Narrative of the Voyages and Services of the Nemesis, from 1840 to 1843 VOL 2 | William Dallas Bernard | 1844



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FROM 1840 TO 1813 ;









Cilliam ]


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VOL . II .




1844 .

46 162 13044









Chinese fire -rafts at Canton -First alarm — Premature discovery


Nemesis and boats of advanced squadron -- Fire -rafts sent against the

Wellesley at the Bogue — Night engagement at Canton — Suburbs set

on fire — Shameen battery captured — Narrow escape of Captain Elliot

- Nemesis ordered to chase the Chinese flotilla — Destruction of thirty

five junks and fifty fire -boats by Nemesis and boats of the squadron

Discovery of the landing-place at Tsingpoo, and report thereon by

Captain Herbert, on the 22nd March Captain Belcher's report on

the following day — Curious scene — Sailors with tails — Pillage and

Destruction of the factories by Chinese soldiers and the mob — Account

of the imprisonment of the Americans-Are carried before the criminal

judge — Removed to the ruined factories — Our troops come to their

rescue Captain Elliot's proclamation to the Chinese people -

- Calls

upon them to drive the authorities and the troops out of the city

Arrangements for the advance of our forces from Whampoa 1


Canton and its neighbourhood — City walls—Palaces of the Mandarins

-Forts upon the heights — Preparations for the advance of our troops

from Whampoa - Important general order — Browne's passage, or the

main branch of the Canton river - Chinese boats collected to convey

the troops — Chinese trade stopped - Departure — Flotilla towed by

Nemesis — Right column lands at the factories Left column towed

up to Tsingpoo — Importance of iron steamers - Advantage in landing

troops — Reconnoissance by Sir Hugh Gough -- False alarm — Naval


operations on the 24th, 25th, and 26th May, before Canton — Shameen

Fort attacked— Narrow escape of Captain Herbert and Captain Bethune

- Arsenalcaptured — French Fort and other works stormed 18


Engagements upon the heights of Canton — Number of men engaged

- Description of the forts — Dispositions for the attack — Chinese threaten

Tsingpoo - Defeated by a party led by Captain Hall – Forts captured

on the heights - Entrenched camp burned Morning of the 26th of

May — Critical moment — Flag of truce displayed, and terms proposed


by the Chinese - Preparations for the assault — Truce concluded — Dis

appointment - Tartar troops leave the city - Demonstrations by the

armed peasants — Tremendous storm -Critical position of the sepoys—

Their rescue — Preparations to restore the forts-- Our troops re -embark

on the 1st of June — Observations on the truce — The ransom -money a

droit of the crown - Opinion of Vatel 34


Return of all our forces from Canton — Sickness breaks out — Death

of Lung -wan and of Sir Le Fleming Senhouse - Buried at Macao -- Re

marks on Hong Kong — Its extent and position --- General character of

the island – Influence of the monsoons -- Contrast between the islands

near the Canton River and those of Chusan — (' larke Abel Smith's

observations on Hong Kong in 1816 - Why it is preferred to Lintao

- Causes of unhealthiness Mean temperature of July, 1843 — Re

marks on the prevailing sickness — 55th regiment. West- point bar

racks abandoned Notices of the southern side of the island- Chek

chew — And Skekpywan - Comparatively healthy — Site for a naval

yard recommended — Rivalry of Macao— Wonderful progress of Hong

Kong— First land-sale — First house built September, 1841 – Descrip

tion of Victoria at the present time — Public works and institutions -

Projected fort - Question of future tenure of land - Quit-rents — Public

press of the colony 62


General remarks — Future government of Hong Kong - Prospects of

the opium -trade - Sir Henry Pottinger's proclamations - Attempts of

Americans to enter China in opposition to the Mandarins -- Visit to


Chang -chow— Mutual surrender of criminals — Account of the great

Typhoon — Superstitions of the Chinese — Dreadful destruction- Dis

tressing scenes — Danger of the two Plenipotentiaries—Presence of mind

of Captain Elliot - Wreck of the Louisa — Imminent danger and narrow

escape – Nemesis renders assistance, after the typhoon — Narrow escape

of the Starling—Arrival of Sir Henry Pottinger and Sir William Parker

from England 91


Arrival of reinforcements — Sir Henry Pottinger's first proclamation

-Announcement to the authorities at Canton-His refusal to see the

Prefect — Dismay of the great man in consequence Good effect upon


the Chinese — Preparations of Sir William Parker for advance upon


Amoy - Departure of the fleet from Hong Kong - Captain Elliot and Sir

Gordon Bremer leave for England — Notices of Amoy — Situation and

appearance of the town — Description of its defences—Their great extent

-Island of Kolingsoo - Attempts to negociate — Reply of the Plenipo

tentiary-General order of Sir Ilugh Gough - Orders against plunder

ing-Attack commences 26th of August - Positions of ships against the

batteries Landing of the troops — Party from the Nemesis joins the


advanced guard of the 18th - Captain IIall the first upon the walls—

Personal combat — The long fort captured - Kolingsoo taken - Accident

to the Nemesis — Occupation of the city on the 27th-Curious scenes -

Boldness of Chinese plunderers — Evidences of infanticide — Harassing

duties—Tiger soldiers — Description of Kolingsoo - American missionaries

- Remarks on the prospect of OPENING CHINA BY MISSIONARY ENTER

PRISE — Errors to be guarded against - Garrison left on Kolingsoo

Our troops quit Amoy — Re-embarkation 113


Mercantile spirit of Amoy — Character of the people — Enterprising

colonists — English compelled to abandon their factory, owing to extortions

- Prospects of future trade – Capabilities of Amoy — Great trade with

Formosa - Dutch once settled there — Question of an English settlement

on the Bonin Islands — Their character and position - Notices of Formosa

—The last Tartar conquest — Chinese colonization — Settlement of the

Dutch — Their expulsion from the island— Productions — Great trade

with Amoy-Probable demand for English manufactures - Wreck of the

Nerbudda and Ann - History of the unfortunate sufferers — Their cruel

vi ("ONTENTS .

treatment - Imprisonment -- Ty -wan -foo - Inquisitiveness of the man

darins, Strange questions — Horrid details — Hopes raised and disap

pointed - Final tragedy 148


Departure of the fleet from Amoy — Affair of the Nemesis at Sheipoo

--Curious mode of getting a good pilot - Attack upon the forts — Three

war-junks blown up - Chinese troops dispersed - Apathy of the people

generally - Inaccuracy of the surveys of the coast - Alligator Island -

Interesting anecdote - Expatriated Chinese - Their wretched life - Ren

dezvous at Keeto Point - A village destroyed in retaliation for murder

-- Attack upon Chinhae deferred — Reconnoissance of the harbour of

Chusan — Remarks on the character and appearance of the island -

Its high state of cultivation — Anecdote of mountain husbandry in

Tartary - City and harbour of Tinghai, and its new defences described

Defects of the Chinese system --Reconnoissance of the Nemesis, Modeste,

and Columbine — Preparations for the capture of the defences of Chusan

- Positions of our ships — Mortar battery erected on Melville Island

1st of October, 1841 — Debarkation of the troops — IIills carried by the

55th, and long battery by the 18th regiments -- Capture of the city -

And measures to prevent the escape of the Chinese — General re

marks 175


Military government of Chusan --Remarks on the town of Tinghai

--The great bell— Notices of Chusan — Not adapted for commercial

purposes -A visit to the interior - Interesting observations of a Chinese

gentleman-Civility of the people — Remarks on our commercial pro

spects in China --Necessity of barter — Difficulties — Preparations for

the capture of Chinhae - Its position - Defences of the Ningpo river

Chinhae captured, 10th of October, 1841- Military and naval opera

tions, on both sides of the river, described — Suicide of Chinese officers

The Emperor's remarks respecting the Viceroy - Public honours

Attentions of the English to the wounded Chinese -Remarks on Chinhae

and on Chinese inventions — Use of torture and cruel modes of inflicting

death – Burial of murdered Englishmen - Instrument for pounding

women to death— IIumanity towards the Chinese prisoners 203


Ningpo river - Reconnoissance of the City - Ningpo occupied with


out opposition — Panic throughout the province - Alarm at Hang -chow

foo — Remarks on the seat of operations.- Chekeang - Importance of

the Imperial Canal — Measures adopted at Ningpo - Ransom demanded

-Chinese plunderers - Bridge of boats— Excursion to Yuyow - Beauties

of the country - Notices of Ningpo - Prize -money - Public granaries


opened to the people - Chinese horses — Pagoda, and panorama of the

country - Aspect of the town - Chinese etiquette - Want of scientific

researches - Taste for English manufactures — Russian cloth manu

factured in England for the Chinese -overland trade - Wood - carving and

varnishing — Sporting excursions — Abundance of game- Chinese trea

chery - Anecdotes — Second visit to Chinhae — View of the battle - field

Amusing incidents — Lady shamming dead--Infanticide— Visit to Chusan

-Return to Ningpo 231


Expedition to Yuyow - Capture of the City - Treachery - Close of

1841 -- Alarm spreads to Hang -chow -foo - People quitting the City

Expedition of boast of the Nemesis towards Fungwah - Character of the

country described - The Cornwallis at Chusan — Reinforcements begin

to arrive - Expedition to the island of Tai -shan — The Nemesis - Gallant

affair Rumours of aa combined attack by the Chinese — Ningpo in


danger - A surprise — Night attack Gallant defence of the City

Repulse of the Chinese-Pursuit and slaughter - Chinese attack Chinhae

-All their plans are frustrated 259


Advance upon Tsekee Horse Artillery - Phlegethon and Nemesis


destroy fire-boats — The Segoan hills — Positions of the Chinese - Tsekee

captured - Double attack upon the enemy - Serious conflict — The

heights carried — Flight of the Chinese army - Their retreat harassed

by the fire of the steamers — The Chungkie pass — Return to Ningpo

Chinese kidnappers – Curious caricatures - Remarks on Chinese cha

racter - Discovery of their preparations — Night attack by fire- rafts at

Chusan - Awkward position of the Nemesis — Their plans fail — Dan

gerous accident — Visit to the island of Pooto — Consecrated ground—Its

numerous temples- Beauties of the island - Description - Superstitions

of the people — Remarks on the religions of China 288


' Evacution of Ningpo - Remarks on that city - Its importance as a

place of trade - Former factory - Why abandoned — Jesuit missionaries


first landed there — Their character, and great temporary success— Edicts

against Christians at Pekin – Re-embarkation of our troops at Ningpo

- Squadron sails for Chapoo -- Position and aspect of the city - Re

connoissance in the Nemesis - Preparations for the attack -- 18th May,

1842 — Description of Chinese positions — Our troops land to the at

tack from the Nemesis - Positions of our ships – Heights carried

Obstinate defence of a house by the Tartars — Repeated failures -

Distressing scenes — 18th Royal Irish - Prisoners tied by their tails

-Walls of the city scaled by the 55th_Naval brigade - Anecdotes-

Great attention to the wounded Chinese — Elepoo afterwards thanks

Sir Ilugh Gough for his humanity - Notices of the Tartar city and

population - Ilabits of the Tartars — Never distort the feet of women

Devotion of children to their parents- Beautiful country round Chapoo

-Casualties - Chinese prisoners restored 313


Overtures made by the Chinese-Exchange of prisoners - Generous

conduct of Elepoo — Anecdote – Our prisoners led through the Chinese

camp— Ilong merchants ordered up from Canton- Not received - Ren

dezvous at the mouth of the Yangtze river - Reconnoissance of Woo

sung -Junks laden with iced fish — Mandarins going their rounds

Anecdote of the Nemesis — Woosung river and its batteries described —

Dispositions for the attack - Ships all towed into action by steamers

Spirited fire of the Chinese — Positions of the ships — Modeste and Ne

mesis roughly handled — Captain Watson's gallantry_War junks and

wheel boats attacked by the Nemesis — Description — Proceedings of

the light squadron- Captain Watson lands and attacks the flank of

the long battery — Warm reception — Desperate resistance of the Tar

tars A check — The enemy give way — Sir Hugh Gough lands, and

proceeds to capture Paou - shan - Advance upon Shanghai - Descrip

tion of that city -- A wealthy commercial emporium - Remarks on the

country and character of the people -Chinese Arcadia - Amusing de

scriptions - Tea - gardens - Ice -houses - Bishop of Shanghai - His history

-Sporting - Steamers proceed up the river - Nearly reach Soo -chow

foo- Our forces are again concentrated at Woosung 336


Remarks on the great river Yangtze Kiang — Stoppage of its trade

-Hope of preventing the grain and tribute from passing up the Grand


Canal - Reinforcements at Woosung — French ships of war — Remarks

- Sir Henry Pottinger's important proclamation, addressed to the

Chinese - The Emperor's proclamation concerning passing events-

Reply to Sir Henry by Niew Kien, the viceroy of Nankin --- Alarm at


Pekin — Extent and importance of the rivers of China — Remarks on

the Amoor, or Sagalin - Sail from Woosung in five divisions —Details

-- Aspect of the country - Kiang - Yin -


— And Golden

— Silver Island -

Island — Falling greatness — Arrival at Chin-keang-foo — Its capture,

21st July, 1842 — Tartar garrison - List of troops engaged— Plan of at

tack - Major General Schoedde's brigade scales the walls — Spirited resis

tance of the garrison -

Lieutenant Cuddy's gallantry — Sir Hugh

Gough and the third brigade prepare to storm the west gate - Unfortunate

affair of the Blonde's boats — Warm reception - Part of them abandoned

with the guns — Attention of the Chinese people to our wounded— Captain

Peter Richards lands from the Cornwallis with Captain Watson of the

Modeste — They scale the walls near the west gate — Spirited affair -

Guard-house fired by a rocket — Tartars driven in- -Outer gate blown in

and forced by third brigade — Sharp encounter with the Tartars in the city

-Self -destruction— Horrible scenes - Death of the Tartar general 378


Fever breaks out - Its severity — Blockade of the Grand Canal—

Description of that great work — Overflow of the river — Distress of the

people— Fleet of three hundred trading junks stopped—Activity of the

Nemesis — Visit from the mandarin of Esching — Curious scenes on board

the steamer-Coal junks stopped — Abundance of coal found in China,

Description of it and where found — The Dido and Nemesis— Mode of

procuring supplies-- Hospitality of the people at Esching - Friendly in

tercourse at one town while fighting at another — Anomalies of war

Anecdotes of Chinese visiters — Emperor's compliment to the family of

the Tartar general — Garrison left at Chin - keang -foo - Gutzlaff's Pagoda

-Cast iron building one thousand two hundred years old—Passage of the

fleet up to Nankin - Arrivalof the imperial commissioners— Attempts to

gain time — Decision of the plenipotentiary - Remarks on the city of

Nankin - Dispositions for the attack - Chinese commissioners yield at the

last moment— Interviews and negociations— Necessary delay-Remark

able report sent by Ke- ying — Exchange of visits — Sir Henry enters the

city - Signature of the treaty - Remarks on our future intercourse with

the Chinese 416



Nankin - Porcelain tower—Description of — Portrait of the head priest

- Tombs of the kings - Colossal statues - Figures ofanimals- Antique re

mains - Remarks on the history of the Ming dynasty - Disputes with the

Japanese and Mantchous— How the Mantchous, or Tartars, came to the

throne - Institutions of China preserved after the conquest - Efficient go

vernment - Our forces leave Nankin— Dreadful sickness— Bengal Vo

lunteers — Descent of the river — Forces reassemble at Hong Kong -

Riots at Canton - Character of the people - Origin of the outbreak - Eng

lish ladies in Canton - Patriots -- Attack upon the factories - English flag

staff — Arrivalof Sir Hugh Gough — TheNemesis --- Chinese troops oc

cupy the factories - Correspondence between Sir Henry Pottinger and

the merchants - Critical position - Visit of the Prefect and the Hong

merchants to the Nemesis - Quiet restored - Departure of our forces 451


Departure from Macao-- Voyage along the coast towards Hainan - Pi

ratical fishing -boats — Bay of Liengsoy described — Fishing village - Man

darin station - Galong bay - Good shelter - Picturesque country - Yin

lin -kan a beautiful harbour - Entrance into the Lagoon - Discovery of a

river - Excursion into the interior - Appearance of the country- ('uri

ous buffalo carts --- Cocoa -nut woods — Observations on the people — Vil

lages - Tea -shops – Interesting journey - Party of prisoners and man

darins — An inn by the road side — Stopping the mandarins' chairs and

horses — Civility of the peasants — Return to the boats — Hall's river

Coast of Cochin -China - Phuyen harbour - Description of it - Good

place of refuge- Appearance of the country - Curious burial- ground

New kind of fishing-boats — Odd contrivance — Arrival at Singapore

Malacca — Its fallen condition - Penang revisited - Moulmein - Remarks

on - Frontier of Birmah— Elephant riding - Remarkable caves — Arrival

at Calcutta—Review at Barrackpore — Conclusion 483


British Squadron in China, at the ternination of the war 511

General Regulations of British Trade in China 513

Supplementary Treaty 519





Chinese fire- rafts at Canton — First alarm — Premature discovery -


Nemesis and boats of advanced squadron - Fire- rafts sent against the

Wellesley at the Bogue — Night engagement at Canton — Suburbs set


on fire-Shameen battery captured — Narrow escape of Captain Elliot

- Nemesis ordered to chase the Chinese flotilla — Destruction of thirty

five junks and fifty fire -boats by Nemesis and boats of the squadron

Discovery of the landing - place at Tsingpoo, and report thereon by

Captain Herbert, on the 22nd March — Captain Belcher's report on

the following day — Curious scene - Sailors with tails — Pillage and

Destruction of the factories by Chinese soldiers and the mob-Account

of the imprisonment of the Americans — Are carried before the criminal

judge — Removed to the ruined factories — Our troops come to their

rescue — Captain Elliot's proclamation to the Chinese people — Calls

upon them to drive the authorities and the troops out of the city

Arrangements for the advance of our forces from Whampoa.

The intense anxiety which took possession of every

one's mind at Canton , on the evening of the expected

attack upon our vessels by the Chinese, as described at

the close of the last volume, has not by any means been

VOL . II . B


exaggerated . The very uncertainty of the plans of the

Chinese served to increase the interest felt, and the ex

treme darkness of the night gave the greatest cause for

apprehension of treachery.

During the early part of the evening complete still

ness prevailed ; nothing whatever betokened an imme

diate attack. It was about eleven o'clock when the

alarm was given . One of the sentries of the Modeste,

which was a little in advance of the other vessels, ' first

discovered several large dark -looking masses dropping

down with the stream . Being hailed by the sentry, the

Chinese who had charge of them immediately set fire

to the combustible materials which they contained .

The flames, bursting forth suddenly, spread the alarm ,

and pointed out the danger to the other vessels, while

it was still remote . There was a general beat to quar

ters ; steam was rapidly got up on board the Nemesis,

the fires having been lighted early in the evening; the

anchor was weighed, and, in the short space of NINE

MINUTES from the time the alarm was given, the Neme

sis was under weigh, and under command of the helm .

The premature discovery of the design, before it was

actually commenced, disconcerted the plans of the Chi

nese, and caused them to set fire to the rafts sooner than

had been intended . The derangement of a grand scheme at

its outset embarrasses all the subsequent details, and is

apt to discourage all those who are employed to carry

them into execution . The moment they cease to act in

concert, the failure of every part of the scheme is cer

tain . Thus, on the present occasion , in consequence of

2 Namely, the Pylades, Algerine, Nemesis, and Louisa cutter.


some of the fire- rafts being ignited too soon, the greater

part of the rest were not ignited at all; so that, out of

the immense number, about a hundred, which had been

prepared , not above ten or a dozen were set on fire or

sent down against our vessels at Canton. Some, how

ever, were sent adrift against the Alligator, at anchor

near Howqua's Fort.

These fire-rafts were ingeniously constructed to effect

their object, being composed of boats chained together

in twos and threes, so that, drifting down with the

stream , they might hang across the bows of a ship, so

as not to be easily got clear. They were filled with all

kinds of combustible materials. Numerous junks and

smaller boats were barely seen in the distance higher

up the river, said to have a large body of troops on

board, for the purpose of trying to board our ships

during the confusion which it was expected would take

place. But the moment they found that they were

likely to meet with a warm reception, they did their

best to get away again as fast as they could .

The Nemesis ran up at full speed towards the fire

rafts, in order to assist the boats of the squadron in

towing them away. Many of them , however, drifted

fairly on shore, and set fire to the suburbs of the town,

causing much greater alarm to the Chinese than they

did to those whom they were designed to annihilate.

It was a grand spectacle, in the sullen darkness of the

night, to see these floating masses of fire drifting about

the river, and showing by their own reflected light the

Boats of the Calliope, Herald, Modeste, Pylades, and Algerine.

B 2




exaggerated . The very uncertainty of the plans of the

Chinese served to increase the interest felt, and the ex

treme darkness of the night gave the greatest cause for

apprehension of treachery.

During the early part of the evening complete still

ness prevailed ; nothing whatever betokened an imme 1

diate attack.. It was about eleven o'clock when the

alarm was given. One of the sentries of the Modeste,

which was a little in advance of the other vessels,' first

discovered several large dark -looking masses dropping

down with the stream . Being hailed by the sentry, the

Chinese who had charge of them immediately set fire

to the combustible materials which they contained.

The flames, bursting forth suddenly, spread the alarm ,

and pointed out the danger to the other vessels, while

it was still remote. There was a general beat to quar

ters ; steam was rapidly got up on board the Nemesis,

the fires having been lighted early in the evening ; the

anchor was weighed, and, in the short space of nine

MINUTES from the time the alarm was given, the Neme

sis was under weigh, and under command of the helm .

The premature discovery of the design, before it was

actually commenced, disconcerted the plans of the Chi

nese, and caused them to set fire to the rafts sooner than

had been intended. The derangement of a grand scheme at

its outset embarrasses all the subsequent details, and is

apt to discourage all those who are employed to carry

them into execution . The moment they cease to act in

concert, the failure of every part of the scheme is cer

tain . Thus, on the present occasion, in consequence of

? Namely, the Pylades, Algerine, Nemesis, and Louisa cutter.


some of the fire-rafts being ignited too soon , the greater

part of the rest were not ignited at all ; so that, out of

the immense number, about аa hundred, which had been

prepared, not above ten or a dozen were set on fire or

sent down against our vessels at Canton. Some, how

ever, were sent adrift against the Alligator, at anchor

near Howqua's Fort.

These fire -rafts were ingeniously constructed to effect

their object, being composed of boats chained together

in twos and threes, so that, drifting down with the

stream , they might hang across the bows of a ship, so

as not to be easily got clear. They were filled with all

kinds of combustible materials. Numerous junks and

smaller boats were barely seen in the distance higher

up the river, said to have a large body of troops on

board, for the purpose of trying to board our ships

during the confusion which it was expected would take

place. But the moment they found that they were

likely to meet with a warm reception, they did their

best to get away again as fast as they could.

The Nemesis ran up at full speed towards the fire

rafts, in order to assist the boats of the squadron in

towing them away. Many of them , however, drifted

fairly on shore, and set fire to the suburbs of the town,

causing much greater alarm to the Chinese than they

did to those whom they were designed to annihilate.

It was a grand spectacle, in the sullen darkness of the

night, to see these floating masses of fire drifting about

the river, and showing by their own reflected light thie

| Boats of the Calliope, Herald , Modeste, Pylades, and Algerine.

B 2

‫‪04--1‬ސ‪.,)،‬‬ ‫‪1‬‬





um ✓



Roots ,





FROM 1840 TO 1813 ;











Cilliam ]


enn L , R. N.







Cal BY



VOL . II .




1844 .

376162 13

! 30944










Chinese fire -rafts at Canton - First alarm — Premature discovery

Nemesis and boats of advanced squadron -- Fire- rafts sent against the

Wellesley at the Bogue — Night engagement at Canton — Suburbs set

on fire - Shameen battery captured – Narrow escape of Captain Elliot

- Nemesis ordered to chase the Chinese flotilla—Destruction of thirty

five junks and fifty fire -boats by Nemesis and boats of the squadron

Discovery of the landing - place at Tsingpoo, and report thereon by

Captain Herbert, on the 22nd March — Captain Belcher's report on

the following day — Curious scene — Sailors with tails — Pillage and


Destruction of the factories by Chinese soldiers and the mob - Account

of the imprisonment of the Americans - Are carried before the criminal

judge -- Removed to the ruined factories — Our troops come to their

rescue -

- Captain Elliot's proclamation to the Chinese people - Calls

upon them to drive the authorities and the troops out of the city

Arrangements for the advance of our forces from Whampoa 1


Canton and its neighbourhood — City walls—Palaces of the Mandarins

-Forts upon the heights — Preparations for the advance of our troops

from Whampoa - Important general order — Browne's passage, or the

main branch the Canton river - Chinese boats collected to convey

the troops — Chinese trade stopped — Departure — Flotilla towed by

Nemesis — Right column lands at the factories Left column towed

up to Tsingpoo — Importance of iron steamers — Advantage in landing

troops — Reconnoissance by Sir Hugh Gough - False alarm — Naval


operations on the 24th, 25th, and 26th May, before Canton — Shameen

Fort attacked— Narrow escape of Captain Herbert and Captain Bethune

-Arsenal captured—French Fort and other works stormed 18


Engagements upon the heights of Canton - Number of men engaged

-Description of the forts — Dispositions for the attack—Chinese threaten

Tsingpoo - Defeated by a party led by Captain Hall — Forts captured

on the heights - Entrenched camp burned Morning of the 26th of


May — Critical moment. Flag of truce displayed, and terms proposed

by the Chinese — Preparations for the assault — Truce concluded — Dis


appointment — Tartar troops leave the city — Demonstrations by the

armed peasants — Tremendous storm — Critical position of the sepoys

Their rescue - Preparations to restore the forts— Our troops re - embark

on the 1st of June — Observations on the truce — The ransom -money a


droit of the crown - Opinion of Vatel 34


Return of all our forces from Canton - Sickness breaks out - Death

of Lung-wan and of Sir Le Fleming Senhouse-Buried at Macao — Re

marks on Hong Kong - Its extent and position — General character of

the island - Influence of the monsoons. Contrast between the islands

near the Canton River and those of Chusan — Clarke Abel Smith's

observations on Hong Kong in 1816 — Why it is preferred to Lintao

- Causes of unhealthiness - Mean temperature of July, 1843 — Re

marks on the prevailing sickness - 55th regiment


West- point bar

racks abandoned — Notices of the southern side of the island— Chek

chew — And Skekpywan — Comparatively healthy - Site for a naval

yard recommended — Rivalry of Macao— Wonderful progress of Hong

Kong— First land -sale — First house built September, 1841 — Descrip

tion of Victoria at the present time — Public works and institutions -

Projected fort — Question of future tenure of land — Quit- rents - Public

press of the colony 62


General remarks — Future government of Hong Kong - Prospects of

the opium -trade — Sir Henry Pottinger's proclamations — Attempts of

Americans to enter China in orposition to the Mandarins — Visit to


Chang -chow - Mutual surrender of criminals — Account of the great

Typhoon — Superstitions of the Chinese — Dreadful destruction - Dis

tressing scenes—Danger of the two Plenipotentiaries — Presence of mind


of Captain Elliot - Wreck of the Louisa — Imminent danger and narrow

escape -Nemesis renders assistance, after the typhoon — Narrow escape

of the Starling — Arrival of Sir Henry Pottinger and Sir William Parker

from England 91


Arrival of reinforcements - Sir Henry Pottinger's first proclamation

-Announcement to the authorities at Canton — IIis refusal to see the

Prefect — Dismay of the great man in consequence Good effect upon

the Chinese — Preparations of Sir William Parker for advance upon

Amoy - Departure of the fleet from Hong Kong - Captain Elliot and Sir

Gordon Bremer leave for England — Notices of Amoy Situation and

appearance of the town —Description of its defences — Their great extent

- Island of Kolingsoo - Attempts to negociate — Reply of the Plenipo

tentiary - General order of Sir Hugh Gough -- Orders against plunder

ing - Attack commences 26th of August - Positions of ships against the

batteries -- Landing of the troops —· Party from the Nemesis joins the

advanced guard of the 18th — Captain Hall the first upon the walls

Personal combat — The long fort captured - Kolingsoo taken - Accident

to the Nemesis Occupation of the city on the 27th - Curious scenes —

Boldness of Chinese plunderers — Evidences of infanticide — Harassing

duties—Tiger soldiers — Description of Kolingsoo - American missionaries

- Remarks on the prospect of OPENING CHINA BY MISSIONARY ENTER

PRISE — Errors to be guarded against - Garrison left on Kolingsoo

Our troops quit Amoy - Re- embarkation 113


Mercantile spirit of Amoy - Character of the people — - Enterprising

colonists — English compelled to abandon their factory, owing to extortions

- Prospects of future trade - Capabilities of Amoy — Great trade with

Formosa - Dutch once settled there — Question of an English settlement

on the Bonin Islands — Their character and position-Notices of Formosa

-The last Tartar conquest — Chinese colonization - Settlement of the

Dutch — Their expulsion from the island - Productions — Great trade

with Amoy - Probable demand for English manufactures — Wreck of the

Nerbudda and Ann - History of the unfortunate sufferers — Their cruel


treatment --Imprisonment - Ty -wan - foo - Inquisitiveness of the man


darins— Strange questions - Horrid details — Hopes raised and disap

pointed — Final tragedy 148



Departure of the fleet from Amoy — Affair of the Nemesis at Sheipoo

-Curious mode of getting a good pilot - Attack upon the forts - Three

war -junks blown up - Chinese troops dispersed — Apathy of the people

generally — Inaccuracy of the surveys of the coast — Alligator Island

Interesting anecdote - Expatriated Chinese — Their wretched life - Ren

dezvous at Keeto Point - A village destroyed in retaliation for murder

Attack upon Chinhae deferred — Reconnoissance of the harbour of

Chusan Remarks on the character and appearance of the island

Its high state of cultivation - Anecdote of mountain husbandry in

Tartary - City and harbour of Tinghai, and its new defences described

Defects of the Chinese system - Reconnoissance of the Nemesis, Modeste,

and Columbine — Preparations for the capture of the defences of Chusan

Positions of our ships — Mortar battery erected on Melville Island

1st of October, 1841 – Debarkation of the troops — Hills carried by the

55th , and long battery by the 18th regiments - Capture of the city -

And measures to prevent the escape of the Chinese — General re

marks 175


Military government of Chusan—Remarks on the town of Tinghai

-The great bell—Notices of Chusan — Not adapted for commercial

purposes —A visit to the interior - Interesting observations of a Chinese

gentleman-Civility of the people — Remarks on our commercial pro

spects in China—Necessity of barter — Difficulties— Preparations for

the capture of Chinhae—Its position - Defences of the Ningpo river

Chinhae captured, 10th of October, 1841 – Military and naval opera

tions, on both sides of the river, described — Suicide of Chinese officers

The Emperor's remarks respecting the Viceroy - Public honours

Attentions of the English to the wounded Chinese - Remarks on Chinhae

and on Chinese inventions—Use of torture and cruel modes of inflicting

death — Burial of murdered Englishmen — Instrument for pounding

women to death — Humanity towards the Chinese prisoners 203


Ningpo river — Reconnoissance of the City - Ningpo occupied with


out opposition — Panic throughout the province - Alarm at Hang -chow

foo - Remarks on the seat of operations.- Chekeang — Importance of

the Imperial Canal — Measures adopted at Ningpo — Ransom demanded

-Chinese plunderers — Bridge of boats , Excursion to Yuyow - Beauties


of the country - Notices of Ningpo- Prize -money - Public granaries

opened to the people — Chinese horses - Pagoda, and panorama of the

country - Aspect of the town - Chinese etiquette - Want of scientific

researches - Taste for English manufactures - Russian cloth manu

factured in England for the Chinese-overland trade - Wood - carving and

varnishing — Sporting excursions — Abundance of game , Chinese trea

chery - Anecdotes — Second visit to Chinhae — View of the battle-field

Amusing incidents — Lady shamming dead-- Infanticide— Visit to Chusan

-Return to Ningpo 231


Expedition to Yuyow - Capture of the City - Treachery - Close of

1841 -- Alarm spreads to Hang -chow -foo — People quitting the City

Expedition of boast of the Nemesis towards Fungwah- Character of the

country described - The Cornwallis at Chusan — Reinforcements begin

to arrive - Expedition to the island of Tai-shan — The Nemesis — Gallant

affair Rumours of a combined attack by the Chinese — Ningpo in


danger - A surprise — Night attack Gallant defence of the City


Repulse of the Chinese - Pursuit and slaughter — Chinese attack Chinhae

-All their plans are frustrated 259


Advance upon Tsekee Horse Artillery — Phlegethon and Nemesis

destroy fire -boats — The Segoan hills — Positions of the Chinese — Tsekee

captured Double attack upon the enemy - Serious conflict — The

heights carried — Flight of the Chinese army - Their retreat harassed

by the fire of the steamers — The Chungkie pass — Return to Ningpo

Chinese kidnappers - Curious caricatures — Remarks on Chinese cha

racter - Discovery of their preparations — Night attack by fire-rafts at

Chusan - Awkward position of the Nemesis— Their plans fail — Dan

gerous accident- Visit to the island of Pooto — Consecrated ground — Its

numerous temples- Beauties of the island - Description - Superstitions

of the people — Remarks on the religions of China 288


'Evacution of Ningpo— Remarks on that city—Its importance as a

place of trade - Former factory - Why abandoned — Jesuit missionaries


first landed there _Their character, and great temporary success — Edicts

against Christians at Pekin – Re-embarkation of our troops at Ningpo

Squadron sails for Chapoo — Position and aspect of the city — Re

connoissance in the Nemesis --Preparations for the attack - 18th May,

1842 — Description of Chinese positions -Our troops land to the at

tack from the Nemesis — Positions of our ships — lleights carried

Obstinate defence of a house by the Tartars — Repeated failures -

Distressing scenes — 18th Royal Irish — Prisoners tied by their tails

-Walls of the city scaled by the 55th_Naval brigade — Anecdotes —

Great attention to the wounded Chinese – Elepoo afterwards thanks

Sir Hugh Gough for his humanity– Notices of the Tartar city and

population – Habits of the Tartars - Never distort the feet of women

Devotion of children to their parents — Beautiful country round Chapoo

-Casualties — Chinese prisoners restored 313


Overtures made by the Chinese - Exchange of prisoners -- Generous

conduct of Elepoo — Anecdote — Our prisoners led through the Chinese


camp— Hong merchants ordered up from Canton— Not received - Ren

dezvous at the mouth of the Yangtze river - Reconnoissance of Woo

sung -Junks laden with iced fish — Mandarins going their rounds


Anecdote of the Nemesis —Woosung river and its batteries described —

Dispositions for the attack - Ships all towed into action by steamers-

Spirited fire of the Chinese - Positions of the ships — Modeste and Ne

mesis roughly handled — Captain Watson's gallantry_War junks and

wheel boats attacked by the Nemesis - Description Proceedings of

the light squadron— Captain Watson lands and attacks the flank of

- Warm reception - Desperate resistance of the Tar

the long battery —

tars - A check — The enemy give way Sir Hugh Gough lands, and

proceeds to capture Paou -shan Advance upon Shanghai — Descrip

tion of that city - A wealthy commercial emporium — Remarks on the

country and character of the people —Chinese Arcadia — Amusing de

scriptions — Tea- gardens - Ice -houses --Bishop of Shanghai - His history

-Sporting — Steamers proceed up the river — Nearly reach Soo -chow

foo-Our forces are again concentrated at Woosung 336


Remarks on the great river Yangtze Kiang - Stoppage of its trade

- Hope of preventing the grain and tribute from passing up the Grand


Canal -— Reinforcements at Woosung - French ships of war — Remarks

- Sir Henry Pottinger's important proclamation, addressed to the

Chinese — The Emperor's proclamation concerning passing events —

Reply to Sir Henry by Niew Kien, the viceroy of Nankin - - Alarm at

Pekin — Extent and importance of the rivers of China - Remarks on

the Amoor, or Sagalin - Sail from Woosung in five divisions —Details

— Aspect of the country — Kiang-Yin - Silver Island — And Golden

Island - Falling greatness — Arrival at Chin -kcang -foo — Its capture,


21st July, 1842 – Tartar garrison List of troops engaged— Plan of at

tack - Major General Schoedde's brigade scales the walls — Spirited resis

tance of the garrison - Lieutenant Cuddy's gallantry — Sir Hugh

Gough and the third brigade prepare to storm the west gate - Unfortunate

affair of the Blonde's boats — Warm reception — Part of them abandoned

with the guns - Attention of the Chinese people to our wounded— Captain

Peter Richards lands from the Cornwallis with Captain Watson of the

Modeste — They scale the walls near the west gate - Spirited affair

Guard -house fired by aa rocket — Tartars driven in - Outer gate blown in

and forced by third brigade — Sharp encounter with the Tartars in the city

-Self-destruction - Horrible scenes -Death of the Tartar general 378


Fever breaks out-Its severity — Blockade of the Grand Canal

Description of that great work — Overflow of the river-Distress of the

people— Fleet of three hundred trading junks stopped— Activity of the

Nemesis — Visit from the mandarin of Esching — Curious scenes on board

the steamer-Coal junks stopped - Abundance of coal found in China ,

Description of it and where found — The Dido and Nemesis— Mode of

procuring supplies — Hospitality of the people at Esching - Friendly in

tercourse at one town while fighting at another — Anomalies of war

Anecdotes of Chinese visiters — Emperor's compliment to the family of

the Tartar general - Garrison left at Chin -keang -foo - Gutzlaff's Pagoda

-Cast iron building one thousand two hundred years old — Passage of the

fleet up to Nankin — Arrival of the imperial commissioners — Attempts to

gain time — Decision of the plenipotentiary - Remarks on the city of

Nankin - Dispositions for the attack —Chinese commissioners yield at the

last moment - Interviews and negociations — Necessary delay - Remark

able report sentby Ke-ying — Exchange of visits — Sir Henry enters the

city-Signature of the treaty — Remarks on our future intercourse with

the Chinese 416



Nankin— Porcelain tower — Description of — Portrait of the head priest

–Tombs of the kings — Colossal statues Figuresofanimals—Antique re

mains —Remarks on the history of the Ming dynasty - Disputes with the

Japanese and Mantchous - How the Mantchous, or Tartars, came to the

throne - Institutions of China preserved after the conquest - Efficient go

vernment - Our forces leave Nankin — Dreadful sickness — Bengal Vo

lunteers - Descent of the river — Forces reassemble at Hong Kong -


Riots at Canton - Character of the people — Origin of the outbreak - Eng

lish ladies in Canton — Patriots - Attack upon the factories - English flag

staff - Arrival of Sir Hugh Gough - The Nemesis - Chinese troops oc

cupy the factories — Correspondence between Sir Henry Pottinger and

the merchants - Critical position - Visit of the Prefect and the Hong


merchants to the Nemesis — Quiet restored-Departure of our forces 451


Departure from Macao — Voyage along the coast towards Hainan - Pi

ratical fishing -boats - Bay of Liengsoy described — Fishing village - Man

darin station — Galong bay —Good shelter - Picturesque country - Yin

lin - kan a beautiful harbour-Entrance into the Lagoon - Discovery of a

river — Excursion into the interior - Appearance of the country— Curi

ous buffalo carts — Cocoa -nut woods — Observations on the people — Vil

lages – Tea -shops – Interesting journey - Party of prisoners and man

darins — An inn by the road side - Stopping the mandarins' chairs and


- -

horses— Civility of the peasants — Return to the boats — Hall's river

Coast of Cochin -China— Phuyen harbour - Description of it — Good -

place of refuge— Appearance of the country - Curious burial- ground

New kind of fishing-boats - Odd contrivance — Arrival at Singapore

Malacca — Its fallen condition -Penang revisited - Moulmein - Remarks

on - Frontier of Birmah— Elephant riding-Remarkable caves — Arrival

at Calcutta — Review at Barrackpore — Conclusion 483


British Squadron in China, at the termination of the war 511

General Regulations of British Trade in China 513

Supplementary Treaty 519





Chinese fire- rafts at Canton - First alarm — Premature discovery -

Nemesis and boats of advanced squadron -- Fire- rafts sent against the

Wellesley at the Bogue — Night engagement at Canton - Suburbs set

on fire - Shameen battery captured — Narrow escape of Captain Elliot

-Nemesis ordered to chase the Chinese flotilla - Destruction of thirty

five junks and fifty fire-boats by Nemesis and boats of the squadron

Discovery of the landing -place at Tsingpoo, and report thereon by

Captain Herbert, on the 22nd March — Captain Belcher's report on

the following day — Curious scene Sailors with tails — Pillage and

Destruction of the factories by Chinese soldiers and the mob — Account

of the imprisonment of the Americans - Are carried before the criminal

judge — Removed to the ruined factories -- Our troops come to their

rescue —Captain Elliot's proclamation to the Chinese people — Calls

upon them to drive the authorities and the troops out of the city

Arrangements for the advance of our forces from Whampoa.

The intense anxiety which took possession of every

one's mind at Canton, on the evening of the expected

attack upon our vessels by the Chinese, as described at

the close of the last volume, has not by any means been

VOL . II . B


exaggerated. The very uncertainty of the plans of the

Chinese served to increase the interest felt, and the ex

treme darkness of the night gave the greatest cause for

apprehension of treachery.

During the early part of the evening complete still

ness prevailed ; nothing whatever betokened an imme

diate attack. It was about eleven o'clock when the

alarm was given. One of the sentries of the Modeste,

which was a little in advance of the other vessels, first

discovered several large dark -looking masses dropping

down with the stream . Being hailed by the sentry, the

Chinese who had charge of them immediately set fire

to the combustible materials which they contained .

The flames, bursting forth suddenly, spread the alarm ,

and pointed out the danger to the other vessels, while

it was still remote. There was a general beat to quar

ters ; steam was rapidly got up on board the Nemesis,

the fires having been lighted early in the evening ; the

anchor was weighed, and , in the short space of NINE

MINUTES from the time the alarm was given, the Neme

sis was under weigh, and under command of the helm.

The premature discovery of the design, before it was

actually commenced, disconcerted the plans of the Chi

nese, and caused them to set fire to the rafts sooner than

had been intended. The derangement of a grand scheme at

its outset embarrasses all the subsequent details, and is

apt to discourage all those who are employed to carry

them into execution . The moment they cease to act in

concert, the failure of every part of the scheme is cer

tain . Thus, on the present occasion, in consequence of

Namely, the Pylades, Algerine, Nemesis, and Louisa cutter.


some of the fire -rafts being ignited too soon , the greater

part of the rest were not ignited at all; so that, out of

the immense number, about a hundred, which had been

prepared, not above ten or a dozen were set on fire or

sent down against our vessels at Canton . Some, how

ever, were sent adrift against the Alligator, at anchor

near Howqua's Fort.

These fire -rafts were ingeniously constructed to effect

their object, being composed of boats chained together

in twos and threes, so that, drifting down with the

stream , they might hang across the bows of a ship, so

as not to be easily got clear. They were filled with all

kinds of combustible materials. Numerous junks and

smaller boats were barely seen in the distance higher

up the river, said to have a large body of troops on

board, for the purpose of trying to board our ships

during the confusion which it was expected would take

place. But the moment they found that they were

likely to meet with a warm reception, they did their

best to get away again as fast as they could.

The Nemesis ran up at full speed towards the fire

rafts, in order to assist the boats of the squadron in

towing them away.? Many of them , however, drifted

fairly on shore, and set fire to the suburbs of the town,

causing much greater alarm to the Chinese than they

did to those whom they were designed to annihilate.

It was a grand spectacle, in the sullen darkness of the

night, to see these floating masses of fire drifting about

the river, and showing by their own reflected light the


Boats of the Calliope, Herald , Modeste, Pylades, and Algerine.

B 2


panic -stricken parties of Chinese who had charge of

them, trying to escape towards the shore, which few of

them were destined to reach. Some threw themselves

overboard, were carried down the stream , and their

struggles were soon ended ; others were shot at random

by our musketry, the moment they were discovered by

our men, betrayed by the light of the fires they had

themselves kindled.

So far the Chinese scheme proved a total failure.

Nor was the attempt more successful upon the Alli

gator, off Howqua's Fort. The attack was to have

been simultaneously made upon all our ships in dif

ferent parts of the river, both at Whampoa and at the

Bogue ; but, owing to some error, or more probably the

premature explosion of their plan at Canton , the attack

on the Wellesley at the Bogue did not take place until

nearly midnight of the 24th, three days afterwards. It

was, however,, well concerted, and very formidable, as it

comprised a flotilla of little less than twenty vessels,

chained in twos and threes ; many of these had gun

powder as well as other combustibles on board . It

was not without great exertion of Commander Fletcher

and the few officers and men remaining on board (most

of them being absent on service under Captain Maitland,

with the advanced squadron) that they were towed clear

of the ship, by the only three boats she had left . In no

instance was any damage done to our ships.

But the plan of the Chinese was not limited to their

exploits with fire- rafts. The new batteries before

spoken of, as having been erected by Yihshan, just

above Canton, towards the river side, opened a heavy


fire upon our ships just when it was imagined they

would have been embarrassed by the fire-vessels. The

artillery now began to roar on both sides, although,

owing to the midnight darkness, it was solely directed


by the flashing of each other's guns.

The Nemesis had now run so close in shore that she

was able clearly to distinguish , by the light of the bat

teries and the reflection of the fire in the suburbs, the

different Tartar officers rallying and encouraging their

men to fight the guns . The two small vessels which

lay off the factories (the Louisa and Aurora ) were at

one time in imminent danger, as the Chinese had actu

ally brought down to the river side a very large gun,

and planted it within good range, to blow them out of

the water. They could not be moved until the tide

turned ; but, by alternately veering out cable and

shortening it in again, so as to alter the range and balk

the Chinese gunners during the darkness, they managed

to escape with trifling damage. In the morning they

were moved out of danger with the turn of tide. At

intervals the firing was kept up until daylight.

All the secretly devised plans of the Chinese were

now fairly disclosed and frustrated, and the chastisement

which awaited them had been commenced ; but it re

quired the light of day to make their discomfiture com

plete, and anxiously was the dawn expected on both


At length the sun rose brightly upon the scene of

midnight encounter; and now the wrecks of the still

burning fire-vessels, the crumbling batteries on shore,

the suburbs of the town in flames, the deserted river,


and some trifling damages on board one or two of our

own vessels, bore witness to what had happened .

The attack upon the Shameen battery was now re

newed, and it was soon silenced by the fire of the ves

sels . A few shot and shell were thrown into the ad

joining suburbs, where the fire had broken out ; but

some of the Chinese soldiers who had already aban

doned their guns, when they found that our men did

not land immediately to take possession of the works,

actually returned and fired another round or two from

the Shameen battery. They were soon, however, driven

out, and eight fine large brass guns were captured .

It was during these operations at Canton that Cap

tain Elliot and Captain Herbert narrowly escaped a

very dangerous accident, which might have proved fatal

to many, had it not been fortunately averted by the

personal coolness and resolution of the captain of the

Nemesis. A Congreve rocket, which had been placed

in the proper tube from which it is fired , and had been

already ignited, accidentally hung within it, instead of

being projected, as intended . In another second it

would have burst in the tube itself, and must have

killed or wounded all those who were standing near it

upon the bridge between the paddle -boxes. With in

stant coolness and presence of mind, Captain Hall put

his arm into the tube and forcibly pushed it out from

behind, although the rush of fire which came out of it

burnt his hand severely and caused intense pain. In

deed it was not done without great personal risk. It is

difficult to calculate what disastrous results might not

have followed , had the rocket burst in the tube, on


board ship. It was long before the use of the wounded

hand was recovered .

Just when all opposition at the Shameen battery had

been overcome, an unlooked-for opportunity occurred of

rendering signal service, by the discovery of the prin

cipal rendezvous of all the fire- rafts and men - of-war

junks, whose place of retreat had hitherto been con

cealed. Every fresh report had confirmed the previous

information that preparations of an extensive kind had

been made by the Chinese higher up the river, but it

was supposed to be at some place much more distant

than was now found to be the case. The first thing

which led to the discovery was the suspicious appear

ance of a large war-junk, which suddenly came out

from behind a point of land some way above the fort.

Having fired one or two distant shots, she again with

drew out of sight.

The Nemesis instantly proceeded in search of the ex

pected prize, under the orders of Captain Herbert, who

was on board. The junk again stole out from her hiding

place, but, the moment she observed the steamer coming

towards her, she made off in all haste up a large creek,

which turned round to the northward. About a mile

or less within this passage, the whole Chinese fleet of

war-junks, fire-rafts, boats, &c., was suddenly descried,

to the number, probably, of more than a hundred.

This was an exciting moment. The Chinese were

thrown into the utmost consternation by the sudden ap

proach of the steamer ; and the more numerous were the

junks and craft of all kinds, the greater was the confu

sion into which they were thrown. The light draught of


water of the Nemesis gave her an immense advantage,

as she could pursue them at full speed, without much

risk of grounding. Every shot now told upon the con

fused mass. The Chinese ran most of their boats ashore,

in order to make their own escape ; others tried to make

their way up the creek , each one striving to pass the

other. Suddenly a small masked battery opened fire

upon the steamer ; but a few round shot, followed by

grape, drove the Chinese from their guns, and served to

disperse a small body of troops, who were drawn up in

the rear . The water soon became too shallow for the

steamer to proceed further, and she, therefore, came to


Some boats from the Calliope and Herald and other

vessels now joined, and, together with the boats of the

Nemesis, continued the pursuit, and destroyed or run

ashore an immense number of junks, fire-rafts, and

fishing-boats of every kind.

About fifty boats were found filled with combustibles,

and were joined eight or nine together, having been

destined to drift down with the tide upon our vessels.

Many of the junks had troops on board, from distant

parts of the empire, intended for the relief of the city.

The scene was extremely animating ; numbers of the

Chinese were scrambling ashore, or clinging to frag

ments of their boats or spars, as they floated about in

the water. Some of the junks were burnt, and others

blown up, but the precaution was taken to examine

carefully every one of them before it was set on fire, in

order to rescue any of the panic -stricken Chinese who

might be trying to find concealment in it. But, in


spite of this precaution, the structure of the junks

afforded so many little hiding-places for the terrified

Chinese, that, as the fires gradually burnt more briskly,

and took more certain effect upon the vessels, several

poor fellows were observed to rush up from below, and,

then unable to support the heat upon deck, to jump

desperately overboard. Some of these swam easily on

shore ; others, who could not swim, remained clinging to

the outside of the junk or to the rudder, until the heat

became insupportable, or the vessel itself blew up. In

this way, some few necessarily perished, for it was not

possible to save them all, owing to the small number of

boats employed on our side, and the large number of

those destroyed on theirs ; besides which, the heat and

danger were often too great to be able to approach near

enough to render timely assistance. Nevertheless, the

loss of life among the Chinese, considering their num

bers, was inconsiderable, as the nearness of the shore

permitted most of them easily to escape.

Thus, in the short space of three hours, forty -three

war-junks were blown up , and thirty-two fire - rafts de

stroyed, besides smaller boats. Some which had been

run ashore were left untouched .

This important encounter produced one very valuable

result, as it led to the discovery of the most desirable

landing-place for our troops, in the projected attack on

the heights of Canton. This spot was distinctly seen

and remarked upon by the different officers on board

the Nemesis, and was particularly noticed by Captain

Herbert, in his report of this affair to Sir Le Fleming

Senhouse, written on the very same day. This is not a


matter of slight moment, because all allusion to this

circumstance was omitted in the public despatch of Sir

Le Fleming Senhouse. In Captain Herbert's report, dated

on the 22nd of May, on board the Nemesis, that officer,

after having described the destruction of the numerous

boats and fire-rafts, distinctly said : — “ their wrecks

are lining both banks of the river nearly close up to

Tsingpoo, the landing -place, from which a good ap

proach appears to lead direct to the north gate of the

city wall, not more than four miles distant, with dry

footing the whole way.” He also intimated that artillery

might probably be brought there. Moreover, while

Captain Hall was lying in bed with pain and fever from

his disabled hand, the general himself and other officers

subsequently came down into his cabin, purposely to

make inquiry concerning the landing -place and the

country about it, such as it had been seen from the Ne


On the following day, the 23rd , the Sulphur, under

Captain Belcher, having with him the Druid's Launch,

and several other boats, proceeded into the same creek,

in which Captain Herbert had found the landing-place

the day before, and destroyed one or two junks and

rafts which had been left the previous day, and some

others which had returned after their first escape. Five

junks and thirteen small boats were destroyed . The

practicable landing - place at Tsingpoo was also reported

on by that officer, and he added that he got himself

hoisted up to the mast -head of a junk, sextant in hand,

to get a look at the country, and observed the enemy


encamped on the verge of a hill, but that he “ had not


the slightest doubt that they would have fled , had he ad

vanced towards the hill .” As it was, however, he was

content with landing at the temple at Tsingpoo, and,

throwing into the river the five guns of the little masked

battery which had opened on the Nemesis the day be

fore, and had been silenced by her fire, but which Cap

tain Herbert had not thought it worth his while to de

stroy, as the war-junks and fire -rafts claimed his more


immediate attention.

Captain Belcher hastened down to the Blenheim the

same evening, and reported what he had done to Sir Le

Fleming Senhouse, “ who,” he says, (see voyage of the

Sulphur, p.184 to 187) “ had been sitting up for him, and

seemed delighted beyond measure at what he heard. ”

To return to the Nemesis, as she came back towards

the factories, from the scene of her exploits at Tsingpoo

on the previous day. The remarks of a gentleman who

was at Canton at the time are curious enough. Speak

ing of what occurred , he says : - “ From time to time

loud explosionswere heard in that direction [Tsingpoo) ;

dense volumes of smoke rose up continually, both black

and white, and announced some terrible work of de

struction. After some time a general cheer burst forth

from all those who were near me, as the Nemesis came

in sight, just rounding the corner on her return , towing

several boats after her towards the Macao passage. It

was an interesting and even ludicrous sight, as she ap

proached, to observe the boats, as well as the vessel

itself, decked out with Chinese flags, the men exhibiting

their trophies with evident pride, some rigged out in

every variety of Chinese dress, from mandarins down


wards ; some with Chinese caps, and others with Chi

nese tails, with which a whole boat's crew were decorated .

Itappears that, when they took prisoners, they merely

cut off their tails, (a mark of deep disgrace to a China

man ) and let them go again about their business.” But

the novelty of the thing was highly amusing to our

Jack Tars, and the idea of wearing a tail a yard and a

half long seemed quite as preposterous, and , of course,

as ridiculous, as if they did not know that tails were

once worn by our own countrymen, and even cherished

with a vast deal of self -satisfied care by our own sailors

and soldiers, though not quite of the true Chinese


But the day was by no means ended yet ; and, indeed,

the business had commenced so early (at dawn) that even

at this time it was little more than eight o'clock. And

now comes a scene of a very different kind. I have

before stated, that the guard of marines had been with

drawn from the factory, and the flag struck on the

previous day. A vast quantity of property had already

been removed, but much still remained, of considerable

value, and much more was supposed to be left behind of

still greater importance. All this became an object of

longing to the mob,, to say nothing of any natural feel

ing of hostility, which was ready to vent itself upon

something or other. Pillage now became the order of

the day. It is said even that a party of Chinese soldiers

were first sent down expressly to search for arms. Of

these they found none ; but there were still enough of

other things to tempt their avarice. They had certainly

the first choice of the booty, although the general mob


speedily joined in the general ransack . Several of the

officers, or low mandarins, were seen to be quite as busy

as the rest of the people, some even carrying away

plunder upon their horses, and others who had none

sending for them on purpose.

Readers who can picture to themselves the long,

gloomy labyrinths of passages, and alleys, and stair

cases, which are comprised within the piles of buildings

called the factories, can well imagine the terrible scene

of riot, destruction , and pillage which was going on ;

yet probably not worse than would have been committed

by an English mob under similar circumstances ; as

Bristol, Birmingham , and other places can testify. There

was a reckless destruction of property which could not

be removed, even after every article of furniture as well

as merchandize had been carried away . Doors and

windows were soon disposed of, and the very staircases

and stone floorings broken up and destroyed .

In the Old Company's or British Factory, the con

fusion was most terrible, because in it there remained

a greater number of valuable objects to destroy. The

beautiful chandeliers and fine looking -glasses were soon

annihilated and carried off piecemeal; and the noble large

marble statue which stood in the great hall served as an

object of especial vengeance, as if it contained within

itself the very germs or symbols of all the barbarian

nations of the earth, and could communicate to them a

portion of the insults now heaped upon it as it lay

prostrate in the hall.

During the whole day, the same mad scene of destruc

tion was continued ; and whatever still defied the hands


of the infuriate mob was at length made to yield to the

consuming power of fire. Not all the thirteen Hongs,

however, were visited with this terrible pillage ; many

of them escaped altogether'; which is somewhat remark

able ; but all those situated between the limits of Hog

Lane and a small creek which runs into the river at the

other end were entirely destroyed , except the bare walls.

Within this space were included the British, together with

the Dutch and the Creek Factories, a very fine and ex

tensive range of handsome buildings.

Towards the close of the day, when the work of de

struction was nearly completed, down came, at length, the

Prefect of the City in person, attended by a large party

of police. He now succeeded in driving away the main

body of the mob, and then gave charge of the factories

to the Hong merchants, to whom all the buildings be

longed, and who took possession of the little that

remained, with the assistance of a number of their own

hired labourers armed for the occasion .

The account given of this day's proceedings by a

highly respectable American merchant, who imprudently

remained behind the night before, is extremely valuable.

Without going into minute details, it will suffice to

mention that Mr. Coolidge was taken prisoner, after

being in great danger of being cut down , and was with

many insults carried into the heart of the city. As he

was marched along, he passed several bodies of soldiers

and coolies, or day -labourers, hurrying down towards

the factories, and dragging guns along with them. As

soon as he came near the head-quarters of the Tartar

general, the crowd and movement increased ; officers of


every grade, grooms and messengers on horseback hur

rying to and fro, executioners and city-guards, together

with strange troops from distant provinces, in every

variety of costume— these were all huddled together,

and jostled in the greatest bustle and confusion .

After some delay, he was carried, with every possible

insult, before the criminal judge, and there, to his horror,

he discovered several of his countrymen , who had been

wounded and captured as they were trying to escape in

a boat down the river. The sufferings and indignities

they now underwent were extreme ; nor did their asser

tion that they were Americans prove of much service to

them, for they were told that, in that case, they “ ought

to speak a different language, and wear a different

dress .”

It is very certain, however, that the Chinese generally

at Canton know perfectly well the difference between

an American and an Englishman, politically. But, on the

other hand, when an Englishman gets into trouble there,

he most commonly declares himself to be an American ;

and how could the Chinese prove that he is not so ? But

the national distinction is perfectly well defined, even in

their own language, as is commonly known ; the Ameri

cans being called the “ people of the flowery flag,” from

the number of stars on it, while the English were known

as the “ red people,” or “ red -haired people,” an appella

tion originally applied to the Dutch traders.

The American prisoners remained in the condition I

have described, exposed to every possible suffering in

the common prison, for nearly two days, when they were

at length turned out, and carried in chairs to the ruined


factories, where they were planted among the ruins, just

as if they had been portions of the marble statue which

had been destroyed .

It was just at this time that our troops landed, namely,

the Cameronians, under Major Pratt (as will be presently

seen ), and, of course, every attention was paid to the

unhappy sufferers ; and, as Mr. Coolidge observes, “ I

cannot tell you with what feelings of good-will we looked

upon every one of those redcoats. "

To return , however, to the Nemesis. Soon after mid

day, while the work of destruction was going on at the

factories, she was ordered to convey Captain Elliot and

Captain Herbert with all speed down to Whampoa, in

order to make arrangements for the hasty advance of

the whole force, which was nearly all there assembled ,

not far from Whampoa. Captain Elliot, however, could

not forego the pleasure of giving a parting proclamation

to the Chinese, even then . He told the people of Canton

“ that their city had twice been spared, but that his

agreement with the three Commissioners had now been

violated by them, by the arming of their forts, and by

their secret preparations to attack the English, who were

the real protectors of the city .” IIe called upon them

“ to remember the hour of battle, and to consider whe

ther the troops of the other provinces now among them

were not the real scourges of the inhabitants ;" and, after

a little more in the same compassionate strain, he wound

up by calling upon them “ to turn out the Commissioners

and their troops from the city within twelve hours,

otherwise that the English would be obliged to withdraw

their protection from the city, and take military posses


sion of it, confiscating all the property to the Queen of

England .”

This must have sounded highly gratifying to the Chi

nese ; quite in the oriental style ; and it was exceedingly

probable that the mob of Canton would have the power,

even had they the will, to turn out about twenty thou

sand troops, together with the high authorities, all in

the twinkling of an eye, by a sort of talismanic “ Open


At Whampoa, a conference was held with the senior

naval officer, Sir Le Fleming Senhouse, and the general,

concerning the immediate steps to be taken ; and, before

dark the same evening, the Nemesis again rejoined the

advanced squadron near Canton , in the Macao passage.

The storm was now gathering thicker and thicker

every hour ; our forces were all by this time concen

trated within a few short miles of the city ; delay was

no longer possible ; and the moment appeared inevitably

come, though long delayed, when the Chinese authori

ties must yield to force, where “ reason ” and negociation

had been tried in vain, and written instruments had

failed .

VOL . II . с



Canton and its neighbourhood—City walls—Palaces of the Mandarins—

Forts upon the heights — Preparations for the advance of our troops

from Whampoa - Important general order - Browne's passage, or the

main branch of the Canton river Chinese boats collected to convey

the troops - Chinese trade stopped - Departure - Flotilla towed by

Nemesis — Right column lands at the factories — Left column towed


up to Tsingpoo — Importance of iron steamers - Advantage in landing

troops — Reconnoissance by Sir Hugh Gough— False alarm — Naval

operations on the 24th, 25th, and 26th May, before Canton - Shameen

Fort attacked — Narrow escape of Captain Herbert and Captain Be

thune — Arsenal captured — French Fort and other works stormed .

A few remarks upon the city and neighbourhood of

Canton, before which our troops are now for the first

time about to appear, ( the previous operations of the

18th March having been entirely limited to the naval

forces) will contribute to the interest of the subsequent

narrative. The city of Canton, or Kwantung, is situated

upon the northern bank of the river usually known by

the same name, though sometimes called by Europeans

the Pearl river, from its Chinese name, Choo-keang.

Its distance from the Bogue is about forty miles.

The scenery around the city is extremely diversified .

On the northern and north - eastern sides it is com

manded by hills, the possession of which by an enemy


must of necessity place the city at his mercy. In other

directions it presents the aspect of a low and abun

dantly -watered plain, cut up by canals and little rivers,

which serve both for irrigation and for communication

with the interior. So numerous are they, that in some

parts nearly a third part of the whole surface is occu

pied by water. The appearance of the country is rich ,

and at most seasons beautifully green, being divided

into rice -fields and little gardens, with here and there a

clump of trees or a small village, or the country resi

dences of some of the wealthier inhabitants of the city,

to diversify the prospect .

About three or four miles to the westward of the city,

and curving round at the foot of the hills which com

mand it, runs the creek or river in which the war -junks

and fire- rafts had been destroyed by the Nemesis and

boats. The excellent landing-place at Tsingpoo, which

had been discovered on that occasion , was very conve

niently situated for the debarkation of troops destined

to attack the heights above the city, which are in fact

the key to its occupation .

The city and its suburbs occupy the whole space be

tween the hills and the river ; the suburbs, however,

being little less extensive than the city itself. The lat

ter is surrounded by a high wall, which has twelve en

trances, and it may be about six or seven miles in cir

cumference . On the south, or river side, a portion of the

suburbs extends down to the water-side ; and in the

western corner of these are situated the foreign facto

ries, and the principal packhouses of the Hong mer

chants, which are partly built on piles on the river's

C 2


bank. On the northern side, the wall rests directly

upon the brow of the hills ; and, indeed, there is a hill

of moderate elevation actually within the walls, the

possession of which would in fact give the command of

the entire city, and which could have been held by a

small force against any troops the Chinese could bring

against it. Another wall divides the city into two un

equal parts, running from east to west, and called the

Old and the New City, the latter being much more mo

dern than the former, but differing from it very little

in appearance. The residences of all the high officers,

the Viceroy, Lieutenant-Governor, Tartar General , and

others, together with a public arsenal, are situated in

the Old City ; but the moment we got possession of the

two forts, called the Dutch and French Follies, we

could command the whole of these places, withont in

any degree endangering the factories, which are at a

considerable distance to the westward in the suburbs.

It is unnecessary to say any thing concerning the

interior of the city, which is believed to contain nothing

very remarkable, except two fine pagodas. The streets,

as usual, are extremely narrow, being mere lanes or

alleys ; and those in the suburbs are in most respects

superior in appearance and cleanliness to those within

the actual city. As Canton lies just within the tropic,

it is subject to great heat in summer ; while , on the

other hand, the cold blasts which come from the high

ranges of mountains in northern Asia are severely felt

in winter.

The heights above the city were crowned with four

strong forts, built principally of brick at the upper part,


but of stone below. They mounted altogether forty-two

guns of various calibre, together with a great number

of ginjals and wall-pieces. Between them and the city

walls, the distance of which varied from one hundred

and fifty to two hundred and fifty paces, there was an

irregular and in some parts deep and broken ravine.

The hill before described as within the circuit of the

walls was also within range of the heights ; and so im

portant was this position afterwards considered by Sir

Ilugh Gough, that he distinctly declared that, with

“ this in his possession, he would have been responsible

that the city should have been spared, and that not a

soldier should have entered the town farther than this

fortified height.”

With these few preliminary observations, we may

now return to the point at which our combined naval

and military forces were all concentrated , below Wham

poa, on the 22d and 23 March, having sailed from

Hong Kong on the 18th and 19th of that month .

An important general order was now issued by Sir

Hugh Gough, preparatory to the advance of our troops

upon Canton. It betokened the true feeling which ani

mated the expedition ; and, while it goes far to refute

the belief that wanton cruelty was inflicted upon the

Chinese, it does honour to the expedition, as primâ facie

evidence of the forbearance with which our power was

exercised . After first alluding to the novelty of the

Chinese system of warfare to the British soldier, as one

making up in cunning and artifice what it lacks in

discipline, and, after recommending extreme caution

against surprise and stratagem , and, above all , the ob



servance of the strictest discipline, Sir Hugh Gough

proceeds to remind his soldiers that “ Great Britain

had gained as much of fame by her clemency and for

bearance as by the gallantry of her troops. An enemy

in arms is always a legitimate foe ; but the unarmed , or

the supplicant for mercy, of whatever country or what

ever colour, a true British soldier will always spare.”

Such was in reality the feeling which animated the

whole expedition ; although the desultory attacks of

the Chinese, and the refusal of many of them to surren

der when all further resistance was useless, sometimes

occasioned aa loss of life which was to be deplored, but

which could not be prevented .

The channel through which our forces were now about

to advance upon Canton was one which had been not

long before examined for the first time, one may even

say discovered, by Mr. Browne, the master of the Calli

ope, Lieutenant Kellett, of the Starling, Mr. Johnson,

the master of the Conway, and other officers. It came

to be called Browne’s Passage, although Mr. Browne him

self called it the “ main branch of the Canton river.” It

runs to the southward of French Island, towards the Macao

passage, and is a much more important branch of the river

than that which runs along the northern side of that

island,which was first explored in the Nemesis by Captain

Herbert and Captain Elliot, and along which our vessels

had proceeded to the attack of the Macao Fort, as before

described . A glance at the accompanying map will suf

fice to render intelligible the course of all the branches

of the river in the neighbourhood of Canton.

In Captain Herbert's report to Sir Gordon Bremer,


in the middle of March, referring to some of these pas

sages, he stated that “ boats from the Calliope, Herald ,

Hyacinth, Sulphur, and Starling, had on several occa

sions explored the channels in the south branch of the

river, from Danes’ Island upwards, and that they had

found a safe and deep passage for vessels drawing six

teen feet water up to the city of Canton, except two

bars, which it required high water to pass . ” Mr. Browne

and Lieutenant Kellett, with the boats, had proceeded

along the channel between Danes' and French Islands,

and then entered the passage, which runs along the

southern side of the latter.

The Chinese had commenced preparations for the

defence of these channels at several points ; there was a

battery of ten guns, another of fourteen, and one of four

guns, in the passage between the two islands, or French

river, which was too small for ships to pass through it.

Other batteries were also found in the so-called Browne's

Passage, one of which was calculated to mount thirty

seven guns . Indeed, in all the branches of the river, batte

ries were found, some partially, some completely, finished .

At one of these, a little above the last mentioned , there

were not less than forty guns ready for mounting, newly

cast, and with quite new carriages. But the Chinese

offered no resistance ; and, on one occasion, Lieutenant

Kellett invited the mandarin in charge of one of these

forts to come and breakfast with him, presuming that

he had more appetite for food than for fighting.

Mr. Browne and Mr. Johnson made a good rough sur

vey of the whole of this important channel, in which

there was found to be depth of water sufficient for our


largest transports, to the distance of about ten miles.

Even a line-of -battle ship, the Blenheim, was carried up

nearly as far as the transports ; and hence the beginning

of the passage along the southern bank of Danes' Island

obtained the name of the Blenheim Reach . It is here that

our largest merchant ships have since usually anchored.

The 23rd of May was occupied, as might be expected,

in completing the necessary preparations for the con 2

veyance of our troops, marines, small-arm men, and

camp -followers, up to the city of Canton . It was the

general wish of the officers of the expedition that the

attack should take place on her Majesty's birthday, in

order that a salute might be fired in honour of the occa

sion from the heights of Canton , and that the roar of

our artillery should announce the success of our arms,

and the avenging of our honour, while it celebrated our

loyalty, and the love of our country. Captain Herbert

even assured Sir Le Fleming Senhouse, in a letter dated

the 22nd, that “ he had no reason to doubt that, if the

general should think fit, our forces could be in posses

sion of the city the day after to-morrow, that is, on the

Queen's birthday, the 24th . ” This, however, was found

to be impracticable, owing to the great difficulty expe

rienced in collecting boats enough to convey the whole

force up to the city ; and it was not until noon of the

24th that our forces could commence their advance.

In the mean time, Captain Belcher had been directed

to collect as many Chinese boats as possible higher up 1

the river, and to send them down with the tide. Gra

dually they had been dropping down from the direction

of the city, until, at length, there were enough collected


for the conveyance of two thousand men, besides camp

followers, stores, and materiel of all kinds. At the

same time, with a view to embarrass the Chinese as much

as possible, orders had been given that all the native

trading -boats should be detained ; that none of them

should on any account be permitted to go down the

river, under any pretence whatever ; and, above all, that

all the salt-junks should be stopped . In the course of

a few days, no less than one hundred and forty -one

trading -junks, of every description, were brought-to,

and detained in the neighbourhood of Napier's Fort, and

at the Naval Arsenal below the city ; they comprised

little less than ten thousand tons of shipping, manned

by about one thousand one hundred Chinese sailors.

The sudden stoppage of this considerable trade could

not fail to make a deep impression upon the whole

people of Canton . No injury, however, was done to any

of the trading -vessels, which were all suffered to depart

without further molestation, the moment the authorities

of the city had agreed to Captain Elliot's terms.

Before our troops finally advanced upon Canton, Sir

Hugh Gough and Sir Le Fleming Senhouse went up in

person to make a careful reconnoissance, and particu

larly with a view to assure themselves of the practica

bility of the landing-place at Tsingpoo.

At length, soon after noon on the 24th, every prepa

ration for the advance was completed. Such a curious

collection of boats was perhaps never before seen, from

the tea or cargo-boat, which traverses the rivers to the

interior of the country, to the more humble fishing-boat,

which plies in the neighbourhood of Canton . Many of


them were curious specimens of boat-building, but they

answered extremely well for the purpose required.

The troops were all embarked in two columns, of

which the right was destined to hold the factories, and

was taken up in the Atalanta steamer. It merely con

sisted of the 26th Cameronians, less than three hundred

strong, together with an officer and twenty men of the

Madras Artillery, with one six-pounder gun, and one

five and a half -inch mortar. Thirty sappers, with an

officer of engineers, were also attached to it ; it was

under the command of Major Pratt, of the 26th regi

ment. The left column comprised the main body of

the force, which was destined to carry the heights above

the city, being divided into four brigades. An account

of these will be given in its proper place.

To the Nemesis was entrusted the charge and the ho

nour of carrying or towing up the whole of this column ,

together with the camp- followers and attendants of

every description, ( in this instance reduced to the

smallest possible number) which always accompany our

troops in the east. The enormous flotilla of boats, in

cluding, of course, those belonging to the men -of-war,

necessarily retarded the progress of the steamer very

much, particularly in the more intricate parts of the

river. As she advanced, numerous boats from our ships

were picked up, until their number could not have been

less than from seventy to eighty ; hanging on behind

each other, and following in the wake of the long, low

steamer. It was altogether a very animating scene.

The numerous flags, the curious appearance of the

boats, the glitter of the arms and accoutrements, and


the various uniforms of the men , could not fail of pro

ducing a very exciting spectacle. There was not the

slightest confusion ; and, the hope of being soon masters

of the City of Canton, added to other circumstances,

rendered the expedition intensely interesting.

On board the Nemesis were the forty -ninth regi

ment ; together with Major-General Sir Hugh Gough

and his staff, Sir Le Fleming Senhouse, and Captain

Elliot, accompanied by Mr. Morrison. Captain Bour

chier, who was to have the honour of commanding the

naval brigade, and several other officers, were also on

board . The decks of the steamer were crowded . Slowly

and steadily she advanced, dragging after her the long

tail of boats, a more numerous flotilla than any steamer

had yet towed.

The Chinese must have been perfectly well informed

of the approach of the force; and, had they not been

already panic-struck by the lessons they had so recently

received, they might have occasioned great annoyance,

and perhaps loss, to our troops, exposed as they were in

boats, by firing on them from the banks of the river, in

places where they would have been themselves under cover.

No opposition of any kind, however, was offered.

In the mean time, the Atalanta reached her desti

nation at the factories more expeditiously, and the

right column was landed before five o'clock, without

opposition ; when Major Pratt immediately set about

strengthening his post, and making the necessary dis

positions, either for defensive or offensive operations, as

circumstances might require.

It was now that the unfortunate Americans were dis


covered, in the wretched plight before described, in the

midst of the ruins of the factories in which they had

been turned loose, as it were, like beasts, after the indig

nities they had suffered.

It was just dusk when the left column, towed by the

Nemesis, reached the destined point of debarkation at

Tsingpoo, where the Sulphur was already at anchor.

By this time it was too late in the day to do more than

land the forty -ninth regiment. This was easily effected,

as they could walk on shore directly out of the steamer,

without the necessity of using boats, or causing any

delay whatever. Here again, as in so many other in

stances, the advantage of this description of steamer

was clearly shown. She had a great deal of deck-room

for troops ; while she could run closer in shore than

other vessels, because she drew so little water. Indeed,

Captain Hall never hesitated , when the service would

probably be forwarded by it, to run the bows of the

ship on shore at full speed, wherever there was a soft

bottom, merely dropping a kedge or small anchor astern,

to assist to work her off again. In this way, troops

were sometimes made to walk on shore in shallow

water, when otherwise great delay would have been

caused by having to wait for boats. More commonly,

however, a long stage or platform , made for the purpose,

was run ont from the bows of the vessel, for the men to

land . In this manner as many as a thousand men have

sometimes been landed very rapidly, when no boats could

have been procured, or not without delay and difficulty .

During the rest of the evening of the 24th, and in the

night, the guns, ammunition, and stores were also


landed , but the remainder of the force did not disem

bark until the following morning. As soon as the forty

ninth were landed, they took possession of a large

temple, or, so called , Joss-house, near the landing-place.

The general lost no time in making an extended recon

noissance as soon as he had landed, under an escort of

the forty -ninth. A few straggling parties of the enemy

were met with, who occasionally fired a random shot,

sufficient to point out that they were at hand, and ready

to cut off any unlucky straggler ; but no serious oppo

sition was met with .

From a rising ground at no great distance, a general

view of the enemy's positions could be gained. It was

now evident that they had already taken the alarm, and

they threw up some of their small harmless rockets by

way of signal, to show that they were on the alert, but

made no movement in advance. Sir Hugh Gough was

in reality at this time perfectly unacquainted with the

nature of the country he would have to pass over on the

following day, as well as of the difficulties he might

have to encounter ; but, with the utmost confidence in

the steadiness and perfect discipline of the little force

under his command, he felt assured that no difficulties

could check them. Neither could the amount of the

enemy's force be at all ascertained, respecting which

there were various conjectures, probably in most in

stances exaggerated .

The Chinese system of warfare had not yet been ex

perienced, and it was, in fact, the first time that Euro

pean troops were about to undertake operations in

China, beyond the cover of our ships. The Chinese had


been known to declare that, if they could get us away

from our ships, they had full confidence that they would

be able to beat us in fair fight ashore. They were now

soon to have an opportunity of putting their prowess to

the test. It was now the first occasion on which a

British general officer had commanded in China ; and it

was the first opportunity which that general had ever

had of witnessing the gallantry of British seamen and

marines in service on shore, and of bearing testimony

to their steadiness and discipline, and to the value of

their co-operation. He afterwards expressed himself

in general orders, in reference to the naval brigade

under Captain Bourchier, to the effect “ that it would

always be a matter of proud recollection to him that he

had had them under his orders.”

During the night there was a false alarm of aa threat

ened attack by the Chinese upon the temple ; but, if

ever intended, no attempt of the kind was made. Our

soldiers again lay down to take a soldier's rest, the half

waking slumber of a wary foe .

While our troops had thus advanced upon Canton on

the 24th, Captain Herbert, who was stationed at Wham

poa with the Calliope, Conway, Herald , and Alligator,

was directed to push up the river with the flood - tide,

with such vessels as could proceed, or with the boats of

the ships, by the direct, or Whampoa passage, and en

deavour to secure the naval Arsenal opposite the city.

It was left to his own judgment to attack the French

fort below the city, or not, according to circumstances .

At the same time, another part of our force, consisting

of the Hyacinth, Modeste, Cruiser, and Columbine, had


taken up a position near the factories, under Captain

Warren , who had been directed to secure the Dutch

Fort, and to use his own judgment as to an attack upon

any other of the defences which were known to have been

recently constructed. The possession of the Dutch and

French Forts would give us complete command of the river

front of the city, and of the palaces of the high authorities.

Captain Herbert lost no time in pushing up the river,

with the boats and marines of the ships before men

tioned ; while Captain Warren, having ordered the

Nimrod and Pylades to attack the Shameen Fort, (which

had been re- armed by the Chinese) proceeded to place

the Hyacinth, under his own command, abreast of the

factories, in order to cover the landing of the twenty

sixth regiment from the Atalanta .

In the mean time, the Modeste, Cruiser, and Colum

bine, took up a position to attack the Dutch Folly if

necessary ; but it was found to be unarmed .

As soon as the twenty-sixth regiment had landed at

the factory, the Atalanta and Algerine (which had now

joined the squadron) were ordered to move down the

river as far as possible. The Atalanta unfortunately

took the ground, where she remained for several days,

and was got off with difficulty.. The Algerine, drawing

but little water, was able to go over the reef, which is

abreast of the Dutch fort, with a strong ebb-tide. She

then took up her berth between the Dutch and French

follies, and only one hundred and fifty yards distant from

a heavy sand battery, which she engaged single-handed,

none of the other vessels being able to come up to her

support. The battery mounted eleven very heavy guns,


and the Algerine was frequently hit. The pinnaces of

the Hyacinth and Modeste were sent to help to shift her

berth, but this was impossible, owing to the strength of

the tide. Lieutenant Mason, who commanded the brig,

with instant determination now pushed off in his gig, and,

accompanied by the two pinnaces, dashed ashore and car

ried the battery with great gallantry, but not without

meeting with strong resistance, in which Mr. Fitzgerald ,

of the Modeste, fell mortally wounded , together with one

seaman killed, and fourteen seamen and marines wounded.

Some of the Chinese guns were ten and aa half inch. Cap

tain Herbert and Captain Bethune endeavoured to push up

from Howqua's Follyat sunset, but were stopped by a shot

from the French Folly , which went through Captain Her

bert's boat, and the heavinessof the fire compelled the boats

to take shelter under a point of land for some hours, so

that they were not able to reach the brig until two o'clock,

a.m. During the night several fire-rafts were sent adrift,

but were towed clear without doing any mischief. Thus

ended the 24th of May, and our forces, both naval and

military, might already be said to hold Canton at their

mercy .

A few words more will suffice to complete the descrip

tion of all the naval operations before Canton, before we

turn to the military part of them .

No time was lost on the following morning in securing

the Arsenal, in which were found nearly a dozen large war

junks upon the stocks, and a great many row boats. There

were also twelve large war- junks just finished, lying at

anchor off the Arsenal. A considerable quantity of timber

and stores of various kinds were also captured. The Chinese


had spared neither pains nor expense in the first attack

of our squadron in March, to make every preparation in

their power for the more effectual defence of the city.

Having made a reconnoissance of the French Fort,

and the other defences on that side, Captain Herbert

resolved to carry it without loss of time. The Modeste

was the only vessel except the Algerine which could be

got across the bar at the Dutch Folly, and that not

without great difficulty, having been warped over the

reef at high water. The Atalanta was still aground ; and

the guns of the Algerine not being sufficiently heavy,

Captain Herbert ordered shell-guns to be fitted in three

of the captured war-junks, to assist in the attack upon

the French Folly .

The gun -junks were placed under the direction of

Lieutenants Haskell and Hay, and , together with the

Modeste and Algerine, opened upon the French Fort and

the long line of works connected with it on the morning

of the 26th . The Chinese soon began to give way, and

Captain Bethune immediately landed with the storming

party, and gallantly carried the works. There were alto

gether sixty-four guns, some of large calibre, four being

ten and a half inch guns. Thus the whole of the river

defences of Canton were at length in our possession, at

the same time that the heights above the city had been

carried by our troops under Sir Hugh Gough .

Having thus anticipated a little, in order to give a

short connected outline of the operations of our squadron

in front of the city, we may return to the landing -place

at Tsingpoo, from which our troops were about to ad

vance upon the heights on the 25th of May.

VOL . II . D



Engagements upon the heights of Canton — Number of men engaged

Description of the forts — Dispositions for the attack-Chinese threaten

Tsingpoo — Defeated by a party led by Captain Hall—Forts captured

on the heights - Entrenched camp burned Morning of the 26th of

May — Critical moment - Flag of truce displayed, and terms pro

posed by the Chinese — Preparations for the assault - Truce concluded

-Disappointment — Tartar troops leave the city - Demonstrations by

the armed peasants — Tremendous storm Critical position of the se

poys — Their rescue Preparations to restore the forts -- Our troops

re - embark on the 1st of June — Observations on the truce — The ran

som -money a droit of the crown - Opinion of Vatel.

A detailed account of the military operations upon

the heights of Canton could be furnished only by a

military man , himself an eye-witness of what took

place immediately around him. The following con

cise description, however, taken from the personal

remarks of several who were present, and from public

documents, will suffice to keep up the interest of the

reader in the connected account of our operations in

China .

It will be remembered that the twenty-sixth regi

ment, together with a few of the Madras artillery, and


sappers and miners, were posted at the factories, and,

therefore, took no part in the engagement on the heights

on the 25th, although they joined the head -quarters

afterwards. The whole force actually engaged on that

day, under Sir Hugh Gough, including the marines and

the naval brigade, amounted to very nearly two thou

sand four hundred men . But the actual number of

bayonets in the field was only about one thousand five

hundred . The artillery comprised a body of four

hundred men, with four 12-pounder howitzers, four

9-pounder field-guns, and two 6-pounder guns ; also

three five and a half inch mortars, and one hundred

and fifty -two 32-pounder rockets .

The naval brigade, commanded by Captain Bourchier,

comprised four hundred and three small-arm men ; so

that, when added to the marines, it is evident that full

one-third of the force employed on the heights was sup

plied by the different ships of the squadron, viz . , eight

hundred and eleven men . In proportion as these were

withdrawn from their respective ships, the duty to be

performed by those who remained on board became the

more severe .

Sir Le Fleming Senhouse entrusted the command of

the naval brigade to Captain Bourchier, as it was the

express wish of Sir Hugh Gough that the senior naval

officer should join his staff, and remain at his side

throughout the day, instead of leading the brigade in

person. It was divided into two battalions, one led by

Captain Maitland of the Wellesley, and the other by

Commander Barlow of the Nimrod . The whole force

was divided into four brigades, and was directed to

D 2


move left in front. The details given below will render

further comment unnecessary .

At daylight on the morning of the 25th the whole of

the troops were landed . The Nemesis, Sulphur, and

Starling remained at anchor close to Tsingpoo ; and

small detachments of the 18th and 49th regiments, and

of the 37th M. N. I. , amounting altogether to between

seventy and eighty men, were left posted at the Temple

before described, in order to secure the landing, and



THE 25TH OF MAY, 1841 .

All other

Officers. ranks

Left Brigade, under Lieutenant Colonel Morris.

H. M. 49th Regiment, commanded by Major Stephens . 28 273

Furopean 11

37th Madras Native Infantry, Captain Duff . Native . . "45} 15 215

European 2

Company of Bengal Volunteers, Captain Mee . Native .. 3 } 4 112

47 600

Tbird, or Artillery Brigade, under Captain Knowles, R. A.

Royal Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Spencer 2 33

Madras Artillery, commanded by Captain Anstruther 10 231

Sappers and Miners, commanded by Captain Cotton 4 137

16 401

Second, or Naval Brigade, under Captain Bourchier.

1st Battalion, Captain Maitland ........ 117 27 172

* } 403

231 S

2nd Battalion, Commander Barlow ..... 16

27 403

First (right) Brigade, under Major General Burrell.

18th Royal Irish, Lieutenant Colonel Adams 25 495

Royal Marines, Captain Ellis ..... 9 372

34 867

Total , Officers....... 124

Other ranks.... 2271 .

Grand total ......... 2,395 .

N. B. It is to be remarked that the company of Bengal Volunteers,

coinprising one hundred and twelve men , had only two European officers.


prevent any attempt at surprise on the part of the

Chinese. This precaution afterwards proved to have

been very judicious.

From a hill, a little above the landing-place, a good

view of the enemy's positions could be obtained ; and , a

little beyond that, a line of hills led directly up towards

the rear of the forts above the city, at the distance of

between three and four miles. The ground was irregu

lar and much broken by hollows, partially cultivated

and laid out in rice-grounds. The labour of dragging

the guns was therefore very great; and , indeed, two of

the twelve-pounder howitzers and two of the nine

pounder guns were not got into position upon the

heights until the following day . The other two, how

ever, and also the six-pounders, together with the rocket

battery, were brought up with the troops, with some la

bour and difficulty .

Of the four forts, two were situated not far from each

other, near the north -western angle of the city walls, on

which side is the hill which is enclosed within the walls,

and which, in the event of the capture of the city itself,

it was the intention of Sir Hugh Gough to occupy

strongly, as being the key to the possession of the

whole city. The other two forts, which might be called

the Eastern forts, were situated upon the heights, at

some distance to the eastward of the other forts, nearly

facing the centre of the city wall . One of these was

some way in advance of the other, but not quite so

near the wall , which it fronted , as the nearest of the

western forts was to the angle of the city walls on that



The weather was extremely sultry during the whole

of the 25th , which much fatigued the men before the

close of the day, and laid the foundation for sickness,

to which many afterwards fell victims. The troops

were directed to advance along the brow of the hills in

echellon of columns ; and, as soon as the artillery could

be got up , the guns opened upon the two western forts

which were nearest, and from which the Chinese had

already commenced a spirited fire. They also threatened

an attack upon the right, by large columns, which ap

peared to debouche from the western suburbs.

Our attack upon the two western forts was entrusted

entirely to the naval brigade, under cover of the guns

and rockets ; and, at the same time, the left brigade,

under Lieutenant-Colonel Morris, was to advance and

carry the nearest of the two eastern forts (which was

also the rearmost in relation to the town ) ; while the

first brigade, under Major-General Burrell, having car

ried a hill in their front, upon which a body of Chinese

were posted , and which flanked the advance of the left

brigade, was to push on and carry the principal eastern

fort, cutting off the communication between the two, at

the same moment when the 49th made their attack upon

the nearest fort.

As the two brigades advanced together, there was

some little rivalry ( the strictest discipline being pre

served) between the 49th and 18th regiments, as to

which should have the honour of commencing the attack

upon the two forts. The 49th, having the advantage of

a shorter and perhaps rather better road, got the lead,

which they maintained , so that the left brigade carried


BOTH the eastern forts before the 18th came up, and

with little loss.

The two western forts were at the same time gallantly

carried by the brigade of seamen, who were exposed to

a heavy fire of ginjals, wall-pieces, and matchlocks, from

the city walls, by which they suffered some loss.

Thus, in the space of little more than half an hour

from the time the advance was sounded, the heights

which overlooked the city were in our possession, and

the British flag waved in triumph upon all the forts

which commanded the city. The Chinese seemed little

inclined to come to close quarters as our troops ad

vanced, and they were soon driven out of the forts,

making the best of their way down the hills in confusion.

While our troops were thus engaged upon the heights,

the Chinese threatened an attack upon the landing -place

at Tsingpoo. Their object might have been either to en

deavour to cut off the retreat of our troops from the

heights, or else to get possession of the stores, &c. which

had been left behind. A considerable body of the Chi

nese sallied out of the western gate of the city, from

which a narrow , irregular causeway led down to the

landing -place at Tsingpoo.

This movement being immediately observed from the

heights, orders were sent down by Sir Le Fleming Sen

house, at the suggestion of Sir Hugh Gough, for some

of the officers of the vessels at anchor there to land with

their men , and assist in the defence of the place . These

orders were delivered to Captain IIall ( the Nemesis being

nearest in shore) by an officer of the Blenheim, sent on

purpose. Preparations had already been made on board


with this object, and Captain Hall lost no time in land

ing with half bis crew , the other half remaining at quar

ters on board, under Lieutenant Pedder. Two officers and

some men also landed from the Sulphur, and a few from

the boats of the Blonde. There were twenty-eight men

and two officers (besides Captain Hall) from the Neme

sis ; about fourteen men and two officers from the Sul

phur ; and eighteen men and two officers from the Blonde :

altogether sixty men and seven officers.

Having landed and formed, they immediately joined

the small body of troops which had been stationed at the

Joss-house to protect the guns, stores, &c. , which had

been left behind . They were commanded by Lieutenant

Grant, of the 49th, and consisted of thirty men of that

regiment, thirty of the 18th, under Lieutenant Cockburn ,

and fourteen of the 37th M.N.I., under Ensign Anqui

telle. Lieutenant Grant had got his men under arms

the moment the alarm was given ; and, perceiving a body

of about two hundred and fifty Chinese skirmishers ad

vancing in extended order, he moved out to meet them ;

when within about fifty yards, he poured in a smart fire,

by which many of them were killed, and drove them

back upon their main body , who were drawn up in close

column, about four hundred strong (regular troops),

behind a bridge some distance off, upon which they had

planted three field -pieces. The blue jackets having now

joined, a flank attack upon the enemy was proposed,

but Captain Hall instantly led the way, at the head of

Names of officers : Captain Hall, Mr. Whitehurst, and Mr. Gaunt,

Nemesis ; Mr. Goss and Mr. Hooper, H.M.S. Sulphur; Mr. Rolland and

Mr. Lambert, H.M.S. Blonde.


his men, directly down the causeway , towards the

bridge ; and, under cover of an excellent fire from the

Nemesis and Starling, the whole column attacked the

Chinese in front, and were received with an ill-directed

fire of grape and curious rocket arrows, by which two

men were slightly hit.

The Chinese were driven from their guns, and endea

voured to rally behind some houses in their rear, but

they soon made a hasty retreat towards the town,

closely pursued for some distance by our men. But it

was not thought prudent to follow them within range

of the ginjals upon the city walls, as no good purpose

could be effected by it, and some loss might have been

suffered . About thirty of the enemy were supposed

to have been killed and wounded . The three field

pieces were spiked ; and the houses near the bridge, in

which a quantity of military stores were found, were

set on fire.

It is worthy of notice, that this little spirited affair,

although officially reported to Sir Le Fleming Senhouse,

was never specially mentioned in any of the public

despatches ; an omission which at that time created

some surprise.

To return to our movements upon the heights . During

the greater part of the day, a spirited fire was kept up

from the city walls, by guns, ginjals, and matchlocks ;

which made it necessary to keep the men under cover

as much as possible.

In the rear, and a little to the eastward of the forts

occupied by the 18th and 49th, was a high bill, which ,

in fact, was the key to the whole position, but it was


not fortified. There was, however, a large joss-house

upon the top of it, which was occupied by a detachment

of the 49th regiment. Upon the low ground to the

eastward of this hill, and between it and a large en

trenched camp, situated upon rising ground close to the

suburbs, was a village occupied by Chinese troops.

Frequent communications were passing between it and

the entrenched camp, in which there appeared to be not

less than three or four thousand men .

The enemy were soon dislodged from the village by

the 49th, and dispositions were made by Sir Hugh

Gough to carry the entrenched camp by assault. Seve

ral high officers had been observed to pass out of the

city , on their way to this camp, and it was evident that

some fresh attack was projected. The 18th were there

fore ordered down from the heights, to reinforce the

detachment of the 49th, together with a few marines,

and Major -General Burrel was directed to carry the en

campment, the only approach to which was along a nar

row causeway. A heavy fire was opened upon them

from guns and ginjals upon the north -eastern face of

the city walls, to which the men were «unavoidably ex

posed as they advanced . The Chinese seemed to have

got the precise range of the causeway, and some loss

was suffered in consequence. But the enemy were soon

driven gallantly out of the camp, and fled in disorder

across the country. The buildings were then destroyed,

together with several magazines, and the force then re

turned to the heights.

The day was now far advanced , and the men were

much fatigued with the oppressive heat. The steep and


broken nature of the approach to the heights had made

it impossible to get up the heavy guns and ammunition

until the following day. The assault of the city was

therefore deferred ; but Sir Hugh Gough, having made

a careful reconnoissance of the walls and gates, deter

mined to carry them on the following day, while the

panic of the Chinese was still at its height.

On the morning of the 26th, all was apparently quiet

within the city, except that numbers of people were

issuing out of the gates, which were removed from the

scene of action, hastening to carry away with them all

the valuable property which could be easily transported.

Our troops were early under arms, but no farther ope

rations against the city could be undertaken until the

ammunition and the heavy guns could be brought up ;

which, owing to the difficulty of the ground, was not

likely to be effected before noon .

The weather in the morning did not look auspicious,

and before the day was half over rain began to fall in

torrents. Few Chinese appeared upon the walls of the

city ; and at length, soon after ten o'clock, a flag of

truce was displayed from the walls. It is remarkable

how perfectly well the value of the white - flag was re

membered (as before noticed by Captain Elliot) when

ever the Chinese wished to negociate, or to induce

us to suspend our operations ; although they thought

proper to slight it whenever it suited their purpose .

Shortly afterwards the General deputed Mr. Thom , who

was attached to him as interpreter, to advance, and as

certain what the Chinese desired . A mandarin, dis

tinguished by a red button, now stated that they wished



to propose terms of peace, with a view to spare the city,

and that in the mean time there should be a suspension

of hostilities . It was replied, that the General could

treat with no other officer than the Chinese commander

in-chief, his equal in rank ; that the British forces had

come before Canton much against the wishes of the

English nation, but were compelled to do so owing to

the insults offered to the British subjects, and the bad

faith of the Chinese high officers ; that they might,

therefore, address their requests to Captain Elliot, who

was with the advanced squadron in the river, before the

city ; and that two or three hours would be allowed for

them to communicate with that officer, and also to ar

range an interview between the English and the Tartar

General ; but that if, within that period, no satisfactory

communication should be received , the white flag would

be struck .

These overtures, on the part of the Chinese, led to no

immediate result. Sir Hugh Gough waited more than

four hours before the white flag was struck, and even

then the Chinese did not lower theirs.

During the remainder of the day, and in the course

of the night, by the unwearied exertions of the Royal

and Madras Artillery, assisted by the Sappers and

Miners, all the guns and ammunition were got up, ex

cept one 12 -pounder howitzer, the carriage of which

had been disabled . During the whole of this time, the

rain fell heavily, which much increased the necessary

labour, and added to the privations of the men , who either

bivouacked or were partially sheltered , as best they could .

The truce, if it could be so called, was of some use to


us, as it gave time for the completion of all the prepa

rations for the assault, which was to have taken place

at eight o'clock on the following morning. Our bat

teries were to have opened at seven o'clock, and it was

expected that the parapet of the walls, which was high,

would have been reduced by the concentrated fire of our

guns. The walls were not less than twenty-eight to

thirty feet high, and were separated from the heights,

from which they were in some parts less than two

hundred paces distant, by an intervening glen .

The broken nature of the ground was peculiarly

favourable for the several attacks which were designed ;

and as soon as a lodgment had been made upon the

walls, the different columns of attack were to unite,

and make a rush at the fortified hill, which, as before

described, was situated within the walls, and com

manded the interior of the city. The attack was to

have been made in four columns, of which the right,

consisting of the royal marines, under Captain Ellis,

was to blow open the north gate with powder-bags ;; but

if that attempt failed they were to escalade a circular

work thrown up as a defence to that gate. The second

column, composed of the blue jackets, under Captain

Bourchier, were to escalade the wall a little beyond

the circular work, where its height was not so great,

under cover of musketry. At the same time, the 18th

Royal Irish, uuder Lieutenant-Colonel Adams, were to

escalade the wall close to the seven-storied pagoda,

under cover of our batteries on the heights above. The

assault was also to be covered by the Bengal volunteers,

and part of the Madras 37th , N.I. Further to the left,

46 A TRUCE .

the 49th, under Lieutenant-Colonel Morris, were directed

to carry a sort of bastion, in front and within range of

the largest and nearest of the forts upon the heights,

of which we had got possession the day before. Sir

Hugh Gough’s principal object would then have been to

occupy the fortified hill within the walls, upon which a

heavy fire of shells and rockets was to have been kept

up, during the assault of the walls.

Every arrangement was thus made which could en

sure the certain and speedy capture of the city, with

little loss on our side. What then must have been the

chagrin and disappointment of the general and all his

officers, when, soon after six o'clock, just as the final

orders were given, and the batteries were about to open,

a letter from Captain Elliot was put into the General's

hands, which announced to him that a truce had been

agreed to, and that further operations must therefore

be suspended. It barely arrived in time to stop the

assault of the city, which was on the point of being

commenced . Under these circumstances , as Sir Hugh

Gough observed, “ whatever might be my sentiments or

feelings, it was my duty to acquiesce, and therefore the

attack was countermanded, and the feelings of the Chi

nese were spared.” To this he added that he had no

means of judging of the policy of the measure . Disap

pointment, vexation, and the conviction that the line of

due forbearance had been a little overstretched, now

took possession of every man's mind ; for it was the

general belief that nothing short of the capture of the

city could make such an impression upon the authorities

as would lead to a satisfactory settlement.


If any further doubt upon the subject remained, it

was finally set at rest by the arrival of Captain Elliot

in person , at the camp, about noon . From that moment

all idea of further hostile operations against the city was

abandoned .

Shortly before Captain Elliot's arrival, Sir Hugh

Gough had held a short conference, accompanied by

Sir Le Fleming Senhouse, with the Tartar General in

person , outside the walls, in a tent pitched for the pur

pose. The result was of little importance, as it was

already known that terms had been negociated by Çap

tain Elliot.

It could not be doubted that both Sir Hugh Gough

and Sir Le Fleming Senhouse were exceedingly averse

to granting any terms to the Chinese until our troops

should have got possession of the city, and established

themselves upon the fortified hill within the walls , which

would have secured our troops against any possible sur

prise or treachery, and would have exercised a salutary

moral effect upon the government, without causing any

wanton damage to the town or annoyance to the people.

In fact, it could not have failed to humble the pride of

the Chinese, when they knew that a large garrison of

foreign soldiers had made themselves masters of one of

the principal cities in the empire, supposed to contain

nearly a million of inhabitants.

Various stories were current, concerning the mode in

which the ransom of the city was first proposed . One

of the most credited accounts was that the Hong mer

chants were ordered by the authorities to go and make

terms for the ransom of the town , in some way or other,


under pain of severe displeasure or punishment. It was

said that they were authorized to go as far as ten mil

lions of dollars, if aa less sum would not suffice; but on

no account to return without effecting the object. They

must have known that they would themselves have to pay

the greater part of the amount, and naturally wished to

make the best bargain they could .

It is said that, in the first instance, they pulled along

side one of our men -of-war, and offered three millions for

the ransom of the city. As they evidently appeared to

be in a hurry to make a bargain of some sort or other,

they were told that a much larger sum would be re

quired . Four millions were then proposed, and then five

millions ; and, at length, in great trepidation and with

many protestations of poverty, they raised the offer to

six millions. In the first instance, they were scarcely

thought to be in earnest, but, as the thing now really

looked serious, they were directed to go and confer with

Captain Elliot. It was not difficult to persuade him to

grant a truce until twelve o'clock the following day, the

27th ; and , in the intervening time, terms were defini

tively agreed upon.

The twenty -four hours' truce, in the first instance,

was quite unknown to Sir Hugh Gough, to whom an

officer of the navy had been sent in the afternoon to

convey the information ; but, having missed his way and

wandered all night, he only reached the head -quarters,

as before stated, within half an hour of the time the

batteries were to open. The fact of the truce having

been granted was now sufficient to account for the Chi

nese having continued to display the white flag from the


walls the preceding day, after it had been lowered by

Sir Hugh Gough upon the heights.

As it had been stipulated that the Tartar troops

should leave the city and retire to a distance of sixty

miles from it, a conference was held on the 28th be

tween Sir Hugh Gough and the Prefect of the city, in

order to make arrangements for the evacuation of Can

ton . It was now ascertained that the force amounted

to no less than forty -five thousand men , from distant

provinces, besides those troops which belonged to the

province itself.

It may at first sight appear extraordinary that, with

so large a force at the disposal of the authorities, they

should have shown so much willingness to listen to

terms. On the other band , it might be thought judi

cious on our part that we availed ourselves of an ad

vantageous opportunity to avoid the exposure of a

handful of men , in the assault of a town garrisoned by

so large a body of troops. The fact was, however, that,

as soon as the heights which overlooked the town were

in our possession , the whole place was completely at

our mercy. It could have been easily bombarded, if

necessary, and this was dreaded by the Chinese ; nor

could their numerous but undisciplined masses have

withstood our combined assaults upon the walls of the

city. Having once gained the hill within the walls, no

force the Chinese could have brought against us would

have been able to dislodge our troops .

The Tartar soldiers were allowed to march out with

their arms and baggage, but without displaying their

banvers, and without music .


VOL . II .


So far then the authorities appeared to have perfect

control over the people of the city, and over the troops

belonging to other provinces which formed the garrison.

But beyond the city it was not so easy for them to

exercise the same degree of authority, particularly as

regarded the armed peasants. For some time, the

peasantry of the province, particularly in the neighbour

hood of the city, had been encouraged to form them

selves into societies, or patriotic bands, as they were

called , for mutual defence against the foreigners. They

constituted a sort of rude military ; but, having inex

perienced leaders and no discipline, they were calculated,

if once their passions were roused, to become much more

troublesome to the province itself than they were for

midable to the enemy. They were poorly armed , every

man according to his own taste, with spears, swords,

a few matchlocks, and shields. With perfect ignorance

of military affairs, and without any knowledge of the

resources of the enemy they were to encounter, they

believed that, by mere force of numbers, and a show of

courage at a distance, they could effect that which even

their regular Tartars had been totally unable to accom

plish. Yet they were held up to the nation at large, by

the government, as models of patriotism and self-devo

tion ; and so impressed were they with the high value

of their proffered services, that they really believed the

high officers had betrayed their trust in acceding to

Captain Elliot's terms for the ransom of the city ; and

that the anxiety of the inhabitants to save their own

property had induced them to make unreasonable con

cessions, at the very moment when they (the patriots)



were advancing to exterminate their enemies by falling

upon their rear.

It is therefore not surprising that, two days after the

city had been ransomed, namely, on the 29th, a consi

derable body of these men began to collect upon the

heights, about three or four miles in the rear of our

positions. Their numbers continued to increase through

out the day ; and Sir Hugh Gough, being fully prepared

to expect some act of treachery or bad faith under cover

of a flag of truce, directed Major General Burrell to

take charge of our positions , and to hold every man in

readiness to repel any attack from the city, while he

himself advanced in person to meet and disperse the

enemy, who now shewed themselves.

The 26th regiment, under Major Pratt, which had

occupied the factories until the 27th, had been brought

up to Tsingpoo by the Nemesis on that day, and had

joined Sir Hugh Gough upon the heights. The force

which the general now took with him comprised that

regiment, the 49th, except one company left at the joss

house on the heights, the 37th M.N.I. , and the company

of Bengal Volunteers, supported by the Royal Marines.

These two latter were to be held in reserve , so as to be

in readiness to return towards the heights, and act upon

the flank, should any attack be made from the town

during the absence of so large a portion of our force.

The Chinese had descended from the heights in the

rear upon which they had first appeared , and had taken

up rather a strong position behind an embankment along

the bed of a stream ;; they appeared to number about

four thousand men . The 26th regiment, which had not

E 2


yet been engaged, supported by the 37th M. N. I. , were

ordered to advance and drive them from this position,

which they effected without any loss. Like most irre

gular troops, the Chinese patriots could not act together

in a body, but took to flight, throwing away their spears

as soon as a well-directed fire was opened upon them.

They attempted to rally for a moment at a sort of mili

tary post in their rear, but they did not make a stand.

The buildings were immediately destroyed, together

with a magazine, which was unexpectedly found in the

adjoining village. The Chinese retreated to the heights

upon which they had first appeared.

Sir Hugh Gough, having then directed the 49th and

Bengal Volunteers to fall back upon our original posi

tion upon the heights, remained to watch in person the

movements of the Chinese, with the 26th and the 37th

M. N. I., amounting together to between five hundred

and six hundred men ,

The heat of the sun this day was excessive ; it was

so sultry, that both officers and men suffered great ex

haustion ; and Major Beecher, the deputy quarter

master-general , whose exertions had been unremitting

throughout the previous days, fell down and almost im

mediately expired ; several other officers also fell sick.

Within two or three hours after the first repulse of

the Chinese, they again collected upon the heights in

greater numbers than before, fresh bodies of them having

now come up with banners, &c. , amounting to from seven

thousand to eight thousand men .

Captain Knowles, of the artillery, who had been or

dered to bring up some rockets, now threw them, with


great precision, among the Chinese, but without being

able to disperse them ; indeed , they appeared determined

to shew a bold front ; and the general , therefore, di

rected Major Pratt, with the 26th , to attack a large

body of them , who had descended from the heights to

some rice - fields on his left. Captain Duff, with the

37th M. N. I., supported by the Bengal Volunteers,

was also directed to advance and disperse a large body

in his front, who had attempted to reoccupy the military

post which had been already burnt; they were then to

push forward towards the hills, and clear them of the


These manœuvres were executed with complete suc

cess, the Chinese being dispersed at all points. The

37th M. N. I. , however, pushed on rather farther than

had been intended, and got separated from the Bengal

Volunteers. Captain Duff had , however, detached a

company to open his communication with the 26th, who

were at some distance on his left. But the day was now

far advanced ; and the thunder -storm , the approach of

which had been surely indicated by the extreme sultri

ness and oppressive heat of the morning, now burst

upon them with inconceivable fury. The thunder roared,

and the rain descended in torrents, so that the firelocks

got wet, and scarcely a single musket would go off.

The 26th were, in consequence, frequently compelled to

charge with the bayonet ; for the Chinese, who hovered

about them, seeing that they could not use their fire

locks, came boldly up to attack them with their long

spears, which are formidable from their length. After

several repulses, the Chinese at length withdrew ,


and our troops were directed to return to their posi

tions .

It was on this occasion, and in the midst of this ter

rific storm, in the dusk of evening, that the gallant con

duct and steadiness of the company of the 37th M. N. I.,

which, as before-stated, had been detached to open a

communication with the 26th on their left, saved them

from total destruction, and won for them the praise of

all military men. The story has been so often told, and

with so little variation in its details, that it is scarcely

necessary to repeat it ; a few words will do justice to

their gallantry. The detached company having missed

the road during the storm, did not succeed in joining

the 26th, who, in the mean time, had, in fact, retired .

Their muskets were found completely useless, owing to

the wet, which emboldened the Chinese to attack their

rear with their long spears, as they had done the 26th.

They were soon surrounded , and one or two of the men

were pulled over with a long crooked spear, something

in the shape of a small reaping -hook fixed upon a long

pole. The musket of one of the men who had fallen

was picked up by the Chinese, the powder being so

damp in the pan that it would not go off with the flint

and steel. The Chinese soldier, however, deliberately

placed the musket to his shoulder, and, taking steady

aim at one of the officers, Mr. Berkeley, applied his

match to the damp powder, which ignited, and the mus

ket went off, and unfortunately wounded Mr. Berkeley

in the arm .

The gallant little company of Sepoys were now

moved to some rising ground, where they could better


defend themselves. For a moment the rain ceased, and

then with the utmost difficulty they were enabled to get

a few muskets off, with unerring effect upon the dense

mass of Chinese who surrounded them . But fortune

was determined to prolong their trial still . The rain

again descended in torrents, just as they had begun their

retreat; and the Chinese, taking fresh courage, resumed

their attacks. Nothing now remained but to form a

square, and stand true to each other, until the morning

dawned, and enabled them to fight their way through

the enemy.

The absence of this company, when all the rest of

the force was concentrated , caused great anxiety con

cerning their fate. It was rightly attributed to the

severity of the storm ; but it was feared that they might

possibly have been cut off by the Chinese.

Without loss of time, Sir Hugh Gough ordered up

two companies of marines, who were comparatively

fresh, and armed with percussion-muskets, to return

with Captain Duff in search of the missing company.

As they advanced they fired an occasional shot, as a

signal to their comrades of their approach , and to ani

mate their spirits. At length an occasional shot was

heard ahead of them, and they soon afterwards came

up with the missing company, drawn up in a square,

surrounded by thousands of Chinese. A couple of vol

leys sent into the midst of the confused crowd, by the

unerring percussion -muskets' of the marines, accompa


Only two of the purcussion -muskets of the marines missed fire,

although they had been loaded two or three days before, without having

been discharged since. The men belonged principally to the Blenheim ,

under Lieutenant Whiting.


nied by a loud “ hurra ,” dispersed them with great loss.

They fled in confusion .

The General's own words will best do justice to this

little incident : “ The Sepoys,” says he, “ in this critical

situation, nobly upheld the high character of the native

army, by unshrinking discipline, and cheerful obedi

ence ; and I feel that the expression of my best thanks

is due to Lieutenants Hadfield and Devereux, and En

sign Berkeley, who zealously supported them during

this trying scene. ”

They did not, however, escape without some loss, as

one private was killed , and one oflicer and fourteen men

were severely wounded.

This open hostility of the Chinese, during the opera

tion of a truce, could not be permitted to continue; and ,

moreover, it was evident that no good purpose could be

attained by merely dispersing these irregular bodies of

the Chinese. Accordingly, on the following morning,

the 31st, the General sent to inform the Kwang- chow

foo , or prefect, that if these hostile demonstrations were

continued, he should be under the necessity of at once

hauling down the flag of truce, and of recommencing

hostilities against the city . Nor was this threat by any

means uncalled for. In the course of the day, before

any further arrangements had been made with the Pre

fect, who promised to come and meet the General and

Captain Elliot under the walls, the Chinese again col

lected upon the hills, displaying their banners, & c. , and

firing off their guns .. Detached parties were also thrown

in advance, as if they had some design of communica

ting with the Tartar troops, who, to the number of



7000, had already marched out of the city, and were

still moving .

In the afternoon, the number of Chinese had still

further increased, upon the same hills upon which

they had appeared the day before. At length the Pre

fect arrived , and assured the General that the move

ments of these peasants were quite without the know

ledge or sanction of the authorities, and that he would

immediately send off an officer of rank to order them

to disperse to their homes. It was agreed that one of

our own officers should also accompany him , to endea

vour to effect this object by their joint efforts ; and

Captain Moore, of the 34th Bengal N.I., volunteered to

undertake this hazardous and responsible duty . Some

treachery might possibly have been intended, although,

as there was reason to believe, without the sanction of

the Prefect, who was, personally, at that time, com

pletely in our power. These irregular bodies were at

length induced to disperse, and no further collision

took place .

It is impossible for us to know exactly what commu

cation was made by the Chinese officer, to the heads of

these patriotic bands ; but it was thought that the peo

ple did not withdraw altogether owing to the conviction

that their efforts would be useless against us, but

because they were bound to obey the orders of the

Prefect. At the same time, they really believed that

they had been betrayed by their own anthorities, and

were ready to unite again, whenever occasion offered,

with some confidence of success .


During all the operations upon the heights, the

greater part of the wounded were brought down and

put on board the Nemesis, where they received every

attention from the surgeon of the vessel, and particu

larly from Mr. Peter Young, who was then on board

merely as a volunteer. The Nemesis was employed to

convey them daily to their respective ships and trans

ports. The total number of casualties amounted to fif

teen killed, and one hundred and twelve wounded ;

among the latter were no less than fifteen officers. The

Chinese must have suffered very severely, as almost every

shot told upon their heavy masses.

Upon the heights of Canton forty -nine guns were

captured, besides a great number of ginjals. But if we

reckon all the guns taken and destroyed in the Canton

river, and its numerous branches, from Chuenpee to

Canton, they will be found to amount to not less than

twelve hundred pieces, besides ginjals, &c.

The resources of the Chinese seemed endless, and the

rapidity with which they erected batteries and field

works was not a little remarkable. It cannot be said

that they yielded without first making the most stren

uous efforts to defend all the approaches to Canton ;

and they were rather wanting in skill, and the know

ledge of the best mode of applying their abundant

resources, than in courage or determination to resist.

The Chinese are capable of becoming a formidable

enemy ; and we cannot forget that, like the Russians,

who were once so easily conquered, they may soon learn

the art of war from their conquerors, and become for


midable from the experience which their first disasters

taught them .

On the 31st of May, nearly 18,000 Tartars had

marched out of Canton , according to the terms agreed

on . Five million dollars had also been paid, and secu

rity given for the other million which was still to be

paid . Preparations were therefore made, at the request

of Captain Elliot, for the re-embarkation of our forces,

and their withdrawal from before Canton. With the

assistance of eight hundred Chinese labourers, who were

furnished for the purpose by the Prefect, the guns,

ammunition, and stores, were brought down to Tsingpoo

on the morning of the 1st of June, under a strong

escort, and the British flag having been lowered in the

forts upon the heights, the whole of our force was re-em

barked in the afternoon, under the superintendence of

Captain Bourchier and Captain Maitland. They were

again conveyed or towed by the Nemesis down to their

respective ships.

Sir Hugh Gough particularly noticed the absence of

excess of every kind which distinguished the men during

the eight days they were on shore. Although placed

in situations where temptation was abundant, only two

instances of drunkenness occurred during the whole


The treaty, or perhaps rather the truce, which had

been made, by no means implied the conclusion of peace

between the two nations ; it had reference solely to the

city and river of Canton, the whole of the forts and

defences of which were to be restored to the Chinese as

soon as the ransom had been paid ; it was, however,


stipulated that they were not to be re-armed “ until

affairs between the two countries should be finally set

tled . ” Accordingly , as soon as our forces, both mili

tary and naval, had been again concentrated at Hong

Kong, preparations were immediately recommenced

for the resumption of the projected expedition against


With respect to the ransom of Canton, it is scarcely

now necessary to revert to the vexed question, as to whe

ther it was to be considered as prize-money, or to be

viewed in the light of a contribution. The former view

of it was long entertained by many of the officers of the

expedition, and the golden hope was cherished that it

would be so viewed elsewhere. It was certainly not

regarded in that light by Captain Elliot, who accepted

the ransom for the use of his government, as a desirable

means of relieving the city from the “ pressure from

without.” Under any circumstances, it was merely a

droit of the crown. The opinion of Vatel is very sim

ple and conclusive.

“ • The sovereign alone,” says he, “ has such claims

against a hostile nation, as warrant him to seize on its

property, and convert it to his own use. The soldiers,

or auxiliaries, are the instruments which he employs

in asserting his rights ; and they have no more right to

the booty than they have to the conquests. But, at

present, most nations allow them whatever they can

make on certain occasions, when PLUNDERING is allowed .

The sovereign may grant the troops what share of booty

he pleases ; but, instead of pillaging, a more humane

and advantageous mode has been adopted, that of con


tributions. Thus the enemy's subjects, by consenting

to pay the sum demanded of them, have their property

secured, and the country is preserved .”

The six millions were evidently intended by Captain

Elliot to be received in the light of a contribution ,

according to the sense in which the word is used by

Vatel .




Return of all our forces from Canton - Sickness breaks out Death of

Lung- wan and of Sir Le Fleming Senhouse — Buried at Macao— Re

marks on Hong Kong -- Its extent and position — General character of

the island - Influence of the monsoons - Contrast between the islands

near the Canton River and those of Chusan — Clarke Abel Smith's



observations on Hong Kong in 1816 — Why it is preferred to Lintao

-Causes of unhealthiness – · Mean temperature of July, 1843— Re

marks on the prevailing sickness — 55th regiment — West - point bar

racks abandoned — Notices of the southern side of the island — Chek

chew - And Skekpywan - Comparatively healthy - Site for a naval

yard recommended — Rivalry of Macao — Wonderful progress of Hong

Kong - First land -sale - First house built September, 1841 - Descrip

tion of Victoria at the present time - Public works and institutions

Projected fort — Question offuture tenure ofland - Quit - rents — Public

press of the colony.

In the first week in June, all our ships of war and

transports had left the Canton River, and were again

assembled at Hong Kong. All the forts from Chuenpee

upwards had been restored to the Chinese, without any

other stipulation except that all those below Whampoa

should be suffered to remain in statu quo.

The Emperor seems to have been much displeased

with the latter part of this agreement ; and , in reply to



the memorial of Yih -shan upon the subject, his majesty

directed that “ secret means of defence should be pre

pared as soon as the foreign ships had withdrawn from

the river, and that they were then to build new and

strong forts, and repair the old ones . ” On our side ,

however, nothing of this kind was permitted below

Whampoa ; so that , until the ratifications of the treaty

of peace had been actually exchanged , the whole of the

defences of the Bogue remained in the same dilapidated

state in which they were left when our squadron quitted

the river in June , 1841 .

Sickness had already begun to prevail among our

troops before they had reached Hong Kong. The eight

days' exposure which they had endured upon the heights

of Canton sowed the seeds of ague and dysentery, which

proved far more formidable enemies to us than any troops

the Chinese could bring against us. After the lapse of

a few days, and when the excitement of active operations

on shore, and the cheering influence of hope and novelty

had subsided, the sickness spread among the men with

alarming rapidity, so that, at length, out of our small

force, no less than eleven hundred men were upon the

sick-list at Hong Kong. Part of this alarming state of

things must be attributed certainly to the pernicious

influence of the atmosphere of Hong Kong itself at that

season of the year. But every allowance must be made

for the exposure which the men had undergone at Canton,

and for the susceptibility of constitution produced by

long confinement on board ship. The germs of disease

were planted in their bodies before the men returned to

the harbour of Hong Kong ; and therefore an undue


stress was laid at the time upon the unhealthiness of

Hong Kong itself. We shall revert to this subject more

particularly hereafter ; but it is worth while here to

mention that the three Imperial Comuissioners laid par

ticular stress upon the known unhealthiness of the

neighbourhood of Canton at that season, as a ground

for the impossibility of keeping any large body of troops

long together. They assured the Emperor “ that it was

difficult to pitch so much as a camp there, for, between

the heat and moisture, if the troops remained long toge

ther, there was sure to be a great deal of sickness. ”

Now, if this was the case, as regards the natives of the

country, or with regard to Chinese soldiers brought from

distant provinces, how much more forcibly will the ob

servation apply to foreign troops, who had been long

cooped up on board ship !

It happened, remarkably enough, that two of the high

officers died as nearly as possible at the same time, one

on the part of the Chinese, and one on our side. Lung

wan , one of the imperial commissioners, died of fever at

Canton about the middle of June, and Sir Le Fleming

Senhouse, the senior naval officer, also died of fever at

Hong Kong on the 13th of that month .

Sir Le Fleming Senhouse had partaken of all the pri

vations of the troops on shore, and exposed himself on

every occasion in which his zeal and example could

serve the cause . He was, moreover , undoubtedly chag

rined at the unlooked -for termination of his labours by

a truce, the provisions of which , right or wrong, scarcely

accorded with his own views of the exigencies of the

moment. All these causes combined, acting upon a


not over-strong constitution, sufficed to hurry him by

sickness to his grave. On the 17th his remains were

removed to Macao, according to a wish which he had

expressed before his death ; as if he retained a lurking

doubt whether Hong Kong would not some day or other

be restored to the Chinese. The Nemesis was employed

upon this melancholy occasion, to carry over his re

mains. At Macao the body of the gallant veteran was

buried, with all the honours due to his rank, in the

English burial-ground . The procession was formed by

Captain Elliot, Sir Hugh Gough, and Captain Herbert,

(as the senior naval officer) followed by at least

seventy naval and military officers, and by nearly all

the British and foreign residents. The Portuguese go

vernor also attended , with all his staff, and the Portu

guese guard fired three volleys over the grave of the

lamented officer.

The loss of Sir Le Fleming Senhouse and other

officers, as well as a good many men, and the prevailing

sickness on board all the vessels of war and transports,

at length threw a gloom over the whole expedition,

which was hardly to be relieved until the expected

movement upon Amoy should take place ; this was ac

cordingly looked forward to with great anxiety.

The island of Hong Kong, which was originally ceded

to us by the terms of our treaty with Keshen , but, in

consequence of the disallowance of that treaty by the

Emperor, was afterwards only held by us by right of

occupancy during the progress of hostilities, was at

length confirmed as a possession of the crown of Great

Britain, by the ratification of the treaty of Nankin. It



was proclaimed as a part of the British empire, and , to

gether with its dependencies, erected into a separate

colony, on the 26th of June, 1843, under the designa

tion of the “ Colony of Hong Kong . "

It is difficult to ascertain what are the actual de .

pendencies of Hong Kong. They, probably, include all

the small islands immediately adjacent to it , particularly

on its southern side, but, whether Lamma Island is com

prised in them or not, we have little means of judging.

In the proclamation, dated at its capital town , Victoria ,

and published by the authority of Sir Henry Pottinger,

the colony is said to be situated between twenty-two

degrees, nine minutes, and twenty-two degrees twenty

one minutes north latitude ; which would give it an ex

tent of twelve miles from north to south ; so that Lamma

Island, as well as the smaller adjacent islands, would

appear to be included in the dependencies. The extent

of the colony from east to west is not distinctly laid

down, as only one meridian of longitude is given,

namely, 114°, 18 ', east longitude from Greenwich.

The position assigned to the island of Hong Kong in

the maps is, probably, incorrect, as it does not coin

cide with that laid down by Sir Henry Pottinger in the

proclamation. The greatest length of the island itself

is from east to west, namely, eight miles; but the breadth

is extremely irregular, varying from six miles to about

two miles only. A glance at the accompanying map

will sufficiently indicate the peculiar form of the island.

The present capital, Victoria, extends for a conside

rable distance along its northern shore, and, from the

nature of the ground, has of necessity been built in a

wloon Bay






rry ay

Qua B

GreenI R S





the shore ram :

Boul Sokh

der PC

Tytam .H.




AT .


Shingshimoon Pass

Zylam Head

Sea Miles


was proclaimed as a part of the British empire, and , to

gether with its dependencies, erected into a separate

colony, on the 26th of June, 1843, under the designa

tion of the “ Colony of Hong Kong ."

It is difficult to ascertain what are the actual de

pendencies of Hong Kong. They, probably, include all

the small islands immediately adjacent to it, particularly

on its southern side, but, whether Lamma Island is com

prised in them or not, we have little means of judging.

In the proclamation, dated at its capital town, Victoria,

and published by the authority of Sir Henry Pottinger,

the colony is said to be situated between twenty-two

degrees, nine minutes, and twenty-two degrees twenty

one minutes north latitude ; which would give it an ex

tent of twelve miles from north to south ; so that Lamma

Island, as well as the smaller adjacent islands, would

appear to be included in the dependencies. The extent

of the colony from east to west is not distinctly laid

down, as only one meridian of longitude is given ,

namely, 1140, 18 ', east longitude from Greenwich .

The position assigned to the island of Hong Kong in

the maps is, probably, incorrect , as it does not coin

cide with that laid down by Sir Henry Pottinger in the

proclamation . The greatest length of the island itself

is from east to west, namely, eight miles; but the breadth

is extremely irregular, varying from six miles to about

two miles only. A glance at the accompanying map 1

will sufficiently indicate the peculiar form of the island.

The present capital, Victoria, extends for a conside

rable distance along its northern shore, and, from the

nature of the ground, has of necessity been built in a

wloon Bay MAINLAND



Devals reuk

rry ay

Qua B





N LYE M00.




Skeegthong Hoe




der Pt

Tytam H



Bd )



Lytan Shingehimoon Pass

Zylam Head

Sea Miles


very extended , straggling manner. The distance across

to the mainland of China, if it can be so called , ( for

part of the opposite coast is probably an island) varies

considerably. The breadth of the Lyemoon Passage to

the eastward is little more than a quarter of a mile, but

from the town to the nearest point opposite to it is

about aa mile and a quarter, while the greatest breadth

is upwards of four miles.

The roads of Hong Kong and the Bay of Victoria

form an excellent anchorage, having deep water very near

the shore, and only one small shoal having sixteen feet

water upon it. There are, however, two disadvantages

under which it labours : it is exposed to the full fury of

the typhoons whenever they occnr ; and the high moun

tains of Hong Kong intercept the genial breezes of the

south-west monsoon during the hot season, when a

movement in the atmosphere is most necessary, not only

to moderate the sultry summer heat of a tropical cli

mate, but to dissipate the unhealthy vapours which

are generated after the heavy rains which occur, parti

cularly during the night, at that season .

In other respects, the lake-like appearance of the har

bour is beautiful; it forms a sort of basin, lying he

tween the mountains of Hong Kong and the mountains

of the mainland opposite. For this reason, however,

the rains which fall are sometimes excessively heavy :

the dark threatening clouds seem banded across from

one side to the other, pouring down their waters in tor

rents upon the basin between them. The mountain

sides of Hong Kong, steep though they are, occasionally

appear almost covered with a sheet of moving water, so

F 2


torrent-like do the streams pour down their declivities.

To this succeeds the burning tropical sun of July, with

a sort of death-like stillness in the atmosphere, which,

little influenced as it is on that side of the island by

the south-west monsoon , cannot fail, if it last long

without any change, to produce fever and sickness.

Almost all tropical countries are occasionally sub

ject to these visitations ; but, as a proof that Hong

Kong is not always exposed to them , I may be per

mitted to mention that a gentleman who was once at

anchor there, in company with a fleet of full fifty sail

of merchant ships during a period of nine months, in

cluding the whole summer season, assured us that he

observed no prevailingfever or sickness of any kind.

The extremely barren appearance of nearly all the

islands at the mouth of the Canton River, the deep and

rugged furrows which seem to plough up their moun

tain sides, the exposed rocky surface of their summits,

and the absence of soil, except in sheltered spots or

hollows, seem at once to point out that they are situated

within the influence of hurricanes and tropical rains.

In this respect, the contrast between this part of China

and the Chusan Islands to the northward is very re

markable. The latter look as rich and inviting, both

near and at a distance, as the former appear inhospitable

and barren. In the one case, there is an industrious

and thriving population, who contrive to cultivate the

surface of the mountains, frequently to their very

summits, with the greatest care and nicety ; in the

other case, there is a hardy and adventurous popu

lation of fishermen, smugglers, and pirates ; the unwil


ling soil is only cultivated in scattered patches, and the

villages are few , and comparatively of mean appearance .

The southern side of the island of Hong Kong was

visited by the squadron which conveyed Lord Amherst's

embassy to China in 1816 ; and it is, therefore, worth

while to repeat here the observations of Dr. Clarke Abel

Sinith upon that occasion . The bay in which the ves

sels anchored was near the village of Shekpywan, and

was then called Hong Kong Sound . It was described

as “ being formed by several small islands, by which it

is land -locked on every side, and of which Hong Kong

is the principal.” “ As seen from the deck ,” says Dr.

Smith, “ this island was chiefly remarkable for its high

conical mountains rising in the centre, and for a beau

tiful cascade, which rolled over a fine blue rock into the

sea . ”

This was in the beginning of July . The rocks on

that side of the island were found approaching to basalt

in compactness of structure. In ascending the principal

mountain which was near, he followed the course of a

delightful stream , which rises near its summit ; and was

much struck with the extreme barrenness of the sur

face of the mountain, and, indeed, of every part of the

island which he was able to visit. “ Yet at a distance,”

says he, “ it appears fertile, from the abundance of

fern , which I believe to be the polypodium trechoto

mum [of Kæmpfer) which supplies the place of other


By the side of the stream, however, he found several

interesting plants. Among them the Beckia chinensis,

myrtus tomentosus in abundance, and in full flower,


melastoma quinquenervia, and several orchideous plants,

of which he could not determine the varieties . There

were a great number of ferns, but not a single moss of

any description. He adds that he was unable to reach

the summit of the mountain, in consequence of the ex

cessive heat, which at eight a. m. raised the thermome

ter to 830 in the shade, while the sun's rays, to wliich

he was necessarily exposed, darted through an unclouded

atmosphere with an almost intolerable effect, and raised

the mercury to 120°.

On his way down from the mountain, he followed a

path which led over a small hill, or rather mound, differ

ing in structure from the rocks in its neighbourhood,

being composed of very friable stone, of reddish white

colour, much resembling disintegrated felspar. He de

scribes the scenery of the island as composed of barren

rocks, deep ravines, and mountain torrents, with few

characters of a picturesque kind . The only inhabitants

he saw were some poor weather -beaten fishermen spread

ing their nets, and drying the produce of their toils, on

the rocks which supported their miserable huts. Its

cultivation corresponded with the apparent state and

number of its population . Patches of rice, small plan

tations of yams, and a little buck-wheat, were all their

visible means of vegetable support.

As regards the anchorage itself, at what he calls

Hong Kong Sound, naval men described it as affording

admirable shelter for ships of any burden .

Such, then, is all the information acquired at that

time concerning a portion of the southern side of Hong

Kong. Little was it then thought that this very island


would in a few years become a part of the British em


Dr. Smith also made some curious remarks upon the

geological character of a small island, only separated

from it by a channel about one hundred yards broad,

and not extending above three hundred yards in length.

It was entirely composed of granite and basalt, but on

one side of it there was a dyke of basalt passing up

wards through the granite, but separated from it by

three narrow veins, of which one was composed of pure

felspar, and another of a sort of porphyry, consisting of

crystals of felspar in a basaltic base.

The description given above of the general aspect of

Hong Kong may be considered as tolerably correct ;

but, by the increase of its population since that period,

and more particularly after it became a place of resort

for our ships, even before the close of the war,, the ge

neral appearance of the island gradually improved, and

the population became augmented. At the time we took

possession of the island there was little to tempt us to

make a settlement there, except the excellent anchorage

on its northern side, having a passage in and out at

either end , its proximity to the mouth of the Canton

river, and the difficulty of finding any more suitable

place for our purpose.

By many, the larger island of Lintao, a little to the

westward of Hong Kong, was recommended in place of

the latter ; and on one occasion, after we restored

Chuenpee, the greater part of our squadron anchored

off its western extremity. The principal objections to

the occupation of that island were probably its extent,


which would make it more difficult to hold , and would

render a larger force necessary to protect it against

thieves and pirates, as well as against an enemy ; the

more exposed situation of its anchorage; the equal

barrenness of its aspect, without any ascertained ad

vantage of being more healthy ; and I have also heard

it stated that the water is not equally abundant or

good .

At the eastern end of Hong Kong there are capital

stone -quarries, which are worked with skill and facility

hy Chinese labourers, so that building is much facili

tated ; water is also abundant and generally good . A

long range of mountains stretches from one end of the

island to the other, of which the highest point, called

Victoria Peak, is about two thousand feet above the

level of the sea ; and , at the foot of the very mountain ,

part of the town of Victoria (and it would seem also its

most unhealthy part) is built. Now, as this range of

rugged mountains extends from east to west, the har

bour, and consequently the principal part of the town

and places of business lying upon its northern side, it is

self-evident that the influence of the south-west mon

soon , which prevails during the summer months, and is

then most required to dissipate the vapours generated

out of the earth by a tropical sun , can scarcely ever be

felt on the northern side of the mountains. It has even

been remarked that, in all parts of China, places so

situated as to be sheltered from the influence of the

south winds during the summer season , are sure to be


The mere temperature of a place, as shown by the



thermometer, is neither an index to its unhealthiness or

otherwise, nor to the actual sensations produced by it

upon the human body. For instance, at Singapore,

which is situated only about seventy miles from the

equator, the heat is not felt to be excessive, nor is sick

ness prevalent during any season of the year. Yet rain

falls constantly during the night, the grass looks beau

tifully green even in the hottest season, and when

pineapples are to be seen growing wild in the hedges,

and coming to perfection . But Singapore is entirely

open to the southward, and its atmosphere is agitated

and its vapours dissipated by the refreshing sea-breezes

which constantly pass over it.

The mean temperature of the month of July last

( 1843), at Hong Kong, was 88°, the lowest was 840,

and the highest 92°. Hence it appears that the dif

ference of temperature between day and night is much

less than might be expected ; in fact, the lowest tempe

rature was only four degrees below the average tempe

rature of the whole month . On one occasion only it

rose to 92° during the middle of the day , and once only

fell to 8 1° during the night.

But, if the town of Victoria is deprived of the ad

vantage of the south -west breezes during the hot season,

it is fully exposed to the influence of the north -east

monsoon during the winter months. The sudden change

which takes place sometimes in a few hours, in the

months of October and November, is severely felt. In

the beginning of December I have felt the cold breezes

from the northward far more piercing than the hardest

frost in the still atmosphere of northern regions, because


the change is sudden . Hence the practice among the

Chinese of putting on a succession of warm coats, or

wadded pelisses, or taking them off one by one, accord

ing as the temperature changes, is the only safe course

for Europeans to adopt. In fact, all those who visit

Hong Kong, or take up a lengthened residence there,

must be provided with clothing adapted to the extremes

of temperature, and be cautious not to defer the changes

of costume too long ; they should rather err on the side

of too much than too little clothing.

Now I am upon the subject of the unhealthiness of

Hong Kong generally (to which subject, however, I

shall again revert), I cannot omit to mention that the

sickness has by no means been limited to those who

resided on shore, but has to a very great extent afflicted

those also who remained on board ship. Nor did it di

minish so rapidly as had been expected (during the past

year, 1843), as the season advanced and the tempera

ture diminished . On the contrary, after being in a

great measure arrested at the commencement of No

vember, it seemed to acquire fresh virulence towards

the latter end of that month. A private letter, dated

November 3d, says, “ The men -of -war are reducing

their sick lists. The Cornwallis has now only one hun

dred and four; the other day she had one hundred and


sixty under the doctor's hands. ” Another letter, dated

the 28th of the same month, says, “ The sickness is

again as bad as ever . Each ship loses a man daily.

Among the troops on shore how many are lost ! Many

gentlemen who have been sick, and are now recovering,

are starting off for England, for health's sake .”


Health committees have been established, and it is

hoped that some good may result from their investiga

tions. All parts even of the northern side of the island

are not equally unhealthy ; and it must be remembered

that a place may be very unhealthy one year, and be

comparatively free from sickness the following year.

It is also remarked that the occurrence of a typhoon

(though in other respects much to be dreaded) tends

materially to improve the healthiness of an otherwise

sickly place, by the violent phenomena, barometrical

and electrical, which it produces, and by which all na

ture is affected .

Hitherto the western and eastern extremities of

Victoria Bay seem to have proved most unhealthy to

Europeans, the centre being less so. The left wing of

the 55th, quartered at West Point barracks, lost one

hundred men between June and the middle of August

last; and at length the place was abandoned, and the

rest of the men sent on board ship. At the recommen

dation of a health committee, the ground in the neigh

bourhood was ordered to be levelled and well drained .

This essential measure will doubtless be resorted to in

other situations ; indeed, it would be a matter of the

highest importance, if possible, to prohibit the cultivation

of rice by the Chinese upon any part of the island .

Wherever rice is grown, particularly within or verging

upon the tropics, there must be more or less unhealthi

ness . If compensation were thought requisite, to reim

burse the Chinese proprietors for the loss of their crops,

the amount would be small in comparison with the ad

vantage gained. But, in reality, where the rice-grounds


(which, after all, are very limited) had been properly

drained , they might be adapted to the cultivation of

other productions equally necessary for a population

numbering so many Europeans, and less likely to be

prejudicial to the health of the community. The

northernmost point in Europe where rice is cultivated,

is, I believe, the neighbourhood of Milan. But, even

there, none is permitted to be grown within a circuit of

several miles of the city, owing to the unhealthiness

which it would produce.

At the eastern extremity of Victoria Bay is a con

siderable valley, shut up by mountains on every side,

except towards the sea . It is laid out almost entirely

in rice- grounds; and the waters of a natural stream ,

descending from the mountains at the end of the valley,

have been diverted from their natural channel, and con

ducted by innumerable streamlets to every part of the

valley, for the irrigation of the rice-grounds. Several

houses have been built upon the declivity of the hills

around it, in the expectation that this would be the ul

timate site of a second town, as soon as the very limited

space between the mountains and the harbour, along the

front of Victoria Bay, should be completely occupied,

which it bids fair soon to become. The draining of this

valley would essentially improve the condition of that

important portion of the island .

A good road has already been nearly completed

across that valley , and over the mountains to the other

side of the island , leading down to Tytam Bay, and the

important village of Chek Chu . Beyond this valley, to

the eastward, on the other side of Matheson's Point, are


fine bold rocks, running down to the water's edge ;

being also more open to the draught of air along the

Lyemoon passage, this position would probably be a

healthy one . Barracks were to be built there, and near

it is one of the three spots recommended for the forma

tion of aa dockyard , but from its being partially, though

not materially, exposed to the effects of the typhoons,

there is a probability of its not being selected for the

purpose. Somewhere at this end of the harbour, it was

also proposed that a new government-house should be

built, on a scale proportioned to the importance of the

colony, as a part of the British empire in those seas.

Hitherto, I believe, nothing has been decided upon the


It is hoped that much may yet be done to remedy

the reputed unhealthiness of the island, by proper

draining, and by the formation of numerous channels

for leading off the torrents of water which, during a por

tion of the hot season, pour down from the mountain

sides, and lodge in hollows and crevices when the flood

gates of heaven are opened upon the devoted little

island. Something may also be effected by getting rid ,

as much as possible, of the rank, unwholesome vegeta

tion which, under the influence of an almost vertical sun,

springs up in every crevice where the water lodges..

I cannot undertake to say whether the numerous

species of the fern tribe, which seem to abound in some

parts of the island, may or may not contribute some

thing to the poisonous condition of the atmosphere.

The subject is well worthy of consideration . Various

other surmises have been hazarded , some, perhaps, a


little fanciful, such as that the rocks of which the moun

tains are composed have some peculiar property, when

water lodges in them , of producing miasmata. But in

this case it would seem more natural to attribute the

effect, if such there be, to the stagnation and evapo

ration of the water, than to any peculiar property of the

lifeless rock . Rank vegetation , in some of the little

hollows, become lifeless and putrid by heat and mois

ture, may have some local influence ; but it is probable

that various causes combine to produce one result; and

among these we must not altogether overlook the elec

trical conditions of a tropical atmosphere, little agitated

during the hot season by purifying and refreshing

breezes .

Having thus spoken so much concerning the northern

side of the island in particular, it may be asked what

is the state of the southern side, as regards its healthi

ness. Undoubtedly the southern side, being open to the

south -west monsoon , is comparatively healthy, but there

is no harbour fit for mercantile purposes on that side, nor

was any land appropriated there for building purposes in

the first instance, because the unhealthiness of Victoria

Bay was not fully ascertained, and because, where a

man's treasure or his business is, there will his heart

and his occupation be also. Doubtless, in a very short

time, many of the Europeans will reside on the southern

side of the island, and cross over the mountains daily to

transact their business.

The principal Chinese village, which numbered a popu

lation of about two thousand even when we took pos

session of the island, is prettily situated on the southern


side, in a sheltered bay, well open, however, to the

south-west wind. It is called Chek-chu, and, at the

suggestion of Major Aldrich, cantonments have been

formed for a detachment of troops there, so as to sepa

rate them from the Chinese population. A detachment

of the 98th regiment, which was quartered there during

the last season, remained almost entirely healthy.

There is little doubt that in a short time many Euro

peans will take up their residence in that neighbour

hood . There is another detachment stationed at Shekpy

wan,, and I believe there was, or is, another small detach

ment at the eastern extremity of the island. There is

every probability that a naval yard will be formed also

on the southern side, probably in the bay where the

Alceste and Lyra anchored in 1816. Here there is

plenty of water for the largest ships, and perfect shelter

from the fury of the typhoons, which cannot be found

on any part of the northern coast. It is true that there

is not room for a large ship to work in, but there will

always be steamers stationed at Hong Kong, and the

facility of towing a ship in will remedy all the supposed

inconvenience of narrow space.

The third place proposed for the site of a naval yard

was Navy Bay, at the western extremity of the harbour ;

but it lies fully exposed to the whole fury of a typhoon,

being, in fact, a lee-shore during the whole duration of

the storm ; and it has proved to the troops on shore one

of the most unhealthy spots in the island.

It is extremely difficult to form any tolerable esti

mate of the Chinese population on the island. It varies

continually, a great part of the people being migratory.


When we first took the island there were probably about

five thousand Chinese upon it, exclusive of the boat

people, casual labourers from the opposite coast, and

others of a migratory description. They were distri

buted into fourteen or fifteen villages or hamlets, of

which the principal, as before stated , was Chek-chu, on

the southern side, situated in a bay partly formed by the

long irregular headland which runs out and takes the

name of Tytam Head.. This bay , together with Tytam

Bay, will doubtless soon become a favourite spot for

the retired residences of Europeans .

Since we have held possession of the island, the Chi

nese have naturally been attracted to it in great numbers.

The tradesmen, mechanics, servants to English residents,

labourers, boatmen , and market-people, are all Chinese.

Add to these, also, a small body of Chinese police, and

we shall find that the population must be considerable.

In all the warehouses of the merchants a vast number

of porters and attendants are employed ; all the houses

are built by Chinese workmen , and a vast number are

also employed by government upon the public roads

and works. The number of migratory, or trading

people, who come down from Canton, Macao, and other

parts, is also large ; so that, upon the whole, the high

estimate of 30,000, which has been given , may not

be much overrated . But this number probably in

cludes the Europeans, the number of whom , exclusive

of the military, cannot be large, perhaps a very few


The reputed unhealthiness of the town of Victoria has

deterred many from coming over from Macao for the


present, who otherwise contemplated establishing them

selves on the island. The uncertainty which has pre

vailed respecting the liberty to store opium , has also

tended to give a check to the originally rapid progress

of the settlement.

In the mean time, the Portuguese, becoming fully

sensible of the deterioration of the value of property at

Macao, owing to the sudden rise of a rival European

settlement in their neighbourhood, began to take into

consideration the propriety of rendering Macao aa free

port, similar to Hong Kong, and probably without any

restrictions as to opium . Great efforts have been made

to effect this object, and the Portuguese governor had

gone up to Canton, attended by his suite, with a view

to confer with the authorities, in the hope of procuring

from the government the recognition of greater privi

leges than they had hitherto enjoyed . This circum

stance, together with the momentary pause at Hong

Kong, had tended to reassure the European inhabitants

of Macao, and to raise the value of houses ( which had

previously fallen), from ten to fifteen per cent.

If means should be found (of which strong hopes are

entertained ) of improving the condition of Hong Kong,

as regards its healthiness, no attempted rivalry of Macao

could affect the new settlement to any extent. It has

neither a harbour for ships to anchor in, sufficiently

near the town, nor ground upon which warehouses could

be built, nor can the Portuguese officers ever possess

more than a very restricted and, perhaps, precarious

authority .

The wonderful progress of our settlement at Hong

VOL . II . G


Kong, in the first instance, affords, perhaps, one of the

most striking instances that has ever been recorded, of

the astonishing energy and enterprise of the British

character. Great as were the early strides made even

by some of the Australian colonies, situated, too, at the

opposite end of the globe, their progress, compared with

that of Hong Kong, was slow and difficult. When our

forces were assembled in the harbour of Hong Kong, on

their return from Canton, in June, 1841 , there was not a

single regularly built house, fit for the habitation of Eu

ropeans, upon the island ; for the Chinese villages can

hardly be taken into account. When the expedition set

sail for Amoy, about two months afterwards, a few

mat-sheds and temporary buts were all that indicated

the future site of the town of Victoria, or pointed out

what was soon to become the centre of British conmerce

in that part of the world , and the seat of British power

upon the threshold of the most populous empire the

world ever saw. But arrangements had already com

menced preparatory to the formation of a settlement ;

and these were of such a nature as to lead to the assu

rance that the island would not, under any circum

stances, be restored to the Chinese.

The first sale by auction, of land, or rather of the

annual quit -rents only, was held in June. On the 7th

of that month, Hong Kong was declared to be a free

port, and on the 22nd, Mr. A. R. Johnston, the deputy

superintendent of trade, was appointed acting governor

of the island .

The portion of land put up for sale in the first in

stance consisted of only thirty-four lots, each of which


was to have a sea -frontage of about one hundred

feet ; but the depth of each lot, of course, varied con

siderably, according to the nature of the ground. The


sale of the annual quit-rents only, payable in advance,

produced no less a sum than £3,165 10s. yearly, at

this first sale. Equally high prices also were obtained

on subsequent occasions. Moreover, one of the condi

tions of sale was, that each purchaser should be required

to incur an outlay upon each lot, within the first six

months, either in building or otherwise, of not less than

one thousand dollars, or upwards of two hundred and

twenty -two pounds sterling, and a deposit of five hun


dred dollars was to be paid into the hands of the trea

surer, within one week , but was to be repayable as soon

as an equal amount had been expended.

Accordingly, within six months from the time above

named, wonderful improvements had taken place, al

though much preliminary work was necessary before

any solid buildings could be erected . In fact, the first

regular house built for Europeans was not completed

until September or October following ; and, as it was

constructed entirely by Chinese mechanics, it assumed

very much the form of a Chinese house.

The government now began to form an excellent

road, called the Queen's Road, along the front of the

harbour, and to encourage improvements in every pos

sible way. The elements of a regular establishment

were soon formed , and the nucleus of a powerful Euro

pean community was soon planted upon the borders of

haughty China. Its progress from this moment was won

derful, and no stronger argument than this can be addu

G 2


ced to point out the necessity of such an emporium as

Hong Kong, and the impossibility of continuing the

former state of things.

Within one year from the completion of the first

house, not only were regular streets and bazaars for the

Chinese erected , but numerous large substantial ware

houses were built, mostly of stone, some already finished ,

and others in progress. Wharfs and jetties were con

structed of the most substantial kind ; the sound of the

stonemason's hammer was heard in every direction, and

a good road was in progress, and an admirable market

was established in English style, under covered sheds,

and well-regulated by the police. The Chinese wil-.

lingly resorted to it, and brought abundant supplies of

every description , readily submitting themselves to all

the regulations. Large commissariat stores and other

public buildings, including barracks at either end of the

town , were finished. The road, which was carried along

the foot of the hills, extended already to a distance of

nearly four miles, and a cut was being made through a

high sand -hill, in order to continue it further ; and at

intervals, along the whole of the distance, substantial

and even elegant buildings were already erected . The

numerous conical hills which distinguish this part of the

island were nearly all levelled at the top, in readiness

to commence building new houses ; stone bridges were

in progress, and the road was being rapidly continued

over the hills at the eastern end of Victoria Bay, lead

ing down to Tytam Bay, and the picturesque village of

Chek - chu .

In short, whether we look at the public spirit shown


by government, or the energy and liberality of private

individuals, who seemed, by one common consent, to

set about forming a settlement such as had never been

heard of before, we cannot but wonder at the results,

and foresee the influence which England must hence

forth always exercise over the hitherto unapproachable

Chinese. The Chinese inhabitants seemed to fall readily

into our ways and habits ; their labourers and mechanics

worked well and willingly for moderate pay, and came

over in crowds from the opposite coast to seek work ;

tradesmen crowded in to occupy the little shops in the

bazaars ; two European hotels and billiard -rooms were

completed ; and, in short, every necessary and most

luxuries could be obtained with facility at Hong Kong,

within the first year of its permanent settlement. Even

the Portuguese missionaries came over and built a sort

of convent and a chapel ; the Morrison Education

Society and the Missionary Hospital Society com

menced their buildings ; more than one missionary

society made it their head - quarters, and the Anglo

Chinese College, at Malacca, was about to be removed

to this more favourable spot . A small Roman Catholic

chapel was nearly finished, and a neat little American

Baptist chapel had been opened for divine service, being

the first Protestant place of public worship ever esta

blished in that part of the world ; of course, with the

exception of the old company's chapel, in the factory at

Canton. There was, however, no Church of England

service performed at that time on the island ; a deficiency

which happily has since been remedied .

Foreign merchants had also cominenced building, and


it was a curious sight to see the hundreds of Chinese

labourers working upon the construction of our houses

and roads, and flocking from all quarters to furnish

us with supplies, and seeking their living by serving us

in every way , at the very time when we were at war

with their government, and carrying on hostile opera

tions against their countrymen to the northward. At

the same time, also, Chinese tailors and shoemakers

were busy in their little shops making clothes for us,

and Chinese stewards superintended our establishments,

while Chinese servants (in their native costume, tails

and all) were cheerfully waiting upon us at table : and

all this within little more than one year after the first

land -sale at Hong Kong, and while we were still at war.

There appears to have been some little mistake in the

original site of the town, the principal part of which, or,

at least, the part most inhabited by the Chinese, is situ

ated in a great measure upon the declivity of the highest

of the mountains which shut in the harbour. The space

for building is very limited , and, indeed, this is the case

along the whole shore. Gradually people have spread

themselves eastward along the front of the harbour,

and, probably, at no very distant time a second town

will spring up at the eastern end of the harbour ; in

deed the buildings already erected by Messrs. Jardine

and Matheson are so extensive, as to form almost a

town of themselves. But, the great distance from one

end of Hong Kong, or rather of Victoria to the other,

is already a source of great inconvenience, particularly

in a hot country. In a short time, the establishment

of an exchange in some central part will probably


be undertaken, and will go far to remedy the incon


It is unfortunate that the space between the foot of the

mountains and the edge of the sea is so very limited . It

would have been a great advantage to have been able to

form a quay or esplanade along the front of the har

bour, with warehouses and dwelling-houses in the rear.

But this was not practicable; and, consequently, the

back of the warehouses in most instances faces the

water, which in some measure detracts from the appear

ance of the town, as seen from the harbour. Neverthe

less, it is impossible for the stranger not to be struck

with the first view of it as he approaches. He could

scarcely be prepared to see so many large, handsome

buildings occupying a great extent of frontage, in a

settlement so recently acquired .

There are few things more striking of the kind than

the view of the Bay of Victoria and the roads of Hong

Kong, from any one of the hills at its eastern end to

wards Matheson's Point. The number of European

vessels, Chinese junks, boats of all kinds, and the long

line of handsome buildings skirting the bay, and lighted

up by a brilliant sun piercing a cloudless atmosphere,

present a picturesque and interesting scene, which is

scarcely detracted from even by the barren mountains

in the rear .

A reference to the accompanying map will suffice to

point out the site of the different public buildings already

erected .

As regards the defences of Hong Kong, it is evident

that our main reliance must always be placed upon our


ships of war. The two small batteries already erected

could be of little service against an enemy; but a plan

has been submitted by Major Aldrich, the commanding

engineer, for forming a large fort somewhere about the

centre of the bay, and the occupiers of land, on the spot

selected by that officer, received notice to be prepared

to surrender their rights to the government, for which

they were to receive compensation, and permission to

select land elsewhere. But this plan did not meet the

concurrence of Sir Henry Pottinger, although he re

ferred it for the consideration of the government at

home. There is, however, little likelihood of its being


The question of the tenure of land for the future at

Hong Kong, or rather the terms upon which it can be

obtained from the government, is one of the highest im

portance. It is understood that it is not the intention

of government to permit any land to be alienated from

the crown . Future sales of land will probably be

effected in the same way as the earlier ones ; that is,

merely the annual rental of the different lots of land

will be put up to auction . No regulations upon this

subject have yet been issued ; and, most likely, the new

governor, Mr. Davis, will have some discretionary power

in fixing the precise terms upon which the right of occu

pation of land will be disposed of. The system of an

nual rentals to government in a colony circumstanced

as Hong Kong is,-a free port, a soil mostly barren, and

an island of very limited extent,-must appear to every

one the most judicious plan to adopt. A permanent

annual fund will thus be created for the purposes of go


vernment, and one which must increase every year

rather than diminish.

On the other hand, the absolute sale of the fee-simple

of the land would certainly produce a considerable sum

for temporary use, and would provide means for com

pleting extensive public works without any charge to

the mother country. But this fund would soon be ex

hausted , and then nothing whatever would remain to

contribute to the heavy public expenses of the island .

In aa free port you cannot levy a regular revenue from

duties of any kind, and the small sum that could be

raised by licences and special local charges could never

be considerable. Hong Kong will always possess the

immense advantage of abundant labour at a reasonable

rate. Any number of Chinamen wbich could possibly

be required will always be readily obtained from the

mainland .

I must not omit to mention, among the strong cha

racteristics of English colonization, the establishment of

a free press at Hong Kong. A newspaper is usually

one of the first undertakings in an English settlement.

It has been said, in respect to colonization, that the first

thing the French undertake is to build a fort, the Spa

niards a church, and the English a factory or a ware

house ; but, perhaps, it is more characteristic still, that

one of the first things the English establish is a press.

The Englishman carries with him his birthright of free

discussion ; and the power of having a good hearty

grumble in print compensates him for many early incon

veniences of a new settlement . There are four English

newspapers published in China : the Hong Kong Ga


zette , the Eastern Globe, the Hong Kong Register, and

the Canton Press ; of which the last is published at

Macao, and the other three at Hong Kong. In the

first -named all the government notices are inserted by


According to the latest accounts, the Morrison Insti

tution had been opened for some time, and the youths

who were being educated were making good progress.

The Seamen's Hospital for the merchant service was

opened on the 1st of August last, and was calculated to

afford accommodation to fifty men and officers. This in

stitution is in a measure a self- supporting one, a certain

sum being paid daily for the maintenance of each person

admitted .

It is impossible to contemplate the wonderful pro

gress made in so short a period of time in this last ac

quisition of the British crown, without astonishment at

the past and present, and great hopes of the future.

Hong Kong may have received an unexpected check,

owing to the unhealthiness of the season which has just

past ; but, having already advanced so far, it must con

tinue to progress, and to regain that vigour which has

for a moment been impaired . We cannot but hope that

means will yet be found to render the island less preju

dicial to the health of Europeans, and that it will rise

to become a boasted spot in the wide empire of Great

Britain . A few remarks are yet reserved for the next





General remarks — Future government of Hong Kong - Prospects of

the opium - trade - Sir Henry Pottinger's proclamations - Attempts of

Americans to enter China in opposition to the Mandarins — Visit to

Chang-chow-Mutual surrender of criminals — Account of the great

Typhoon - Superstitions of the Chinese — Dreadful destruction - Dis

tressing scenes - Danger of the two Plenipotentiaries —- Presence of

mind of Captain Elliot - Wreck of the Louisa_Imminent danger and

narrow escape - Nemesis renders assistance, after the typhoon – Nar

row escape of the Starling — Arrival of Sir Henry Pottinger and Sir

William Parker from England.

It is intended that Hong Kong shall be governed

upon the same principles by which other crown colonies

gulated , namely, that there shall be a legislative

and an executive council, to aid the governor with their

advice and assistance.

The importance of Hong Kong, not only with regard

to the commerce of all nations with China, but more

especially with reference to our relations with the Chi

nese government, cannot be estimated too highly.

However scrupulous we may be in the first instance to

limit our intercourse, as much as possible, to the mere

commercial questions which may arise, it is impossible


not to foresee that other complications may result from

it, the issue of which it would be presumptuous to pre

dict. A new era has at length opened upon China, a

sudden and almost incredible change in all her relations

with foreigners ; and the ease and apparent readiness

with which she has acceded to all the proposed arrange

ments respecting trade, is perhaps not less remark

able than the pertinacious obstinacy with which she had

so long and so haughtily refused to make any change

whatever in the established order of things.

Providence has at length ordained that a vast empire,

which comprises nearly a third of the human race, shall

no longer remain totally excluded from the great family

society of nations ; and we cannot but believe that the

period has at length arrived when that wonderful nation

is, by a slow but steady progress, to be brought under

the influence of Christianity. But, while we are im

pressed with this feeling, let us not be too hasty in pre

cipitating a crisis which may convulse a mighty empire

from one end to the other. This, then , leads us to the

momentous question of the ultimate disorganization or

breaking up of the Chinese empire. This is the great

crent which we have to dread ; for who can contemplate

the fearful results of such a crisis without alarm, and

without aa desire to prevent a catastrophe of so vast a

nature ?

In this point of view, the possession of Hong Kong,

the state of our relations with the Chinese government,

and the difficult questions which may possibly, at no

distant period, require our most anxious attention, (it

must not be forgotten that the present Emperor of


China is already in the decline of life) involve a degree

of responsibility which cannot be too deeply felt, and

can scarcely be approached without misgivings. Every

member of the government of Hong Kong must, there

fore, be keenly alive to the responsibility of his posi

tion , and must watch with profound anxiety every one

of the widely spreading circles into which the acts of

our administration may ultimately extend themselves.

We must stand up before the Chinese government, not

only in the relation of a friend, but of an ally ; and, in

stead of weakening its authority, we ought rather to

support its influence in the eyes of its own people. Our

intercourse with that remarkable nation ought to be

recorded in the pages of history as a blessing, and not,

what it might readily become, without great caution

and prudence — a curse. We cannot but believe that

this little England is yet destined to play a wonderful

part among the nations of the earth1 ; and that it is still

reserved for her, by Providence, to be the benefactor of

the human race, and not least so of that vast portion of

it which acknowledges the dominion of the Emperor of

China .

Impressed with the truth of these observations, the

first great and difficult question which awakens our

anxiety, is that of the future relations of the opium

trade, and the course which is to be pursued with respect

to it at Hong Kong. Great anxiety has been felt as to

the regulations which may be applied to it, in our own

settlement, which is understood to be in all respects a

free port. It would seem, therefore, that the storage

of opium at Hong Kong could hardly be prohibited ;


and yet it is difficult to discover how it would be possi

ble, in that case, to avoid the dilemma of appearing in

the eyes of the Chinese government to sanction, and

even encourage, a description of trade especially prohi

bited by the Emperor. The simplest and indeed the

only effectual mode by which all the difficulties of the

question could be surmounted would be, inducing the

Chinese government to legalize the trade, and to con

sent to the introduction of the drug, upon payment of

a certain duty.

No stronger arguments could be advanced in favour

of this step than those already employed by Chinese

writers themselves, in the various memorials presented

to government upon the subject. Although the opium

trade is not even alluded to in either of our recent

treaties, it is well known that Sir Henry Pottinger

has used his best efforts to induce the Chinese govern

ment to consent to the legalization of the trade, and

to introduce the article into the tariff. It is possible

that this object may be ultimately effected , but at

present we have no reason to believe that any material

progress has been made towards bringing this question

to a satisfactory conclusion.

In the mean time, it is evident that we are bound to

discourage the violation of Chinese law, as much as

possible, where that law is so easily evaded. Sir Henry

Pottinger's proclamation of the 1st of August last,

against taking opium to any of the new ports, is suffi

ciently strong and explicit ; and it is distinctly declared ,

that any one who may do so must be prepared to take

upon himself all the consequences, and that he will meet


with no support or protection from her Majesty's con

suls or other officers . In another proclamation, his

excellency declares that he will adopt the most strin

gent measures against any parties who may even attempt

to evade any of the provisions of the commercial treaty ;

and further, that he will in no case permit the national

honour, dignity, and good faith, to be compromised in

the estimation of the Chinese government, and that, if

necessary , he will respectfully trust that the legislature

of Great Britain will hold him indemnified for adopt

ing such measures as the particular emergency may


Nevertheless, the opium-trade has never been more

thriving than during the past year, and bitter com

plaints have appeared in the Pekin gazettes, of the intro

duction of the drug even into the imperial palace. The

Emperor appears to be as hostile to the opium-mania as

ever, and yet all his measures against it are quite as in

effectual as they have ever been. In fact, the people

are determined to enjoy the forbidden luxury at all ha

zards, and no means hitherto attempted have deterred

even the public officers of government from conniving

at the clandestine trade, nor is it likely that they will

ever be proof against the temptation of heavy bribes,

which the large profits derived from the traffic enable

those concerned in it to offer .

Under these circumstances, we cannot but believe that

the government will ere long be induced to take the

only rational view of the question, and permit it to be

come a legal trade, under certain wholesome regulations.

It has been proposed that a certain fixed duty should


be levied upon the drug when imported into Hong

Kong ; but this would be ineffectual, because, if the duty

were small, it would answer no good purpose whatever,

and, if it were heavy, little or no opium would be

brought into the island, except by smuggling ; the

merchants would in that case store it, as heretofore,

on board ship .

The new governor will go out armed with full power

to establish such regulations, with regard to this and

other important matters, as may appear to him most

compatible with our engagements with the Chinese go

vernment, and best calculated to meet all the difficulties

of the question. Much , therefore, must depend upon

the judgment and discretion of that high functionary,

from whose known ability and knowledge of the Chinese

character great expectations are derived.

Should the trade in opium become ultimately le

galized, it cannot be doubted that it would greatly tend

to the advantage of Hong Kong, and would induce

many Chinese merchants to come over and seek it there,

who would at the same time be tempted to make other

purchases as well. The drug would then in some mea

sure be paid for in the produce of the country, and

not, as it is at present, in silver exclusively, and , in

fact, all the commercial relations of the country would

at once be placed upon a much more satisfactory footing.

Notwithstanding the known unhealthiness of Hong

Kong during the last season, merchants are still inclined

to form establishments there, under the impression that

the whole question of the traffic in opium will, at no dis

tant period, be more advantageously settled .


There is, however, another point out of which diffi

culties may arise, besides the one above -mentioned ;

namely, the attempts of foreigners to enter China at

other places besides the five ports, or even, at these

latter, to push themselves far beyond the limits indi

cated by the Chinese authorities. According to our

present understanding, certain boundaries are to be laid

down, beyond which no foreigners are to pass. But

there will be many difficulties in the way of preventing

the violation of these regulations. It is possible that

in some instances the people themselves may induce

foreigners to transgress these boundaries ; in other

cases, it may be done from mere motives of curiosity ;

and possibly in other instances from a sort of reckless

feeling that the Chinese ought to be taught better, and

be made to adopt European customs.

These matters, trifling in themselves in the first in

stance, may ultimately lead to most serious difficulties,

arrest of Europeans by Chinese officers, quarrels with

the natives, and even bloodshed. Already something

of this kind has occurred, and the interference of Sir

Henry Pottinger has been called for. A little pamphlet

has even been published at Macao, called a “ Narrative

of a recent visit to the Chief City of the department of

Changchow , in the Province of Fokien . ” In this case

the aggressors were not Englishmen , but Americans,

and they forced their way into the country, in opposi

tion to the wishes and orders of the local authorities,

who pointed out to them that their doing so was con

trary to the provisions of the treaty. It is evident that

they passed for Englishmen, and were thought to be so

VOL . II . H



by the authorities. But they even went further than

the mere violation of the treaty, and the opposition

offered to the officers, for they actually had the indiscre

tion and presumption to attempt to explain away the

stipulations of the treaty, in a way that could not fail

to awaken the alarm and mistrust of the Chinese govern

ment, and kindle the indignation of every man who is

interested in maintaining satisfactory relations with a

government who, up to this moment, have scrupulously

adhered to their engagements since the peace of Nankin ..

Sir Henry Pottinger thought it incumbent on him to

advise the viceroy and lieutenant-governor of Canton , that

these individuals were not Englishmen, and to express

his hope that in future the local mandarins would seize

and confine all those who might commit the smallest in

fraction of the treaty, (if British subjects) and send

them to the nearest English consular officer, to be dealt

with as might be found necessary, in order to enforce

implicit obedience.

The justice of this will be self -evident ; but it is also

to be remembered that English authority can only be

exercised over British subjects, and that, as all Euro

pean nations are to have access to the five ports if

desired, many difficulties may arise which are beyond

their control. But it is evidently our first duty, not

only rigidly to adhere to the provisions of the treaty

ourselves, but to do all in our power to strengthen the

government of China, and to uphold its authority in

the eyes of all foreign nations, as well as of its own


The last point to which I think it necessary to allude


is the mutual surrender of criminals, so that English

offenders who may take refuge in China may be given

up to our consular officers by the Chinese authorities,

and Chinese offenders who may take refuge at Hong

Kong, or on board our ships, may be given up to the

Chinese officers. This stipulation has already been

acted upon at Hong Kong, where a party of pirates

who were chased ashore by the Chinese government

cruisers were instantly seized by the police, and handed

over to the proper Chinese officers.

In fact, the more we reflect upon the position in

which we now stand in presence of the Chinese govern

ment, and in the actual possession of an island upon its

frontiers, the more we must become impressed with the

vast responsibility which attaches to all our proceed

ings, and the great necessity which exists for the utmost

caution, prudence, judgment, and firmness, on the part

of every public officer employed in our service in that

country . Little more need be said at present respecting

Hong Kong, the future history of which must be preg

nant with matter of yearly increasing interest.

I have reserved all mention of the terrific storms to

which the island is occasionally exposed during the

summer season . Our squadron, after its return from

Canton, was exposed to the full fury of one of these

hurricanes, while it lay in the harbour of Hong Kong,

previously to our advance upon Amoy. The Chinese,

although ignorant of the use of the barometer, acquire

from experience a tolerably accurate knowledge of the in

dications which determine the approach of these dreaded


H 2


Unfortunately, Victoria Bay lies fully exposed to the

whole fury ofthe tempest from its beginning to its end ;

there is no shelter whatever on that side of the island .

It is aa curious and novel sight to watch the preparations

which the Chinese make for the approaching storm ; the

mixture of superstitious observance and prudent precau

tion which they adopt, either in the hope of averting the

threatening tempest, or of securing themselves against

its immediate effects. The sultry, oppressive feeling of

the atmosphere, the deep black clouds , and other indi

cations, warn them to be prepared ; and, from the noise

and excitement which soon take place among the Chi

nese, one would rather imagine they were celebrating

some festival of rejoicing, than deprecating the fury of

the gods. Many of their houses, on these occasions, are

decorated with lanterns stuck upon long poles twenty

or thirty feet high, huge grotesque-looking figures, and

various devices . The beating of gongs, the firing of

crackers, and explosion of little bamboo petards, from

one end of the town to the other, and in all the boats

along the shore, create such a din and confusion, that a

stranger cannot help feeling that there must be danger

at hand, of some kind or other, besides that of a storm.

It is also a curious sight to watch the hundreds of

boats and junks getting under weigh at the same moment,

all eager to get across to the opposite shore, under shel

ter of the mainland, as fast as possible, knowing full

well that they would be certainly stranded if they re

mained on the Hong Kong side. In the high stern of

every junk stands a man , who perseveringly beats a large

suspended gong with his utmost strength , while the rest


of the crew appear quite as intent upon firing off crack

ers as upon the management of their boat. By this

means they hope to awaken their tutelary god, and to

induce him to listen to their prayers for succour. The

greater part of them take refuge in a bay directly oppo

site Victoria, from which it is about four miles distant,

under the lee of the mountains on that side.

Frequently all the threatening appearances which call

forth these preparations pass off without producing a

typhoon. The flashes of lightning are fearfully quick

and brilliant; the peals of thunder are almost deafening ;

the huge black clouds hang gloomily over the mountains,

or are banded across from one side to the other, pouring

their waters in torrents upon the basin between them .

In this way the storm at length subsides, and the horrors

of a typhoon are averted.

The actual typhoon is of a very different description ;

in fact, it differs in no respect from the worst hurricanes

which visit the Mauritius or the West Indies. Hong

Kong was visited in this way on the 21st and 26th July,

1841, and a more severe typhoon than that which took

place on the first of those days is perhaps never expe

rienced. The theory of these circular storms has been

well laid down by Colonel Reid and others ; so that in

the present day a vessel caught in them at sea would be

much less exposed to danger than formerly , provided

her captain had made himself master of the well -con

firmed theories which have been propounded upon the

subject. The sphere of their operation is very limited,

neither do they occur every year, but seldom oftener

than every three or four years.


At Hong Kong various ominous appearances were the

forerunner of the storm on the occasion alluded to . For

some days previously, large black masses of clouds

appeared to settle upon the hills on either side ; the atmo

sphere was extremely sultry and oppressive ; the most

vivid lightning shot incessantly along the dense, threat

ening clouds, and looked the more brilliant, because the

phenomena were always most remarkable at night, while

during the day the threatening appearances were mode

rated considerably, and sometimes almost entirely dis

appeared . The vibrations of the mercury in the baro

meter were constant and rapid ; and, although it occa

sionally rose, still the improvement was only temporary,

and upon the average it continued to fall.

A typhoon

was therefore confidently predicted, and the more so,

because none had occurred for several years.

The Chinese on this occasion made every preparation

in their power ; but that comprised very little except

the everlasting firing of crackers and beating of gongs ;

although they endeavoured also to get shelter for their

boats in the best way they could. Our own ships pre

pared for the coming danger as well as circumstances

permitted, every thing being made as snug as possible.

But the whole barbour was at this time crowded with

transports, store -ships, and merchant- ships, in addition

to our men -of-war and steamers ; indeed, so close were

they anchored together, that in many cases there was

not even room to veer cable. It was evident to all, that

if the expected typhoon should burst upon them , the

most serious disasters would inevitably take place.

It was not without many misgivings and forebodings


that, in the midst of all the preparations for the storm ,

and when there was every indication of its immediate

outbreak, a small schooner was observed to get under

weigh, and stand out of the harbour towards Macao ; she

had treasure on board, and one or two passengers. Alas !

she was never afterwards heard of ; not a vestige of her

was ever discovered ; she must have foundered at sea,at

the very commencement of the storm .

During the night of the 20th, the weather was tole

rably calm , but ominously sultry ; towards daylight on

the 21st it became squally, with heavy rain , and a good

deal of swell was now getting up in the harbour. The

barometer continued gradually to fall, and the squalls

became heavier. The typhoon could no longer be

doubted ; and, as it was desirable to move the Nemesis

as much to windward of the other ships as possible, steam

was got up quickly, and with some difficulty she was

moved to a good berth on the opposite side, under shel

ter of the high land above Cowloon . Topmasts were

lowered, and every thing made snug, and she was brought

up with both bowers, open hawse, to the N. E., and

veered to a whole cable on each .

Between seven and eight o'clock in the morning, the

wind was blowing very hard from the northward, or

directly upon the shore of Hong Kong, and continued

to increase in heavy squalls hour after hour. Ships

were already beginning to drive, and the work of destruc

tion had commenced on every side ; the Chinese junks

and boats were blown about in all directions, and one of

them was seen to founder with all hands on board . The

fine basin of Hong Kong was gradually covered with scat


tered wrecks of the war of elements ; planks, spars, broken

boats, and human beings, clinging hopelessly for succour

to every treacherous log, were tossed about on every

side ; the wind howled and tore every thing away before

it, literally sweeping the face of the waters.

On shore, the hospital was one of the first buildings

blown down upon the heads of the unfortunate inmates,

wounding many, and aggravating the sufferings of all ;

yet only one man, a helpless idiot, was killed . No ex

ertion was spared to bring assistance to the unfortunate

sick, and to drag them forth from the scene of their

misfortunes. But, alas ! in every quarter aid was neces

sary ; the buildings being merely of temporary construc

tion, most of them partly built of bamboo, barracks and

all came tumbling down like children's card-houses.

From half- past ten until two the hurricane was at its

highest, the barometer at this time having descended to

nearly 28°, 50 ', according to some, but on board the

Nemesis it was never lower than 28°, 89 '. The air was

filled with spray and salt, so that it was impossible to

see any thing that was not almost close at hand ; the

wind roared and howled fearfully, so that it was impos

sible to hear a word that was said . Ships were now

drifting foul of each other in all directions ; masts were

being cut away ; and, from the strength of the wind

forcing the sea high upon the shore, several ships were

driven high and dry.

The native Chinese were all distracted , imploring their

gods in vain for help. Such an awful scene of destruc

tion and ruin is rarely witnessed ; and almost every one

was so busy in thinking of his own safety, as to be una


ble to render assistance to any one else. Hundreds of

Chinese were drowned, and occasionally aa whole family,

children and all, floated past the ships, clinging, in

apparent apathy (perhaps under the influence of opium ),

to the last remnants of their shattered boats, which soon

tumbled to pieces, and left them to their fate.

During the height of the typhoon, the engines of the

Nemesis were kept going at half-speed, and she rode

through it very easy, without suffering any damage.

But even those few vessels which did not drive were in

constant danger of being run foul of by others which

did ; in fact, crowded as the bay was with shipping, it

was a matter of wonder that even more serious damage

was not done than actually did occur. The heaviest

part of the typhoon appears certainly to have passed

directly over Hong Kong, for even at Macao, which is

only thirty- five miles distant, it was much less severely

felt, and, moreover, there was a difference of nearly four

hours in the time of its occurrence ; nevertheless, beyond

Hong Kong the typhoon was also very severely felt, and

several ships were in the greatest danger.

It is a remarkable fact, that both our Plenipotentiaries,

Captain Elliot and Sir Gordon Bremer, (who has recently

returned) were wrecked on this occasion, and were only

saved , as it were, by a miracle. They were on their way

to Hong Kong, in Captain Elliot's cutter, the Louisa,

when the typhoon, already commencing, compelled them

to anchor in not a very favourable berth, under one of

the numerous islands at the mouth of the Canton river.

Every measure was resorted to which good seamanship

could suggest, to give any chance of safety to the little


vessel, but all in vain. She soon drove - her spars and

masts were carried away— a heavy , tumbling sea broke

over her, washing every thing overboard—the destruc

tion of the vessel, and the loss of every one on board ,

seemed to be inevitable. Fragments of the numerous

wrecks along the coast were floating past them every

moment. Having been driven from the island under

which they first took shelter, they were carried before

the wind for the distance of from two to three miles,

expecting every moment to be swallowed up ; the com

mander had been already washed overboard. At length

they caught sight of land right ahead, with a heavy surf

breaking on it, apparently almost close to them. The

suspense at this moment was intense and awful. If the

vessel touched the surf, they would be launched into

eternity in a moment. But, providentially, as if they

were specially ordained to be reserved for aa better fate,

the little cutter cleared the breakers, almost within

reach of their spray. The anchor was now let go, but

could not hold the little craft, so heavily did the sea

break over her ; and at length she was driven full upon

the shore, where she instantly bilged and filled. Some

people now jumped overboard, others crawled on to the

nearest rocks, but at length all hands got safely on

shore, with the assistance of a rope, which one of the

boys who had succeeded in swimming ashore made fast

to one of the rocks. Thus, twenty -three human beings

were miraculously saved from what appeared to be cer

tain and inevitable destruction, and “ from perils which

men doubtless sometimes witness, but seldom live to

recount ; and there was not a man amongst us, says one


who was present, who ( thoughtless though sailors be)

did not offer a fervent prayer of thanksgiving to his

God .”

Besides the Plenipotentiaries, Lord Amelius Beau

clerk and one or two other gentlemen were partakers of

these disasters. There is little doubt that they all owed

their preservation, under Providence, to the admirable

seamanship and cool presence of mind of Captain Elliot

himself, who took command of the little vessel during

the most trying period, and whose accurate knowledge

of the coast was of essential service.

Their troubles, however, were not yet at an end.

They managed to save very little provisions or clothing

from the wreck ; and the only place they could discover,

in which they could shelter themselves for the night, was

a large fissure in the side of a precipice, open at the top,

with a small mountain -stream running through the cen

tre of it. There they anxiously awaited the dawn of

morning, in a sitting posture ( for they could not lie

down) , and drenched to the skin . Soon after daylight

they discovered two Chinamen , who came down to pil

lage the wreck ; and several dead bodies of Chinamen

were found cast up upon the shore. After some hesita

tion and difficulty, a bargain was at length made to con

vey Captain Elliot, for one thousand dollars, to Macao,

in a fishing -boat; but, shortly afterwards, another party

of Chinese fishermen , coming up from a neighbouring

village, commenced robbing all the shipwrecked people,

stripping them of their clothes, and, among other things,

getting possession of a star of the Hanoverian Guelphic

Order. In a short time, the demand for conveying Cap


tain Elliot to Macao, as soon as the weather would per

mit, was raised to two thousand dollars, which was

agreed to .

Yet difficulties seemed to multiply hourly ; for, at

this juncture, some of the Chinese, having found two or

three bodies of their countrymen lashed to spars, and

dreadfully lacerated by being dashed against the rocks

until they were lifeless, took it for granted that this had

been done purposely by Captain Elliot and his party,

and for some time their threatening gestures and angry

looks of retaliation seemed to portend bloodshed. This

was, however, at length averted ; and ultimately, after

agreeing to pay upwards of three thousand dollars,

Captain Elliot, Sir Gordon Bremer, and two other per

sons, were laid upon their backs, in the bottom of a boat,

and carefully covered over with mats. Scarcely , how

ever, had they fairly got away from the island, when

another misfortune threatened to consign them to the

most bitter fate. An armed mandarin -boat passed

close by them , and hailed the Chinese boatmen, asking

for news about the wrecks. What a prize was at this

moment within their grasp ! No less than twenty thou

sand dollars had been already offered as a reward for

the capture either of Captain Elliot or Sir Gordon Bre

mer. Had the boatmen been treacherous enough to be

tray their charge (and Captain Elliot was personally

known to them ), what a grand display Her Majesty's

two Plenipotentiaries would have made in Pekin , car

ried about in bamboo cages, like wild beasts ! What

proclamations and boastings ! What promotions and

rewards ! But, happily, this was not to be ; and , in a


few hours, the party landed safely in the inner harbour

of Macao ; Captain Elliot having for his costume a

jacket, without any shirt ; the Commodore, a blue

worsted frock ; and each of them a pair of striped

trowsers. To crown all, in this unhappy plight, the

moment the two high functionaries were recognized by

the Portuguese officer of the guard , the latter were

ordered to “ turn out,” as a mark of respect; but were

soon induced to defer it until a more fitting oppor


Boats were now sent off, without delay, together

with an interpreter, in order to rescue the other suf

ferers ; and at last they all arrived safely in Macao, on

the 25th of July.

But it is time to return from this digression to the

harbour of Hong Kong, just at the time when the height

of the typhoon had passed over. Towards noon, the

wind veered round aa little to the southward of east ; at

two p. m., it began to moderate ; and at three p. m .,

its severity had past. Before sunset, the haze began to

clear off aa little, and gradually the scene of devastation

became more and more visible, and presented such a

frightful spectacle, that you could hardly believe that

it was the same harbour of Hong Kong, which had been

recently so gay and tranquil, with crowds of shipping

upon the smooth surface of its waters. The shore was

covered with wrecks and stranded boats, and the tem

porary buildings on shore had disappeared altogether.

Many of our ships were now found to be missirig,

having been driven out to sea during the fury of the

gale. Among the latter was II. M. schooner, Starling,


about which great apprehensions were entertained . It

was feared that she might have foundered, with all hands

on board .

On the following morning, at daylight, the Nemesis

was ordered to go out and render assistance to any ves

sels in distress, and to bring off people from the wrecks;

and particularly to look out for the Starling, in case she

should have gone on shore upon any of the neighbouring

islands. No time was to be lost. In every direction

immediate assistance was required, and many poor fel

lows were rescued by the Nemesis from a watery grave.

It was curious to remark how completely every vessel

that had gone on shore was torn to pieces, and in so short

a space of time; every part ofthem was broken up, and

the fragments were floating about the harbour and lining

the shores on every side, above high -water mark . A

number of artillerymen and sappers were taken off the

wreck of one of our prize war -junks which had gone on

shore ; and the whole crew of the Prince George mer

chant ship were likewise saved from one of the neigh

bouring islands upon which they had been wrecked ;

but the captain of the vessel refused to leave the island,

where he vainly persisted in seeking for the body of his

unfortunate wife, who was drowned when first the ves

sel struck .

Not being able to gain any tidings of the Starling,

the Nemesis proceeded on through the Capsingmoon

passage, towards Lintin, in the hope that she might

have taken refuge under that island. Fortunately, she

was now descried beating up gallantly through the pas

sage towards Hong Kong, and , as soon as the steamer


ran alongside, there was a general cheer of congratula

tion. The tale was very soon told. During the height

of the typhoon, the Starling had parted a cable, and, as

she was now drifting fast, Captain Kellett at once slip

ped the other, in the hope of being able to run through

the Capsingmoon passage, as his only chance of safety.

With very great exertion and good seamanship, he for

tunately succeeded in the attempt, even in the midst of

the typhoon, and had even managed to lie -to and pick

up some unfortunate Chinamen , who were floating past

him upon the wreck of their shattered junk. At length

he succeeded in getting under the lee of the island of

Lintin, where he brought up with a common boat's an

chor, having a couple of guns fastened to the cable.

By the aid of this contrivance he rode out the gale,

until it moderated sufficiently for him to get under

weigh, and attempt to return to Hong Kong. The

Nemesis, however, now took the Starling in tow, and

great was the surprise and joy of every one at Hong

Kong when the two vessels were seen standing in to

gether in safety.

In this typhoon, H. M. S. Sulphur, Algerine, Royalist,

and the schooner, Hebe, were dismasted ; and at least

twenty merchant vessels and transports were either driven

ashore or were dismasted, and suffered other injuries.

Five days afterwards, on the 26th, there was a recur

rence of the typhoon, which the Nemesis rode out very

easily in the Typa anchorage at Macao ; but it was not

so severe as the first one, and comparatively little injury

was caused by it. There is reason to believe also, that,

had all the ships at Hong Kong been moored in proper


berths, and early precautions taken , before the com

mencement of the first typhoon , the danger and the da

mage inflicted would have been much less severe.

No time was lost in refitting the ships, and prepara

tions were now hastened for the advance of our forces

upon Amoy, and for pushing on our operations further

northward , while the favourable season lasted . Sir

Gordon Bremer had returned from Calcutta, in the

Queen steamer, on the 18th of June, having been invested

with the functions of Joint- Plenipotentiary, in conjunc

tion with Captain Elliot . This high honour was, how

ever, of short duration ; for, on the 9th of August, Sir

Henry Pottinger arrived from England, viâ Bombay,

having been appointed sole Plenipotentiary and Chief

Superintendent of trade in China : he was accompanied

by Vice -Admiral Sir William Parker, by whom all the

subsequent naval operations were conducted.

AMOY 113



Arrival of reinforcements — Sir Henry Pottinger's first proclamation

Announcement to the authorities at Canton - His refusal to see the

Prefect - Dismay of the great man in consequence - Good effect upon

the Chinese - Preparations of Sir William Parker for advance upon

Amoy - Departure of the fleet from Hong Kong - Captain Elliot and

Sir Gordon Bremer leave for England - Notices of Amoy - Situation

and appearance of the town — Description of its defences — Their great

extent-Island of Kolingsoo - Attempts to negociate - Reply of the

Plenipotentiary-General order of Sir Hugh Gough-Orders against

plundering - Attack commences 26th of August — Positions of ships

against the batteries — Landing of the troops — Party from the Nemesis

joins the advanced guard of the 18th - Captain Hall the first upon the

walls — Personal combat — The long fort captured-Kolingsoo taken

Accident to the Nemesis Occupation of the city on the 27th - Curious

scenes — Boldness of Chinese plunderers — Evidences of infanticide

Harassing duties — Tiger soldiers — Description of Kolingsoo - Ameri

can missionaries— Remarks on the prospect of OPENING China BY

MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE_Errors to be guarded against-Garrison

left on Kolingsoo - Our troops quit Amoy - Re- embarkation.

Not long after our forces had withdrawn from Canton,

the Emperor of China issued one of his peculiar procla

mations, to the effect that “ the imperial troops had

now been sent with songs of triumph to their homes,

VOL . II . I


and the deceptions and mistakes of both parties were

therefore to be forgotten.” He, probably, little expected


that the so-called “ songs of triumph ” would so soon be

converted into the wailings of lamentation . Such , how

ever, was soon to be the case.

At the end of July, the H. C. steamer, Phlegethon ,

Lieutenant M‘Cleverty, nearly the exact counterpart

of the Nemesis, arrived at Hong Kong, bringing the

intelligence that Captain Elliot's treaty of Chuenpee had

been disapproved of by the home government, and that

Sir Henry Pottinger had been appointed to succeed him ,

as sole Plenipotentiary. Shortly before this, also, her

Majesty's 55th regiment had arrived from Calcutta, and

everything indicated that a movement upon Amoy would

take place as soon as possible, after the expected arri

val of Sir Henry Pottinger as Plenipotentiary, and Sir

William Parker as Admiral. The season for active ope

rations was already advanced , and even for the sake of

the health of the troops, it was the anxious wish of all

the officers that a change of some sort or other might

speedily take place.

In the afternoon of the 10th of August, the arrival of

the H. C. steamer Sesostris, from Bombay, in the

Macao roads, was announced, and great was the joy of

every one when it was made known that both Sir Henry

Pottinger and Sir William Parker were on board . They

had come from London in the wonderfully short period

of sixty -seven days, ten of which had been spent in

Bombay .

At daylight, next morning, the Nemesis went out to

convey these high functionaries from the Sesostris, in


the roads, to the town of Macao, where they were re

ceived with every demonstration of respect, under a

salute from the Portuguese forts. A conference was held

in the course of the morning, between Captain Elliot

and Sir Henry Pottinger, together with the Admiral

and Sir Hugh Gough . Energetic measures appeared

to be at once resolved on . Sir William Parker went

over to visit the fleet at Hong Kong, and as soon as

visits of ceremony had been exchanged between the

new Plenipotentiary and the Portuguese authorities,

Sir Henry Pottinger lost no time in publishing the

notification of his appointment, as Minister Extraordi

nary and sole Plenipotentiary, and also as Chief Super

intendent of trade in China. He further intimated to

the foreign community that it was “ his intention to

devote his undivided energies and thoughts to the pri

mary object of securing a speedy and satisfactory

close of the war, and that he therefore could allow no

consideration connected with mercantile pursuits, and

other interests, to interfere with the strong measures

which he might deem necessary to adopt towards the

government and subjects of China, with a view to com

pel an honourable and lasting peace. At the same time,

he warned all British subjects, that if they put either

themselves or their property in the power of the Chinese

authorities, during the present unsettled state of things,

it must be clearly understood to be at their own risk

and peril.”

In order to communicate officially to the Chinese

authorities the fact of his arrival, and the nature of his

powers, Sir Henry now despatched his secretary, Major

I 2


Malcolm, to Canton , as the bearer of letters to the

provincial government. The Nemesis was, as usual,

employed to carry the officers up the river. No little

sensation was created among the Chinese officials, by

the announcement which was now made to them. They

therefore resolved to welcome the Plenipotentiary with

all ceremony ; and probably, also, in the hope of being

able to form some estimate of his character, they de

spatched the prefect of the city, or Kwang-Chow-Foo,

on the 18th, to Macao, with a numerous retinue. He

landed at Macao, upon the Praya Grande, near the

governor's palace, attended by a great number of fol

lowers, and proceeded in state to the residence of the

Plenipotentiary, thinking, no doubt, that he was con

ferring a great honour upon his Excellency, and that he

would accordingly be received with every mark of dis

tinction. Alas, how are the mighty fallen ! The cere

monious Prefect was not even received. He, who had

hitherto been courted as an officer of distinction , and

had been the medium of communication , and in some

sort the ambassador, between the high Chinese authori

ties and Captain Elliot, was now absolutely rejected.

Sir Henry Pottinger, acting with an intimate knowledge

of the oriental character, and fully impressed with the

high duties he was called upon to perform , and the ligh

station he had to maintain as her Majesty's representa

tive, declined to receive or hold any direct intercourse

with an officer inferior to himself in rank and responsi

bility, and still less with one of comparatively inferior

grade, such as the Prefect of Canton .

Major Malcolm , the secretary of legation, was, how


ever, deputed to receive the Prefect ; and, after a short

interview, the would-be great man withdrew , and re

turned in some dismay to Canton , to report the circum

stances to his superiors. The sensation created by this

little characteristic incident was very remarkable. The

Chinese of all classes, from the Viceroy to the Hong

merchants, and down to their clerks and attendants,

were thoroughly taken by surprise. They could hardly

believe that the Prefect had been rejected, and there

fore jumped to the very laudable and truly eastern con

clusion that the new Plenipotentiary must be a very

great man indeed , a much greater man than Captain

Elliot, and of course invested with higher powers. It

became the subject of conversation in every quarter, and

tended to awaken much greater respect for the dignity

of the new Plenipotentiary. The same cautious and

dignified bearing was maintained with the greatest

advantage throughout the whole of our subsequent pro


At Hong Kong the most active preparations were

now being made for the immediate departure of the

expedition. Excellent arrangements were introduced

by Sir William Parker, for the proper guidance of the

fleet, and especially for the distribution and manage

ment of the numerous transports and store ships. The

advantage of this systematic regularity soon became

evident ; and it is deserving of notice that, from this

period until the close of the war, the transport service

was conducted with the utmost regularity and efficiency,

in spite of the endless difficulties arising out of our

imperfect knowledge of the coast of China, and the in


accuracy of most of the charts. Add to this, that owing

to sickness and other causes, the transports were often

under-manned, and had frequently the most arduous

duties to perform .

It redounds to the credit of the mercantile marine of

this country, and says much for the judicious arrange

ments of the admiral and all the officers under him, that

so few accidents occurred up to the close of the war.

The passage of the fleet up the Yang-tze river will be

described in its place ; but it is not too much here to

remark that, considering the intricate navigation of the

river, the rapidity of its current, and the very imperfect

knowledge of its difficulties, which we possessed, the

conducting of so large a fleet, without any serious acci

dent, up to Nankin and back again, was perhaps the most

striking event of a naval character which occurred during

the war.

By a general order of the 19th of August, issued only

nine days after the arrival of the admiral, the fleet was

directed to be ready to put to sea at daylight on the

21st. It was to be formed in three divisions, the centre

commanded by Captain Herbert, in the Blenheim , as

sisted by Commander Clarke, of the Columbine ; the

starboard division , under Captain Bourchier, in the

Blonde, assisted by Commander Gifford, in the Cruiser ;

while the 2nd, or port division, was placed under Cap

tain Smith , of the Druid, assisted by Commander Anson,

of the Pylades. It was, moreover, directed that a boat

should be held in constant readiness on board each

transport, to assist in towing the ships clear of each

other in the event of calms, and that no boat should be


allowed to pass from one ship to the other, at sea, with

ont permission from the admiral or the senior officer of

the division .

The whole fleet consisted of thirty -six sail, including

transports, namely, two line-of-battle ships, the Welles


ley and the Blenheim ; seven other ships ofwar, namely,

the Modeste, Druid, Columbine, Blonde, Pylades, Crui

ser, and Algerine ; the Rattlesnake troop-ship, and the

Bentinck surveying -vessel ; four steamers, belonging to

the East India Company, namely, the Queen, Phlege

thon , Nemesis, and Sesostris ; and twenty -one hired

transports and store -ships, most of them of large size,

several of not less than a thousand tons burden . The

force stationed in the neighbourhood of the Canton river

comprised five or six vessels of war, including the Herald

and Alligator, and was under the command of Captain

Nias, senior officer.

Early on the morning of the 21st, the fleet got under

weigh ; but it was some time before things could be

brought to settle down a little on board the transports,

in which various changes in the arrangement of the

troops had been made.. Sir Henry Pottinger came over

from Macao in The Queen on that day, just as the fleet

had sailed ; and, as he stopped some time at Hong

Kong to inspect the place, and examine the various

arrangements which had already been made, he did not

join the admiral until the following day. The general

rendezvous, in case of separation, was to be Chapel Is

land, not far from Amoy. The weather was extremely

favourable during the whole passage up, and, on the

25th, the whole squadron reached the outer harbour of


Amoy, having preserved the order of sailing remarkably

well throughout .

The late plenipotentiaries, Captain Elliot and Sir

Gordon Bremer, sailed from Hong Kong, and finally

took leave of China, three days after the departure of

the expedition, on board the Atalanta steamer, which

had become completely knocked up by her work in the

Canton river. Their intention was to proceed as quickly

as possible to England by way of Bombay.

The distance of Amoy from Hong Kong is scarcely

three hundred miles, and there were many good grounds

for making it the first point of attack, as the expedition

proceeded northward. It will be remembered that the

Blonde frigate had been compelled , in the first expedi

tion, to chastise the authorities of Amoy for their inso

lent and hostile bearing, and that this little affair was

immediately represented to the Emperor as a great vic

tory gained by them in driving off the barbarian ships ;

that, a very short time after this, the Alligator had also

been compelled to inflict similar chastisement. Besides

this, however, it must be remembered that, in former

times, the English had been allowed the privilege of

trading at Amoy, and that, at the present day, many of

the enterprising merchants of this thriving town resort,

for purposes of trade, to Singapore ; and that the people

generally were well acquainted with the English charac

ter, and favourable to their institutions. It could not

be doubted, therefore, that the capture of this flourish

ing commercial city would be seriously felt by the Chi

nese government. The authorities had, within the last

twelve months, spent enormous sums of money and in

AMOY. 121

credible labour in the construction of batteries, which

they deemed impregnable, and which were certainly

capable of being stoutly defended .

The harbour of Amoy is situated in the south -western

corner of an island of the same name, which, together

with another called Quemoy, occupies a considerable

portion of a large bay, in which, however, there are also

numerous smaller islands . Of these the most interest

ing, in connexion with our present subject, is that of

Kolingsoo, which is separated from Amoy by a narrow

passage, leading directly up to the harbour. In fact,

the possession of this island, which we still retain, gives

us the complete command of Amoy itself, or rather of

its town and suburbs.

The scenery within the bay and about the town of

Amoy is exceedingly picturesque, the appearance of tlie

country being very mountainous and striking. Several

considerable rivers pour their waters into the bay, and

facilitate the communications with the interior of the

country. The superiority of the harbour much exceeded

the expectations of the officers.

The town of Amoy, although possessed of great com

mercial importance, and very wealthy, is by no means

a first-class city ; it ranks, indeed , only as a principal

third-class town ; but its inhabitants are exceedingly

enterprising and intelligent, and are remarkable for a

certain disposition for emigration and colonization, as

well as for their love of commerce. They were the

principal colonizers of the flourishing island of Formosa,

which lies opposite Amoy, extending itself along the

coast for a distance of little less than two hundred

122 AMOY ..

miles ; and they are to be found in great numbers in

more remote islands, subject even to foreign dominion,

such as Java, Singapore, Manilla, &c.

The city and suburbs of Amoy can hardly be less than

eight or ten miles in circumference, and they are in a

great degree commanded by a fortified hill or citadel in

the rear, which, however, is again commanded (as is very

commonly the case in China) by unfortified heights be

yond it to the eastward. The suburbs, or outer town,

are separated from the principal or inner town by a line

of steep, rocky hills, which run transversely down to

the beach ; but a paved road, or narrow causeway, leads

into the city, through a pass which is protected by a

covered gateway at its summit. As there is, therefore,

what may be called аa double town, so is there also a sort

of double harbour , the outer one running along the face

of the outer town, and the inner one extending along the

front of the principal town , and joining a large estuary ,

which runs deep into the island across its centre, and

skirts the northern side of the city. In this manner ,

nearly two-thirds of the city of Amoy are washed by

the sea. In fact, it stands upon a corner or tongue of

land , having a line of bold mountains in its rear and on

its flank . The walls are castellated at top, and vary in

height, according to the nature of the ground, from

twenty to thirty feet. There are also, as in other places,

four principal gates, having each an outwork or outer

wall , with a court or open space between them , and a

second gate leading from this, and placed at right angles

to the inner one, so that the approach to it from the

outside is commanded by the principal wall of the town.

AMOY . 123

The citadel of Amoy was afterwards found to contain

a large supply of military accoutrements — ginjals,match

locks, swords, shields,and spears of all kinds ; there was

also an immense quantity of gunpowder, and materials

for making it ; in short, there was every reason to be

lieve that Amoy had been made use of as the great mili

tary depôt of the province.

It is impossible to form even a tolerable estimate of the

number of troops collected for the defence of the place,

but the different accounts which were received varied

from six thousand to eight or ten thousand men . It

was also known that the high officers of the province

had come down to Amoy purposely to encourage the

defence, and to witness, as they hoped, the utter dis

comfiture of the barbarians . It was, however , upon

their newly - constructed works that they placed their

great reliance.

Numerous forts and field -works had been erected upon

nearly all the smaller islands which stretch across the

mouth of the great bay ; and upon the island of Amoy itself

a succession of batteries and field -works had been built,

to command the approach to the town . The principal

of these was a long stone battery, well built of granite,

faced with earth, extending along the shore nearly up to

the suburbs of the city, and designed to command the

passage to the harbour. It presented a line of guns

full mile in length, the embrasures being covered with

large slabs of stone protected by earth heaped upon

them , and mounting no less than ninety-six guns. In

the rear of this battery there was a range of steep, rocky

heiylits, up the side of which the Chinese had carried a

124 AMOY .

strong castellated wall, to serve as a flanking defence


to the battery .

Still further to defend the approaches to the city,

they had also strongly fortified the little island of Ko

lingsoo, between which and Amoy the passage is not

more than six hundred yards across ; this island is, in

fact, the key of Amoy, and was retained in our posses

sion when the city and the island of Amoy were restored

to the Chinese. At that time, the Chinese had already

mounted upon the works, either completed or in pro

gress, no less than seventy-six guns. Indeed, they

had spared no labour to endeavour to render Amoy

capable of easy . defence; although, from want of skill

and discipline, the resistance which they offered was

comparatively trifling. If the number of guns alone

could indicate the strength of a place, the Chinese

might have had some grounds for confidence ; for, as

Sir Hugh Gough remarked, “ Every island, every pro

jecting headland, whence guns could be made to bear,

was occupied and strongly armed . ” In fact, there were

altogether not less than five hundred guns captured at

Amoy and the adjacent islands.

Early on the morning of the 26th of August, everything

was in readiness for the projected attack. The captains

and commanders repaired on board the flag-ship for or

ders ; the steamers were all smoking and blowing off

their spare steam, and the officers were all anxiously

looking for the expected signal to stand in and engage

the batteries. Before active operations commenced ,

however, it was thought right to make a reconnoissance

of the defences which were to be attacked . With this


view, Sir Hugh Gough , Sir William Parker, and the

Plenipotentiary, stood in on board the Phlegethon , and

were able to approach sufficiently close to the works to

observe all that was necessary , without having a single

shot fired at them.

In the mean time, a messenger, supposed to be a

Chinese merchant, came off from the town, under a flag

of truce, requesting to know the object of the visit of

so large and formidable a squadron. The answer to

this question was simple enough, and was sent in the

name of the Plenipotentiary, the General, and the Ad

miral, to the effect that “ they required that the de

mands made last year at Tientsin (near Pekin), by Cap

tain Elliot, should be complied with ; and that hostile

measures would, if necessary, be adopted to enforce

them. Nevertheless, that, as the Plenipotentiary and

the Commanders-in-Chief were moved by compassionate

feelings, and were unwilling to cause the death of so

many officers and soldiers as must perish, they were

willing to allow all the officers and troops in the town

to retire with their personal arms and baggage, in order

to save the people from being hurt ; upon condition

that the town and fortifications of Amoy should be at

once delivered into the hands of the British forces, to

be held for the present by them .” A white flag was to

be exhibited from the fortifications, if these terms were

acceded to ; otherwise, hostilities would commence . As

might be expected, the white flag was not displayed.

The morning was very hot and sultry ; but, about

one o'clock, a steady, favourable breeze set in , and the

squalron got under weigh. The plan was, to make a


simultaneous attack upon all the batteries at once, both

against those upon Amoy and those upon Kolingsoo.

The troops were also to be landed, with the object of

taking the batteries in the rear ; and the Nemesis and

Phlegethon steamers were to be employed to convey

them to the appointed place of debarkation.

The ships were likely to bear the chief brunt of the

engagement; but Sir Hugh Gough made every dispo

sition for the employment of the land forces, and his

general order, issued just before the attack was to take

place, deserves especial notice. He directed his remarks

very strongly to the question of plundering; and ob

served that, “ as Amoy was a large commercial port,,

and there had once been an English factory there, it

was highly important that no act should be committed

which could tend to embarrass our future friendly in

tercourse. The government and the military were to

be overcome, and public property taken possession of,

under certain instructions, but private property was to

be held inviolable ; and that which in England , ” ob

served the General, “ obtains the name of robbery, de

serves no better name in China .” The camp-followers

were made liable to be put to death for plundering; and

orders were issued to punish on the spot any man strag

gling from his corps .

This alone will suffice to point out that the expedi

tion was very far from possessing that buccaneering

character which some persons, particularly foreigners,

attempted to cast upon it. Indeed, it may safely be

asserted that war was never carried on with so little

infliction of suffering upon the people generally as in


China. Generally speaking, the people soon learnt to

appreciate our motives ; and, unless prevented by their

own officers, they commonly showed a friendly, or, at

all events, a neutral feeling towards us. Besides the

English, the privilege of trading at Amoy was formerly

held by the Spanish also ; and, at no very remote period,

a regular intercourse was kept up between Amoy and

the Spanish colony of Manilla.

It was probable that the nature of the country round

Amoy would render brigade movements inadmissible ;

but the troops were to be prepared to form in three

brigades, if necessary. The men were to land in jackets,

caps, and coats folded ; and were to carry, each man ,

one day's cooked provisions. The artillery were to be

in readiness to land their light, mountain guns.

About half-past one, the attack commenced on our

side ; but the Chinese had already begun the engage

ment, by firing occasional shots at our ships, as they

proceeded with a steady and favourable breeze to their

respective stations. The Sesostris and Queen steamers

led in ; the former commencing the action ,but receiving

a heavy fire before she returned it. The line-of-battle

ships, Wellesley and Blenheim , under Captains Mait

land and Herbert, proceeded to the extremity of the

long stone-battery, nearest the suburbs, where they

anchored by the stern, about half-past two p.m. , within

four hundred yards of the works, and at once opened a

heavy fire upon the principal battery.

The next in order along the front of these works,

from the suburbs towards the outer extremity, were the

Pylades, Columbine, Cruiser, and Algerine. Simultane


ously with this attack upon Amoy, the Blonde, Druid,

and Modeste reached their allotted stations, against the

works of Kolingsoo ; but, owing to the shallowness of

the water, they were boldly carried on, in little more

than their own draught.

The roar of the artillery on every side, echoed by the

mountains around, was now terrific ;‫ ܪ‬and, in one hour

and twenty minutes, the three principal batteries on

Kolingsoo were silenced, and the marines under Cap

tain Ellis, about one hundred and seventy in number,

were landed on that island , and took possession of the

heights in the rear, without any loss. Three companies

of the 26th regiment had also been appointed to this

service, but the distance of the transports only permit

ted a small detachment of them , under Major Johnstone,

to land in time to assist in clearing the batteries. The

small detachment of the Royal Artillery, under Lieu

tenant the Hon . R. E. Spencer, were actively employed

on board the Blonde, during the attack.

While these operations were being carried on against

the batteries on Kolingsoo, and against the long battery

on Amoy, the Phlegethon and Nemesis were speedily

brought up with the troops ready to land. The Neme

sis had taken on board the General and his staff, toge

ther with the 18th Royal Irish , under Colonel Adams ;

and had also to tow up a number of boats, with the sap

pers and miners, followers, &c. Considerable delay

was therefore occasioned by having to run up to the

different transports to embark detachments, and also to

pick up the boats ; and it was not until half-past three

that the Nemesis could get into action. She then opened


fire at the long battery with her heavy guns and rockets,

as she approached the lower angle of the fort for the pur

pose of landing the troops .

It was just about this time that, as the Phlegethon

was also running up towards the battery, a boat was

despatched by Lieutenant M-Cleverty, in which Lieu

tenant Crawford volunteered his services to capture a

sinall outwork upon a hill, very near the beach ; and it

was here that the British flag was first displayed upon

the enemy's works, on that day, with three cheers from

the steamers .

About a quarter before four, the General landed upon

the beach, near the flank of the great battery, with the

18th and 49th regiments, which were carried in by the

Nemesis and Phlegethon steamers. The disembarkation

was conducted by Commander Giffard, of the Cruiser.

The 18th was directed to escalade the castellated

wall which flanked the battery ; and, as already

described, ran up the hill-side from the beach, nearly at

right angles to it. At the same time, the 49th were to

move along the beach towards the lower angle of the

battery, and either get over it at its sea-face, or force

their way through the embrasures.

A smart fire was kept up from the Nemesis, to cover

the landing and advance of the troops; and Captain Hall

himself, anxious to take an active part in every opera

tion, pushed off from the steamer, in the pinnace manned

and armed, accompanied by the unfortunate Mr. Gully,

who, as an old and brave friend, volunteered to go with

him . This was the same gentleman who afterwards fell

a victim to the rapacity and cruelty of the Chinese

VOL . II . K


authorities on the island of Formosa, upon which he had

the misfortune to be wrecked, and , after seven months

imprisonment and cruel treatment, was at length exe

cuted, together with nearly all his companions.

As soon as Captain Hall and his friend had landed

with the pinnace's crew, they joined the advanced

guard of the 18th, under Major Tomlinson and Lieu

tenant Murray , who were advancing towards the lower

end of the castellated wall. The Chinese opened a

smart fire of ginjalls and matchlocks as they approached ,

which was returned by the advancing party, who took

advantage of the numerous little hillocks and tombs

which lay in their way to shelter themselves while they

reloaded .

The Chinese, finding their enemy pressing up towards

the wall, and being already bewildered by the adini

rable firing of the ships, now began to slacken their

fire. The 18th rushed for the lower end of the wall,

while the party from the Nemesis made a dash at

its flank, some way higher up near a gateway, where

the wall appeared less elevated and more accessible.

They had, however, brought no scaling -ladders, and, in

order to get over the wall, the men were obliged to be

lifted up on each other's backs. In this way Captain

Hall managed to get first upon the top of the wall, and

instantly waved the British flag, (which on such occa

sions he always carried with him in his pocket) in token

of triumph . Others soon followed ; and the Chinese, the

moment they saw their enemies upon the walls, fired

two or three random shots and fled . At this time also

the 18th got over the wall lower down, while the


49th forced their way through the embrasures, just

at the angle of the sea -face of the great battery.

The fire of the ships had not yet ceased, when the party

from the Nemesis got down into the body of the fort,

and several of our large shot fell close around them .

A very short distance in advance they now observed

that two Chinese officers of high rank, mounted on

horseback, were endeavouring to make their escape,

surrounded by a numerous body -guard, or retinue. The

opportunity for trying to take an important prisoner

was a tempting one ; and Captain Hall, little thinking

how few of his own men were near him , and carried

away by the impulse of the moment, rushed headlong

upon the Chinese soldiers in front of him , firing off his

pistols at the two principal officers. Only two of his

own men were near him at the moment ; so that one of

the inferior Chinese officers, seeing the disparity,

rallied a few of his men, and suddenly faced about,

with a view to cut them off. A personal encounter

now took place with the Chinese officer, who was

a remarkably fine young man, bearing the white

button . The long sword, however, soon had the ad

vantage over the Chinese short one, even putting

aside personal prowess, and the mandarin fell severely

wounded in the arm . He was immediately disarmed,

and his cap and button, together with his sword,

were taken from him as trophies. Several other sol

diers now came up, to endeavour to rescue their officer,

who got up and tried to escape, but another wound in

the leg soon brought him down again, and made the

other Chinamen halt.

K 2


By this time, Captain Hall and his two men were

nearly surrounded, and were compelled to fight their

way back again towards their comrades, who were

coming up to their aid. One of the two seamen re

ceived a severe wound in the groin from the thrust of a

spear, but the others got off without any injury. The

young wounded mandarin was at last safely carried off

by his comrades .

The Chinese were now in full flight in every direc

tion, followed by the 18th, 49th, and a party of

small-arm men , who were landed from the Wellesley

and Blenheim, some way up the sea -face of the fort,

under Commander Fletcher and other officers of those

ships. The fort was soon completely in our possession.

During all the operations of this day, Sir Henry Pot

tinger and suite were with the admiral on board the

Wellesley .

Within the battery many dead bodies of the Chinese

were found, but not a great many wounded, because the

soldiers had managed to carry away most of the latter,

and even some of the former. The few wounded, how

ever, which were discovered , were relieved as much as

they could be for the moment, by placing them where

they were sheltered from the burning sun , giving them

water, and subsequently by attending to their wounds.

The heat and sultriness of the day were still very oppres

sive, even to those who had been fortunate enough to

escape unhurt, but to the wounded it was almost in

tolerable . The water-carriers of the regiments were

here the true guardian angels of every one ; and many


a man would have probably been laid up with fever,,

had he not obtained the timely blessing of a cool

draught of water. It was the saving of many of the

wounded .

On examining the sea -face of the battery, it was im

possible not to be struck with the amazing solidity of

the wall. It was composed of hewn granite, faced out

side with earth, and of such strength, that the heavy

firing of two line of battle-ships against it , at the

distance of only four hundred yards, had made very

little impression ; indeed , it might be said to be shot

proof. The embrasures were something like low port

holes, covered with stone and earth , and in the space

between them were sheds, or a sort of temporary watch

boxes, in which was found a quantity of arms of every

kind , clothes, half- cooked food, and also opium , with

the common pipes used for smoking it. A horse also

was found . The guns were many of them very ill

mounted , and in general the carriages were badly con

trived, and often defective. In some places you saw

bags of sand placed upon the top of the guns,, to prevent

them from jumping out of the carriages altogether.

her. The

fort had evidently been armed hastily .

Several high Chinese officers fell during this day ;

some probably by their own hands. One of them very

quietly rushed into the water and drowned himself,

although, in the report of the affair to the Emperor, it

was afterwards stated , that he “rushed on to drive back

the assailants as they landed , and fell into the water and

died .” This officer was the Chinese Commodore, who

commanded in the absence of the Admiral. This officer


had left the port just before our arrival, (boasting that

he was going to meet the barbarians) and, having sailed

northward, could not get back again, owing to the con

trary wind.

Before five o'clock, the whole of the outer defences

of Amoy were in our possession. The Blonde and

Modeste, as soon as they had silenced the batteries on

Kolingsoo, with the assistance of the Druid , had pushed

on into the inner harbour, and captured twenty -six war

junks, mounting not less than one hundred and twenty

eight guns ; they were nearly ready for sea, but were

deserted by their crews. A large building -yard was

discovered, with an immense quantity of timber collected

in it ; and there was a good-sized frigate-junk, of about

three hundred tons, in course of building, in a regular

dry dock, something after the European model ; they had

evidently made a great step in advance in the art of ship

building : indeed, the longer the war lasted , the more

the Chinese found themselves led on, by the “ impulse

of necessity,” to attempt great changes, and, in many

respects, improvements, not only in their vessels, but in

their warlike weapons, and other matters relating to the

art of defence.

The 55th regiment was unfortunately deprived, through

accidental circumstances, of an opportunity of taking

part in the day's work. Owing to calms in the early part

of the morning, which delayed the attack, and partly to

the distance of the numerous transports from which the

troops had to be brought, it was late in the afternoon

before the Nemesis could proceed to take on board the

55th regiment. At this time, the usual sea-breeze had


set in, throwing up a good deal of swell, which rolled

into the bay, and rendered the trans-shipment of troops

more tedious, so that the 55th regiment were not

landed until the following morning.

The Nemesis, in running along the shore to avoid the

swell wbich was setting in, unexpectedly found herself

within a circular patch of coral rock, which was not visi

ble above the surface. Several fruitless attempts were

made to extricate her from this curious position, but

the entrance by which she had got into it could not

again be found ; but, her draught of water being very

small, it was thought likely she would be able to force

her way over the reef without suffering much damage

to her iron hull, and she dashed at it at full speed. The

blow, however ,was more severe than was expected ; the

vessel bounded completely over the reef ; but the sharp

coral rock cut completely through her bottom , making

a considerable leak in the engine-room . This was

fortunately stopped from the inside without much diffi

culty, and no further notice was taken of it until some

time afterwards , when she arrived at Chusan, where the

damage was substantially repaired. This, among many

other instances, will point out the value of iron as a

material for small steamers.

In the mean time, Sir Hugh Gough pushed on without

delay, to occupy a chain of steep, rocky hills, which,

running transversely down to the beach, lay between the

great fort and the town, so as to intercept the view of

the latter. A strong body of the Chinese seemed dis

posed to defend this position, which was naturally of

great strength, and completely commanded the approach

136 A PANIC .

to the city. Immediate advantage was to be taken of

the prevailing panic ; and the 18th and 49th regiments

being directed to advance partly up a steep gorge, and

partly by a more circuitous road leading round the hills,

soon made themselves masters of the heights overlooking

the city. The Chinese retreated before them as soon as

they had fired off their guns and matchlocks. Our

troops bivouacked for the night upon the positions they

occupied ; but they might have been a good deal ha

rassed by the Chinese, if the latter had taken advantage

of the rocky, broken character of the ground, to dispute

their further advance. The night was bitterly cold upon

the heights .

At daylight a reconnoissance was made, and it was

soon discovered that little resistance was to be expected .

Great confusion and bustle were apparent in all direc

tions ; hundreds of the inhabitants were hurrying out of

the northern gate, carrying with them their most valu

able property ; in fact, there was evidently a general

panic. Without loss of time, therefore, the 18th, sup

ported by the 49th, were ordered to march down towards

the city in the direction of the eastern gate, which was

the nearest, while Captain Cotton, the commanding en

gineer, was directed to examine carefully the approaches

to the gate itself.

The advanced party of the 18th, on arriving at the

gate, found that there was no preparation for resistance,

and soon scaled the walls by means of some ladders

which were very opportunely found not far from the

gate. Heaps of rubbish, and sacks full of earth and sand ,

were found piled up inside against the gate, so that some


time was required to get it open. It was now discovered

that the authorities and all the soldiers had abandoned

the town , leaving every thing in the utmost disorder, so

that the only protection which the more respectable and

peaceably-inclined inhabitants had to look for, from the

violence and plundering of their own rabble, was from


the presence of our own troops, and the military govern

ment of the city by the victorious captors. Already the

mob had begun to ransack some of the public establish

ments before we found out where they were situated ;

and it was afterwards discovered that a good deal of

treasure must have been carried away by the thieves and

vagabonds of the town. A number of men were found

carrying out of the gates something having the appear

ance of common logs of wood ; and it was not suspected,

until too late, that these logs were hollowed out, and

filled with Sycee silver, aa very ingenious contrivance to

escape detection. A small quantity of treasure was

found in one of the large buildings, supposed to be the

office of the commandant, which was occupied by the

sappers and miners.

Most of the public offices were large and roomy

buildings, affording good accommodation for a whole

regiment of soldiers. The pile of buildings belonging

to the Admiral's department was assigned to the 18th

and the staff, being within the walled town ; while the

49th were quartered in the outer town , in a large build

ing belonging to the office of the Intendant of Cir

cuit. The 55th occupied an extensive range of build

ings belonging to the Prefect of Amoy ; the artillery


retaining possession of a commanding position overlook

ing both the city and the outer town.

Late in the day, and also on the following morning,

Sir Henry Pottinger and Sir William Parker landed to

take a view of the town ; but, after visiting the princi

pal buildings, they returned on board ship.

Numerous patrols were found necessary, by day and

night, in order to preserve quiet in the public streets,

and to check the boldness and rapacity of the swarms of

Chinese thieves and rogues, who hovered about like a

raging pestilence in every part of the city, and crowded

in from the country the moment the respectable inha

bitants left the town . The inhabitants themselves were,

in many instances, afraid even to defend their own pro

perty, or to aid our troops in restoring order and regu

larity ; they dreaded the probable imputation of having

traitorously aided the foreigners, and the fear of extor

tion and punishment from their own authorities at some

future period served to disorganize the whole commu

nity. In vain did Sir Hugh Gough appeal to the more

respectable merchants and householders to aid him in

protecting property ; all that he could get from them

was empty promises, of which they were very liberal,

but from which no good result followed. Even within

the citadel, or walled town, it was with the utmost diffi

culty that the daring thieves and vagabonds could be

kept in check ; and hardly could even a single Chinaman

be induced to point out to the guards at the gate the

real bona fide owners of houses or property , in order

that they might be allowed free egress and ingress.


The injury which the inhabitants of many Chinese

towns suffered during our operations must not be esti

mated by the actual damage (generally trifling) done by

our fire, or by the presence of our troops. In most in

stances, even before hostilities commenced , the presence

of the Chinese troops, who were marched in probably

from several distant provinces, became almost a scourge

to the inhabitants ; and afterwards, when a town was

taken, and the local government disorganized, much

greater damage was done to the property of the people

by the low mob of plunderers, than would, under any

circumstances, have been allowed by our own victorious

soldiers ; indeed, some instances occurred in which the

former were shot by our guards, rather than desist from

their evil doings.

Our men often resisted temptations of no ordinary

kind ; houses were found abandoned, property left un

protected, shops open, and goods strewed about ; and

even the abominable spirit, samsbu, (distilled from rice)

was sometimes almost purposely placed in their way.

The instances of misconduct were few , even under these

peculiar circumstances.

Among other discoveries was one calculated to corro

borate at first sight the notion of the prevalence of in

fanticide among the Chinese. In a large tank near a

public building, by some supposed to have been an hos

pital, were found the dead bodies of several young in

fants which had been drowned , having been thrown in,

sewn up in pieces of mat. But there was nothing to

determine whether the horrid deed was done out of fear

that violence might be offered to the women and chil


dren , or whether it was really an instance of the prac

tice of infanticide, which has been said to prevail in

China to a much greater extent than it really does.

The former explanation may possibly in this instance,

as in some later ones, be the true one.

The interior of the island of Amoy was not occupied,

or even examined, for it was feared by the General that

the presence of our troops would so much alarm the re

spectable and influential inhabitants, that the whole

place would be given up to the rapacity and lawlessness

of the innumerable miscreants who watched for every

opportunity of letting loose all their bad propensities ;

but the Nemesis, accompanied by the Algerine, and

having in tow the launch and pinrace of the Blonde,

was ordered to steam round the island, and search for

war- junks. None, however, were found .

The island of Kolingsoo appeared so completely to

command the harbour and approach to Amoy, that the

occupation of that position only was calculated to an

swer every good purpose, without any necessity for the

retention of Amoy.

It was the opinion of Sir Henry Pottinger, in which

the General and the Admiral perfectly coincided, that

no measures should be taken for the permanent occupa

tion of the city, and that a small garrison only should

be left at Kolingsoo, while the remainder of the expedi

tion should move further northward with the least pos-.

sible delay. It was necessary , however, to wait a day

or two for favourable winds, and measures were taken

for the destruction of the numerous works which had

been constructed upon the outer islands.


The Nemesis was employed on this important service

on the 30th and 31st. Having been joined by two

launches and other boats, with a party of seamen and

marines from the Wellesley , Blenheim , and Druid, under

Commander Fletcher, she proceeded to destroy some

forts and guns, principally on the south-west side of the

bay, all of which had been abandoned by the Chinese.

On this occasion, five forts or field -works and forty -two

guns were taken possession of and destroyed, and on the

following day several others of the same description

were also disabled. A body of Chinese soldiers, who

showed themselves near a small fort on the island of

Quemoy, at the eastern entrance of the bay , were dis

persed, and several guns, matchlocks, ginjals, & c . , toge

ther with a quantity of gunpowder, were destroyed.

Altogether seventy-seven guns and four forts were de

stroyed in this day's work, and the Admiral publicly

spoke of the “ very commendable zeal ” which had been


At Amoy, for the first time, the so -called tiger sol

diers showed themselves, that is, men dressed up in

yellow -coloured clothes, with black spots or stripes

upon them , and a covering for the head, intended to be

a rude representation of a tiger's head , supposed to look

very fierce, and to strike terror into the minds of the


The island of Kolingsoo, which has been retained in

our possession ever since its capture, deserves a few re

marks. It is about a mile and a half in length , and

about three quarters of a mile broad, but is very irre

gular in its shape. It principally consists of rocky


broken ground, the greater part of which is barren, but

interspersed with unwholesome rice- grounds, which have

contributed to render the place extremely unhealthy ;

indeed at one period the mortality among the troops

stationed there was dreadful, scarcely even a single

officer having escaped sickness, which proved fatal to

many. The Chinese, however, seem to have suffered

little from it, for there were several neat and even ele

gant country -houses upon the island, ornamented with

handsome carved woodwork , &c. It seemed to have

been used as a place of retirement for some of the

wealthier citizens of Amoy, and our retention of a place

so conveniently situated for giving us the command of

the harbour and trade of the city was a source of great

annoyance, both to the authorities and to the inhabi

tants .

For a considerable time, very little communication

was kept up with the town, and it was scarcely safe to

venture into it ; but since the peace, every disposition

has been shown to receive us in a friendly manner, and

the knowledge which many of the Chinese merchants

have acquired of our character and habits, by trading

with Singapore, will tend materially to facilitate our

future commercial intercourse.

Several American missionaries have resided at Ko

lingsoo, and without doubt will at no distant period

succeed in winning the attention and good -will of many

of the inhabitants of Amoy. A boundless field has at

length been opened for missionary enterprise in the be

nighted empire of China ; for, although it cannot be

said that the country has been made completely acces


sible to the foreigner, still the hostility of the govern

ment has been materially modified .

It rests with Christian nations to profit as Christians

by the opportunities which cannot fail to offer ; not of

pushing themselves by forcible means into the country,

not of violating the ancient social prejudices of the

people, or of interfering with the laws or habits which

regulate their intercourse, but of winning the gentler

affections of individuals, and , through individual sym

pathies, of working upon the feelings and the judgment

of multitudes, so that they may be made sensible of the

blessings presented to them, and learn to become mu

tual instructors to their own countrymen .

I have heard American missionaries distinctly say,

that they met with no open opposition to their instruc

tion, or any disposition to ridicule or decry their prac

tices ; that the people willingly listened, but with diffi

culty understood ; they were more afraid of the novelty

of what was taught them , than of the matter which was

conveyed, or the subject which was presented to them .

Among a people so fond of reading and thinking, and

so given to study and inquiry, as the Chinese generally

are, the best possible results are to be expected from

the judicious teaching of Christianity, and, above all,

of Christian practices. If China is really to be opened,

it is to be effected by missionary enterprise cautiously

and judiciously, and, above all , not too hastily applied.

The most valuable of all aids to these undertakings

is that of medical knowledge, which may be considered

as almost indispensable to the proper character of a

missionary in China. The relief of bodily suffering


(above all, in a country where the medical art is so low

as it is in China) softens the feelings of our nature, and

paves the way for kinder influences over the mind itself.

It will open the family mansion of the most secluded

and prejudiced Chinese, when words or doctrines first

propounded would meet an unwilling or perhaps a hos

tile listener. Religious teaching and the practice of the

healing art, the comfort of the suffering mind, and the

solace of the tortured body, must go hand in hand in

effecting the good work of “ opening ” China.

Why is it that the Americans have.taken precedence

of the English in this great and glorious work, since the

commencement of the war in particular ? For many

years, a talented medical missionary, Dr. Parker, has

dispensed his double blessing upon the Chinese at Can

ton, and can testify to the gratitude of the people, from

the highest to the lowest, and the readiness with which

they have accepted his counsel and his teaching in both

capacities. At Macao, Hong Kong, Kolingsoo, and

Chusan, the Americans have alike preceded us. But it

is to be hoped that this great country, though not the

first to commence latterly, will soon be the most ener

getic to extend the good work . England incurred a

solemn duty when she extorted a peace with China ;

and aa heavier burden was imposed upon her than the

settlement of a tariff, when she demanded and exacted

the concession of those privileges of which she caused

all nations to be partakers.

There is, however, one great and fatal error to be

avoided ; and that is, the rivalry of religious sects

among each other, and the attempt to gain followers at


the expense of each other's tenets. It was this want of

unanimity which in some measure produced the decline

of the influence of Roman Catholic missionaries in

China. It would naturally be asked, where are all

these Christian feelings of unanimity, brotherly love,

and good will, of which you speak, when you disagree

among yourselves ? How, in fact, are the Chinese to

comprehend distinctions, when they are taught to be

lieve that there is one Hope, one Faith, and one Lord

of all ? I will not venture, however, to dwell longer

upon such a subject.

The garrison which was left by Sir Hugh Gough

upon the island of Kolingsoo consisted of three compa

nies of the 26th regiment, with a wing of the 18th , and

a small detachment of artillery, comprising altogether

about five hundred and fifty men ; the whole under the

command of Major Johnstone, of the 26th ; and the

Druid, with the Pylades and Algerine, were also to re

main there, under the command of Captain Smith, C. B.,

as a further support, to ensure the complete command

of the harbour of Amoy.

The number of troops employed during the operations

against Amoy was as follows

Officers . Men .

Artillery, European and Native, Captain Knowles 9 240

18th Regiment Royal Irish, Lieutenant-Colonel Adams 30 648

26th Regiment (Cameronians), Major Johnstone 8 153

49th Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Morris 24 460

55th Regiment, Lieutenant- Colonel Craigie ... 26 731

6 184

Madras Sappers and Miners ....

Total... 103 2,416



Four native officers, and sergeants and drummers, are

included in the second column.

In the afternoon of the 4th of September, the weather

having become calm and fine, the preconcerted signal

for the embarkation of the troops from the town and

island of Amoy was made on board the flag -ship. Upon

this sudden order, the troops were paraded in perfect

regularity, without a single instance of drunkenness or

misconduct, after eight days of harassing duty on shore,

amid temptations of every kind . Under the direction

of Commander Giffard, of the Cruiser, the whole force

was embarked, without any accident, by half- past six

o'clock, on board the Nemesis and other steamers, which

conveyed them out to their respective transports, in

readiness to sail on the following day. Not even a

camp-follower was left behind (and they are generally

a very troublesome class) ; but, in order to make sure

| List of H. M. ships and vessels, and of the Honourable Company's

steam - vessels, in action at Amoy, 26th of August, 1841 .

Wellesley ( Flag) .... 72 Captain T. Maitland.

Blenheim 72 Captain T. Herbert.


Blonde 44 Captain T. Bourchier.

Druid 44 Captain II. Smith .

Modeste 18 Captain H. Eyres.

Cruiser 16 Commander Giffard.

Pylades ...... 18 Commander Anson .

Columbine 16 Commander Clarke.

Bentinck 10 Lieutenant R. Collinson.

Algerine 10 Lieutenant T. Mason .

Sesostris steamer 4 Commander Ormsby, I.N.

Phlegethon steamer 4 Lieutenant M'Cleverty, R.N.

Nemesis steamer 4 Mr. W. H. Hall, R.N.

Queen steamer 4 Mr. W. Warden , R. N.



that there was no straggler, the Nemesis was afterwards

sent in again to the town, to bring off any one that

might accidentally have bëen left. But the only strag

gler which was found happened to be aa fine fat bullock,

which was soon put on board the Nemesis, and carried


Every preparation was now completed for the depar

ture of our forces on the following morning, the 5th of



148 AMOY .


Mercantile spirit of Amoy - Character of the people — Enterprising colo

nists — English compelled to abandon their factory, owing to extortions

—Prospects of future trade — Capabilities of Amoy - Great trade with

Formosa - Dutch once settled there — Question of an English settle

ment on the Bonin Islands — Their character and position - Notices of

Formosa — The last Tartar conquest — Chinese colonization — Settle

ment of the Dutch — Their expulsion from the island - Productions

-Great trade with Amoy - Probable demand for English manufac

tures — Wreck of the Nerbudda and Ann - History of the unfortunate

sufferers — Their cruel treatment — Imprisonment— Ty -wan -foo

Inquisitiveness of the mandarins— Strange questions - Horrid details

-Hopes raised and disappointed — Final tragedy.

All those persons who have visited Amoy, either out

of curiosity or on matters of business, appear to agree

with each other in regarding it as a place peculiarly

adapted for the extension of European trade. The mer

cantile spirit and enterprise of its inhabitants, and their

anxious desire to trade with foreigners, when not held

back by the arbitrary orders of the mandarins, have

been long known and recorded by several travellers,

before there was any prospect whatever of the trade

being opened. Mr. Gutzlaff observed, respecting it, in

the account of his voyage along the coast : “ Its excel

AMOY. 149

lent harbour has made it from time immemorial one of

the greatest emporiums of the empire, and one of the

most important markets of Asia. Vessels can sail close

up to the houses, load and unload with the greatest

facility, have shelter from all winds, and, in entering or

leaving the port, experience no danger of getting ashore.

The whole adjacent country being sterile, the inhabi

tants were forced to seek some means of subsistance

elsewhere. Endowed with an enterprising spirit, and

unwearied in the pursuit of gain , they visited all parts

of the Chinese empire, gradually became bold sailors,

and settled as merchants all along the coast. Thus they

colonized Formosa, which, from that period to this, has

been their granary ; and visited and settled in the Indian

archipelago, Cochin China, and Siam . A population

constantly overflowing, demanded constant resources

for their subsistence, and this they found in coloniza

tion ; and thus they spread themselves all along the

coast of China, up to Mantchou Tartary. As soon as

the colonists amass sufficient money, they return home,

which they leave again when all is spent.” Elsewhere

he says, “ Many of these merchants, settled in the

northern parts of China, return annually with their pro

fits. It is not surprising, therefore, that aa large amount

of Chinese shipping belongs to Amoy merchants, and

that the greater part of the capital employed in the

coasting trade is their property. Hence, even this bar

ren tract is become one of the richest in China, from

the enterprise of its inhabitants. Wherever the people

go, they are rarely found in a state of abject poverty ;

on the contrary, they are often wealthy, and command

150 AMOY .

the trade of whole islands and provinces, as well by

their capital as by their superior enterprise and indus

try .” The English, who had formerly a factory at Amoy,

were compelled to relinquish the trade by the severe

extortions to which they were subject. The Dutch

continued it for a longer time, but neglected it when

their influence at Formosa ceased . The natives of

Amoy have always shown themselves ready to cultivate

the friendship of foreigners, wherever they have been,

and in their dealings they have aa character for honesty

beyond all other Chinese. They are more ambitious of

successful mercantile enterprise than of literary dis

tinction or advancement, which is generally so dear to

a Chinaman .

It is thus evident that no place better calculated for


the purpose than Amoy could have been selected , for

the extension of our trade with that country . If con

ducted with prudence in the first instance, and if ami

cable relations and mutual confidence be gradually and

cautiously established, it can hardly be doubted that, in

the course of very few years, our commercial intercourse

will lead to a friendly and intimate connection with the

people. “ Justice and forbearance,” says Gutzlaff,

“ must be on our side ; we should do our utmost to con

ciliate by unequivocal acts of kindness, and we should

prove ourselves Christians by honest dealings, and phi

lanthropists by our religion .”

The shops of Amoy are generally well supplied with

the necessaries and luxuries of life, the merchants are

civil ; and although the town is neither handsome nor very

cleanly, and the population in some parts of it are

ΑΜΟΥ . 151

densely crowded together, still there are many fine

houses, which indicate the possession of wealth and con


An immense trade is carried on between Amoy and

the island of Formosa, to which a great number of emi

grants are even still attracted, from the province of

Fokien. Before the occupation of Hong Kong was

thought of, several proposals were made for forming a

British settlement upon Formosa, as being conveniently

situated for extending our trade with the inhabitants,

not only of the adjacent district of Fokien, but of

the whole coast of China. This suggestion was partly

encouraged by the recollection of the settlement which

the Dutch once possessed upon the island ; but it seemed

to be forgotten that the Dutch were at length forcibly

expelled, and that the population having greatly in

creased since that period , it is not likely that we should

be suffered to retain possession of any part of the island

without being constantly harassed and provoked to

bloodshed ; moreover, the privilege of trading with

Amoy does away with all probability of advantage to

be derived by direct trade with Formosa.

Among other proposals, that of a settlement upon the

Bonin islands (which are said already to belong to Great

Britain ) was suggested, with a view to commercial en

terprise with China ; and Mr. Tradescant Lay warmly

supported this notion. These islands were taken pos

session of by Captain Beechey , of H.M.S. Blossom , in

1827, and they extend from latitude 27°, 44 ', to 26 °,


30' n., being about five days' sail from the Lew-Chew

islands , and three from Japan. In the course of a few


years, it is not improbable that Port St. George, the

principal harbour, may be resorted to with the object of

pushing our trade even into Japan itself. At the pre

sent moment, indeed, several Englishmen and other

Europeans are settled there, and are principally con

cerned in the whale fishery. There are also a good many

natives of the Sandwich Islands at Port St. George.

The islands are volcanic, but are rendered productive

with moderate cultivation .

It is worth while here to mention that the Bonin

islands and the Sandwich islands lie directly in the line

of future intercourse between China and the west coast

of America, and that it has been thought not improba

ble that a new route to China may some day be opened,

by way of California and the islands above-named .

To return from this digression to the island of For

mosa, which has claimed our particular interest, since

the massacre of so many of our shipwrecked country

men by the authorities, shortly before the termination

of the late war. In this horrible tragedy no less than

two hundred and eighty -three human beings were put

to death in cold blood , without any other crime than

that of helplessness, and without any other object than

that of obtaining rewards by fabricated statements, and

honours by false pretences. Formosa was the last con

quest of the present Tartar dynasty, and even since it

has been brought under Chinese dominion , the rebellions

and disturbances of its unruly inhabitants have been a

frequent source of alarm to the government. The im

perial troops have been frequently defeated with great

slaughter, and peace is said to have been purchased by


bribes more frequently than it has been won hy con

quest. The aboriginal inhabitants are still numerous

in the mountain districts, and along some parts of the

eastern shores, but they are said to be much oppressed

by the Chinese colonists, and also by the authorities.

When the Tartars first began the conquest of China,

great numbers of discontented spirits went over to For

mosa , from the neighbouring provinces, and it has been

corded that one hundred thousand people took refuge

there. The island belongs to the province of Fokien ,

along which it is situated at a distance varying from

seventy to one hundred and twenty miles, the passage

between it and the mainland being called the Formosa

channel. The length of this island is about two hun

dred and twenty miles, but the breadth of it is extremely

irregular. The Chinese population is at present sup

posed to amount to about two millions, and is con

stantly on the increase, by the accession of an influx of

emigrants from the mainlånd adjoining. They are at

tracted thither by the fertility of the soil, and the great

facilities for cultivating sugar and rice, which are there

grown to an extent sufficient to supply a vast quantity

of these necessary articles to the inhabitants of the

mainland, and to employ several hundred trading junks

in the traffic .

It is worthy of remark, that the Dutch contrived to

establish themselves upon the island of Formosa, and

ultimately to form a factory there, before the Tartar

conquest, and before it was regularly colonized by the

Chinese. The Japanese also partly contributed, though in

small numbers, to colonize the island. The Dutch had a


sinall garrison at a place called Tanshuy, or Tamsui, at

the northern extremity of the island, and another at

Kelung, not very far from it. Their object was to

make use of their settlement as a depôt, or centre of

trade, from which their operations could be extended

along the coast of China and Japan. Their influence

was, however, of very short continuance, as they were

ultimately completely driven out of the island , after

some few struggles, by the famous pirate, Coxinga, in

1662, about thirty or forty years after they had fairly

established themselves on it.

The present capital of the island is built upon the

site of the principal Dutch factory of former times, and

is called Taywanfoo ; it is upon the west coast, some dis

tance down towards its southern end . The harbour has, 1

however, become almost inaccessible, except to vessels 1

of very light draught of water, owing to the accumula

tion of sand, which is thought to frequently change its

place. Indeed, the sea has gradually continued to re

tire from many parts of the coast, and harbours which

were once frequented are at present inaccessible.


From the time of the expulsion of the Dutch, to the

period of our operations upon the coast of China, little

seems to have been known or heard of Formosa ; and,

owing to the jealousy of the Chinese, and other causes ,

no attempt seems to have been made to explore the 1

island . The colonists are described as being generally

very turbulent and given to violence, as it has become a

place of refuge for all the bad characters who can ma

nage to escape from the mainland ; but it is also the

home of many respectable and enterprising settlers ;



although being removed from the control of the superior

officers of the province, they live with less restraint, and

therefore readily become bold and lawless. For the same

reason, the local mandarins are cruel, rapacious, and

ignorant; and their behaviour towards our unfortunate

countrymen will suffice to stamp them with the charac

ter of treachery and thorough baseness. But the culti

vation and prosperity of the island have increased in a

rapid and remarkable manner ; and it is evident that

British manufactures will soon be spread among its nu

merous population, through their intimate connexion

with Amoy .

Besides furnishing immense supplies of rice, For

mosa also produces great quantities of sugar, camphor,

and tobacco, which are exported to Amoy. A great

part of the camphor is already carried down to Singa

pore in the trading junks from Amoy, but probably our

own trading vessels will henceforth procure supplies of

it on the spot, in exchange for cotton and other manu

factured articles.

Unruly as the people of Formosa are , the island is

nevertheless somewhat famous for its schools, which

are said to be in aa flourishing condition. Mr. Gutzlaff

states, that the rich men of Fokien frequently send

their sons over to obtain literary degrees at Formosa ;

and the Dutch, at an early period, took pains to spread

Christianity among the inhabitants, who, at that time,

were comparatively few in number. A few books on

Christianity were translated by them into the For

mosan language, and they were very successful in

making converts. Since they abandoned the island,


however, nearly all traces of their early labours have


The close connexion of Formosa with Amoy will

probably be the means of reviving amongst the inhabi

tants some of the lost spirit of Christianity' ; for we

cannot doubt that, in all parts of China, the increase of

missionary labour will keep pace with the increase of

commercial intercourse.

The wreck of the Nerbudda transport, on her way up

to join the expedition with camp -followers, in the month

of September, 1841 , soon after our forces left Amoy,

and the loss of the brig, Ann, a trading vessel, on her

way down to Macao, from Chusan, in the month of

March following, upon the shores of Formosa, served

to attract unusual attention towards that island , and

to put us in possession of some little information

respecting the interior.

The history and ultimate fate of our shipwrecked

countrymen is calculated to awaken the most painful

interest. On board the Nerbudda there were altogether

two hundred and seventy -four people ; of whom , twenty

nine were Europeans, two natives of Manilla, and two

hundred and forty -three natives of India. The captain

and the rest of the Europeans, with the two Manilla

men, and only three Indians, got away in the ship’s

boats immediately after she struck, and were provi

dentially picked up some days afterwards by a trading

schooner, called the Black Swan, on her way down to

Hong Kong. The unfortunate Indians, to the number

of two hundred and forty, who were left upon the wreck,

after remaining by her for five days , managed to con


struct rafts, upon which they attempted to reach the

shore. Many of them , however, perished in the surf,

and others are supposed to have been murdered by the

Chinese plunderers. The exact number, therefore, who

fell into the hands of the Chinese authorities, and were

imprisoned and subjected to the greatest privations, can

not be ascertained ; but they were thought to amount,

according to the best information which could be ob

tained, to more than a hundred and fifty.

On board the brig Ann there were in all fifty -seven

souls ; of whom, fourteen were natives of Europe or

America, four Portuguese, five Chinamen, and thirty

four natives of India. Out of all those who were taken

prisoners, belonging to both vessels, only nine ultimately

escaped an untimely fate, and were restored at the end

of the war, according to the terms of the treaty.

The following account of what befel the unfortunate

sufferers on board the Ann will apply with little varia

tion to those who were wrecked before them in the

Nerbudda. It is extracted and condensed from a curi

ous journal, kept by one of the sufferers, a fine young

man, who was a passenger on board . It was found

concealed in his cell, after his unfortunate fate, and

cannot but awaken feelings of deep commiseration for

all his companions in distress. It was written upon

common Chinese paper, with a piece of bamboo, and

the account was continued to within five or six days of

the time when the final tragedy is supposed to have


The information in the text was extracted from the manuscript,

more than a year ago, in China. But the journals of Mr. Gully and

Captain Denham have been recently published in full, in this country.


taken place. It was written day by day, as the various

little occurrences took place, and some of the observa

tions casually made upon the appearance of the island

will be read with great interest ; but I have thought

proper to omit the minutiæ and repetition of abrupt

and hasty notes, which would have been tedious and of

little benefit.

It will here be proper to mention, that prompt re

dress and “ condign ” punishment upon the heads of

those high officers, whose false and pitiless misrepre

sentations occasioned the final catastrophe, has since

been demanded, in firm and dignified terms, by Her Ma

jesty's Plenipotentiary ; and one of the conditions in

sisted on was, “ that the property of the high authori

ties of the island, who were perfidiously concerned in

the affair, should be confiscated , and the amount paid

over to the officers of the British government, to be ap

plied to the relief and support of the families of the in

nocent men who suffered ."

By the orders of the Emperor, a strict investigation

has been made into all the circumstances connected with

the dreadful event ; and a report has been sent up to

Pekin , by the Viceroy of Fokien, condemnatory of the

misrepresentation and duplicity of the authorities of

Formosa .

The whole of the fifty -seven individuals who were on

board the Ann quitted the wreck at daylight; and,

having marched along the shore about two miles, they

fell in with two junks, lying wind-bound in a small

river or creek. They hoped to be able to put to sea,

and stretch across to Amoy ; but the gale continued so


violent that it prevented them from getting out of the

creek. They were not ill-treated by the Chinese junk

men, but, as they were without food of any kind, and

exposed to a cold, cutting wind, it was soon evident

that they must surrender themselves to the Chinese

authorities. Soldiers soon gathered round them in

crowds; and , as they had very little ammunition , any

attempt to defend themselves, which might have caused

the death of some of the soldiers, or of the mob, would

certainly have been followed by the massacre of the

whole party. In the afternoon, they all gave them

selves up,, without having fired a single shot, and with

out attempting to make any kind of resistance. They

were immediately stripped and marched away, exposed

to the most cutting wind and sleet, without any cover

ing, their feet cut by the sharp shells with which the

beach was covered, and with very little allowance of

food . It is not surprising, therefore, that two men soon

died from fatigue and exposure, and several others fell

from sheer exhaustion, and were obliged to be carried

along in baskets ; others were afterwards carried in

sedans, more for sake of security than from any feeling

of compassion for them . It was remarked, that, during

the whole journey of thirteen or fourteen days, to the

capital of the island, the lascars or Indian sailors showed

a great deal of bad and selfish behaviour towards each

other. Each man of the party had a ticket fastened

round his neck, stating what he was, and whence he

was brought; being treated in this respect like public

criminals . For a great length of time their food was

only salt fish and greens, with sometimes rice. They


suffered all sorts of abuse and indignities in every town

and village through which they passed ; but it is re

marked, “ that the women (who did not appear to be at

all secluded) did not join in this, although they exhi

bited the usual curiosity of the sex. ” They were ob

served throughout the whole journey to be very plain,

but they had a pretty fashion of dressing their hair, by

weaving natural flowers amongst it."

After the first two or three days, they came to a

considerable walled town, where they were placed for

the night in two cells, about eight feet by seven feet,

in which twenty - five unfortunate beings were stowed, !

with nothing to lie upon, the weather being intensely

cold. Three guards were placed over them . The rest

of the party were taken by aa different route, but they

all ultimately reached the capital. One large town

they came to was enclosed , as were some others, by a

high, red brick wall. It was situated in a large paddy

swamp or valley, interspersed here and there with small

hamlets, around which the bamboo plantations were

growing in great beauty and luxuriance, and of extra

ordinary height, many of them measuring upwards of

sixty feet. In some of the smaller towns and villages,

the so-called gates ( for they all had them ) were con

structed of bamboo . The country appeared well culti


Probably the women at Formosa are much less numerous, compared

with the men, than in most other places. The men come over from the

mainland, but do not bring their women. It is believed that infanticide

of female children is very prevalent at Amoy. The men are driven by

poverty to emigrate, and have no means of providing for female children,

who are therefore frequently smothered or drowned.


vated in many parts, and wheat and sugar-cane were

met with ; but other parts of the country were very

barren, and covered with large stones, such as are called

boulders, ” in some parts of England. Generally, the

men were made to wear handcuffs, but they were not of

great strength, for some of the party managed to break

them off'; and they were then carried along in chairs,

under a strong guard of soldiers, but were occasionally

allowed to walk. Wherever they went, the crowd and

annoyance of the hosts of curious gazers, who frequently

insulted them, was so great that it was a relief to get

lodged in the common gaol, which was divided into

several cells, each cell having cages in it, made of

wooden bars, just like the dens of wild beasts. The

cells were also provided with a regular pair of stocks,

in order to afford greater security, if required. One of

the cells was filled with Chinese prisoners.

The great object of the mandarins now appeared to

be, to get some of the party to admit that the Ann was

a man - of-war, sent to look after the crew of the Ner

budda, who were known to be still upon the island.

With this view, two of the men were mercilessly beaten,

but without the desired effect. So common and so

public a practice did opium -sinoking appear to be, that

even the soldiers who acted as an escort carried their

opium-pipes in their girdles. For the first twelve days,

the prisoners were never allowed to wash even their

faces, and at length they could only do it in aa dirty pool

by the road side. For the last four days before they

reached the capital, called Ty -wan -foo, they were com

pelled to wear leg-irons as well as handcuffs . Generally,

VOL . II . M


they were allowed to purchase their own food during the

journey ; for which purpose a little money was given to

them, at the rate of one mace, or about fivepence, a

day. But this was only after the first few days.

It was remarked that wheel - carts were in common

use in the island, and tracks of them were seen in all

directions. On the mainland of China these are un

known, except in the neighbourhood of Pekin ; but, in

the island of Hainan , to the southward of Canton, they

are very common, and similar in construction to those

in use upon Formosa . They are, however, very clumsy

and inconvenient ; the wheels, which are small, being

composed of two semicircular pieces of solid wood,

joined together, with the axle fixed into the wheel

itself, so as to revolve with it, and not within it, but

made to turn round under the body of the cart. The

roads or causeways are generally broader than upon the

mainland, and were in many places shaded with bam

boos on each side. Several rivers were crossed near the

capital, and the country was somewhat improved in ap


About twenty miles from Ty -wan -foo they passed a

night in a large town, with walls built of chunam ; at

the entrance of which were placed several very long

guns, not mounted on carriages, but fixed upon the

ground, rather to indicate their good intentions than

their ability to perform them . Here again they were

lodged in the common gaol ; and, on the following

morning, the Chinese servant who had been taken pri

soner with them had a chain put round his neck, in ad

dition to his leg -irons and handcuffs. The next night


(the last before they entered the capital) was spent at

an inn by the road-side, which was so crowded with

travellers that scarcely any food could be procured.

The Chinese had regular fights and scrambles for the

little which was to be had, and their appetites appeared

by no means delicate ; but, whether their hunger was

appeased or not, they were all prepared in the evening

to enjoy in good earnest the luxury of the opium -pipe,

soldiers and travellers all alike ; nor did the two man

darins who were present interfere in any manner to

point out its impropriety.

On the 24th March ( fourteenth day since the wreck),

they were destined to make their wretched entrance

into the capital. At the distance of six or seven miles

from it, they were met by an officer and a few soldiers,

by whom their names and their numbers were called

over, according to a list which the officer held in his

hand, and they were then separated into smaller parties,

and led by different routes into the city. As they ap

proached the gate, they, for the first time, caught a

glimpse of the sea, with a few junks at anchor at a dis

tance, towards which they hopelessly strained their

longing eyes. The walls of the city appeared to be in a

state of dilapidation, except near the gateway, where

they had been recently repaired and whitewashed. The

prisoners were now fairly within the capital of Formosa,

and were conducted to an open space, planted thickly

with trees, but broken up by rough water-courses, over

which there were several bridges of stone. Thence they

were led through back lanes, avoiding the principal

streets, to the house of a high mandarin , in front of

M 2


which they halted for aa short time : here such was the

pressure of the crowd and the curiosity of the people,

that the chairs in which they had been brought were

nearly pulled to pieces before they were ordered to get

out and enter the outer gateway of the mandarin's


Here they were drawn up in line, to have the tickets

round their necks copied ; but, before the process could

be half finished, the pressure of the crowd became so

great that the mandarins were obliged to discontinue

the task. A ludicrous scene followed , which, for the

moment , afforded amusement even to the prisoners

themselves. The enraged mandarins charged the mob

in great fury, and whipped them with their long tails,

which, having silk woven on to the ends, gave some


tolerable cuts to the people's faces. For a few minutes

our hapless prisoners were put for refuge into a small

temple which was close at hand ; but even here the

mob pressed so hard upon them that the door was

nearly smashed in ; and, as a last resource , they were

marched off with heavy irons on their legs, which

bruised them at every step, to a prison in the court

yard of a superior mandarin's house, about one hundred

yards distant. Here their treatment was very bad ; for 1

several successive days they were brought up before the

mandarin to answer an infinity of questions, many of

them very puerile, about the names, ages, and duties of

every one on board the Ann ; also about geography and 1

the possessions of Great Britain , and where the poppy

was grown ; how money was raised, & c . & c . The Chi

nese carpenter of the vessel acted as interpreter ; and,


on one occasion, both he and the other Chinaman were

severely flogged with bamboos.

After some time, those who could draw were allowed

to sketch ships, carriages, and other things, which ex

ceedingly amused the Chinese, who were glad to pur

chase them ; so that by these means they were able to

procure food and tobacco, and thus to diminish in some

degree their chances of being carried off by starvation

or sickness.

After the lapse of a week or two, fever broke out,

and they were then separated into smaller parties, and

were put into different cells or prisons, some faring

better, some worse, according to the temper or caprice,

or even roguery, of the particular jailor who chanced to

have charge of them . One of these wretches seems to

have been a perfect fiend of his class ;; he kept one party

of ten miserable human beings in aa den so small that not

one of them could lie down at night. It will scarcely

be believed that they were made to exist for two whole

months in this horrid black hole, only eleven feet six

inches long, by seven feet six inches wide ; grudging each

other every little inch of room , and longing even for

the little bit of space which the single insensible bucket,

which was the only piece of furniture, occupied in their

den . Here were ten human beings stowed away toge

ther, some sick, some sore, and all in pain and misery.

For some time they were not permitted to come out of

the den at all, but at last they were let out once a day,

and were allowed a very little water to wash them

selves ; only two or three, however, could wash them

selves on the same day, so that the whole of them could


only be able to wash themselves once in three days. Of

course, they were dreadfully infected with vermin of

every kind, and, as the author of the journal expresses

it, “ A few weeks have sufficed to bring me down from

a strong hale man , to a wretched helpless being, dis

gusted with myself.”

Many attempts were made to get a note sent across

to Amoy,to give information of their situation ; and the

promise of one hundred dollars on its safe delivery, and

one hundred more on bringing an answer back (to be

paid at Amoy ), sufficed to induce a tolerable trusty

Chinaman to undertake the task. We shall see pre

sently how far it succeeded . It has before been stated

that the several parties fared differently, according to

the humanity or rapacity of the particular jailor . Some

thing also depended upon the particular mandarin under

whose supervision they were placed , but it is noticed

that the highest, or red button mandarin, was the best

of all, and frequently ordered some of the hardships they

complained of to be remedied, particularly as regarded

the quality of the food .

On the other hand, it is stated , that one of the jailors,

who was humane enough to allow his party of prisoners

to be shaved, was taken before a mandarin and punished


with fifty strokes of the bamboo ; after which, no visitors

were allowed to see them at all, and the jailor became

very sulky, except when he was drunk, which he gene

rally was, by the use of opium, every evening. Some

times they were taken out of prison in order to draw

for the mandarins, at others, to undergo repeated exami

nations for their amusement. In the first instance, how


ever, the object invariably was, to betray them into an

admission, however remote, that the vessel was really a

man -of-war. But it was quite evident that they knew

perfectly well that she was not so, and at length the

red button mandarin put an end to this part of the busi

ness. From this time, their questions were more of a ge

neral nature,, but many of them were exceedingly absurd .

The mention of Sir Henry Pottinger's name (for they

appeared already to have heard of him) invariably made

them angry , and on one occasion they inquired whether

he was a white or a black man. They also inquired

a good deal about the Queen , her court, and ministers ,

mode of life, &c., and how many husbands she was

allowed to have ; expressing great astonishment when

they learnt that in Europe kings and queens , as well as

private individuals , had only one wife or husband ; and

then they proceeded to enumerate the virtues of their

own emperor, and to plume themselves upon their own

cleverness .

On one occasion , they asked whether America had not,

some time or other, been situated in England ? whether

a man could now walk from London to America in a

week ? how large London was, and how many outside

( foreign) nations are subject or tributary to England ?

Endless were their curious questions, and on one occa

sion they exhibited an officer's jacket, and a corporal's

coat with the 55th button on it, and particularly

inquired the use of an epaulette, which they held up,

fancying it was intended to be worn on the head . Some

times the prisoners were a little better treated after

these examinations ; but these occasional moments of


relief, to the monotony and misery of their situa

tion, were very few , and served rather to awaken

hopes which were not to be realised , than to afford any

certain prospect of amelioration to their lot. Promises,

indeed, were made often enough, but only to be broken ;

and their cup of bitterness was always made more bitter

by the half -solemn mockery with which tantalizing

offers were made to them , and an affectation of interest

exhibited in their behalf, which invariably proved to be

but a vain shadow and an empty fiction .

During the first half of the month of May, it rained

incessantly, and they were very imperfectly protected

from its effects. In fact, the rain always beat through

their roof, and when it was heavy , or long continued, it

flooded their den : the least bit of dry plank , or a par

tially sheltered corner, was matter of envy and conten

tion ; and, as may be supposed , they not only suffered

from bad food , confinement, vermin , and ill-health, but

were incessantly tormented with the most venomous

mosquitoes, producing inflammation and sores. In this

condition they were kept in the most harassing state

of suspense ; one day being assured that they would be

sent away in a month ; another, that they had no chance

of liberty for six months, and the very next, perhaps,

that their heads would soon be taken off ; while this

again was followed by promises of protection, and re

newed assurances of ultimate rescue .

Fortunately, the talent for drawing, possessed by

Mr. Gully and Captain Denham , served to gain for

them friends and pacify enemies. The former com

menced no less an undertaking than that of drawing a



railway with steam -carriages and thirteen coaches, with

a fine-looking tunnel just ready for them to pass through .

This did astonish the natives, and they began to look

upon the barbarians with some little respect. This

chef d'euvre was followed by sea -fights, steamers, tiger

hunts, views of Chusan, Chinbae, and Amoy, the sale

of which occasionally furnished them with a few neces

saries. In fact, the ups and downs in their lot seem to

have alternated as often as the sun rose ; but, alas, it

was only a succession of clouds that passed before them ,

and the changes were commonly only from bad to worse,

or to less bad .

In this way month after month continued to drag its

slow length along. At the end of about three months'

close confinement, a slight change for the better took

place ; they were moved into rather better quarters,

where they were only three together, so that they had

more room to breathe; they were also allowed water

to wash themselves, and aa little money was given to them .

It was thought that this arose in consequence of infor

mation received by the authorities that there was some

chance of an attack being made upon this island , by our

forces at Amoy, with a view to liberate the prisoners.

It was now ascertained, also, that the fisherman who had

promised to carry over the letter to Amoy, two months

before, had succeeded in his attempt , and an answer had

been brought back by him , which held out the prospect

of speedy release . Another letter was also sent off to

Amoy ; so that now at length their hopes again revived.

But, alas ! sickness had already begun its work, and their

minds were so depressed that even the boldest, who


tried to bear up bravely to the last, recorded his feel

ings that, “ One miserable day passed after another, with

nothing to help them to break in upon the wretched

ness oftheir existence ; no exercise being permitted, and

nothing, in fact, to relieve the dreadful monotony of

such prison life.” And what was the little improvement

in their lot, which resulted from their removal into

other cells ? “ We now (three of us),” said he , “ have

five planks with a mat upon them to sleep on, and glad

we are to get into this new place, which is the Execu

tioner's Den, and which, until we had ourselves cleaned -

it, could never have been cleaned since it was built. "


Indeed, this process seems to have been part of their

daily work, for it is continually recorded that they

washed their planks this morning;” and on other occa 1

sions it is noted “ we scalded our clothes this morning

to kill the vermin ."

It was thought that the day they were removed into

this new berth must have been the Emperor's birthday,

or some day of rejoicing, for they had at the same time

a dinner of roast pork, with sweet cakes, and each man

received one mace, or fivepence in money. But this was

too good to last ; a mere freak of Fortune ! Generally

speaking, their food was so bad, that a great part of it

was thrown away , and it was only by quarrelling with 1

the jailors, and threatening to complain to the high

mandarin, that they could succeed in procuring any

eatable food at all.

In the month of June, several shocks of an earthquake

were felt, followed by terrific storms of thunder and

lightning. One poor fellow at length lost his senses. 3


He was able to draw a little ; but now he not only re

fused to draw any more, but declined every thing, even

tobacco, because it was purchased with money earned by

the drawings of others, saying that it was derogatory to

his dignity to make drawings for sale. This poor fellow

did not long survive. It is due to the better class of

mandarins to remark that, when complaints were made

to them, they procured some temporary improvement

for the prisoners . But promises, over and over again

made, of providing them with proper clothes, were never

attended to ; and at the end of July it is recorded, “ I

have on my back now the only shirt (and that a woollen

one) which I have had for five months, and half a pair

of cotton drawers upon my legs.

On the 4th of July, it was made known that honours

and rewards had been largely conferred upon the man

darins, for having contrived to take so many prisoners.

This was in answer to their false accounts of the busi

ness to the Emperor, in which they said that they had

attacked and destroyed two English men -of-war which

came prying into the coast, and had taken all the people

prisoners, enumerating the number of black, and red,

and white barbarians, and the quantity of barbarian


On the 10th of July, Mr. Gully, who had neces

sarily been ailing for some time, became seriously ill

with dysentery, brought on in a great measure by eating

large quantities of mangoes. The Chinese recommended

him two cures for it ; one was to eat the skins of the

mangoes alone, the other was to eat opium. The for

mer le found to have a good effect, at least so far that


his complaint improved under the treatment ; the latter

he was able to purchase at a moderate price from the

visiters, who brought it on purpose for him ; it was dif

ferent from the extract which is used for smoking, and

apparently much less powerful ; but he took a consi

derable quantity, and the effect of it was, that " in

a quarter of an hour it began to make him quite happy ;

in an hour quite sick ; after that he could neither go to

sleep nor yet rise up, but remained in a kind of dreamy


reverie all day.” He gradually got better, but was re

duced to the last degree of weakness.


The same mandarin who had given them a treat upon

the Emperor's birthday all along shewed more interest in

their condition than any of the others ; and one day, in

the hope of inducing him to give them some kind of in

dulgence, they told him that it was the birthday of the

Queen of England's eldest child, and that they all enter

tained so strong a feeling of“ filial obedience" and affec

tion towards their queen, that they wished to celebrate

the event. To their great surprise and delight, the man

darin's heart was moved by this appeal , and he gave

each of them money ; to some five mace, to others three 1

(equal to about two shillings) , and then sent them a

good dinner, and made himself quite agreeable; and, of

course, all the inferior officers, including the jailors, took

their tone for the day from their superior. On another

occasion, the lascars were all brought up before the chief

mandarin, having had new clothes first given to them ,


and he himself then presented each of them with a fan .

Imagine a lascar, or an Indian camp- follower, quietly

sitting down to fan himself !


All these circumstances naturally tended to revive

their hopes, and little did they dream of the horrible

catastrophe which was soon to take place. Towards

the end of July, they were informed that, in the course

of half a moon more, an answer would be received from

Pekin , containing the Emperor's commands as to what

was to be done with the prisoners ; and they were warned

that, if his majesty ordered that they should be decapi

tated, it would immediately be carried into effect. From

this it would seem that the authorities fully anticipated

that the representations which they had made would

induce the Emperor to issue such a cruel command ;

but the prisoners themselves still retained sufficient hope

to induce them to disbelieve the probability of such

a tragedy. With the exception of Captain Denham

(whose life was saved) and the Chinese carpenter, it does

not appear that any of them were tortured ; but the

dreadful cries of some of the Chinese prisoners could be

distinctly heard ; and two poor fellows were seen passing

by with their hands blackened, having been condemned

to have them chopped off.

One remark is worth recording, namely, that the

mandarins, from the highest to the lowest, as well as all

their servants and attendants, were in the constant habit

of smoking opium . Tobacco was also in general use, as

elsewhere in China, and was extensively cultivated on the

island. There was also noticed (what should have been

mentioned before) a curious vine- like plant, grown upon

trelliswork, and frequently observed to be carefully co

vered up with mats ; what it exactly was no one knew ,

but more care and attention seemed to be bestowed upon


it than upon any thing else which was seen upon the

island .

The final tragedy is believed to have taken place upon

the 12th or 13th of August, and is too horrible to dwell

upon. They were beheaded with the sword.

The punishment which is sure to befal the authorities

of the island for the false statements they made to the

Emperor will, it is hoped, henceforth teach them how to

exercise that humanity towards prisoners which they

themselves invariably received when they fell into our

hands. How many lessons have the Chinese learnt, and

how many have they yet to learn ! It is difficult to

account for their having reserved nine individuals from

the general massacre. Of these six were Europeans

or Americans, and three natives of India. It is sup

posed that they were retained in order to be sent to

Pekin , to be there cut in pieces. Fortunately, the treaty

of peace saved their lives, and they were at length con

veyed to Amoy, and there met with all the attention

they so much needed from their own countrymen.

Mention has already been made of the demands ad

dressed by Sir Henry Pottinger to the Emperor, in con

sequence of the murder of so many British subjects.

His majesty's reply, and the result of the inquiry or

dered to be made into the matter, have also been

alluded to.



Departure of the fleet from Amoy— Affair of the Nemesis at Sheipoo

Curious mode of getting a good pilot-Attack upon the forts — Three

war-junks blown up - Chinese troops dispersed — Apathy of the people

generally — Inaccuracy of the surveys of the coast — Alligator Island

-Interesting anecdote — Expatriated Chinese — Their wretched life

Rendezvous at Keeto Point - A village destroyed in retaliation for

murder - Attack upon Chinhae deferred— Reconnoissance of the har

bour of Chusan Remarks on the character and appearance of the

island — Its high state of cultivation - Anecdote of mountain hus


bandry in Tartary - City and harbour of Tinghai, and its new defences

described — Defects of the Chinese system - Reconnoissance of the Ne

mesis, Modeste, and Columbine Preparations for the capture of the

defences of Chusan — Positions of our ships — Mortar battery erected

on Melville Island Ist of October, 1841 – Debarkation of the troops

– Hills carried by the 55th, and long battery by the 18th regiments

- Capture of the city — And measures to prevent the escape of the

Chinese- General remarks.

On leaving the bay of Amoy, on the 5th of September,

the appointed places for the rendezvous of the fleet of

men - of -war and transports, in case of separation, were

successively the so -called Buffalo's Nose, at the entrance

of the Chusan group ; Keeto Point, a promontory run

ning out from the mainland towards Chusan ; and, lastly,

the bay or harbour of Tinghai, the capital of Chusan.

The progress of the squadron was slow for some days,


owing to light winds and a heavy swell ; and the Ne

mesis , being very light in the water , and having , more

over, a leak in her bottom (after the accident at Amoy )

was kept pretty close in shore, to avoid the swell out

side, but seldom entirely lost sight of the fleet. A con

siderable quantity of floating wood was picked up along

shore , which was very acceptable for fuel, of which she

had only a very small supply remaining on board .

On the 13th , eight days after leaving Amoy, the

north-east monsoon set in rather suddenly, and some

what earlier than usual, with heavy squalls and a thick

fog, which caused the unavoidable separation of the

squadron . At the commencement of this change of

weather, the Nemesis lost her fore-top-mast and top

gallant-mast, but continued her course leisurely along

shore until the following day, when she came to anchor

under a small island at the mouth of the river Tai

tchou, about thirty -five miles from Sheipoo, and be

tween fifty and sixty from the Buffalo's Nose. The

weather still continued very hazy and squally, enough


that the season was already very far advanced,


and that any longer delay at Amoy or at Hong Kong

would have probably occasioned a total suspension of

active operations until the following year.

On the 16th Captain Hall landed upon the island

above-mentioned, under which he had taken shelter,

with a party of men to look for wood , which was much

needed for fuel, and also for refreshments for the crew,

and then took the opportunity of ascending a high hill,

to take a survey of the neighbouring country. The

haze cleared off sufficiently to enable him to discover


the entrance to an extensive harbour, which proved to

be that of Sheipoo, where there is aa considerable trading

town. He thought that he could also make out some

thing like the appearance of batteries or field - works at

the entrance. The opportunity was a tempting one, to

endeavour to earn some little distinction for the Ne

mesis; and it was also probable that a good supply of

fuel would be found near the town ; a consideration

never to be lost sight of for a steamer. The spirit of

enterprise was now awakened ; and the state of the

weather, which continued very squally and unsettled,

precluded the possibility of putting out to sea .

Soon after daylight on the following morning, the

17th, a large junk hove in sight, which was boarded in

the hope of gaining some information, but was not

otherwise molested . Nothing important was elicited .

The Nemesis, however, now stood in for the entrance of

the harbour, which was very narrow, but fortunately

she soon fell in with a fishing -boat, in which were

several fishermen busy about their nets. It could not

be doubted that some among them would be induced to

act as pilots ; and, accordingly, by the help of a little

bad Chinese, they were made to understand that one of

them must come on board and pilot the vessel into the

harbour ; and he was promised ten dollars for his ser

vices if he took her in without any accident ; but, if she

touched ground, he was threatened to be immediately

run up to the yard-arm, to atone either for his treachery

or his misfortune, whichever it might be. The poor

fellow was in a dreadful state of alarm, as may be sup

posed, for he had never even seen a steamer or devil

VOL . II . N


ship before. But, when he was fairly fixed upon the

paddle-box , aud a running noose passed round his neck,

in readiness to carry the threat of a swing in the air

into execution , his terror could no longer be mastered .

He was soon pacified, however, when he was again re

minded that his punishment was only to happen in case

of treachery on his part ; and the renewed promise of

ten dollars reward for good pilotage (although he

scarcely expected ever to be paid) acted as a soothing

balm to his bewildered spirit. He perfectly understood

the conditions, and gradually recovered his self-posses

sion .

The tide swept so rapidly into the narrow entrance of

the harbour, that the Nemesis was fairly carried through


the passage before the two small field -works, which

were intended to protect it, could bring a single gun to

bear upon the vessel ; but the Chinese were seen run

ning down from their little encampment above, to man

the guns.

At the bottom of the harbour or basin , the town now

came into full view, with a large number of trading

junks of every kind, moored in lines close to each other

on one side of the town ; while on the other, or the left,

as you looked towards it, there was a small fort, which

appeared to have been recently repaired and strength

ened, but, like most other Chinese forts, was left almost

unprotected in the rear.

Upon a rising ground behind the fort a small body of

troops, about five or six hundred in number, were

drawn up, so that the Chinese were evidently prepared

for defence. The Nemesis immediately ran in towards


the fort, and took up a flanking position, anchoring by

the stern between it and the town , so as to bring her

guns to bear with the greatest advantage, without ex

posing herself to the direct fire of the fort. Shot, shell,

and canister, were now poured in , and the fort was soon

silenced . But the troops could now be seen descending

from the hill behind, and bringing heavy ginjals with

them , mounted on triangular stands, as if they intended

to oppose a landing. However, a few discharges of

grape-shot threw them into great disorder, killing many

of them ; Captain Hall then landed at the head of

all the men who could be spared from the ship, accom

panied by the unfortunate Mr. Gully, and took posses

sion of the fort, the Chinese flying before them ; four

guns, two brass and two iron ones, were destroyed in

the fort, the temporary sheds and buildings were set on

fire, and water was poured into the magazine to destroy

the powder. But it was not thought necessary to follow

the Chinese, who had retreated to the hill again, nor to

attempt to enter the town itself, from which no good

result could be expected ; indeed, the retreat of so

small a party to the boats might in the mean time have

been cut off, or, at all events, attended with some loss.

The whole party having now returned on board, boats

were sent out, manned and armed, to search for fuel, and

also to attempt to capture three large war-junks which

had been seen on the way up the harbour. All the

trading-junks were left unmolested ; but wood for fuel

was so much needed on board , that several of the wood

junks were soon picked out, well filled with the neces

sary article. The opportunity was extremely fortunate,

N 2


and in a short time no less than seven boat-loads of ex

cellent wood were obtained, amounting in all to about

seventy tons. Much labour was required to bring off so

large a quantity, and to stow it away expeditiously ;

nevertheless, during this operation one of the war- junks

was captured , (the crew having deserted her) and, as

soon as she was towed clear of the town and shipping,

so as not to cause any unnecessary damage, she was set

on fire in the middle of the harbour, and shortly blew

up.. Two guns, together with a quantity of ginjals,

matchlocks, swords, &c., were destroyed in her.

By eleven o'clock , the wooding -party had finished

their labours ; and, as a fresh body of troops appeared

to be collecting near the town, the steamer again ran

in, and poured a shower of grape and canister into

the midst of them, which made them instantly dis

perse . It was now midday, and officers and men were

thoroughly fatigued with their exertions since daylight;

the steamer was therefore moved to the upper end of

the harbour, while the men were quietly piped to


But the day's work was not finished yet. About

two o'clock the cutters were sent away, manned and

armed, under Mr. Galbraith , to destroy the other two

war -junks which had been seen in the morning. One

of them blew up close in shore, but the other was towed

out into the middle of the harbour, before she was set

on fire. One was found to mount fourteen guns, and

contained a large quantity of powder, with numerous

warlike implements of various kinds. Some of the

common Chinese labourers ran down to the shore, to


endeavour to extinguish the fire on board the junk,

which was aground ; but they were instantly driven off

by a few round shot.

The whole of this day's work was exceedingly in

teresting. The hills which surrounded the harbour

were covered with people, who crowded out of the town ,

and from all the neighbouring villages, to witness the

exploits of the “ devil-ship ,” the rapidity of whose

movements, the precision of her fire, and the volumes

of smoke and steam which issued from her, seemed to

awaken feelings of awe and mute astonishment, even

more than fear. There they stood for hours, apparently

unconcerned spectators of passing events ; and , as they

saw the destruction of the war-junks, while the mer

chant-junks remained uninjured, they appeared satisfied

that no mischief was threatened against the unarmed

inhabitants, so long as they did not interfere. The

neighbourhood of the town along the shore was laid

out in very neatly-cultivated gardens, and every thing

bore indications of a thriving and well -ordered com


The day was now far advanced, and it only remained

to capture the two forts or field -works upon the island,

just within the mouth of the harbour. A shot or two

had previously been fired at them in the course of the

morning, but it was now determined to take possession

of them, and destroy the works. On nearing them , a

few shells and rockets were discharged into them , and

the boats then put off manned and armed. The Chinese

had only just abandoned them . The two field -works

were very near each other, and were found to mount


nine guns, which were spiked, their carriages destroyed ,

and the tents of the soldiers were set on fire .

About five o'clock the Nemesis again made her way

out of the harbour without any accident, and without

having suffered any casualty among the men throughout

the whole day's arduous work, in which Mr. Freeze

(mate, R.N.), the chief officer, and Mr. Galbraith, the

second, bore a conspicuous part. Good service had

been rendered, not only by the destruction of the

enemy's works and vessels, and by obtaining so large

a supply of the much-needed fuel, but by the moral

impression which was created among the people, both

of our power and of our forbearance. The impor

tant news could not fail of being spread abroad far

and near, so as to reach the inhabitants of Ningpo

and other places which the expedition was likely to


The Chinese fisherman who had acted as pilot


was of course liberated as soon as the harbour was

cleared, and he appeared no less astonished than over

joyed when the promised ten dollars were counted out

into his hands.


On the following day, the 18th, the Nemesis reached

the appointed rendezvous at Buffalo's Nose, and found

the Sesostris was the only vessel which had preceded

her ; the rest of the fleet having been kept back by

contrary winds and hazy weather. When we remember

what a large number of hired transports and store-ships

passed up and down along the coast of China from this

time to the close of the war, many of which had fre

quently a great part of their crew sick, we cannot but 1









. nd uur


. 844




be surprised that so few accidents happened. The in

accuracy of the surveys of the coast which had been

then made ; the wrong position on the charts of most

of the numerous islands which stand out as bulwarks

at very uncertain distances from the shore ; the strength

and unknown irregularities of the currents, and the

heavy squalls which frequently burst suddenly over that

part of China, rendered the navigation precarious, and

frequently caused the utmost anxiety. Occasionally

the captains found themselves inside of islands, when

they believed that they were some distance outside ;

and I well remember, on one occasion, making the

voyage up to Chusan in a fast-sailing brig -of-war, which

just weathered a long, rocky island called the Alligator,

and at noon discovered it to have been laid down upon

the chart full twenty miles wrong in its latitude ; an

error which can scarcely be accounted for.

It may be interesting here to mention, that, as we

passed the island, we fancied that we could make out

three or four men standing upon its rocky, barren sum

mit, and making signals to the vessel, as if they were

in distress. The brig was ordered to stand on and off

under the lee of the island, while a boat was sent on

shore, well manned, in charge of an officer, who had

some difficulty in landing. The men now turned out

to be four Chinamen , looking like half-savages, with

| To show how sickly the coast of China is, in some seasons, it may

be mentioned, that on board the Lion, which conveyed Lord Macartney's

embassy to China in 1792, no less than ninety -three men were put

upon the sick list in less than aa week after she came to anchor on the

upper part of the east coast.


very little clothing. They gave no indication of a de

sire to be taken off the island , probably through fear.

As far as their signs could be understood , they seemed

prepared to live and die there ; and it was suspected

that they were convicts sent over from the mainland,

but they were under no control. The island appeared

perfectly barren ; and their only food seemed to be com

posed of various kinds of shell -fish, which they found

upon the shore ; and the shells of those which they

had eaten remained in large heaps, so that they must

already have spent considerable time upon the island.

Their only habitation was a small cavern in the rock :

the only wood for firing was such as was casually

washed on shore ; and they had no other water than

what they could collect in the holes among the rocks

during the rains.

The strength of the currents among the Chusan

islands, and the continued boisterous weather, made it

difficult to collect all the transports at the appointed

rendezvous. The Admiral did not get up until the 21st ;

and the General , being on board a large transport which

had been carried far down to leeward, did not join until

the evening of the 25th .

In the mean time, the Nemesis had gone to join the

Phlegethon at Keeto Point, where the sad tale was

learnt of one of the officers of the Lyra (an opium ves

sel), Mr. Wainwright, and one of the crew , having been

enticed on shore, under the pretence of selling them

stock, and of their having been then overpowered and

cruelly murdered. This event occurred very near the

village where Captain Stead had been murdered some


months before . Lieutenant M'Cleverty soon after

wards landed with his crew, accompanied by Lieutenant

Crawford and the commanders of the Lyra and Ann , and

soon put to flight a party of Chinese soldiers, burnt

their barracks, and then destroyed a great part of the


As soon as the Nemesis arrived , no time was lost in

landing to examine the adjacent country, which was

very picturesque and beautifully cultivated. But the

recollection of the cruel fate of the poor fellows who had

been so recently captured , and, as was believed, barba

rously put to death there, with the sight of the very

spots where the sad occurrences took place, awakened

feelings of bitterness, and a wish for retaliation, which it

was impossible to suppress. In a very short time, every

thing that remained undestroyed was set on fire, inclu

ding various buildings, stacks of rice and grass, &c .; and ,

as darkness set in, the whole valley appeared lighted

up with the blaze of the spreading fires. Several pigs

were luckily captured on the way back, and served as

fresh food for the men , which was much needed .

Numerous trading junks were passing and repassing

during the few days the Nemesis was at anchor at

Keeto Point, and they were frequently searched to look

for fuel. A large one, completely laden with this neces

sary article, was detained, and brought alongside, and

her captain proceeded to count out the billets of wood ,

as if he thought he was sure to be very handsomely

rewarded . Great were his lamentations, when he found

that nothing was forthcoming in exchange, and, above

all, that bis beloved boat or junk was to be altogether

186 CHUSAN .

detained for the present. The reason was obvious,

namely, that she was wanted to go and fetch water for

the ship, and, moreover, that if she were allowed to

depart, she would spread such an alarm , that no more

wood-boats would ever venture to approach a steamer

again in that quarter."

At length, all the transports were assembled, accord

ing to a preconcerted arrangement, just off the little

island called “ Just in the Way ;" as it was the original

plan laid down by the General and the Admiral to occupy

Ningpo, after having first captured the heights ofChinhae,

which command the entrance of the Tahae river, which

leads up to Ningpo. Chusan was to have been retaken

afterwards. The boisterous state of the weather, how

ever, prevented the ships from approaching near enough

to Chinhae, to carry out this part of the plan ; and it

was, therefore, determined to make an immediate re

connoissance of the harbour and defences of Chusan, or

rather of its capital town, Tingbai ; this was accordingly

carried into execution on the following day, the 26th of


The Admiral and General, together with the Pleni

potentiary and suite, embarked early in the morning on

board the Phlegethon , the Nemesis being ordered to

accompany them . As they approached Chusan, the

alarm was given by the Chinese, from numerous watch

towers, or rather signal stations erected upon the hills,

or upon the tops of the several islands which lie in the

immediate neighbourhood. Great changes had evidently


Subsequently, the poor fellow was paid the full amount of his claim ,

by the orders of the Admiral.


CHUSAN . 187

taken place since our forces left Chusan, a few months

before ; and preparations of an extensive kind had been

rapidly made for the defence of the place. As the

steamers entered the principal harbour, by its western

side, between the so -called Tea Island and Guard Island,

the Chinese opened a few guns at them, but at too

great a distance to do any damage; and as there was no

wish to attack them in a desultory manner, the steamers

were ordered to keep at a good distance, but to direct

their movements so as to get a complete view of all the

Chinese positions .

The rapidity of the tides, in the different channels

leading into the harbour, is so great that large vessels

sometimes become perfectly unmanageable ; and even

powerful steamers found it difficult to stem the current.

Nothing can be more striking or picturesque than the

views on every side, as you approach Chusan . Much as you

may have read of the careful cultivation and economical

husbandry of the Chinese (not always so great as sup

posed), you are here particularly struck with the gar

den-like aspect of every spot of ground you see.. The

country is hilly on all sides, but every hill is cultivated

with extreme care, up to its very summit. It is divided

into small ridges, or beds, in which various productions

are raised, side by side, giving the greatest possible

variety to the aspect of the country , and pointing out

the vast labour and perseverance with which the tillage

must be conducted, “ to subdue the stubborn soil.” It

is almost entirely spade-husbandry, and ought rather to

be called horticulture .

In the low valleys, and little sheltered nooks, you

188 CHUSAN .

trace villages and farm -houses of neat appearance ; and

every bend of the coast, every little bit of low,, swampy

ground, is embanked and recovered from the sea by long,

thick, stone walls, which are maintained with the ut

most care. Behind these, the ground is laid out in

rice-fields, irrigated with much ingenuity, and there is

a general appearance of well-being and industry, which

indicates a thriving and contented population. How

different from the aspect of Hong Kong, and the other

islands to the southward ! But it would give an exag


gerated idea of the general productiveness of the empire ,

to suppose that every part of it is cultivated in a similar

manner. Generally speaking, the island of Chusan,

with some of the smaller ones adjacent to it, may be

considered as among the most picturesque and fertile

spots in the north of China, as far as it was visited by

the expedition, and the loss of this possession was

deeply felt by the Emperor, of which, as he said, “ he >

read the account with fast falling tears."!

The great and rapidly completed preparations which

were found to have been made for the protection of the

island prove the importance with which it was regarded.

The city of Tinghai, the capital of Chusan , is a

walled town of the third class, about two miles in circum

1 In some of the most barren parts of Tartary, where the people with

difficulty obtain the means of subsistence, remarkable care is bestowed

upon the cultivation of patches of ground, only a few yards square, upon

the side of the most rugged mountains. Æneas Anderson says, “ Upon

a very high mountain in Tartary (on the road to the imperial residence ),

I discovered patches of cultivated ground in such a position as to appear

altogether inaccessible. Presently I observed one of the poor husband

men employed in digging a small spot near the top of a hill, where, at

first sight, it appeared impossible for him to stand, much less to till the


ference, having four entrances, with double-arched gate

ways, situated at right angles to each other, according

to the usual Chinese practice. The greater part of the

town is surrounded by a wet ditch or canal, which adds

very much to the natural unhealthiness caused by im

perfect drainage, (owing to the lowness of its situation)

and by the swampy rice -grounds, which occupy the

whole valley. Indeed, were it not protected by a raised

bank running along the face of the harbour, from which

the city is three quarters of aa mile distant, the whole of

the valley in which the town is situated would fre

quently be flooded . It was upon this raised bank that

the great line of sea battery, presently to be described,

had been recently erected. A narrow causeway and a

shallow canal connect the city with a village, at which

is the principal landing-place of the harbour, situated

at the foot of a steep, conical hill, which stands about

the centre of the whole sea -face of the valley or plain ,

which may be about three miles broad . The latter is

bounded by steep hills on either side, which stretch

down close to the city, and command the western face

of the walls.

The hill at the landing - place, which came to be

known by the name of Pagoda Hill, is a very striking

object from every point of the harbour. The appear

ground. I soon noticed that he had a rope fastened rouud his middle,

by which he let himself down from the top, to any part of the precipice

where a few square yards of ground gave him encouragement to plant

his vegetables. Situated as these spots are, at considerable distances from

each other, and considering the daily fatigue and danger of this man's

life, it affords an interesting example of Chinese industry, stimulated by

necessity." - See Anderson's Embassy of Lord Macartney.


ance of a temple upon it, and several small detached

buildings, which had been recently built as prisons for

the English, whom the Chinese intended to capture, and

the steepness of its summit, gave it an appearance of

strength , which it did not possess.

Directly opposite Pagoda Hill are two small islands,

called Trumball and Macclesfield Islands, which bound

the harbour on the eastern side, and upon the nearest

of these a mortar-battery was afterwards erected, for

the purpose of shelling Pagoda Hill .

To the southward the harbour is shut in by the

highly -cultivated and considerable island called Tea Is .

land ; while on its western side, at the extremity of the

long sea -battery, lies the small island called Guard Is

land, only separated by a very narrow passage called the

Devil's Gates from the hills which overlook the valley.

As the two steamers now entered the inner harbour

by the western passage, leaving Guard Island on the

left, they immediately came in sight of a long line of

continuous works, constructed of mud, along the top of

the whole line of embankment before described . It is

strange that such a mode of defence should have been

adopted ; for the flank of the battery was completely

commanded by the range of steep hills running up to

the very city itself. Upon the nearest hills, however,

at the end of the battery, the Chinese had formed a for

tified encampment, in which there appeared to be a

large body of troops ; and in aa hollow at the foot of it

there was an unfinished stone fort, intended to mount

eight guns. But they had placed their principal reli

ance upon the line of mud -batteries fronting the har


bour, and had run piles and stakes along the water's

edge, to prevent our troops from landing from the

boats, as if they imagined that aa battery could only be

attacked in front, and partly perhaps to prevent the

washing away of the soil.

The works had been hastily and unscientifically con

structed, and consisted principally of heaps of mud, of

a conical shape, raised upon the embankment, with em

brasures between them for the guns. These intervals

were so large, measuring generally from ten to fifteen feet

wide, that it would be impossible for the men to stand to

their guns, although the mounds of earth between them

were about twenty to twenty -five feet broad. The line of

battery extended far beyond the Pagoda or Joss House

Hill to the eastward, but was not completed at that end .

There were altogether nearly two hundred and seventy

embrasures, but only about eighty guns mounted, exclu

sive of those in a newly-built redoubt upon Pagoda Hill,

amounting to twelve or fifteen . Of these twenty-five

were afterwards found to be of brass and copper, and

tolerably well cast. Several improvements had been

made by the Chinese for the strengthening of Pagoda

Hill, since our evacuation of the place. They had re

tained the wall which we had formerly carried round the

top of it, with an arched gateway of stone on the side look

ing inland towards the town. Other improvements were

in progress ; so that, if the attack had been delayed for

some weeks longer, the Chinese would have completed

their defences, as well as their want of science would

permit. As it was, the authorities claimed for themselves

the honour of “having fought with heavy toil for six


days and nights, ” reckoning the commencement of their

so-called fighting from the day on which the steamers

first approached to reconnoitre. Our forbearance was

magnified into a great victory by them for the moment,

at all events.

On the return of the steamers to the anchorage at

Just in the Way, with the rest of the fleet, orders were

given for the Nemesis to proceed on the following

morning across to the Ningpo river, to reconnoitre Chin

hae, &c. , &c. , but the weather proved so hazy and unset


tled, that this purpose was deferred for the present. On

the following day, the 28th, the weather still continued

very squally, which prevented the fleet from moving ;

and the Admiral, therefore, gave orders that the Ne

mesis should proceed again to Chusan, in company with

the Modeste and Columbine, ( the whole under the com

mand of Captain Eyres, of the Modeste) and they were

directed to destroy the unfinished battery already men

tioned , at the foot of the hills at the western extremity

of the long line of works, and if possible set fire to the

encampment on the hill above, or, at all events, disperse

the Chinese troops. The object was evidently to pre

pare for the landing of our force at that point, in order

to take the line of Chinese battery in reverse, and then

march upon the town by the hills. In sailing across

with a strong wind and sea dead ahead, the Colum

bine beat the Modeste with the greatest ease, so as

to be able to spare her square mainsail ; but the Ne

mesis beat them both with half steam under sail. The

increasing severity of the weather obliged them all to

come to anchor before they reached Chusan.


At daylight next morning the Nemesis was sent in

alone, to reconnoitre, having Captain Eyres and Captain

Clarke on board, and she soon discovered that the en

trenched camp on the hill was stronger than had been

supposed, and that the troops were collected in great

strength at that point. As the steamer ran pretty close

in shore, a smart but ineffective fire from large ginjals

was opened on her from the entrenched camp ; but the

small stone fort below was quite silent, and , indeed, ap

peared to be unarmed. Having fired a few shot into

the camp on the hill, in order to warn the Chinese of

what they had to expect, the Nemesis speedily returned,

to bring up the other two vessels ; and these, as soon as

they had come to anchor as close in shore as their

draught of water would permit, immediately opened fire

upon the entrenched camp above, and also at the fort

below, in order to ascertain if it was occupied. As the

Nemesis, however, could stand in much closer than the

other vessels, Captain Eyres and Captain Clarke went

on board her, and she was then carried within excellent

range, and immediately poured in shot, shell, rockets,

and carcases, with such remarkable precision , as to have

been made the subject of special mention in the Admi

ral's despatch .

In a short time, the temporary buildings were de

molished, and a breach was made in the wall of the

fortified encampment. The proper moment for landing

was now come ; but, as the orders were positive not to

come to close quarters with the enemy, but merely to

reconnoitre their position , and prevent them from add

ing to their works of defence, no attempt was made to

VOL . II . o


carry the encampment. A small party of men were

landed, but merely with a view to ascertain beyond a

doubt that the small stone fort below was unarmed, and

to make a hasty reconnoissance of the line of sea

battery, nearly a mile long, which connected this point

with Pagoda Hill. A large body of Chinese troops

were now seen forming under the brow of the hill in

the rear, in order to make an attack upon the recon

noitring party ; but a few well-directed shot from the

steamer's guns immediately dispersed them .

The object of this little affair having been now fully

accomplished, the Nemesis hastened to rejoin the ad

miral, with despatches from Captain Eyres. Sir Wil

liam Parker was, however, already on his way over to

Chusan in the Wellesley, and now, without loss of time,

came on board the Nemesis, accompanied by the General,

and ordered her to carry them once more across the

harbour of Chusan. The Chinese again opened a dis

tant and useless fire upon her as she passed , both in

going and returning, as they had done on the former

occasion .

In the course of the afternoon, several of the ships of

war, and some of the transports, reached the outer har

bour of Chusan, while the Blonde, Modeste, and Queen

steamer, proceeded to take up a position under the two

islands which lie opposite Pagoda Hill, and which were

called Macclesfield (or Melville) and Trumball islands.

They were directed to cover and assist a party of the

Royal Artillery, under Captain Knowles, in erecting a

battery of one 68 - pounder gun, and two 24 -pounder

howitzers, upon the top of the ridge of the former


island, with aa view to shell Pagoda Hill and its defences,

which were within range, but rather distant. The Chi

nese continued firing very ineffectually during the whole

time, in the direction of these islands, but their shot

always fell short, and were consequently harmless.

The battery was finished on the following day, with

great labour and skill . Every preparation for the

attack being completed on the 30th, the dawn of the

1st of October was looked for with intense interest.

At daylight the Nemesis again crossed and recrossed

the inner harbour, for the purpose of embarking some

troops which were on board the Jupiter, close to Trum

ball Island ; they consisted of a portion of the Madras

Rifles and a number of camp -followers. The Nemesis

then proceeded to the transports in the outer harbour,

to take on board part of the 49th regiment, together

with a detachment of Sappers and Miners.

The Howitzer Battery, upon Melville Island, opened

fire just as she was crossing from the inner harbour ;

and it was an interesting sight to watch the shells fall

ing upon Pagoda Hill. The first shell was thrown

inerely to try the range, and fell rather short, but the

second fell exactly within the fort, close to the gate,

and it therefore became evident that the Chinese could

not long hold out.

About the same time, the Queen steamer endeavoured

to tow the Blonde frigate into a good position against

Pagoda Hill and the adjacent defences, to aid the

mortar battery ; but, so great was the strength of the

tide, which runs like aa mill-race in that part of the har

bour, that it was impossible to move the Blonde into a

0 2


good position, in spite of the utmost exertions used .

But shortly afterwards the Modeste and Queen, drawing

less water, were able to take up excellent stations ;

the battery on Pagoda Hill was soon silenced, and the

troops were driven from their post.

While this was being effected at the eastern extre

mity of the inner harbour, the original design of driving

the Chinese out of the long sea -battery, by turning their

right flank at its western extremity, and by taking pos

session of the hills above them, upon which their

encampment had been formed , was gallantly and effec

tually carried into execution. The Chinese troops at

this time occupied the heights in force, although they

had been dispersed two days before; and kept up a con

tinued fire of ginjals and matchlocks, apparently more

in defiance than for any useful purpose, for they fre

quently advanced to the brow of the hill, waving their

flags, and daring their enemy to attack them .

The Wellesley had been moved as close as possible to

the intended point of debarkation , just outside Guard

Island ; and the Cruiser and Columbine had been

placed within two hundred yards of the beach, there

being plenty of water almost close in shore. By the

fire of these vessels and of the Sesostris steamer, the

Chinese were so completely kept in check, that they

could not attempt any opposition to the landing of the

troops. The Phlegethon now came up with the 55th

regiment on board . The first division, with the gallant

General at their head, consisting of the Madras Artillery,

with eight guns, under Captain Anstruther, together

with a party of sappers and the 18th and 55th regi


ments, with the Madras Rifles, were now landed, but

not without some delay and difficulty, owing to the

astonishing strength of the currents. The Nemesis was

also coming up to land the troops she had on board,

when she unfortunately grounded on a sand -bank, and

was obliged to cast off the numerous boats she had in

tow, before she could work herself off again, which

caused considerable delay. The 49th were therefore

not landed so soon as had been expected.

The firing of the steamers which covered the landing

was kept up with so much precision, that more than

one of the Chinese standard -bearers, who boldly ad

vanced alone to the crest of the hill, waving their flags,

were cut in two by a 32 -pounder shot, just as if they

had been aimed at with a rifle.

The two flank and the third companies of the 55th

being first on shore, received a smart fire from the

Chinese, who, up to this time, had kept themselves

pretty well sheltered ; and, as the remainder of the

regiment followed close after the leading companies, and

the 18th was not far behind, the advance was instantly

sounded , and the 55th pushed up the hill, under the

gallant Major Fawcett. The Chinese waved to them

to come on, and opened a smart fire as they struggled

up the steep hill, and knocked down several of the

men . It was an exciting spectacle to watch them as

cending the hill, while the ships continued firing until

they reached the summit ; and even then the Chinese

showed no want of courage ; the spear and the bayonet

frequently crossed each other.

At length the Chinese were routed ; and the hill,


being now in our possession , gave us the command of

all the enemy's positions, which, by this means, were

fairly turned. In this encounter, the first Chinese

colours were taken by Lieutenant Butter, of the 55th .

In the mean time, the 18th and the artillery being

landed, and some of the light guns having been placed

so as to enfilade the long battery, the 18th pushed on

gallantly, under Lieutenant Colonel Adams, to clear the

line of sea- defences. The facility with which the flank

of the Chinese positions had been turned did not seem,

by any means, to discourage the Chinese, who fought,

as they retreated, with great individual courage, several

of the mandarins boldly advancing, sword in hand , to

the attack . The loss on their side, as they were driven

back along so narrow a line ( for there was a deep

paddy- field in the rear of the embankment upon which

the battery was constructed ) was necessarily great.

The Chinese commander -in - chief and several Tartar

officers were here killed. They were at length com

pelled to evacuate the whole line of sea-battery, the

grenadier company of the 18th leading the way, in a

spirited manner, under Captain Wigston .

Having cleared the whole of the works, the 18th

soon made their way up the Pagoda Hill, without

opposition, the Chinese having been already compelled

to evacuate it by the admirable fire of the Royal Artil

lery, and of the Modeste and Queen on that side. The

49th, who could not be landed until the hottest part

of the work was over, followed the 18th along the

battery, but, on reaching a causeway or path about

two -thirds of the way across, which appeared to lead


from the battery towards the city, they turned off at

that point, and hurried on towards the south gate of

the city to which it led .

In the mean time, the 55th pushed on along the hills,

covered by the Rifles, which had now joined , to the

heights overlooking the city on the north -west ; and

Captain Anstruther, with Captain Balfour and Lieute

nant Foulis, with great exertion brought up the light

field -guns of the Madras Artillery, to the summit of

the heights, and opened their fire upon the walls, on

which several guns were mounted on that side. The

Madras Sappers had also brought scaling-ladders along the

rugged hills, and the Rifles, were skilfully disposed along

the edge of a deep ravine between the hills and the city

walls, sheltered by the broken ground and by tombs

(for it was the burial place of the city) with the object

of cutting off the retreat of the Chinese by the northern


While these operations were going on, the Admiral,

accompanied by Sir Henry Pottinger, Captain Herbert,

Captain Maitland, and Mr. Morrison , the interpreter,

went on board the Nemesis, (which, after landing her

troops, had come round the point of Guard Island into

the inner harbour,) and were carried towards the

Pagoda Hill, just as the 18th entered the works at

the top of it. The Admiral and the rest of the officers

immediately landed, and ascended the hill, from the

top of which there is a splendid prospect of the whole

plain beyond, and of the city, and from which a good

view could be obtained of the operations against the



The Nemesis was anchored as close in shore as pos

sible ; and Captain Hall, having got up to the mast-head,

was able distinctly to see every thing that was going

on, and to direct the fire of the steamer, so as to

throw аa few shells into the city, about three quarters

of a mile distant. The other steamers very shortly

afterwards also joined her in the inner harbour. The

55th could be seen climbing over the walls, the Chinese

firing and retreating before them ; and the British flag

at last proudly floated over the fallen city. Three

British cheers were given at this moment by soldiers

and sailors together.

The capital of Chusan, with all its new and extensive

defences, was now for the second time in our possession .

The Chinese troops fled into the interior of the island,

principally by the eastern gate ; and if a detachment

of our soldiers had been sent along the banks of the

canal , which runs up into the plain on that side, pro

bably a great number of the Chinese would have been

cut off.

The loss of Ting-hai was attributed by the Chinese

principally to the non -arrival of the expected reinforce

ments from the mainland, owing to the boisterous

state of the weather ; but they took care to assert that

a foreign vessel “ had blown up,” and that the heavy

toil of fighting for six days and nights had so com

pletely worn out their troops, that they were unable

any longer to resist.

The loss of the Chinese was considerable, both in

the battery and on the hills. On our side, one officer

(Ensign Duell) and one rank and file of the 55th were


killed, and nineteen rank and file of the same regi

ment wounded, many of them severely. Of the other

troops engaged, eight rank and file were wounded, of

whom half dangerously or severely. Besides the guns

already enumerated, together with large ginjals, a vast

number of matchlocks were found in the city, with

upwards of five hundred tubs of powder, some bamboo

rockets, and about one hundred cases of leaden balls.

The day after the capture, measures were adopted

by the General, to endeavour to prevent the escape of

the Chinese troops from the island, by the numerous

little harbours or creeks from which they could get

away in boats to the mainland . Three different de

tachments of our soldiers were sent out by separate

routes to scour the island, while the Nemesis and other

vessels were sent round to convey provisions, and to

blockade the landing-places, or villages on the coast.

By this means, it was hoped “ that every one of the

fugitives would either be driven off the island or cap

tured . ” But all these little marchings and counter

marchings were quite fruitless ; not a soldier was seen

in any direction ; the facility of disguise and conceal

ment, and also of escape to the mainland, being very


It may be doubted whether these movements, in

stead of tending to bring the native Chinese popu

lation into submission, did not rather serve to keep

alive or to increase their natural feeling of dislike to

the foreigner. In fact, the inhabitants of the Chusan

Islands are generally a hardy and independent race

of people, and up to the close of the war, it never


could be said that we really had possession of more

than the actual city within the walls of Tinghai and its

suburbs on the sea -shore. No one could move even

to a distance of two or three miles from the walls,

without having a strong escort with him, or running

the risk of being kidnapped by the people. Many

private soldiers and camp followers were in this manner

cut off ; and at length orders were issued that none

but the Chinese should be permitted to pass through

the northern gate at all.



Military government of Chusan - Remarks on the town of Tinghai

The great bell — Notices of Chusan — Not adapted for commercial

purposes — A visit to the interior— Interesting observations of a

Chinese gentleman — Civility of the people — Remarks on our com

mercial prospects in China— Necessity of barter - Difficulties — Pre

parations for the capture of Chinhae - Its position - Defences of the

Ningpo river - Chinhae captured, 10th of October, 1841 – Military

and naval operations, on both sides of the river, described - Suicide of

Chinese officers — The Emperor's remarks respecting the Viceroy

Public honours-Attentions of the English to the wounded Chinese

Remarks on Chinhae and on Chinese inventions — Use of torture and

cruel modes of inflicting death — Burial of murdered Englishmen

Instrument for pounding women to death — Humanity towards the

Chinese prisoners.

A few days after the occupation of the capital of

Chusan, a regular military government was established

by Sir Henry Pottinger, protection being promised to

the well- behaved inhabitants, who were moreover in

formed that “ several years would probably elapse,

before the island would be restored to the authority of

the Emperor.” Thus it was evidently contemplated,

even at that time, that the island should not be re

stored to the Chinese, until long after the conclusion

of peace. It was,, in fact, to be retained for some time,


as a guarantee for the good faith of the Chinese go

vernment .

The principal alterations which had taken place at

Tinghai, since it was given up by the English seven

months before, were found to be merely the addition

of the defensive works already described, and , to a

certain degree, increased cleanliness within the city.

The suburbs at the landing - place had been in part

pulled down, or altered to make way for the batteries,

while other parts had been abandoned, and were after

wards pulled down by our own orders during the

ensuing winter, to give a better circulation of air, and

more room for the detachment quartered there. The

ruins furnished good firewood, which is much needed

during the winter ; for the extremes both of heat

and cold are felt along the northern coast of China,

according to the season of the year. In other re

spects , the so -called horrors of war fell extremely

lightly upon the inhabitants ; indeed , they were in

most instances benefitted by our presence, and by the

circulation of money which we spent among them .

Occasional examples of hardship necessarily occurred

in the first instance, among which that of the bursting

of a shell in a house in which a poor woman and her

two children were killed, while the husband was mor

tally wounded by the explosion , could not fail to

excite the greatest sympathy. But happily there were

no instances of that voluntary self-murder, which, in

other cities, subsequently taken, became so appalling ;

they seemed limited to the Tartar population.

Generally speaking, our soldiers appeared to look


down upon the Chinese too much to do them wanton

injury. Two of the 18th Royal Irish were overheard

conversing together, soon after the place was taken ;

and the one was congratulating the other upon his

escape, having been supposed to be killed. Why, I

heard you were picked off by the Chinese !” — “ Is it

me ? said the other— “ the devil a bit ; for it's by a

European I'll be killt, and not by a Chinaman . ”

Several instances occurred, in which the inhabitants

of the town, particularly the boys, recognized the

officers and some of the men of the 18th, who had been

there on the previous occasion, and voluntarily came to

offer their services again, with every appearance of

being pleased to see their former masters.

It must not be imagined that the capital of Chusan

is at all a fine town, or in any way to be compared with

others upon the mainland which we afterwards cap

tured or visited . Even the walls, though of small ex

tent, enclose a larger space than is actually occupied

by the town itself ; and, indeed , with few exceptions,

this appears to be generally the case in China. The

streets are extremely narrow, being mere lanes ; the

shops are very poor, and comparatively insignificant ;

and the houses are all low, but some of them, including

the courts within, occupy a large space of ground .

There is one building, however, which attracts uni

versal attention , as being one of the finest specimens of


its kind . It is the principal temple of the city, dedi

cated to the worship of Foo, or Budha. In many

respects it is superior to the temple at Hainan , opposite

Canton , and is scarcely second to the principal of the


numerous temples which adorn the sacred island of

Pooto, about twenty miles from Chusan, which is

famous for the number and elegance of its places of

superstitious worship, and for the hosts of priests, or

rather monks, which are attached to them . There is

belonging to this beautiful temple of Tinghai, standing

in a detached half-ruined building, and apparently

never used , one of the most beautiful bells met with in

China. It is quite equal to the one which was after

wards taken at Ningpo, and was subsequently sent to

Calcutta. It is of very large size, but somewhat dif

ferent in shape from our own, and is covered on the

outside with Chinese characters, beautifully formed .

Its tone is clear and deep ; indeed, the Chinese appear

to excel in the art of making bell-metal. It was

worthy of being removed and carried to this country ;

not so much as a trophy, for such it could not be called ,

but as an interesting specimen of Chinese workmanship,

and of the advanced state of some of their oldest arts

and inventions.

Some interest attaches to the island of Chusan , from

the fact of its having once been the site of an English

factory. It is about fifty miles in circumference, of an

oblong shape, being about twenty miles in length by

ten in breadth . The principal harbour of Tinghai is

difficult of approach, owing to the astonishing rapidity

of the currents or tides, the rise and fall of which varies

from six to twelve feet ; the passages are in some parts

narrow, with deep water.

Chusan and all the neighbouring islands are extremely

mountainous, but between the ridges of the hills are

CHUSAN . 207

rich and beautiful valleys, which are highly productive,

being well supplied with water. The industry and care

with which the Chinese embank the opening of every

valley towards the sea are remarkable ; not a foot of

ground is wasted ; and every little nook or bay which

can be reclaimed from the sea is cultivated with the

most assiduous care. The beautiful cultivation of the

hill-sides has already been alluded to, so that it is not

surprising that the island is capable of exporting a large

quantity of produce to the mainland. For general

commercial purposes , however , little advantage could

have been derived from the permanent retention of

Chusan ; the population of the island is not large ;

and , with the port of Ningpo within a few hours ' sail,

and open to our vessels , there could have been no com

pensating benefit to make up for the expense of a per

manent settlement upon an island in its neighbourhood .

The East - India Company's factory was built in 1700,

not far from the present landing-place in the suburbs of

Tinghai; but the exactions of the Chinese officers, the

expense of the establishment, and the little prospect of

carrying on a successful trade, compelled them to aban

don it three or four years afterwards. In short, the in

ternal trade of the island must always be insignificant ;

and vessels which frequent the harbour depend almost

entirely upon the visits of Chinese merchants who come

over from the mainland to seek merchandize, which they

would much more gladly purchase when brought to their

own doors at Ningpo, by which means they would save

expense and trouble.

The importance of the temporary possession of Chu


san is certainly great, particularly as long as the ar

rangements for the opening of the new ports are not

entirely completed. But its value, as a political measure ,

is much enhanced by the moral effect it has had upon the

government and people of China, who look upon the

Chusan islands as among their most valuable possessions,

the loss of which was peculiarly felt by the Emperor.

In the commencement, the principal inhabitants of

the interior showed a great disinclination to have any

dealings with us, and the common people frequently

proved themselves decidedly hostile to us. The kid

napping of our soldiers will be alluded to hereafter ; but

that was more frequently attempted by men sent ex

pressly over for the purpose, from the mainland , than

by the peasantry of the island itself. Gradually, how

ever, all classes improved in their tone and bearing ;

and, during an excursion which I myself made, in com

pany with a missionary, at the close of the war, we

found the people commonly civil and obliging, and

rarely disinclined to hold intercourse with us. In several

instances, we were invited into the houses of respectable

individuals, who invariably turned the conversation upon

mercantile matters.

On one occasion, a very respectable - looking man, who

inhabited aa well-furnished house, invited us in, and offered

us pipes and tea, and then produced a work, written in

Chinese by Mr. Gutzlaff, setting forth , as I understood, the

advantages of foreign trade to the Chinese, and pointing

out a great number of articles which could be exchanged

between them and the English with great mutual ad

vantage. The book was furnished with geographical


maps, and was intended also to remove some of the

absurd Chinese theories and prejudices concerning the

various nations of the earth, and the relations of China

with the rest of the world . Great interest had evidently

been awakened by the perusal of the work, and the man

assured us that he had lent it to several of his neigh

bours. He stated his great wish to enter into trading

speculations with the English, and that he and some of

his friends had projected the formation of a company,

or hong, with this object. But the great difficulty

which occurred to them was, as to the means of paying

us, or rather as to what articles they could find to offer

us in exchange for our manufactures. It was clear to

them that there must be a reciprocal trade ; but they

had difficulty in knowing what we would take, or what

they could procure which would be likely to suit


It must not be supposed that there can be an un

limited production of tea in China ; its cultivation is

limited to almost two districts, and it requires peculiar

conditions of soil and of climate to enable it to be

cultivated to advantage . A great sudden increase in

the demand for tea would lead to an enormous increase

in the adulteration of the article by all kinds of spurious

leaves ; and nothing is more easy than to fabricate a

mixture which will resemble in all its external appear

ances any description of tea which may be most in de

mand ; and this fabricated mixture can be added to the

real tea, in greater or lesser quantity, so as not easily

to be detected, except by very experienced persons .

The tea-plant requires three years' growth before it will



produce leaves fit to be plucked for tea. At Chusan ,

the plant appeared to grow wild, or nearly so, upon

sume of the mountains, but of inferior quality, and only

fit for native use.

The various questions asked by this Chinese gentle

man (for so he might be called) were extremely intelli

gent, and much to the purpose. On pointing out to

him that he might feed sheep upon the hills around him ,

and eat their flesh, and clothe himself in winter with

their wool, his only reply was, that he did not under

stand the care of them , nor had ever indeed seen any,

but he thought the attempt would prove a failure. His

manners were agreeable and gentlemanlike ; and , on

taking our leave, he accompanied us through the vil

lage, and pointed out the tomb of his ancestors, which

had previously struck us as a remarkably fine stone

monument, or rather cemetery, situated in a field by

the road-side. He bowed gracefully as we parted, and

expressed his hope that we might be induced to visit

him again .

These are the favourable opportunities of cultivating

the good will of the people, and of making ourselves

acquainted with their manners and habits, while we

communicate friendly information to them , which can

not be too carefully and judiciously cultivated . Good

tact, and a familiar knowledge of the world, (for human

nature is nearly the same in all parts) with a scrupulous

regard for customs, and delicacy in violating prejudices,

are at least as necessary to enable us to make our way

in China, as in other quarters. And while we take care

not to place blind confidence, we cannot be too careful


how we exhibit a contemptuous mistrust of them in our

social intercourse. We may assert our right to be

treated with the utmost respect and deference on all

occasions, without assuming for an instant an overbear

ing tone or a repulsive demeanour. We must respect

ourselves, and we shall not find it difficult to enforce

respect from them.

In reference to the commercial questions mentioned

above, it is not here the place to discuss points which

are difficult and tedious to develop. But I again call

attention to the shrewd remark above quoted , that we

must endeavour to find out what we can procure from

the Chinese besides tea and silk, rhubarb and cassia ,

and encourage them to seek out some articles of raw

produce, which they can give us in exchange. There are

numerous mineral productions in China, of which we

know little ; their processes of smelting, &c. , are tedious

and defective, yet labour is abundant to overflowing in

all parts of China.

To return to the operations of our combined forces.

As the season for active measures, before the complete

setting in of winter, was already far advanced, little

time was to be lost in carrying into execution the pro

posed movement upon Chinhae and Ningpo. The latter

city, from its size and situation , would afford excellent

winter quarters for the main body of our troops ; and

the moral effect upon the Chinese government and

people, of the continued occupation of so important a

place, and the interruption of their valuable trade, could

not fail to make an inpression calculated to facilitate

our future negotiations.



In the mean time, the expected reinforcements would

have arrived , both from England and from India, and

the next campaign would be opened with vigour, and

would suffice, it was hoped, to conclude the war. Ningpo,

which is a city of the first class, and therefore called

Foo (Ningpo-Foo) is the chief city of a department,

and the second city in the province of Che-Keang, of

which the capital is Hang-Chow-Foo. The population

of the province, according to Chinese documents, num

bers upwards of 26,000,000 souls, or very nearly as

much as the whole of Great Britain and Ireland toge

ther .

The town of Ningpo is situated twelve miles up the

Tahea, or Ningpo river, at the mouth of which is the

small town of Chinhae, at the base of a high hill, which

commands the entrance of the river. The possession of

Chinhae, therefore, and its citadel, would give us com

plete command of the approach to Ningpo ; just as the

capture of Chapoo (which was effected in the subse

quent campaign) would lay open the road to Hang

Chow -Foo, the capital; and that of Woosung, which

was soon afterwards taken, would give us free access to

the valuable trading-city of Shang-hae. It could not

be doubted that the interruption of trade, and the stop

page of the imperial revenues derived from it, would

make far deeper impression upon the cabinet of Pekin ,

than sweeping off thousands and tens of thousands of

the people, whose lives are so quaintly said to be

very tenderly cherished in the paternal bosom of the


A small garrison only was to be left in possession of


Chusan , but the embarkation of the rest of our force

was delayed for some days, by the continuance of con

trary winds. The exposed situation of Chinhae also

made it hazardous to approach it with a fleet, until the

weather should assume a more settled appearance . At

length, on the 8th of October, the greater part of the

transports were moved to the anchorage at “ Just in

the Way,” nearly half way across to the mouth of the

Ningpo river. At the same time, the General and the

Admiral, accompanied by Sir Henry Pottinger, who was

never absent when active operations were going on,

proceeded in the Nemesis and Phlegethon steamers to

reconnoitre the Chinese positions, and to form their

plans for the intended attack. Everything was now

extremely favourable for this purpose, considering the

advanced season ; and the Chinese allowed the steamers

to approach quite close, within short range, without

firing a shot. Perhaps they were afraid to provoke an

attack , or remembered the very wise precaution given

on other occasions, that they should not be the first,

“ in their eagerness to win honours, to commence the

attack on the barbarians.

The city of Chinhae lies at the foot of a bill, upon a

tongue of land , on the left bank of the river, or upon the

northern side of its entrance ; and its castellated walls are

not much less than three miles in circumference, con

nected with aa substantial stone enbankment which runs

up the coast for a distance of full three miles, for the pro

tection of the land from the encroachments of the sea.

The chief strength of the position, however, lies in the

precipitous, rocky height, which, rising abruptly from


the sea, at the extremity of the peninsula, and throw

ing out a rugged spur, completely commands the en

trance of the river. Upon its summit, which may be

about two hundred and fifty feet high, a sort of citadel

had been formed , having a large temple for its com

manding point, connected by loop-holed walls with

various other buildings, which had been put in a state

of preparation for defence.

The outer wall had two iron -plated gates ; but the

only direct communication between the citadel and the

city was on the west, or land side, where a steep but

tolerably regular causeway led to a barrier gate at the

bottom of the hill, whence it was continued by a wooden

bridge over a gorge to the gates of the city itself. In

front of the other, or eastern gate of the citadel, there

was a newly-constructed battery, formed partly of sand

bags, and partly of masonry, mounting, altogether,

twenty-one guns.

Adjoining the suburbs of the city, on the river side,

there were also two flanking batteries for the protection

of the river, mounting, respectively, twenty-two and

nineteen guns ; while, on the opposite side of the

isthmus, lying between the hill and the city walls,

there was a small battery of five guns pointing to

wards the sea, with a row of piles driven into the

beach in front of it, in order to impede the landing

of an enemy. For further protection on that side,

a number of guns and a large quantity of ginjals

were mounted upon the city walls, principally front

ing the sea. The information obtained led the General

to suppose that there were about three thousand


soldiers in the city, and upon the works outside of

it, while about seven hundred garrisoned the cita

del ; but the Chinese official returns were afterwards

found, in which the details were minutely given . The

actual number was about five hundred less than sup

posed . The Chinese had by no means limited their

defences to the northern side of the river only. On the

contrary, there was good reason to believe that the

great body of their troops and their strongest positions

were upon the other or southern side of the river, where

there was a range of steep hills, overlooking the citadel

hill and the city itself.

On this side there were several strong batteries facing

the entrance to the river, mounting altogether thirty

one guns, while the line of heights above was strongly

fortified, having a chain of entrenched camps along the

points most difficult of approach , with several field

redoubts, armed with guns and ginjals ; in short, neither

expense nor labour had been spared to defend, as far as

Chinese ingenuity and art could avail, the approach to

the important city of Ningpo.

The river itself was strongly staked across just within

the entrance, the obstruction being commanded by the

batteries. A little lower down to the southward be

low the river, in a small bay, there was a creek, with a

good landing -place at the foot of the hills, and the en

trance to it was staked across in a similar manner. The

importance which the Chinese appeared to attach to the

defence of these positions rendered it the more necessary

that they should be reduced, in order to convince them ,

by the hard lesson of experience, that the utmost efforts


of their skill and perseverance were unavailing against

the science and the courage of Europeans.

On the following day, the 9th of October, the squa

dron and the transports (the best-sailing ones having

been selected for the purpose ) were able to anchor off

Chinhae, in the most convenient positions for the in

tended operations, which were to be carried into effect

early on the following morning.

From the description above given, it will at once

become evident that our operations against the main

body of the Chinese troops, on the southern side of the

river, would be undertaken by the land forces, under Sir

Hugh Gough in person, while those against the citadel

and town of Chinhae, and the works on the northern

side of the river, would be entrusted principally to the

naval branch of the expedition, under Sir William

Parker. It was arranged that a body of men should

be ready to land on that side, composed of the Seamen's

Battalion and the Royal Marines, with a detachment of

the Royal and Madras Artillery, the whole under the

command of Captain Herbert, of the Blenheim .

The Wellesley, Blenheim , Blonde, and Modeste, were

to take up positions as close as possible in shore on

that side, but avoiding, if possible, the chance of taking

the ground at low water, with the object of shelling

the Chinese out of the citadel, and of preventing rein

forcements from being sent up to it , and also to open a

landing -place for the seamen and marines. They were

also to drive the Chinese from the walls of the city on

that side, and cover the landing. The Cruiser, Colum

bine, and Bentinck, were to be employed on the


southern side of the entrance of the river, taking up

their positions so as to cover the landing of the troops

at the mouth of the creek already mentioned. The

Queen and Sesostris steamers were to throw shells into

the citadel , and into the batteries along the river, or,

according to circumstances, into the Chinese encamp

ments on the hills on the south side ; while the two iron

steamers, Nemesis and Phlegethon, were to land the

troops, and then render assistance wherever their ser

vices might be most useful.

The movements of the troops will be best understood

as we proceed. At daylight, on the morning of the

10th of October, the Nemesis took on board the whole

of the centre column, under the command of Lieu

tenant- Colonel Morris, consisting of the 49th regiment,

with a few of the Royal and Madras Artillery, and some

Madras Sappers, amounting altogether to about four

hundred and forty men, with forty shot-bearers, &c.

There were also two 12 -pounder howitzers, with two

9 -pounder field -guns. The Nemesis then took in tow

the Cruiser, sixteen guns, under Commander Giffard ,

who was to superintend and to cover the landing, and

immediately proceeded to the point of debarkation, near

the creek, on the flank of the Chinese positions. The

post of honour was this day given to the 49th, in order

that they might have an opportunity of making up for

their disappointment at Chusan, where they were landed

too late to take the active part in the day's work which

had been assigned to them . At the same time, the left

column, under the command of Lieutenant -Colonel

Craigie, of the 55th regiment (accompanied by the


General himself and staff ), was carried in by the Phlege

thon to a rocky point a little further to the southward .

There was a low flat and a canal, with two bridges over

it, on their right, whence they could move round the

hills to the rear of the position occupied by the Chinese.

This column was the strongest, and comprised a wing of

the 18th Royal Irish, five companies of the 55th regi

ment, the Madras Rifle Company, with one company of

the Madras Artillery and some sappers ; altogether

1040 men, with four light mountain howitzers, and

two five and a half - inch mortars, with upwards of one

hundred shot-carriers and followers.

The distance of the point of landing from the ene

my's position was not less than a couple of miles ; and

thence they skirted along the hills, until they reached

a commanding point, from which a full view was ob

tained of the whole of the positions. By this time, the

centre column had formed without opposition ; but a

small body of Chinese troops, who had probably been

placed in ambush, under cover of a low hill, were now

discovered, and instantly dispersed by a few shot from

the Nemesis.

The 49th now received orders to advance up the hill,

which they did in gallant style ; and, after clearing

several field -works, their colours were soon displayed

upon the principal redoubt overlooking the batteries on

the river side. In this attack, Captain Reynolds and

Lieutenant Browne, of the 49th, particularly distin

guished themselves.

No sooner had that regiment got into close action

than the 18th and the Rifles, on their left, having with


great difficulty got across a narrow and obstructed

bridge, over the lower part of the canal (which might

have been easily defended ), and the 55th having crossed

another bridge higher up, suddenly pressed round upon

the Chinese right, and threw them into the utmost

consternation. Many acts of individual bravery were

witnessed on their part ; some the result of real courage,

others of sheer desperation. But the poor Chinese

were fairly hemmed in by the 49th in front, and by the

55th and 18th, with the Rifles, on their right and in

their rear . This manæuvre ,, as may be supposed, threw

them into the utmost confusion . Their river batteries,

being also by these movements taken in flank , were at

once abandoned by their defenders, and a few of the

guns were actually turned against the flying enemy the

moment we took possession .

The havoc among the Chinese was inevitably great,

for very few of them could be induced to lay down their

arms, in spite of the exertions of the officers, aided by

Mr. Thom , the interpreter, to make them understand

that their lives would be spared. Hundreds of them, as

a last resource, rushed madly into the river, and, of

course, a great many were drowned ; it is even said that

their own batteries on the opposite side of the river

killed a great many of them, either purposely for run

ning away, or by aiming at our soldiers, who were

driving the fugitives before them. Many committed

suicide, including several high officers; but some of

them escaped, after throwing away their arms and mili

tary clothing . About five hundred men surrendered

themselves prisoners ; and a few others, who had taken


shelter among the rocks along the river side, were

subsequently picked up by the boats of the Queen


While these important successes were being obtained

on the southern side of the river, no less active and

effectual operations were being carried on upon the

opposite or northern side, against the citadel and town

of Chinhae. As soon as the Nemesis had landed the

centre column, she ran up towards the flag -ship, the

Wellesley, which had been towed into an excellent posi

tion by the Sesostris, to shell the citadel, but she

settled quietly in the mud as the tide fell. The Blen

heim had likewise been towed into a good position by

the Sesostris, but the Blonde and Modeste were enabled

to go in under sail with a light breeze. The terrific fire

of these powerful ships was immediately opened upon

the hill -fort with irresistible effect. Their precision in

throwing shells was particularly remarked, and nothing

could long resist their sustained fire.

On the Chinese side, the river batteries opened upon

the Nemesis and Phlegethon, as they passed the

river's mouth , and upon every vessel upon which they

could bear, as they occasionally came within range,

namely the Queen, Cruiser, &c. The Nemesis having

passed beyond the flag-ship, ran in as close as possible

to the town, and dispersed a body of Chinese, who were

drawn up with their banners, &c., on that side, and also

opened upon a small fort at the landing -place, between

the Citadel -hill and the town ; but she was then directed

by the Admiral to proceed with orders to the Sesostris

and the Queen.


Just at this moment (past eleven o'clock) , the boats

were ordered to push from their respective ships to land

the right column, under Captain Herbert ; and it was

about this time also that the 49th on the south side of

the river were seen to crown the hill, and carry the

Chinese entrenchment in that direction .1

So severe and well-directed had been the fire of the

ships, that the Chinese had been driven out of the

temple upon the top of the Citadel-hill, and could be

seen rushing down towards the city.. The seamen and

marines, having disembarked upon the rugged rocks

at the mouth of the river, advanced to the assault with

great rapidity up the hill, and entered the citadel, the

gate of which had been left open by the Chinese as

they fled .

The Chinese still manned the walls of the city below,

which were about twenty feet high, and also the two

batteries upon the river side before described . The

marine and seamen battalion , therefore, pushed on to

attack the city, and escaladed the walls in two places

on the east side ; the enemy making their escape

through the western gate which led into the open


By this time, the batteries on the south side of the

The right column consisted of


Seamen Battalion, under Captain Bourchier

Royal Marines, Major Ellis 276

Royal Artillery, with two five and a half inch mor

tars, and some 9 and 12 -pounder rockets, Lieu 23

tenant the Honourable Spencer

Madras Sappers, Captain Cotton and Lieutenant 30

Johnston, M.E.


river were also in possession of our troops, who now

turned the guns upon the batteries on the city side

of the river, near the water's edge. Captain Herbert's

column was accompanied by the Admiral in person, who

was one of the foremost to mount the walls.

Three explosions took place, during the attack, two

near the top of the Citadel-hill, and one at a mandarin

station near the river side. They were supposed to be

mines, and two of them were fired by our rockets. Se

veral Chinese suffered by the explosions.

The city of Chinhae, and the whole of the defences

on both sides of the river, so much relied on by the

Chinese, were in our possession by two o'clock ; the

Chinese troops were completely dispersed and panic

struck, many of the high officers being killed, and the

whole people in the utmost consternation.

Captain Herbert retained possession of the town

with the marines during the remainder of the day,

and in the evening Sir Hugh Gough crossed over from

the opposite side with a few of his troops, and joined

Captain Herbert. The rest of our men bivouacked for

the night upon the hills they bad so bravely taken .

The total number of guns which were found in the

different works were no less than one hundred and

fifty -seven pieces, of which sixty -seven were brass,

many being very well cast, and of great weight. In the

city was also discovered a cannon foundry, with every

preparation for the casting of a great number of guns,

including a large quantity of metal. There was like

wise some copper ore found in the town , and a tolerable

addition to the prize fund was thus secured.


The loss on our side was inconsiderable, amounting

to three men killed and sixteen wounded , including one

officer, Lieutenant Montgomerie, of the 49th regiment,

which bore the principal brunt of the day. The loss

of the Chinese is very difficult to estimate. But it

amounted to several hundred killed and wounded , in

the operations on both sides of the river.

Soon after the works were all in our possession, the

Nemesis was sent some way up the river, to explore the

navigation, having cleared for herself a passage through

the stakes ; and on her return to the Wellesley, late in

the day, the Admiral, accompanied by Sir Henry Pot

tinger, proceeded in her to examine the river again.

If we may judge from the various memorials pre

sented to the Emperor, after the fall of Chinhae, and

his Majesty's replies to some of them, we must at once

perceive how great a sensation the loss of this impor

tant place had made upon the people throughout the

entire province. They were now alarmed for the safety

even of Hang-Chow-Foo, the capital city. Nevertheless,

the Emperor, far from showing any inclination to yield,

continued to urge on more strenuously than ever the

most extensive preparations for the defence of the


The death of the Imperial Commissioner, Yu-Keen ,

however, by suicide, immediately after the loss of

Chinhae, seems to have awakened a feeling of com

passion in the imperial bosom . His Majesty called to

mind the death of the Commissioner's grandfather, in

the same manner, during the reign of Kienlung ; and

directed that his departed servant, “ who gave his life


river were also in possession of our troops, who now

turned the guns upon the batteries on the city side

of the river, near the water's edge. Captain Herbert's

column was accompanied by the Admiral in person, who

was one of the foremost to mount the walls.

Three explosions took place, during the attack, two

near the top of the Citadel -hill, and one at a mandarin

station near the river side. They were supposed to be

mines, and two of them were fired by our rockets. Se

veral Chinese suffered by the explosions.

The city of Chinhae, and the whole of the defences

on both sides of the river, so much relied on by the

Chinese, were in our possession by two o'clock ; the

Chinese troops were completely dispersed and panic

struck, many of the high officers being killed , and the

whole people in the utmost consternation.

Captain Herbert retained possession of the town

with the marines during the remainder of the day,

and in the evening Sir Hugh Gough crossed over from

the opposite side with a few of his troops, and joined

Captain Herbert. The rest of our men bivouacked for

the night upon the hills they bad so bravely taken .

The total number of guns which were found in the

different works were no less than one hundred and

fifty-seven pieces, of which sixty -seven were brass,

many being very well cast, and of great weight. In the

city was also discovered a cannon foundry, with every

preparation for the casting of a great number of guns,,

including a large quantity of metal. There was like

wise some copper ore found in the town, and a tolerable

addition to the prize fund was thus secured.


The loss on our side was inconsiderable, amounting

to three men killed and sixteen wounded, including one

officer, Lieutenant Montgomerie, of the 49th regiment,

which bore the principal brunt of the day. The loss

of the Chinese is very difficult to estimate. But it

amounted to several hundred killed and wounded, in

the operations on both sides of the river.

Soon after the works were all in our possession, the

Nemesis was sent some way up the river, to explore the

navigation, having cleared for herself a passage through

the stakes ; and on her return to the Wellesley, late in

the day, the Admiral, accompanied by Sir Henry Pot

tinger, proceeded in her to examine the river again.

If we may judge from the various memorials pre

sented to the Emperor, after the fall of Chinhae, and

his Majesty's replies to some of them, we must at once

perceive how great a sensation the loss of this impor

tant place had made upon the people throughout the

entire province. They were now alarmed for the safety

even of Hang-Chow-Foo, the capital city. Nevertheless,


the Emperor, far from showing any inclination to yield ,

continued to urge on more strenuously than ever the

most extensive preparations for the defence of the


The death of the Imperial Commissioner, Yu-Keen ,

however, by suicide, immediately after the loss of

Chinhae, seems to have awakened a feeling of com

passion in the imperial bosom . His Majesty called to

mind the death of the Commissioner's grandfather, in

the same manner, during the reign of Kienlung ; and

directed that his departed servant, “ who gave his life


for his country, ” should receive funeral honours of a

high class, in the same temple of “ faithful ministers,

in which his ancestor had already found a place.

The local officers were to pay every honour to his

remains, in all the towns through which his body

might pass on its way to Pekin . His Majesty further

remitted all punishment for whatever might have been

recorded against him in his official capacity at any

period ; as if there could be no doubt that every man

who ultimately obtained high distinction in China

must have been more or less a rogue at some period

of his career .

Before the fighting at Chinhae commenced , Yu-Keen

delivered his seals of office to aa faithful officer, to be car

ried back to the provincial capital ; and when at length

he saw the day was lost, he coolly walked down to the

river's bank, and there, having performed the ceremony

of the Kotow, looking towards the imperial city, he

threw himself into the water. It was afterwards ascer

tained that about fourteen more Chinese officers were

killed, or else destroyed themselves.

Many of the wounded men were very carefully

attended by our medical officers, to whom the greatest

credit is due for their exertions in the cause of

humanity. Several poor fellows submitted to ampu

tation cheerfully, and most of them recovered . There

was one poor woman accidentally wounded , who, with

the written consent of her husband, underwent the

operation for amputation of the leg, and for some

days was cheerful, and went on well , but ultimately

she died .





VOL . II . Q


It is an error to suppose that the Chinese are altoge

ther averse to change any of their established practices,

however opposed the government may be, as a matter

of policy, to every kind of innovation in the usages

of the people. In the strictly mechanical arts, no

people are more ready to adopt, or more expert in

applying, any new methods which they can comprehend,

and which appear better adapted than their own to

attain the desired object ; but their imitations of

things are notoriously ludicrous. At Chinhae, four

newly -cast guns were found, precisely after the model

of some carronades which had been recovered from the

wreck of the Kite, and they were not by any means bad


In the construction of their new gun-carriages,

several striking improvements had been copied from

ours, and, in this and other instances, it was thought

that they must have employed people to take sketches

for them . The most remarkable innovation , however,

and one which points out their extreme ingenuity,

was the discovery of some machinery intended to be

applied to the propulsion of their junks, resembling

paddle -wheels. This curious invention has been allu

ded to in the early part of the work , but the actual

machinery used for the purpose was now first disco

vered . There were two long shafts, to which were

to be attached the paddle -wheels, made of hard wood ,

about twelve feet in diameter ; there were also some

strong wooden cog -wheels nearly finished, which were

intended to be worked by manual labour inside the

vessel . They were not yet fitted to the vessels ; but


the ingenuity of this first attempt of the Chinese, so

far north as Chinhae, where they could only have seen

our steamers during their occasional visits to Chusan,

when that island was before occupied by us, cannot but

be admired .

A walk round the ramparts of Chinhae was sufficient

to give a good idea of Chinese towns in general, and of

the construction of their walls, which in some parts

could not be less than forty feet thick. Beyond the

town the long sea-wall was a remarkably fine specimen

of masonry, composed entirely of large blocks of hewn

granite, sloping upwards. The whole of China, in fact,

appears to present to view astonishing instances of

mixed civilization and barbarism , of advancement and

of stagnation, in all the relations of life. Civilization

appears to float upon the surface ; you observe so much

of social order and sobriety, and hear so much of pa

ternal care and filial obedience, that you are half in

clined to think they must be a very moral, humane, and

happy people. Again, you witness such proofs of inge

nuity, such striking results of industry and of combi

nation of labour in their public works and buildings,

canals, embankments, &c., that you are inclined to

believe their institutions must have something good in

them at bottom .

But, when you look aa little deeper below the surface,

you are astonished at the many evidences of barbarism

and cruelty which militate against your first impressions.

The use of torture in the hands of government officers

is less striking, not only because it has been in use in

Christian Europe within the last half century, but also



because, the obligation of an oath being unknown in

China, as well as a future state of reward or punish

ment, there is in some cases no other mode of extracting

evidence than this cruel, unjust, and much -abused in

strument of violence. It is more difficult, however, to

perceive why they should have exerted their ingenuity

to produce revolting cruelty in their modes of inflicting

death .

The manner in which the unfortunate Captain Stead

and Mr. Wainwright were put to death at Chinhae,

as it was afterwards discovered, ( for they were only

wounded and captured at Keeto Point) affords strong evi

dence of their cruel love for human suffering. The

burial-place of these persons was pointed out outside

the city wall , beyond a little moat which skirted them .

It seemed to be the common burial-place for criminals

after execution, and there was an archery -ground, with

a target near at hand , for the practice of their favourite


weapon. The bodies of our countrymen were found

rolled upin stout mats, such as are commonly used for

covering their floors. It was difficult to obtain from

the Chinese any thing like correct information as to the

precise mode in which the unfortunate sufferers were

put to death ; for, although both of them were at last

beheaded, there is too much reason to believe that they

were first of all most barbarously tortured .

The infliction of the punishment of death in China,

by any mode which shall cause the mutilation of the

body, is considered much more severe and degrading

than death by strangulation, or without the shedding

of blood ; and the more the body is mutilated , the


greater is the punishment considered. The putting to

death by “ cutting in pieces,” in which horrible opera

tion decapitation is the climax , is, perhaps, never at

present carried into effect. It is reserved , I believe,

exclusively for rebellion and high treason . But the

Chinese seem to take pleasure in inventing various cruel

modes by which death may be inflicted, although pro

bably they are not now used, if, indeed, they ever were.

The most original and disgusting of all these methods,

(of which, however, there was no evidence of its being

used ) was illustrated by the discovery, either at Chinhae

or at Ningpo, of the model of a machine for pounding

women to death. The original model was found in a

temple, together with various others of a very extraor

dinary kind . It was very small, and was merely a

model, but it represented a large oblong stone vase, in

which the woman was to be placed, with the back of her

head resting upon one extremity, ( the long hair hanging

over the side, and fastened to it) while her legs were to

be secured to the other extremity. The horrible pound

ing process was to be effected by means of a huge

stone pestle, large at the base and conical at the apex ,

similar to those which they use for pounding rice. The

pestle, or cone, was fixed to the extremity of a long

pole, the pole itself being fastened by a pin in the

centre to an upright support, something in the manner

of a pump -handle. The extremity of the handle being

depressed by a man's weight, of course raised the cone,

and, the pressure being removed, the heavy cone or

pestle descended by its own weight, which was quite

sufficient to pound one to pieces.


It was stated that at Chusan aa stone tablet was found ,

upon which were carved the Emperor's orders, that

every barbarian who fell into the hands of the authori

ties should be executed by a slow and ignominious

death. We know, however, that, except in the case of

the prisoners upon the island of Formosa, this horrible

threat was in only rare instances carried into execution.

On the contrary, the English prisoners were sometimes

tolerably well treated . This undoubtedly arose from

the forbearance which was shown on our part towards

the Chinese themselves, and the humanity and kindness

which their wounded and their prisoners invariably re

ceived from our officers and men, and which it was in

variably the object of Sir Hugh Gough to promote and

encourage. It is time, however, to return from these

digressions, in order to accompany the main body of our

troops up to the city of Ningpo.



Ningpo river — Reconnoissance of the City Ningpo occupied without

opposition — Panic throughout the province -Alarm at Hang -chow

foo - Remarks on the seat of operations - Chekeang - Importance of

the Imperial Canal — Measures adopted at Ningpo — Ransom de

manded — Chinese plunderers — Bridge of boats— Excursion to Yuyow

- Beauties of the country Notices of Ningpo — Prize-money

Public granaries opened to the people — Chinese horses — Pagoda, and

panorama of the country - Aspect of the town - Chinese etiquette

Want of scientific researches Taste for English manufactures —

Russian cloth manufactured in England for the Chinese overland

trade - Wood -carving and varnishing — Sporting excursions — Abun

dance of game — Chinese treachery — Anecdotes — Second visit to

Chinhae — View of the battle- field - Amusing incidents — Lady sham

ming dead- Infanticide— Visit to Chusan- Return to Ningpo.

The scenery at the mouth of the Ningpo river is

very striking. High conical- shaped hills stand on

either side ; and, as the river makes a bend a short

distance up, the fine mountains beyond come into full

view, and add to the picturesque beauty of the spot.

On the 12th of October (the second day after the

capture of Chinhae) the Admiral proceeded up the river

in the Nemesis, in order to reconnoitre the city of

Ningpo, and to ascertain the practicability of taking

the larger steamers and the sloops up the river. In all

respects, the river much exceeded the expectations

formed of it. It was found to be wide and easily navi


gable up to the city, with not less than fourteen feet

water close under the city walls. It was also ascer

tained that no preparations had been made for defence,

as the positions which the Chinese had taken up at the

entrance of the river had been considered by them as

quite strong enough to prevent the approach of an

enemy . The people were seen hurrying out of the

city gates, in every direction, in the greatest conster

nation . It was therefore evidently requisite that our

forces should move up as soon as possible, not so much

to take advantage of the prevailing panic, as to anti

cipate the departure of so many of the respectable

families out of the city, and to induce them to remain

there under promise of protection. Otherwise, it was

very evident that the place would be entirely at the

mercy of all the lowest classes of the people, and would

soon become devastated by the ravages of a licentious

and uncontrolled mob. The authorities had all fled ,

and the city appeared to be in complete disorder.

No time was to be lost. With the exception of the

necessary garrison left at Chinhae, consisting of the

55th regiment (excepting the light company ), with one

hundred Royal Marines, and a detachment of artillery

and sappers, the whole under the command of Lieu

tenant -Colonel Craigie, the rest of the force was em

barked principally on board the Nemesis and Phlegethon,

on the following morning, the 13th, and proceeded up

the river, in company with the Queen and Sesostris

steamers, together with the Modeste, Cruiser, Colum

bine, and Bentinck. The Blonde was left for the pro

tection of Chinhae, as a support to the garrison .


In consequence of unavoidable delays, the force did

not reach the city of Ningpo until past two, p. m.; but,

fortunately, there was no difficulty in landing the

troops with the utmost expedition. Across the river,

just abreast of the town, there was a well-constructed

bridge of boats, which served to connect the city, at

the entrance of one of its gates, with the suburbs which

were on the opposite side. There was quite water

enough for the steamers to run close up to it ; and, as

the Chinese showed no intention of opposing the land

ing, the bridge was immediately taken possession of,

while thousands of the inhabitants thronged the banks

of the river, as mere spectators, moved by curiosity

rather than by fear. Indeed, the Chinese themselves

voluntarily assisted to remove the obstructions which

were piled up behind the city gates ; and about three

o'clock the whole of the little force, amounting to no

more than seven hundred and fifty bayonets, besides

the artillery and sappers, were drawn up along the

ramparts of the important and wealthy city of Ningpo ;

and the stirring sound of our national “ God save the

Queen ” was played by the band of the 18th Royal


The utmost quiet was preserved, and the Chinese

were made to understand that, deserted by their own

authorities, and left without means of protecting them

selves, they might be assured of protection through

the generosity of British soldiers. Never indeed was

there a more peaceable victory.

The capture of Chinhae and Ningpo, so soon after the

loss of Chusan , seems to have inflicted so severe a blow


upon the Chinese, as to have alarmed the whole pro

vince, and spread consternation even as far as the

capital itself. Reports were soon brought from every

quarter that the inhabitants even of Hang -chow -foo,

famed for its luxury and refinement throughout China,

were moving away from it in large numbers, and that

places nearer to the scene of action were already almost

abandoned . In fact, it was admitted that a panic pre

vailed on every side ; and it was feared that trea

cherous natives would seize the opportunity to rob and

plunder, and would form themselves into organized

bands for the purpose of creating internal disorders.”

There was also great apprehension that our forces

might proceed to capture Chapoo, one of their most

valuable ports, having the exclusive right of trade

with Japan, and situated in the vicinity of Hang


It could not be doubted, therefore, that had the General

possessed a sufficient force to have been able to leave

a garrison at Ningpo, and at once to take possession

of Chapoo, which is, in fact, the seaport of Hang

chow -foo, and only twenty miles distant from it, he

might have marched to the provincial capital while the

Chinese were unprepared to offer any serious opposition ;

and it is not improbable that the war might have

been brought to a termination in that campaign. With

the very small force, however, which Sir Hugh Gough

had at his disposal, such a movement was manifestly im

possible. The whole force which he could muster at

Ningpo amounted to no more than seven hundred and

fifty bayonets ; and, as the city was not less than five


miles in circumference, containing a dense population,

it evidently required a considerable garrison to occupy

the place, and to afford security to the peaceable and

well-disposed inhabitants. It was therefore resolved

to make Ningpo the head -quarters for the winter, and

to wait for reinforcements from England and from

India before opening the next campaign.

At this time, the Emperor, though alarmed, seems

not to have been at all dismayed by the disasters which

his troops had met with. The defence of Hang- chow

foo was clearly a matter of great importance. Large

bodies of troops were , therefore, ordered to be sent

down, new generals were appointed, and it is said that

even Keshen was liberated from confinement, and sent

to superintend affairs. Movements of troops and the

travelling of public officers are not very rapid in China,

and his majesty therefore ordered that the local officers

of the province should provide as well as they could for

its defence, until the reinforcements could reach them,


which would " require full two months' time.”

Alarm already began to be felt for the safety even of

Pekin ; and , remembering the former visit of our ships

to the river Peiho, and the conference at Tientsin, the

Emperor was not without dread of a second visit of a

more troublesome kind. Part of the troops, therefore,

which were originally ordered to Hang -chow - foo, were

directed to change their route, and proceed to co

operate for the defence of Tientsin, at which point also

troops from other parts were now ordered to be con

centrated .

The province of Chekeang, which was now the seat


of our operations, is intersected by large rivers, and

is traversed by the great Imperial Canal, which , taking

its commencement from the city of Hang-chow-foo, and

passing through the most fertile and densely-populated

provinces, crossing in its course the two great rivers,

the Yangtze Keang and the Yellow River, runs north

ward nearly as far as the imperial capital, which is

dependent upon it not only for its wealth, but even for

its means of daily subsistence. A blow inflicted upon

its immense traffic at one extremity must necessarily

vibrate along its whole course, and be painfully felt at

the other end ; and the great internal trade of China,

through all its endless ramifications, upon which

perhaps the bulk of the population depend for their

subsistence, must suffer a universal and dangerous

derangement. What was of quite as much importance

also, the imperial revenues would, in a great measure,

cease to flow into the imperial treasury ; and the “ tug of

war ” could not last long without the sinews that give

it strength.

The city of Ningpo, therefore, the largest in the

province next to Hang -chow -foo, wealthy from its great

trade, easily accessible by water, and formerly the site of

an English factory, was admirably adapted for winter

quarters. The troops were placed , in the first instance,

in two large public buildings, and the greatest forbear

ance was exercised towards the persons and property of

the inhabitants. Proclamations were likewise issued,

calling upon the people to return to their ordinary

avocations without fear ofmolestation ; and some of the

principal inhabitants were requested to assemble, in order


that it might be explained to them that it was the wish

of our high officers to afford them all possible protection ,

and to restore order to the city ; that the hostility of the

English was to be directed against the government, and

not against the people.

All this sounded well at first, and was received with

great thankfulness by the Chinese, who seemed very well

disposed to be taken under British protection . But the

announcement which was afterwards made to them , that

they were to pay a heavy sum as ransom for the city,

and as an equivalent for the value of our “ protection, ”

was received with very great disfavour and reluctance.

Very little of the sum demanded was ever forthcoming ;

and the substitution of aa tax, or contribution, of ten per

cent upon the estimated value of the property, was the

cause of much subsequent ill-will, and some injustice.

In fact, notwithstanding the promises and hopes which

were held out, a very small portion of it was ever col

lected , and it was at all times a subject of much bitter

ness to the people.

A tax of ten per cent. upon the value of the cargoes

of all vessels passing up the river, which was afterwards

enforced, was much more successful; in fact, it was little

else than the collection of the imperial revenues, which

the Chinese were always liable to pay. It was,, however,

in a great degree evaded, by an increase of smuggling

along the coast, which the disorganized state of the

local government of the province greatly favoured .

Generally speaking, the collecting of any considerable

body of troops together in any particular province or

locality in China, so far from strengthening the hands of

238 NINGPO .

the authorities, is more likely to occasion disturbance

among the inhabitants. Their raw , ill-disciplined levies

are under little restraint, and repeated complaints are

always made against the lawlessness of the troops. Lit

tle confidence being placed in their regular soldiers, who

had been so recently defeated, the people were now

called upon by the authorities to collect their brave men

from all the villages and hamlets along the coast, and to

organize them into bands, for mutual “ defence against

the proud rebels ;" but, in most instances, these bodies

of uncontrolled patriots became a perfect scourge to their

own neighbourhood , and perfectly useless for any pur

pose of defence against the enemy.

Ningpo is situated upon the extremity of a tongue of

land at the point of junction of two rivers, or two

branches of the same river, which unite just below the

town, and form the Tahea, or Ningpo river. Both of

these branches are extremely tortuous, and have nume

rous villages along their banks, which are in some parts

picturesque and well cultivated. One of them leads up,

in a north - easterly direction , to the district town of

Yuyow, whence there is a canal , supposed to lead to

Hang -chow -foo : the distance is about forty miles ; and

nearly half-way up this branch, situated about four

miles from the river's bank, is the town of Tsekee. Both

of these towns shortly became, as we shall see, the

scene of our operations, our object being to disperse the

Chinese forces, which were being collected at various

points for a threatened attack upon us at Ningpo. The

other, or south-western branch of the Ningpo river, leads

up, at the distance of about thirty miles, to the town of


Fungwah, which we also designed to attack , if neces

sary .

At Ningpo itself, one of the most interesting objects

is the bridge of boats, connecting the town with the

suburbs. It is apparently well contrived to answer the

purpose for which it is intended . The boats are all con

nected together by two chains running across, and rest

ing upon them, extending from one side of the river to

the other. This serves to keep the boats in their pla

without their being moored, and a regular bridge of

planks is carried from one to the other, but only destined

for foot-passengers, as carts for draught are unknown.


A few days after the place was taken, the Nemesis

and Phlegethon proceeded up the north -western branch

towards Yuyow, the Admiral and suite being on board

the former, and Sir Henry Pottinger and suite on board

the latter. They also took in tow the Wellesley's launch

and pinnace, manned and armed. The object was sim


ply to explore that branch of the river, and to ascertain

whether any Chinese were being collected in that direc

tion. Nothing could be more picturesque than the

scenery the whole way up, the tortuous bendings of the

river bringing a constant succession of new objects into

view, relieved by fine mountain scenery in the rear.

Numerous villages lay scattered upon its banks, but

there was no appearance of any preparations for defence.

The inhabitants generally, so far from running away with

fear, crowded the banks with looks of the utmost asto

nishment. The scenery continued to increase in interest

as they ascended, and particularly at a place called Poon

poo, where there was a cluster of extremely pretty coun

try houses, or villas, said to belong to several of the

high officers of government. On every side the country

appeared to be in the highest state of cultivation .

About two-thirds of the way up, the river became

considerably narrower, and the turnings were sometimes

so sharp and sudden, that it was not without some diffi

culty the long, sharp Nemesis could be guided round them.

At length, about five o'clock, they reached the city of

Yuyow , and came to anchor close under its walls, in

about three fathoms water.

The Admiral, accompanied by the numerous officers

who had attended him, including Captains Maitland,

Herbert, Blake, and others, now got into the boats

from the Nemesis, as did also Sir Henry Pottinger and

his suite from the Phlegethon, and proceeded up the

river above the town, to reconnoitre. They passed

under a well-constructed stone bridge of three arches,

the centre one being about thirty feet high ; but the


day was already far advanced, and the rain began to fall

heavily. Nothing of a hostile character was observed

in the neighbourhood, and they all very gladly returned

without landing, but did not reach the steamers until

they were completely drenched .

Sir William Parker did not escape suffering from the

exposure he had undergone, and was laid up almost im

mediately afterwards with an attack of rheumatism ;

indeed, it was often a matter of surprise that he escaped

with so little illness during his anxious and indefatigable

services, in which he never spared himself on any occa

sion , or shrunk from any exposure .

On the following morning, Sir Henry Pottinger went

up the river, and landed near a hill above the city,

while Captain Herbert and another party ascended a hill

a little below it, from which there was a most beautiful

and commanding view of the surrounding country on all

sides, as well as of the town. Upon this bill there was

a large joss-house capable of defence. There was no

appearance of hostility on the part of the people, nor

was any large body of troops discovered. The same

evening they all returned to Ningpo.

This first visit to Yuyow was one of reconnoissance

and curiosity, and the city itself was not entered. On

a subsequent occasion, however, in the following Decem

ber, a hostile attack was made upon it, as will be de

scribed, in consequence of the assembling of a body of

Chinese troops within its walls and in its neighbour

hood .

In the city of Ningpo itself, things gradually began

to settle down into their regular course ; the Chinese

VOL . II . R


soon opened their shops, and were very glad to sell their

wares at an exorbitant price. Provisions also were

brought in plentifully, and there was every probability

that the winter would be passed in tolerable tranquillity.

Some of the principal people are said to have come for

ward and expressed their willingness to be taken per

manently under British rule, under a guarantee of pro

tection, but their professions were little relied on.

Some of the temples at Ningpo are very handsome,

and one of them in particular is well worth seeing .

They fortunately escaped the plundering of the Chinese

thieves . Not so, however , the private houses , particu

larly in the suburbs, which were less under our control,

and were almost as extensive as the town . In these,

one whole street was discovered entirely at the mercy

of the mob, who had carried off nearly every thing that

could be moved , in almost every house . Several of

these rogues were caught in the act, and were handed

over to the tender mercies of the people themselves.

Several of them also were well flogged, and others had

their tails cut off, by the general's orders.

One of the buildings which attracted most interest

was the town prison, in which Captain Anstruther and

others of our unfortunate countrymen had been so long

confined . The identical cages in which they had been

shut up were found still there, and others of a similar

kind, ready for the reception of any of the barbarians

who might fall into their hands. The way in which

Captain Anstruther managed to find out his old prison

was rather curious. He had himself blindfolded , and

then carefully numbered the steps he had formerly


taken , and the different turnings he had made ; and by

these means contrived, within a few yards, to hit the


very spot .

A party arrived there in time to get possession of

some Sycee silver which had not yet been removed

from the offices ; but it is supposed that much more

had already been carried away by plunderers. A very

large quantity of the base coin called cash, the only

coined money of China, was found in another part of

the town ; and the enormous stores of grain, belonging

to government, were also taken possession of, and after

wards sold to the people at a cheap rate. This pro

duced a considerable addition to the prize -fund, but the

policy of selling it at so low a rate was somewhat ques

tioned. Every man was allowed to go into the stores,

at which a strong guard was placed, and fill as large a

sack as he could carry out of it for one dollar, its actual

value being about four. But only a small portion of

this was actually obtained by the poor people; for it

was asserted , at least by the Chinese, that the farmers

themselves managed to get a considerable share of it

by means of their servants, so that they might be able

to continue to keep up the price by a species of mono

poly. It was also feared that, in case of a failure of

the crops, a serious famine might happen to the people,

owing to the want of the accustomed stores which are

usually laid up by the government, in the paternal spirit

of providing the poor with food at a moderate price, in

the event of such a contingency. The sum added to the

prize -fund by the sale of these stores of grain, of which

there was said to be two years' supply, was considerable .

R 2


There were also large stores of sugar discovered in the

town .

Amongst other unexpected prizes, not the least inte

resting was that of a stud of Chinese horses, or ponies,

small, but hardy little things, used exclusively for saddle,

and generally employed only by the higher mandarins.

Upwards of forty of these ponies were selected, and

trained for the artillery, and amusing enough it was to

see the commencement of their apprenticeship. One of

the great disadvantages the General laboured under, on

many occasions, was the want of horses for his staff ;

the necessity of carrying his orders on foot not only

caused delay, but rendered the duty very harassing,

particularly during some of the hot, sultry days in the

earlier part of this campaign.

The Chinese horses are extremely small, literally po

nies, but strong, and of good bone and tolerable figure;

but they are not numerous, being considered rather as a

valuable indication of rank or wealth than as the com

mon slave of man, either for labour or amusement. The

Chinese take no pains to improve the breed, and very

little care of them , as to their food, grooming, &c . In

reality, a Chinaman is the most awkward -looking horse

man imaginable, and the walk or the jog-trot is the only

pace that either his inclination, his dignity, or the slip

pery nature of his causeways, permit him to adopt. Po

pulation in China is so dense, and consequently labour

so abundant, that they stand in very little need of the

help of the lower animals to assist the hand of man,

and rather grudge the food which is necessary for their



The best way to obtain a good view of Ningpo and

the surrounding country is to ascend the pagoda, which

forms one of its most striking objects. It is one hun

dred and fifty - five feet high, of an octagonal form ,

having windows all the way up, with a lantern in each ;

so that, if lighted up, the effect would be very striking.

The lower part of it is built of stone, but the upper part

of brick. In other respects it differs but little from

other structures of the same description. It appears to

be connected with a public burial-ground, as numerous

graves and monuments lie scattered round it. From

the top of it you get quite a panoramic view of the city

and the river, with its two tributaries or branches, the

mountains in the distance, and the fine, rich, alluvial,

well- watered, and highly-cultivated plain which extends

down towards the sea-coast.

The town itself differs little in appearance from that

of Canton and most other towns in China, but it is con

siderably smaller than the former ; it has the same

narrow streets, crossed here and there by the heavy stone

arches, or rather tablets, which are frequently erected

to do honour to some great or popular man, the same

curious, long, ornamented sign-boards, on each side of

the shops, and the same crowded clusters of houses, of

curious shape, and mostly of one story.

Many of the houses of the better class of people, not

deserted entirely by their owners, were visited by our

officers, who generally met with a very courteous recep

tion . Indeed , the Chinese well know how to make a

virtue of necessity, and to conciliate your good graces

by the offer of tea, cakes, tobacco, or flowers, rather


than run the chance of exciting your ill-will, or your

less friendly visits, by an affectation of independence or

rude indifference. The Chinese of the respectable

classes are capable of being extremely courteous, are

well -bred , and even elegant in their manners ; and the

proper mode of treating them is to insist on this kind of

demeanour as if it were due to you, and to accept it as

your right. But there are no people who can be more

rude, overbearing, and uncourteous than the Chinese,

when they choose to be so, or rather when they think

that they can withhold from you with impunity, or

without notice, the courtesies which are habitual among

themselves. The true method of gaining civility and

attention from them is to treat them with courteous

civility, and a certain degree of ceremonious distance,

yet mixed with kindness, never omitting to take notice

of the slightest want of courtesy on their part. On the

other hand, if you treat them with familiarity in the

first instance, or permit them to forego for an instant

any of the little marks of attention or etiquette to which

you are entitled, you are sure to lose their respect,

without gaining their affection . Chinese good -breeding

is a sensitive quality, and they often delight to try how

far they can carry any omission of etiquette, in order

to ascertain by your bearing whether you are entitled

to receive it .

Considering how much the property of the inhabi

tants of Ningpo was at our mercy, it is creditable that

so little injury was done to it during the many months

in which the city was in our possession. But it is also

deserving of remark that, during the whole period of the


war with the Chinese, no considerable collection of

Chinese curiosities or works of art, many of which are

extremely interesting and novel to us, was made for pub

lic purposes. With the exception of a few specimens of


Chinese weapons and clothing, which were sent to diffe

rent public institutions by private individuals, no at

tempt was made to form a sort of Chinese Museum .

Had the French possessed the same advantages, pro

bably a valuable collection would have been sent to


It is also to be regretted that some one or more

scientific gentlemen were not attached to the expedi

tion, who, with the assistance of an interpreter, might

have made us acquainted with many interesting sub

jects of natural history, and of the productions of the

country. Where, for instance, is the immense quantity

of Sycee silver, which is annually exported from China,

obtained ? Where are their copper-mines, and how are

they worked ? Coal-mines also exist in several parts of

China ; at Ningpo coal was sold in small quantities, and

at Nankin immense supplies of excellent coal were found

laid up for the coming winter, and our steamers found it

answer very well . The mineral productions of China, of

which there are probably many, are almost entirely un

known to us.

The taste for European manufactures had reached

Ningpo long before we got possession of it. There

were one or two shops for the sale of what were called

Canton wares, that is, English goods brought up from

Canton , and, of course, sold enormously dear. In one

of them was a quantity of English glass of various


kinds. English gilt buttons were found, and were in

demand for the dresses of the higher classes, particu

larly of the women, who seemed to prefer those which

had the East India Company's crest, the Lion, upon them .

A large quantity of cloth was also found imported from

Russia, and called Russian cloth ; but, in reality, there

is little doubt that the cloth was manufactured in Eng

land , for Russian merchants, expressly for their overland

trade with China. It is a known fact, that orders of

this description, for cloth made expressly of a particular

kind, have long been executed in England. This, then,

ought now to become a direct trade in our own hands.

The Chinese appear to excel in the art of wood

carving, some very fine specimens of which were found

in their houses. One house in particular at Ningpo

was distinguished by the tasteful carving of its furni

ture, particularly of that which belonged to the bed

rooms . Some of their wardrobes and bedsteads were

elegantly ornamented with carved work , inlaid with

various kinds of wood, and representing landscapes,

figures, &c. Some of their specimens of fretwork, with

silk at the back, and of embroidered silk furniture,

were extremely elegant. Above all things, they excel

in the art of varnishing plain or carved wood, and they

have also some method of giving a fine gloss to painted

work, which very much increases its durability, althongh

it is different from varnish .

One of their greatest deficiencies appears to be in the

mode of lighting their houses. Glass is so little used ,

and the manufacture of it so imperfectly known among

them , that almost the only mode which they adopt of


letting in the light, and of excluding the air at the same

time, is by lattice-work windows, sometimes neatly

carved, and lined inside with very thin transparent

paper. Occasionally, however, a single pane of glass is

found in the centre of the window, while in other in

stances the whole of it is covered with the thin transpa

rent lining of oyster-shells, which admit a very dubious

light. The artificial lighting of the best houses is often

very well effected by coloured lamps, several of which

are suspended from the ceiling, and painted with various

designs, landscapes, &c. But the painting is on the

glass, not in the glass ; the latter art appears to be quite

unknown to the Chinese.

Generally speaking, it was not safe to wander far

from the gates of the town, except when a large party

went together upon a shooting excursion. Pheasants,

and a sort of pigeon, with woodcocks and teal, were

generally found without difficulty, but the Chinese

seemed mightily astonished that any one should take

the trouble to walk over the country, mile after mile,

merely for the trouble of shooting birds. It is curious

that, expert and indefatigable as they are in catching

fish, they should be so indifferent to the art of catching

or killing birds, which are to be found in almost every

part of the country in great abundance. But they seem

to be deterred by the trouble of seeking for them, and

have very little knowledge of the relative value of the

different species as articles of diet. The lower class of

people will gladly devour any kind of bird you shoot

for them . I have seen them glad to get birds of prey

even , and yet they take no pains to secure the thou


sands of wild - fowl which are to be found upon the

banks of the same rivers in which they catch their fish .

That it was not safe to go out alone, even well

armed, soon became evident, for they made more than

one attempt to carry off a sentry on duty, and would

have succeeded in their object , had not the guard

instantly come up on the alarm being given . On these

occasions, as may be supposed, a Chinaman or two

stood a chance of being shot. But the boldest of them

all were the professed thieves, who continued to com

mit depredations upon their countrymen in the most

barefaced manner, in spite of the severe examples which

were sometimes made.

On one occasion, when a small foraging party was

out looking for poultry and bullocks, some Chinamen

pointed out a spot where they said a quantity of Sycee

silver had been concealed. This was too great a temp

tation for the soldiers to resist, but the moment they

had loaded themselves with the silver the Chinese sur

rounded them, and they were obliged to let fall the

Sycee in order to defend themselves, and then beat a

retreat. A quarrel then arose of course among the

Chinese, about the division of the spoil, of which they

had not robbed their countrymen, but had only cap

tured it from the barbarians.

So many attempts were made to entrap our soldiers

and sailors, and to carry them off, both at Ningpo and

Chinhae, that great caution was necessary, and, in spite T

of the many warnings, some of their attempts were

successful. They had less inclination to molest the

officers ; not that they loved them better, or desired


them less as prisoners, but that they had greater

respect for the double-barrelled pistols which many of

the officers carried in their pockets, and which all were

supposed to be provided with.

An attempt was made more than once by the Chinese

to rob our commissariat stores, but it was frustrated by

our vigilance . But the Chinese are uncommonly expert

housebreakers , as many people in Hong Kong can

testify, where houses and stores of the most substantial

kind were broken into in a very ingenious manner,

generally by removing some of the stones or bricks

near the foundation .

The attempt to establish a Chinese police at Ningpo,

and also at Chusan, was tolerably successful; at least

it was not difficult to find men who were willing enough

to receive the pay, and wear the badge of a policeman ;

but it is not quite so certain that they were equally

ready to detect thieves, or to protect the property of

individuals. Sometimes, by way of appearing to do

something, they gave false information, which served

to create a stir for the moment. Upon the whole, they

were certainly of some use ; but the want of knowledge

of the language, and the small number of interpreters,

since Mr. Gutzlaff had almost the sole management of

them, rendered their services less available than could

have been wished . They were occasionally useful as

spies, and obtained information of reports among their

countrymen , concerning the plans and intentions of the


But, besides these, we had also regular spies in our

pay, one of whom , a Chinese who spoke English, and


came to be known by the name of Blundell, was sent up

to Hang - chow -foo, but was afraid to deliver the paper

which was entrusted to him, and returned without

having accomplished his object. He was supposed to

be employed as a spy by both parties, the Chinese as

well as ourselves.

Generally, pretty correct information was obtained

of the proposed movements of the Chinese, the assem

bling of their troops, and the orders of the imperial

cabinet. It is curious that an edict was found, which

alluded to the affair of the Nemesis in the harbour of

Sheipoo, and the destruction of the forts and junks.

It was also said that a letter had been intercepted,

from Yang Fang, one of the imperial commissioners at

Canton, to one of the Tartar generals in Chekeang,

apprising him that he had received from Manilla one

hundred and fifty shells, with some guns, and a supply

of muskets. Whether this was true, it is impossible to

ascertain, but there was no doubt that they received

arms of various kinds from some place or other. They

offered to the captain of an American merchant ship

at Chusan six hundred dollars for his two iron guns,

and twelve dollars for each of his twelve muskets and

bayonets, but he refused to part with them. This

information I had from the captain himself.

At Ningpo, however, and in its neighbourhood , there

were no indications of hostile preparations for some

time after the place was in our possession. It was not

until quite the end of November, that reports, upon

which reliance could be placed, reached the General,

that troops were collecting in some of the neighbouring


towns, particularly at Yuyow , the town which had

already been visited , and rumours were afloat of some

projected attack, on the part of the Chinese, upon

Ningpo itself. Little uneasiness, however, was felt on

this head ; but plans now began to be laid for dis

persing these different bodies of troops, and for the

purpose of instilling a wholesome terror into the minds

of the people, lest they as well as the authorities should

become emboldened by our apparent supineness. There

did not, however, appear to be any immediate necessity

for active measures, which did not take place until two

or three weeks afterwards.

In the mean time, the Nemesis was sent over to

Chusan, stopping a day or two at Chinhae on the way,

to procure fuel, and to overhaul a number of large

junks which were at anchor a few miles from the

mouth of the river. They were found to be laden

principally with peas, rice, oil, walnuts, liquorice

root, &c ., and , had they been met with a few months

later, they would all have been detained, as were hun

dreds of a similar kind at Woosung ; but at this time

they were not molested . Opium was found in them all,

in small quantities only, for the use of the people on

board , but apparently not for sale.

Some improvement was already noticed in the ap

pearance of Chinhae, although it had not yet been two

months in our possession ; the market was well sup

plied , and the 55th regiment seemed to be much better

provided with quarters than the troops stationed at

Ningpo. The weather was now clear and bracing, and

the sickness which had partially attacked our troops,


on first taking possession of the town , had almost

entirely disappeared .

This was a good opportunity for paying a visit to

the site of the engagement with the Chinese on the

opposite side of the river, on the day of the capture of

Chinhae. The positions held by the Chinese appeared

remarkably strong, and, had they been skilfully de

fended, would not have been taken without great loss

of life on our side.

On the occasion of this visit, two Chinamen were

seen at some little distance, hastening along with a

large round basket carried between them, carefully

covered up, but which at first attracted little notice.

Some of the party had the curiosity to raise up the

covering a little, when, to their great surprise and

amusement, a very young and pretty -looking Chinese

lady was found stowed in it, hoping probably by this

device to escape detection . The poor thing was almost

frightened to death ; but she remained perfectly quiet

until she was covered up again, when the men were

allowed to trot away with her as fast as they could.

Shortly afterwards a gay-looking sedan chair was

seen passing near a village, probably belonging to some

of the mandarins, but no sooner did the party run up

to examine it, than its occupier jumped out and ran

away for his life.

But the best thing of this kind was finding a Chinese

lady stowed away in the locker of a boat, as if she

were dead. Orders had been issued by the Admiral

to examine all junks leaving the city, in order to pre

vent them from carrying away plunder. One of these


had just been examined , without finding any thing of

value on board, when it occurred that something might

still be concealed in the after-locker, a sort of cup

board of moderate size. On opening this sanctum , it

appeared to contain what looked like the dead body of

a female, recently put into it, well dressed, and , judg

ing from her handsome shoes and small feet, a person

of some importance. This looked a very strange affair,

but as no one could speak a word of the language, it

was impossible to inquire into it. However, as it

appeared to be a capital opportunity to examine the

nature of a Chinese lady's foot, the men were ordered

to lift the body out ; and this appeared likely to be no

easy matter, so closely did it seem to be jammed in.

But the moment the Jacks laid hold of the shoulders, a

tremendous scream issued forth, as if a ghost had

suddenly been endowed with some unearthly voice,

and tried to frighten them out of all propriety. The

poor thing had only shammed being dead , in order, as

she thought, to escape detection. She was now very

gently lifted out, and not without some difficulty, being

literally half dead with the fright and confinement. In

the bottom of the locker beneath her was found a bag

of money, with which she had evidently attempted to

escape . She was of course allowed to go away without

further molestation , boat and all. But this little event

afforded infinite amusement afterwards, when told with

a little pardonable embellishment.

The question of infanticide has been already alluded

to in a previous chapter. According to Barrow , it was

considered part of the duty of the police at Pekin to


collect every morning, in a cart sent round for the

purpose, the dead bodies of infants which were thrown

into the streets during the night. Sometimes they were

found still alive, and these were commonly rescued by

the Roman Catholic Missionaries, who attended for the

purpose, and subsequently brought them up in the

Roman Catholic faith . Mr. Gutzlaff also alludes to this

horrible practice, as being far from uncommon , and as

being perpetrated without any feelings of remorse, but

almost exclusively upon females. Among the immense

population which live in boats, and upon the rivers of

China, it is impossible to calculate how many are dis

posed of by being drowned. But, in Pekin , Barrow

gives the average number destroyed at twenty -four every

day. Some allowance must, however, be made for those

which die of disease during the earliest period of life,

in a country where medical science is at so low an


With the exception of some of the Tartar towns,

such as Chapoo and Chinkeang -foo, where wholesale

murder was committed by the men upon their wives

and children immediately the places were captured ,

little evidence was obtained of the existence of the

revolting practice of infanticide. We have seen that

at Amoy the bodies of several infants were found

sewed up in sacks ; and it was also said that a cave

was found at Chinhae, in which were a number of bodies

of female infants, also tied up in bags. But it was an

extremely rare thing to find an infant abandoned in the

streets, alive or dead. An instance, however, occurred

at Ningpo, one evening, when a party from the Ne


mesis were returning towards their boats. They were

just passing a joss-house, or temple, when something

attracted attention, lying upon the steps leading to the

entrance. On examination, it proved to be a female

infant (always females) recently abandoned , and, thongh

extremely cold, still living. The little thing was car

ried down to the boat, by a marine, who was the orderly.

Every attempt was made, as soon as it was brought on

board, to revive it. The doctor tried his skill, and on

receiving a little warm goat's milk, and being placed

in a warm bath, it began to move, and show symp

toms of reanimation. All the care that could be taken

of it, however, was ineffectual; and it died on the fol

lowing day, and was taken ashore and buried close to a

Chinese tomb.

Infanticide undoubtedly does exist in China, but it is

to be hoped that the statements of its prevalence have

been exaggerated, and that it is confined to the lowest

classes, among whom the means of subsistence press very

heavily, and that they are driven to it by extreme poverty

rather than indifference. The Chinese are generally re

markably fond of their children . A Chinaman's three

great wishes and most cherished hopes are, length of

days, plenty of male offspring, and literary honours.

To be the patriarch of a long line of descendants is

generally the aim of his proudest ambition.

After a delay of two or three days at Chinhae, the

Nemesis was sent over to Chusan , at the end of Novem

ber, whither the Admiral and Sir Henry Pottinger had

already preceded her. Great changes and improve

ments were found to have taken place, even in this


258 CHUSAN .

short space of time. The shops were now all open, and

the streets filled with people, who were pursuing their

ordinary avocations without any appearance of alarm ,

or fear of interruption. In fact, they were settling

down very quietly under our rule ; much more so than

on the former occasion when the town was in our


On the 1st of December, Sir Henry Pottinger and

the Admiral, attended by several other officers, took

their departure from Chusan, on board the Nemesis,

and crossed over once more to Chinhae ; and the same

evening the Nemesis anchored off the walls of Ningpo.

There was at this time no appearance of immediate

active operations, and, indeed, Sir Henry Pottinger

talked of going down to spend the remainder of the

winter at Hong Kong.


NINGPO . 259


Expedition to Yuyow - Capture of the City - Treachery - Close of


1841 - Alarm spreads to Hang -chow -foo — People quitting the City

Expedition of boats of the Nemesis towards Fungwah - Character of

the country described — The Cornwallis at Chusan — Reinforcements

begin to arrive - Expedition to the island of Tai-shan—The Nemesis

Gallant affair — Rumours of a combined attack by the Chinese

Ningpo in danger - AA surprise -— Night attack — Gallant defence of

the City - Repulse of the Chinese - Pursuit and slaughter—Chinese

attack Chinhae — All their plans are frustrated.

The eventful year of 1841 was now drawing fast to

a close. The troops at Ningpo had been moved into

more convenient quarters for the winter, the close of

which was anxiously looked for, in the hope that suffi

cient reinforcements would arrive to be able to com

mence the next campaign with vigour. The weather

set in intensely cold in the middle of December. On

the 14th of that month, the hills were all covered with

snow, which soon began to fall heavily in the town as

well, and proved that, although the summers are very

warm in China, the winters are intensely cold and try

ing. The health of the troops continued good , supplies

were tolerably abundant, and the officers managed to

beguile the time by shooting-parties in the neighbour

S 2


hood, where plenty of game, woodcocks, snipes, phea

sants, &c., were to be found.

For some time, as was before stated , reports had been

brought in, of the assembling of large bodies of Chi

nese troops in some of the neighbouring towns, with

the object, it was supposed, of preventing the people

from holding friendly communications with us, and

perhaps also to threaten us with an attempt to re

cover the city. The continuance of frosty weather,,

which rendered their soft paddy -fields firm and fit for

operations, determined the General to make a military

expedition as far as Yuyow, in order to ascertain how

far these reports were correct, and to dislodge the Chi

nese troops, if any of them should be found collected


On the 27th of December the three steamers, Ne

mesis, Sesostris, and Phlegethon, having a number of

boats in tow, and carrying altogether about seven hun

dred men, including the marines and seamen , proceeded

up the north-western branch of the river. The Nemesis

conveyed Sir Hugh Gough, Sir William Parker, and

a detachment of the 18th Royal Irish , together with a

small detachment of artillery. The Sesostris, owing to

her greater draught of water, was compelled to bring

up below the intended point of debarkation . A few

miles below the town a party of Chinese soldiers

were dispersed, who had evidently been employed to

stake the river across, which they had already com

menced .

In the evening the Nemesis and Phlegethon anchored

close off the town of Yuyow , when crowds of Chinese

A RUSE . 261

were observed running down to their boats, and try

ing to make their escape up the river. The troops

were disembarked without delay, and took possession

of a small undefended battery of four guns, recently

erected, and then marched up the hill overlooking the

city, without opposition, and took up their quarters for

the night in the joss-house, or temple, upon the top of

it, from which a good view of the country had been

obtained on a former occasion .

The city was said to be occupied by upwards of a

thousand troops, and preparations were made for esca

lading the walls on the following morning, when the

seamen and marines were landed with that object, under

the Admiral in person. The morning was bitterly cold ,

and the fields were all covered with snow, so that the


capture of the town was looked forward to as a very

agreeable relief.

Just at the critical moment some of the respectable

inhabitants came out, and stated that the garrison had

withdrawn during the night, and that the gates were

open for us. It was little expected that treachery was

intended, and the troops, with the marines and seamen ,

entered the town in two divisions ; and, having got

upon the ramparts, they followed them in opposite

directions, in order to go round the town and meet at

the opposite side. At the same time, the Nemesis

weighed and moved a little higher up the river ; and

from the mast-head it was distinctly seen that a body

of Chinese troops were drawn up outside the town , close

to a bridge leading over a canal. The boats were,

therefore, sent further up the river , manned and armed ,


in case the Chinese should attempt to escape in that

direction .

Just at this time the Chinese opened a fire of ginjals

and matchlocks upon the naval division, as they were ad

vancing along the wall of the town ; but our troops,

after some little delay, having found their way out of the

town by the northern gate, closely pursued the enemy,

who had already taken flight. The Nemesis, and sub

sequently the Phlegethon, opened fire on them the

moment they were perceived.

The pursuit was a toilsome one, owing to the peculiar

character of the frozen paddy -fields, covered with snow,

which the Chinese could scramble over faster than our

own men ; but some of the Chinese were killed, and

some were taken prisoners. Most of them threw

off their thick wadded jackets, and Aung away their

arms, and , having a good knowledge of the country, and

of the direction of the causeways, which were com

pletely covered with snow, were able to make good

their escape. The pursuit was discontinued, after

following them seven or eight miles ; but a military

station, which was passed in the way, was set fire to

and destroyed .

In the mean time, the boats of the Nemesis, having

pushed on some way up the river, had overtaken two

mandarin boats, which were trying to escape . A quan

tity of official papers were found in them , together with

some Sycee silver, which was handed over to the prize

agents ; some valuable fur-cloaks were also taken, and

the boats were then burned, the people belonging to

them being first sent ashore.. Several farmhouses on


shore were then searched for troops, but none were

found. At some distance, however, some men were

seen carrying a handsome mandarin chair in great haste

across the country. Chase was given, and it was soon

overtaken ; but, instead of a mandarin, it was found to

contain a very good -looking young mandarin's lady,

with an infant in her arms, and a quantity of trinket

boxes. The poor thing was much frightened, but was

allowed to be carried on without molestation. On

returning to the boats, they were pushed up further, in

the direction in which our troops had followed the

enemy. The Admiral and Captain Bourchier came back

in the boats, but the General preferred returning on

foot all the way.

At Yuyow an extensive depôt was discovered outside

the town, containing ammunition, arms, and clothing,

and was totally destroyed. Four guns, which were

discovered concealed near the landing-place, were em

barked on board the steamer . It was now evident

that the reports which had been brought to us con

cerning the preparations of the Chinese were perfectly


In the town itself there was nothing particularly

worthy of attention ; and on the 30th our force was

re- embarked, and the steamers returned down the river,

and came to anchor for the night, as near as they could

to the town of Tszekee, which lies, as before stated,

about four miles from its banks. On marching up to

it the following day, it was found unoccupied ; and

even the authorities of the town , alarmed by the in

telligence from Yuyow, had fled from the place. The


inhabitants appeared peaceably inclined ; and, in order

the better to conciliate them , and to show that our

measures were solely directed against their government,

the large public stores of rice were distributed to the

poor people of the place. The same evening our force

returned to Ningpo, having, during these five days,

succeeded in spreading the alarm throughout all the ad

jacent country, and in destroying all the reliance of the

people in the power of their own troops to protect them.

The year 1841 had now closed, and it had been the

most eventful one since the commencement of our diffi

culties with the Chinese. Our measures had assumed

a new character of vigour ; while treaties had been made

and unmade by the Chinese with almost equal facility.

But deep and lasting humiliation had been inflicted

upon them ; the lionour of the English flag had been

vindicated , and the strength of her arms had been tried,

and proved to be irresistible to the Chinese.

It was soon discovered that the effect of our descent

upon Yuyow, and our visit to Tszekee, had been to

spread the utmost consternation through all the dis

trict, and to alarm even the high officers at the

provincial capital, Hang-chow-foo. The Imperial Com

missioner and many of the wealthy inhabitants now

fled out of that city, and sought refuge in Soo

chow-foo, nearly one hundred miles further to the

northward . In fact, there was a general dread of our

immediate advance upon the former city ; and there is

little doubt that the General would have gladly under

taken the expedition , had he possessed sufficient force

to do so without giving up Ningpo.


Some encouragement was given to this flattering

expectation, by the fact of the Phlegethon steamer and

the Bentinck surveying vessel being sent, early in Jan

uary, to examine the great bay of Hang -chow -foo, and

the port of Chapoo, which, as it were, commands the

approach to the city, and is the centre of its commerce.

This hoped -for movement in advance, however, never

took place. But, with a view to keep up in the minds

of the Chinese the impression which had been produced

by our movement upon Yuyow by the north -western

branch of the river, a similar attack was projected upon

Fungwah, which lies nearly at the same distance up the

south-western branch . No authorised expedition had

yet been made to explore this branch ; but, on two

occasions, Captain Hall and some of his officers and

men had proceeded a considerable way up, partly moved

by curiosity, and partly with a view to examine the

river. On one occasion, they must have nearly reached

the city of Fungwah itself.

In both these excursions the Chinese seemed very

much astonished and alarmed at the boldness of the

attempt. The first excursion was merely a walking

and shooting-party, but enough was seen of the country

to distinguish it as a rich, well-cultivated, and pic

turesque tract. The small cotton-plant was cultivated

in great abundance, and the women (at least the elder

ones) sat quietly at their doors, busy at the spinning

wheel, without appearing to be much alarmed . Several

canals were observed close to the river side, but not

flowing into or communicating directly with it. They

were separated from it by rather a steep inclined plane,


made of stone-work, intended as a substitute for locks,

with strong windlasses for the purpose of hauling the

boats up on one side, and letting them down on the

other ; certainly an original and curious contrivance.

A halt was made for refreshment in a temple not far

from the river, about six miles from Ningpo. The priest

was very officious in his attentions ; and, although there

was a dense crowd of people curiously pressing forward

to catch their first glimpse of the foreigners, there was

no attempt at rudeness or violence, and they were easily

kept at bay by a single sentry at the door.

The second excursion was much more extensive, and

was made in one of the steamer's cutters up the river. On

passing through the first village, four shots were heard,

but it was difficult to say whether they were fired at the

boat, as the shots were not seen to fall. The river was

found to be remarkably tortuous, so as to appear some

times, when viewed from a distance, as if it ran in con

trary directions. Numerous pretty -looking villages were

passed without any appearance of hostility ; and, at the

distance of about eighteen miles, the river was found to

divide into two branches, one of which continued in a

westerly direction, and the other ran about south-east.

Following the latter a short distance farther, a well-built

stone bridge was discovered, with five arches, the centre

one about twenty feet above the water, which was here

from five to six fathoms deep ; the span of the principal

arch was thirty-five feet, and upon the top of the bridge

was a sort of sentry -box, or small look-out place, secured

with a padlock.

Near at hand, upon the left bank of the river, was a


very pretty village, in which there was one large house,

distinguished from the others by having Chinese charac

ters carved upon it, the meaning of which of course

could not be ascertained. About a quarter of a mile

above the bridge, the banks of the river were studded

with well-built houses, surrounded by groves of trees,

among which the tallow-tree was the most striking, by

the peculiar reddish tint of its foliage at that time of

year. The course of the river was now about south

east, and it was still nearly one hundred yards broad,

with three fathoms water.

Three miles above the first bridge a second one was

discovered, and the river now turned due south. A

little beyond this point the party landed, as it was now

getting late, and ascended a hill upon the left bank of

the river, from which there was a beautiful view of the

surrounding country and the hills in the distance. A

high pagoda could be distinguished some way off to the

westward, and a round, white watch-tower, or look-out

house, upon a hill to the eastward, covered with fir-trees,

about aa mile distant. At first the villagers seemed ter

ribly frightened, but, soon perceiving that no mischief

was intended, they approached with the most eager cu

riosity, anxious to examine every thing, particularly the

boat and the men's clothes. Their manner was respect

ful and orderly, which is generally the case with the

Chinese, if properly treated.

It was now time to descend the river, although the

flood -tide was still making. On approaching the prin

cipal stone bridge, it was found crowded with people,

so that it was necessary to arrange some plan of defence,


in case their purpose should prove to be one of hostility

rather than of curiosity. If necessary,, it was resolved

that all the party should hastily land at the extremity

of the bridge, except two men, who were as quickly as

possible to push the boat through the nearest arch , and

then pull it across to the opposite side ; while those who

had landed were to force their way across the bridge,

and re -embark in the confusion on the opposite side.

On coming up to the bridge, however, no opposition

was offered , and indeed it was noticed that there were

a number of women among the lookers-on, and that

many others were hobbling out of their houses, led by

irresistible curiosity to get a first look at the strangers,

of whom they had probably already heard so much .

Abundance of wild fowl were seen along the banks of

the river, several of which were shot ; and, late in the

evening, the party again reached their vessel at Ningpo,

well rewarded for the day's excursion. The small walled

town of Fungwah is situated less than thirty miles up

this same branch of the river.

On the 10th of January, the General started from Ning

po, with the object of making a descent upon Fungwah , in

the expectation that some military stores, and probably

a small body of Chinese soldiers, would be discovered .

The Nemesis and Phlegethon were both employed on

this service ; the former vessel carrying detachments of

the 49th, 18th, and 55th regiments, with artillery, sap

pers and miners, and followers, and having also on board

Sir Hugh Gough and Sir William Parker, with their

suites . Several boats were also taken in tow. As the

steamers could not pass beyond the first bridge, the


troops were all landed at that point, with Sir Hugh

Gough at their head, intending to march direct upon

Fungwah, while the Admiral continued to advance up

the river, with the boats carrying the seamen and ma

rines. No opposition was met with, and both divisions

arrived simultaneously at the city walls. It was found

that the Chinese soldiers had abandoned the place, and

the authorities had also fled . The inhabitants and the

neighbouring peasantry all seemed peaceably inclined,

though apparently overcome with astonishment and cu

riosity. The prospect from the hills at the back of

Fungwah was very striking, and abundance of rice and

other grain crops appeared to be cultivated.

On the following morning, nothing remained to be

done but to destroy the government buildings, and to

distribute the contents of the public granaries to the

people, as had been the case in other places. In the

afternoon, the whole force rejoined the steamers, and

next day returned to Ningpo.

The effect of these various movements must be viewed,

not as involving matters of military skill or courage, but

as calculated to have the most salutary effect upon the

people and upon the government, not only by the alarm

which they created, but by the good feeling and forbear

ance which was uniformly shown towards the inhabi

tants, when in our power, and abandoned by their own


The result of the examination , by the Phlegethon and

the Bentinck, of the character of Hang -chow -foo Bay,

appears at this time to have rather discouraged the idea

of advancing upon the capital by the river which leads


up to it. The tides were found to be so strong at the

mouth of the river, that it was impossible to attempt to

push even a steamer up, with any degree of safety.

The Phlegethon made the attempt to enter the river's

mouth, but became perfectly unmanageable, and was

very nearly carried upon a sandbank, where she would

probably have been lost. She was, however, got out of

danger with some difficulty when the tide slackened,

which it does very suddenly in that part. But no

power of steam and sails combined was sufficient to

stem the current, which seemed to hold the vessel com

pletely at its mercy for some minutes.

A reconnoissance of the position of Chapoo, however,

sufficed to show that it was accessible to our ships, and

could be reduced without much difficulty ; in which

case, the road to Hang -chow -foo, by the hills, would be

open to us, with a good causeway the whole distance of

about fifty miles to the capital.

We may judge of the size and volume of water in

most of the Chinese rivers, by the fact, that, even at

Hang -chow -foo, the river is not less than four miles broad ,

opposite the city, at high water ; while the rapidity of

the current may be judged of by the fact of its dimi

nishing to about two miles in breadth, at low water ;

leaving aa fine level strand as far down as the eye can

reach towards the sea. This was noticed during the

short visit paid to it by Lord Macartney's embassy.

Rumours now continued to be brought, of the arrival

of reinforcements at Hang -chow -foo and other parts of

the province ; and, before the end of February, Sir

Hugh Gough also received reinforcements, by the ar


rival of part of the 26th regiment, in the Jupiter troop

ship. The Cornwallis arrived at Chusan in January, for

the flag of Sir William Parker, having succeeded in

beating up the whole way from Hong Kong, against the

north-east monsoon, contrary to the anticipations of

many, who doubted whether so heavy a ship would be

able to accomplish it. The movement upon Hang

chow -foo, however, if at any time seriously thought of,

seems now to have been quite abandoned ; and, as we

shall presently see, Chapoo was destined to be the grand

point of attack for opening the next campaign .

Much was said about dictating terms at Pekin , by a

proposed movement on Tientsin, by the Peiho river, but,

as this was never put into execution , we may fairly

presume that the project was not seriously entertained

by Sir Henry Pottinger and the military and naval com

manders -in -chief. It was altogether another question ,

as to what steps might ultimately have to be taken,

should we fail in exacting adequate terms from the Chi

nese, by a movement upon Nankin . That question will

be considered in its proper place. But it was generally

understood that some treaty of peace or other was to

be imposed upon the Emperor, before the close of the

present year, and therefore we may presume that it was

resolved to act with vigour, as well as judgment, when

once the operations should begin. To effect this object,

however, considerable reinforcements would be requi

site, and these were certainly expected very shortly to


In January, Sir Henry Pottinger and Sir William

Parker went over to spend some time at Chusan, in the


Nemesis, which vessel now required considerable repairs,

and was ordered to undergo a thorough refit. It is

astonishing how easily an iron vessel can be repaired .

At Amoy, a large hole had been knocked in her bottom ;

and from being so continually employed in exploring

rivers, running along coasts, and landing troops, it is

not surprising that some repair was required ; but it is

worthy of remark that she had been able to do her duty

so long and so well without it. She was now hauled

on shore upon a sandy beach, at Chusan : a new plate

of iron was riveted into her bottom, and a number of

Chinese carpenters were put in requisition, to assist in

repairing the boats and other matters ; and they generally

proved themselves, when properly directed , very expert

and industrious workmen . At the end of February, the

Nemesis was again fit for active service, and then con

veyed the 26th regiment over to Chinbae, and thence

up to Ningpo.

On the 3rd of March the Admiral and General left

Ningpo (Sir Henry Pottinger having in the mean time

gone down to Hong Kong), and paid another visit to

Chusan in the Nemesis. The Cornwallis was henceforth

the flag -ship.

In the evening of the 5th of March , the arrival of the

Clio, Captain Troubridge, was announced (fourteen days

only from Hong Kong), bringing the mails, and the

joyful news of the promotions in the service, consequent

upon the taking of Canton , and the exploits in the

Canton River.

Reports were at this time brought in, concerning a

grand attack by the Chinese, intended to be made simul


taneously upon Ningpo, Chinhae, and Chusan ; but they

were little heeded, owing to their being so constantly

deferred, without any particular object . Amongst

others, it was said that a considerable body of troops

were being assembled on an island a little to the north

ward of Chusan, called Tai-shan , with the object of

making a descent upon Chusan itself.

On the 7th of March the Nemesis was sent to recon

noitre that island , having Captain Collinson also on

board, for the purpose of making surveying observa

tions during the trip. They passed round the western

and northern sides of Chusan, and having reached Tai

shan, which is about six or seven miles distant from it,

they steamed all round that island, looking into the

different bays, and spying into the villages, to see if

they could discover a camp, or any signs of the presence

of any troops. The navigation round the island is dan

gerous, for there are several rocks, at different points ,

barely covered with water .

At length they anchored off a small town in a bay on

the south -eastern side of the island , where several junks

were seen at anchor. To the north - east of the town

stood a remarkable hill, from which it was expected

that a view of the whole island could be obtained . Here

the officers landed, with Captain Collinson's boat's crew,

and part of that of the steamer, together with eight ar

tillery men . There was no appearance of hostility, and

they all marched on to a second village, in which, as

well as in the first one, it was asserted by the people that

there were no soldiers left in the island, as they had all

gone away to another island in the neighbourhood . The

VOL . II . T


party then returned on board, and the steamer moved

up towards a creek , at which the water was too shallow

for her to enter.

In the evening Captain Collinson again landed in his

gig, with a view to ascend to the top of the hill ; and

so confident was he that there were no armed men upon

the island , that he declined taking an escort with him ,

and was with some difficulty persuaded to allow two

armed artillerymen to follow him , and was himself quite

unarmed . Lieutenant Bates accompanied him. Scarcely

had they reached the top of the bill, and were beginning

to take their observations, when a large body of armed

Chinese were observed, emerging from their hiding places

in the creek in which they had landed, which was at a

point about two and a half miles from the steamer.

Evidently their intention was to cut off their retreat,

and make them prisoners. Flight was therefore the

only resource, and had it not been for the assistance of

the two artillerymen , they would have stood little chance

of effecting their retreat to the boat. These two men ,

however, by coolly retreating alternately, the one firing,

while the other reloaded as he withdrew towards the

landing - place, managed to keep the Chinese in check,

so that Captain Collinson reached the boat in safety.

It was now a question what steps were best to be

taken on the following day ; for there could be little

doubt that if the steamer left the island without landing

a body of men to attack the Chinese soldiers, who evi

dently were in force, a report would be sent to the Em

peror of a great victory having been gained, in which the

barbarians were, of course, driven into the sea, and their


vessels sent away from the coast . It was therefore re

solved to make an impression upon them ; and accord

ingly at five o'clock in the morning, the four boats of the

steamer, manned and armed , under Captain Collinson

and Captain Hall, with Lieutenant Bates, Mr. Freeze,

and other officers of the ship, pushed off from the ves

sel, and proceeded up the creek. They had also eight

artillerymen with them ; and the two engineers likewise

volunteered their services. The party numbered alto

gether sixty-six, including officers.

About two miles and a half up the creek they disco

vered a number of transport junks, crowded with Chi

nese soldiers, with their banners flying. A little dis

tance from the banks of the creek, which gradually

sloped up towards some detached houses above, were

posted another body of the enemy ; altogether there

were probably five or six hundred men .

Gradually, as the boats advanced , the soldiers who

had not before landed joined the other body on shore,

and commenced a distant fire of ginjals and match

locks, without doing any mischief. It was, however,

returned by the boats as they neared them, and their

crews were just about to land, when a thick smoke was

observed to issue from one of the nearest troop-boats.

It immediately occurred that this might arise from a

train having been laid to blow up the boats if they

should be taken possession of. It was therefore thought

prudent to land a little lower down .

The moment the boats began to descend, the Chinese,

thinking they were retreating, set up a loud shout, and

advanced upon them, brandishing their spears in defi

T 2


ance, thinking that the victory was already won. In

this they were soon to be undeceived. Our men all

landed as quickly as possible, and were formed into two

columns; the right, or advanced one, led by Captain

Hall himself, and the left by Mr. Freeze (mate R. N.),

the chief officer of the Nemesis. Immediately they

were ordered to advance, the Chinese began to waver

at their bold front, and the first volley poured into

them , within pistol shot, completely put them to flight.

They were now so closely pursued , that their military

chest was captured, in charge of a mandarin and two

soldiers, who were killed . The prize was found to con

sist of only two thousand dollars, but even that was a

pleasant addition to the prize fund . The Chinese were

pursued for some distance, about fifty of them being

left upon the field, and eight taken prisoners. The

houses on the rising ground above, in which some of the

soldiers had been quartered , and also several of the trans

port junks in the creek , were immediately set on fire.

After collecting some of the scattered arms as tro

phies of victory, the little party again returned to the

steamer , the Chinese having been totally dispersed .

She rejoined the Admiral, at Chusan, the same evening ;

but not without first striking upon a sunken rock, as

she proceeded at full speed, from which accident she

sustained no injury.

So far this little gallant affair had been perfectly suc

cessful, in discovering the rendezvous of theChinese ; but

it was believed that many of their soldiers had already

crossed over to Chusan, disguised as peasants, in readi

ness to act in concert with other parties, whenever the


attack should be made on the island. Captain Collin

son was, therefore, sent back again in the Bentinck ,

with orders to prevent the escape of the soldiers from

the island of Tai-shan, and the Nemesis was directed to

follow as soon as she could get in her fuel .

It was now discovered that the Chinese had managed

to extinguish the flames in their boats before they were

seriously injured, and had by this means made their

escape over to Chapoo. But the Admiral afterwards

made a personal examination of the island, with a party

of seamen and marines of the Cornwallis. No military

depôt was discovered , but two government stations were

completely destroyed. The effect of this spirited dis

comfiture of the Chinese, at Tai - shan, was to secure

Chusan from future hostile attacks.

The assembling of these troops so close to Chusan

was, doubtless, connected with the grand scheme of at

tack upon all our positions, which was attempted at

this very time, more particularly against Ningpo and

Chinhae. It was probably also well known to the Chi

nese that Sir Hugh Gough was absent at Chusan, whither

he had proceeded, in consequence of the rumours afloat

concerning the projected attack on that place.

The Chinese seem to have planned their attacks re

markably well ; but so many reports had been before

brought in, of some projected operations by the Chinese,

that at length very little attention came to be paid to

them ; and when it was positively asserted by Mr. Gutz

laff, the interpreter, on the evening of the 9th, that,

from certain information which he had received, there

could be no doubt of a grand attack being resolved on


that very night, no one really believed that any thing

of a serious nature would occur. It was doubted

whether the Chinese, after their recent defeats, would

have the moral courage to become themselves the ag

gressors. There were no external indications of any

preparations for an attack , although some of the inha

bitants were seen leaving the town on that day ; and

many of the tradesmen, with whom our men were in the

habit of dealing, plainly told them that they would have

hot work that night. All this was treated merely as a

specimen of Chinese bravado .

It is remarkable that we should have had no certain

tidings of the collection and preparation of such a vast

number of fire -rafts and vessels, higher up the river, as soon

proved to have been the case, for the iron -steamers might

at all times have been sent up, to ascertain how far any

such reports were well grounded . The fact is, the

Chinese did take us a little by surprise, and that is

often the result of holding an enemy too cheap, and

having too great a confidence in one's own resources.

Circumstances favoured them to a certain extent ; the

smallness of our force rendered it impossible to keep a

line of sentries along the whole circuit of the walls,

which were nearly five miles round ; the extent and

nearness of the suburbs beyond the gates gave the

enemy an easy approach without being observed, and

the darkness of the night favoured the attempt. The

patroles continued to go their rounds as usual, but

were not strengthened, though the officers were or

dered to go their rounds three times during that



There is reason to believe, that a good number of

the Chinese soldiers must have previously come into

the town in disguise ; for the gates were attacked

simultaneously both from within and from without.

The movements of the Chinese were so well concerted ,

that their approach was not discovered until they 'ac

tually attacked the gates, and gallantly succeeded in

scaling the walls. Had not the alarm been given by

the firing of the ships in the river, and had the Chinese

been well officered, it would have caused us heavy fight

ing to have ultimately dislodged them from the town ,

a part of which was for aa few minutes in their possession .

But even their successes, such as they were, only served

to embarrass them, for they did not know how to turn

them to account. It should be remarked, however, that

Sir Hugh Gough had skilfully disposed his troops long

before this event, by concentrating them in one part of

the town, where their quarters were close to each other,

and where they could be mutually supported in case of


It was afterwards discovered that the attacking party

were a new body of picked men, from a distant pro

vince, who had never yet come into contact with our

troops. Money was also found upon the persons of

those who were killed , four or five dollars upon each,

which had probably been given to them either as arrears

of pay, or as a sort of bribe or extra allowance to

induce them to fight. But other incentives were also

employed, for some of the wounded prisoners were evi

dently under the excitement of opium . Many of them

280 FIRE - RAFTS .

were remarkably athletic, fine looking men , and every

thing tended to prove that this was a grand and despe

rate effort.

The first intimation of the attack was by the firing

of two guns, which the Chinese had brought down to the

river's bank, against H.M.S. Columbine, which, together

with the Modeste, was anchored before the town , as

were also the H.C. steamers, Queen and Sesostris.

This was at half -past twelve, p.m. But the firing was

not repeated, ( it having probably been only meant for a

signal,) and nothing further occurred until about three

o'clock ; but, by this time, the garrison were under arms.

Four fire -rafts were now discovered dropping down

the river from its south- western branch (leading to

Fungwah) towards the Sesostris ; and, but for the quick

ness with which one of her cables was slipped, and the

assistance of her own boats, aided by two other boats

from the Modeste, in towing them clear towards the

shore, they would have been across the hawse of the

Sesostris. Fortunately the rafts took the ground clear

of the steamer, and exploded without doing any mis


All this time, the Chinese kept up a fire of small

arms from the banks of the river, but without effect.

But the Modeste, which was a little lower down the

river, below the Sesostris, opened her broadside upon

the eastern suburb, with the object of stopping the

advance of the Chinese in that direction, and on the

following morning it was discovered that her fire bad

demolished the walls of one or two houses, which fell in ,


and disabled the gun which had been brought down on

purpose to attack the Modeste.

So far then the attempt upon the river side proved a

total failure ; but it served as a signal for the general

attack upon the town, which began simultaneously at

the southern and western gates . The extreme darkness

of the night rendered it at first impossible for those

who were at a distance to ascertain the precise points

of attack. The principal assault , in the first instance,

seems to have been upon the South gate, from within

and without at the same time. The alarm was given,

the bugles sounded throughout the town, and word was

brought to Colonel Morris, who commanded the gar

rison, that the guard at the South gate had been driven

in , and the same intelligence was also brought to Co

lonel Montgomerie, commanding the Madras artillery,

who were already under arms upon the ramparts.

A company of the 49th, under Captain M‘Andrew ,

was immediately ordered up by Colonel Morris, towards

the South gate, which they were to retake, if it was

found to have been carried by the enemy. At the same

time, Colonel Montgomerie, with two howitzers, and a

party of artillerymen armed with fusils, commanded by

Captain Moore, and reinforced by a strong patrol of the

18th under Lieutenant Murray, proceeded also towards

the South gate, which he now found in the possession of

Captain M'Andrew and his company, who had gallantly

retaken the gate, after charging down the street which

led to it, driving the Chinese before him with the bayo

net, and killing a great many of them . The Chinese

had penetrated as far as the market- place ; many of them


had scaled the walls, and were seen upon the ramparts;

but upon being challenged, and seeing the troops ad

vancing, most of them jumped back again over the

ramparts, and in this way many were killed, or were shot

at random as they were seen running away. Thus the

South gate was completely cleared .

Daylight was beginning to dawn, and the West gate

was at this time found to be the principal scene of ac

tion ; indeed it was in that direction that the main body

of the Chinese seem to have advanced. Orders had been

sent to reinforce the guard at the West gate, with the

grenadiers of the 49th , and Colonel Morris also hurried

up to it in person , with another company of the 49th ;

while Colonel Montgomerie with the artillery, having

been joined by Colonel Mountain with a party of the

26th, proceeded on in the same direction.

On arriving at the West gate, it was found to have

been gallantly and successfully defended by Lieutenant

Armstrong, who commanded the guard of the 18th,

assisted by a small detachment of the 49th under Lieu

tenant Grant. The enemy had attacked it in great force,

rushing boldly up to the very gate, which they attempted

to force, while others were endeavouring to scale the wall.

The grenadiers of the 49th arrived just in time to assist

in completing the repulse of the Chinese.

Colonel Montgomerie, having now come up with his

reinforcement, dashed at once through the gateway in

pursuit, the enemy having been driven across a small

bridge into the suburbs. Numerous dead bodies of

Chinese were found close to the gate, but they appeared

to be in great force in the suburbs, froin which a smart


but ineffectual fire of matchlocks was kept up . A few

shells were thrown into the suburbs from the two how

itzers ; but it was evidently necessary to continue the

pursuit through the suburbs, for the Chinese appeared to

be in full retreat across a bridge at some distance down,

which seemed to be the principal thoroughfare.

Our force on the spot was extremely small, amounting,

when they had all fallen in , including artillerymen , to

not more than one hundred and twenty -six rank and file

and ten officers. But with this small force Colonel Mont

gomerie determined to dash on, being assisted throughout

by Colonel Mountain , C.B., Deputy -Adjutant-Gene

ral ; and accordingly they immediately advanced up the

principal narrow street of the suburbs. Having fol

lowed it for about half aa mile they came upon the main

body of the enemy, who crowded the whole length of

the street in a dense column, but without appearing to

be at all wavering or inclined to give way. On the

contrary, a high officer on horseback was seen to encou

rage the men, who set up a great shouting, and bran

dished their swords and spears in defiance. But in a

narrow street, the dense mass was necessarily incom

moded by its own numbers, and the steady fire of the

head of our column as they advanced upon them , one

section delivering its fire, and the next taking its place

for the first to reload, brought down all their foremost

and boldest men , every shot telling with unerring cer

tainty. They could neither advance to charge our

column, nor could they retreat, as long as the rear of

their column chose to hold their ground.

On coming up within about fifty paces of them , the


two howitzers were ordered up to the front, while a

party of the 18th, under Lieutenant Murray and Lieu

tenant Molesworth of the artillery, were ordered round

by a side lane, to act upon the enemy's flank ; Colonel

Mountain and Colonel Montgomerie also went round,

(having first waded across a canal,) and witnessed the

terrific effect of the fire of three rounds of grape in

quick succession from the howitzers, which dealt ter

rible havoc among them . At the same time the detach

ment of the 18th fired upon them down the lane as

they fled, and a more complete scene of discomfiture

and slaughter could not be imagined .

The Chinese were soon in full flight in all directions

across the country , the main body of them retreating

along the banks of a canal, in a continued line not less

than a mile long, while numerous smaller parties broke

off from the main body, and tried to escape the best way

they could. Many were supposed to have been drowned

in the canal. The pursuit was followed up for about seven

or eight miles, and the loss of the enemy was estimated

altogether at not less than from five to six hundred men ,

and only thirty -nine prisoners were taken . On our side,

one man only was killed, and a few were wounded . The

principal loss of the Chinese was inflicted by the fire of

the howitzers upon their dense masses in the narrow

street, and the sustained fire of our column as it advanced

upon them . Not a few , however, were killed inside the

walls of the city. The force they brought against us is

supposed to have exceeded five thousand men,, consisting

of their best soldiers , and a great part of them were evi

dently under the excitement of opium .


Early in the morning, the boats of the Modeste and

Sesostris moved up the south -west branch of the river,

in search of fire -boats, but found none . In the after

noon, however, the boats of the Columbine, under Cap

tain Morshed, together with the Queen steamer, pro

ceeded up the other, or north -western branch, and dis

covered, not far up, thirty -seven fire- vessels. They

were all in a state of perfect preparation, being filled

with combustibles and jars of powder, and also pro

vided with leather caps and fire-proof dresses for the

men who were to have the charge of them ; each of

them had also a small punt, or sampan , attachel, for the

escape of those on board. The early discovery of those

which were first sent down, or probably their having

been sent adrift too soon down the other branch of the

river, had evidently disconcerted this part of their plan.

The whole of these boats were scuttled and destroyed .

Some miles higher up, near Tsekee, many more junks,

of every size and shape, were found filled with combus

tibles ; and still more were discovered higher up,moored

on each side of the river. It was also observed that on

the hills opposite Tsekee, there were three Chinese en

campments, one of which was set on fire by the sol

diers, as the boats approached. In fact, it became

evident that preparations of a much more extensive

kind than we could have anticipated, had been made,

for one grand combined effort to drive us into the sea ,

before reinforcements could join us.

The attack upon Chinhae took place about the same

time, but was much less important in its nature, and

conducted with less vigour and resolution, than that on


Ningpo. Early in the morning of the 10th March , the

alarm was given that ten fire -vessels were floating down

the river towards the ships of war and transports at

anchor off Chinhae. The boats of the Blonde and the

Hyacinth, under Commander Goldsmith of the latter

vessel , and Lieutenant Dolling of the former, immedi

ately dashed at them , and drove them on shore, out of

the way of the shipping, where they exploded .

About the same time a body of Chinese soldiers

got up close to the west gate of Chinhae, without

being discovered , until they opened a fire of ginjals,

and attempted to force their way in . But Captain

Daubeny, with a company of the 55th, immediately

sallied out of the gate, and pursued them into the sub

urbs, whence they fled towards a joss-house, or temple,

about a mile from the walls, where they joined the main

body, about twelve hundred strong. Colonel Schoedde,

with three companies of the 55th, now joined Captain

Daubeny, and immediately charged them , and put them

to flight. But it was very difficult to follow , or come

within musket range of them , owing to the peculiar na

ture of the ground , which was cut up in all directions by

water - courses ; although the labyrinths of paths and

causeways were, of course, perfectly well known to the

retreating enemy. About thirty of the Chinese and two

of their officers were killed , but the number of wounded

could not be ascertained . A quantity of military weapons

and some powder were captured .

The plans of the Chinese had thus signally failed

at all points of attack ; but it must be admitted that

at Ningpo they shewed a great deal of determination


and personal courage, and their plans were, in reality,

very well arranged.

Information of these important attacks was immedi

ately sent over to Sir Hugh Gough and Sir William

Parker, who were at Chusan, and induced the General in

stantly to return to Ningpo. Sir William Parker also re

turned as soon as he had completed his examination of the

island of Tai-shan ; and he brought with him the Phlege

thon and Nemesis, merely stopping at Chinhae on the

way, to pick up a few marines and small-arm men , from

the Blonde. No time was then lost in pushing up the

south - western branch of the river above Ningpo, whither

the General had preceded him with part of the 18th and

49th regiments, and two guns, in order to learn if the

enemy were in force there.

Tidings had been brought to Sir Hugh Gough, that a

strong body of several thousand Chinese troops were

posted not far from Fungwah, preparatory to another

descent upon Ningpo. But, as soon as he had marched

about six or seven miles up, the Sesostris steamer

moving parallel with him by the river, with part of the

26th regiment on board, positive information was ob

tained that the enemy had retreated over the hills the

preceding night, and that it would be useless to attempt

to follow them .

It only now remained to advance against the strong

body of the Chinese who were known to be posted

along the banks of the other branch of the river, and

who were reported also to have thrown up strong en

trenched camps upon the Segoan hills, at the back of

the town of Tsekee, and to be commanded by three of

their most famous generals.



Advance upon Tsekee — Horse Artillery — Phlegethon and Nemesis

destroy fire-boats—The Segoan hills — Positions of the Chinese

Tsekee captured -Double attack upon the enemy - Serious conflict

The heights carried — Flight of the Chinese army - Their retreat

harassed by the fire of the steamers — The Chungkie pass — Return to

Ningpo - Chinese kidnappers Curious caricatures — Remarks on

Chinese character - Discovery of their preparations- Night attack by

fire- rafts at Chusan - Awkward position of the Nemesis-— Their plans

fail—Dangerous accident — Visit to the island of Pooto—Consecrated

ground — Its numerous temples — Beauties of the island — Description

-Superstitions of the people — Remarks on the religions of China.

A heavy blow had now been inflicted upon the Chi

nese, by the severe reverses they had met with at Ningpo

and at Chinhae, and by the defeat of all their designs

against Chusan . It was therefore a favourable opportu

nity to follow up our successes, and turn them to the best

advantage, before the effect of the impression already

made could have time to diminish . It was ascer

tained that tlieir troops had with difficulty been kept

together after their late defeat ; and it was reported

that they were about to retreat towards Pickwan, a

town situated about forty miles higher up the river,

at which point they were said to be concentrating their

whole force .


Besides the force said to be encamped above Tsekee,

on the Segoan hills, it was also ascertained that another

body of five or six thousand men was posted in a forti

fied camp, about seven miles further along the hills to

the north -east, close to what is called the Chungkie

Pass, and that the military chest of the army was in

charge of this division. A Chinese military chest is

generally not very well filled, but still there is to a

soldier something very tempting in the idea of a mili

tary chest, particularly when there is a prospect of cap

turing it.

On the morning of the 15th of March, the force

destined for the attack, comprising altogether little

more than a thousand men, including the battalion of

seamen and marines, were embarked on board the

steamers Nemesis, Phlegethou, and Queen, from the

north gate of the city ; the General and his staff, accom

panied by the Admiral and other officers, taking up

their quarters on board the Nemesis, which had been

dexterously brought close into a wharf near the city

gate ; so that on this occasion the troops were embarked

without the necessity of using boats. The naval bri

gade was commanded by Captain Bourchier, of the

Blonde, assisted by Captain P. Richards. Details of

the whole force are given below. There were four

8-pounder guns of the Madras artillery, for which

ponies had been trained , and these were now sent early

in the morning across from Ningpo by land, escorted

by a party of the Madras rifles ; by these means the

distance was materially shortened , by cutting off a

great bend of the river above Ningpo. On reaching

VOL . II . U


the nearest point, opposite Tsekee, the artillery swam

their horses across the river, and were then drawn up in

readiness to advance upon the town, which was about

four miles distant. The road to Tsekee and the nature

of the country were already well known, from the pre

vious visit in the month of December .

Before twelve o'clock, the troops were landed from

the steamers near a village, where there was a sort of

jetty convenient for the purpose ; they then formed,

and marched direct up towards the city. At the same

time, the Phlegethon was sent higher up the river, toge

ther with the Nemesis and two boats belonging to the

Cornwallis and Blonde, to endeavour to get near enough

to the flank of the Chinese army, to harass them in their


The Phlegethon started first, because the Admiral

and the General who were on board the Nemesis were

unwilling to land, until they had seen all the rest of

the force on shore before them . But the moment the

Admiral had left the vessel, she was backed out from


the landing -place, and went up the river for some dis

tance, stern -foremost, at full speed, until she could be

conveniently turned .

Having passed round a considerable bend in the river,

some miles above the landing-place, they turned up a

small branch or creek close to a village, which appeared

to lead round nearer to the enemy's positions. The

Phlegethon , which was some distance ahead, sud

denly came upon five gun-boats, armed and manned,

at anchor close to a mandarin station, which proved

to have been used as a depôt for powder and mili


tary stores. Fourteen fire-rafts were also discovered,

and the whole of these warlike preparations were de


As soon as the troops had marched up pretty close to

Tsekee, they proceeded to occupy a small hill directly

in front of the town, and commanding the southern gate.

A few ginjals and two guns were fired at them from the

walls of the city, but at such a distance as to make it

evident that no serious defence of the place was in

tended. The main body of the Chinese army was to be

seen encamped upon the heights to the northward of

the town , called the Segoan Hills ; and it was equally

evident that the shortest and best mode of advancing to

attack them was by first escalading the walls of the

town, and then marching straight through it to the

northern gate, whence it would be easy to attack the

enemy both in front and on the flank . It was necessary

to ascertain whether the town was occupied by any con

siderable force (which there was little reason to expect),

and at the same time to deprive the enemy of having

the advantage of falling back upon the town when driven

from the heights. Orders were therefore given, that the

naval brigade, with a party of sappers, covered by the

guns under Colonel Montgomerie, should escalade the

walls at the nearest point, while the 49th were to blow

open the south gate, and immediately join them upon

the ramparts. The 49th, on approaching the gate,

found the bridge over a canal just outside recen

destroyed ; but, as the water was shallow, and there

appeared to be no likelihood of meeting with any serious

opposition , they quietly crept along the canal itself,

U 2


which led into the town , and so got under the walls,

upon the ramparts of which they now found the naval

brigade already drawn up.

The 18th , in the mean time, had been sent round ,

outside the walls, to dislodge a body of Chinese troops

who occupied a hill a little to the north -east of the city ;

and they were directed to join the rest of our force as

soon as they reached the north gate. The 26th had

been held in reserve to protect the guns, and support

the 49th, if necessary. The town was, however, carried

without any resistance ; and the troops having marched

round the ramparts, the whole force was then concen

trated at the north gate.

It should here be noticed, that the town of Tsekee

lies in aa sort of cup, or basin, surrounded almost entirely

on three sides by steep hills, being open only towards

the river, or to the southward ; from the northern hills

a low spur is sent down towards the northern gate,

and terminates in a small hill within the walls. The

Chinese forces were posted upon these heights, a little

to the westward of the spur just described , but in such

a position that their left was commanded by other hills.

On their right they had a second encampment, a little

in advance, on the north-western side of the town ; but

it was evident that their left could be easily turned, and

that they could be defeated and completely routed, with

out much difficulty.

The General's first movement was to direct the 18th,

with the rifles, to proceed to occupy a hill on his right,

which could only be got at by passing through a steep

ravine, but which quite commanded the Chinese left.


As soon as they succeeded in crowning its summit, and

had thus turned the Chinese position, the naval brigade

(who, in the mean time, were to occupy two large build

ings under the walls, a little on the north-western side

of the town) were to carry the hill in their front, on

which the Chinese were encamped, while the 49th were

at the same time to attack the centre of the Chinese

position .

It is worthy of remark that the Chinese, with one or

two trifling exceptions, seem never to have made use of

field -artillery. Of course, where they had forts, they

had guns mounted ; but they did not appear to regard

artillery as a necessary part of a regular army.

On this occasion, our loss would probably have been

severe, if the heights had been defended by a numerous

artillery ; but they opened a smart fire of ginjalsupon the

naval brigade (the Admiral himself being at their head),

as they marched across the paddy -fields outside the walls,

with the object of occupying the two large houses, un

der shelter of which they were to form , in readiness for

the attack. They suffered some loss ; and, as it ap

peared that the 18th and rifles, being impeded by the

steepness and difficulties of the gorge they bad to

ascend, were longer in reaching the summit of the hill

than had been expected, the General determined to

commence the attack in front without waiting for the

18th to turn the flank of the Chinese. The advance

was sounded, and the 49th, with the General at their

head, rushed up the hill ; while the naval brigade,

led by Captains Bourchier and Richards, and Com

mander Watson (the Admiral himself taking part in


the attack), made a dash at the other hill, upon the

Chinese right.

Some rockets were fired with great precision into the

enemy's position, by Lieutenant Fitzjames and Mr.

Jackson , of the Cornwallis, but the Chinese poured in a

heavy fire of ginjals and matchlocks upon our troops

as they advanced .

The marines and seamen dashed across the paddy

field, and charged up the hill, which was steep and

rugged, with great spirit, but were boldly met by the

Chinese, who did not shrink from the contest. The

leading division soon gained the summit, and the re

mainder of the brigade pushed round the sides of the

hill, to cut off the retreat of the enemy. In this encoun

ter two officers of the Royal Marines and two officers

of the naval battalion were wounded ; eleven men were

also wounded and three killed.

The General, at the head of the 49th, in the mean time

carried the hill in his front with great spirit, and detached

the grenadiers, under Major Gough, to cut off a body of

Chinese who were attempting to get up the rear of the

other hill, which had already been carried in front by the

naval brigade. This division of the enemy was, there

fore, completely hemmed in, and the slaughter was una

voidably great in the hollow at the foot of the hill.

The 49th now continued to press forward, driving

the Chinese before them in great disorder across the

plain at the foot of the hills ; and the 18th and Rifles,

having by this time succeeded in turning the enemy's

position on the heights, descended into the plain , and

joined the 49th and 26th in the pursuit. The whole


Chinese army was now in full flight across the plain,

towards the Chungkie Pass, and just passed within range

of the Phlegethon and Nemesis, who had taken up an

excellent position in the creek, for the purpose of cut

ting them off. Their guns opened fire upon the scat

tered fugitives, who suffered severely.

From eight hundred to one thousand men are sup

posed to have been killed, wounded, or drowned, in this

engagement ; every attempt was made to spare them ,

but as most of these troops came from distant provinces,

and were reputed to be their best soldiers, they refused

to surrender themselves prisoners, with few exceptions.

Many officers or mandarins were killed, but only three

were taken prisoners. Many of them deliberately cut

their own throats, when they saw that the day was irre

trievably lost.

Some curious and interesting documents were found ,

relating to their plans and the disposal of their forces,

amongst which were some public proclamations to be dis

tributed among the people.. Upon the bodies of many

of the slain, pieces of Sycee silver were found, as had

been the case at Ningpo, a few days before.

The strength of the Chinese army was estimated at

from seven to eight thousand men, part of which ap

peared to be a picked body, said to belong to the

Emperor's guard ; they were fine, athletic, powerful,

men . It was also remarked that their arms were of a

superior description ; several improvements had been

adopted ; and the bow and arrow, once the favourite

weapon of the Tartar soldier, had been laid aside on

this occasion.


As usual, several personal encounters took place ; the

Chinese not fearing to engage single-handed with their

foe, or to measure their sword with that of our officers.

In one of these combats, Mr. Hodgson, mate of the

Cornwallis, was wounded, not far from the Admiral.

Colonel Mountain was in some danger of being run

through, but was saved by a timely shot from one of

the 18th . The clothes of the slain were in some in

stances ignited by their matches, and produced , as on

some other occasions, a revolting spectacle.

The night was passed, by our gallant little force, in

the tents from which the Chinese had been driven, and

which were found to contain plenty of warm coverings

and provisions, &c. There were stores of rice, and

bread (cakes) , and flour, in abundance.

Besides the loss already mentioned, the 49th had

three officers and four men wounded. Some of our offi

cers were wounded severely, Lieutenant Lane having had

his arm amputed upon the field .

On the following morning, at daylight, the grain

magazines in the town, belonging to government, were

opened to the people, and , as might be expected, were

rapidly emptied. A large quantity of ginjals, match

locks, and other warlike implements, were also collected

upon the battle- field, and were nearly all destroyed.

Among other curiosities were nine newly-invented brass

tubes, of about three pounds calibre, and thirty-nine

pounds weight, each with two handles ; they had never

been used, but were apparently intended to fire grape

shot. They were curiously bound round with catgut,

and were probably to be fired while held between two



men , as they were provided with handles for the

purpose. One of them was given to Captain Hall,

by the Admiral, and has since been deposited with

other Chinese weapons at Windsor. Twenty -three guns

were also captured, principally upon the walls of the

town .

As the enemy had retreated towards the Chungkie

Pass, about six or seven miles distant to the north -west,

where it was reported that another fortified encamp

ment had been formed , Sir Hugh Gough moved in

advance, about one o'clock on the following day, the

16th ; but, having reached the foot of the hills, the posi

tion was found completely abandoned, although it was

by nature a strong one. Dispositions were made for the

attack, but none of the enemy were discovered, and con

sequently the hoped -for military chest was not captured .

The Chinese had only just withdrawn, for they had left

behind them some ammunition, and a supply of inferior

bread, which is tolerably eatable, however, after a long

march .

Having halted about two or three hours for rest, and

after setting fire to all the buildings, our little army

returned to the town of Tsekee the same evening.

It is proper here to remark that the peasantry, and the

inhabitants generally, except where they happened casu

ally to be intermingled with the soldiers during the flight,

showed little concern as to the fate of their countrymen .

They appeared to be more astonished than frightened,

particularly at the swimming of the horses of the artil

lery across the river, and then seeing them harnessed

to the guns.


The town of Tsekee suffered very little. A large

pawnbroker's shop was one of the greatest curiosities,

being filled with furs, silks, &c. It was a favourite

place of resort, and, besides that, afforded excellent

quarters. It was a large extensive building, like a

warehouse, as is commonly the case in China.

This engagement upon the heights of Segoan has been

considered by military men as the most scientifically

conducted affair which occurred during the war. Its

success, at all events , was complete ; and the Chinese

army, which was now concentrated to the southward of

Hang-chow - foo, for the purpose of covering the provin

cial capital, against which we were expected to advance,

was said to be with much difficulty kept together, and

to be in great want of supplies . The orders of the

Emperor, that the province which was the seat of the

war for the time, should defray all its expences, excited

much discontent , as might be expected .

Any proposed plan of advancing upon Hang -chow -foo,

which might have been thought of, was now abandoned ;


and the great river, the Yangtze-Keang, was designed

to be the principal seat of operations during the ensuing

campaign. The vast inland trade passing through this


main artery of the empire would be stopped ; the traffic

by the Grand Canal would be at our mercy ; and there

seemed every reason to expect that the presence of a

large military and naval force, in the heart of the

country, would lead the haughty Chinese cabinet to


listen to terms of peace, which we hoped to dictate

under the walls of the ancient Chinese capital, the im

perial Nankin, the depository of the ashes of many of


the ancient emperors of China. Some, however, looked

forward to a hoped - for advance upon Pekin, the great

Tartar capital, by the river Peiho. The result, how

ever, ultimately proved the wisdom of the former plan

of operations.

During the months of April and May, reinforcements

continued to arrive to strengthen the expedition, and

the belief was general that it was determined to put an

end to the war as soon as possible, by some means or

other. A fresh corps of Bengal Volunteers, a remark

ably fine body of men , arrived from Calcutta ; the 41st

and the 2d Native Infantry arrived from Madras, with a

reinforcement of artillery, and a few horses for the

guns. Several steamers and ships of war, with trans

ports, continued to join in succession — namely, the

Vixen from England, and the Tenasserim , Auckland,

Ariadne, Medusa, and the little Hooghly steamers, be

longing to the East India Company, from Bombay and

Calcutta, all well armed, and some of them peculiarly

adapted for river navigation. Others were expected

to arrive in the course of the ensuing summer.

The Chinese, finding that they met with no success

against us in the open field , turned their attention more

strongly than ever to their two most notable schemes, of

kidnapping our men, one by one, and destroying our

ships by means of fire-rafts. Large rewards continued

to be offered for the capture of our high officers ; but

their successes in this system were confined to the men,

some of whom were occasionally carried off, and a few

were put to death in the most barbarous and inhuman

manner . Indeed, it was not till after the capture of


Chapoo (the next engagement to be described ) that

the Chinese began to treat their prisoners with a little

kindness and mercy .

Many stories of the cleverness of the Chinese in car

rying off prisoners, and of the treatment the latter

afterwards met with , are familiar to the reader. To

wards the close of the war, they were generally pretty

well taken care of, for the Chinese could not be insen

sible to the kind treatment their countrymen met with,

when they fell into our hands. I remember being

nearly caught once at Chusan, just at the close of the

war ; and, the very next day, an attack was made upon

two of our officers, who made an excursion in the same

direction, and had a very narrow escape. Captain Wel

lesley, R.N., and Ensign Shadwell of the 55th, were

surrounded at less than a mile from the city gate. The

latter shot one of the Chinamen in the breast with a

pistol (a single pistol is always useless), but was imme

diately taken prisoner by the others, who were probably

soldiers disguised as peasants. His arms were pinioned,

and he was dragged along by the legs. In the mean

time, Captain Wellesley, instead of firing his pistol,

judiciously ran off towards the city gate, to call out

the guard ; and, the moment the Chinese saw them

advancing, they threw down their prisoner and de

camped . He was thus saved.

On some occasions, the Chinese kidnappers had the

worst of it, and were themselves captured : these were

principally sent down to Hong Kong, to work in chains,

but some were kept in prison at Chusan. The respect

able inhabitants, however, were anxious to bring about


a more peaceable state of things, and they stated that

the kidnappers were not natives of the island, but people

sent over purposely from the mainland. It was evident

that some secret influence was at work among the

people, and that they still dreaded the power of their

own authorities, and were instigated to annoy us.

At length, the Chinese became better disposed, and

then took to the amusement of making Caricatures of

us . Many spirited things of this sort were hawked

about, rudely executed and strangely coloured, but

withal amusing specimens of Chinese drollery. The

two sketches given in a preceding page, one of an en

counter between our own soldiers and the Tartars, and

the other of an English foraging party, are accurately

reduced from the original Chinese caricatures, and show

more evidence of fun and quickness than we should

have expected among so grave a people. There were

many others equally amusing. At Ningpo, they made

a sort of little peep - show of the general and his staff,

intended to be a correct representation of them in little

figures. That of Sir Hugh Gough, with his beautiful

long, grey locks, was fairly done. A capital full length

picture, in oil, of the General, was afterwards executed

at Macao by a Chinese artist, who had been regularly

instructed .

The more the Chinese came to mix with us and to

be acquainted with our character, the more they seemed

to fall into our ways ; and we cannot but think that,

at no distant period, amicable relations will be esta

blished without difficulty, upon an intimate footing.

It has often been remarked , that in many respects they


resemble Englishmen in their mercantile, industrious

habits, their ingenuity, and their readiness to combine

together for useful purposes ; their independent spirit,

and their love of argument. They differ materially

from all other eastern nations with which we have

hitherto come in contact .

To return from this short digression . In spite of the

failure of the attempts of the Chinese with fire-rafts, in

every instance, they persevered in their schemes for

burning our ships, with remarkable pertinacity. On the

return of our little force to Ningpo, on the 17th of

March, after the engagement on the Segoan hills, the

Admiral went over to Chusan in the Nemesis, and again

hoisted his flag in the Cornwallis. Reports of the pre

paration of fire- rafts were frequently brought in, and

it was known that a great many boats belonging to the

fishermen and others had been pressed into the service

of the government. 1


As soon as the Nemesis had undergone some necessary

repairs ( for which purpose she was beached upon the

sands at Trumball Island), she was ordered to explore

all the neighbouring islands between Chusan and the

Main, in search of fire- rafts, or other warlike prepa

rations. She was joined by H.M.S. Clio, which was

however left at anchor at Keeto Point, Captain Trou

bridge himself coming on board the Nemesis, and bring

ing one of his boats, manned and armed . In almost

every island or bay they visited along the so -called

Nimrod's Channel, Gough’s Passage, Mesan Island, and

other parts to the southward of Chusan, an immense

number of fire-boats, in different stages of preparation,


were discovered and destroyed ; and, wherever any

opposition was offered , the neighbouring hamlets were


Two or three days were occupied in this important

service, during which the Nemesis had her false rudder

carried away ; and, owing in a great measure to this

accident, and to the remarkable strength of the currents,

as she was attempting to pass between the island of

Luhwang and another small one lying off its eastern

point, the current caught her bows, and threw her

heavily, broadside, on to the rocks. The vessel was

soon got off again , but she had bilged in the starboard

coal-bunker. The water was pouring in fast, but it was

thought that the engine -pumps would suffice to keep it

under, until a good sandy beach could be found to run

her ashore upon . But the water gained so fast upon

the pumps that the fire would not burn much longer,

so that it was necessary to run her ashore upon the

nearest beach . As the tide ebbed, the water ran

out again through the leak ; and then, by digging a

deep hole in the sand, it was easy to get down be

low the ship's bottom , and stop the leak from the out


A great many fire-boats had been destroyed upon the

island that day ; and , as it was known to be occupied

by a body of Chinese soldiers, a military mandarin on

horseback having also been observed superintending the

completion of the fire-boats, it was possible that an

attack might be made on the vessel at night, and it was

therefore prudent to hasten the repairs. The rent was

full three feet in length, but it was filled up with stout


wedges of wood, covered with oakum, and driven firmly

into itfrom the outside.

To prevent any surprise by the Chinese, sentries

were posted upon the neighbouring hills, to give warn

ing of their approach ; and, by way of being before

hand with them, a requisition was sent up to the prin

cipal village, written in Chinese, by a Chinese servant

on board, demanding from the head men , or elders of

the place, a supply of provisions, namely, a couple of

bullocks, a dozen geese, two or three dozen ducks and

fowls, and so forth ; and threatening to pay a hostile

visit to the village next day, if they did not comply.

After some deliberation , all these things were promised ;

80 that the authorities, instead of planning an attack

upon the vessel, or any attempt upon the men during

the night, had quite enough to do to collect these sup

plies by the following morning. In the mean time, the

vessel was repaired and got off again. Information of

the accident was, however, conveyed to the Admiral by

the Clio's boat ; and he immediately sent down the Phle

gethon, with the launch of the Cornwallis, to render

assistance. By the time they arrived in the morning,

the vessel was already, to their astonishment , prepared

to proceed to Chusan, where she arrived in the course

of the day .

The result of this little expedition was not only the

destruction of a great number of fire-boats, but the full

discovery of the extensive preparations which were

being made, in every direction, for an attempt to destroy

our ships.

The Nemesis was now hauled on shore again , upon


the beach, on Trumball Island, and the damage was

thoroughly repaired.

Information of the intended attack on our shipping

at Chusan had been obtained by Captain Dennis, the

military magistrate of Tinghai, late that evening, and

was by him communicated to the Admiral. Orders

were therefore sent to the different ships of war and

transports, to be upon the alert, and have all their boats

in readiness. The Nemesis was the only vessel to which

the information was accidentally not conveyed ; pro

bably because it was thought she was ashore.

A little after eleven, p.m. , three divisions of fire-rafts

were observed drifting down towards the shipping, from

the eastern end of the harbour, some from the direction

of Sinca Moon , close along the island of Chusan, some

between Macclesfield and Trumball islands, where the

Nemesis lay, and others again outside the latter, by the

Sarah Galley passage. The first intimation of their

approach was given by two lights being observed at

some distance ; this led to a suspicion of fire -rafts, and

by the time the men had got to quarters, several of the

fire - vessels burst into flames ; others were gradually set

on fire, and were seen to take the three different direc

tions before described. Nearly twenty of them drifted

down between the islands off which the Nemesis lay ;

and, as they gradually came within range, her guns

opened on them , to try to drive them on shore . There

was a small boat ahead of each raft, under sail, and

with men in it to tow the rafts in the required di


The Nemesis was of course in considerable danger ;

VOL . II . X


for the rafts or fire -boats were chained two and two

together, so as to hang across the ship’s bows. Steam

was got up as quick as possible, the cable was ready to

be slipped in case of need, and the steamer's boats

were sent out to tow the rafts clear, as they were

rapidly bearing down upon her, with a strong ebb-tide.

They were all in a complete blaze as they drifted past

on either side of her ; and so close were they, that

it was necessary to wet the decks and the side of the

vessel continually, on account of the great heat. Her

guns continued to fire at them, in order to sink them , if


Other divisions of the fire -rafts, which came down the

passages before described, were driven ashore by the

boats of the squadron, and blew up, without doing any

mischief to our shipping. Altogether, between fifty

and sixty of them at least had been sent down , from

the eastern side of the harbour ; but it was reported

that another division of them was to come down by the

western side, from the direction of Sing Kong, as soon

as the tide turned ; a division of boats, under Lieute

nant Wise of the Cornwallis, was therefore sent to en

deavour to find them out and destroy them at once.

They were soon discovered to the number of thirty, at

anchor off a sandy beach, outside of Bell Island , and

their destined work of mischief was frustrated .

On the following morning, the Nemesis and Phlegethon

steamers were again sent to search through all the adja

cent islands ; and the Nemesis succeeded in discovering

many more fire -boats, which were now destroyed , upon

the different islands ; stacks of fire -wood and other


combustible materials which had been collected for the

purpose were likewise set on fire. In one village, there

were a number of boats half filled with combustible ma

terials ; and the whole village was put into an uproar when

the crew of the steamer began to set fire to them . It

turned out that they had been pressed into the service by

the mandarins, and the people naturally wished to save

their boats, on which their livelihood depended. Only

one poor old woman, however, was permitted to retain

her boat, for they might all have been pressed by the

mandarins again .

A party of armed seamen and marines were now sent

up towards aa hill in the rear of the village, along which

a number of men had been seen retiring, and amongst

them a military mandarin, which made it probable that

they were soldiers. The Chinese made a hasty retreat,

but the mandarin was observed to try to hide himself

behind aa tombstone, while he pulled off his warm jacket

and nearly all his clothes, and lastly his satin boots, and

then, giving them to a man who attended him, away he

ran for his life, down the hill on the opposite side, so

that there was no chance of overtaking him .

The Phlegethon had been sent in an opposite direc

tion ; but on that side no fire-boats were discovered,

notwithstanding the active exertions of Lieutenant

M'Cleverty. Altogether not less than one hundred fire

boats were destroyed on these different occasions, be

sides those which had been previously destroyed by the

Nemesis and the boat of the Clio. Ilow many Chinese

lost their lives in the affair it is impossible to say ; but

many of them must have been drowned in attempting

x 2


to escape on shore, after the fire -rafts burst into flames.

In fact, in all the numerous little sheltered bays among

those islands, fire -rafts were destroyed in greater or

lesser numbers.

On one occasion , and without any warning, the Ne

mesis ran at full speed, and at high water, upon a dan

gerous conical-shaped rock, off the north -eastern extre

mity of Deer Island, near the southern coast of Chusan ,

although she had frequently been through the same pas

sage before, without having discovered the danger.

The tide began to fall almost immediately she struck ,

so that she was left with her bows high and dry out of

water, and her stern deep in the water, while she had

seven fathoms close alongside of her. It was a remark

able position for a vessel to be placed in ; part of her

bottom was completely clear of the rock and the water

too, the vessel being only held by its extremities ; and

when the tide rose, every attempt to haul her off proved

ineffectual. A large indentation, or hollow, was suppo


sed to have been made where she rested upon the rock,

which of course held her fast.

The only resource was to try to float her off, by fairly

lifting her up, with the help of large casks and junks.

The launch and pinnace of the Cornwallis having been

sent to her assistance, eight large casks were got out,

and boats were sent out to press half a dozen of the

largest Chinese trading junks, to assist in the opera

tion . As soon as they were brought alongside, the

vessel was lightened , strong hawsers were passed under

her bottom , and were secured over the bows of three

junks, placed on either side, and then carried aft round


the junk's quarter, and thence led forward and secure

round the mast. By these means, as the tide rose, the

junks fairly lifted the head of the steamer off the rock,

and she was launched into her own element, without

having sustained any material injury.

From what has been already stated , it will be readily

inferred that the navigation of the Chusan islands is

intricate and not unattended with danger ; but the na

tives are so well acquainted with the shoals and rocks

and currents in the neighbourhood of all the islands,

that an accident is scarcely known among them .

Perhaps the most curious and interesting of all these

islands is the consecrated island of Pooto, situated very

near the eastern end of Chusan, and only about sixteen

miles distant from the town of Tinghai. It is a small,

rocky island, broken up into numerous picturesque val

leys and romantic glens, the hollows of which are richly

cultivated , and abounding in trees and aromatic shrubs ;

while, from the steep and rugged heights, a most beau

tiful prospect presents itself on every side, the waters

around it being studded with almost innumerable islands

as far as the eye can reach . But it is most celebrated

for its numerous temples, of which there are said to be

nearly four hundred (but this number is probably exag

gerated ), dedicated to the idolatrous worship of Foo, or

Budha. The whole island is, in fact, a large monastery,

divided into many brotherhoods. “ All the sumptuous

and extensive buildings of this island , ” says Medhurst,

are intended for no other purpose than to screen

wooden images from the sun and rain ; and all its in

habitants are employed in no other work than the reci


to escape on shore, after the fire- rafts burst into flames.

In fact, in all the numerous little sheltered bays among

those islands, fire -rafts were destroyed in greater or

lesser numbers.

On one occasion, and without any warning, the Ne

mesis ran at full speed, and at high water, upon a dan

gerous conical-shaped rock, off the north -eastern extre

mity of Deer Island, near the southern coast of Chusan,

although she had frequently been through the same pas

sage before, without having discovered the danger.

The tide began to fall almost immediately she struck,

so that she was left with her bows high and dry out of

water, and her stern deep in the water, while she had

seven fathoms close alongside of her.. It was a remark

able position for a vessel to be placed in ; part of her

bottom was completely clear of the rock and the water

too, the vessel being only held by its extremities ; and

when the tide rose, every attempt to haul her off proved

ineffectual. A large indentation, or hollow, was suppo


sed to have been made where she rested upon the rock,

which of course held her fast.

The only resource was to try to float her off, by fairly

lifting her up , with the help of large casks and junks.

The launch and pinnace of the Cornwallis having been

sent to her assistance, eight large casks were got out, 1

and boats were sent out to press half a dozen of the


largest Chinese trading junks, to assist in the opera

tion . As soon as they were brought alongside, the

vessel was lightened, strong hawsers were passed under

her bottom , and were secured over the bows of three

junks, placed on either side, and then carried aft round


the junk's quarter, and thence led forward and secure

round the mast. By these means, as the tide rose, the

junks fairly lifted the head of the steamer off the rock,

and she was launched into her own element, without

having sustained any material injury.

From what has been already stated, it will be readily

inferred that the navigation of the Chusan islands is

intricate and not unattended with danger ; but the na

tives are so well acquainted with the shoals and rocks

and currents in the neighbourhood of all the islands,

that an accident is scarcely known among them .

Perhaps the most curious and interesting of all these

islands is the consecrated island of Pooto, situated very

near the eastern end of Chusan, and only about sixteen

miles distant from the town of Tinghai. It is a small,

rocky island , broken up into numerous picturesque val

leys and romantic glens, the hollows of which are richly

cultivated, and abounding in trees and aromatic shrubs;

while, from the steep and rugged heights, a most beau

tiful prospect presents itself on every side, the waters

around it being studded with almost innumerable islands

as far as the eye can reach . But it is most celebrated

for its numerous temples, of which there are said to be

nearly four hundred (but this number is probably exag

gerated) , dedicated to the idolatrous worship of Foo, or

Budha. The whole island is, in fact, a large monastery,

divided into many brotherhoods. “ All the sumptuous

and extensive buildings of this island ,” says Medhurst,

are intended for no other purpose than to screen

wooden images from the sun and rain ; and all its in

habitants are employed in no other work than the reci


ples no images are found ; but he was a politician, and

was employed in the public service, long before he became

a moralist.

Laoutze was a contemplative enthusiast, who taught

the cultivation of reason, abstraction from the world ,

self-denial, &c.; and then wandered into the absurdities

of magic arts and demoniac possessions. Nevertheless,

he is said to have had some glimmerings of a future

state . His followers are in the present day called the

sect of Taon.

The Budhism of China probably differs little from

that of India ; the daily prayers are repeated in aa lan

guage of which the priests do not understand a sylla

ble. In the temple are the three huge Budhas — the

Past, the Present, and the Future ; with a Goddess of

Mercy, a God of War, a God of Wealth, and others.

There is, in front of the altar, a large bronze cauldron,

for burning gilt paper ; and a huge drum and a bell, to

awaken the especial attention of the god . Such are the

temples of Pooto .

In cases of extreme emergency , as during the preva

lence of great drought and threatened famine, the Em

peror orders prayers to be offered up in the temples of

all the three sects for a cessation of the evil. But the

Confucian is the system of religion to which the Empe

ror and his court adhere .


being built on the declivity of the mountain's side,

which terminates in the valley. The yellow tiles of

some of them indicate former imperial protection. The

most picturesque sites have been chosen for them, and

even caverns in the rocks have in some parts been

turned into a succession of gilded temples.

There are good causeways leading to every part of

the island ; on every crag there is either a temple or a

little image; the gardens are laid out with extreme

care and neatness ; and, were you not startled by the

gross idolatry which surrounds you, and repelled by

the dull, vacant, half-idiotic look of ignorant supersti

tion stamped upon the countenance of every man you

meet, you might be almost tempted to believe that it is

a rich and happy, a favoured and contented spot. Some

of the temples are very striking, and might be called

beautiful. In one of them was a very large library, for

the use of the monks ; but, as far as I could judge, the

books appeared to have been little, if at all, used.

It may be well here to remind the reader, that there

are three religious systems prevailing in China, and to

lerated by the government, viz. those of Confucius, of

Laoutze, and of Budha. The two former were contem

poraries, and flourished about five hundred years before

the Christian era . That of Budha was introduced from

India, very soon after the beginning of our era, and

gained such hold among the common people of China,

that it is now the general superstition of all the lower

classes, and its showy temples and gilded images abound

throughout the land. Confucius, on the other hand, was

simply a political and moral philosopher, and in his tem

314 NINGPO .

as Hang -chow -foo, Soo -chow -foo, and others which bor

der upon the Imperial Canal, there is every reason to

believe that an extensive trade will soon be opened


Ningpo lies at the distance of only fifty miles from

the trading town of Chapoo, which possess a monopoly

of the whole trade with Japan and Corea. Hence there

is reason to believe that our manufactures will soon find

their way into these latter countries (which have hitherto

excluded the foreigner more pertinaciously even than

the Chinese) indirectly by way of Ningpo ; and that, in

a few years, many articles expressly adapted for the

Japan market will be ordered to be manufactured in

this country, and sent to Chinese merchants at Ningpo.

This city is famous for its silks, which are very beautiful

of their kind ; and the shops are elegant, and well sup

plied with all kinds of Chinese manufactures. It is a

wealthier and much handsomer town than Amoy, and is

much superior in commercial importance to Foo-chow

foo, another of the newly -opened ports. Large junks

are even built on the Ningpo river, and the people have

always shown a great disposition to trade with foreigners.

Indeed this is the case in every part of China where the

people have not been held back by their mandarins.

Mr. Gutzlaff, in one of his early voyages, obtained a

list of all the foreign ships which had formerly visited

Ningpo, and found their number to be considerable ;

and it was stated to him that some of the very old

people still retained a very faint recollection of the fo

reigners. The Portuguese traded at this place in the

sixteenth century , and the English had a factory there

NINGPO . 315

as late as the middle of the last century. It was finally

pulled down in 1759, and all foreign trade was then

absolutely prohibited , by express orders from Pekin.

The principal objection made by the government at

that time to permit trade at Ningpo was simply " the

loss of the imperial revenue, accruing from the overland

carriage of tea and other goods to and from Canton.”

Add to this the great extortions of the local officers,

who here, as well as at Chusan , demanded such exorbi

tant fees and bribes, that it was found impossible to

carry on trade with any chance of profit.

It was at Ningpo that the Jesuit missionaries first set

foot in China ; and thence, making their way to Pekin,

succeeded by good policy, scientific acquirements, and

conciliatory demeanour, in winning the good-will of the

people, and the toleration of the government. This was

towards the end of the seventeenth century. For a time

they possessed great influence; and sanguine expecta

tions were entertained of the valuable results of their

labours, and of the rich fruits which would ripen to

maturity, as soon as the tree of Christianity which they

planted in China should spread its roots throughout the

land . Various causes conspired to produce their down

fall in China, principally connected with the political

state of Europe at that time. But it has been well ob

served by Sir George Staunton, in his preface to the

translation of the Penal Code of China, that “ the ex

tinction of the order of Jesuits in that country caused

the adoption of a plan of conversion more strict, and

probably more orthodox, but in the same proportion

more unaccommodating to the prejudices of the people,

316 NINGPO .

and more alarming to the jealousy of the government.

Generally speaking, it threw the profession into less able

hands, and the cause of Christianity and of Europe lost

much of its lustre and influence. The Jesuits were ge

nerally artists or men of science, as well as religious


Ultimately, the teaching of Christianity at Pekin was

strictly prohibited, and particular objection was made

to the printing or translation of books into the Chinese

and Tartar lunguages ; and in 1805 all books of this

kind were ordered to be seized and destroyed , and the

Tartar subjects were specially exhorted to attend to the

language of their own country, and the admonitions of

their own government; and, above all, to practice

riding and archery, and to study the works of the

learned and virtuous, and particularly to observe all the

social duties.

Thus we observe that Ningpo, which is now at

length for ever opened to the commerce and the inter

course of all foreigners, has already figured in past ages

as a place of vast importance, and has become distin

guished by many interesting associations.

To return from this digression . On the 7th of May,

1842, the city of Ningpo was given up, as it was im

possible to spare a garrison for so large a city. Neither

was it any longer necessary to retain possession of it, for

the occupation of Chinhae at the river's mouth would

command the whole trade of the city. Some of the

principal inhabitants, merchants, and others were assem

bled by Sir Hugh Gough, and into their hands the cus

tody of the city was given over, in the absence of all

NINGPO . 315

as late as the middle of the last century. It was finally

pulled down in 1759, and all foreign trade was then

absolutely prohibited , by express orders from Pekin .

The principal objection made by the government at

that time to permit trade at Ningpo was simply “ the

loss of the imperial revenue, accruing from the overland

carriage of tea and other goods to and from Canton.”

Add to this the great extortions of the local officers,

who here, as well as at Chusan , demanded such exorbi

tant fees and bribes, that it was found impossible to

carry on trade with any chance of profit.

It was at Ningpo that the Jesuit missionaries first set

foot in China ; and thence, making their way to Pekin,

succeeded by good policy, scientific acquirements, and

conciliatory demeanour, in winning the good -will of the

people, and the toleration of the government. This was

towards the end of the seventeenth century. For aa time

they possessed great influence ; and sanguine expecta

tions were entertained of the valuable results of their

labours, and of the rich fruits which would ripen to

maturity, as soon as the tree of Christianity which they

planted in China should spread its roots throughout the

land . Various causes conspired to produce their down

fall in China, principally connected with the political

state of Europe at that time. But it has been well ob

served by Sir George Staunton, in his preface to the

translation of the Penal Code of China, that “ the ex

tinction of the order of Jesuits in that country caused

the adoption of a plan of conversion more strict, and

probably more orthodox, but in the same proportion

more unaccommodating to the prejudices of the people,


force was divided into three columns : the right, com

posed of the 18th and 49th regiments, each being from

four to five hundred strong, together with aa few sappers

and miners, in all about nine hundred and twenty men

and forty - eight officers, was commanded by Lieutenant

Colonel Morris. The centre, under Lieutenant-Colonel

Montgomerie, (Madras Artillery) was composed of a

small detachment of the Royal Artillery, (twenty-five

men only) with the Madras Artillery and sappers, and

the Madras Rifles (one hundred men ) in all about four

hundred and sixty men, ( including lascars) and fifteen

officers. And the left, composed of the 26th and 55th

regiments, (the latter only half the strength of the

former) together with twenty -five sappers, in all eight

hundred and twenty men , and two hundred and thirty

officers, was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Schoedde.

On the 13th the ships of war, the Cornwallis, Blonde,

Modeste, Columbine, Starling, Algerine, and Plover,

with the troop-ship Jupiter, and several transports, got

under weigh with a light breeze ; they soon passed the

hill of Chinhae, (the Pelican being at anchor in the

river) and afterwards neared the Teshan Islands, and

then, hauling up to the westward, made the remarkable

hills about Chapoo, and anchored in seven and aa half

fathoms water, seventy- five miles from land . Chapoo

itself is in reality situated in what may be called an

open roadstead (with a shallow dry harbour close to the

town) on the northern side of the large deep bay, into

which the river which flows down past Hang-chow -foo,

called the Tshen -tang river, empties itself. The tides

there are remarkably rapid at all times ; and on the

CHAPOO . 319

following day a strong breeze setting in from the north

east with hazy weather, it was impossible to move from

the anchorage. The next day there was still no im

provement in the appearance of the weather, and it was

not until the 16th that a reconnoissance of Chapoo

could be made by the General and Admiral on board the

Phlegethon and Nemesis steamers.

No information upon which reliance could be placed

had been obtained, as to the actual strength of the Chi

nese force at Chapoo, but the general belief was, either

that a very large body of troops would be found there,

or that the place would have been abandoned altoge

ther by the enemy, for the purpose of concentrating

their forces for the protection of Hang -chow -foo. This

question was soon set at rest.

The view of Chapoo and the adjacent hills from the

sea as you approach the coast is very remarkable .

The town and its extensive suburbs are situated near

the western extremity of a small promontory, stretching

east and west for the distance of between four and five

miles. The suburbs, which appear to be the principal

resort for merchants and traders, and contain the most

wealthy shops, run along the edge of the beach, partly at

the foot of the hills which rise up on either side, and

partly occupying a low flat between them. The actual

walled town stands about half a mile in the rear, and

the nature and extent of its defences could not be accu

rately ascertained.

As the steamers were running in , so as to get near

enough to observe the nature of the Chinese defences,

and the works thrown upon the adjacent hills, a large


force was divided into three columns : the right, com

posed of the 18th and 49th regiments, each being from

four to five hundred strong, together with aa few sappers

and miners, in all about nine hundred and twenty men

and forty -eight officers, was commanded by Lieutenant

Colonel Morris. The centre, under Lieutenant-Colonel

Montgomerie, (Madras Artillery) was composed of a

small detachment of the Royal Artillery, (twenty-five

men only) with the Madras Artillery and sappers, and

the Madras Rifles (one hundred men) in all about four

hundred and sixty men, ( including lascars) and fifteen

officers. And the left, composed of the 26th and 55th

regiments, (the latter only half the strength of the

former) together with twenty -five sappers, in all eight

hundred and twenty men , and two hundred and thirty

officers, was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Schoedde.

On the 13th the ships of war, the Cornwallis, Blonde,

Modeste, Columbine, Starling, Algerine, and Plover,

with the troop-ship Jupiter, and several transports, got

under weigh with a light breeze ; they soon passed the

hill of Chinhae, (the Pelican being at anchor in the

river) and afterwards neared the Teshan Islands, and

then , hauling up to the westward , made the remarkable

hills about Chapoo, and anchored in seven and a half

fathoms water, seventy -five miles from land. Chapoo

itself is in reality situated in what may be called an

open roadstead (with a shallow dry harbour close to the

town) on the northern side of the large deep bay, into

which the river which flows down past Hang -chow -foo,

called the Tshen-tang river, empties itself. The tides

there are remarkably rapid at all times ; and on the

CHAPOO . 319

following day a strong breeze setting in from the north

east with hazy weather, it was impossible to move from

the anchorage. The next day there was still no im

provement in the appearance of the weather, and it was

not until the 16th that a reconnoissance of Chapoo

could be made by the General and Admiral on board the

Phlegethon and Nemesis steamers.

No information upon which reliance could be placed

had been obtained, as to the actual strength of the Chi

nese force at Chapoo, but the general belief was, either

that a very large body of troops would be found there,

or that the place would have been abandoned altoge

ther by the enemy, for the purpose of concentrating

their forces for the protection of Hang -chow -foo. This

question was soon set at rest.

The view of Chapoo and the adjacent hills from the

sea as you approach the coast is very remarkable.

The town and its extensive suburbs are situated near

the western extremity of a small promontory, stretching

east and west for the distance of between four and five

miles. The suburbs, which appear to be the principal

resort for merchants and traders, and contain the most

wealthy shops, run along the edge of the beach, partly at

the foot of the hills which rise up on either side, and

partly occupying a low flat between them. The actual

walled town stands about half a mile in the rear, and

the nature and extent of its defences could not be accu

rately ascertained .

As the steamers were running in, so as to get near

enough to observe the nature of the Chinese defences,

and the works thrown upon the adjacent hills, a large


fishing-boat was brought-to, to get information , and three

of the fishermen , being brought on board the Nemesis,

were questioned as to the number of Chinese troops, &c.,

on shore .. One of these men stoutly denied that there

were any soldiers there at all ; but, upon a threat that

they would all be hanged if they were found to conceal

the truth , the other two men declared that there was a

large force assembled for the defence of the place.

On a nearer approach it was observed that there were

three principal hills extending along the coast to the

eastward of the suburbs, for the distance of full three

miles, and two or three small islands lying off a little

bay at their eastern extremity, and contributing to

shelter it, and to make it a good landing -place for our

troops. Upon the heights above, several breastworks

were thrown up, particularly along the slopes between

the hills. Upon the side of the hill nearest the town

were two small batteries, mounting five and seven guns,

and upon a low hill in front of the suburbs there was a

circular battery of twelve to fourteen guns. Along the

shore, a little further westward, a masked battery was

commenced , but apparently not yet completed. The

steamers ran in close enough to be able, with aa glass, to

observe the mandarins despatching messengers along

the heights, upon which a great number of troops were

posted , but they did not fire at the steamers, although

they came within range. Indeed the Chinese seemed

disinclined to commence an action, and thus provoke a

contest .

Soundings were taken along the shore without any

interruption ; and Captain Hall landed with a boat's


crew upon a low beach, to see if it was adapted for land

ing troops. The anchorage was more completely sur

veyed by Commanders Kellett and Collinson, who care

fully sounded along the whole coast at night, thus ena

bling the Cornwallis, Blonde, Modeste, and the other

vessels before named, to take up advantageous positions

against the enemy's works, and to cover the landing of

the troops, which it was decided should take place in

the bay to the eastward before mentioned. From that

point it appeared to the General that the heights could

be turned, and the enemy cut off before they could

make good their retreat upon the walled city.

At daylight, on the 17th, the whole of the men-of

war and transports got under weigh, and stood in to

wards Chapoo, with a light breeze from the southward, the

Nemesis and Phlegethon leading, and giving the sound

ings by signal to the Cornwallis, the Algerine having

dropped astern , owing to the light wind . At eight, a.m. ,

they came to anchor about four miles off shore, it being

nearly calm and high water. The positions had already

been assigned to the respective ships, and particularly to

the steamers, who were to land the troops. The fleet got

under weigh again soon after one o'clock, with a fresh

breeze from the south-west, and beat in towards the

anchorage of Chapoo, which they reached in the evening,

when each ship took up its allotted position without

any obstacle. The Nemesis anchored close in shore, in

three fathoms water, and from her deck every move

ment of the Chinese could be seen , even without the aid

of a glass. The transports were anchored near the

islands, off the little bay to the eastward, where the

VOL . II . Y


troops were to land, under cover of the Starling, Colum

bine, Plover, and Algerine. The Cornwallis and Blonde

took up positions against the small batteries upon the

hill-side next the suburbs, upon the top of which there

was a temple, or joss-house, occupied by a large body

of the enemy, and the Modeste was placed nearer the

suburbs, to act against the works in front. The Neme

sis, Phlegethon, and Queen steamers were in the first

instance to land the troops from the transports, assisted

by the boats, while the Sesostris steamer was anchored

in shore, to shell the Chinese as they retreated before

our advancing troops.

The sun set clear and brilliant on that evening, the

last which many a brave man on both sides was doomed

to look upon. It was little thought that any serious

loss would be sustained on our side, and every heart

beat high that night, in expectation of the morrow. Our

gallant officers and men who fell were perhaps the least

fearful of the result, and counted on the glory, forgetful

of its price. The Chinese were on the alert during the

night, and brought down some large ginjals, which they

planted upon the hill-side, abreast of the Nemesis, but

did not make use of them.

At daylight next morning the Nemesis went along

side the transports, to take in the 18th Royal Irish,

under Colonel Tomlinson, and, having landed them in

the appointed bay, returned immediately to fetch part

of the 55th, together with the rifles; the remainder of

the 55th, with the 26th, 49th, and Artillery, being

landed by the Queen and Phlegethon, assisted by the

boats of the squadron, the whole under the direction of


Commander Charles Richards, of the Cornwallis. Sir

Hugh Gough landed with the first or right column

from the Nemesis, and at once occupied a height wbich

commanded the landing -place, without meeting with

any opposition. As usual , the Chinese had neglected

their flauks, as if an enemy could only think of attack

ing them where they were most prepared to defend


As soon as the whole of the troops were formed ,

Colonel Schoedde was directed to move with the 26th

and 55th regiments, forming the left column, and Colo

nel Montgomerie, with the Artillery and Rifles, forming

the centre, as rapidly as possible round the base of the

heights, in the rear of which there was a broken valley,

leading up in the direction of the walled town, from

which, by this means, the retreat of the Chinese would

be cut off. Sir Hugh Gough moved with the left column,

composed of the 18th and 49th regiments, under Colo

nel Morris, along the crest of the heights, driving the

enemy before him from one point to another. As soon

as the advance was sounded in that quarter, the ships

of war opened fire upon the enemy's right flank , near

the town, and after a few rounds, the Chinese fled from

their field -works, and from the joss-house upon the

summit of the hill.

The Nemesis, in the mean time, having united her

fire to that of the other ships, was signalized to close

the Cornwallis, for the purpose of protecting the landing

of the battalion of seamen and marines under Captain

Bourchier, who was accompanied by the Admiral him

self, who never shrunk from fatigue or danger, ashore

Y 2


or afloat. The enemy's right flank was now turned ,

and their principal works were fortunately carried before

the Chinese bad time to spring the mines which they

had prepared. The enemy was soon in full flight.

The Sesostris threw some shells in upon the Chinese

centre, as our troops advanced upon them from their

left; but, owing to the rapid movementof the left column

round the base of the hills, and the dangerous direction

of the line of fire of the steamer, there was at one time

more chance of danger to our own men than to the

Chinese. The sides of the hills were covered with a

great number of tombs, which, together with the broken

nature of the ground, afforded shelter and rallying

points for the enemy, behind which they occasionally

made a stand, and suffered severely in consequence.

Many of the Tartars were even seen deliberately cut

ting their own throats, as our men were advancing upon

them .

But the most terrible scene, and the point at which

the greatest loss on our side occurred , was a large house

partly enclosed with a wall, situated at the end of a little

valley, about a mile from the walls of the town. About

three hundred resolute Tartar soldiers, finding their

retreat cut off, took refuge in this building, determined

to sell their lives as dearly as possible, expecting no

quarter from their enemy. The defence of this large

building was no part of their original design ; but, as

they were driven into it, one after another, without any

means of escape, they were forced to defend themselves.

Then umber who might be inside was not at first known ;

and two small parties of the 18th and 49th, under Lieu


tenant Murray, of the former corps, and Lieutenant and

Adjutant Browne, of the latter, attempted to follow them

in, but were unable to effect an entrance. Of the 49th

party, Lieutenant Browne and Michell were the only

two who escaped untouched. One man was killed and

the rest wounded .

This little check was now reported to Lieutenant

Colonel Stevens of the 49th, who soon came up. Per

ceiving that there were a great many of the enemy

in the house, and that they were firing from the windows

and doors, he ordered our troops to be withdrawn under

cover, until the guns were brought up. Colonel Tom

linson, of the 18th, having overheard some injudicious

remarks which he thought reflected upon himself, in

stantly put himself at the head of a few of his own

regiment and of the 49th, and rushed in at the door

of the joss-house. Scarcely a second had elapsed when

he fell a corpse into the arms of his men, having re

ceived two balls in his neck . In fact, every man who

attempted to enter was either wounded or killed, as he

became exposed to the steady aim of the Tartars, in the

narrow doorway, the light being full upon him, while

the Tartars were themselves concealed from view.

The failure of this second attempt to enter the build

ing, added to the not unnatural exasperation occasioned

by the death of Colonel Tomlinson, rendered it very

difficult to restrain the men from recklessly exposing

themselves. Just at this time, one 6-pounder gun was

brought up by Major Knowles, and some rockets were

also thrown into the house, but did not succeed in setting

it on fire. The field -- piece made very little impression


upon the walls ; but it was important that the place

should be destroyed and the Tartars captured . In the

mean time, it was blockaded by two companies of the

18th Royal Irish.

While this was going on , Sir Hugh Gough had

marched on towards the city wall, and was joined there

by Sir William Parker with the naval brigade. As soon

as the Admiral had landed, Captain Hall, with three of

his officers (including the surgeon ), and sixteen men,

(eight seamen, and eight of the Bombay artillery ), also

landed as volunteers, and, after clearing a hill in their

front of some straggling Chinese soldiers, they ad

vanced directly up the hollow, at the extremity of

which stood the large building just mentioned. Already

Colonel Tomlinson was killed and several other officers

wounded ; both the rockets and the small field -piece had

failed to clear the house of its defenders. Captain

Pears, the Field Engineer, had also come up, and pro

posed to endeavour to blow in a portion of the outer

wall by means of a bag of powder.

Seeing a small side-door open , Captain Hall, followed

by Lieutenant Fitzjames and one of his own men, got close

to it and fired into it, wounding a Tartar mandarin, but

it was too bazardous to try to force a passage in ; and,

as the defenders kept up a smart fire from the windows

above, it was necessary to retire under cover. An

attempt was then made to set fire to the building, by

throwing combustibles in at the principal door ; and Cap

tain Hall rushed in towards it, with a bundle of straw in

one hand and his sword in the other, followed by several

of his men and one or two officers. Scarcely had he


reached the doorway, when a smart fire was opened

from within, by which two men were shot dead close by

his side, but he himself escaped as if by a miracle.

The bodies were instantly removed to a place of

safety, and this attempt failed, as the others had done.

Three or four of the Tartars now made an attempt to

escape, by rushing out of the doorway, and ran the

gauntlet of ten or a dozen shots directed at them. They

ran for their lives and escaped, although, from the

traces of blood, it was thought that more than one of

them must have been wounded .

Captain Pears at length got a powder- bag fixed to the

northern wall of the building, which blew it in ; and a

small party of the 18th again attempted to enter it,

but one of them was killed, and two wounded, and the

rest withdrew . In fact, it was so dark inside the build

ing, and the space was so narrow , that it was impos

sible to make a rush at it.

It was next proposed to set the place on fire, for on

one side the upper part of the building appeared to be

built of wood. Another powder -bag was fixed to that

side of the house, just below the wood -work , in the

hope that it would knock it all down together, or else

set it on fire. The explosion was so powerful that it

not only destroyed part of the wall, but brought down

the wood-work above it, and thus many of the Tartars

above became exposed, of whom some were shot, and

others succeeded in getting down below. But, wherever

a Tartar showed himself at a window in any part of the

building, several muskets were levelled at him ; and, on

the other hånd, so well did the Tartars take aim with


their matchlocks, that one of the Royal Irish, who would

persist in merely peeping round the doorway “ just to

see if he couldn't pick off a Tartar,” received a shot in

his knee, before he had himself time to fire.

The fragments of the wood -work, which had tumbled

down , were now collected into a heap by the sappers,

and set on fire, which soon communicated to the rest

of the building. Gradually, as it spread, the match

locks of the Tartars (probably of the fallen) were heard

to go off, and loud cries were uttered . The rest of the

defenders must evidently surrender ; and, on entering

the doorway, the poor fellows could now be seen strip

ping off their clothes to avoid the flames, and running

about in despair from one side to the other. About

fifty were taken prisoners, but two or three, who tried

to escape, were shot; and so exasperated were the 18th

at the loss of their colonel and some of their comrades,

that it was not without difficulty they were prevented

from putting several of the prisoners to death . These

were now tied together by their tails, in parties of eight

or ten , so that they could not well run away all together ;

and they were marched off, under an escort, to the walled

town , which had already been taken possession of.

The walls had been scaled near the east gate, by the

grenadiers of the 55th, without opposition ; and the

other gates of the town were soon occupied by passing

round the ramparts . There were few guns, or even

ginjals, mounted on them ; and the Chinese, having

been once driven from the heights, and cut off from the

city, were dispersed all over the country, a large body

of them taking the direction of Hang-chow -foo.


Between Chapoo and that city there is a good canal

communication, supposed to be connected with the

grand canal itself ; and, in addition to that, the com

munication by land , along a good causeway, broad

enough for artillery, gave many facilities for an im

mediate advance upon the capital. It was said also

that a curious Chinese map of the road and of the

adjacent country had been obtained ; but, with so

small a force, it was not thought advisable to march

further inland .

If the loss of the Chinese was great on this day, so

was it on our side much greater than on any previous

occasion. The high spirit of the Tartar soldiers, the

descendants of the conquerors of China, and soldiers by

birthright, could not brook a total defeat ; and, when

they were also stimulated by the excitement of opium,

their self-devotion and stubbornness tended to increase

their loss. When they could no longer fight, they could

die ; and the instances of mad self -destruction, both

within the city and without, were perfectly horrible.

Many of the Tartars were with difficulty prevented

from cutting their throats, which they attempted to do

with apparent indifference. On visiting the large build

ing, or joss-house, which had resisted so long and had

cost so many lives, a number of dead and wounded men

were found huddled together in a horrible manner, in

one of the outbuildings attached to it. The ruins of

the house were still smoking, and our object was to

drag out the wounded and put them under cover until

they could be properly attended to, for, on all occasions,

the Chinese wounded received every attention that


could be shown them from our medical officers. Just

as our men began to move aside the dead bodies, a

Tartar soldier, who had until now concealed himself

among them, literally rising from the dead, stood up

suddenly and drew his sword. But, instead of making

a dash for his life, or giving himself up as a prisoner,

he began deliberately to hack his own throat with the

rusty weapon, and inflicted two wounds upon himself

before his hand could be stopped. Another man was

found concealed in a deep hollow in the earth, where

there was a sort of oven, and could not be got out

until some men were sent to dig him out, and he was

then found to be wounded . Altogether, the scene at

this house was quite enough by itself to appal any man

with the horrors of war. Many of the wounded were

dreadfully mutilated, and the dead bodies were charred

and disfigured.

A large building in the city was specially set apart

for the Chinese wounded, and the great kindness and

attention they received at Chapoo produced important

effects afterwards upon the authorities, and induced

them to treat our prisoners with kindness, instead of

torturing them to death, as had frequently been the

case. The veteran Elepoo, who was, in fact, at that

time governor of Chapoo (having been partially restored

to favour by the Emperor), expressly thanked the

General and the Admiral for their humanity, in a letter


written about a month after svards . “ On inquiry,” said

he, “ I found that you gave the hungry rice to eat, and

allowed to the wounded medical attendance, and we

feel obliged for your kindness and courtesy.” But this


was not the only mark of their gratitude, as we shall

presently relate.

Too much praise cannot be given to the super

intending surgeon , Dr. French (often mentioned in the

despatches) , and the other medical officers, for their

constant attention to the Chinese wounded, whenever

they had an opportunity. Occasionally, however, the

Chinese refused all assistance.

Among the Tartar population, who were here for the

first time met with, living entirely separate from the

Chinese, and preserving their own habits and privileges,

it is admitted by all that the most shocking scenes

were witnessed ; and the similar barbarities which were

afterwards observed at the Tartar city of Chin -keang

foo confirm all that has been said of the cruel and

revolting practices of that remarkable people in time

of war . All accounts concur in giving their testimony

to the fact of the self -destruction of whole Tartar

families ; the women destroying their children, drown

ing them in wells, and throwing themselves in after

wards ; the husbands hanging and poisoning their

wives, and deliberately cutting their own throats.

Every effort was made to put a stop to these barba

rities, and every means were used to pacify and soothe

the people ; but as the greater part of the Tartar popu

lation had abandoned the Tartar portion of the city,

the Chinese rabble set about plundering it, and frightened

the few who remained, even more than our own people.

In fact, Chapoo was exposed to plunder by both sides ;

but the people themselves were uniformly treated with

consideration .


The Tartar town, which was separated from the other

by a wall enclosing about one-fourth of the space within

the city, presented its peculiar aspect. The houses were

disposed something after the manner of tents in an en

campment, one of the last traces of the wandering pas

toral habits of the race ; to each hut was attached a

small bit of open ground, with a bamboo fence round it,

and a few trees within ; and the vine was not unfre

quently seen twining itself among the bamboos. Their

scanty furniture was more rude than that of the Chinese ;

and the bow, with its quiver full of arrows, the spear,

the sword, and the matchlock, seemed to be the most

cherished ornaments of their abode. They alone are

permitted to retain their weapons in their own charge.

Indeed, the Tartar here lives as a conqueror, and glories

in the emblems of conquest which he still has around

him. In other respects, they are all subject to the same

laws, and wear the same dress, but differ a good deal

in their countenance and expression. Commonly the

Tartars are a fairer people than the Chinese, and some

of them much resemble Europeans.

It is worthy of remark , that the conquerors imposed

upon the conquered the practice of shaving the head, ex

cept the back part, with its long tail ; but they themselves

took care never to adopt the absurd Chinese custom of pre

venting the growth of the female foot, and even deform

ing it, in such a way as to render it nearly useless to its

owner . From the Emperor's court to the lowest sol

dier's wife, no Tartar woman ever has her foot tortured

into deformity. At Chusan, I remember seeing a Tartar

woman walking about with her natural undeformed feet,


and she was looked at as a curiosity by the Chinese

inhabitants, who stared and smiled as if they thought it

a strange innovation .

The attention of children to their parents, for which

the Chinese as well as Tartars are remarkable, was shewn

in many instances, even amid the trials of war, at Cha

poo.. The aged and infirm were of course unable to fly

from the city, and many of these were found in the

Tartar houses, carefully tended by their daughters, who

staid behind, and braved the expected horrors of an

enemy's approach, rather than abandon an aged parent.

There were some touching scenes of this kind ; and

when they found that they were not treated harshly,

their fears, which at first were distressing, gradually

disappeared. It is to be hoped that the example of

humanity and of forbearance, which was set on all occa

sions by the new conquerors, will serve greatly to

modify the barbarous ideas of war which they appeared

to entertain, and cause them to respect and admire the

principles of the advanced civilization of Europeans, as

well as to dread their power.

The country about Chapoo is perhaps one of the

richest and most beautifully cultivated spots in the

world . It nearest resembles some of the prettiest parts

of Devonshire. The low hills immediately adjoining

the town, the rich, luxuriant, well-watered plain be

yond, interspersed with numerous hamlets and villages,

with their curiously-shaped blue tiled roofs, and inter

sected by canals and causeways, formed a very attrac

tive panorama, and served to indicate the means by

which so dense a population is supported. But even


there the horrors of war were still to be traced ; dead

bodies floating along the canals (probably of wounded

who had been carried away and had died) ; parties of Chi

nese plunderers, hastening across the country, laden

with every kind of property ; and perhaps occasionally

a little quiet European foraging party , hunting out

ducks, and fowls, and pigs, for which, however, it is

but justice to say that the peasants were generally

very well paid .

It was not the object of Sir Hugh Gough to occupy

the city longer than was necessary for the purpose of

destroying the Arsenals, and property belonging to the

government, including of course the iron guns, gin

jals, &c. The brass ones, some of which were very good,

were sent over to Chusan, as were also our own wounded

men . Several horses, or rather ponies, which had be

longed to mandarins, were captured by our officers ;

and one of these, a stout grey, was carried up to Cal-.

cutta in the Nemesis, after the war was over.

The number of Chinese engaged at Chapoo has been

estimated at between seven and eight thousand men , of

whom about one - fourth were Tartars. It is difficult to

estimate the number of their killed and wounded, but

it must have been very great ; it has been estimated

that nearly one-sixth of them suffered more or less.

On our side, two officers, one sergeant, and ten men

were killed, including three of the naval brigade, of

which two belonged to the Nemesis ; six officers, one

sergeant, and about forty -five men were wounded, many

of them severely. The following were the names of

the officers killed and wounded : Killed - Lieutenant


Colonel Tomlinson, 18th Royal Irish, and Captain Colin

Campbell, 55th regiment, died two or three days after,

from a severe wound in the head. Wounded — Staff,

Lieutenant-Colonel Mountain, C.B., Deputy -Adjutant

General, severely (three balls in his back) ; Lieutenant

A. E. Jodrell, 18th ; Lieutenant A. Murray, 18th,

Captain T. S. Reynolds, 49th, Lieutenant and Adjutant

W.P. K. Browne, 49th, and Lieutenant J. G. Johnstone,

Madras Sappers and Miners .

There were ten brass guns taken, together with

eighty-two iron ones, and aa number of ginjals, &c. The

Chinese prisoners were all sent back before our force

left the place, and a certain sum of money was given to

each of them, as will be particularly mentioned in the

next chapter. And this fact, coupled with the kind

ness which the wounded had received, led to the resto

ration of all our kidnapped prisoners shortly afterwards,

with similar or larger presents, conferred upon them by

the orders of the Chinese authorities.



Overtures made by the Chinese — Exchange of prisoners — Generous con

duct of Elepoo - Anecdote - Our prisoners led through the Chinese camp

-Hong merchants ordered up from Canton-Not received — Rendez

vous at the mouth of the Yangtze river — Reconnoissance of Woo

sung -Junks laden with iced fish - Mandarins going their rounds

Anecdote of the Nemesis — Woosung river and its batteries described

Dispositions for the attack—Ships all towed into action by steamers—

Spirited fire of the Chinese— Positions of the ships — Modeste and Ne

mesis roughly handled — Captain Watson's gallantry - War junks and

wheel boats attacked by the Nemesis Description — Proceedings of

the light squadron - Captain Watson lands and attacks the flank of

the long battery - Warm reception - Desperate resistance of the Tar

tars — A check—The enemy give way—Sir Hugh Gough lands, and

proceeds to capture Paou -shan - Advance upon Shanghai - Descrip

tion of that city-A wealthy commercial emporium - Remarks on the

country and character of the people - Chinese Arcadia — Amusing

descriptions — Tea -gardens - Ice-houses -Bishop of Shanghai -His

history - Sporting - Steamers proceed up the river - Nearly reach

Soo -chow - foo—Our forces are again concentrated at Woosung.

The results of the capture of Chapoo, and of the

total defeat of the best troops the Chinese had yet

brought against us, were very remarkable. On the one

hand, the people more than ever dreaded our power,

while they also wondered at our forbearance ; and, on

the other hand, the tone of the government began evi


dently to change, and overtures were now made (pro

bably with a view to gain time,) to induce our military

and naval commanders -in -chief to suspend hostilities.

Advances of a similar kind had been made at Chinhae,

but did not appear to be founded upon sufficient autho

rity to permit them to be entertained . They were

renewed at Chapoo, but in an equally unsatisfactory

manner ; and the agent of the Chinese on both occa

sions, and also on subsequent ones, was a mandarin of

low degree, the very sending of whom was sufficient to

point out that their object was merely to sound our

disposition, and blind our credulity. Sir Henry Pot

tinger was still at Hong Kong, which place he did not

leave until the beginning of June, so that under any

circumstances the only result at present could have

been a temporary suspension of hostilities.

At Hang-chow-foo, the people were so much alarmed

that they openly expressed their dissatisfaction to the

High Imperial Commissioner Yih-king, who was also

generalissimo of the forces, a member of the imperial

cabinet, and a relation of the Emperor. But, above

all, the generous treatment of the Chinese prisoners, by

the orders of Sir Hugh Gough, the attention shown to

their wounded, and their being at last all given up

before our forces left Chapoo, each of them receiving a

present of money, (about three dollars for each man)

all these humane proceedings together produced a most

powerful impression upon all classes of the Chinese.

When the Chinese prisoners were sent back from

Chapoo, a letter was at the same time addressed to

VOL . II . z


Elepoo,' in reply to the overtures which had been

made. It was to the effect, “ that hostilities could not

be suspended until the Chinese government were dis

posed to negociate on the terms offered by the British

Government, through the medium of Her Majesty's

Plenipotentiary , who was then daily expected at

Chusan .”

Elepoo was determined not to be outdone in cour

tesy, and before our fleet entered the Yangtze river, he

sent a very important and remarkable letter addressed

to our commanders-in-chief, styling them , the “ Ho

nourable General and Admiral.” He talked a great

deal about good faith and sincerity, and thanked them

for sending back the prisoners, and for the attention

and kindness shown to the wounded . He proceeded to

inform them , that he had in return sent back all our


prisoners to Chapoo, who had been previously kept at

Hang -chow -foo ; but that, on their arrival there, it was

found that the fleet had already sailed, in conse

quence of which they were obliged to be taken back.

He further added, curiously enough for a high Chinese

authority, when we consider what had hitherto been

the tone of all their proclamations, " that he was de

* At this time, the venerable and high-minded Elepoo, who was Lieute

nant General of Chapoo, was partially restored to favour by the Emperor

after being disgraced and deprived of the government of the two Keang

provinces which he formerly held. This is the same officer who, when

he was sent down as Imperial Commissioner to the province of Chekeang,

for the purpose of “ arranging affairs with the barbarians, " nobly gave

up all our prisoners, including Captain Anstruther, Lieutenant Douglas,

and Mrs. Noble ; but was disgraced and punished by the Emperor.

ELEPOO . 339

sirous to negociate and make arrangements, in order to

protect the lives of the people of both countries.”

Neither the prisoners nor the letter were, however,

received for some time afterwards; for, on finding

that none of our ships were left at Chapoo to receive

them , they were taken back to Hang -chow -foo, at the

end of three or four days, where they were now ex

tremely well treated. By Elepoo's orders thirty dollars

were afterwards paid to every white man, and fifteen

dollars to every native of India, or, as they called them,

to every “ black man ;" thereby marking their sense of

the distinction between them . Altogether there were

sixteen prisoners restored by the Chinese, two of whom

belonged to the Nemesis, one being an English seaman,

the other a negro lad, who had been a slave at Macao,

but had escaped and came on board the Nemesis, where

he turned out a very smart useful lad. They had been

kidnapped at Chusan, and thence carried over to the

mainland .

After having been brought back to Hang -chow -foo

from Chapoo, the prisoners remained there five days,

and were well fed and taken care of. They were then

put into sedan chairs, and carried through the whole

Chinese army encamped to the southward of that city.

The camp appeared to be of immense extent, and full of

soldiers, who crowded round the sedan chairs with eager

curiosity, but without attempting to offer any violence.

They appeared particularly amused at the appearance

of the black men. It was remarked, that about one in

ten of the soldiers was armed with a matchlock , the

rest having only spears, swords, and bows and arrows,

ጊ 9

340 ELEPOO .

the latter of which they seemed to be most proud of.

The danger they ran of having their clothes set on fire

by the match, particularly when wounded , or by the

ignition of the powder, always made them more or less

afraid of arming themselves with the matchlock.

After travelling for several days, partly in sedans

and partly along canals, during which they passed a

large town called Chow -king, apparently as large as

the capital itself, the prisoners arrived at Yuyow, on the

11th of June, whence they were conveyed to Ningpo,

and after a very short halt proceeded down the river to

Chinhai, were they were most joyfully received on

board H. M. brig Pelican, by Captain Napier.

Communications subsequently took place, between

Elepoo and our military and naval commanders -in

chief. In one of these Elepoo says, that he is sur

prised to learn that the fleet of our “ honourable coun

try had sailed up the Woosung river, firing guns and

stirring up a quarrel ; and then expresses his regret that

the war had already lasted so long, and that many lives

had been lost, and unspeakable misery produced . Is it

not far better to enjoy the blessings of peace, than to

fight for successive years, and to fill the land with the

bodies of the slain ?” This, however, was merely an

attempt to lull the activity of our commanders, and to

delay their measures by pretence of negociation .

The reply of Sir Hugh Gough and Sir William

Parker was characteristic ; namely, “ that they were

thankful to Elepoo for having sent back the British

subjects who were prisoners, begged to assure him that

they gladly recognised in this act the good feeling

ELEPOO . 341

which should always subsist between civilized nations.

In respect to the other letter, they added that with the

utmost desire to lessen the calamities of war, it was

their duty to proceed with hostilities, until they were

assured that a functionary duly authorized by his Im

perial Majesty should be prepared to negociate a peace,

and to meet those just demands which had been re

peatedly submitted to his Imperial Majesty. With

every respect for his exalted position and acknowledged

probity, the high British officers must remind his Ex

cellency that they have not yet been apprised that he

iş, authorized to treat, on the conditions promulgated

by the British Government.”

The high tone of these letters must have rather

surprised both the veteran Elepoo and the Imperial

Cabinet. They had been so long accustomed to com

municate with foreigners only through inferior agents,

that they could hardly bring themselves on a sudden

to adopt the practice of conducting negociations upon

a footing of perfect equality. The ingenious expedient

was therefore resorted to, of sending to Canton, to

order up some of the Hong merchants to act as me

diators. The aged Howqua excused himself on account

of his infirmities, but sent his only surviving son in his

place, accompanied by Samqua, another Hong merchant

of repute, and two linguists.

The journey from Canton to the province of Che

keang, or rather to that part of it in which their ser

vices might be required, Hang - chow -foo, or Soo -chow

foo, a distance of upwards of six hundred geogra

phical miles, was no pleasing task in the middle of


summer, particularly in a country where the only mode

of travelling is in sedan chairs . However, they were

compelled to go ; but were as speedily sent back again,

without having been permitted to hold any communi

cation whatever with any of our high officers. Indeed ,

Sir Henry Pottinger had long before so positively re

fused to receive both the Hong merchants and the Pre

fect of Canton, that it is surprising how any further

expectation could have been formed that their services

would be required.

While speaking of the Hong merchants, it is worth

mentioning that about this time notice was sent by the

aged Howqua to the foreign residents at Canton, that

there was reason to believe that some of the wells had

been poisoned, and that there were venders of poisoned

provisions about the streets . Whether the report was

true or not, the diabolical purpose was thus frustrated,

and no bad results followed .

We must now return to the operations of our forces,

subsequently to the capture of Chapoo. Fortunately,

the health of the troops had been good , during their

ten days' stay on shore, so that nearly the whole force

was in a condition to take part in the projected ope

rations in the Yangtze river. Lieutenant- Colonel Tom

linson, whose death was so much lamented by all his

brother officers, was buried at sea, soon after Chapoo

was taken, being carried out in the Phlegethon, as it

was feared that, if a grave were dug for him on shore,

his remains might be taken up by the Chinese, and a

great boast made of their having killed one of the high

English officers.


On the 27th May, a great part of the troops were

embarked on board the different transports, and . the

remainder on the following morning, when the whole

fleet got under weigh. On the 29th, they anchored in

a safe and extensive sound, which had been discovered

by Captains Kellett and Collinson, at the Rugged

Islands, about forty miles to the eastward of Chapoo.

Some days were spent at this anchorage, in order that

a proper channel into the Yangtze river for large ves

sels might be carefully examined. During this interval,

the Admiral took an opportunity of revisiting Chusan,

in the H. C. steamer Pluto, which had just arrived

from England, together with the small iron steamer

Ariadne, from Bombay.

On the 5th June, the whole fleet stood up towards

the entrance of the river, but their progress was much

delayed by the great strength of the tides, and also by

fogs, so that they did not reach the appointed rendez

vous off the Amherst rocks, (a little to the eastward of

the mouth of the river) until the 8th, having always

been obliged to anchor at night.

A further delay now occurred , while the Modeste,

with the Nemesis and Pluto steamers, were detached to

intercept the communications up the river, and to re

connoitre the defences of Woosung. A large fleet of

trading junks was soon espied near the latter place,

and the Nemesis was ordered to give chase, and bring

them to. She very soon got ahead of them and cut

them off, obliging them to anchor immediately. Some,

however, persisted in holding their course, until several

shots had been fired across their bows. The junkmen


appeared terribly frightened, although Mr. Gutzlaff,

who was on board the Nemesis, assured them that they

would receive no injury, and would be allowed to de

part again, as soon as their cargoes had been examined.

One, however, still refused to come to anchor, until two

shots had been sent completely through his vessel. On

boarding her, the cause of the obstinacy was soon dis

covered. There were a number of Chinese or Tartar

ladies on board, one of whom, a handsome young person ,

was sitting with a child in her arms, which she pressed

closely to her bosom, in the most forlorn attitude, near

the stern of the vessel. Fortunately no one on board

had been wounded by the shot ; but among other things

which attracted attention were a number of coffins,

which it was at first conjectured might be filled with

valuable property of various kinds, which they were

thus endeavouring to carry off without discovery.

One of them was soon opened, when it was found

to contain literally what it was intended for ; and it

was hence supposed that these unhappy people might

have escaped from Chapoo, and carried their dead with

them .

A great number of junks were found laden with

the most beautiful fish, very carefully packed in ice,

probably destined for Nankin , and for places along

the imperial canal ; but it is remarkable that none of

these cargoes were fallen in with afterwards higher up

the river ; which tended to prove that there were innu

merable canals by which they could convey their pro

duce into the interior, without proceeding up the main

river beyond a certain point , thereby avoiding the


delays occasioned by the currents, and the dangers of

the navigation. This excellent opportunity of getting

well supplied with fish and ice was not allowed to pass

unheeded , but none of the junks were detained beyond

a few hours. One junk, however , was always kept

back, until another made its appearance ; but, as it was

impossible for strangers to distinguish at a distance the

kind of junks which were loaded with such a welcome

cargo, every captain was made to understand that he

would have to supply fish and ice for the use of the

steamer, until he could point out another junk coming

up the river with a similar cargo, which was then to

take his place, and he was to be liberated. In this

way, one continued to succeed the other. This hint

was quite sufficient to put the fellows in excellent

humour. It was curious to observe what a sharp look

out they kept, frequently climbing up to the mast-head to

see if their longed -for substitute was approaching. The

one who last arrived soon reconciled himself to this fate

very good-naturedly, when informed by his predecessor

that no great harm would be done to him . They all,

however, seemed very glad to get away, the moment

permission was given to them, and refused all kind of

payment when offered . Fresh fish of the best quality,

and plenty of ice to cool the wine and beer, were unex

pected luxuries.

At Woosung, Captain Watson, with the Modeste,

which was anchored just out of range of the batteries,

was occupied for several days in sounding the channel,

and was assisted in this duty by the Pluto, under Lieu

tenant Tudor. They were ordered to reconnoitre the


mouth of the Woosung river, (which empties itself into

the Yangtze about twenty -five miles up its southern

branch ) preparatory to the grand attack upon the


The night of the 11th of June was particularly dark

and rainy, and the opportunity appeared singularly

favourable for making a close reconnoissance of the bat

teries. The Modeste lay some way off shore, and the

tide was running so strong that it was impossible for

Captain Hall, who had anchored the Nemesis much

nearer in, to communicate with his senior officer, Captain

Watson, concerning the plan which he proposed for

reconnoitring the batteries. About two hours before

midnight, the cutter of the Nemesis was ordered away ,

manned and armed, to make a close examination of the

batteries, and of the channel leading into the Woosung

river, which the former were principally designed to


Having carefully sounded the channel, Captain Hall

boldly pushed in as quietly as possible, towards the front

of the batteries ; and being favoured by the boisterous

weather, he landed on the beach without being dis

covered. He could now distinguish the Chinese sentry

quite near him ; and on looking through one of the

embrasures, he could see one of the military mandarins

on duty, going his rounds along the battery, attended

by two armed soldiers, one of whom carried a large

paper lantern before him, which threw a strong light in

his face, and prevented him of course from seeing ob

jects, even at a very short distance from him . It was

evident, therefore, that the Chinese were upon the alert ;


and it would have been very easy , with the help of the

boat's crew, to have made prisoners both of the man

darin and the two soldiers, before the alarm could have

been given .

After three hours' examination, and a heavy pull

against the rapid current which prevails there, the boat

of the Nemesis got back to the vessel ; and on the fol

lowing day she rejoined the Admiral off the Amherst

rocks. It was about this time that the little Ariadne

steamer, having been sent to ascertain the exact posi

tion of a rock lying off the mouth of the Yangtze,

unfortunately ran directly upon it, and was bilged. A

sail was immediately passed under her bottom , to cover

the leak, and she was towed by the Sesostris into

Chusan harbour, where, owing to some unforeseen acci

dent, she afterwards went down in deep water, and all

attempts to get her up again failed.

On the 13th, Sir William Parker in the Cornwallis,

accompanied by the Blonde, Columbine, Jupiter troop

ship, and the Phlegethon , Tenasserim, and Medusa,

steamers, together with twelve transports, got under

weigh from the anchorage off Amherst rocks, and suc

ceeded in reaching the mouth of the Woosung river,

without any accident whatever. The Clio, Bentinck

(since called Plover), Starling, and two transports, had

been stationed as beacon-vessels, to mark the proper

channel ; which however was so shallow , that for a part

of the distance there was little more water (only a few

feet,) than the actual draught of the Cornwallis.

On the following day , the Admiral and the General

proceeded in the Medusa steamer, the smallest which


was under his command since the loss of the Ariadne,

and jocularly christened the Pilot Fish, to make a close

reconnoissance of the whole line of defences extending

along both sides of the Woosung river.

It is here necessary to bear in mind the relative posi

tion of the Woosung river in respect to the Yangtze, in

order to avoid confusion in reading the account of the

operations. The former empties itself into the latter

on its right bank, and the village or small town of

Woosung, which contains nearly five hundred houses,

stands at its mouth. This place was visited by Mr.

Medhurst, during his missionary tour up the coast of

China in 1835 , and the people were there found to be

remarkably civil and well disposed .

The breadth of the river at its entrance may be about

a mile, but the channel for vessels of moderate burden

is somewhat intricate, and scarcely more than three

hundred yards wide. The course of the river runs

nearly north and south, and, as it joins the great Yang

tze, its banks gradually widen out, until they are soon

lost in the banks of the larger river. The principal

line of defence was situated along its western bank,

running from the upper end of the village of Woosung

for a distance of full three miles along the river's

mouth, and curving gradually round towards the banks

of Yangtze river.

The town of Paoushan is situated nearly two miles in

the rear of the batteries at that end. This long line

of embrasures mounted not less than one hundred and

thirty-four guns ; but they were generally a great deal

too wide, and the battery was constructed of earth ,


very much like the works already described at Chusan.

Stakes were driven in along the front to protect it from

the sudden landing of troops, and probably to secure

the banks from the effects of inundations.

Just above the village of Woosung, and skirting it

on its southern side, was a large creek or canal, com

municating with the river, and protected by a strong

semicircular stone battery regularly built, and mount

ing ten brass 24-pounder guns. From its position, it

served to defend the river itself, for it commanded the

whole reach, as well as the mouth of the creek.

On the eastern side of the river, opposite Woosung,

stood a strong fort principally built of brick, nearly of

a circular form , and from its elevation calculated to

have a long range. It was flanked by a line of em

bankments, with embrasures not yet completed, but

mounting altogether twenty-one guns. There were

one hundred and seventy -five guns mounted for the

defence of Woosung . But it was not the number of

guns which constituted the strength of its defences .

The choicest Tartar troops had been collected at this

point , who were prepared to defend it obstinately . They

worked their guns with great spirit, and kept up a

better sustained fire than they had done on any previous

occasionl ; and when their principal line of battery was

turned by the movement of a body of seamen and

marines upon their flank , they defended themselves

with remarkable obstinacy and courage, and did not

hesitate to measure the sword with the cutlass, or to

cross the spear with the bayonet.

There was some difficulty in finding a spot where


troops could be disembarked with a view to turn the

position, for the water shoaled to three feet, within two

hundred yards of the banks, and the disembarkation

could only be effected under cover of the guns of our

ships. One spot was pointed out near the centre of the

battery, between Woosung and Paoushan, but the prac

ticability of it was at first doubtful. But this difficulty

was afterwards set at rest by the landing of the marines

and blue jackets under Captain Bourchier at that point.

The only other alternative was to land the troops high up,

towards the extremity of the line of works above Paou

shan, and then occupy that town.. There was every proba

bility, however, that the engagement would be almost

entirely confined to the naval branch of the expedition.

On the morning of the 16th, both the tide and the

state of the weather being favourable, the Admiral de

termined that the attack should be made without

further delay, and ordered that the ships should be

towed into action by the steamers, so that they would

be enabled to take up the precise positions allotted to

them . There were five steamers ready for the service,

besides the little Medusa, which was reserved to meet

any unforeseen contingency. It was the first action in

which the ships of war were all towed into their ap

pointed stations. The little Algerine was the only

exception, as she was directed to get in as near as pos

sible, under sail. Even the North Star, Captain Sir E.

Home, which only came in sight just as the action had

already commenced, was towed in by the Tenasserim,

which, after placing the Blonde in her proper position ,

was sent out on purpose to fetch her.


The Cornwallis and Blonde, being the two heaviest

ships, were to take up their positions in front of the

batteries, just below the village of Woosung, and the

light squadron was then to pass them and proceed up

the river to attack the village, and the battery at the

mouth of the creek above it, and also the circular bat

tery on the opposite or east side of the river. The light

squadron consisted of the Modeste, Columbine, and

Clio, towed respectively by the Nemesis, Phlegethon ,

and Pluto.

The channel had been buoyed off the previous night,

and two junks had been moored so as to mark the en

trance, on the eastern side of which there ran out a

long sand bank. The Chinese, far from offering any

opposition to the boats employed to lay down the buoys,

encouraged them with a cheer of defiance. But the

little Medusa steamer was immediately carried as close

in shore as possible, assisted by several guard-boats,

to prevent any attempt of the Chinese to remove the

buoys before the ships proceeded to take up their

stations .

At the dawn of day on the 16th all the ships of

war got under weigh, and by six o'clock they were in

tow of their respective steamers. In this instance,

and indeed throughout all the operations in the north

of China, under Sir William Parker, the steamers were

always lashed alongside the vessels they had to tow,

instead of going ahead. This plan was found to

answer remarkably well in the intricate navigation of

the Yangtze river, as the movements of both vessels

were more easily managed . The Blonde, towed by the


Tenasserim , led in towards the batteries ; the Corn

wallis followed, bearing the Admiral's flag, and lashed

alongside of the Sesostris. This post of honour was

assigned to the Blonde, because, as soon as the light

squadron had passed up the Woosung, she would have

been nearer at hand to support them, if necessary .

The Blonde and Cornwallis received the fire of the

Chinese, which was opened with great spirit, without

returning a shot, until they had anchored by the stern

in excellent positions. The light squadron then passed

them , except the little Algerine, which could not follow

the rest under sail, and therefore brought up a little

astern of the Admiral's ship.

The Modeste, under Captain Watson, who commanded

the light squadron, was towed by the Nemesis up the

river in gallant style, boldly dashing in towards the creek

above the village of Woosung, and receiving a severe

and well-directed fire from the whole line of batteries,

but more particularly from the battery of ten brass

guns situated at the corner of the creek, the approach

to which, as before described, it commanded. Both of

these vessels suffered a good deal, in executing this

bold man @ uvre ; and in order to shelter the men , they

were all ordered to lie down at quarters, on board the

Nemesis, until the Modeste had been placed in a good

position . The fire of the Chinese was severe and well

directed .

Some way further up the river, fourteen war-junks

were in sight, and also five large newly-built wheel

boats, each moved by four wooden paddle -wheels.

These vessels also opened fire, but at such a distance


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that their shot fell short. The Columbine, towed by

the Phlegethon, and the Clio by the Pluto, followed

their gallant leader up the river towards the creek.

In the mean time, the North Star was observed just

coming up towards the mouth of the river, and the Te

nasserim steamer, which had just cast off the Blonde,

was now sent out to tow her into action, and she was

placed just ahead of the Blonde.

The Nemesis cast off the Modeste as soon as she had

carried her up to the mouth of the creek, and within

musket- shot of the ten gun -battery, and then opened

fire with her foremost gun upon the war -junks, and with

her after -gun upon the battery itself. The junks re

turned the fire as the Nemesis advanced towards them ,

but the moment she came within range of grape and

canister, the Chinese Commodore, or Admiral, set the

example of running away, which all the rest were glad

enough to follow . They now made for the shore the

best way they could, each trying which could reach it

the quickest, but the wheel-boats had a decided advan

tage, and were moved through the water at the rate of

about three and a half knots an hour. Grape and

canister was now poured into them as fast as the guns

could be loaded . The confusion among the Chinese

sailors was great : some took to their boats or sampans,

others jumped overboard , and tried to swim ashore, and

a few of these must have been drowned .

The wheel-boats were, as a matter of curiosity, the

first boarded, and it was afterwards ascertained that

they were each commanded by a mandarin of high rank ;

which marks the importance they gave to them . These



wheel-junks were fitted with two paddle-wheels on either

side, strongly constructed of wood. The shaft, which

was also of wood, had a number of strong wooden cogs

upon it, and was turned by means of a capstan, fitted

also with cogs, and worked round by men . The ma

chinery was all below, between decks, so that the men

were under cover. They were all quite newly-built,

and carried some two, some three, newly-cast brass guns,

besides a number of large ginjals. A quantity ofmatch

locks, spears, swords, &c., were also found on board .

In pursuing two of the largest junks too close in

shore, the Nemesis took the ground when the tide was

falling. The Phlegethon came up at this time, and tried

to tow her off, but without success, and she, therefore,

stuck fast for some hours. But the boats were sent

away manned and armed under Mr. Galbraith, with

orders to capture and destroy the rest of the junks

which were floating about the river, deserted by their

crews . Other boats were sent to destroy those which

had been run ashore, but it was seen from the mast-head

that the Chinese were lying in wait to cut them off

among the scattered trees and buildings by the river

side ; and they were, therefore, ordered not to go out of

gun -shot from the steamer.

The Phlegethon, under Lieutenant M'Cleverty, took

part in the destruction of the junks, and out of the

whole fleet only two war -junks escaped. Three wheel

boats and one junk were afterwards towed down the

river to the fleet, but the rest were set on fire and de

stroyed .

To return to the advanced squadron. As soon as the


Modeste was cast off from the Nemesis, sail was made,

and she was carried alongside a wharf or small jetty

within the creek, close to the village of Woosung. The

ten gun -battery opposite kept up its fire upon her, but,

under cover of a broadside, the Modeste was made fast

to the jetty. In this position she soon silenced the

fort with her larboard-guns and small arms, and received

little damage from the fire of the enemy, because they

could not depress their guns enough to bear upon her

with effect, so close was she.

The pinnace was now sent ashore, manned and armed ,

to take possession of the fort, and there was some skir

mishing with the rear guard of the Chinese who were

retreating. Mr. Birch, with a party of seamen , was at

the same time ordered to spike the guns ; and at this

moment the Columbine, followed by the Pluto steamer ,

came up, and poured in a well-directed fire upon the

column of the retreating enemy.

During all this time, the Cornwallis, Blonde, and

North Star were hotly engaged with the batteries,

abreast of which they were anchored, and soon made

the Chinese slacken their fire. Perceiving this, Captain

Watson boldly determined to land, with the marines and

small-arm men of the Modeste, Columbine, and Clio,

within the creek, in the hope of being able to turn the

enemy's flank next the village, and also cut off their re

treat. A body of the Chinese were observed lying

down under cover of the embankment, apparently in

readiness to meet their enemy. Captain Watson now

formed his men , and gallantly dashed on towards the

Chinese, but had to cross a deep canal, over which there

A A 2


were several small wooden bridges, in the rear of the


The Chinese received them with a heavy fire of

matchlocks and ginjals, but gradually retreated as Cap

tain Watson advanced, and fell back upon their main

body, who now showed a most determined front, and

deliberately planted their ginjals directly in the only

path by which they could be approached. Captain

Watson had already ten of his men wounded ; and,

finding his party getting a little straggled, he drew

them outside of the line of embankment, in order to

form them again . The Chinese now came boldly out,

brandishing their spears in defiance ; and threw a volley

of hand grenades upon them , which fortunately went

over their heads.

At this moment, Captain Bourchier, seeing Captain

Watson's party hotly engaged with the Chinese, who

were much their superiors in numbers, dashed on shore

from the Blonde, directly in front of the battery; and

at the same moment Captain Watson's party made a

rush at the enemy, who stood their ground so firmly,

that for the second time the spear and the bayonet were

crossed, and no one who witnessed the obstinacy and

determination with which the Chinese defended them

selves could refuse them full credit for personal bravery.

They were now driven back under cover of some houses,

where they rallied .

By this time the marines and seamen of the Blonde

and Cornwallis were landed nearly opposite those ves

sels, under Captain Bourchier, Captain Peter Richards,

and Sir Everard Home, and joined Captain Watson .


Sir William Parker also landed ; and, as soon as the

men were all formed, they succeeded in driving the

enemy out of the whole line of batteries. A small

party from the Algerine, under Lieutenant Maitland,

boldly landed before they could be well supported, and

were a little cut up.

The Sesostris in the mean time had been closely en

gaged with the strong fort on the eastern side of the

entrance of the river, where she took the ground in such

a position that she was able to bring her guns to bear,

so as soon to silence the enemy, when Captain Ormsby

landed at the head of aa body of small-arm men from the

Sesostris and Tenasserim , and took possession of the


The troops were not landed in time to take any part

in the engagement, for most of the steamers had taken

the ground, and it was not until past twelve o'clock that

there were any means of putting the troops ashore. Sir

Hugh Gough then landed just opposite the Cornwallis,

and determined to advance immediately upon the town

of Paoushan in the rear, towards which it was under

stood a large body of the Chinese had fled , together

with the governor of the provinces. Major-General

Schoedde was now ordered to move forward , so as to get

in the rear of the town, in hopes of cutting off the

enemy who might be retreating in that direction ; while

Sir Hugh Gough, with the rest of the force, reinforced

by the naval brigade, moved along the river -batteries.

On reaching Paoushan, it was found already in the

possession of Major-General Schoedde's brigade, which

had entered it without opposition ; the soldiers and a


great part of the inhabitants flying out of it in great

consternation . The walls of the town were not found

to be in very good repair, but they mounted about fifty

guns, of which seventeen were brass. The main body

of the Chinese were ascertained to have fled in the di

rection of Soochow- foo.

The number of killed and wounded , on the Chinese

side, was less than might have been expected , probably

not exceeding altogether a couple of hundred ; but

among them was the commander-in-chief of the Chinese

troops. On our side, one officer (Lieutenant Hewitt,

R.M.) and one seaman, were killed ; and among the

wounded were Mr. Purvis, midshipman of the Blonde ;

Mr. A. J. Smith, mate, and Mr. Roberts, master of the

Sesostris ; together with fifteen seamen , one corporal,

and five royal marines, and one Bombay artilleryman,

most of them severely, and several dangerously wounded.

Many large and well -made guns were captured, par

ticularly some newly -cast brass guns, of great length .

Some of the best and heaviest guns were mounted upon

the ten -gun fort, at the point of the creek where the

Modeste was so hotly engaged . But the greater part of

the guns were of small calibre, and about one - half of the

whole number captured were 6-pounders, or under. The

largest were 24 -pounders, and there were a good many

varying from 10 to 18 -pounders. About two hundred

and fifty guns were captured altogether, including those

taken at Paoushan ; of these, forty -two were brass.

There was one very curious iron gun , of a peculiar

shape, being very small at the muzzle, and very large

from the middle to the breech . It was of Chinese cast


ing, and had an inscription on it, which showed that it

was upwards of three hundred years old. There was

also another curious old gun , with the arms of Spain

upon it. Besides the above, a number of large ginjals

and matchlocks, together with military stores of all

kinds, were discovered and destroyed ; and to these

must also be added the guns destroyed in the war


The Chinese were not prepared to expect the com

plete defeat they sustained at Woosung. The great

extent of their preparations for defence, the determined

resistance they offered, and the improvements they had

adopted in the form and casting of their guns, and in

the construction of their junks, sufficiently indicate the

importance which they attached to the defence of this

position. Precisely in proportion to their previous ex


Names of Her Majesty's and the Honourable Company's vessels, and

· of their Commanders, engaged at Woosung, June 16th, 1843.

Cornwallis ..... 72 Captain P. Richards.

Blonde 42 Captain F. Bourchier.

North Star 26 Captain Sir J. E. Horne, Bart .

Modeste ...... 18 Commander R. B. Watson.

Columbine 16 Commander William H. Morshead

Clio 16 Commander E. N. Troubridge.

Algerine 10 Lieutenant William Maitland.


Sesostris Commander Ormsby, I.N.

Nemesis Lieutenant W. H. Hall, R.N.

Phlegethon Lieutenant J. J. M'Cleverty, R.N.

Pluto ....

Lieutenant John Tudor, R.N.

Tenasserim Master commanding, P. Wall.

Medusa Lieutenant H. Hewitt, I. N.


pectations were the disappointment and panic produced

by their defeat.

Information was obtained , through Mr. Gutzlaff, that

the Chinese were removing their property and families

from the important commercial town of Shanghai, situ

ated about fourteen miles up the Woosung river ; from

which place it was known that there was very extensive

water- communication with some of the most important

districts and cities of China .

No time was to be lost in taking advantage of the

prevailing panic ; and, accordingly, on the day after the

capture of Woosung, the Nemesis and Medusa steamers

were sent up, with Captain Kellett on board, for the

purpose of sounding the channel, and to ascertain what

defences the Chinese had constructed higher up. The .

deepest channel was found to run along the left bank

for about two miles, and then to cross over towards the

right bank, by keeping which on board there was water

enough for a frigate at half - flood .

About seven miles up, they came in sight of two

forts, one on either side of the river. One of these

fired off all its guns at the two steamers, but the shot

fell far short. Soon afterwards a blaze was seen to

burst out in each of the forts, and, on inquiry, it was

found that the Chinese had set the buildings on fire,

and then abandoned the works. Being ordered not to

proceed further than this point, the two steamers re

joined the Admiral, in order to report the result of the

reconnoissance .

The same afternoon , the Modeste, Columbine, and

Clio, towed as before by the Nemesis, Phlegethon, and


Pluto, were sent up the river, under the command of

Captain Watson , with orders to place them near the

two batteries, but out of their range, and then to land

and destroy the guns, if the Chinese were found to have

abandoned them .

On the morning of the 18th , these orders were skil

fully executed ; but the Clio unfortunately grounded ,

and, as the tide was falling, could not be towed off.

Captain Watson landed with the marines and small -arm

men of the Modeste and Columbine, and took possession

of the forts which had been abandoned. In the larger

fort on the right bank were found forty -one guns, eight

of which were brass ; and, in the opposite fort, fourteen

guns, of which likewise eight were brass, or, more pro

perly speaking, of copper. Many of these were found

dismounted , and the carriages taken away. The tents

and buildings had been already destroyed. Higher up

the river eight war-junks were discovered, which were

set on fire and destroyed, except one, in which the cop

per guns, captured in the forts, were put on board and

sent down the river.

Reinforcements had now arrived to join both arms of

the expedition, but were just too late to take part in

the action at Woosung. H. M. S. Dido, Honourable

Captain Keppell, arrived the very evening after the en

gagement ; and, on the next day, the 2nd regiment

Madras Native Infantry, and detachments of Artillery,

with Sappers and Miners, also joined the forces under

Sir Hugh Gough .

The 19th was the day fixed for the capture of Shang

hai, for which purpose one column of our troops was


to march by land , under Lieutenant- Colonel Mont

gomerie, M.A., consisting of about one thousand men,

including the 18th and 49th regiments, with detach

ments of the Madras horse artillery and the royal

artillery, with sappers and miners. The rest of the

troops were embarked in the Tenasserim , Nemesis,

Phlegethon, and Pluto steamers, which took in tow

respectively the North Star, Modeste, Columbine, and

Clio. The marines of the squadron were also taken up

in the little Medusa ; and Sir William Parker and Sir

Hugh Gough, with their staff, accompanied by Captains

Bourchier, Richards, Keppel, and other officers, pro

ceeded up the river in that vessel .

They passed the deserted batteries, and met with no

opposition until they came within sight of the city, 1

where a long, well -constructed battery, situated below

the town on the same or the left bank of the river,

opened fire on the North Star and the other vessels, as

they approached , but at such a distance as to do no

damage. A couple of broadsides from the North Star

and Modeste, with a few shot from the Tenasserim and

Nemesis, sufficed to drive the Chinese out of the works.

Captain Bourchier, with the seamen and marines, im

mediately landed and took possession of the battery,

upon which no less than forty- nine guns were found

mounted, seventeen of which were of copper.

The steamers conveying the troops soon reached the

city of Shanghai, where the 55th regiment was landed

from the Nemesis, upon a small jetty, without the

necessity of using boats ; another instance of the great

utility of flat-bottomed , iron steamers. The city had 1


been already taken possession of by the column under

Colonel Montgomerie, without resistance, and many of

the respectable inhabitants were hurrying off in great

consternation, while the low rabble had, as usual, com

menced their work of robbery and destruction the

moment the authorities left the place.

Colonel Montgomerie's column had met with no

opposition during its advance, and but little difficulty,

except occasionally in crossing the guns over the narrow

water-courses. They passed close in the rear of the

fort which had opened on the ships, without seeing it ;

but, upon hearing the firing, they hastened on to the

city, in the belief that the sound of the firing came from

that direction . A large body of the Chinese, however,

was observed in full retreat, and a few rockets were

thrown among them to basten their flight; but, owing

to the many water -courses, and the swampy nature of

the rice grounds, it was impossible to come to close

quarters with them.

On reaching the north gate of the city, there ap

peared to be no preparations made for resistance, and

the only two guns which could be seen mounted at the

gateway looked harmless enough. In fact, there was

no one at the gate ; and two or three of our men, having

contrived to get over the wall, soon opened the gate,

and admitted the rest. It was now discovered that the

place had been abandoned by the authorities the pre

vious evening. The people generally showed no ill

feeling towards the foreigners, but rather an inclination

to conciliate their good offices.

The city, which, though wealthy, and of more agree


able aspect than most other Chinese towns which had

been visited, was not given up to plunder; indeed , Sir

Hugh Gough used every means in his power to prevent

the commission of any excesses whatever. Very little

plunder, or, as it was called, “ loot,” was obtained, and

was almost entirely limited to curiosities. There was

no wanton aggression. Many of the houses were found

deserted, and these were the only ones which suffered,

except where downright robbery was coinmitted by the

gangs of Chinese plunderers.

Every effort was made to put a stop to these abo

minable proceedings ; and some of the most respectable

inhabitants were called upon to take charge of a few

of the large deserted establishments, particularly the

pawnbrokers’ shops, which , in all Chinese towns, are

establishments of enormous extent. This fact may , at

first view, be taken to indicate great fluctuations in

respect to wealth or poverty ; but this is not the case.

These immense warehouses are frequently made use of

to deposit articles of value, such as furs and other costly

things, which are by this means well preserved and

taken care of, until required for use ; and, in the

interim , the owners have the use of a portion of the

value of the articles.

As soon as the city was taken possession of, and

guards placed at the gates, the Columbine and Medusa

were sent a little way up the river, to endeavour to check

the depopulation of the city ; for the inhabitants at

that time were hastening away in crowds, so that the

river was actually covered with boats of all descriptions,

laden with furniture and goods . The Nemesis was also


sent up in search of war- junks, and to reconnoitre the

country. No further hostile preparations however were

discovered . Quiet was maintained within the city, and

the vessels of war and steamers were all anchored

directly opposite the town.

The vast number of large trading -junks which were

lying there surprised every one. Many of these were

laden with valuable cargoes ; both banks of the river

were completely lined with them ; and there were also

numerous large stone warehouses, filled with mer

chandize, some of which contained large quantities of

sugar, salt, and provisions ; there were also extensive

timber-yards, and several large junks upon the stocks.

The traffic in timber alone must be considerable, as there

is none found in the neighbourhood adapted for ship

building ; and the fine large spars which are required

for the masts of junks are all brought from the north

ward. The size of some of these spars may be judged

of by the following measurements which were taken of

the mainmast of one of the largest junks. It was eleven

feet six inches in circumference a little above the deck,

and one hundred and forty -one feet long ; and the main

yard was one hundred and eleven feet in length. Very

strong spars indeed are necessary , for they carry an

enormous sail, without any shrouds or stays to support

them .

Shanghai must be a place of immense commercial

importance, not only as regards the internal traffic of

the country, but also in respect to its foreign com

merce, or at least its trade with the remoter parts of

China, and even with Siam and Cochin China . It is


said to rank second only to Canton in commercial im

portance, particularly as the junks belonging to the

southern provinces are prohibited from trading further

north than this city, which therefore, in a certain de

gree, enjoys a monopoly. During Mr. Medhurst's visit

to it, he reckoned that there were a thousand large

junks in the river ; and , on visiting it not long after it

was taken, and when the trade was almost entirely

stopped , I was myself much struck with the large size

of the junks, which crowded both sides of the river.

Mr. Gutzlaff states that the imports of Shanghai

already far exceed the exports ; and, therefore, the

difficulty again arises as to the mode of payment for the

additional imports, which will soon find their way to

Shanghai, since the opening of the port. The Ame

ricans look forward to getting a large supply of green

tea at Shanghai in exchange for their cotton ; green tea

being in extensive use among them .

Shanghai has immense internal communication with

all the central parts of China ; it is situated in the

richest and most productive part of the country,

and the adjacent district has been called the Chinese

Arcadia. The country is one fertile flat, occasionally

subject to ravages by inundations, but generally drained

and cultivated with great care. In some parts, the

land, lying below the level of the rivers, is only main

tained by strong and extensive embankments. The

whole country is covered with hamlets and villages, and

cotton is cultivated in great quantities.

The inhabitants of Shanghai have on all occasions

shown a friendly disposition towards foreigners ; and,


where the latter have been treated with rudeness, it has

been solely by the orders of the mandarins, or at their

instigation. Both Mr. Medhurst and Mr. Gutzlaff bear

testimony to this fact, during their early visits ; on

which occasions, the people eagerly asked to receive

books, of which several thousand copies were distri

buted . So important is the trade of this place, that the

appointments in the public service are anxiously sought

for, and the office of superintendent of customs is con

sidered extremely lucrative.

Mr. Gutzlaff's testimony respecting this place is cu

rious. Speaking of his visit, in 1832 , he says, 66 the

mandarins never directly interfered with my distri

buting books or conversing with the people; and, after

issuing the severest edicts against us, they gave us full

permission to do what we liked . They afterwards praised

our conduct, but gave the people their paternal advice

to have nothing to do with us. An imperial edict ar

rived, ordering us to be treated with compassion, but

not to be supplied with rice or water. But they sent us

quantities of live stock and flour, upon the sole condi

tion that we would not pay for them .” It is, in fact, a

curious thing to observe how easily the Chinese evade

all regulations when their interest leads them to do so,

and how readily they adopt every subterfuge.

I chanced to pay a visit to Shanghai the very day

after the conclusion of peace was first made known in

the town. We landed from our boat, at a little stone

jetty in front of a deserted temple, before which there

was an open paved court, or square, crowded with

people. Nothing could surpass the good order which


prevailed ; not a noise or groan was heard, or inconve

nience of any kind experienced . Curiosity seemed to

be the sole absorbing feeling, and one could hardly

imagine that this was only the first week of peace, and

that a hostile force had a short time before occupied

the city. A Chinese crowd is the most orderly in the

world ; and, if we may judge of civilization by the

quiet, sober, deferential bearing of a large body of

people crowded together in narrow streets, certainly

the Chinese deserve to bear the palm. A few soldiers

were appointed to attend us through the town, who,

instead of arms, carried a fan -case, tied round their

waist, and a whip in their hand, with which they

cleared the way with apparent good will, as we pro

ceeded along the streets of the suburbs.

It was a curious sight to look down the long, nar

row , paved street, on each side of which were crowds

of shaved heads, each trying to raise itself an inch or

two higher, to catch a glimpse of the passing strangers.

The steps and doorways were crowded, and also a few

of the windows ; but most of the shops being shut, and

the houses having generally only one story, there were

none of those groups of figures, men, women , and chil

dren , rising in stages, one above the other, such as are

seen in Europe from the bottom of the house to the top,

when any thing remarkable is to be seen .

The greatest contrast, next to the immense collection

of bald heads, and brown, roundish, ugly-looking features,

consisted in the total absence of women, which, in any

part of Europe, would have formed perhaps the most

numerous and noisy part of the assemblage. Longingly


we looked on all sides, above and below, if perchance

we could see a single female head, ornamented with its

high -dressed jet-black hair, as a relief to the grave mo

notony of bald heads and serious faces. Here and there

certainly we fancied we could just discover a female

face, somewhat bolder than the rest, peering through

the half -closed lattice-work , or half-open door ; but

the houses were so dark inside, that youth or age,

beauty or ugliness, were alike lost upon us.

The colour of our hair and eyes seemed, next to the

texture of our garments, to excite most attention . It

was really laughable to see the people stare at the one,

with half-open eyes and half -closed mouths, and cau

tiously, as if by accident, touching the other, in order

to gratify their curiosity. There was no appearance

whatever of rudeness or hostility ; and, when the people

were warned out of the way, or pushed aside, and re

minded, by a gentle touch of the whip, that they must

move out of the way, they did so in apparent good


The inner town appeared to be only separated from

the suburb by the actual wall, there being little dif

ference in the houses on one side or the other. Two or

three additional soldiers turned out of the guard -house

as we passed, and joined our escort, certainly a shabby

looking set.

Much was said of the so -called tea -gardens of Shang

hai ; but, on reaching them, great was our astonish

ment to find that they ought rather to be called tea

ponds. According to our notions, land and grass, and

plants and flowers, are supposed to belong to gardens



even to tea - gardens; but, at Shanghai, it is quite the

reverse, for water predominates.

Ornamental gardening in China, properly so called, is

extremely uncommon . At Canton there is a very good

garden belonging to a Hong merchant ; but, generally

speaking, the land is too precious, for the purpose of

producing food, to permit the Chinese to devote much

space even to fruits.

At the entrance to the tea -gardens our approach was

greeted by the plaintive voice of an old woman, who

professed to sing songs to the accompaniment of an in

strument of a peculiar kind, covered with snakeskin.

To describe it is impossible. It had three strings

fastened to a long handle , with aa small drum at the end

of it, and was played with aa bow .

The gardens were more curious from their novelty,

than deserving of praise for their beauty. The place

consisted in reality of a sheet of nearly stagnant water,

with paths or platforms, or little islands, intersecting it

in various directions, upon which were built summer

houses, or pavilions of various shapes, in Chinese style,

in which the good citizens of Shanghai assemble to

drink tea (at any hour of the day), and smoke the pipe

which is a Chinaman's invariable companion, for recrea

tion . There were also a few walks among heaps of

stones, called artificial rocks, with seats scattered here

and there ; but in most respects the whole place greatly

disappointed our expectations.

Among the most remarkable objects at Shanghai

were the enormous ice-houses, both within and without

the city, in which ice is stored for public use. This


was a perfect luxury to our soldiers and sailors when

the place was taken .

We spent the night in a deserted joss-house, close to

the landing - place. It was well tenanted with rats ;

and, during the evening and the following day, crowds

of curious visiters came to look at us, and made them

selves agreeable as well as they could. They seemed to

be particularly pleased with the Company's new rupees

with the queen's head upon them , and willingly gave

half a dollar each for them ;-being rather more than

their value. Glass bottles were in great request, and

the brandy was pronounced excellent.

One of the principal mandarins came down to pay us

a visit, preceded by criers and runners ; then came

whippers-in, and a couple of executioners, with chains

in their hauds, as a sign of their calling ; then came

the great man, seated in a very gay sedan-chair ; next

followed a couple of dirty -looking fellows with gigantic

fans ; and two or three men mounted on ponies closed

the procession. The people stood on either side the

street, and gazed in silence. They had little curiosity

about the movements of the great man , but a vast deal

concerning every step or look of the strange-looking

foreigners. The mandarin was extremely courteous and

well-bred towards us, and we observed that he was

treated with great deference, and no one except our

selves dared to sit in his presence .

An interesting incident occurred at Shanghai not

long after the peace. Sir Henry Pottinger, on his re

turn from Nankin, went up in a steamer to Shanghai,

to make arrangements about the future place of residence

B B 2


for our consul, and also to settle about the ransom

money of the city. One morning a boat came along

side the steamer, having on board a very respectable

looking man, in Chinese costume, who sent up his card

as “ M. l'Evêque de Nankin, ” at the same time re

questing an interview with the plenipotentiary . This

was readily acceded to. It now appeared that this

gentleman was the head of the Roman Catholic mis

sionaries of the province or district of Nankin ; that he

had been many years in China, suffering great tribula

tion, and in continual danger of his life; that the mis

sionaries had suffered great hardships, and many of them

had lost their lives. For a great length of time he had

not been able to hold any communication with his fellow

labourers in any other part of China, and had been de

prived of all tidings from any other country. He had

lived in fear and trembling, but had personally escaped

persecution by leading a very retired and unobtrusive

life, and particularly by avoiding all interference in

public matters. He had been afraid to make himself

known , or to have any communication with Europeans,

as long as the war lasted, as it would probably have

caused him trouble. His flock was numerous, but scat

tered. He had supported himself entirely by his mis

sionary labours, and had now joyfully seized the oppor

tunity to request that letters might be conveyed for him

to Macao. Ile had removed from Nankin, on the ap

proach of our forces ; and altogether there was much

interest attached to his history.

| This anecdote is repeated as it was told, without vouching for its



There is a great abundance of game to be found in

the neighbourhood of Shanghai, principally pheasants,

and various kinds of wild fowl. But it greatly asto

nished the Chinese that any man should take the trouble

to shoot birds, or find any amusement in the sport, when

he could easily get people to shoot them for him upon

very slight payment.

The sum agreed to be paid for the ransom of Shang

hai was said to be three hundred thousand dollars,

which was considered in the light of a contribution,

similar to the ransoin -money of Canton. Whatever the

amount may have been, it was reckoned as part of the

money stipulated for by the treaty of Nankin.

A quantity of guns, arms, and military stores, were,

as usual, found in the arsenal within the city, and also

large stores of rice. Sixty -eight guns (exclusive of

those in the batteries below the town ) were captured at

Shanghai. Seventeen of these were of copper, newly

cast, and very heavy, and, consequently, valuable for

the prize fund. In a battery facing the river, fifty

six guns were found, of which seventeen were brass

6 -pounders. Altogether at Shanghai one hundred and

seventy-one guns were captured . But, reckoning the

whole number of guns taken in these operations, both

at Woosung and at Shanghai, and in the various bat

teries on the river's banks, they will be found to amount

to the amazing number of three hundred and sixty

pieces, exclusive of those destroyed in the junks. Of

these seventy-six were of copper, some of them of great

length and weight of metal, but of proportionably small

bore. They looked very well outside, but the casting


of many of them was defective, and not a few were

made with a coating, or rather tube, of iron, about one

and a half to two inches thick , along the bore, over

which the copper was cast. At Shanghai also full nine

tons of gunpowder were found, contained in three hun

dred and thirty tubs and jars. All the military stores

were destroyed.

It was evident that great preparations had been made

for the hoped - for defence of this important place ; but,

when the hour of trial came, and the news of the action

at Woosung reached the city, the principal mandarins

quitted it in despair, and all hope of defence was given

up. It was even stated that a serious disturbance had

taken place between the authorities and the people, in

consequence of the heavy exactions of the former, under

the pretence of preparing means for defending the

city, which, after all, they chose to abandon without a


On the morning of the 20th, (the day after the city

was taken) Captain Bourchier and Commander Kellett

were ordered to proceed in the Phlegethon, accompanied

by the Medusa, together with the barge of the Corn

wallis, carrying a few marines, and also aa boat from the

Columbine, to reconnoitre the river for the distance of

thirty miles above the town. Two small field -works of

five guns each were discovered upon the right bank of

the river, and a considerable body of soldiers were dis

covered at some distance in the rear. Lieutenant Wise

was sent, with the boats and marines of the Cornwallis,

for the purpose of destroying the works, which was

effected without any resistance.


The report of what had been seen and done this day

was considered so important and interesting, that Sir

William Parker determined to continue the examination

in personnext day, still further up the river. About fifty

marines and seamen were embarked in the Nemesis, and

the Admiral hoisted his flag in her, accompanied by

Captain Bourchier, Honourable Captain Keppel, Captain

Lock, and other officers; and abont noon on the 21st

they proceeded up the river, followed by the Phlegethon

and Medusa.

The river gradually became narrower , but still carried

from four to six fathoms water, and appeared to have

an immense number of canals and water -courses con

nected with it. Many of these led directly towards the

towns and villages, some of which could be just seen at

a distance, others not far from the banks. The country

looked rich, and was carefully laid out in rice-grounds,

and otherwise well cultivated. It was not so picturesque

as about Ningpo, but there was all the appearance of a

thriving and industrious population . A heavy storm of

thunder and lightning came on in the afternoon, and the

three steamers were brought to anchor for the night a

little above the two forts destroyed the day before.

On the following morning they again pursued their

course up the river, and soon found that it divided itself

into two branches of equal size, one flowing down from

the eastward , and the other coming from the westward .

They followed the latter, which gradually took a more

northerly direction, but the water shoaled as they pro

ceeded, until at the distance of a few miles from where

they started there was only one fathom ; and, as the


Nemesis and Phlegethon could not safely ascend higher,

the Admiral, with the other officers, removed on board

the Medusa, which, being smaller, drew a foot to eigh

teen inches less water. But they were not able to go up

more than eight or nine miles further ; for they were

stopped by the increasing shallowness of the water at

the entrance of a large lagoon. It was ascertained, how

ever, from some boatmen, who stated that they had left

Soo -chow - foo only the previous day, that there was a

direct communication by water with that city, which

could not be a great many miles distant. It could not

be doubted, therefore, that this important city was

easily accessible to our forces, should it be thought ad

visable to advance upon it.

Several large boats were coming down the river, laden

with coal, said to be brought from the neighbourhood of

Soo -chow -foo, where iron also is believed to abound ,

Indeed, coal of very fair quality is found in many parts

of this province, and the Nemesis was using it for steam

purposes at that very time.

The whole distance ascended above Shanghai was

about forty -five miles, and it was matter of regret that

time could not be spared to explore the other, or eastern

branch of the river. Several large pagodas were seen

at a distance , one in particular to the northward, pro

bably pointing out the neighbourhood of a large town.

The same evening the three iron-steamers returned to

Shanghai, and anchored abreast of the town, where his

Excellency Sir Henry Pottinger had just arrived from

Hong Kong, having touched at Amoy and at Chusan on

his way up. It was also announced that strong rein


forcements had arrived at Chusan, and might be ex

pected to join our forces in the Yangtze Kiang in a few

days. The names of ships and regiments will be given

together, in the order in which they moved up the river

leading to Nankin . It will be sufficient here to mention,

that no less than seventy -three vessels of war and trans

ports set sail from Woosung together ; besides which

two others were left at that anchorage, in order to

blockade the river leading to Shanghai. Several other

vessels joined the expedition on its way up to Nankin ,

and afterwards. Great results were, therefore, now to

be expected from this vast accession to our forces, and

the hopes and spirits of both officers and men were high

and buoyant. Sickness had not yet commenced its

ravages ; but many a heart that beat with the earnest

thought of victory and the prospect of a glorious peace

was doomed to cease its throbs, and sink ere long under

the insidious blow of fever.



Remarks on the great river Yangtze Kiang Stoppage of its trade -

Hope of preventing the grain and tribute from passing up the Grand

Canal — Reinforcements at Woosung – French ships of war - Remarks

Sir Henry Pottinger's important proclamation, addressed to the

Chinese - The Emperor's proclamation concerning passing events-

Reply to Sir Henry by Niew Kien, the viceroy of Nankin - Alarm

at Pekin - Extent and importance of the rivers of China — Remarks

on the Amoor, or Sagalin - Sail from Woosung in five divisions

Details -- Aspect of the country - Kiang - Yin - Silver Island - And


Golden Island - Falling greatness — Arrival at Chin -keang - foo - Its

capture, 21st July, 1842 — Tartar garrison - List of troops engaged

Plan of attack - Major General Schoedde's brigade scales the walls

Spirited resistance of the garrison - Lieutenant Cuddy's gallantry

Sir Hugh Gough and the third brigade prepare to storm the west gate

-Unfortunate affair of the Blonde's boats — Warm reception — Part

of them abandoned with the guns — Attention of the Chinese people to

our wounded - Captain Peter Richards lands from the Cornwallis with

Captain Watson of the Modeste - They scale the walls near the west

gate - Spirited affair — Guard -house fired by a rocket - Tartars driven

in - Outer gate blown in and forced by third brigade — Sharp encounter

with the Tartars in the city - Self-destruction - Horrible scenes

Death of the Tartar general.

All intention of advancing upon the important cities

of Hang -chow or Soo -chow -foo was now given up ;

large reinforcements had already arrived , and more

were daily expected at Woosung ; and it was resolved


to advance immediately upon Nankin, the ancient

capital of the empire. The navigation of the Yangtze

river was almost entirely unknown, only a small portion

of it having been surveyed by Captain Bethune in the

Conway. To the Chinese themselves the ascent of

large ships or junks, as far as Nankin, appeared quite

impracticable, principally owing to the amazing strength

of the currents, and the numerous sand-banks which

render its chapnel intricate .

Sir William Parker, however, felt so much confidence

in his own resources, and in the aid of his numerous

steam-vessels ( several more of which had now arrived),

that he did not hesitate to undertake the bold measure

of conducting a fleet of between seventy and eighty sail,

including two line of battle ships, besides the large

troop -ships, into the very heart of the empire, more

than two hundred miles from the sea. The whole com

merce of this vast Yangtze river would thus be cut off;

the Grand Canal itself would be blockaded, and it was

hoped that we should be able to intercept the large

fleet of grain-junks, which, at this time of the year, carry

up their cargoes to the imperial metropolis, and not

only furnish its inhabitants with food , but also the

imperial treasury with tribute. It appeared, however,

from official documents afterwards found at Chin

keang-foo, the Tartar stronghold at the mouth of the

Grand Canal, that the authorities had anticipated the

possibility of their communications being interrupted ,

and had, therefore, hastened on this annual supply, and

had collected a body of militia to act as an escort for it.

It was ascertained that these grain - junks had all crossed


the Yangtze river, from the southern to the northern

branch of the canal, on the 26th of June, viz. , a few

days before our fleet left Woosung. So far then the

imperial capital was safe from famine for some time to

come .

On the 23d of June our troops returned from Shang

hai to Woosung, principally on board the steamers ;

but two companies of the 18th, and the Rifles, together

with the horses of the artillery, marched back by land,

the guns being brought down on board the vessels.

The Nemesis, having conveyed her detachments of

troops to their respective transports, volunteered to go

and fetch off the other division, and also the horses,

which had marched overland, and had been waiting for

several hours at Woosung without the means of getting

on board their ships. The men were embarked direct

from the river's bank, and the horses were hoisted in

with slings, and it was late at night before they were

put on board their respective transports; in doing

which one boat was unfortunately capsized .

The Belleisle, with the whole of the 98th on board, had

just arrived from England, together with the Rattle

snake troop-ship, and the Vixen, heavily -armed steamer,

Commander H. Boyes ; and the Proserpine, Captain

J. J. Hough, R.N. They were preceded by the En

dymion , 44 guns, Captain Honourable F. W. Grey ;

the Dido, 20, Honourable H. Keppel; Calliope, 26,

Captain A. S. Kuper, C. B.; Childers, 16, Com


mander Halsted ; and numerous transports, having on

board the 2d and 6th regiments Madras Native In

fantry ; also the Bengal Volunteers, and reinforcements


of Artillery, together with the necessary proportion of

camp followers.

Shortly afterwards two French ships of war also

arrived at Woosung, for the purpose of watching our

movements ; the Erigone, 44, Captain Cecile, and the

Favorite, 18, Captain Page. The latter attempted

to follow the fleet up the river, and the Admiral was

politely requested to allow the use of one of his

steamers to assist her in getting up ; but this, of

course, could not be complied with, as our steamers

were all indispensable, to enable the numerous fleet

of transports to stem the current, and to tow them off

whenever they chanced to get on shore.

But the French had, in reality, no grounds for coming

into the river at all ; they were not at war with the

Chinese, nor had they ever asked or received per

mission from the Chinese government to enter their

inner waters. In fact, the moving a French ship-of

war up the Yangtze river was as clearly an unfriendly

proceeding towards the Chinese as the attempt to pass

through the Bogue would have been. Moreover, there

was no French commerce to protect.

On the other hand, the Americans, whose trade with

China is second only to that of Great Britain , and who

boasted of a large vessel from Boston trading at that

very moment at Chusan, did not think it necessary to

send any vessel of war into the Yangtze river; not only

because it would have been an evident encroachment

upon the rights of the Chinese, but also because they

felt assured that any extension of the commercial rela

tions of China with foreigners would, of necessity, be


equally beneficial to all, without any especial reference

to the advantage of one in particular.

Before our forces left Shanghai, the same mandarin

who had before frequently presented himself at head

quarters? again made his appearance as the bearer of a

communication from the high authorities to Sir Henry

Pottinger. But, as no document was shown by which

any individual could prove his having received full

authority from the Emperor to treat for peace, no atten

tion whatever was paid to these very equivocal over

tures. At the same time, however, Sir Henry Pottinger

published a very important and interesting proclama

tion , addressed to the Chinese people, and adopting some

thing of the tone of oriental language. It was, of

course, published in Chinese. The opening sentences

form a sort of quaint imitation of the celestial style,

with the object, probably, of fixing the attention of the

Chinese at the outset. For instance : “ Under the

canopy of heaven, and within the circumference of the

earth, many are the different countries : of the mul

titude of these, not one is there that is not ruled by the

Supreme Heavenly Father, nor are there any that are

not brethren of one family. Being then of one family,

very plain is it that they should hold friendly and

brotherly intercourse together, and not boast themselves

After this

one above the other. ” After exordium ,, it proceeds

this exordium

to lay open the grievances of the English, the extortions

and double dealings of the local authorities at Canton,

gradually increasing year after year ; and then recapi

· He was jocularly christened Corporal White.


tulates the proceedings adopted by the English, their

visit to the Peiho, the conferences and stipulations

agreed to by Keshen, and rejected by the Imperial

Cabinet, the treacherous attack of the Chinese, and

other matters already fully explained. It then refers

to the cruelties practised upon our countrymen when

taken prisoners, either by being kidnapped, or in cases

where they were shipwrecked. It further reminds the

people that in ancient times foreigners were permitted

to trade at various ports in China, to the manifest advan

tage of all parties, and that it was only by false state

ments and local intrigue that the Emperor was at length

induced to confine the foreign trade solely to Canton,

and to establish the monopoly of the thirteen Hongs.

Finally, it is declared that hostilities will continue to

be carried on, until some high officer shall be appointed

by the Emperor, with full powers to negociate and con

clude arrangements, of which the three following points

were to be the basis : Compensation for losses and ex

penses ; a friendly and becoming intercourse, on terms

of equality , between officers of the two countries ; and

the cession of insular territory for commerce, and for

the residence of merchants, and as a security and

guarantee against future renewal of offensive acts.

This proclamation was issued the day before the fleet

set sail from Woosung for Nankin . It is a curious co

incidence that, a few days before this, an edict, or pro

clamation, was issued by the Emperor, in which he

also recapitulated the leading events of the war, and

tried to make it appear that the whole difficulties had

arisen solely from the crusade which his Majesty had


directed to be carried on against the “ Opium poison .”

He blames Commissioner Lin for his bad management;

and with regard to the six million dollars ransom for

Canton, His Celestial Majesty declares that it was a

very small matter, and that he did not grudge it at all.

But when the rebellious foreigners left Canton , and

then advanced to recapture Chusan, and to take Ningpo

and other cities, then says his Majesty, with unaffected

bitterness of spirit, “ I severely blame myself, and hate

myself, for being unequal to my duties ; I cannot rescue

my subjects; and repose by day or night is difficult for

me." At the same time, he is slow to believe that the

strength of the barbarian ships is really so great as re

presented, and strongly hints that his people are cow

ards‫ ;ܕܪ‬and while, on the one hand, he promises rewards to

the valiant, he orders that those who run away shall be

instantly executed without inercy. Carefully losing

sight of every other grievance or source of difficulties,

his Majesty reiterates his prohibition against opium,

and urges the most strenuous exertions to sweep the

worthless barbarians clean away into the depths of the

wide ocean .

In fact, it now became very manifest that the Em

peror was already seriously alarmed ; and, although his

spirit breathed a bitter hostility, it could not be doubted

that his Majesty ardently longed for peace. The over

tures , however, which had been so frequently made

were of such an equivocal nature, that, as Sir Henry

Pottinger well observed, it was impossible to place any

reliance upon them .

Sir Henry's proclamation soon afterwards called forth


a reply from Niew-Kien, the Viceroy of the two Kiang

Provinces, to which the seat of war was now removed .

It was one of those curious little essays in which the

Chinese delight, made up of a few common-place tru

isms dressed in the peculiar phraseology of the East.

He cunningly recommends the Plenipotentiary to draw

up a full statement of all grievances, to be transmitted

through him (the Viceroy) to the Emperor, which

would of course bear upon its very face the appearance

of asking for favours, instead of dictating terms. He

further reminds his Excellency, that although the Chi

nese have suffered much, still the English must have

lost many brave men also, and by coming from so great

a distance must have likewise incurred great expense ;

that it would be much better for both parties to put an

end to the war at once, and vows the most perfect sin

cerity before all the gods . At the same time, he con

fesses his great alarm at seeing all the people fly from

their habitations, and the country given up to the plun

dering of the native robbers. Indeed, Niew -Kien, in

another report addressed to the Emperor, expressed the

greatest possible apprehension lest the people should be

frightened away, either by severe measures on his own

part, or by the approach of the enemy, and thus the

whole country be given up to the excesses of the lawless

native plunderers, who would take the opportunity to

rob, and commit all kinds of mischief.

The Chinese appear to have rested all their hopes

for the defence of the Yangtze river, and the approaches

to Nankin, entirely upon the strength of their works

at Woosung, and had consequently made little or no



preparations for resistance higher up.

. It had indeed

been recommended by one of the Tartar generals that

a portion of the river below Nankin should be staked

across, and junks laden with stones sunk to impede the

navigation ; and likewise that fire -vessels should be

prepared. But this advice was overruled by Niew

Kien, the Viceroy, upon the ground of its inutility ; and

it was urged that the extreme rapidity of the current,

and the sunken rocks and sands in parts most difficult

of navigation, would be the best defences, and that any

attempts to stake the river would not only be ex

pensive and useless, but would greatly alarm the people.

Fire -rafts were only ordered to be got ready, when there

was no time whatever even to commence them, the

enemy being already close to the city of Chin -Keang -foo.

From documents which subsequently fell into our

possession, it was also ascertained that the apprehension

of our advance upon Pekin by way of the river Peiho

was so great, that a body of troops already ordered to

march to Soo -Chow -foo were recalled , and directed to

proceed immediately to Tientsin, in order to defend

the approaches to the metropolis.

During the latter part of June, the weather was very

squally and unsettled, and therefore not very well

adapted for the advance of a fleet of more than seventy

sail, up a river, the navigation of which was almost en

tirely unknown. The channels were now buoyed off,

and beacon -vessels were also placed at one or two of

the most important parts ; and Commanders Kellett

and Colli son, accompanied by the masters of the ships

of war, were sent in advance on the 29th to sound, and


to make preparations for the passage of the fleet, and

particularly for the purpose of surveying the river above

the point where Captain Bethune's researches terminated.

The distance of Nankin from Woosung is about one

hundred and seventy miles, and a very accurate survey

was ultimately completed of this beautiful river, as far

as that ancient capital. Even there the river is very

broad and the channel deep, so that the Cornwallis was

able to lie within one thousand yards of the walls of the

city. It is perhaps to be regretted that the river was

not examined for some distance above the city ; for it

could not be doubted that, with the assistance of

steamers, even large ships would be able to ascend

several hundred miles further. But the conclusion

of the peace followed so soon after the arrival of

our forces before the ancient capital, that there was

no opportunity of continuing our discoveries further into

the interior, without compromising our character for

sincerity, while the negotiations were in progress. It

could not have failed however, had circumstances per

mitted, of furnishing much interesting information re

specting the interior of this extraordinary country.

There are few rivers in the world to be compared

with the Yangtze, in point of extent, and the richness of

the provinces through which it flows. Supposed to

take its rise at a distance of more than three thousand

miles from the sea, among the furthest mountains of

Thibet, it traverses the whole empire of China from

west to east, turning a little to the northward , and is

believed to be navigable through the whole of these

valuable provinces .

CC 2


The extent and importance of the numerous rivers

which traverse this vast empire cannot but strike every

one with astonishment. Most of them naturally take

their course from west to east, from the mountains

towards the sea ; but there is one important exception

to this rule. The river Amoor, or Sagalin , takes its rise

from numerous branches along the Kinkow Mountains,

not far from Kiachta and Maimaichin , the two places

at which trade is carried on with Russia, and, after

taking a tortuous course to the northward, it receives a

very large branch, called the Schilka, which rises within

the Russian frontier in the Baikal Mountains, and

at length , after traversing the whole of Mantchouria,

empties itself into the Sea of Okotsk, not far from

the Russian frontier. The caravans from Kiachta have

to cross most of the numerous branches of this river, on

their way to Pekin.

To return , however, to the Yangtze. The naviga

tion of this river was found less difficult than might

have been expected . There are, indeed , numerous sand

banks, some of which change their places, owing to the

rapidity of the current ; and at the upper part of the

river, towards Chin -keang -foo, there is some danger

from rocks ; but the greatest obstacle to the navigation

is the rapidity of the current, which, even when beyond

the influence of the tide, runs down at the rate of three

and a half to four miles an hour. It is not surprising

that almost every ship of the squadron should have

touched the ground ; but, as the bottom was generally

soft mud , no serious damage was sustained . The

steamers were of course indispensable, and the assist


ance of two or three of them together was in some

instances requisite to haul the ships off.

One of the largest transports, the Marion, having

the head -quarters and staff on board, was thrown upon

the rocks by the force of the current, on the way down

from Nankin, and would certainly have been lost, but

for the aid rendered by two steamers, the Nemesis and

the Memnon, and the valuable experience already gained

by the former in the Chinese rivers.

However difficult or troublesome the ascent of the

river proved to be, the descent was likely to be much

more so .

The buoys previously laid down were taken

up by the Chinese ; the transports were hurried down

as quickly as possible, on account of the sickness which

universally prevailed ; their crews were weak, and they

found their way down the best way they could ; and it

is not a little creditable to the merchant marine of this

country, that they succeeded in getting back to Woo

sung without any serious accident.

Sir William Parker's arrangements for the merchant

transports were perfect; their orders were definite, and

were generally obeyed with alacrity ; boats were always

in readiness, and signals carefully watched . Probably,

if it were required to point out any one circumstance

which redounded more than another to the honour of

the British service, it would be that of having carried

a fleet of nearly eighty sail up to the walls of the city

of Nankin and brought it safely back again .

At the beginning of July, the weather became very

favourable for the ascent of the river, and the Phlege

thon, having returned with the intelligence that a clear


and deep channel had been found as far as Golden

Island, close to the entrance of the Grand Canal, and

that buoys had been laid down to facilitate the navi

gation, orders were given that the fleet should be in

readiness to get under weigh on the morning of the 6th.

It was formed into five divisions, each consisting of

eight to twelve transports, conducted by a ship -of-war,

and under the orders of her captain ; and to each division

also a steamer was attached, to render assistance when


In addition to the steamers so employed, the Phle

gethon, Medusa, and Pluto, were in attendance, prin

cipally upon the advanced squadron, and in readiness

to assist any other ship which stood in need of it. The

Nemesis and Proserpine also accompanied the fleet, the

former being employed to lead and give the soundings

by signal flags. Thus there were not less than ten

steamers attached to the squadron when it set sail from

Woosung, and they were afterwards joined, up the

river (but not until hostilities had ceased) by two other

powerful steamers, the Driver and the Memnon .

A list of all her Majesty's ships of war and steam

vessels, together with those belonging to the East India

Company, which were present in the Chinese waters at

the conclusion of the peace, will be given in its proper

place. The following was the order of sailing of the

squadron on leaving Woosung , each division being about

two or three miles in advance of the next one . The

North Star, Captain Sir E. Home, Bart., was left at

Woosung to blockade that river, with orders to detain

all merchant junks which might attempt to pass up


the Yangtze, or into the Woosung, laden with pro


It was a curious sight afterwards, to look at the

numerous fleet of junks, some of them of large size,

which were collected at that anchorage, and for some

time it was no easy matter for the North Star to pre

vent them from attempting to make their escape. But

when a round shot or two had been sent through some

of the most refractory, and a few of the captains had

been brought on board the North Star and strictly warned,

they all became “very submissively obedient,” and pati

ently awaited the permission to depart, which was not

accorded to them until the peace had been proclaimed.

The advanced squadron consisted of them

Starling 6 Commander Kellett, Surveying

Plover 6 Commander Collinson,ſ vessels.

Modeste .. 18 Commander R. B. Watson .

Clio 16 Commander T. Troubridge.

Columbine .. 16 Commander Morshead.

Childers... 16 Commander Halsted.

H.C. Steamer Phlegethon . Lieutenant M Cleverty, R.N.

H.C. Steamer Pluto .. Lieutenant Tudor, I.N.

H.C. Steamer Medusa. Lieutenant Hewitt, R.N.

H.C. Steamer Nemesis. Lieutenant W. H. Hall, R. N.

H.C. Steamer Proserpine... Commander J. J. Hough, R. N.

H.M.S. Cornwallis ... 72 Captain Richards, Flag-ship of Vice

Admiral Sir William Parker, G.C.B.


H.M.S. Calliope .... 26 Captain A. S. Kuper, C. B.

H.M.Armed Steamer Vixen ..... Commander H. Boyes.

Marion Transport,with Lieutenant-General Sir H.Gough and general Staff.

Seven Transports, with Sappers and Miners, Followers, &c.



H.M.S. Blonde .......... 42 Captain T. Bourchier, C.B.

H.C. Steamer Auckland Commander Ethersey, I.N.

Ten Transports, conveying the Artillery Brigade and horses, &c.


H.M. Troop Ship Belleisle, Captain T. Kingcomb, having on board

Major -General Lord Saltoun, and H.M. 98th regiment.

H.M. Troop -ship Jupiter, Master Commanding, G. Hoffmeister, with

H. M. 26th regiment.

Nine Transports, conveying Bengal Volunteers, and flank companies

41st M.N.I.


H.M.S. Endymion 44 Captain Honourable F.W.Grey .

H.C. Steamer Sesostris Commander H. A. Ormsby , I.N.

Thirteen Transports, conveying H. M. 55th regiment, with the 2nd

and 6th regiments M.N.I., and the Madras Rifle Company.


H.M. S. Dido ... .... 20 Captain Hon. H.Keppel.

H.C. Steamer Tenasserim . Master Commanding, P. Wall .

H.M. Troop -ship, Apollo .... Commander Frederick, with H.M.

49th regiment.

H.M. Troop -ship, Rattlesnake .. Master Commanding, James Sprent,

with H.M. 18th regiment.

Eight Transports, conveying the remainder of the 18th and 49th

regiments, together with the 14th M.N.I.

The Chinese had prepared no means of resisting the

advance of our squadron up the river ; and even the few

guns which had previously been mounted on two small

forts on the right bank of the river, adjoining the towns


of Foushan and Keang-yin , were withdrawn on the ap

proach of our forces, in order to avert the injury which

might have been done to those towns, had any show of

resistance been offered .

The country along the lower part of the Yangtze

is altogether alluvial, and intersected by innumerable

canals and water-courses . In most parts it is highly

cultivated, but in others less so than we were led to

expect. On one occasion I walked for the distance of

five or six miles into the interior, attended by crowds

of the peasantry, who appeared to be a strong, hardy,

well -disposed race , and offered no kind of violence or

insult. They appeared to be solely influenced by curi

osity, and a few of them brought us poultry for sale,

but the greater part seemed afraid to have any dealings

with us . The small cotton plant was cultivated very

extensively, and at nearly every cottage-door an old

woman was seated, either picking the cotton or spinning

it into yarn . The hop plant was growing abundantly

in a wild state, and was apparently not turned to any

use .

The small town of Foushan, at the base of a partially

fortified hill , and a conical mountain with a pagoda upon

its summit, situated upon the opposite side of the

river, form the first striking objects which meet the eye,

and relieve the general monotony of the lower part of

the river. Above this point the scenery becomes more

interesting, and gradually assumes rather a mountainous

character. But you are perhaps surprised not to find

more numerous villages upon the river's banks, and a

denser population crowded together upon its shores.

394 KEANG -YIN .

Compared with the neighbourhood of Ningpo, or

Chapoo, you are inclined to be disappointed in the as

pect of the country generally ; you find it less carefully

and economically cultivated, and perhaps one of your

first hasty impressions would be to doubt whether the

population of China can be so dense as the best received

accounts lead us to suppose. When you consider the

immense extent of country through which this magni

ficent river flows, and the alluvial nature of the great

belt of land which runs along the sea-coast, you are

prepared to expect that here, if any where, a great mass

of people would be congregated, and that town would

succeed town, and village follow village, along the whole

course of this great artery.

About twenty -five miles above Foushan, stands the

rather considerable town of Keang-yin, situated in a

very picturesque valley, about aa mile distant from the

river side ; but there is a small village close to the land

ing-place. The river suddenly becomes narrow at this

spot, but soon again spreads out to nearly its former

breadth. The town of Keang-yin is distinguished by

remarkable pagoda, to which, with great difficulty, we

persuaded a venerable-looking priest to conduct us.

He hesitated a long time before he could be induced to

lead us into the town , which was surrounded by a very

high, thick , parapetted wall, banked up with earth on

the inside. No soldiers were to be seen, and many of

the inhabitants began very hastily to shut up their shops

the moment they saw us enter the streets.

The pagoda appeared to be the only striking object

in the place, and from the peculiarity of its construction

KEANG- YIN . 395

was well worth seeing. It was built of red brick, in

the usual octagonal form , gradually inclining upwards,

but was so constructed in the inside, that each story

slightly overhung the one below it, although the outside

appeared quite regular. The building was partly in

ruins, but looked as if it had never been perfectly

finished . Not far from it was a well of clear, delicious

water, some of which was brought to us in basins, with

marks of good nature, as if the people intended to sur

prise us with a treat. We afterwards learned that good

water is rarely found in the neighbourhood of the river,

and that the inhabitants are in the habit of purifying it

by dissolving in it a small portion of alum . It was also

stated that fish caught in the river are considered un

wholesome .

The distance from Keang-yin to Chin -keang -foo is

about sixty-six miles by the river, but not much more

than half that distance by land , the course of the former

being very tortuous. The country gradually increases

in interest, becoming more hilly and picturesque the

higher you ascend .

At Seshan, which is about fifteen miles below Chin

keang -foo, some show of opposition was offered by two

or three small batteries, mounting twenty guns, situated

at the foot of a remarkable conical hill . They opened

fire at first upon the Pluto and Nemesis steamers, which

were at that time employed on the surveying service.

The day afterwards they opened fire also upon the

Modeste, which was sent forward to attack them. The

garrison were, however, soon driven out, and could be

seen throwing off their outer wadded jackets, to enable


them to escape with greater nimbleness. The guns,

magazines, and barracks, were destroyed.

A little way below Chin -keang -foo, the channel is

much narrowed by the island of Seung-shan, and the

current is consequently extremely rapid, so that the

utmost skill and care, aided by a strong breeze, are

necessary to enable a vessel to stem the stream and over

come the strength of the eddies and whirlpools. Seung

shan , or Silver Island, is all rocky, but rendered pictu

resque by the trees which are planted in the hollows.

It is devoted to religious purposes, being ornamented

with temples, and it was formerly honoured by the

visits of the Emperors, to whom it is said still to belong.

Nearly the same description will also apply to Kin

shan, or Golden Island, situated higher up the river, nearly

opposite the mouth of the Grand Canal. It is distin

guished by a pagoda which crowns its summit, and by its

numerous yellow tiled temples. The decayed condition of

some of the pavilions, and the remnants of former splen

dour which once decorated their walls, together with

the imperial chair itself, ornamented with well carved

dragons all over its back and sides, attest the import

ance which this island and the environs of the great

southern capital possessed in times long past, and the

low estate into which this interesting part of the coun

try has fallen since Pekin became the metropolis of

China, and the Imperial residence of its Conquerors .

On the 16th Sir William Parker and Sir Hugh Gough

proceeded up the river in H. M. steamer Vixen , followed

by the little Medusa, to reconnoitre the approaches to

Chin -keang -foo. They passed up above the city without

CHIN - KEANG - F00. 397

any opposition, approaching very near the entrance of

the Imperial Canal, which takes its course close under

the city walls. No preparations for resistance were

apparent--at least, there were no soldiers visible upon

the city walls, and the inhabitants who came out in

great numbers were evidently attracted only by curio

sity. Hence the first impression was that no resistance

would be offered , and the information obtained through

the interpreters tended to encourage the same con

clusion .

The walls of the city, which is situated on the right

bank of the river, were, however, in good repair, and the

distance from the river was not too great to enable

the ships to bombard it, if requisite. But the general

feeling was that the attack (if indeed any resistance at

all were offered ) was to be left entirely to the military

arm of the expedition , the more particularly as the

engagement at Woosung had been entirely monopolized

by the navy , and an opportunity was desired by the army

to achieve for itself similar honours . A second recon

noissance, made from the top of the pagoda on Golden

Island, brought to view three encampments on the slope

of the hills, a little to the south -west of the city, which

rather tended to confirm the impression that the troops

had moved out of the town .

The advanced squadron , under Captain Bourchier, had

been sent a little higher up, to blockade the entrances of

the Grand Canal, and the other water-communications by

which the commerce of the interior is maintained . On

the 19th, the Cornwallis was enabled to take up a posi

tion close off the city, near the southern entrance of the


Grand Canal ; and on the 20th , the whole of the fleet had

assembled in that neighbourhood .

The 21st of July was the grand day on which the

important Tartar city of Chin -Keang -foo fell to the

British arms, not without greater loss on our side than

had been anticipated, but with results, the importance

of which, as regards the ultimate object of compelling

an honourable peace, cannot be too highly estimated.

It has been already stated that little or no resistance

was expected in the town itself ; but the ships might

have easily thrown a few shells into it, to make the

enemy show themselves, or have regularly bombarded

the place, if necessary . It seems, however, to have

been settled that it should be altogether a military

affair ; and, with the exception of some boats which were

sent up the Canal, and a body of seamen who were

landed and did gallant service under Captain Richards

and Captain Watson, the naval branch of the expedi

tion had little to do. From documents subsequently

found within the city, it was ascertained that there

were actually about two thousand four hundred fight

ing men within the walls, of whom one thousand two

hundred were resident Tartar soldiers, and four hundred

Tartars sent from a distant province. Very few guns

were mounted, as the greater part of them had been

carried down for the defence of Woosung .

Outside the walls there were three encampments, at

some distance from the town, in which there was a force

altogether of something less than three thousand men,

with several guns, and a quantity of ginjals. As the

adult Tartar population of every city are, in fact, sol


diers by birth, it may be supposed that even those who

do not belong to the regular service are always ready

to take up arms in defence of their hearths ; and in

this way some of our men suffered, because they did

not know from their external appearance which were the

ordinary inhabitants, and which were the Tartars.

On our side, the whole force engaged at Chin -keang

foo, though very much larger than any hitherto brought

into the field in China , did not amount to seven thou

sand men , including officers, non -commissioned officers,

and rank and file. The exact numbers, according to

the field -list, amounted to six thousand six hundred

and sixty -four men, besides officers. They were divided

into four brigades .


Under Lieutenant-Colonel Montgomerie, C.B., Madras Artillery.

Captain Balfour, M.A., Brigade. Major.

Captain Greenwood, R. A., Commanding Royal Artillery.

Officers. Men .

European 26 do . 318

Native .. 6 do . 252

32 570



Major-General Lord Saltoun, C.B.

Captain Cunningham , 3rd Buffs, A.D.C.

J. Hope Grant, 9th Lancers, Brigade Major.

26th Cameronians Lieutenant- Colonel Pratt.

98th Regiment... Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell.

Bengal Volunteers Lieutenant- Colonel Lloyd.

41st M. N.I. Flank companies, Major Campbell.

Total...83 officers. 2,235 other ranks.



Major -General Schoedde, 55th.

Captain C. B. Daubeney, 55th, Brigade-Major.

55th Regiment ... Major Warren .

6th M.N.I. ... Lieutenant- Colonel Drever.

2nd M.N.I. Lieutenant- Colonel Luard.

Rifles of 36th M. N.I. Captain Simpson.

Total ...60 officers. 1,772 other ranks.


Major -General Bartley, 49th.

Captain W. P. K. Browne, 49th, Brigade-Major.

18th Royal Irish ..... Major Cowper.

49th Regiment Lieutenant - Colonel Stevens.

14th M. N. I. Major Young

Total ... 68 officers. 2,087 other ranks.


Aides-de-Camp to the General Commanding- in-Chief:

Captain Whittingham , 26th regiment.

Lieutenant Gabbett, Madras Artillery.

Adjutant-General, Lieutenant-Colonel Mountain , 26th .

Assistant ditto, Captain R. Shirreff, 2nd M.N.I.

Deputy Assistant do. Lieutenant Heatly, 49th.

Deputy Quarter -Master -General, Major Gough.

Field Engineer, Captain Pears, M. E.

Commissary of Ordnance, Lieutenant Barrow .

On the evening of the 20th , all the arrangements

were completed for the attack upon the city and upon

the encampments beyond it , to take place on the fol

lowing morning at daylight. It has been already

stated, that it was not proposed that the ships should

bombard the town ; and the only vessel which fired into

it was the Auckland steamer, which covered the land


ing, and threw a few shot and shells into the city. But

a body of seamen and marines of the squadron (as will

presently be described) took an active share in the work

of the day, under Captain Peter Richards and other

officers ; and Sir William Parker himself accompanied

the General, and forced his way with him through the

city gate.

The plan adopted by Sir Hugh Gough was to endeavour

to cut off the large body of Chinese troops encamped

upon the slope of the hills; for which purpose the first

and third brigades, together with part of the artillery,

were to be landed in the western suburbs of the city,

opposite Golden Island , near where a branch of the

Grand Canal runs close under the city walls ; Lord

Saltoun with the first brigade was to attack the en

campments ; while Sir Hugh Gough in person, with the

third brigade and the rest of the artillery, proposed to

operate against the west gate, and the western face of

the walls.

The second brigade, under Major -General Schoedde,

was to land under a bluff point somewhat to the north

ward of the city, where there were two small hills which

commanded the walls on that side. The object was to

create a diversion , and draw the attention of the enemy

towards that side, while the real attack was to be made

upon the western gate, which was to be blown in by

powder-bags. General Schoedde was directed to use his

own discretion, as to turning his diversion into a real

attack , should he think proper to do so.

There was found to be more difficulty in landing the

troops than had been expected, many of the transports

VOL . II . D D


lying at a considerable distance, and the great strength

of the current rendering the operation troublesome and

protracted. Had the Chinese possessed sufficient force

and skilful officers to lead them , they might have

opposed the landing, and inflicted severe loss upon

our troops, before aa sufficient body of men could have

been concentrated to drive them back, and hold good

their ground. However, the first brigade, under Lord

Saltoun, succeeded in driving the enemy completely over

the hills, after receiving a distant and ineffectual fire as

they advanced, but they met with a more determined

resistance from a column of the enemy, who were in

great danger of being cut off. Several casualties occurred

on our side, in this encounter. Upon the walls of the

town itself, few soldiers showed themselves, and the resist

ance which was soon experienced was not at all expected .

General Schoedde, with a portion of the second bri

gade, took possession of a joss-house, or temple, upon

the hill overlooking the northern and eastern face of

the walls, near the river ; and there awaited the land

ing of the rest of his brigade, being received by a

spirited fire of guns, ginjals, and matchlocks, which was

opened from the city walls ; this was returned by a fire

of rockets.

As soon as a sufficient force had been collected, the

rifles, under Captain Simpson, descended from a small

wooded hill which they occupied, and crept up close

under the walls, keeping up a well sustained fire upon

the Tartars. Major-General Schoedde now gave orders

for escalading the wall , although, from its not having

been part of the regular plan of attack, only three


scaling ladders were provided. The grenadier com

pany of the 55th, with two companies of the 6th Madras

Native Infantry, advanced to the escalade, under the

command of Brevet-Major Maclean of the 55th. The

first man who mounted the walls was Lieutenant Cuddy

of the 55th , who was almost immediately wounded

in the leg by a matchlock ball, but remained sitting

upon the wall and assisting the others to get up with

remarkable coolness.

The 55th and the 6th Madras Native Infantry vied

with each other in gallantly mounting the ladders, toge

ther with the rifles; but the Tartars fought desperately.

As they retreated along the wall, they made a stand at

every defensible point, sheltering themselves behind the

large guard stations and watch-boxes, which are found

at intervals upon most of the Chinese walls.

Many anecdotes are told by those who were present,

of the desperate determination with which the Tartars

fought. Many of them rushed upon the bayonets. In

some instances, they got within the soldiers' guard , and,

seizing them by the body, dragged their enemies with

themselves over the walls ; and in one or two instances

succeeded in throwing them over, before they were

themselves bayonetted. The Tartars were fine muscular

men , and looked the more so from the loose dresses

which they wore. They did not shrink from sword

combats, or personal encounters of any kind ; and had

they been armed with weapons similar to those of our

own troops, even without much discipline, upon the top

of walls where the front is narrow, and the flanks can

not be turned, they would have probably maintained

DD 2


their ground for a much longer time, and perhaps even

until they were attacked by another body in the rear.

Major Warren and Captain Simpson were wounded, as

well as Lieutenant Cuddy.

As soon as the wall was scaled, one body of our

troops proceeded to clear the walls to the right, and

the other to the left ; and the latter, as they scoured the

walls, afterwards fell in with the third brigade, with the

General and the Admiral at their head, who had just

forced their way in at the gateway. While these import

ant successes had been gained by General Schoedde with

the second brigade, two other operations had been con

ducted at the western gate, one by the third brigade,

and the other by a small body of marines and seamen

under Captain Peter Richards. These are now to be


Sir Hugh Gough, as soon as he had been joined by

the 18th and the greater part of the 49th , with the 26th,

which had not accompanied Lord Saltoun's brigade,

gave orders to blow in the west gate with powder -bags.

The canal which runs along the walls on that side was

found not to be fordable ; and this was ascertained by

four officers who volunteered to swim across it to ascer

tain the fact.. Sir Hugh Gough was at this time with

the third brigade, under Major-General Bartley, at

about midway between the south and west gates, but

determined to storm the latter, because the suburbs

afforded shelter for the men to approach it, with little

exposure . A few Tartar soldiers only appeared upon

the walls at this point, as the main body had probably

been marched off to reinforce those who were opposed


to our troops, after the escalade of the walls on the

northern side.

Two guns , under Lieutenant Molesworth, were placed

so as to command the approach to the gate, and to cover

the advance of a party of sappers and miners, under

Captain Pears, who were to fix the powder-bags against

the gate. This operation was perfectly successful; and

the General, putting himself at the head of the 18th,

who had just come up, rushed in over the rubbish , the

grenadiers forming the advance, and entered a long

archway which led into what might be called an out

work , from which there was a second gate, conducting

into the town itself.

It appears that in Chinese fortifications, as before

described , there are always two gateways ; the outer

one placed at right angles to the main wall of the town ,

so as to be flanked by it, and leading into a large court,

surrounded by walls similar to the walls of the town,

and in which there are commonly cells for prisoners,

&c . The second gate and archway leads from it di

rectly into the body of the place, and is surmounted by

a guard -house

use upon the top of the gateway, to which you

ascend by a flight of stone steps on either side.

All resistance at the gateways had been already

overcome, the Chinese guard at the inner gate having

given way before the advanced party of the 55th regi

ment ; and the open court, or space between the two gate

ways, having been just occupied by a party of marines

and seamen under Captain Peter Richards and Captain

Watson, who had escaladed the outer wall very near the



As no detailed account of this interesting part of the

day's work has yet appeared, and as some misapprehen

sion has prevailed with regard to the affair of the boats

of the Blonde in the Canal, I have taken pains to ascer

tain the particulars from two officers who were present,

and who were both wounded on the occasion . The fol

lowing condensed statement of what took place may

therefore be relied on for its accuracy .

The boats of the Blonde, which vessel was at anchor

off one of the principal southern branches of the Grand

Canal running under the city walls, having been em

ployed in landing the Artillery Brigade during the early

part of the morning, were ordered, about ten o'clock, to

re-embark part of the Artillery and Gun-Lascars, with

two howitzers, for the purpose of assisting in the attack

of the west gate, and to create a diversion in favour of

the troops. At all events, whatever the object of the

movement might have been , it is certain that the guns

were put on board the boats of the Blonde, and that

there were altogether about one hundred men embarked .

The boats consisted of the launch, barge, pinnace,

cutter, and flat of that ship, together with two boats

belonging to transports.. They proceeded up the canal,,

which took a winding direction through the suburbs for

some distance, until they came suddenly in sight of the

west gate of the city, which until then had been ob

scured by the houses. The whole of these boats were

under the command of Lieutenant Crouch, of the

Blonde, having Messrs. Lambert, Jenkins, and Lyons,

midshipmen , under his orders.

On coming in sight of the gate, the barge, cutter,


and flat were a little in advance of the other boats,

and proceeding in single line towards a spot pointed

out by Major Blundell, of the Madras Artillery, as well

adapted for the landing of the guns. Suddenly a heavy

fire of ginjals and matchlocks was opened on them from

the whole line of the city wall, running parallel with

the canal ; and, as the height of it was little less than

forty feet, the small gun of the barge could not be

elevated sufficiently to do any service, and the fire of

musketry which was returned was inefficient.

The Chinese opened their fire with deadly effect upon

the advancing boats, and , in the course of about ten

minutes, sixteen seamen and eight artillerymen were

wounded ; Lieutenant Crouch himself was hit in three

places, and one midshipman ( Mr. Lyons) and two officers

of the Artillery were also wounded. Under these cir

cumstances, the men were got out of the boats as quickly

as possible, and placed under cover of the houses in the

suburbs, on the opposite side of the canal. At this

time these three boats were considerably in advance of

the rest, and, as soon as the men were all landed, the

boats were abandoned and the guns left behind. The

launch and pinnace, who were behind them , as soon as

they saw the disaster, and that to advance further

would only expose themselves to a destructive fire,

without the possibility of returning it with effect, stop

ped under cover of some buildings which sheltered them

from the city walls.

The officers and men who belonged to the advanced

boats, having many of their comrades wounded, were

now in a trying predicament. The only alternative left


was to endeavour to join the other boats which had re

mained under cover ; to do which they had to pass across

an open space by the side of the canal, exposed to the

whole fire of the enemy from the walls on the opposite

side. This was, however, effected without further loss,

although a heavy fire was opened on them (but of course

at a greater distance than when in the boats). Some

of the wounded were necessarily left behind, and were

kindly treated by the Chinese people in the suburbs,

who showed no hostility .

As it was evident that nothing further could be at

tempted at present, they all returned down the canal

in the launch and pinnace, and reported the circum

stances to Captain Richards, of the Cornwallis, to which

ship the rest of the wounded were immediately removed .

On receiving the information of what had happened,

Captain Peter Richards lost not a moment in landing

with two hundred marines, at the entrance of the canal,

where he was joined by about three hundred men of the

6th M. N. I., under Captain Maclean , of that corps, and

then pushed through the suburbs towards the city walls ;

at the same time the whole of the boats of the Cornwallis,

under the command of Lieutenant Stoddart, advanced

by the canal, in company with the remaining boats of

the Blonde, to bring off the boats and guns which had

been left behind . They were also to endeavour to check

the fire of the Chinese at the west gate, when Captain

Richards advanced through the suburbs to escalade the


As soon as Captain Richards had landed, he was

joined by Captain Watson and Mr. Forster (master), of


the Modeste, with a boat's crew and a small body of

marines belonging to that vessel. On reaching the foot

of the walls, a heap of rubbish was luckily found to have

been left by accident not far from the gate. Upon this

the ladders were planted by Captain Peter Richards

and Captain Watson, under cover of the fire of the Ma

rines, in face of a large body of Tartars who lined the

walls, and appeared determined to defend their post to

the last . These two officers, together with Lieutenant

Baker, of the Madras Artillery, and a private marine of

the Modeste, were the first to ascend the ladders. As

they got upon the wall (with much difficulty) they were

directly exposed to the cross fire from the guard -houses

over the outer and inner gateway, by which the marine

was killed , and Captain Watson and Lieutenant Baker

were wounded ; the former having one of the buttons

of his jacket driven into his side, and three balls passing

through his jacket. The marine was killed by several

shots passing through his body, and another marine

(also belonging to the Modeste), who followed after

wards, was severely wounded.

With great difficulty and exertion about a dozen men

got upon the wall ; and Lieutenant Fitzjames, having suc

ceeded in bringing up some rockets, lodged one of them

in a guard -house over the gateway, which immediately

caught fire, and threw the enemy into such consternation

that they then gave way . Captain Richards (who had,

as if by a miracle, escaped being wounded ) was now

able to dash down , at the head of his men , into the

open space between the two gateways ; and, just after

wards, the outer gate was blown in, as before described,


by powder-bags. The advanced guard of the 55th had

in the meanwhile come round along the walls from their

north-eastern angle, where General Schoedde’s brigade

had escaladed it, and had now reached the inner gate

way .

The third brigade, under Major-General Bartley, ac

companied by Sir Hugh Gough, and also by Sir William

Parker, dashed in over the ruins of the gate, and, to their

great disappointment, found that the walls had been

already carried ; but, within the city itself, the resistance

of the Tartars was by no means overcome. Part of the

18th and 49th regiments, under Major-General Bartley,

were now ordered to march along the western face of the

walls, and they threw out a line of skirmishers as they

advanced along some ditches and old houses below the

wall. As the brigade filed along the walls left in

front, they suddenly received a heavy fire from a body

of Tartars, by which two officers were killed and two

wounded , and several men struck down. The lead

ing division of the 49th immediately dashed down the

ramparts upon the enemy's left, while the 18th pushed

forward to turn their right. They were soon dispersed ,

although many of them fought with great determination.

One company of the 18th pursued them into the Tartar

city. In this spirited affair the 18th had one officer killed

and one wounded, with about twenty men killed and

wounded. The loss of the 49th was one officer killed,

one wounded , and about twenty -four rank and file killed

and wounded .

In the mean time, the Admiral , having put himself at

the head of the seamen and marines with his usual gallan


try, marched some way along the walls where they had

been already cleared by the 55th, and, as the heat of

the sun at this time (past noon) was almost insupport

able, he had directed the men to take shelter for a little

while, in one of the watch-houses upon the ramparts.

The heat was quite overpowering, and the men being

already much fatigued, several of them died from sun

stroke. Here it was that the gallant Major Uniacke,

R.M., fell from the effects of the sun , and in the list of

casualties of the day no less than sixteen men are in

cluded who died from the same cause.

Having rested something less than an hour in the

guard -house, a heavy firing was heard within the Tartar

city, and the men were instantly formed , and advanced

in the direction of the firing, under Captain Richards

and Captain Watson . On passing through a narrow

street in the Tartar part of the city, a sudden fire was

poured upon them by a body of Tartars drawn up

across the street, behind a small gateway, where they

seemed prepared to make a most determined stand.

Several men were wounded , and it was necessary to

advance with caution, taking advantage of shelter when

it could be found . Here Lieutenant Fitzjames was

wounded while endeavouring to get a rocket off.

Captain Watson was now sent round by a side lane,

to endeavour to turn the flank of the Tartars, but there

also the latter were prepared for them, behind a tem

porary barricade. However, a cheer, and a sudden

rush from both divisions at once, upon the front and

flank of the Tartars, carried the point, and the enemy

were driven back with heavy loss, after showing indi


vidual instances of the most desperate valour, in several

hand -to -hand encounters. When the brave Tartars at

length saw that their utmost efforts were of no avail,

then began the scenes of horror, and the tragedy of

self-immolation, which make one's very blood run cold

to hear of. The Admiral himself was a witness of what

took place. Some of the Tartars kept the doors of

their houses with their very lives, while others could be

seen within, deliberately cutting the throats of their

women , and destroying their children, some by strangu

lation , and others by throwing them into the wells. In

one house in particular, a Tartar was found in the act

of sawing his wife's throat with a rusty sword, as he

held her over the mouth of the well into which his

children had been already thrown. He was shot before

the deed was completed , in order to save the woman ,

who was immediately taken care of, and had the wound ,

which was not severe, tied up. Yet the first use she

made of her tongue, as soon as she could speak, was to

utter the most violent imprecations upon the heads of

the victors. The children who were in the well (in

which there was little water), were all got up, and re

covered .

In other houses numbers of poor creatures were found

dead, some by their own hands or the hands of each

other, and the rest by the hands of their husbands. In

one house no less than fourteen dead bodies were dis

covered, principally women ; in others the men began

to cut their own throats the moment they saw any of

our soldiers approaching ; while in other instances

they rushed out furiously from some hiding -place,


and attacked with the sword any one who came in

their way.

Several of our officers had to defend their own lives

with the sword , long after all systematic opposition had

ceased . An officer of the 14th M.N.I. had a sword

combat with three Tartars who rushed out upon him

sword in hand , and by retreating so as to endeavour to

take them singly, he was able to cut down two of them

just at the moment when a fatal blow was about to be

aimed at him by the third , who was fortunately shot at

the very critical moment by a soldier who was coming

up to his officer's assistance.

It is impossible to calculate the number of victims to

the barbarous practice of self-immolation and wholesale

murder, which met their voluntary doom . Chin -keang

foo was a Tartar stronghold considered by them as im

pregnable ; they could not brook defeat, or the desecra

tion of their hearths, by the tread of the unknown but

thoroughly -hated barbarian ;; every house had its victims;

and to add to the horrors of the day, and the desolation

of the city , the Chinese plunderers flocked in from the

country in multitudes, pillaging in all directions. They

even set fire to the streets in some parts, to enable

them to carry on their work with less interruption in


On our side, although the place had been taken by

storm , and not without heavy loss, the strictest orders

were given to prevent the pillage of the town as much

as possible. Measures were taken, not only to control

our own men (who, according to European custom ,

might have expected to be allowed to pillage a town

taken by assault), but also to arrest the violent proceed


ings of the Chinese rabble, who, in this as in other in

stances, were the worst enemies of their own countrymen.

The authorities and nearly all the respectable inhabi

tants had fled ; and the Tartar general (who had com

plained bitterly to the Emperor of insufficient means for

defence) had set fire to his own house, and buried him

self and part of his family in its ashes.

Notwithstanding all the attempts to prevent the de

struction of property, it was impossible altogether to

arrest it in so large a city. Plunder was sometimes

taken from the Chinese thieves outside the town , and

occasionally articles of value were thrown over the walls,

because they were not allowed to be carried through the

gates. In this way, plunder was sometimes obtained,

and many ingenious devices were adopted to endeavour

to secure a few valuables ; but nearly all the mischief

was done by the Chinese themselves.

The public offices were taken possession of by our

troops, and all the arms and warlike stores which were

found were destroyed. Only sixty thousand dollars

worth of Sycee silver was found in the public coffers ;

but a little addition was made to the prize fund by

the sale of articles which were taken from plun

derers, when they were discovered trying to carry pro

perty out of the gates. The waste and destruction of

property was however enormous. When more valuable

objects were discovered, those of smaller value were

left in the streets ; costly furs lay strewed in all direc

tions; silks and satins lay about in such profusion that

the only difficulty was to choose among them . So little

had the inhabitants expected that their stronghold

would fall, that valuables of all kinds, gems, and

PANIC . 415

gold ornaments, and curiosities of every description, and

in some instances even money, were left in the ward

robes of the best houses, at the mercy of the first comers.

Under these circumstances, it is surprising that so little

plunder was carried away from a city taken by assault.

Terrible as was the downfall of Chin -keang -foo in the

eyes of the Chinese, and great as was the desolation

throughout the city in every direction, it cannot be

doubted that the loss of this important Tartar stronghold,

and the panic created by it (the whole trade of the country

being at the same time suspended), tended very mate

rially to produce in the mind of the Emperor and of his

ministers the conviction that a speedy peace, on any

terms, was preferable to a continuance of the war.


H. M.'s 49th regiment, Lieut. T. P. Gibbons, Sub. Ass.Com. Gen., killed.

18th Captain Collinson, killed .

6th M. N. I. Lieut. Col. Drever, fell dead from sun -stroke.


Royal Artillery .

Lieut. J. N. A. Freese, slightly.

Madras Artillery Lieut. Waddell, severely.

. Assistant Surgeon , severely.

H. M.'s 49th Lieut. Baddeley, dangerously.

Lieut. Grant, slightly .

18th .

Lieut. Bernard, slightly.

26th .

Ensign Duperier, slightly.

55th Major Warren , severely.

Lieut. Cuddy, severely.

2nd M. N. I. • .

Lieut. Carr, Adjutant, slightly.

Ensign Travers, slightly.

36th M. N. I. Rifles Capt. Simpson, severely.

About 150 rank and file killed and wounded .

N.B. The names of officers wounded in the naval branch have been

mentioned in the narrative.



Fever breaks out — Its severity — Blockade of the Grand Canal —

Description of that great work — Overflow of the river — Distress of

the people—Fleet of three hundred trading junks stopped - Activity

of the Nemesis — Visit from the mandarin of Esching — Curious scenes

on board the steamer - Coal junks stopped — Abundance of coal found

in China — Description of it and where found — The Dido and Nemesis

-Mode of procuring supplies — Hospitality of the people at Esching

— Friendly intercourse at one town while fighting at another

Anomalies of war - Anecdotes of Chinese visiters — Emperor's com

pliment to the family of the Tartar general — Garrison left at Chin

keang - foo - Gutzlaff's Pagoda—Cast iron building one thousand two

hundred years old - Passage of the fleet up to Nankin - Arrival of

the imperial commissioners — Attempts to gain time— Decision of the

plenipotentiary — Remarks on the city of Nankin — Dispositions for

the attack — Chinese commissioners yield at the last moment - Inter

views and negociations — Necessary delay — Remarkable report sent

by Ke-ying - Exchange of visits — Sir Henry enters the city -

Signature of the treaty — Remarks on our future intercourse with

the Chinese.

Although the Tartar troops had proved themselves a

formidable enemy at Chin -keang -foo, and the loss sus

tained on our side had been much greater than in any

previous encounter, a far more dangerous enemy soon

began to show itself. Cholera and low marsh fever

now made their appearance, and carried off a great

many men , particularly among the new comers. The


98th regiment, recently arrived from England, suffered

perhaps more severely than the rest ; but, in reality, every

ship, whether a man of war, or belonging to the transport

service, had numerous sick on board ; and some of the

transport ships were at length scarcely manageable,

owing to the shortness of hands. Nor was the sickness

limited to one part of the river more than another ; for the

North Star, and the French frigate, Erigone, which were

at anchor at Woosung, were quite as much afflicted by

it as the rest of the squadron higher up the river. Nor

did it begin to diminish until cool weather set in, and

the fleet gradually withdrew out of the river, after the

peace. Many a brave man too suffered from its effects

for months after leaving the country ; and the officers

were not more exempt than the men .

The total loss our forces sustained on the 21st of

July, at the capture of Chin -keang-foo, was as follows.

Killed, three officers, two sergeants, twenty -nine

rank and file. Total, thirty -four.

Wounded, fourteen officers, one warrant-officer, four

sergeants, eighty -seven rank and file, one follower.

Total, one hundred and seven . Missing, three men ..

Grand total in the military arm, killed, wounded, and

missing, all ranks, one hundred and forty -four.

Of these, one officer (Lieutenant-Colonel Drever), and

sixteen rank and file, of H.M. 98th and 49th regiments,

were killed by sun-stroke.

In the naval arm of the expedition , one officer of

marines and two privates were killed, and two pri

vate marines wounded . Four officers of the Royal

Navy and fifteen seamen were wounded.



Grand total in the naval arm , 24.

Grand total of casualties during the day, one hundred

and sixty -eight.

We will now pause for a moment to inquire what was

being done elsewhere by the naval branch of the expedi

tion, particularly by the advanced squadron higher up the

river, during these operations at Chin-keang -foo. The

great object in view was to stop the entire trade through

that part of the country, which, having numerous

branches of the Grand Canal passing through it, or at

all events being intersected by several canals having

communications with the great one, may be considered

as a centre of commercial intercourse with some of the

most important provinces of China. The annual grain

junks had already passed up the canal towards Pekin ;

but the importance of this great commercial highway

(if a canal may so be called in a country where the only

means of transport is by water) may be estimated from

the fact, that in the course even of a few days no less

than seven hundred trading -junks were stopped ; by

which means no less panic was created throughout the

country, far and near, than by the successes of our

arms .

There are at least three principal communications

between the Yangtze-Keang and the southern portion

of the Grand Canal, of which, perhaps, the largest

passes along the western side of the walls of Chin

keang-foo, through the suburbs of that city. It runs

very near the west and south gates, where it is crossed

by stone bridges, which, of course, impede the naviga

tion for large junks. In its narrowest part, where it is


contracted by stone buttresses, it is about twenty feet

broad ; but, in other parts, it varies from seventy to

eighty feet in breadth, with very high, steep banks, and

with aa depth of water varying from nine to fifteen feet.

These observations were made by Captain Grey, of the


The communications on the northern side of the

Yangtze-Keang are much more numerous, and the main

canal becomes much larger and finer. The principal

branch of communication opens about a mile above

Golden Island ; but there are, in fact, so many open

ings, and such numerous cross-lines running from one

branch to the other, that the whole of this part of the

country resembles a network of water-courses. It is,

in reality, so little above the level of the river, that it

is entirely laid out in paddy-swamp3, which are only

separated from the various canals by embankments

artificially made, and which form the only roads or


The main canal itself, on that side, varies from eighty

to one hundred yards in width , and has a fine towing

path, running along upon the top of the embankment

by which its waters are confined . A few junks had

been sunk at its entrance, and barriers had also been

formed in other branches, in order to impede the naviga

tion, in case our small steamers should attempt to

ascend them . At the time our forces were in the

neighbourhood, the waters were evidently much higher

than usual ; the paddy- fields were deeply inundated ,

although the rice was being cut ; and some of the

villages and courts of the joss-houses were flooded.

E E 2


Shortly afterwards, while our squadron was lying off

Nankin, the river overflowed its banks so extensively,

that the Chinamen were obliged to move about in

boats from house to house in the suburbs ; and great

distress arose , both from this cause, and from the entire

stoppage of trade in the river.

A country so subject to inundations, and intersected

as it is by canals in all directions, cannot but be at

times extremely unhealthy ; and it is not to be won

dered at that sickness should have broken out exten

sively, among a body of foreigners long confined on

board ship. We shall presently allude to the sickness

prevailing among the Chinese themselves in the neigh

bourhood of Nankin, which may, in some degree,

account for the great falling off in its population.

From what has been said of the numerous openings

and communications of the Grand Canal, it is evident

that it would require a considerable force to establish

an efficient blockade. But not only was it necessary

to stop the trade, but also to take measures, at the

same time, to prevent the panic among the people from

reaching such a pitch as to drive them away from their

homes, and leave the country at the mercy of the

rabble, and of the lawless plunderers who flock into the

towns from all parts, causing uneasiness even to the


The Blonde and Modeste, together with the Proser

pine, were placed so as to blockade the two principal

entrances of the canal immediately above Chin -keang

foo , two or three days before the town was taken ;

while the Nemesis and the Queen steamers, having the


Plenipotentiary and Captain Bourchier on board, pro

ceeded some miles higher up the river, until they sud

denly discovered a large fleet of not less than three

hundred trading -junks. These were all ordered to

drop down immediately to Chin-keang, where they

could more easily be prevented from making their

escape. A

A number

number of

of papers written in Chinese were

distributed among the captains of the junks, telling

them that no harm would be done to them, but their

vessels must be detained. The plenipotentiary imme

diately returned to Chin -keang -foo, and the Nemesis

was left to hasten the departure of the junks, which

were made to get under way at once. A grand scene

of confusion followed, as they were crowded together,


and all were glad to be allowed to get away from the

steamer without molestation. They were afterwards

brought-to, in one of the branches of the southern

canal, just above Golden Island , and, for some time,

were under the charge of the Proserpine steamer, Com

mander Hough.

A few miles up the branch of the canal near the

mouth of which this large fleet of junks was discovered,

was situated the third - class town called Esching, dis

tant about twelve or fourteen miles from Chin-keang.

The approach of the Nemesis, and the detention of the

junks, caused so much consternation, that in the even

ing a respectably-dressed Chinaman, who, from the

authority he was afterwards found to possess, must

have been a mandarin of some rank, came down to the

steamer, bringing a few trifling presents of tea, &c. ,

as a means of introduction. His object evidently was


to ascertain whether there was any intention of taking

possession of the town1 ; and, if so, to endeavour to avert

the calamity by the offer of a ransom .

Supplies of fresh provisions were at this time greatly

wanted in the fleet. Many ships, particularly trans

ports, had not been able to procure fresh meat or vege

tables for a considerable time, and the sick were, con

sequently, deprived of what was almost essential to their

recovery. This opportunity of procuring suppl

not to be neglected . The Chinese gentleman and his

attendants were conducted over every part of the

steamer, with which they were evidently much surprised ,

but above all with the engines, which would have asto

nished our own fathers scarcely less. He was soon

made to understand that if he promised to send down

abundant supplies, all of which would be equitably paid

for, no harm whatever would be done to the town or its

inhabitants ; but that no trading -junks could on any

account be permitted to pass up the river, or through

that branch of the canal.

A demand for twenty bullocks was made, and they

were to be delivered on the following day. This was

declared to be impossible—so many could not be found ;

however, he was quietly told that they must be forth

coming, and that ten dollars would be paid for each of

them . Late in the evening the party of Chinamen re

turned to the town, apparently quite satisfied with the

civility they had received, and equally convinced of the

formidable character of their new visiter.

On the following morning, the 19t!, the same people

aguin caine on board very early, bringing with them


vegetables and fruit, and remained some hours, while

the Nemesis was chasing the junks, which were con

tinually coming into view as she proceeded, and were

naturally trying to make their escape. There were

two interpreters (Chinamen from Canton) on board, who

hailed them to bring-to, telling them that they would

receive no molestation if they went quietly down the

river . But some of them continued to persevere in

their attempt to escape, and , when two shots across

their bows failed to bring them to, a third was inva

riably fired into them, which soon had the desired effect.

One or two Congreve rockets frightened them still

more, and at last they were all brought-to in great con

sternation. The Chinese visiters, who were on board all

this time, were perfectly astonished and bewildered,

but were not prevented from making a good breakfast,


A short distance further up the river, they fell in

with several junks laden with coal, but abandoned by

their crews. Some of them were soon driven on shore at

different points, where they could not easily be got off,

in order to serve as coal depôts for the steamer, and

one of the largest of them was lashed alongside and

taken in tow, while the Nemesis still continued her pur

suit of the other junks up the river ; one part of her

crew being occupied in “ coaling” from the junk, and

the other at quarters, occasionally firing a shot across

the bows of any junk that refused to bring -to.

It is here worth while to remark that coal is found in

great abundance in China. Indeed it is difficult to say

what is not found there : gold, silver, iron, copper, zinc,



coal, in short, all that is most requisite for a commer

cial and manufacturing people. Coal is known to exist

in abundance in the gulf of Pechelee ; it is found in the

province of Che-keang, and in almost every town visited

by the expedition it was exposed for sale in greater or

less quantity. At Nankin immense heaps of it were

found stored up by the river-side, and divided into three

qualities, separated from each other. That which an

swered best for steaming purposes bad аa less promising

appearance than the other qualities. It looked slaty ,

but was found to burn better than the Indian coal, and

our steamers all found it to answer well. Probably, if

the mines were worked to a greater depth , a better de

scription of coal would be found.

About a mile and a half above the lower branch of

the canal leading up to Esbing, another larger branch

was discovered , which joined the first one a little below

the town . On the evening of the 19th, the Dido and

Childers arrived, and joined the Nemesis ; the former,

commanded by the Honourable Captain Keppel, who

was now the senior officer, was stationed off the upper

branch, while the latter blockaded the lower one. Cap

tain Hall immediately presented to Captain Keppel the

Chinese gentleman, or, in reality, mandarin, who had

| Dr. Smith makes particular mention of coal as being commonly

seen in China during Lord Macartney's embassy. Pits of coal were

found near the Poyang lake above Nankin . He says that the coal

found in the province of Pechelee was a species of graphite ; that which

was seen near the Yangtze river was like Kennel coal, and that observed

near the Poyang lake resembled covey coal. Other coal found at Chow

chow-foo contained much sulphur, and was used in the manufacture of

sulphate of iron in the neighbourhood of that city.


hitherto been so polite and attentive ; and the assu

rances previously given were reiterated, that no harm

would be done to the town or the neighbouring country,

if abundant supplies were brought down. The same

evening they went up the canal in three boats to the

town, where they were very politely received by the

same Chinaman, who appeared to possess great autho

rity over the people, who obeyed every direction he

gave. At first they looked on in half stupid wonder,

but were evidently reassured when they were told that

nothing would be demanded but supplies of meat and


On the following day, the Chinaman again came down

to the Nemesis, bringing with him all the gentlemen of

his family, in order to show his confidence, and at the

same time invited Captain Keppel and other officers to

visit him at his house in the city, and proposed to give

them an entertainment at a joss-house ashore. He even

hinted that he would introduce them to his wife.

Arrangements were now made for establishing a re

gular market in the courtyard of the large joss-house,

which stood close to the landing-place at the mouth of

the canal. The man scrupulously kept his word, sup

plies in great abundance of every description were

brought down for sale, and the sight of dollars soon

overcame all the Chinamen's fears. In fact, they reaped

a good harvest. These supplies were all sent down to

the fleet at Chin-keang as fast as they could be procured,

Chinese boats or small junks being employed to convey

them , escorted by a boat alternately from the Dido and

the Nemesis, to ensure their safe delivery. Such was


the result of conciliating the good-will, and pacifying

the fears of the Chinese.

For a moment the fears of the people were awakened

by the accidental burning of some buildings at the

mouth of the lower branch of the canal, where the

Childers was stationed. But fortunately the Admiral

came up in person, on board the Pluto, in the afternoon,

to examine the river, and the assurance of protection if

abundant supplies were provided being circulated among

the people by a written paper or chop in the Chinese

character, they resumed their former confidence, and

did not conceal their delight. This was the evening be

fore Chin-keang was taken .

The next day, the 21st July, the Chinese gentleman

and his attendants, according to previous invitation,

came down to conduct the officers to his house in the

city, situated four or five miles up the canal. It is not

a little singular, that while one party of our country

men were partaking of Chinese hospitality, upon the

most friendly terms, in the centre of a considerable

town, the rest were engaged in deadly hostility, fighting

for hearth and home, in a city only a few miles distant.

Although the distance from one to the other by the

river cannot be less than twelve or thirteen miles, it

must be very much less in a direct line by land, as

the firing was distinctly heard. This was one of the

anomalies of the war ; at one place we traded , at ano

ther we fought; here we extended the right hand of

fellowship, while there we crossed our swords in deadly

fight . This was the evident result of making war upon

the government, and not upon the people, and of en


deavouring to make it fall as heavily as possible upon

the former, and as lightly as possible upon the latter.

So far from being a cruel war, we ought rather to say

that it would be impossible to point out any instance of

European warfare carried on with so little hardship and

so much mercy to the people.

On coming on board to fetch the officers who were

invited to the entertainment at his house, the unhappy

Chinaman burst into a flood of tears, and soon made

them understand that his wife bad run away from him ,

the moment it was announced that they were coming to

pay her a visit . Probably tidings had already beeir

brought of the commencement of the attack upon Chin

keang ; nevertheless, on reaching the town, there were

no indications of alarm among the people ; they crowded

round in all directions, out of mere curiosity ; the shops

were not closed, and business did not appear to be in

terrupted .

A proclamation was distributed as the party pro

ceeded , announcing to the inhabitants that all supplies

would be scrupulously paid for, and that no injury

would be done to the city. The best interpreter was

found to be a little Chinese boy, only ten years old,

who had been several months on board the Nemesis,

having been almost adopted by her commander, after

the death of his father, who was killed at Chusan . In

this short time he had picked up English in an astonish

ing manner. His extreme youth was a guarantee for

his honesty ; and, at last, the Chinese gentleman carried

ou all his conversation through this interesting little

boy, declaring that the little fellow spoke truth and


could be depended on, but that the two Canton interpre

ters perverted what was said, by purposely translating it

wrongly, to suit their own purposes, and with a view to

extort money. This will clearly show how much we

were sometimes at the mercy of scheming and dishonest

native linguists, whose little knowledge of broken Eng

lish was often extremely limited.

The Chinese gentleman's house was situated in the

very heart of the city ; it was a very respectable mansion,

with courts and buildings of great extent, ornamented

with carved wood -work , similar to most other respectable

houses of its class. All the relations and friends of the

family had been invited on the occasion , refreshments

were handed round, but no females made their appear

ance . At length , the master of the house was resolved

to drown his sorrows for the loss of his wife, by the

delicious enjoyment of his opium-pipe, which soon

revived his drooping spirits.

The return of the party through the streets towards

the boats was the occasion of greater movement among

the people than before. As an additional mark of

respect, two well -dressed persons accompanied each of

the officers, one on either side, fanning them as they

went, for the day was extremely sultry. Altogether,

it was a most interesting scene. Another entertainment

was also given to them in the joss-house, at the mouth

of the canal, where the market was held ; and, in short,

nothing was omitted on the part of the Chinese, to show

their confidence, and their wish to cultivate our good

will ; this too on the very day of the capture of Chin

keang .


On the following day, the surveying vessels, Starling,

Plover, and Medusa, having on board the masters of the

fleet, joined the advanced squadron under Captain Kep

pel, bringing the first intelligence of the fight of the

previous day.

We must now return for a moment to Chin-keang,

which we left in the last chapter in the possession of

our troops, the greater part of which were already pro

paring to move up towards Nankin . Another attempt

was now made by the Chinese commissioners, Keying and

Elepoo, to open negotiations with the Plenipotentiary ;

but since they did not even now produce full authority

from the Emperor to treat for peace, no other than the

answer they had previously received could be given to


It has before been mentioned that the Tartar general,

Hailing, when he saw that all was lost, set fire to his

house, and burned himself to death in it. His wife and

his grandson shared the same fate ; at least so it would

appear from the orders issued by the Emperor after

wards, whose mandate was sent to Keying, “ that he

should despatch messengers to make diligent search for

their bodies, in order that great honours might be con

ferred upon them . Such loyalty and devotion are wor

thy of the highest praise !" A temple was also ordered

to be erected to his memory, as soon as the war should

be ended , upon which his own name, and also those of

his wife and his grandson, were to be inscribed . More

over, as soon as the prescribed period of mourning of

one hundred days should have expired, the whole of his

sons and daughters were to be sought out, and con


ducted into the imperial presence. Such, then, are the

rewards which the Emperor holds out to those who put

an end to their own lives after a defeat, rather than “ live

to fight another day ! "

Sir Hugh Gough, finding that it would take a much

larger body of men to garrison the town than could be

spared from his small force, and that, moreover, it could

scarcely be considered habitable during the great heat,

on account of the horrible stench proceeding from the

dead bodies of the fallen Tartars (principally by their

own hands), and from the stagnant water in the smaller

canals, determined merely to occupy the heights com

manding the city towards its north -eastern angle. Major

general Schoedde's brigade was to be left in charge of

the place, together with a detachment of artillery. In

order to establish a direct communication between the

heights and the city on that side, a portion of the wall

was blown in (with very large charges of Chinese pow

der) , and the rubbish removed , so as to leave a large,

free opening into the city. The whole line of parapet

on that side was also demolished . Another hill coni

manding the southern entrance to the Grand Canal was

also to be occupied. The troops left behind were quite

sufficient to hold these positions against any force the

Chinese could bring against them after their late defeat.

It consisted of the 55th regiment, and one company of

the 98th, with the 2nd and 6th M. N. I., with artillery

and sappers.

Perhaps the most curious object discovered at Chin

keang, and which has excited many ingenious specu

lations as to the ancient progress of the Chinese in many


of the useful arts, was a small Pagoda made entirely of

cast iron . Some have called it Gutzlaff's Pagoda, for

he is said to have been the first to find it out ; and it

excited so much attention, that the question was at one

time mooted, as to the possibility of taking it to pieces,

and conveying it to England, as a remarkable specimen

of Chinese antiquity. Nor would this have been at all

impossible ; for, although it had seven stories, it was

altogether little more than thirty feet high, and each

story was cast in separate pieces. It was of an octa

gonal shape, and had originally been ornamented in

high relief on every side, though the lapse of ages had

much defaced the ornaments. It was calculated by

Mr. Gutzlaff, that this remarkable structure must be

at least twelve hundred years old, judging from the cha

racters still found upon it. Whatever its age may be,

there can be no question that it proves the Chinese

were acquainted with the art of casting large masses of

iron, and of using them both for solidity and for orna

ment, centuries before it was adopted in Europe. One

can scarcely help regretting that this little Pagoda was

not taken to pieces and brought to England, as a much

finer and more worthy trophy than all the guns cap

tured during the war.

On the 2nd of August, the preparations were all com

pleted for the advance of the forces upon Nankin, the

surveying vessels having already preceded the squadron.

The principal difficulty which remained to be overcome

was the great force of the current, which it required a

strong favourable wind to enable the ships to stem .

Indeed, without the assistance of steamers, it is


doubtful whether all the ships could have got up. On

the 5th, the General reached Nankin in the Marion

transport, towed by the Queen steamer, having the

Plenipotentiary on board.

On the following day, the Admiral got up in the

Cornwallis, with some other vessels, but the whole of

the squadron did not join until the 9th. The Nemesis

attended a part of the fleet, to render assistance

wherever it was most required, particularly in getting

off the transports which took the ground, a service re

quiring no little judgment and perseverance. Just

below Nankin the river takes a very considerable bend ,

its former course having been nearly east and west, while

it now turns nearly due south until it has passed Nan

kin. There is, however, a cut, or canal, or creek, at all

events a water passage, which cuts off this bend, of

course materially shortening the distance, which from

point to point is about ten miles round, and only six

miles by the cut. The passage, however, is narrow ;

but the Nemesis, taking in tow one of the transports,

found her way safely through it.

On the 10th, the proper positions were assigned to

the ships, in case it should be necessary to bombard the

city . The nearest point of the walls to the river was

about seven hundred yards, and the nearest gate about

one thousand. The Cornwallis, Blonde, and heavy

steamers were placed so as to breach the walls, if


Already before leaving Chin-keang, a regular sum

mons had been sent up to Nankin , addressed to New

Kien, the viceroy of the Province. It was hoped that


by these means bloodshed might be avoided. Imme

diately the forces arrived before the city, it was deter

mined that the troops should be landed without delay,

with aa view to make a strong demonstration against the

city, and there was some reason to think that this would

be sufficient to decide the wavering councils of the

Chinese, without further resort to arms; and, at all

events, it was requisite to support our demands by a

show of the means of enforcing them.

f A memorial was intercepted, addressed to the Em

peror by the Tartar general commanding at Nankin,

boldly announcing the defeat and dispersion of the Chi

nese troops, and the imminent danger even of Nankin

itself. It was evident that great alarm was felt, and

that a general desire to stay hostilities had got the

better of all their hatred of the foreigners. The

entire stoppage of the trade of that part of the empire,

and the distress resulting from it, tended very mate

rially to promote this desirable object.

The venerable Elepoo had arrived at Nankin nearly

at the same time with Sir Henry Pottinger ; and very

soon afterwards Keying, the other Imperial Commis

sioner, a member of the imperial house sent expressly

from Pekin, joined his colleague. Various messages

and writings now passed between the Governor of Nan

kin , New Kien, and the Plenipotentiary, in which ,

among other things, a heavy ransom was offered for

the city. In short, the grand effort of the Chinese

authorities was to gain time, to defer the evil hour of

absolute concession to our demands, and to put us off

in some way or other for the moment, as they had

VOL . II . F F


formerly done at Canton, without committing them

selves to a final settlement of affairs.

Fortunately, they had a man of determined energy

and statesmanlike qualities to deal with, in Sir Henry

Pottinger ; one who took a broad, defined view of all

the questions involved, and who would not swerve for a

moment from what he considered just demands and

capable of being enforced . All the astute efforts of

the Chinese to temporize, to shirk the main question, to

save their own dignity, and to withhold what was due

to that of their opponents, were promptly and ener

getically met. With all the honour which we justly

accord to the naval and military operations of the war,

with all due consideration for the diplomatic difficulties

which had hitherto beset our efforts to make an equita

ble adjustment of the pending disputes, we cannot but

concede to Sir Henry Pottinger the well-earned palm

of praise and eminence for the consummate tact and skill

with which he conducted the difficult negotiations at

Nankin to a speedy and successful issue.

It is not necessary, nor indeed would it be an easy

matter even for one initiated into the secrets of the di

plomatic correspondence which followed , to describe all

the attempts at evasion which were made by the Chi

nese, and the cunning with which they at first endea

voured to arrogate to their Emperor and to themselves

superior titles of distinction and precedence. Even

when it was announced that the High Commissioners,

Elepoo and Keying, had arrived, with full powers under

the imperial pencil to treat upon every subject, it was

no easy task to bring them to straightforward matters


of business, or to force them to produce the actual

instrument of authority which they professed to pos

sess .

The landing of the troops, however, and the

earnest preparations wbich were made for storming the

city, tended to bring them speedily to their senses.

After deducting the garrison left at Chin-keang; and

the sick which remained on board the transports, the

actual force at Sir Hugh Gough's disposal for the

attack of the city amounted to about three thousand

four hundred men, exclusive of the officers ; a force

sufficient for the easy attainment of the object itself,

but very small indeed for the duties likely to be re

quired of it, when once in possession of the city.

Sickness would very soon have greatly reduced the

number of effective men ; and, although they would in

case of need have received accessions, by the addition

of the marines and seamen of the squadron, still there

were even at that time so many sick on board the ships,

that it would have been very difficult to make any cal

culation as to the number which would have remained

fit for service at the end of a couple of months.

The waters of the river were exceedingly high ; in

many parts the banks were overflowed in the neigh

bourhood of the city, and fever and cholera were the

most dangerous enemies to be apprehended . In every

point of view, it is a matter of the greatest congratula

tion, not only that the war was so soon brought to a

close, but even that our forces were not detained for

any great length of time at Nankin .

Had the terms, which, as before stated, had been

offered by New Kien , the governor of the city, been

F F 2

436 NANKIN ,

accepted, instead of the Chinese being compelled to

make peace at once , it is probable that the war would

have been longer protracted , and that our forces would

have descended the river, re infectâ, and Hang-chow

foo and Soo-chow-foo would have been the next points

of attack. In this way, it would have been difficult to

assign any near period for the termination of the war ;

for, as long as the Chinese could shift the scene of the

drama from one part to another, they were less likely

to bend the neck and yield to the inevitable necessity

of making peace, short of our dictating its terms at

Pekin itself. The stoppage of the trade of the Great

Imperial Canal, with all its numerous ramifications,

struck a heavier blow than the force of our arms could

have inflicted by the mere capture of Nankin ; and in

fact the expedition up the Yangtze -Keang, with the

alarm and distress occasioned by the stoppage of all

that immense internal trade, and the moral effect pro

duced by our presence unchecked and apparently irre

sistible in the interior of the country, at a distance of

two hundred and twenty miles from the river's mouth ,

had much more real effect in inducing the haughty

Chinese government to succumb, than the mere terror

of our arms in open fight, or the knowledge of the vast

power and resources of Great Britain, which they were

then in reality only beginning to feel.

The position of Nankin is evidently well chosen for

that of a great capital; but alas ! how fallen is the cit

from its ancient importance and extent.. There are

remains of an ancient or outer wall, which can be

traced over hill and dale for a distance of not less than

NANKIN . 437

thirty-five miles . The Chinese have a saying that if

two horsemen start at daybreak from any given point of

the walls, in opposite directions, and gallop round the

walls of the city, they will not meet until sunset. But

this must be a regular Chinese gallop, and not exactly

that of an English hunter. The Chinese horses are

mere ponies. How much of this immense space was in

ancient times occupied by houses, it would be difficult

to determine. The walls of the present city are not

nearly of so great an extent; and, of the actual space

enclosed within them, a very small portion indeed,

perhaps not exceeding an eighth part, is occupied by

the actual town.

Here again , as at Chin-keang and Chapoo, the Tartar

city is separated from the Chinese part of it, by a wall

and gates running across it ;—so carefully have the

conquerors preserved their broad line of distinction, in

person , habits, mode of life, and privileges, even in the.

ancient capital of the empire.

The great extent of the walls even in the present

day rendered the city ill calculated for defence, inde

pendently even of its being commanded by hills, par

ticularly on its eastern side. The principal of these was

called the Chungshan hill, the base of which com

manded the ramparts, and from the summit of which

there was a magnificent prospect over the whole

surrounding country, including the city itself. It was

principally from this, the eastern side, that the chief

attack was to have been made, had it been necessary to

resort to extremities. There were three gates in that

face of the walls, which run very irregularly, and


towards the river are almost inaccessible, owing to the

swampy nature of the ground ; a considerable lake

occupies the space between two of the gates. The

latter are however approached by good causeways,

by which they might easily have been threatened, while

the real attack would have been made higher up, under

cover of the guns planted upon the slope of the Chung

shan hill .

The greater part of the troops were landed at a

village about four or five miles up the creek or short

cut before described , because there were good cause

ways leading directly from that point towards the city.

The Nemesis was able to land at one time not less than

a thousand men , and, in case of absolute necessity, could

have contrived to carry at least a hundred and fifty more.

On the opposite or western side of the city, there

was a large canal running from the river directly up

under the walls, and serving to strengthen the ap

proaches to them on that side. The mouth of this

canal was completely stopped up by very strong rafts,

firmly secured . They were, moreover, constructed in

such a manner, that there were in fact a succession of

rafts, one above the other. On removing the upper tier,

another lower one immediately rose to the surface ;

and, as they were made of stout timbers, well secured

together, they effectually prevented our boats from

getting up the canal. Upon the top of the rafts, little

huts had even been erected, in which a few poor fel

lows were living, but apparently not with any purpose

of defence.

It is matter of little interest now to enter into details


of what might have taken place; since the mere demon

stration of our force, and the tenor of our negotiations,

or rather demands, at length proved sufficient to induce

the Chinese to give way, without our being compelled

to put in execution the plans suggested. Several pre

liminary interviews took place, between Major Malcolm ,

accompanied by Mr. Morrison, the accomplished and in

defatigable interpreter, and some of the Chinese officers

deputed by the Commissioners. It was understood that

the general terms of the treaty were the subject of dis

cussion at these meetings ; but the great difficulty

seemed to be to get the Chinese authorities to produce

the actual document under the Emperor's own pencil, by

which they professed to be furnished with full powers

to treat for peace. There was a great deal of shuffling

and evasion1 ; an evident reluctance to go to the extreme

point; and probably a hope on their part that, by dila

toriness and ingenuity, they might bring us to modify

our terms. But Sir Henry Pottinger was firm , de

cided, and energetic. He was there to dictate rather

than to treat, and his perfect knowledge of the oriental

character came well to the aid of his natural discern

ment and vigour of mind.

At daylight on the 14th the attack was ordered to be

made upon the city, all being now in readiness, and the

guns in position. Due warning was finally given to

the Commissioners , that nothing could delay or suspend

the attack, except the production of the actual docu

ment itself, of the contents of which they had hitherto

only given a very partial account. It was not until

past midnight, scarcely more than three hours before


the artillery would have opened, and the assault have

taken place, that the commissioners at length yielded ,

and sent a letter, addressed to Sir Henry Pottinger,

promising the production of the all -important docu

ment at a meeting to be arranged for the morning, and

entreating that hostilities might at least be delayed un

til that time.

This was a moment of intense excitement to all who

were acquainted with the circumstances. The attack

was of course delayed , but it was doubted by many

whether some new pretext would not still be found to

delay or to break off the negociations, and render the

capture of the city inevitable. However, the proposed

meeting did take place at a temple on shore, in the

southern suburbs of the city, near the canal ; and, at

length, with great form and ceremony, the Emperor's

commission was produced, and carefully examined by

Mr. Morrison, in the presence of Major Malcolm ; and,

at the same time, Sir Henry Pottinger’s patent was

likewise produced, and translated to the deputies who

attended for the purpose on the part of the Imperial


As yet, no personal interview had taken place between

Sir Henry and the Commissioners. Matters now pro

ceeded satisfactorily. It was evident that the Chinese

were at length prepared to yield any thing we might

demand ; their anxiety to put an end to the blockade of

the river and the canal was not concealed, and it was

said to be freely admitted that the people were in the

greatest distress.

Three days afterwards, viz . , on the 17th, it was an


nounced by Sir Henry Pottinger to the naval and mili

tary commanders -in -chief, that the negociations had ar

rived at that stage which authorized him to beg that

hostilities might be considered suspended . Some little

delay was necessarily occasioned , by the time required ,

and the difficulty experienced, in translating the length

ened correspondence which took place. The distance,

moreover, of the city from the ships, and the time ne

cessary to receive and transmit the communications and

their replies, tended to prolong the proceedings. Even

in three days, however, the treaty was actually drafted

in English and Chinese (the latter a task of extreme

difficulty, from the precision of terms necessary ), and

the commissioners acceded to the whole tenor and forms

of a document of incalculable importance, not only to

England and the other nations of Europe, but to the

whole future welfare and progress of the Chinese em

pire. The first treaty made between the haughty and

impenetrable empire of China and any other nation of

the earth, upon terms of equal rank and title, was ex

acted by England, and did honour to her discernment,

perseverance , and forbearance, no less than to her


Many days must have elapsed before the terms of the

treaty could be made known at Pekin , and the assent

of the Emperor be received . It might still have been

doubted whether, even in the eleventh hour, the Empe

ror could bring himself to submit to the hard necessity

of accepting terms which he had hitherto believed

himself able rather to dictate to every other nation,

or to accord as a matter of “ especial favour,” to


submissive barbarians, than to receive from them as a

boon .

The High Commissioners, of course, professed to be

confident that all the provisions of the treaty would be

assented to by the Emperor. They were extremely

anxious to persuade Sir Henry Pottinger that the ships

might safely be withdrawn from the river at once, even

before an answer could be received from Pekin . Their

great anxiety to have the blockade raised was by no

means concealed ; but the Plenipotentiary was far too

clever a diplomatist to think of foregoing for a moment

the immense advantage which the position of our forces

already gave him, and the Commissioners were dis

tinctly apprized that every thing would still continue

to be held in readiness for the resumption of hostilities,

in the event of the Emperor's confirmation of the acts

of his Commissioners being withheld.

The report which was sent up to the Emperor by the

two High Commissioners was certainly remarkable for

its clearness and simplicity, compared with the tone

usually adopted in Chinese documents. Indeed, it has

generally been accorded to Keying, that he was the first

high officer who, since the commencement of the war,

had dared to tell the naked truth to his Imperial master.

There is reason to believe that numerous private reports

concerning the state of the province, the disorganization

of the local government, and the feeling of the people

generally, were transmitted by him to Pekin.

In the lengthened memorial which has been publicly

circulated, he by no means conceals the difficulties with

which he is surrounded. He frankly confesses that it


would be much better for China to pay down the stipu

lated sum at once , than to continue spending a still

larger sum in a vain endeavour to protract the war ;

and he particularly alludes to the advantages which

would be obtained if the blockade were immediately

raised . He even has the boldness to express his fears,

that, if peace be not made at once, the rivers “ will be

blocked up, both north and south ” (meaning particularly

the Peiho), which, he adds, “ will be the heaviest cala

mity .” He consoles himself that, as yet, their reputa

tion was not lost ;” and shrewdly remarks, that one

year's expenses of the army alone would equal one-third

of the whole sum to be paid to the English, and that

even then they would only use the name of fighting,

without the hope of victory. With regard to the trade

at the five ports, he considers them too many ; but

then , he adds, “ if we do not concede it, the English

will not restore to us Amoy, Chinhae, and Chusan, and it

would be a difficult matter for us to get them back.”

Throughout the whole of this remarkable Report,

even with respect to equality of terms in official inter

course, and the surrender of all the prisoners, both

English and Chinese, the whole tone of this interesting

document is that of deep humiliation, artfully attempted

to be concealed under the garb of almost voluntary con

cession .

The time which elapsed between the sending up of

the draft of the treaty for submission to the Emperor,

and its return with the Imperial assent, was partially

occupied by visits of ceremony between the High Com

missioners and the British Plenipotentiary. On the


19th, the former paid their first visit on board the

Cornwallis, having been conveyed thither from the

mouth of the canal, on board the little Medusa steamer.

They were received on board by the Plenipotentiary,

supported by the Admiral and General, and, after

having partaken of refreshments, were conducted round

the ship, every part of which they inspected, but with

out expressing any particular astonishment (whatever

they might have felt ), which in China is considered ill

bred .

I have heard it said by some who were present on

this occasion, that the Commissioners appeared more

struck with the fact of boys, midshipmen, wearing uni

form , and learning the art of war so young, than with

any thing else. I think it was Elepoo who had the cu

riosity to examine the dress of one of the youngsters ;

as much as to say, that he would be much better at

school, imbibing the “ doctrines of pure reason,” than

learning how to fight so young, on board a man -of-war.

The same remark had also been made, on another occa

sion, by Keshen, at Canton, respecting the young Mr.

Grey ; and, I believe, a remark very much like it was

made by the predecessor of the present Emperor to Sir

George Staunton, who was then a boy.

The Commissioners were accompanied by New Kien ,

the Viceroy, and also by the Tartar general .

On the 22nd, the visit was returned by Sir Henry

Pottinger, accompanied by the Commanders -in -chief,

and attended by upwards of a hundred officers, in full

uniform . They were escorted by a guard of honour of

the grenadiers of the 18th Royal Irish . The place of


meeting was at the temple outside the walls, at which

the previous conferences respecting the production of

the Imperial Commission had been held. It was an im

posing and interesting scene ; the number and variety

of the costumes, contrasted with the uniforms of our

officers, and the novelty of the spectacle altogether,

could not fail to make a deep impression upon all


The manners of the Chinese are remarkably elegant

and dignified, whenever they choose to make them so ;

and yet they seem never to omit an opportunity of try

ing to gain some advantage in point of etiquette. On

this occasion, inquiry was properly made by Sir Henry

Pottinger, as to the reason of the plainness of the

dresses of the mandarins who were in attendance . The

ingenious excuse, that they had travelled in such a hurry

as to have been unable to bring their wardrobe with them ,

was employed to account for the apparent want of cour

tesy, and apologies were tendered for the omission.

On the 26th , a conference was held within the walls

of Nankin itself, between Sir Henry Pottinger and the

Commissioners, and the terms of the treaty were again

read and discussed . Sir Henry was escorted by a guard

mounted upon the Arab horses brought from Madras

for the artillery. Little could have been seen of the

city upon this occasion, as the procession passed directly

up to one of the public halls, and returned by the

same route. The bearing of the people was perfectly

quiet and orderly ; and the mark of confidence on both

sides shown by the visit of the Commissioners on board

the Cornwallis, and of the Plenipotentiary within the


walls of the city, must certainly have tended to in

crease the mutual good understanding which it was now

so desirable to cultivate.

At length , on the 29th of August, three days after the

previous visit, the Emperor's full assent to the provi

sions of the treaty having in the mean time arrived,

the ceremony of the actual signature of this most inte

resting document took place on board the Cornwallis.

Every arrangement was made which could at all en

hance the solemnity of the ceremony ; and even the

venerable Elepoo, though sick and very infirm from age

and ill-health, allowed himself to be carried on board, and

into the after-cabin, rather than delay for a day the signa

ture of the treaty. A considerable time was occupied

in comparing minutely the four copies of the treaty, so

that there might not be the least question hereafter,

that the one was the precise counterpart of the other.

A great number of officers (all those having a rank

equal to that of a field officer) were admitted into the

after-cabin, in order to witness the intensely interest

ing ceremony. Captain Hall was likewise permitted

to be present, as a mark of especial favour, although

not then of the prescribed rank. Just at the eventful

moment, also, Captain Cecille, of the French frigate

Erigone, arrived from Woosung, having made his way

up in a Chinese junk hired for the occasion at Shanghai,

and manned by a picked crew of his own men . He

presented himself uninvited on board the flag -ship, and

almost demanded to be present. It is said that his re

ception was not very cordial .

If, in other wars, as has been sometimes asserted ,


England fought all and paid all, certainly in this in

stance, although England did fight all, she fortunately

compelled China to pay nearly all — I say nearly all,

for the twelve millions of dollars exacted from the

Chinese, in repayment of the expenses, besides the six

millions for the opium and the three for the debts, will

not suffice to cover the actual amount. It is, however, a

glorious thing for England that, having once compelled

China to submit, and having imposed her own condi

tions upon her, she could turn honestly round to all other

nations, and declare to them that they were fully at

liberty to take equal advantage of those conditions, so

far as the circumstances of their trade required or per

mitted it. Of necessity, however, England and America

must be the parties most interested , as no other nation

can boast of any considerable trade with China.

It was at first feared by many that the Chinese govern

ment would prove itself insincere in its professions, and

would probably seek an early opportunity of nullify

ing the provisions of the treaty. By others, it has

been thought that even the people themselves would

not only continue their ancient hostility to foreigners,

but might urge and almost force the government itself

into renewed collision with us ; that, in fact, nothing

short of the capture of Pekin itself, at some future

day, would suffice to humble the nation , and compel

them to hold reluctant intercourse with us.

The disturbances which took place at Canton, after

thepeace (to be described in the next chapter) gave

some colour for the moment to these apprehensions;

and the less people at a distance were acquainted with


the origin and nature of those disturbances, and with

the Chinese character generally, the more readily such

apprehensions found credence. In this respect, I firmly

believe that we do the Chinese some injustice ; and I

cannot but think that, if further difficulties should

arise, which might lead to a collision much to be de

plored, they will be occasioned rather by some indis

cretion , some want of forbearance, or some undue and

unwarranted interference with the acknowledged rights

and customs of the Chinese, by foreigners themselres, 1

than by violence on the part of the people, or a wish

to annul the provisions of the treaty on the part of the

government. It is only necessary to read the whole of

the published correspondence of Sir Henry Pottinger’s,

and to look at the scrupulous exactness with which the

Chinese have acted, and, we may add, the readiness with

which they have met Sir Henry's wishes, to be con

vinced that it only requires judgment, forbearance, and

strict propriety on our part, not only to continue, but

even to increase, the good understanding which already


Nothing could tend more to produce a renewal of

difficulties than the being led away by the expectation ,

(we often ourselves produce that which we expect to

happen,) that a fresh outbreak must take place, and

that the Chinese cannot be sincere in their dealings

with us. The regulations already published by Sir

Henry Pottinger, respecting the future trade, will go

far to prevent any wilful misunderstanding. But, if we

wish to extend our intercourse, and to benefit by in

creased good- will and confidence, we must win it from


the Chinese by cultivating their good feelings, not by

offending their prejudices, and by treating them with

consideration , firmness, and scrupulous honesty .

The Consuls at the five ports will have arduous

and responsible duties to perform , and very much must

depend upon their tact and judgment. The Chinese

are not only a prejudiced but aa timid people ; they re

quire to be led rather by good management and scru

pulous faith, than to be irritated by overbearing manner ,

or forced into dishonesty by the constant suspicion of it .

During the existence of the Company's charter, the mark

of the Company was considered by the Chinese as an

unfailing guarantee of the genuine character and qua

lity of the articles, in accordance with the description

given of them. The mark no longer exists, and the

Chinese merchants have not that implicit faith in the

written description of our goods which they formerly

had. It is impossible to be too scrupulous in maintain

ing our character for strict integrity and fair dealing ;

and it is to be hoped that these will be kept strictly

in view, more especially in the new ports just opened

to us .

As to any disposition on the part of the govern

ment to reassume their ancient bearing towards us, I

cannot believe that there have been hitherto any

grounds whatever for the supposition. It is true, that

the government are taking steps to repair their defences,

and to improve their warlike means, and they have

also given orders for the construction of a better descrip

tion of vessels of war. It is also perfectly well known

that large contributions have been voluntarily offered



by wealthy individuals, and by patriotic districts,

avowedly for the “ defence of the frontiers . ” But no

thing can be inferred from this, except that a little

more energy has been infused into the councils of the

Emperor, and a little of the prejudices of the people

modified .

On the other hand, every single act of the Chinese

government, since the conclusion of the peace, has been

strictly in accordance both with the letter and the

spirit of the treaty ; and we have only to look at the

tariff itself, with all its astonishing changes from the

old corrupt system, and the adoption of the wholesome

regulations respecting the trading at the five ports, (at

each of which a small English vessel of war is to be

stationed) to feel convinced that the Chinese govern

ment is beginning to be fully alive to the advantages

of more extensive and friendly intercourse with us ;

that the people are likewise well inclined towards us ;

and that it rests with ourselves to improve the present

good understanding, by judicious forbearance and con

sideration .



Nankin - Porcelain tower — Description of - Portrait of the head priest

- Tombsofthe kings — Colossal statues - Figures ofanimals — Antique

remains — Remarks on the history of the Ming dynasty —Disputes

with the Japanese and Mantchous—How the Mantchous, or Tartars,

came to the throne - Institutions of China preserved after the con

quest — Efficient government - Our forces leave Nankin - Dreadful

sickness - Bengal Volunteers — Descent of the river -Forces reassem

ble at Hong Kong - Riots at Canton — Character of the people –

Origin of the outbreak - English ladies in Canton - Patriots - Attack

upon the factories — English flag -staff - Arrival of Sir Hugh Gough

The Nemesis — Chinese troops occupy the factories — Correspondence

between Sir Henry Pottinger and the merchants—Critical position

Visit of the Prefect and the Hong merchants to the Nemesis - Quiet

restored - Departure of our forces.

The two most interesting objects which deserve atten

tion outside the walls of Nankin are, of course, the

famous porcelain tower, or pagoda, and the tombs of

the kings of the ancient Chinese dynasty. Of the

former it would be extremely difficult to give such a

description as would convey to the reader's mind an

accurate idea of its peculiar structure and character.

It stands pre-eminent above all other similar buildings

in China for its completeness and elegance, the quality

of the material of which it is built, or rather with

G G 2


which it is faced over, namely, variously coloured porce

lain bricks, highly glazed ; and for the quantity of gild

ing, and particularly of gilt images, with which its

interior is embellished.

The building is of an octagonal shape, about two

hundred feet high, divided into nine stories. The cir

cumference of the lower story is one hundred and

twenty feet, so that each face must measure about

fifteen feet; but this measurement decreases as you as


cend, although each story is of equal height. Its base

rests upon a solid foundation of brick -work , raised about

ten feet above the ground, and you ascend to the en

trance of the tower by a flight of twelve steps. Its

face is covered with slabs of glazed porcelain of various

colours, principally green, red, yellow, and white ; but

the whole building is not, by any means, constructed

with porcelain. At every story there is a projecting

roof, covered with green -glazed tiles, and from each of

its eight corners is suspended a small bell .

The effect of this building, when viewed from aa mode

rate distance, cannot be otherwise than imposing, from

the novelty and peculiarity of its appearance. You

ascend to the top of it by no less than one hundred and

ninety steps, leading through the different compart

ments,, but they are not all in very good repair. The

interior of each story appears at first view striking,

but is rather gaudy than elegant, being filled with an

immense number of little gilded images, placed in

niches, in each of the compartments, between the


The view from the summit of this temple amply com


pensates you for all the trouble of reaching it, and for

any little disappointment that may have been felt at

the appearance of the interior of the building. The pro

perty extends over an area of nearly thirty miles, and a

great part of this is enclosed within the ruins of a dila

pidated wall. The country is beautifully diversified by

hill and dale, and houses and cultivated grounds ; yet, in

some parts, it looks almost deserted . Yet it cannot be

iewed without great interest, not only from the appear

ance of the country, but from the associations con

nected with the locality, and with the tower itself.

This latter is said to have cost an immense sum of

money (seven or eight hundred thousand pounds), and

to have occupied nineteen years in its completion.

A not unnatural desire to possess specimens or relics,

as mementos of the first and probably the last visit to

the ancient capital of the empire, led to a few instances

of defacement and injury to some parts of the building,

and to many of the figures within it . But the com

plaints made upon the subject afterwards by the head

priest of the tower, or of the monastery attached to it,

seem to have been a good deal exaggerated, probably in

the hope of obtaining handsome compensation. It was

notorious that a great part of the specimens which were

carried away were actually sold to visiters by the priests

themselves. A complaint, however, was made upon

the subject to Sir Henry Pottinger, and at his request

measures were adopted to prevent any recurrence of the

violence ; and, indeed, with the laudable object of en

couraging a good understanding with the Chinese, and

of doing what, under the circumstances, appeared to be


an act of justice, a considerable sum of money was paid

over to the chief priest, or abbot, of the monastery, to

be applied to the restoration and decoration of the

building. It much exceeded the actual value of the

damage done.

The portrait of the priest of the porcelain tower, in the

first volume, was taken by LieutenantWhite,of the Royal

Marines, and gives an excellent notion of the peculiar

features and expression of countenance, which dis

tinguish , not merely the Chinamen , but the Budhist


Another object of very great interest, which engaged

attention at Nankin, was the large and extremely

ancient cemetery, which apparently, without suffi

ciently well -ascertained grounds, came to be called the

Tombs of the Kings, supposed to be of the Ming

dynasty. They were situated on the slope of the hills,

at no great distance from the principal gate of the city,

at the extremity of a fine paved road .

But, perhaps, still more curious is the avenue of

gigantic figures, most of them hewn from aa solid piece

of stone, which leads up towards the tombs. Nothing

else of the kind was seen in China, and they bore all

the appearance of extreme antiquity ; the grass grew

very high among them, and served to conceal the frag

ments of some which had been broken. The engraving,

which forms the frontispiece to this volume, will convey

a better idea of them than any written description. It

is taken from an admirable sketch, drawn on the spot ,

by Captain Watson, R.N. , C.B. The figures bear the

appearance of gigantic warriors, cased in a kind of


armour, standing on either side of the road, across

which , at intervals, large stone tablets are extended,

supported by large blocks of stone in place of pillars,

such as are frequently seen on the roads leading to

temples in China, and occasionally across the streets,

erected in honour of particular individuals.

In the drawing are represented aa number of colossal

figures of horses, elephants, zebras, and other animals,

rudely executed, and placed without any distinct

arrangement. Properly speaking, they are situated

at a considerable distance from the alley of giants, but

have been introduced to give an effective representation

of the whole. There is something peculiarly Egyptian

in the appearance of them all, and one could rather

imagine that the scene was laid in the vicinity of Thebes

than under the walls of Nankin. It tends , in some

measure, to strengthen the opinion of those who have

endeavoured to trace a connection between China and

Egypt, at a very remote period of their history. It was

impossible to view these gigantic figures under the

walls (and formerly within them ), of the ancient capital

of China, without great astonishment, and a disposition

to hazard speculations of various kinds concerning the

early history of the spot where they are found .

A few words may not be uninteresting in this place

concerning the Ming dynasty, and the ancient capital

of Nankin . The kings of that dynasty sat upon the

throne something more than two hundred and fifty

years, namely, from about the middle of the fourteenth

century until the Tartar conquest, which may be dated

froin about 1644, just two centuries ago. The whole


period of the reign of the Mings seems to have been

one of turbulence, bloodshed, and war — at one time

with the Monguls, at another with the Japanese -


unfrequently with each other, and sometimes with the

Tartars, who ultimately prevailed .

The mode of carrying on war appears to have differed

little then from what it has been in more modern times ;

large armies collected, and easily dispersed, without

striking a blow ; thundering edicts of extermination ,

without power to carry them into effect ; and great

boastings of victories gained, when, literally, no battle

had been fought. Nankin was more than once besieged ,

and the sea-coast was ravaged, both by foreign and

native marauders and pirates. Then came the strict

prohibitions against holding any intercourse with

foreigners, which, like the edicts against opium, were

put on record ,” but remained, for a great length of

time, a perfect dead letter.

The Japanese appear at one time to have been for

midable enemies ; they made their way up to Nankin,

and other cities, took possession of Chusan, ravaged the

coast of Fokien, and visited nearly all the same places

which were the scenes of our own operations during the

war.. The Chinese readily called to mind the history of

those troublesome times, and were inclined, in the first

instance, to believe that we were nothing more than

lawless plunderers, seeking our own profit, instead of

being servants of a great nation, seeking redress for in

numerable wrongs .

The race of the Mantchous (from which the reigning

dynasty springs) became troublesome towards the end


of the sixteenth century. Their first disputes seem to

have arisen concerning trade. They were permitted to

trade, and to enjoy certain commercial privileges upon

the frontier, but hence arose disputes and quarrellings,

which called for the interference of the public officers ;

and wrongs, supposed to have been suffered, were trea

sured up, in the hope of being able to execute vengeance

at a future opportunity. For a time the Mantchous were

kept in subjection, and those who fell into the hands of

the Chinese were treated with the greatest severity. It

is worthy of remark, however, that, generally speaking,

the Chinese, in all their dealings, seem to have preferred

diplomacy to fighting ; and in the excellent papers in

the Chinese Repository upon this subject, it is observed,

with respect particularly to the Japanese, that “ the

war lasted more than thirty years, the Chinese were

usually worsted , yet their generals boasted of their vic

tories, while their most numerous armies were dispersed

by almost a handful of men. But when the Chinese

inveigled the Japanese into negociations, they gained the

ascendant.” “ The latter were inclined to make lasting

peace , but were always thwarted by the treachery of

the Chinese envoys .

The Japanese, however, were at length persuaded to

retire, and to receive the investiture of the realm from

a Chinese commissioner. Not so, however, the more

formidable Mantchous. The Chinese were unable effec

tually to resist them ; and yet one of the best ministers,

who had the courage to advise peace at all risks, was

publicly beheaded as a traitor.

The Tartar conquest was essentially aided by the in


ternal feuds among the Chinese themselves. Robbers

and rebellious chiefs started up within the empire, and

threatened to attack the capital; and the last of the

Emperors of the Ming dynasty at length hung himself in

his own palace, through fear and despair, when he found

himself unable to control his own rebellious people, or

resist the power of the Mantchou Tartars.

This monarch seems to have been a pattern of irre

solution and cowardice. His death occurred in the

imperial palace at Pekin , not at Nankin ; and it is to

be remarked , that although the Tartar dynasty have

always made Pekin the capital of the empire, and that

Nankin has comparatively fallen to a very low state,

nevertheless Pekin was made the capital, or rather the

northern capital, long before the Tartar conquest ; but

Nankin, at that time, still retained a great portion of

its ancient importance.

Whether the burial-place already described , and so

much distinguished beyond all other cemeteries by its

rude colossal statues, was really the burial-place of the

ancient kings or not, it is impossible now to ascertain .

It gives it, however, a pleasing interest to believe that

it was so, although it certainly was not the cemetery of

all the kings, even of the Ming dynasty.

The Mantchou race came to the throne under remark

able circumstances. They were called in to assist one

of the claimants to the throne, after the death of the

last of the Mings; having gained the victory over all

opponents, the Mantchous refused to return to their

own country, and boldly marched up to the gates of

Pekin, where they were gladly welcomed by the people.


They soon made themselves masters of the city. Their

leader unfortunately died , and the Mantchous then pro

claimed his nephew, who was quite a child, Emperor of

China. From this period the dynasty of the Mantchous

have succeeded in maintaining themselves upon the

throne, namely, from about the year 1644.

Several claimants to the throne, from among the

descendants of the Ming family, started up at various

times, but, in a few years, they were completely over

come throughout the whole empire, and most of them

were killed . It is supposed, however, that descendants

of that family still exist in China, but they do not make

themselves known ; nor is it likely that the Chinese

would now interest themselves in the slightest degree

in procuring their restoration to the throne, in oppo

sition to the Mantchous.

China has by no means retrograded under the do

minion of its new sovereigns ; it is more wealthy, more

populous, and more consolidated than at any other period

of its history. It has enjoyed a longer interval of peace

than it ever did before ; and the system of government is,

perhaps, better adapted to the wants and habits of the

people than any other would be. The machinery of

government has differed little from that of their prede

cessors, but they have shown more vigour in its admi

nistration ; and there is one remarkable feature in it,

that the emperors have never trusted the members of

their own family, or committed power into their hands.

The latter have, in fact, been the pensioners of imperial

bounty, and have lived , as it were, under surveillance

within the palace.


It is remarkable that the Tartars, instead of altering

the institutions of China, conformed themselves to the

laws and customs pre -existing in the country ; so that

China, in reality, changed neither its manners, its in

stitutions, its social habits, nor its language, by the

conquest, but simply its rulers. This fell in completely

with the views of Mencius, their greatest philosopher

next to Confucius, who says in his works, “ I have heard

of the barbarians being improved by the Chinese, but I

never heard of the Chinese being improved by the bar

barians.” When we remember that the present empire

of China extends over an area of three millions of square

miles, and that this immense territory, with its hundreds

of millions of inhabitants, is ruled by one man, whose

authority radiates from Pekin , as the centre, to the ex

treme points of his dominions, we must admit that there

must exist great regularity, comprebensiveness of system ,

and efficiency of government, which can hold so vast an

empire together, and keep its machinery in proper

motion .

Little remains to be said concerning the rest of

the short period of the detention of our forces at

Nankin. On the 15th of September, the Emperor's

positive assent to the treaty, signed by his Commis

sioners on the 29th of August, was received at Nankin ;

and there now appeared to be every certainty that the

peace would be of a lasting nature.

All were now anxious to quit the river without delay,

in which so many brave men had already found a grave,

through sickuess. Every ship was full of invalids ; in

many of them full one-third of the crew were unable to


work , and in some even more. The officers appeared to

suffer equally with the men ; and on this account some of

the transports were in a pitiable condition . The recovery

of the men was extremely slow, and, even after the fever

was apparently cured, relapses were very frequent. There

are no means, however, of ascertaining the actual num

ber of deaths which occurred, but in some ships they

were numerous. Among the troops, the 98th regiment

and the Bengal Volunteers suffered the most ; but the

latter were affected more by their confinement on board

ship, and by the voluntary starvation to which they sub

mitted, on account of the prejudices of their religion,

than by the mere effect of climate. They principally

suffered from dysentery, occasioned by their abstinence

from proper food. Most of them being Rajpoots, high

caste Hindoos, they were prohibited by their supersti

tion from eating any food cooked on board ship. Dry

rice and gram (a shrivelled pea, of which sheep and

cattle are very fond ), constituted almost the only food

they would eat, and edible tobacco their only luxury.

Medicine could afford little aid to men under these cir

cumstances ; and they preferred death to the violation of

their religious feelings ; indeed it was not until the sur

vivors reached Hong Kong, and were sent ashore to live

in tents, in order to be able to cook proper food for

themselves, that they began to recover strength enough

to enable them to support the remainder of the voyage

to Calcutta.

While the Hindoos suffered thus severely, the few

Mohammedans who were in the regiment escaped almost

without sickness, and there was scarcely a death amongst


them . A finer regiment than the Bengal Volunteers,

when they arrived in China only a few weeks before,

nine hundred strong, could hardly be seen. They were

even seven hundred and fifty strong when they landed

at Nankin , after having been in action at Chin-Keang ;

and yet, when the regiment arrived in Calcutta, there

were less than four hundred survivors. Indeed, there

were little more than three hundred upon the field when

they were reviewed at Barrackpore, with the rest of the

garrison, by Sir Hugh Gough.

Before leaving Nankin , the ceremony of conferring

the order of the Grand Cross of the Bath upon Sir Hugh

Gough was performed on board the Cornwallis, with all

the attendant marks of honour. As it was directed that

it should take place in the most public manner possible,

the high Chinese officers were invited to attend, and

every preparation was made to give éclat to the pro

ceedings. Very few of the Chinese came to witness it ,

but a few were sufficient to make known to their coun

trymen generally, that great honours were being con

ferred upon the English General, for his successes against

their best troops. A speech was of course made by Sir

Henry Pottinger, on presenting the decoration, full of

handsome and well-deserved eulogy, and was replied to

with evident feeling by the venerable Sir Hugh Gough.

Salutes were fired , the band played, and every thing

passed off very gaily ; and refreshments in the Admiral's

cabin served to warm the hearts of the Chinese visiters

even towards their recent enemies.

As soon as it became generally known among the

Chinese that the Emperor's assent to all our terms had


been received, and that lasting peace was to be esta

blished between the two nations, the people generally,

both in the suburbs and in the neighbourhood of the

city, became very friendly and well-disposed . Even the

soldiers looked down and smiled from the city walls ;

and on one occasion, as a party was returning from a

visit to the Porcelain Tower, upon the top of which they

had drank to the health of the Queen of England, and

lasting peace with China, in champagne, they went close

up to one of the gates, upon the battlements of which a

number of Tartar soldiers were standing, looking quietly

on. They hailed the Tartars good-humouredly, and

some cigars were offered to them, which they seemed in

clined to accept ; then aa bottle of champagne was held

out to them, and they soon procured a basket, which

they let down to receive the welcome presents, with

which they appeared much pleased . Shortly afterwards

a military mandarin made his appearance, and seemed

very angry at the incident, complaining that it was not

right to attempt to bribe his men.

Towards the end of September, the different trans

ports and ships of war began to move down the river.

The steamers were now almost entirely supplied with

Nankin coal, immense heaps of which were found regu

larly stored up along the banks of the river, nearly in

front of the city.

Enormous piles of excellent firewood were also found

very near the coal depôts, so that there was no inconve

nience whatever from the want of fuel. This is a matter

of the utmost importance, as, in case of our being under

the necessity of paying a second visit to Nankin, it is


satisfactory to know beforehand that fuel for steamers

can be procured on the spot.

It is here worth while to mention also, that for nearly

a year and a half the Nemesis had eight Chinamen on

board , as firemen and stokers. They were originally

handed over from the Wellesley, at Chusan ; the temp

tation of twelve dollars each, per month, induced them


to enter on board the Nemesis, and they did their work

remarkably well. They were not discharged until the

Nemesis carried them down to Canton, to which place

they belonged, but they never were compelled to remain ,

nor were they called upon to go in the boats to fight.

But, whenever a place was captured, and a little plunder

was to be got, they were always anxious enough to go

ashore, and proved themselves most expert thieves. In

deed, this was one of the inducements for them to con

tinue in the Nemesis. Nevertheless , they appeared

not to show the slightest sympathy for their country

men , and one of them even volunteered to go ashore

armed, in company with our seamen, in order, as he said ,,

to be able to “ have a crack at a mandarin .” In fact,

the people of the north and south of China have no

fellow - feeling for each other, and the inhabitants of

different provinces seem to be often as opposed to each

other in their prejudices, as if they almost belonged to

different nations .

The descent of the river was in some respects more

difficult for the squadron than the ascent, particularly as

the buoys, which had been laid down to mark the

channel, had been removed by the Chinese in the in

terim . Under these circumstances, and in the absence


of proper charts of the river, it is highly creditable to

the transports that they all succeeded in getting down

without any serious accident . Steamers generally went

ahead, and gave the soundings by signal, notwithstanding

which, most of the ships got aground several times. The

weather was now very unsettled and hazy, as the north

east monsoon was just setting in, and this added, of

course, to the difficulty.

The Plenipotentiary, together with the Admiral and

General , paid a visit to Shanghai , on their arrival at

Woosung ; and the arrangements respecting the ransom

of the town , which was to be considered as part of the

money paid under the terms of the treaty , were now

completed , and the money was shipped ; by this pay

ment, the first instalment of 6,000,000 dollars was com

pleted .

At the end of October, the whole of the fleet had

finally quitted the Yangtze Keang, and were assembled

in the beautiful harbours of Chusan. I never remember to

have witnessed so pictusesque and striking a scene as was

there presented to view. Both the outer and inner har

bours were crowded with men -of-war, transports, and

steamers. It rarely falls to any one to have the good

fortune to witness so large a fleet assembled together.

The troops on board the transports, the boats constantly

passing and repassing, the bands playing, and the perfect

good feeling and friendliness which prevailed through

out our forces, both between the army and navy , and

between the different corps and ships individually, made

a cheerful impression upon all, and added greatly to the



real satisfaction derived from the glorious termination of

the war .

While at Chusan, the Plenipotentiary issued a very

important proclamation, prohibiting all English mer

chant vessels from going to any of the ports newly

opened by the treaty, until the tariffs and scale of duties

should be fixed , and the proper machinery prepared

both by the Chinese and the English governments, for

conducting the trade. These regulations and the tariff

have now at length been published by Sir Henry Pot

tinger, and evince, in no ordinary degree, both his

talents as a diplomatist ( for it must have required no

little tact and judgment to have enabled him to obtain

these concessions from the Chinese ), and his clear dis

cernment and energy , as a man of business .

While the fleet was detained at Chusan, the Nemesis

was once more hauled on shore for repairs, having been

a good deal shaken by the heavy work she had done in

the river ; on careful examination, however, she was

found less injured than had been expected, and gave

strong proof of the advantage of iron steamers in river


About the middle of November nearly all our ships

had reassembled at Hong Kong. It was a most ani

mated and bustling scene, and during the two or three

weeks in which our forces were detained there, the Chinese

reaped a rich harvest, from the sale of Chinese manu

factures and curiosities, which were eagerly sought for.

From various causes, our forces were detained at

Hong Kong longer than had been expected, and in some


respects it happened fortunately, although the weather

had become excessively cold and trying for the men . On

the 7th of December disturbances took place at Canton ,

which resulted in the total destruction of the old com

pany's factory , the Dutch factory (occupied by American

merchants ), and the adjacent extensive buildings, called

the Creek Hong. As this event produced great alarm

in the minds of the foreign residents in China, and even

produced an impression upon the minds of mercantile peo

ple at a distance, who were, in consequence, led to doubt


the practicability of maintaining peaceable relations with

the Chinese for any length of time, some few details will

be necessary .

It is proper to remark that the community of Canton

differs in many respects from that of any other part of

China.. Long accustomed to a profitable intercourse

with foreigners, and encouraged by their government to

look upon them as an inferior, or, at all events, a less

favoured race, arrogant also in proportion to their igno

rance, they could not reconcile to themselves the advan

tageous terms which had been exacted, as the price of

peace, from the Emperor ; and forgetting the numerous

lessons they had been taught in the Canton river, they

believed they could still have succeeded against the

foreigner, had their professed patriotism been appealed

to, and their proud spirit permitted to pour forth its


It is also to be remembered that, in a large commer

cial city like Canton, a great number of bad and discon

tented characters are collected from all quarters. Its

reputation for wealth made it a desirable field for the



adventurer ; while the prospect of the loss of a great por

tion of its trade served to produce a general discontent

among the residents. Every great change, however, is

commonly attended with some difficulty at first; nor was

it likely that the people of Canton could readily forget the

day when our troops dictated terms for the ransom of the

city, from the heights above it. Moreover, a great part

of them really believed that they had been betrayed, and

that treachery or bribery had been used , rather to fa

vour us than to spare the city ; while they scarcely

doubted that the large bodies of militia, or self-styled

patriots, who continued to hover about the rear of Sir

Hugh Gough's army while upon the heights, would have

sufficed to have driven him back again to his ships .

Such was the effect of popular ignorance and vanity.

For some days previous to the actual disturbances,

there had been rumours of an intended rising against

the English . Hints were given by some of the people

of the establishments belonging to the Hong merchants,

that something unusual would happen , and, in fact,

that people were combining together for no good osten

sible purpose. I happened to be at Canton at the time,

and could not help noticing the eagerness with which the

crowds of passers-by were reading anonymous placards

pasted upon the walls, in the narrow streets at the back

of the factories. These documents professed to publish

the sentiments of the patriotic gentry and people belong

ing to the neighbourhood of Canton . They misstated

the terms of the treaty, and asserted the belief, that

foreigners were hereafter coming to build houses for

themselves at Canton, and to reside there with their


families. This was, in fact, the great object of their

dread, or rather this was the principal argument they

used to endeavour to rouse the people generally to resist,

“ and not to allow a single foreigner to remain .”

The promiscuous residence of foreigners in China

was certainly never contemplated by the terms of the

treaty, but there was a report at Canton (whether well

founded or not I cannot say), that somebody (said to

to be an American ), did at one time actually propose to

purchase land of the Chinese at Honan, opposite the

factories, for the purpose of building on it. And a fur

ther support was given to the suppositions of the

Chinese, by the appearance of three or four English

ladies (wives of captains of ships at Whampoa) in the

streets of Canton.

I remember well what a sensation it created, when

these ladies were seen proceeding up China Street ,

accompanied by their children (and, of course, by their

husbands). The novelty of their dress and personal ap

pearance was the least part of the business. It was an

infraction of all the established usages of the Chinese ;

for not only had no foreign ladies been hitherto seen in

the streets, but not even Chinese ladies are ever to be

seen in public, except in sedan -chairs. On this occa

sion , the people offered neither violence nor insult, and,

indeed, a few policemen were stationed close to the

factories, to prevent the pressure of the crowd . In the

evening they embarked again in their boats, and pro

ceeded down the river.

There is no question that this little incident had a

very bad effect upon the feelings of the Chinese. As a


proof of this, it is right to mention that the same persons

again came up a few days afterwards, and resided with

their husbands in one of the factories, and that that

very factory was the first attacked , and unquestionably

the object was to drive out the foreign ladies, as much

as it was to plunder. They escaped , with the utmost

difficulty and danger, by a back way, and were received

into one of the Hong merchant's warehouses until

they could be conveyed down the river. But the

mob destroyed and tore into shreds every article of

their wardrobe which they could find.

In justice to the Chinese, and to the very proper and

cautious measures adopted by Sir Henry Pottinger, this

incident cannot be omitted. But the mob evidently

had its leaders ; and many of the people were said to

be provided with little bags of gunpowder, for the pur

pose of setting fire to the buildings. There was cer

tainly some preconcerted scheme or other, although the

occurrence of the outbreak on that particular day was

a matter of accident.

Nevertheless, when we remember that, on more than

one previous occasion, disturbances had occurred, and

that a great part of the factories had already once been

burnt down, we wonder the less at the recurrence of

an outrage in a city such as Canton. Disputes first arose

in the early part of the day ( 7th December) between a

number of Lascars, who were on leave from Whampoa,

and some of the shopkeepers of Canton . The Lascars

are generally allowed to trade a little on their own

private account, and are in the habit of carrying back

to India a great variety of articles, of little cost, pur


chased in China. On this occasion , a very large number

of them were allowed to come up to Canton together ;

hard bargains were driven , and doubtless there were

faults on both sides. High words soon led to blows and

squabbles in some of the back streets ; the disturbance

naturally increased by the accession of recruits to both

sides, stones flew and sticks were used, and at length

the Lascars were driven out of the back streets into one

of the unoccupied hongs, called the Creek Hong, which

still remained unrepaired since the general pillage of

the factories in the previous year.

For some time, both parties remained quiet, and

probably those Chinamen who commenced the disturb

ance had little to do with what afterwards happened.

Towards evening, numbers of suspicious-looking people

began to collect together, in front of the factories.

Something serious was now anticipated, and the Euro

pean residents began to barricade their doors and win

dows, and to endeavour to secure their books and

treasure as well as they could . One of the first objects

upon which an attack was made by the mob was the

British flag -staff in the Company's garden, into which

they forced their way. The staff was soon set on fire

(there was no flag ), and the blaze was followed by a

general shout.

The British factory, which was then undergoing

repair, was the next object of violence. The workmen

within it defended it for some time, but the mob at

last got in, and were thus enabled to force their

way from the balcony into the adjoining building

(formerly part of the Company's hong), in which the


ladies were staying with their friends. Fortunately,

however, they had already been conveyed away to a

place of safety.

Elated with success, the mob gradually attacked the

other adjoining factories, particularly that which was

formerly occupied by the Dutch , but which was then

rented by an American firm . Here aa stand was made

with firearms against the invaders for some time, and

two or three of them were shot. At length, however,

they prevailed ; and the American gentlemen had a

narrow escape in reaching their boats, but were only

able to save a small quantity of the treasure.

Gradually the crowd increased, as the night set in ;

parts of the factories were already on fire, and if the

wind had been high, instead of being nearly calm, it is

impossible to say where the destruction would have

stopped, in a city like Canton.

It will be asked whether no attempt was made by the

Chinese authorities to disperse the mob. For some

time they seem to have been actually themselves afraid

of encountering the mob ; and a small party of police

runners and soldiers, who were sent down in the first

instance, were said to have been driven off. It must

not be supposed that all, or even a quarter part, of the

foreign factories were burnt down. None of the rest

were injured, except those situated between Hog Lane

and the Creek. Towards morning the mob began to be

satiated with what they had done, and a large body of

soldiers coming down into the square in front of the

factories, headed by their proper officers, soon managed

to enforce quiet. They retained possession of the


square, and pitched their tents, as if they were to be

stationed there for some time.

The alarm created by these violent proceedings

among the foreign community was of course very great

indeed. Many were at first inclined to think that it was

only the commencement of a series of similar outrages,

which would lead to a rupture of the peace. When

the report of what had happened first reached Macao

and Hong Kong, it was considered almost too serious

to be believed ; or at least it was thought to be very

much exaggerated . But when the truth of the whole

previous account came to be ascertained, it gave rise to

a sort of dread of some great disaster , and it was

thought that it would be impossible to carry on the

trade in future except under the protection of our guns.

Whatever the plans of the Chinese may have been ,

the arrival of the Proserpine steamer on the following

morning at Canton tended very much to reassure the

European community. Sir Hugh Gough had requested

to be conveyed in her to Canton, merely for the purpose

of visiting the town, and it was quite a matter of for

tunate accident that she arrived there just when she

was most wanted. Communications passed between Sir

Hugh Gough and the authorities, who gave every assu

rance of their desire to maintain tranquillity. But the

difficulty was, as to their power to carry out their own

wishes. It was doubted whether their soldiers could be

depended on, and Sir Hugh Gough, therefore, acceded

to the request of the merchants, to allow the Proserpine

to remain off the factories until communications could

be received from Sir Henry Pottinger.


In every point of view, this was now a very critical

moment . A single false move, or one hasty step,

would have led to collision and difficulty, and might

have endangered the existence of the peace for which

we had so long been struggling. The utmost caution

and good judgment were required to allay the angry

feelings on both sides ; and it would have ill become us

to have assumed the appearance of almost inviting the

renewal of a collision with a proud susceptible govern

ment, when their high officers declared themselves

“ both willing and able to control their own people, and

to protect foreigners.”

The merchants at Canton addressed Sir Henry Pot

tinger, with a view to obtain from him protection for

their persons and property while carrying on their trade

at Canton ; they expressed their firm belief that there

was a prevailing spirit of hostility to the English among

certain classes in Canton, by whom the mob were influ

enced, and that unless armed protection (amounting in

reality to armed intervention ) were afforded to them ,

it would be impossible for them to carry on their busi

ness, except through the means of American agency .

But this kind of assistance was generally deprecated

by the merchants, as tending not only to throw business

into the hands of the Americans , for the time, but also

to establish it permanently in their favour, to the detri

ment of our own mercantile interests.

It cannot be denied that, after the commencement of

the war, the business of the American merchants had

increased almost tenfold ; indeed , the American houses

occupied by far the greater part of all the factories.


Many of them, in the first instance, acted only as agents

for the English merchants in China, but gradually they

became the correspondents of our merchants and manu

facturers at home and elsewhere ; so that, besides the

vast increase of American business with America, there

had grown up a prodigious extent of American agency

with England .

But this was in fact one of the natural consequences

of the war, and could only be counteracted by a cessa

tion of war—that is, by absolute peace. It is evident,

however, that it would be any thing but a peaceable

mode of conducting commerce, to carry it on under

the protection of our guns, after peace was proclaimed ;

nor could it fail to keep alive those very feelings of irrita

tion which it was so desirable to pacify, while it might en

gender new difficulties, the result of which could not be

foreseen ; though the protection asked for was only of a

temporary kind .

The reply of Sir Henry Pottinger to the merchants

was a long and harshly expressed document. It seemed

to have been written on the spur of the moment, and

probably another day's reflection would have softened

its terms. It amounted in fact to a rebuke, addressed

to the merchants ; part of which had little reference

to the matter in question. The impression of the Ple

nipotentiary seems to have been , that the foreign com

munity were altogether in the wrong ; and his Ex

cellency certainly had in view the extensive, and one

may almost say acknowledged, smuggling; not only of

opium , but of every description of exports and imports

which were liable to duty, in the Canton river.


This abuse had reached an enormous height, and

the local officers were in a great measure privy to it ;

but the systematic manner in which it was conducted

on our side was undoubtedly a source of great annoy

ance and perplexity to Sir Henry Pottinger. It was

not confined to the well-armed and well-appointed

opium vessels, which were then lying even at Whampoa,

but there was every kind of evasion of duties openly

carried on, even to that of the duties payable on the

ships themselves.

It cannot be denied that cargoes were transshipped

at night, from vessels which had paid the charges, into

smaller ones which had not done so, and which then

removed lower down the river. The full knowledge of

these facts certainly had its effect in suggesting the

tone of some part of Sir Henry's letter. In other

respects, nothing could be more firm and positive

than the reply to the actual request made for armed

protection. “ I need only remark ,” he adds, “ that I

should and shall very truly regret the loss and incon

venience to which you would be exposed by being forced

to withdraw from Canton. I trust, however, that it

will be averted through the measures which I have in

view ; but I must at once finally, most explicitly, and

candidly acquaint you , that no conceivable circum

stances should induce me to place her Majesty's govern

ment in so false and undignified a position, as I should

consider it would 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.”

It was undoubtedly a critical moment of our inter


course with the Chinese ; and, therefore, we may now

ask what steps Sir Henry Pottinger did take upon this

occasion. He addressed a letter upon the subject to

the Viceroy of Canton, and sent it up by the Nemesis.

It would be difficult to say that this was not the wisest

and most dignified course to pursue.. If the Viceroy

should declare either his inability or his unwillingness

to protect the foreign community, then indeed would

be the proper time for intervention , in order to secure

to them that protection which they needed.

Captain Hall had previously gone up as a passenger

in the Proserpine, with Captain Hough, to Canton ; but

the moment it was ascertained that the Nemesis had

passed the Bogue, in charge of his chief officer, he

went down to meet her, and brought her safely straight

up to Canton from Whampoa, passing through the

passage between the stakes below Napier's fort, and

then taking the left-hand passage, by the low alluvial

island. The Proserpine had previously, for the first

time, been carried up the right-hand passage. Both of

these lead up to nearly the same point, opposite the

French Folly .

Great was the rejoicing of all the foreigners at Can

ton, the moment they recognized their old friend the

Nemesis approaching. And who that had once seen

her could ever mistake her appearance, with her two

huge eyes upon the bows, in true Chinese fashion !

On this occasion, the captains of the merchant -vessels

at Whampoa volunteered to lend their services, if neces

sary . There was great uncertainty as to what might

happen, and it was reported that an attempt would be


made upon the steamer at night. It was not forgotten

that on former occasions fire - rafts had been sent down

the river to destroy the shipping, and it was necessary

that the Nemesis and Proserpine should be prepared.

The assistance of two boats only was accepted, one

from the William Money, under Captain Bickford, and

another from the Edinburgh, under Captain Paterson.

Both boats were well armed and manned, and were of

great use in guarding against a surprise.

Mr. Medhurst had come up in the Nemesis, as inter

preter, in charge of Sir Henry Pottinger's letter to the

Viceroy ; and the question now was, to whom, or

through whom , was it to be delivered ? It was satis

factory to observe that a great number of Chinese

soldiers were encamped on the ground in front of the

factories, for the protection of the foreigners. They

were evidently some of their best soldiers, for they

were well-dressed

- and properly armed . Each tent was

appropriated to about six men ; and one of their large,

long shields, placed upright, served as a door to each ;

their arms were all in readiness, and sentries were

placed .. As for the men themselves, their only occu

pation or amusement seemed to be gambling all the

day long.

At first the Hong merchants proposed to receive the

letter, but that was, of course, objected to. Then the

Kwang -chow -foo, or Prefect, wished it to be handed

over to him on shore, but that was also refused. It

was intimated that it could only be delivered to him on

the quarter-deck of the steamer. At length a man

darin , who spoke a little English , having formerly been


employed in one of the Hong merchant's establishments,

came alongside, and proposed that Captain Hall should

go into the Prefect's boat, and there deliver the letter,

under the pretence that the Prefect was an old man,

and could not get up the ship's side. All these were

little attempts at evasion to save his dignity. It was,

however, insisted that the Prefect should come on board

the Nemesis, and there receive the communication, and

he might bring as many of the Hong merchants with

him as he pleased.

At length, finding that nothing was to be gained by

further delay, and that the days of paying court to the

Prefect were now long past, he stepped upon the quar

ter-deck of the steamer, accompanied by most of the

Hong merchants. They were all conducted into the

cabin, and were treated with plenty of cherry brandy,

which served to dispel their fears, and put them into

a good humour.

The letter was delivered in due form , with an inti

mation that it was to be laid before the Viceroy with

out delay, and that a speedy answer was expected.

They then requested that the steamers might be re

moved lower down, as their presence only tended to

keep alive the excitement. This, however, could not

be complied with . They denied altogether the report

that a large body of troops were advancing towards the

city, or that any violence or insult whatever was in

tended against the foreigners. However,, it was inti

mated that the steamers were perfectly prepared, and

that their guns would be kept loaded, ready to meet

any attack that might be made.


How completely the tables were now turned, since

the days of Captain Elliot's difficulties and Lord Na

pier's humiliation ! The novelty of the position could

not fail to strike all the mandarins. Here were the

once -powerful Hong merchants, and the haughty and

once - flattered Kwang -chow -foo, at length brought down

to the level of a very “ submissive ” visit on board a

small steamer, in order to receive for transmission to

the Viceroy a document couched in terms of perfect

equality. How few short years had elapsed since

scarcely even an humble " petition ” would have been

received at the city gate, without subjecting the bearer

of it to insult, and perhaps to violence !

The answer of the Viceroy was perfectly satisfac

tory ; and that it was sincere, the event has since fully

proved. He declared his great anxiety, as well as his

perfect ability, to protect all foreigners ; and, at the

same time, expressed his readiness to repay all such

losses as had been incurred during the late riots, after

they should have been correctly ascertained, and trans

mitted through her Majesty's government.

It must be remembered, that only a part of the

damage done fell directly upon the British merchants ;

for the Americans were quite as great, if not greater

sufferers, in the first instance, either as principals or

agents of British houses . Their losses could not, of

course, be included in Sir Henry Pottinger's demand,

neither is it at all likely that he would admit any such

extraordinary claims as were paid by Captain Elliot,

on account of the very figurative and certainly unde

finable item of “ personal inconvenience . ” Incon


venience, of some sort or other, must be suffered by

every one who resides in a country which is at war ;

but, what might be considered very great “ incon

venience” by one man , would be little heeded by another ,

and vice versa . But the only “ inconvenience" for

which compensation was claimed , even in the most

promising period for claiming it, was on American

account. Yet ten thousand dollars was a large sum

for such an item of damage sustained .

There have been no grounds whatever for supposing

that there will be any probability of another collision

with the Chinese, to whose moderation and good faith ,

since the terms of peace have been settled, too much

justice cannot be done. When we consider the won

derful changes which have been brought about in so

short aa period of time, and these, too, in the face of a

nation the most proud, the most prejudiced, and the

vainest in the world, we cannot but look back with

wonder at all that has happened , and stand firm in our

belief that Providence has yet greater things in store

for China, mainly through the instrumentality of Eng.

land .

A new era is undoubtedly now opened for the Chi

nese ; new duties and new relations have been imposed

upon them ; but let us not forget, in the fullness of

victory, and in the pride of the human heart, that new

and highly important duties are imposed upon us also,

not lightly to be thought of, nor inconsiderately han

dled . We must take for our motto, forbearance, good

will, kindliness, honesty, and true Christian feeling.

With these as our panoply, the benefit to be derived by



both nations from the cautious, systematic, and prudent

exercise of the duties imposed upon each other, may

become a blessing to both . Let it also be borne in


mind, that qualities the reverse of these — overbearing

violence, and, above all, undue love of gain — may entail ,

not only misery and the horrors of anarchy upon a

people who proudly boast of their antiquity and of their

vast resources, but may also bring political difficulties,

with loss of dignity and of high principle, upon that

little distant speck upon the earth's surface, yet that

giant in the world's interest—Great Britain,

At the latter end of December, the whole of the

transports and ships of war not required for further

service in China sailed from Hong Kong for their

respective destinations ; and peace seemed now to

reign throughout the whole of that vast portion of the

east .



Departure from Macao— Voyage along the coast towards Hainan - Pira

tical fishing-boats - Bay of Liengsoy described - Fishing village

Mandarin station -- Galong bay - Good shelter - Picturesque country

-Yin-lin-kan aa beautiful harbour - Entrance into the Lagoon - Dis

covery of a river — Excursion into the interior— Appearance of the

country - Curious buffalo carts — Cocoa - nut woods — Observations on

the people — Villages — Tea-shops — Interesting journey — Party of

prisoners and mandarins — An inn by the road side - Stopping the

mandarin's chairs and horses—Civility of the peasants -- Return to the

boats - Hall's river - Coast of Cochin -China - Phuyen harbour - De

scription of it - Good place of refuge -- Appearance of the country

Curious burial-ground - New kind of fishing -boats - Odd contrivance

- Arrival at Singapore , Malacca — Its fallen condition - Penang re

visited— Moulmein - Remarks on — Frontier of Birmah — Elephant

riding - Remarkable caves — Arrival at Calcutta – Review at Barrack

pore — Conclusion .

Before daylight on the morning of the 23rd of De

cember, the Nemesis was destined to take her depar

ture from Macao, and probably to bid adieu to China

for ever . It is not too much to say, that she was

regretted by all. She had been so long and so favour

ably known to the whole community, so beloved by

Europeans, in proportion as she was dreaded by the

Chinese, and so many had been witnesses to the services



and the kindvess of her oflicers, upon many trying

occasions, that it almost seemed to them like losing an

old and tried friend to part with the Nemesis. On

their side, too, the officers of the vessel had much

reason to be thankful for the many kindnesses and

attentions they had always received from the British

community, and to be proud of the friendship and the

good -wishes, no less than of the honours, which they

had won for themselves.

Before three o'clock, the Nemesis was under weigh ;

and the discharge of a few rockets and the report of

her guns gave notice of her departure to the still

sleeping inhabitants, who were quite unused to the dis

turbance at that early hour in the morning. It caused

some little alarm among the inmates of the houses on

the Praya Grande, fronting the bay. But the Governor,

who resides there, had been previously told, in a good

humoured way, that he must not be alarmed at a little

noise during the night. When daylight broke, tlie

Nemesis was out of sight of Macao.

As the extent of the wear and tear of the vessel ,

after three years' service of a trying kind, was not pre

cisely known, it was not thought prudent to run out

into the middle of the China Sea, during the strength

of the monsoon . She therefore coasted along towards

the island of Hainan, in order that she might be able to

take shelter, if a gale came on . It was perhaps fortu

nate that she did so. The weather was extremely plea

sant and warm , but looked unsettled. The appearance of


The author was on board during this voyage, as a personal friend of

Captain Ilall.


the coast, as we ran along it, at the distance of five or

six miles, was bold and mountainous, but not very

fertile, as far as we could judge at that distance.

In the course of the day, we passed through a large

fleet of fishing-junks, dragging their huge nets before

the wind . The Chinese fishermen did not appear alarmed

at the approach of the steamer, and from one of them

we procured an enormous fish, weighing no less than

eighty-eight pounds, and differing in appearance from

any we had hitherto seen . It had a large flat head ,

but small mouth, and was of a greenish yellow colour.

When dressed, it was found eatable, but rather strong.

We soon passed very near the curious conical rock ,

called the Mandarin's Peak or Cap, and kept the coast

in view until dark . On the following day, the weather

was extremely hazy and unsettled, and there was a heavy

swell setting in from seaward. We had hoped to have

been able to land on Ilainan on Christmas-day, and to

have drank the health of absent friends on terra firma ;

but the hazy weather detained the vessel, and she only

anchored , as the night set in, in a fine sandy bay in

seven fathoms water ; the wind howled over our heads,

and made it the more satisfactory that we had kept

near the land.

As mention has been made of having passed through

a fleet of fishing - junks, it will be proper liere to warn

all vessels against being off their guard on such occa

sions. The fishermen along the whole coast of this

part of China, as far as Canton, are rogues, pirates,

smugglers - in short, ready to take advantage of any

opportunity, honest or otherwise, of benefitting them


selves. They will perhaps appear quite friendly at

first; and, if they then find that a vessel is not prepared

to resist, or if they think that they could overpower

her, the chances are that they would not hesitate to

make the attempt, when least expected . Never trust

yourself in a strange place ashore without at least one

double-barrelled pistol in your pocket, and never admit

a Chinaman on board (if a number of fishing -boats are

about) on this coast, without being prepared to prevent

treachery. This caution is not unnecessary to ordinary

merchant vessels, because it commonly happens that,

although they have arms on board, the ammunition can

seldom be found when it is wanted in a hurry , and not

unfrequently, when the barrels of the muskets are clean

and the bayonets bright, the locks have got no flints .

It is at night that the Chinese would be most likely to

make the attempt, and for this reason the opium clip

pers are always well armed and manned . This is found

necessary for their own protection, and not, as many

have supposed, to compel the Chinese to purchase the


The bay in which we anchored was situated a little

to the eastward of Liengsoy, or Tongsoy Bay, as laid

down in the charts. On the following morning, as we

proceeded towards the latter bay, we could clearly

distinguish a sunken reef, running out from the east

point of it, to the distance of nearly a mile . At the

extremity of it, numerous fishing-boats were busily

occupied, and with some difficulty a pilot was procured

from one of them , to take us into Liengsoy Bay. He

was found of little use, as it was easy to make our way


in without him ; but he seemed highly pleased when a

dollar was given to him , with a view to encourage others

to come to the assistance of any other vessel that might

require a pilot.

Liengsoy is a fine bay, perfectly sheltered during the

north -east monsoon , but aa little exposed to the south

west. From the depth of the bay, and from its being

sheltered to the westward by a long chain of rocky

mountains, it is well protected on that side, while the

long reef forms a natural breakwater upon the east

side. It is open only to the southward ; and, from the

height to which the sand is blown up upon the northern

beach, it is evident that the wind sets in sometimes

with great violence.

We had an instance here of the indifference of the

Chinese towards each other, when life is in danger. One

of their fishing -boats, which was towing astern, was

upset, owing to the rapid motion of the wheels. Several

other Chinese boats were at hand, yet not one of them

would pull towards the two drowning men , to rescue them .

They looked on with perfect indifference. The men

were, however, saved by a boat sent from the steamer ;

and the rest of the Chinamen who would not assist

got a good drubbing with a broomstick for their in

difference .

At the extremity of the bay was a narrow opening

not very easily seen at a distance, which led into a

large salt -water lagoon. We pulled towards it in the

steamer's cutter, and soon discovered a small half-dila

pidated stone fort, on the left hand , near which was a

small government station, distinguished by its flag, but


the inmates (although one of them , a fine stout fellow ,

was probably a mandarin) were very poor and humble.

They invited us to land, and very civilly gave us tea,

and let us smoke our cigars in their small dwelling,

built of half mud, half mats, but more comfortable

within than the exterior promised. Thence we walked

along a fine sandy beach, bordering the lagoon, until

we came to a tolerable village situated in the middle of

a fine cocoa-tree plantation . It appeared to be prin

cipally inhabited by fishermen, fine, stout , well-made

people ; and the large quantity of sharks' fins which

were fixed upon stakes, and put out to be dried by the

sun, along the edge of the lagoon, sufficiently indicated

the principal occupation of the people. The huts were

built of coral, mud, and bamboo, and were ranged in

long lines or lanes, and the people seemed generally well

clothed and happy. The women were not secluded,

but came out to look at our party, almost as freely as

the men . All appeared good -humoured and well dis

posed, and had plenty of ducks, fowls, and pigs, which

they offered for sale. It was noticed that, even in this

poor little fishing- village, people were seen reading or

writing in almost every one of the little shops. As we

left it again, the villagers amused themselves by letting

off crackers in all directions—a Chinaman's delight.

Numbers of the people followed us down to the boat

again ; and two or three rupees, distributed among the

most deserving, put them all in a good humour.

We could not ascertain whether any river flowed into

the lagoon or not, but no fresh water was seen , although,

from the greater number of trees and the appearance of


vegetation at the upper extremity of it, about a mile

and a half distant, we thought it probable that a small

river opened into the lagoon .

Having rejoined the steamer, we stood out of the

bay again , and, having rounded the western extremity,

formed by the range of hills which run quite down to

the coast, proceeded along shore for about a mile, until

we entered another fine bay, remarkable for having three

entrances, and called Galong Bay. The coast is ex

tremely bold and rocky, covered with low, stunted

shrubs, and there is deep water almost close in shore.

Horsburgh's description and directions were found to be

quite correct ; except that the village, of which he

speaks, could not be found any where at the present

time. The bay is one of great extent ; and the two

rocky islands, called the Brothers, between which are

the channels leading into it from the westward , are bold

and striking objects.

As we proceeded further into the bay, the appearance

of its shores improved ; the steep, picturesque moun

tains on all sides being clothed with wood , from their

summit to the water's edge. The only perfect shelter

for ships from the south -west is under a low island,

called Middle Island , inside the Brothers, where there

is a fine, sandy beach, but not very deep water . Of

course there is perfect shelter from the north -east, and

you have always the advantage of three entrances into

the bay .

Having steamed quite round the bay, the Nemesis

went out again by the broadest passage , between one of

the Brothers and the main island, and continued to coast

490 BAY OF YIN - LIN - KAN .

along a bold , rocky shore, until we entered the beautiful

bay of Yin-lin-kan . The entrance to this is not broad,

but sufficiently so for ships to work in, and then it ex

pands into a fine, bold bay, having plenty of water in all

parts. On proceeding to its furthest extremity, we

found the entrance of what Horsburgh calls a lagoon ;

at its entrance it has all the appearance of a lagoon,

and it is not until you get up quite to its extremity

(which you are able to do in boats) that you find a river

of tolerable size flowing into it.

The great bay or harbour of Yin-Lin-Kan is by far the

best of all those that were visited on this coast. There

is fine anchorage in smooth water, perfectly protected

from all winds ; indeed, the sea outside cannot even be

seen when you are fairly inside the bay. Several large

fishing -junks, of the better kind, were at anchor there ;

and the shores were bold and picturesque .

Having found our way into what appeared to be the

mouth of the lagoon, it was determined to stand in, if

possible, to explore it further. The entrance was nar

row, and the passage tortuous ; but, by observing the

character of the shores on either side, together with the

varying shades of colour in the water, and with two

good men in the chains, and one out on the jib-boom,

the channel into it was found without much difficulty,

the water being deeper than was expected. Fishing

stakes were seen in several places, so that it seemed

probable that a town or village was not far off. The

lagoon, or expanded river, was now found to turn round

to the right, or westward , and several small junks were

at anchor near a few huts upon the shore. The appear


ance of the country was very peculiar, looking very

like a flooded valley, about half a mile in breadth ,

the shores rising up on either side with a rather steep

ascent, but leaving some low ground at the edge of the


The steamer continued to push her way on for about

one mile and a half or two miles, through a shallow

channel, until she had passed a double line of long fish

ing -stakes, one on either side. The water was now too

shallow to proceed further, and the tide was falling, so

that it was necessary to retrace our steps into deeper

water, where she anchored for the night.

On the following morning, at daylight, the weather

being very unsettled and hazy, Captain Hall determined

to take his cutter and pinnace, and proceed to the ex

tremity of the lagoon , nearly a mile distant, in the hope

of finding a river, or probably some town or village, not

far off. The crews were well armed , in case of a sur

prise; and we also took our double- barrelled guns, in

the hope of getting a shot or two at some game. As

we approached the end of the lagoon, the water became

very shallow , and the passage difficult to find . We saw

what appeared to us to be deer and pheasants, in abun

dance, along the edge of the mountains, on either side ;

but time was too precious and the water too shallow

(it being quite low water) to permit us to land where

we most wished .

At length , after carefully searching for aa considerable

time, we found a distinct entrance to a river, nearly at

the right hand corner of the end of the lagoon . It was

not easy to make it out at first ; as the banks, which


were low, were thickly covered with mangrove shrubs.

The country expanded into a broad , open valley, beyond

which well-wooded hills could be seen on every side.

Cocoa -nut trees were growing in abundance ; and here

and there we could descry, in the distance, small, rich,

green spots of cultivated ground, which made us think

that we should find inhabitants not far off. We had no

difficulty in ascending the river, but discovered no ha

bitations or appearance of cultivation on its banks. The

bare roots of the mangroves on either side, standing

out exposed into the river, served to show by their

marks that the water sometimes stood much higher

than it then was, and that floods occasionally took


At the distance of about two miles from the entrance,

we came to a narrow , wooden - plank bridge, close to

which were two small junks, or decked boats. One of

our boats was sent higher up to explore ; but the river

was found divided by a small island, a little above the

bridge, and the water was so shallow that the pinnace

could not proceed without difficulty . Accordingly,

having left a part of the men in charge of the boats at

the bridge, and another party, consisting of an officer

and six men , being ordered to follow at an interval of

less than half an hour, Captain Hall and myself, accom

panied by four men , well armed , set out to explore the

country. We soon fell into a well -beaten, sandy cart

track , which surprised us not a little, as we had hitherto

seen nothing of the kind in China. It has been already

noticed that carts were found to be in use in the island

of Formosa ; and it was also known that they were to


be met with in the northern parts of China, in the

neighbourhood of Pekin .

After pursuing our way along this sandy track for

about a mile, we entered a fine cocoa-tree wood, with

several neat little cottages built in the midst of it ; and

presently we heard a creaking, or rather squeaking

noise, which seemed to be nearing us . It was soon

found to proceed from three bullock -carts, rudely built

of poles, covered round with matting, and drawn by

buffaloes instead of bullocks. They had more the ap

pearance of large bales of goods than of carts ; the

wlieels were made of solid wood , and the axletree was

fixed in the wheel (as at Formosa ), but turned round

under the body of the cart, causing a loud, squeaking


noise at each revolution. It could be heard a long way

off, and somewhat resembled the scraping of a bad violin ,

although probably by native ears it was considered a

very agreeable sound.

Several teams of buffaloes were passed , dragging

timber down to the river-side, which must be found in

abundance in this neighbourhood, and of good quality ;

an important consideration for ships driven into the bay

of Yin -Lin -Kan by stress of weather.

We soon emerged into a fine, level, grassy plain ;

upon which, at intervals, clusters of shrubs and young

trees were passed . Small green parroquets seemed to be

very numerous. The soil, however, was poor and sandy;

but the mountains which bounded the plain, or expanded

valley, were covered with wood ; while, lower down to

wards the river (or what appeared to us to be its pro

bable course ), grass- lands and paddy-fields varied the


landscape. We were surprised, however, at seeing so

few people ; and, compared with China Proper, the

country appeared to us very thinly populated .

The autumnal tints were still fresh upon the foliage,

although it was past Christmas-day ; and the variety of

the trees, and the peculiar conical shape of some of the

mountains, thickly covered with wood to their very

summits, combined to give additional interest and no

velty to the character of the country. Perhaps it

struck us the more forcibly, from being different from any

thing we had recently seen in China Proper. It was

curious to notice the gradations of verdure, according

to the height above the valley. At the bottom every

thing was brown and autumnal, at the top it was all

green and youthful, while between the two were all the

intermediate stages. Ilere again we thought we could

distinguish deer and pheasants in the woods along the

mountain sides.

Gradually the plain became contracted, and we en

tered a regular sort of narrow cart-road , overhung with

trees, and cut at least two feet below the surface, as if

the better to give protection from the sun's rays. This

soon led us to some rich paddy-fields, in the neighbour

hood of a village, around which were gardens planted

with the sweet potato and other vegetables, and appa

rently cultivated with great care. The village or rather

hamlet was very inconsiderable ; and we passed on with

out halting, in the hope of reaching some town of con

sequence. The valley continued to get narrower, and

our road was now sheltered with trees.

A walk of about four miles further brought us to


another considerable village, where we halted for an

hour, and took refreshment in a large public tea-shop.

The villagers crowded good -humouredly round us, and

betrayed little fear, although we were all well armed .

We only saw two really poor people amongst them , and

they looked as if they were just let out of prison. As

usual, our dress, appearance, arms, and every little trifle

we carried about us, attracted great attention and cu

riosity. They had probably never seen Europeans before ;

and when we fired off a musket to please them , their asto

nishment was indeed great, although it had only a flint,

and not a percussion-lock . Their wants were few , and

the necessaries of life appeared easily obtained ; there

were some decent shops in the village, and, us usual,

plenty of people who could read and write.

Altogether the whole appearance of the country gave

one the idea of a newly - colonized spot. We saw no

goats or cows , but plenty of capital pigs and poultry .

We still thought that there might be some considerable

town not far off; and by the help of a small vocabulary,

written in Chinese (which of course they were able to

read ), we ascertained that there was one some miles off,

the direction of which was pointed out to us. After

some hesitation we determined to proceed ; and at

length we reached the extremity of the valley, where

there was merely a footpath , running sometimes be

tween low hills, at other times through a dense scrub,

until at length we crossed the bed of a river, with a fine

rocky bottom and a rapid stream . Here we halted to

refresh ourselves with a cool draught, when suddenly a

whole posse of people descended the hill on the other


side, and began to cross the river ; some were carried

in sedan -chairs (mandarins, probably ), some were led

with chains round their necks, while others had chains

round their legs ; there were also several attendants ;

and one great man rode on horseback. They had almost

reached the middle of the river before they observed us,

and naturally looked somewhat alarmed at our appear

ance . We saluted them , and then passed on .

Our road now lay among hills, and the ground was

broken and tiresome. We ascended one hill, which was

paved all the way with large rough stones, and we con

cluded we must be near the town we were in search of ;

and the novelty of the adventure stimulated us to go on ,

although the heat was great, and we had still the whole

distance to travel back again . We now ascended a

steep eminence aa little out of the road , from which we

obtained a magnificent view of the country, with a fine

plain just beyond the hills, bounded by the sea in the

distance. We could see no town , but there could be

little doubt that it lay somewhere in the beautiful plain

beneath us.

Having regained the principal path, we proceeded

some way further along the side of a wooded mountain ,

until we reached an inn by the road side. Here again

we got tea, and smoked our cigars, on perfect good

terms with the Chinese, our fellow -travellers . A con

sultation was now held . It seemed probable that

the town we were attempting to reach was that of

Lychew, upon the sea-coast, about ten or twelve miles

from the capital of the island. The day was already

far advanced, and we had still about twelve miles to get


back again to our boats. Moreover, we thonght it very

likely that by returning at once we should meet the

sedan -chairs empty, and the horse without its rider,

returning to the town, after having escorted their pri

soners, and thus we should manage to get ourselves

carried back to our boat. We determined , therefore,

not to proceed further, although we much longed to

descend into the valley beyond .

It surprised us that, considering we were without

doubt the first Europeans who had been seen in that

part of the country , the people showed not the slightest

rudeness or troublesome curiosity. They all seemed

much more taken up with the appearance of one of the

black Kroomen, who attended us, than with the Euro

peans ; but there was no noise or shouting, as would

perhaps have been the case among an English mob, had

they suddenly met with aa red man or a blue man, who

would certainly not have been less an object of curiosity

to them than a jet-black Krooman to the Chinese of

Hainan .

After proceeding two or three miles on our way back,

we fortunately met the sedan - chairs and the horse re

turning. We soon made them halt, and tried to come

to terms for them to carry us all the way down to our

boats. Captain Hall mounted the horse without any

ceremony ; but the poor fellows who had charge of it

cried so lustily, and from their manner made us believe

that they would be so terribly punished, that at last they

were allowed to proceed unmolested .

Next came a grand dispute about the sedan-chairs,

rickety old things made of bamboo, but we soon got

VOL . II . K K


into them (there were only two, just one for each ), and

held out a dollar ; but between fear and disinclination

to the job, the men set us down, and left us in the

lurch . However, as we kept possession of the chairs,

we had the best of the bargain, though it was not a

very pleasant prospect for us to sit there until it should

please the men to carry us on. At length, after some

deliberation among themselves, they agreed to carry us

for a dollar each, and away we went, greatly enjoying

the fun .

On reaching the village at which we had before halted,

they set us down again, in order to rest themselves, and

tried every means to persuade us to alight, and take

some tea ; but we were rather too old travellers to be

taken in by such tricks, and continued to keep posses

sion of our chairs. At length, finding they could not

get rid of us, they made up their minds to carry us on

the whole way, and trotted off nimbly enough. The

easy, measured step of the Chinese bearers, who carry

the poles upon their shoulders, one on either side, with

a cross piece joining them together, and resting upon

the back of the neck, is by no means disagreeable ; and

considering the rudeness of the construction of the

chairs, we were surprised that the motion was so plea


Presently we fell in with the other party which had

been desired to follow us, and received a very good

account of the civility they had met with from the

people. Indeed, they stated that they had overtaken

a respectable-looking Chinaman on horseback, as they

were marching along, who, seeing a young midshipman


of the party, among so many stout men, very gallantly

dismounted, and offered him the use of his horse, in

timating by his manner and gestures that he was too

young to walk so far. This little piece of attention was

the more remarkable, as horses are seldom used by the

Chinese, and are usually only found in the hands either

of people of rank or of great wealth . On reaching a

road which branched off to the left, the polite gentleman

resumed his horse and disappeared.

At length we reached the beautiful cocoa-nut wood

near the river, and refreshed ourselves with the milk of

the fresh nuts, under the shade of the trees, which were

here growing to a very great height.

Having regained our boats, we found a number of

Chinese collected round them , but no violence or insult

had been offered ; indeed, the peasants had brought

down fowls and ducks for sale. I had also purchased

one of the pretty little green and blue parroquets of the

country, together with the little cage to which it was

chained ; but the bird was so wild and untameable, that,

after keeping it for some days on board ship, it managed

to make its escape .

It has been already mentioned that we found timber

brought down to the river side when we first landed,

and, to our surprise, we now saw a number of large

strong wooden coffins, but for what purpose we could

not ascertain.

It was now almost sunset, and the tide was just be

ginning to turn , so that we descended the river rapidly,

and, as we emerged from it into the lagoon , it was

christened Hall's River, with our last glass of cherry

K K 2


brandy, a little of which we had taken with us for the


As it was still nearly high -water, the appearance of

the lagoon was much more striking than it had been in

the morning, and we could see plenty of game coming

out of the woods, to feed upon the little green patches

at the foot of the hills. But not a single human habi

tation could be discovered . We soon reached the steamer

again, and instantly getting under weigh, proceeded out

of the lagoon , or Inner Harbour, as it is called upon

the Admiralty chart.

It should here be remarked that the entrance to the

outer harbour or basin of Yin-Lin-Kan, as laid down in

the chart, is much too broad, and the bay too open ;

at least, such is the impression from what we re

member of the very moderate breadth of the entrance