul Jackson and others , altogether three people, came on shore

and were walking about, when the villains, Kwo-a-shun and Fang-a-kei, robbed

them, of a gold watch and other articles, and took up stones to pelt them, with

out, however, inflicting a wound. This is a shameless hankering after lucre, and

contempt of the law, which cannot be overlooked . We have therefore sentenced

Kwo -a -shun and Fang-a-kei, according to our law against robbery, to banishment

for the full (period), and condemned the criminals Chin -a -gan and others to a

severe bastinado.

We therefore make known this lucid proclamation , and if in future native

villains dare to seek strife, insult, fight, and beat inoffensive strangers who mind

their business and observe the law, or on seeing their property form a plan for

robbing them to obtain booty, they shall be most severely brought to trial as

soon as they are discovered. Respect this implicitly. A special proclamation .

No, 10 .

The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis,

Sir, Foreign Office, September 23 , 1845.

SHORTLY after my instruction of the 8th August, on the subject of the

free access of English subjects to Canton, was dispatched to you, your further

despatch of the 24th April, on that subject, was received at this office, during

my absence in Germany, in attendance on Her Majesty.

In that despatch you speak with such confidence of your power to obtain

from the Chinese authorities the concession of the free access of British subjects

to all parts of Canton , provided Her Majesty's Government will sanction your

efforts, that I am induced to give you the authority which you desire.

By our Treaty with China, we unquestionably possess the right to require

that the five portsnamed therein should be opened, without reserve, to British

subjects and lawful British trade. Canton alone, of those ports, has not yet been

thus opened.

When my despatch of the 8th ultimo was written, it still appeared ques

tionable to Her Majesty's Government how far we could, with prudence and in

good policy, insist, with the Chinese authorities, on the full and immediate

execution of the treaty stipulations with respect to Canton ; and I , accordingly,

conveyed to you a cautionary power on that point, leaving much to your own

discretion .

The observations, however, contained in your despatch of the 24th April,

above mentioned , and especially those bearing on the approaching restoration of

Chusan to the Emperor, have placed the matter in such a light as to show

clearly the expediency of requiring, and , if necessary, of compelling, the full

execution of the Treaty, both with respect to Canton , and to any other point in

which that execution may, possibly, be still incomplete, while we have yet the

means of compulsion in our power .

It is obvious that when Chusan is once given up, we shall lose much of the

weight and authority which we now possess.

On the receipt of this despatch, you will, accordingly, consider yourself

fully empowered to renew ,with urgency, your application for the free admission

of English subjects and dependents to every part of Canton ; and you will, at >

the same time , intimate that, when thus admitted , conformably to Treaty , the

Chinese Government will be held by us responsible for the good treatment of


such British subjects by the people of Canton. We , on our part, bind ourselves,

at the same time, to employ every means at our command to ensure the good and

orderly conduct of our own countrymen , when thus placed in the full enjoyment

of the right to which they are legally entitled.

In the first instance, you will do well to prefer this demand, as now, for the

first time, founded on the express and specific orders of your Government, in an

earnest and temperate tone, and rather as an appeal to the rectitude and good

judgment of the Chinese local authorities and Government. But should such

arguments fail, within a reasonable time, to produce the required effect, you will

then clearly state to the Chinese High Commissioner that, by Treaty, British

subjects have as full a right to free admission into Canton, as the Chinese

Government has to the restitution of Chusan , at the stipulated period, by the

English ; and that, unless the Emperor carries out his engagement with respect

to Canton, the British Government will be justified in withholding the execution

of theirs with regard to Chusan . And you may add, that contingent instructions

have already been conveyed to you to delay the evacuation of Chusan until

Canton shall have been fully opened to Her Majesty's subjects.

Should any other point exist , towards the period of the stipulated restora

tion of Chusan, on which the Chinese Government should exhibit a disposition

to act in opposition to their treaty engagements, you will consider it discretionary

with you to adopt the same means of enforcing compliance, as you are above

authorized to do in the matter of Canton. And in case of non -compliance with

your requisition, you will equally hold yourself empowered to suspend the

evacuation of Chusan by our troops.

But such suspension must be founded on a clear and palpable case of non

execution , or wilful delay of fulfilment, of treaty engagement on the part of the

Chinese. Should they execute the Treaty faithfully, it is our bounden and

imperative duty to perform , with equal fidelity, our engagement to restore

Chusan, without delay or hesitation , to the Emperor.

I am , &c.

(Signed ) ABERDEEN .

No. 11 .

Mr. Daris to the Earl of Aberdeen .— (Received October 25.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, August 23 , 1845 .

HAVING received strong and repeated representations from Mr. Consul

Alcock as to the aggressive conduct of the populace at Foo-chow -foo, with the

intimation of an opinion that the same was connived at by the authorities of the

place, I deemed it right to address (Inclosure No. 1 to Lew) the Governor

General of Fokien and Che-keang, calling upon him in urgent terms to observe

the first Article of the Treaty of Nanking, in giving proper protection to British


It appeared desirable in order to save time, as well as to add to the effect of

the remonstrance, that the “ Medusa " steamer should proceed straight to

Foo -choiv -foo with my despatch , which she did on the 4th instant, while I

inclosed a copy of the same, with a few explanatory lines, to the Imperial

Commissioner at Canton .

I shortly afterwards received the inclosed satisfactory despatch from Keying

and Hwang, which convinced me that they would do all on their part to influence

Governor Lew.

The “ Medusa ” returned yesterday from Foo -chow -foo, bringing the

inclosed despatch from Mr. Consul Alcock, which is satisfactory in leading to the

expectation that the local authorities will at last take steps to abate the evils

complained of ; but the impression still remains with Mr. Alcock, as well as with

myself, that fair play and candour have not been observed throughout by the

local authorities, the Governor Lew being known to belong to the illiberal or

anti - intercourse faction of the Chinese Government .

The inclosed reply (No. 4) from that functionary is civil and specious,

attributing everything to the curiosity of the people ; but this cannot account


for the gross acts of personal violence , and the flagrant insults (even to being

spit upon ) which some of the English have experienced. I feel convinced,

however, that my timely remonstrance has been attended with a good effect, and

that we shall have a different account in future of the conduct of the populace,

as well as of the general treatment of the English at Foo - chow -foo.

Inclosure 1 in No. 11 .

Mr. Davis to the Governor -General of Fokien and Chekeang.

Victoria, Hong Kong, August 4, 1845.

I HAVE the honour to acquaint your Excellency that I hear very general

complaints, officially confirmed by Her Majesty's Consul, of the ill-conduct of

the populace of Foo-chow-foo to British subjects residing at that place, and

who, confiding in the strict observance of the Treaty, and believing that they

were in a civilized country, have not yet thought it necessary to carry arms

about them for their protection .

I consider this so grave and important a matter that I have purposely

dispatched a steam-vessel with this letter to your Excellency. My disposition

is to be very open and straightforward on all occasions, and not to act without

first declaring my views and intentions.

Now the very first Article of the Treaty concluded at Nankin, expressly

provides that the subjects of England and China respectively should “ enjoy full

security and protection for theirpersons and property within the dominions of

the other."

It is well known to every one that at Amoy, Ningpo, and Shanghae, where

the people experienced all the horrors of war entailed on them bythe miscon

duct of Lin Tsih - seu, they have nevertheless been uniformly well conducted

towards the English since the peace, being properly controlled by the local

officers. How is it, then, that the populace of Foo -chow , who have hitherto

been exempted from the same calamities, should show an unfriendly disposition,

and be inclined to assault unarmed strangers ? Doubtless some ill-disposed

persons, not daring to show their hate openly, have instigated and deceived the

ignorant populace, who are still unaware of the power of my Government to

protect its subjects.

I therefore address this important despatch to your Excellency, requesting

you to put a speedy and effectual stop to the causes of complaint in question.

I have been deputed by the Sovereign of the great nation whom I have the

honour to represent, for the express purpose of watching over the proper

observance of the Treaty, and I am determined to fulfil my duty in every


The Imperial Commissioner, Keying, being at Canton , and the communica

tion very slow overland , I address this urgent note directly by the steamer, which

will arrive in two or three days, but a copy will be sent to his Excellency Keying ;

though this is not my first communication on the subject. How much preferable

is it that your Excellency should control the people of Foo-chow, thus demon

strating the power of the Chinese Government over its subjects, than that the

British inhabitants should be obliged to be protected by their own authorities,

while avessel is sent to the Peiho with aa letter to the Minister at Peking, complain

ing of the infraction of the first Article of the Treaty. It is also desirable, as the

time for evacuating Chusan approaches, not to complicate matters by such

unpleasant discussions.

It will give me great satisfaction to learn from the Consul, as I anticipate,

that British subjccts can move about Foo - chow -foo without molestation .

1 take thisopportunity to convey to your Excellency the expressions of my

highest consideration.

I take, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS.



Inclosure 2 in No. 11 .

Commissioner Keying and Governor Hwang to Mr. Davis.

( Translation.)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, &c . , Hwang, Governor of Kwang


tung, &c., send the following reply.

We received your despatch respecting the Custom -house regulations (here

follows an extract from that paper) , and likewise one respecting the insults,

which the English have frequently experienced at Foo -chow , on the part of

the natives. At this we are extremely surprised. Our two countries are now

at peace with each other, and no difference exists between (our) people and

(your) merchants, who ought, therefore, to regard each other with kindness.

This ought still more to be the case, since your honourable nation did not

commit the slightest hostilities at the metropolis of Fokien. Instead, as they

are doing at present, of insulting you, the inhabitants ought to show you the

deepest respect ; their behaviour, therefore, is inexcusable.

On perusing the despatch of you the Honourable Envoy, we were con

vinced that every word was true and very just. Now , as this affair might

interfere and occasion trouble, whilst the time for restoring Chusan is approach

ing, you , the Honourable Envoy, forwarded this most important document, with

the greatest haste to its destination. This proves still more the strength of

your good faith , which equals rock and steel ; and we are under the highest


The restoration of Chusan concerns the good faith and justice of both

nations, but if this, on account of a trifling matter, should be delayed, all nations

would presume that the Treaty and oath of our two Empires was not to be

depended upon . We both are High Commissioners, and how could we thus, as

Great Ministers, remain in our situation, and reply (to the inquiries) of friendly

nations ? But you , the Honourable Envoy, anticipated this, and since the way

by land is distant, you dispatched a steamer to Fokien , in order to convey infor

mation on these matters. Surely your penetration is not of an ordinary quality,

but of the most exalted and refined nature.

We, the High Imperial Commissioner and Governor, have also dispatched

this official letter, with the speed of 600 le per day, that Lew , the Governor

General of Fokien and Che-keang, might peruse the same at the Provincial city.

As he is an intelligent, clever, and true man , imbued with a high sense of

justice, we therefore expect that he will restrain (the people) with severity, and

not allow the ignorant rabble to insult strangers, and injure our peace, harmony,

and friendship

Whilst sending this reply, we wish you the utmost degree of happiness, and

address this important letter.

Taoukwang, 25th year, 7th month , 7th day. (August 9, 1845.)

Inclosure 3 in No , ll .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Davis.

Sir, Foo - chow -foo, August 15, 1845.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's

despatch of August 4, together with its inclosures, on the 11th instant, per

" Medusa ."

I lost no time in acquainting the Governor-General Lew, that I was directed

to deliver a letter from your Excellency in person, and the following day I

received a reply, appointed the 14th at 12 o'clock for my visit. As in my letter

to the Governor-General, and his Excellency’s reply, reference is made to the

subject matter of your communication , I have inclosed copies. It will be seen

that in recapitulating the contents of my letter, the Governor -General overlooks

the fact I had stated, of the complaints of the merchants themselves, who had

been aggrieved, having reached you . He then proceeds to assume that the

ground of complaint is the curiosity of the people, which might not be altogether


inexcusable, and finally proposes as a remedy for the evil , that notice should

always be given, when an Englishman wishes to leave his vessel, to District

Magistrates, that he might be encumbered, under plea of protection , with Chinese


In my interview , therefore, which took place yesterday , a minute of which

is herewith inclosed , I deemed it important to keep these three points clearly in

view, for the purpose of rectifying the erroneous ideas his Excellency appeared to

entertain .

I am bound to state that a gradual but marked improvement has taken

place, since the last serious remonstrance, made when General D’Aguilar and other

visitors were here ; nevertheless, occasional acts of very gross rudeness still occur,

and, not very unfortunately, two signal instances came under my notice the day

after the arrival of the “ Medusa,” which gave me a favourable opportunity of

proving to demonstration that more effective measures were yet required , and

that no Englishman was free from the risk of exposure to the most wanton and

unprovoked attacks.

In reference to the proposed measure of placing the English under the

irksome, and in every way objectionable, surveillance of the Chinese police,

which has been already more than once proposed as a favourite panacea, I cannot

doubt but that your Excellency will concur with me in thinking that such liberty

of movement as this would allow little worth having, even were it not to be

anticipated that the worst would be made of the manifest confession and tolerance

of a sense of insecurity, which constitutes a direct infringement of the first, if

not the most important, Article of the Treaty. I pointed out that such ameasure

was at least as impracticable as it was inadmissible, and suggested that they

should distribute their police along the line of route to the Consulate, and ,

moreover, make the shopkeepers in each ward responsible for the discovery and

seizure of any aggressor .

The Governor-General did not dissent, and gave instructions to the attendant

magistrates to make arrangements somewhat analogous.

I did not fail to seize this favourable opportunity of bringing under his

Excellency's notice certain facts strongly tending to prove that there is a general

indisposition to deal on any fair or friendly terms with the British , and that

many had not scrupled to allege as the grounds of their conduct, the fear of

incurring the displeasure of the authorities by any different mode of proceeding.

The inference was not very palatable, and I only pressed it with reserve and

delicacy ; but I strongly insisted upon these facts, as abundantly demonstrating

the existence of a very general feeling that the authorities , if not hostile to us,

were indifferent to any acts which might compromise our interests or security.

The more unfounded such an opinion might be, the more essential was it that

his Excellency should take such decided steps as could leave no doubt whatever

on the minds of the inhabitants, that so far from courting favour, they would

incur the most serious displeasure, and risk punishment , byacting upon opinions

so erroneous .

I did not hesitate to urge upon the Governor-General , that this general

impression lay at the root of the evil, and that no measures promised a successful

result which did not remove this first stumbling- block and obstacle to all friendly

intercourse or commercial transactions. To this, I stated , might, in my opinion,

be attributed all the insults and acts of rudeness which had taken place, and the

total failure of the vigorous efforts recently made to open the trade of the port by

English merchants.

Although his Excellency would not admit even of the existence of such an

impression, he very promptly, and with some earnestness, assured me that every

step should be taken calculated to prove the friendly disposition of the autho

rities, and his own sincere desire to see a flourishing foreign trade established at

this port, that he might remit a large Custom-house revenue to the Emperor.

He finally concluded by declaring I might fully rely upon the authorities to put

the most effectual stop to any further acts of rudeness and insult.

In reference to your Excellency's letter, he hinted at the inexpediency of

any public discussion of its contents, and stated his intention of forwarding his

answer addressed to yourself.

Nothing could be more courteous than his Excellency's bearing, nor more

friendly andapparently sincere than his assurances of a desire to cultivate the

most amicable relations, and to repress everything calculated to disturb

F 2



peace and security of the British ; but by the results alone, I fear, can the good

faith which dictated the manner and matter be determined. I cannot doubt that

it is in his power to impress the whole population with a salutary conviction that

the very worst mischief they can engage in , is to molest or insult one English

man ; and this once effected, I believe all ground of complaint will be removed .

In order the better to place before your Excellency the dexterous mode in

which the redress of such grievances is shuffled off, delayed, and frittered away,

if not fina ly lost, I beg to inclose four letters of correspondence not yet concluded,

between myself and the District Magistrates, originating in aa complaint from two

of my servants that they had been beaten and robbed, and met on the part of the

Chinese by a counter -charge, seeking to involve two Englishmen, as well as some

Canton servants, the only men in this district found capable of rendering the

slightest domestic service beyond carrying a bucket of water. The whole of the

proceedings appear on the face of the documents, and are too transparent to

render it necessary that your Excellency's time should be occupied by explanation

or comment.

I cannot conclude without expressing my grateful sense of the ready and

effective assistance which your Excellency has, without solicitation , afforded.

With the gradual improvement I have marked in the behaviour of the people

generally, and the comparatively rare occurrence of any very gross act of violence,

I should indeed have hesitated to make at this moment a further report. I am

very sensible , however, of the importance of such a demonstration as the arrival

of 'the “ Medusa,” with your Excellency's remonstrance addressed to the

Governor-General ; and I venture to hope signal benefit may result from the

measure .

I have, & c .


Inclosure 4 in No. 11 .

The Governor -General of Fokien and Che -keung to Jr. Davis.

(Translation .)

LEW, Governor -General of Fo -kien and Che -keang, &c., sends the

following answer to a despatch from yourself, the Honourable Envoy and Great

Minister, received by the steamer, which Consul Alcock personally handed in on

the 12th day, 7th month, 25th year of Taoukwang ( August 14, 1845) .

In this you state that the British residents at Foo - chow make frequent

complaints about the insults received from the natives, and request that an

immediate and effectual stop be put to all future annoyance , & c.

On receiving the above, I, the Governor, found, on examination , that the

people of Foo -chow have not the slightest cause for ill-will against the merchants

of your honourable country, nor an intention of treating them with contempt.

But the merchants of your honourable country have only recently arrived at

Foo-chow, and their dress differs from the native, and the people of Foo -chow

are not yet as accustomed to this sight as the inhabitants) of Amoy and the

three other ports . The streets at Nan-tae are, moreover, very narrow, and

people from every quarter crowd there. At the arrival of the merchants of your

honourable country, it was natural that there would be a large number of

spectators, and amongst them also some idle vagabonds and ignorant boys,

who being unable to obtain a sight, jostled and made a noise . When last year

Consul Lay first arrived, I , the Governor, felt some anxiety about this, and

directed two troops of the magistrates' police to protect Consul Lay. He,

however, said that he was acquainted with the customs of the Celestial Empire,

and could take care of himself, and that there was no need of sending constables.

In the spring of the present year, when Consul Alcock first reached Woo -shih

shan , there were hundreds and thousands of people who came to look at him .

Whilst I , the Governor, therefore ordered Treasurer Sew to issue an order,


severely prohibiting this, I at the same time dispatched soldiers from five

battalions, who should, in the neighbourhood, by turns put (the crowds) down ;

and the runners of the two magistrates were only withdrawn after having more

than twenty days been there on guard .


When , subsequently, the Honourable General D’Aguilar came to Foo-chow,

and had an interview with me, the Governor, the people of Nan -tae quite

surrounded and pushed him . I , the Governor, then instantly ordered the two

magistrates to make inquiries ; to seize the fellows that were crowding around

them , whilst issuing an order severely prohibiting it . The magistrates of Foo

chow , on a subsequent occasion, when a quarrel arose between Foo - chow people

and some individuals of your honourable nation, seized the former and punished

thein , as a warning (to others), with the cangue.

There is at present a vessel of your honourable country, which ran ashore

in the river, and became leaky, and has therefore been obliged to unload, and

repair her damages. I, the Governor, instantly commanded the magistrate of

Foo -chow to procure above twenty lighters to receive the cargo,and the merchant

put his goods in a temple. As I, however, feared that some villains might come

to steal, I ordered the local force to dispatch quickly some soldiers and runners,

to cruize about, day and night, for their protection. Consul Alcock will be

thoroughly acquainted with the above circumstances.

Not a moment elapsed during which I did not exert myself to afford protec

tion , both for the sake of strengthening the place, as well as showing the

friendship of a host to his guests . This, however, the more so, because we are

now one family, and there cannot be the most distant idea of insulting foreigners.

Having now received the communication from you , the Honourable Envoy

and Great Minister, I shall redouble my endeavours for control, to insure lasting

tranquillity. As, however, the offices of all the authorities are in the city, I am

apprehensive that their attention can scarcely be bestowed everywhere, and have

therefore held a consultation with the Acting Lieutenant-Governor Seu , to

choose three civilians and three military officers, who, at different places, from

Woo -shih -shan to Nan -tae, should always have their stations, with a party of

soldiers, for quelling (disturbances), and going their rounds. But if any native

villains insult the merchants of your honourable country , they will instantly be

seized, chained, and delivered over to the magistrate, to be punished severely,

without the slightest show of mercy.

I also hope that you, the Honourable Envoy and Great Minister, will order

Consul Alcock to enjoin upon the merchants of your honourable country that

may come to Foo-chow, to endeavour, each and all of them , to carry on their

commerce quietly, and not create any disturbance with the natives. If we, on

both sides, restrain the people of our two respective nations, good feelings will

spring up in course of time, and the trade will become flourishing.

Ī, the Governor, think, that Foo -chow , being a new port, where the market

has only recently been opened, the goods are not easily sold . When the first

merchantman, an American vessel , arrived last year, I ordered Treasurer Seu to

issue a proclamation, ordering the native merchants to keep their goods in

readiness, and be just in their dealings. At the arrival of a ship of your

honourable country at this port, I have, in conjunction with the Acting Lieute

nant -Governor Seu promulgated an exhortatory address to the richer shops and

merchants, to procure suitable goods for the trade, that both parties may reap

the benefit. A copy of this I forwarded for the perusal of Consul Alcock.

Thus the trade will perhaps increase from small to greater importance, and

extend far and wide. As the merchants will derive essential advantages, the

duties will also be gradually increased, which is what you, the Honourable Envoy

and Great Minister, as well as myself, fervently hope .

I send this answer with the return of the steamer to Kwang-tung, for the

consideration of you, the Honourable Envoy and Great Minister, and wish you

abiding happiness .

This important document is addressed to his Excellency Her Britannic

Majesty's Plenipotentiary, Davis, &c. , with two Proclamations.

Taoukwang, 25th year, 7th month . ( August 1845.)


No. 12 .

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen.—(Received December 23.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong, October 27, 1845.

I HAVE great satisfaction in inclosing to your Lordship the annexed copy

of a despatch from Mr. Consul Alcock , in which that zealous and able officer

details the negotiations by which he obtained signal reparation for a wanton and

barbarous attack made by certain individuals of the Tartar garrison on

Mr. Parkes, the interpreter to the Consulate .

The inclosures to Mr. Alcock's despatch being voluminous, and the matter

of them embodied in his letter, I do not trouble your Lordship with details.

I caused an extract from Mr. Alcock's report to be published in the “ China


Mail ” of the 23rd instant, and have since signified to him my entire approval of

his proceedings.

The severe punishment of the aggressors, concerning which the Consul

satisfied himself by ocular proof, will no doubt have a salutary effect. I am

glad, at the same time, to add that a trade is gradually being established at

Foo -chow, and that another ship has this day left Hong Kong with a cargo for

that port. I shall probably find it advisableshortly to transfer Mr. Vice- Consul

Layton from Ningpo, where he has little to do, and add him to the establishment

of Mr. Alcock , who has applied to me for such assistance .

I have, & c .

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure in No. 12 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foo -chow -foo, October 8, 1845 .

I HAVE the honour to inclose, for your Excellency's information, copies

of a correspondence which has taken place since the 4th instant with the Tartar

General and the Governor-General, originating in a violent and unprovoked

attack made in the Manchow division of the city upon Mr. Parkes, while

pursuing his walk on the walls.

As that gentleman had been for some distance hooted, pursued , and finally

pelted with dirt and stones, some of which might very easily have inflicted most

serious injury ; and this outrage was persisted in , notwithstanding his remon

strance and warning that their conduct would be reported to the Tartar General ;

and the fact that he was recognised and addressed by name as the interpreter of

the Consulate ; I felt it essential to demand full and prompt satisfaction from

the Tartar General himself , in whose exclusive jurisdiction the assault had taken

place. It appeared to me so clear that if this were denied, or any delay or

shuffling permitted, neither peace nor security could be looked for in F'oo -chow,

nor any prosperous prosecution of British trading interests continued, that I was

fully prepared , in the event of failure, to refer the circumstances to your

Excellency, for such assistance as might be deemed adequate to attain that


My first letter, therefore, to the Tartar General, stated plainly and without

disguise, in commentupon the particulars of the outrage, that I considered such

an attack a flagrant violation of the subsisting Treaties , and unless it were met,

on the part of the authorities, by the most prompt and energetic measures for the

apprehension and severe punishment of the offenders, it would be my duty to

refer the whole of the circumstances to your Excellency without delay.

I also inclosed a copy of this letter to Governor-General Lew, calling upon

him to take measures, in concert with the Tartar General , to avert the difficulties

such an outrage was calculated to raise.

On the following day, Sunday, a Colonel of the Tartar army, formerly the

Haekwang at Amoy, and with whom it was known I had friendly relations, was

dispatched to me by the Tartar General, conveying an apology for the insult

offered, making inquiries after Mr. Parkes , and promising that due inquiry


should be made ;; consequently it was hoped there would be no necessity for my

reporting the affair to your Excellency .

The inclosed copy of the minute of this interview, and one which took place

on the following day, shows the usual diplomacy of the Chinese to have been

brought into play, and for some time my visitor persisted in considering the

assailants as a set of idle boys . Having begged him to disabuse the Tartar

General's mind of all idea that this was a mere affair of idle boys and their

rudeness, or that I should fail to make the most serious representation to my

Government, if satisfaction were not afforded within two days, he took his leave;

and the following day I received a second visit from the same officer, from the

Prefect and two District Magistrates, and as they were approaching, a letter

from the Tartar General and a copy of his proclamation were placed in my


The magistrates brought inquiries after Mr. Parkes from the Governor

General, and information to me, that his Excellency 'had , in company with the

Lieutenant-Governor, lost no time in proceeding to the residence of the Tartar

General to consult with him as to the most expedient measures for the severe

punishment of the offenders ; that several had already been seized by the Tartar

General's officers, and were about to be handed over for heavy punishment. The

Tartar General's officer brought me information of what further had taken place.

Six men had been traced and seized on the information obtained from one who

had confessed ; three of these, being young, had been severely beaten with

bamboos and sent home ; three older had been reserved for the cangue, a

punishment from which it was the peculiar privilege of a Tartar to be exempt,

and they were now posted one at each of the three gates, viz . , the South, the

East, and Hot-spring Gates, with a placard stating their offence. After the

period of confinement had elapsed, they would then receive the additiona

punishment of the bamboo. The Tartar General having thus condemned these

men , contrary to their own laws, to a degrading punishment unusual among

them , to prove his detestation of the offence committed, the officer was instructed

to say that he trusted this would be considered quite satisfactory, and that I

should no longer deem it necessary to make reference on the subject to Hong

Kong .

Shortly after their departure I received an answer from the Governor

General. Translations of these documents are inclosed .

This morning I determined to proceed to the Hot-springs, to make aa further

examination of one of them , as I should thus pass through the various gateways

where the prisoners were stationed , and the quarter of the city where the

disturbancetook place, and without seeming to exult over the punished men , by

making them a principal object, yet find an opportunity of ascertaining whether

Mr. Parkes could verify them as the real offenders, and forming my own opinion ,

from personal observation, as to the temper of the people after these

punishments, which I understood to have excited much attention, and to be the

talk of the place. Three Tartars in the cangue, and for an assault on an English.

officer !

Mr. Parkes was enabled, he informs me, to verify one, and he believes a

second. On the cangue is written their offence, as above described. When near

the gate I could not get free from two or three police, who had obviously orders,

armed with their whips, to take care their superiors had no further complaint from

me. Swent on to the walls,and walked over the same ground intervening between

the Hot-spring and the East Gate) where Mr. Parkes had been molested. I did

not perceive any evidence of feeling beyond that of interest and curiosity at

seeing me there, probably increased by associating it with the late attack and the

signal punishment of the men. Several of the proclamations were noticed by the

interpreter in different parts of the Tartar city.

Having thus ascertained, tolerably to my satisfaction, that the authorities

had acted with good faith , and not attempted to amuse me with fictitious

punishments, proclamations, & c., I have to -day written a reply to the Tartar

General , and another to the Governor-General, copies of which are herewith

inclosed. To the former I thought it right to say, in answer to a letter which

speaks of such a gross and even dangerous kind of outrage, as a mere breach of

good manners that I conceived his proclamation would have been more

satisfactory to Her Britannic Majesty's Government had he, the Tartar General,

more justly characterized an outrage so flagrant, as a violation of the laws and á.


breach of treaties subsisting between the two nations. Nevertheless, as he had

sufficiently and distinctly denounced the offence, and threatened severe punish

ment in future, I ventured to hope it might secure the desired end , and under

these circumstances the redress obtained appeared to me satisfactory, and would

no doubt be so considered by your Excellency.

To the Governor-General I had the more pleasing and easy task of simply

expressing the high sense I entertained of the earnestand friendly terms in which

he had referred to the outrage, and the prompt and effective steps taken to afford

the necessary redress. I ventured to add, in conclusion, that I could not doubt

the proofs of cordial goodwill to the English nation , and a determination to

insure respect for the laws and a faithful observance of the Treaty, afforded on

the present occasion by his Excellency, and expressed in his letter to me, would

cause it to be read with great satisfaction by Her Britannic Majesty's Minister

Plenipotentiary, to whom I should forward a copy .

I have thought it prudent at this time to address a few lines of advice and

instruction to the gentlemen attached to this Consulate, to serve for their

guidance in their intercourse with the Chinese and British at the port. Feeling

as I do, that the ground we occupy is not so firm but that acts of indiscretion,

or passionate resistance, might, often repeated on the part of the English,

seriously embarrass our relations here ; and it often requires no ordinary share

of temper to treat some of the Chinese with the patience and tolerance which

their rudeness and determination to impose demand . I have written , assuming

the possibility, without strict watch , of some such impatience or indiscretion .

must, in justice to those gentlemen , therefore assure your Excellency that

nothing is farther from my intention than to make a charge of this nature.

their power,

in their

I believe them , on the contrary , anxious and ready , in every way in

to second my efforts to insure respect for the Consular Establishment, and

promote a friendly and good understanding with all classes — Chinese and


I have only to trust that the steps I have taken in this , at first, very

menacing and troublesome-looking affair, and the result obtained, which I have

accepted as perfectly satisfactory, may be sanctioned by the view your Excellency

may take on perusal of the inclosed documents.

I have , & c.


No. 13.

The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 24, 1845 .

I HAVE received your despatch of the 23rd of August, inclosing

copies of your correspondence with the Chinese authorities, respecting the

disorderly conduct of the populace at Foo -chow -foo, and I have to acquaint you

that I approve of your having called upon those authorities to prevent British

subjects from being aggrieved by the outrages of the people at that place.

I am, &c.

( Signed ) ABERDEEN .

No. 14 .

The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis.

Sir , Foreign Office, January 24, 1846.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 27th of October, inclosing

copy of a despatch from Mr. Consul Alcock, reporting the measures which he

adopted for the purpose of obtaining from the authorities of Foo-chow -foo

reparation for an attack made by certain individuals of the Tartar garrison at


that place on Mr. Parkes, the Interpreter to the Consulate ; and I have to

instruct you to acquaint Mr. Alcock that Her Majesty's Government entirely

approve of his proceedings in this matter.

I am , & c .

(Signed) ABERDEEN .

No. 15.

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen .— ( Received April 20.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong , February 24, 1846 .

WITH reference to several of my previous despatches, dwelling on the

unsatisfactory treatment of British subjects within the port of Canton ,in which

no improvement whatever has taken place since the peace, II have the honour to

forward some additional correspondence on the same subject.

Earlyin this month Mr. Consul Macgregor reported to me an unprovoked

attack on Commander Giffard, and other officers of the navy, who had landed in

the vicinity of Whampoa, for the purpose of exercise and shooting. They had

prudently retired , after advancing about a mile on their way, upon seeing the

people collecting to oppose their further progress. Notwithstanding this,

however, or rather perhaps in consequence of this, a number of the villagers

intercepted the party as they were quietly returning on board, and wantonly

assailed them with stones, Commander Giffard displayed the greatest modera

tion ; and though the party were well armed , and could have taught a severe

lesson to their aggressors , he would not allow a shot to be fired in self

defence .

When Mr. Consul Macgregor represented the subject to Keying, he received

the reply inclosed in the accompanying despatch to myself. This puts such a

construction on Keying's own version of the Vith Article of the Supplementary

Treaty, which he contrived to substitute for Mr. Thom's translation, as would

place us at the mercy of the rabble in any part of the country, and confine our

people to their ships, even within the authorised ports of trade.

Such annoyances as those experienced within the Canton river, are unknown

at the other ports, and I have frequently observed to your Lordship that the

non -admission into the city is only a part of the grievance which must be

redressed before the Treaty can be considered as duly observed .

Before the receipt of Mr. Macgregor's despatch I had been applied to by

the Rear-Admiral on the subject of the assault on Captain Giffard , and accord

ingly addressed the inclosed to Keying.

He replied by the annexed note, in which he alluded to his answer to

Mr. Macgregor, and promised to send me a further communication on the


I considered this aa favourable opportunity to point out to Keying the extra

ordinary contrast between the ill-treatment of our regular traders, and even the

officers of Her Majesty's ships, within the legalised port of Canton, and the

perfect freedom and immunity enjoyed by the opium smugglers at Namoa and

Kumsingmoon—places interdicted by the Treaty. Here houses are built, roads

are made, and the most perfect security enjoyed, with the connivance of the

Government authorities ; while at no place within the Canton river can the

more respectable portion of British subjects move about unmolested.

In the inclosed note I point out to Keying this glaring inconsistency, and

call to his recollection my previous remonstrances concerning the evils arising

from the actual condition of the opium trade, and my advice that it should be

legalised with a duty.

I consider that the present negotiations relating to Canton afford a favourable

occasion for pushing this argument, and that could the true state of the case be

made known to the Court of Peking, it would present the strongest motive to

legalise the opium trade.



I have heard from Mr. Consul Macgregor that some authorities were sent

down to investigate the affair at Whampoa, but have not yet received Keying's

promised report.

I have, &c.

( Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 1 in No. 15 .

Consul Macgregor to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Canton, February 10, 1846 .

REFERRING to my despatch, in which I communicated to your Excellency

a letter, and its inclosure, which I had received from Captain Lyster, of Her

Majesty's ship “ Agincourt,” relative to an unprovoked attack on a shooting

party, consisting of Commander Giffard and other officers of Her Majesty's

ships, in the vicinity of Whampoa, I have now the honour to inclose

translation of his Excellency Keying's reply to my representation, in which I

demanded an investigation, and the summary punishment of the offenders.

In this reply, the Imperial Commissioner quotes the VIth Article of the

Supplementary Treaty , under which he endeavours to excuse the conduct of the

villagers on the occasion, and insinuates, notwithstanding the recent procla

mation permitting foreigners to make excursions into the interior, that they

have no right to avail themselves of it . Such an assumption, if allowed, would

render nugatory all that has been done on the subject, and were the people of

the surrounding villages encouraged by such an interpretation, it is to be feared

their violence would rather be increased than checked .

The high tone the Chinese Authority has assumed in this communication

induces me to refer the matter to your Excellency, whose notice of it will,

doubtless, have more weight than a rejoinder from myself, more especially as it

was intimated to me by the officer bearing the despatch that it was considered

not to require an answer from me.

I have addressed a copy of Keying's letter to Captain Lyster for his

information and guidance.

I have, & c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 15.

Commissioner Keying to Consul Macgregor.

( Translation .)

KE, Imperial Commissioner, Governor -General of the Two Kwang, &c.,

hereby makes a communication in reply.

I have received your communication stating (here follows an abstract of

Her Majesty's Consul's letter to the Imperial Commissioner, dated 5th February,

1846, respecting Captain Giffard and his party having been attacked near

Whampoa ).

In consequence of this I have instituted an examination , and find that the

VIth Article of the Supplementary Treaty states, “ The English merchants

permanently residing at the Five Ports, Canton and the others, or occasionally

resorting thither, may not, either the one class or the other, go in aa disorderly

manner amidst the villages, nor suit their own ideas in walking and wandering

about for amusement. If any Englishman should, violating this regulation, go

in an unauthorized manner into the interior of the country, and wander far about

for amusement, no matter to what class they may belong, it shall then be lawful

for the people of the country to seize and deliver them over to the English

Consul to be by him punished according to the circumstances. The people

may not, however, in an unauthorized manner, themselves beat and wound them

so as to injure the existing harmony."

On this occasion, Captain Giffard having landed , taking with him people to

assist in the pursuit of game, carrying fire -arms, and their going in an


unauthorized manner to the neighbourhood of the village of Shik-tow-tsuy , at

the distance of one mile from the ship , to wander about for amusement and in

pursuit of game, is a violation of the regulation, and the people of the said

village in preventing them from proceeding have acted in strict accordance with

the Treaty that has been concluded ; as, further, no one was wounded in the

attack made by throwing stones , it becomes a matter of difficulty suddenly to

seize and punish them, whereby the minds of all would be caused to rebel,

However, since I have received your communication, if you will wait for the

time being, I will order the local authorities to restrain the people of the village,

directing them that if it should hereafter happen that any Englishmen go in a

disorderly manner amidst the villages, wandering and walking about for amuse

ment, they, the people of the said village, ought to take their measures in

obedience with the Treaty concluded on, and that they may not suddenly beat

and wound them so as to injure the existing harmony.

You also (should) immediately bring this Article of the Treaty to the

knowledge of the naval officers in question , that all may actin obedience thereto,

and for ever give due weight to friendship and kind feeling, which is of the

greatest importance. For this reason, I now make you a communication in

reply for your information . A necessary communication in reply.

February 8 , 1856 .

Inclosure 3 in No. 15.

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, February 9 , 1846 .

I BEG to acquaint your Excellency, that no sooner had I written my

despatch, in which I dwelt on the ill -conduct of the people about Canton, than

I received aa letter from the Admiral , reporting an unprovoked attack on some

officers belonging to Her Majesty's steamer Vixen ,” which conveyed your

Excellency from and back to Canton .

The Commander and others were on shore, near Whampoa anchorage, for

the purpose of walking about and shooting birds, when they were assailed by a

crowd of people, with stones, urged on by the “ Tepos,” or heads of the village.

Having arms, they could easily have destroyed their assailants, but displayed a

forbearance which does them great credit.

The name of the village is Shik -tow -tsuy, and Consul Macgregor can

obtain any further information that may be required. The aggressors ought to

be punished in sight of the Consul or the Commander.

I must observe to your Excellency, that if the Commanders of Her Majesty's

ships find the laws of the country cannot or will not protect them , they will,

very naturally, be inclined to do themselves justice, and the chance of such

occurrences should be guarded against.

This is one more instance of the evil disposition of the Canton (Kwang -tung)

people, which must be now corrected, in order to prevent future troubles.

I beg your Excellency will accept the renewed assurances of my highest

consideration , &c .

I have, &c .

( Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 4 in No. 15 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis .

( Translation .)

KEYING , High Imperial Commissioner, &c. , sends the following answer


to a despatch about an attack upon Captain Giffard (here follow the contents of

that paper), which he received from you, the Honourable Envoy, and attentively


I find, on examination , that Consul Macgregor, in a previous despatch,

stated that the said naval officers took with them fowling -pieces and pistols, when

they went on shore and approached the village Shik -tow -tsuy, at a distance of



three “ le” from their vessel, where they were attacked with stones by more

than 1,000 people, and returned to their boat immediately, without being

wounded. To this I sent an answer, in conformity to the existing Treaty.

I moreover gave orders to the local mandarins, that they might restrain the

villagers of the said place, and not allow them , of their own accord , to engage

in strife and inflict injury, so as to disturb the existing harmony and goodwill.

Having sent some officers to investigate the affair, I addressed my orders

to the civil and military authorities entrusted with this business , on receiving

your note, to examine minutely into this affair, and manage it satisfactorily. As

soon as I have received their report, I shall forward to you a reply.

Whilst transmitting this answer, I wish you happiness.

Taoukwang, 26th year, Ist month, 19th day. (February 14, 1846.)

Inclosure 5 in No. 15 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, February 21 , 1846.


SINCE I received your Excellency's note of the 14th instant, declaring that

you would write again on the subject of the attack on Captain Giffard , I have

been waiting for some information .

The ill conduct of the inhabitants within the port of Canton is a very serious

matter, and must be corrected, or it will lead to great confusion .

The lawful and regular traders of my country, and even the officers of Her

Majesty's ships, cannot proceed on shore within the port of Canton without

being attacked. On the outside of the port, however, at Namoa and Kumsing

moon , the lawless smugglers of opium have formed settlements on shore, and

built houses, and made good roads. This is all by the connivance of the lower

mandarins, who receive forty dollars on every chest. Thus, while lawful and

regular traders within the port are maltreated, the smugglers of opium violate

the Treaty in going to forbidden places on the coast, where they live on shore

unmolested ; and , if attacked by Chinese, they shoot and kill them at their


Your Excellency will perceive that this state of things is very mischievous.

The regular traders, seeing that they have no protection from the Chinese

Government, will either become outside smugglers, or they will go ashore in

numbers and carry arms with them , and, if wantonly attacked, they will be

inclined to do themselves justice.

I have already declared to the outside smugglers of opium , that I cannot

protect them at Namoa and Kumsingmoon. If the mandarins continue to allow

them to reside there, while regular traders and official persons are maltreated

within the port of Canton, this is manifestly to offer encouragement to smugglers

and pirates, and to discourage honest and respectable persons who conform to

the Treaty .

I have before repeatedly addressed your Excellency on the impolicy of

allowing the irregular trade in opium , by which the lower mandarins are enriched,

and both natives and foreigners are taught to smuggle. Were the trade legalized

with a duty, a large revenue would accrue to the Emperor, and smuggling would

altogether cease.

Were the Emperor to know that opium smugglers are allowed to build

houses and make roads at Namoa and Kumsingmoon , while regular traders are

not only forbidden to enter Canton , but maltreated everywhere in the neighbour

hood , His Majesty, seeing that this must excite the indignation of foreigners,

would probably take measures for correcting so glaring an abuse.

I avail, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .


No. 16 .

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen .-- (Received April 20.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong , February 25, 1846 .

WITH reference to my despatch of yesterday's date, I have since

received the promised statement from Keying of his measures relating to the

aggressive villagers at Whampoa, and forward it as an inclosure herewith.

The colour given by the villagers to their own statement of the transaction

might have been expected, but no doubt can exist of the harmless nature of

Captain Giffard's excursion on shore, and the consequent absence of any justify

ing cause for the attack .

I hope that even what has been done may tend to restrain the people in

that neighbourhood, but much reformation is needed in the general condition

and treatment of British subjects within the port of Canton .

As the present state of things is the obvious and admitted consequence of

those evil lessons which were formerly taught to the people by their own

Government, and as the opium smugglers on the outside of the port are tolerated

in all their irregularities, forming settlements on shore, and securing impunity to

themselves by their own force, while the more respectable portion of Her

Majesty's subjects, within the limits of the Treaty at Canton, meet with all

manner of ill-treatment and obloquy, the Chinese Government may justly be

held responsible for the application of an effectual remedy.

I have addressed the inclosed reply to Keying, repeating my previous

arguments on this strong point.

I have, & c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 1 in No. 16 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, &c . , sends the following reply.

From a despatch of Consul Macgregor it appeared that some officers of the

steamer had gone on shore (here follow the contents of that letter). I therefore

sent orders to the local officers to keep the villagers of that place under proper

constraint, as is on record.

On the receipt of a communication from the Honourable Envoy, I directed

some mandarins to proceed thither and investigate the affair. These officers

subsequently reported, that they had hastened to Whampoa accordingly, but

previously had an interview on board his vessel with the officer, Mr. St. Croix,

and others. From them they learned that several officers had, with some men,

gone on shore to obtain birds, to which the villagers were opposed. The officers

then brought a linguist, and proceeded with the deputed mandarins to that

village to institute inquiries . This proved to be the territory of Shik -tow -tsuy,

about ten le distant from Whampoa , and from the anchorage of the steamer

three le. There are in that neighbourhood about seventeen villages and hamlets

adjoining each other, and the popnlation is very dense. They went on shore at

the entrance of the canal of Shik-tow-tsuy, to the eastward of Leih -shating, and

the officers pointed out the great street of three villages of about five le,down

to the lower village of Pih-tang, saying that this was the place where stones had

been thrown at them by the inhabitants, who had pursued and driven them

away . This being ascertained , the officers returned to their vessel .

The deputed officers then ordered the elders and gentry of the village to

assemble to institute an investigation. They stated that there were constantly

people who came on shore from the foreign vessels, that were at anchor near

Whampoa, to walk about, but they never went far, nor entered the villagers.

Hence mutual quietness had reigned for a considerable time . But on the 9th

day of the present month (4th February) there came all on a sudden above ien


English officers and men with fowling -pieces, and advanced to the eastward of

Shating, the large street of Pih -tang and other villages. They traversed every

place, and frightened the women in the villages to the great regret of every one.

Being apprehensive of some disturbance they (the elders) expelled them , whilst

some took up stones and threw at them , to inspire fear, without, however,

hurting any one. They, on their part, kept (the multitude) in check, prevented

them (from doing mischief), and dispersed the crowd . Such was the evidence

given .

One of the Articles of the Supplementary Treaty stipulates, that the English

should not go at random to villages, and walk about at their pleasure. Now the

officers took many people with them , carrying fire -arms, and venturing the

distance of five le , from the entrance of the Shik -tow -tsuy canal to Pih-tang and

other villages, wandering everywhere about, terrifying the women of the villages,

and causing universal regret, and they were therefore stopped to prevent

mischief; but the stones were merely thrown to frighten them , and not to

inflict injury. Still this was wrong, and the elders and gentry were, therefore,

ordered to do their duty in restraining the populace with all rigour. If, in future,

any Englislımen enter into the villages , the former ought to act in conformity to

the Treaty, and must not wantonly throw stones to affect the existing harmony

and good feeling.

On receiving the report, and examining the case, we agreed that the

suggestions of the said deputed officers, being the result of their clear investi

gation , should be carried into effect. Severe orders are now issued to the local

officers to keep the villagers in check .

You , the Honourable Envoy, ought likewise to command the British officer

to exercise control over English subjects . Thus the Treaty will be strictly

observed on both sides, and we shall live together in undisturbed harmony and


Whilst forwarding this answer, I wish you every happiness.

Taoukwang, 26th year, 1st month, 26th day. ( February 21 , 1846. )

Inclosure 2 in No. 16 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keyiug.

Victoria, Hong Kong, February 25, 1846 .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's

despatch, stating that officers had been deputed to Whampoa concerning the

attack on Captain Giffard .

I regret that your Excellency should have had so much trouble about this

business, but at the same time must think that, the assailants not having been

punished, there is no security against the recurrence of similar attacks.



officers of Her Majesty's ship went ashoremerely for their amusement in shooting

wild birds, and gave no molestation to the people. In no friendly country are

they obliged to confine themselves to their ships.

I have already addressed a note to your Excellency, showing that while

the lawless smugglers of opium on the outside of the port form settlements at

Namoa and Kumsingmoon, upon the Chinese territory, building houses and

making roads, the respectable British subjects who enter the authorized port

are exposed to all kinds of ill treatment and obloquy, and the offenders are not


Your Excellency speaks of living together in undisturbed harmony and

friendship, and my wish is exactly the same. But my countrymen are not

accustomed to ill usage, either in their own country or in any other. When

they see that the Government of China cannot or will not protect them from

wanton molestation, they will naturally be inclined to right themselves, and

inevitable disorder will be the result .

They see the opium smugglers allowed to form settlements ashore on

the outside of the port, while within the port, and within the limits settled by

Treaty , they themselves enjoy neither freedom of movement nor security of


I have often repeated to your Excellency that the illicit trade in opium,


under the connivance of the mandarins, is the source of innumerable evils .

Were the trade legalized, the whole of the foreign ships would be collected

within the five ports, under the control of the Consuls. They would all pay

tonnage dues, and about 2,000,000 dollars would easily be collected on the

opium .

At present this profit is obtained by corrupt officers of Government, the

ships wander to all parts of the coast, and the smugglers form settlements on

shore. While this is openly connived at, I cannot interfere ; but, were the

trade legalized, I could secure the due control of all the vessels. Since commo

dities could then be given in exchange for opium , Sycee silver would no longer

flow out of the country, and a mutual good understanding would be for ever


I renew, &c .

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

No. 17 .

The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foreign Office, April 24 , 1846.

I HAVE read with some regret the account contained in your despatches

of the 24th and 25th of February, of the correspondence in which you have

been involved with the Chinese authorities, in consequence of the attack

made upon Captain Giffard and his party by some villagers near Whampoa. I

am far from being satisfied that the Chinese authorities might not have retorted

upon you, by a complaint that Captain Giffard had rendered himself amenable

to reproof for having wandered into the country, contrary to the spirit, if not to

letter, of the Treaty, which prescribes limits to the excursions of British subjects

at the five ports ; and at all events I cannot coincide in the line of argument

which you appear to have used , that because the Chinese Government oflicers

allow in some instances British subjects to disregard the Treaty , by settling in

parts of the country other than those specified in theTreaty, British subjects in

other quarters may find in that negligence a sufficient justification for over

steppping the bounds prescribed to them in the Treaty.

I consider it extremely important, especially at the present moment in the

vicinity of Canton, that British subjects should be cautioned to use the utmost

circumspection in all their proceedings, and although it would certainly be very

desirable, on every account, that greater freedom of intercourse with the interior

should be allowed to British subjects than they at present enjoy , I still conceive

that it would be better to submit to some temporary inconvenience, rather than

provoke the jealousy of an ignorant populace, by aiming at more than we are

strictly entitled by Treaty to exact.

I am, & c.

( Signed ) ABERDEEN .

No. 18 .

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen.— (Received June 23.)

My Lord , Victoria, Hong Kong, April 23 , 1846 .

I HAVE the honour to forward, herewith , to your Lordship, two despatches

which I have received from Mr. Consul Alcock , at Foo - chow - foo, detailing the

circumstances of a serious riot which took place in the suburbs of that town,

and in which some Englishmen and some Canton Chinese were concerned.

It is well known that the Canton and Fokien Chinese are almost different

races, unable to understand each other's spoken language, and that they seldom

meet together without unpleasant collision. They are at the same time

remarkable as being the most turbulent and ungovernable of Chinese subjects.

For these reasons, it is unfortunate that so many Canton men should have

accompanied British residents to that place, being, of course, useful as the only


Chinese at present acquainted with the English language, or accustomed to

serve them as cooks, & c.

At the time of the disturbance, Her Majesty's ship “ Dædalus ” was in the

river, but Mr. Alcock had so little apprehension regarding either himself or

the other residents that he allowed her to sail with Inclosure No. 1 to my

address, informing me that he had written for Her Majesty's brig “ Espiègle

from Amoy .

In the same despatch your Lordship will observe Mr. Alcock states, as bis

opinion, that there is “ no hostility whatever against the English, save in so far

as they identify themselves with a rabble of Canton men of the worst character

hanging about the suburbs, and with acts of aggression or altercation originating

with their Canton servants — the cause of the disturbance in the presentinstance,

as far as I can ascertain ."

Mr. Alcock seemsto have acted with great prudence throughout, and he

speaks in high terms of the Chinese authorities , who were no doubt alarmed for

the general peace..

In his second despatch, dated five days later, the Consul states that a band

of Chinese plunderers, who as usual took advantage of the disturbance, attacked

the residence of two Englishmen in their absence, and effectually cleared it of

all property. Many of these criminals had been seized by the authorities, with

about 2,700 dollars of the plunder. The principal offenders would be decapi

tated, and full indemnity for the whole of the plundered property was promised

by the Chinese Government.

As no lives were lost, these occurrences are unfortunate chiefly as they may

operate against Foo -chow -foo as a place of residence and trade , and add to the

prejudices already existing. In the meanwhile it is satisfactory to reflect that

the greatest reliance may be placed on the prudence and firmness of the Consul ,

who seems, by the inclosures in his despatch, to be on the best terms with the

Local Government, and cooperating by their desire, at the time he last wrote, in

the investigation of the evidence on both sides.

I have, &c .

( Signed ) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure 1 in No. 18.

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir , Foo- chow -foo, April 1 , 1846 .

I HAVE the honour to inclose a despatch I have felt it necessary to address

to the officer commanding Her Majesty's ship “ Espiègle ," at Amoy, calling upon

him to afford such support to Her Majesty's Consul at this port, as the presence

of a brig of war is calculated to give. I am unable to furnish your Excellency

with any details to be depended upon , until further investigation has been made,

but I trust in a few days to be better informed, when I shall dispatch an express,

in duplicate, by Amoy and Canton. In the meantime, although I am bound to

state there is great excitement — the shops in the suburbs having been closed,

and still continue so, partially — and the English residents in the suburbs are

greatly alarmed, and about to leave for the vessels at the mouth of the river, I

consider these fears exaggerated, and have no apprehension for my own security

here, nor that of the members of the Consular establishment at Nan-tae. I

cannot give a stronger, or, to me, a more satisfactory, proof of the accuracy of

this opinion, than the fact that Mr. Walker has come up to the Consulate this

morning, and was unconscious of the existence of any scrious disturbance, until

informed on his arrival here. He found a crowd round Mr. Glen's hong, but

met with no interruption . I am satisfied that there is no hostility whatever

against the English, save in so far as they identify themselves with a rabble of

Canton men of the worst character, hanging about the suburbs ; and with acts

of aggression or altercations originating with their Canton servants — the cause

of the disturbance in the present instance , so far as I can ascertain. It is satis

factory to me to state, that the authorities have been in constant communication

with me, and have shown the strongest desire to maintain order, and to ensure

the safety of Mr. Glen and his establishment, against whom the popular clamour

is directed,


Mr. Glen , I learn with regret, requires surgical assistance, and was about to

leave for the Woo -foo -mun Pass, against which step , depriving me of the means

of duly examining into the affair, the authorities have very reasonably remon

strated . I have, in consequence, laid my injunctions upon Mr. Glen not to

leave the port, and have, moreover, offered him asylum here, where alone he

can obtain surgical assistance ; and the magistrate undertakes to accompany him

here, and secure him from all molestation. I have also directed Mr. Glen to

send away all his servants who are implicated in the fracas, to wait further

orders at the Woo-foo-mun Pass; and the authorities will put an officer in

charge, and be responsible for the safety of his goods. I trust these measures

may be approved by your Excellency.

I have, & c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 18 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foo -chow -foo, April 6, 1846.

REFERRING to my despatch of the 1st of April, written during the

prevalence of great excitement on the part of the Chinese population and the

British residents in the suburbs, I have now the satisfaction of reporting to your

Excellency that order has been restored without loss of life, although personal

injuries have been received, and some loss of property has ensued , from the

sacking of a hong inhabited by two British subjects.

The inclosed copies of notifications addressed to the British community of

Foo- chow , of three proclamations issued by the Governor-General and the

Lieutenant-Governor, and of correspondence between the latter officer and

myself, will place the whole of the circumstances, so far as they are yet known ,

before your Excellency, and at the same time correctly explain the present state

of affairs .

On the 7th instant I shall proceed to take evidence, in reference to the part

taken by the British and the members of their respective establishments, imme

diately prior to the outbreak of popular feeling, and during the prevalence of

overt acts of hostility. On the following day I purpose proceeding with the

Lieutenant-Governor and the District Magistrates to examine the evidence

brought forward by the Chinese on the opposite side. In a short time,

therefore, I may reasonably hope to be enabled to communicate such further

information as may seem needful clearly to explain whatever may now be


As some anxiety may, however, be experienced at Hong Kong, if any report

may have preceded this despatch, I consider it expedient to put your Excellency

at once in possession of the more important intelligence, that all is quiet, and no

further cause of alarm exists .

I will merely observe by way of comment, that this series of disturbances,

whiclı, during the 31st March and 1st April, assumed a very formidable aspect,

seem to have taken their origin from such trivial causes, that I cannot but

conceive feelings of irritation and hostility must have previously existed, and for

a long period. The recent events have, however, only served to confirm my

opinion that to the English themselves, the people of Foo -chow are not hostile.

Even during the highest excitement, after blows had been struck on both sides,

and blood had flowed , for several hours Messrs. Roper and Hacket traversed the

crowd repeatedly during the night, first to gain Mr. Glen's hong, and subse

quently in search of two missing scrvants, and they were not molested. The

following morning, three hours before an attack was made upon Mr. Glen's hong,

and the residence of the parties above mentioned was sacked and plundered,

Mr.Walker passed through thecrowd and traversed the whole of the suburbswithout

insult or interruption. A day later, after fire-arms had been used by Canton

men forcing their way to Mr. Glen's hong, and two of the crowd had been

wounded, Mr. Meredith , in a similar manner, camefrom Nan - tae to the Consulate



in the city. These facts furnish , I think , the most conclusive evidence in

support of the opinion I have expressed . On the evening of the 1st April, the

Governor -General, communicating to me the measures he had taken and had in

view for the protection of property and restoration of order, politely intimated

his intention of sending a guard to the Consulate, which I immediately declined,

stating, that I was satisfied the people of Foo -chow entertained no hostile feelings

to the members of Her Majesty's Consulate, and that I held myself perfectly

secure from molestation, and was otherwise unwilling to give such evidence of

a want of confidence I did not feel. The result fully justified this course, during

the whole of the period ;while the most alarming accounts were being brought in

hourly from Chinese and British, no intruder appeared at the Consulate.

As regards the authorities, I have much satisfaction in stating that they

have given every proof of a friendly spirit, and a determination not only to put

down the disturbances with a strong arm , but to the utmost of their ability to

protect the British in their persons and their property . Several of the inferior

officers and soldiers received injuries in defending Mr. Glen's hong after the two

men had been shot by the Canton servants . After the first émeute, in which

Mr. Glen received his injury, 300 men were ordered down, and these seeming

insufficient to disperse the mob, the force was promptly increased to 1000. If

the hong of Messrs. Roper and Hacket was not equally defended, I believe it

must be attributed to a disbelief on the part of the authorities that it was in any

danger, for all the morning that part of the suburb had been undisturbed , and

even an hour before it was reduced to a shell, the two residents passed through

the streets with Mr. Glen unmolested, for some distance, to gain their boats.

Finally, the evil not having been prevented, the officiating Lieutenant -Governor

promptly assured me that compensation should be inade for property lost. On

this point I cannot omit calling your Excellency's attention to the honourable

and disinterested assistance which two of the neighbouring shopkeepers gave to

Mr. Hacket's shroff, by receiving and keeping in safe custody a box of 3,000

dollars, a trait which I think suffices to redeem the people as a population from

any sweeping condemnation. I have indeed a strong suspicion that the attack

on the hong in question may be attributed to the knowledge the more worthless

of the population may have acquired of the fact, that treasure to a considerable

amount was to be found there , and who deemed the opportunity favourable,

under the cloak of popular hostile feeling, for appropriating such a valuable

booty. In the apprehension of the offenders , and the recovery of stolen property,

the authorities seem to have exerted the utmost diligence, and besides several

minor articles, 2,700 dollars have been seized in the hands of the plunderers or

their accomplices.

It having been my painful duty to bring under your Excellency's notice

occurrences, not more untoward in their aspect than injurious, I fear, to the

future prospects of the port, I am glad that it should nevertheless be placed in

my power , within six dàys, to give so favourable aa report of the existing state of

affairs, and the perfectly satisfactory nature of our relations with the authorities

of the place. Nor indeed are my apprehensions of the injurious effect of these

disturbances upon the prosperity of the port in the slightest degree founded

upon any impression of insecurity to life and property hereafter as the result,

but simply upon the conviction, that some time may elapse before confidence is

entirely restored even in the minds of the British residents here ; and at Hong

Kong and the other ports, recent events will in all probability serve to confirm

strong prejudices already of old date, and exercising the worst influence.

bemNotwithstanding all that is disheartening in these circumstances, it will still

earnest endeavour to extract some good from these evils, and if full

compensation can be obtained for injury sustained, friendly relations be re -estab

lished between the parties injured and the population, and signal punishment

be inflicted upon the chief actors in the scenes of riot , I shall feel that additional

security has been gained.

It is possible that the experience of the last few days may have taught both

English and Chinese a needful lesson of mutual consideration and forbearance,

may have shown to the former the impolicy and danger of too great readiness

to assume intentional offence and to resent it by unequivocal violence ; and to

the latter, the determination of their own authorities not to uphold them in acts

of wanton aggression.

results can be obtained there will be little left to regret, since no

If these


life has been lost, and our own relations, friendly and commercial , will rest upon a

basis infinitely broader and firmer than they have heretofore done at this port.

Rome To this end my best efforts are now directed, and if successful, I am sure

the result will be hailed by your Excellency with much satisfaction .

I have, &c .


No. 19 .

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen.-(Received July 23.)

( Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, May 8 , 1846 .

REFERRING to my despatch of 23rd April, I have the honour to report

further upon the subject of thelate riots at Foo - chow -foo.

On the 5th instant I received the inclosed from Mr. Consul Alcock, in

which he reports upon his proceedings in consequence of those unfortunate

disturbances, particularly with reference to compensation for losses sustained, of

which the schedule is subjoined to his letter.

The prospects of trade have been sufficiently unfavourable from the first

occupation of the port, and the late occurrences have rendered them much worse.

To the physical difficulties, arising from the nature of the river, and the

impossibility of approaching the city with ships of war for the protection of the

trade ( as can be effectually done at the other new ports) , are now to be added


them oral obstacles which have lately arisen.

It is clear that the two points absolutely indispensable are, first, the

exemplary punishment of the plunderers in the late riots ; and, secondly,

compensation from the Government for the actual losses sustained by British

subjects in the plunder of their residences.

It is to be hoped that real and tangible losses may be recovered without

difficulty ; but claims of a speculative nature, like those made by Mr. Glen >

under the head of “ inconvenience,” and of “ injury to commercial prospects,"

which at Foo -chow - foo have never been very promising, require to be more

considerately dealt with . He has, moreover, greatly vitiated such claims, if he

has quitted the port, as I understand, contrary to the Consul's advice and

invitation to remain .

Mr. Glen seems to have obtained a very incorrect version of the American

case at Canton, on which he founds his speculative claim for the sum of 50,000

dollars. The party in question , after making up an account for 10,261 dollars,


immediately added 100 per cent. for “ suffering and inconvenience " arising from

the losses specified, and which are usually supposed to be put an end to by the

restoration of the value.

The local authorities were so notoriously remiss on the late occasion, that

compensation for positive losses by the plunder of treasure and other effects

must, if necessary, be urged in the strongest manner ; and I shall be glad to

receive any instructions that your Lordship may deem it right to address to me

on the subject.

Inclosure 1 in No. 19.

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foo -chow - foo, April 29, 1846.

I HAVE the honour to inclose various documents for your Excellency's

information, referring to the recent disturbances at this port, the claims for

compensation arising out of these events, and the present aspect of affairs

here :

The proceedings of the Consular Court, held on the 7th instant, embodying

the depositions of British subjects and servants on their respective establish

H 2


ments ; the evidence of the Chinese witnesses before their own authorities ; the

comments I thought it necessary to make in an official communication to the

Acting Lieutenant-Governor upon the chief facts elicited by the evidence adduced

on both sides ; and lastly , the reply of the officiating Lieutenant-Governor to

my observations, relative to the acts of violence which took place from the

28th March to the 1st April.

In my communication to the Lieutenant-Governor, I deemed it necessary

to call his attention to many circumstances of an unsatisfactory nature connected

with the events and the evidence. It was so clear that untrue statements had

been made by the Chinese witnesses, and great remissness been manifested by

the authorities during the disturbances, that I felt it incumbent upon me

strongly to express my opinion on these points. The inadequate and tardy

measures taken by the authorities for the protection of the persons and property

of British subjects, must be considered the more unpardonable after messages

from the Governor -General and officiating Lieutenant -Governor, and visits from

the subordinate authorities, hour after hour, during the prevalence of the popular

excitement, showed that they were fully alive to the serious nature of the riots

and the evil results threatened . As I had given full credit to the authorities

for good faith in the promises of vigilance and energy, and the assurances I

received of adequate steps having actually been taken , I believed myself the

more fully warranted in forcibly pressing upon the officiating Lieutenant

Governor the manifest discrepancy of the unchecked course of events, and those

reiterated reports of measures adopted to avert such mischief.

The charges against the British are limited to two of a trivial character :

1st, against some sailors of the “ Dædalus” for taking provisions without due

payment, and by force ; and 2ndly, against an English servant for striking a

Chinese porter impeding his passage. In each of these cases, parties on both

sides seem to have been blameable. The grounds of complaint against the

Chinese consist of several counts, extending from the 28th March to the 1st

April, and involve distinct charges of extreme violence and robbery on the

persons of three servants to British residents, personal injury to an English

merchant , and loss of property by the plundering with force and arms in open

day, of two hongs occupied by British subjects.

His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, in reply, sends a private commu

nication, in which he confesses that the first case of Captain Miln's servant had

not been investigated, concurs in the equitable view taken of the reparation to

be made to the Chinese who had shown cause of complaint against the English,

and deprecates the connecting these events with the inore serious disturbances

which took place on the 31st March and 1st April. The apprehension of the

party of Canton men who fired and wounded two of the crowd, and which I had

urged upon him , is slurred over, as they have been allowed to escape, and he

concludes by regretting Mr. Glen’s departure, admitting that it is very natural,

but disclaiming, on the part of the population, any feeling of hostility, and hints

at the inexpediency of writing officially during the investigation.

Since this correspondence but little progress has been made in terminating

these discussions, by the punishment of the offenders, and the settlement of the > >

claims for compensation . I fear the sudden departure of the “ Torrington "

without entering the port will not allow me to inclose copies of various letters

and documents connected with these points, but the earliest opportunity shall

be taken to place them before your Excellency. In the meantime I beg to

inclose a summary of all the claims, except Mr. Glen's, some of the details of

which are still under investigation : the amount claimed by Messrs. Hacket,

Miln , and Roper, is about 37,000 dollars, while the claim of Mr. Glen for actual

Josses, appears likely to exceed 34,000 dollars, making a total of some 70,000

dollars .

Looking to the importance of a speedy settlement of the bulk of these

claims on the spot, I have declined submitting to the local authorities demands

for compensation under any other head than that of obvious and defined losses,

actually incurred during the disturbances, or as their immediate consequence,

reserving to Her Majesty's Government the right, at any later period , of pressing

further claims under the head of personal injury and inconvenience, and injury

to commercial undertakings. The inclosed correspondence will inform your

Excellency, that Mr. Glen has preferred a claim to a large amount under each

of these heads. Under the first he claims 50,000 dollars, the sum understood


to have been paid to an American merchant, under the authority of Captain

Elliott, Her Majesty's Chief Superintendent of Trade at that period, for personal

injuries and inconvenience, and under the second, 140,000 dollars.

In Mr. Glen's letter of the 8th of April, he requested my advice and opinion

on his right to claim, under the heads of loss sustained on the spot by property

destroyed, &c., and of injury to prospects and loss on commercial undertakings,

and in his letter of the 9th, he made this latter claim in form . In reply, I stated,

as my opinion, that he was fully entitled to compensation to the extent of the

loss incurred , and expressed my readiness to present a claim of this nature to the

authorities for adjustment. In reference to the claims under the second head ,

I conceived the time had not arrived for deciding what consequences might

follow the late disturbances, and that the event, as related to the interests of

foreign trade at the port, might in a great measure be influenced by the view he

himself took, and the steps he might take. Any claim of this nature I con

sidered, therefore, premature, and that it could only be equitably sustained if

the result should hereafter realize his worst fears, notwithstanding his best

exertions to secure a more favourable issue . In which event, it would be com

petent to Her Majesty's Government, to take such steps as inight seem expedient

in prosecution of a claim under this head .

Having declined entering into any discussion with the local authorities upon

claims under these two heads,* it is unnecessary to occupy your Excellency's

time by observations on the amount specified. As claims of this nature cannot

be based upon any distinct series of facts, by which an actual loss or injury to a

certain and definite amount can be proved , they are always open to question,

and can only be satisfactorily arranged when there are plenary powers for nego

tiation , and when the relations of the two countries, as well as the circumstances

affecting individual interests, can be kept in view.

In reference to the schedules furnished by the claimants for losses sustained,

I have pointed out to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor that they have

been made out with as much minuteness as could , under the circumstances, be

required ; and , from the total loss of property (including books and papers) ,

little collateral evidence could be expected , or reasonably insisted upon. The

amount of treasure , together with the articles in possession at the time when the

hongs were forcibly entered and plundered, having been sworn to, this, under

the circumstances, appeared to be the only evidence to be depended upon, and

to afford that guarantee for the truth and accuracy of the statements which the

law of England provides in the acknowledged impossibility, without fault of the

claimants , of obtaining any other.

I will merely observe, in this place, that the amount has appeared to me

large; but, upon.careful examination of each claim and the various items, I

have not considered that valid objection could be taken to any of them on the

ground of overcharge, or improbability of such objects and treasure being in

possession (in the absence of any evidence to the contrary), and in the hongs at

the time of their being forcibly entered by a mob of plunderers. On the other

hand, it is rare that a compensation in money, for the loss incurred in a distant

country by the total destruction of property, can make adequate amends for the

serious prejudice and inconvenience which result ; and it would have been so

possible, and was so imperative upon the authorities to prevent these outrages,

that there might have been cause of regret had the authorities escaped without

feeling seriously the embarrassment of such claims.

I anticipate much difficulty in obtaining a satisfactory settlement of these

claims ; and should there be any decided indication of unwillingness to proceed

to a final adjustment, it may be expedient and necessary to inform the authorities

that I shall refer the claims to your Excellency, and report my inability to obtain

the necessary settlement at Foo -chow .

I trust these views, and the steps I have taken in accordance with them ,

may meet with your Excellency's approval. The serious nature of the riots, and

the embarrassing character of claims which cannot be substantiated by collateral

evidence, arising from the violence of a mob, and the inadequate measures taken

by the authorities, render a prompt and easy solution of the difficultiesthat

surround the whole business, all but impossible.

I have, & c.


Personal loss and inconvenience, and injury to commercial undertakings,


Inclosure 2 in No. 19 .

Abstract of Claims made by British Subjects for Losses incurred during the Riots

at Foo -chow -foo, on the 31st of March and 1st of April.

William Hudson Roper.


Treasure 10,526 72

Household Furniture 390 0

Clothing 946 50

Silver Plate, & c . 262 0

Miscellaneous 762 70

Expenses of House and Fittings 350 0

Cost of putting in original state 500 0

Shroft's and servants' account 648 50


Loss of accounts and valuable papers 1,500 0

$ 15,886 42

Charles Hacket.

$ C.

Treasure 9,052 82

Wearing apparel • O 1,500 0

Household furniture 184 0

Silver plate and stores 1,036 0

Miscellaneous 4,125 50

Shroffs ’, linguists', and servants’account, money, clothes ,& c. 3,189 0

$ 19,087 33

William Hacket .

$ c.

Clothing 771 0

Miscellaneous .. 1,1300

$ 1,901 0

James Miln .

$ c.

For Chinese servant being robbed and maltreated 100 0

Portuguese servant robbed and severely injured 150 0

$ 250 0

Summary .

$ C.

W. H. Roper 15,886 42

Charles Hacket 19,087 33

William Hacket 1,901 0

James Milm 250 0

Total . $ 37,124 75

(Signed) RUTHERFORD ALCOCK , Consul.

Note.—In addition to the above Mr. Glen claims about 34,000 dollars.


No. 20.

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis.

Sir , Foreign Office, August 1 , 1846 .

WITH reference to your despatches of the 23rd of April and 8th of May,

respecting riots which had occurred at Foo-chow-foo , and which had been

attended with the destruction of a considerable amount of British property ,

I have to state to you that it is very right that you should claim from the

Chinese authorities such compensation for the British sufferers as they may ,

under all the circumstances of the case , be fully entitled to receive ; but, of

course, you will not prefer, or allow Her Majesty's Consular Authorities to

support, any claim , either on the present or any other like occasion, which you

shall not have satisfied yourself to be perfectly just in its amount.

I am , & c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 21 .

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen.- (Received August 21.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, June 17, 1846 .

WITH reference to your despatch of April 24, I trust that more recent

despatches received from myself will have removed the impression from your

Lordship’s mind that I had appeared, in the case of the attack on Captain

Giffard at Whampoa, to use the following line of argument: That because the


Chinese Government officers allow in some instances British subjects to disregard

the Treaty, by settling in parts of the country other than those specified inthe

Treaty, British subjects in other quarters may find in that negligence a sufficient

justification for overstepping the bounds prescribed to them by Treaty.

My sole object was to point out to Keying the inconsistency between the

freedom and the immunity actually allowed to persons who carried on an illegal

trade without the permitted ports, and the very opposite condition of those who

conformed to the Treaty by repairing to Canton. I conceived that in no manner

could I more forcibly impress on him the evils of the opium smuggling system, >

as it now exists, with the express connivance of the Government.

My despatch of February 24 runs thus :- -“ I point out to Keying this glaring

inconsistency, andcall to hisrecollection my previous remonstrancesconcerning

the evils arising from the actual condition of the opium trade, and my advice

that it should be legalised, with a duty. I consider that the present negotiations

relating to Canton afford a favourable occasion for pushing the argument, and

that could the true state of the case be made known to the Court of Peking, it

would present the strongest motive to legalize the opium trade.”

The utmost extent of my intention was to argue that lawful traders should,

consistently with reason and justice, be as well treated as unlawful ones, and


but the permitted irregularities of the latter werea bad example to the former ;

so far was I from meaning that the opium smugglers afforded any

justification to those who infringed the Treaty, or from undervaluing the

importance of the utmost circumspection on the part of our people within the

Canton river, that I often called Keying's noticeto the stringent proclamations

and injunctions which I had lately issued for the restraint of British subjects, and

which had generally answered their purpose.

These discussions have long since been reported as concluded ; but I have

thoughtit rightto explain toyour Lordshipmy realmotiveinthe contrasted

picture which Ihad exhibited to Keying, as it seems to me to be one of those

arguments against the corrupt opium system which might advantageously be

broughtforward in our future endeavours to expose its evils.

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .


No. 22 .

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen . “ (Received August 21.)

( Extract .) l'ictoria, Hong Kong, June 22, 1846 .

REFERRING to my despatch of May 8, on the subject of claims for

loss sustained from plunder at Foo-chow -foo, I have now the satisfaction to

report that those claims have been fully satistied by the Chinese Government.

Having waited patiently in the hope that a due sense of justice would lead

the local authorities to come to a speedy settlement with Mr. Alcock, and

encountering nothing but evasion , I dispatched the “ Pluto ” steamer from this

on the 2nd instant, with instructions to the Consul to make a demand for

immediate payment of those reduced amounts at which he had arrived after a

careful scrutiny of the claims of the several parties, and in case of refusal to

report again to me.

I yesterday received the inclosed letter from Mr. Alcock , forwarding ten

inclosures, with which it is the less necessary that I should trouble your

Lordship , as the just claims for loss by plunder are fully satisfied .

The total sum paid by the Chinese Government amounts to 46,163 dollars

77 cents, in the following proportions of reduced claims : --

Dollars. c.

W. Glen .. 17,388 97

W. Roper 12,872 55

C. Hacket 14,602 25

W. Hacket 1,200 0

J. Miln 100 0

46,163 77

In addition to the comparatively speedy recovery of this large amount, the

remaining point, which I stated as indispensable in my former despatch , viz .,

the condign punishment of the guilty, is reported by Mr. Alcock as provided for.

Exclusively of those real and positive losses on the part of British subjects

which I directed Mr. Alcock to urge with due vigour, I informed your Lordship

in despatch of May 8 that there was another description of claims on the part of

Mr. Glen, of aa much less indisputable character, and whose mere bulk was primai

facie evidence of their want of solidity . These, which were before stated at

50,000 dollars, have now swelled to 150,000 dollars.

It is needless for me to observe that we should be extremely careful to

avoid any line of proceeding which might tend to invest us, in the eyes of the

Chinese Government, with a grasping and extortionate character. I was glad of

an opportunity to vindicate ourselves from this suspicion in the negotiations as

to Chusan ; and until we can fairly convince the Chinese that our power will

never be used as an instrument of unjust gain , we cannot hope for that

confidence on their part which must be the foundation of a more intimate and

beneficial intercourse.

That Mr. Glen should be compensated for his positive losses, is one thing ;

but that he should seek to obtain from the Chinese Government those profits

which he might have made in a successful course of trade, is another.

Mr. Alcock's report of the prospects of the place was not calculated to

raise any sanguine expectations; to which must be added, that Mr. Glen

is not driven from Foo - chow - foo, but quits it contrary to the invitations

of the Consul and the Local Government to remain . Were he to receive a

large amount of money on account of speculative losses upon this occasion ,

it would be a most dangerous inducement to others to promote troubles

in order to turn them to profit. I say nothing here of the imputed charges

of misconduct on the part of Mr. Glen towards the Chinese, because I

am willing that the respectable testimony of Mr. Alcock should plead in his

favour .

This testimony is conveyed in the inclosed despatch from the Consul ; and

in order that your Lordship may be in full possession of Mr. Glen's case , I


forward at the same time copies of his three letters to Mr. Alcock . In the first

of these he dwells on the condition of affairs at Foo - chow , and urges his claim

for compensation on account of loss of business . In the second , he sets forth

the justness of his claims for loss of prospects, time and money expended in

opening the trade of the port , and adds a summary of the amount. In the third

he declares his intention to leave the port, and his consequent losses. It appears

to me that in 1839 , when so many of our inerchants were driven out of Canton,

and did not quit it of their own accord, they might with more justice lave urged

claims of the same nature, in addition to their positive losses in opium .

Mr. Alcock , though he seems inclined rather to advocate Mr. Glen's preten

sions, has at least abstained from bringing them forward to the Chinese Govern

ment without authority. I now refer them to your Lordship for the decision of

Her Majesty's Government, and shall be prepared strictly to carry out any

instructions that I may receive upon the subject.

In the meanwhile, it is satisfactory to reflect that in the payment of these

large sums the Local Government has been furnished with aa pretty strong induce

ment to control its own people, and to protect foreign residents in future.

Inclosure 1 in No. 22 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis .

Sir, Foo -chow - foo, June 15 , 1846 .

REFERRING to your Excellency's previous despatches, I have the

satisfaction to report , that the well - timed arrival of the steamer has enabled

me with success to insist upon immediate and full reparation for the injuries

inflicted by the populace upon British subjects during the disturbances of the

31st March and 1st of April.

Having already demanded an interview with his Excellency the Governor

General, previous to the receipt of your instructions , I lost no time subsequently

in addressing the inclosed communications both to the Governor and the Trea

surer, intimating the necessity for an immediate settlement, and glancing at the

necessary consequences of the refusal or postponement of compensation.

On the 10th instant I waited upon the Governor-General by appointment,

and remained closeted with his Excellency in discussion for several hours . The

following day, as had been arranged, the Treasurer of the Province was received

at the Consulate, when, after a further lengthened conference, the terms of

settlement were finally agreed upon.

The inclosed official report from the Treasurer furnishes a list of the sen

tences passed upon twenty-four prisoners convicted of participation in the riots

and the plundering of the English hongs. The punishments, I believe, are in

accordance with the Chinese laws. One has been sentenced to death, another

has died in prison, while several are condemned to receive 100 blows of the

bamboo, and exiled for various terms of years. The local authorities now await

the confirmation of these sentences by the Board of Punishments at Peking. If

these punishments be duly inflicted, there can be no doubt that a serious

example of the evil consequences of such outrages on British subjects will have

been given to the people at this port.

I have further received this morning, in accordance with the terms agreed

upon by his Excellency the Treasurer and myself, and recorded in the inclosed

correspondence, 46,163 dollars 77 cents in salt duty sycee — custom -house weights,

and at the rate of 720 taels per 1,000 dollars, in full and complete satisfaction

for all and every claim for loss of property incurred on the spot, the only claims

I deemed it right to entertain .

I inclose the receipts of the British subjects on whose behalf the claims

were made , for the respective sums finally decided to be due to them, amounting

collectively to the above specified sum .

It cannot be necessary that I should enter at any length into a detail of the

difficulties which have attended the settlement of these claims . Conflicting and

uncertain testimony as to the nature and extent of the losses, made it imperative



upon me to scrutinize very closely every item in the claims, and erase whatever

seemed in any degree improbable or unreasonable ; while, on the other side, the

worthlessness of the evidence brought forward on the Chinese side to set up a

negative case, made it not less compulsory to disregard, in many instances, the

most urgent remonstrances and objections on the part of the authorities.

I content myself, therefore, with inclosing copies of communications addressed

to Mr. Glen and Mr. Hacket, together with the inclosures to each of the claim

ants, consisting of a memorandum clearly stating the deductions made in each

claim . In the inclosing letters I made them acquainted with the principle upon

which the various reductions had been made..

The amount paid , it will be seen, falls nearly as far short of the amount

originally claimed, as it exceeds the estimate which the Treasurer, even in the last

conference, contended could alone be justly admitted . I have the full conviction

that the compensation arbitrated is, under all the circumstances, fair and

reasonable, and therefore just, as regards both parties. The claimants lave

noted a protest against the receipts I required them to sign as a compensation in

full for all claims for loss of property incurred on the spot, but they have been

made aware that this settlement must be considered final , the sums paid having

been accepted on the part of Her Majesty's Consul, as the representative of his

Government, in complete satisfaction for all demands of that nature on behalf of

British subjects.

I will only observe in reference to these protests, made probably to cover

their responsibility in reference to their principals and constituents, that the

claimants have, in my opinion, much reason to rejoice at a result which, within

two months from the presentation of their claims, has given to them a compen

sation of 46,000 dollars, in sycee, bearing a premium at Canton -- a large sum , it

must be allowed, for this provincial Treasury to make good at once. In this

view I can entertain no doubt your Excellency will concur, deeming it a happy

conclusion to very embarrassing questions, arising as they did , from a most

untoward series of popular outrages. The result will not be less acceptable, I

hope, from the circumstance that my success has been mainly due to the

influence of your representations to the Imperial Commissioner, and the

most opportune arrival of the “ Pluto ” steamer, bearing your Excellency's

instruction s.

I am reluctant to close this report without the distinct admission of much

that was fair and liberal in spirit, on the part of his Excellency the Treasurer, in

our final arrangements ; and I should regret greatly if, as I fear may be probable,

he incurred blame for his conduct in this business. Nor can I omit to make

known to your Excellency the sense I entertain of the very efficient services I

have witnessed in Mr. Parkes the interpreter ; he has not only been indefatigable

and zealous during the whole of these negotiations , but his ready fluency in

Chinese, and his general knowledge of the forms of business, both Chinese and

English, while they entail additional duties upon him , very frequently enable

him to render valuable assistance where it could not strictly be expected or


I have, &c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 22.

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foo- chow - foo, June 13, 1846 .

I HAVE the honour to inclose copies of three letters received from

Mr. Glen dated respectively the 8th , 10th, and 12th of June, requesting me

to urge upon the consideration of Her Majesty's Government his further

claims for loss of commission on goods, shipped to him but not landed, in

consequence of his fears for their security, for loss of papers, and finally, for

outlay , loss of time, and injury to commercial prospects. His claim to com

pensation for personal injury he has left blank, leaving the amount to be fixed

as may seem just upon the consideration of his case.



In his letter of the 8th June, he complains of a continued sense of

insecurity, and exposure to annoyance and insult when he leaves his house, and

the consequent impossibility of his attempting to continue or to carry out his

commercial undertakings, freedom in his movements being impossible. He also

incloses a letter from the head of a firm in China, with whom he states arrange

ments had been made to buy extensively the tea produce this season, and in

which the writer certainly very unequivocally expresses a disinclination to enter

into further transactionsat Foo -chow, and an unfavourable opinion generally of

the prospects and capabilities of the port. Mr. Glen argues , and I think with

much truth, that this opinion is general, owing to recent events, and, therefore,

that his own prospects of support, and the means of profitable trade on a large

scale, are entirely destroyed, and not by fault or failure of his, but as a necessary

consequence of the outrages committed by the populace.

In Mr. Glen's letter of the 10th June, written after I had put him in

possession, in the course of conversation, with the general tenour of your

remarks upon his claim and prospects, and the nature of the disadvantageous

reports which had reached your ears in reference to his behaviour described as

violent and intemperate to native Chinese, he mentions several circumstances

tending to show that it was not likely the views and prospects of a merchant

settled in a new place would be generally known, since it was his interest to

keep them private, until he had taken the necessary measures for their success.

He further proceeds to show that but for the disturbances he would have,

probably, had more than one cargo of new teas loaded here for England at a

reduced rate of 25 per cent., by which alone he must have netted a considerable

sum . To gain this position he states his outlay had been , during the last year,

13,000 dollars.

In reference to the rumour of violent and unconciliatory conduct, he begs

me to make you acquainted with the favourable terms in which their Excel

lencies the Governor-General and Officiating Lieutenant-Governor expressed

themselves to me in reference to the good character he bore among the people

as a man of “ liberal and humane disposition," and which in a written commu

nication, immediately after the riot, they requested me to make known to him ,

together with their regret at the insults and injury offered to him by the


I bear willing testimony to this fact, as I have already done to the not less

important circumstance that in no one instance, since his arrival at Foo -chow ,

has any complaint reached me, officially or otherwise, against him . That he is

of liberal and kindly disposition I have every reason to believe, and fair and

honourable in all his dealings with the Chinese he has ever been, I am satisfied ,

from all I have heard . I do not think, and I doubt not your Excellency will

agree with me, that, against the weight of negative evidence, any idle rumour to

his prejudice should be allowed injurous influence on his claims, more especially

in a community where uncharitable inferences are but too often lightly circu


As to his prospects, I had founded much of my hopes for the port upon his

successful operations during this season . I had much confidential communica

tion with him , was well informed both as to his plans and the means upon

which he counted for carrying them out, and it is but justice to him and to the

boldness and energy with which he was disposed to apply the whole of his

resources to the development of a large trade here, to express my opinion, now

that recent events have flung down all his hopes, as strongly and as unhesitat

ingly to your Excellency as I did three months ago to him for his guidance

and encouragement, when he came to give me the means of forming a judgment

and to ask my advice . I have no doubt in my own mind that but for these most

unfortunate occurrences happening at the worst possible moment, a large supply

of tea fit for the European markets would have been obtained, brought to this

market from the neighbouring tea districts, that a demand equal to the supply

was placed in Mr. Glen's power, from whence profit to him and advantage to the

port could scarcely fail to accrue. That these opinions were entertained by me in

February last,my report sufficiently proves :whether they were formed upon

insufficient grounds or not, I will not here inquire ; but Imay state that they

were the result of long and careful observation, very earnestly directed to the

attainmentofa correctestimateof the capabilities and resources of the port.

I think the time has now arrived when Mr. Glen may safely leave Foo-chow

I 2


without injury either to his own prospects or those of the port : both are, for a

time at least, reduced so low that little remains to be lost ; and it now becomes

my duty, therefore, to submit these further claims for your Excellency's

consideration, and to withdraw all opposition to Mr. Glen's departure, which I

have accordingly done.

I have, &c .


Inclosure 3 in No. 22 .

Mr. Glen to Consal Alcock.

Sir, Foo -chow - foo, June 8, 1846 .

I REFER you to your communication to me, dated 11th of April .

A considerable period has now elapsed, and I speak advisedly when I

inform you that neither myself nor any one of the mercantile community can

leave our houses without incurring the risk of coming into collision with the

populace, from the jostling and insults with which we are assailed.

I have no doubt that you will agree with me, that until matters are different,

merchandise brought in by me or any other foreigner cannot meet with justice

in its sale , from our complete ignorance of existing stocks or of existing wants ;

and although my intention to leave Foo-chow ' was formed immediately after

the riots, nothing has induced me to change it. I now abandon all hope of

any good being done here for a long time, and abandon an idea which I subse

quently formed, of leaving a representative to try and carry on business.

Freedom in our movements being impossible, the linnited trade which may be

done will not pay an establishment which must be of some extent to merit the

confidence of respectable firms in India and England , or be attended with profit.

I beg to lay before you a letter from the head of a firm who buy more teas

and sell more English productions than any other house in China, with whom I

had made arrangements to enable me to buy all the produce that might be laid

on this market, on reasonable terms. In conjunction with this house I had

arranged a very feasible plan , by which I expected to export of tea crop 1816

any quantity procurable in the tea country , at a cheaper rate than current in

Canton : the deas entertained by this house are, I am sorry to inform you,

general in Canton ; the letter speaks for itself,and a copy is at your disposal

if you wish it.

I think the time has now come when an accurate conclusion on the subject

of my claim for the ruin of my business , may be come to .

In the hope that something good might have taken place here, even after

the unfortunate riots from the turn of matters at Shanghae, I have been most

careful in my correspondence to calm the minds of my friends regarding this


The opinion of the mercantile community being, that property is not safe

here, and the expenses of an establishment in China being so heavy that even

the wealthiest firmsare glad of commission business being given them , I humbly

beg to urge my claim to compensation for my being deprived of all business of

this nature ; and my own opinion being still that neither life nor property is safe,

from the want of protection from the authorities, I cannot be expected to entrust

to this quarter my own stock in trade.

In regard to the amount claimed, I have not the smallest doubt that from

the crop of tea of 1846 I could have netted , for commissions and profit, in

operations in the herb in this place, more than 10,0001. sterling.

I humbly beg that you will bring this to the consideration of his Excellency

Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary, as well as the magnitude of the enterprise, and

the time and money which I have spent on it, and the time that I must lose

before I can establish myself in trade again .

I am, & c .



Inclosure 4 in No. 22 .

Mr. Dudgeon to Mr. Glen .

My dear Sir, Canton, May 8 , 1846.

I HAVE received your letter of the 19th ultimo. We have as yet received

no detailed accounts of the riots at Foo -chow , and are very anxious to hear

further particulars. What amount of property has been destroyed; if we are

likely to receive compensation ; when it is to be paid , & c., — these particulars

you will no doubt give us due notice of. I think you are most certainly entitled

io additional compensation for your wounds, and for loss which you actually

sustain in consequence of these riots interfering with your business, preventing

you landing goods, &c .

I am afraid that Foo-chow is finished, as a place of business ; the populace

have shown themselves so violent, and the authorities seem so little able to keep

them in order, that people will not feel inclined to trust their lives or property

there ; we certainly shall not until our confidence in the place is quite restored ,

which it will take a long time to do, I should imagine. Prompt measures must

be used by our Government in the first instance, but there are no available

men - of-war at present here to send up. I hardly know what they can do ; there

is no doubt that the longer they are of settling the matter, the more difficult

they will find it to settle. There is no news here.

Believe me, &c.

(Signed) PAT. DUDGEON .

Inclosure 5 in No. 22 .

Mr. Glen to Consul Alcock .

Sir, Foo-chow-foo, June 10, 1846 .

IN our interview to-day, you were kind enough to put me in possession of

the views entertained by his Excellency Sir John Davis, respecting part of my

claims. It is to be regretted that he should have been led to believe me charge

able with turbulent or unconciliatory conduct towards the people of Foo-chow .

To exculpate me, I request that you will make his Excellency aware of the

feeling of satisfaction at my deportment, spontaneously expressed to you by the

Chinese authorities, and the desire that I have that an inquiry should be made,

amongst my neighbours and coolies, to discover if any cause liad been given for

the reports which have reached his Excellency the Governor regarding me and

my servants.

In reference to the amount claimed for inconvenience, bodily injury, and

peril to life, I leave the sum to be fixed by Her Majesty's Government. I

was robbed of all my clothes, and every convenience of life ; I suffered severe

bodily injury, and under which I still labour ; and I with difficulty escaped from

an infuriated mob , who, without any provocation, pursued me, over the roofs

of houses, with stones and missiles, and forced me from a roof twenty feet


My letter to you of the 8th current, and its inclosure, show what my

constituents think of the security of British property here. The claim which I

made for ruin to my trade, from want of that security, is not more than, being

here alone, I should have realized from the present and next year's crop of teas .

You informed me that his Excellency thinks that my prospects never were very

bright at Foo-chow. I would reply, that neither would they, in all probability,

seem to be, in the case of the merchant who may first establish himself in

Nankin or Pekin, as mercantile men in such circumstances keep their views

and prospects private, until their own purposes are served. But as any state

ment of mine may, with some justice , be considered as made to secure an object,

I can only refer

Government .

to the reports on trade made by Her Majesty's Consul to the

Had the late riots not taken place, I would have had more than one cargo

of new teas already loaded here for England, being close to the place of growth,


while none had arrived at Canton at the date of my last advices. I would have

gained by the start 25 per cent ., in addition to the difference in price at which

tea can be procured here.

I have spent a year to gain the position which I held before the riots ; and,

in conjunction with the most extensive house in China, was ready to buy teas

Jargely with silver, cloth , and opium , and had made arrangements for being

supplied with tca with native merchants on the spot.

To gain this position has cost me

Of outlay for house -rent, salaries, servants' wages $

and charges 8,000

Since the month of March , and on account of the

riots, I have sent away , of goods ordered by me,

to the port, as per bili of lading deposited with

you , the value of 70,000 dollars, thereby losing

of commission .. 3,500

And as all my constituents write me to ship off what

property remains from the plundering of the

mob, I lose of further commissions .. 1,800

By these riots, I have, therefore, lost a year's time, and about 14,000

dollars besides ; must lose some time, and be at some expense , before I can

establish myself in any other trade. I hope that Her Majesty's Government may

take a favourable view of my case, and allow my claim made for loss of

prospects, loss of time, and loss of money laid out by me to open up tue trade

of this port.

I beg to inciose a summary of the amounts 1 conceive myself , at this date,

justly entitled to claim , in further compensation for losses, exclusive of those

claims which you have already admitted for immediate settlement.

1 have, & c .

( Signed) WILLIAM GLEN .



For loss of commission on goods not sold 5,300

Loss of papers 5,000

Outlay, loss of time, and commercial

prospects 140,000

$ 150,000

For personal injury , &c.

S, June 10, 1846 .

( Signed) WILLIAM GLEN .

Inclosure 6 in No. 22 .

Mr. Glen to Consul Alcock .

Sir, Foo - chow - foo, June 12 , 1846.


AS I am about to leave this port on account of my health and the ruin to

my trade caused by the late riots, I beg to inform you that I have been obl ged to

dispose of some cargo at a great loss to the owners of the said goods, Messrs.

Turner and Co., of Honz Kong, and as I cannot remain in this country to

prosecute this claim for these genlenen , JI beg to bring to your knowledge that

I have yesterday sold to the “ Chan - san Hong” 318 67 piculs of cotton , at the

low price of 11 dollars per picul. I could not obtain more, and as the usual

price of such ( Shanghae) cotton is nearly double this figure, I reckon it my duty

to put Messrs . Turner and Co. in possession of the materials necessary to form




a claim for this loss, unless you can insist on a compensation on the spot for this

sacrifice of their property from its being forced on the market at the present 1

unfavourable time.

I am, &c.


No. 23 .

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis .

Sir, Foreign Office, September 12 , 1846 .

I HAVE had under my consideration your despatch of the 22nd of 3

June last, respecting the satisfactory adjustment by the Chinese authorities of

the claims for losses sustained by British subjects during the late riots at

Foo - chow - foo .

Her Majesty's Government have learnt with much pleasure that the just

claims for compensation in this case have been fully satisfied , and that a suitable

punishment has been inflicted on the persons convicted of participation in the

riots, and in the plundering of the property of British subjects.

With respect to the claim which has been put forward by Mr. Glen, for

compensation for the loss of the contingent profit which he supposes that he

would have made by trade had he remained at Foo -chow -foo, I cannot authorize

you to make any demandi upon the Chinese Government. The departure of

Mr. Glen from Foo - chow -foo appears, from your despatch, to be the result of his

own choice, and seems to have been determined upon by him contrary to the

advice of the British and Chinese officers on the spot, who assured him that if

he remained at Foo - chow -foo he would be protected . The only maintainable

claim which can be advanced by Mr. Glen is that arising out of personal injury

and loss of his papers, though it does not appear, from the papers inclosed in

your despatch, what the papers are which Mr. Glen has lost, whether the value

which he fixes on them is just, or what would be the proper amount of

compensation for his bodily injuries.

I have accordingly to instruct you to determine, at your own discretion, the

proper value of these two items of claim , and to demand of the Chinese

Government such an amount of compensation for wir . Glen, under this head, as

may seem to you , after due consideration of the circumstances, to be just.

I am , &c .

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 24 .

Sir J. Davis to the Earl of Aberdeen.-(Received September 23. )


My Lord , Victoria, Hong Kong, July 1 , 1846 .

WITH reference to my despatch of the 22nd June, on the subject

of compensation received for loss of property by plunder at Foo -chow -foo, I

have the honour to inform your Lordship that I received with no small surprise

the inclosed letter from Messrs. Gilman and Co. , expressing themselves not

entirely satisfied with the adjustment of their Agent Mr. Roper's claims.

I could scarcely do otherwise than consider Mr. Consul Alcock's arrange

ments, together with the receipts of the several parties, as final and conclusive,

and have informed Messrs . Gilman and Co., by the inclosed reply, that I cannot

concur in their claims for additional compensation, though I would at the same

time forward their letter for your Lordship’s consideration .

I have, &c .

(Signed) J. F DAVIS.


Inclosure 1 in No. 24.

Messrs. Gilman and Co. to Sir J. Davis .

Sir , Canton, June 23, 1846 .

IN common, we believe, with all the parties interested, we feel so grateful

for your Excellency's vigorous interference in demanding from the Chinese

Government compensation for the losses arising out of the outrages at Foo

chow -foo, that we are very unwilling to trouble you again on the subject, but

we are compelled to do so.

From the papers which we have the honour of transmitting, your Excel

lency will perceive that a partial settlement of our claims has been made, but

not one, we respectfully submit, which does us justice.

Your Excellency will see that Mr. Consul Alcock, in the first instance,

proposed to arrange our claim in the following manner :

Claim . Deductions. Admitted .

c. $ $



10,526 72 10,526 72

Accounts and Papers 1,500 0 1,500

Household Furniture 390 0 99 291 0

Servants' effects .. 648 50 • 648 50

Wearing Apparel 946 50 150 796 50


Silver Plate and Stores 262 0 262 0

Miscellaneous Articles 1,612 70 136 1,476 70

$ 15,886 42 $ 1,885 $ 14,001 12

The propriety of the rejection of the claim for accounts and papers we frankly

admit; it was made without our knowledge, and we at once informed Mr. Roper

that it could not be sustained .

The trifling deductions made from Mr. Roper's claim for furniture and

personal effects,, we presume, are grounded on the following passage in Mr.

Alcock's letter : ---" That where claims are unsupported by valid and conclusive

evidence, a Government cannot equitably be called upon to make good the loss

of any property not strictly in keeping, both as to its kind and value, with the

position and calling of the claimant.”

We venture to think that the port of Foo -chow -foo having been formally

appointed as a place of trade and residence, all property is alike entitled to

protection, nor can we perceive that the trifling articles of luxury disallowed

Mr. Roper, were at all out of keeping with his position and calling.

Passing by these particulars, Sir, however, we find that at the final settle

ment , the sum of 14,001,42 dollars originally admitted, is still further reduced

by the following deductions :

dols . ct.

Servants' accounts 48 50

Miscellaneous 27 70

Treasure 1,052 67

We find no reasons assigned for the first and second deduction ; but in

regard to the third and very serious one, Mr. Consul Alcock makes the follow

ing observation :

“ In reference to the further deductions subsequently made in conference

with his Excellency the Treasurer, I have merely to say that while he contended

his information afforded the strongest presumption that not a third of the

amount of treasure stated to have been plundered, was in the hong at the time

of the riot, and the presumption on your side ( for this claim rested on nothing

stronger ) was in favour of the larger amount specified, I am clearly of opinion a


deduction of 10 per cent. upon the sum claimed was, under those circumstances,


both moderate in amount and just in principle.”

We beg to observe to your Excellency that the Chinese Government could

know nothing whatever of the amount of money in Mr. Roper's possession at

the time of the outrage.

The evidence of the plunderers can be of no value as to the amount they

stole , in a scene of tumult and confusion ; and were it otherwise, the character

of the parties forbids its reception. And yet, Sir, it has been held sufficient to

gainsay the solemn affidavit of a man of character, and who holds a highly

responsible situation. We submit, that if the assertion of his Excellency the

Treasurer, " that his information afforded the strongest presumption that not a

third of the amount of treasure stated to have been plundered was in the hong

at the time of the riot,” deserved any consideration, that much greater weight

ought to have been given to it.

If Mr. Roper has perjured himself by swearing that he lost three times the

amount of treasure actually in his possession, we cannot see why his claim should

have been admitted at all, and the deduction of 10 per cent. , therefore , while in

allowing it , on such grounds, Mr. Consul Alcock asperses the character of a

highly respectable man, and does the Chinese injustice, if their assertions are to

be received , and deprives us of the full compensation which your Excellency

was pleased to declare you would obtain for us, if our agent's affidavit is to be

credited .

We would further remark to your Excellency, that as a period of consider

ably more than two months has elapsed since the occurrence of this outrage,

we think we are entitled to claim interest for the time , and we are informned

Her Majesty's Consul repeatedly said interest would be allowed.

We should not have thought it necessary to call your Excellency's attention

to this point, had our other claim been satisfied ; but being obliged to address

you on the subject, we have the honour that your Excellency will

nour of soliciting that

take such measures as you see fit, to recover for us the amounts , 150 dollars,

136 dollars, and 99 dollars, originally deducted, should your Excellency deem them

admissible, as well as the secondary deduction of 27 dollars 70 cents, 48 dollars

50 cents, and 1,052 dollars 67 cents, which, with all respect, appear to us

wholly unwarrantable; and that interest at a fair rate be allowed to us.

We have, &c.

(Signed ) GILMAN & CO.

Inclosure 2 in No. 24.

Mr. Johnston to Messrs. Gilman and Co.

Sirs, Victoria, Hong Kong, June 29, 1846.

I AM instructed by his Excellency Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary, & c., to

acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant, which he has

attentively considered .

The mass of details forwarded to his Excellency by Mr. Consul Alcock, on

the subject of these claims for compensation, are aconvincing proof of the pains

and diligence bestowed by that energetic officer in their adjustment, in accordance

with the principles of justice to both parties. The proportion of the whole

claims recovered, and the short time in which this has been effected, without it

may be added) any expenses whatever of litigation, are such as could not easily

be paralleled in any other country; and his Excellency, on a due consideration

of the items in your letter, is sorry that he cannot concur in the reasoning with

which you advance aa claim for additional compensation.

As he wishes , however, that you should have the benefit of a reference to

Her Majesty's Government, I am desired to add that a copy of your representa

tion will be forwarded to the Earl of Aberdeen .

I have, &c.

(Signed) A. R. JOHNSTON .



No. 25.

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .— (Received December 29.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, October 15, 1846 .

I HAVE the honour to inclose, for your Lordship’s sanction, areport from

Mr. Consul Balfour at Shanghae, as to a grant of 200 dollars to a Chinese boy,

entirely deprived of eyesight, in consequence of the discharge of a fowling-piece

by a British subject who could not be identified. The Consul made this grant

under instructions contained in a despatch from my predecessor, dated

January 16 , 1844, forming an inclosure in despatch of February 5 , 1844 .

Inclosure in No. 25 .


Consul Balfour to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Shanghae, September 28 , 1846.

IN reference to despatch dated 16th January, 1844, from his Excellency

Sir H. Pottinger, Bart., G.C.B. , in reply to my letter of the 2nd December,

1843, I have the honour to inclose a medical certificate from the Consulate

surgeon , wherein it will be observed that one of the two boys who unfortunately

met with a gun -shot accident, has been finally examined, and is now declared

totally blind.

In pursuance of instructions contained in the fifth paragraph, I have deemed

it advisable to expend the sum of 200 dollars onhis behalf, and have accordingly

handed over that amount to the Taoutae, with the view to purchase him a piece

of land . I beg to solicit your Excellency's approval of this outlay.

The necessary vouchers will be forwarded with the quarterly accounts.

I have , &c.

( Signed) G. BALFOUR .

No. 26 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 21.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, April 30, 1847.

I HAVE the satisfaction to transmit, inclosed , a very stringent proclamation

issued by Keying soon after the settlement of the late questions at Canton , in

which he calls on the populace in peremptory terms to attend to their occupa

tions, and not create disturbance, threatening severe punishment in case of


The observation of the American Consul, that a marked improvement had

taken place, since the late events, in the tone of all , “ from the Imperial Commis

sioner down to the lowest of the rabble, " seems to be sufficiently proved up to

the present time.

In returning to Keying, according to agreement, the witness whom he sent

down against certain persons accused of piracy,* I urged him to inform me of

the punishment of the aggressors on the seamen in October last, when they had

been discovered .

I received the inclosed reply, in which he informs me of the apprehension of

one of the culprits in that case, and of three who threw some stones on a late

occasion, and promises to report further.

In answering Keying's note, I took occasion to remark, that it is aa rule

with the nations of the west to consider any injury to the meanest of their

subjects as an injury to themselves ; and in proof I adduced the late occurrence

at Cochin-China, originating as it did in the maltreatment of the French

missionary bishop, of which some intelligence had before reached China.

* Correspondence relating to Operations in Canton River, 1847, p. 1 , et seq.


Inclosure 1 in No. 26.

Proclamation .

( Translation .)

KEYING, Governor-General of the Two Kwang, &c. , issues the following


Affairs in the provincial city have again taken their ordinary course, and

there is not the least chance of any unforeseen calamity. The shop - keepers may,

therefore, with all the other inhabitants, quietly and cheerfully follow their

pursuits . If, however, any villains create disturbance, or excite and delude the

multitude with false rumours, they will for aa certainty, as soon as it is known,

be seized and punished with all severity.

None must disobey this special proclamation.

Taoukwang, 27th year, 2nd month, 22nd day. (April 7, 1847. )

Inclosure 2 in No. -26 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis .

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, &c. , sends the following reply to

a letter of the Honourable Envoy on sending back Chow- tsew-che and making

inquiry about the punishment of the aggressors in October last (here follows the

substance of that despatch), which he fully perused.

The prisoner Chow -tsew -che has arrived under the escort of our officer at

Canton, and will be punished most severely for this as well as the other crimes

he has committed .

The magistrate of Nanhae has succeeded in apprehending Chow-a-ching,

one of the villains who in October last wounded the sailors of your honourable

country. This ruffian, though for days together examined by torture, has

nevertheless cunningly evaded confession . The moment, however, we obtain

sure proofs and acknowledgments of the guilt, as well as a revelation of the

accomplices, I shall state to you the manner in which they have been punished.

According to the official communications of Consul Macgregor of the 2nd

month, 26th and 29th day (11th and 14th April), some villains at Luhpoo and

Honan threw stones at the English , and I , the Great Minister, am , on account of

it, highly indignant. I ordered , therefore, the local authorities to institute strict

inquiry and seize (the aggressors). They have in consequence apprehended

Lea -tih, Woo -a-san , aud Muh-a-san, three in number, and I have given orders that

they should be punished according to law.

Whilst communicating the above, I wish you every happiness.

Taoukwang, 27th year, 3rd month, 10th day . (April 24, 1847.)

Inclosure 3 in No. 26 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, April 28 , 1847. .

YESTERDAY I had the honour to receive your Excellency's despatch,

informing me, with reference to the villains who wounded the two sailors in

October last, that one ruffian had been seized and examined, and that as soon

as proofs and acknowledgments of guilt, and the discovery of the accom

plices, had been obtained, you would state the manner in which they had been


K 2


I shall hear with much satisfaction of the punishment of these persons, who

had the cruelty to maltreat so severely two unarmed men. When I have

received your Excellency's account of the penalties inflicted, a report shall

immediately be made to Viscount Palmerston .

It is a rule with the nations of the west to consider any injury to the

meanest of their subjects as an injury to themselves. In this respect there is

no distinction made between high or low, rich or poor. I have just received a

letter from Captain Lapierre, Commander-in -chief of the French squadron in

these seas . He proceeded to Cochin - China to protect a French missionary who

had been maltreated . The Cochin -Chinese having collected ships and troops to

oppose him , he destroyed all the ships, five in number, burning some and sinking

others, and dispersed the troops. The missionary is at Singapore.

When I have heard of the punishment of Lea-tih , Woo -a -san and Muh -a -san,

I will report this also to Viscount Palmerston for the information of Her

Majesty's Government.

Accept, & c.

( Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

No. 27.

Sir J. Daris to Viscount Palmerston .— (Received July 21.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, May 8 , 1847.

WHAT remonstrances from myself, and even communications from your

Lordship, failed to effect , has been happily brought about by the strong course

which I felt myself driven to adopt on the 2nd of April.

The inclosed note from Keying is an official announcement of the punish

ment of the ruffians who maltreated the two seamen in October last, and the

particulars forwarded to me by Mr. Consul Macgregor confirm this account.

The public example which I caused to be made (before I quitted Canton) of the

aggressors on Colonel Chesney served as an additional warning to the populace *

and the proclamation from the local magistrates proves that these are at last in


It is just one month to-day since I quitted Canton with Major-General

D’Aguilar, and not a semblance of popular commotion has occurred from that

time to this. The silly anonymous placards (however contemptible in them

selves) are mischievous in tendency , and Keying has opened his eyes to the

necessity of suppressing them , as appears froma proclamation issued by him.

I am inclined to consider his proceedings partly as the result of instructions

from Peking, which have not transpired of course, but which I have no difficulty

in surmising have cautioned him against the chance of a serious rupture with us,

at his peril .

I have, &c.

( Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure in No. 27 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis .

( Translation .)

KEYING , High Imperial Commissioner, &c. , sends the following reply

to an official letter of the Honourable Envoy, respecting the punishment of

some criminals who assaulted two English sailors in October last here follows

the substance of that despatch ).

The Nan-hae Magistrate reported respecting this affair , that he had, after

making inquiry, apprehended Chow-a-ching, and I ordered him to obtain his

* See Correspondence relating to Operations in Canton River, 1847, p. 14, et seq.



true deposition, and ascertain who were his accomplices, that they might

be seized with all rigour and prosecuted. The said magistrate stated subse

quently that he had interrogated him by torture for several days, and Chow

a - ching then confessed, that he was 24 years of age, living in Nan -hae district,

Yew-lan street, and a pedlar by profession. He was on the 28th day of the

8th month (October 1846) last year in Kaoute alley, when he saw two

foreigners followed by an immense crowd. Whilst he was looking on, he availed

himself of this opportunity to beat these foreigners with his fists. At that

moment, a man whose name and surname he does not know, took a club, and

knocked a foreigner down ; but the soldiers and police came to the rescue, and

they then ran away and dispersed : and words to that effect.

( The magistrate) then sent his police -runners to seize others, and they

apprehended one Leang-a-kew, who stated that he was 22 years of age,

and belonging to Haou -pwan street, and selling pork in Kaoute street. On the

28th day of the 8th month (October 1846) last year, two foreigners came

there followed by a crowd, and he being apprehensive that his stall might be

thrown down by the throng, struck those foreigners with a club.

This evidence being true and agreeing with the confession of Chow - a-chiug,

this man as well as Leang -a -kew received each forty blows, for though the law is

not severe in such cases, their punishment ought to be more comprehensive.

As, however, Leang-a -kew had shown greater ferocity on this occasion, it was not

expedient to be lenient towards him, and he was therefore imprisoned with fetters

for five months, in order to deter others . The above details are forwarded for

examination .

As it is apparent that Chow-a- ching and Leang-a-kew without any cause beat

those sailors—an act very detestable — the said magistrate seized and examined

them, and having ascertained the above, punished them severally with the

bastinado and imprisonment, in order to strike terror.

I therefore send this reply to you the Honourable Envoy, and would trouble

you to examine into this matter, whilst I wish you every happiness .

Taoukwang, 27th year, 3rd month, 18th day. (May 2, 1847.)

No. 28 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .— (Received July 21.)

My Lord , Victoria, Hong Kong, May 22, 1847.

ON. the 16th instant, I heard from Mr. Consul Macgregor, that a Malay


sailor employed on board an English boat had been robbed and severely ill-used

in one of the streets of Canton .

I immediately sent off the inclosed note to Keying, calling for the immediate

punishment of the guilty, in order that I might report it by the present mail.

În three days I received the annexed reply, informing me that the robber and

assailant was condemned to the bamboo and Chinese pillory. This was confirmed

by a separate despatch from Consul Macgregor.

In acknowledging this, I deemed it right to communicate the purport of

your Lordship's despatch regarding Mr. Compton,* and the punishment that

would await any British subjects guilty of killing Chinese, otherwise than justi

fiably in self-defence, or by accident.

As Keying, in one of his notes had observed, that “ British subjects, who

came to Canton, only required factories and warehouses, ” I thought it expedient

to reply to him , by the inclosed, that at Canton , they had not as yet had even

these in sufficient plenty. It became necessary to add , at the same time, that

besides factories and warehouses, they required very essentially the “full security

fortheirpersons and property, ” which formed the very first Article of the Treaty

of Nanking.”

I have, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

* See Correspondence relating to the Riot at Canton in July 1846, and the proceedings taken

against Mr. Compton , 1847.


Inclosure 1 in No. 28.

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria , Hong Kong, May 16, 1847.

I BEG to inform your Excellency that I have received a despatch from

Mr. Consul Macgregor , stating that another brutal assault has been committed

on a Malay sailor, belonging to an English lorcha, who was robbed and savagely

beaten, when found, by himself, unarmed, at a distance from the foreign factories.

I write immediately to request that the perpetrators of this outrage may be

punished according to your promise, lately received, that you would faithfully

restrain the Chinese of Canton. I before communicated a message from my

Government, that if acts of outrage on British subjects were not prevented, ii

would become necessary to punish the innocent with the guilty . The mail will

be dispatched in nine days to England, and I wait to report the punishment of

the criminals .

Accept, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 2 in No. 28.

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, &c . , sends the following reply to


a letter of the Honourable Envoy, respecting the assault on the lascar (here

follows the substance of that note ).

Consul Macgregor wrote to me that one Saptu, an English subject, went on

the 28th day, 3rd month ( 12th May ), into the streets at Tesanpoo, to purchase

some articles, and was there beaten and robbed . He therefore requested that I

might issue orders to punish (the aggressors) with severity.

Whilst I was on the point of ordering an investigation of this affair, the

Nan-hae magistrate reported, that he had seized the criminal Woo - a -luh, who had

beaten and robbed a British subject , and recovered one dollar, stolen from him .

When judicially examined, he confessed that he was a workman and native of

Nan-hae. Hewent out on the 28th day of the 3rd month ( 12th May) to look

for some employ, and came to the ward of Tesanpoo, where he found a great

crowd in the street, and, looking about, he perceived a British subject in the

midst of it . He then took a flat bamboo, which is used for carrying things ,

and wounded him with it, and on observing some money in his purse, he availed

himself of this opportunity to snatch a dollar from him . Just when he was on

the point of running away, he was apprehended by the police and municipal

constable, and delivered over to justice ; and a similar statement .

It thus appears that Woo-a-luh committed an atrocious assault on a British

subject, and snatched away some money, which was extremely vile, and he

ought therefore to receive his sentence according to law. We consider bim in

the light of having assaulted another for the sake of seizing some property, and

he ought therefore to be punished two degrees more severe than the amount of

the robbery would demand. He who steals less than a tael receives sixty

strokes, but when two degrees are added to it, they will amount to eighty,

commuted into thirty, laid on with a large bamboo, and he is moreover sentenced

to wear the cangue a month , in order to strike terror into others. The money

recovered was handed over to Consul Macgregor, to restore it to the owner.

Such is the report presented for my perusal, and from the above it would

appear that Woo -a -luh, without any cause , beat and wounded an English sailor,

and moreover robbed him of money, which is very detestable. The sentence

pronounced by the magistrate, that he should receive the bastinado, and wear


the cangue, is sufficiently severe to deter others ( from similar acts), and the

money has been, through Consul Macgregor, returned to the owner.

I thought it my duty to communicate the above to you, the Honourable

Envoy, and request you to peruse the same, and writing this answer, wish

you every happiness, &c .

Taoukwang, 27th year, 4th month, 3rd day. (May 16, 1847.)

Inclosure 3 in No. 28.

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, May 19, 1847.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your Excellency's note, informing me

that Woo -a-luh, who assaulted and robbed a Malay sailor, has been punished

with the bamboo and cangue .

It being highly necessary to restrain both Chinese and English, I have

received a despatch' from Viscount Palmerston , severely reprehending Compton.

Should Compton be guilty of another offence, he must be removed from Canton.

But the fear of punishment will now restrain him . By the English law, should

a British subject maliciously kill a Chinese (not being compelled to do so in

defence of his person or his property) , he will be tried, and being found guilty of

murder, will suffer death .

I tender, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 4 in No. 28.

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, May 20, 1847.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's note,

in which it was stated that “ the British merchants who come to Canton only

require factories and go -downs .” Your Excellency is well aware that they have

not yet had sufficient factories and go-downs for their goods, and it has therefore

been necessary to seek a location at Honan , as well as a place for a church,

according to the Treaty.

But besides factories and go -downs, it is absolutely necessary that British

subjects be not maltreated by the rabble . According to the first Article of the

Treaty of Nanking, they must “ enjoy full security for their persons and property

within the dominions of China." Your Excellency's great intelligence will

perceive that unless the first Article of the Treaty is maintained, all the rest is

useless. Viscount Palmerston has already stated that unless the rabble of

Canton is restrained , hostilities against the city with a military and naval force

may become necessary, and then the innocent will be involved with the guilty.

The whole subject is included in these words— “ Restraining the rabble. ” At

the other four ports, commerce and peace are uninterrupted .

Since Canton is not very well adapted to European trade, itmaybe expected

that the trade will gradually proceed to other ports; but this should be allowed

to take place gradually and safely, and not by the violence of the rabble,

producing national quarrels.

I tender, & c .

( Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .


No. 29.

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foreign Office, July 23, 1847.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 22nd of May, respecting the

ill -treatment, at Canton, of a Malay sailor employed in a British lorcha, and the

subsequent punishment of the party who injured him.

I have to instruct you to state to Keying that Her Majesty's Government

have learnt with great pleasure the promptitude with which he has done justice

on this occasion by punishing the offender.

You will further say , that the British Government most earnestly desire

that peace and friendship shall be maintained between England and China, and

they are sure that this is also the wish of Keying, and of the Emperor; and if

Keying will continue thus vigorously to use the power which the Emperor has

granted him , and will employ that power to prevent and punish all acts of

violence and injustice on the part of Chinese towards British subjects, the British

Government, on its part,will take care that British subjects shall act with justice

and kindness towards the Chinese ; and thus peace and goodwill shall long

continue to be maintained between the two nations, for the equal advantage of

both .

I am, &c.


No. 30.

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received September 25.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong , May 31 , 1847.

SOME time since, the conduct of the Chinese vagabonds in the neighbour

hood of the foreign factories seemed calculated to giveus trouble, but I am glad

to report that the difficulties appear, at length, surmounted.

On the 26th I received the inclosed note from Keying, contained general

assurances of protection from the rabble ; but as Consul Macgregor informed

me, at the same time, that the Chinese guard at the Consoo-house was altogether

remiss and inefficient, it became necessary for me to address the annexed strong

remonstrance to Keying.

I also deemed it right to convey instructions to the Consul, in the inclosed

despatch , as to what should be done to repel the violence of the rabble should

they resort to throwing missiles — a practice which they have fortunately discon

tinued, confining the exhibition of their temper to attacks upon certain boat

sheds by the river-side, and dispersing immediately on the sight of our people.

The inclosed satisfactory reply from Keying to my previous note has put

me more at ease as to the efficiency of his provisions for the preservation of

order, and late accounts from the Consul intimate that tranquillity has been

restored .

I have, &c.

( Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure l in No. 30 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

(Translation .)

KEYING , High Imperial Commissioner, &c. , sends the following reply to

a letter of the Honourable Envoy about restraining the lower orders.

It is the duty of me, the Great Minister, to protect the foreigners who

come to China for the sake of trade. I have, therefore, given very strict orders

to the local authorities to seize and punish every villain who, without any cause,



commits an outrage on a British subject, and repeatedly stated this in my replies

to you , as is on record.

I trust that the Honourable Envoy is perfectly convinced that, in every

matter which concerns foreign nations, II alwaysproceed according to the Treaty,

and am unwilling to act contrary to my instructions.

Whilst forwarding this answer I wish you much happiness .

Taoukwang, 27th year, 4th month, 11th day. (May 24, 1847. )

Inclosure 2 in No. 30 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Vicloria, Hong Kong, May 26, 1847 .

I HAVE just received a note from your Excellency stating that youwill

always do what is requisite for restraining the lower orders of the Chinese from

acts of violence .

I have had a despatch from Consul Macgregor, stating that the officer at

the Consoo House does nothing to disperse the rabble who crowd about the

factories. Is this restraining the lower orders ? The vagabonds about the

factories have endeavoured to burn or pull down the boat-sheds near the river.

Thus, it is plain that the rabble is not restrained, although your Excellency tells

me it is. I again purposely dispatch this notice.

I had before to inform your Excellency that new troops were coming to

relieve or change the garrison of Hong Kong. It was originally intended to

send away the old troops when the new arrived ; but if your Excellency allows

the rabble every day to make disturbances about the factories, it will be neces

sary to keep the old troops also, in order to protect our people ; and my

Governmentmay require that of your honourable nation to pay for this additional


Accept, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 3 in No. 30 .

Sir J. Davis to Consul Macgregor.

Sir, Victoria, Hong Kong , May 28, 1847.

I HAVE received your despatch concerning the disorderly conduct of

the Chinese vagabonds about the foreign factories. On this subject I will

cite the following passage from a communication which Viscount Palmerston

instructed me to make publicly to Keying, and which was made as long ago as

as the 30th January last : “ You will request the Chinese authorities to bear in

mind that, if they shall be unwilling or unable to keep order ,the British subjects

will defend themselves, and the greater the violence of the mob the greater will

be the loss of life inflicted on them ."

It appears that the efforts of the rabble have been confined to attempting the

destruction of a boat- shed by the river side, the source of much irritation ; but

that they have not assailed our people with stones as formerly . If so assailed,

self -defence becomes a necessary measure, and forbearance might encourage the

mob to worse acts . I have repeatedly called upon Keying to preserve order, and

received from him assurances that he will. As it appears from your letters that

little or nothing has yet been done by the guard at the Consoo House, you

should never neglect an occasion of protesting against such remissness to Keying.

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.



Inclosure 4 in No. 30.


Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

(Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, & c., sends the following reply to

a letter of the Honourable Envoy respecting the late occurrences near the

factories, and the retention of the old soldiers. (Here follows the substance of

that despatch .)

I have already given orders to the magistrate to seize the ruffians who fired

the shed . The officers and soldiers stationed the Consoo House have been

degraded and flogged, as a warning to others. If these military officers prove

again negligent, they will for a certainty be denounced with all severity, and not

the slightest forbearance shown to them . I , the Great Minister, have moreover

appointed an additional garrison at the station near the foreign factories, to patrol

about there. The expenditure for rations and other necessaries will thus be

considerable .

Your old soldiers need not to be retained for the protection of (British)

merchants and people, so as to entail aa rast expense on your honourable country.

But if you say, that a demand for the payment of the same will be made on

China, I presume that the existing friendly relations between us will prevent this,

and suppose that your honourable country will never bring forward such a claim .

Whilst sending this answer I wish you every happiness.

Taoukwang, 27th year , 4th month , 15th day. (May 28 , 1847.)

No. 31 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received September 25.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong , June 14, 1847.

I RECEIVED , some time back , from Mr. Consul Macgregor, a report of

stones having been thrown from the shore, at an English boat on the river,

containing tive persons, on the 28th ultimo.

Having waited some time without hearing of anything as to the punish

ment of the aggressors, I wrote the inclosed note to Keying, on the 7th instant .

I have since received, through the Consul, the annexed report of the exami

nation and chastisement of the culprits .

I have, &c .

( Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 1 in No. 31 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, June 7, 1847.

I HAVE to acquaint your Excellency that Consul Macgregor has not

informed me that any reparation whatever has yet been given for the stones

thrown at an English boat, containing five persons, upon the river, on the

28th of May .

I before communicated to your Excellency a message from Viscount

Palmerston, that, “ if the Chinese authorities will not, by the exercise of their

own power, punish and prevent such outrages, the British Government will be

obliged to take the matter into their own hands, and it will not be their fault

if, in such case , the innocent are involved in the punishment which may be

sought to be inflicted on the guilty .” I hope to be able soon to report to

Viscount Palmerston the punishment of those who threw the stones.

Accept, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .


Inclosure 2 in No. 31 .

District Magistrate Le to Consul Macgregor.

( Translation .)

LE, Acting District Magistrate of Pwan -yu , hereby makes a communica

tion .

I have received your letter, stating (here follows an abstract of the letter

from Her Majesty's Consul to the District Magistrate, dated June 9, 1847,

regarding the proceedings in the case of an assault upon Mr. Murrow ).

On this reaching me I referred to the records, and find that the two

criminals, Koo -a - ching and E-a-paou , on being interrogated , both deposed alike,

that on that day they saw a foreign boat near the shore, moving about for

amusement ; that the children of the neighbourhood , being alarmed , picked up

and threw tiles; and that they also, immediately afterwards, picked up broken

bricks, which they threw into the water ; and that there was really no intention

to strike any one.

As it seemed to me that if there had really been an intention to throw

stones, they would, under the circumstances, have wounded some one or struck

the boat, their deposition — that it was on account of being alarmed , and by no

means intentional — was credible ; and the sentence, that they should each be

beaten with the lesser bamboo, was of itself severe, there being a difference

between this case and the actual infliction of wounds . The two criminals were

then, on the 1st of June, and in the Second Hall of my office, separately

severely beaten , and liberated, in accordance with the sentence.

As is fitting, I now give you another communication, that you may make

yourself acquainted with it, and send in a statement ( to Her Majesty's Pleni

potentiary). A necessary communication.

June 11, 1847.

No. 32 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received September 25.)

My Lord . Victoria , Hong Kong, July 1 , 1847

I HAVE received from Mr. Consul Macgregor the annexed translation of a

proclamation from the Prefect and District Magistrates of Canton, enjoining on

the people a proper behaviour towards foreigners. Though the paper is

addressed to the people themselves, I have to observe that the obnoxious word

“ barbarian " is not once used in it — a punctilio which has formerly been almost

entirely confined to documents addressed directly to ourselves . This, therefore, is

an improvement.

The notification dwells on the importance of preserving peace by an

abstinence from all aggressive acts . It is now generally known that my coercive

measures in April last were for the express purpose ofprocuring satisfaction for

attacks on British subjects ; and your Lordship will perceive, from the inclosed

proclamation , that the gentry and elders have become convinced of the necessity

of repressing those under their control.

I addressed the inclosed letter to Mr. Consul Macgregor with reference to

this subject.

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 1 in No. 32 .

Proclamation .

(Translation .).

WANG , Prefect of Kwang -chow , with his subordinates, Chang, District

Magistrate of Nan -hae, and. Le, District Magistrate of Pwan -yu, hereby issue,

with fervent earnestness, a notification in repetitionn ::

I. 2


Whereas we, as servants of the Emperor in this province, regard the people

subject to our authority all as our own children, and settle all local affairs, no

matter whether great or small, in accordance with the principles of common

reason, with the view of maintaining general peace ; how shallwe be willing to

harbour the slightest degree of selfishness tending to partiality and oppression ?

Now the foreign merchants who cross the seas from a distance to come to

Kwang -tung to carry on trade, are certainly not so unreasonable as to desire to

have difficulties with the natives, and thereby hinder their business. Hence, as

they, when they land to wander about for amusement, or go along the sides of

the river in boats, do not make any disturbance, you , if you would display

equity and justice, ought on such occasions all to attend quietly to your own

duties .

We, the District Magistrates of Nan -hae and Pwan -yu, having some time

ago jointly issued a perspicuous proclamation on this subject, the merchants,

people, and literati haverecently come to perceive in some measure the reason

of it ; and we learn that the intelligent literary gentry of the surrounding

country have laid down rules with reference to this matter, and given injunc

tions to their sons and younger brothers accordingly ; in consequence of which

there has for a month past been great quiet and no trouble. This conduct

adequately records the high purposeof the high authorities to cherish and show

kindness to all alike. But in the midst of quiet. we ought still more to look

forward to a perpetual absence of suspicion and jealousy , in order to attain

(continual) peace ; and it is therefore proper that we issue, with fervent earnest

ness , a notification in repetition.

For this reason we hereby issue a proclamation to the people within our

jurisdiction for their full information . Hereafter, when it occurs that foreigners

wander quietly about for amusement, it is absolutely necessary that you treat

them in accordance with the principles of common reason . Let fathers lay their

injunctions on their sons, and elder brothers admonish the younger, and quiet

will exist for a length of time. Should it happen that ignorant people assail the

foreigners with bricks or stones, or make use of bad language to then , the Te-paou

( constables), & c ., must exert themselves sincerely in remonstrating with and

stopping them , with the view of avoiding the provocation of disturbances, and

the mutual infliction of injuries, and of removing for ever the line of

distinction .

That all may enjoy the blessing of universal tranquillity is really what we

greatly hope for. Do not oppose this special proclamation.

June 22 , 1847.

Inclosure 2 in No. 32 .

Sir J. Davis to Consul Macgregor .

Sir, Victoria, Hong Kong, June 29 , 1847.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 25th instant, inclosing translation of

a joint proclamation from the Prefect of Canton and the District Magistrates,

calling on the people to conduct themselves properly towards foreigners.

This is the most satisfactory document of the kind that has appeared yet,

more particularly as it states that the gentry and elders have taken a part with

the Government in favour of foreigners, and have made it their care to repress

all attempts at aggression, as already hinted at in the last address from Honan .

This is infinitely more likely to be effective than the unassisted efforts of the

mandarins. If foreigners on their part are duly restrained by penalties, adequate

in amount and certain in execution , I doubt if there has ever been so little

prospect of disturbances as at present.

I have, & c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.


No. 33 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received September 25.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, June 14, 1847 .

I HAVE the satisfaction to announce that the site for a church at Canton

has been finally secured, as announced in the inclosed despatch from Consul

Macgregor. But besides the church , this includes the most important object of

blocking up the obnoxious thoroughfare of Hog Lane, and obtaining all the

space between that and the river - the great source and seat of all mobs and

tumults at the foreign factories . The plan transmitted with my despatch

of the 7th instant, will show the position in question ; and I may add that

were this the only result of my visit to Canton two months ago, it was well

worth the pains.

To my “ Declaration ” conveyed through the Consul to the gentry and

elders of Honan (as transmitted in despatch of 31st May) I have since

received , through the same channel, the inclosed most respectful reply. Your .

Lordship will perceive the entire revolution in the former style of communication,

and it appeared to myself that the first steps should be encouraged. As they can

now have no sort of doubt as to our power, ( indeed the altered style of their

addresses is the best proof of it,) we need scarcely scruple to show them our

reasonableness and moderation ; and if this ( coming after the first) has not a

favourable effect, the human nature of the Chinese must be an exception to all


I have thought it right to publish both of the foregoing documents, with

the annexed notice . Two warehouses have already been offered at Honan , on

the other side of the river ; but there are, in my opinion, on the same side of the

river with the British factories, and contiguous to them, greatly preferable ware

houses and sites for building which belonged to the late hong-merchants, an

which may now be had by our commercial people .

I have received the inclosed note from Keying, informing me of the final

settlement of the church site and adjoining open space, and of the progress of

negotiations for warehouses, &c .

It is satisfactory to find that the names of six of the vazabonds who

attacked the boatsheds are specified as having been captured , and I make no

doubt of their being summarily punished , as the Chinese themselves dread the

consequences of such acts. Keyirg likewise announces the appointment of

efficient officers and men at the Consoo House (the previous cnes having lee :

punished for their remissness ), and I entertain little doubt of order being at

length preserved.

But the chief ground of expectation that we shall have quiet for the future

is the stoppage of the old thoroughfare called Hog Lane, and the conversion of

a portion of the space to a church site, according to my agreement of 6th April.

I have, &c.

( Signed ) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure in No. 33.

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING , High Imperial Commissioner, &c., sends the following com


I received the note of the Honourable Envoy on the subject of the ground

which the merchants of your honourable country requested to rent, in order to

build houses on. There are wanted six shops at the south end of Hog Lane ;

and, according to the statement of Consul Macgregor, the open space at the

landing-place, between the two flower gardens, is likewise required.

Having dispatched my deputed officers to arrange this matter, in conjunc

tion with the local authorities and the old hong merchant, Woo -e-ho, and

others, they reported that the title - deeds of the owner of the four shops within

the railing (gate), at the south -end of Hog Lane, had been handed over to


Consul Macgregor for examination. The two shops outside the railing (gate)

were erected by the whole community of Suh -yo Street , and let by their agent,

together with the remaining ground at the landing -place, the proceeds of the

rent being applied to provide incense and candles for the Hwa-kwang temple.

There are no title- deeds.

Woo - e -ho being, on the 25th day of the 4th month (7th June) , invited

to a conjoint consultation, it was settled by the parties in person with Consul

Macgregor, that the price of the four shops within the railing (gate) should be

paid according to (the amount mentioned in ) the title -deeds , and for the two

outside the railing (gate), 375 taels , to make good the costof building them ;

but, besides this , no shop -rent was to be charged . The ground -rent, both

outside as well as inside the railing (gate), together with the free space between

the two flower gardens, is to be three cents per square foot, English measure

ment. The moment the houses are pulled down, and the ground accurately

measured, an agreement will be drawn up for the payment of the money , which

W00 - e -ho will receive .

Respecting the ground to be rented for building warehouses on it, which

cannot be speedily procured, Consul Macgregor remarked, that if there were any

finished warehouses to the east of the Consoo Hong, the British merchants

might rent them ; and words to that effect. On inquiry, it appears that there

are the Kwang -le, Tien -paou, Tung-shun, E -sang, and Tung-fow packhouses,

five in number, and at Honan two others, belonging to Woo , which all may be

rented . A list of them has now been given to Consul Macgregor, that he may

manage this affair,but it is not yet settled.

1, the Great Minister, find, on examination, that my deputed officers and

others, settled about the shops in Hog Lane, and the free space outside the

railing, with Consul Macgregor, and that this matter is finally brought to a

conclusion . There are, moreover, warehouses at several places, all ready, to be

let, where merchants may take up their abode. I therefore request the Honour

able Envoy to direct Consul Macgregor to state in his reply whether or not

these buildings , as specified in the list of my deputed officers, are available, so

that this affair may be managed properly.

The military of the district have already seized some of the villains who set

fire (to the shed ), viz. : Wana-keuen, Le -ashing, Le-alung, Heua -hwuy, Leang


a-seay, and Shih -ashwuy, six in number, who will, for a certainty, most severely

be punished as soon as the evidence at their examination proves conclusive ; and

we shall not show the slightest mercy towards them .

I have also increased the military force at the Consoo House by two

officers, to co -operate with the civil and military mandarins previously appointed,

and to patrol day and night. The precautionary measures for affording security

are now, therefore, more effective than before . If any disturbance arises , there

will be no difficulty in apprehending the ruffians, and the rabble will henceforth

know to keep away .

Whilst sending this communication, I wish you every happiness.

Taoukwang, 27th year, 4th month, 28th day. (June 10 , 1847.)

No. 34.

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.- (Received September 25.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, June 29, 1817.

WITH reference to my despatch of the 14th instant, forwarding a note

from Keying in which I was informed that six of the vagabonds implicated

in the attempt to destroy the boatsheds had been seized , and most severely

punished as examples, I have the honour to report that Consul Macgregor has

announced to me that three of them have been condemned to eighty blows with

the greater bamboo, with the cangue in perpetuity, which is in fact a lingering

death, and the other three to one month of the cangue, and eighty blows on

being released.

The Consul was perplexed by the term “ impropriety,” the title of the

Chinese law under which these culprits were condemned ; but it is in fact a most

sweeping and summary law ,, intended to comprehend all possible cases where

any doubt may be entertained as to the existence of a particular law to meet a


particular case ; and I apprehend that, where foreigners are concerned, the

Chinese magistrates may suppose that such is frequently the fact.

At all events, we can have nothing to object on this occasion to the mildness of

the sentence, which is severe enough, and that is what chiefly concerns us. It

so happens that the very law in question against “ impropriety ” was the subject

of my own observations some years ago, and I have drawn the Consul's attention to

its real nature and tendencies in the inclosed letter and extract.

I have, & c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS ,

P.S. — Since the above was written, Consul Macgregor has reported] the

punishment by the Chinese authorities of an additional prisoner in a case of

assault , which occurred as long ago as the 17th of May. This voluntary act on

theirpart, on an occasion when other culprits had already been chastised, is a

proof that the Chinese Government is in earnest, and that we may expect less

trouble at Canton for the future . The present is another instance of the

(so -called) law of “ mpropriety,” and corroborative (as I have observed to the

Consul) of my conclusions respecting the law in question .

J. F. D.

Inclosure 1 in No. 34.

Sir J. Davis to Consul Macgregor.

Sir, Victoria , Hong Kong, June 18, 1847 .

I HAVE received your despatch regarding the punishment of the six

persons implicated in attempting to fire the boat-sheds by the water -side.

The point that principally concerns us is the amount of punishment inflicted,

which seems severe enough , as three of the culprits are in addition to the

infliction of the heavy bamboo) to be cangued in perpetuity, which is, in fact,

equivalent to death .

It is difficult for us to enter fully into the notions entertained by the Chinese

as to the moral relation between intention and effect. They may differ from us

as much on this point as on many others, and provided that the aggressors are

severely punished, I do not see that the question greatly concerns us, unless it

were made a plea for insufficient reparation . With regard to what you observe

concerning the Chinese law against “ impropriety," I feel convinced that the

sweeping statute under that name is adopted by the Chinese Government as the

most summary in cases where foreigners are concerned, when they consider that

no other existing law has made due provision for punishment.

The inclosed extract from my work on China remarks the very law in


I have, &c .

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 2 in No. 34.

Extract from Sir J. Davis' Work on China, relative to the Chinese Law against

“ Impropriety .”

A THIRD defect is the occasional manifestation of a jealous fear, on the

part of the Government, lest in the execution of its enactments the judge

should ever find himself hampered or impeded by too great clearness of definition ,

or the subject derive too much protection from the distinct statement of crime

and punishment. Hence those vague generalities by which the benefits of a

written code are in a great measure annulled. The following enactment is a

specimen : “ Whoever is guilty of improper conduct, and such as is contrary to

the spirit of the laws, though not a breach of any specific article, shallbe punished

at the least with forty blows, and when the impropriety is of a serious nature,

with eighty blows. "


Inclosure 3 in No. 34.

Sir J. Davis to Consul Macgregor.

Sir, Victoria, Hong Kong, June 21 , 1847.

I HAVE received your despatch , with its inclosure, relative to the

punishment of another of the aggressors on Messrs. Burbank and Edwards on

the 17th May. It plainly confirms the opinion I many years ago formed as to

the intention of the comprehensive and general law concerning “ Impropriety,"

namely, that it is intended to sweep within its range any offences that might be

too lightly punished under any particular law . The manner in which this case

has been followed up with thepunishment of an additional prisoner, augurs well

of the sincerity of the Local Government in its wish to do us right.

I have, & c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

No. 35.

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foreign Office, October 12, 1847.

I HAVE to acquaint you that Her Majesty's Government consider the

proclamation of the magistrates at Canton, inclosed in your despatch of

the 1st of July, to be very satisfactory, as proving not only that the magistrates

themselves are resolved to take effectual measures to enforce the proper treatment

of foreigners by the Canton populace, but also that they have reason to rely

upon the cooperation of the respectable portion of the community for that


I am , &c.

( Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 36 .

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis.

Sir , Foreign Office, October 12, 1847.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 19th of June, reporting that

six persons concerned in the attempt to burn the boat-sheds near the

factories in the month of May last, had been sentenced to be severely punished ;

and that another person engaged in an assault committed in the same month on

two British subjects , had also been punished.

I have to instruct you to state to the Chinese High Commissioner that Her

Majesty's Government are much gratificd by the spirit of justice on the part of

the Chinese Government , which has been proved by their proceedings in these

cases ; and Her Majesty's Government cannot doubt that the punishments

inflicted on these offenders will tend to deter others from similar crimes, and wil

thus prevent any interruption of the friendly relations which Her Majesty's

Government are so desirous of seeing maintained, and, if possible , even improved,

between Great Britain and China.

With regard, however, to the men who have been sentenced to the perpetual

cangue, however just and well-deserved by them that punishment must be

considered as being, yet Her Majesty's Government would be glad that in a case

where the outrage was committed on British property, the offenders might be

treated with some small degree of indulgence more than they deserve, in order

that the Chinese people may see that the British Government demands

punishment not so much from feelings of vengeance against the offenders, as

in order that the example may prevent similar acts by other persons, and that

thereby British subjects in China and their property may be safe from molestation

and violence. Therefore, as these men have been punished by the bamboo, and


will , when this despatch reaches China, have undergone several months of the

punishment of the cangue, Her Majesty's Government would consider it as a

favour to themselves if these men were then at once to be pardoned and


I am , &c.


No. 37.

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foreign Office, October 12 , 1847.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 14th of June, reporting that

two Chinese who had thrown stones at a party in an English boat on the

Canton river had been punished ; and I have to state to you, with reference to

this matter, that it will be desirable , in future, that the British Consul, or some

person authorised by him, should be present at any punishment inflicted on

Chinese for assaults or outrages on British subjects, because the mere assertion

of the Chinese officers that such persons have been punished cannot, of itself,

be considered as sufficient and satisfactory proof that any punishment has been

inflicted .

IΙ am,, &c.

( Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 38 .

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Foreign Office, October 12, 1847.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 31st of May, inclosing, among

other papers, copies of a note which you had addressed to Keying relative

to the inefficient measures adopted by the Chinese authorities for restraining the

Canton mob ; and of an instruction which you had given to Mr. Consul

Macgregor, prescribing the line of conduct to be observed by him if the mob

should resort to acts of violence against British subjects : and I have to acquaint

you that I approve of those papers..

I am, &c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 39.

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.-(Received October 21.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, August 20, 1847.

THE want of protection from the Government has led to the maintenance,

at a considerable expense, of what are called " village braves,” a species of

irregular militia, who (as might have been expected in China) have proved not

only expensive, but often troublesome to their employers. The people have

publicly expressed their desire and intention to pay this irregular militia out of

the taxes due from them to the Government, finding, as I expected they would,

that they a great burthen upon themselves.

Such is the present state of things in the Canton province.

Having noticed to Keying that the continuance of the irregularities of this

undisciplined militia must endanger the public peace, I received from him the

inclosed reply. He admits the fact, and explains it partly in the manner above

stated, adding, that they had “ carried things too far," and must be controlled,

which, I fear, is beyond his power .

On the 12th instant I received the despatch from Consul Macgregor which

is transmitted herewith .

Some Englishmen and other Europeans went, on the 8th , in two Chinese



boats, up the river, two or three miles above Canton. A party of the village

militia were exercising on shore with guns, &c . , and the Chinese boatmen soon

betrayed an anxiety to return, which was increased on three guns being fired,

though, as it appeared, with powder only. It was declared, however, that the

guns were, at least, pointed at them .

Mr. Elmslie, the Vice - Consul himself, having, soon after, passed in an

English boat without the least molestation, I am inclined to think the three

guns were a part of the exercise , and it happens, moreover, to be the invariable

number of every Chinese salute for mandarins, & c. As every meeting of the

kind, however, is a mere disorderly moh , it is just possible that the thing was

meant as an insult.

Immediately on the receipt of Mr. Macgregor's information, I addressed, on

the same day , the inclosed to Keying, desiring an explanation of the matter, or

the punishment of the parties.

As the Consul, to my surprise, did not state that he had taken up the

question on the first complaint to himself, I wrote him the inclosed despatch,

making the inquiry. According to his own representation of the case, it called

for his immediate exertions on the spot.

Mr. Macgregor excused his remissness by the inclosed reply, in which he

refers to a private note from myself some time before this occurrence, and bearing

no allusion to it. In applying to him by that note for information, I certainly

did not intend to furnish the Consul with an excuse for making no exertion

whatever on behalf of the complainants at the Consulate .

In my annexed reply, therefore, I pointed this out, and added that Keying

must naturally suppose that a matter on which neither himself nor the local

magistrate heard anything from the Consul, could not be very serious . The

Chinese Minister could receive nothing from me under a week , at the distance of

ninety miles, twice traversed. This at once loses valuable time, and weakens the

effect of my remonstrances.

I have received a short note from Keying, stating that he will certainly

inquire and punish the parties, if guilty, and inform me of the result ; but I do

not expect his report before the departure of the mail.

Inclosure 1 in No. 39 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.


KEYING , High Imperial Commissioner, &c., sends the following reply to a

communication of the Honourable Envoy, respecting the assemblage of an armed

crowd at Shih -wei-tang. (Here follows the substance of that letter.)

It appears that the territory of the provincial city swarms with robbers,

who often combine in great numbers to attack and plunder. The villagers have,

therefore, for their own protection assembled trained bands ; but their real object

is to defend themselves against robbers and vagabonds, without any reference to

the foreigners. They have not only done so at Shih -wei-tang, but at many other

places .

I have also heard that the villagers thereabout assembled in armed multi

tudes, and coming together hold debates. This is carrying things too far, and

those who see and hear it are frightened and terrified. I , the Great Minister, have

therefore ordered the local authorities to issue a proclamation, and prohibit it ;

as is on record .

Having stationed additional troops at the foreign factories, with their officers,

who incessantly patrol day and night, and are busy with keeping a careful guard,

the protective measures will prove effective, and the Honourable Envoy may rest

satisfied on this point, and harbour no anxiety.

Whilst forwarding this reply, I wish you every happiness , & c.

Taoukwang, 27th year, 6th month , 28th day. (August 8, 1847.)


9 Inclosure 2 in No. 39.

Consul Macgregor to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Canton , August 10, 1847.

I HAVE the honour of transmitting to your Excellency the inclosed copy

of a letter I received yesterday from several British subjects and others who ,

during an excursion on the river on Sunday morning, and having arrived

opposite a village the name of which is stated to be Wong -chuk -kay, situate in

a north -west direction from Canton on the river, and about two or three miles

from the factories, were received with shouts and yells and other tokens of

defiance by the natives who were tumultuously collected in great numbers on

shore. This was almost immediately succeeded by the discharge of three pieces

of ordnance, which were pointed directly at them , in consequence of which their

boatmen were intimidated to such a degree that they refused to go any further

in that direction.

find, on inquiry, that the guns fired were loaded with powder only, and

that they belong to the militia, which was established some time ago in the

rural districts at the expense of the landholders and gentry, under the appella

tion of the “ village braves,” now assembled in that quarter for the purpose of

being exercised in the use of firearms.

It appears, however, extremely improper that contrary to the stipulation of

the Agreement of the 6th April, “ that British subjects shall not be molested on

their excursions,” these villages braves by the display and discharge of artillery on

shore should attempt to intimidate and prevent foreigners from enjoying the only

recreation which is left them , namely, that of sailing on the river, and I therefore

humbly conceive that the facts submitted to your Excellency would form a

proper subject of remonstrance to the Governor -General in order that similar

demonstrations may in future be avoided .

I have, &c.


Inclosure 3 in No. 39 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, August 12, 1847.

I RECEIVED a note from your Excellency, dated the 8th instant, in which

you informed me that, as the territory of the provincial city “ swarmed with

robbers, the villagers had provided trained bands for their defence ; but , as they

assembled in armed multitudes, and came together to hold debates, this was

carrying things too far, and you had therefore ordered the local authorities to

prohibit it , ” &c.

On the very day your Excellency's note is dated , the Consul informs me

that some Englishmen and other Europeans in boats on the river, near a place

called Wong-chuk -kay, were wantonly assailed by one of these assemblages, and

that three guns were apparently discharged at them , though said to be with

powder only

Your Excellency is fully aware, that by the Treaty, as well as by the Special

Agreement of the 6th of April, “ British subjects shall be at liberty to go a day's

journey, as at Shanghae , without molestation, and that, if malicious Chinese

assail them , they shall be immediately punished .”

Now, as the persons who committed the outrage on this occasion were what

your Excellency calls trained bands, or village militia, and as they apparently

discharged three guns at the foreigners, there can be no difficulty in detecting

and punishing them , according to Treaty. I , therefore, immediately write to

demand their punishment, or an explanation of the facts.


M 2


My Government will expect their chastisement, in the same manner as in

the cases of October 17 and March 12 .

I have already, before, said so much concerning outrages of this kind , that

it is not necessary to repeat it here.

Accept, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 4 in No. 39.

Sir J. Davis to Consul Macgregor.

Sir, Victoria, Hong Kong, August 12, 1847.

I HAVE just received your despatch of the 10th instant, concerning the

outrage on some British subjects and others at a place called Wong -chuk -kay,

on the 8th instant, and I have lost no time in immediately addressing Keying on

the subject.

As Her Majesty's Government will of course expect that, on an occasion so

peculiarly calling for instant and energetic exertion at the Consulate, you applied

to the local Government for redress without delay , I have to request that you will

forward to me a copy of any document you sent in upon the occurrence being

reported to you . I should wish also to have the names of the persons in the two

Chinese boats.

I have, &c ,

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 5 in No. 39.

Consul Macgregor to Sir J. Davis .

Sir, Canton, August 14, 1847.

I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's despatch of the

12th instant , and in reply, II beg to refer you to your letter of the 5th instant, in

which you are pleased to direct,in consequence of having been informed of some

preparation to molest foreigners going up the river or landing at Fah-ti , that, not

being able to proceed without authentic information from myself of something like

an overt act, you would be glad to have it, in order that you might make the

necessary communication to Keying on the subject.

It was in conformity with those directions that I obtained the letter from

Mr, Balkwill and his friends, which I forwarded to your Excellency without

delay, and judging that you must have good reasons for wishing to make the

necessary remonstrance to the Imperial Commissioner yourself, I of course

refrained from addressing a complaint to his Excellency on the subject in this

particular instance, although I should not have failed to do so in the ordinary

course of things, in accordance with various of your Excellency's despatches.

I beg to inclose a list of the foreigners that were in the two boats in

question .

I have, &c.


List of Foreigners who were molested during an Excursion up the Canton River,

on the 8th August , 1847.

H. Balkwill.

James Whittall.

Sept. Maitland.

William Rutter.

R. McGregor.

S. K. Brabner.

Wm . K. Snodgrass .

Juls. Kreyenhagen .


Inclosure 6 in No. 39 .

Sir J. Bowring to Consul Macgregor .

Sir , Victoria, Hong Kong, August 17, 1847.

IN reply to your despatch of the 14th instant, stating why you had not

taken any measures at the Consulate, or made any application to the local

authorities on the appeal of the several persons on the 8th instant, I must

observe that my private note (to which you refer ) in applying to you for

information , did not absolve you from performing your own part on the spot,

nor do away with the injunctions I had several times repeated to you in official

despatches, to use every exertion when necessary. Keying must naturally

believe that a matter on which neither himself nor the local magistrates bear

anything from the Consul , and concerning which he can receive nothing from

me in much less than a week from its occurrence, is not considered as very

serious. This at once loses valuable time, and weakens the effect of my

remonstrance at the distance of ninety miles. My interposition, in general,

should only be on the failure of your own..

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

No. 40.

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.- ( Received November 22.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong, August 28, 1847.

WITH reference to my despatch of the 20th instant, I addressed

the inclosed note to Keying on the 21st, informing him that I awaited the

fulfilment of his engagement to make examples of those who wantonly fired

when some Englishmen and other foreigners were passing on the Canton river in

Chinese boats.

I took occasion to observe that it was generally rumoured that the Canton

Government was powerless in its attempts to control the village militia, which

had grown out of the disorganized state of the province, and that the people

added that,

moreover refused to pay their taxes to Government. I added that, of course, if

this should prove to be true ,he could not be surprised if the British Government

took the necessary measures to protect its own subjects.

I very soon received the annexed favourable reply, announcing the appre

hension and trial of the offending individuals , and engaging to forward an official

notice of their punishment.

Keying repeats his explanation of the origin of the village militia, which the

history of the past year or two, in fact, confirms, though such disorderly and ill

organized associations are dangerous to the weak Government of the province.

He repudiates, however, the idea of their being beyond his control, and adds that

the villages pay their taxes.

In my reply to this, as subjoined, I took occasion to observe, that if the

peoplewere under control, they ought not to be permitted to interfere with the

due fulfilment of Treaty engagements, some of which had been delayed under

various pretexts, and that British rights at Canton must and should be main

tained .

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 1 in No. 40.

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, August 21 , 1847.

I HAVE received a reply from your Excellency, in which you state that

you consider it a very detestable proceeding on the part of the Hwang-chuh-che

villagers who wantonly fired when some Englishmen and other foreigners were

passing: in Chinese boats, on the river.


I shall therefore look for an early communication, stating the names, trial,

and punishment, of the offenders, that I may report the same to my Govern

ment. It is stated that the Canton authorities are not able to control the

village militia, and that the people refuse to pay their taxes, &c. If this proves

to be true , your Excellency will not be surprised should the British Government

immediately take measures to protect its own subjects.

Accept, &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 2 in No. 40.

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, & c ., sends the following reply to

a despatch from the Honourable Envoy, respecting the firing of the Hwang

chuh - che villagers. (Here follows an extract of that letter.)

The Hwang-chuh -che villagers, by wantonly firing (on foreigners), committed

an act worthy of detestation . The Nan -hae magistrate has, therefore, in conse

quence of my orders, seized two of the aggressors , viz . , Lo - a -che and another.

They confessed that they were exercising small guns (ginjalls) at that place, and

were not aware that any foreigners were passing in a boat ; nor had they any

intention of firing at them .

Such being the evidence, I was afraid that not the whole truth had been

told, and apprehensive that there might have been others on the same spot who

assisted in the firing, I therefore again directed the magistrate to elicit, by torture,

the real facts , and seize the whole band, with all severity. As soon as the

criminals shall have been successively taken , true evidence obtained by judicial

inquiry, and they have suffered severe punishment, I shall again address an

official letter to you .

I , the Great Minister, act vigorously in punishing the natives when they

have injured the merchants and people of other countries. I have, for instance,

in the case of piracy committed in the neighbourhood of Amoy) on vessels of

your honourable nation, seized many of the guilty, who have all been severally

sentenced and executed. When the Swiss merchant, not long ago, was robbed

on the Canton river, I apprehended more than ten criminals, and recovered some

of the plunder. The district military is still engaged in making the strictest

search for the seizure, prosecution, and punishment of these native ruffians, in

order to protect effectually the merchants and people of every country. For

this reason I would not trouble the Honourable Envoy to adopt additional

protective measures .

The trained bands and village braves were raised with the view of protecting

their villages and farms against robbers and vagabonds, who have recently

become very numerous. Their assemblies for noisy debate have been prohibited ;

they now fulfil their duties, observe the laws , and likewise pay taxes . One

ought, on no account, to give easy credence to rumours in circulation.

Whilst sending this answer, I wish you every happiness.

Taoukwang, 27th year, 7th month , 14th day. (August 24, 1847.)

Inclosure 3 in No. 40 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying .

Victoria, Hong Kong, August 23, 1847 .

I HAVE received your Excellency's note, in which you inform me that

when the Hwang-chuh-che criminals have been severely punished , you will

acquaint me with the particulars. I await the receipt of this announcement, that

I may transmit the same to my Government, who, together with the whole

British public, are already justly indignant at the conduct of the Canton people .

Your Excellency observes that the “ trained bands and village braves were

raised with the view of protecting their villages and farms against robbers and

vagabonds, who have recently become very numerous. Their assemblies for


noisy debate have beenprohibited ; they now fulfil their duties, observe the laws,

and likewise pay taxes.”

It is, nevertheless, publicly notorious that they have combined for the

purpose of preventing the allotment of building ground and cemeteries, and even

now, a burial-ground cannot be procured at Whampoa. The two officers, Tung

and Ning, have so often deceived Consul Macgregor, that I have ordered the

Consul to communicate in writing only, that proofs may be on record . I have

ascertained that the Parsees do not wish to build a wall, and that they have

chosen a waste spot without any graves. Still they cannot succeed !

When I find that the Treaty is still evaded and set at nought, and that

moderation only produces bad faith, my Government will perfectly approve of

my doing everything that is necessary to maintain the Treaty and uphold the

rights and dignity of the great nation I serve. It will soon be necessary to fix

a date for the fulfilment ofthe Agreement of April 6ih. I previously make this

important communication .

Accept, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

No. 41 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received November 22.)

My Lord , Victoria, Hong Kong, September 10 , 1847.

WITH reference to my despatch of the 28th of August, I have the

honour to inclose copy of a very satisfactory note from Keying as to the

punishment of certain Chinese who insulted a party of Europeans on the


The penalty inflicted on this occasion is sufficiently severe , being not only

an allotment of thirty blows to each, but (what is still better calculated to

operate as a warning) the being paraded in the heavy wooden pillory for one

month about the foreign factories, with their names and offence inscribed . The

tendency of this mode of punishment is so obviously salutary, that I shall require

it on future occasions of importance.

The conduct of Keying on this occasion has been so praiseworthy, that I

deemed it only just to address him the annexed reply , declaring that we had no

other motive in insisting on such examples than the repression of disorder and

the maintenance of peace, and that the chastisement of Chinese aggressors came

much more fitly from their own authorities than from us .

I requested Consul Macgregor by the inclosed despatch to ascertain the

exhibition of the three culprits in the neighbourhood of the factories, and have

been glad to learn that the sentences were duly carried out.

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS .

Inclosure 1 in No. 41 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, &c . , sends the following commu

nication respectingthe case of the Hwang -chuh -che villagers wantonly firing on

Europeans, when in a boat upon the river.

In consequence of my previous orders, the Nan --hae magistrate seized

Lo -a -che and a second aggressor, and on reporting the circumstance to me, I,

the Great Minister, communicated it to the Honourable Envoy ; as is on


The Nan -hae magistrate now again informs me, that he subsequently

apprehended Fang-a-ching , another aggressor. Lo-a-che stated, that he was

43 years of age, and with Lo-a-nang, who is 32 years old, a native of Nan-hae

district, on the 26th day, 6th moon, of the present year ( 6th August) hey

tried some small guns ( ginjalls) which they had had in their possession for a


long while, by firing powder without shot, on the river's side , at Hwang-chuh

che. Fang -a - ching, an old acquaintance of theirs, came thither to look on and

assist in the firing. Just at that time a boat was passing with foreigners on

board of her. As they had only loaded with blank cartridge they did not turn

aside, but did not fire at them intentionally, nor wound anybody. There were

at that time many spectators, but none of them engaged in firing the guns.

The above confession is true.

Fang-a-ching said , that he was 34 years old, and belonged to the same

district. On the 26th day, 6th moon, of the present year (6th August), he

was passing the road at Hwang-chuh -che, when he perceived his old acquaint

ance Lo-a-che and the other, who were trying some small guns by firing blank

cartridges, without putting any balls into them . He went up to them and

assisted in discharging the pieces. This was true, and the remainder of the

evidence agreed with Lo -a-che's and the other's statement.

It appears, therefore, that Lo -a -che and the others were trying some small

guns, by firing powder without shot. They truly aver that they had no inten

tion of firing at the foreigners, but of their own accord were discharging the

pieces quite heedlessly, when the boat was passing. Though they did not

wound anybody, still theirs was a very wanton act. Lo-a-che , Lo-a-nang, and

Fang -a -ching, therefore, shall together, according to the rigorous tenour of the

law , in open Court receive, each , thirty strokes, and be paraded around the foreign

factories for one month, wearing the cangue, in order to deter others (from

similar acts ) .

On receiving the above details, I find that Lo - a -che and the others,

although discharging their pieces with blank cartridge and not loading them with

shot, still very improperly showed no caution when the Europeans were passing

in the boat. Their not having wounded any man gives rise to some indulgent

consideration. They ought, therefore, to receive the strokes, and be paraded

with the cangue about the factories, in order to strike terror and repress (such

aggressors ).

Whilst giving orders that it may be done accordingly, I address this letter

for the consideration of the Honourable Envoy , and wish you every happiness.

Taoukwang, 27th year, 7th month, 18th day. (August , 28, 1847.)

Inclosure 2 in No. 41 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

Victoria, Hong Kong, August 31 , 1847 . .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your Excellency's note just received

concerning the punishment of those who wantonly and mischievously discharged

ginjalls loaded with powder on the Canton river. I thereby learn that the three

criminals will receive thirty strokes, and be paraded about the foreign factories

in the cangue for one month.

This is an extremely just and wise proceeding on the part of your Excel

lency, and proves that you have the power of controlling the populace.

The only object of my nation in wishing for their punishment is to deter

others from committing the like offence, and therebyensure perpetual peace.

It is also more fit that the people should be punished by the Chinese Govern

ment than by foreign force.

I will immediately inform Consul Macgregor of the purport of your note,

and desire him to ascertain that the District Magistrate parades the men

according to your Excellency's order.

Accept, &c.

( Signed) J. F. DAVIS .


Inclosure 3 in No. 41 .

Sir J. Davis to Consul Macgregor.

Sir, Victoria , Hong Kong, August 31 , 1847 .

I HAVE to inform you that I have just received a note from the Chinese

Minister, acquainting me ihat three criminals, Lo -a- che, Lo -a-nang, and Fang

a-ching (convicted of pointing ginjalls loaded with powder at two Chinese boats

having Europeans on board ), have been sentenced each to receive thirty blows


with the bamboo, and to be paraded in the cangue about the factories for one


The names of the criminals are added in the margin in Chinese, and you

will have no difficulty in ascertaining that they are really so paraded by the

Nan -hae Magistrate.

A copy of Keying's original note is annexed to this.

I have, &c .

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

No. 42 .

Viscount Palmerston to Sir J. Davis.

Sir , Foreign Office, November 23, 1847.

WITH reference to your despatches of the 28th August and 10th September,

inclosing your correspondence with Keying, respecting the punishment of some

Chinese who had insulted a party of Europeans on the river above Canton, I have

to state to you that I approve of the note which you addressed to Keying on

the 31st August, in acknowledging the receipt of his notification of the punish

ment to be inflicted on the guilty parties .

I am , &c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 43.

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

( Extract.) Foreign Office, January 3, 1818.

YOU will state to Keying that Her Majesty's Government entertain the

highest respect for him personally, and that they sincerely trust that he will continue

to show the same friendly disposition in treating with you , which he has evinced

in his intercourse with your predecessors ; that Her Majesty's Government are

sensible that he may sometimes have difficulties to contend with in controlling

the unruly populace of Canton, but that it will be your duty to lighten those

difficulties as much as possible, by preventing British subjects from provoking

collision with the Chinese, and by bringing a Britisli force to Canton whenever

necessary to assist him in keeping the populace in order. But you will say that

Her Majesty's Government cannot comprehend why the authorities at Canton

should not be able to exercise over the people of that city, the same degree of

control which is exerted by the authorities at the other four ports, over the

people in those cities ; neither does there appear to be any sufficient reason why

the people at Canton should be more hostile to foreignersthan the people at the

other ports are . But you will say that, at all events, Her Majesty's Government

cannot allow their Treaty rights to be defeated, and that although nothing

would be more painful to them than to be again involved in angry discussion

with China, they are fully resolved to maintain in every respect , and at all

times, every privilege which has been conceded to them by Treaty , and will

shrink from no measures, however painful, which may be necessary for the

maintenance and enforcement of British rights,

I must not conceal from you , however, that Her Majesty's Government are



not without apprehension as regards the conduct of British subjects in China.

Peace between the two countries has more than once been put in jeopardy by the

reckless conduct of individuals , members of the British community . I trust

that the warning which Sir John Davis, by my direction , addressed to the British

community in China after the riots in Canton in July 1846, may have made a

due impression ; but, at all events, it will be your duty to exert, when necessary ,

the powers entrusted to you for maintaining order among Her Majesty's subjects

in China.

No. 44 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.- (Received April 22.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, February 5, 1848.

THE inclosed despatch from Consul Alcock, at Shanghae, reports the

murder of aa Chinese by a Manilla man in British employ. It appears that the

offender has escaped, and the Chinese authorities display their usual apathy as

to his apprehension .

Inclosure in No. 44 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis .

Sir , Shanghae, January 22 , 1848.

I HAVE the honour to inclose a communication I recently addressed to his

Excellency the Intendant, on a report reaching me that a Chinese had been

mortally wounded at Woo -sung by a Manilla man, who was believed to belong to

one of the ships lying at that anchorage. i also transmit for your Excellency's

information the report I received from the Vice-Consul, whom I immediately

dispatched with the Interpreter to investigate the circumstances, and if possible

secure the apprehension of the offender.

It appears the Manilla man in question is clearly identified as a late servant

of a Dr. Murray, who attends the shipping at Woo -sung. The man had lately

been discharged his master's service , and was placed on board the “ Snipe,” to

prevent his getting into mischief on shore, until a passage down to Hong Kong

could be procured for him , and since the unfortunate affray he has not been

seen .

The responsibility of finding and arresting him , since it has been ascertained

that he is not on board a British vessel, rests with the Chinese authorities, who

do not seem disposed to give themselves much trouble. I thought it right,

however, to take the initiative, and show both the inhabitants at Woo -sung and

the Chinese authorities , that so far from seeking to screen any person connected

with or guilty of such an act, it was my anxious desire to prevent his escape,

and bring him to justice.

For this and all other outrages of a mischievous character, which from time

to time occur at Woo - sung, I hold the local authorities especially responsible ;

they have been repeatedly urged by me to take energetic measures to disperse

the Canton men and others of lawless character, who have gathered round the

opium ships, and to prevent the location of such persons at Woosung. They

not only entice and harbour men from our ships, but afford a place of conceal

ment and refuge for the Canton men generally, who commit any crime in

Shanghae, and are in danger of being apprehended, and from thence at this time

the British community is threatened with a night attack, for the purpose of

firing and plundering their premises.

I have, &c.



No. 45.

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .— (Received May 24.)

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, February 29, 1848 .

IN my despatch of February 5, I mentioned the circumstance of aa Chinese

native having been murdered by a Manilla man at Woo -sung, the anchoring

place of the smuggling ships, about twelve miles below Shanghae.

I have since received the annexed despatch from Consul Alcock . It

appears that the Chinese authorities , after neglecting to apprehend the man,

who had escaped ashore from the ships, have since applied to the Consul for his

punishment, and expressed their apprehension that, if he escapes altogether, the

people of the neighbourhood will have the same feeling against foreigners that has

actuated those of Canton .

Inclosure in No. 45.

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Shanghae, February 19, 1848.

REFERIN to my despatch of the 22nd January, I have the honour to


inclose, in translation , a communication recently received from the Taoutae,

conveying the purport of a letter addressed to that officer by the Governor

General, and my reply thereto .

The attempt to fasten upon British authorities and subjects the responsibility

of an offence committed by aa native of Manilla (not serving under the British

flag ), and of the apprehension of the offender, is too clearly untenable in justice

or reason to require comment. The motive for making this occurrence a pretext

of complaint for unredressed violence and loss of life in the present instance is

very obvious, by the reference made to the murders at Canton and the danger of

popular tumult. I believe the Manilla man in question was on shore after the

homicide, when the authorities took no pains to find him, and the report of a

black man having been found dead, apparently from cold and starvation , some

distance from Woo-sung, tends to confirm the suspicion.

I did not, however, deem it expedient to allude to this report, lest it should

seem that I was offering a defence somewhat too analagous to their own

subterfuges in similar cases. I may mention to your Excellency, however, that

the spontaneous offer of a reward of 100 dollars, for the apprehension of the

offender, by the masters of all the vessels at Woo-sung, and themutual agreement

entered into among them, that if he were found in any ship the master of that

vessel should pay the whole amount, would seem to render it highly improbable

that he either found shelter or place of concealment on board any British vessel

at that anchorage.

The tone which the Governor-General adopted, especially in reference to

Her Majesty's Vice- Consul and Interpreter, of whom he speaks as persons, and

alludingto their report as of doubtful veracity, and the intimationthat similar

events to those at Canton were to be contemplated if the criminal were not

apprehended, appeared to me to require a prompt and uncompromising answer.

I have,& c.


N 2


No. 46 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .— ( Received May 24.)

(Extract.) Victoria , Hong Kong, March 4, 1818.

MY despatches of the 5th and 29th of February reported the circumstances

attending the murder of a Chinese by a Manilla man , at the smuggling station

at Woo -sung

I have since received the inclosed from Keying, applying for the punish

ment of the alleged murderer as a British subject, under the Treaty. In my

annexed reply I have informed the Chinese Minister that the man in question

was a Manilla man , and that the place where the homicide occurred is a

professed opium station, like so many others on the coast, which exist with the

perfect connivance of the Chinese Government.

Inclosure 1 in No. 46 .

Commissioner Keying to Sir J. Davis.

( Translation .)

KEYING, High Imperial Commissioner, & c . , sends the following com

munication .

I received an official note from Le , the Governor -General of Keang -nan and

Keang-se, to the following effect.

The Intendant of Soo-choo, Taet- seang, and Sung -keang, reported that the

magistrate of Paou -shan had written to him saying , that on the 11th instant

(January 16) towards evening, Seu -chang -paou, a villager, carried some fish along

the street, when a drunken black foreigner gave Seu -chang -paou a mortal blow

with a sword , on the left side of his body. That black man went then instantly

on board his vessel , in a boat. The brothers of the deceased immediately

reported the circumstance to the magistrate, who went, in conjunction with the

Vice-Consul Robertson , on board the ship , but could not discover the black man

who was the murderer . There are , however, many merchant vessels in the

harbour. And the Vice -Consul having made search only in a single one,

instantly said, that there was no murderer. I therefore request you to manage

this matter.

On the receipt of the above, it appeared to me, the Great Minister, that a

murderer has forfeited his life , according to the foreign as well as Chinese laws.

The black man in question inflicted aa mortal wound on the villager Seu -chang

paou, and must, in conformity with the existing Treaty, be found out and suffer

death .

When this letter reached me, I thought it therefore my duty to address the

Honourable Envoy on this subject, with the request to examine into the matter,

and order the Shanghae Consul, Alcock , to find out the black man who is the

murderer, and punish him according to the Treaty. This is of great importance.

Whilst sending this communication, I wish you much happiness.

Taoukwang, 28th year, 1st month , 25th day. (February 29, 1848.)

Inclosure 2 in No. 46 .

Sir J. Davis to Commissioner Keying.

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, March 3 , 1848 .

I HAVE received your Excellency's note concerning the death of a

Chinese named Seu-chang -paou at the hands of a black man in Paou -shan



It has been ascertained that this black man was a Manilla man Lin

sung.jin ), and that Woo-sung, where the event occurred, is an anchorage for

smuggling opium , like Kumsingmoon and Namoa, in Canton , Chimmo Bay, in

Fokien, and Kintang near Ningpo.

No. 47.

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received May 24.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong, March 13, 1848 .

I HAVE received from Mr. Consul Macgregor, at Canton, the inclosed

report from Mr. Bird , ConsularAgent at Whampoa, of an affray at that place

between some Americans and Chinese, in which two of the latter were wounded

with firearms.

I have directed the Consul to inform Mr. Bird that I entirely approve of

his referring the parties concerned in this affair to the American Consul .

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure in No. 47.

Mr. Bird to Consul Macgregor.

Sir, Whampoa , March 9, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to report , for your information, the following circum

stances, and have to state that in future I shall be more punctual in bringing any

unusual occurrence under your notice .

About half-past 5 o'clock on the evening of the 6th instant, the master of

the “ Menzies " called upon me with his upper lip cut, saying there was a very

serious affray in the neighbourhood of the billiard -room , in which Mr. Hunt

had shot two Chinese . I immediately went towards the spot, and on the way

was informed Mr. Hunt wished to see me at his aesidence. I called upon him ,

when I learned the affray was terminated , and that the following were the

particulars of it.

During the night of the 5th instant, some gunpowder was stolen from a

magazine belonging to Messrs . Hunt and Tobey ; the Chinese in charge of it

in endeavouring to trace out the robbers on the following day was attacked by

Mr. Ross' carpenters, and had his head severely cut. Mr. Hunt on learning

this , with several Americans and one Englishman (the master of the “ Menzies” ),

who were dining with him , went on shore, and having seized one individual who

they supposed had perpetrated the outrage, were stoned by about thirty Chinese

and obliged to swim to their boats, which were put off from the shore. Mr. Hunt

reached a boat in which he found a gun and fired it over the heads of the

Chinese, now increased to about sixty, but this producing no change fired a

second time amongst them . The foreigners having escaped, in a short time

returned with firearms, and found only two or three Chinese remaining on the

ground, and showing a disposition of revenge, at whom they fired .

It was supposed three Chinese had been killed ; but it was subsequently

ascertained only one was wounded in the mouth , and another in the left

thigh .

I declined interfering in the matter, and recommended Mr. Hunt to make

a report to the American Consul .

Trusting I have taken a proper view, I have, &c.

(Signed) ALEXR . BIRD .


No. 48 .

Sir J. Davis to Viscount Palmerston.- (Received May 24.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, March 18, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith copy of a despatch from Mr.

Consul Alcock at Shanghae, detailing certain consequences resulting from some

thousands of junk men , hitherto employed in transporting grain on the canal,

being thrown out of employ.

Mr. Gutzlaff had drawn my attention to the fact of the increasing shallow

ness of the canal having obliged the Government, against its will, to transmit

grain to Peking by sea and the route of the Peiho. It now appears that the

great numbers of men long employed in the inland navigation, and, from their

serving in Government vessels , accustomed to domineer over the ordinary

people, are now loose in large numbers about the neighbourhood of Soo -chow

and Tsing-poo, not far distant from Shanghae. “ I understand,” says the

Consul , some 13,000 men , at least, of turbulent character and with just cause

of discontent, are left to create disorder and commit every species of depredation

upon the peaceable inhabitants ; ” while the Government authorities are discus

sing the amount of bounty to enable them to follow some lawful occupation,

when they are driven from their homes, the grain junks.

The Consul goes on to state that on the 8th instant, a party of three

missionaries went on a journey to Tsing -poo, about thirty miles from Shanghae,

for the purpose of distributing tracts. It would seem that, without any provo

cation on their part, they were involved in a disturbance with a party of these

junk men , which terminated in the violent maltreatment of the missionaries,

who were ultimately rescued by some Chinese police, and escorted back to


The Consul has in consequence issued the annexed notice to British

subjects, calling their attention to the temporary disorder occasioned by these

disbanded junk men, and very properly recommending that, while the evil

continues, they should abstain from distant journeys into the interior. He

concludes his despatch by stating that he has demanded the apprehension and

punishment of the ringleaders, and insisted upon their being brought to Shang

hae for identification .

I have , &c.

(Signed ) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure 1 in No. 48 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Shanghae, March 10, 1848.

I HAVE the honour to inclose a notification I have thought it prudent to

issue for the guidance of British subjects, enjoining them for the present to

refrain from any extended excursions into the country, more especially in the

neighbourhood of Tsing-poo -heen and Sung-keang -foo, where the large granaries

are situated, and near which are collected in large numbers the men hitherto

employed in the grain junks, with whose services the Chinese authorities have

endeavoured to dispense, omitting the necessary precaution of first satisfying the

men's claims, and providing for their location in a manner calculated to prevent

their becoming a source of danger and difficulty .

Throughout the circuit of the three departments of Soo -chow -foo, Sung

keang -foo, and Taet -sang - chow , I understand some 13,000 men at least, of

turbulent character, and with just cause of discontent, are left to create disorder


and commit every species of depredation upon the peaceable inhabitants, while

the Government authorities are discussing ways and means, and haggling about

the amount of bounty to be given on their dismissal, to enable them to settle

with their families, and follow some lawful occupation when they are driven from

their homes, the grain junks.

This state ofthings has now existed for some months, with a continually

increasing sense of insecurity, extending from Soo-chow to Woo-sung, wherever

these grain -junk men make their appearance .

The course adopted by the Chinese Government to get rid of the expense

entailed by the services of so large a body of able-bodied men, employed for

generations in conveying the grain collected from these maritime departments, by

inland navigation, to Peking, without any well-concerted measures for equitably

settling their claims upon the Government, in whose employment they have

been broughtup, or means at hand for repressing the disorders consequent upon

such acts, unfortunately only too aptly illustrates the mixture of imbecility and

arrogance which so frequently characterize the acts of Chinese officials.

Nevertheless, unless some remedy is applied, and that promptly, not only

greatmischief must ensue to their own people, but our security is endangered.

This has been brought home to the authorities by the narrow escape of

their lives which three of our missionaries have had in one of their excursions.

On Wednesday the 8th March, a party, consisting of Messrs. Medhurst, Lock

hart, and Muirhead, went on a journey to Tsing-poo, about ninety-six le from

Shanghae, for the purpose of distributing tracts. I'wo of them had visited that

city several times previously , and it being within the distance that could be

reached, and the return to Shanghae effected in the prescribed time, it was

considered, and justly so, within the limits assigned by the port regulations.

While engaged in distributing tracts and conversing with the shopkeepers,

it appears a number of Shan-tung men , who navigate the grain junks, then

lying off Tsing -poo, came behind, pushing, and striving to get a larger number

of the books than would come to their share, and also throwing stones. In

order to prevent any disturbance, the party very properly determined on leaving

the city, and returning to their boats ; but one of the grain -junk men , in pushing

past Mr. Lockhart, who, with his back to the crowd, was endeavouring to keep

his companions from being pressed on, accidentally scratched the face of one of

the most forward, with the end of his stick-a trivial circumstance, of no other

importance than that it seems, in the sequel, to have been made the pretext,

founded possibly upon exaggerated reports, for a murderous attack by another

party of junkmen .

They had not got above half-a-mile from the city when they heard a

number of people hooting after them , and threatening to beat them ; the party

consisting of a fresh set of men from the grain junks.

Armed with poles , iron bars, swords, and one among the rest with a heavy

iron chain, apparently the ringleader, stripped of his upper garments, began to

attack and beat the objects of their anger and cupidity, for plunder and murder

seemed equally in their contemplation.

After being struck down, their heads laid open with blows from clubs and

hoes, and otherwise cruelly maltreated and plundered of watches, & c ., the

ruffians determined on taking them to the grain junks , and there either holding

them to ransom , or taking their lives, as they repeatedly vociferated . When


approaching the city, it appears a number of police runners, and others, mingled

with the party, and at the city gates finally succeeded in separating the mission

aries from the grain-junk men, and conducted them to the Che-heen ,who received

them with courtesy , and provided them with chairs, and an escort to their boat,

some five miles distant, and thence to Shanghae, where they arrived in safety,

at 6 o'clock the following morning, but covered with bruises .

It is quite clear that the same lamentable loss of life as recently occurred

at Canton , and under circumstances of equal atrocity , but for providential causes

must have taken place at Tsing-poo.

- I attribute much to the rare example of

Christian forbearance and temper which seems to have marked the conduct of

these missionaries from first tolast. This, added to the power they fortunately

possessed, from fluency in the language, of remonstrating and parleying with

their assailants, seems to have been the means of their preservation. There can

be no doubt that had they attempted resistance, or had any act of theirs caused

blood to flow , they would have been beaten to death on the spot.


I have demanded the apprehension and punishment of the ringleaders, and

insisted upon their being brought to Shanghae for identification . I will, by the

first opportunity, communicate further with your Excellency on this subject, and

report the steps taken to obtain redress, and prevent a recurrence of scenes as

disgraceful to the Chinese as they are dangerous to us.

I have, & c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 48 .


Shanghae, March 10, 1848.

HER Majesty's Consul has to regret the occurrence of a most unprovoked

outrage on the part of some junkmen, placing the lives of a party of mission

aries visiting Tsing-poo in the greatest jeopardy. While engaged in earnest

efforts to secure the apprehension of the ringleaders and provide for adequate

measures being taken by the Chinese authorities to prevent the recurrence of

acts alike dangerous to life and injurious to our interests in China, Her

Majesty's Consul deems it necessary to urge in the strongest manner upon

all British subjects the prudence of abstaining for the present from any

lengthened excursions into the country.

Some 13,000 grain -junk men are scattered between Soo -chow and Paou-shan,

hitherto in the employment of the Chinese Government, but about to be

dismissed without satisfactory or final arrangements having yet been made to

provide them with means of finding other homes, and in the meantime they

remain at Tsing -poo and other places, a terror to the peaceable inhabitants,

whom they plunder and maltreat with impunity.

The danger of such a state of things to British subjects has been so fully

shown by the recent attack upon three inoffensive missionaries, who seem

greatly to have owed their lives to the praiseworthy forbearance they exhibited,

that it must be obvious no one, with common prudence, can at present visit the

neighbourhood of these grain -junk men .

( Signed ) RUTHERFORD ALCOCK, Consul.

No. 49.

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received May 24. )

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, March 25, 1848 .

IN continuation of my predecessor's despatch of the 18th instant,

I have now the honour to submit to your Lordship’s information copies of two

despatches from Mr. Consul Alcock, detailing further proceedings that he had

adopted, in order to compel the Chinese authorities at Shanghae to bring to

trial and punishment such of the persons implicated in the assault on the

missionary gentlemen as could be identified. The despatches and disclosures

are so extremely voluminous, that I have been unable to forward copies of

the latter, which perhaps, indeed, the comprehensive nature of the former

renders unnecessary .

Having been only one day in office when these despatches reached me, I

thought it my duty to show them to my able and experienced predecessor, and

to explain to him my own views on the subject; and Sir John Davis, after fully

considering the matter, entirely concurred with me in the necessity of preventing,

if possible, any rupture with the Chinese Government ; and as it appeared to me

the Consul's proceedings and demands were calculated to disturb the friendly

relations heretofore existing with the Chinese authorities at Shanghae, I wrote

to that gentleman my sentiments on the subject.

The substance of that communication will inform your Lordship that I


conceived Mr. Alcock had exceeded the just limits of his authority, while at the

same time I fully admit that every allowance should be made for the trying and

embarrassing position in which he has found himself placed.

It is satisfactory to observe that this outrage on British subjects was not

committed by the ordinary inhabitants of Shanghae, or of its vicinity, but by

certain mariners belonging to some grain junks at a distance of thirty miles

from the Consulate. Indeed, it would appear that the injured gentlemen met

with the sympathy of the inhabitants, and also received, perhaps, as much

protection fromthe officers of police as it was in their power to afford.

The Consul on the spot has, doubtless, much better means of judging of

the temper and intentions of the Taoutae at Shanghae than I can possibly

possess with my very limited experience, and at this distance from the scene of

action, but I confess I am disposed to think it may be more difficult than he

supposes for the authorities to apprehend ten of the principal culprits, who are

alleged to form a part of a body of some 13,000 men at least, described to be of

a turbulent character, at all times reckless, without any fixed abode, and at

present in a state of desperation, arising from causes already reported in

Sir John Davis's despatch of the 18th instant.

Under these circumstances, should this matter not have been brought to a

conclusion before my letter reaches Shanghae, I am in hopes that Mr. Alcock

will, on its receipt, take steps for its peaceable adjustment, until I can receive

your Lordship’s instructions in reply to my predecessor's letters on the subject

of the Hwang-chu-ke affair, from the tenor of which I may probably be able

to form some idea of what your Lordship's views are likely to be relative to the

occurrences and proceedings now reported.

Your Lordship will be aware, from Sir John Davis's despatch of

January 28,* that had I the disposition, I am peremptorily forbidden from

taking any measures of an offensive nature against the Chinese, without the

previous sanction of Her Majesty's Government.

I have, &c .

( Signed) S. G. BONHAM .

P.S. - Since writing this despatch, I find I have time to have copied the

two inclosures of Mr. Consul Alcock's latest despatch, dated the 18th instant ,

and therefore forward them for your Lordship’s information . S. G. B.

* Sir John Davis to Viscount Palmerston.— ( Received March 25.)

( Extract.) Victoria , Hong Kong, January 28, 1848.

On the receipt by the mail just arrived of the inclosed despatch from Earl Grey, it was a great

satisfaction to me to reflect that the anxiety and readiness which Keying hari evinced to do what was

right, would not render necessary any measure of coercion. In this despatch I am told that Her

Majesty's Government peremptorily forbid any further offensive operations to be undertaken without

their previous sanction .I have accordingly recalled the application before made by me to Lord

Hardinge at Major -General d'Aquilar's suggestion, for an Europeau regiment.

Inclosure .

Earl Grey to Sir John Davis.

Sir, Dorning - street, Norember 24, 1847.

I HAVE received from the Governor of Ceylon, a despatch dated the 22nd of September last,

communicating to me an application which had been made to the Major-General Commanding Her

Majesty's Forces in that island, by Major-General D'Aquilar, for a reinforcement of half a company

of Artillery, with two guns, and a proportionate supply of ammunition, to be held in readiness to

be forwarded to Hong Kong, should circumstances render it necessary to undertake any further

military operations at Canton.

I have desired the Governor of Ceylon not to send to Hong Kong the detachment for which

application has been made by Major-General D'Aquilar, and I have now to signify to you that Her

Majesty's Government peremptorily forbid any further offensive operations to be undertaken against

the Chinese, without their previous sanction. Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that, although

the late operations in the Canton River were attended with immediate success, the risk of a second

attempt of the same kind would far overbalance any advantage to be derived from such a step. If

the conduct of the Chinese authorities should , unfortunately, render another appeal to arms inevitable,

it will be necessary that it should be made after due preparation, and with the employment of such

an amount of force as may afford just grounds for expecting that the objects which may be proposed

by such a measure will be effectually accomplished without unnecessary loss.

I have, &c.

( Signed ) GREY .



Inclosure 1 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir , Shanghae, March 17 , 1848.

REFERRING to my despatch of the 10th instant, I have the honour

to inclose a mass of documents, which have rapidly accumulated in the pro

secution of negotiations for prompt and full redress.

The inclosure marked No. 2 gives the evidence of the three Missionaries

who were attacked, and in danger of being murdered , in the immediate neigh

bourhood of Tsing - poo. These depositions clearly establish the fact, that from

the first arrival of these British subjects in the city, a band of turbulent and

dissatisfied grain junk men sought to create a disturbance, that they might

have a pretext for setting upon, and afterwards robbing, if not killing, the

foreigners, more or less obnoxious as such to all Chinese .

The evidence further abundantly confirms my first report, that the outrage

was wanton and wholly unprovoked, and the attack which finally took place

some time after they left the city, was characterized by all the features of

savage atrocity which seem to have marked the fatal catastrophe at Canton,

when six British subjects actually lost their lives ;* and that in this instance their

escape is to be attributed to no absence of murderous or evil intention on the

part of the assailants, but to various incidental and unforeseen circumstances of

a seemingly providential nature.

I have already reported how they finally escaped such imminent danger,

and the part played in the rescue by police runners and the Che-heen.

While the officers were yet in Shanghae who had accompanied them, I saw

the Taoutae, forcibly represented to him the dangerous character of the outrage,

and urged him by every consideration of interest and obligation to take the

most prompt and energetic measures to guarantee British subjects from a

recurrence of such lamentable scenes, by the apprehension of the chief

criminals. This he promised to do ; but I have strong grounds for believing

that he took no effective steps whatever for many days.

The attack took place on the 8th instant. On the 9th, early in the

morning, he was fully cognizant of all the details. On the 10th, to my

surprise, Mr. Medhurst handed me the letter marked No. 3, received the

previous evening from the Taoutae . His Excellency writes, that although very

sorry for what has happened, he was of opinion that the party in going to

Tsing -poo had infringed the regulations, and congratulating him on his

fortunate escape ; he then explains the dangerous nature of a visitation from

these junk men to all the inhabitants, and assures Mr. Medhurst that he had

directed the district Magistrate, in communication with the officers of the

fleet, “ to apprehend and severely punish the murderous sailors.”

The motive of thus endeavouring to open a communication with the

injured parties direct, and without the intervention of the Consul, could not be

doubtful. To affix blame on the injured parties, and cajole them into acqui

escence in the policy of letting the affray pass over, he evidently conceived

possible, if the Consul could be put aside, and the affair be treated as a private

or personal matter of interesi between the Taoutae and Mr. Medhurst.

In my communication addressed to the Taoutae the same day, I returned

the letter, as one which he was not authorized to send and Mr. Medhurst was

equally precluded from receiving, and rebutied the charge conveyed in it, of the

party injured having infringed the regulations. I also insisted upon the right

by Treaty, of all British subjects within similar limits, to full and entire protec

tion . Prompt redress was again demanded , and I remonstrated against the

danger entailed upon British subjects by the ill -advised measures of the

Chinese Government, in letting loose a body of 13,000 disbanded malcontents

on the surrounding country; and urged the necessity for some efficient means

being adopted, to remedy the evil .

The Taoutae, in his answer marked No. 5, made a lame apology for his

deviation from the regular course in addressing Mr. Medhurst, and in a con

cluding paragraph stated he had again written to the grain intendant “ to

institute strict inquiries after the grain junk sailors and give them up."

* See “ Papers relative to Murder of Six Englishmen in the neighbourhood of Canton, in the

month of December 1847," presented 1848.


The following day, 12th instant, I deemed it necessary again to address the

Taoutae, inclosure No. 6, and inquire if the offenders had been seized, pointing

out thatseveral days had elapsed, and considering that the parties implicated

were numerous and must be personally known to the policemen who assisted

in the rescue, that they were all men in the employment of the Government,

the appearance of hesitation and delay in their apprehension was a subject of

deep regret and anxiety, lest a further denial of prompt justice and full redress,

should compromise our friendly relations ; delay in such a case being tanta

mount to a denial of justice.

It had now become quite evident that there was no disposition to take any

effective or energetic steps to meet these demands, and that the outrage was

treated as an affair which would eventually be got over, without the disagree

able necessity of putting forth all their powers to seize from the midst of these

turbulent sailors the guilty parties ; or if at the worst, the British Consul was

not to be pacified by promises, that a declaration of inability to afford redress,

would only lead to his referring the matter to your Excellency, whence it must

go to Keying, who having taken a similar line of argument, and having on his

hands a worse case , so far as the catastrophe was concerned, might not be

disposed very severely to blame other authorities in similar circumstances. At

all events time would be gained ; the grain junk men might be dispersed in a

few weeks, the offenders be out of reach irretrievably, and effective redress be

thus rendered palpably impracticable and impossible.

I had already felt it imperative to issue a notification, inclosed in my

former despatch , warning British subjects of the danger of any lengthened

excursions, the first consequence having been thus virtually to narrow the

limits to the immediate vicinity of Shanghae — a result too consonant with the

wishes of the authorities to be regarded otherwise than with satisfaction, and as

an advantage cheaply gained by a little embarrassment and trouble, from the

unavailing remonstrances of the British Consul.

It became, therefore, at once a serious question what further steps could be

taken to enforce attention to my just demands for redress, and thus avoid the

pernicious limitation, the sense ofinsecurity rendered compulsory. Beyond this,

lay another, and still more important question, of vital moment to our interests,

and deeply affecting our local and political position at this port. A plea of

inability on the part of the Chinese authorities to redress our injuries, is in

other words a plea of irresponsibility for any outrage to British subjects within

the Chinese dominions, and forms too facile an answer to every complaint of

violated Treaty Rights, ever to be laid aside, if once admitted as a valid argu

ment. Without protection, in the midst of a population which regards us

generally with more or less of dislike, and often with aa feeling of active hostility,

there can be no security for life or property, and without prompt and full redress

for injury, insult, or violence is to be obtained, there is no protection. If the

obligation to afford this can be evaded on any frivolous plea or pretext, more

especially on the large and ever ready ground, of inability to control or seize

their own people, the Treaty is valueless as waste paper, for its most important

provisions are virtually null and void. Accordingly our resistance to this plea,

and the difficulty of enforcing responsibility for the protection of life and

property, form the chief features of our intercourse since the peace, and the

efforts of the Chinese on the one hand, to establish the nullifying clause of

inability, and our determination to enforce the opposite principle of responsi

bility, as the essential condition of the Treaty, and of all Treaties, is the whole

question at issue with the Imperial Commissioner Keying, and one which seems

at the present moment to threaten the necessity for recourse to active

hostilities .

I trust I shall be excused if I dwell upon conclusions so obvious ; but they

are all -important, and require, especially at this distance from superior autho

rities, to be ever kept in view, and acted upon unhesitatingly and firmly by the

officer charged with the responsible duties of Consul. For theft and loss of

property the plea of inability is generally so plausible from the nature of the

circumstances , as to be in almost every instance effective. Rarely, indeed, are

any efforts on the part of the Consul to recover stolen goods, or to procure the

discovery and seizure of the offenders,followed by success, when either the one

or the other depends upon Chinese authorities and their underlings. This is an

evil of some magnitude; vigilance and care, however, on the part of the British



may keep it within some moderate limits ; but let the same rule be applicable to

acts of violence, or outrage to British subjects, in open day and frequented

places, and a residence in China must be limited to the range of our own guns,

and prove fatal to all hopes of improved commercial intercourse and prosperity

in this country .

These considerations were all forcibly impressed on my mind by the tone

of the Taoutae, and the character of supineness and indifference which marked

his proceedings. An outrage of the most aggravated , and, indeed , murderous

character, had been offered in broad day to three perfectly inoffensive British

subjects (one an aged man , whose hair is grey ), in the vicinity of a large city.

The deplorable state to which they had been reduced by the brutality of their

assailants, was seen by many thousands. They had been led through the

crowded streets covered withi blood, after they had been trampled in the mud,

and their clothes torn off. This outrage, in all its revolting details, had become

known to the whole country round, between Tsing -poo and Shanghae.

My urgent and reiterated efforts to obtain justice were equally known , and

their inutility canvassed by the population which immediately surrounds us.

What would be the probable effect of the ultimate escape of these criminals, and the

refusal of all redress at the hands of the local authorities ? I do not think there can

be a doubt in the mind of any one who has ever been in China, that such a result

was calculated , and that promptly , to exercise the most disastrous influence

upon our position at this port. To restrict our limits within the narrowest

bounds ; to expose us to similar outrage, if these were ever exceeded ; to subject

us to the insults and molestation of those by whom we are surrounded, from

which the fear of consequences, and the prestige of our power alone protect us,

even at Shanghae ; and, in a word, to strip the port of all its advantages as a

place of residence for foreigners, and convert it into a second Canton. These

were among the first and more apparent of the consequences which impunity to

the offenders, and triumph to the authorities in their miserable policy must


To avert, if possible, the menaced danger to our best interests, and preserve

unimpaired all the advantages hitherto legitimately engaged, it was evident that

neither ordinary exertions, nor the usual course of proceeding would suffice, and,

above all, to leave the matter in abeyance during several weeks while reference

was made to Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary for specific instructions, was to play

the game ofthe authorities, and lose certainly, if not irretrievably, all the advan

tages it was my duty to maintain , by every means at my disposal.

Under these circumstances, I have not hesitated to enter upon a course of

action, for which no instructions could have provided, so unforeseen are the

circumstances, and exceptional the position in which our interests are placed.

The measures taken I am convinced, are calculated, if not to insure success by

the apprehension and punishment of the offenders, yet effectually to prevent

any deterioration in our position ( unavoidable by any other means that

suggested themselves ), and to enable me to hold the vantage ground unimpaired

until your Excellency shall have the opportunity of giving full consideration to

all the circumstances, and determining upon such measures as may appear best

adapted to meet the difficulty.

On the 13th instant, five days after the attack had taken place, the Taoutae

had obviously done nothing ; he said he had written and had sent chai-yuh, or

policemen, but had received no information, and scarcely expected any.

Finding remonstrance and entreaty equaliy fruitless, I announced to him my

conviction that nothing effective had been done or attempted, and urging in the

strongest terms upon his attention the serious prejudice to British interests

which resulted. I notified to him that I would stop all payment of duties

for British ships, until full satisfaction should be obtained ; that no grain junk

should leave the river in the meantime, and that if in forty-eight hours

the chief offenders were not apprehended, I would adopt such other measures

asthe due enforcement of our Treaty Rights might seem to demand. This I

subsequently communicated to him in writing in my official communication

marked No. 7 , and immediately issued the notification inclosed, marked

No 8, announcing the untoward progress of the negotiations, and the stoppage

of the ships' duties. I communicated at the same time the steps taken to the

other foreign Consular Agents, as will be seen by inclosure No. 9, and to

Captain Pitman, commanding Her Majesty's Ship “ Childers,” in the inclosed


letter No. 10, placing before him the gravity of the questions involved, and

requesting his active co- operation to enforce any demands for justice and


I believe this, after mature deliberation, to be the only course of action

adequate to the exigencies of the case, and felt at the same time that, having

entered upon it, to retrace my steps or falter in the way, would be impossible,

without wholly compromising British interests at this port.

I was not, however, prepared, having consulted or communicated with no

one, for the general and unanimous concurrence of opinion spontaneously

conveyed to me by the inclosed letters marked 11, 12, and 13, from the

principal British residents, the foreign Consular Agents, and the commander

of Her Majesty's Ship “ Childers,” who had fortunately arrived the previous

evening with his ship.

My answer to the letter of the British residents, marked 14, placed before

these parties the chief grounds for the measures taken , and the cordial manner

in which these were approved, as regarded their respective interests, by the

foreign Consular Agents (further recorded in the minute No. 15), gave

me satisfactory assurance that the course adopted would at least furnish no

subject of complaint to other powers..

While these communications were taking place, I received a joint private

letter from the Sub -prefect and District Magistrate, inclosure No. 16 ,

adverting to my interview with the Taoutae, on the morning of the 13th instant,

the chief purport of which was, no doubt, to intimidate me by fears of a

popular tumult, intimating their inability to protect me, knowing full well,

of course, my exposed and isolated position, living with my family in the

centre of the city , ostensibly they treated all that had passed with the Taoutae,

as the ebullition of anger , and proposed coming the next day to talk the matter

over with me . To this letter, the tone and the tenor of which were alike

unsatisfactory, I made no reply, but sent my card with a message that I was

engaged, and could not receive them .

The foreign Consuls at Shanghae the following day called upon me in

a body, to inform me that the Acting Consular Agent of the United States had

been waited upon by a Wei- yuen from the Taoutae, to represent the

impossibility of his causing the offenders to be seized in the short limit of forty

eight hours, and to request that they would use their joint influence, that

it might be extended to a period of ten days.

The foreign Consular Agents repudiated any extension for so long a

period, and I consented to waittwenty-four hours longer, on condition that his

Excellency himself made the request at the Consulate, and would undertake to

produce the offenders at the expiration of this prolonged period. The minute

already referred to, marked No. 15, was drawn up on the spot, as a record of the

perfect unanimity of the whole Consular corps.

This being notified to the Taoutae by the French Consul and his colleagues,

I received the visit of his Excellency the following morning, and Mr. Parkes the

officiating Intrepreter, having been dispatched up the river in the direction of

Tsing -poo, to obtain some needful information in reference to ulterior steps,

the Reverend Mr. Medhurst was requested to officiate as Interpreter, and his

services were rendered with great good temper and effect.

The inclosed minute, marked No. 17, will show that the only plea of

the Taoutae was inability to comply with my demand. He stated that he could

only call upon others to act, and if they did not do so, there was no remedy.

He declined entering into any promise, even if the time of ten days, which he

had indicated as necessary, were conceded, that the chief offenders would

be forthcoming, adding he had done, and would do his best, but could

undertake nothing further. He had not yet heard from Tsing-poo, in answer

to his letters, or by his messengers, probably because it was found difficult

or impossible to do anything. In reference to the measures already taken or

in contemplation by the Consul, his Excellency stated that he was but the

Taoutae here, and whether the duties and the grain junks were stopped, or

expenses entailed for detention of ships of war, or any other measure of

this nature were taken, it was a matter for his Government, he could say

nothing and do nothing to decide the question at issue..

I contented myself with enforcing by every argument the justice and

moderation of my demand, and the imperative necessity for redress being


afforded. It was very obvious that remonstrance and argument were alike

useless. I therefore merely notified that I should hold him as the chief

authority and representative here, responsible for any expense, loss, or damage,

that might ensue by the detention of vessels, or other causes incident to his

denial of redress ; and adverting to the joint letter of the Sub - Prefect, and

Che heen , commented briefly upon the bad taste of their menaces, and my

determination to remain with my family in the city, satisfied that I might do

so without fear or danger, and well assured that the consequences of any

outrage upon Her Majesty's Consul in his position, would be too immediately

and seriously felt by the inhabitants and city of Shanghae, for any such acts to

be contemplated

Although I had distinctly stated that I would seek to enforce my just

demand by no acts of violence, I repeated the communication made to him on

the 13th instant, that if any insult, injury, or molestation was offered to a

British subject, I would immediately summon all the armed vessels at Woosung

to the upper anchorage, and if violence were offered, it should be promptly met

and resisted from whatever quarter it came, and for the consequences his

Excellency would be responsible.

Nothing could be more unsatisfactory than this interview , and I took leave

of him with a painful impression of his impracticability, a question arising as

to what part of this might, under the circumstances, be put on for the occasion ,

as the most baffling policy.

Something of this no doubt there was, for the evening had not passed

before I received a communication , marked No. 18, announcing the non - arrival

of information from Tsing -poo, and the dispatch of the Sub -prefect, the civil

officer next in rank to himself, with orders to proceed in all laste to that place ,

and in conjunction with the local authorities seize the offenders.

Either he had therefore some hope of seizing these men , or this step,

which I had suggested, was merely taken as a blind for the purpose of gaining

time. The result will show , but I am far from sanguine. I believe that the

proceedings of the whole of the authorities of this province have been so

impolitic, not to say unprincipled, that they have raised in these junk men a

band of malcontents so formidable by their number ( some 20,000 I am assured ),

that until they are themselves threatened with destruction by the evil they have

created , no adequate effort will be made to relieve the peaceable inhabitants

from the terrible penalty of being plundered by these marauders with impunity ,

for they are at open feud with all the authorities. On the contrary , if my

information be correct, they coolly contemplate allowing these lawless bands to

feed upon the country, and if they muster in large enough bands, to sack

villages and towns for a period of eight months, at the end of which time they

will again take them into their employment and transport the grain as here

toforeby the same expensive process inland, as the only compromise they can

devise .

The only doubt thrown upon the accuracy of this estimate of the actual

state of things seems to be a report, that not long ago when clamouring for pay,

or a bounty on dismissal, larger than the authorities were prepared to give,

these junk men threatened to murder the treasurer at Soo -chow , upon which

the Lieutenant- Governor sent out, and seizing the first twenty, had their heads

struck off without delay. If a strong -handed measure of this nature has lately

been taken, then have they miserably played with us in respect to these

offenders whom I have demanded .

The truth seems more probably to be midway. The Taoutae cannot compel

the Military Commandant here, who is not immediately under his orders, to

proceed to Tsing-poo, and the task being one of difficulty and danger, the

latter is very unlikely to volunteer his services. Precisely the same difficulty

exists at Tsung -keang -foo, in which district Tsing -poo is situated, and therefore

under the more immediate jurisdiction of the authorities of that place. The

Che- heen again at Tsing-poo, is without any very large physical means, and as

to seize junk men for an outrage offered to foreigners, is a peculiarly obnoxious

and unpopular duty, he falls back upon his superiors for assistance, and says he

has not the means.. In the interval, the junk men not only escape with impunity,

but probably feel that if the opportunity occurred again to -morrow to repeat

their brutality, they would not fail to profit by it - only taking better care to


leave no one alive to give any evidence, or stir up the British authorities

against them.

The Lieutenant-Governor may have the means of moving a force adequate

to the duty of seizing the offenders among the division of junks at Tsing-poo

(consisting of thirty-seven junks , and probably mustering some 700 men , as

Mr. Parkes by personal observation has acertained ), but to report this affair in

all its details to the superior authority, and involve that officer in the

disagreeable necessity of a hostile collision with this formidable class of junk

men , who, as it is, are a serious cause of anxiety to all the local authorities,

would probably cost the Taoutae his office and his baton , and therefore as this

is about the worst that can happen, he will at least defer the evil day, if it is to

come, and face as he best may any coercive means I may have at my disposal

here .

I am very thoroughly persuaded that this is a close approximation to the

truth ; and looking at our chances of redress, or security from renewed outrage,

under this aspect, I come to the conclusion that neither the one nor the other

are attainable through the present Taoutae. If he were removed, another

might succeed in obtaining the culprits, because, having no responsibility for

the origin of the difficulty, he might employ all his means with energy,, and

apply to his superiors for more, with hope of reward if he succeeded. The only

danger he could incur would be from want of success . With the present incum

bent it is just the reverse ; the responsibility rests upon him for the first occur

rence of difficulty, and the more he moves in it the greater is the chance of it

reaching the ears of higher authorities, and the more imminent the danger to

him of a loss of office. His policy in these circumstances is to endeavour to ride


out the storm by a declaration of helplessness and inability either to resist the

measures of Her Majesty's Consul, or to remove the provocation by seizing the


If this view of his position and plans be, as I imagine, correct, even the

pressure of the strong measures already adopted may fail in obtaining the

punishment of these junk men, and without this, or some signal act of reparation

on the spot, our position is so deeply compromised, and our security from

further and continued molestation so slight, that, I repeat, Shanghae will be no

better than Canton in an incredibly short period.

Too many incidental circumstances have been generally observed in the

demeanour and acts of the people and authorities, since the last catastrophe at

Canton, for those who have them daily under their eyes to avoid the conviction ,

that our position at that port has exercised a most material and prejudicial

influence upon the minds of both people and authorities. I have long been

fully convinced, from the result of my observationsat all the three ports where

I have resided , that Canton and our relations there have the most serious effect

upon our position at all the other ports, and our standing, with the authorities

at least, throughout the empire.

The negotiations upon which I have entered, and the compulsory measures

taken to support them , can scarcely rest where they are, without a compromise

of security .

The policy of the Taoutae being to avoid appeal for assistance or

support from his superior authorities, it should very obviously, I conceive, be

ours to carry the affair beyond him, either to his next immediate superior, the

Lieutenant-Governor at Soo - chow , or still further to the chief authority of the

province, the Governor-General at Nanking, where the presence of a brig of

war, having a messenger and letter from the Consul at Shanghae, demanding

redress for an outrage on British subjects, must be well calculated to rouse

attention to the facts, and to compel some energetic steps on the part of the

Governor -General to put an end to all just cause of complaint, either by the

seizure of some of the chief offenders, and their punishment after identification,

or the dismissal with disgrace of the local authority, whose bad management or

inability allowed the outrage to pass unpunished, and the criminals to escape.

Nothing short of this can possibly meet the exigency of the case, or afford

adequate security to our interests at this port . At the present moment, this

would seem to be the best line of conduct to prevent immediate mischief, and

the loss of the advantageous position hitherto maintained .

After mature examination of the present aspect of affairs, the hopelessness

of advancing further with the Taoutae, who, I am well satisfied, is acting under


the worst advice of some subordinates who were with him at Canton , and the

necessity for attaining the end in view — redress — in whatever of the two forms

it may come, I am disposed, if no satisfactory intelligence is received in a few

days, to contemplate the expediency of intimating to the Taoutae my intention,

in accordance with clauses both in the American and French Treaties, to address

myself to the Governor-General at Nanking, putting him in possession of all the

facts by letter, of which the Interpreter should be the bearer, and claiming that

redress which I found it impossible, by any pacific measures, to obtain at the

hands of the Taoutae. One of the two results so indispensable to our security

may thus be facilitated or attained ; and failing this it will then only remain for

Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary to take such other measures as the total exhaus

tion of all local pacific efforts may suggest.

By the IVth clause of the American and French Treaties, it seems to have

been distinctly recognized, on the part of the Chinese Government, that a right

of appeal against the local authorities, by direct communication with the

supreme authorities of the Province, should be reserved to the foreign

Consuls, and although it may not have been contemplated that a foreigner, or a

ship of war would be the bearer of the representation, when the most important

of our Treaty Rights are trampled under foot, and our security at this port

compromised, it does not appear to me that there is need for much hesitation

in taking the most direct and only sure means of arriving at the legitimate

object in view. Before taking any further step in advance, however, I shall

most carefully weigh all the circumstances, and if I move in the direction I

have intimated, it will only be in the entire conviction that our interests

imperatively demand such a step.

I trust very earnestly that the measures already taken in this most

harassing and anxious negotiation, may meet with your Excellency's approval,

and be ultimately sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government. Too distant to

refer for instructions, I have been compelled, without delay or hesitation to do

all that seemed possible with the means at my disposal, and conducive to the

important end in view. If fear of responsibility had deterred me,, I

conscientiously believe, that long before your Excellency's better judgment

could have been brought to bear upon the circumstances, our position would

have been materially deteriorated, and our security seriously endangered.

This, it is evident, is the earnest conviction of every foreign resident, and of

all the Consular Agents of other Powers, and the Naval officer on the station ,

Captain Pitman , fully coincides in the same opinion.

Under any circumstances, should it appear to your Excellency that I have

unnecessarily exceeded my powers by the steps adopted to protect British

interests at this port, I still very earnestly hope, that the imperative necessity

of continuing to insist upon reparation of a public and satisfactory character,

may be the policy adopted. by whatever means carried out, and that its whole

influence may be so shaped, that it shall be felt and recognized throughout the

whole of this province .

The outrage, and the measure taken to obtain such reparation, I must

repeat, are canvassed wherever Chinese meet ; and nothing could be more fatal

to our prestige and intluence here, if negotiation were dropped without redress

having been obtained . I must trust your Excellency will do me the justice to

believe, that had I consulted my own safety or personal interests in this affair,

I should have avoided the heavy responsibility entailed by the course adopted ;

but with the conviction that this freedom would be purchased possibly at the

expense of life and property, and certainly by the loss of advantages our

interests render indispensable , I cannot feel that I had any alternative.

The inclosures numbered 19, 20 and 21 , will put your Excellency in

possession of the precautionary measures taken to hold our ground, and guard

against any disposition on the part of the authorities, to excite trouble or

disturbance to our injury.

I also thought it right to obtain information as to the general result of the

excursions of the Missionaries into the country, more especially in reference to

the chances incurred by their preaching, and distribution of tracts, of collecting

disorderly crowds, thus endangering the peace, or otherwise giving just cause of

complaint to the Chinese.

Mr. Medhurst's answer is, I think, very satisfactory, and I am bound to

state, that all the information which has reached me tends to the same


conclusion, that not the slightest ground for alarm or complaint has ever been

observed on either side.

It is true, that without reference to the Missionaries, whose knowledge of

the language, and familiarity with the people, must generally be a great

protection from annoyance , others, as your Excellency has been informed, have

not been quite exempt from injury ; and if all the circumstances of the last six

months are brought together and weighed in connection, the menace of a night

attack by the Canton men and junk men — the stoning and pursuit of two

gentlemen — the Lieutenant-Governor's letter from Soo - chow, holding out

something very like a menace of similar occurrences as at Canton, if the

Manillaman was not seized - keeping in view also recent events at Canton, I

feel it cannot be doubted that there is a growing tendency to mischief, and I

confess my own impression is that it comes from the authorities in the first


Here, there is, unfortunately, no doubt that Canton influence is most

injuriously brought to bear. Sam - qua, the Canton merchant and Mandarin,

who has been here for some time, with no official post, nor any very ostensible

object, has, I know from good authority, been in close communication with

the Taoutae, and his influence, as far as it extends, bodes no good, but may

tend to embroil us with both people and authorities.

Under these circumstances I would venture to suggest the expediency of a

steamer being sent up with your Excellency's despatches, to remain if required

for a time, until the termination of this affair can be more clearly seen .

I have, &c .


Inclosure 2 in No. 49.

Declaration .

ON Wednesday, 8th March, a party of Missionaries, consisting of Messrs.

Medhurst, Lockhart, and Muirhead, went on a journey to Tsing -poo, about 96 le

from Shanghae, for the purpose of distributing tracts. Messrs . Medhurst and

Lockhart had visited that city several times before ; and it being within the

distance that could be reached, and the return to Shanghae effected in twenty -four

hours, it was considered within the limits assigned by the Consular Regulations.

On their arrival at the city, they proceeded, as their custom was, to distribute

tracts, which is generallydone from house to house among those persons who

appear able to read. While thus engaged, a number of Shan -tung men, who

navigate the grain junks belonging to Tsing-poo, came behind the Missionaries,

pushing and striving to get a larger number of the books than would fall tó

their share, and also throwing stones. In order to prevent any disturbance or

interruption, Mr. Lockhart proposed to the other two, to go forward a few paces

and distribute the tracts generally to the shopkeepers, while he kept the crowd

from pressing forward so as to incommode them . In order to effect this, he

had to stretch out both his hands, which (with a walking -stick he held in one

hand) reached right across the street. In this manner he moved forward, with

his back to the people and his face toward the other Missionaries, and succeeded

in keeping back all but a few boys, who crept underneath and passed him . One

of the men , not satisfied with this restriction, endeavoured to push by, and

through inadvertence on the part of Mr. Lockhart (for he could not see behind

him ) received a slight blow on the face. Upon this the other navigators of the

grain junks began to make a noise and throw more stones, threatening further

mischief. Mr.Medhurstthen turned round, and facing the mob, asked them

what they meant by making such a disturbance, desiring to be informed who

the ringleaders were, that they might be sent to the Magistrate ; upon this the

whole multitude became still,and moving to each side of the street, left a free

passage for the Missionaries to go back theway by which they came. Several other

streets of the city were then traversed in quietness, and a sufficient number of

books having been distributed, the Missionaries passed out at the East Gate on

their return home. They had not got above half a-mile from the city, however,

before they heard a number of people hooting after them and threatening to

beat them. On coming up, it appeared that the party consisted of a fresh set



of men from the grain junks, who had not been seen in the city, and who had

probably become excited and influenced by overstrained reports of what had

taken place ; these came on with the most infuriated looks and gestures, and

armedwith poles ,bars, swords, and other weapons ; among the rest was onewith

a heavy iron chain, apparently the ringleader, who immediately stripped off

his upper garments in order to enable him to act the more freely ,and who was

brandishing his chain ready to beat the objects ofhis fury. TheMissionaries then

began to talk quietly with the men, and asked them what they wanted, when

without further parley, each of them was attacked in a most furious manner by

the men just referred to . Finding it impossible to make head against such

numbers thus armed, Messrs. Medhurst and Muirhead being free from their

grasp , ran for their lives. Mr. Lockhart, however, was soon found not to be

with them, and the two above -named returned to endeavour to rescue their

companion. In the meantime the mob had thrown Mr. Lockhart on the ground,

and were beating him with the heavy chain above described, the blows of which

were heard to some distance. Happily Mr. Lockhart was enabled to get again

upon his legs, and joining his companions, they all ran as fast as they could

with the mob after them . The chase was continued for more than a mile in the

direction of the boat which had been left five miles from the city, that the boat

men might take rest while the Missionaries went to the city and returned.

Being unable to run any farther, the Missionaries were overtaken by their

pursuers, who now came on with redoubled fury, and in increasing numbers,

cutting off all chance of retreat and surrounding the victims of their attack .

Here another attempt was made to reason , but in vain. The pursuers

approached nearer and nearer, with long poles, heavy hoes, having teeth like

rakes (the iron part of which weighs generally six pounds), and murderous

weapons in abundance. While warding off the blows from one of these, as well

as he could, Mr. Medhurst was struck from behind on the crown of the head,

with the back of one of the above -named heavy hoes, the blow of which

immediately stunned him, and he fell flat on the ground. The assailants then

came up and struck him a number of times with clubs, whilst lying on his face.

Among therest one gave him a severe blow with a blunt sword on the side of

the knee. The other Missionaries were equally ill-treated, Mr. Muirhead being

so much beaten about the legs that he was scarcely able to walk , and

Mr. Lockhart received a severe wound on the back of the neck which bled

profusely. After having beaten them until all powerof resistance was subdued,

the marauders proceeded to plunder them of their watches, spectacles, caps,

and clothes , with whatever else they could lay their hands on . This showed

that the main object of the attack was to disable the Missionaries so far that

they could not resist, and then to rob them. It was a great mercy , however,

that they were not murdered in the process, as any one of the blows so profusely

dealt out, was sufficient, if rightly directed , to have caused death. After the

Missionaries were pillaged, they were forced to proceed back towards the city,

and when the least unwillingness was manifested , fresh blows were dealt out.

Messrs . Medhurst and Lockhart being acquainted with the language, endea .

voured as they were led along, to remonstrate with their captors, and sought to

move them by appealing totheir feelings or sense of justice, but gotonly

blows in return. On seeing any respectable looking people by the road side, if

the Missionaries appealed to them for help, they got additional blows, and if

any strangers approached too near, they received blows also . In the meantime

the men urged the Missionaries along,declaring that they would convey them

aboard the grain junks, and not let them gowithout the payment of 5,000

dollars a-head. The man that held Mr. Lockhart was somewhat softened when

he heard that he was a surgeon, and had previously healed gratuitously several

of the grain junk men in Shanghae. The others also, as they approached

nearer the city, became less ferocious, and gradually the party was joined by

others of a different class, who, though they kept fast hold of the Missionaries,

did not ill -use them . It was supposed that some of these were from the

Magistrates' office. When within sight of the city, the escort came to .a halt,

the one party wishing to detain the Missionaries there, or carry them off in a

different direction,while the other pressed them to go into the city ; the latter

party prevailed. On arriving at the gate of the city, several respectable people

came out and endeavoured to assure the Missionaries of their safety, and

persuade them to go to the office for protection : indeed, throughout the whole


affair, the inhabitants of the place manifested the utmost sympathy with them ,

and sorrow at what had occurred, and though the square before the office was

filled with people, not one of them showed the least disposition to insult or

injure them . By the time the escort reached the city gates, the grain junk

men had one by one slunk away, and the Missionaries were left entirely in the

hands of the office servants. These conducted them to the magistrate, who

soon appeared, invited them into the visitors'apartment, and after asking them

to sit down, inquired into the affair. Being informed of the circumstances

from beginning to end, he promised that the stolen articles should be restored,

and that the men who committed the outrage should be punished. Having

then provided chairs and boats to convey the Missionaries back to their own

boat, ħe dispatched two military and two civil officers to escort and protect them

from further harm. In this way they reached their boat, and finally their

home in safety, thankful for the preservation of their lives, but smarting

severely under the wounds and bruises they had received .

We, Walter Henry Medhurst, senior, William Lockhart, William Muirhead,

do solemnly and sincerely declare— (Here follows the usual form ).

( Signed) W. H. MEDHURST .



Thus declared in due form of law, &c.

( Signed ) RUTHERFORD ALCOCK, Consul.

In addition to the above general statement, the following is an account of

what happened to myself :

At the bridge in front of the small temple where the assault first began, I

asked the men what they wanted : they said we had killed a man in the city, and

they would now kill us. Then they attacked me, and beat me violently with a

heavy iron chain, and finally threw me down, when I was trodden upon by two or

three persons. I struggled forcibly, and , getting free, fled along the bank of the


When in the field, where the second assaulttook place, after I had been

struck several times, one man , who was very violent, and had a short broad

sword, took hold of me while I was being beaten by others, and said he would

kill me . He then took me by the hair, and tried to pull me to the ground,

while another tripped up my legs. I thought at this time he was going to cut

off my head, and mentally bade farewell to my family, supposing I should

instantly be killed. I was thrown down, but struggled and got on my feet,

and resisted to the utmost of my strength their efforts to throw me down á

second time. I felt convinced, if I was thrown down, that I should not rise

again. While this was going on, a man struck me from behind a violent blow

on the head with a club, which inflicted a wound, and almost felled me, but I

recovered myself, and eluded a second blow that was aimed at me. This was

the last severe injury I received, for the wound bled profusely, and, as I wrung

the blood from my hair, and showed the man who had hold of me my hands full

of blood, he prevented others from striking me on the head, though I got

several blows on the legs and body afterwards. On the way back to the city,

the men around me were consulting as to where we should be taken to. I also

asked where we were going, and what they were intending to do with us. At first

they said they should takeus to the bridge by the temple, and kill us all there .

They then said we should be taken to the grain junks; and, finally, there was

a dispute among them whether we should be taken to the grain -junks or to the

Magistrate of the city, but the opinion of the majority seemed to be in favour

of going to the junks. This discussion continued till we arrived at the bridge

over the city moat or ditch, when the policemen took us from the hands of our

icio us assailants, and escorted us to the Magistrate's office.

I, William Lockhart, do solemnly and sincerely declare—(Here follows the

usual form of declaration ).

(Signed ) W. LOCKHART.

Thus declared in due form of law , & c .




In addition to Mr. Medhurst's general statement, the following is an

account of what happened to myself, to the best of my recollection :

At the time we were finally attacked, Mr. Medhurst, having been beaten in

the manner he has described, one of the party came up to me, and gave me a

severe blow on the legs with a bamboo club, which brought me to the ground.

While in that state, a number of persons came round me, and began to use

their various weapons in aa threatening manner, so as to make me apprehensive

of the worst. Fearing that they would take immediate advantage of my

position, I attempted to rise, but they forcibly insisted on my kneeling, and

performing several acts of obeisance to them . I then got up and walked aa few

yards nearer Messrs. Medhurst and Lockhart, when I was beaten as before by

other assailants, who pulled me down, and, searching my pockets, plundered me

of their contents, together with various articles of dress. With these they

appeared satisfied, and their anger was so much abated that, though I received

one or two blows afterwards with a heavy club , they kept others from injuring

me to the extent they threatened and attempted to do. Indeed, when the latter

came up, it was evident that their main object was to rob me, as they were

greatly appeased by the assurance from myself and my captors that I had no

more available property. After lying on the ground for sometime, I was ordered

to rise, and proceed back to the city . There was no alternative between doing

this and suffering severer treatment. I thought it better, therefore, at once to

comply ; and with two or three, who kept firm hold of me, I walked back,

Messrs . Medhurst and Lockhart following. While returning, I observed a

number of the grain junk men coming towards us, all armed as the others, and

with most infuriated looks and gestures. When close upon me, and in some

instances with their weapons wielded to strike, several of those who had been

with us from the first ran forward, beseeching them not to injure us, and had

often, in a violent manner , to wrest the instruments of destruction from their

hands. I could not understand the many things they said to me on the way

back, but their appearance was such as to assure me I had little mercy to expect

from them .

I, William Muirhead, do solemnly and sincerely declare— (Here follows the

usual form of declaration ).

(Signed) WM . MUIRHEAD ,

Thus declared in due form of law, &c .

( Signed ) RUTHERFORD ALCOCK, Consul.

At Her Britannic Majesty's Consulate at Shanghae, March 14, 1848 .

Inclosure 3 in No. 49.

The Taoutae to Mr. Medhurst.

A COMMUNICATION from Heen the Intendant.

I learn with astonishment, from a report of the Tsing-poo Magistrate,

that Mr. Medhurst, with two other gentlemen, Lockhart and Muirhead, had

been attacked by some grain boatmen ,when proceeding to Tsing -poo, to circulate

good books. Whilst being extremely surprised at this, I consider that your

taking a trip to Tsing -poo is not in accordance with the provisions of the

Supplementary Treaty.

The grain boat sailors are men of the most violent and ruthless disposition,

and pay no respect to laws. Since the time that orders have been issued to send

the tribute of rice furnished by Soo -choo, Sung-keang, and Taet-seang, by way

of the sea , these men are out of employ.

We are just about furnishing them with the necessaries of life, to send them

back to their homes, that they may pursue a trade, and not collec there in

crowds,, and create disturbance, and shall engage them next year to carry the

rice (to the capital ).

Whilst taking measures to rid ourselves of them , they made an attack upon

you before they dispersed . It is fortunate that you, influenced by your superior


knowledge, did not offer resistance, and that the Magistrate suppressed the riot,

and in due time afforded you protection. If, howerer, youths of a volatile

temperament enter upon a mutual contest, this would produce incalculable

mischief; and even if the local authorities acted with the utmost e ergy to put

it down, I am apprehensive they would not succeed . When I reflect upon this,

my mind is filled with anxietyon that account, and I feel exceedingly disquieted.

I think of you very much , and hope that you are now recovered.

I have already ordered the Tsing-poo Magistrate to direct, without a

moment's delay, his assistants to institute a strictinvestigation respecting the

sailors who made this murderous attempt, and bring them to justice, that they

may be punished most severely ; and I shall not allowthis to bedeferred a single

moment .

Whilst writing this to you, I wish you happiness, and likewise send my

compliments to Messrs. Lockhart and Muirhead .

Inclosure 4 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to the Taoutae.

ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae makes this

communication .

I learn with exceeding surprise , that you, the Honourable Taoutae, have

addressed a communication to Mr. Medhurst, on the business which I officially

brought before you on the 9th instant. Not only is this wholly unprecedented

and irregular on your Excellency's part, but an act of discourtesy to

myself as the Representative of Her Majesty's Government and the English

nation at this port.

It must be known to you , the Honourable Taoutee, that by Article II of

the Treaty of Nanking, it is expressly provided, that Her Majesty the Queen of

Great Britain shall appoint Superintendents or Consular Officers to reside at

each of the five ports , to be the medium of communication between the Chinese

authorities and British subjects. Her Majestyhas seen fit to appoint me in that

capacity at Shanghae, and your Excellency iswholly unwarranted by custom,,

the usages of official intercourse in China, and by Treaty, to enter into commu

nication with any British subjects on matters of business, except through the

medium of Her Majesty's Consul. Your Excellency must permit me further to

observe, that no proceeding can be more fraught with mischief to the Chinese

authorities, and injury to the mutual interests of the two nations, than such a

departure from the course laid down by the Treaty, and always hitherto strictly

acted upon by your predecessor and your Excellency with advantage.

I have now the honour to return the communication so irregularly addressed

by your Excellency to a British subject under my jurisdiction, as one which you,

the Honourable Taoutae, were not authorized in accordance with the Treaty to

send to Mr. Medhurst, and he was equally precluded from receiving, by the

allegiance he owes to his own Sovereign.

In reference to the purport of this communication , it cannot be necessary

for me to remind your Excellency, that His Majesty the Emperor of China has

by Treaty renounced all jurisdiction over British subjects ; if Mr. Medhurst,

therefore, has infringed the port regulations, or any Article of the Treaty by

exceeding the limits agreed upon by the Chinese and British local authorities in

his excursion, he is accountable to Her Majesty's Consul, and not to you, the

Honourable Taoutee.

But your Excellency must be perfectly aware, since we together discussed

the question the day before yesterday, that the three Missionaries in question

infringed no regulation by going to Tsing-poo. They left Shanghae early on

Wednesday morning,as they are prepared to prove, and would have returned by

10 o'clock the same night, but for the murderous attack made upon them by a

mob of miscreants from the grain junks. They had a perfect and unquestionable

right to extend their excursion to Tsing -poo, or any similar distance, and may

do so again as often as they see fit, the responsibility of any evil that may

happen to them , in the enjoyment of thistheir undoubted privilege as British

subjects, rests upon the authorities of the country, and from them extends

upward to His Majesty the Emperor of China, who is bound by solemn Treaty


with Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain to secure all British subjects in the

full exercise of their rights and privileges, and free from molestation. By the

first Article of the Treaty, the Emperor of China engages that they shall enjoy

full security and protection for their persons and property within his dominions.

How is good faith kept, if peaceable and inoffensive Missionaries, in broad day,

giving no provocation whatever, are hustled and pelted in a large city, and within

two miles are followed and surrounded by Chinese subjects (whom , I repeat,

they never offended ), and most cruelly and barbarously wounded and plundered,

with manifest danger to their lives ?

Your Excellency stated to me the day before yesterday, that there were a

large number of these junk men , whom the Government sought to dismiss, but

had not yet arranged the terms, furthermore, that by reason of their number, and

turbulent character, the authorities could exercise no efficient control over their


This explanation caused me both regret and surprise. How is it possible

that the Government should determine upon throwing out of employment some

13,000 able -bodied men before they finally arranged satisfactory terms, or

provided efficient means to repress the crimes and irregularities, surely to be

anticipated from such રીa body of disbanded malcontents ?

So long as the disorders and atrocities of these men were confined to the

Chinese, I, the British Consul, could not presume to interfere ; but now that the

.lives of Englishmen have been perilled by them , and that you, the Taoutae ,

| express fears of inability to protect my countrymen from similar outrages of

these lawless junk men , it is my duty as Representative of Her Majesty's Govern

ment here, to inform you, that the Emperor of China, and, therefore, all his

servants in authority, are under solemn obligation to afford full and complete pro

tection to Her Majesty's subjects within the Chinese dominions, and that, failing

this, the Treaty is virtually annulled. Finally, that whether this absence of

protection arise from bad faith , or weakness, the result is the same, and that no

Government can claim exemption from Treaty obligations on the plea of

inability to control their own subjects, and at the same time require the Power

in alliance with them to observe any of the conditions of such Treaty.

I, therefore, call upon you, the Honourable Taoutae, to afford full and

prompt redress for the grievous injury inflicted upon three British subjects, by

causing the chief criminals to be apprehended , and brought to Shanghae that

they may be identified, tried, and punished according to law ; and, further, to

take such effective measures for the better protection of Her Majesty's subjects,

residing within your circuit, as shall afford ample guarantee that similar outrages

shall not recur.

Permit me to add, in conclusion , that your Excellency's responsibility, and

the obligations of His Majesty the Emperor of China, render it imperative that

there should be no further delay in finally and satisfactorily settling with, and

dispersing these junk men to their respective destinations ; and that if it be a

question of money, risk is imminently incurred by every day's delay, I say it

with sincere regret, of such injury to British subjects and property as may entail

demands for reparation far more costly to the treasury than the payment of these

discontented and disorderly sailors.

I make you this communication to which I beg you will give your careful

consideration, and send me an early answer.

March 11 , 1848 .

Inclosure 5 in No.49.

The Taoutae to Consul Alcock.

HEEN, by Imperial appointment, Superintendent of Maritime Customs,

Intendant of Circuit, & c., makes this communication in reply.

I have just received the official communication of you, the Honourable

Consul, requesting me to seize the grain junk sailors of Tsing-poo, and inform

ing me that I ought not to have addressed a note to Mr. Medhurst, &c .

Upon a careful perusal of your letter, it appears to me that you, the

Honourable Consul, in your views of official matters, indeed carry your care


fulness to a great extreme. My motives, however, for addressing Mr. Medhurst

were the following:

In the 23rd year (1843), when I, the Intendant, was at Shanghae assisting

in the arrangement of commercial affairs, I had constant communication with

Mr. Medhurst on official matters, and thus in some measure formed his

acquaintance. Subsequently, in consequence of my appointment to the

Intendancy of Chin -keang -foo, and Chang- chow - foo , a separation of several

years ensued, when last year, on my return to Shanghae, Mr. Medhurst paid me

a visit at my office ; but as he was no longer an Assistant Officer, and therefore

there being no communication to be held between us, fearing that inconveniences

might arise therefrom , I never returned his call. When, however, I heard

the other day, that he had been attacked and wounded by the sailors of the

grain junks, firstly, in consequence of our old acquaintance, and secondly,

because the outrage was committed in my jurisdiction, I felt exceedingly

anxious onhis account, and deemed it only proper to send a messenger to make

inquiries after him. But then fearing again that some mistake might be made

in delivering the message,, I added to it a note, and thus conveyed my inquiries

after him. But I had not the least idea of having any underhand communica

tion with him on official matters, and in future will never again address him a

note on any subject.

With regard to the grain junk sailors, I, the Intendant, yesterday again

wrote officially to the Grain Intendant, requesting him to give strict orders to

the officer of the addition of junks to institute immediate inquiries after them,

and give them up.

A necessary communication .

Taoukwang, 28th year, and month, 7th day. (March 11, 1848.)

Inclosure 6 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to the Taoutae.

ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae makes this commu

nication in reply.

I have received your Excellency's reply to my communication of the 11th

instant. I am surprised and concerned to learn that as late as yesterday

evening, the criminals had not arrived. Considering that when you, the

Honourable Taoutae, wrote to me, three whole days had elapsed since the

outrage was committed, that the parties implicated were seen by hundreds, and

must be known to the policemen who assisted in the release of the British

subjects so cruelly maltreated, and finally, that all the junk men are employed

in the service of the Chinese Government, I cannot but remark this appearance

of hesitation and delay in their apprehension with deep regret and anxiety, lest

a further denial of prompt and full redress should compromise our friendly

relations, I must remind your Excellency that delay in such circumstances is

tantamount to a denial of justice. I write again, therefore, to know if the

chief criminals have been seized, and the property stolen recovered, and request

that your Excellency will send me an immediate reply.

I take this opportunity of reporting to you the arrival of Her Majesty's

ship “ Childers, ” and further acquainting you that the arrival of Her Majesty's

ship “ Espiègle” may be shortly expected from Ningpo.

A necessary communication in reply.

March 12, 1848 .


Inclosure 7 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to the Taoutae.

ALCOCK , Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghac, makes this

communication .

The ringleaders in the late unprovoked and murderous attack upon British

subjects, I am informed , have not yet been seized .

I repeat that delay under these circumstances can only be considered as a

denial of justice, and refusal to afford reparation for an injury of the gravest

nature. It is now , therefore, my duty to inform your Excellency, that between

nation and nation it is a recognized law when an injury is inflicted, for which

reparation is refused, the nation aggrieved may do itself justice when it cannot

otherwise be obtained .

The course you, the Honourable Taoutae, have adopted, leaves me no

alternative but to see the highest interests of my nation sacrificed, or to

act upon this rule, and take such measures as this unforeseen conjuncture may

render necessary to protect Her British Majesty's subjects from the consequences

with which they are threatened by the impunity hitherto enjoyed by these


If ten of the ringleaders are not in Shanghae within forty - eight hours from

noon this day, for trial and punishnent, I am prepared to take other steps to

obtain that reparation you, the Honourable Taoutae, will have refused.

In the meantime, and until full justice has been obtained, no payment of

duties for British ships can take place to the Custom -house, nor can it be per

mitted that the grain junks now in the river leave the port ; and I trust you,, the

Honourable Intendant, may see the prudence of forbidding them to make the

attempt. I am compelled to adopt these extreme measures from the serious

danger which your denial of justice entails upon British life and property, and

the urgent necessity for immediate and full redress.

If your Excellency's plea of inability were accepted , there is an end to all

responsibility on the part of the Chinese Government and authorities for any

outrage or atrocity that might be committed, and no guarantee afforded by the

Treaty could be of the slightest value.

I entreat you the Honourable Intendant while it is yet time , to put an end

to this most untoward state of affairs, by producing the criminals : but if this

be not done, it only remains for me to announce to you, the Honourable

Intendant, my firm determination to spare no means at my disposal, to redress

the injury inflicted, and should further insult, molestation, orinjury, be offered

to British subjects, I will summon every British ship within reach, to the

anchorage, and if violence to life or property be offered, it shall be resisted,

and the consequences rest on your Excellency's head, whose acts have been

the cause of all that may follow .

A necessary communication.

March 13, 1848 .

Inclosure 8 in No. 49 .


Shanghue, March 13, 1848.

THE refusal of the Chinese authorities to afford redress for the murderous

assault upon three British subjects, by the scizure of the chief offenders, leaves

Her Majesty's Consul no alternative but to adopt extreme measures, or permit

the security of his countrymen , and the interests of the nation, to be seriously

compromised .

Every amicable means, therefore, having failed , Her Majesty's Consul has

given his Excellency the Taoutae forty -eight hours from this day, at noon, to

produce ten of the ringleaders in the attack , failing which , such other steps will

be taken as may appear expedient, to compel the reparation required. In the

meantime, and until full satisfaction has been obtained, it has been notified to


the authorities, that no Custom -house duties will be paid for British ships; the

consignees, or other parties, will in each case be called upon to enter into an

undertaking at the Consulate, to pay the amounts respectively due, whenever

called upon by Her Majesty's Consul.

Security to life and property, and the best interests of the commerce of

Western nations generally, with Shanghae, are at stake, and if no redress

be obtained for so brutaland unprovoked an outrage upon peaceable foreigners,

all the great advantages hitherto enjoyed at this port may be lost at once,

Her Majesty's Consul accepts the responsibility of his present course , therefore,

in the firm conviction that whatever danger or inconvenience may attend

the measures he is compelled to adopt, greater still must overtake the

community if either timidity or hesitation be shown.


Her Britannic Majesty's Consul.

Inclosure 9 in No. 49.

Circular .

Shanghae, March 14, 1848.

REFERRING to the circumstances of a daring outrage upon British

subjects, which I brought under your notice yesterday the 13th instant, I have

now the honour to inclose a copy of the official communication addressed to the

Taoutae of that date, in which the chief offenders are peremptorily demanded

within forty -eight hours, and such further measures as the circumstances

render necessary, are notified, to warn his Excellency of all the consequences he

may draw upon himself by his refusal to afford redress for so grave an injury.

It has afforded me much satisfaction to find that, on the view taken of the

consequences to be apprehended from a tame acquiescence in this infraction of

our Treaty, and the course upon which I have entered to vindicate our

guaranteed rights to compel the Chinese authorities to afford reparation, there

is no dissentient opinion among the representatives of foreign Powers at


This to me is the more satisfactory, being well assured that it is not only

British subjects who are interested in the steps taken, but that a question

is involved, affecting the security of all foreign residents at this port, and their

immunity not only from outrage and insult, but robbery and murder.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 10 in No. 49.

Consul Alcock to Commander Pitman.

Sir, Shanghae, March 14, 1848.

IN reference to the subject of our verbal communications of yesterday,

I have now the honour to inclose for your information and guidance copies of

certain documents bearing upon the late serious outrage experienced by three

inoffensive British subjects.

By the inclosed declaration from the parties attacked, it will no doubt be

obvious to you that the wanton and wholly unprovoked attack was charac

terized by all the features of savage atrocity which seem to have marked the

fatal catastrophe at Canton when six of our countrymen were murdered ; that in

this instance they escaped with their lives can only be regarded as one of those

providential occurrences by which men are sometimes saved, contrary to all

probability. The immediate instruments of their rescue, after they had for

more than an hour incurred all the chances of murder, and during which they

were repeatedly struck down, wounded and cruelly beaten, appear to have been

some of the police of the place, who managed toseparate them from the grain

junk men , their assailants.



The only difference to be traced between the two cases is, fortunately for

our countrymen, the escape from death, repeatedly menaced, and perhaps the

absence of any peculiar local cause for hostile animus. A difference very

important in reference to its bearing upon our interests and security at this

port, and coupling the circumstances of this assault in broad day, with the attack

upon the whole settlement so lately menacel, and the bad faith or imbecility

shoirn by the authorities in seizing the offenders, men well known, under a

responsible officer and in the pay of the Government, I am strongly impressed

with the conviction that, unless redress be obtained by the immediate seizure

and punishment of the ringleaders, our best security for that immunity from

molestation, which has hitherto been so valuable and important in its influence

upon all our interests, will be lost. Security to life and property seem to me

imperatively to require justice, should be obtained , and if need be, enforced

with a strong hand. Keeping in view the unsatisfactory state of our relations

at Canton, rendering this port, in every sense, doubly valuable to us, I see no

alternative but to adopt such measures as may seem best calculated to compel

reparation, or see Shanghae in a few weeks, or months, become a second

Canton to all foreign residents. Time will not permit me at the present

moment to furnish you with all the grounds for this opinion ; but it has long

been my deliberate and matured conviction that our immunity from injury and

enjoyment of personal advantages here were held upon no better tenure than

the fear of consequences, our means of inflicting punishment enabled us to

maintain : timidity orhesitation, in the present instance, therefore, would inevit

ably bring down upon us worse evils than I conceive likely to follow any display

of force to do ourselves that justice we cannot otherwise obtain . With these

views, having also had the satisfaction of learning that I might count upon

your co -operation and effective assistance, you will see by the inclosed copy of

å letter to the Taoutae, dated the 13th instant, that I peremptorily demanded

the seizure of ten of the ringleaders within forty - eight hours, and notified the

stoppage of all duties on British ships, and my intention to prevent the sailing

of a large fleet of grain junks in the pay of the Government conveying rice to

Pekin, until full justice had been obtained.

As you were yourself witness to the unanimity which the Representatives

of all the foreign Powers who have Consalar Agents at Shanghae manifested

in cordially expressing their entire concurrence in the necessity of these

measures, I need not enter into further details. I will merely add that so far

as I am informed there is a very general feeling among the foreign community

that their best interests are at stake, and can only be efficiently protected at

the present moment by firm and determined measures. I inclose copy of my

notification of yesterday's date.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 11 in No. 46.

Letter from British Residents at Shanghae .

Sir, Shanghae, March 14, 1848.

ADVERTING to the notification issued yesterday afternoon from

the British Consulate, respecting the recent brutal outrage upon three

unoffending British subjects, the Undersigned, impressed with the importance

of this indication on the part of a lawless set in the employ of the Chinese

Government, and the marked significance lent to this event by the recent

melancholy occurrence in Canton, so much vaunted by the ill-disposed in this

neighbourhood, cannot refrain from giving expression to their satisfaction at

the energetic measures adopted to obtain plenary redress from the Chinese

authorities, and to assure you of the entire confidence with which they find

their interests placed underyour guardianship.

Under the firm conviction that the tranquillity hitherto enjoyed at this

port would be eminently emperilled by permitting the Chinese authorities to

evade the fulfilment of their duty on this occasion, we would respectfully offer

you such support as the assurance may afford you of oậr readiness to submit to


any inconvenience which, in the energetic protection of our permanent interests,

you may find yourself compelled to demand of us .

We have, &c.






WM . HOGG . H. M. M. GRAY.












Inclosure 12 in No. 49 .

The Consuls of Foreign Powers at Shanghae to Consul Alcock.

Shanghae, le 12 Mars, 1848 .

A LA suite de l'entrevue à laquelle vous nous avez fait l'honneur de nous

convoquer ce jourd'hui, pour nous donner connaissance de l'attentat commis en

plein jour par les Chinois, contre trois honorables et paisibles sujets de Sa

Majesté Britannique, qui dangereusement blessés, n'ont echappés à la mort que

par une sorte de miracle, et des démarches que vous aviez faites pour en

obtenir une prompte et entière satisfaction ;

Nous avons cru devoir nous réunir, à l'effet : 1, de nous concerter sur la

gravité des circonstances que vous nous avez soumisess ;; 2 , de répondre à votre


Après avoir attentivement examiné les conséquences inévitables d'une

pareille infraction aux Traités, et le danger dans lequel serait à l'avenir la vie

des étrangers en Chine, si elle n'était promptement redressée par une éclatante

et entière satisfaction ,c'est-à -dire, la sévère punition des coupables ;

Après avoir, M. le Consul, bien pesé votre longanimité et l'extrême

prudence de vos démarches et réclamations près de son Excellence le Taoutae,

et les fins de non recevoir, l'indifférence, de cette autorité ;

Considérant, que l'attentat commis contre MM . Medhurst, Lockhart, et

Muirhead, avait été précédé d'une menace, faite il y a deux mois, d'attaquer et

de piller les maisons Européennes ; que cette tentative de meurtre est d'ailleurs

de la même nature, et la conséquence naturelle des meurtres de Canton ;

Considérant, que cet attentat, commis aujourd'hui sans aucune provocation ,

contre des sujets de Sa Majesté Britannique, peut l'être demain, contre d'autres

résidents étrangers à Shanghai; que, par conséquent, il y a danger pour tous, et

que c'est une cause commune que vous défendez, M. le Consul, avec tant

de prudence et d'honorable énergie ;

Considérant, d'ailleurs, que ce n'est qu'après cinq jours de démarches et de

vaines réclamations près de son Excellence le Taoutae, que vous vous êtes vu

dans l'alternative, ou de laisser échapper les coupables, et par conséquent

l'outrage impuni, ou de fixer comme dernier ultimatum un délai de quarante -huit

heures pour leur arrivée à Shanghai et leur mise en jugement.

Nous avons cru de notre devoir, M. le Consul, non -seulement de donner

par ces présentes notre pleine et entière approbation à vos actes dans

cette déplorable affaire, mais encore de confirmer cette approbation, en nous

transportant en corps, chez son Excellence le Taoutae, pour la lui signifier, lui

faire comprendre lasolidarité du danger qui résultait pour tous nos nationaux

de l'impunité de ce crime, et l'avertir par nos énergiques représentations de la

gravité des conséquences, dont il prenait seul la responsabilité, en n'accordant

Q 2


pas le juste châtiment des coupables, que vous réclamiez depuis cinq jours, par

des démarches non avenues et sans aucun résultat.

Nous souhaitons sincèrement, M. le Consul, que notre franche et

loyale approbation, ainsi quenos efforts près de son Excellence le Taoutae, vous

aident dans la noble cause-le droit des gens que vous défendez avec tant de

prudence et d'énergie, et que les bons rapports qui existaient entre vous et les

autorités Chinoises soient promptement rétablis.

( Signed) C. DE MONTIGNY,

Consul de France à Shanghae.


United States of America Consular Agent .


Consul de Belgique à Shanghae, Chine.

Inclosure 13 in No. 49 .

Commander Pitman to Consul Alcock .

Sir, “ Childers,” Shanghae, March 14, 1848.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date,

with inclosures, and in reference to it, and the verbal communications of

yesterday, I hasten to assure you that I most fully concur in all the steps you

have taken to obtain full redress for the most unprovoked and savage attack

on the three English Missionaries at Tsing-poo.

I cannot for a moment suppose the authorities will allow such a gross

outrage on British subjects to pass, without giving immediate reparation by

bringing the ringleaders to Shanghae for punishinent. Should such not be the

case, I am quite ready to act with the force that I may have at my disposal, in

any way that may be considered for the safety of the foreign community, and

for the honour of the British flag and interest. From all that has taken place,

and the evident reluctance on the part of the Taoutae to cause the perpetrators

of this outrage to be apprehended, I have deemed it my duty, under existing

circumstances, to order Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle ” to this anchorage, to

co -operate with me, if necessary. Having been witness to the unanimity of the

other Consular Agents at this port, that they most cordially agree in the

necessity of the measures adopted by you, I most sincerely congratulate you,

not only that you had their full concurrence, but also that of all the foreign and

British subjects at this place, and that the steps you have taken are for their

safety and best interests.

I have made all the necessary arrangements in my power to move up the

river with Her Majesty's sloop, under my command, should it be necessary to

take such urgent measures, but I trust I shall not be called upon to do so, and

you may rely upon my warm support in co-operation with you in every way.

I have, &c.

(Signed) F. C. PITMAN .

Inclosure 14 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to the British Residents at Shanghae.

Gentlemen, Shanghae, March 15, 1848.

I HAVE received with great satisfaction and pleasure your letter of the

14th instant. Under the circumstances of peculiar difficulty in which we are

placed, it cannot fail to be gratifying to me to know that you see and feel

with me the paramount importance of a firm and determined stand being made

to obtain that justice , which the Chinese authorities have hitherto shown them

selves so averse to render.

There can be no security for life or property where the authorities either

will not or cannot punish those who put both in peril. The plea of inability to

seize the offenders in the present instance, if admitted, at once relieves the

Chinese authorities of all responsibility for any outrage or violence that may


be offered foreigners, and the same argument first used to limit our excursions,

would suffice, if carried out to its legitimate conclusion, to confine every foreign

resident to his own house, without providing for his safety even there.

I do not know what immediate loss or inconvenience may follow the steps

I see myself reluctantly compelled by the weakness and blindness of the local

authorities to adopt, in defence of our Treaty Rights, but I am truly glad to

learn that you are prepared to encounter these contingencies cheerfully in so

good a cause, and are confident in my earnest desire to act firmly and justly

for the proiection of British interests.

You may also be confident I am assured that reparation will eventually be

exacted by Her Majesty's Government should loss ensue, and with this conviction

I will not shrink from the responsibilities of my present course, which, whatever

may be the first results, I believe upon mature reflection, to be the best adapted

to avert greater evils than any temporary injury to our commercial interests at

this port.

I thank you very sincerely gentlemen for the cordial expression of your

sympathy and confidence.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 15 in No. 49.


M. DE MONTIGNY, the Consul of France, E.W. Bates , Esq ., the Acting

Consular Agent of the United States of America, and John Stewart, Esq.,

Agent Consulaire de Sa Majesté le Roi des Belges, having called upon

Rutherford Alcock, Esq ., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, and

communicated to him an application from the Taoutae, for their influence to

induce the said British Consul to extend the time for the production of the

offenders in the case of assault at Tsing -poo upon three British subjects ; and

the above-mentioned representatives of France, the United States and

Belgium, desiring to the utmost of their power, consistent with the attainment

of the object in view , to promote the amicable adjustment of the question at

issue, requested Her Britannic Majesty's Consul to take into his consideration

how far it would be compatible with the interests he defended, to allow a further

term to the Taoutae. The said representatives, repudiating any lengthened

delay, such as the Taoutae had suggested, of ten days, submit a period of

twenty -four hours as a reasonable limit, provided Her Britannic Majesty's

Consul should conceive himself warranted in deviating from the time already


Her Britannic Majesty's Consul, willing to give a last proof of his

reluctance to proceed to any ulterior measures, and ofthe high consideration

in which he holds his colleagues, whose frank and loyal support he fully

appreciates, consents to the extended time of twenty-four hours, after to-morrow

at noon, provided that his Excellency, the Taoutae himself in person, shall urge

the request at Her Majesty's Consulate, before noon on the 15th instant, and

is prepared to undertake, that within this extended time the criminals in

question shall be in Shanghae, and produced for identification and trial .

The said Representatives of France, the United States of America and

Belgium , fully concurring in the spirit and tenor of this concession, undertake

to communicate the same to his Excellency the Taoutae.

In witness whereof, we the Undersigned affix our signatures, this 14th day

March, 1848, at Her Britannic Majesty's Consulate , Shanghae.


Her Britannic Majesty's Consul.


Consul de France.


United States of America Consular Agent.


Agent Consulaire du Roi de Belges.


Inclosure 16 in No. 49.

The Sub - Prefect, a District Magistrate, to Consul Alcock.

March 14, 1848 .

TO -DAY we had an interview with his Excellency the Intendant, who told

us that at 10 o'clock in the morning, you, the Honourable Consul, had expressed

yourself in angry terms, on account of the offending sailors of the grain junks,

who had caused the disturbance at Tsing-poo not having yet been seized, that

you insisted upon their being apprehended and produced by 11 o'clock

to -morrow, and in case of this not being effected, that you would stop the rice

junks and allow none of them to leave the port, and also that you would level

Shanghae to the ground, and words to that effect.

We are of opinion that this could only have been the angry speech of the

moment. For we find that since the commencement of the commerce here,

five years ago,, the people of Shanghae have behaved peaceably and properly on

every occasion, and no fears or doubts of any nature have ever existed on either

side . But the suspicions of the people will now be roused , if they find that on

account of the disturbances at Tsing -poo, you would wish to trample down and

destroy them , and the consequences might tend to seriously involve our

commercial and other interests .

It is fortunate that what is uttered within the office of the Intendant,

cannot be known outside, for should the intelligence once get abroad, the evil

dis: osed and disorderly characters among the people, would as soon as they

heard of it , incite and move the people therewith , and how should we the Sub

prefeet and District Magistrate be able then to control them ? We fear

indeed that your plan is not tended to promote or preserve the existing friendly


As regards the sailors of the grain junks, in consequence of their

employment being stopped by the transportation (of the grain) by sea, they

have lit upon the idea of attempting to obstruct these measures, thus therefore

if you,, the Honourable Consul, in your endeavour to seize the sailors, are the

first to stop the rice vessels of Shanghae, not only do you thereby interfere

with cur amicable relations, but you likewise coalesce with the wishes of the


Already has the Intendant this moment dispatched a special deputy to

convey with all possible haste to the Magistrate of Tsing-poo his orders for the

apprehension of the criminals; but it is impossible that they can be here by

11 o'clock to -morrow , as ten days inust at all events be required for this purpose.

For suppose that a Chinese subject have been beaten by a sailor of your

honourable nation , we should address you, the lionourable Consul, officially on the

subject ; but in consequence of our being ignorant at the time of the name

or surname of the individual, you would require to proceed to examine every

vessel, before you could take steps for settling the affair. More especially

then , in ihe case of Tsing -poo, where the sailors are very numerous, and have

chiefs among them who entertain no fear of death . Therefore, in proceeding

to apprehend any of them , if proper plans be not adopted, a serious outbreak

woull be the result, and further, through Tsing -poo and its vicinity lies one of

the most important thoroughfares for the Chinese merchants, it follows

therefore that if this be obstructed the trade (of Shanghae) must also suffer.

To sun up the whole, if the criminals be seized and punished according to

law, within ten days, the utmost speed will have been employed, and no delay

whatever been shown in affording redress to the Rev. Mi. Medhurst and the

other gentlemen .

Our original intention was to have called upon you in person, but the

rainy weather having stopped our visit, we first proceed to send you this letter.

Should you, the Honourable Consul, have anything to say, you can make us a

reply, and to -morrow , at ten o'clock, we will come to you in person to talk over

the matter .

Whilst writing this, we beg to present our wishes for your increasing

welfare .


Inclosure 17 in No. 49.


Minute of a Conference, held this 15th day of March , 1848, at Her Britannic

Majesty's Consuiate at Shanghae, between his Excellency Heen, the

Taoutae, and Rutherford Alcock , Esq ., Her Majesty's Consul, at which

Brooke Robertson, Esq., Her Majesty's Vice -Consul, Captain Pitman,

commanding Her Majesty's ship “ Childers,” and the Rev. W. H. Medhurst


HIS Excellency Heen the Taoutae, having sent to request an interview

with Her Britannic Majesty's Consul, on the morning of the 15th inst., was

received according to appointment at the Consulate, when the Consul inquired

if the ringleaders in the assault upon three British subjects had been appre

hended .

The Taoutae replied in the negative, and entered into various details to

show that he had written several times, and sent off a Wei-yuen to the

Magistrate at Tsing-poo, urging him to use ail diligence and dispatch to seize

the offenders ; but up to the present time he had received no answer. By to

morrow, probably, something definite would be known, and in the meantime, he

trusted and believed that every exertion was being made, and that the absence of

news merely indicated the difficulty the Magistrate experienced in carrying out

his orders. That these were affairs which required time to manage, and that

it was impossible for him to say the criminals should certainly be seized by the

next day.

The Consul inquired, if the ten days which the Taoutae had mentioned to

the Consuls of other foreign Powers, as the time required for the seizure of the

offenders, were conceded , whether he was prepared to guarantee that at the end

of that period they should be produced.

The Taoutae answered in the negative, urging that all he could undertake

was to do his best to secure their apprehension, but it was a work of time, and

full of difficulty.

The Consul replied that this was most unsatisfactory, and gave him so

little assurance of the determination of the Taoutae to repair the injury

inflicted , by the delay already experienced in apprehending the perpetrators of

an assault threatening the lives of British subjects, that he had no alternative

but to persevere in the measures already taken of stopping the payment of

duties, the sailing of the grain junks, and to reserve to himself the right of

taking such other measures as might seem at any moment expedient to compel

prompt satisfaction and redress.

The Taoutae reiterated his inability to guarantee the apprehension of the

offenders within any fixed period .

The Consul answered that the plea of inability now set up was neither more

nor less than a plea of irresponsibility for any injury or violence that might be

offered to the British by Chinese subjects. It must be clear to the Taoutae,

that there could be no security to life or property compatible with impunity to

those who put them both in peril ; and if the Chinese Government or

authorities could at any time plead the difficulty of controlling their own 1

people as a sufficient answer to a demand for prompt redress by the seizure and

punishment of offenders, the most important provisions of the Treaty of

Nanking were violated , and the Treaty itself became a mockery.

The Taoutae repeated that all he could do had been done, and that there

were difficulties he could not help.

The Consul stated that it only further remained for him to give distinct

notice that he held the Taoutae as the Representative of the Chinese Govern

ment , and the officer at whose hands justice could not be obtained, as

responsible for the expenses entailed by the detention of two brigs of war in

the port, and for any other loss, expense, or injury, which accrue as a

consequence of the measures taken to obtain justice. That for the present, he,

the Consul, would proceed to no act of violence for the enforcementof his just

demands, and if any were offered on the part of Chinese subjects to the British,

he would instantly order into the anchorage, all the armed vessels at Woosung,

and detain them at the Taoutae's cost and expense, until these negotiations


should be satisfactorily determined. The Consul further observed that the

Hae -fang and Che -heen had written the Consul a letter on the preceding day,

in which they had the bad taste to menace him with danger from the people, to

which he had returned no answer ; but he would now state to the Taoutae that

he, the Consul, and his family, would continue where they were in the midst of

the city, without fear, and he was satisfied without danger, the conse

quences of any injury to Her Majesty's Consul in this position, he was

well assured would be too serious, and too immediately and certainly felt by the

inhabitants and city of Shanghae for any such outrage to be contemplated.

The Consul added , in conclusion, that it could scarcely be necessary for

him to state to the Taoutae, that while violence would be met and promptly

resisted from whatever quarter it came, any overt acts of this nature might lead

to the Consul's striking his flag, and withdrawing with his countrymen from the

port, an act under such circumstances which could only be regarded as the

forerunner of worse evils, and the beginning of war .

The conference broke up after a few not very relevant observations from

the Taoutae on the necessity of doing what could be done, and preserving

a good understanding.


Inclosure 18 in No. 49 .

The Taoutae to Consul Alcock.

( Translation .)

A COMMUNICATION, up to four o'clock .

I have neither heard anything of the Wei -yuen, nor of the police, and

others whom I sent to Tsing -poo. I am now, therefore, again sending,

and have this time deputed the Sub -prefect Chin to proceed in person with

all possible despatch to Tsing -poo, and there, in concert with the District

Magistrate and the officer of the division of junks, who will be both under his

command, to take rigorous measures for the apprehension and punishment

of the sailors who caused the disturbances.

I beg to communicate this for your especial information .

March 15, 1848 .

Inclosure 19 in No. 19 .


Shanghae, March 16, 1848 .

THE delay experienced in obtaining redress from the Chinese authorities

for an assult upon three British subjects, from which they only providentially

escaped with their lives, after having been wounded and treated with the

greatest brutality, by a band of grain junk men, none of whom have yet

been seized, has rendered necessary measures on the part of Her Majesty's

Consul, which may require to be enforced by all the means at his disposal.

In this untoward state of affairs, which Her Majesty's Consul sincerely

deplores, as contrary to the best interests of both nations, it is necessary to be

prepared for all contingencies ; and the better to enforce our just claims to prompt

and full reparation , it may be expedient to call upon all Masters commanding

vessels under the British flag, within the jurisdiction of Her Majesty's Consul at

this port, to hold themselves in readiness to leave their anchorage, and support

him as the representative of Her Majesty's Government, in protecting British

interests at this port.

For any detention , loss, or injury, which may accrue to them , should their

services be required in defence of the public interests, Her Majesty's Consul

has notified to his Excellency the Taoutae, that the Chinese Government will be

held responsible .



Inclosure 20 in No. 49 .


Shanghae, March 16, 1848 .

A NOTIFICATION issued this day to the masters of all merchant

vessels under the British flag, within the jurisdiction of Her Majesty's Consul,

calling upon them to be prepared on his requisition to leave their anchorage

for the protection of British interests at this port, is annexed for the infor

mation of the British community.

This is merely a measure of precaution called for under the circumstances,

but one which Her Majesty's Consul sees strong reason to hope it may not be

necessary to act upon. His Excellency the Taoutae has this morning dispatched

the Haefang — the next civil officer in rank to himself — to Tsing-poo. The

Consul having been informed last night that his Excellency had deputedthat

officer to proceed in all haste and, in concert with the Che-heen of that place,

seize the offenders. This is the first evidence wrung from the authorities by the

stringency of the measures adopted, of any determination to meet the just

demands of Her Majesty's Consul for reparation, and he trusts it may be the

forerunner of complete satisfaction .

In the meantime, as a translation of the annexed notification has been

transmitted to the Taoutae, with a letter signifying the consent of Her

Majesty's Consul to wait a short and definite period for the result of the Hae

fang's exertions, there can be little doubt it will suffice to satisfy his Excellency

that this concession of time is not due to any want of determination on the part

of Her Majesty's Consul to follow out to the end the course upon which he has

entered, in defence of Treaty Rights and the best interests of commerce.

(Signed) RUTHERFORD ALCOCK , Consul.

Inclosure 21 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to the Consuls of Foreign Powers at Shanghae.

March 16, 1848 .

THE Undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul, has the honour to

acknowledge the receipt of theofficial communication, signed by M. de Montigny,

Consul de France, E. W. Bates, Esq., United States, America, Consular Agent,

and John Stewart, Esq., Consul de Belgique, and begs to convey to them his

grateful sense ofthe ready andanxious desire theyhave manifested to lend

that support to Her Majesty's Consul in a difficult and embarrassing position,

which the concurrence and full approval of his colleagues on the spot cannot fail

to supply.

The Undersigned does himself the honour of transmitting copy of a

minute of conference with his Excellency the Taoutae, on the 15th instant ,

and he is happy at the same time to state that notwithstanding the apparently

very unsatisfactory result of the interview , the subsequent act of his Excellency

in dispatching the civil officer next in rank to himself to Tsing -poo to

co -operate with the Che-heen of that place, and seize the offenders, would seem

to prove that he had at least been moved to act, with what better success

remains to be seen .

This step, which should bave been taken on the day after the assault took

place, that is on the 9th instant, is the first evidence afforded of any desire or

intention on the part of the authorities to afford reparation, and must be held

conclusive evidence that the measurestaken to compel exertion were imperiously

required by the supineness of the Chinese authorities. L'p to last night no

answer had been received by the Taoutae from the Che -heen of Tsing-poo, and

it is tolerably certain that nothing has hitherto been done.

The Undersigned takes this opportunity of inclosing copies of two

notifications, this day issued respectively to the masters of British vessels and

to the British community. It will, no doubt, be readily understood by the



representatives of other nations. at this port, that this step, on the part of

Her Britannic Majesty's Consul, communicated to the Taoutae in a letter,

announcing a further concession of time, will speak to his Excellency in terms

not to be misunderstood, and prevent his drawing any erroneous conclusions

from the facility with which delay has been admitted . If he should have

contemplated sending the Haefang, merely as a blind to gain time, it may

cause him to alter his intention , and convert a feint into a sustained and

successful effort to execute his duty,, if any real or effective power is in his

hands . In all cases, as a large number of war junks and others filled with

Chinese soldiers have been collected at Woosung to convoy the grain junks, in

the immediate vicinity of some twelve or fourteen merchant vessels at that

anchorage, it has appeared to the Undersigned a necessary measure of precaution.

Should it even prove certain that, without reference to higher authorities, which

fear of disgrace will probably prevent his making, his Excellency the Taoutae

has no adequate means of executing justice upon the grain junk men,

circumstances of danger from inroads of these malcontents, in numbers to

make them formidable, only emboldened by impunity in such an outrage, may

at any moment menace the foreign residents with the most serious perils, their

wealth holding out a strong inducement to attack, even at the risk of hard

blows. In this point of view it has seemed expedient to be prepared for all


The Undersigned avails himself of this occasion to convey to the Consular

authorities who have done him the honour to communicate their sentiments,

and tender the support of their cordial concurrence in the present conjuncture,

the expression of his highest consideration and esteem .


Inclosure 22 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to the Taoutae.

ALCOCK , Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, makes this

communication .

I received your Excellency's note of the 15th instant last night, and learn

that, no answer having been received from Tsing -poo, you had deputed the Sub

prefect (Haefang) to proceed immediately in person to Tsing -poo, and in

conjunction with the District Magistrates of thatplace, and the officer of the

division of junks, to make strict seizure of the sailors who attacked and nearly

murdered three British subjects, and bring them here for punishment.

This step on your Excellency's part II accept as an evidence , and the first

hitherto offered, of your determination really to cause these offenders to be

apprehended . At the same time, the result of the Wei-yuen’s mission confirms

me in the belief that nothing effective has hitherto been done, or attempted, by

the District Magistrate of Tsing-poo.

As a proof of my continued and earnest desire to show the utmost patience

and forbearance compatible with the interests it is my duty to defend, I will

wait a short time to learn the results of the Sub-prefect's mission. If he exerts

himself as the gravity of the circumstance and the importance of the interests

at stake imperatively require , it is impossible that, in three days at the farthest,

he should not succeed in apprehending the chief offenders. I have to request,

therefore, that you, the Honourable Intendant, will, from day to day, keep me

informed of the steps taken by that officer to carry into prompt execution the

orders he has received, that I may show some justification to my own Govern

ment for assenting to any further delay. If no letters containing satisfactory

evidence of the energy and success of his proceedings are received, I must, then,

reluctantly conclude that he, like the District Magistrate, is following out the

bad policy hitherto adopted of doing nothing .

Desiring to act in perfect good faith towards you,, the Honourable Intendant,

I think it right to inform you that I have this day issued a notification to all

masters of vessels under the British flag, within my jurisdiction, to hold them ,


selves and their vessels prepared to leave their anchorage, and support me, as

the Representative of Her Majesty's Government, in protecting British interests

at this port .

A necessary communication .

March 16, 1848 .

Inclosure 23 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to the Rev. W'. Medhurst.

Sir , Shanghae, March 14 , 1848 .

UNDER present circumstances, it seems very desirable that Her Majesty's

Government should have full and correct information on the chances incurred

of creating crowds to the detriment of the public peace, by Missionaries

engaged in distributing tracts, and preaching to the Chinese in the villages or

towns within the limits of a day's excursion .

Whether such asssemblages of Chinese as are likely to collect round a

Missionary can be regarded as wholly without danger of disturbance or other

inconvenience to the public, of whichthe local authorities might justly complain ,

is chiefly to be determined by practical experience of what has hitherto taken

place under similar circumstances ; and as your experience has been great,

and I am satisfied your testimony will be conscientious, I beg to refer to you

for such information as it may be in your power to afford .

I have, &c.


Inclosure 24 in No. 49.

The Rev. W. Medhurst to Consul Alcock.

Sir, Shanghae, March 15, 1848 .

IN reply to your communication of yesterday's date, II beg leave to state,

that for the last three or four years II have been in the habit of preaching to

large numbers of the Chinese, first in my own house, and latterly in a chapel

built for that purpose in the city of Shanghae, in which have sometimes been

assembled about 500 people, and I have never observed anything but the

greatest decorum and stillness during the service, and when the exercises have

been concluded, the people have invariably dispersed in the greatest order and

quietness to their respective homes.

I have also been in the habit of preaching in the various towns and cities

within the limits of a day's journey from Shanghae, at which places I have

often given notice of my approach a day or two previously ,by means of notices

stuck up on the walls ; and have found the people assembling by hundreds to

hear, in some square or open place, where passengers could not be incom

modated, and at the conclusion of the service they have either quietly

have never,,

dispersed, or opened a way through the crowds for me to retire. I have

on these occasions, met with the slightest insult or interruption ; on the

contrary, the people have been disposed to treat me with respect, and to approve

generally of what I advanced for their instruction.

As to the distribution of tracts, I have invariably found them to be eagerly

received, and the only trouble has been the too great anxiety of the people to

obtain them ; so that we are compelied to distribute them carefully from shop

to shop to those who seem able to read, and cannot attempt to give them away

in the face of a crowd, for fear of the tracts being pulled in pieces through the

eagerness of the people to obtain them .

As it regards the visit to Tsing-poo, on the 8th instant, I may further

observe, that no preaching was attempted on account of the turbulent

disposition manifested by the grain junk men, who from the first moment of

our arrival there, sought to create a disturbance that they might have some

pretext for setting upon us afterwards and robbing us.



I may add, that this disposition of the grain junk men to insult and annoy

us, on the occasion above alluded to, must have been the result of the

dissatisfied and reckless state of their minds this year, as being now out of

employ, with their claims upon the Chinese Government still unadjusted ; for

we have in a former year distributed tracts among the same class of men on

their own junks at Tsing - poo, and have been received with the greatest

cordiality and good will .

I have, Sici

(Signed ) W. H. MEDHURST .

Inclosure 25 in No. 49 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Shanghae, March 18, 1848.

I HAVE the honour to inclose copy of a communication received last

night from the Taoutae and my reply thereto. The reported seizure of two of

the grain junk men implicated, and the escape of the chief offenders is of course

worthy of no credence . It is merely the excuse for an experiment to see how far

his Excellency may venture to send down the grain junks, which I have warned

him not to attempt .

I do not think his Excellency will push his experiments far enough to be

dangerous, nor is it at all likely that he will find either the owners or the crew

of the junks disposed to run the slightest risk . II am still disposed to believe

that if the Taoutae chose to exert himself, he could find means of producing

the chief criminals .

I have, &c .


Inclosure 26 in No. 49 .

Mr. Bonham to Consul Alcock.

Sir, Victoria , Hong Kong, March 23 , 1848.

I HAVE this instant received your despatches of the 17th and 18th

instant with their respective inclosures.

Considering the instructions with which you have been furnished from the

Foreign Office, dated December 18, 1846, and the limited power and duties of

a Consul, I cannot but express my regret that you should have taken the steps

you have seen fit to do, without previous reference to Her Majesty's

Plenipotentiary, as undoubtedly under the peremptory orders recently received

from Her Majesty's Government, I should not have considered myself

warranted in sanctioning any acts of an aggressive nature, whereby the

peaceable relations at present existing between Her Majesty's and the Chinese

Governmentcould be by possibilityendangered, and it cannot be concealed,

that if the Taoutae of Shanghae, cannot or will not apprehend the principal

offenders engaged in this transaction, and the Chinese grain boats attempt to

uphold their undoubted right of pursuing their ordinary avocations, and of

proceeding on their intended voyage, that arupture must ensue.

From the Taoutae's note, however, of the 17th instant, it appears that two

of the culprits implicated in this transaction have been apprehended and

punished, and that further steps are in progress to apprehend others . I am in

hopes, therefore, that before this despatch reaches you , such redress may have

been afforded on behalf of the Chinese authorities, as will enable you without

compromise to allow the grain junks to leave the river.

You will gather from this communication that I am particularly desirous

that this question, as respects the Taoutae and yourself, should be brought to a

speedy conclusion, when I shall take such further steps in conjunction with the

Imperial Commissioner as may appear desirable for its final adjustment.

In the meanwhile, however, I feel that it would be extremely impolitic to

make any retrogade movement, which would no doubt be viewed by the Chinese


authorities as a concession on our part. I am therefore, reluctantly compelled

t abstain from giving you any positive directions for your conduct on this

emergency, as I fear, should I attempt it, that I might probably add to the

difficulties and embarrassments with which you are already beset

As I only took charge of this office yesterday, I have considered it proper

to show my able predecessor this despatch , and he has authorized me to say he

perfectly agrees in the sentiments it contains.

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM,

Inclosure 27 in No. 49 .

The Taoutae to Consul Alcock.

( Translation .) March 17, 1848.

AT six o'clock to -day, a special messenger arrived from the Sub -prefect,

Chin, bringing a letter to the effect that two of the sailors implicated in the

disturbance had already been seized, who being examined by the District

Magistrate of Tsing -poo, deposed that they had asssisted the riot, but still were

not the principal parties concerned in it ; they have now been put in the cangue

and flogged.

It is reported thatthe principal offenders have allescaped to other places,

and the officer of the division hasalready proceeded himself in pursuit, in order

that they may be seived with rigour. The Sub -prefect, Chin, will still stay at

Tsing-poo, as it is imperative that they be apprehended and severely punished .

This shows that measures are really and sincerely being taken for the adjust

ment of the affair, and I may therefore request that you, the Honourable Consul,

will set your mind at rest about it.

With regard to the rice vessels who are transporting the grain by sea,

several hundred of them have now been collected, and in the course of one or

two days they will weigh and proceed. I must trouble you, the Honourable

Consul, not on any account, to obstruct them, as this step might involve our

amicable relations.

While writing this, II present my wishes for your unceasing prosperity, and

await your answer.

13th day ( 17th March), 8 P.M.

Inclosure 28 in No. 49.

Consul Alcock to the Taoutae.

ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, makes this com

munication in reply.

You, the Honourable Taoutae, inform me that two of the sailors implicated

in the disturbance at Tsing -poo had already been seized, that they confessed to

having assisted the riot, but still were not the principal parties concerned in it,

and that they have been put into the cangue and flogged.

You also inform me that it is reported the principal offenders have all

escaped, but that the officer of the division has been sent in pursuit.

Nothing can bemore unsatisfactory than the whole statement. It appears,

notwithstanding the inability to seize these grain junk men hitherto professed,

that you, the Honourable Taoutae, when you really determine to do so, can

apprehend them, since you have at last caused the seizure of two of their

number. It is quite evident then, that the chief offenders might also have been

seized from the first,had your Excellency caused rigorousand prompt measures

to be taken . Now if it be true that they have been allowed to escape, they

must be followed and apprehended . But I repeat, that unless brought down

to Shanghae, where they can be identified and punished in the presence of one

of my officers, no adequate redress will have been afforded , and I consider any

reported seizures or punishments at Tsing -poo as of no account.

When I see any of the ringleaders actually here, who can be identified, I


shall be satisfied that measures are really and sincerely being taken for the

adjustment of the affair in a satisfactory manner, and not until then .

With regard to the rice junks, I have already officially notified to you that

the commanding officer of Her Majesty's ships had peremptory orders to stop

any grain junk attempting to pass down the river, and if they would not turn

back on being warned, or if they resisted, to fire into them. I strongly

recommend you not to try the experiment of forcing the passage for these

junks, or they will find to their cost and peril that these orders will be most

thoroughly andeffectually carried out. When you have afforded redress by

seizing the chief offenders, guilty of a murderous assault upon peaceable British

subjects, and brought them here , then I will give different orders.

In the meantime, I have only again to repeat that the grain junks shall

not leave this river until I have obtained justice for the committed outrage. I

have reported the steps taken to Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary, and if you, the

Honourable Taoutae, are rash enough to risk collision with our armed vessels

before I can receive his Excellency's instructions, the consequences of any mischief

that may ensue be upon your head and not mine. I am most anxious to avoid

any act of violence, but if you compel me to resort to it, the fault is yours, and

I warn you in the strongest terms, that no grain junk will be permitted to leave

the river at the present time.

A necessary communication .

March 18, 1848 .

No. 50 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .—( Received May 24.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong, March 29, 1848 .

MY last despatch on the subject of Shanghae affairs was dated the 25th

instant, since which a vessel has arrived from that port, without bringing me

any despatches from the Consul, and I have therefore requested the Senior

Naval Officer to permit Her Majesty's steamer “ Fury ,'' to proceed to Shanghae,

for the purpose of carrying my despatches, and, by her appearance, of strength

ening Mr. Alcock's position, by affording him countenance and support.

Having reperused Mr. Alcock's despatch of the 17th instant, and

more fully considered the matter, the more am I satisfied that I should incur

your Lordship’s displeasure were I to permit the peaceable relations existing

between the two nations to be compromised on this occasion ; and, I trust, my

second letter of the 27th instant will convince the Consul of the propriety of

bringing the present misunderstanding to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion,

Mr. Alcock appears to conceive that the Missionary gentlemen had not

exceeded their limits by proceeding to Tsing-poo, but, by reference to the

inclosed sketch, your Lordship will perceive that this place is half -way between

Shanghae and the large city of Soo -chow -foo, and ninety -six le, or thirtymiles,,

from the former place; it certainly , therefore, seems to me doubtful whether

it was ever intended that British subjects should perform journeys of this sort

the original intention of defining the time that they should be permitted to be

absent from their respective Consulates, being simply to enable them to enjoy

exercise and recreation within a moderate distance of their port or place of

residence .

With this view of the case, I have it in contemplation to instruct the

Consuls, in conjunction with the Chinese authorities, to endeavour, if possible,

to define the limits allowed for the purposes of recreation and exercise by space

or boundary, instead of by time, as at present, which will tend to the prevention

of misapprehension and abuse.

The “ Fury ” will leave this harbour in an hour.

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM.


Inclosure 1 in No. 50.

Mr. Bonham to Consul Alcock.

Sir, Victoria, Hong Kong, March 27, 1848.

THE brig “ Denia,” having arrived from Shanghae, which place she left on

the 20th instant, without bringing me any further communications from

yourself on the state of affairs at your Consulate, I am led to believe that

matters are much in the same state as when your despatch of the 18th instant

was written .

I have, since my letter of the 23rd instant, had further time for the

consideration of your despatches, and under all the circumstances of the case,

and pending the receipt of replies from tlie Foreign Office to my predecessor's

letters respecting the Hwang -chu -ke catastrophe, I feel more strongly than ever

the necessity of discouraging any offensive operations being taken against the

Chinese, which may embroilthe two nations in hostilities, without the previous

sanction of Her Majesty's Government.

From the Taoutae’s note to you, forming an inclosure in your letter

of the 18th instant, two of the principal parties concerned in this transac

tion are reported to have been punished. It would undoubtedly have been

more satisfactory if these persons had been punished at Shanghae, or in the

presence of some constituted British authority, but, as matters now stand, all

I can countenance is for you to continue to call on the Taoutae to punish any

others of these criminals he can apprehend, for I again repeat that from recent

instructions from Her Majesty's Government, I am strictly forbidden from

engaging in any offensive operations against the Chinese authorities .

Under these circumstances you will, as early as you possibly can, bring this

question between the Taoutae and yourself to a close, and you will, of course,

abstain from making any further representation to any of the higher authorities

alluded to in your letter, which I consider to be one which must be finally

arranged between the Imperial Commissioner and myself.

I forward this and my other despatch by Her Majesty's steamer “ Fury,”

and as her presence may possibly tend to induce the Chinese authorities to

bring this question to a satisfactory conclusion, I have no objection to your

requesting Captain Wilcox to remain with you for aa few days, if you should be

of opinion that she will have the effect suggested ; otherwise, you will inform

that officerhe can return to Hong Kong as soon as he sees fit, as I have it in

contemplation to request her services to convey me to an interview with the

Chinese High Commissioner at an early period.

I have, & c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM.

Inclosure 2 in No. 50.

Sketch showing the Position of Tsing -poo.

No. 51 .

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

Sir , Foreign Office, May 29, 1848.

IN reply to Sir John Davis's despatch of the 13th of March, I have to

acquaint you that Mr. Bird was quite right not to interfere with reference

to the affray which occurred between some Americans and Chinese at Whampoa,

on the 6th of that month .

I am , &c.

( Signed ) PALMERSTON.


No. 52 .

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Foreign Office, May 29, 1848.

I HAVE to acquaint you that I approve of the answer returned by

Sir John Davis, as reported in his despatch of the 4th of March, to the

note from Keying , of the 29th of February, calling for the punishment of a

man from Manilla, accused of having committed murder at Woosung.

I am, &c.

( Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 53.

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received June 21. )

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, April 10, 1848.

ON the 1st instant, the Acting Consul at Canton reported to me that an

unprovoked assault had been committed by some Chinese on Messrs. Bowman and

Johnson, two British subjects, while proceeding up a creek on the side of the river

opposite to Canton, and within aa mile of the factories. This morning I had the

gratification to receive the inclosures Nos. 1 and 2, by which your Lordship

will perceive that the matter has been promptly arranged, and the culprits


The Imperial Commissioner having, in the correspondence with Mr. Elmslie,

made some attempt to defend the aggression, on the ground of the English

gentlemen not having been accompanied by policemen and linguists, I

addressed a letter to bis Excellency on the subject, of which I inclose a copy,

and of the reply that I received thereto.

It is satisfactory to observe that redress has, in this instance, been afforded

by Seu, the Acting


Imperial Commissioner, more speedily than on any former

similar nature.

of aa

I have, &c .

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM.

Inclosure 1 in No. 53 .

Acting Consul Elmslie to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Canton, April 8 , 1848.

I HAVE the honour to inform your Excellency that two culprits, alleged to

have been concerned in the assault on Messrs. Bowman and Johnson, were

yesterday morning brought to this Consulate, wearing the cangue, having

the nature of their offence written upon it.

The offenders were conveyed up the river in a boat, landed at the garden

steps, paraded through the British factory and back streets, and finally set

down in the largest suburban thoroughfare ( opposite the Consoo House), where

they remained exposed inthe cangue till sunset.

That the people at Honan may know of the punishment inflicted on the

two delinquents, I insisted upon their being taken to the bridge to -day, where

the assault was committed, and there exposed in the cangue till evening ; this

demand was positively refused, on the ground that the people there were

exceedingly “obstinate and ferocious.” Your Excellency's despatch, however,

to the Imperial Commissioner arrived very opportunely, and I was thus enabled

to carry the point.

By the inclosed note from the Imperial Commissioner, your Excellency

will learn the sentences passed on the offenders. Mr. Meadows and myself

visited them yesterday at different periods, and found they were undergoing the

punishment awarded.


I requested Mr. Meadows to proceed to Honan this morning, for the

purpose of ascertaining the fact as to the punishment of the culprits being

inflicted as promised, and have much satisfaction in forwarding to your

Excellency that gentleman's report.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 53.

Report by Mr. Meadows. :)

Canton , April 8, 1848 .

I FOUND the two men, Chin -a - te and Le-a-lae, in cangues, under

the charge of the police, in an open space about fifty yards from thebridge, the

scene of the assault on Messrs . Bowman and Johnson .

The labels on the cangues stated distinctly that they were undergoing

punishment for having “ assaulted foreigners.”

I found them surrounded by a number of onlookers , and neither from

them, nor from any other persons in the street which I had to walk down for

about 100 yards, did I experience any molestation . I also passed twice under

the bridge without suffering the leastinsult or annoyance .


Inclosure 3 in No. 53 .

Mr. Bonham to Commissioner Seu .

Victoria, Hong Kong, April 5, 1848.

I SOME days since received a despatch from the Consul at Canton,

stating that a very violent assault had been committed by some Chinese on two

British subjects, who were passing on their lawful avocations up the Kee-ya

Creek, and that he had called on your Excellency to investigate the matter, and

to cause the offenders to be punished.

I confess that I expected to have heard that your Excellency had at once

done what was so obviously requisite—that the culprits had been seized at once

and punished, and that the matter had been thus properly settled.

But I have this day received a second letter from the Consul, inclosing me

a copy of your Excellency's letter to him, dated 3rd April, wherein you ask, if

the two Englishmen were accompanied by policemen and linguists, to enable

you to examine and to deal with the case.

Now, I would bring to your Excellency’s notice that,whether these British

subjects were or were not attended by a policeman and linguist, I consider it

the duty of the Chinese Government toafford them protection against acts of

gross violence of the description complained of ; and if such protection be not

afforded, and miscreants punished who commit such acts, a second catastrophe

similar to that which lately took place at Hwang-chu-ke may be expected..

If such acts of violence and bloodshed are again committed, will not the

harmony and good feeling which ought to exist between our respective Govern

ments be endangered ;; and may not hostilities ultimately ensue ?

I have already observed, that I conceive whenever British subjects are

wantonly assaulted or insulted they have a right to expect redress, whether

attended by linguists or otherwise. In this instance I am not aware that they

were so accompanied; and if not, it assuredly was not necessary that they should

be guarded by police to proceed about half aa mile from their place of residence ;

and had not your Excellency mooted the question, I should have considered it

an insult to your nation to suppose that the authorities under your Excellency

cannot afford protection to a couple of peaceable foreignerswithin a mile of

their residence,without their beingaccompanied by policemen.

If, moreover, it were necessary to be so accompanied on occasions like the

present, where people were not going into the interior for recreation or exercise,

but were engaged in mercantile pursuits, it will shortly be also requisite for



English merchants going to China merchants and shopkeepers in the neigh

bouring streets to be similarly guarded. Under such circumstances it is clear

the trade of the two nations could not exist .

It is necessary, to prevent ultimate misapprehension, that we should clearly

understand one another, and I hope to hear, in reply, that your Excellency has

caused the Chinese, who wantonly assaulted two British subjects in a manner

which might have easily caused their death, to be publicly punished in an

exemplary manner , and in the presence of British subjects.

Accept, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM.

Inclosure 4 in No. 53.

Commissioner Seu to Mr. Bonham.


SEU, High Imperial Commissioner, &c., sends the following reply to a

communication of the Honourable Envoy, respecting the outrage committed by

some Chinese on Johnson and Bowman, two British subjects, and the appoint

ment of policemen to accompany them for their protection, which he fully

perused .

When Consul Elmslie informed me of this case, that Johnson and another

had been wounded with stones, which some Chinese threw at them , I ordered

the Pwan -yu Magistrate to proceed against the aggressors. He subsequently

seized two, Le-a-lae and Chin -a -te, who confessed that they were propelling a

grass -boat on the river,near the Hwang -choo bridge, and, being pressed by the

vessels astern, a quarrel ensued . Lee-a-lae took up and threw at them stones,

and in this manner happened to wound the foreigners, which he could not deny.

Le -a- lae and Chin -a -tae will therefore wear the cangue, at the spot where

the offence occurred, as a warning to the multitude ; and when their time expires

they will be beaten, and thus be disposed of.

I, the Great Minister, communicated the above for the information of

Consul Elmslie, as is on record .

If any foreigners wish in ordinary cases to go to the streets in the neigh

bourhood , or to the warehouses, it would be perfectly useless to insist upon the

attendance of linguists and policemen. Only when they are making excursions

for their recreation, policemen and linguists should be sent to follow them , and

afford protection, according to the regulations that have been established, in

order to avoid any disagreeable consequences. As Consul Elmslie did not state

to me the object of Johnson's and his companion's going out, nor whether they

had a linguist and policeman with them, I made inquiries to that effect. This

I did with the intention to ascertain whether the runners had done their duty,

or shown themselves careless, and never hinted that foreigners ought to be

attended by policemen to the nearest streets.

Whilst forwarding this answer, I wish you much happiness .

Taou -kang, 28th year,, 3rd month, 5th day. (April 8, 1848. )

No. 54 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .- ( Received June 21.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, April 12, 1848.

IN continuation of my despatches of the 25th and 29th ultimo, I have

now the honour to submit for your Lordship’s information two further

despatches from Mr. Consul Alcock of the 25th and 31st ultimo, detailing

his further proceedings to ensure redress for the violence committed on the

three Missionaries at Tsing -poo.

Mr. Alcock’sletter of the 31st ultimowill convey to yourLordship the gratifying

intelligence that all his demands on the Chineseauthorities have been complied


with, and that everything at Shanghae has at present a peaceable appearance,

and I have little doubt that the Consul’s energetic demonstration on the occasion

will tend materially not only to ensure the peaceable relations hitherto existing

at that port between the two Governments, but at the three other northern

ports likewise.

As Mr. Alcock had commenced his negotiation with the Chinese authorities,

previously to my relieving Sir John Davis, and has since, as far as I can judge,

brought it to a most successful termination, without any possible intervention

on my part, I have no particular remark to make which could be of any service,

in addition to those already set forth in that gentleman's very voluminous and

able reports .

But there is one point to which I would beg to invite your Lordship’s

attention . In Mr. Alcock's letter of 31st March, he says, 6“ that from the

proceeds of the ship's duties, which have been kept back during the fifteen

days' embargo, he purposes to liquidate certain claims alleged to be due to

British subjects,” &c.

This intention on the part of the Consul seems to be open to very serious

objections, from the opportunity it affords of enabling the Chinese authorities

to misrepresent the real facts of this case, and likewise to be calculated to

impair the high position he has so successfully assumed throughout the whole of

this controversy, and I have therefore thought it my duty to acquaint

Mr. Alcock with my views on this subject, which I hope may prove to be in

unison with your Lordship’s.

Complete redress having been afforded on this occasion, on the part of the

Chinese authorities, through the able negotiation and strenuous exertions of

Mr. Alcock, it may perhaps appear invidous in my alluding to my former letters

to that gentleman, wherein I stated I thought he had exceeded the authority

intended to have been reposed in the Consuls generally. I, nevertheless, think

it my duty to advert to them, as probably Mr. Alcock's success on this occasion

may embolden less competent gentlemen to follow in his steps, should

circumstances of a similar nature arise at their Consulates, which may from

various causes probably not result in the same satisfactory manner ; and hence

I am desirous of receiving your Lordship's views and orders on this subject

generally, that I may not unnecessarily interfere with the Consuls, if it be

intended that they should exercise the extended powers acted onby Mr. Consul

Alcock on this occasion, and at the same time become aware of the extent of

my own responsibilities.

I have, &c .

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM.

Inclosure 1 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Davis.

Sir, Shanghae, March 25 , 1848.

REFERRING to my despatch of the 17th instant, I have the lionour

to inclose a further correspondence with the Chinese authorities, and minutes

of a conference, which will inform your Excellency of the progress of the

negotiations up to the present date.

On the 18th instant, finding that the Taoutae had issued a public

Proclamation to the grain junk owners on the 15th instant (after he had seen

me in the morning and disclaimed all intention of moving the junks), calling

upon them at once to sail out by twos and threes, and that a number of junks

were actually prepared to start by the next tide, I issued a Notice, copy of

original and translation is inclosed, marked No. 2, and took care that it was

circulated throughout the grain junks, warning the owners and sailors that no

Government grain junks would be allowed to pass Her Majesty's ship

“ Childers” in the lower anchorage. I took this step with great reluctance,

but the bad faith of the Taoutae, and the necessity, as far as possible,

of averting any collision, seemed to me both to justify and make it


This was well received by the junk men, and appeared to be not only



thoroughly understood but acquiesced in. I received aa visit from the Che-heen

shortly afterwards, urging me to let the first detachment of junks sail, lest the

Taoutae should be seriously compromised . This seems to indicate the belief of

the authorities, for the first time, that the course of action adopted would be

carried through until the end was attained, and that serious consequences to

themselves must follow .

The succeeding morning, the 19th instant, at a very early hour, the

Taoutae came to the Consulate, apparently with the view of appealing to my

feelings. I assured him that I bore no personal ill will in the matter ; but

satisfied that British interests, and life and property were compromised by the

neglect manifested in the seizure of the offenders, I could not for a moment

contemplate abandoning the position taken to enforce such just demands .

Evidently nothing but subterfuge and delay was now to be expected from

the Taoutae ; and the time appeared to have arrived for carrying an appealto a

higher authority, and by that means provide for the withdrawal, within a short

and limited period, of the embargo on the grain junks, the indefinite

prolongation of which was to be avoided, if possible, lest injury to the junk

owners might ultimately create a bad feeling among the people, who, I had

reason to believe, hitherto regarded my demands as just in themselves, and

the whole affair a question with the authorities in which they were little

interested .

I therefore determined , without further delay, on sending a statement

(copy of which is inclosed marked No. 3) addressed to the Governor -General

at Nanking, with the whole of the Chinese correspondence, claiming that redress

which I could not obtain from the Taoutae, and requesting that a delegate of

rank might be sent down to institute the necessary inquiries on the spot, and

take the most rigorous and effective measures to seize the ringleaders.

In my letter, marked No. 4, to the Senior Naval Officer, Captain Pitman,

requesting that a passage to Nanking might be afforded the Vice -Consul and

Interpreter in one of Her Majesty's ships, I explain fully the grounds upon

which I held such a measure expedient.

Captain Pitman's answer, No. 5, placing Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle ”

at my disposal conveys his full concurrence in the expediency of the measure,

and his conviction of its importance for the protection of British interests at

this port.

Mr. Vice - Consul Robertson's instructions are marked No. 6. lle is

therein directed to deliver my statement to the Governor-General in person ,

and if possible to secure the dispatch of a delegate of rank before the

“ Espiègle ” returned.

Any further delay I conceived would only complicate matters. The arrival

of men to personate the offenders was to be expected; and in the event of mis

chievous efforts on the part of the authorities to stir up the junk owners and

others to force the passage of the river for the grain boats, impatient under the

idea of an indefinite period of delay, I felt the dispatch of the brig would give

me the means of arresting any proceedings of the nature indicated, both on

the part of the authorities and the people, by announcing a reference to

Nanking and the speedy arrival of an answer from the Governor -General.

These expectations have been fully realized . On the 21st instant I

received, inclosure No. 7, a letter from the Taoutaeannouncing the return of

the Haefang with two of the ringleaders. My reply, No. 8, informed him that

I would bring the three parties who had beenattacked to identify the prisoners

the following day:

The inclosed minute of the interview , No. 9, will show the silly imposition

attempted. One man was certainly not the party he pretended to be ; and in

all probability the other merely personated for a certain sum one of the real


The week since the departure of the “ Espiègle ” has been one continued

struggle on the part of the authorities, by every kind of subterfuge and

maneuvre, to extricate the grain junks, at the same time that they officially

coinmunicated to me the absence of all efforts or intention on their part. At

first some of the junks already laden were sent down, when these were turned

back, junks partially laden with grain, and covered over with cotton or bricks

tried to pass; finally, a number of empty junks were dispatched, and these

being allowed to pass, the next tide brought down from twenty to thirty small


boats covered over with bricks, &c., but laden with grain , for the purpose of

loading the empty junks in the reach below.

The duty of stopping such a number of boats and junks is of course

harassing, and some few no doubt may have escaped, but the number is so

small that, compared with the large fleet of some 500 now ready for sea, the

Taoutae's position cannot have been improved. No collision or injury has

resulted from these attempts, which are simply wearisome.

On the 23rd instant I received a deputation from the junk owners and

others, who desired to represent to me that further detention would be injurious

to them , and Itook the opportunity of pointing out to them that the outrage

offered in the first instance, and the subsequent impunity of the offenders, was

so far from being a small affair, as I had understood some of them represented

it in comparison with the detention of 1,000 junks, that a repetition of such

injuriesmust tend to a renewal of hostilities, which, as a grievous calamity to

them , I was very anxious to avert by the much milder measure of detaining

for a time, until redress was afforded, the Government grain in the river.

Having learned the evening before that intelligence had been received at

the Taoutae's office of the sailing up the Yang-tsze -keang of an European

vessel, I no longer felt any hesitation, considering also that aa four days' start

had been obtained, in relieving the minds of the junk holders, by informing

them that in a few days a ship from Nanking would return , bringing I presume

the answer of the Governor -General, to whom the whole matter had been

referred, at which they expressed the most unequivocal satisfaction, anticipating

the certain termination of all further difficulty as a necessary result , and

apparently the removal of the Taoutae suggested itself to their minds, as a

further subject of congratulation.

An hour previously I had given the same information to the Taoutae

(No. 10), who replied on the 24th (No. 11), agreeing that it was necessary to

at patiently the results of my communication to the Governor -General, and

tempting to persuade me that all the vessels and boats daily proceeding

down the river with grain formed no portion of that which was destined for


I learn that the Nea-tae , or Provincial Judge, has arrived from Soo -chow

at Tsing -poo, and he reports that he has actually apprehended two of the chief

offenders , while the Canton merchant, known as Sam - qua, has made his

appearance here, and tells me he has been sent in haste by the Lieutenant

Governor at Soo-chow, to assure me that the Lieutenant -Governor regards with

great displeasure the Taoutae’s conduct in the recent affair, and to invite

me, in communication with the Nea- tae, to devise some equitable mode of


As Sam -qua is not accredited by any letter or document addressed to me

from the Lieutenant-Governor, I can only consider him , notwithstanding his

purchased official rank, as unauthorized to enter into any official communication.

His object appears to be to obtain the sailing of the grain junks, upon the

production of two offenders, under guarantee of the Provincial Judge, that the

remainder shall be seized within a given time, while he also affirms that as soon

as the affair has ceased to attract so much attention, the Taoutae will be

removed .

For such a termination I am prepared to treat, as probable the best attain

able, and if even two of the real offenders can be identified and punished, the

object I had in view, when I first insisted upon redress, will have been accom

plished. An example of the serious consequences of injury to British subjects,

with refusal of redress will have been made, which, taking into consideration all

the attendant circumstances, must, I am satisfied, have the best effect, both at

Shanghae, and in the country.

The bulk of the people, as I have previously stated, are peaceably enough

disposed while the fear of consequ nces is over them : but it was necessary to

prove to the ill-disposed among them , and to the junk population more espe

cially, that no difficulty would be allowed to stand in the way of redress for such

an outrage as British subjects had suffered in this instance, and that even if the

local authorities were disposed to hold back , means would be found, through

their own superior officers, of enforcing more rigorous measures.

I see much reason to believe that this will be attained without injurious

collision or loss, either to the foreign community or the Chinese at this port,


and, in that case, I am sanguine in the hope that permanent benefit may be

the result.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 54 .

Notification .

( Translation .)

ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul, notifies the following to all the

owners of rice junks now at anchor in the Hwang - poo, and others, for their full

information .

Three British subjects were lately murderously attacked and plundered at

Tsing-poo by a number of grain junk men ; the authorities have delayed from day

to day, merely looking idly around them , neither prosecuting nor adjusting the

matter according to the laws, I , the Consul, am , therefore, obliged to compel

them to afford redress, and, therefore, none of the above vessels can leave the

port with rice until the affair has been satisfactorily arranged.

But as I would not wish that any injury be intlicted upon the good people,

I first make this known by notification . From the date of this notice let none

of you, junk owners, or others, move your vessels. Should you offer any opposi

tion, then the vessel of war of my nation, now in the river, will open her great

guns , and you will be involved in misery of your own seeking. Say not that I

gave you not timely notice.

A special notification .

Dated 14th day of the 2nd month of the Woo -shin year. (March 18, 1848.)

Inclosure 3 in No. 54.

Consul Alcock to the Governor- General of Nanking.

ALCOCK , Consul, & c . , makes this statement :

On the Sth instant three British subjects, Mr. Medhurst, Mr. Lockhart,

and Mr. Muirhead, Missionaries of the English nation, were on an excursion to

Tsing-poo , within the limits assigned at this port, and while peaceably distri

buting their tracts to those who desired to have them , were assailed with stones,

and pressed upon by some grain junk men . Seeing that these men were

disposed to seek some pretext for creating a disturbance , my countrymen, very

properly, determined on immediately leaving the city, that no injury might arise

to any one ; and, being able to speak the language, they remonstrated with the

men, and were allowed to pass through the crowd, and out of the city, without


When on their way to the boat by the side of the canal, they heard behind

a number of men shouting, and on turning saw some twenty or thirty grain junk

men armed with swords, chains, clubs, hoes, &c . , who, as they approached,

threatened with furious gestures to kill them .

My countrymen being but three in number, and, moreover, peaceable and

inoffensive, desiring above all things to avoid violence to themselves or others,

seeing these men too excited to listen to reason, ran for their lives in the hope

of regaining their boat.

This was soon found to be impossible , and they accordingly stood still ;

and, when their pursuers came up, it was found that they were another set of

grain junk men, and not those with whom they had remonstrated in the city.

They were asked why they thus pursued and threatened peaceable foreigners,

and were answered that one of the grain junk men had been killed in the city,

and they would now kill the foreigners.

With no better pretext than this miserable falsehood, the ruffians fell upon

my countrymen with all their weapons, felled them to the ground, wounding two

of them in the head, and severely injuring all, without regard to the white hairs

of the most aged of the party, whom they beat, kicked, and trampled on with


the greatest barbarity. Not a blow was struck by the British ; and in return

for all the ill -treatment they received, believing their lives would be taken with

the same atrocity as had been displayed at Canton so recently, they merely

endeavoured, by entreaty and remonstrance, to soften the hearts of their

assailants. One man several times, armed with a sword, attempted to drag

Mr. Lockhart down, threatening to cut off his head ; but, fortunately, Mr. Lockhart

struggled, and kept his feet.

When they had been completely crippled, and disabled from offering, if

they had desired, the slightest resistance, they were plundered of watches,

spectacles, and whatever they had about them, including part of their clothes ;

and when nothing more was to be obtained, the junk men consulted whether

they should kill them on the spot, or take them to the grain junks on the other

side of the city, and there hold them prisoners for a large ransom .

As Mr. Medhurst and Mr. Lockhart understood their language, all this

was clearly heard.

The majority appeared to decide on taking them to the grain junks, and

when on their way, and near to the city, some of the Che-heen's men mingled

with them ; and when the party arrived at a bridge leading to the eity gate, a

difference of opinion existing among the grain junk men whether their prisoners

should be taken through the city, or round on the outside, the latter, aided by

the police runners, and surrounded by a number of peaceable citizens, managed

to escape to the other side, and so entered the city. They were taken through

the streets, covered with blood, their clothes rent, and their bodies covered with

contusions. They were seen in this pitiable state by thousands of the well

disposed inhabitants, who could not help expressing sympathy and sorrow for

those who had suffered such unprovoked violence.

On arriving at the Che -heen's, that officer received them with civility,

promised immediately to have the guilty parties apprehended, and the stolen

property restored ; and after they had somewhat recovered, he sent them to

their boat, and on to Shanghae, with an escort, where they arrived, and aid

their complaint before me, with all the evidence of the murderous nature of the

attack .

After careful examination, it is quite certain that the only shadow of

provocation for any angry feeling was a slight scratch oa the face, received from

the end of Mr. Lockhart's stick, who with his back to the crowd, in stretching

out his arms trying thus peaceably to prevent the crowd of junk men, who were

pressing forward and hustling him , froin injuring his more aged companion in

front, inadvertently grazed the cheek of a sailor.

But the party who attacked were not even the same men, and nothing can

be more certain than the fact that these ruffians, without any plea or pretext

whatever, determined to fall upon the defenceless foreigners for the purpose of

either plundering or murdering them , or both .

Before the officers returned to Tsing -poo on the 9th instant, I saw his

Excellency the Taoutae, and bringing before him the enormity of the crime

committed, and the certain insecurity to British life that must result, if so

grievous an outrage, seen by thousands, were allowed to pass without full and

immediate redress, I urged the necessity of the most prompt and vigorous

measures being taken to seize a few of the principal offenders without delay,

that they might be brought here to be identified, and afterwards punished

according to law.

It is now twelve days since the outrage was committed, and not one of

these criminals have been seized.

Perceiving that redress was not afforded, that all my remonstrances failed

in procuring the seizure of the offenders, I called upon his Excellency the

Taoutae on the 13th instant ( the 5th day after the occurrence ), pointed out to

him that delay, under such circumstances, could only be looked upon as a

denial of justice, and was not only calculated to exercise the most disastrous

influence upon our relations at this port, but directly to compromise both life

and property. Finding that really nothing had, up to that time, been effected,

I reluctantly notified the necessity I was under of stopping the payment of all

duties on British ships, and the sailing of the grain junks, until ten of the chief

offenders had been seized and brought down to Shanghae.

His Excellency the Taoutae has pleaded his inability to comply with my

requests within any definite or reasonable period . But this ple of inability,


becomes, in fact, a plea of irresponsibility for anyinjury or outrage that may be

offered a British subject, and were it once allowed, would invalidate the Treaty.

I, therefore, in accordance with the 4th Clause of the American Treaty, to the

privileges of which we are entitled, address myself direct to your Excellency

and claim that redress at your hands, which cannot be obtained from the local


It will be very evident to your Excellency, that without the efficient

protection of the Chinese authorities , no foreigners can enjoy that security for

life and property, and freedom from molestation, solemnly guaranteed by the

Emperor of China to all British subjects within his dominions, by the Treaty

of Nanking, not less clear is it that when criminals who put life and property

in peril by brutal outrage, as in this instance, in open day and the vicinity of a

populous city, are not promptly seized and punished, there is in fact no

protection, and the most important provisions of the Treaty are violated.

It is impossible that Her Britannic Majesty should permit the lives of her

subjects, wherever they are permitted by Treaty to reside, to be thus perilled,

without protection or redress being offered by the Chinese authorities, and to

avert the consequences of a continued denial of justice at this port, I have to

request that your Excellency will be pleased , without delay, to appoint and

dispatch a delegate of rank, authorized to institute the necessary inquiries on

the spot, and to take the most rigorous and effective measures at once to seize

the ringleaders in this murderous outrage.

It is of course my duty to report the whole of the circumstances to Her

Majesty's Plenipotentiary, and request his Excellency's instructions, but as

considerable time must elapse before these can be received, or any steps can be

taken here, in consequence of communication with the Imperial Commissioner

at Canton, I have deemed it imperative to prevent, if possible, the bad effects

of any further delay, by sending this statement to the chief authority of the

Province .

Her Majesty's Vice -Consul Robertson, second officer at this port, is the

bearer of this statement to your Excellency, to whom he is directed to deliver

it in person, and he is accompanied by the interpreter Parkes, that he may

afford any further information your Excellency may desire. He is fully cognizant

of all the circumstances. For the better attainment of this object, I also send

the whole of the correspondence between his Excellency the Taoutae and

myself , and I trust that your Excellency will see the absolute necessity for

quickly complying with my request, that a great wrong in the violation of our

Treaty Rights may be redressed , and the great scheme of commercial inter

course , and the maintenance of friendly relations, between the two countries

ensured .

Her Majesty's Vice -Consul will wait with the ship of war, that he may

bring me back information of the departure of the officer I have requested

might be sent, and your Excellency's answer to this important statement.

Inclosure 4 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to Commander Pitman .

Sir, Shanghae, March 19, 1848.

SIX days have now elapsed since I notified to his Excellency the Taoutae

my determination to stop the payment of duties on British ships, and the

sailing of the fleet of Government grain junks now in the river (amounting to

more than a thousand in number), and further to adopt whatever means might

be in my power to compel prompt redress for the grievous outrage offered to

British subjects six days previous to such notification. Nevertheless the chief

offenders, demanded on the 9th instant, the day after the attack took place, have

not yet been seized .

The Taoutae, who has been with me this morning, with a view to induce

me to take off the embargo on the grain junks, gives me no reasonable ground

to hope that the criminals willshortly or certainly be seized. On the contrary,

if any credence is to be attached to the statements of the local authorities,

they have been allowed to escape from Tsing - poo, necessitating, I fear, both a


long and doubtful pursuit ; whether effective measures have even now been

taken to insure their ultimate apprehension is at the best uncertain, and yet

I have abundant evidence that the obstructive measures adopted, have greatly

alarmed the Taoutae , and that he at last sees and feels Her Majesty's Consul

has, at this moment, both the power and the will to involve him in the most

serious difficulties.

There is a very general impression among the Chinese, that in the first

instance the chief parties implicated, or a few of them might have been seized —

whatever difficulty may now be experienced is to be attributed to the dilatory

proceedings of all the local authorities, immediately after the occurrence of the

outrage. Having maturely weighed all the circumstances, and the unsatisfactory

aspect of the negotiations, I am satisfied the time has now come to advance à

step further, and carry the claim for redress to Nanking, where the Governor

General of this Province resides . It has been found impossible by any coercive

but pacific measures, to obtain justice here, and in such cases it has been

provided by the 4th clause of the French and American Treaties, that the

Consul, shall, if he see fit, communicate with the superior authority of the

Province .

Such a step, therefore, is sanctioned by Treaty, and it is further calculated,

I conceive, to afford aa lesson of salutary influence hereafter to the local autho

rities of this port, by showing them that unredressed injury to British subjects

residing within their jurisdiction, may at any time be carried before the superior

authority of the Province, in a manner so unacceptable by the presence of

a ship of war, as seriously to compromise their position with their own


There cannot be the slightest doubt that, but for the fortuitous circum

stance that a large fleet of grain junks laden for Pekin , and ready to be

dispatched by sea, was in the river-an event that has never happened before,

and the chance which brought on the instant, as it were, two of Her Majesty's

ships into the port, to support the demands of the Consul, these, however

pressing, would up to the present moment have received little attention. When

it is further considered, that with these unusual advantages, it has been found

impossible either to obtain redress, or any satisfactory guarantee that it will be

aiforded even after longer delay, it must be evident that a stronger measure still

is required to attain that end, and one I repeat that will if possible leave behind

it a strong and permanent impression of the immediate danger to the local

authorities of any conduct calculated so seriously to compromise our best

interests, and our security at Shanghae.

It only remains for me, therefore, to beg that you will be pleased

to afford passages in one of Her Majesty's ships to Nanking, to Brooke

Robertson , Esq., Her Majesty's Vice-Consul, and H. Parkes, Esq., the officiating

Interpreter, together with a Chinese Clerk and two official messengers.

The Vice -Consul will be the bearer of an official communication to

the Governor -General, detailing all the facts, and demanding redress . As the

Taoutae has, I conceive, wholly failed in the discharge of this part of his duty,

I shall request that an officer of rank be sent down to take more effective

measures, and it appears to me desirable that a discretionary power should

be left with the commanding officer of Her Majesty's ship in communication

with the Vice - Consul, to defer his return for a period not exceeding six days, in

in order that Mr. Robertson may have the opportunity of thus enforcing

my request, that an officer of rank shall be dispatched befor the ship leaves.

The Vice-Consul's instructions are to deliver the official communication of

which he is the bearer, to the Governor-General in person, and to him alone.

If the Governor -General refuse to afford the opportunity of doing so, the

Vice- Consul will report the same to the commanding officer, and the ship

should , in that case, return without delay.

I have, &c .




Inclosure 5 in No. 54 .

Commander Pitman to Consul Alcock.

Sir, Shanghae, March 19, 1848.

IN reply to your letter of this day's date, I beg leave to acquaint you that

I have placed Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle ” ai your disposal, and that she

will be ready to sailatdaylight to-morrow morning. I have ordered a passage

for B. Robertson, Esq ., Her Majesty's Vice-Consul, and others, who are the

bearers of your official despatch to the Governor-General of this Province at

Nanking, and I have directed Commander Campbell to carry out your wishes.

As a period of eleven days has elapsed since the violent outrage was

committed on the English Missionaries, and his Excellency the Taoutae not

having afforded that redress, which it appears he had quite in his power at first,

but now may have some difficulty in doing, I consider under these circumstances

you have adopted the only measures to obtain redress and a satisfactory answer ;

had such not been done I am fully persuaded that our best interests would have

been compromised at this port.

Being quite aware of the great responsibility you have taken upon yourself,

of which I bear a share, but in my own opinion the time has arrived to show

the Chinese Government that English subjects cannot be so shamefully treated

under the immediate eyes of their own officers, without bringing punishment

upon the offenders ; and I do hope that Iler Majesty's Plenipotentiary and

Government will see the necessity of the steps that have been adopted by you,

in which I most cordially agree, and have tendered mybest support.

It is calculated, I conceive, to teach the authorities here that such

atrocious acts cannot go unpunished, and it will further tend, I trust, for

the better protection of Her Majesty's subjects, and of the English flag from


I have, & c.

( Signed) J. C. PITMAN .

Inclosure 6 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to Vice - Consul Robertson .

Sir, Shanghae, March 19, 1848.

HER Majesty's ship “ Espiègle ” will leave the anchorage at daybreak

to-morrow for Nanking, and I have to request that you will proceed with her to

that city and be the bearer of the inclosed communication to the Governor

General of the province.

On your arrival you will take the necessary steps to make known to his

Excellency that you are instructed to deliver to him in person, a statement

from Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at this port , and you will use your

best endeavours, taking care to avoid anything that may compromise your

own position or that of the Consul, to effect this the principal object of your

mission .

You will see by the inclosed letter to the Senior Naval Officer, Captain

Pitman, the instructions I have requested might be given to the Commander of

Her Majesty's ship “ Espiègle. ”

He will, no doubt, be authorized, in communication with you, to exercise a

discretionary power to delay his return for a period of six days, should you

conceive the presence of the “ Espiègle ” may expedite the departure of a

delegate from the Governor-General, which I consider an object of great


Whenever this be announced within the above period, you will , of course,

signify to Captain Campbell that the return of his ship need not be further

delayed. And should you see occasion to do so, in any interview with the

Governor-General, you are authorized to intimate that the period of departure

must, in some degree , be contingent upon that of a delegate for Shangliae. In

my official letter to his Excellency, I have referred him to you should he desire


any further particulars respecting the recent outrage at Tsing -poo, and my

communications with the Taoutae . The whole of the correspondence has been


Mr. Parkes, a writer, and two official messengers, will be under your

orders and accompany you, and should any unforeseen contingencies render

communication with me desirable before your return, the messenger can be

dispatched inland, I presume with safety, and should it appear necessary, means

will be found of sending you an answer by the same short route.

I have, &c .


Inclosure 7 in No. 54 .

The Taoutae to Consul Alcock.

( Translation .)

HEEN, by Imperial Appointment, ' Military Intendant of Circuit of

Soo - chow -foo, Sung- Keang-foo and Taetsang -chow , makes this communication .

This morning, at about 8 o'clock, the Sub-prefect Chin, returned from

Tsing-poo, having seized two grain junk sailors, ringleaders in the late affray,

named Lew Juhfa, and Wang Juhshan, together with an iron spade and a

rattan stick ; accordingly on their arrival, I, the Taoutae, together with the

Sub.prefect and Magistrate, summoned the vagabonds before us us for

interrogation . They confessed in their evidence, having struck and wounded

the British subjects , and it is most evident and clear that they are the

ringleaders , without a doubt. I, therefore, make this communication to you ,

the Honourable Consul, and beg that you will depute people to my office, in

order that they may be clearly and truly identified and punished as the law

directs . It will be fortunate if there is not the slightest delay.

A necessary communication .

Taoukwang, 28th year,, 2nd month, 17th day: (21st March , 1848.)

Inclosure 8 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to the Taoutae.

March 21 , 1848.

I HAVE just received your communication which I have thoroughly

understood, to the effect that two of the ringleaders of the grain junk sailors

engaged in the late affray had been seized, and requesting me to depute people

to your office in order that they might be truly identified, &c .

I, the Consul, will in person, accompanied by the three British subjects,

proceed to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock to your honourable office, in order 1

that they may be clearly identified.

I send this reply, wishing you joyful days.

21st March, 1848 .

Inclosure 9 in No. 54.




Minute of conference with his Excellency the Taoutae, held at the Taoutae's

residence on the 22nd instant ; present the Hae-fang and Che-heen ; and

accompanying Her Majesty's Consul, Captain Pitman , RN . , F. Harvey,

Esq., and Messrs. the Rev. W. H. Medhurst, Muirhead, and W. Lockhart.


THE Taoutae having in his note of the previous day acquainted the

Consul that the Hae-fang had returned from Tsing-poo, bringing with him two

of the ringleaders in the late outrage, who confessed to have been actively

T 2


engaged in stirring up their companions and assaulting the foreigners. The

Consul had replied that at 10 o'clock this morning he would be with the

Taoutae and bring the injured parties to see if they could identify the


The two prisoners having been brought forward, were examined by Messrs.

Medhurst, Lockhart, and Muirhead, but they severally affirmed, without a

moment's hesitation, that these men had not been among the more active of

their assailants, and that they did not recognise them in the least as of the

party. The flower-spade of Mr. Lockhart, and the walking - stick of Mr.

Medhurst produced, were certainly not taken from them by these men, the first

having been thrown away in the field by Mr. Lockhart himself, and the latter

was seized by some other party.

The Taoutae contended that these articles proved the identity of the men

as ringleaders or principals in the assault —that the prisoners themselves

confessed their active participation, the one stating himself to be the junk man

whom Mr. Lockhart had wounded in the face .

This man on being asked whether that occurrence took place at the east

or the west gate, replied at the south gate, the accident having taken place in

the centre of the city. Moreover, he pointed to his forehead as the place where

he received the scratch, Mr. Lockhart distinctly deposing to its having been his

cheek and not his forehead . He is quite assured this is not the man , whom he

could easily recognise, and , moreover, if it were him , he was not among the

number of their assailants, consequently was not one of the parties demanded

as the ringleader in the assault.

Any discussion as to these being the principals seemed, after this palpable

attempt at imposture, superfluous . The Consul contented himself, therefore,

with pointing out the manifest falsehood involved in the evidence, and stating

that acting from no personal or vindictive feeling, but from a firm conviction

that the security of British subjects and the maintenance of peaceful relations

were dependent upon redress being obtained for such serious outrages, he had

taken the strong measures which the occasion seemed to demand, and must

continue in the same course until adequate satisfaction should be obtained .

These two prisoners could at best only be considered as the forerunners of those

principal offenders whose apprehension had been insisted upon and promised

from the beginning, and he should sincerely rejoice to see these unpleasant

nogotiations terminated by such redress being afforded as could not be denied

without injustice and a violation of treaties.

The Taoutae replied that the authorities were most anxious to do all in

their power ; that the Leang -taou, or Superintendent of the Grain Department,

and the Judge of the Province had been dispatched to Tsing -poo to proceed

against and seize the offenders, which abundantly proved the willingness of the

authorities to afford redress.

The Consul stated that he looked upon these measures as the first evidence

that had been afforded of a desire that justice should finally be done, and he

rejoiced therefore to learn that such steps had been taken.

The Taoutae observed that the Consul must bear in mind the Chinese rule

for managing such affairs was first to use small means, and proceed by degrees

to call into play stronger and more ample powers. They had accordingly done

so in this instance, and no doubt more of the offenders would be seized, but he

feared that after all they might not be identified, as in the hurry and excite

ment it was probable the injured parties paid little attention to the countenances

of their assailants .

The Consul said no doubt it might be difficult for the parties who for so

long a time were brutally maltreated and put in peril of their lives to recognize

the faces of all their assailants, but it could hardly be that among the twenty

or thirty of the more active of these men , in whose hands Mr. Medhurst and

his companions remained for probably an hour or more , there should not be

many whom the latter could at once and distinctly recognize if they saw them .

The Taoutae must also bear in mind, as suggested by Mr. Lockhart, that many

of the parties whose apprehension the Consul demanded, had been under the

eyes of, and in close contact for a considerable period, with ten or twelve of the

Che -heen's policemen, and they must if they chose be able to identify the

more guilty of the plunderers. Ile repeated that if these men escaped with

impunity, such deplorable scenes must be expected to recur with a frequency


and danger to life which could not fail to embroil the two countries. In

firmly pressing for justice in the present instance, therefore, Her Majesty's

Consul looked beyond the immediate results, and was in truth trying to

avert still greater calamities, of a nature to be deplored by both nations .

The Taoutae admitted in general terms the justice of these remarks, but

regretted the extreme difficulty of complete success in their efforts to apprehend

a number of the principal offenders, there being men who hang on to the

junks as it were, who do not properly belong them ; they are not therefore

duly registered , nor are the officersof the junks responsible for their actions.

With these remarks the interview ended .

( Signed ) RUTHERFORD ALCOCK, Consul.

Inclosure 10 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to the Tuoutae.

ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, makes this

communication .

Notwithstanding your Excellency has been informed that, until redress

has been afforded for the late outrage, the Government grain junks will not be

allowed to leave the river, the attempt is being daily made pursuant to your

orders of last week , and by threes, fours, and fives, they sail down to the ship

of-war, and are then turned back , incurring all the risk of a collision, which

could only complicate the affair in a degree that must be prejudicial to all

parties; and now, to -day, a new attempt has been made by sending down

small boats laden with rice, that large and empty junks below may take it in,

which is against all reason .

I have now sent a ship -of-war to Nanking, with a statement of all that

has passed, to the Governor-General, claiming at his Excellency's hands that

justice I have been unable to induce you, the IIonourable Taoutae, to afford .

Many days cannot elapse before the answer of his Excellency will be here, and

in the meantime I must beg you to consider well, that a collision between the

man -of-war of my nation and the grain junks is of more serious importance

than the temporary delay of these junks, and I again repeat to your Excellency

that all the consequences of any such collision must rest upon your Excellency's

head, and not upon mine. I therefore make this communication, and beg that

you will give it your best consideration.

A necessary communication .

March 23, 1848 .

Inclosure 11 in No. 54 .

The Taoutae to Consul Alcock.

( Translation .)

HEEN , by Imperial appointment, Superintendent of Maritime Customs

in Keang -soo, Military Intendant of Circuit of Soo -chow -foo, Sung-keang -foo,

and Taetsang -chow, makes this communication in reply.

I have received a communication from you, the Honourable Consul, stating

( Here follows an extract of Mr. Consul Alcock's letter, of 23rd March ).

On receiving this, I find that with regard to the late outrage uopn certain

British subjects by the grain junk men, I, the Taoutae, recently petitioned the

high officers on the subject, and have now heard that they have deputed officers

of high rank to proceed in haste to Tsing -poo and there direct the local,

civil, and military officers, together with the officers in charge of the junks, to

make strict seizures of the vagabonds, who will now be seized and brought

down in a few days.

The Honourable Consul, having now deputed a man -of-war to proceed to

Nanking, with a statement of all the circumstances, we must wait until the


Governor -General, Le, has made himself aquainted with the whole of the

circumstances, when he can settle the affair. But I find that with regard to

the grain junks they all carry a tlag, and are easily recognized ; moreover, they

are all anchored in the middle of Hwang -poo river. That which the small

boats carry, however, is the rice that is brought from various places to put

into the large junks, not intending at this time to go out of the port. I must,

therefore, beg the Honourable Consul to examine clearly into the affair, when

he will find it to be so . At present we can only wait quietly untill the high

officers have made seizure of the vagabonds, or until the reply of the Governor

General, Le, is received, when we can again proceed towards settling this affair.

A necessary communication .

March 24 , 1818 .

Inclosure 12 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to Sir J. Daris.

Sir, Shanghae, March 31 , 1818 .

I HAVE the honour to report the successful termination of my efforts to

obtain the apprehension and punishment of the ringleaders in the Tsing -poo


Immediately after the sailing of Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle ” up the

Yang -tze-keang was known at Soo -chow , the Nee -tae (or Provincial Judge) was

dispatched to Tsing-poo with peremptory orders to seize the offenders, while

Sam -qua, a Salt Commissioner , was sent down to Shanghae from the Lieutenant

Governor, to inform me that this step had been taken. On the 29th instant

the Nee- tae arrived, and having paid me a visit , a meeting was arranged

at the Che -heen's, in order that the prisoners he had brought might be

identified .

The same afternoon, accompanied by Captain Pitman, of Her Majesty's

sloop “ Childers,” and the three British subjects who had suffered the injury, I

met the whole of the local authorities at Che -heen's residence, and on the ten

prisoners being produced , two were immediately identified, the one as having

wielded with the most vindictive violence an instrument of torture, formed like a

chain with an iron tongue at the end, and the other a sword, while he made

several attempts to drag Mr. Lockhart to the ground. Several of the remainder

were recognized as having been among the assailants.

On being thus assured that the real criminals, whom I had demanded , were

now produced, I expressed my satisfaction, and they were all placed in the cangue

on the spot, sentenced to this punishment for one month , and to be exposed in

front of the new Custom -house daily, after which their further punishment or

liberation remained to be determined according to law, and in communication

with Her Majesty's Consul.

This full and complete reparation left nothing to be desired , and at the

request of the Nee-tae, I immediately relieved the grain junks of the embargo,

and consented to the resumption of payment of the maritime duties.

Shortly afterwards the Nee-tae and the local authorities of Shanghae, with

the officers and gentlemen who had accompanied me, returned to the Consulate

and partook of some refreshment, thus giving to the people a ready proof of

restored amicable relations.

The following day I paid a visit of ceremony to the Nee-tae with Captain

Pitman, and the former returned in the cutter of the “ Childers ” with us, in

order to pay a visit on board Her Majesty's sloop “ Childers," and to see some

European houses ; after which, at my suggestion, he visited Mr. Medhurst, to

examine the printing-press, and Mr. Lockhart , to see the Chinese hospital under

his charge, which had all the grace of a special attention to the parties who

had suffered the outrage.

These movements of the Nee-tae of couse attracted much attention among

the Chinese, and seemed well calculated to inspire confidence in the perfect

restoration of harmony between the authorities of both nations.

At the Nee-tae’s request, I issued the inclosed notice to the junk owners

and sailors, acquainting them , that justice having been obtained by the seizure


and punishment of ten of the ringleaders, no further obstacle existed to the

sailing of the grain junks.

On the same day, it had been agreed between his Excellency, the Nee-tae,

and myself, that he should address to me an official communication, reporting

the seizure of ten of the principal offenders, their punishment in the cangue, and

subsequent amenability to the laws of the country ; any further punishment,

or their liberation, only taking place in communication with Her Majesty's


The official note came on the 30th : but so obviously calculated to misrepre

sent the facts, give a false colouring to the outrage, and leave the power in the

hands of the authorities to make the punishment merely nominal, that it was

forthwith returned with a verbal remonstrance, and such suggested alterations as

would defeat the purpose thus clearly manifested.

His Excellency gave evident signs of confusion and reluctance on being

called upon to make the document in accordance with the agreement entered

into the day previous, when at his request, and trusting to his good faith, I

instantly removed the embargo on the Government grain junks. After some

hesitation the required alteration was made, as the inclosed copy (in original

and translation) will show . A copy and translation of the returned letter are

annexed, in which the outrage is described as a quarrel and affray ; while the

robbery is suppressed, together with all reference to the period during which the

men were sentenced to the cangue.

Much was urged verbally by his Excellence, as to the necessity and expe

diency of leaving out the robbery, since that inight entail a capital punishment;

but warned by this last act of bad faith , and the report current among the

Chinese, that these men had been produced under promise of escape from any

serious punishment, and of a compensating bribe in money, something of the first

part having even been hinted at by the Nee-tae, it scemed to me in perative to

Jisten to no suggestions of this nature ; but simply to insist upon the whole truth

being distinctly placed on official record . Without this, there was obviously

no guarantee that the best fruit of the anxious efforts made to obtain reparation

might not be lost, and the offenders eventually escape with a reward instead of

a punishment for the murderous assault of which they had been guilty, while the

omission of the robbery reduced it to a mere quarrel, in which the blame might

be shared by both parties.

To render such a result impossible, I not only insisted upon an official

communication from the Nae-tae and Taoutae properly worded, but sent a

reply (copy in original and translation inclosed, No.16) claiming the property of

which the British subjects had been robbed, and requiring that the ten prisoners

should be daily visible in front of the new Custom-house.

Thus the difficulties which for some time threatened the most serious

consequences, have happily terminated, and there is good reason to hope that

the authorities will not again lightly venture upon a similar denial of justice, in

any case of outrage upon British subjects for which redress may be demanded.

No doubt the coercive measures adopted to effect this beneficial result were

stringent, and involved an amount of responsibility which I beg your Excellency

to believe weighed beavily upon me.I have already, in vindication of those

measures, stated fully the reasons which led me to accept so grievous a

burden, in my two previous despatches, it only remains, therefore, that

I should now state my conviction, that although some hazard of a serious

collision was unavoidable, there were many probabilities against it and in favour

of a satisfactory settlement of the important question at issue,and , finally, that

no alternative remained but to sit down under a denial of justice, disastrous to

our position here, and a long delayscarcely less prejudicial in its immediate

effects, or to take upon myself, on the spot, all the responsibility of coercive

measures .

I saw reason to conclude, and the event leaves no doubt of the correctness

of my inference, that the will not the power was wanting, and I believed the

means were in my hands, at the moment before the sailing of the grain junks,

of making it the interest of the authorities, as the lesser of two evils, to afford

the fullest reparation . Means which I conceived might be employed in strict

accordance with the best established principles of international law, without

incurring greater risk than the interests at stake would justify.

Of compulsory measures three were at my command , each progressively


more severe in their pressure upon the local authorities, but all of which seemed

to me from the very beginning so essential, as mutually supporting each other,

that I scarcely hoped for a successful issue by the employment of even the first


To stop the payment of duties on British ships, was a measure which

prodluced no inconvenience that might not easily be borne for weeks or months,

it would not, therefore, prevent delay. The embargo on the fleet of 1,000

government grain junks, on the point of sailing for Peking, 10 a certain extent

supplied the means of compelling instant attention, but with the authorities

1 here it only led to miserable subterfuges,attempts at personation of criminals,

&c . The danger and embarrassment to them was no doubt serious,but so long

as they could entertain a hope that the detention of the junks would not reach

the ears of the superior authorities, or that their own garbled statement would

alone be received and credited, no effective measures were taken. The sailing

of a ship of war for Nanking at once dispelled all illusory hopes of this nature,

and no sooner was this known at Soo - chow , as I have stated, than the Nee-tae's

departure thence left nothing further to be done or desired.

The final result, beneficial as regards our immediate security and interests

here, may, I trust, exercise a wider and a permanent influence by counteracting

the effect of any hostile collision at Canton, and guarding the daily increasing

trade of this port from interruption or injurious reaction, pending the adjust

ment of similar but more embarrassing questions at the former. In this view I

felt much was to be risked, and that the immediate and prospective importance

of Shanghae alike made it imperative npon the Consul not to shrink from any

personal responsibility to secure so great an advantage.

A large fleet of the junks sailed to -day, and there is at this moment a

general feeling of satisfaction throughout Shanghae, I believe, that such a

crisis has been passed without bloodshed or injury to a single individual.

As ships' duties to some amount were kept back during the fifteen days

embargo, II purpose from the proceeds to liquidate the claims of British subjects

on certain assets of the bankrupt Foqua, made away with under the present

Taoutae's authority, respecting which I received your Excelleney's instructions,

and the Attorney-General's opinion in despatch of 5th July, 1847, taking care

to inform his Excellency of the steps taken, and the grounds for thus doing

ourselves justice before the balance of duties is paid up.

I cannot conclude this despatch without bringing specially under the notice

of Her Majesty's Government the able, zealous, and cordial support I have

received throughout these harassing negotiations from Captain Pitman, com


manding Her Majesty's sloop “ Childers.” The responsibility of the measures

adoptedmust of coursebe chiefly mine, while the merit of happily carrying out

the blockade is that officer's; and the execution of this arduous task by the

officers and men under his command was worthy of all praise .

To the perfect temper, judgment, and decision invariably displayed in a

partial blockade of fifteen days of peculiar difficulty, I attribute the absence of

all bad feeling, and the escape from hostile collision during the whole period,

upon which the final success ofmyefforts to obtain full and complete satisfaction,

without resorting to actual violence, essentially depended .

For your Excellency's further information on the details of these transac

tions, I beg to forward the inclosed copies of documents and correspondence,

viz . :

Notification to British subjects on the satisfactory termination of the

difficulties-marked No. 17 .

Official letter to Captain Pitman, acquainting him with the cessation of the

embargo on the Government grain junks - No. 18 .

Official letter of Captain Pitman in reply – No. 19 .

Official communication from the Consular Representatives of foreign Powers 1

at Shanghae, offering their congratulations --Inclosure No. 20.

Official communication in reply thereto - No. 21 .

Letter of thanks from the three British subjects who suffered the outrage

at Tsing -poo - Inclosure No. 22.

Letter in reply thereto - No. 23.

Resolutions of a public meeting of foreign residents, conveying their

thanks and congratulations, inclosed in a letter from the Chairman-No. 24 .

Letter in reply thereto - No. 25 .


Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle” has not yet returned, but I have ascer

tained that information reached the Governor -General before her arrival at

Nanking, and that he had issued orders that they should meet with no obstruction

or incivility.

I have, at the Nea -tae's request, written a despatch, which his Excellency

undertook to send inland , at speed, for the return of the “ Espiègle,” with Her

Majesty's Vice -Consul, without delay.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 13 in No. 54 .


ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul, hereby notifies :

On the 18th instant I, the Consul, warned all the junk owners and others,

that the junks conveying the Government grain could not sail until the ring

leaders in a murderous assault on my countrymen at Tsing-poo had been seized

and punished .

His Excellency the Nea -tae having now arrived, and ten of these ringleaders

having been seized and punished, nothing further is desired ; justice has been

obtained, and no obstruction will be offered to the sailing of the grain junks from

this date of the war-ship of my nation ; and thus, mutualharmony and confidence

will be restored.

Taoukwang, 28th year, 2nd month,, 24th day. ((March 28, 1848.)

Inclosure 14 in No. 54 .

The Criminal Judge and the Taoutae to Consul Alcock.

( Translation .)

NE, Imperially appointed Criminal Judge in Commission of the Province

of Keang-soo, in the Chinese Empire, also having charge of the transmission

of official despatches, raised ten steps, recorded ten times;

Heen , Imperially appointed Military Intendant of Circuit of Soo - chow -foo,

Sung -keang -foo, and Taetsang-chow, in Keang-nan Province, in the Chinese

Empire, assisting in the general charge of the naval defences and the trans

mission of salts, raised ten steps, recorded ten times ;

Make this communication :

We have recently received the Honourable Consul's communication regard-

ing the case of three British subjects who were assaulted and robbed at Tsing

poo by the grain junk sailors.

We, the Criminal Judge and Taoutae, have already seized ten of the

criminals, and put them publicly in the cangue at the new Custom-house, for

the full period of one month ; after which it will be deliberated , in communica

tion with the Honourable Consul, as to those who are to be separately punished

or liberated, according to law.

Taoukwang 28th year, 2nd month, 26th day. (March 30, 1848.)

Inclosure 15 in No. 54 .

The Criminal Judge and the Troutae to Consul Alcock .

( Translation .)

NE, Imperially appointed Criminal Judge in Commission of the Province

of Keang -soo,in the Chinese Empire, also having charge of the transmission of

official despatches, raised ten steps, recorded ten times;

Heen , Imperially appointed Military Interdant of Circuit of Soo -chow -foo,



Sung -keang-foo, and Taetsang - chow, in Keang-nan Province, in the Chinese

Empire, assisting in the general charge of the naval defences and the trans

mission of salts, raised ten steps , recorded ten times ;

Make this communication :

We liave recently received the Honourable Consul's communication regard

ing the case of the quarrel and fight between three British subjects and sailors

of the Tsing -poo -heen.

We, the Criminal Judge at Taoutae, have already seized ten of the cri

minals, and put them publicly in the cangue, at the new Custom-house. When

the time has expired they will be separately punished or liberated, according to

law .

Taoukwang, 28th year, 2nd month. ( March 1848.) (No date . )

Inclosure 16 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to the Criminal Judge and the Taoutae.

ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, makes this

communication .

I have received the official communication of you, the Honourable the

Nea - tae and the Taoutae, stating that, in reference to the case of the assault and

robbery committed on three British subjects at Tsing-poo by the grain junk

sailors, your Excellence had seized ten of the offenders, who had been sentenced

to be cangued publicly at the new Custom -house, for the full period of one

month , after which, in communication with me, the Consul, further steps would

be taken for their separate punishment or lberation, according to law. “ All this

I have understood, and find it so far proper and suitable.

But at the time that these British subjects were assaulted, they were

likewise robbed of several articles, a list of which was on the day of the robbery

delivered to Kin, the Che -heen of Tsing -poo. A list of the same is likewise

annexed to this letter, and I beg that you will examine the same, and cause

restitution of the property to be made.

I have also to request that ten men now in the cangue be each day

exposed at the new Custom -house from morning to night, where they may be

seen by everybody ; in this manner due warning will be given to the evil

disposed, and the ends of justice will be attained .

With regard to ulterior steps, as soon as the month has expired, the

Honourable the Nea-tae and the Taoutae will, in communication with me, the

Consul, consult and determine upon their punishment according to law, and thus

wind up and complete this affair.

Sent March 30, 1848 .

List of Articles stolen .

2 Watches.

1 pair Gold Spectacles.

1 Gloves.

3 Handkerchiefs.

A Cashmere Overall.

2 Caps.

1 Spade.

1 Silver-mounted Walking-stick, (the silver weighing one tael.)

The two last articles are at the Taoutae's office, but not the silver,




Inclosure 17 in No. 54.

Notification .

Shanghae, March 28, 1848 .

HER Majesty's Consul has much pleasure in stating, for the information

of the British community, that the coercive measures he saw himself compelled

to adopt fifteen days ago have been followed by complete success. The ten

ring leaders in the outrage at Tsing-poo, demanded on the 13th instant, have

this day been produced by the Wei -tae or Provincial Judge of the province.

Two of the most vicious and dangerous were at once distinctly identified by the

parties who had suffered from their violence, and several of the remainder were

recognised as having been among their assailants .

These ten offenders, in the presence of Her Majesty's Consul, the injured

parties, all the local authorities, and a large number of assistants, were put in

the cangue, on the spot, to which punishment they are sentenced for one

month , prior to any further proceedings against them , and they will be exposed

every day during that period in the public thoroughfares as a warning to all

whoare in like manner evil disposed.

The fullest satisfaction and redress having thus been afforded, it only

remains for Her Majesty's Consul to announce that the embargo on the grain

junks has been removed, and that from this date all duties will be paid as

heretofore. In reference to those remaining due for ships already cleared,

communications will be made from the Consulate to the parties interested in

due time .

This peaceful, and in every sense happy termination of difficulties, which

at one time threatened to compromise British interests at the port, is most

satisfactory. Her Majesty's Consul, remembering the unanimity and cheer

fulness with which the community signified their readiness to meet any

inconvenience the necessity for coercive measures might entail, rejoices that

the end has been attained without loss or sacrifice, and the cordial support

received from the Consular Representatives of foreign Powers at Shanghae,

who at once identified themselves with the measures taken as for a common

cause , has not, it may safely be assumed, failed in its effect.

How much is due to the judgment and decision with which a partial blockade

of peculiar difficulty has been maintained during fifteen days, by Captain

Pitman, of Her Majesty's ship “ Childers,”” must be known to the whole com

munity, who have daily witnessed the unwearied vigilance and good temper

evinced by the officers and men under his command. This task has been

accomplished, not only without injury to the large Chinese traffic on the river,

but without hostile collision or any bad feeling having been excited, a result on

which they may well be congratulated.

Security to life and property which , for a moment seemed endangered, it

is hoped is now more firmly established than before the outrage, and with

prudence and forbearance, such as his countrymen have already manifested,

and which he fully counts upon whenever their excursions may lead them to

a distance from Shanghae, Her Majesty's Consul is sanguine that they will no

longer be exposed to dangers or molestation from those whom impunity might

otherwise have emboldened. RUTHERFORD ALCOCK, Consul.


Inclosure 18 in No. 54.

Consul Alcock to Commander Piiman.

Sir , Shanghae, March 28, 1848 .

THE full and complete satisfaction afforded bythe authorities this day, of

which you were yourself a witness, in the seizure and instant punishment of ten

of the ringleaders in the late outrage, leaves nothing more to be demanded.

Justice, which was denied to entreaty and remonstrance, has at last been

obtained by coercive measures. There is now , therefore, no further motive for

U 2


keeping up an embargo on the Government grain junks, and I have informed

the Provincial Judge that from this date it should cease.

In congratulating you upon the successful termination of the difficulties

which threatened , in the most serious degree, to compromise our security at the

port, I must be permitted to convey to you the deep sense I entertain of the

service you have rendered by the firmness, vigilance, and temper, with which a

very harassing duty has been performed . To maintain a blockade during

fourteen days , applying only to a certain class of junks, undistinguishable from

the rest except by actual search, in a Chinese river crowded with boats and junks

of every kind, carrying on a large and uninterrupted traffic, and effect this com

pletely without injury to the interests of those not included in the embargo, and

without hostile collision even with those who attempted to elude your search by

the most harassing manouvres, is an achievement of which the officers and men

under your command may justly be proud.

To yourself it must be a source of great satisfaction to know that not only

the important end in view has been most completely accomplished ; but events

show that the same end could not have been attained except by such means as

were adopted. Our position , when you arrived some days ago, was most critical,

and during that period a struggle has been maintained for redress , with a full

consciousness of hazard involved by such efforts to the very interests I desired to

protect, not only less perilous than the alternative of sitting down with a denial

of justice. Thanks, I repeat, to your very efficient aid, the cordial manner in

which you met my views, and the position you enabled me to maintain , there is

nothing left to desire but that our restored friendly relations and security at

this port may be as permanent as they are satisfactory.

I have, &c .


Inclosure 19 in No. 54 .

Commander Pitman to Consul Alcock.

Sir, Shanghae, March 29, 1848.

I BEG leave to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date,

and to acquaint you that orders were given last evening to allow the Govern

ment grain junks to depart.

The redress so fully afforded by the arrival of the Provincial Judge , with

ten of the ringleaders in the late outrage at Tsing-poo, must be a great satisfac

tion to you, and most sincerely do I congratulate you upon the succesful ter

mination of your late harassing negotiations, which , from the obstinacy of the

authorities here, were so likely to place you in great difficulties.

Accept my sincere thanks for the flattering manner in which you have

conveyed to me your thanks for the service which has been rendered by the

officers and crew of Her Majesty's sloop under my command during the blockade

of fourteen days, a service most annoying at all times, but more particularly so

in this instance, where we had only one class to detain out of so many descrip

tions of vessels as are employed in this river, therefore necessarily obliging us

to board them all ; and I am proud to say that such service has been performed

with good feeling, and without a single instance of collision .

I consider that in supporting and carrying out your views I have only done

my duty, and unto you it must be a great satisfaction to see your just demands

so fully accomplished.

Allow me again to thank you for the handsome way in which you have

alluded to the service it has been in my power to render you in the present

instance, by which our friendly relations and security at this port have been so

fully restored.

I have, & c.

(Signed ) J. C. PITMAN .


Inclosure 20 in No. 54 .

The Consular Representatives of Foreign Powers at Shanghae to Consul Alcock.

M. le Consul, Shanghae, le 29 Mars, 1848 .

NOUS Soussignés, Consuls de France, d'Amérique, et de Belgique,

venons avec un vif plaisir vous féliciter de votre brillant succès, et vous

remerèier au nom de nos nationaux de la sécurité que votre conduite pleine

de prudence et de fermeté vient de leur assurer pour longtemps.

Il est certain que si vous eussiez tardé d'un seul jour à exiger et obtenir

la punition exemplaire des misérables qui s'étaient rendu coupables du lâche

attentat dont vos nationaux ont été les victimes, la vie et les propriétés de

tous les étrangers étaient sérieusement compromises . Vous avez eu, M. le

Consul, les plus grandes difficultés à vaincre, et il n'a fallu rien moins que vos

promptes, sages, et coercitives mesures, pour contraindre les autorités de

Shanghae à se départer enfin de la conduite pleine de mauvais vouloir dont

elles nous ont donné le triste exemple.

Ce fut une bien heureuse occurrence pour vous que de pouvoir en même

temps mettre un embargo sur la flotte des jonques de grain du Gouvernement

chargées pour Pekin , et envoyer un brig de guerre à Nankin avec une demande

de réparation.

Le cours des événements et le résultat obtenu prouvent que ces deux

mesures étaient indispensables. Car même une semaine après votre embargo

sur les jonques de grain , aucune demande n'avait été faite par les autorités

pour saisir les vrais coupables; au contraire, elles avaient constamment employé

les plus honteux subterfuges pour éviter la nécessité de faire opérer leur

arrestation .

Nous savons parfaitement à présent que le Nea-tae n'a pas quitté Soo-chow

avant que la nouvelle du passage du brig de guerre à plus de quinze lieues dans

l'intérieur du Yang -tsze -keang ne fût arrivée dans cette ville . Nous sommes

aussi assurés par la conclusion de l'affaire, que les autorités de Shanghae

avaient bien le pouvoir de saisir et produire les coupables, mais qu'elles n'en

avaient nullement la volonté . Nous sommes donc bien convaincus de la

justesse de toutes vos mesures et l'insigne mauvaise foi des autorités

Chinoises .

Nous considérons donc que c'est une question d'intérêt général que vous

arez si noblement défendue, et si heureusement amenée à bonne fin ; et nous

vous remercions sincèrement de la tranquillité que vous nous assurez pour long

temps .

Permettez-nous de ne pas terminer cette lettre sans vous exprimer notre

sincère admiration pour la conduite, à la fois pleine de modération et de fermeté,

du brave commandant du brig de Sa Majesté Britannique, le “ Childers ;" avec

un faible equipage, et très peu de moyens à sa disposition, il a pu arrêter, sans

apporter pour cela aucun empêchement au commerce général, la circulation des

jonques de grain du Gouvernement.

Un seul coup de fusil tiré mal à propos eût pu amener une collision

générale et des malheurs incalculables. Nous devons donc aussi nos félicita

tions au Commandant Pitman et à ses officiers, pour avoir par leurs seules

manœuvres, pu repousser, nuit et jour, toutes les nombreuses tentatives des

jonques, et faire, sans effusion de sang, respecter l'embargo.

Nous sommes heureux, M. le Consul, de vous donner cette dernière preuve

de toute notre approbation pour votre belle conduite dans toute cette difficile

et perplexe affaire.

Nous avons, &c.

( Signé) C. DE MONTIGNY,

Consul de France à Shanghae.


United States of America

Consular Agent


Consul de Belgique.


Inclosure 21 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to the Consular Representatives of Foreign Powers at Shanghae.

Shanghae, March 31, 1848 .

THE Undersigned , Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, has the

honour to acknowledge the receipt of an official communication of the

29th March, signed by M. de Montigny, Consul de France, E. W. Bates, Esq .,

United States, America, Consular Agent, and John Stewart, Esq ., Consul de

Belgique, conveying congratulations on the happy termination of the difficulties

occasioned by the supineness and bad faith of the Chinese authorities, in

reference to the apprehension of the criminals in the Tsing-poo outrage.

The want of good will on the part of the authorities offered so serious an

obstacle, that no doubt can be entertained of the necessity for strong coercive

measures, in order to extort redress, which no milder course of negotiation could

obtain . Even when the offenders were already in the cangue, the Nee - tac

afforded a convincing proof of the disposition to make the punishment merely

nominal, and to misrepresent the facts by writing an official letter, omitting all

reference to the duration of the punishment, and calling the assault and robbery

a quarrel between foreigners and grain junk men, thus essentially altering the

character of the outrage .

This has been remedied ; the Undersigned having felt it his duty to insist

upon this letter being withdrawn, and another sent, couched in proper terms,

but it has left a strong impression that the justice obtained has been extorted

by force — that it would certainly have been denied but for the powerful means

of compulsion employed, and that no good faith is to be looked for from any

of the local authorities in similar cases, except in so far as the fear of similar

consequences may operate to teach them the danger of a denial of justice. To

this conclusion the Undersigned has been unavoidably led, by the whole course

and result of their negotiations.

It is very gratifying to the Undersigned that the judgment, decision, and

temper with which a partial blockade, of peculiar difficulty , was made effective

by Captain Pitman and the officers and men under his command, without the

slightest injury to the general commerce, has been observed by the Consular

representatives of foreign Powers at Shanghae, and he will not fail to make

known to the commanding officer of Her Majesty's ship “ Childers,” the

flattering expressions in which this important service to the general interests of

the port is referred to in their communication.

It only remains for the Undersigned to renew his sincere thanks to his

colleagues at Shanghae for the spontaneous and cordial support they tendered

him while the issue was yet uncertain, and to assure them that this renewed

expression of their confidence and sympathy derives additional value from the

proof already afforded of a generous determination to identify themselves with

the responsible measures adopted.

( Signed ) RUTHERFORD ALCOCK , Consul.

Inclosure 22 in No. 54.

Messrs. Lockhart, Muirhead, and Medhurst to Consul Alcock.

Sir, Shanghae, March 29, 1848.

THE case of the outrage lately committed on us at Tsing-poo, having

been so vigorously taken up by you, and notwithstanding the vacillation and

delays of the Chinese officers, successfully brought to a conclusion, we beg

leave to address our thankful acknowledgments to you for the promptitude with

which youtook up the affair, for the stringent measures adopted , when lenient

ones seemed of no avail,and for the steady determination displayed in persevering

to the end, until these measures were crowned with the desired success.

Convinced as we are that no policy will avail with the officers of the Chinese

Government but that of strict justice and unflinching resolution, we rejoice

that you have been led to adopt that line of conduct, and fully anticipate that


the Chinese officers have been taught such a lesson thereby, that they will not

again attempt to trifle with matters which seriously affect the interests of

British subjects; while the people will learn that aggressions which involve

themselves and their officers in so much trouble must not be lightly

ventured on .

Hoping that you may be long spared to enjoy the fruit of the just and

determined course of conduct lately pursuedby you .

We remain, &c.

(Signed) W. ROCKHART.



Inclosure 23 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to Messrs. Lockhart, Muirhead, and Medhurst.

Gentlemen, Shanghae, March 30, 1848.

I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th instant

and rejoice with you that the efforts made to obtain justice have been so

entirely successful.

For the permanent maintenance of our improved position and security, I

trust nothing more is now required than prudence and moderation on our own

part. Triumphant, we can well afford to be forbearing ; and, strong in the

recent manifestation of power to exact rigorous justice, we need not fear that

conciliating conduct will be mistaken for weakness or pusillanimity.

The tendency of these remarks cannot fail to be appreciated by those who,

under Providence, owe their lives to the exemplary forbearance and prudence

manifested for more than an hour, while exposed to the most brutal violence ;

but I trust that the example and the benefits which have resulted will have been

strongly impressed on the minds of all our countrymen by recent events. To

your safety, and the consequent power of identifying your assailants, the

community are indebted for the attainment of the only redress that can be

perfectly satisfactory in such cases, the punishment of the real criminals.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 24 in No. 54 .


AT a meeting of the foreign residents of Shanghae, held at the Victoria

Hotel, on Friday, 31st March, 1848

Present :-Messrs . C. A. Ferron, T. Moncreiff, C. S. Matheson, H. H. Gray,

D. Sillar, Rev. W. C. Milne, J. C. Smith, W. Hogg, R. Aspinall, W. Pike,

H. H. Kennedy, A. F. Croom , G. F. Hubertson, J. P. Watson , J. White,

Dr. Bridgman, Rev. E. Syle, E. Webb, C. Waters, C. Wilson , W. G. Aspinall,

Rev. Dr. Medhurst, C. Wills, J. Grant, S. Maitland, W. W. Brown, R. P. Saul,

D. Potter, J. Stewart, Dr. Lockhart, K. R. Mackenzie, J. G. Livingston,

W. Hutchison, A. W. Potter.

On the motion of J. G. Livingstone, Esq ., seconded by Rev. Dr. Medhurst,

K R. Mackenzie was unanimously called to the Chair.

1st Resolution.- Proposed by A. F. Croom, Esq ., seconded by Rev.

W. C. Milne

That the cordial congratulations and best thanks of this meeting be given

to Rutherford Alcock, Esq., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at this port, for his

successful adoptionof an energetic and decided policy with the Chinese autho

rities, when our Treaty Rights as foreigners resident in this Empire were

temporarily compromised.

Carried unanimously.


2nd.- Proposed by J. Stewart, Esq . , seconded by J. G. Livingstone, and

carried unanimously

That the warm thanks of this meeting be offered to Captain J. C. Pitman ,

R. N., for his hearty co-operation with Her Majesty's Consul in the protection

of British interests, and in the efficient but temperate enforcement of the

embargo placed upon the Government grain junks, without detriment to the

large Chinese traffic on the river, or giving rise to hostile collision, or any bad


3rd.—Proposed by James White, Esq . , seconded by G. F. Hubert-on, Esq .,

and carried unanimously

That the best thanks of this meeting be offered to M. de Montigny, and to

the other Consular Representatives of foreign Powers at Shanghae, for the frank

and cordial support given to Her Majesty's Consul, by at once identifying

themselves with the measures he was compelled to adopt for the due fulfilment

of international rights.

4th . – Proposed by W. Hutchison , Esq., and seconded by T. Moncreitf, Esq .,

and carried unanimously

That copies of the foregoing resolutions be respectively forwarded by the

Chairman to Her Majesty's Consul, Captain Pitman , R.N., and to Montigny

and the other Consular Representatives of foreign Powers at Shanghae, and that

the whole be published in the Hong Kong newspapers .

5th . — Proposed by J. P. Watson, Esq ., seconded by G. F. Hubertson, Esq.,


and carried unanimously

That the best thanks of this meeting are due to K. R. Mackenzie, Esq., for

his efficient conduct in the Chair.

(Signed ) K. R. MACKENZIE , Chairman .

Shanghae, March 31 , 1848 .

Inclosure 25 in No. 54 .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Mackenzie.

Sir, Shanghae, April 1 , 1848.

I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 31st ultimo,

transmitting by direction of a meeting of the foreign residents at Shanghae, a

copy of the resolutions unanimously passed by the gentlemen present, and to

beg you will convey to the foreign residents who have done me the honour thus

publicly, to record their congratulations and satisfaction at the successful main

tenance of our Treaty rights, my best thanks..

This expression of interest derives additional value from the manner in

which they hastened to identify themselves with the coercive measures adopted

while the issue was yet uncertain. The confidence manifested by the British

community in the beginning was not I conceive, more flattering to me than

honourable to those who, with large personal interests at stake, renounced

without hesitation any advantage the power of disclaiming all participation in

the acts and responsibilities of Her Majesty's Consul, in the event of failure

and loss might confer.

Happily success is likely to prove in this as in most cases, that a disin

terested and generous principle of action may be the best and most advantageous

in the end ; but the result cannot affect the character of steps taken before it

could even be predicted with safety.

I heartily and earnestly desire that permanent benefit to our position and

commercial relations at this port may follow the vindication of the most

important of our rights, freedom from molestation, and security to life and

property. In this I shall find full reward for the anxious efforts it has cost

during the last month to prevent their violation .

The zealous and effective assistance II received from the commander of

Her Majesty's ship “ Childers,” and the frank support of the Consular Represen

tatives of foreign Powers at Shanghae, well merited the thanks which I rejoice

to see have been tendered by the foreign residents. Any satisfaction the

document you have placed in my hands might afford, must indeed hare been

incomplete, had these gentlemen not shared it with me, in the fullest manner.


I have to thank youpersonally for the obliging expression of your gratifi

cation in being the medium of communication on the present occasion, and

remain , &c.


Inclosure 26 in No. 54 .

Mr. Bonham to Consul Alcock.

( Extract .) Shanghae, April 12, 1848 .

THERE is one point, however, on which I must remark, lest my silence

may be construed into approval, viz ., your desire to liquidate the claims of

British subjects out of the money due to the Chinese Government, kept back

during the fifteen days' embargo on vessels in your port.

This question has been for some time under discussion , and without going

into its merits, I must simply observe that in your notification of the 13th

ultimo it is notified that no Custom -house duties will be paid by British ships

until satisfaction had been obtained for a breach of Treaty rights . That

satisfaction has now been afforded by the Chinese Government, and I am

therefore of opinion that it has a just claim to the revenue of which it has been

temporarily deprived .

It also appears to me to be highly inexpedient to mix up a very important

political question with one entirely commercial, whereby an opening is afforded

for our acts and intentions to be both misinterpreted and misrepresented .

No. 55 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .— (Received June 21.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, April 12, 1848 .

AS it may have appeared to your Lordship that my despatches to

Mr. Alcock have displayed a disposition towards a timid policy being observed

in the late misunderstanding between the British and Chinese authorities

at Shanghae, I think it proper to inclose, for your Lordship's information, copy

of a report made by Commander Pitman, of Her Majesty's sloop “ Childers,”

to Captain Campbell of Her Majesty's ship “ Melampus," and senior officer on

this station , reporting the particulars of the duties he was called on to perform ,

in the execution of the requisition made on him by the Consul, by which it

would seem that, had any one of the 1,400 grain junks, or 50 war junks, fired

a shot, or attempted to put to sea , collision would have inevitably ensued .

In fact, it appears that a strict blockade of the river was in force, and that

all vessels of every description, grain junk or otherwise, which attempted

to leave it, were of necessity stopped, and that had the crews of any of these

vessels , emboldened by their own numbers, or instigated by the local

authorities, attempted to put to sea, or to dispute the right of search,and

which the presence of only one small brig was certainly not calculated to

prevent, I, in all probability , should have had to report the termination of the

affair in a manner very different from that which I have had the great

satisfaction of doing.

Your Lordship will, I am satisfied, not fail to observe the very

embarrassing circumstances under which Commander Pitman has been acting,

as well as the zeal and discretion which that officer has displayed throughout

the whole of this important question.

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM .


Inclosure in No. 55 .

Commander Pitman to Captain Campbell.

Sir, Shanghae, April 4, 1848.

IT is with great satisfaction that I am able to report to you that most

complete and full redress has been afforded by the authorities; his Excellency

the Nea-tae, or Provincial Judge, arrived here on the 28th ultimo, with ten of

the ringleaders concerned in the late outrage at Tsing -poo. The same afternoon I

went with Her Majesty's Consul, accompanied by Messrs. Medhurst , Lockhart,

and Muirhead, to the Che-heen's public office, for the purpose of seeing whether

the criminals could be identified, which was immediately done by the

above-named gentlemen, and the prisoners were punished on the spot by being

put in the cangue; as the demand was acceded to, the Government grain junks

were allowed to depart that night.

I have felt most anxious for the result of the late negotiations, when I

briefly state that 30,000 of these lawless vagabonds from the north, in the

Government employ, were within a few miles of the city, setting all laws

at defiance ; in addition to which, we had 1,400 grain junks above us in

the river, and 50 war junks below , such a powerful force might have

overwhelmed us by numbers at any moment, notwithstanding that we had

twelve armed vessels ready to repair to this anchorage fromWoosung at a

moment's notice .

After a most harassing blockade of fifteen days, which applied to only one

of the many classes of vessels engaged in traffic on this river, and which

necessarily obliged us to board them all, I am proud to say that this arduous

service has been performed by the officers and men under my command in

perfect good feeling, and in no one instance has a hostile collision taken place,

and the trade of this port has not been interrupted.

It has been a trial of strength up to the last moment, between Her

Majesty's Consul and the authorities, and the recent events clearly show

that the coercive means adopted were forced upon us, and we might have

been in the same position at this day's date, as we were on the 9th ultimo, had

it not been in my power to send Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle ” to Nanking,

as four days after her departure, when the Lieutenant -Governor at Soo - chow

was made acquainted that a vessel of war had gone to Nanking with a

despatch of the late disturbance, and to demand that prompt steps might be

taken to bring the guilty parties to punishment, he instantly sent his

Excellency the Provincial Judge, whose rank is far above the Taoutae's, to

Tsing -poo, with orders to have the ringleaders immediately apprehended and

to take effective measures to have this affair instantly settled.

I am fully aware that I, in conjunction with Her Majesty's Consul, have

taken upon myself great responsibility, but seeing our critical position on my

arrival here, and the circumstances connected with this murderous attack on

three British subjects, I considered I was called upon to take most urgent

measures to obtain redress, and by so doing to prevent a recurrence of such

outrages. Waiting for orders from Hong Kong would have been to have

played the part the authorities wished us to do. I believe it is the first

instance in China where we have been able to identify the guilty parties.

Justice has been completely obtained , and our friendly relations and security

again established at this port, and I have every reason to hope it may be


On the 29th ultimo I went with Mr. Alcock to visit his Excellency the

Provincial Judge, who afterwards returned with us on board the “ Childers,”

and on his leaving I saluted him . He left this place on the 30th ultimo, much

pleased that all had been so cordially arranged, and with entire satisfaction to

all parties.

I have the honour to inclose you copies of letters sent me by Her Majesty's

Consul, by which you will see the opinions of the foreign community, who

consider all that has been done here is for their best interests and future

security to life and property.

Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle” has not returned yet, although hourly

xpected, the wind for the last forty -eight hours has been entirely against


her. On her arrival here I shall immediately dispatch her to the station at

Ningpo .

I cannot close this letter without reporting to you how highly I am pleased

with the conduct and exertions of the officers and men under my command ,

who have carried out my orders so efficiently as to prevent any act of hostility,

and I do trust that his Excellency the naval Commander -in -chief, as well as

yourself, will approve what has been done.

I have, &c.

(Signed) J. C. PITMAN .

No. 53.

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received June 21.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, April 24, 1848 .

SINCE I had the honour to address your Lordship on the 12th instant ,

Her Majesty's steam sloop of war “ Fury ” has returned from Shanghae, bringing

me despatches from Mr. ConsulAlcock of the 10th and 12th instant, respectively,

which, with their inclosures, I now transmit for your Lordship's information .

Mr. Alcock's letter of the 10th announces the return of Her Majesty's

brig “ Espiègle” to Shanghae, and incloses Mr. Robertson's report of his

proceedings on his mission, which, as it appears entirely satisfactory in every

respect, renders it unnecessary for me to make any remarks on it, and thereby

to add to the voluminous correspondence which has already passed on this

question. I may, however,perhaps be permitted to congratulate your Lordship

on the entire success of this mission , opening as it has done the gates of

Nanking and of the Yamun of the Viceroy for the first time since our inter

course with China commenced.

Mr. Alcock's letter of the 12tb is simply an explanation of the reasons that

induced him to proceed to the length he considered it proper to do without

previous reference to theChief Superintendent. It is, indeed, very satisfactory

to observe the talent and ability displayed by that gentleman, and the result

of his operations and negotiations clearly show that he did not enter on the

responsible position he assumed without duly weighing the chances of success,

and likewise the means within his power of a dignified withdrawal, should by

accident his views have proved erroneous as to the probable proceedings on the

part of the Chinese under the circumstances, or the steps adopted by him to

ensure his object prove ineffective ; and I confess therefore I shall be happy to

hear that this negotiation, which has been so ably conducted and successfully

terminated, may meet your Lordship’s approval.

But, my Lord,I would remind you that, being a comparative stranger in

this country, I did feel on the receipt of Mr. Alcock's first despatches, which

reached me the day after my arrival here, not a little anxious as to the results

of his measures, and in which I thoroughly saw that my able and experienced

predecessor participated. Mr. Alcock's acknowledged talent and ability has

brought the question in this instance to a very successful termination, and it

has, moreover, been thoroughly proved that he judged rightly as to the probable

result of his measures, still I am of opinion that it could scarcely have been

intended that theConsuls generally should be invested with the power that has

been assumed, although onthis occasion, under the explanation afforded by Mr.

Alcock, it may have been advisable.

My limited residence of only one month in this colony, has prevented my

becoming acquainted with any of the other four Consuls, I can therefore only

say, that it will be cause of congratulation to your Lordship, and of great

comfort to myself, to find in these officers, the same high qualifications and

activity, clearly possessed by Mr. Alcock ; but, as this may not be the case, it


may still be doubted if it would have been prudent, on my part, to have allowed

this matter to have passed unnoticed, and thereby to have given countenance to

a similar course of action on their part, and which they would naturally be

desirous of following, whenever opportunity might offer.

X 2


If I only studied my own convenience, or to hold myself irresponsible, I

should naturally advocate the Consuls being entrusted with very enlarged

powers ; but I am not unconscious of the arduous and delicate duties that your

Lordship has seen fit to entrust to me, and of the confidence that Her Majesty's

Government has been pleased to honour me with , and I am therefore particularly

desirous that I should be instructed whether the views that I have taken on this

occasion, are correct, or otherwise.

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM .

Inclosure 1 in No. 53 .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Bonham .

Sir , Shanghae, April 10, 1848.

MY despatch of the 31st March will have already made your Excellency

acquainted with the successful termination of the negotiations connected

with the Tsing -poo outrage, by the seizure and punishment of the chief


The return of Her Majesty's ship “ Espiegle ” on the 7th instant, enables

me to report the further results attained by the Vice -Consul's mission to


The inclosed report from that officer furnishes a detailed account of his

proceedings. It will be seen that the Vice-Consul, as the bearer of my official

statement, was received with every mark of courtesy and distinction by the

Viceroy in person, in the city of Nanking, and that its perusal was followed

by the expression of his Excellency's dissatisfaction at the remissness of the

Taoutae, and acquiescence in the reasonable nature of the representation I had

found it necessary to make.

My request for the dispatch of a delegate of rank was conceded, and the

Viceroy, of his own accord, has afforded a more signal satisfaction by the

removal of the Taoutae ; a successor ad interim having been at once named, as

the inclosed copy of an acting appointment conferred on Woo, will show.

The Vice-Consul brought the inclosed reply, information having been

conveyed at the time of its delivery into his hands, that the Treasurer of the

Province had already been dispatched from Nanking, to Shanghae. On the

6th instant, the late Taoutae Heen announced the resignation of the Seals of

Office to his successor ; the District Magistrate of Tsing-poo, as a matter of

course will also be removed .

On the last day a party of the officers, under the escort of Mandarins,

deputed by the Viceroy, visited the Porcelain Tower, and it appears on their

return, through a vast concourse of people, some stones were thrown at the

party indiscriminately. The next morning at day -break fourteen prisoners were

abreast the ship in the cangue, and his Excellency sent an officer to express his

regret at the occurrence, and to state that he had instantly caused the offenders

to be seized and punished. I attach no other importance to the circumstance

than as it affords аa further proof of the desire of the highest authority of the

Province to prevent all just cause of complaint.

As an incidental advantage gained, I may mention, that accurate

information has been obtained of important alterations, in what appeared

the bed of the Yang -tze-keang when the expedition sailed up, the river

having at the time overflowed its banks by the melting of the snow from the

mountains, so that deep water lay for a considerable distance on each side over

the surrounding country, and in many places shoals are marked on the charts

drawn at the time, far beyond the river's bed.

Careful observation appears also to have been made of the fortifications

raised on the banks since the fleet anchored off Nanking. On these points the

inclosed copy of Captain Campbell's reports to the senior officer, will be found

to give interesting details. )

The outrage took place on the Sth March, the “ Espiègle ” returned on

the 7th instant. Within a month, therefore, complete reparation has been

obtained, and the transaction of business with a British officer in the official


residence of the chief authority of the Province, within the walls of the second

Imperial city in the Empire, the distinction with which the Vice -Consul was

received, and the reiterated courtesy which marked his Excellency's return visit

on board the man -of-war, cannot, I conceive , fail to exercise a salutary and

permanent influence upon our relations with all local authorities, and to

establish our position in popular estimation on a higher and better footing than

had previously been found attainable.

Nor must I omit to solicit your Excellency's attention to the fact, that the

last results, obtained from the peaceful mission to Nanking, were gained without

painful insisting upon rights and claims : of course no advantage is ever gained

in China without an attempt on the part of the authorities to withhold or give

less than may be desired, but the incidental and preliminary discussions,

necessarily arising from this disposition, were conducted with every mark of

respect to the high authority to whom Her Majesty's Vice-Consul was

accredited, and the points raised were finally conceded , in every instance ,

gracefully and courteously on the part of the Viceroy, as the resultof his own

free will and conviction .

For the tact, good judgment, and ability, shown in the conduct of this

delicate negotiation for privileges and concessions, which could not be insisted

upon, however reasonably and advantageously they might be urged in preli

minary discussions on points of etiquette with the delegates of the Viceroy,

Mr. Vice-Consul Robertson deserves great praise, and looking to the long tried

services of this officer, it affords me much satisfaction to bring his successful

exertions upon this occasion under your Excellency's especial notice.

He reports that he was very happily seconded, as I had no doubt he would ,

by Mr. Interpreter Parkes, whose employment at Foo -chow, where more than

once not very dissimilar affairs had to be discussed with the Viceroy of the

Province, gave him peculiar advantage.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 2 in No. 56 .

Vice - Consul Robertson to Consul Alcock .

Sir , Shanghae, April 7, 1848.


IN accordance with the instruction contained in your letter of the 19th

ultimo, directing me to proceed to Nanking, obtain an interview with the

Viceroy, and deliver a letter to his Excellency from you , relative to the attack

lately made at Tsing-poo on the Missionaries Messrs. Medhurst, Lockhart, and

Muirhead, I have the honour to report, that on the evening of the same day, I

went on board Her Majesty's ship " Espiègle," at anchor off this city, accom

panied by Mr. Interpreter Parkes, a Chinese writer, and two policemen .

At daybreak on the 20th, wegot under weigh, dropped down to Woosung,

and at 2 o'clock, P.m , had reached Point Harvey in the Yang-tze -keang, when

the vessel took the ground, but fioated again on the following morning. In the

evening of the 21st we again grounded on the north bank of the river, a little

below Keashan, and there remained until the morning of the 23rd, when the

vessel was hove off. On the morning of the 24th, we made the best of our

way up the river, with light and partialwinds, and a strong current against us,

and on the 25th anchored under Choo -shan.

Here we were boarded by a military Mandarin surnamed Chin, of the rank

of lieutenant -colonel, intrusted with the command of the defences in this

neighbourhood, who came off to make inquiries as to the object of our visit.

I told him I was on my way to Nanking on business with the Viceroy. He said

that the people were alarmed at our presence, and that the gates of Chin

Keang -foo had been closed. I told him that there was no causefor alarm , that

my mission was a peaceful one, and doubtless would speedily be arranged at the

interview I required with the Viceroy. In reply to his inquiry as to whether

we intended to land elsewhere, I acquainted him that such was not my

intention ; that my business was at Nanking alone, and nowhere else. He

appeared satisfied with this explanation and took his leave.


On the following morning, the 26th, the Che -heen or Magistrate of Tantoo,

the district in which we then were, and in which the city of Chin -keang- foo is

situated, came on board , as he said, to pay his compliments and offer his

services. He asked, in effect, the samequestions as the lieutenant-colonel did,

and I answered them accordingly, declining his services on the plea of the

trouble it would givehim , but eventually parting with every expression of good

will and courtesy on both sides.

We then got under weigh and run up for a couple of miles, but were

compelled to anchor from the breeze failing us. No sooner had we done this

than we were boarded by various other Mandarins, who proved to be the Prefect

of Chin -keang-foo, accompanied by the above-mentioned Magistrate, and

lieutenant- colonel, with another military officer of inferior rank. Being

convinced that the best way to obtain an audience with the Viceroy would be

keep the objects of my mission as private as possible, I had previously

determined upon declining any further interviews with the subordinate

authorities, and this party was accordingly received by Captain Campbell and

Mr. Parkes only.. This had the good effect of shortening their stay, as when

the main subject was referred to by them , Captain Campbell had only to say,

that it was a matter in which he was nowise concerned, to put an immediate

stop to their inquires, and to banish any hopes they entertained of prevailing

upon me to go no further,and to transact my business with the Viceroy through

them . Their offers to afford us assistance or to furnish us with supplies, were

renewed on their departure.

The next morning we were again under sail, and about 12 o'clock had

passed Chin -keang -foo, and anchored four miles above Golden Island. Here

we were boarded by the district Magistrate, and lieutenant -colonel command

ing at Eching, a city a few miles further up the river. These officers, either

from fear or diffidence had at first much difficulty in assigning a reason for

their visit, but afterwards stated, that they had been directed by the Viceroy, to

learn from us the cause of our appearance. They then of themselves produced

as their authority the sealed instructions of his Excellency, but Mr. Parkes

perceiving on looking over this document, that we were therein spoken of as

barbarians, it was at once returned to them , and they were immediately requested

to leave the ship.

Shortly after another boat ran alongside, having on board a military

Mandarin surnamed Chang, of the rank of major. Mr. Parkes saw this officer

and told him in answer to his inquiries, that I was on board on a visit to the

Viceroy at Nanking. He said that as we were resolved to go there, it would

be well to make some arrangements previously, in order that the Viceroy

mightbe prepared to give me an interview , admitting that he had been sent

down for that purpose. On Mr. Parkes reporting this to me, I requested him

to tell the officer, that when we reached Nanking, I should be prepared to

make any arrangements that were requisite , but that I saw no necessity for

entering into these matters beforehand. This was the last visit paid us by the

Mandarins on our way up, who finding that they could gain nothing by their

inquiries, thought it useless to make further attempts.

Finally, after some further delay, owing to our having made an ineffectual

attempt to go through a shorter but narrower channel, we anchored off Nanking

on the evening of the 29th .

Early the next morning the Lieutenant-Colonel Chin, and the Major

Chang, came off, and I then declared that the object of my visit was to have

an interviewwith the Viceroy, for the purpose of delivering to him a letter from

Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, and requested them to take our

cards,and arrange for a meeting as soon as convenient. They at once admitted

the willingness of the Viceroy to give one, and proposed to have it held at the

Temple outside the city, where Sir Henry Pottinger had met the Commissioners

in 1842. But to this I demurred ; and I may here perhaps state myreasons for

objecting to this arrangement .

In the first place, I had advanced so farin the negotiation as to have the

interview fixed : that point therefore was settled, and the next question was as

to the spot where it should be held. Being led to infer from the conversations

that had taken place with the authorities on our way up the river, and many

other little circumstances which came under my observation,that I could safely

take a strong position, and execute the mission with which I was intrusted, in


the manner most creditable to the Consul, and most advantageous to British

interests, I then told these officers that I had come to Nanking on a matter of

public business, that the only fit place to transact this was at the Yamun or

official residence of the authority to whom I was sent, and that I could not

think of giving the Viceroy the trouble of coming out of the city to see me,

when it was my duty, in deference to his rank , to wait upon him, I therefore

requested that they would communicate to his Excellency my sentiments on this

subject, and beg him to name a time for my visit..

They urged that if I was resolved upon entering the city, the meeting

should be held at the Literary Hall, and not at the Yamun of the Viceroy, on

the plea that the Hall was the place at which Sir Henry Pottinger was received

by the Imperial Commissioners at the interview which he held with them inside

the city ; but to this I objected, on the grounds, that the cases were by no

means of a parallel nature, as my business lay with the Viceroy of the Province,

and not with any authorities who were only temporary residents there, and that

if any other place but his Yamun were fixed upon, his Excellency might as

well come out of the city at once.

They then said they must receive the instructions of the Viceroy on

this head, as also with regard to the various ceremonies that were to be observed

during the meeting, and took their leave to return again in the afternoon .

This they did at 6 P.m., andinformed me that the Viceroy considered my

reasons for seeing him at his Yamun conclusive, and had named noon on the

following day, as the time when he would receive me. The various ceremonial

points (though after much discussion ), had also been most satisfactorily

arranged, his Excellency having acceded to all that I had required. The three

large gates were to be opened, we were to leave our chairs after passing through

the second one, and walk to the third, where the Viceroy would meet and

conduct us to the Hall of Audience, I was also to receive the usual salute of

three guns .

On the following morning, the 31st, the two officerscame on board to take

us on shore. Captain Campbell, with three of his officers , Mr. Parkes, and

myself, went in the ship's boats, and on landing were placed in sedan-chairs,

with four bearers each, and accompanied by a military escort and numerous

police-runners, set off for the city, passedthrough the gates, at which I observed

à strong guard, and after a ride of an hour and forty minutes — such is the

immense area within the walls — we reached the Viceroy's Yamun, and were

received by him in the manner previously arranged.

We then sat down in the form of a half- circle, his Excellency placing me

in a seat at the top next to himself. Refreshments were brought in , and after

some general conversation, I entered on the object of my visit, and getting up

presented him with your letter, which he received standing and bowing. Having

opened and read it, he said that it was a very reasonable letter, and that, doubt

less, the Taoutae at Shanghae had been very remiss in not taking more active

measures for securing the punishment of the delinquents ; but that since we

had left the Judge of the Province had been sent from Soo -chow, who, he

thought, would speedily arrange everything. II pointed out to him that one

object of my mission was to obtain the appointment by his Excellency of a

Delegate from Nanking, his own Court, to proceed to Shanghae, to effect an

adjustment of the matter; and impressed upon his Excellency the necessity of

this step, from the moral effect it would have on both the local authorities and

the people ; that hereafter, under similar circumstances, the one would act with

promptness, to avoid appeal to the higher authority, and the other would see

that foreigners were not to be molested with impunity, or offenders escape the

punishment due to their acts, by declaration of incompetency to seize them on

the part of these local authorities.

His Excellency admitted the truth of this, but declared that the fittest

person had already been sent. Mr. Parkes and Ihadprovided for this objection

by previous conversation on the subject. I was therefore prepared, and at once

named the Treasurer of the Province as the most proper officer that he could

send for the purpose. As I expected, he objected to this, asserting many rea

sons, all of which were met and refuted; but, deeming that the interview was

sufficiently prolonged, and that if a second and more private one could be

obtained I should be able to act more effectually in the matter, I signified my

wish to take my leave, urging on his consideration what I had said, and express


ing my conviction that my arguments would have due weight with bis


I then expressed a wish to see him again on the morrow , to which he

assented ,and mentioned the Temple outside the city as a convenient place for

all parties. Captain Campbell took this opportunity to ask whether he would


like to visit the “ Espiègle.” His Excellency signified the satisfaction it would

give him to do so, remarking that “ it would afford him an opportunity of

returning our visit, which it was only proper that he should do so, ” and he then

fised upon the next day to come on board .

I may mention that a repast was served up of which the Viceroy partook

with us, his Excellency and another Mandarin, late Taoutae at Ningpoo, Captain

Campbell, Mr. Parkes, and myself, sitting at one table, and the naval officers

at another table, with Lieutenant -Colonel Chin . After having dined we took

our leave, the same ceremonies being observed on our departure as on our


The following day, the 1st of April, turned out wet and stormy. The

Viceroy came down to the beach, but it blew too heavily for him to come off to

the ship. Mr. Parkes went on shore, and arranged for his Excellency to pay

his visit on the next day, the 2nd , which he did , and was received with yards

manned and due honours. He inspected the brig, and partook of luncheon ..

Mr. Parkes settled that we should go on shore, and have an interview at the

Temple, as I was of opinion that the matters under discussion could be more

properly be entered into there than on board the brig, where he was paying

only a visit of ceremony. Accordingly I followed him when he left, and Mr.

Parkes, who had gone on shore to receive him , accompanied him back to the

beach .

On reaching the Temple we found his Excellency waiting to receive us,

and after being seated entered at once into the business before us, taking up

the question of the expediency of sending the Provincial Treasurer to Shanghae,

which, from conversations Mr. Parkes had with various of the authorities in

passing to and fro from the ship during the morning, we were led to believe the

Viceroy had made up his mind to do. His Excellency began by expressing his

conviction of the obligation of preserving the good relations existing between

the two countries, and how anxious he was to do all in his power to further that

ohject. He regretted the necessity he felt for degrading Heen-ling, the Taoutae

of Shanghac, who had clearly been most remiss in the performance of his duty,

and insinuated the difficulty you, the Consul , would hereafter experience in

meeting him after what had occurred ; and that he deemed his removal from

office at Shanghae essential .

Mr. Parkes and I, in anticipation of such a result, had had some conversa

tion previously together on the subject, and I in the end instructed him , that in

the event of such a question arising, to decline passing an opinion upon it. My

reason for taking this ground was my knowledge that Sam -qua, the late Hong

merchant at Canton, had been long hanging about Shanghae, open to employ

ment, and evidently with his eye on that port, as its future Taoutae, in the

event of the removal of Heen-ling from office. To acquiesce with the Viceroy

in the justice of his remark, would cause , I feared , a termination of Heen -ling's

tenure of office, and Sam -qua would, in all probability, step into the vacancy.

Not to acquiesce with his Excelleney, would put us in the position of bringing a

serious charge of negligence against the Taoutae Heen -ling, for which he deserved

degradation, and yet when that degradation was all but offered, to support him

after condemning him , thus entailing a doubt as to the soundness of our case,

most inexpedient to have incurred . I had, therefore, determined, as far as we

were concerned, to leave it an open question, trusting to have an opportunity of

giving the Viceroy to understand that Sam -qua would not suit us at Shanghae in

any way, and thus put a stop to any intention that may have been entertained

of presenting him with the appointment. Moreover, I conceived that if the

Taoutae Heen ling was to be removed, it had better be the simple act of his own

Government, and unconnected with any influence of ours, as I imagined that

the Viceroy would be well pleased to assign our resquest as a conclusive reason

for his removal , and thus throw upon us the onus of the step. Besides the

appointment of аa delegate of superior rank to the Taoutae Heen-ling to adjust the

affair at Shanghae, constituted of itself aa virtual suspension, and it was to obtain


this that I heldout so firmly for the appointment of an officer of so high a

standing as the Treasurer.

Under these circumstances, in answer tothe Viceroy's insinuation respecting

the removal of the Taoutae Heen -ling, Mr. Parkes made answer, “ that it was a

question which must rest with his Excellency alone to decide.”

As I had expected, the opportunity to check the employment of Sam-qua

soon offered, by the Viceroyshortly after observing, that he had appointed

another officer of the rank of Taoutae, and here he mentioned Sam -qua'sname,

to assist in arranging the business. I instructed Mr. Parkes to hint to his Excel

lency, that there was no necessity whatever for the interference of Sam-qua in

our affairs, and, I believe Mr. Parkes urged this in so pointed a manner, that the

Viceroy well understood our feeling upon the subject.

Finally, after some discussion as to the difficulties that existed respecting

the employment of the Provincial Treasurer, his Excellency signified his inten

tion ofdispatching that functionary immediately to Shanghae, as a delegate, in

compliance with your request for one, there to act with the Provincial Judge in

bringing matters at Shanghae to aa satisfactory conclusion .

I have not detailed the various manœuvres and arguments made use of by

the authorities with whom these negotiations were entered upon, from the

Viceroy downwards, to put us off, and get the business closed in accordance

with their views of the case, although I am bound to say, that every disputed

point was eventually conceded by them with the best possible grace, and with

an evident intent to satisfy our demands. At one time the discussion relative

to the appointent of Provincial Treasurer assumed a curious position, being a

close argument between the Viceroy and Mr. Parkes as to the stated impossi

bility of employing him, on the plea that that officer could never be detached

from his office, nor even be employed on any other but his financial affairs. But

Mr. Parkes adduced precedents to prove thecontrary, which doubtless materially

tended to gain the object in view, for the Viceroy was obliged to relinquish this

line of argument, and fall back, first upon the propriety of the prior appointment

of the Provincial Judge, and, lastly, to appealing to me as to whetherI thought

he would not act in good faith, and with good intentions ? My answer to this

was,that such a doubt could not exist in my mind after the courteous reception

he had given us at Nanking, which was the best proof of his intention ; but that

the appointment of the Provincial Judge had not emanated from his Excellency,

nor bad he been dispatched from Nanking, he having been deputed by the

Lieutenant-Governor, and sent from Soo- chow only, which we might have

obtained by going at once to that city, instead of travelling this long distance to

Nanking, or troubling his Excellencyat all on the subject. He then urged that by

reiterating the orders for the dispatch of the Judge he made the appointment

virtually his own, and deemed that that would be found sufficient. I , in answer,

acknowledged the sufficiency of the appointment, but objected to it on the

ground that the moral effect which it conveyed, would not be the same as if

some officer of high rank were sent direct from the Viceroy himself; that my

instructions were to wait upon his Excellency, and after presenting your letter,

receiving an answer, and being informed that a delegate from Nanking

had been appointed to proceed to Shanghae, my mission was concluded, and I

hoped that he would, as speedily as possibly, place me in a position to return

and report that the request of Her Britannic Majesty's Consul had been

acceded to by His Excellency.

The interview Mr. Parkes and I had with the Viceroy at the Temple on

the 2ndinstant, was attended with marked courtesey and politeness on the part

of his Excellency. He expressed openly and freely in condemnatory terms, his

opinion of the event at Shanghae, that had caused our visit, and his regret

at the occurrence. On our leaving he mentioned his intention of dispatching the

Treasurer as soon as possible, which would either be on the following day,

or early on the morning after, and stated that he should give me notice of the

departure of that officer, at the same time that he should me send an answer

to your letter, in order that we might return to Shanghae without further


Seeing that we should thus have to remain another day off Nanking, I

took the opportunity of requesting the permission of his Excellency for the

officers of the brig to visit the Porcelain Tower, begging that if the least

objection existed to the trip, he would say so, as it was only wished for as



a means of passing the time while waiting for his Excellency's answer to the

Consul's letter to be sent on board. Before Mr. Parkes had concluded making

mention of my request, his Excellency turned round to Lieutenant-Colonel

Chin, and Major Chang, and directed them to attend the following day to take

the party up to visit the Tower, and on my again stating that I should regret

if my request caused any trouble or inconvenience, he answered me that

such would by no means be the case, and that he was happy to give us the

opportunity of seeing the edifice. We then, after having partaken of some

refreshment with his Excellency, took our leave and returned on board.

The next day, the 3rd instant, the Lieutenant-Colonel Chin and

Major Chang, came off at 8 o'clock in two boats. We reached the landing

place on the south side of the city at about 2 o'clock, and there found several

Mandarins of rank, with attendants and chairs awaiting us, but the distance to

the Pagoda being but short we walked up, and though followed by a large

crowd, had not to complain of the slightest molestation. After viewing

the Tower we adjourned to a dinner in one of the adjoining buildings, and then

proceeded on our return to the boats. As we advanced through the square in

which there many thousands of people collected, some stones were thrown at us

from far behind, which struck indiscriminately both us and the Mandarins and

attendants. Wetook no notice of this assault, and walked out of the square

into the street, where the stoning ceased, and we reached our boats in safety.

Proceeding down the canal a few more stones were thrown at the boats,

but beyond this, no obstruction or any appearance of ill-will was shown,

and considering the immense concourse of people, among whom must always be

idle and ill disposed, I am not inclined to attach any importance to this

incident, but regard it merely as a casualty I am bound to mention.

On our return an officer came on board with the Viceroy's answer to your

letter, and with notice that the Treasurer would leave at 8 o'clock the following

morning, the 4th, for Shanghae.

On the following morning at daylight, fourteen men were seen abreast of

the ship kneeling in the cangue, and the Lieutenant -Colonel Chin accompanied

by Major Chang, and another officer came off with a list of their names, having

been sent by the Viceroy to express how deeply annoyed and grieved his

Excellency felt at our having been molested, as also his intentions to use

his utmost endeavours to severely punish the offenders. At the same time, he

reported to me that the Treasurer had already commenced his journey, taking

leave of this officer, sail was made, and we immediately left the city of

Nanking on our return ,

I have now the pleasing duty to convey my deep sense of the services

rendered during this mission by Mr. Parkes,to whose exertions, tact, and zeal,

its successful termination is chiefly due, and I only hope that ifin the course of

my career in the public service in China, I am again placed in communication

with the authorities on matters of a similar nature , I may have the benefit

of his valuable assistance. It is easy to speak well of the exertions of an

officer in a general way, but it is not so easy to express the particular

opinion you may entertain of the way in which those services are rendered, and

above all, of the tact and good sense brought to bear on the occasion. I beg,

therefore, you will take my simple assertion that, if our communications

with the Viceroy at Nanking have been effected in a manner worthy of

our position in China, to Mr. Parkes chiefly is due the success attending

my endeavours on that point .

I have also to express my sense of the kindness I experienced from

Commander Campbell, during our protracted voyage up the Yang-tze-keang.

I have, &c.

(Signed ) B. ROBERTSON .


Inclosure 3 in No. 56 .

Declaration .


Le, a Chief Guardian of the Crown Prince, a Director of the Board of War, and

Governor -General of Keang -nan and 'Keang-see ;

Luh, a Vice -president of the Board of War, and Lieutenant -Governor of the

Province of Keang-soo, declare the following directions for an acting

appointment :

HEEN, the Intendant of Circuit for the departments of Soo -chow -foo,

Sung-keang -foo, and Tae-tsang - chow, having in the management of affairs

acted erroneously, and failed in the performance of his duty, has now been

removed, leaving his office vacant. We learn that Woo (Sam-qua), an unat

tached Intendant, is possessed of ability sufficient to temporarily conduct the

affairs of that office ; and we now, therefore, do at once declare his appoint

ment to the same . Let the said Intendant, immediately on receipt of this his

authority, and in obedience to the orders therein made known, proceed to

officiate in that office, and let him duly report to us for our information the

date of his arrival at his post.

Disobey not. A special declaration.

Taoukwang, 28th year, and month, 28th day. (April 1, 1848.)

Inclosure 4 in No. 56.

The Governor -General Le to Consul Alcock.

( Translation .)

Le, of the Tatsing Empire, one of the Chief Guardians of the Crown Prince, a

Director of the Board of War, and Governor-General of the two Keang

Provinces, makes known the following :

ON the 27th day of the second month (31st March ), Mr. Vice - Consul

Robertson and Mr. Interpreter Parkes came to the provincial city, where, as in

duty bound, I gave them an interview and a courteous reception. They

delivered to me your statement, from which I learn that the Missionaries,

Mr. Medhurst and others, had been assaulted and wounded by certain sailors

at Tsing -poo, but that after a protracted delay none of the offenders had yet

been seized or punished, and that therefore in accordance with Treaty Rights

you had proceeded to lay your complaint before me.

I find with regard to this case that the Intendant of Circuit for Soo-chow

foo, Sung -keang -foo, and Tae-tsang-chow (Taoutae of Shanghae), and others,

had previously reportedthe matter to me,upon which I, the Governor-General,

in concert and communication with Luh, Lieutenant -Governor of the Province

of Keang-soo, deputed E > acting judge for that Province, and Woo (Sam -qua),

an unattached Intendant, to proceed with all haste, and with the Magistrate of

Tsing -poo, and other officers under his command, to seize many of the criminals

principals and accomplices, and forward them to Shanghae for trial and



By this time the affair has been finally adjusted, but a question now

remains as to whether the Intendant of Circuit for Soo- chow -foo, Sung-keang

foo, and Tae-tsang - chow, has not acted wrongly in the matter and failed in the

performance of his duty. I, the Governor -General, have therefore deputed

Chuen, the Treasurer of Nanking, and Chin, an unattached Intendant, to pro

ceed overland to Shanghae, and in concert and communication with E the

acting judge of Keang-soo, and Woo, the unattached Intendant, to thoroughly

examine into and arrange this point. These mcasures will prove how desirous

I am to afford you protection.

The maritime duties should now be paid as heretofore, and the rice junks

be allowed to quietly proceed to sea , and British subjects should continue to

confine the extent of their excursions to the limits that were originally laid

down and fixed upon, in the hope that by both nations adhering to the esta

Y 2


blished regulations the Treaty of perpetual peace and friendship may be

cemented .

It is my duty to make the above known to you.

month. 29th day. ( April 3, 1848. )

Taoukwang, 28th year, 2nd month,

Inclosure 5 in No. 56.

Commander Campbell to Commander Pitman.

Sir, Woosung, April 8 , 1848 .

I BEG to inclose a list of the remarks made on board HerMajesty's sloop

under my command,, on her passage up the Yang-tze-kiang to Nanking.

I have, &c .

( Signed ) FRED. CAMPBELL .

Remarks made on board Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle,” on her passage up the

Yang -tze- kiang to Nanking, from the 20th March to 7th April, 1848.

IN proceeding up the Yang-tze-kiang from Woosung, the banks of the

river present a sameness that renders the navigation, otherwise simple, very

precarious and difficult .

The Blonde Shoal is the first difficulty met with, to avoid which, at low

water, I think it advisable to keep as near as possible in your own draft

(two and a-half fathoms) on the southern bank, as by deepening to three

fathoms we grounded on it. There was only then two feet water on its shoalest

part. It appears to be composed of a bed of rocks covered with mud .

The whole of Tsing-ming to Point Harvey is the same low unremarkable land.

The broad opening, five or six miles to the south -eastward of Point Harvey, shows

plainly, and several small junks appeared passing through it. On nearing

Point Harvey, it is particularly necessary to observe its appearance, and fix on

some particular object, some house, or tree, to keep on a south -east by east

bearing, until some distance from it, then shaping a course to the westward.

When abreast of Point Harvey it is very difficult, from the appearance of the

land, without taking this precaution, to fix on any particular part as the point,

and a vessel unwarned, and running up with a fair wind and fresh tide, will

probably, by a few moments? hesitation, be set on shore on the banks to the

northward ; the tide appearing to set in that direction with considerable

velocity .

Single Tree, on the south bank, appears withered at this season. The

main trunk separates into two large limbs, about half its whole height from the

ground, and has thus a forked appearance. Close along side it is another tree

of lesser height, having the same withered appearance.

Great Bush is a cluster of tall trees, and with thick foliage, presenting the

appearance of a large round bush .

Mason Island appears placed too far north on the chart.

Between Plover Point and Foo -shan we had shoal water (three- and - a- quarter

fathoms), with Lang -shan Pagoda bearing northerly, east half -east, and the

second hill from the eastward at Foo -shan west quarter -north . It shoaled more

by hauling to the northward, and we deepened by steering directly towards the

south shore. The above bearings point this shoal part out as directly in

mid-channel .

Lang -shan Pagoda will be easily known. It is on the summit of one of

three hills, which, when seen from the south - eastward, appear nearly as one.

The whole of the surrounding country, as far as the eye can reach, is one

unbroken flat.

At Foo -shan there are four very low remarkable hills. The easternmost is

the smallest, and at a distance not easily made out . The second hill, the next

westward of it, is higher, and there are some houses on it. This hill, together

with Lang -shan Pagoda, are excellent marks for passing over to the other side


of the river. This is called the Foo -shan Crossing. A difference in the depths

found, and those on the chart is to be expected, but having worked across, I am

of opinion, by close attention to the cross -bearings, the banks may be easily

avoided .

On reaching the north bank, from thence westward , past Kea -shan, the

navigation is rather troublesome from the great breadth of the river (the south

bank not being visible ), the want of any leading marks, and the channel being

much contracted. In going up we grounded on the north side, having shoaled

suddenly from twelve and a half fathoms to one- quarter less two fathoms.

In hauling off we deepened to twenty-two fathoms. Kea-shan bearing south

west by west quarter-west ; Lang-shan Pagoda south - east by east half-east;

small patch to the southward (east end) south half-west.

Kea -shan will be easily known, it will first appear from the eastward, like a

small round nob of land of moderate elevation ; allthe land in its vicinity is very

flat and low.

In coming down this part of the river, it fortunately happened to be low

water, the banks on both sides being uncovered in very many places to the

height of from six feet to nine feet, and the channel being contracted in one

part, where Kea-shan bore to the south-westward of us to less than three - fourths

of a mile . To avoid getting on shore it is, therefore, necessary to use great

caution . The right bank, after leaving the crossing at Too -shan, may be kept

pretty close on board, you will, however, have several fathoms less water that

what is marked on the chart . When Kea - shan bears west south-west, increase

your distance from the north bank, and I think it would be proper to borrow

towards the south side of the channel until you are past Kea -shan .

Koo -shan is a small low hill with some houses on it, not easily distinguished

if the weather is at all hazy.

All the hills marked on the chart on the south bank as far as Keang- yin

heen will be easily made out. The low one forming to the point of the river

opposite to the south point of Yin shan, kept on a south -west by west quarter

west bearing (though a distant), is a good leading mark for passing between the


Cornwallis Shoal and the banks to the northward . A cross -bearing of Koo-shan

will let you know when approaching and when past it. Leading between the

Cornwallis Shoal and the other banks, there are other hills to the eastward of

Keang-yin -heen, which when recognised are useful leading marks.

Cornwallis shoal is the small bank on the south side of the channel, marked

with one and a half fathoms on each end of it, bearing from Koo - shan cast

south-east nearly. It was completely uncovered when we passed it.

Proceeding up the river the south end of Starling Island, and Hwang -shan

hill will become visible. By keeping the latter not quite on with the south end

of Starling Island, but rather to the southward of it, it will lead you right up if

to it, clear of the banks, which project from the north side of the channel.

Starling Island is long, exceeding low and flat, the southern part is

wooded and inhabited,but the northern half is an extremely narrow low slip of

and that will in all probability be swept away at the first time of any unusual

swelling of the river. The north extremity for about a mile has already

disappeared, which I proved by transit bearings of the north extreme of the

island and Hwang-shan hill, both in going up and returning down. The present

bearing being east by north half north, and instead of there being twelve

fathoms closeto it, it is rather shoal, and should be given a berth at low water

of at least half a cable. The rest of the island, from its south point upwards,

we found bold too .

When abreast of the eastern entrance to the Sha -yaou river it appears

difficult to proceed, the chart showing a blank without any soundings, and

instead of one small island only appearing on the right hand, there are actually

three visible with houses and numbers of rush huts thickly studding them all

over. They extend as far north as an east north-east, bearing from thenorth

point of the entrance to the Sha-yaou river. On the chart, deep water (thirteen

fathoms) is marked near the north pointof the Sha -yaou river, but wefound it

shoal , having only four fathoms. We deepened by hauling more towards the

islands above mentioned .

After passing this place keep towards the right bank of the river (taking

the precaution not to come too near the northern extremity of these islands,

in the event of any spit growing up in a northerly direction ), until Choo-shan


Pagoda, which will soon be seen over the land and recognised, bears nearly west,

when the left bank must be immediately crossed over to, you will then be to the

westward of the long shoal marked with quarter fathoms on it, but which was

visible to us full six feet above the water for nearly a mile. This shoal is

called after the “ Jupiter," who grounded on it.

Proceeding onwards there are apparently no obstructions to the navigation

of the river until past the western entrance to the Sha - yaou river. In the

channel, nearly due west from Chooshan Pagoda, a sunken rock is marked on

the chart. It was visible to us about seven feet above the water, and had a

pole fixed on it. It lies about a cable's length from the eastern shore, and

under a small hill on that side .

Seaow -sha Island is extremely low and flat, without trees or habitation of

any kind on it, and I should think frequently inundated. To the southward ,

and abreast of its eastern extremity, there is, I believe, a shoal, extending

from the southern shore to within two cables ' length of this point of the island,

and on which Her Majesty's ship " Calliope" grounded. It is said there is only

nine feet water on it.

Silver Island. We passed up and beat down to the southward of this

island. Less water than marked on the chart will be found, and the depths

very irregular. In going up, the point on the left bank may be rounded close,

but just within it, abreast of the island, it shoals. Borrowing to this side, to

weather the west end of Silver Island , we shoaled to three and a -half fathoms

for several casts.

Off the west end of Ta -sha is a bank which we shoaled on in working


Marion Rock. Proceeding on past Golden Island there is a sunken rock ,

marked on the chart close over to the northern shore. It lies, however, directly

in midchannel, and in a direct line between the west point of the creek on the

south bank and the most elevated and most remarkable part of the bank on the

north shore. It has been built on by the Chinese, and now shows four or five feet

above the water. I observed a whitewashed mark on the rocks below the

Pagoda on Golden Island, and after passing the rock we brought the Pagoda

and this mark in one, it then appeared in a direct line over and on with the

rock, and appears intended as a mark for it . On our return down, by keeping

the Pagoda open to the right of the mark, we passed clear to the southward

of it .

Pih -sin - chow Island. Midway between the eastern point of this island

and the north shore is a bank , uncovered, three or four feet above the water,

with apparently a navigable channel, used by the junks, on either side of it .

We stood near it, and tacked in fifteen fathoms water, not far from it.

Along the south - east side of this island are several banks, which uncover at

low water. They lie parallel to the shore, a short distance from it, and are

steep too.

After passing E -ching, there are some remarkable hills. First, a range

marked on the chart as stretching to the north -west, but also to the north-east ;

next, westward of them , are two conical-shaped hills, with some table-land at the

back ; a very little further west is a remarkable table hill. Westward of the

creeks at E -ching, there are some shoal patches near the north shore, on the

edge of one of which we anchored during the night, the wind having failed us.

The weather next morning was too hazy to observe any bearings to get our

position exactly, but I sounded during the night, and found four fathoms about

half cable from the shore, rocky bottom . Off the mouth of the creek, on the

north shore, and south -east by south from the two hills, we had some shoal

casts over a rocky bottom, extending southward one -third the way across the


We tried to pass through the creek which leads to the south of Tsaou -heae

hea Island, but after advancing about one-third of the distance, were obliged to

retrace our steps, finding only half the depth of water marked on the chart. It

is a very narrow channel ; a longer vessel than ourselves would have been

obliged to have returned the best part of the way stern foremost.

Off the north -east side of Tsaou -heae-hea Island, a shoal extends full one

third of the way across the river. Its northern edge uncovers for about three

cables' length in a direction parallel to the shore. When abreast of the centre

part, Ning- yan -shan pagoda bore north north - east, quarter east.


We observed a rock uncovered near the western shore, about a mile to the

northward of Ping - shan pagoda .

(Signed) E. H. GARWOOD, Master.

Inclosure 6 in No. 56 .

Commander Campbell to Commander Pitman.

Sir, Shanghae, April 7, 1848.

I HAVE the honour to acquaint you, for the information of his Excellency

the Commander-in -chief, that Her Majesty's sloop under my command anchored

off Nanking on the evening of the 29th March .

During the passage up we grounded three times on soft muddy bottom,

but sustained no injury, though a delay of 48 hours off Lang- shan Pagoda

from the difficulty of getting off, and which was not accomplished without

starting the water and lightening her of six guns, five tons of shot, chain cables,

bower -anchors, and the spare spars.

Between Choo-shan and Nanking we were visited by several Mandarins,

who came off and inquired the object of our visit, which , however, I deferred

acquainting them with, until our arrival at Nankin .

On the 31st March, after several interviews with the Mandarins on board,

1, with several of the officers, accompanied Brooke Robertson , Esquire, Her

Majesty's Vice- Consul at Shanghae, and H. Parkes , Esquire, officiating Inter

preter at that port, into the city of Nanking, when Her Majesty's Vice -Consul

presented his despatches to the Viceroy.

On the 2nd April, the Viceroy visited Her Majesty's sloop, and was

received with all honours .

On the evening of the 3rd instant, Her Majesty's Vice-Consul reported to

me that the object of his mission was concluded, but as it was nearly dark, I

did not deem it advisable to weigh until the following morning.

Inclosed is a list of batteries, with their strength and position, erected by

the Chinese since the last war ; also a few remarks upon the navigation of the

river, which is very different from what it was in the autum of 1842, as it was

then very broad and deep with a current of from three to four miles per hour

setting down, At present the current does not make stronger than from one

halfto two miles per hour, some parts of the river are little more than half the

breadth they were then, with from two to three fathoms less water.

The Mandarins said it was in consequence of the snows not having yet

melted in the interior.

The Viceroy and Mandarins were most polite and attentive, and assisted

us in procuring supplies, but evidently most anxious for our departure, and

much annoyed at our having come up.

On the morning of the 3rd instant, the Viceroy sent Mandarins and boats

for those officers who wished to avail themselves of seeing the Porcelain Tower,

most of whom took advantage of it. On leaving, the people had collected in

thousands, and a few in the rear commenced throwing brickbats, making no

distinction between Englishmen or Mandarins . The Mandarins, with their

attendants and some soldiers, did all in their power to prevent them , but

without success. Fortunately none of the party were much hurt, and the

following morning shortly before our departure fifteen of the culprits were

brought down in front of the ship, with the cangue round their necks. The

Viceroy expressed the deepest regret at the occurrence, and was doing all in

his power to discover the offenders.

Whilst proceeding down the Yang - tze-kiang this day, Her Majesty's sloop

again took the ground on the Blonde Shoal, where she remained an hour.

I have, &c.

(Signed) FRED . CAMPBELL .


Inclosure 7 in No. 56.

Commander Campbell to Commander Pitman.

Sir, Shanghae, April 7, 1848.

I HAVE the honour to acquaint you , for the information of his Excellency,

the Commander -in -chief, that on my way up the Yang -tze -keang river to

Nanking, in Her Majesty's sloop under my command, I discovered the following

batteries, which have been crected since 1812 .

At Yin -shan, on the point directly opposite Kiang-yin -heen, is a solitary

battery mounting thirty-five guns, built in a west-south -west and east-north-east

direction, the face of it being in a small degree convex . Opposite, immedi

ately below the hills, in the openings between them , are three batteries. The

first or westernmost mounts nineteen guns, which chiefly point in a north -north

west direction : the face of this battery is slightly convex . The second mounts

seventeen guns, which point north -north -east.

The third and easternmost mounts fifteen guns, which point north -west.

The second and third almost join each other.

On passing Starling Island, preparations appeared to be making for the

erection of batteries on the north -west and south -east ends.

Passing Keun -shan, or Choo -shan, on the north bank of the river, and com

manding the entrance to the Sha -yaou or IIall's Cut, is a battery mounting fifty

guns, which point in an east-by -south direction .

On the opposite side, after passing Hall's Cut, at the foot of the Choo-shan

Hills, is a chain of batteries,mountingthirty -eight guns, which chiefly point in a

north - north -west direction .

On the north bank of the river, aa little to the westward of Silver Island, is

a battery mounting fifty guns, pointing in a south -east direction across the river;

and further to the westward, and nearly opposite Joss House Hill, Chin-keang-foo,

is a battery of twenty - five guns, all levelled in a south -south -east direction.

On the south bank, just above the hill to the southward of Silver Island,

are three batteries close together.

The 1st mounts 14 guns.

2nd > 34

3rd 12 ‫ور‬

The whole of these guns, as placed in the embrasures, point north - by -east

across the river.

On the north bank of the river, on the point opposite the Yue-tsze -ke Hill , is

a battery mounting thirty guns, built in a straight east -by -south and west-by

north direction, the embrasures opening at right angles, nearly directly across

the river. The embrasures were observed to open on a north-west-by-west, and

close on a north -east -by -north bearing.

I observed that the whole of these batteries had a line of embrasures close

in the rear, parallel to and corresponding with the front ones, evidently intended

for reversing the guns in the event of being attacked in the rear.

The batteries are built of mud, and open at each end ; and the one on the

north bank, opposite the Yeu -tsze -ke Hills, could be raked by any vessel coming

up the river, without being able to return a shot.

The guns were all housed over, therefore I am unable to give their calibre ;

but the Mandarin who commanded the batteries of Choo-shan told me that their

calibre was from twenty to fifty - eight pounds.

I have, & c.

(Signed) FRED. CAMPBELL , Commander.

Espiègle ” at Woosung, April 7, 1848 .

RESPECTING the tides in the Yang-tze -kiang, our passage up and down

was so hurried, that nothing can be said further than that after passing the

western entrance to the Sha -yaou -ho, or Hall's Cut, we never experienced any

upward stream of tide, although there was what I supposed to be the usual rise

and fall of a few feet. We generally had from thence a constant stream against

us, varying from one and a half to two knots. I am of opinion there is full

fifteen feet less water in the river at this season than at the time the survey was

taken .

(Signed) E. H. GARWOOD , Master.


Inclosure 8 in No. 56 .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Shanghae, April 12, 1848.

SIMULTA NEOUSLY with the arrival of Her Majesty's ship “ Espiègle ”

from Nanking, on the 7th instant, Her Majesty's steam -sloop “ Fury ” entered

the river from Hong Kong, bringing me your Excellency's despatches

of the 23rd and 27th ultimo, in reply to my first report of the Tsing - foo

outrage of the 8th ultimo, an unusually quick return, six to eight weeks

generally intervening as the shortest period for answers to be received from

Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary.

I refer to it more especially because this circumstance necessarily exercised

some influence in deciding upon the course to be pursued, when the authorities

clearly manifested a disposition to allow the offenders to escape with impunity,

and to refuse all redress.

In reply to the two despatches I have had the honour to receive, conveying

your Excellency's regret, that with the limited power and duties of a Consul, I

had taken the steps reported, without previous reference to Her Majesty's

Plenipotentiary, and stating that under the circumstances, your Excellency

would not have considered yourself warranted in sanctioning the measures

adopted, I can only trust, that the measures taken to provide for an unforeseen

emergency may be regarded without disapproval, now that the whole progress

of events with the result are known.

My previous despatches must, I conceive, have afforded satisfactory

evidence that the danger to our interests was great, and that any measures

short of those taken , must have failed in attaining the end in view , without

which we could no longer count upon freedom from molestation . How far

undersuch circumstances, Her Majesty's Consul may be warranted, in an isolated

and distant port, like Shanghae, in taking vigorous steps upon his own

responsibility, to avert a great evil , is a question of the utmost importance to

British interests. In the conviction that he would be held justified, if his

measures, dictated by the exclusive desire to discharge a public duty, were

found neither to be wanting in temper or discretion, nor ill-adapted to effect

their object, I did not hesitate to overstep the ordinary limits of a Consul's

power and duties, trusting to the assurancealready conveyed to Her Majesty's

servants in China, that the best construction will always be put upon their

efforts to uphold and defend the interests confided to them .

I felt the more confident in this course, from aa reference to the general tenor

and spirit of the instructions accompanying my commission for this port, to

which your Excellency refers ; for although I am expressly directed, in any

discussions of a disagreeable character, to avail myself of the advantage of

suspending controversy for a time, by referring the matter to the Chief

Superintendent, I am also directed steadily to maintain the rights and privileges

of British subjects,

The instruction to suspend a controversy, by referring to the Chief Super

intendent, is, moreover, grounded upon the inference, that in most cases an

intimation to that effectwould probably have a salutary influenceon the persons

or authorities with whom I might come in collision. But, in the present

instance, as I have explained in former despatches, so far from such a course

exercising a salutary influence, it was calculated to defeat the ends of justice,

and to ensure the success of the injurious policy adopted by the Chinese

authorities. It was counting upon my hesitation to act without instructions,

and the delay and ultimate inutility of a reference, that emboldened them to

turn a deaf ear to all remonstrance.

In departing, therefore, from the letter of my instructions in this instance,

I conceived and hoped I should best act up to their spirit, and I shall deeply

regret, if, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, I have erred in my


I do not plead the success which has followed, in extenuation of an officer

exceeding his powers, because an advantage may be dearly purchased by the

sacrifice of a principle, or a due subordination of powers. I am equally far from 1

urging, that success is any proof of the abstractexpediency and fitness of the



measures taken, since no one can more fully than myself admit, that the event

forms no just criterion of the merit of measures, which,when ill-devised,

may be followed by success, as certainly as failure may attend the best directed


The blame or approval of your Excellency in the first instance, and of Her

Majesty's Government subsequently, must rest upon the justifiability under the

circumstances of the case, or in any unforeseen emergency , of the Consul at

Shanghae upon his responsibility, anticipating instructions which cannot be

received in time to avert a menaced danger ; and secondly, upon the fitness

and expediency in relation to the object in view, of the course actually adopted,

without reference to its ultimate result.

In reference to the first, it is not for me to argue the question. I am

prepared to receive with all submission, the decision that may be conveyed to

me by the Representative of Her Majesty's Government. II may, however, be

permitted to observe, that circumstances may arise where an officer is at a

detached port, in which a close adherence to instructions, would be destructive

to the interests which they were framed to protect, and when these can only be

successfully defended by overstepping the limits assigned for their better security

and guardianship. In such circumstances I conceive I was placed, when all

redress for an outrage of aggravated and atrocious character was refused,

under a false plea of inability to seize the perpetrators .

I need not, I trust, occupy your Excellency's time, in connection with this

part of the subject, by offering any justification of my motives for the respon

sible course taken . Within the limits and letter of my instructions I was safe,

whatever evil befel British interests. The moment I endeavoured, disregarding

the express tenor of those instructions, to seize their spirit, I put myself on

trial before Her Majesty's Government for an unauthorized assumption of

powers. There are circumstances in which the danger or injury attending

failure may be equally balanced in the minds of those engaged, by the hope of

reward in the event of success ; but it required little penetration from the

beginningto see that I was not in this position ; on the contrary, any advantage

which might accrue must be a benefit to the public interests exclusively, since

it would, in all probability, be held too dangerous a precedent for unqualified

approbation to mark a result even as complete as that which has now been

attained . I dismiss, therefore, all care upon this head, and am chiefly anxious

to show that the measures themselves, considered apart from the result, though

aggressive and coercive, were not in effect, as they may well have appeared at

a distance, offensive in a sense calculated to embroil the two nations in hos

tilities, or to endanger the peaceable relations at present existing between Her

Majesty's and the Chinese Government; whereas I had, in common with the

whole foreign community and foreign Consuls here, an intimate persuasion that

if prompt redress were not obtained, outrages and insecurity would follow, so

certainly and rapidly, that danger to our friendly and peaceable relations must

inevitably accrue, whatever subsequent measures might be taken to remedy the


As this, in reference to our future relations, is by far the most important

feature of the case , I trust your Excellency will pardon my entering into details,

some of which are not unknown to you , yet all bearing so distinctly upon my

position, and so necessary to a clear appreciation of the circumstances, that I

feel bound, in justice to myself and the interests which were at stake, to state

them consecutively .

The measures adopted were devised with especial reference to local circum

stances, and my experience of the people and the authorities with whom I had

to deal. Separated from their connection with these, and their consequent

adaptation to the end, their eligibility and expediency, and, still more, the

safety of their adoption, may seem even now , to any one at a distance, very


I had a well-grounded confidence in my own coercive powers, and the

weakness and false position of those I had to contend with . The Taoutae, as

your Excellency with some alarm anticipated, either could not, or would not,

apprehend the principal offenders, even to the last moment, when his own

interests and his position as a public officer were alike menaced by the steps

announced to him . Yet, in despite of his impracticability, I believed Her

Majesty's Consul had the means at his command of obtaining the most full and


ample redress in the power of a Government to afford, and this without any act

of violence, without collision with the people or injury to their interests, and

consequentlywithout giving riseto the slightest manifestation of popular feeling

or ill-will . On the 12th of March, that is, I believed he had the means ; but on

the 20th they would have been no longer his, nor within the reach of Her

Majesty's Government ; and the earliest possible communication with Her

Majesty's Plenipotentiary could not be counted upon under a month .

The chief element of strength for the Consul lay in the large fleet of

Government grain junks on the eve of departure for Peking, at that moment

lying ready laden in the anchorage above Her Majesty's ship “ Childers.”

Their prompt departure was so important a matter to the Taoutae, and extending

from him upwards to the Lieutenant-Governor at Soo -chow, and the Governor

General at Nanking, that their detention would ensure not only prompt atten

tion, but whatever satisfaction it was in the power of the authorities of the

Province to grant .

The only question, therefore, was the possibility, for a very limited and

short period of two or three weeks, of maintaining an embargo, without involving

hostile collision and a rupture.

After consultation with the senior naval officer, Captain Pitman, as to the

means at his disposal for carrying out such a measure, and his opinion of its

feasibility without serious risk, I felt quite satisfied that I should be wholly

unjustified if, shielding myself behind the letter of my instructions, I abandoned

to certain injury our best interests at this port.

The result, I may be permitted to say, or rather the whole progress of the

events from the first day of the embargo to the punishment of the offenders, has

gone far to prove that in this estimate of means of coercion and chances of

collision there was neither error of judgment nor miscalculation .

I certainly hoped, and was inclined to believe, that the Taoutae, finding his

official position menaced in so serious a manner, would have adopted, as the

lesser of two evils, the alternative open to him until the twelfth day after the

outrage, of putting forth all his means, and arresting the offenders. In this I

was mistaken . With a singular ineptitude, he vasted time, so precious to him,

in mere subterfuges and miserable attempts to extricate his junks by trick and

evasion! ; and the last thing he thought of was really and honestly to exert

himself to put an end to his difficulties, by seizing the criminais - a clear proof

how hopeless must have been the efforts, by any diplomacy, to have extorted

redressfrom such an officer.

It was matter of some surprise to me that so many days elapsed before

news, official or incidental, reached the Lieutenant-Governor at Soo -chow , the

immediate result of which I anticipated must be the dispatch of a superior

officer to supersede the Taoutae in the affair, a nd communicate with me.

I was quite prepared, if it seemed otherwise expedient, or any risk of

collision threatened, in negotiation with such delegate from Soo - chow, to take

off the embargo, on his assurance that prompt redress should be afforded,

whether by the apprehension of the offenders or the removal of the Taoutae,

retaining the embargo on the maritime duties until the attainment of the end .

This mode of proceeding, I felt, would in no degree compromise our position,

while it would at once relieve me of the burden of a responsible and anxious

coercive measure .

Finding this desired result delayed, I dispatched the brig to Nanking, as

a certain means of affixing a limit to such an exceptional state of affairs , and

this was immediately followed, as your Excelleney is aware, by all that I had

anticipated or could indeed have desired .

That there was not a certain amount of risk, I am far from affirming ; but

that it was remote, and by no means of a character to deter an officer of sound

discretion from following out, to its legitimateconclusion, a line of policy on

which so much depended, having carefully provided a means of retreat without

a compromise of our position, I trust will be manifest. I counted with great

confidence upon the inertness or indifference of the mass of the population (the

grain junk men, against whom my efforts were directed, being in truth a most

unpopular class of ruffians, whom all the surrounding country feared and

detested ), the hesitation of the authorities, from fear of personal consequences

direct and remote, to try the issue of an actual struggle; the guarantee which

the jeopardy any collision would place the property of the junk owners

Z 2


themselves in , furnished against any effort to force the passage of the river for

these vessels, the only ones affected, I counted upon all these as clements of

strength to myself and of weakness to the Chinese, as pledges of good augury

for peaceful relations being undisturbed under the pressure of the embargo.

There were beyond these other strong guarantees for ultimate success

without violence ; the practical assertion of conscious strength , of the absence

of fear as to the result, and of the efficacy of the means at my disposal,

afforded by my continued residence in the city, isolated from all Europeans,

and surrounded by the Chinese population, beyond hope of escape if violence

were to be attempted, was no doubt of great and beneficial intluence. It gave

them assurance that no hostile measures were contemplated by myself injurious

to persons or property, beyond the mere stoppage of the grain junks, which

chiefly affected the authorities and not the people, and must have tended to

calm people's minds, notwithstanding the circulation of absurd and mischievous

reports, rumours and alarms, which my daily walk through the length and

breadth of the city, and the passage of the ladies of my family, must alone

have sufficed to neutralize without an effort on my part. Even a despatch of

one of the two men -of-war in the midst of the blockade, told in our favour, for

much more was gained in the moral effect of such a palpable evidence of

security and sufficient force, than was lost in physical means of resistance or


The result, and the whole progress of the negotiations, step by step, being

now before your Excellency, I trust that it will be seen that however bold or

aggressive the measures taken may have seemed, they were at no time attended

with any serious danger to our relations, with less, I firmly believe, than must

have been the result of a successful denial of justice. In boldness and decision,

in truth, lay their safety. I was closely watched, no point was left untried, and

there can be little doubt that the slightest indication of indecision or vacillation

would have caused the very danger which a contrary course effectually


I will not trouble your Excellency further with explanations which I

venture to hope may be suggested by a careful consideration of all the

circumstances , but I venture to hope that the whole of my despatches and

inclosures on this subject may be forwarded by the next mail for Viscount

Palmerston's information, that his Lordship's judgment may be formed with full

knowledge of the facts.

I have, & c.


No. 57 .

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham.

Sir, Foreign Office, July 1 , 1848.

I OBSERVE , with satisfaction , in your despatch of the 10th of

April, that you succeeded in obtaining from the Acting Chinese Commissioner

prompt redress for an unprovoked assault committed on two Britishsubjects,

Messrs. Bowman and Johnson ; and I have to acquaint you that I entirely

approve of your havingat once resisted the pretension advanced by the Chinese

Commissioner, that unless British subjects are accompanied by linguists or

policemen, they cannot expect redress for outrages and insults committed upon

them by the Chinese.

I am, &c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .


No. 59 .

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Foreign Office, July 5, 1848 .

I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of Sir John Davis s despatch

of the 18th of March, and of your despatches of the 25th and 30th

of March, and the 12th and 24th of April, respecting an assault com

mitted by some Chinese junkmen on three British subjects, Messrs. Medhurst,

Lockhart, and Muirhead , who had gone, for missionary purposes, to a town

named Tsing-poo, situated at some distance from Shanghae. The inclosures

forwarded with these despatches, give an account of the measures taken by

Mr. Consul Alcock to obtain redress for this outrage, and it has been a great

satisfaction to Her Majesty's Government to find that those measures have been

so entirely successful.

I have to state to you, in reply, that under all the circumstances of the

case, Her Majesty's Government approve of the decision taken, and of the course

pursued by Mr. Alcock, who, by promptly availing himself of the means of

coercion which the peculiar circumstances of the moment placed within his rcach,

has been enabled to bring to a speedy and satisfactory settlement amatter which,

if aa longer delay had taken place, might, perhaps, not have been adjusted without

greater and more costly efforts.

Her Majesty's Government do full justness to the ability and firmness with

which Mr. Alcock carried out the measures which he had resolved upon ; and

they are sensible that it was owing to the manner in which he conducted the

business at Shanghae, and especially to the decided step which he took of

dispatching Mr. Vice-Consul Robertson to Nanking, that the matter was

brought to a satisfactory and honourable conclusion. And I am glad to be able

to add, that Mr. Robertson and Mr. Interpreter Parke, appear to have executed

in a very able and judicious manner, Mr. Alcock's instructions. It is my inten

tion to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty , that the conduct of

the officers commanding Her Majesty's ships “ Childers ” and “ Espiègle,"

appears to me to have been such as to entitle them to coinmendation .

But although Her Majesty's Government approve of Mr. Alcock's conduct

on this recent occasion , yet this case must be considered as an exception to a

rule, and not as a precedent for future guidance . And Mr. Alcock will, there

fore, no doubt, on any occasion of difference which may hereafter arise between

himself and the Chinese authorities, conform strictly to the instructions which he

and the other Consuls in China have received for their guidance in such matters.

Moreover, as it appears that on this late occasion the Missionaries, although

they were not, strictly speaking, transgressing the limits of the regulation, yet

from ignorance, or want of presence of mind ,omitted to take steps which might,

perhaps, have saved them from the assaults to which they were exposed, it is

desirable, that Mr. Alcock and all the other Consuls in China, should strongly

impress upon the British residents within their district, that whenever, in the

course of their excursions in the country they find themselves likely to be

exposed to insult or violence from a mob, they should endeavour to place them

selves immediately under the protection of the nearest Chinese Magistrate,

unless they should be so close to their boat, or to any other place of safety,

that it would be easier for them so to escape from danger than by seeking out a

Chinese magistrate .

I am, &c .

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .


No. 59 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston.- (Received July 25.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, April 28, 1843 .

ADVERTING to my despatch of the 24th instant, I think it proper

to inclose, for your Lordship's information, copy of a letter that I have

this day addressed to Mr. Consul Alcock , in reply to his of the 10th and 12th

instant, explanatory of the reasons that induced him to incur the grave respon

sibility that he has seen fit to do in his late proceedings at Shanghae, without

previous communication with, or reference to, Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary.

I have, &c.

( Signed ) S. G. BONHAM .

Inclosure in No. 59 .

Mr. Bonham to Consul Alcock.

Sir, Victoria , Hong Kong, April 28, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the

10th and 12th instant , which, with their inclosures, have been forwarded by this

mail for the information of Her Majesty's Government.

Adverting to your first despatch , I feel sure that the successful result of

Mr. Vice -Consul Robertson's mission to Nanking cannot but prove most grati

fying to Iler Majesty's Government. I fully concur with you in your appro

bation of the conduct of that gentleman, who appears to have shown much tact

and ability in the discharge of the delicate duty with which you intrusted him ;

and I hope that his services,as well as those of Mr. Parkes, who has borne in

this afrair a conspicuous and creditable part, will be duly appreciated by Lord

Palmerston .

As regards the arguments advanced in your letter of the 12th instant, I

have only to repeat my admiration of the able manner in which you have,

throughout, conducted the negotiation, and assure you of the pleasure afforded

me by its successful termination. The reasons you assign for proceeding to so

great a length , are forcible , and fully entitled to consideration ; neither am I

unwilling to admit, that had the grain junks been permitted to put to sea, the

means of coercion would have been lost, or, in other words, that had you not

travelled out of the ordinarycourse, the matter would not, in all probability,

have been brought to so satisfactory a conclusion as it has been. But I must,

at the same time inform you , that I was assured by my predecessor that this

was the first instance of the assumption, by any Consul, of so grave a position,

and I need scarcely to a gentleman of your penetration observe, that although

in the present case the power you assumed was most judiciously exercised, a

general practice of departing, however great the apparent necessity, from the

prescribed rule of proceeding, would be inevitably attended with very serious


In conclusion, I can only say that it will be to me a source of great happi

ness to find that the fearless energy with which, when you had accepted so great

a responsibility, you acquitted yourself in obtaining for the subjects of Her

Majestythe redress to which they were entitled, has been as warmly appreciated

by Her Majesty's Government as by myself.

I have, &c .

( Signed ) S. G. BONHAM .



Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston . (Received July 25.)

(Extract) Victoria, Hong Kong, May 4, 1848 .

IN conformity with that part of your Lordship’s instructions contained in

your despatch of 11th January, I have now the honour to report that, on

,' to

Saturday the 29th instant, I proceeded in Her Majesty's steamer “ Medea,”

Hoo -mun -chae, for the purpose of having an interview with Seu, the Actilig

Imperial Commissioner, who, as your Lordship has been informed by my prede

cessor, succeeded to this office, as also to that of Acting Governor-General of

the Provinces of Kwang -tung and Kwang-se on the departure of Keying, who

left Canton for Peking on the 16th March.

As Seu is entirely unknown to Europeans, and I believe never saw , and

certainly never spoke to one until my interview with him , I considered it expe

dient to make a certain amount of display on the occasion, and in consequence

took with me the Major-General Commanding the Forces, the Secretary to the

Superintendency, my private Secretary, the Chinese Secretary, Mr. Gutzlaff,

and four other military officers, who, together with the Grenadier company of

the 95th Regiment , made a very respectable cortége .

As Her Majesty's steamer “ Medea ” could not, by reason of her draft of

water, proceed up the creek to Hoo -mun -chae, the Senior Naval Officer had,, at

my request, ordered down the “ Pluto ” from the Factories to Anson's Bay, to

receive us there, and we embarked on board her and proceeded to the place that

had already been agreed upon . This is the same that was used on Sir John

Davis being introduced to Keying, and where Sir Henry Pottinger's Supple

mentary Treaty was signed.

On the “ Medea ” passing the Bogue Forts, she was saluted by all of them ,

and all the ramparts were manned ; these compliments were repeated on our

return with the Imperial Commissioner on board, although, at that time, the

commanders of the different forts were entirely ignorant of his being there ; it

was , therefore, clear that orders had been given to the different forts on the

river to treat us with every respect, and this order was most fully carried out.

On our arrival at Hoo -mun - chae, we were received with marked respect , and

immediately sat down to a table to partake of refreshment, when I conversed

with Seu .

Seu is somewhat taciturn, and made but few remarks ; he said he did not

know if Keying would return or not to Canton , but that he himself was deter

mined to carry out the provisions of the Treaty, as far as in him laid, by making

no distinction between the central and outside people, so long as the foreigners

were properly restrained. He added, that there were numerous wicked pe ple

in the Province, and that since his accession to office as Deputy-Governor oi ihe

two Provinces, which is about a year ago, he had been compelled to execute

upwards of 500 persons .

During our conversation I asked Seu if he had heard of the late misun ' er

standing at Shanghae, arising out of the cruel assault on the Missionary ge! !e

men, and as he replied he had not , Mr. Gutzlaff was requested to acquaint w.m

with the particulars . His only reply was, that equal justice should be adminis

tered to the natives of the central nation as well as those of outer ones, meaning 1

thereby, of course, Chinese and foreigners.

After aa general conversation of this description, I invited his Excellency to

return with us in the steamer “ Pluto ," to see the “ Medea,” to which he forth

with assented, and after aa visit of a couple of hours' duration, we proceeded to

that vessel . On our arrival on board the “ Medea," in Anson's Bay, he was

saluted with seventeen guns and received by the Grenadier company of the

95th Regiment, and after partaking of a slight refreshment kindly offered by


Captain Mason, and inspecting the vessel, he returned in the “ Pluto ” to Hoo

mun - chae, accompanied by Mr. Gutzlaff .

Seu was attended on his part by Lae-gan-tseo, an Admiral ; Chaou-chang

ling, a Salt Inspector ; Kwan -show ( a Manchoo ), Adjutant to the Governor ;

and Jung-ling (also a Manchoo ) , a candidate for a a Prefecture, and as far as I

could judge, was well pleased with all that passed on the occasion . From his


personal demeanour and cast of contenance, I judge him to be a stern, uncom

promising man , and one who would go to some length to obtain any object he

had in view .

Your Lordship should be informed that this meeting was arranged between

the Imperial Commissioner and myself so long ago as the 28th March ; at that

time he said nothing of his intending to visit and inspect the forts in the vicinity

of the Bogue; but on his leaving Canton, on the 27th instant, such was the

reason assigned to the people of Canton, as will be seen by the inclosure.

Whether or not Seu originally intended to inspect the Boguc Forts, and

others in the vicinity at the time he arranged for meeting me at Hoo-mun-chae, is

uncertain ; but the inclination ofmy opinion is, that such was not the case, and

that his doing so on the occasion , was a mere pretence to account for his absence

from Canton , as perhaps he feared the violence of the mob if it was known that

he had left the city for the purpose of holding a conference with the British

authorities ; and that such was the case when Keying had a meeting with Sir

John Davis, in April 1816, is abundantly evident by his considering it neces

sary to issue a proclamation on the subject.

On the whole, it is not improbable that Seu, thinking that the Canton

populace would consider the meeting to be in some way connected with the

proposed entry into the city in Ipril next, issued this proclamation for the

purpose of deceiving them as to the real cause of his absence from the city ; but

it shows that his position is such , that he is by no means prepared to act as he

sees fit, and that he is compelled to stoop to evasion with the populace on any

occasion when, from circumstances he may be compelled to act in any way

which he conceives may be obnoxious to popular feeling.

Inclosure in No. 60

Proclamation .

( Translation .)

SEU, Governor-General of Kwang -tung and Kwang -se, hereby issues a


Whereas I have fixed upon the 27th instant to start from Canton, in order

to repair to the Bogue for the purpose of inspecting the forts, I have ordered

the acting Licutenant-Colonel, Commander of the provincial troops garrisoning

Canton, to receive at my Yamun all the daily despatches arriving at my address,

as is on record, which I have now to make known by proclamation.

For this reason, I hereby issue a proclamation ordering the soldiers and

runners at the different post stations along the various routes to Canton, to

repair, in obedience to my commands, to my Yamun , and deliver the despatches

to the said officer.

Do not disobey. A special proclamation .

April 27, 1848.

No. 61 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .— (Received July 25.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong, May 6, 1848.

I HAVE the honour to inclose, for your Lordship’s information, translation

of a memorial from Le-sing- yuen , Viceroy of the two Keang Provinces, and Yu,

Tartar General of the Province of Keang -nan, to the Emperor, reporting the late

visit of Her Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle ” to Nanking.


Your Lordship will observe that the outrage which caused the visit of Her

Majesty's sloop to Nanking is described as a quarrel or fight, and that the

Missionaries' visit to Tsing -poo is alleged to be a violation of the treaty ;

nevertheless the Viceroy did not deem it prudent to deal with the Consul's

demand for redress otherwise than as having a just and proper claim to his

attention .

The Viceroy complains of the demand for redress having been made direct

to him from the Consul at Shanghae, “ just as if there was no great minister

( Seu ) appointed to the whole control and superintendence of the Five Ports.

Člauses IV in the American and French Treaties respectively distinctly provide

for this contingency, and should complaint be made to me on this subject by

the Imperial Commissioner, I shall, until I receive your Lordship’s instructions,

simply reply that the British Consuls at the Five Ports have the same right of

appeal to the superior officers of the Chinese Government as is conceded by

Treaty to similar functionaries of the French and American Governments

respectively . This power of appeal, considering the distance of Hong Kong

from someofthe open ports, appears to me to be very important, and a salutary

check on the local authorities .

The Viceroy refers to the raising of the blockade on the grain junks, from

which it would seem that some previous report on this subject had been made

to the Emperor. He also omits all mention of his having paid a visit to the

“ Espiègle."

The document, on the whole, appears to me of some importance, throwing,

as it does, considerable light on the policy by which the Chinese rulers are

actuated, in their communications with foreign States.

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM.

Inclosure in No. 61 .

Memorial from Le-sing -yuen, Viceroy of the two Keang Provinces, and Yu,

Tartar General of the Provinceof Keang -nan, regarding the late visit of Her

Majesty's sloop “ Espiègle ” to Nanking .

(Translation .)

A MEMORIAL reporting the visit of the barbarian chiefs to the provincial

city, to make an accusation and complaint, but who neither demanded nor

presumed to do anything beyond this ; as also the appointment of the Treasurer

and an Intendant of Circuit to proceed with all despatch to examine further

into the matter ; all the particulars of which are now drawn up in due form of

memorial, and sent by express to His Majesty, with an uplifted prayer that the

sacred glance may fall thereon .

Itwas reported to your Ministers by Heen, Intendant of Circuit for the

departments of Soo-chow -foo, Sung-keang-foo, and Tae-tsang -chow , that on

the 4th day of the second month (March 8) three English barbarians, Medhurst

and others, having gone in defiance of Treaty regulations to the district city of

Tsing -foo to distribute books, they there had a quarrel and fight with the head

men and sailors in charge of the few remaininggrain junks, from whom they

received some trifling wounds; that the Magistrate of the said district had

seized two of the offenders, whom he had put in the cangue and flogged, and

had also forwarded Medhurst and the others back to Shanghae; but that in

consequence of many of the criminals not having been seized , Alcock, the

Consul of that port, had appointed a barbarian chief to proceed in a small

barbarian vessel by way of the great river ( Yang-tsze -keang) to the Yamun

(or official court or residence) of your Minister Le (the Viceroy) to make

accusation and complaint, &c.

On learning the above particulars, yourMinisters immediately appointed

E -leang -yaou, the officiating Judge of the Province of Keang-soo, and Woo

keen -chang, an unattached Intendant of Circuit, to proceed with all haste to

Shanghae to severally examine and arrange these affairs. And we also sent

flying instructions to all the military commanders and District Magistrates

along the river, enjoining them to keep up the strictest guard, and to make

known to the inhabitants by distinct proclamation, that there was no cause for

surprise or alarm . And we further appointed Chin - peh -ling, the Colonel com

2 A


manding the right wing at the entrance of the Grand Canal, and Chang

pan-lung, acting as major in command of the regiment at Kaou-tsze (near

Nanking ), both ofwhom , from past experience, are well versed in the barbarian

affairs, to proceed with Chin -heen, the Prefect of Chin -keang -foo, down the

river to meet them (the English ), and mutually to devise plans for obstructing

or stopping their further progress.

They found on examination that the vessel was a small one with two

masts, and that she was followed by no other ships. On board of her they met

Parkes, an interpreter, of the said nation, who understood the Chinese language,

and from the inquiries they put to him they learned that it was in consequence

of Medhurst and the others having been assaulted, and the Intendant of Circuit

for the departments of Soo -chow -foo, Sung-keang -foo, and Tae-tsang-chow

having delayed to arrange the matter according to regulations, that they

just as if there was no great Minister (Keying) appointed to the whole control

and superintendence of the Five Ports — were proceeding direct to lay a com

plaint before the high authorities at the provincial city ; that they had started

from Shanghae on the 16th day of the second month (20th March ), having first

closed the gun ports, and placed the guns laterally along; that the Vice - Consul

Robertson was on board, and thatall the crew numbered altogether upwards of

fifty men ; also that nobody had been allowed to land all the way along, or to

have any communication whatever with the people.

Chin -pch -ling and the others then acquainted them that the high

authorities at the provincial city had already deputed the Judge and an

Intendant of Circuit, to go down to examine into and arrange the matter, and

to seize many of the ofienders, who should be sent in custody to Shanghae;

that by that time the affair must be already adjusted and concluded , and as to

any document they might have to present, the Colonel and others would forward

that for them , whilst they themselves, as the Colonel directed them , should

immediately return . But Parkes stated that they had been deputed by Alcock

to have a personal interview with the Viceroy, and that he would certainly

blame them if they failed in gaining one.

Moreover, in consideration of the peace that has now so long existed on

both sides, and also that this was but a solitary vessel that had come to state a

grievance, the officers and soldiers in garrison at the various forts were all of

them unwilling to attack her with their thundering cannon . Thus, therefore,

she came steadily on, both parties awaiting for the proper time to arrive, and

indeed, froin first to last, they (the English ) were exceedingly respectful.

In consequence of the ship having repeatedly got on shore, and been

otherwise delayed on the way, they did not arrive in the neighbourhood of

Nanking before the 20th day (30th March ), when they anchored in the river off

the Pat-sze Creek, beyond which they did not further advance .

On the 27th day (31st March ), your Minister, Le, called them to an

interview when they handed me a statement, the purport of which I found to

agree with the report made by Chin -peh -ling

- and the others. On my personally

inquiring of the said interpreter Parkes concerning the matter, he only

requested that the Treasurer might also be appointed besides the Judge, to

proceed to Shanghae, where, conjointly with that officer, he might examine and

arrange matters, but begged for nothing else. Your Minister Le had happened

to have just received private advices from your Minister Luh (Lieutenant

Governor at Soo -chow ), informing me that the officiating Judge E -leang -yaou,

immediately after his arrival at Shanghae, had apprehended the sailors who had

created the disturbance, and had at once examined and punished them ; that

the said Consul Alcock had nothing further to object to, and that all obstruction

to the departure of the rice junks engaged to transport the grain by sea had

been removed. Therefore, addressing myself to Parkes and the others, I

informed them of these particulars, and enjoined them upon their attention in

the strongest possible manner. But Parkes and the others, although they

expressed themselves obliged for what had been done, and commended the

measures, still persisted in urging that Alcock had not yet acquainted them

with anything of the kind . They further stated that the appointment of a

delegate of higher rank than an Intendant of Circuit, was one of the primary

objects of their visit, and was in fact à most necessary step, to secure which

they did not mind the troubles of the journey.

Being of opinion from what I learned, that Heen -ling the Intendant


of Circuit for the departments ofSoo -chow -foo,Sung -keang -foo, and Tae -tsang

chow, in the steps he took for managing this affair had been wanting in

proper fear and promptness, and that it was necessary that he should be

temporarily removed from office until it could be ascertained whether it was

not in consequence of his erroneous mode of proceeding, and through failure

in the performance of his duty, that had occasioned their coming so far to make

a statement of the case. I therefore appointed Foo -shing -heun, the Treasurer

of Nankin, to go and make further inquiry into the matter, and learn the true

particulars : and hearing that Chin -che-kee, an unattached Intendant of the

Province of Chih -le, was then on leave at his native district (Nanking ), and who,

from having formerly held the office of Intendant of Circuit for the depart

ments of Ning- po -foo, Shaou -hing-foo, aud Tae- chow -foo, in the Province of

Che-keang, understood well the disposition of the barbarians. I also appointed

him to go down, in order that, conjointly with the Judge E -leang-yaou , they

might so thoroughly examine everything and arrange matters so firmly, as

would tend to thepreservation of mutual quiet. At the same time I gave them

(the English ) a reply, and bestowed upon them some provisions, at which the

said chiefs were all rejoiced and satisfied, and Chin-peh-ling and others were

again deputed to immediately escort them out of the port.

The particulars of how they left the river and went out again to sea,together

with the appointment of Woo -keen -chung (Sam -qua ), temporarily to officiate as

Intendantof Circuit for the Departments of Soo -chow - foo, Sunk-keang -foo, and

Tae -tsang -chow, shall be duly reported in another memorial ; but in the mean

time we beg respectfully to inclose for His Majesty's perusal, copies of Alcock's

statement, and the declaration of your Minister Le in reply thereto. And

being exceedingly apprehensive that the appearance of the barbarian chiefs at

the provincial city to make accusation and complaint, may have caused

anxiety in the sacred breast, your Minister Le, conjointly with your Minister

Yu, the Tartar General of Nanking, beg now to send by swift express this

memorial, in which will be found all the particulars of how they have arranged

the matter, upon which they humbly pray the sacred glance of the Emperor

may fall, and that His Majesty's instructionst hereon may be made known to

them .

A respectful memorial.

True translation,


Note. - In the copy of the memorial furnished me, the date has been

omitted , but it must have been written on the 2nd or 3rd of April.

(Signed ) H. S. P,

No. 62.

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .-- (Received July 25. )

(Extract ) Victoria, Hong Kong, May 11, 1848.



IN reference to the late proceedings at Shanghae, which led to the

discussion between the local authorities and the Consul, I have the honour to

inclose for your Lordship’s information , translation of a communication which

I have recently received from Seu, the Imperial High Commissioner, with a

copy of the reply which I have this day addressed to his Excellency.

Your Lordship will observe that I have left the questions mooted by the

Commissioner as open ones, insisting only, as was really the case, that the whole

subject matter which induced Mr. Consul Alcock to address the Governor

General at Nanking ,and take other measures to ensure effectual redress, arose

from the gross negligence and intention of the Taoutae, and other inferior

officers of the Chinese Government.

2 A 2


I would here also beg to remark, that I cannot but consider the

Missionaries' visit to Tsing -poo as being beyond the reasonable limits to which

it was intended by the British and Chinese authorities to restrict them . British

subjects resident at Shanghae, have now a right to ramble about all day, but

must sleep in their houses at nights. Shanghae is thirty miles distant from

Tsing-poo, or thereabouts, and it would be idle, therefore, for the Missionaries

to advance that, had they been unmolested, they could have acted in conformity

with the existing regulations.

Inclosure 1 in No. 62.

Commissioner Seu to Mr. Bonham .


SEU , High Imperial Commissioner, &c., sends the following communication .

I just received an official letter from Le, the Governor-General of

Keang-nan and Keang-se, in which he states, that Medhurst and other

Englishmen were wounded in an affray with some sailors in Tsing-poo district,

Robertson, a British officer, with several others, proceeded in consequence, to

Nanking to represent the case, which has now been duly settled.

It was at first agreed upon that foreigners at Shanghae, who proceeded on

an excursion in the morning should be back in the evening, and not be allowed

to pass the night abroad. Now, however, the various foreigners set about and

proceed in their rambles to the nearest districts. Computing the distance of

the road, it will be found that they cannot return within the space of one day.

Medhurst and the others in this instance, went in direct defiance of the existing

Treaty to Tsing-poo, a distant place.

Though it is one of the provisions of the Treaty, that the Consuls of the

various ports have the rightof addressing themselves, in case of any injustice,

to the high authorities of the provincial city, still Robertson and others, on

ascending a considerable distance the Yang-tze river to the metropolis, to

make known the complaint, frightened the people and gave rise to rumours.

One might also apprehend that they would meet on their voyage with some

mishap, and this would be still worse.

I thought it therefore my duty to ask the Honourable Great Minister to

request the envoys of the various nations to send a circular to the Consuls at

the emporiums, with the intimation, that in future all foreigners at Shanghae

ought, when going on an excursion in the morning, to return in the evening ;

and not be allowed to pass the night abroad, and make this a standing rule.

For if this is not done, the local authorities will be unable to direct their

attention to every spot, and our native subjects are very numerous, and the bad

are mixed up with the good. Should thus any trouble arise, our good under

standing would be disturbed.

If the Consuls and others have to represent any matter to the high autho

rities at the provincial city, they may prepare a statement, and hand this sealed

to the local Mandarins for transmission, and wait for the decision. They ought

on no account to proceed to the metropolis to deliver it in person, and thus

occasion alarm , and giverise to sundry reports, and expose themselves to

unforeseen calamities . (Here ends the despatch from Le, the Governor


On examining the above, I find that these suggestions are well calculated

to ensure for ever mutual tranquillity, peace, and friendship. I the reforesubmit

the same to the Honourable Envoy, with the request, that you may order the

Shanghae and other Consuls to carry this accordingly into effect.

Wishing you much happiness, &c.

Taoukwang, 28th year, 4th month, 2nd day. (May 4, 1848.)


Inclosure 2 in No. 62 .

Mr. Bonham to Commissioner Seu ..

Victoria , Hong Kong, May 11 , 1848.

I HAVE received your Excellency's official letter of the 4th May , informing

me that you had received from Le, Governor-General of Keang-nan and Keang -ze,

a communication, in which he states that Medhurst and others were wounded

in an affray with some sailors at Tsing -poo, and that in consequence,

Robertson , a British officer, with several others, proceeded to Nanking to

represent the case , which has been now duly settled. This letter further

suggests that Medhurst and others being at Tsing-poo , were beyond the

distance allowed by Treaty for foreigners to ramble from Shanghae, and also,

that if Consuls have occasion to represent any matters to the higher authorities

at the provincial city, it should be made by å sealed statement to be handed to

a Mandarin for transmission , and that the Consuls ought not to proceed in

person to deliver it. In these suggestions I understand your Excellency to

concur .

In reply, I must remind your Excellency that what is termed by the

Governor-General an affray, was nothing of the kind, it was a violent and

murderous attack upon three ministers of religion, one an aged man, which

was wholly unprovoked by them . It was an attack made for the purpose

of robbery, as is clear by the culprits having, after throwing the Missionaries

down to the ground, absolutely robbed them of their watches, spectacles,

caps, and clothes, a stick with a silver head, and whatever else they could find,

for which offence by the laws of China, I believe, these culprits to be liable to

be put to death, and I am surprised that a public officer of the Governor

General's high rank and position should have misrepresented the transaction to

your Excellency, as he must be fully aware of the facts of the case, and

the robbery that accompanied the murderous assault. This question, however,

as well as the final disposal of the culprits, is now under the consideration of

the Governor -General, and I trust that I shall hereafter be able to report to

my Government that the same punishment has been inflicted on the culprits as

if the injured people had been Chinese.

I shall address the Consul on the subject of the Missionaries being at

Tsing-poo, but I believe it has always been customary for them to proceed

there, and that their right to do so has heretofore been unquestioned ; if I

find they have no right to go to Tsing -poo, they will be restrained .

Under ordinary circnmstances,I am quite satisfied that the Consul would not

have sent his deputy to convey his letter of complaint to the Governor -General,

and indeed, had the Taoutae Heen only done his duty and seized on the culprits,

and had them properly punished, there would have been no necessity forhis making

any complaint at all; if, therefore, Mr. Robertson's appearance at Nanking can be


considered irregular, the Taoutae, and the other Chinese officers, from their

refusing any attention to the just demands of the Consul for redress, must be

held to blame, and this is indeed acknowledged by the Governor -General, from

his having the Taoutae removed from office . I must also remind your Excellency

that, as the letter of remonstrance, sent by the Consul to the Governor-General,

contained a complaint against the Taoutae for neglect of duty, it was by

no means improbable that the letter would never have reached the Governor


I can assure your Excellency I will do all in my power to restrain my

countrymen within due bounds, but that in cases like the present, when old and

harmless men have been nearly murdered by robbers, and no redress has been

afforded by the local authorities, I cannot direct the Consul to refrain

from pursuing the only course by which it seemed possible for him to obtain it ;

in fact, had he not taken the steps he has done, the grain junks to which the ruffians

belonged, would have sailed away, and these guilty men have been unpunished.

Your Excellency bears a character of firmness, and at our late interview at

Hoo -mun -chae, yourself told me that equal justice should be administered to the

central and outside people. If your Excellency will only insist on your subordi

nate officers acting on this just principle no misunderstanding ought to take

place ; but in this instance there can be no doubt that the Taoutae Heen, the


Magistrate of Tsing -poo, and the officers in charge of the junks, have been

grossly deficient in the discharge of the duties entrusted to them , and that

unless some stringent orders be issued by your Excellency to your subordinate

officers to enforce the stipulated rights guaranteed by your Emperor, serious

and painful results must inevitably ensue.

I have been instructed to do all in my power to maintain the peace happily

existing between our nations, but my Government will not uphold me in doing

so at the sacrifice of its honour and dignity; but of this your Excellency will

be aware , and it is therefore unnecessary to add more than that I am actuated

by the best feelings to your Excellency, and I trust you will reciprocate these

feelings by insisting on your subordinate officers faithfully fulfilling their

duties. It is to their neglect that this occurrence at Shanghae may be attri

buted, as well as others of a more painful nature, to which at present I am

indisposed to particularly refer.

(Signed ) S. G. BONHAM .

No. 63 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received Auyust 21.)

My Lord , Victoria, Hong Kong, June 10, 1848.

IN continuation of my despatch of the 12th April, I have now the

satisfaction to forward a copy of communication from Mr. Alcock, of the 20th

ultimo, with its inclosures, reporting the punishment of the ten criminals who

committed the assault on Mr. Medhurst and two other Missionaries at Tsing - poo.

I have, & c.

(Signed ) S. G. BONHAM .

Inclosure 1 in No. 63 .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Bonham.

Sir , Shanghae, May 20, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to inclose, in original and translation, copy of an

official communication from Woo, officiating Intendant here, making known the

sentence passed upon the ten prisoners, sent to Soo - chow for trial for the

Tsing -poo outrage.

The admission of a robbery, as well as assault, is distinctly made, and it

was for this I contended in vain with the Nea-tae while he was here. The

degree of punishment awarded I consider of minor importance , and whether the

sentences be strictly in accordance with the evidence adduced and with their

laws or not, is a question which I conceive it would be bad policy to raise, and

could be followed by no good result.

I have therefore simply acknowledged the receipt of the communication,

and expressed satisfaction at the termination of the trials.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 2 in No, 63 .

The Officiating Taoutae to Consul Alcock.

(Translation .)

WOO, holding by Imperial authority the rank of Salt Commissioner, and

officiating as Superintendent of Maritime Customs for the Province of

Keang -nan, and Intendant of Circnit, & c., makes this communication.

On the 16th day of the 4th month of the present year (18th May) , I

received a communication from the Provincial Judge to the following effect :


In the case of the Englishmen who were assaulted and robbed at Tsing - poo

by Wang -ming -foo and others, I, the otiiciating Judge, have now had the

criminals brought before me and put them to arigorous trial. Wang -ming -foo

has confessed in his evidence that because the Englishmen did not give him any

of the books that they were distributing, he with E -wanneen assaulted and beat

them, and afterwards robbed them of various articles. (He affirmed) this to be

the real truth, and on being confronted with E -wanneen, their evidence was

found to agree . Wang-ming- foo has, therefore, according to the law for

“ assault with robbery of property,” been sentenced to receive one hundred

blows and be banished perpetually to a distance of three thousand le. E -wanneen

has been sentenced to a lighter punishment of one degree, and will receive one

hundred blows and be transported for three years. With regard to the cight

remaining men , Lew -yuh- fa, Sung -fang, and others, it appears from the evidence

that they were only on the spot assisting the others, and will therefore be

flogged as the law provides.

Besides reporting these particulars for the information and consideration

of the Viceroy and Lieutenant-Governor, in order that they may memorialize

His Majesty on the subject, I, the Judge, have also to make you (the Intendant)

acquainted with the same through the medium of this communication.

I, the Intendant, having received the above, consider it my duty to address

you, the Honourable Consul, on the subject, and I therefore now make you this

communication, and request that you will be pleased to examine into the

same .

Taoukwang 28th year, 4th month, 17th day. (May 19, 1848. )

Inclosure 3 in No. 63.

Consul Alcock to the Officiating Taoutae.

ALCOCK , Consul, &c . , makes this communication .

I have received your Excellency's official commiunication , informing me of

the trial and conviction of the grain junk men , in the case of the Englishmen

who were assaulted and robbed by the prisoners at Tsing -poo, together with the

Sentences passed .

Having felt it my duty to call for the strict execution of the Treaty by the

trial and punishment according to law of the ringleaders in this outrage, I am

glad to learn that the officiating Provincial Judge has duly administered justice

by a rigorous trial of the offenders, and reported the proceedings to the Viceroy

and Lieutenant-Governor, that they may memorialize His Imperial Majesty,

which I shall not fail to communicate to Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary f r the

Satisfaction of Her Majesty's Government .

A necessary communication.

May 20, 1848.


No. 64.

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received October 27.)

My Lord , Victoria , Hong Kong, July 26, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to inclose for your Lordship’s information , copy of a

despatch from Mr. Consul Alcock , giving an account of ashort excursion made

by himself,the French Consul, Montigny ,and Commander Pitman, into

theinterior from Shanghae,and reporting the favourable treatmentthathe met


to from the people of the country generally . Mr. Alcock, however, appears

conceive that at the large and more populous towns, an immunity from moles

tation is by no means secured .

I have, & c.

(Signed ) S. G. BONHAM.


Inclosure in No. 64 .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Bonham .

(Extract .) Shanghae, May 20, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of despatches, and for

the flattering terms in which your Excellency has been pleased to express

approval of my efforts to obtain redress from the local authorities, I am most

grateful. Of the general inadmissibility of a departure from instructions, or

an assumption of powers not contemplated in them , I need not repeat my

conviction, and consequent entire concurrence in the views communicated for

my guidance in these despatches. It shall be my carnest endeavour to avoid

all causes of difficulty or collision with the local authorities, so far as it may be

possible to do so , without compromise to our interests.

I may state in connection with this subject, that I recently made an

excursion in the interior to some hills , distant about twenty -two miles, in

company with M. de Montigny, the French Consul, Captain Pitman, the

Interpreter, and Mr. Harvey . I had never left Shanghae before, and was

induced to do so now that I might judge for myself of the temper and

demeanour of the people, as it is chiefly to these hills, which are within the

twenty -four hours' limits, thatall parties seekingrecreation direct their steps.

In the country and the villages I saw no indication of a disposition to give

offence ; on the contrary, they were ready to offer civility, afford information,

show their work or sell their goods, as might be desired . At Sze-king alone, a

small town extending about a mile along the banks of the canal where there is

a larger population, a crowd pressed upon the heels of the party which had

landed, and were otherwise disposed to be troublesome and offensive, shouting

opprobrious epithets.

It was at this place that the two gentlemen to whom I referred in despatch

of 22nd January, were pelted out of their boats and pursued ; and here I found

evidence of the habitual bad faith of Heen , the late Taoutae, who, contrary to

his express assurances, that he had caused a Proclamation which I disapproved

of to be exchanged for another, had left the unobjectionable one undisturbed.

I returned on the morning of the third day, having made arrangements

with the Taoutac's full consent, to prolong my absence beyond the usual period.

I am disposed to think, from what I observed , that we hold our immunity from

molestation in the larger towns on somewhat insecure tenure. I am bound, on

the other side, to state that Mr. Medhurst has casually mentioned to me his

impression of an improved bearing in the people of the surrounding country

since the last affair.

For my own part, I believe the Chinese people have no feeling of respect

for our nationality, nor can it well be otherwise while foreigners, as the best

information leads me to infer, are invariably spoken of by the rulers of the

land in terms of opprobrium and contempt ; and in all public documents, not

immediately addressed to us, we are placarded by every authority, from the

Emperor to his meanest servants, as “ Barbarians,” contrary to their own more

ancient usage. Our acquiescence in restrictions, confining us to certain narrow

limits, as a race of barbarians who may not be securely trusted with the liberty

of free and responsible moral agents, of course further tends to affix upon ail

foreigners a stamp of inferiority to those who can impose such conditions. I

cannot think it matter of surprise that under such circumstances the Chinese

population should have little scruple in offering insult or annoyance, and have as

little hope that this will be amended until political changes shall remove us

from this derogatory and humiliating position. The conviction from time to

time of isolated offenders can indeed do little, even as a palliative, and the true

source of all the danger and mischief with which our relations are incessantly

menaced remains wholly untouched by any such measures. I cannot hope my

convictions on this subject will have much weight, but it appears to me a duty

to submit them as the result of personal observation, derived from a residence

of some duration at different ports.


No. 65.

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .-— ( Received October 27.)

My Lord, Victoria , Hong Kong, July 31 , 1848.

I HAVE the honour to inclose, for your Lordship’s information , copy of a

letter to myaddress from Mr. Consul Alcock, giving cover to translation of a

letter he had received from Keying, and of his reply thereto, on the subject of

the Tsing-poo affair.

I have intimated to Mr. Alcock my approval of his reply to Keying.

I have, & c.

( Signed) S. G. BONHAM .

Inclosure 1 in No. 65 .

Consul Alcock to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Shanghae, June 6, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to inclose copies (original and translation) of a

declaration received from his Excellency Keying, and my statenient addressed

to the Imperial Commissioner in reply.

That Keying should regard with displeasure and distaste the course adopted

to obtain redress was to be anticipated, but it appears to me his Excellency has

taken a step not less unusual and without precedent, in addressing his comments

to me personally, instead ofcommunicating with Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary.

I did not think it expedient to enter into any discussion as to the mooted

question of limits, in reference to the excursion to Tsing-poo, but thought I

might be permitted, by referring to Article IV of the American Treaty, to

show the inaccuracy of his Excellency's inference, that Her Majesty's Consul

was not authorized by Treaty in conveying his complaint of unredressed

grievance to Nanking.

His Excellency Keying having scrupulonsly adopted all the forms of the

Cha -hing Declaration , with much of the imperative tone which this particular

form of communication by Chinese custom sanctions, though always carefully

avoided by the Viceroy at Foo -chow , as by the same high authority at Nanking,

in their official letters to me, I felt bound to inform his Excellency that I could

only receive and act upon instructions from the Representative of my own

Sovereign, lest it should be assumed by the Chinese high officers, when address

ing Her Majesty's Consuls, that under the mandatory form of a Chinese Cha

hing they might revert to the old style of prohibition and command, with a

concluding admonition to “ disobey not.”

I have, &c .


Inclosure 2 in No. 65.

Commissioner Keying to Consul Alcock.

(Translation .)

KE, Imperial High Commissioner, a Guardian of the Crown Prince, an

Assistant Minister of State, Governor-General of the Two Keang Provinces,

and of the Imperial House, makes the following declaration :

I, the Great Minister, have received His Majesty's orders to attend at

Pekin, and on passing through Kang-nan on my way thither, I learned that

Vice-Consul Robertson and others of your honourable nation , had come in a

ship, and made accusation and complaint at the official residence of the

Governor -General of the two Keang Provinces, which proceeding has caused me

me, the Great Minister, much amazement and surprise . For in the French

commercial regulations it is provided that in the event of affairs being unsatis

2 B


factory or disturbed, the said Consuls and others may straightly make

complaint to the Great Minister superintending the Five Ports, and in case of

there being no superintendent of the Five Ports, they may complain to the high

provincial authorities, who will inquire into and manage their affairs for them .

The Great Minister superintending the Five Ports here referred to is the igh

Imperial Commissioner who resides at Canton .

I, the Great Minister, having now been ordered by His Majesty to repair

to Peking, the office of High Imperial Commissioner has, by the command of

the Great Emperor, been delivered over into the charge of Seu, officiating

Governor-General of the two Keang Provinces, as is on record. It may

be that the said Consul (Mr. Alcock) has not yet heard of this, and

that it was the want of this information that caused him to convey his

complaint to the provincial city. For the future, in all cases of this nature,

complaints must be made in obedience to Treaty to the High Imperial

Commissioner, and must await his management. But should the Great Emperor

hereafter see fit no longer to appoint a High Imperial Commissioner to super

intend the Five Ports, then may appeal of course be made to the various high

provincial authorities in accordance with the terms of treaty. If it be said that

at Shanghae there is no High Imperial Commissioner, on the other hand, at

Hong Kong alone does his Excellency the Envoy of your honourable nation

reside, and similar appointments cannot severally be made at each of the ports.

This principle, therefore, is very clearly established .

With regard to the places to which British subjects at Shanghae may make

excursions, it was formerly determined by the Envoy Davis, in conjunction with

Kung, Intendant of Circuit for the departments of, Sung

kcang-foo, and Tae-tseang -chow, that they might be allowed to purchase or

hire for this purpose boats, horses, or sedans, and that they might go about

either by water or land, but that they could not be permitted to pass the

night out . Consul Balfour's official reply to the Intendant of Circuit for

Soo -chow - foo, Sung -keang -foo; and Tae -tseang-chow, is at present preserved

on record . Now I , the Great Minister, find on inquiry that Tsing -poo is

ninety le distant from Shanghae. To go there and return would therefore be

180 le, but no matter whether this could be performed in a day or not, as our

two nations are to cement the perpetual peace and friendship existing between

us, the merchants and subjects of your honourable nation must not on any

account make distant excursions, in order that disturbances and trouble may

be avoided.

As regards the people of the various localities, I, the Great Minister, have

already communicated with the Governor -General of the two Keang Provinces

and the Lieutenant-Governor of Keangsoo on the subject, and desired them to

give strict orders to the various Prefects of departments, and Magistrates of

districts, to use their utmost endeavours to keep them under restraint, in order

that any trivial occurrences may not be allowed to injure the peace.

To sum up the whole, if the authorities and subjecst of our two nations do

firmly adhere to Treaty engagements, the blessing of the Supreme Ruler without a

doubt will assuredly aid us in our endeavours. I, the Great Minister, know and

feel that Consul Alcock, Vice -Consul Robertson , and Interpreter Parkes, have

hitherto borne the reputation of being clear -sighted able men, and I therefore

now make this special and distinct declaration for their information, which I

think will afford them cause for rejoicing. I , the Great Minister, have already

left for Peking .

A necessary declaration .

Taoukwang , 28th year, 4th month, 12th day. ( 14th May, 1848. )

Sealed with the seal of the Governor-General of the two Keang Provinces,

lent for the occasion.


Inclosure 3 in No. 65.

Consul Alcock to Commissioner Keying.

ALCOCK, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, makes this


I have to acknowledge the receipt of the High Imperial Commissioner's

Declaration, dated 14th May, 1848, referring in terms of disapprobation to the

mission of Mr. Vice-Consul Robertson to Nanking. Your Excellency states

that this measure was taken contrary to Treaty, and directs me in future, in all

cases of this nature, to make my complaints of the local authorities to the

High Imperial Commissioner, and await his management.

Reference to the American Treaty, Article IV, will, I conceive, distinctly

show that Her Majesty's Consul at Shanghae, having the same privileges as the

American Consuls, enjoys by Treaty the undoubted right, if he see fit, to make

representation of any local grievance to the "superior officers of the Chinese

Government,” without limitation as to the Superintendent of the Five Ports.

As to the measures it may be necessary to adopt at any time when the

security and interest of my countrymen at this part are at stake, your

Excellency must be aware that it is not competent for me, as Her Majesty's

Consul, to receive or act upon any directions not emanating from the

representative of my own Sovereign, to whose authority I owe exclusive


The whole of my proceedings in the late affair of assault and robbery at

Tsing -poo, having been duly reported to Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary in

China, for the information of Her Majesty's Government, and his Excellency's

instruction , it only remains for me in like manner to forward without delay

the declaration now received from the Imperial High Commissioner, for the

said Envoy's consideration, which I trust will also be satisfactory to your


A necessary statement.

May 30, 1848.

No. 66 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received October 27.)

My Lord, Victoria, Ilong Kong, July 31, 1848.

WITH reference to that portion of my despatch of the 12th April ,

wherein I informed your Lordship of Mr. Consul Alcock’s intention of

liquidating certain claims, alleged to be due to British subjects, from the

proceeds of the ships' duties kept back during the fifteen days' embargo on the

grain junks and duties in his port, in consequence of the Tsing-poo affair, I

have the honour to inclose copy of a despatch from that officer, reporting that,

previously to the receipt of my instructions on the subject, payment had been

made to the creditors in question, and setting forth the reasons which induced

him to adopt the course he has seen fit to do on theoccasion. The Consul at

the same time reports that he has received from the Chinese authorities the

Value of the property stolen from the Missionaries at Tsing-poo, and paid the

amount, 200 dollars, over to the injured individuals.

I have informed Mr. Consul Alcock that I shall forward copy of his

despatch for your Lordship's information .

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM .

2 B 2


Inclosure in No. 66.

Consul Alcock to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Shanghae, June 26, 1848 .

THE Chinese authorities having reported their inability to recover the

property of which the Missionary gentlemen were robbed at Tsing -Poo, and

tendered the estimated value of the articles amounting to 200 dollars, that sum

has been received, and paid over to the injured parties.

In connection with this affair and your Excellency's despatch of the

12th April, disapproving of a liquidation of the claims of British subjects

upon the estate of Foqua, out of the proceeds of Custom-house duties, payme

had unfortunately been made to the creditors when the despatch in question

was received .

The inclosed official communication, addressed to the acting Taoutae and

announcing the payment, was delayed for some time in the hope of inducing

that functionary or his predecessor to enter into some amicable and equitable

arrangement, the individual responsibility of the latter for the safe custody of

the bales of longcloth being undeniable. Upon this ground, chiefly, I sought

to enforce a demand for settlement before the Taoutae's accounts were closed .

Having more than once made these claims aa subject of reference to Her

Majesty's Plenipotentiary and the Attorney-General , and each time received in

reply opinions rendering it incumbent upon me to prosecute them to a final

settlement ; having, moreover, failed in my best efforts, extending over a period

of many months, to make the slightest impression upon his Excellency Heen,

rendered doubly impracticable, no doubt, by the consciousness that the goods

upon which the liquidation depended had been disposed of while in his custody,

it did appear to me desirable to profit by the opportunity made by his bad faith

in another affair, to close this vexed question, and terminate at once the useless

and irritating discussion bequeathed to me by my predecessor in office. The

hopelessness, moreover, of effecting this by any other means than the stoppage

of duties in transitu, to the value of the goods, had, I conceive, been made

sufficientiy manifest to establish the expediency and justice of the measure.

The view taken by your Excellency would probably hive suggested itself to

me, had I not looked upon the late Taoutae as personally responsible for the

goods made away with during his administration, and held it, moreover, quite

certain, that not the Chinese revenue, but Heen, the Superintendent of the

Customs, the officer responsible for the collection of the duties, would be the

only party affected by this compulsory liquidation. Justice seemed, under

these circumstances, to require that he should not be allowed to escape from

pecuniary responsibilities, entailing loss and injury upon British subjects, which

could no longer be transferred to successors, since the goods which came with

it to us from our predecessors had disappeared by his mismanagement or


The political question connected with the stoppage of duties I considered

finally settled when the prisoners were produced, and the embargo on the grain

junk's and the duties ceased as the immediate result . The paying up the

arrears of duties accruing during the stoppage I regarded as a mere matter of

detail (the right of the Chinese authorities to payment having once been

admittedl) upon questions which might arise with the executive officers as to the

amount to be paid, as in the payment of duties upon any other occasion , but

involving in no way the previous question.

I can only express my sincere regret, if the steps taken under this view

shall finally appear to your Excellency to have mixed up, in a manner highly

inexpedient, an important political question with one of a commercial and

insigoificant character.

I have, & c.



No. 67.

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham.

(No. 69.)

Sir, Foreign Office, August 7, 1848.

I HAVE received and laid before the Queen your despatches to the 24th

of May inclusive.

I have to acquaint you that I approve of the despatch which you addressed

to Mr. Consul Alcock on the 28th of April, and of which a copy is inclosed in

your despatch to me of the same date, in reply to his despatches of the

10th and 12th of that month, respecting his late proceedings at Shanghae in

the matter of the attack on the three Missionaries near that place.

I also approve of the answer which you returned to the Chinese Com

missioner's representation respecting Mr. Alcock’s proceedings, and of which

a copy is inclosed in your despatch of the 11th of May.

I am , &c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 68.

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Foreign Office, September 19, 1848.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 10th of June, in which you

report the punishment inflicted on the ten criminals who committed the

assault on Mr. Medhurst and the Missionaries at Tsing -poo, and I have to

acquaint you that the punishments in this case are quite sufficient,but that in

all cases of punishment awarded to Chinese, for wrongs done to British subjects,

some British officer ought to be present to witness the infliction of the


I am, &c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 69.

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received January 20, 1849. )

Extract) Victoria, Hong Kong, November 2 , 1848.

I HAVE the honour to inclose herewith, copy of a despatch which I have

received from Mr. Consul Jackson, at Foo -chow -foo, reporting that Mr. Parish ,

the Assistant attached to that Consulate, was assailed bya mob of persons with

insulting language, when riding in the neighbourhood of theConsulate, and that

they eventually went the length of hurling large stones at him , many of which

struckhim , though providentially without doing any serious injury.

Mr. Jackson addressed a letter to the Governor-General of the Provinces,

in which he called his Excellency's attention to the revived spirit of hostility

and insult which has lately been observable in the bearing of the rabble towards

himself and the officers of his establishment ; and demanded the apprehension

and severe punishment of the foremost amongst Mr. Parish's assailants.

I have since received the inclosed report from the Consul, forwarding

further correspondence with the local authorities as to the measures adopted

for the apprehension of the criminals in the present instance, and the prevention

of such occurrences in future. From this it appears that two of the rioters have

been apprehended and sentenced to be beaten with the bamboo, and to a month's

exposure in the cangue, in which they have been seen by the Chinese writer

attached to the Consulate, with the nature of their offence inscribed on their


wooden collars. The authorities further state that they will use every means to

apprehend the four remaining offenders, implicated by the confession of those

already under sentence.

As to the preventive measures adopted by the authorities, I consider that

the notice issued by the Chief Magistrate (translation of which is annexed ) is

well calculated to prevent a recurrence of such outrages, and ought to be

attended with beneficial results ; it has been posted at the principal avenue

leading to the place where the outrage was committed.

In my reply to the Consul's despatches above referred to, I have approved

of the measures adopted by him to secure the punishment of the offenders, but

although the fact of the Chinese writer having seen the delinquents in the

present instance exposed in the cangue may be considered satisfactory, still I

deemed it advisable to call Mr. Jackson's attention to the desirability of the

British Consul, or some person authorized by him , being present at the

punishment of any Chinese who may in future commit aggressions on British


Inclosure 1 in No. 69.

Consul Jackson to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Foo-chow , September 5, 1848 .

I REGRET having to acquaint your Excellency that I have again been

obliged to complain to the local authorities of the insolent bearing of the rabble

toward myself and the officers of my establishment.

Lately it has been much more observable than usual, though I am ignorant

of anything having occurred to account for it. There is not an individual among

us by whom they are treated otherwise than with kindness, or from whom they

are not constantly obtaining relief in some way or other. Nevertheless we

more often meet with sullen looks and insulting expressions, than any other kind

of notice. Having myself continually, and for a length of time, been molested

with hootings and scurrilous language in passing a place just within the city walls,

and finding private remonstrance unavailing, I at length called on the Magistrate

of the District to put an end to it. Only three days afterwards Mr. Parish,

my first assistant, complained to me that he had been grossly insulted and

stoned by aa crowd of about 150 persons, from whom he escaped with difficulty,

and, as I judge from his account , most providentially, without more injury than

some heavy blows on his head and body. This happened on the evening of the

30th ultimo on the Parade Ground, just beneath the city walls, and little more

than half a mile from this Consulate.

Considering this a matter for more serious notice, I sent in a report of the

particulars to the Governor -General. The affair had already become known to

some of the authorities, who, on sending here for information, stated that diligent

search was being made for the offenders, and that on their apprehension, they

should be rigorously punished.

Owing to Mr. Morrison's continued indisposition, my letter to the Governor

General did not reach his Excellency till the 3rd instant ; but he was

previously made acquainted verbally through Suh Taoutae, with all that had


Though it now appeared from Mr. Parish's statement, that he had often

before been similarly treated in the same place, it had never been made known

to me ; and although his keeping quiet so long is evidence of his forbearance, I

cannot but regret that he did not before mention it to me on one of the many

occasions when I have inquired of him, concerning the reception he experienced

during his rambles about the neighbourhood ; for it is to be feared that

too much passiveness may be misconstrued by those of mean and dastardly


On receipt of my letter, the Governor-General sent his card with a message,

hat on hearing of the occurrence he had lost no time in issuing orders, and that


he was still urging the subordinate authorities to activity in bringing the offenders

to punishment.

The following day his Excellency sent an Aide-de- camp to make inquiries

after Mr. Parish's health , desiring him to mention at the same time, that the

place being now full of low people from distant quarters, in attendance on the

candidates for examination , he hoped all noisy places would be avoided, or that

police from the magistracies would be sent for to accompany those going out, as

this was the only plan he could think of for securing protection .

Though, perhaps, well meant, I could not, of course, encourage such a

system , which would be little else than placing us publicly under surveillance, and

putting constraint upon our footsteps. At the same time, I think his Excellency's

advice, to avoid noisy places, likely to be frequented by the class of people he

indicates, deserving ofattention, and have expressed my wishes in accordance to

the officers of my establishment.

I hopethatmy report to his Excellency may be productive of good effect.

The authorities all appear sincere in their anxiety to restrain the mob, but their

power to do so effectually may be doubted ,

I hear the Te-pa-ou, a constable of the place where the assault was com

mitted, has twice received forty blows of the bamboo to aid him in discovering

some of the rioters.

The Fuh-kien people are a sullen and savage set. They have a rooted

antipathy to foreigners, which is vented mostly in filthy expressions and offensive

manners as we pass them . The authorities wish it to be believed that these

expressions are mere expletives, with which the common people are accustomed

to interlard their sentences, whether addressed to friend or stranger but

the manner of emitting them renders this explanation hard to believe .

I shall not cease to urge activity in this matter, and shall hope soon to

acquaint your Excellency of its satisfactory termination in the apprehension

and punishment of some of the ruffians, as an example and warning to


In the meantime, I beg to inclose a copy of my letter to the Governor

General, as it contains particulars of the assault.

I have, &c.

(Signed) R. B. JACKSON.

Inclosure 2 in No. 69 .

Consul Jackson to Mr. Bonham.

Sir, Foo -chow , September 23, 1848.

MY last despatch gave your Excellency particulars of an assault on

Mr. Parish of this Consulate, and inclosed copy of an official letter I had

addressed in consequence to the Governor -General Seu.

I have now the honour to forward for your Excellency's further informa

tion on the subject, copy and translation of communication made to me by the

Ex. Intendant Luh, by command of his Excellency, in which are set forth the

steps said to have been taken for the apprehension and punishment of some of

the assailants. This communication I presume to have been elicited by one I

addressed to Luh by way of reminder, and for the purpose of urging him and

the officers placed under his direction for the occasion by the Governor-General,

but which letter he does not allude to.

I beg leave to inclose a copy of it, and likewise of another which I found

it necessary to address to the same officer, in consequence of the ambiguous

wording of the Min-heen's report to him, embodied in his letter, appearing

to me as intended to convey doubt as to the disturbance having originated with

the Chinese. These papers, with the one inclosed in my preceding despatch to

your Excellency, comprise all the documentary correspondence had as yet on

the subject.

On receipt of the Intendant's letter I caused inquiry to be set on foot in

order to ascertain whether the sentences were being carried out in good faith ,

as well as the other measures for preventing future disturbances.

The proclamation, inclosed in copy and translation , was found to be posted


at the principal avenue to the place where the outrage was committed. Its

terms are better adapted to the system of Chinese coercion and the under

standing of the common people than such warnings usually are.

As to the infliction of the bamboo, we must be content to take the assur

ance of the Min-heen's subordinates that it was duly administered.

But, with regard to the punishment of the cangue , to which the two men

are said to be sentenced, after allowing time for it to be entered upon, I

dispatched an individual to ascertain the fact, to whom it was pretended, on his

finding they were not at the place indicated, that after being exposed a couple

of days they were taken ill, and it became necessary to remove them to the

gaol of the district Magistracy ; but that being then nearly recovered , their

sentences would be carried into effect. Regarding this as a subterfuge for a

breach of the faith, and unwilling to be duped, I caused the Chinese writer to

be again dispatched to make inquiry, and to intimate that I was not unmindful

of what was going on . On his return he reported that he had seen the men in

the cangue, and having examined their sentences , as inscribed on these wooden

collars, found them to be in due form , as for creating aa disturbance.

He added that they would be brought here for inspection if required.

Having no reason to question the veracity of the writer—an old and steady

servant of this establishment - I contented myself with his assurance, in the

belief that the Magistrate, who prides himself on being a descendant of Con

fucius, whose name he bears, would not incur further risk of a charge of

duplicity against himself.

Though continually urging the apprehension of the other four implicated

by the confession of those under sentence, I have not heard anything respect

ing them , and I fear they will be allowed to escape, for which there is no

remedy beyond empty denunciations, against which the consciences of the

Mandarins seem to be tolerably proof.

I have, &c.

(Signed) R. B. JACKSON.

Inclosure 3 in No. 69 .

Proclamation .

( Translation .)

KUNG, Chief Magistrate of the Department of Min, &c., hereby issues

plain instructions.

It being now permitted to foreign nations to trade at the port ofFoo -chow,

when foreigners pass about the city and its suburbs, it behoves the natives of

the land tomaintain towards thema friendly deportment, that so due effect may

be given to the existing peace .

Having heard a report that on the 3rd day of the present month

(August 31 ), as an English officer was riding on the South Parade Ground, a

disturbancewas raised by a crowd of ignorant people, who assailed him with

stones, conduct which was disorderly in the extreme, besides dispatching

runners to search out and seize the offending parties, that they may be tried and

punished I now proclaim these urgent instructions, and look to the people fully

to know them .

Hereafter, you must keep in order the youths and children of your


When foreigners pass backwards and forwards, let them not rush in front

of, or crowd after them ; nor let them either address them in abusive terms, so

as to bring about disturbances.

If they again dare to act as in times past, they shall assuredly be taken and

punished . The elder members of their families shall likewise be punished for

not keeping them in order ; and the Te-paous, if they do not look after and

restrain them, shall be dealt with in the same manner. No mercy shall be

shown to them .

Do not oppose. A special proclamation.

Taoukwang, 28th year, 8th month, 5th day. (September 2, 1848.)



No. 70.

Mr. Bonham to Mr. Hammond .- (Received January 20 , 1849.)

( Extract .)

November 30 , 1848, 11 P.M.

LATE last night, I received a despatch from Canton , giving an account

of a piratical attack on Mr. Meadows, when returning from Whampoa.

It appears that Mr. Meadows had gone to Whampoa on business, in

company with an officer of the High Commission, for the purpose of examining

an English vessel that had been run into by a junk, and that, on their return,

their boat was boarded by a large pirate boat full of men, two of whom ,

Mr. Meadows is of opinion , he shot. The pirates, nevertheless, put on board

Mr. Meadows' boat, when he took to the water, and managed to get ashore,

but not until he had received a severe spear wound in his hand.

This affair took place close to the Barrier, about eight miles from Canton,

at the same spot where the Shah Allem's boat was similarly attacked last year.

As this isa mere act of piracy, I have no doubt that Seu will, if he can catch

them, make an example of the miscreants, more especially, as some of his

own people were present, and, it is reported , were wounded. In other respects,

everything is quiet ; but this little affair shows the limited powers either Seu

or any one else has over the Canton mob.

No. 71 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Pulmerston.—(Received February 22, 1849.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, December 29, 1848 .

I HAVE the honour to report to your Lordship, that in the night of the

27th ultimo, Mr. Meadows, Interpreter to the Canton Consulate, was assailed by

pirates in the Canton River, and only escaped with his life by jumping into the

river and swimming ashore, after having shot two of his assailants.

Mr. Meadows was on his way from Whampoa, where he had been deputed

by Mr. Consul Elmslie upon public business, in company with one of Seu's

officers, and when close to the barriers, about 10 P.M., a piratical craft, containing


about thirty men, dashed alongside and obtained possession of Mr. Meadows'

boat, but not until that gentleman had shot dead one of the pirates and

wounded another, when he jumped into the river, and arrived, wounded and in

an exhausted condition, at the Consulate, at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Both the Consul and myself have been in communication with Seu

regarding this ruffianly attack. His Excellency has succeeded in apprehending

four of the parties connected with the transaction, and promises to do his

utmost in seizing the remaining criminals. A question has arisen as to the

degree of punishment to be awarded to these four. Seu states transportation

for life to be the legal punishment, but as this appears to me doubtful from

several other precedents, it is my intention to address that officer further upon

the point, and in the meanwhile I have thought it necessary that your Lordship

should be made acquainted, as early as possible, with the principal facts

connected with this attack.

Mr. Meadows has forwarded a list of articles stolen, and other losses, the

whole of which he estimates at 352 dollars 74 cents. I have called on Seu to

recover the articles plundered, or failing this, to make good Mr. Meadows' claim .

2 C


I regret, however, to state'that my applications have up to the present moment

proved unsuccessful. Seu declines making any restitution whatever, on the

grounds of its being inconsistent with Chinese law to do so. Under the

peculiar circumstances of Mr. Meadows' case, and bearing in mind that that

gentleman was attacked and robbed whilst in the performance of his public

duties, I have not hesitated in authorizing Mr. Elmslie to pay this sum out of

the Consulate chest, and rely upon your Lordship in approving of this


I propose, by next mail, further addressing your Lordship upon this

subject ; in the meantime I may observe that the attack on Mr. Meadows

appears to me to have been made without any reference to the party plundered

being a British subject.

I have, & c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM.

No. 72 .

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Foreign Office, February 17, 1849.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 2nd of November, respecting

an assault committed on Mr. Parish at Foo - chow -foo ; and I have to

acquaint you that I concur with you in approving the manner in which

Mr. Consul Jackson required and obtained redress from the local authorities for

this outrage, and that I also approve of your having reminded him of the

necessity of some person being delegated by him on any future occasion to

witness the infliction of any punishment which may be awarded by the Chinese

authorities to persons guilty of assaults on British subjects.

I am , & c.

( Signed) PALMERSTON .

No. 73.

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

Sir, Foreign Office, March 5, 1849.

I HAVE to acquaint you that I approve of the steps which you have taken ,

as reported in your despatch of the 29th of December, with reference

to the attack made on Mr. Interpreter Meadows, on his way from Whampoa to

Canton in the night of the 27th of November ; and considering that Mr. Meadows

was at the time in the execution of his public duties, I approve of your having

directed the sum of 352 dollars 74 cents to be paid to him as compensation for

the value of the property which he lost on that occasion.

I am, &c.


No. 74 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .-- (Received March 21.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, January 24, 1849.

IN continuation of my despatch of the 29th December, on the

subject of the piratical attack made on Mr. Meadows in the Canton River, I

have the honour to acquaint your Lordship that thirteen of the parties implicated

in that transaction have been apprehended by the Chinese authorities , of whom

five have been sentenced to transportation for life, and eight to decapitation.


The Imperial Commissioner having in the first instance only announced the

apprehension of the five first named, and stated that they would be transported,

I thought it right to impress on his Excellency the necessity of making a most

striking example of the culprits, and addressed a letter to him to that effect,

referring to four cases where persons convicted of similar offences had been

executed, and reminding him that Mr. Meadows was an officer in the discharge

of a public duty, and that if a stop were not put to such violent proceedings,

and outrages of this nature were permitted to be carried on between Canton and

Whampoa, no public officer could safely travel between those places.

To this Seu rejoined, insisting that the punishment to which the culprits

had been sentencedwas in conformity with the laws of China, but at the same

time informed me that eight additional culprits had been apprehended, and that

as they had been engaged in other malpractices of a like nature, they would be

decapitated, and their heads stuck up on poles.

In acknowledging the receipt of the last communication, I informed the

Imperial Commissioner thatI was not altogether satisfied with the result of this

affair, as it appeared to me that had the eight criminals not been proved tohave

been guilty of offences against Chinese, they would not have been capitally

punished ; but as the matter stood, I requested to be informed when and where

the men would be executed .

I have not yet received a reply to this communication , and as this is the

first day of the Chinese new year ,when and for some days to come no public

business is transacted, I do not anticipate hearing again from the Commissioner

before the mail of this month is dispatched. I think it right, however, tostate

that from what has passed between the Acting Consul at Canton and the

Imperial Commissioner, with reference to this subject, I do not think Seu will

acquiesce in any British officers being present at their execution, which I am

in some measure disposed to attribute to his fearing their presence might give

rise to a popular commotion, which at this particular juncture might terminate

in their being ill-used by the mob .

I have, &c.

( Signed ) S. G. BONHAM .

Inclosure 1 in No. 74.

Commissioner Seu to Mr. Bonham.

( Translation .)

SEU, High Imperial Commissioner, &c., sends the following answer to a

communication from the Honourable Envoy, which he received on the 12th

instant (6th January) in which several precedents are quoted, which he carefully


In a previous answer, I, the GreatMinister, stated, that as Heaven was

concerned in human life, only criminals worthy of death should suffer the

penalty of the law.

According to the evidence of the criminal Han-Hoo-Leen and others,

they only robbed once, and did not board the boat. These are extenuating

circumstances in the eyes of the law, and they will therefore not suffer death,

but be transported. This is in accordance with the provisions (of the code)

23rd chapter , page 33 .

The criminals now taken, are denounced as principals, and different from

accomplices, as much as a man who transgresses for the first time, differs from an

old offender , and as there is likewise a difference between those who search for

plunder, and those who receive the stolen articles.

In cases which involve life and death , one ought to be very careful in these

matters. The precedents quoted in your communication, I find do not refer to

criminals who only once offended, but who had to be punished severely. You

also remark in your letter, that the criminals mentioned in this case, are all

principals, whilst there is only one of them to whom this applies ; for what

reason should all be principals ?

The Magistrate now reports, that in Mr. Meadows, the Interpreter's case,

he has successively seized the following runaway criminals :Lew-a-keang,

2 C 2


Lew-a-tih, Lew -a -wang, W00 -a -tsing , Lew - a -chin , Yer-tsew-kwei , llwang

king-yu, Woo-a -tseang, in all eight. It was ascertained , as a matter of fact,

that all these had boarded the boat, and it was likewise found out, that they had

robbed the packet, Saou -tan, the rice boat Le- yuh -yang, the pawnbroker's shop

of Lo-kang -borough, and the cotton junk of Chin - a -show . Hence it is proved,

that they have repeatedly committed robberies ; these various instances having

been brought home to them, they have thus been sentenced to decapitation, and

that their heads be stuck up. Being impartially dealt with in conformity to the

letter of the law, not the least forbearance nor lenity has been shown towarıls


Whilst sending this reply, I wish you much happiness

Taoukwang, 28th year, 12th month , 21st day. ( January 15, 1819.)

Inclosure 2 in No. 74 .

Mr. Bonham to Commissioner Seu.

Victoria, Hong Kong, January 20, 1849 .

I HAVE received your Excellency's communication of the 15th instant,

in reply to mine of the 3rd instant, relative to the punishment of the persons

concerned in the piratical attack on Mr. Meadows.

In this letter, your Excellency asks me why all the parties concerned in

the attack on Mr. Meadows are principals, to which I reply, that after the death

of their leader, Leu -a -sze, the remainder of the boat's crew , by their violence,

compelled Mr. Meadows to jump into the water to save his life, and that they

then forcibly seized his boat and property,

were all engaged in one common , unlawful which they made away with — they

act, which caused loss of life and

was attended with robbery ; they ought, therefore, in reason, to be considered

all equally guilty

Your Excellency now informs me that eight more criminals connected with

this murderous outrage on Mr. Meadows have been apprehended , and as they

have been found guilty of other offences they will be decapitated. This

proceeding is, however, not altogether satisfactory to me, as it appears that, had

it not been discovered that these culprits had committed robberies in other

instances, they would not, for the piratical attack on Nr. Meadows, have suffered

capital punishment. I have already quoted instances of execution following

offences of this nature, and this outrage on a public officer, in the discharge of

his official duties, seems to me to demand, at your Excellency's hands, the utmost

penalty of the law .

As the case now stands, I beg of your Excellency to acquaint me when and

where these men will be executed, as I have instructions from my own Govern

ment to depute persons to witness all punishments which may be inflicted by

the Chinese Government on persons for misconduct to British subjects, as was

the case in the instance of the execution of the murderers of the crew of the

French merchant vessel “ Navigateur,” and more recently in the unfortunate

affair at Hwang -chu-ke, when four Chinese were executed for the murder of my


Accept, &c.

(Signed ) S. G. BONHAM .

Inclosure 3 in No. 74 .

Mr. Bonham to Commissioner Seu .

Victoria, Hong Kong, January 3, 1849 .

I HAVE recently received several communications from the Consul at

Canton, relative to the piratical attack made on Mr. Meadows, on which subject

I have already had occasion to address your Excellency. From the corre

spondence that has passed between the Consul and your Excellency, I gat

that the four ruffians who have been apprehended , are not to be capitally

punished ou the grounds of their not being principals, but simply accomphices.


The Consul has fully brought the true state of the case to your Excel

lency's notice, and reminded you that heretofore, when pirates have been taken

and convicted, they have been executed, and he mentions cases wherein the full

sentence of the law has been carried out.

Your Excellency, in reply ,assigns reasons why these pirates should not be

executed, and states that “ as Heaven itself is concerned in human life, crimes

punishable by death, must be committed before such punishment can be

inflicted .” To the latter part of your observation I fully agree; and if I were

satisfied that the parties implicated in the piracy were not liable to the punish

ment of death by the law of China, I would not now address your Excellency

on the subject.

The Chinese Code of Laws distinctly states, in the 23rd chapter, 57th page,

that “ Those who, on the sea-coast or along rivers, commit piracy by boarding

vessels in search of plunder, shall all, in case they have obtained possession of

any goods, be sentenced to decapitation, and instantly receive doom . Nothing

is to be pleaded in their excuse .'

There are, moreover, four precedents within my own knowledge to prove

that the law in this respect has been carried into effect :

1. In Mckinlay's case, the pirates were executed, according to a letter of

the late Governor-General Kekung, dated 20th December, 1843.

2. The execution of several pirates who attacked a party of our soldiers

near Chek-chu, who were conveying treasure to that place, as stated by Keying

in a despatch dated 17th December, 1844.

3. The capital punishment of some pirates who attacked two opium-vessels

in the Bay of Shimmob, according to a letter of Keying, dated 9th August,

1847, and

4. The case of the pirates implicated in the attack on the boat of the

merchant ship “ Shah Allum ,” as made known to Consul Macgregor by Keying,

in a communication dated 17th October 1847.

Your Excellency does not deny that the men who have been apprehended

are guilty of the piracy, but states that, as the principal man , Low -a-sze, was

shot and died, and his associate, Kan -a-mow, severely wounded , the remainder

of the boat's crew are only accessaries, and can only be banished for life to

Tartary .

Bit it is clear, from the evidence, that after Lew-a-sze was killed, and

Kan-a -mow was wounded, that the remainder of the crew plundered the boat ;

and part of the plundered property has been found on the persons of the prisoners,

hence it is obvious, that they are principals in the piracy, and in the wounding

of Mr. Meadows.

The case of Mr. Meadows is analogous, in every respect, with the four

cases above quoted , where those found guilty were executed.

Mr. Meadows fortunately escaped with his life ; but the guilt of the pirates

remains the same. It is natural enough for the remaining criminals to endea

vour to throw the most heinous part of the crime upon a man who is dead to

exculpate themselves, but surely such a defence is not to be deemed worthy of

any consideration when the facts are so clear that the guilt of the parties cannot

be doubted by any reasonable person).

I trust, therefore, that your Excellency will see that these prisoners be

rigorously punished, and the remaining criminals apprehended and punished also,

otherwise it will be impossible for public officers to travel between Canton and

Whampoa, which must end in great detriment to the trade of our respective


Accept, &c.

( Signed ) S. G. BONHAM .


No. 75 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received April 18.)

My Lord, Victoria, Hong Kong, February 3, 1849.

REFERRING to my despatch of the 24th January, wherein I reported

the sentences passed on thirteen of the criminals concerned in the piratical

attack on Mr. Meadows, I have the honour to transmit herewith, an

extract of the Imperial Commissioner's reply to my letter in which I applied

for information as to when, and where , the eight persons sentenced to

decapitation, would be executed, to enable me to depute an officer to witness

the infliction of the punishment.

Your Lordship will observe that the criminals had already been executed

previously to the receipt of my communication above referred to, and that Seu

expressly states that they were not sentenced to death for the piratical attack on

Mr. Meadows alone, so that had they not been proved to have been engaged in

former acts of violence, it may be inferred that they would only have been

transported, such, according to Seu's statement, being the sentence of the law

of China on occasions of this sort.

Your Lordship will likewise observe that the Commissioner makes no

remark on my desire that an English functionary should be present on the

occasion of the execution. In this instance the presence of such a person

would have been useless, as Mr. Meadows could not recognise the criminals

had he seen them, and I confess that at present I think it doubtful if it be

in the Commissioner's power, to insure the safety of the gentleman who might

have been employed on this mission .

It is right also that your Lordship should be informed that the Imperial

Commissioner observed to the Consul, when that officer took occasion to

notify to his Excellency that it was the wish of Her Majesty's Governmentthat

some officer deputed by him should be present to witness the infliction of the

punishment, that “ The Treaties provide for Chinese criminals being dealt with

by China, and foreign criminals by the foreign countries, neither side

concerning themselves with the proceedings of the other. What need is there

then to appoint an officer ? ”

Under these circumstances, I have allowed this part of the question

to remain in abeyance, being satisfied that with the temper which at present

exists at Canton against foreigners, any attempt on the part of a Consulate

officer to witness an execution, would, unless he were strongly guarded by

Chinese troops, most assuredly expose him to personal insult and violence, and

indeed might cost him his life.

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. G. BONHAM .

Inclosure in No 75 .

Commissioner Seu to Mr. Bonham .


THE principal in Mr. Meadows, the Interpreter's case, isLew -a-sze, who,

for his crime, ought to have been sentenced to decapitation. Having, however,

been shot, he fell into the water, and met with his death. The remaining

criminals have only once committed robbery, and ought, according to law,to

be transported. The eight others whosuccessively were taken have all repeatedly

committed acts of robbery, and, as the various cases have been brought home

to them, they suffered decapitation for their heavy crimes, on 19th day of the

12th month ( 13th January), ( with others ) altogether forty -six in number

I trust that you, the Honourable Envoy, have already heard that I, the

Great Minister, manage matters with the utmost justice, and it would only be

troublesome to enter upon minutiæ .

January 27, 1849.


No. 76.

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham.

Sir, Foreign Office, May 12, 1849.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 3rd of February, reporting

the execution of several persons concerned in the attack on Mr. Interpreter

Meadows; and I have to acquaint you that I approve of your having let the

question about the attendance of a British officer to witness the execution, to

remain without being further pressed.

With regard to the transaction itself, it is, of course, absolutely necessary

that outrages committed, or attempted, on British subjects, should be punished

in such a manner as to deter the Chinese from attempting a repetition of such

offences; but, at the same time, I cannot but observe that the extent to which

capital punishment seems to be inflicted in China, is not in harmony with the

feelings of the British nation on such matters ; and it is not desirable that you

should press for the decapitation of offenders, except in cases in which such

examples may really be required for the protection of British subjects, and by

the gravity of the committed offence.

I am , & c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 77 .

Mr. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .— (Received May 24.)

(Extract .) Victoria , Hong Kong, March 5, 1849.

IN despatch dated December 19, 1848, your Lordship observes that in

all cases of punishment being awarded to Chinese for wrongs done to British

subjects, some British officer ought to be present to witness its infliction.

These instructions were duly communicated to the Consuls, but I regret to state

that it has been found impossible to have them carried out.

Two cases have recently occurred at Canton, wherein Chinese have been

punished for wrongs done to British subjects, and in neither have the authorities

seen fit to permit British officers to witness the punishment.

The first case was that of Mr. Meadows, who was attacked by pirates in

the Canton river, as reported to your Lordship in my despatches of the

29th December last, and of the 24th January and 3rd February respectively.

The second was a case wherein a servant of an English gentleman robbed

and fired the house of his master, within the factories. In this instance

one person has been convicted and put in the cangue for two months. The

HighCommissioner was requested tosend the culprit to undergo part of his

punishment on the spot where the crime was committed. This he declined

acceding to, on the ground that another person whom the Chinese authorities

allege to have been an accomplice had not been taken, and who,they considered,

had been concealed by the owner of the house from the police runners sent

to apprehend him : but your Lordship will have observed from my despatch

of the 3rd February, that the Commissioner directly stated in reference to

Mr. Meadow's case that “the Treaties provide for Chinese criminals being

dealt with by China, and foreign criminals by the foreign countries, neither

side concerning themselves with the proceedings of the other. What need is

there then to appoint an officer ? ” And I am not aware , under these circum

stances, by what means I can compel him to meet the directions contained in

your Lordship’s despatch now underconsideration.

At Foo-chow -foo, in the case of an assault committed by certain villagers,

wherein Captain Johnston , of Her Majesty's sloop “ Scout ,” Lieutenant

Wodehouse and Mr. Parish were pelted and hooted while peaceably walking for

exercise, on Mr. Consul Jackson intimating his intention of deputing an

officer to witness the punishment of the parties apprehended, the Chinese


authorities objected on the ground that no such practice was provided for by

the Treaties, and that they had received no instructions from the Imperial

Commissioner on the subject.

At Shanghae I am not aware of any aggression on British subjects having

taken place since the case where the Missionary gentlemen were assaulted and

ill-used by the junk men , but in reference to this subject generally Mr. Alcock,

writes as follows :

“ As regards the practicability and expediency of verifying the punishment

of any Chinese offender by the presence of a British officer, when a sentence is

carried into execution, the instructions received could only have been partially

applicable to the Tsing-poo offenders had it been earlier received, for the most

serious punishment was banishment to a penal settlement in Tartary.

“ But the whole subject is one of peculiar difficulty, nor can any hope be

entertained of submitting in this place a satisfactory solution. It has long

been felt that of all the provisions of the two Treaties, that which provided for

the due administration of the laws on Chinese offenders was the most nugatory.

The chief difficulty consists in a British officer being present at all during a

trial in a Chinese Court. Assuming the right were to begranted by Treaty,

by torture, and a process utterly

where the ordinary mode of questioning is sense

repugnant to our notions of justice and our of what is due to humanity

and truth, are we by our presence to sanction and to be made parties to such

proceedings, or are we to interfere and insist upon justice being administered,

not according to their usages, but ours ? The objection to both courses seems

equally valid , and yet without the presence of an efficient officer there is no

guarantee whatever for the due alministration of justice.

“* As regards the presence of an Officer of Punishments, unless he is in a

position to identify the criminals, which must often from the circumstances of

the case be impossible, it may be questioned whether our national character is

not in danger of being compromised, without the real object of such risk being

attained . Nothing could more effectually tend to lower us in the opinion of

the Chinese than to be imposed upon by the jugglery of a substituted criminal,

or the punishment of an innocent man at our instigation, or even the illegal or

excessive punishment of a real offender. Yet to all these we are exposed, when

we take upon ourselves to watch the course of justice and verify the execution

of the sentences. It may finally be observed that there are punishments

recognized in the Chinese Code revolting for their brutality, which an English

officer could scarcely sanction with his presence without discredit to our national

feeling. A lesser objection exists in the frequency of minor punishments for


theft and petty misdemeanours, so that an Interpreter would be required for

this duty alone.”

In the conclusions come to by Mr. Alcock I generally concur, and on the

whole, therefore, as in many cases from the nature of the punishment it will be

impossible for a Consular officer to witness its infliction, and in others that it

will be attended with great difficulty, and that the presence of an European


gentleman on such occasions may give rise to misapprehension in respect to the



object in view , I beg respectfully to submit the question for your Lordship’s

reconsideration .

In the meantime I have directed the Consuls to consider the instructions

that I have given them on this subject in abeyance, but at the same time to

satisfy themselves, as far as they have the means, that any punishments awarded

under the circumstances referred to are carried into execution ,


No. 78 .

Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Bonham .

( Extract.) Foreign Office, June 1, 1849.

I HAVE to state to you, in reply to your despatch of the 5th of March ,

that on consideration of the circumstances adverted to in that despatch,

I think it may be best not to press for the presence of aa British officer at the

punishment of Chinese convicted of offences against British subjects, unless in

special cases, in which such presence may be thought by you, or by the Consul

on the spot, to be useful .

No. 79 .

Viscount Palmerston to Sir S. Bonham .

Sir , Foreign Office, October 23, 1851 .

I TRANSMIT to you herewith a statement which has been published in

the 6“ Times ” newspaper, and which appears to be founded upon a letter said to

have been addressed from Hong Kong to the “ Univers ” French newspaper,

relative to the alleged execution of a Missionary named Schoffler ; and I have

to instruct you to furnish me with any particulars you can obtain respecting this

transaction .

I am, &c.

(Signed ) PALMERSTON .

No. 80 .

Sir S. Bonham to Viscount Palmerston .- (Received February 16, 1852. )

(Extract.) Victoria, Hong Kong, December 24, 1849 .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s

despatch of the 23rd October, transmitting to me a statement which has

been published in the “ Times” newspaper, relative to the alleged execution of

aMissionary named Schoffer, and instructing me to furnish any particulars that

I can obtain respecting this transaction.

In obedience to your Lordship’s orders, I directed Mr. Woodgate, the

second assistant, to wait on M. Libois, Procureur-Général des Missions

Etrangères, and having shown and explained to him the statement, to request

he would furnish me with any information he might possess on the subject.

I have now the honour to transmit to your Lordship, copy of a letter from

M. Libois to Mr. Woodgate, giving a detail of all that has come to his

knowledge respecting this transaction .

Your Lordship will have the goodness to observe, that the execution of the

Missionary is stated to have taken place at a town or city called Son-tay, which

I find from the maps, is in Cochin China, and situated in 21° of north latitude,

and 105° of east longitude.

Until the receipt of your Lordship's despatch, the circumstances detailed

in the “ Times ” had not come to my knowledge, nor can I discover that any

other person, save the RomanCatholic priests, had ever heard of them .

The present Tudouc or King of Cochin China, came to the throne about

2 D


two years ago, and is tributary to the Emperor of China, but I imagine, except

on the subject of succession and tribute, is entirely independent of the

authority of the Emperor.

Inclosure in No. 80 .

M. Libois to Mr. Woodgate.

Mon cher M. Woodgate, Victoria, le 10 Décembre, 1851 .

J'AI examiné l'article du “ Times ” relatif au martyre de M. Scehffler,

que vous m'avez communiqué de la part de son Excellence M. le Gouverneur.

Je le trouve parfaitement conforme aux pièces officielles que j'ai reçues du

Tong-king sur le même sujet etque j'ai envoyées à MM. les Directeurs de

notre Séminaire des Missions Etrangères à Paris. Seulement nom du


martyr est Shæffler et non pas Shofller, et il a été mis à mort à Son -tay au

Tong -king, non pas le 4, mais le 1 Mai dernier. Je vous envoie un journal

où vous trouverez quelques détails qui pourront peut- être vous intéresser.

M. Shæffler, du diocèse de Nancy, entré au Séminaire des Missions

Etrangères, à Paris, en 1846, il en partit en 1847, et arriva à Hong Kong le

28 Avril, 1848 ; le 9 Juin suivant, il partait pour le Tong-king Occidental, afin

d'y exercer le Ministère Apostolique de cette Mission . C'est dans l'exercice

de ces saintes fonctions qu'il a été arrêté par les Mandarins, le 1 Mars, 1851 .

Jugé et condamné à mort par le grand Mandarin de la Province, pour avoir osé

venir prêcher la religion Chrétienne dans ce pays, la sentence a été de suite

ratifiée par le Roi Tou -duc, et exécutée le 1 Mai dernier. Depuis vingt ans

environ, douze Européens, dont huit Français, trois Espagnols, et un Italien,

ont eu le même sort et pour le même sujet, dans le Royaume Annamite. Si

vous désirez quelques détails à ce sujet, vous les trouverez dans une petite

brochure que je vous envoie. Vous distinguerez facilement, en lisant la table,

les noms Européens des noms Annamites, &c. Les deux derniers martyres,

MM . Duclos et Shæffler, n'y figurent pas, parceque leur mort est plus récente.

Je vous envoie aussi une carte très détaillée du Royaume Annamite, que vous

n'avez peut- être pas, afin que vos renseignements soient plus complets. En

donnant ces renseignements à son Excellence M. le Gouverneur, veuillez

l'assurer de mon respectueux et entier dévouement, et recevoir, &c.

(Signé) N. F. LIBOIS,

Procureur Général des Missions Etrangères.

No. 81 .

Dr. Bowring to the Earl of Malmesbury.— (Received July 16.)


My Lord, Hong Kong, May 17, 1852.

CIRCUMSTANCES are constantly occurring at the different ports of

China, and especially at Foo -chow, which, next to Canton, is the place where

the greatest amount of ill-will is exhibited towards foreigners, which serve to

show the unfriendly disposition of the Chinese authorities, and their desire to

discourage the establishment of amicable relations with Her Majesty's Govern

ment and the British people.

It appears that two teachers employed by the Church Missionary, Mr.

Welton, have lately been bastinadoed by order of the Chinese Mandarins, on

account of their connection with the mission, and that Mr. Vice -Consul Walker


has in consequence made a representation to, and sought an interview with, the

Governor -General of the Province.

I could not but approve of any amicable intervention or becoming remon

strance made in the interests of humanity by the Consular authority ; but I am

not quite satisfied with the strong language used by Mr. Vice -Consul Walker,

in his written communications with the Lieutenant- Governor of the Province,

which he had requested the Captain of Her Majesty's sloop “ Lily” to support,

by immediately visiting the Min. I have the honour herewith to accompany

copies of this letter, and of the despatch I have written to the Vice-Consul in

consequence .

I have, &c .

( Signed) JOHN BOWRING .

Inclosure 1 in No. 81 .

Vice - Consul Walker to the Lieutenant-Governor of Fokeen .

I HAVE received , with great astonishment and regret, from the English

Missionary, the Rev. W.Welton , who resides at the Taon-shan -kwan , a com

plaint against the authorities of this city for having renewed their interference,

in a most unwarrantable manner, and stopped him in the pursuit of his avoca

tions. He informs me that he had engaged a teacher to assist him in the

formation and duties of a school, but that this person had been deterred from

entering upon his engagement by the threats of the Mandarins, conveyed

through the medium of the Tepaoa of the district. A more flagrant violation

of privileges, admitted and secured by the solemn sanction of Treaties, has

never been attempted by the direct and open measures of the authorities; but

the fact is placed beyond the possibility of denial by the audacity of persons in

official employ, who have visited several United States' citizens with the avowed

intent of ascertaining by whom the teacher engaged was recommended to

Mr. Welton's service, and by such means to terrify the Chinese in their employ

ment. The local Government has thus distinctly violated Article I of the

Treaty of Nanking. You have violated and annulled the provisions contained in

Articles XXII and XXIV ofthe French Treaty, and openly contravened and set }

at nought the right secured by Article XVIII of the Treaty with the United

States of America.

With a sincere desire to promote and maintain , by principles of equity

and truth, an honourable and beneficial intercourse between the two nations, I

cannot too strongly urge upon your Excellency the necessity for enforcing upon

the local authorities a more exact observance of the rights and privileges to #

which we are indisputably entitled than they have of late been disposed to yield .

Their proceedings, for a long time past, have created in my mind the painful 1

impression that a course of policy has been entered upon so directly in opposition

to the spirit it was the special object of the Treaties to encourage and perma

nently determine, that, if persisted in , cannot fail to terminate the harmony and

quiet intercourse which , for the last ten years, has happily existed. Whilst the

British Government has throughout adhered , with scrupulous fidelity, to the

engagements contracted by the Treaties, the authorities of this place have lately

manifested a desire, upon every possible occasion , to break through and disregard

them .

The present instance offers to your Excellency a favourable occasion for

decisive interposition, by directing the local authorities to withdraw their oppo

sition, and to make known to the people, by public proclamation, the free

permission they have to afford their services to all foreigners in the peaceable

and lawful pursuit of their occupations. This measure is essential to the

reassurance of the public mind, which is seriously disturbed by the unjust and

notorious conduct of the Magistrates. Otherwise , I shall be compelled to

represent the matter for the grave consideration of the British Plenipotentiary, 1

2 D2 1


and to declare the effect of the late proceedings as an arbitrary and deliberate

violation of our rights, sanctioned and confirmed by the high authorities of the


I have, &c.

April 14, 1852.

Inclosure 2 in No. 81 .

Dr. Bowring to Consul Walker .

Sir, Hong Kong, May 17, 1852.

I HAVE received your despatch of the 26th ultimo, with its inclosures,

giving an account of the cruel treatment to which two teachers in the service of

Mr. Welton have been exposed .

It has been decided by the Law Officers of the Crown, that the circumstance

of Chinamen being engaged in the service of subjects of Her Majesty does not

remove them from the jurisdiction of the native authorities. In cases similar to

the present, the utmost that can be done is, after the fullest examination into

the facts, to make an earnest representation and friendly remonstrance to the

Chinese officials, showing that such proceedings are not in accordance with

those amicable sentiments which should direct the conduct of a Government

connected with our own by Treaties of peace and friendship.

In this state of things, I am sorry not to be able to approve of the very

strong language employed in your letter to the Vice-Governor of the Province.

Its vehemence was probably the cause of its not being acknowledged. It was

right, in your failing to obtain attention from the District Magistrate, to seek

an interview with the Superordinates, and to point out the unfavourable impres

sion which any injuries done to Chinamen , because of their connection with the

subjects of Her Majesty, could not fail to make upon the British Government,

and you should then have referred the matter to me.

I am very desirous, as far as I am able, to support the authority of Her

Majesty's Consuls, and, by friendly co-operation with the superior officers of

Her Majesty's Navy in these seas, to show the Chinese that a vigilant eye is

kept upon the proceedings of unfriendly Mandarins. But when Her Majesty's

Forces are put in requisition , the case must be so strong as to secure the

approval of the senior officer here, and of the Admiralty at home.

I am , &c.

( Signed) JOHN BOWRING .

No. 82 .

The Earl of Malmesbury to Dr. Bowring.

(Extract.) Foreign Office, July 21 , 1852.

I HAVE to acquaint you , in reply to your despatch of the 17th of May,

that I entirely approve of the letter which you wrote to Mr. Vice-consul

Walker, with reference to the intemperate tone adopted by him in his com

munication to the Lieutenant Governor of Fokeen, respecting the interference of

the Chinese authorities with two native teachers in the service of Mr. Welton.

The statements contained in your despatch and its inclosures are not

sufficiently detailed to enable me to form an opinion in regard to the merits of

the case ; but Her Majesty's Government can never approve of the use of violent


and intemperate language, and the less so, inasmuch as such language is

calculated to defeat rather than to promote the object sought to be attained

by it.

I am , &c.

(Signed ) MALMESBURY .

No. 83.

Dr. Bowring to the Earl of Malmesbury .— (Received December 20.)

My Lord, Hong Kong, October 25, 1852.

I HAVE the honour to report to your Lordship that on the 17th instant

a China boat, with four of Her Majesty's subjects, Messrs. John Dent, Horace

Oakley ( first Assistant to the Canton Consulate), R. McGregor, and G. Anderson,

was attacked by apiratical Chinese craft, near Tiger Island, at the entrance of

the Bogue; but the Englishmen , being well armed, were enabled to defend

themselves, and to kill and wound a number of the Chinese. I have the honour

to inclose a copy of their representation to Her Majesty's officiating Consul

Elmslie, in charge at Canton, who, with great promptitude, requested the senior

naval officer there to dispatch a steamer in pursuit of the pirates, while he at

the same time advised the Imperial Commissioner of what had taken place, and

requested His Excellency would lend the needful co -operation, and give the

needful instructions for the capture and punishment of the guilty: I am sorry

to say that the Honourable Company's steamer“ Semiramis, having (with Mr.

Oakley on board ) made every effort to discover the offenders, by visiting the

shores and ascending the creeks in boats,has returned to Whampoa without

having succeeded . The Imperial Commissioner has replied to Mr. Officiating

Consul Elmslie, that he had given immediate orders to the Chinese Admiral

commanding at the Bogue to take the necessary steps for tracing and securing

the pirates ; but as the district where they no doubt are dispersed is one where

the government authority has been of late somewhat relaxed, it is doubtful

whether we shall hear anything farther on the subject.

I have, &c.


Inclosure in No. 83.

Messrs. Dent, Oakley, McGregor, and Anderson to Consul Elmslie.

Sir, Canton, October 19, 1852.

WE have the honour to inform you of the particulars of an attack made

upon us by a large ladrone boat on the evening of the 17th instant.

The fast boat in which we were, was anchored within Tiger Island, and

about 8 o'clock we were suddenly, and without warning from our crew ,

run on board by a large boat full of men, who immediately commenced a

discharge of stink pots and spears, throwing a number of the former into the

cabin , a large party of them coming over our stern for that purpose. One of

us, Mr. Oakley, narrowly escaped a severe wound, a spear burying itself in the

stock of his gun. On being thus assaulted, we instantly resorted to our fire

arms, and after a constant fire on them for about twenty minutes, they sheered

off, and judging from the short distance we fired from , and the number of men

we saw fall, we have every reason to believe that their loss must have been

severe. They, however, succeeded in carrying off their wounded and dead,

with the exception of one body, which the fast boatmen threw overboard

without our knowledge. We regret to inform you that one of our servants,

Mr. Dent's, was missing after the affray was over, and there are various reports

as to his unfortunate fate .

We have, &c.

(Signed) JOHN DENT.





No. 84 .

Dr. Bowring to the Earl of Malmesbury.-- (Received January 17, 1853.)

My Lord, Hong Kong, November 13, 1852.

! ON the 10th instant soon after midnight, I was aroused by Captain Massie,

the Senior Naval Officer in China, who had just returned from the Chinese

coast opposite this island, where he had been engaged for several hours in the


unsuccessful search for Lieutenant De Lisle, R.N., the Admiralty Agent, who

was left wounded after having been attacked and robbed by a body of Chinese


vagabonds, as reported by his companion, Mr. Curling, an officer in the service

of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, who had escaped,

though severely injured, to the boat which had conveyed both to the Chinese


Captain Massie stated his intention, if I did not object, to proceed at

daybreak to the town of Kowloon, the nearest place where any Chinese officers

are to be found, in order to induce, orif necessary, to compel the Mandarins to

assist in the search for Lieutenant De Lisle, the capture of the robbers, and the

recovery of the stolen property. Captain Massie requested that the Chinese

secretary might accompany him . I therefore instructed Mr. Medhurst to

proceed on board the - Cleopatra,” and to take with him Mr. Lay, who is

acquainted with the local dialect. I stated to Captain Massie, and the event has

justified my anticipation , that I had the highest confidence in the energy,

prudence, and knowledge of Chinese character, possessed by Mr. Medhurst, to

whom I communicated my opinions that, though coercive measures might

become necessary, and justifiable in case the authorities refused their

co-operation, great forbearance and self-control were required .

I have now the honour to inclose copies of Captain Massic and

Mr. Medhurst's reports, which will, I doubt not, be deemed satisfactory by your

Lordship, I also forward copy of my reply to Captain Massie.

Your Lordship will observe that I have not thought it compatible with

Her Majesty's dignity to comply with Captain Massie's suggestion that I should

make a complaint to his Excellency the Imperial Commissioner of the rudeness

shown to the officers in Her Majesty's service by a low Mandarin , surrounded

by a number of ill-bred Cantonese people. The Mandarin in command was

absent, and the official representing him has received a lesson, a salutary lesson

on the spot. While questions of considerable importance are in so unsatis

. factory a state , and so little attention is paid to representations on graver

subjects, I hope your Lordship will approve of my hesitation and reluctance,

especially at a moment when the attention of the high authorities in China is

distracted by the embarrassments of civil war and the alarming progress of the

insurrection from one Province to another.

I have, &c.


19th November.--As the promise made had not been fulfilled by the

officer at Kowloon , that the depositions of the persons arrested for the


outrage committed on Lieutenant De Lisle and Mr. Ourling should be sent on

board the “ Cleopatra," I thought it desirable, after consulting with Captain

Massie, that Her Majesty's steamer “ Hermes ” should be dispatched to

Kowloon ; and I have the pleasure to state that the result has been in every

respect satisfactory : the higher Mandarin was found at his office ; a humble

apology was obtained for the rudeness of his subordinate to Her Majesty's

officers; the promised depositions were furnished, and, it is believed, proper

exertions will be made for the recovery of the lost property.

I beg to inclose copy of Mr. Medhurst's report. – J. B.

27th November.—I have just received a very satisfactory communication

from the Kowloon Mandarin, informing me that most of the property stolen

had been recovered . - J . B.


Inclosure 1 in No. 84.

Captain Massie to Dr. Bowring.

Sir, “ Cleopatra, ” at Hong Kong, November 12, 1852.

AFTER having in vain searched the greater part of the peninsula of

Kowloon, with almost the whole of my ship's company, for the person of

Leutenant De Lisle, Admiralty Agent , who had been reported to me with


another agent of the “ Singapore," as having been seriously wounded by

robbers, on the evening of the 9th, in accordance with that resolution which

I had verbally mentioned to your Excellency at midnight of the same day - on -

the morning of the 10th , it being a perfect calm, with the assistance of the

" Hong Kong ” steamer, kindly procured through the influence of Mr. Dent,

I proceeded to Kowloon, and anchored within good gun-shot of that fortress, at

8 A.M.

Soon after an armed boat with Lieutenant Price and Mr. Medhurst, Chinese

Interpreter, landed to require from the Mandarins their co -operation in a more

minute search of the country and the houses.

Immediately on reaching the beach these officers were met by the chief

superintendent of the Hong Kong police, who gave them the information of

Lieutenant De Lisle having been found in a dreadfully wounded stao by some

officers of the “ Pottinger ” steam vessel.

So far that question was set at rest; but as the assaila ts were still

undiscovered, as well as the property taken down from the gentlemen,

Mr. Medhurst proceeded to the interview .

Before entering on further detail, I must here mention the exceeding

incivility, indeed I may add the insulting manner, contrary to all Chinese

usages, with which these officers were received . No chairs were given them ,

the attendants tried to repel them from the receiving room, and when the

Mandarin presented himself he was in an undress, without any marks of his

office. These insults were very properly and firmly resented by the officers, and

the Mandarin, on being rebuked for the insolence of his men , his own

discourteous behaviour and conduct, as instanced by the time he kept the

officers waiting, as well as appearing in his dressing -gown, which by the way he

was made to exchange, behaved in the most abject and cringing manner.

I would here suggest to your Excellency, most respectfully, whether such

conduct should not be brought to the notice of the Commissioner at Canton,

that such indignities may not be offered to officers of Her Majesty's service in

the execution of their duties, those officers being fully authorized, and supported

in a manner to show they were so authorised.

To prevent such wanton insolence in the interviews which afterwards took

place , a guard of marines was sent, but although the Mandarin and his

attendants were frightened into better behaviour, the same disposition to insult

was evident.

Referring to the first interview , Mr. Medhurst explained it was my

instructions immediate steps should be taken to secure the culprits and their

plunder, and if that was not done without delay, he was desired to add , that I

was prepared to take ulterior and severe measures, the consequences of which

would remain upon the Mandarins' heads. This was promised, as well as that a

proclamation should be issued to the inhabitants of Kowloon on the subject of

these disgraceful attacks upon harmless and peaceful gentlemen . In the same

evening some stones were produced covered with blood, which marked the

locality of the place, and the parties concerned, and in an interview of the

morning of the 11th, it was intimated that five of the assailants were in

custody, and it was confidently affirmed the whole would be seized and the

property recovered, in which case, that, and the depositions of the prisoners

would be forwarded to me in Her Majesty's ship “ Cleopatra .”

In the last interview which took place , and which was principally to desire

the Mandarin should send for the ten prisoners, taken on the night of the 9th ,

with pikes, upon one of which were evident fresh marks of blood. ( This he

was to do within a certain time, or the prisoners, with an account of his conduct,

would be forwarded to Canton .) Mr. Medhurst took the opportunity, by my


desire, of intimating to the Mandarin , that dissatisfied with his insolent and

shuffling conduct, I should send a steamer to his superior Mandarin near to

Fo - tow -moon, and with an explanation of all that had occurred from him,

demand an even more thorough satisfaction .

Mr. Medhurst, however, was assured that all should be done, and an officer

having been sent for the prisoners by the specified time, as it appeared nothing

further could then be gained by my presence, in the afternoon I weighed and

proceeded to this anchorage to await the course of events ; indeed, the Mandarin,

apparently disgusted at having been taken to task in his own garrison, had put

on a dogged appearance, and it was perhaps better to let the matter rest so.

I cannot conclude this despatch, which circumstances and explanations

have drawn out to an unusual length, without bringing to your Excellency's

notice the high sense I entertain of the firmness, good sense, and energetic

discretion displayed by Mr. Medhurst throughout the whole of the business

painful as it was to my officers and himself to bear the insults of the

Mandarin and his rascally attendants. I have also to thank Mr. Lay for his

ready attention .

I am sure I need not mention to your Excellency the satisfaction I

experienced at witnessing the alacrity and zeal of the officers and this ship’s

company under Lieutenant Price in the cause of humanity . Almost the whole

of the ship's company were employed searching through the Peninsula of

Kowloon, from 7 P.M. of the 9th, until nearly 8 A.M. of the 10th, through a

most intricate country, intercepted by ravines and stone quarries.

I have, &c.

(Signed) S. L. MASSIE ,

Captain of Her Majesty's ship “ Cleopatra,"

and Senior Officer in China.

Inclosure 2 in No. 84 .

Mr. Medhurst to Dr. Bowring.

Sir, Chinese Secretary's Office, November 12, 1852.

IN obedience to your Excellency's instructions, received at midnight of

Tuesday, the 11th instant, I forthwith embarked on board Her Majesty's ship

“ Cleopatra ,” to accompany Captain Massie to Kowloon, but being told that

he should not leave the anchorage till break of day I returned ashore, and

rejoined the ship between four and five o'clock the following morning, accom

panied by Mr. Horatio Lay, whose services your Excellency had likewise desired

to be placed at Captain Massie's disposal, on account of his acquaintance with

the official and local dialects.

The vessel having anchored oft Kowloon about 9 A.m., I proceeded on

shore, in company with Lieutenant Price, for the purpose of communicating with

the authorities regarding the murderous assaultupon Lieutenant De Lisle and

Mr. Curling, and securing co -operation towards the discovery of the former

gentleman,then reported to be missing. On our way to thebeach we met Mr.

May, Superintendent of Police , who informed us of Mr. De Lisle’s safety ; but

thinking it advisable, nevertheless, to see the authorities, and not only urge

them to apprehend the robbers and recover the stolen property, but impress

upon them likewise the necessity of preventing the recurrence of such outrages,

we proceeded towards the town. When we entered the gate of theNaval Com

mandant's official residence, which is situated within a small citadel, some

attendants came forward, and denied us admittance, on the plea of the absence

of that officer ; telling us, at the same time, that there was a naval officer,

styled Too -sze, left in charge of the garrison, whose residence was in the

suburbs. Being aware that no other official residence existed in the place, we

walked into the outer court, and requested the bystanders to procure seats, and

apprise the Too -sze of our presence . The attendants (mostly natives of

Canton ), instead of conducting us, as is customary, into the reception-room,

which is always separated from the outer court by folding-doors, kept these

closed, and commenced jeering at and ridiculing us , placing first aa kitchen

bench before us, and when that was pushed aside, substituting for it one broken


bamboo chair, which was thrown down with a joke that elicited a roar of laughter

from the surrounding crowd . Finding them inclined to be thus insolent, I

assumed a more authoritative tone, which had the effect of bringing the Too -sze

to us . He appeared, however, in plain clothes, a mode of reception so deroga

tory in the eyes of the Chinese to the visitor, that I was obliged to refuse to

have any communication with him until he appeared in proper costume. He

thereupon retired, and returned correctly dressed, the attendants still joking

and laughing as before. Having been treated with so much rudeness, this

interview was necessarily occupied with angry discussion upon the nature of our

reception ; but before leaving I requested the officer to hasten to take the

necessary steps for the apprehension of the thieves, and the recovery of the

property, and to issue a proclamation forbidding similar outrages in future.

This he promised to do, after repeated attempts to make light of the whole

affair. I likewise asked him to send on board a written application for ten

prisoners, whom Captain Massie had captured the previous night, during the

search for Mr. De Lisle ; a suggestion with which he also promised at once to


In the evening of the same day we paid a second visit to the shore, to

ascertain what had been done. On this occasion the attendants received us in

silence, but with a most annoying dilatoriness in producing chairs, and obtaining

for us the presence of the Tov-sze. Upon his making hisappearance, and being

asked what had been done, he produced two chips of granite, besmeared with

blood, which he said he had himself picked up, after a fatiguing walk on the peak

of a hill, and which had thus afforded him aa clue towards the identification of the

spot where the attack took place. He had also, he assured me, dispatched

spies to make inquiries . The description which he gave of the locality,

however, made it evident that he had not, as he stated, examined it in person, and

as he had failed to forward the application for the prisoners in our hands, he was

told that unless he showed more readiness to assist us, Captain Massie would be

under the necessity of taking stronger measures than any which had yet been

adopted. He then begged that three days' grace might be allowed him , in

order that if successful he might produce the culprits within that period , and he

assured me that the letter for the prisoners was ready if I would receive it ; but,

as it was evident that he had as yet done nothing, and as the letter proved to

be addressed to the Police Magistrate of Hong Kong, I refused to accept it,

and left him with a warning that his negligence should be represented in the

strongest terms to Captain Massie, who would no doubt adopt other measures

the following morning.

In the forenoon of the ensuing day, no message having been received from

the shore in the meanwhile, I suggested to Captain Massie the advisableness of

having another interview with the officer, to inform him, that the slighting

manner in which our complaint had been entertained by him, had made it

necessary for us to ignore him altogether as regarded the seizure of the robbers,

and despatch a steamer to communicate with his senior officer at Ta -pang, and

that as regarded the prisoners on board , it was requisite for him to fetch or send

for them before noon of that day, on pain of their being delivered over his

head to the supreme authorities at Canton. Captain Massie having approved

of my suggestion, we landed again, and proceeded to the same office as before.

On this occasion, however, they kept us standing in the sun so long, and my

reiterated applications for the Too -sze were so ineffectual, that I resolved to go

in search of him myself. Taking a serjeant with me for protection, I walked into

the adjoining room, where I supposed him to be, but not finding him there, I

proceeded without the city walls, to a mean shop, indicated to me as his

residence. After waiting a short time at the door, he made his appearance

ready dressed , and I thereupon reproached him severely, in the presence of a

crowd of people, for his increasingly uncourteous behaviour, and required him

to accompany me to the other office, which he sulkily did. After we were

seated, he informed me of his having effected the capture of five men concerned

since our last visit whom , however, he had not, as he said, had leisure to

examine. He also renewed the proffer of the letter before refused. As these

five men had been taken the previous evening, and they had had abundant time

to question them with a view to recover the property, I delivered Captain

Massie's message without further parley, adding, that any further exertions the

Too-sze might make, would, of course , be useful towardsaverting the necessity

2 E


of carrying out his threats, the letter I again refused, desiring him to send an

officer for the prisoners. We then returned on board. In the course of the

forenoon an officer came alongside with a properly worded receipt for the ten

prisoners, and they were delivered into his charge. We afterwards weighed,

and came away .

Since my return to Hong Kong I have learnt from authentic sources , that

the Commandant was at Kowloon , during the whole of our stay in the bay :

the fact of there having been no notice of his absence hung up at the gate ( a

formality always observed) confirms me in the belief, that he was actually in the

back apartments during each of our interviews with his subordinate. I can only

account for the really uncourteous reception given us, by the fact that the

Chinese authorities in their intercourse with foreign officers, are ever ready,

where they suppose the latter ignorant of their rules of etiquette, to receive

them in a manner at once indicative of their own national superiority, and calcu

lated to lower us in the estimation of their own people ; a propensity which has

not been sufficiently checked in the case of the Kowloon officials, who, perhaps,

have not been sufficiently informed of the rank or position of the persons with

whom they have had to deal. This course they hoped to pursue unopposed in

our case, and it was only by peremptory demands upon our part, that we suc

ceeded in procuring even the little attention that was at last unwillingly afforded,

an attention scarcely worth the name, seeing that in every instance we were

kept standing in the sun for some time to await appearance of our host, and

then seated in the outer court, where criminals are examined, both of these

modes of reception thoroughly repugnant to Chinese ideas of courtesy.

In need only add, in conclusion, that Captain Massie treated both Mr. Lay

and myself with the kindest consideration throughout, and afforded us every

facility for promoting the object, in effecting which we were sent by your


I have, & c.

( Signed) W. H. MEDHURST:

Inclosure 3 in No. 84 .

Dr. Bowring to Captain Jassie.

Sir, Hong Kong, November 13, 1852 .

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your despatch of yesterday's date,

and congratulate you on the result of the visit of Her Majesty's ship

“ Cleopatra ” to Kowloon. I shall send a copy of your communication to Her

Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

I beg you will accept yourself, and convey to Lieutenant Price and the

officers and ship's company, who so ably seconded your efforts, my thanks for

the energy and prudence which have been exhibited on this occasion.

With reference to your suggestion that I should address his Excellency the

Imperial Commissioner, on the subject of the indignities to which the officers

in Her Majesty's service have been subjected, I am disposed to think, in the

present state of our relations with the Chinese, that I shall better consult the

Queen's dignity by refraining from sending to the high authorities an official

complaint of the rudeness of a petty functionary and his surrounding attendants,

who have already received a lesson which may teach them better manners for

the future .

I have, &c.

(Signed ) JOHN BOWRING .


Inclosure 4 in No. 84.

Mr. Medhurst to Dr. Bowring.

Sir, Chinese Secretary's Office, November 19, 1852.

IN obedience to your Excellency's instructions I accompanied Captain


Fishbourne in Her Majesty's steamer “ Hermes, ” to procure an interview with

the Brigadier in command of the Tapang Brigade, either at his residence at

Kowloon, or at his head-quarters in the city of Tapang in Bias Bay, for the

purpose of ascertaining from him what steps had been taken towards affording

proper redressfor the robbery committed upon Messrs. Curling and De Lisle.

We found the Brigadier at Kowloon , where he gave us a ceremonious and

very courteous reception. He informed us that five of the robbers had actually

been apprehended, one of whom , he said, had confessed to having been a party

to the robbery, and assault, and he offered us a copy of the depositions taken ;

the stolen property, he told us, had not as yet been recovered, although he had

spared no pains to secure it ; he was very sanguine nevertheless of eventually

being able to trace it. When reminded of the unconrteous manner in which

the former deputation had been received by his subordinate, he apologised again

and again for the offence, and begged that it might be overlooked ; but as his

verbal excuses were not deemed a sufficient reparation, he was requested to

send an official written apology to Captain Massie's address, on board , before

the evening, which he promised faithfully to do. The depositions we declined,

with a suggestion that they should be conveyed in an official letter to the same


In the afternoon he sent, by an officer, a private note of apology inclosed

in an official envelope, and another note conveying the depositions to my

address ; these we returned at once, accompanied by a repetition of our demand..

In the evening the officer returned with two official letters as requested, but as

neither of them proved to be satisfactory, II proceeded (with Captain Fishbourne's

assent) , on shore myself, accompanied by Lieutenant Price of the “ Cleopatra,”

and Mr. Lay, to dictate the form of letter required . This the Brigadier allowed

us to do, and attached his seals to two letters which were written under our

supervision. Having succeeded in securing these, we returned on board , and

Captain Fishbourne then weighed and came away. The Brigadier at parting

assured us that he would exert himself to the utmost to recover the stolen

property as speedily as possible, but he declined to give us a more detinite

promise, not being sufficiently certain of success to warrant him in doing so.

I have, &c . .

(Signed) W. H. MEDHURST.


No. 85 .

Lord J. Russell to Sir G. Bonham .

(Extract.) Foreign Office, January 20, 1853 .

I HAVE to acquaint you that Her Majesty's Government approve of the

steps taken by Dr. Bowring,as reported in his despatch of the 13th of November,

with reference to the attack made on Lieutenant De Lisle and Mr. Curling

by some Chinese vagabonds at Kowloon.

No. 86 .

Acting Consul Elmslie to Mr. Hammond.— (Received August 14. )

Sir , Canton, June 19 , 1854 ..

HER Majesty's Plenipotentiary being absent from Hong Kong, I think it

my duty to communicate to you, for the information of Her Majesty's Secretary

of State for Foreign Affairs, the details of a late occurrence, of which exaggerated

2 E 2


or untrue accounts might otherwise reach the Foreign Office. This was the

abduction of a British subject by a party of Chinese claiming a sum of money

from him ; who, after a confinement of a few hours' duration, was released

through the intervention of the Chinese authorities.

The particulars of the case were briefly as follows:

Mr. Seth, an Armenian of Bombay (the object of the outrage), had , about

the 29th March, agreed with a certain Chinese broker to provide within a

fortnight a vessel for the conveyance of 400 emigrants to California ; and as

bargain money he had received 1,000 dollars, for which he gave an acquittance.

Being unable to fulfil the contract, the broker demanded restitution of the

bargain -money, which Mr. Seth promised to refund on his receipt being delivered

back to him , but the broker failed to produce the receipt. Mr. Seth maintains

that no further application was made for the money , and that the matter there

rested : but I believe he alterwards, at various intervals , promised, if some

delay were granted him , to procure a vessel for the original purpose of the


On the 15th instant, the broker, named Chow Keao -shing, was seen to run

into Mr. Seth's house pursued by a mob of Chinese . He entered a room in the

lower part of the house, the door of which was immediately bolted ; when the

mob, supposing he was intentionally concealed, rushed up stairs into Mr. Seth's

office and took possession of it , creating a great disturbance. Mr. Seth, after

some time, dispatched a messenger with a letter to me, requesting that I would

afford him protection ; and I accordingly sent Mr. Morrison to inquire into the

matter He informed the leaders that if they had any complaint against

Mr. Seth , they would obtain justice by a proper application at the British Con

sulate ; and making a memorandum of their statements, he, after a short parley,

succeeded in dispersing them .

The various parties, with the exception of the broker, attended before me

the next morning at 11 o'clock , when I ascertained that the persons who now

brought the complaint, were the real contractors with the emigrants for providing

a vessel ; but that, being ignorant of the English language and strangers in

Canton, they had engaged the broker Chow Keao -shing as their agent.

The emigrants had parted with all their effects in preparation for departure,

at the time first stipulated for ; and had paid certain advances to the persons

undertaking to secure their passage, repayment of which they now claimed.

Mr. Seth declared that he was unacquainted with the parties present; that he

had received the 1,000 dollars from the agent Chow Keao -shing, and had given

the receipt to him on the document containing the agreement. The complainant

admitted that this had come into his possession ; but he had destroyed it on

suspicion of its being invalid.

It subsequently transpired that Chow Keao -shing had absconded during the

previous day, but I was then ignorant of the circumstance ; and as his evidence

was necessary, I directed the principal plaintiff to accompany the messenger of

the Consulate sentto summon him ; and at thesame time I perinitted Mr. Seth

to leave the Consulate till again required. Within a few minutes afterwards, an

American gentleman came to the Consulate and informed me that he had seen

Mr. Seth being dragged away from the factories by about twenty-five Chinese ;

the five or six so-called soldiers stationed at the entrance gate of the factories not

attempting to rescue him , and the shopkeepers in the street through which he

was taken shutting their doors . The gentleman himself being single-handed,

could not render effective assistance ; but his residence was close by, and he sent

servants to follow the party and ascertain the place to which Mr. Seth was

carried. The latter has since informed me that he was hustled along and

frequently thrown to the ground , until, after proceeding a mile and -a -half, he and

his conductors arrived at a small house , situated in a narrow and tortuous lane in

a secluded part of the suburbs immediately under the city wall.

On learning the facts above- mentioned, I at once sent intimation of them

by a messenger to the nearest police office (that of the sub-magistrate of the

district), and then wrote to the District Magistrate requesting him to adopt the

proper steps for Mr. Seth's release, and also to the Imperial Commissioner

informing his Excellency of the circumstances of his capture. Having learnt

before the letters were closed the place of Mr. Seth's confinement, I was enabled

to indicate it to those officers. My messenger who had been dispatched to

ascertain the state of affairs and afford any possible assistance, reported that the


lane and all the approaches to it were filled with a vociferous crowd, and that

the shops in the neighbourhood were closed, and the street barricades put up, so

as to leave a passage for the exit of the mob only at one point. The messenger

was not admitted to the house, but was driven away with a threat that if he

remained, he likewise should be put in confinement . Mr. Seth's servants,

however, were allowed access to him , and they discovered that he was not

subjected to any maltreatment . Under these circumstances I considered it

unadvisable for any foreigner to interfere, lest excitement might be produced

which should result in greater mischief.

The day advancing, and as I could not learn precisely what steps the

authorities proposed to take, at 3 P.m. I wrote to request a visit from the

District Magistrate, intending to propose to him to proceed with Mr. Morrison

to the place of Mr. Seth's confinement, and try the effect of his authority and

persuasion. He was then in attendance at the Governor -General's, and as by

5 P.m. he had not arrived at the Consulate, Mr. Morrison started , accompanied

by a Chinese to communicate with the people in the local dialect, and I sent

another verbal message to the magistrate requesting him to go direct to meet

him .

At aa short distance from the place, Mr. Morrison met Mr. Seth escorted by

a party of police, and accompanied by a friend who had joined him a few

minutes before his liberation. The crowd of the morning had hy this time

greatly decreased, and the police had with little difficulty taken into custody

Mr. Seth , together with his captors . Mr. Morrison followed them to the office

of the sub.magistrate, situated in that neighbourhood , where the magistrate had

already arrived . He requested Mr. Morrison to wait with Mr Seth till he should

(in a different room) hold an inquiry into the matter. In about an hour he

came to Mr. Morrison and delivered Mr. Seth into his charge, stating that he

had not completed the investigation, and would write to the Consulate next day

on the subject, communicating the result. I inclose a copy of the letter which I

accordingly received from him .

On the 17th instant I addressed letters to the Imperial Commissioner and

District Magistrate, thanking them for the assistance they had afforded, and

transmitting a detail of the circumstances of which I was cognizant. I stated

that I would pay into the hands of the proper authority the one thousand dollars

bargain -money, which I should require Mr. Seth to deposit in this office, to

dispose of as they might think proper, upon their informing me or the penalty

to be inflicted upon the abductors, and the amount of compensation to be made

to Mr. Seth for his illegal imprisonment.

The occurrence caused considerable sensation amongst the foreign com

munity, especially in the early part of the day, when the result could not easily

be foreseen . I communicated immediately with Commander Fellowes, of Her

Majesty's sloop “ Comus," at this port, who was in readiness to send a party

ashore should circumstances have unfortunately called for such a step . It is a

subject for extreme congratulation that the matter was peaceably concluded , as

in the present disposition of a large mass of the inhabitants , the consequences of

any commotion might have been disastrous to an incalculable extent . Similar

considerations may probably account for the comparative promptness with which

the Chinese authorities effectively interfered ; for the disturbed state of the

country occasions them, at this moment , much embarrassment .

Were the employment of force at any time necessary for the protection of

the foreign community, I cannot feel confident that there are sufficient means at

disposal to ensure perfect immunity from danger.

To the means employed by myself for obtaining Mr. Seth's release, the

United States' authorities added their representations to the officers of the Local

Government upon the peril to which the foreign residents would be exposed if

violent acts of aa lawless mob were tolerated ; and many Chinese, whose interests

were jeopardised by the chance of a disturbance, exerted themselves to obtain a

quiet settlement.

Mr. Seth , while in confinement, was several times urged to give a bond for

the amount claimed ; but he declined to do so on the grounds which dictated his

refusal of the money in the first instance.

The above statement of the facts of this unpleasant affair will enable the

Earl of Clarendon to form a judgment of the critical position in which the



British community at this port are situated, with respect to the security of their

persons and property .

I annex a copy of a letter received from Mr. Seth, submitting his complaint,

with his claim for indemnity.

I have, & c.

( Signed) ADAM W. ELMSLIE .

Inclosure 1 in No. 86 .


The Prefect Le to Acting Consul Elmslie.

( Translation .)

LE, Brevet Prefect and Acting Chief Magistrate of the Nan -hae District, &c.

makes a communication in reply.

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from you, the Honourable

Consul, stating that a person named Chin -tang -chuen had assembled a mob, and

carried away Mr. Seth, a British subject, and requesting that I should dispatch a

sufficient force of police to effect his rescue.

On receipt of this letter, I sent out a party of police to search for the

person named, and subsequently lie was found ; and Chin -tang -chuen being at

the same time taken into custody, both were brought before me.

Chin -tang -chuen, on being questioned, stated that Mr. Seth owed to the

people of his village 1,000 dollars, which had been paid him as bargain -money

for a ship, and would not repay it ; and that he besides barboured the agent

Chow -keao- shing, and refused to give him up . The villagers had therefore

carried Mr. Seth away , to discuss the affair with him .

Mr. Seth being interrogated by the linguist Heu -lan , said that it was true

he had received the bargain -money from Chin -tang - chuen, for the vessel ; but

he had declined to repay it except to the agent Chow -keao-shing.

It appeared, therefore, to me that both deponents concurred as to the fact

of the debt ; but Chow -keao-shing has absconded, and it will be necessary to

procure his appearance before deciding on the case.

On Mr. Seth's whereabouts being discovered , I had him conveyed under

escort to your office, and directed the Te-pao (head -man of the quarter) to detain

Chin -tang-chuen for further examination .

Before instituting other proceedings, I address you, the Honourable Consul,

to inform you of what has already been done .

Heenfung, 4th year, 5th month , 22nd day. (June 17, 1854.)

Inclosure 2 in No. 86 .

Mr. Seth to Acting Consul Elmslie.

Sir, Canton, June 17 , 1854.

AFTER leaving the Consulate yesterday noon , and on my way home, I

was attacked just within three or four yards of the hong gate of my hous e a

considerable number of Chinese, headed by the four strangers, also Chinese,

unknown to me by name, but the same persons that I saw in the Consulate

yesterday, and theydragged me most unmercifully through the Old China-street,

and then to the back streets, and took me a long way down to a narrow lane,

where they lodged me in a house, and kept close watch with the door closed . I

continued in this miserable position - with my clothes wet by rain , and covered

with dirt and filth, as they threw me down several times on their way — until

about 6 P.M., when I was taken out by the assistance of your good self, as Her

Britannic Majesty's Consul, and by the instrumentality of the local authorities,

and conveyed to a Mandarin Station, where a higher mandarin arrived, and, by

assistance of Mr. M. C. Morrison, I found my way to your hospitable roof, and

latterly home, at about 8 o'clock in the evening. During my shameful carriage,

I was plundered of a gold ring forced out of my finger, which was very amiable


and valuable to me , and in case of its not forthcoming, I beg you to claim 100

dollars, and a silk umbrella valued 3 dollars.

I have also to beg your assistance to have the four Chinese head ringleaders

arrested and secured, and handed over to the authorities to undergo their trial

and punishment, for the most unwarrantable, atrocious, and shameful acts

committed in a broad daylight, and on a public lighway. And I beg, in addition

to this, to make aa claim , through your kind assistance, a sum of 10,000 dollars

from the parties that have taken the law into their hands, and so shamefully

discredited and treated me, as compensation for the wrong done to my credit,

person , and character, thereby causing great injury to my present and future

prospects in China and elsewhere, and driven me to the utmost shameful

position in life amongst my other foreign and Chinese acquaintances and

dealers, with whom I have a good deal of business , either directly and

indirectly .

And the last thing I have to beg of you is, to persuade and compel the

Chinese authorities to give you an indemnity of a large amount, say 25,000

dollars, binding themselves and their subjects interested in my present affairs, to

keep peace for a length of time, which I leave to your own judgment to name :

if not, I suspect I shall very often be put to such unpleasant and dangerous

circumstances, to the annoyance of the whole foreign community in Canton , and

injury and consequences thereof, and especially I could not be considered safe

out of doors, but what my life will be in danger.

I am, &c .

(Signed ) S. A. SETH ,

No. 87.

Sir J. Bouring to the Earl of Clarendon .—(Received Sepiember 18.)

(Extract.) Shanghae, July 6 , 1854.

MR. ACTING CONSUL ELMSLIE has sent me the copy of a despatch

addressed to Mr. Under-Secretary Hammond, dated the 19th ultimo, on the 11

subject of violence committed on the person of Mr. Seth, a native of British


Mr. Elmslie does not inform me whether he proposes to take any, and what,

ulterior measures in reference to this case, should the mandarins refuse to listen

to his proposal of making a money compensation to Mr. Seth ; and I send to

your Lordship copy of my letter to Mr. Elmslie, recommending much caution in

his proceedings .

Inclosure in No. 87 .

Sir J. Bowring to Acting Consul Elmslie .

Sir, Shanghae, July 6, 1854.

I HAVE received your despatch dated 23rd June, in which you

inform me that you have communicated directly with the Under-Secretary of

State on the subject of an outrage committed on the person of Mr. Seth ; and

you send me copy of your communication, and of Mr. Seth's letter to yourself,

in which he puts forward aa claim of 10,000 dollars “ from the parties that have

taken the law into their own hands,” and requests you will “persuade and


compel ” the Chinese authorities to give you an indemnity of 25,000 dollars to

keep the peace .

You do not state what course you intend to pursue should the mandarins

refuse to make a money-compensation to Mr. Seth, but I doubt not you will has

felt the necessity of much caution.

It appears pretty clear that Mr. Seth got hold of 1,000 dollars from a China

man, which he did not return to him when he had failed to perform the contra:

for which the money was paid.

The contract was in itself an illegal one ; and, though Her Majesty's subjecis


are entitled to every protection while engaged in the prosecution of their lawful

business, when honourably conducted, the amount and the character of our

interference must be influenced by a consideration of the whole of the attendant

circumstances .

I am happy to observe, by your despatch of June 27, that the general state

of Canton is satisfactory.

I have, & c.


No. 88.


The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foreign Office, September 25 , 1854.

MR . ELMSLIE'S report respecting the violence committed at Canton on

the person of Mr. Seth reached me some weeks ago ; and I have now to acquaint

you that I approve of the instruction which you gave to Mr. Elmslie on that

matter, and of which a copy is inclosed in your despatch of the 6th of July .

I am , &c.

(Signed) CLARENDON .

No. 89 .

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon .- (Received August 30.)

(Extract.) Hong Kong, July 3, 1856.

I HAVE the honour to inclose copy of a despatch I have received from

Mr. Consul Parkes, dated Canton, July 2 , on the subject of an incendiary placard

which has been circulated in that city ; and conveying copy of a communication

Mr. Parkes had made to the Imperial Commissioner.

As your Lordship will perceive by my reply, I have approved of Mr. Parkes'

conduct in this matter.

Inclosure 1 in No. 89 .

Consul Parkes to Sir J. Bowring .

Sir, Canton , July 2, 1856.

I HAVE the honour to report to your Excellency that, shortly after my

arrival here, I heard of rumours being current among the Chinese that the

foreigners had again demanded entrance into the city of Canton , and that prepa

rations were being made at Hong Kong to enforce this demand , in the event of

the Governor-General refusing to admit it .

From the universality of these rumours, and other circumstances, there

appeared grounds for the supposition that they had been spread abroad, in the

first instance, through the instrumentality of the authorities ; probably with the

view of strengthening the latter in the sympathies of the people at a time when

they seem to stand in need of their pecuniary and moral support.

Some talk was heard as to enrolling volunteer corps, similar to those assem

bled in 1849, when it was understood that the British Government intended to

assert the right of entry, and foreigners passing through the streets were taunted

with the futility of all their attempts , present or future, to secure the desired

right .

- 213

The excitement this awakened, which had at no time assumed a serious

aspect, appeared, however, to be subsiding, when, the day before yesterday, it

came to my knowledge that a printed paper, menacing foreigners with death if

they continued to extend their excursions into the country,was extensively

circulated in the city and suburbs ; and, after satisfying myself, by inquiries in

various directions, that such wasthe case, I thought I could not omit to bring it

to the notice of the Imperial Commissioner. I therefore addressed him the

inclosed letter, giving cover to one of these obnoxious documents, copy of which

I now forward to your Excellency.

I did not think it necessary to make any allusion to the excursions therein

declaimed against, as the right of foreigners to the enjoyment of this freedom

should not admit of question, and has been safely and temperately exercised,

without let or hindrance, for some time past ; and , from all I can glean on the

subject , I am led to believe that this public expression of hostility proceeds

rather from the Government than the people, and is chiefly to be deprecated as

tending to awaken old feelings of animosity, which the lapse of time and the

altered circumstances of the country appeared to have, in a great measure,


I have, &c.

( Signed) HARRY S. PARKES.

Inclosure 2 in No. 89.

Hand - Bill.

( Translation .)

THE absence of interruption to the peace of the country is of the same

vital importance, in our opinion, as the maintenance of regularity in the

avocations of its inhabitants. We now call public attention to the fact, that

in the province of Canton, from the earliest to the present times, barbarians

have never been allowed to go into the villages . Recently, however, a set of

unprincipled vagabonds have been met with, who, without any fear of shame

or exposure, carry on a secret intercourse with the barbarian dogs, and combine

with them in a number of ways for working out their crafty schemes. Night

and day we see them entering the villages, and occasioning so much trouble by

their irregularities, that gods and men must unite in detestation of their

practices. To judge of the extent of the evil to which our provincial metropolis

is thus exposed, we have only to look to Shanghae and Hong Kong, and take

note of the iniquities that are there committed.

Hereafter, therefore, whenever any barbarian dogs come within our limits,

we ought, by calling together our families, to maintain the dignity of our city

(or province), and, bravely rushing upon them, kill every one. Thus may we,

in the first place, appease the anger of Heaven , in the second give evidence of

our loyalty and patriotism , and in the third restore peace and quiet to our

homes . How great would be the happiness we should thus secure !

Inclosure 3 in No. 89.

Consul Parkes to the Imperial Commissioner.

Canton, July 1 , 1856.

I HAVE learned that a printed paper in the form of a hand-bill, containing

menacing language against foreigners in general, has been extensively circulated

during the last few days, in the streets of this city. A vulgar vaunt of this

description can only be viewed with utter contempt by the parties against whom

it is directed, but the local authorities cannot mark too strongly their disapproval

of behaviour so extremely lawless, since it is calculated, by exciting the minds of

the ill-disposed, to provoke a collision on some future occasion .

I consider it my duty, therefore, to bring this paper, copy of which I beg to

2 F


forward herewith, to the notice of your Excellency , and to request that the subordi

nate authorities may receive from your Excellency directions to put a stop to this

flagrant offence ; such a course being requisite to preserve, in the first place, the

reputation of the Chinese Government, to avert from it,in the second place, the

danger that might otherwise ensue , and, in the third place, to enable the local

authorities to acquit themselves of the responsibilities and the duties of their

position .

I have, &c .


Inclosure 4 in No. 89.

Sir J. Bowring to Consul Parkes.

Sir , Hong Kong, July 3, 1856 .

I HAVE received your despatch dated yesterday, bringing me copy of an

anonymousincendiary placard, which has been circulated in the streets of Canton,

menacing the lives of foreigners who may visit the neighbouring villages.

I quite approve of the communication you have made in consequence to the

Imperial Commissioner, and wait with some anxiety his reply, in order to

determine whether it is desirable I should make any representation or take any

further measures in this matter.

It would be important, if possible, to ascertain with whom the offensive

document originated , and by what agency it has been circulated .

I have, & c.

(Signed ) JOHN BOWRING .

No. 90 .

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon .— (Received August 30 )

My Lord, Hong Kong, July 8 , 1856 .

REFERRING to my despatch dated 3rd instant , I have now to forward

a further communication from Mr. Consul Parkes, containing evidence of

the ill -will which has been excited among the vagabond Cantonese by the

publication of the incendiary placard to which my despatch referred. I approve

of the energetic remonstrance of Mr. Parkes to the Inperial Commissioner, and

am glad to learn that the local magistrate is instituting an inquiry for the

purpose of discovering who attacked Messrs. Johnson and Whitta.l.

I have, &c .

( Signed) JOHN BOWRING .

Inclosure 1 in No. 90.

Consul Parkes to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Canton, July 5, 1856 .

I HAVE the honour to state in reply to your Excellency's despatch of

the 3rd instant, that careful and protracted inquiry brings me little additional

information respecting the authorship of the late placard. It has been suggested

to me by several Chinese, that it may have emanated from a commission of the

gentry, elected among themselves, with the approval of the Government, for the

enrolment and drill of volunteer corps. Other grounds, I think, exist for

supposing it to have proceeded from the inhabitants of the Great West street, the

route usually taken by foreigners on their riding excursions to the back of the

city. To these excursions the people of this quarter are said to object, and it


would only be following a native mode of proceeding for them to give expression

to their objections or their threats in the names of other persons, or to incite the

inhabitants of the villages to which these excursions are taken to join them

in their schemes of hostility .

If it did not originate with the Government, as is also not uncommonly

believed, the local authorities appear to have taken no steps für the suppression

of this inflammatory placard, or the attendant excitement; but at present I do

not anticipate any more serious results than what have already occurred . I

regret to report to your Excellency that the ill-will of the people has manifested

itself in an attack on two English gentlemen, particulars of which are given in the

accompanying affidavit of the parties assailed . The affray, I should observe, took

place in the quarter of the town above-mentioned, and though neither of the

gentlemen sustained injury, I thought the outrage, viewed in connection with

previous circumstances, called for no milder tone ofreinonstrance than that which

I adopted in the inclosed letter to the Imperial Commissioner.

I have, &c.

(Signed) HARRY S. PARKES .

Inclosure 2 in No. 90.


FRANCIS BULKELEY JOHNSON, duly sworn , states :

On the afternoon of the 2nd instant I was riding out with Mr. James

Wbittall . We went a little way beyond Sam - yuen - lee. We met with no moles

tation going, but on our return, as we were riding down the Long Street, which

is a continuation of Curiosity Street ( Te-sze-poo ), and , as it was getting rather

dark , we observed the people much more uncivil than they usually have been

of late . When we were a little on this side of the West Gate, I was struck with

a stone, on the back . The stone was held by the man, in his hand, and only

dropped after the blow was given. I turned round sharp on the man, but he

ran away, up a street or lane, and disappeared, so that I could not get hold of

him During the rest of our ride we were hooted at , and pelted with stones

and bricks, at various times, until we arrived at the factories . We were riding

slowly , at a walking pace. We injured no one during the ride, and gave no

offence to any one .

(Signed) F. B. JOHNSON.

Sworn before me, at the British Consulate, Canton , this 4th day of July,

1856 .

(Signed) CHARLES A. Winchester , Vice - Consul.

JAMES WHITTALL , duly sworn , states :

I was riding out with Mr. F. B. Johnson ; when on this side of the West

Gate he said to me, “ I have been struck with a stone." I was riding first.

I had previously noticed a good deal of ill-feeling on the part of the people.

While I was speaking to Mr. Johnson about what had occurred , a second brick

was flung at me , which fell in front of my pony. As we continued our ride

home, several more stones were flung at us, and the people hooted and cried at

us . We were riding quite inoffensively, at a walking pace, and troubled no one.

(Signed) JAS. WHITTALL .

Sworn before me, at the British Consulate, Canton, this 4th day of July,

1856 .

(Signed) CHARLES A. WINCHESTER , Vice -Consul.

2 F 2


Inclosure 3 in No. 90.

Consul Parkes to the Imperial Commissioner.

Canton , July 4, 1856 .

THE British merchants Johnson and Whittall have formally represented

to me that, on the afternoon of the 2nd instant, they took one of their usual rides

in the direction of San -yuen -lee, outside the north gate of the city, and met with

no molestation either on going or returning, until it began to grow dusk , and

they had arrived within the Te-sze-poo (the fourth ward near the west gate ), on

their way home, when they noticed that the people were much more uncivil

than they have usually been of late, and one man among them , grasping a stone

in his hand, struck Johnson with it in the back, but avoided arrest by imme

diately escaping. The said gentlemen were riding at the timeonly at a walking

pace : the people continued to pelt them with stones and bricks, and to hoot at

them until they reached the factories.

In bringing this unprovoked attack to the notice of your Excellency I have

to state my conviction that the ill-willwhich occasioned it, has been awakened by

the very reprehensible placard which I forwarded to your Excellency in my letter

of the 1st instant, and greatly, indeed, do I regret that the fears I then expressed

should so soon have proved well founded ; that the authorities should have

apparently lent their sanction to so wrong and dangerous a proceeding by

permitting the sale of the placard in the public streets. As far as I have been

able to learn, the people in the villages know nothing of its having been issued,

and it is only the inhabitants of this city and suburbs that commit the acts of

violence of which I now complain .

If these are to continue, and foreigners should defend themselves, as they

cannot be expected to avoid doing, when thus assailed, where are these evils to

end ? Will the Chinese Government, bound both by Treaties and by their

obligations as the constituted authorities of the country, protect them , or are

foreigners themselves to devise means for their safety ?

The measures which your Excellency sees fit to adopt in reference to the

two complaints I have now had to submit to you, may afford a solution of this


It cannot be difficult for your Excellency, with the powerful means at your

disposal, to trace the offenders in both these instances, and prevent a repetition of

such offences ; and I need not add, that the exercise of good faith on your

Excellency's part will be most cordially appreciated by his Excellency "Her

Majesty's Plenipotentiary, to whom it is my duty to report these particulars.

I have, & c.

(Signed ) HARRY S. PARKES ,

No. 91 .

The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foreign Office, September 8, 1856.

I HAVE to instruct you to convey to Mr. Parkes my approval of the

letters which he addressed to the Imperial Commissioner, and of which copies

are inclosed in your despatches of the 3rd and 8th of July last, upon the subject

of the incendiary placard which had been circulated in Canton, tending to

exasperate the Cantonese against foreigners.

I am , & c.

( Signed) CLARENDON.


No. 92 .

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon .- (Received September 15.)

My Lord, Hong Kong, July 17 , 1856 .

I HAVE to report to your Lordship that Mr. Cunningham , a citizen of

the United States, has died in consequence of a wound received in a riot which

took place at Foo-chow on the 3rd instant. Particulars of the event will be

found in the despatch , dated 4th instant , from Mr. Vice-Consul Hale, of which I

inclose a copy, as well as of my reply.

Mr. Consul Medhurst was absent at Shanghae when this sad event

occurred . I am happy to say he has now returned to his post , and writes to me

that his health is greatly improved ; so that I hope he will no longer wish to

leave China for the present.

Your Lordship will observe that I quite concur with Mr. Vice-Consul Hale

in his opinion as to the dangers to the public peace, and to the interests of

commerce, which are associated with the presence of the lawless population of

Canton wherever they introduce themselves.

I have, &c.


Inclosure 1 in No. 92 .

Vice - Consul Hale to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foo -chow - foo, July 4 , 1856 .

IN the absence of Mr. Consul Medhurst it is my painful duty to report to

your Excellency the particulars of a most lamentable affray which took place

yesterday afternoon at Nan -hạe, and in which Mr. Cunningham , a citizen of the

United States, received his mortal wound, under the following distressing

circumstances :

Whilst Messrs. Augustine Heard and Co., an American firm established at

this port, were removing furniture, &c. , to their new bungalow , aa few potatoes

were dropped on the road from one of the packages , which a Foo - ch: w lad

picked up, and was carrying them away, when a Canton man belonging to

Messrs. A. Heard and Coi's hong, and the private servant of Mr. Cunningham ,

struck the boy and secured him by the tail. The lad explained that “ he had


picked them up , and did not steal them ." The Canton man, however, kept 1

hold of him, and was dragging him to the hong, when the inhabitants made a

rush and rescued the lad . The Canton boy made for Messrs. A. Heard and

Co.'s house, and again came out armed with a double s'vord . The crowd , seeing

this, retired , pursued by the Canton boy, who seized the first man he found

running. This person,, with his uncle, were in a necessary house, and hearing


the rush and disturbance attempted to get out of the way, but the Canton man

dragged the nephew into Messrs. A. Heard and Co.'s house, followed by his

uncle, who represented that they were both peaceful citizens and were in no way

concerned with the disturbance , and prayed the release of his nephew . The

Canton man, however, likewise seized the uncle, and had them both tied in the

house. The mob outside cried out at the injustice, and, arming themselves,

made aa rush to rescue these two men, when the Canton man took up a double

barrelled gun and advanced outside the gate ; the crowd retired before him ; he

fired , and wounded two men ; the crowd thereupon immediately turned, finding

that the musket was discharged, surrounded and seized him , at the same time

severely beat him .

Somewhere about this time, Mr. Comstock , the resident partner of

Messrs . A. Heard and Co. , passed by , and observing the Canton boy attached

to his hong being maltreated, went to inquire the cause, and placing his hand on

one of the ringleader's shoulders, asked him to desist and let the boy go free ;

whereupon Mr. Comstock was knocked down, and on rising was knocked down

a second time ; he then appears to have thought it prudent to make his escape


from an infuriated mob, and took to luis heels, amidst the yells, and shouts, and

pelting of the surrounding people, and made the best of his way to the United

States' Consul to seek redress.

In the meanwhile, notice having been conveyed to Mr. Cunningham that

his servant had been taken by the mob, he seized his revolver and ran to the

spot, followed a short time after by Mr. Vaughan, a tea -taster to the samehong,

who, on reaching the place,found Nr. Cunningham prostrate on the ground, with

a severe stab in his side, and surrounded by many of the mob, who were beating

him over the abdomen with heary bamboos. Mr. Vaughan then drew his sword.

cane and made a thrust at one man ; he then made a point at another, when the

sword broke short off at the hilt ; this, however, was sufficient to rescue

Mr. Cunningham , who, getting up, ran towards the gate of the new bungalow

(about sixty yards from where he was wounded ), but just before reaching the

door he fell to the ground from loss of blood , and was carried into the hong by

Mr. Taughan and others.

At this time all the shops in the neighbourhood were closed ; and at

3 o'clock P.M., Mr. Jones, the United States' Consul, returned with Mr. Comstock,

accompanied by several American citizens, who were armed with rifles, revolvers,

and cutlasses. Mr. Jones likewise enlisted into his service, without any reference

to me or Captain Barnard, some few seamen who were lent for the purpose of

decorating his rooms for the 4th July festivities, and to whom swords were

supplied. At about half -past 3 o'clock, whilst sitting in my office, one of the

seawen came into the room , stating that he was desired by Mr. Jones to present

his compliments to me, and bey that I would immediately send him any

assistance in my power, as he was in great danger : this was the first intimation

I received of the matter. I immediately proceeded, in company with Captain

Barrard and Mr. Gingell, to the scene of action, and Captain Barnard ordered

his boat's crew to supply themselves with sticks, and to accompany us . On

arriving at the place we found Mr. Jones standing on the spot where it is

believed Mr. Cunningham was stabbed, as there was a large pool of blood close

by. The street was kept clear for about 200 yards by some twelve or fifteen

Americans, and four or five seamen of the “ Racehorse" without arms; the mob

numbering some hundreds, and in a very excited state . On inquiring I found

that Mr. Jones had sent for the Hae-tang, who arrived in about half-an -hour

aiter ourselves. He was told by the United States' Consul what had taken

place, and that most ample redress would be required from the hands of the

authorities, as one of his countrymen had been seriously wounded . the temples

Some marks of blood having been traced to the gate of one of

in the immediate vicinity, the Americans, believing Mr. Cunningham's Canton

servant-boy might possibly have been murdered and taken inside, as it was

known that he had been seized by the mob , urged on Mr. Jones to have the

gaie opened . Many applications were made to the Hae-fang on the subject, but

without effect; at length some one saw through the chinks of the door what

appeared to be two dead bodies stretched out. Mr. Jones gave orders for the

gate to be forced open , which was found to be strongly barricaded, and the two

still bleeding bodies presented a horrible spectacle, the one having been wounded

with small shot, and the other, almost lifeless, with his head most frightfully

disfigured. The whole matter was then left in the hands of the Chinese

authorities for investigation, and all the foreigners present returned to their

homes .

It is now my sad duty to inform your Excellency that the wound received

by Mr. Cunningham proved fatal last night, about ten hours after its infliction ;

the poor fellow wished to be raised in his bed for a particular purpose, and in

five minutes afterwards, being placed in a recumbent position, he died without

pain and without a struggle, I presumefrom severe internal hæmorrhage. This,

of course , has cast a most melancholy gloom over the place.

I do not apprehend any further disturbance, but as there is still much

excitement prevailing, and fearing that British subjects might, by their sympathy,

mix themselves up in the affair, I deemed it prudent to circulate the inclosed

notification for their guidance, which , I trust, will receive your Excellency's

approval; and I am very thankful to report that this is purely an American

atlair, and that no Englishman was present, or in any way implicated in the

matter, excepting Mr. Vaughan, who is attached to an American firm , and who

rescued Mr. Cunningham from being killed on the spot.


I cannot close this despatch without reference to the number of idle Canton

vagabonds who are now settled Foo -chow without employment ; and as these

men are detested by the natives of the place, I venture to offer, as my humble

opinion, that if some steps are not immediately taken for their removal, there

will be endless quarrels among the populatio , which will certainly endanger the

safety of foreign property .

I have, &c .

(Signed ) FRED. HOWE HALE .

Inclosure 2 in No. 92 .


British Consulate, Foo -chow -foo, July 4 , 1856 .

AS much excitement continues among the native population , consequent

on the lamented death of one of the foreign meinbers of this community , which

may occasion a further collision , Her Majesty's Vice- Consul in charge hereby

notifies to all foreign residents at Foo -chow -foo, that the Commander of Her

Britannic Majesty's naval force, stationed at this port, will protect them to the

utmost of his power . But at the same it is his duty to caution all British

subjects that he cannot be responsible for any undue interference on their part,

which may embroil them , and trusts they will see the propriety of refraining

from any act that may lead to more melancholy consequences.

(Signed) FRED. HOWE HALE ,

Vice - Consul in charge.

Inclosure 3 in No. 92 .

Sir J. Bowring to Consul Medhurst.

Sir, Hong Kong, July 17, 1856.


I HAVE to acknowledg the receipt of Mr. Vice- Consul Hale's despatch

dated 4th instant , giving an account o the unhappy tumult during which

Mr. Cunningham , a United States' citizen, lost his life.

I have to express my approval of the steps taken by Mr. Hale, in reference

to this unfortunate affair.

My experience leads me quite to concur with Mr. Hale in opinion that the

presence of the loose Cantonese population in all the ports is a source of danger

and disorder, and I should be glad to find the authorities more alive to the perils

which are associated with their presence.

I have, &c .


No. 93.

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon.— (Received September 15.)

My Lord, Hong Kong, July 19, 1856 .

SIR GEORGE BONHAM was instructed, in a despatch from the Foreign

Office, dated 23rd October, 1851 , to make inquiry into and report on the fate

of aa Roman Catholic missionary, named Schofiler, who was put to death by the

mandarins in the Province of Tonquin, particulars of which were forwarded in

despatch of 24th December, 1851.

Having received from the Procureur -Général of the French Missions in

China an account of the murder of a French missionary, named Chapdelaine,


in the Province of Kwang -se, which is immediately under the jurisdiction of the

Imperial Commissioner at Canton, I have the honour to forward a copy of

M. Libois' letter for your Lordship’s information .

I have, &c.

(Signed ) JOHN BOWRING .

Inclosure in No. 93.

Mr. Libois to Sir J. Bowring.

Mon cher M. Bowring, Hong Kong, 12 Juillet, 1856.

JE viens d'apprendre que M. Chapdelaine, missionnaire Français, de notre

société, a été mis à mort le 29 Février dernier, par le mandarin de Si-lin , hien

situé à l'ouest de Quang -si, près des frontières du Yunnan . Arrêté le 24 Fevrier,

il fut de suite conduit au tribunal: le mandarin commença par lui faire donner

100 soufflets avec une semelle de cuir ; il lui ordonna ensuite de se coucher

sur le ventre et lui fit appliquer 300 coups de rottin. Comme pendant ce double

supplice, M. Chapdelaine n'avait proféré aucune plainte, ni fait entendre aucun

soupir, le mandarin , attribuant sa patience à la magie, fit égorger un chien et

ordonna d'asperger de son sang le pauvre patient, pour rompre le prétendu

charme. Le inandarin ayant appris le lendemain que M. Chapdelaine pouvait

encore marcher, il ordonna de le frapper jusqu'à extinction de forces ; quand

il fut bien constaté qu'il ne pouvait plus se remuer, on lui mit une espèce de

can gue à ressort qui le tenait conime sous un pressoir ; puis on le suspendit dans

cet état Enfin, quand on le vit sur le point d'expirer, on le décapita. Sa tête

fut suspendue à un arbre, mais bientôt les enfants la détachèrent à coups de

pierres, et elle fut dévorée par les chiens et par les pourceaux. Pour le corps, ,

les uns disent qu'il a été enterré, d'autres qu'il a été jeté à la voirie ; niais

a ' paravant il fut ouvert pas les bour aux pour en arracher le cœur ; ils le

coupèrent par morceaux, le firent cuire avec de la graisse, puis ils s'en régalèrent .

Deux des néoplıytes ont été décapités avec lui, pour avoir refusé de renoncer à

hur religion ; quartorze ou quinze autres étaient encore dans les prisons de

cette ville à cause de leur religion .

Voilà, mon cher monsieur, comment s'observent les Traités en Chine, et

comment se conduisent les chefs d'une nation que l'on entend quelquefois

vanter comme l'une des plus policées du monde.

Je suis, &c.

(Signé) N. F. LIBOIS .

P.S. - Au départ du courrier, les rébelles commençaient à se montrer du

côté de Si -lin .

No. 94.

The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foreign Office, September 25, 1856 .

I HAVE received your despatch of July 17 , and its inclosures, reporting

the death of a citizen of the United States, from a wound received in a riot

which took place in the streets of Foo-chow ; and I have to instruct you to

convey to Mr. Vice -Consul Hale my approval of the steps which he took on that

occasion, in order to prevent the undue interference of British subjects in any

further disturbances that might result therefrom .

I am, &c.

( Signed) CLARENDON .


No. 95.

The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foreign Office, September 29, 1856 .

WITH reference to your despatch of the 19th of July last, I transmit to

you , herewith , for your information, a copy of a despatch from Her Majesty's

Ambassador in Paris, stating that the French Government are determined to

exact ample reparation for the murder of M. Chapdelaine, a French missionary

in China .

I am , &c.

(Signed) CLARENDON .

Inclosure in No. 95 .

Lord Cowley to the Earl of Clarendon.

Extract.) Paris, September 28, 1856.

IN the course of conversation, yesterday, Count Walewski alluded to the

murder of a French missionary in China. He said that the French Chargé

d'Affaires in China had stated his intention of taking up the matter very

warmly - an intention which the Imperial Government highly approved. It was

their firm determinationto obtain ample reparation for this cruel murder, and, if

the French Chargé d'Affaires did not succeed by negotiation , and had not other

sufficient means at his command , an expedition would be sent from hence.

Nothing, however, would be settled before the arrival of the next mail from

China, but in case measures of coercion were found to be necessary, Count

Walewski did not doubt that both Her Majesty's Government and that of the

United States would join them in avenging the slaughter of unoffending

Christians .

No. 96 .

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon.- (Received October 30.)

My Lord, Hong Kong, September 3 , 1856 .

REFERRING to my despatches of the 3rd and 8th of July respectively ,

I have the honour to forward copies of further correspondence with Mr. Consul

Parkes, on the subject of the issue of the incendiary placard, and the

assault on two British subjects (Messrs. Johnson and Whittall), in the neigh

bourhood of the factories at Canton . Stones were thrown (an event of

common occurrence, though much less common than formerly ), but as no

serious injury was inflicted, and as the placard complained of has been with

drawn, I have concurred with Mr. Parkes in thinking that no benefit would

accrue from any further interposition .

I have, &c.


Inclosure 1 in No. 96 .

Consul Parkes to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir , Canton , August 23 , 1856.

I HAVE the honour to forward to your Excellency translation of a letter

received by me from the Imperial Commissioner in answer to my representations

of the 1st and 4th of July, relative to the circulation of an incendiary placard,

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and the assault of Messrs. Johnson and Whittall, copies of which have

been submitted to your Excellency in my despatches of the 2nd and

5th July respectively. His Excellency's reasoning does not alter my opinion

that the placard in question is not to be considered as an exhibition of aa malevo

lent feeling on the part of the village population, as it emanated, in my belief,

from parties in the city, on the occasion of the late rumour becoming current

that the foreign Governments had it in contemplation to force an entry into the

city .

I have endeavoured in my reply to the Imperial Commissioner, copy of

which I also inclose, to refute his account of the authorship of the placard , and

to protest in terms which I trust your Excellency will consider the circumstances

of the case deserves, against the unsatisfactory nature of his proceedings, but as

all excitement on the subject seems to have died away, and the placard has been

withdrawn from circulation, it appears to me scarcely necessary to appeal to

your Excellency's intervention for more complete redress.

I have, &c.

(Signed) HARRY S. PARKES .

Inclosure 2 in No. 96 .

Commissioner Yeh to Consul Parkes.

( Translation .)

YEH, Imperial High Commissioner, Governor-General of the Two Kwang

Provinces, & c ., makes this declaration in reply .

On the 1st and 4th days of the 6th month (2nd and 5th July), I received

the two statements addressed me by the Consul, with which , and the printed

placard in one of them, I made myself fully acquainted, and thereupon directed

the local authorities to examine into and interdict (its circulation ).

In their reports made me upon the subject they state that your honourable

countrymen in traveling to and fro between Hong Kong and Canton have

hitherto invariably adopted the water passage ; but recently it has been stated

that some foreigners have travelled overland by way of the north road. This

road, the officers observe, is not frequented by foreigners, and the people of the

villages thereabouts having never seen them cannot lay aside the doubts and

fears which their presence occasions, and have, therefore, printed and published

this placard.

Such are the reports of the officers, and in connection therewith I (the

Commissioner) learn that on the 1st day of the 5th month (3rd June) a foreign

merchant rode out on horseback to San - yuen -lee, outside the north gate, and

on passing through Looking -Glass Street on his return , he happened to meet a

workman from one of the shops, who being unable to get out of the way was

trampled on by the horse and hurt. It is possible that this circumstance may

have led to the sale or distribution of the placard.

I, the Great Minister, have already directed the local authorities to discover

the parties who cut the block , and I have also to call upon the Consul, as I do

in this declaration , to make known among all the merchants and the people on

board the ships that in future they must travel as they formerly did by way of

the water passage, and must not again commit the irregularity of taking the

land route, which leads them into the north road, such a course being calculated

to excite doubts and fears among the village population, which might, it is to be

feared , occasion trouble at some future period. In this case, the Chinese

Government have, indeed , rendered you efficient protection. I earnestly charge

you to act in the above -mentioned manner.

Heen -fung, 6th year, 7th month, 28th day. (August 20, 1856.)


Inclosure 3 in No. 96.

Consul Parkes to Commissioner Yeh .

Sir, Canton, August 23, 1856.

ON the 20th instant I received your Excellency's declaration , acknow

ledging two representations I lately addressed you, the one under date ist July

bringing to your Excellency’s notice the publication of an incendiary placard,

menacing the lives of foreigners in this neighbourhood ; the other reporting, on

the 4th July, an unprovoked attack made by certain people armed with stones

upon two of the English merchants of this community, while riding through the

street known as Te -sze-poo, near to the West Gate .

Your Excellency now informs me in the declaration under acknowledgment,

that having inquired into the cases, you learn from the reports made to you by

the subordinate officers that “ British subjects, in travelling to and fro between

Hong Kong, have hitherto invariably adopted the water passage, but recently it

has been stated that some foreigners have travelled overland, by way of the

north road . ' Your Excellency then goes on to observe, that “ on the 3rd June

last a foreign merchant rode out on horseback to Sau- yuen -le, outside the North

Gate, and on passing through Looking-glass Street on his return he happened

to meet a workman from one of the shops, who, being unable to get out of the


way, was trampled on by the horse and hurt ;" and the conclusion drawn by

your Excellency is, that the placard may have had its origin in the above circum

stances .

With reference to the cases thus adduced , I should remark that I have

never heard of the journey to Hong Kong being made by way of the north

road ; and if your Excellency considers the position of Hong Kong, that it is an

island situated in the outer waters , and lying to the south -east of Canton , you

will , I can scarcely doubt, at once perceive that it cannot be reached by persons

travelling hence by land in a northerly direction . I may add that the placard is

without any local allusion suggestive of the inference that it originated among

the population of the villages on the north road.

As to the unfortunate occurrence in Looking-glass Street, presuming this

to be the same case that formed the subject of a correspondence between this

office and the Pwan -yu Magistrate at the close of May , I have to observe that

the misconduct on the part of the foreigner complained of, was wholly accidental,

and not designed. Similar casualties are not of uncommon occurrence in great

thoroughfares, as your Excellency is,

, I presume, aware . The sufferer was not

seriously injured, and was at once taken to the hospital, where he remained until

he recovered from the hurt, and on being sent away, received five dollars as a

gratuity. But if this treatment were insufficient to remove all feelings of ill will

in the case, it is clear from the accident having occurred in a street of the city,

and not among the villagers, in whose name the placard is issued , that no con

nexion can have existed between the one and the other.

I am constrained to say, therefore, that these counter-statements, having

reference to matters altogether distinct from the serious one on which I

addressed your Excellency , have been furnished you , with the view of diverting

attention from the real case at issue, and imparting to it a colourirg not

warranted by facts .

Wherever there may exist, on either side, grounds for complaint, either as

to foreigners passing in their journeys the limits assigned to them, or in any

other matter, the provisions and penalties of the Treaties and Laws prescribe

the course to be pursued, and the redress to be obtained . How , then, can the

national authorities suffer their people to follow the bent of their own inclina

tions, when these prompt them to commit acts of violence and wrong ? In the

matter now complained of, the highly criminal language of the placard elicits

from your Excellency no word of condemnation. You simply observe, that you

have directed the local authorities to find out the parties who cut the blocks on

which it was printed ,—with what effect may be learned from the fact that eight


weeks have elapsed without their being discovered ; and the stoning of two

2 G 2


British merchants is passed over by your Excellency without a single obser

vation .

Can it be said that proceedings such as these constitute the efficient pro

tection which your Excellency, speaking in the name of the Chinese Government,

states that you have herein rendered ?

I have, &c.

(Signed) HARRY S. PARKES .

Inclosure 4 in No. 96.

Sir J. Bowring to Consul Parkes.

Sir, Hong Kong, August 25, 1856.

I HAVE received your despatch dated the 23rd instant, accompanying your

correspondence with the Imperial Commissioner, on the subject of the attack

upon Messrs. Johnson and Whittal. I approve of the steps you have taken,

and shall forward the correspondence to the Secretary of State ; and I agree

with you that further interference on my part is scarcely necessary or desirable.

I have , &c .


No. 97 .

The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 1 , 1856 .

I HAVE received your despatch of the 3rd of September, inclosing copies

of Mr. Parkes' correspondence respecting the issue of an incendiary notification

and the assault on Messrs. Johnson and Whittall , and I have to state to you

that I approve of Mr. Parkes' proceedings, and of the opinion he has expressed

that no benefit would result from any further interposition in this matter.

I am , &c.

( Signed) CLARENDON .

No. 98.

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon.- (Received December 1.)

(Extract.) Hong Kong, October 8, 1856 .

I HAVE the honourto forward to your Lordship copies ofcorrespondence with

Mr. Consul Parkes, on the subject of the arrest and conveyance to Canton of a

missionary, Mr. Burns, from a district beyond treaty limits, in which he has

lately been engaged.

Mr. Burns is a most zealous person ; and having heard that it was his

purpose to return to the district from which he has been just sent away, I have

thought it necessary to instruct Mr. Parkes to caution him against so doing.

The caution is all the more necessary from the disturbed state of the locality.


Inclosure 1 in No. 98.

Consul Parkes to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Canton, October 6 , 1856.

I HAVE the honour to report that the Rev. Wm . C. Burns, known to have

been lately apprehended by the authorities of Chaou-chow, whilst engaged in a

missionary tour in that department of this province, was handed over to me by

the Imperial Commissioner on the 30th ultimo, the local authorities having in

this instance pursued the course prescribed by Treaty, and forwarded Mr. Burns

as a prisoner to Canton. On the following day, I received from the Imperial

Commissioner the letter of which I herewith inclose translation, detailing the

circumstances under which Mr. Burns was apprehended, and simply requiring

me toverify the account given by that gentleman of his own proceedings, and to

place him under some degree of restraint.

The Imperial Commissioner has shown commendable moderation in not

calling upon me to take more stringent notice of this infraction of the Treaty.

Perhaps it is, that being satisfied of the harmless character of Mr. Burns' pur

suits, his Excellency considers forty days ' confinement, ten days of which were

passed at Chaou - chow , and thirty on the route thence to Canton, as a sufficient

penalty for the indiscretion ; or it may be that his Excellency, having some

knowledge of the liberty so long allowed by the local authorities of Chaou - chow

to foreigners at Swatow , justly deems it anomalous to call for the punishment of

Mr. Burns for breach of Treaty, when he knows his own officers to be similarly

implicated , but to a far higher degree. Not only is a foreign trade amounting

annually to several millions of dollars, carried on openly at Swatow, as your

Excellency is doubtless well aware, in vessels under all flags, which either lie in

ordinary or visit that port at will, but the local authorities have been known to

seek , and in more than one case, I believe, to obtain , the aid and alliance of these

foreign visitors in their operations against insurgents or powerful marauders.

Such being the case, it is almost surprising that the authorities of Chaou

chow should have considered themselves bound to incur the trouble and expense

of forwarding Mr. Burns to Canton, instead of dismissing him with a caution not

to appear again in that vicinity.

From what Mr. Burns could gather during his confinement, it would appear

that this was their first intention, as they applied to certain native merchants at

Swatow to give bail both for Mr. Burns and his Chinese associates ; and these

merchants, with remarkable generosity, at once came forward with the security

required. Subsequently, however ,this course was altered, by the advice, as

Mr. Burns believes, of Wan, late Prefect of Kea-ying-chow, who is at present

at Chaou -chow waiting for employment, an officer already notorious to foreigners

by the persecution he set on foot in August 1850 , against the Christians in his

district, but whose acts in this respect were repudiated by the Imperial Commis

sioner Seu , at the instance of the French Minister.

Mr. Burns was arrested on the 19th August, but did not leave Chaou - chow

until the 1st of September. The route traversed in his way to Canton lay up

the Han river, across Chaou -chow and Kea-ying departments to that of Shwuy

chow, and down the East river to Canton ; a more direct road which passes

through the latter department only, not being considered practicable, on account

of the disturbed state of the country.

The inconvenient consequences of this expedition will, I think, effectually

deter Mr. Burns, as he himself indeed assures me, from visiting large cities in

future. He had no intention , he informs me, of staying at Chaou-chow ; it

happened to lay in the route he was pursuing, and he was arrested almost on

the moment of arriving under its walls .

I beg to inclose copy of the reply which I forwarded on the 3rd instant to

the letter of the Imperial Commissioner ; and, considering that under the

circumstances I should be justified in making some appeal in favour of the

two native colporteurs who accompanied Mr. Burns, I applied for their release,

and have this morning received the inclosed acknowledgment from the Imperial

Commissioner, which gives, I am glad to say, promise of their liberation without

the imposition of any punishment.

I have, &c.



Inclosure 2 in No. 98 .

Commissioner Yeh to Consul Parkes.

( Translation .)

YEH, High Imperial Commissioner, Governor-General of the Two Kwang

Provinces, & c., addresses this declaration to H. S. Parkes, Esquire, Her Britannic

Majesty's Consul at Canton .

I have before me an official report from Wang-ching, Chief Magistrate of

the district of Hae-yang, in the department of Chaou -chow , which contains the

following statements :

It being the duty of your subordinate to act with Le-seuen -fang, the Major

commanding at this city (Chaou -chow ), in the inspection of the defences of the

place, we suddenly observed , whilst engaged in tliis service, three persons seated

in a boat on the river, whose appearance had something in it that was unusual.

We found in their boat, and took possession of, seven volumes of foreign books,

and three sheet tracts ; but these were the only things they had with them .

On examining the men themselves, we observed that they all of them had

shaven heads, and wore their hair plaited in a queue, and were dressed in

Chinese costume. The face of one of them , however, had rather a strange look ;

his speech in respect to tone and mode of expression being not very similar to

that of the Chinese. We, therefore, interrogated him carefully, whereupon he

stated to us that his true name was Pin -wei.lin (William Burns) , that he was an

Englishman, aged 42 years, and , as a teacher of the religion of Jesus, had

been for some time past engaged in exhorting his fellow -men to do good deeds.

In 1817 , he left his native land and travelled to China, and took up his residence

first at Victoria, where he lived two years, and aiterwards in the foreign factories

at Canton, where he remained for more than one. Subsequently, he visited

Shanghae, Amoy, and other p !aces, and there spent several years ; wherever he

went he made himself acquainted with the languages of the Chinese, and by this

means he delivered his exhortations to the people, and explained to them the

books of Jesus, but without receiving from any one the least remumeration.

In 1854 he embarked in a steamer from Amoy, on a visit to his native home ;

and in December 1855 , joined himself to one of his countrymen , surnamed Tae,

who was going to Shanghae to trade. I accompanied him thither,” said

Burns, " in his vessel ; but from Shanghac, Tae returned home again, whilst I

remained there and engaged myself in the distribution of Christian books. In

the 6th month of the present year (July) I left Shanghae, and took passage in

a foreign sailing- vessel to Shan -tow (Swa-tow) , in the district of Ching-hae.

There I fell in on the 12th day of the 7th month (August 12) with Le -a -yuen

and Chin - a -seun , the two Chinese who have now been seized with me. I called

upon them to be my gnides, and we proceeded in company to Yen -fan , and from

thence came on to this city, where we had it in comtemplation to distribute

some of our books. Scarcely, however, had we arrived at the river's bank on

the 19th day of the 7th month ( 19th August ), when to our surprise we found

ourselves under surveillance, and deprived of our liberty. We entertained,

however, no other views or intentions than those which we have stated, and >

declare that these statements are strictly true.”

Such is the account given by the missicnary William Purns, who, together

with his seven volumes of foreign books and his three sheet tracts, was given

over into the charge of an officer, and brought in custody to this office .

Having examined the above report, I (the Imperial Commissioner) have to

observe thereon that the inland river of the city of Chaou -chow is not one of the

ports open to (foreign) commerce ; and it has never on that account been

frequented by foreigners. I cannot but look upon it , therefore, as exceedingly

improper, that William Burns (admitting him to be an Englishman ), should

change his own dress, shave his head, and , assuming the costume of a Chinese,

penetrate into the interior in so irregular a manner. And, although , when

closely examined by the magistrate, hie firmly maintained that religious teaching

and the distribution of books formed his sole object and occupation , it may

certainly be asked why does William Burns leave Shanghae and come to

Chaou-chow, just at a time when Kiang-nan and the other provinces are the

scene of hostilities ? Or, can it be that a person dressed in the garb, and


speaking the language of China is really an Englishman,or may he not be falsely

assuming that character to further some mischievous ends ?

I have directed Heu, the assistant Nan-hae magistrate, to hand him over to

the Consul of the said nation, in order that he may ascertain the truth respecting

him , and keep him under restraint ; and I hereby, by means of this declaration,

make known to him (the Consul) the above particulars.

William Burns, seven volumes of foreign books, and three sheet tracts,

accompany this declaration.

Heenfung, 6th year, 9th month, 2nd day. (September 30, 1856.)

Inclosure 3 in No. 98.

Consul Parkes to Commissioner Yeh .

Sir, Canlon , October 3, 1856.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your Excellency's letter, received on

the 1st instant, communicating the circumstances under which the Rev. William

Burns, an English missionary, and two Chinese associates, were arrested at

the city of Chaou -chow, in this province, and sent in custody to Canton, and

desiring me to ascertain whether Mr. Burns, who, as directed by your Excellency,

had already been delivered over to me by the assistant magistrate, Heu , is, as he

claims to be, an English subject, and whether the account of his travels and .

occupation given by him to the magistrate of Hae-yang be indeed correct.

I have carefully examined all the statements contained in the report of the

magistrate of Hae -yang, and am able, without hesitation, to assure your

Excellency that they are true in every respect. Mr. Burns is , as he has

represented himself, aa British subject, and is well known in China as a Protestant

missionary, who for upwards of eight years has endeavoured to do good to the

Chinese by religious teaching, as well as by gratuitously administering to their

bodily wants. While others of his missionary brethren have remained stationary

in one place, studying the sacred writings of the Chinese, and preparing transla

tions of their own, Mr. Burns has inoved about from one place to another that

he might have wider opportunity for preaching and distributing books.

In doing so, however, he has hitherto confined himself to the five ports

open to foreign commerce, and in reply to my inquiry why he on this occasion

proceeded to Chaou -chow , which is not one of these ports, he stated to me that

he purposed simply to pay the place a passing visit; and having no intention

of staying there, would have left again immediately, had the authorities desired

or allowed him to do so. They, however, being unaccustomed to see foreigners

in a native dress, mistook him , I conclude, for a suspicious character, and

thought it necessary to arrest him ; and, serious as the consequences of this step

may be to Mr. Burns , it must be admitted that he has subjected himself to them

by his own deviation from what was right.

As to thecircumstance ofhisadopting the Chinese costume, your Excellency,

who knows full well how liable foreigners are to be molested , even at the five

ports open to trade, by Chinese crowding round them to stare at their strange

dress, will readily understand that Mr. Burns did this in order to escape the

annoyance to which he must otherwise have been subjected ; and I may mention

here, that the practice of wearing Chinese attire is now not uncommon to the

foreign missionaries, whose profession naturally takes them among the native


Mr. Burns is now suffering from sickness , brought on by the fatigues of

the journey from Chaou -chow , protracted by the delays encountered on the way,

to the unusual length of upwards of thirty days. He expresses himself, however,

very grateful for the kind treatment he has received ; but is anxious on account

of Le -ah -yuen and Chiun -ah -seun, the two Chinese who were seized with him,

and are to him as brothers.

Seeing, therefore, that your Excellency will now be perfectly assured both

of the harmless character of Mr. Burns, and i he entire innocency of these two

men, I venture to request that the Prefect of Chaou - chow may be directed by

your Excellency to grant them their release ; and, further, that I may be


informed by your Excellency of the dispatch of any orders which your Excellency

may be pleased, in compliance with this request, to issue.

I have, &c .

( Signed) HARRY S. PARKES.

Inclosure 4 in No. 98.

Commissioner Yeh to Consul Parkes.

(Translation . )

YEH, Imperial High Commissioner, Governor-Generalof the Two Kwang

Provinces, & c ., makes this declaration to H. S. Parkes, Esq . , Her Britannic

Majesty's Consul at Canton .

On the 5th day of the 9th month (3rd October ), I received your statement

( relative to the Rev. W. C. Burns and his Chinese associates ), which I have

attentively perused ; and I should inform you in reply, that at the time when

the Chief Magistrate of the District of Hae-yang forwarded Mr. Burns, in the

charge of a special officer, to Canton, to be given over, as has already been done,

into your charge and control , he further stated , in his official report on the

subject, that having examined the two Chinese, Le-ah-yuen and Chin -ali-seun,

who were arrested with Mr. Burns, the one being a native of Ching -hae district,

the other of Chaou - yang, and found that they had not associated themselves

with Mr. Burns for any illegal purpose , he had already sent them back to their

respective homes, where security will be taken for their behaviour (upon which

they will be released from custody).

Heenfung, 6th year, 9th month , 8th day. (October 6, 1856. )

Inclosure 5 in No. 98.

Sir J. Bowring to Consul Parkes.


5 Hong Kong, October 8 , 1856 .

I HAVE received your despatch dated the 6th instant, reporting the circum

stances connected with the detention ofMr. Burns, and his delivery over to you ;

and sending me the correspondence connected with the subject, between the

Imperial Commissioner and yourself.

I have to express my thorough satisfaction with your proceedings in this

matter .

You will inform Mr. Burns that, after the representations of the Imperial

Commissioner, I should deem it imprudent and improper that he should return

to the district from which he has been sent away.

I have, &c .


No. 99 .

The Earl of Clarendon to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Foreign Office, December 8, 1856.

I HAVE to instruct you to inform Consul Parkes that I entirely approve

his proceedings, as reported in his despatch to you of the 6th of October

last, and of which a copy is inclosed in your despatch of the 8th of that

month , upon the occasion of the arrest and conveyance to Canton of the

Rev. W. Burns, and the two persons by whom he was accompanied to the city

of Chaou-chow .

I am, &c.

(Signed ) CLARENDON .




Presented to the House of Lords by Command of Her Majesty, in pursuance of

their Address of February 12, 1857 .



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Ceo 1552

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.




15 d.34 p . lokat



OCT.9 1919



No. Page

1. The Secretary to the Admiralty to Mr. Hammond February 21 , 1857 1

One Inclosure.

2. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon December 17, 1856 3

Eleven Inclosures .

3. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon December 27, 10


Twelve Inclosures.

4. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon December 30, 16


One Inclosure .

5. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon December 30 , 16



One Inclosure .

December 31 ,



6. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon 17

One Inclosure .

7. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon January 3, 1857 18

Six Inclosures.


8. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon January 13, 23

Two Inclosures .

9. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon January 14, - 23

One Inclosure .

10. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon January 14 , 24

11. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon January 15 , 25

Two Inclosures .



12. Consul Robertson to Sir J. Bowring January 27


13. The Secretary to the Admiralty to Mr. Hammond March 27 1

Six Inclosures. 1


14. Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon January 24, 32

Two Inclosures .

5. The Secretary to the Admiralty to Mr. Hammond March 18, 33

Three Inclosures.


Further Papers relating to the Proceedings of Her

Majesty's Naval Forces at Canton.

No. 1 .

The Secretary to the Admiralty to Mr. Hammond.-(Received February 21.)

Sir , Admiralty, February 21 , 1857 .

I AM commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit

to you, for the information of the Earl of Clarendon , a copy of a letter from

Rear -Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, reporting the destruction of the factories

at Canton and his subsequent proceedings .

I am, &c.

( Signed) R. OSBORNE .

Inclosure in No. 1 .

Rear- Admiral Sir M. Seymour to the Secretary to the Admiralty .

Sir, “ Niger ,” at Canton, December 29 , 1856.

IN my letter of the 15th instant , I made aa hurried report of the, at that:

time, partial destruction by fire of the factories at Canton. I now furnish a

more detailed account of their total destruction, and subsequent proceedings, for

the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

Soon after 11 o'clock P.M. , on the 14th instant, simultaneous fires broke out

in several parts of Thirteen Factory -street, which was a Chinese street, situated

immediately at the back of the factories. The houses had been partially destroyed

some time since by the late Captain Cowper, R.E., to prevent any fire from

spreading from the suburbs, and would, in time, have been entirely cleared away,

but our labour had been employed on the more pressing work of removing Hog

Lane , extending at a right angle from Thirteen Factory Street, into the heart of

the Factory . At this time, that necessary work had been most effectually


Working parties were quickly on the spot, with engines and all available

means for extinguishing fire ; but owing to the inflammable materials of the

houses and the scarcity of water — the tide being low — the flames soon reached

Old China Street and the back premises of Messrs. Dent and Co., whilst the

sparks set fire to the matting over several of the houses in the contiguous

hongs. The strong current of wind up the vaulted passages, or hongs, over

which the houses were constructed, caused the fire to spread with amazing

rapidity and fierceness.. Each hong became a furnace, and it was utterly impos

sible, from the extreme heat and the masses of burning material which were

continually falling, to remain in the neighbourhood of thefire. It was soon felt

that all endeavours to save what were called the “ Foreign Factories” would be

in vain , and that our only hope was in Hog Lane cutting off the fire from the

British Factory. The corner house in the contiguous block being in dangerous

proximity, it was most successfully and completely blown down about noon on ;

[ 194] B 2


the 15th , which greatly raised our hopes of the ultimate safety of the remaining

portion of the factories.

By this time the flames had entirely consumed Old and New China Streets,

and the whole of Minqua's hong down to the river side, at the other end of the

factories, and it was only by the most strenuous exertions that we were able to

save the club -house, occupied as barracks and stores.

At about 3 o'clock P.M., flames burst out most suddenly and furiously from the

ruins of the house which had been blown down, and though both officers and men

vied with each other, for two hours, in their exertions to extinguish them , smoke

was then seen to issue from the roof of the Oriental Bank, a large building

surrounded by a wooden verandah , and situated in the middle of the British

factory. All hopes of saving any portion of the factories were then abandoned ,

and after eighteen hours of unremitting labour the people were withdrawn. The

sick were embarked from the temporary hospital, as well as a portion of the

force, guns, ammunition, & c.; and arrangements made for holding the gardens

duringthe night. The following morning a heap of smoking ruins was all that

remained of the factories -one house excepted .

There can be no doubt that the fire was preconcerted by the Chinese autho

rities. People were seen running into the houses in Thirteen Factory Street, with

lighted brands, who were fired on by our pickets ; and so complete were the

arrangements for the security of the Chinese, that the fire was confined to the

streets immediately surrounding the factories ; large bodies of firemen being

held in readiness , with fire-engines, to check the advance of the flames in their

direction .

The great importance of holding our position at Canton being evident, and

the church and barracks having been preserved, I determined to intrench a

portion of the factory gardens.

On the 17th the works were commenced, at which seamen , marines, and

our small detachment of Royal Artillery, fell to with that zeal and good temper

which has characterised them throughout. A ditch has been run the whole

length across the gardens , taking in the church, and outside a portion of the

wall at the western end to the club -house, with a breastwork behind, defended

by field -pieces which enfilade the ditch. The position is now complete, and with

our small garrison of 300, composed of equal numbers of seamen, marines, and

a detachment of the 59th Regiment, I have every hope of maintaining it till I

receive the instructions of Her Majesty's Government for my future guidance.

I inclose a plan of our intrenchment drawn by Commander Bate of the

" Actæon ."

Regarding our position afloat, severalattempts have been inade to explode

small sampans with powder, but they are hardlyworthy of notice.. A boom of

spars, strengthened with chains, is extended both above and below our steam

vessels, which will prevent any attempts by fire-rafts on a large scale, of which

we hear rumours. All Chinese boats are kept outside the booms, and the

creeks within the booms have been blocked up. Our main dependence down

the stream is in the Dutch Folly, about 1,200 yards below the “ Niger.” It is in

charge of Commodore the Honourable C. Elliot ; is strongly armed, and

garrisoned by 140 blue jackets. The Folly being only 400 yards from the

city wall, renders it a most important position for offensive operations.

As one of the small river steamers was proceeding to Hong Kong on the

night of the 22nd instant, with a lorcha in tow, she was attacked near the second

bar by a large fleet of Mandarin junks. The master of the steamer was obliged

to cast off the lorcha, after saving the crew , and gallantly pushed through and

escaped, having sustained a loss of three men killed and two wounded. On the 9

intelligence being communicated to me, I lost no time in sending the “ Hornet

and “ Barracouta ” to capture or destroy the junks, but they had concealed

themselves up one of the numerous creeks which intersect this fat country like

a net-work, up which our steamers cannot follow them . The arrival of the

gunboats will tend to obviate this difficulty. I now employ a steam -sloop

patrolling the river to keep the navigation open.

Onthe 20th and 24th ,CaptainHall destroyed thirteen largeGovernmentjunks

nearly ready for sea, and on the 27th, that officer, in the “ Coromandel, " with


the boats of the squadron in company, proceeded up Hamilton Creek , where it

was said a large number of Mandarin junks had assembled, but saw nothing of

them ,




An W.e









diary and reckless spirit which led to the destruction or mut lauwwww .

tion seems to confirm the opinion that there is in the city an influential party that

would willingly come to terms with us, but this party is domineered over by the

fierce and turbulent mob, which has been collected from the villages in the neigh


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Onthe 20th and 24th , Captain man ucsuvy 111


nearly ready for sea, and on the 27th, that officer, in the “ Coromandel," with

the boats of the squadron in company , proceeded up Hamilton Creek, where it

was said a large number of Mandarin junks had assembled, but saw nothing of

them ,



I have had no communication with the Imperial High Commissioner. A

few shot and shell are occasionally fired into the city by the Dutch Folly.

There is no change in the disposition of the squadron .

I have, &c .

(Signed) M. SEYMOUR .

No. 2 .

Sir J. Bowring to the Earl of Clarendon .— (Received March 1 , 1857.)

My Lord, Hong Kong, December 17, 1856.

IN continuation of my despatch dated yesterday, I regret to have to

announce to your Lordship that the hopes of saving the British Consulate

and a considerable portion of the factory have been frustrated, and that with

the exception of a portion of two houses, one belonging to the United States'

citizens (Messrs. Russell & Co.) , and another to a British subject (Mr. Fischer,

the agent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company), the

factories are a heap of ruins. I wait to be advised by the Admiral as to the

steps he proposes to take now that he has decided on withdrawing his forces

from the factories, there being now nothing left to protect, and doubt not that

they will be commensurate with the exigencies of the case.

I have the honour to inclose copy of my reply to Admiral Sir M. Seymour's

letters of the 15th and 16th instant; the former formed inclosure in my despatch

of 16th instant, the latter I now annex .

I forward also copy of Mr. Vice-Consul Winchester's despatch of yesterday,

which announced the death of Mr. 0. T. Lane, second assistant of the Con

sulate, in consequence of the fall of a house . I deeply lament the lossof a pro

mising young man, whose good conduct recommended him to the confidence of

his superordinates, and of whom the Admiral writes to me in terms of marked


Hong Kong, December 19.

I have this day received a despatch from Mr. Vice - Consul Winchester ,

dated 16th instant, stating that it was not the purpose of his Excellency the

naval Commander-in-chief to occupy the garden in front of the factories, and

inclosing a circular issued to the Canton community. This despatch did not

reach me till this morning, in consequence of the confusion attendant on the

conflagration of the factories, and it was accompanied by a despatch from

Mr. Consul Parkes, dated yesterday, informing me that Sir Michael Seymour, >

finding itpracticable to maintain his position in the garden , had decided to do

So. I quite concur in Mr. Parkes 'opinion that his presence may be exceedingly

useful to the Admiral, and have therefore requested him to remain, at all events

for the present, in Canton .

To -day I have received from the Admiral a despatch, dated 18th instant,

advising me thatlooking to the desirableness of maintaining a position in the

factory gardens, his Excellency had commenced works for that important pur

pose. am satisfied that this measure is prudent and farsighted, and will

greatly assist our future proceedings. I doubt not that Her Majesty's Govern

ment will insist on full compensation to British subjects for the losses and

damages entailed on them by the acts of the Imperial authorities. Large claims

are already coming in, and will be referred to your Lordship in due time.

Hong Kong, December 20.

I have received from Mr. Chinese Secretary Wade, the translation of a

public declaration, said to emanate from the gentry and people of Canton , and

which has been circulated in that city. I believe the document pretty accurately

represents the feeling of the population towards us , and fully exhibits the incen

iary and reckless spirit which led to the destruction of the factories. The declara

tion seems to confirm the opinion that there is in the city an influential party that

would willingly come to terms with us, but this party is domineered over by the

fierce and turbulent mob, which has been collected from the villages in the neigh


bourhood of Canton , “ the rural population ” as they are called in this document,

and who care little about the fate of the city itself. As to the averment that women

were ravished at the village of Lieh -teh (taken by the United States' forces ), I

am assured by Captain Foote that there is no ground for such a statement.

Hong Kong, December 22 .

The despatch received from Mr. Consul Parkes brings down the history of

events to the 20th instant. It would appear that the destruction of Chinese

property has been great , especially in the quarters where those traders are located

who carried on business principally with foreigners. No signs of surrender on

the part of the Imperial Commissioner have as yet been exhibited .

The Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamer“ Formosa” brought accounts

down from the northern ports to the 16th instant. They are rather consola

tory as to apprehensions of reaction of the occurrences at Canton, at Shang

hae and other places open to foreign trade ; the authorities being still disposed to

consider the Canton question as one of a local character, to be settled by the

parties whom it specially concerns. There is a general concurrence of opinion

that unless the Emperor, by Imperial rescript, order “ the extermination of

foreign barbarians,” they will be allowed at the other ports to remain at peace.

It is believed that Yeh has represented to the Emperor his ability to hold the

city of Canton, and that he will be encouraged to do so. I need not say, how

ever, that Chinese purposes and policy may at any time undergo a sudden change,

for which we ought to be prepared . Mr. Lay writes that the increase of the

native trade at Shanghae is marvellous, and that no less than 10,000 Chinese

junks will have arrived in that port in the year 1856 . This gives us some

security for the present and a strong hold upon the future.

Her Majesty's Government will, no doubt, take into early consideration our

present position in China.. As regards the Canton question, it appears to me

that our course must be decided by two principal considerations.

First, the obtaining indemnity for injuries done, and always holding the

Imperial Government responsible) it is desirable that the burden of the sacrifice

should fall upon Canton itself.

Secondly, the securing for usa future position in Canton, by the appropria

tion of aa considerable addition to the factories, sufficient to furnish our merchants

with warehouses within the precincts, and the whole secured from future attacks

of robbers or incendiaries.

These two objects accomplished, we shall not have to regret the perverse

ness on the part of the Viceroy which has brought about results so desirable.

And their bearing upon our future relations will be most important, for I

am quite persuaded that an absolute triumph at Canton will be the very best

initiative to successful negotiations elsewhere; and it appears to me that these

negotiations must be carried on elsewhere, for the Viceroy of Canton is, of all

men, the least fitted for negotiation, and the locality of Canton would be, of all

places in the empire, the least desirable .

I have, &c.

( Signed ) JOHN BOWRING .

P.S. - December 23. I have received nothing official from Canton to-day.

On Saturday, a respectable old man was kidnapped at Whampoa and has not yet

been recovered. have been taken by the

Three of the principal inhabitants

Consul, and are at present held as hostages. Howqua has been communicated

with, and promises that no effort shall be wanting and no money spared to obtain

the restoration of Mr. Cowper to his fainily. The most contradictory reports are

spread as to the opinion of the Court of Pekin on Canton affairs. I presume

nothing of an official character has reached the Viceroy.

J. B.


Inclosure 1 in No. 2 .

Rear- Admiral Sir M. Seymour to Sir John Bowring.


Sir, Niger,” at Canton, December 16, 1856.

I HAVE the honour to inform your Excellency that after the departure of

my letter of yesterday the fire again resumed the ascendancy, and notwithstanding

the persevering and laborious efforts of bothofficers and men, theEnglish Factory

was entirely consumed. With the exception of two houses, those of Messrs.

Sturgess and Fischer, the factories are now a heap of ruins.

Imentioned , yesterday, my intention of holding the British Factory, under

the impression, at that time, of its safety ; but as there is nothing left to protect,

I shall withdraw the force, and carry on future operations from on board ship.

I sent the gun -lascars to Hong Kong this morning, their services being no

longer required.

I have, &c.

(Signed) M. SEYMOUR.

Inclosure 2 in No. 2.

Sir J. Bowring to Rear - Admiral Sir M. Seymour.

Sir, Hong Kong, December 17, 1856.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your Excellency's despatches

dated 15th and 16th instant, by which I am sorry to learn that, notwith

standing the most persevering and laborious efforts of the officers and men in

Her Majesty's service, the whole of the factories have been destroyed by Chinese


I note that it is the purpose of your Excellency to withdraw your forces

from the factories, and that future operations, which I doubt not will meet the

requirements of our position, will be carried on from on board ship,

I have, &c.


Inclosure 3 in No. 2 .

Vice- Consul Winchester to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, “ Coromandel," of Canton, December 16, 1856.

I DEEPLY regret to inform your Excellency that the exertions of the force

to save the British factories were unsuccessful. The arduous struggles to save

the block in which the Consulate is situated were almost crowned with success,

when a fire broke out in the Oriental Bank building, and it became evident that

no efforts could save the factory.

It is now my melancholy duty to inform your Excellency of the sad catas

trophe which deprived this establishment of Mr. O. T. Lane. Mr. Lane, who

had been very active during the whole fire, and had distinguished himself by

admirable zeal and disinterestedness, was standing, about 2 P.M., near the back

corner of Dr. Marjoribank's house, when the wall of the parsonage fell and

crushed him. The Admiral and myself were in his immediate vicinity and

almost enveloped in the same ruin .

The nature of the injuries sustained were so crushing that he only survived a

few seconds after being carried into the hospital. His remains will proceed to Hong

Kong under charge of Mr. Sampson , the constable at Whampoa, who has also

under his care the records of this office, for the safe custody of which, in the

meantime, I beg to move that your Excellency will issue directions.

The destruction of the factories is most complete ; not a single house has

been spared. The nature and determination of this act may be judged from the

circumstance that not half-a - dozen native houses have been injured.

I have, &c.



Inclosure 4 in No. 2.

Vice- Consul Winchester to Sir J. Bowring.

Sir, Niger,” off Canton, December 16, 1856.

I HAVE the honour to report to your Excellency thatsince I wrote this

morning I have issued a circular to the members of the British community left

in Canton by direction