Chusan and Hong-Kong: With Remarks on the Treaty of Peace at Nankin in 1842, and on Our Present Position and Relations with China



















AFTER the very able " Reports, Minutes, " &c.,

presented by Mr. Montgomery Martin, to the Govern-

ment of Hong-Kong ; and transmitted by him also to

H. M. Ministers in this country, on the British posi-

tions and prospects in China, * and after the recently

published work on China generally, by the same

talented gentleman, a work abounding in extensive,

indeed the fullest, and highly important and valuable

information on every subject relative to China,† and

after the various publications which have issued from

the press , during and since the conclusion of the

Chinese war, it may appear that nothing new can be

stated in regard either to the naval and military events

which occurred in China, or to our present position

in, or intercourse with that Empire. It is not how-

ever presumed or intended in the following observa-

tions, to enter into any detail of those events , and

subjects, but merely to endeavour in a concise form ,

to correct many misconceptions and misrepresenta-

* " Reports, Minutes and Dispatches on the British position and

prospects in China, "-by Robert Montgomery Martin, Esq.

† China : “ Political, Commercial, and Social" -by Robert Montgo-

mery Martin, Esq. author of the History of British Colonies, and other

works, and late H. M. Treasurer at Hong-Kong in China-published

by Madden, 8, Leadenhall Street, 1847.

B 2


tions and erroneous opinions which to this day

prevail in this country, in regard to China, and our

relations with that Empire, and to point out the

oversights and errors, which I conceive we committed

at the commencement of our war with China, and in

our negotiations at the treaty of peace at Nankin, in

1842 ; and moreover to endeavour to awaken our

countrymen, especially those connected with, and

concerned in our trade with China, to a just view

of our position in that country, in the hope that re-

presentations from them, may have the effect of

inducing H. M. Government to endeavour to improve

our general intercourse with China, whereby an

amelioration and extension of our commercial rela-

tions in that quarter, may if possible be accomplished.

It would be an endless, and indeed superfluous

task in this place, to refer back to our early inter-

course with China, or even to the more recent periods

of our relations with that country, subsequent to

those remote times, but still antecedent to our going

to war with China.

In those by-gone days however, our trade and

intercourse with China, were attended with perpetual

broils and disputes, with the local Chinese authorities

at Canton, arising principally from our own unwise

mistaken policy and folly, in submitting as we un-

accountably did for ages, to the arrogant pretensions,

and the insolent language and deportment of the

weakest, and most powerless government and people,

on the face of the globe. Had we in those days as-

sumed a different tone towards China, and adopted

a firm and spirited system of resistance to the capri-


cious and arbitrary proceedings of these supercilious

people ; in short, had we then made an example

of them , we should have stood upon a far different

and more respectable footing with them ; every addi-

tional concession however which we made them , only

tended to encourage them to treat us with increased

contumely, and to their throwing additional obstacles

and embarrassments in the way of our trade. Great

Britain, however, was at length roused, and the late

stirring events in China have amply shewn the folly

of our former supineness and injudicious submissive

conduct towards that Empire.

That the Opium trade was the immediate cause

of the war with China, is certainly the fact ; I am

however persuaded, we could not have gone on

much longer with the Chinese, without an open

rupture with them ; had the opium trade never

existed, or the subject been mooted. Under all the

circumstances therefore, of our situation and our trade

at that time in China, and the perpetual state of irri-

tation, provocation, and the various embarrassments

under which our intercourse was going on ; together

with the abolition of the East India Company's China

trade, and that trade being thrown open to the public

at large, and British merchants and subjects, still

experiencing the same vexatious and insulting treat-

ment from the Chinese ; it was infinitely better that

a crisis should be met, whereby a commerce of such

magnitude, and of such value and importance to both

countries, should be liberated from those serious and

unnatural embarrassments and impositions and an-

noyances, to which it had been exposed so long ;


and that it should, with our general relations in

China, be placed, if possible, on a secure and respect-

able footing. There was, however, now no middle

course to pursue, to accomplish these objects ; for

neither the exertions, and earnest and strong repre-

sentations which had been continually made by the

East India Company's representatives in China, and

not even ably conducted embassies from England

to the court of Pekin, had the lightest effect in ob-

taining any redress of these grievancies, or in im-

proving our position in China ; the War therefore

did, what nothing else could I am persuaded have


When it was resolved by us to commence hostilities

against China, and an expedition fitted out with great

promptitude and judgement, and with every ample and

adequate equipment, by the Governor General of

India, Lord Auckland, and seasonably despatched

from Bengal to China, it is to be regretted that the

first blow struck there, had not been against Canton,

and the people at that place. Our disputes and the

causes of the war originated at Canton ; we should

therefore, at the very onset of hostilities, have in-

flicted on that quarter the full measure of chastise-

ment, which they so richly merited , by rasing at once

to the ground the Bogue Forts, and every defence in

that vicinity, and in the Canton River as high as that

City ; and by levying an immense sum of money on

Canton. Had we done this, the authorities and people

in that quarter, would, in all probability, have been

upon their good behaviour afterwards ; our omitting

these measures at that time, has led to their unbound-


ed insolence, and vindictive and hostile proceedings

since. It remains inexplicable why such omissions

occurred ; it is however now well known and under-

stood, that the neglect of these measures, was no fault

of the Naval and Military Commanders of our expedi-

tion, as their orders were positive from home, not to

interfere with the Bogue, or Canton, but to make

Chusan the first object of their attention. Commo-

dore Sir Gordon Bremer, therefore, who commanded

the expedition, consisting of above forty sail of vessels

of war, steamers, transports, &c. , having a strong

body of troops on board, pushed up the China

Sea from Bengal, along the coast of China, through

the intricate channels of the Chusan Archipelago, to

Chusan harbour, with his accustomed activity, zeal,

and professional judgment and ability, and anchored

the fleet without a casualty, in Chusan harbour, and

at once, in a masterly manner, captured the island.

The early possession of Chusan, was a highly judi-

cious measure, as it was above all other places on

the whole coast of China, the best which could have

been selected , either for negotiations with, or to com-

mence and prosecute hostilities against the Chinese ;

whilst its early and prompt capture had, unques-

tionably, a powerful and important effect on the

Chinese government and people, as the account of its

capture was rapidly reported to the Viceroy of the

province to which Chusan appertains, ( Chekiang) and

to Pekin ; and the importance which the Chinese

themselves attached to the possession of Chusan by

foreigners, was forcibly shewn, in an able official

report, transmitted to the Emperor, by the Viceroy of


Chekiang, soon after its capture. The document was

exceedingly well drawn up ; it appeared at the time,

in the Pekin gazette, and a translation of it appeared

in the English newspapers, published at Canton ; and

was transcribed into several of the London papers

and journals. Our not retaining Chusan, will be re-

ferred to presently.

Having alluded to what I conceive to have been

our omissions and errors, in arranging the treaty of

peace with China, I shall here give the leading fea-

tures of that treaty, and then proceed to point out

what, in my judgment, should have been the lead-

ing points required, and obtained from the Chinese


Leading terms, or features, in the treaty of Nankin,

August 29th, 1842 :-

" China to pay twenty-one million dollars (about

£5,200,000) in the course of three succeeding years.

" The ports of Canton, Amoy, Foochowfoo, Ning-

po, and Shanghae, to be thrown open to British com-


" The island of Hong-Kong to be ceded in perpe-

tuity to us.


Correspondence to be conducted on terms of

perfect equality amongst the officers of both govern-


" The islands of Kolongsoo (at Amoy) and Chusan

to be held by us, until the money (twenty-one million

dollars) should be all paid up."

The ignorance of the people in this country ( I do

not intend to use this phrase offensively ) of almost

everything relative to China, led them, naturally


enough perhaps, to exult at the news of the peace

with China, as the prospect was thus opened of a

renewal of our commercial intercourse with that

country ; and they also exulted at the terms of the

treaty, as they threw four additional ports open to

British commerce. They did not, however, give

themselves the trouble to enquire, or consider, whe-

ther all those ports were the most eligible for us, or

whether others more so might not have been granted

us. Nor were the other points of the treaty much


enquired into, in this country, though the " squeeze

of the twenty-one million of dollars from the China-

men sounded large.

Other very important points which ought to have

been obtained, and which will be enumerated pre-

sently, were never thought of generally in this coun-

try : and even had they, at the time, been explained

and discussed, they might not probably have been

comprehended, and appreciated.

After the brilliant successes of our arms during the

Chinese campaign, and after the very able, skilful,

and masterly manner, in which Admiral Sir William

Parker conducted a fleet of sixty or seventy sail of

men-of-war, steamers, transports, &c. &c. above two

hundred miles up the Yangtsekiang, a river which

had been deemed unnavigable for European vessels,

or for any description of large vessels ; after the gal-

lant Admiral having, in conjunction with our gallant

troops, captured the extensive, strongly-fortified, and

important city of Chinkeangfoo ; and after having

placed his ships under the very walls of Nankin, and

virtually captured that ancient capital of the empire ;


it is not surely too much to say, that the terms we

demanded from the Chinese were not commensurate

with our claims ; with the success which had attended

our arms in China ; or with the very heavy expenses

and commercial obstructions to which Great Britain

had been placed by the Chinese war. It is notorious,

that the terms of the treaty were of our own dicta-

tion, and that the Chinese envoys, who were deputed

from Pekin to negotiate with our Plenipotentiary, were

perfectly prepared to accede to any terms whatever

which we might require and demand ; and it is more-

over asserted, that when the terms of the treaty were

explained to them, they could not disguise their satis-

faction at finding they were of a much more mode-

rate nature, and less stringent on China, than what

they had expected.

The following are the leading features, or principal

terms, which, I am of opinion, we ought to have re-

quired, and obtained from the Chinese government,

and which, there is little or no doubt, would have

been acceded to by them.

1. A much larger sum of money required from the

Chinese than the twenty-one million of dollars, and a

considerable portion of it to be paid down at the

signing of the treaty, another portion in the follow-

ing year, and the balance or remainder at the expira-

tion of the third year.

2. The Island of Chusan to be ceded to us in per-


3. The free and unrestricted navigation of the

Yangtzekiang as high as Nankin, with the privilege of

trading at Nankin, Chinkeangfoo, and at every port


we pleased in that river, including the extensive, im-

portant, and opulent city of Soochoofoo, situated up

one of the branches leading from the Yangtzekiang,

and at no great distance from Shanghaeyen.

4. The privilege of trading at any, and every port

we chose along the whole coast of China, from the

northern extremity of Leao-tung to Canton inclusive,

without exception ; with the privilege of establishing

consuls at any of those ports we thought proper.

The privilege of trading at all the ports on the coast,

would embrace Chapoo, in the bay of Hangchowfoo,

about fifty or sixty miles from the harbour of

Chusan. Chapoo is the port exclusively confined

by the Chinese government for carrying on their

trade with Japan-(Ningpo was formerly the port for

this purpose). Now, by our commercial communi-

cation with Chapoo, British goods and manufactures

might possibly find their way from thence to Japan,

in the Chinese junks, an object which would prove

of considerable importance to us, and which we have

always been so anxious to obtain, if possible.

The privilege also of intercourse, and commercial

dealings with Hangchowfoo, would doubtless prove of

vast importance to us, being a city of great extent

and wealth, of immense trade and traffic, as well as

the grand emporium for all goods and merchandize

passing between the southern and northern provinces

and districts of the empire. Hangchowfoo and Cha-

poo are not far distant from each other ; their com-

mercial intercourse is very great. The privilege of

visiting and trading at Tiensing, the Port of Pekin,

up the Pei-ho River, would also prove of great advan-


tage and importance to us. We might have expe-

rienced, I dare say, some difficulty in obtaining all

these points, but I am persuaded that our firmly 1

insisting on them, or our renewal of hostilities , would

have accomplished whatever we required and de-


5. Great Britain to be allowed to send an envoy,

from England or Bengal, (at her option) triennially,

if she thought proper, and the envoy to be received

with due respect and attention. The ceremony of

the Ko-tow not to be required from him ; in fact, the

Chinese to be told that it would not be submitted to

by us.

6. Our Consuls in China to be allowed to pro-

ceed to Pekin annually, or upon any occasion of

emergency if they required it, to explain any matters

connected with our trade &c. in China, which might

appear requisite to the Consuls, the said Consuls to


be treated on their journey to, and during their stay tt

at Pekin, with becoming respect and courtesy. The

Ceremony of Ko-tow, not to be required of them .

7. All correspondence and communications be-

tween our own and the Chinese public functionaries

in China, to be conducted at all times, and under all

circumstances, on terms of perfect equality.

8. The privilege of building places for public

worship, at any of the ports or stations in China,

where British Consuls or Vice-Consuls are established,

and our religious observances not to be molested or

interfered with in the slightest degree.

The foregoing are the principal and leading features

and terms which should have been required and in-


sisted upon from the Chinese Government. Had they

been obtained, the most important, not to say im-

mense advantages, would I verily believe have resulted

from them, and the loss of them may be discovered

and felt, when too late. The opening of the four

additional ports to us, was of course an improvement

on our restriction to Canton, but this boon (but a

poor one comparatively) has not answered the ex-

pectations which had been anticipated . Amoy and

Foochowfoo, appear in fact, to be failures as places of

trade for us, and Ningpo, seems to suffer as regards

Foreign trade, from the greater advantages and suc-

cess which has attended Shanghaeyen. I was always

of opinion, and indeed stated so in some articles which

I wrote in 1843,* on our intercourse with China,

that Amoy and Foochowfoo, would disappoint our

expectations, in regard to trade, particularly Amoy.

Ningpo, on the other hand, possesses many advantages

over the two former places for Foreign trade. Its

size, and importance as a principal City, and its opu-

lence, arising from extensive trade and manufactures-

its sheltered and central position—and easy access to

and from the sea-and its proximity to Hangchow-foo ,

and Chapoo, together with its well-disposed people to-

wards Foreigners, and where Foreigners did in fact in

days of yore trade- renders Ningpo, as I should have

supposed, especially well adapted for Foreign trade ;

I am however, surprized to learn from the recent ac-

counts from China, that it has not attracted that

* " Past and Future British Relations with China." Asiatic Re-

gister, for March, 1843.


attention and commerce from us to that extent as

was anticipated. *

Our omission, oversight, neglect, or indifference,

or to whatever cause it may be attributed, in not

obtaining the cession of Chusan in perpetuity to us, is

inexplicable, and cannot be too much regretted.

In a pamphlet written by me in 1833, I pointed

out the advantages we should have derived, could we

have removed our trade from the objectionable and

vexatious port of Canton, to some place on the Coast,

and I especially specified Chusan, as the most eligible—

could such a measure have been accomplished ; at the

same time describing Chusan and its innumerable ad-

vantages and in a subsequent publication, when the

war took place with China, I urged the importance

and advantage of securing this fine island to ourselves

if possible. The results are nowwell known. I view

strongly the importance of our possessing Chusan,

and considering that too much cannot be known of

this Island, I am induced to give extracts from Mr.

Montgomery Martin's, and Lieutenant Ouchterlony's

descriptions and opinions of Chusan.

Mr. Montgomery Martin observes ; " Chusan is

the chief insular settlement of an archipelago of lofty

Islands, varying in size and fertility, which extend

upwards of sixty miles from north to south, and about

fifty miles from east to west, distant from Keto Point

* See Mr. Montgomery Martin's valuable " Reports, Minutes," &c.

wherein he so forcibly, clearly, and ably points out our mistakes

and omissions, in the treaty of Nankin, and in not obtaining the

privilege of trading in the Yangtzekiang, and along the whole Coast

of China.


on the main-land of China about seven miles,* and

about forty miles from Ningpo. Tinghae, the capital

of Chusan, is in latitude 30° 10' north, and longitude

122° 14′ east. The length of the Island is about

twenty-three miles from east to west, and the breadth

from north to south, seven to eleven miles. The cir-

cumference is about one hundred and fifty miles.

The two principal bays, are those of Tinghae on the

southern, and of Sing-Kong on the western Coast of

Chusan ; there are however several other bays and

harbours. Ting-hae, or Chusan bay or harbour is

land -locked, and has three good entrances ; I beat

into the harbour by Deer Island entrance at night.

One hundred sail of square-rigged vessels may anchor

with ease in the inner harbour of Chusan, although

the adjacent anchorages are equally safe. The rise

and fall of the tide, is twelve feet six inches, and the

average depth in the harbour is from four to ten

fathoms. There is a good position for docks, and a

dock-yard, which are so much wanting in the China

seas. Sing-Kong bay or or strait, is six miles in

length, with an average breadth of seven hundred

yards ; there are two entrances of easy access at the

north and south extremities of the bay, which is well

sheltered, and affords excellent anchorage for ships of

war, or for vessels of large burthen : good water is

plentiful. There is an admirable site for a large

dock-yard .

"The highest elevation of the island is at its eastern

* This is about the distance from Keto Point to the first Island of

the Chusan archipelago, but the distance from the above point to

the anchorage in Chusan harbour, is about twelve miles.


extremity, where one peak rises to eleven hundred

feet above the sea : the average height of the hilly

portion is from five hundred to seven hundred feet."

"Chusan consists of numerous ranges of hills, with

broad intervening vallies, every range connected by

spurs, or buttresses, of various forms. Some of the

vallies are from eight to ten miles long, and present

one continual scene of rich cultivation. The moun-

tains and hills, wherever there is any soil on the sur-

face, are terraced, and cropped with different useful

vegetables. Wheat, tea, grass cloth plant, sweet

potatoes, cotton, tobacco, and rice, may be found on

the same side of a mountain : the water, collected on

the top, being permitted to descend to the different

terraces, until it is deposited in the rice-field at the

bottom of the mountain . In some parts the moun-

tains are planted with firs, while the Spanish chesnut,

walnut, tallow, and varnish trees , adorn and enrich


the lowlands. Canals, some twenty feet wide, are

very numerous and kept always flowing, by means of

locks, and of the numerous streams of fine water,

which fall from the hills, sometimes in beautiful cas-

cades. The canals are used to mark the boundaries

of property, as well as for irrigation . One large

canal, southward and eastward of Tinghae, admits

junks of considerable burthen a good way into the

north valley, and adjacent to the gates of the City, at

the rise of the tide, which is twelve feet six inches."

" The whole island is intersected by substantial

paved or flagged roads, about five or seven feet broad,

slightly elevated above the adjacent fields ; but which

at little expense might be widened, to admit of wheel


carriages. At present everything is borne on the

shoulders of men , but the unshod horse traverses the

roads with celerity ."" *

" The towns and villages are scattered pretty

equally over the whole island ; in the Valley of

Tachin is a very large unwalled town, with a river

running through it."

" The whole island is admirably irrigated ; the

water which flows from the hills is very pure, and

conduits might readily be constructed to bring abun-

dance of water into Tinghae."

" One-third of the island is cultivated. It is stated

that one hundred and thirty-five thousand mows

( 135,000 ) of land, are under cultivation with grain.

Reckoning the mow as equal to an English rood, this

would give thirty-three thousand seven hundred and

fifty acres (33,750) producing rice. When we con-

sider that two crops of rice, and one of oil seed, are

obtained annually from the land , (the October rice

crop growing up, whilst the August rice crop is being

reaped, ) the amount of corn produced must be con-

siderable. As well as I could ascertain , I am led to

conclude that the agricultural produce of the island is

sufficient to feed all the inhabitants throughout the

* The Chinese have no wheel carriages scarcely in any part of the

empire, except miserable two-wheeled kind of carts, some of them

covered, or tilted-wretched conveyances. Their mode of convey-

ance and of travelling is almost invariably in boats, by water, by

their innumerable rivers and canals ; and by land, in palanquins, or

chairs, carried by men. Had we retained Chusan, good roads were

to have been made, and useful carriages and good horses intro-




year. The quantity of vegetables grown is very

great the soil, stimulated by the constant application

of liquid manure, (of which large earthenware jars are

kept at the corner of every field and garden , ) increases

the size but diminishes the flavour of the different

products which are grown in rapid succession , the

earth never being allowed to lie fallow."*


" Mr. Barnard, in his interesting work, Narrative

of the Voyages and Services of the Nemesis,' (which I

saw after my report was forwarded to the governor,)

adverts to the hospitable, obliging, and civil disposi-

tion, he experienced among the inhabitants of Chu-

san ; and at vol. ii . page 187 , thus describes the

island :

66 6

' Nothing can be more striking or picturesque

than the views on every side as you approach Chu-

san. Much as you may have read of the careful cul-

tivation and economical husbandry of the Chinese,

(not always so great as supposed,) you are here parti-

cularly struck with the garden-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 the 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."

* Were we fixed at Chusan we should improve upon this system

of Chinese horticulture, as we have done at some, if not at all our

eastern colonies, where Chinese gardeners and labourers are the cul-

tivators of the gardens, & c.


It is almost entirely spade husbandry, and ought

rather to be called horticulture. In the low vallies,

and little sheltered nooks, you trace villages and farm

houses of neat appearance ; and every bend of the

coast, every bit of low swampy ground is embanked

and recovered from the sea, by long thick stone walls,

which are maintained with the utmost care. Behind

these the ground is laid out in rice fields, irrigated

with much ingenuity, and there is a general appear-

ance 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 !!"

" If Mr. Barnard had visited some of the beautiful

and rich vallies of the interior, he would have extend-

ed his truthful description of Chusan . The constant

garden cropping, the deep green of the large rice

plains, and the cultivation climbing the hills, give

great beauty to the scenery ; and at early morn, the

singing of the birds in the groves, the murmuring

rivulets through the vallies, and the fresh breeze from

the mountains, enhance the charms of the landscape,

and renovate the health of the debilitated resident of

a tropical climate. Were Chusan a British colony,

its hills and vales would be adorned by charming

villas, rich orchards, and luxuriant pastures. An

English town, with all the advantages of modern civi-

lization , would become an example to the Chinese ,

and in the improvement of our own position, we

should materially aid in the social advancement of

the imitative nation contiguous to our shores. "

Mr. Montgomery Martin then proceeds to describe

c 2


Tinghae, the principal town or capital of the island ;

the following is an extract :

" The City of Tinghae is extensive, and like all

Chinese towns, the streets are narrow, irregular, and

flagged with large slabs of different kinds of stone,

almost every street has a covered drain, which com-

municates with a canal. For a Chinese city it is ex-

tremely clean. The houses are generally of one

story, but the tenements of the richer classes are very

extensive, and form three sides of a square, with a

lofty wall in front. Sometimes there are two or three

inner courts . The shops are numerous, and there is

a minute division of employment . In many respects

there is a resemblance to the tradesmen of Europe.

The artisans are extremely expert-silversmiths in

Tinghae now make spoons, forks, goblets, branch

candlesticks, and various other articles of domestic

use. The tailors are excellent and cheap workmen."

" The supply of every article of provisions, includ-

ing meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit, groceries, &c.

is most abundant, and not one-half the price of very

inferior articles at Hong-Kong, where , indeed, it is

often impossible to get beef or mutton of any descrip-

tion. Let but an European want be known in Chu-

san, and it will be very extraordinary if it be not

supplied by a Chinaman. Many of the European

officers reside in various parts of the city, perfectly

isolated from each other ; and with as much confi-

dence and security, as if they were residing in an

English town. The inhabitants do not seem to take

umbrage at its occupation by our troops, who scrupu-

lously preserve it from injury .'


Climate " In this respect, Chusan may be said to

vie with the most favoured regions of the earth. It

is the Montpelier of China. There are only three

months in the year which can be called hot : June,

July, and August. Fires are sometimes kept up till

the middle of June ; and woollen clothing is worn for

nine months . The cold weather sets in about the

middle or end of September ; but the average dura-

tion of hot weather does not exceed three months.

The remainder of the year is cold, bracing, or genial,

according to the season. In November the north

wind is piercingly cold and bracing. In December

the temperature is still further reduced-the ground

is covered with hoar frost- ice of half-an-inch thick

is general in the plains. The climate of Chusan is

far more favourable to health , than that of either

Ningpo, Shanghae, or even of stations further north."

" Invalids from Shanghae and Ningpo, as well as

from Hong-Kong, Canton, and Amoy, seek and find

health at Chusan. It is of the utmost importance to

us to have a healthy station on the coast of China,

where our troops can be located and found always

ready for active service : a regiment from Hong-

Kong could not endure the fatigue and exposure of

one week in the Yangtzekiang district ; a regiment

from Chusan would be found as effective for service

as any regiment in the United Kingdom, and might

be marched to Pekin, if necessary ."

"An ice-house is open at Chusan from 1st June to

1st September. The consumption, in July, is about

800 lbs. a day, by the English subscribers of five

rupees each. They pay about one farthing a pound


for the ice, which is collected in winter by a China-

man from the canals around, and deposited in a mud

walled house with a high thatched roof."

The foregoing extracts form a very small portion

of Mr. Montgomery Martin's admirable description of

Chusan. In his book will be seen very detailed ac-

counts of the island, politically, commercially, geogra-

phically, &c. &c. and he fully, clearly, and convinc-

ingly shews, the vast and superior advantages which

Chusan possesses in every point of view, for a British

Settlement and as clearly proves the utter inutility

and worthlessness of Hong-Kong, and the folly of the

annual expenditure which we are still persevering in ,

on the latter island.

Mr. Martin's book should be attentively read, not

only by those generally interested in Chinese matters,

but by those in authority in this country, as it is im-

possible to peruse the work without being convinced of

our egregious mismanagement, or by whatever name

it may be called, in letting Chusan slip through our

fingers-and in obstinately retaining Hong-Kong, an

insignificant barren island which can never prove of

the slightest utility to us, beyond a mere garrison, and

a harbour for shipping, of which there are many on

the coast of China equally eligible and many far supe-

rior ; and the very considerable distance at which it

is placed from Canton, as well as from the entrance

to the river at the Bogue forts, and from every other

place of essential communication, renders it unsuited

to us, even for those purposes, and the sooner we get

rid of this place the better, if only to relieve ourselves

from a very heavy and unnecessary annual expense .


It is impossible to peruse Mr. M. Martin's clear and

detailed statements regarding Chusan and Hong-

Kong, and which statements were officially drawn up

by him and transmitted by him from China to the

Government of this Country, without being forcibly

struck, and convinced of the truth of the remarks

which I have quoted from him , and from various

other sources of information besides, relative to Chu-

san and Hong-Kong ; and to perceive how different

our position in China might have been, to what it at

present is, had we exacted different terms from the

Chinese in our negotiations with them.

Although Mr. M. Martin's descriptions and opinions

are conclusive , I cannot resist quoting, on the same

subject, from a statistical sketch* of Chusan, by

Lieutenant Ouchterlony, a very talented officer of

the East India Company's Madras Engineers, who

accompanied the expedition to China, and was a con-

siderable time at Chusan ; and, if I mistake not , he

either superintended, or assisted , the surveying of the

island. At all events, the branch of the army to

which he belongs, rendered him peculiarly qualified

for affording a scientific and useful description of it.

Lieutenant Ouchterlony, after fully describing

Chusan, and pointing out all its innumerable and

superior advantages, not merely in a military point of

view, but in every other respect for a British settle-

ment, remarks as follows :-


Regarding the Island of Chusan as a spot des-

* A Statistical Sketch of the Island of Chusan, by Lieutenant

Ouchterlony, of the Madras Engineers, published in 1841 , by Pelham

Richardson, Cornhill.


tined henceforward to be ranked amongst the eastern

possessions of the British Empire, and to become the

home and abode of a portion of our fellow subjects, *

it cannot but be admitted, that it presents features of

attraction sufficient to render it, in many essential

respects, as important a fief as has of late years been

added to the Crown. The nature of its Coasts, and

the peculiarity of its internal physical features, ren-

der it a place easily defended by a comparatively small

garrison of disciplined troops, against such forces as

the Chinese could send to invade it. On the western

coast, at the debouchure of several valleys, troops

might be landed with ease, but martello towers or

small forts, mounting a long gun, and one or two

small mortars, which could be erected at a trifling

cost, would serve to keep them effectually in check,

while the alarm spread to the neighbouring town of

Sing-Kong, where a fort, with a proper garrison, would

in the event of our permanently occupying the Island,

be of course established , ( under existing circumstances,

indeed a strong post should have been established long

since at this point) and a body of troops in the course

of a few hours , could be concentrated to repel them.

On the northern Coast again, great difficulties are

presented to a landing, as the whole line is more or

less composed of rugged, lofty cliffs, having but few

accessible points ; alarm posts here would be required,

* It is evident by these remarks, that Lieutenant Ouchterlony

never contemplated our giving up Chusan, and I have understood,

that when, at the Peace with China, this decision became known on

the Island, the utmost astonishment and regret (on public grounds)

prevailed amongst all our countrymen stationed and residing there.


and the presence of a few gun -boats in the harbour of

Sing-Kong would be always sufficient to ensure the

destruction of a Chinese flotilla, if a cruizer were kept

on the main Coast, to report its approach. By means

of a fort on a commanding hill , forming one of the

arms of the bay of Ting-hae, the anchorage is rendered

perfectly secure, a command obtained over the town

at a distance of only nine hundred yards, (900) and

the approaches by the Island swept in all directions,

while a gun boat or two, would effectually prevent

the entrance of junks into the harbour, by the western

passage, which is not readily under the guns of the

fort ; in like manner, the eastern and southern Coasts,

may be placed in a state of defence or alarm, without

difficulty or expense of any magnitude, and a garrison

of three thousand men, (3000) with a proper propor-

tion of artillery, would amply suffice to keep posses-

sion of the Island , against all the efforts that could

be made upon it by the Chinese. * As a residence for

Europeans, it is undeniably most desirable, with

almost every article of luxury or necessity for the

* Such arrangements. and such a state of defence, as are here

suggested by Lieutenant Ouchterlony, would surely be sufficient to

defend the Island against any Foreign force, as well as Chinese. At

all events, a few additional troops might make it so. The Chinese

war junks, which we could always get hold of if we chose, by capture,

or other means, might be converted into, and fitted as excellent gun-

boats, were we at a loss for vessels of such description ; and we could

as readily obtain and equip the Chinese armed revenue fast boats,

pulling many oars, which would admirably answer our purpose for

chasing, and express boats, or for the speedy conveyance of troops

from one part of the Island to the other, or to the mainland of



table readily procurable ; with a climate allowing

many absolutely cold months during the year, and

the greater part of the remainder temperate, and not

oppressive ; with the most lovely landscape meeting

the eye wherever it rests ; with the advantage of

healthful exercise, including the great essential, sea

bathing, and many others, that need not be enume-

rated ; it affords every promise of becoming, in the

course of time, and that a very short one, one of the

most popular, interesting, and salubrious stations

offered to Her Majesty's Troops, in the eastern colo-

nies ; while as a place of trade, should it be ever

practicable so far to overcome the prejudices and fears

of the Chinese, as to allow of our retention of it, with

a fair prospect of the ports on the mainland being

opened to us, its value is undoubtedly great." *

The descriptions and opinions of Chusan, by Mr.

M. Martin, and Lieutenant Ouchterlony, which I

have thus given, may be deemed sufficient and con-

clusive respecting that island. I cannot, however,

resist adding the opinions of another talented gentle-

man, whose long residence in China, his thorough

and extensive information on everything connected

with that empire, and his perfect, and indeed extra-

ordinary knowledge of the Chinese and their language,

gives his opinions very great weight, on all matters

relative to China ; I mean the Rev. Dr. Gutzlaff, who

* Lieutenant Ouchterlony concludes his statistical sketch of

Chusan, by some copious notes and observations on the geology of

China. The opening of the ports on the main land, to which

Lieutenant Ouchterlony alludes, was accomplished by the results of

the war, and the treaty of peace.


thus expresses himself respecting Chusan . The opi-

nions of Dr. Gutzlaff are quoted in Mr. M. Martin's


book, and from which I have extracted them :-

" Chusan will hold a very prominent place in the

history of our commerce and intercourse with this

country, (China) whatever the political events may

be in future. As a mere territorial possession its

advantages will be considerable . The tea that grows

on the island is fit for exportation though not care-

fully prepared for a foreign market ; it is merely sold

at Soochoo and other places in Keangsoo. There

is space enough unoccupied by any other cultivation

which could be carefully planted with tea shrubs, and

the proper tea men invited for this branch of trade

from the Sunglo hills, about seven days distance from


" With a small expense of capital, Chusan, and the

neighbouring islands, might produce instead of ten to

twenty boat-loads as at present, the same number of

ship-loads of green tea. *

" The silkworm thrives in the island , but is now

merely kept by a few females, who take an interest in

weaving home dresses. People brought up from their

childhood in this branch of industry could be brought

from Hangchowfoo, one day's sailing distance from

Chusan. †

* If Chusan could produce green, it would equally produce black

tea, as it is well known that both shrubs will grow and flourish in

the same climate and soil, the mode of cultivation and the manufac-

ture, rendering principally the difference between the two species oftea.

+ With the extensive districts and manufactures of silk at

Ningpo, Hangchowfoo, and other neighbouring places, so near to


" The island is fertile, and contains a dense, indus-

trious, agricultural population ,* which though more

than ten times the number of the Chinese inhabitants

of Hong-Kong, requires not one- fifth part of the

police establishment for keeping them in order.

" As a fishing station Chusan possesses great


advantages . The catching the Mandarin fish,' dur-

ing the spring months is a very extensive and lucra-

tive business to the inhabitants, and employs a large

capital and numerous boats. For the whale fishery'

Chusan presents great facilities, for during the summer

the fish go to the Japanese seas, and along the Coast

of Corea, whither they have never yet been pursued.

Vessels, therefore, fitting out at the island would be

just in the track.

" As a commercial emporium, few places in Asia

can vie, in point of situation, with Chusan. On the

opposite main are the most flourishing cities, as

respects manufacture, as well as commerce. In its

Chusan, and the proximity of Chusan to the tea districts, it would,

I conceive, scarcely answer to establish the cultivation and manu-

facture of those staple articles, in so comparatively limited a space

as Chusan, where the lands would be required for the cultivation of

rice, and other grains, vegetables, &c. especially as the Chinese, as

well as the foreign population of the island, would very materially

increase, were Chusan permanently our own.

* The population of Chusan is variously estimated and stated—

Dr. Gutzlaff estimated the population of Chusan, (as quoted by Mr.

M. Martin) exclusive of the adjacent islands, at two hundred and

seventy thousand (270,000. ) Mr. Fortune, and the Rev. Mr. Smith,

in their valuable and interesting books, consider the Chinese popu-

lation of Chusan as under the above estimate. The population of

Tinghae, the Capital of Chusan, is given at about 26,000 persons .


neighbourhood the largest rivers of China disem-

bogue, and these will always be the high road of

commerce. It is only two days' sail from Japan, the

same from Corea, and though the former country

still remains hermetically sealed, and the other has

always kept aloof from contact with the whole world,

they cannot always maintain the exclusion of national

intercourse. Chusan is a half-way station between

the northern and southern provinces, and was as such

visited by large numbers of junks before the con-

quest. Inasmuch, as it ought now to be an object of

our constant endeavour to open new outlets for

British manufactures, no spot on earth presents such

facilities as Chusan at the present moment."*

" As a station for European troops the climate is

most favourable, it is congenial to the European con-

stitution, and the soil would produce all the fruits and

vegetables to which we are accustomed at home,

if properly planted and cultivated. The imperfect

attempts made for that purpose have well succeeded,

and the mountains might be clad with the vine, in-

stead of with the dwarf fir, which now covers their

sides. "

" On account of the great rise and fall of the tide,


docks might be constructed on Tea Island,' or on

the north coast of Chusan, for the repair of vessels,

and it is worthy of remark that the neighbourhood of

the Corean islands produces firs and oaks of the best

quality, excellently adapted for the use of carpenters

and shipwrights ."

* These lines are in italics in Dr. Gutzlaff's description .


" In a political point of view, Chusan appears in

the most favourable light. The great political maxim

of always, as much as possible, to keep the peace with

the Celestial Empire, can never be so well attained,

as by keeping possession of this island."

" The neighbourhood of a British force so near the

Great Canal, and only about five days' sailfrom Pekin,*

will always make the great Emperor very careful to

adopt any measures that may wound the feelings of

the neighbouring foreigners, and in case of such an

event, the appearance of a few steamers at Kwachoo,

or Chinkiangfoo, would soon change the views of the

great monarch ."

" In Asia, the observance of treaties does not arise

from any conviction that they are an obligation bind-

ing on both parties ; but it springs from sheer neces-

sity, and the moment this powerful law is not in ope-

ration, all the obligations are null and void. The

best guarantee for the maintenance of our treaty, will

be the British possession of Chusan . Its possession

by England, will render the Mandarins more con-

scientious and willing in executing the behest of their

sovereign, and the great monarch more desirous of

conciliation, than when our fleets and armies are sta-

tioned at the other extremity of the empire."

" Chusan will prove the bridle for restraining the

wild and ungovernable passions of Muhchangah's

party, and for keeping England free from all inter-

ference in the political affairs of China.

" In case of an European war, China would prove

* This line is in italic in Dr. Gutzlaff's remarks .


a very valuable post for the protection of our ship-

ping, and the expulsion of an enemy from those

seas ; and without such a station , the northern trade,

which ere long will be larger than the southern,

would be exposed to imminent dangers.

" We would look upon Chusan as another Malta,

not in point of natural strength, but of political im-

portance for the maintenance and undisturbed enjoy-

ment of a commerce, which, after the opening of

Japan and the Corea, and the access to Mantchouria,

will certainly rival the whole of our Mediterranean


" With a fourth of the money spent on the un-

grateful soil of Hong-Kong, Chusan would have exhi-

bited a larger and a more beautiful city than we shall

ever behold on the straggling hills of that colony.*

" If changes occur—if difficulties in the perform-

ance of the treaty arise-if China resumes its per-

fidious conduct-if other foreign powers strive to

obtain the mastery in its councils -if the country

is agitated, and trade must seek a safe asylum, then

the permanent occupation of Chusan will become the

most salutary measure that could be adopted for pre-

serving British ascendancy and influence in Eastern


I have already alluded to a pamphlet which I pub-

lished in 1833, on the China trade, and to some

* These are in italics in Dr. Gutlaff's remarks .

† See Mr. M. Martin's book, and his Official Reports to the

British Government relative to Chusan and Hong-Kong, for an

account of the proceedings in China of the French Envoy, Mons.

Lagrenè, in 1844 .


observations published by me during, and at the

close of, the Chinese war. In these publications I

described Chusan,* pointing out its innumerable ad-

vantages as a place of trade for us, but still more so

as a permanent British settlement. Our trade at the

former period , 1833, when I first wrote, was confined

to Canton, and as the abolition of the East India

Company's China trade, and exclusive maritime pri-

vileges, were just then determined upon, and the

China trade was to be thrown open to the public at

large, I judged it to be a favourable time and occa-

sion to endeavour to ameliorate our situation in

China. We continued our trade, however, at Can-

ton exclusively, until the peace with China, under all

its former restrictions and annoyances ; and the late

amiable and clever nobleman, Lord Napier, who pro-

ceeded to China as Superintendent of British trade,

was most unjustly treated by the Chinese Govern-

ment with unprovoked and the grossest insult and

indignity. The results are all known.

This amiable and lamented nobleman proceeded to

China under many disadvantageous and discouraging

circumstances, in an entirely novel position from any of

those who had previously presided over British com-

merce and affairs at China :-the termination to the

East India Company's exclusive privileges in China,

the dissolution of their maritime commerce, and the

throwing open the China trade to the public at large.

As Lord Napier was the first public British officer

who proceeded to China under these changes, and

* Mr. M. Martin has flattered me by introducing in his valuable

book, "China," extracts from my pamphlet, &c.


the new order of things, he found his position on his

arrival at Canton extremely embarrassing, as the

Viceroy of that province and city, and his colleagues,

had resolved on throwing every obstacle in the way

of Lord Napier's functions and proceedings, and

treated his Lordship with every indignity and insult,

equally unjust as uncalled for, and unprovoked . It

was stated at the time, and has not been denied since,

that Lord Napier proceeded to China with very ill-

defined, or entirely undefined, instructions ; conse-

quently, he found himself, as is above stated, by

reason of the conduct of the provincial government,

in a most trying and embarrassing position.

One of his lordship's instructions from home was

stated to be, that he was not to appeal in China be-

yond the Viceroy of Canton. This, Lord Napier, in

fact, himself stated at a meeting of the Chamber of

Commerce at Canton. This declaration was unfor-

tunate, as it soon reached the ears of the Viceroy and

his colleagues, who thus perceived that Lord Napier

was in their power, or at all events that he could not

appeal to Pekin. Such a restriction on Lord Napier

was as unwise as it was impolitic and short- sighted,

and was greatly to be lamented. Had Lord Napier,

when the plot thickened at Canton , and when he

found he could do nothing with the local govern-

ment, whose arrogant and insulting conduct became

daily increasing, quitted Canton , and joined the two

British frigates which were lying at the time in the

Canton river, * and proceeded with them either to .

* The Imogene, Captain Price Blackwood, and the Andromache,

Captain H. D. Chads, whose captains are said to have earnestly



Ningpo, or at the mouth of the Peiho river, and from

thence sent a representation to Pekin of the treat-

ment he had received at Canton, and the goings on

there, the probability is, that the most severe instruc-

tions would have been sent from Pekin to the Canton

authorities, and that Lord Napier would have been

requested to return to Canton, where he would then

have been more properly received and treated, and

been enabled to have remained, unmolested. In the

interim his lordship would have sent for to England,

and obtained probably, full and clear instructions for

his guidance ; but this high spirited nobleman would

not quit what he considered his post, and therefore

remained at Canton, until fatigue and anxiety brought

on severe illness, which terminated in his lamented

death soon afterwards. Nothing could surpass the

admirable conduct, firmness, steadiness, temper, and

patience of this lamented nobleman. His dispatches

to his own Government, and his minutes, and his

correspondence with the Viceroy of Canton , reflect

the highest credit on him. *

During the discussion between Lord Napier and

the Canton authorities, his Lordship ordered the two

frigates to enter the Canton river from the anchor-

age without the Bogue, were they were laying, and

proceed to Whampoa, the port of Canton . The

suggested and urged Lord Napier to this measure. Had his Lord-

ship adopted this excellent and judicious advice affairs would proba-

bly have taken a very different turn . Lord Napier had proceeded

to China in H.M. ship Andromache.

* These all appeared in the Parliamentary " Blue Book," printed

at the time, and where they will of course be found.


two ships accordingly proceeded towards the passage

of the Bogue, and as soon as they reached the

batteries there, they were fired at in all directions

from them, and apparently with great spirit. The

frigates as they worked through the Bogue, which

from the prevailing wind they were obliged to do ,

of course returned the fire, and by their gallant and

vigorous fire, completely silenced the batteries , and

continued their course unmolested up the river, where

they anchored and remained, until Lord Napier,

previously to his quiting Canton for Macao, ordered

the frigates out of the river, to join him at the latter

place. It was only by such spirited firmness as dis-

played by the two frigates on this occasion , similar to

the proceedings of Captain Sir Murray Maxwell, of

the Alceste Frigate, on the same spot in 1816 , that the

Chinese could ever be taught to respect the British


If Sir Henry Pottinger's hands were also tied up,

in any way, the case was equally unfortunate, placed ,

as he was, in a most responsible , important, and,

indeed, critical diplomatic position ; under circum-

stances, and with very momentous events taking

place, of the nature of which, or the turn which

affairs in China might take, the British Government

could not be a judge, or even form any guess as to

their upshot. Sir Henry Pottinger, as the Minis-

ter Plenipotentiary from this great country, to a

great and important empire, and under all the cir-

cumstances of the very responsible position in which

he was placed, should have been left with a carte

blanche, and to have acted in China unfettered and

D 2


uncontrolled, unless a diplomatic commission had

been formed, consisting of Sir Henry Pottinger and

the Naval and Military Commanders-in-chief (Vice-

Admiral Sir William Parker and Lieutenant-General

Sir Hugh Gough) , in which case full and discre-

tionary powers, uncontrolled, from England, and a

carte blanche, should have been given these able men.

I have entered thus on these particular points, as

Mr. M. Martin has stated clearly that a treaty of

peace, framed in England, was sent out for Captain

Elliott, or for Sir Henry Pottinger, to act upon.

In March 1843, in an article which appeared in

the " Asiatic Journal," I urged the importance and

advantage of our retaining Chusan exclusively to

ourselves. It is very satisfactory and flattering to

me to find that the descriptions and opinions which

I had ventured to form and to publish regarding

Chusan , were more than confirmed by Mr. R. Mont-

gomery Martin and Lieutenant Ouchterlony ; and

every author (and there have been many) who has

published regarding China, either during or since

the termination of the Chinese war, has fully cor-

roborated the statements and opinions of those two


* See M. Martin's " China," vol. ii . p. 38.

† Lieutenant Ouchterlony's " Chinese War," published in 1844,

is the fullest, and by far the most circumstantial and ablest account

of the war. "Wanderings in China, " published by Mr. Fortune in

1847, and “ A Narrative of an Exploratory Visit to the Consular

Cities of China," by the Rev. George Smith, published also in 1847,

are highly interesting, well written, and valuable books. " Two

Years in China," by Dr. M'Pherson, published in 1842 , is also a

well written and interesting work.


Such are the accounts, descriptions, and opinions

regarding Chusan, of the most competent persons

possible to form a judgment of an island, which we

so unwittingly, so unaccountably, and so lamentably

omitted to secure to ourselves.

Mr. Montgomery Martin states, in a note to his


Reports, Minutes, and Dispatches," and also in his

work " China," already referred to , and quoted from ,

that the terms for a peace with China, were drawn

up in England, and sent out to that country for

our plenipotentiary to act upon. On this subject,

Mr. M. Martin observes, " Have we availed our-

selves of the advantages which this opening affords ?

Have we not, by a mistaken policy and by a non-

appreciation of the true interests of England, almost

shut the door against ourselves, which we had been

so long anxious to open ; and voluntarily excluded

the British nation from a country where it is palpa-

bly our interest to have a decided permanent influ-

ence, where, by our science, intercourse, and com-

merce, we may exert a beneficial effect on many

millions of mankind ?

"The solutions of these questions is deserving of

early and serious investigation .

"At the close of a desolating and expensive war, in

August 1842, in a position to dictate our own terms,

and when all negotiation was unnecessary and set

aside by the Chinese authorities themselves. (It is

perfectly well known, that when Lieut.- Colonel Mal-

colm was sent on shore at Nankin , with the terms of

the treaty on which peace would be granted, the

Imperial Commissioner was surprised that so little


was asked, and enquired Is that all ?' which being

answered affirmatively, he immediately replied, ' All

shall be granted .') The British Plenipotentiary adopt-

ed the printed draft of a treaty framed in Downing

Street, and sent out to Captain Elliott for his guid-

ance at Canton. This treaty was prepared at a time,

when we were ignorant on various points connected

with China, and great allowance must be made for its

framers . Without, therefore, that diplomatic tact

or foresight, which an acquaintance with European

policy and British domestic, as well as foreign inte-

rests would have conveyed, and without reference to

the new position in which we were at Nankin ; and

to the greater knowledge we had obtained of the

people and country, in the north of China, we im-

posed only the terms sketched in the draft treaty,

and filled up the blank, after the words ' islands' in


the draft with Hong-Kong,' and excluded Chusan—

the only valuable island on the coast of China, adapt-

ed for the purpose which England ought to have

had in view."

I have throughout these observations, made free to

quote very largely from Mr. Montgomery Martin ;

my object in so doing has been, in order that those

who feel an interest in , or desire to be informed on

the subject of our relations with China, may, by a

reference to Mr. Martin's valuable and important

publications, be in possession of the fullest, ablest,

and most impartial accounts of our actual position

and intercourse with that empire.

My own specific object, in venturing to offer the

present observations to the public, is from an anxious


desire, not merely to endeavour to draw its especial

attention to Mr. Martin's views and opinions, but in

the hope that their attention may be awakened to

the adoption of such measures as may appear the

most feasible, for inducing the public authorities in

this country, to endeavour, if possible, to obtain the

possession of Chusan, in perpetuity to us. How this

very desirable and important object could at the pre-

sent moment be effected, is, I admit, difficult to

judge. Another rupture with China, would, it is to

be hoped, lead to the taking of Chusan at the very

first movement on our part, and once re-occupied by

us, it ought never to be given up.

After having, at the treaty of Nankin, in 1842,

assented to the restoration of Chusan to the Chinese,

it was impossible for us to have acted otherwise than

give it up, and no breach of treaty or promise should

on any consideration ever be exercised by us towards

the Chinese, whatever may be our own oversights or


I cannot, however, avoid thinking that even after

we had assented to restore Chusan to the Chinese,

some arrangement might have been made with them

for its grant, in perpetuity to us. There was a story

floating about at the time, that Chusan had been a

part of the Empress of China's dowry, and that con-

sequently nothing could have induced the Chinese to

part with the island, either to us or to any other

foreign power. I never believed one word of this,

and thought then, as I do now, that it was, to use an

old and common phrase, " a cock and bull story ;" or

if such a reason was urged, it was a fabrication on the


part of the Chinese Imperial Commissioners, to pre-

vent our urging the question ; as there was every

reason to believe (as it has already been stated) that

the Chinese were not only ready to give us Chusan,

but were fully prepared for its being one of our first

demands we should make in proposing the terms of

the treaty .

The revenues and resources of the Chinese empire,

are barely sufficient at any time to meet its expenses,

even in times of profound peace, and at their most

flourishing periods. The war placed the country at

a very large, in fact, at an enormous expense ; inso-

much, that it was discovered and understood, at the

conclusion of the war, when our means of information

relative to the affairs of China became more open and

extensive, that the Imperial coffers were reduced to a

very low ebb ; that the very extensive and heavy

contributions which the government had been levy-

ing in every part of the empire, for the exigencies of

the public service during the war, had become most

severe on the great trading and mercantile bodies,

and on the people generally, * and that had the war

continued much longer a very violent and open ex-

pression of the feelings of the people would have

broken out, if not a rebellion throughout the country.

Moreover the Chinese troops of all ranks and grades,

were becoming, naturally enough, disheartened and

dissatisfied, perceiving the inutility of their attempt-

ing to cope and contend with us in warfare.

* The contributions thus levied on the Hong and Salt Merchants,

and other large commercial bodies, were stated to be immense ;

besides additional imposts placed on almost every branch of trade

and commerce, &c. throughout the empire.


The Chinese government, therefore, at the conclu-

sion of the war, was in a most impoverished state ;

and it was generally understood afterwards, that a

liberal and handsome pecuniary consideration for

Chusan would not have been rejected by them. This

might readily have been accomplished, by our paying

them down a large and handsome sum of money, and

by letting them off besides from paying a consider-

able portion of the 21,000,000 dollars. The latter

sum has now been paid all up to us, so that if the

purchase of Chusan should be thought of—we could

only effect this by fresh understood negotiation and

arrangement with the Chinese government, before

any foreign power steps in and anticipates us, and

which, I confess, I consider is by no means improba-


Monsieur Lagrenè, the French Envoy to China in

1844 , was received with marked attention , and indeed

great distinction, by the Chinese authorities who were

deputed to meet and negotiate with him. Mr. M.

Martin states, that the French Envoy obtained some

concessions from the Chinese, and that it was gene-

rally understood that a secret negotiation had been

entered into between Mons. Lagrenè and the Chinese,

whereby some very important privileges were granted,

or to be granted to the French. *

The French possess, as is notorious enough at this

time, a restless and ambitious disposition to extend

their Colonies, their footing, and their influence, in

every quarter of the globe. Having amongst their

* See Mr. M, Martin's Reports, &c. and his book on China

already referred to.


exploring expeditions and voyages proceeded to

China and visited Chusan , their usual sagacity and

ability soon led them to discover the advantages

which the possession of such an island as Chusan

would prove to them as a French colony ; and as Mr.

M. Martin has remarked, they scarcely made any

secret of their wish and intention to obtain it if possi-

ble. They contrived to obtain possession of, and

establish themselves at Tahiti, in the Pacific, and I

have very little doubt, but they will be playing the

same game in China, with regard to Chusan. It is

unnecessary to remark on the important consequences

which it would be to us, were the French, or any

other enterprising foreign power, to be permanently

established at Chusan . It is very true we might

readily take it from them, and no doubt should , in

the event of a war with them ; but, in the interim,

our interests would in all probability suffer, and our

influence in China also be weakened, by a powerful

and enlightened foreign power, possessing them-

selves of such a position, and such an island in that


One of the reasons urged (as I have understood)

by our public authorities, for not obtaining Chusan,

was the size of the island, and the consequent sup-

posed heavy expenses which would be required to

hold it and keep it up. Surely the size of Chusan,

(much smaller than many of our colonies, in other

parts of the world) and placed so admirably and

advantageously as it is, to render it a most important

and invaluable British colony ; and after it has been

so clearly and convincingly shewn, by very competent


judges, that the island might be kept by us on com-

paratively as moderate an annual expense as any

colony we possess ; and it has been shewn that the

island in our possession would be capable not only of

supporting itself as regards provisions and supplies-

but that it would produce some revenue to help to

defray its expenses. * Whether this latter advantage

might be the case or not, I do not think ought to

be of the least consideration to us ; Chusan, whether

producing any revenue or not, would be incalculably

invaluable to us. We are continuing to this day to

expend a very considerable annual outlay on Hong-

Kong, which, to quote Mr. M. Martin's observation-

" Can never be a colony, by reason of its limited

size, rocky, barren structure ; incapability of produc-

ing any of the necessaries of life, for the consumption

of even one day ; and under any circumstances can-

not be expected to afford any considerable revenue

towards the payment of its own expenses ."†

As to Hong-Kong, I fear the most erroneous im-


pressions prevail in this country respecting that Island,

not merely as to its locality, but to its supposed re-

sources and capabilities ; and it has been most unac-

countably and indeed ridiculously praised and puffed

* See Mr. M. Martin's book, and " Reports," &c. already re-

ferred to.

† For an account and description of Hong-Kong, and an ample

and the fullest details respecting the island, see Mr. M. Martin's

book, and Reports, &c. Dr. Gutzlaff also, in his observations on

our position and affairs in China, points out the hopelessness

of Hong-Kong ever becoming an emporium, or of any utility

to us.


off, not merely as a valuable, but as an improving and

thriving colony. If persons in this country, who

really feel, and take an interest in, or are in any way

connected with the China trade, will give themselves

the trouble to investigate thoroughly the nature and

capabilities of Hong-Kong, they will discover that it

is not only in its present state and condition , an ut-

terly useless island to us in a commercial point of

view, but that it is hopeless to imagine or expect, that

it can ever be rendered capable of becoming an em-

porium. To attempt to enter into any further ex-

planation on this point, would be only to repeat Mr.

Montgomery Martin's lucid accounts, descriptions,

and statements, relative to Hong-Kong ; in his

valuable " reports, minutes," & c. , and in his valuable

book on China, from which I have already indeed so

largely, and unceremoniously quoted . *

In reference , however, to what has already been

stated of Hong- Kong, it may be here noticed, the

opinions and notions which have prevailed, that the

Island might become an emporium, by the Tea, and

other Chinese merchants conveying their goods and

merchandize by sea, direct to Hong-Kong, from the

northern eastern ports.†

Nothing can be more futile, indeed, I may say

preposterous , than such a notion . The merchants

from those quarters have invariably for ages, preferred

* Dr. Gutzlaff also in his observations on Chusan and Hong-Kong,

clearly points out the utter incapability of the latter Island, now

becoming an Emporium.

† This has been suggested by correspondents, or in editorial

articles, in some of our leading journals and periodicals .


conveying their teas, and all other descriptions of

merchandize for Foreigners to Canton, by the inland

transit to that city, from the north- eastern provinces,

tedious as it is, in preference to the sea route, coast

ways, and even at a larger cost, which, I believe, the

inland duties are, to the export charges by junks ;

and in like manner the Foreign imports at Canton,

have been transported to the inland marts. It is

therefore highly improbable, that the Chinese would

alter their system, especially as Hong-Kong is above

one hundred miles further to the southward than

Canton, and nearly out to sea, so that the junks from

the north-eastern ports, would have to encounter (to

them) a long sea voyage to Hong-Kong ; but a

stronger reason prevails against such a voyage, viz.,

the opening of the four additional ports to us, has

brought Foreign customers, to the very doors of the

up- country Chinese merchants, as the distances from

the ports of Amoy, Foochowfoo, Ningpo, and Shang-

hae, to the tea provinces, and to the various marts

for Foreign commodities, are comparatively short.

It will therefore be seen , that the several combined

causes thus explained , operate against the probability

of Hong- Kong becoming an emporium, in the way

expected, by those who have not considered the sub-

ject, nor would it be brought about, were the British

trade even entirely withdrawn from Canton, for the

reasons I have already explained. So long as the

Foreign trade continues at Canton, the Tea, and other

markets there, will doubtless be supplied as hereto-

fore, from the up-country provinces by the inland



It has been my fixed opinion for many years, that

from carrying on our trade at Canton, under so many

disadvantages and discouraging circumstances, we

should have abandoned that port, at the very first

favourable moment that occurred ; that occurred,

when the four ports to the eastward were opened to

us. The conduct and proceedings of the Canton

people towards us since the war, render that measure,

in my judgment, the more desirable, and I am sur-

prized that the British merchants have not quitted

Canton in toto, and removed their commercial pro-

ceedings, entirely to the eastern ports, where their

trade would be carried on, under not only infinitely

more advantageous terms, especially at Ningpo and

Shanghae, but they would themselves be thus liberated

from the gross and insulting treatment, which they

have so perpetually experienced at Canton.

This measure, would moreover prove a severe blow

to the Canton people, and serve as a just retribution

for their past misdeeds , and infamous conduct toward


I am not insensible, that the removal of a very

large trade, from a place at which it had been carried

on for such a length of time, might be attended at

first with considerable inconvenience ; this however

would speedily pass over, and I am persuaded our mer-

chants at China, would perceive and experience all

the advantages of such a measure, in a very short

space of time. It has been repeatedly stated, by all

who have visited the ports newly opened to us, and

by our countrymen now residing there, how well- dis-

posed the Chinese of all ranks and classes are towards


us ; the opening of their ports to foreign trade, grati-

fied and benefited them considerably, as they had

never previously participated even in that trade,

monopolized as it had ever been, by the Canton

people. Their obtaining therefore a larger portion of

our trade, by its entire withdrawal from Canton,

would naturally add to their goodwill and favourable

disposition towards us.

Sir John Davis, the present talented Governor of

Hong-Kong, has done, and is doing all in his power

for that Island, but with all his abilities, zeal, and

exertions, neither he, nor any other person, will ever

be enabled to render Hong-Kong more than a military

garrison, and that in such a position, we never re-

quired, or can require, as Mr. M. Martin most satis-

factorily shews. Hong-Kong is situated above one

hundred miles from Canton, at the very extremity of

the south coast of China, and nearly out at sea,

amongst the numerous Islands denominated the Lema

Islands, and is above thirty miles distant from the

Portuguese settlement of Macao, in the mainland of

China. Hong-Kong has been absurdly, erroneously,

and ignorantly enough stated, and by very many

persons, believed to be well situated for protecting the

entrance to the Canton river, at the Bogue Forts.

Now, Hong-Kong is fifty miles from that spot, and is

therefore, from that circumstance alone, just as of

much use, as if it were a thousand miles off.

It has been further lauded, as regards Hong- Kong,

that from our possessing that garrison, Sir John

Davies was enabled to make his " coup de main " last

April, on the Bogue Forts, and on Canton. Having


Hong-Kong, it unquestionably facilitated Sir John's

plans and proceedings ; but such events under such

circumstances, and in the same quarter, are not likely

to occur frequently, if ever again ; and our continuing

to hold Hong-Kong, as a mere military garrison , for

which it is so disadvantageously situated, for any

practicable purpose whatever, and at such a very

heavy annual cost, is surely as unwise as it is uncalled-

for ; and on what reasonable grounds we ever in the

first instance took possession of, and permanently

established ourselves on this barren, out of the way

useless rock, I never could comprehend. *

Sir John Davis's proceedings at the Bogue Forts,

and at Canton, referred to above, were admirably

planned, and well and gallantly executed, and reflect

the highest credit on Sir John, and all concerned in

the enterprize. Those prompt and vigorous proceed-

ings had evidently, by the last accounts from China,

the effect of checking the violence and conduct of the

Canton people ; whether they may prove to have

any permanent good effect remains to be seen. I fear

not, and cannot but suspect, that we shall be com-

pelled, sooner or later, and indeed at no very distant

period, to enter into fresh explanations and negotia-

tions with the government of China, or have recourse

to measures of a less pacific nature. I also repeat

my belief that some foreign power, will if possible,

possess itself of Chusan . Shall we therefore permit

such a measure, if any means in our power can pre-

* For the heavy annual expenses, attending the holding and keep-

ing up Hong-Kong, -see Mr. M. Martin's statements and explana-

tions .


vent it ? In what way we can, in our present peaceful

relations with China, avert such a proceeding, is a

question, which it may perhaps be difficult to answer.

My own view of the subject is, that the British

government should , without loss of time, open a

negotiation with that of China, on the subject ; and

endeavour, before any foreign power steps in, to

obtain the cession of Chusan to us, in perpetuity ;

even at the cost of a very considerable sum of money,

such a measure will in the end, fully and amply repay

us ; we should thus possess one of the finest islands in

Asia, for a British colony ; an island, of a size com-

pact in itself; in a fine, healthy and beautiful climate,

and possessing in every point of view and bearing, all

the advantages of a political, commercial, and geo-

graphical nature, which could be desired for a British


I have no hesitation in believing, and asserting,

that Chusan, in our hands, would become an invalu-

able colony to us ; an extensive, flourishing, and

important trade would speedily spring up, benefiting

extensively, not merely our own merchants, com-

merce, and manufactures, but also the immense

Chinese commercial community, existing in various

ramifications in the vicinity of Chusan, at the numer-

ous large and important ports and cities, placed

along the whole Coast of China, from the gulph

of Leao-tung to Canton, with a fair prospect of

being enabled to open a communication, and perhaps

a negotiation with Japan, Corea, &c. , whilst our pos-

session of Chusan, would in a naval and military point

of view, prove at all times the best means of keeping .



a check on the Chinese government, should any overt

acts or proceedings on their part, compel us to act in

arms against them . From the position and nature of

Chusan itself, the Island might be fortified and garri-

soned, as Lieutenant Ouchterlony observes, at a com-

paratively moderate expense, so as to bid defiance to

any force which the Chinese might bring against it,

whilst additional works thrown up, with a reinforce-

ment of troops, which might speedily be brought from

India, (by steamers, if emergency and great expedition

were required) would sufficiently strengthen Chusan,

so as to repel any Foreign force, which might attempt

an attack on the Island ; it is, however, very improba-

ble that a Foreign armament would appear before

Chusan, without our having some sort of previous

intelligence, or intimation of its movements, destina-

tion , and intentions, especially from the vigilance of

our vessels of war, stationed at Chusan, and cruizing

in this part of the China sea, for I consider it as a

matter of course, that if we held Chusan, we should

never be without a respectable naval force in that

quarter. The fine, spacious, healthy, and nearly land

locked harbour of Chusan , the abundance of fine fresh

water, and provisions to be had there, the ample sup-

ply of water, and provisions, to be procured at all

times, at the various ports along this part of the Coast

of China, and the salubrity of the climate, would

render Chusan one of the most important and desira-

ble naval stations in Asia.

In the various remarks which I have made in

course of the preceding pages, it is I trust, unneces-

sary for me to state in the most distinct manner, that


it has been remote from my intentions, to reflect on

the conduct and proceedings of our plenipotentiary,

who conducted our political proceedings in China,

and negociated the treaty of Nankin.

Sir Henry Pottinger's distinguished talents and

reputation are too highly established and appreciated

to suffer from any comments of those who may dis-

cuss his proceedings in China, and his hands may

have been tied up as to the terms of the above treaty.

In fact, it was rumoured at the time, and the belief

prevails in many quarters to this day,-that terms

for a treaty of peace with China had been previously

ready formed in this country, and sent out to our

plenipotentiary to present to the Chinese govern-

ment when a suitable opportunity occurred ; and that

those terms were the identical ones which were

agreed to by both parties at Nankin, on the 29th of

August, 1842 , and which have now long since been

familiar to the public at large.

The motives which have been assigned to our

Government for not demanding the cession ofChusan

to us, are, the size of Chusan, and the consequent con-

siderable cost which it would require to keep it up.

If such really was the motive, all I can say is, with

all due respect to Her Majesty's Government, that it

was a very futile and unsound reason, as Mr. M.

Martin so clearly shews in his statements ; if the

consideration of a few additional pounds, shillings

and pence, is to be the order of the day with us, on

such important occasions, it can only be deplored,

and we must abide the consequences of our false

economy and short sightedness.


Our permanent position at Chusan, would, I am

persuaded, produce all the important advantages,

which have already been pointed out. The Chinese

have not only experienced and admitted the destructive

effects of British power, by the force and success of

our arms, but our late occupancy of Chusan, and our

residence at the four new ports opened to us, have

enabled them to become better acquainted with our

character, our nature, and our disposition, which

until then had been most grossly and falsely misre-

presented to them, through the people of Canton-to

which port we were then exclusively limited, without

the means or opportunities of coming in contact and

communication with the better classes of Chinese, at

other parts of the empire ; consequently, the Chinese

throughout the country had formed the most extra-

ordinary, indeed, I believe the vilest notions and

opinions respecting us.

If ever we obtain Chusan, or any other permanent

position in China, one consideration I presume to

urge, viz.― That whatever authority, whether civil or

military, is placed for its government and administra-

tion, or whatever may be the powers entrusted to

him, he should be possessed of a knowledge of the

character, disposition , and habits of Asiatics. This is

not only of vast importance, indeed, I should say,

essentially requisite, but is of much more importance

than persons in this country are at all aware of.

Such an advantage has been amply shewn at Java,

when we held that Island , at Penang (or Prince of

Wales Island) Singapore, Malacca, &c. The govern-


ment of those settlements was admirably conducted


by the talented gentlemen who presided over them-

possessing as they did a thorough knowledge of the

character of Asiatics, and most, if not all of them, a

perfect knowledge of the Native languages.

It cannot be expected, that every one who might

be appointed to China should understand the difficult

language of that country- but there could be no

difficulty in selecting those for such an appointment,

who possess a perfect knowledge of the Asiatic

character, from among the numerous gentlemen who

have been, or are, resident in India, or China, or in

our Straits of Malacca, &c. The general character-

istics of all Asiatics are alike ; and in all matters of

official negotiation and intercourse, my old acquain-

tances the Chinamen, are quite as adroit at evasion ,

equivocation , and chicanery, and even capable of the

most palpable and unblushing falsehoods- when it

suits their purpose or convenience as any other


The Chinese, however, as a nation , and certainly

in innumerable individual cases, possess some ex-

cellent and meritorious qualities. I venture to place

* When Lord Amherst, in his embassy to China, in 1816, was

discussing the question of the (to us) degrading and humiliating

ceremony of the Ko-tou, with the Mandarins who were deputed

from Pekin to meet and negociate with the British Embassy, these

public functionaries, who were of the highest rank, roundly asserted

that Lord Macartney, had in 1794 performed the ceremony, on his

presentation to the Emperor, before the whole Court of China ; and

with the most unblushing effrontery appealed to Sir George

Staunton, who they were aware had accompanied Lord Macartney's

embassy, for the truth of their assertions. These functionaries

knew they were stating absolute falsehoods .


them, on the whole, at the head of all Asiatic

nations. I do this, however, with every deference,

as I know opinions on this point are divided. Many

persons possessing a knowledge of Asiatics, and who

have considered and written on the subject, award

the first rank of the Asiatics to some of the Nations

of India.

Although Sir Henry Pottinger, when he proceeded

to China as H. M. Minister Plenipotentiary, had

never previously been in that country, and knew

nothing at that time of the Chinese language, he

evidently, from his thorough knowledge of the cha-

racter of the Asiatics, derived considerable advantage

from possessing that knowledge, as he thereby at once

became thoroughly acquainted with the character and

disposition of the Chinese, of all ranks and classes,

and was consequently enabled the more readily to

carry on his negotiations with the public functionaries

of the country, to at once detect their sophistry, and

defeat their machinations, and to bring his negotia-

tions to a successful termination.

It is therefore, I repeat, highly important and

essential, that our principal authority at China, should

possess a thorough knowledge of the character of

Asiatics .

With Chusan in China, Labuan on the coast of

Borneo, and our ever-flourishing and invaluable

Singapore, we should possess three admirably placed

settlements of the very first importance to us ; there-

by establishing two additional ones, which could not

fail to rise into flourishing British colonies, equally

valuable and important, in a Political, Commercial,


and Geographical point of view, to us in Eastern Asia.

One of these settlements (Labuan) would, it is true be

small ; but it has been shewn, by a talented, and very

competent authority,* that Labuan would prove of

considerable value and importance to us.

It would be useless and premature to suggest, or

point out, and indeed presumptuous on my part to do

so, what arrangement should be made and established

for Chusan, in the event of our obtaining this valu-

able Island. A hope however may be expressed ,

that it would at once be constituted a free port, un-

shackled by custom duties ; and moreover, that we

should not overwhelm it with a numerous and expen-

sive establishment, not at least, beyond what would

be sufficient for a due and proper administration of

the Island ; the establishment could readily be added

to, when the calls of it should so require. I am in-

duced to allude to this point, from the very consider-

able establishment which has been formed at Hong

Kong, much beyond what that very confined Island

has required, and which of course, adds very mate-

rially, and seriously, to its annual expenses. Chu-

san, however, should be placed in a very efficient

state as a British Colony, both as to its civil and

military establishments, and well garrisoned in the

very first instance ; this would not only secure it

against any surprise or attack, but it would have a

* John Crawfurd, Esq. late Governor of Singapore, and author

of the " History of the Eastern Archipelago." His interesting

paper on Labuan, is introduced in the Honourable Captain Keppel's

highly interesting account of the Expedition to Borneo, of H.M.

ship Dido, published 1846 .


useful effect, as regards either Chinese, or any

Foreigners. Building, and other materials, would be

obtained in abundance, at the various ports on the

mainland of China, and I believe a good deal are to

be found on Chusan itself ; and as regards artificers

and labourers, we know, that from the teeming popu-

lation of the Coast of China, and also on Chusan,

any numbers of these, and other descriptions of

Chinese workmen, of all trades and callings, are to be

had at any time.

It is a matter of very considerable consideration,

and importance, that Coal abounds in China, and is

to be obtained at many of the ports along the Coast,

so that this valuable, and essential article, would be

close at hand at Chusan, for steam navigation, and

for machinery, &c. on shore. Mr. Crawfurd mentions

the discovery of coal at Labuan ; this place, there-

fore, would form a most convenient station for

steamers to coal at, should they require it, in their

run from Chusan , towards the Straits of Malacca, and

India, &c . , after they quit the Coast of China.

I am not aware whether Chusan produces coal ; I

rather think, however, none had been discovered,

when we were in temporary possession of the Island.

It is very probable, this article may be ascertained to

exist at Chusan, as it does on the mainland of China,

and at some of the neighbouring islands.

Our present position and intercourse with China

are too limited and cramped to effect the important

objects, which a more extended sphere in that coun-

try would enable us to accomplish. The permanent

occupation of such an island as Chusan, so admirably


situated and adapted as it is, would afford us incalcu-

lable advantages of a closer intercourse with the

government officers and people ; their opinions of us

would be improved ; they would probably, in due

time, if not in a very short space of time, from an

increased knowledgeof our character, themselves

perceive the advantages of an extended and social

intercourse, not only with us, but with other enlight-

ened Foreign nations. The edict stated to have been

issued by the Emperor of China, tolerating Chris-

tianity, I consider the most important event which

has occurred in China for ages. These reflections

and considerations are very encouraging to us- in

regard to our relations, present and future, with

China, as, in addition to the innumerable advantages

expected to arise, both to us and the Chinese, by

such an improved and enlarged intercourse ; the most

important object and consideration of all, might, it is

earnestly hoped, and anticipated, be accomplished ,

viz. the introduction and diffusion of Christianity

throughout the vast Empire of China, through the

means and instrumentality, and by the example and

benign influence of a great Christian and Protestant



October, 1847.

Brewster & West, Printers, Hand Court, Dowgate