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






No. Page

1. Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier (Chief

Superintendent) Foreign Office, January 25, 1834 1

Two Inclosures.

2. Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier Foreign Office, January 25, 4

3. Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier Foreign Office, January 25, 6

4. Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier Foreign Office, March 7, 6

5. Viscount Palmerston' to Lord Napier Foreign Office, March 8, 6

6. Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston Canton, August 9, 7

One Inclosure.

7. Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston Canton, August A4, 11

Five Inclosures.

8. Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston Canton, August 21, 22

Two Inclosures.

9. Mr. J. F. Davis (Second Superintendent) to

Viscount Palmerston Canton, August 7, 25

10. The Duke of Wellington to Lord Napier .... Foreign Office, February 2, 1835 26

11. Lord Napier to Earl Grey Canton, August 21, 1834 29


12. Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston Canton, August 27,

One Inclosure.

13. Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston Canton, August 28, 32

14. Memorandum . - Foreign Office, February 1840 32

•15. Mr. Astell (Secretary) to Mr. Backhouse. . . . Macao, September 28, 1834 39

16. Papercommunicated by the Eastlndia Company Macao, September 29, 41

17. Mr. Astell to Mr. Backhouse '. Macao, October 3, 43

18. Mr. J. F. Davis (Chief Superintendent) to

Viscount Palmerston Macao, October 12, 43

19. Mr. J. F. Davis to Viscount Palmerston Macao, October 28, 44

20. Capt. Elliot (Secretary) to Mr. Backhouse . . Macao, November 1, 45

One Inclosure.

21. Mr. J. F. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, November 2, 46

Two Inclosures.

22. Mr. J. F. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, November 5, 48

One Inclosure.

23. Memorandum by the Duke of Wellington . . Foreign Office, March 24, 1835 51

24. Mr. J. F. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, November 11, 1834 52

Three Inclosures.

25. Captain Elliot to Mr. Backhouse Macao, November 17, 58

One Inclosure.

26. Mr. J. F. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, November 18, 61

Two Inclosures.

27. Petition to the King in Council Canton, December 9, 68

28. Minutes of Conversation between Howqua and

Mowqua, Hong Merchants, and Mr. Jardine Canton, September 14, 71

29. Extracts from the " Records of Proceedings " Macao, December 6, 73

30. Mr. J. F. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, January 2, 1835 76

Two Inclosures.

31. Mr. J. F. Davis to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, January 19, 78

32. Extracts from the " Records of Proceedings " Macao, January 19, 80

33. Sir G. B. Robinson (Chief Superintendent) to

Viscount Palmerston Macao, January 24, 81

34. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, February 3, 81

35. Extracts from the " Records of Proceedings " Macao, January 29, 81

36. Sir G. B. Robinson to the Governor General of

India Macao, February 21, 86

37. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, February 27, 86

38. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, March 30, 87

One Inclosure.

39. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, April 13, 94

40. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, July 1, 95

41. Sir G. B. Robinson to the Duke of Wellington Macao, July 26, 100

42. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, October 1 6, 100

43. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, November 11, 101

44. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, ■ November 20, 102

45. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, November 24, 104

One Inclosure.

46. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston ... Lintin, December 1, 105

47. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston ... Lintin, December 10, 106






48. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, December JO, 1835 109


49. Sir G- B. Robinson to Viscount Palmentan Lintin, December 10,

One Inclosure.

SOi Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, January 5 1836 1M

51. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston 1J«

One Inclosure.

52. Viscount Palmerston to Sir G. B. Robinson Foreign Office, May 28, Ill

63. Viscount Palmerston to Sir G. B. Robinson Foreign Office, June 6,■ Ill

54. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Macao, January 16, IM

55. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, January 29, 113

56. Viscount Palmerston to Sir G. B. Robinson Foreign Office, June % U»

57. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, January 29, I'M

58. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, February 1, 118

59. Viscount Palmerston to Sir G. B. Robinson Foreign Office, June 15, 119

60. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, June 15, 119

61. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, February 5, 119

62. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, February 8, 120

63. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, February 10, 121

64. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, February 27, 121

65. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, July 22, 121

66. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, July 22, 123

67. The Hon. W. Fox Strangways to Cap. Elliot Foreign Office, Septemb. 14, 123

68. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, March 1, 124

Three Inclosures.

69. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, November 8, 126

70. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, November 8, ' 127

71. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, November 8,

72. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot ..■.. Foreign Office, November 8,

73. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, November 8, 130

74. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, April 18, 131

75. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, December 6, 132

76. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Macao, May 10, 133

Three Inclosures.

77. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Macao, October 13, 135

78. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Lintin, Novemb. 28, 135

79. Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston Macao, Decemb. 14, 136

80. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, January 25, 136

81. Captain Elliot to the Foreign Office Macao, March 14, 136

82. Captain Elliot to the Foreign Office Macao, July 27, 137

83. Captain Elliot to the Foreign Office October 10, 138

84. Captain Elliot, (Chief Superintendent,) to

Viscount Palmerston 14,

85. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston 30,

Eight Inclosures.

86. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston «,

One Inclosure.

87. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Macao, January 12, 1837 148


One Inclosure.

88. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot .... Foreign Office, June 12,

89. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston .... Macao, January 27,

Two Inclosures.

90i Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston .... 2,

Eight Inclosures.

91. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston .... -7,

Three Inclosures.

92. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston February 10,

Two Inclosures.

93. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston 21,

Two Inclosures.

94. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot Foreign Office, 2, 192

95. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot Foreign Office, 2,

One Inclosure.

96. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston .... 18,

One Inclosure.

97. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston 22,

Two Inclosures.

98. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . . . . . Macao, March 29, 196

99. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Macao, April 196

100. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Canton, April 27,'

Seven Inclosures.

101 . Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Canton, May 24,

One Inclosure.

102. Captain Elliot to John Backhouse, Esq Canton, 2,

Two Inclosures.

103. Captain Elliot to John Backhouse, Esq. ...» Macao, July 3,

Four Inclosures and Three Sub inclosures.

104. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Macao, July 5, 214

105. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Macao, July 5, 214

106. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Macao, August 29, 215

107. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Macao, 4, 215

Three Inclosures. .


No. Page-

108. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, Septemb. 26, 1837 231

109. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, Novemb. 18, 233

Five Inclosures

110. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, Novemb. 19, 241

• One Inclosure. • v

* 11. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, Novemb. 29, 245

Four Inclosures.

112. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, Decemb. 4, 249

113. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, Decemb. 7, 250

Two Inclosures.

114. Captain Elliot to the Foreign Office . . Macao, January 18, 1838 253

115. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, February 5, 253

One Inclosure.

116. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot Foreign Office, June 15, 258

117. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Macao, March 29, 259

Five Inclosures.

118. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, April 2. 291

119. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, April 18, 294

Five Inclosures.

1 20. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, April 20, 299

One Inclosure.

121. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, April 38, 301

Four Inclosures.

122. Captain Elliot to John Backhouse, Esq. . Macao, April 30, 307

One Inclosure.

123. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, May ai, 308

124. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, August 7, 308

125. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, August 1 0, 309

Ten Inclosures.

126. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot . Foreign Office, February 27, 1839 317

127. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot . Foreign Office, March 23, 317

128. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot . Foreign Office, March 23, 318

129. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot . Foreign Office, March 30, 318

130. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot . Foreign Office, June 13, 319

131. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, October 13, 1838 319

Three Inclosures.

132. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . . Macao, Decemb. 2, 321

Two Inclosures.

133. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . WhampOa, Decemb. 8, 223

134. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, Decemb. 13, 324

135. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot . Foreign Office, April 15, 1839 325

136. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, Decemb. 31, 1838 325

137. Captain Ellio* to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, January 2, 1839 326

Fourteen Inclosures.

138. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, January 2, 339

139. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, January 8, 340

140. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, January 21, 342

141. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, January 30, 342

142. Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot . Foreign Office, June 13, 344

143. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, February 8, 344

One Inclosure.

144. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston , Macao, February 21, 348

Two Inclosures.

145. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, March 22, 349

Two Inclosures.

146. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Canton, March 30, 1839 355

Thirty Inclosures.

147. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Canton, April 3, 384

148. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston Canton, April 6, 385

Fifteen Inclosures.

149. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, May 6, 405

Three Inclosures.

150. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Canton, May 18, 409

Eight Inclosures.

151. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, May M, 418

One Inclosure. f

152. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, June 14, 420

Eight Inclosures.

153. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, July 8, 427

Five Inclosures.

154. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Macao, July 18, 431

One Inclosure.

155. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston ; Hong Kong, August 27, 433

Thirteen Inclosures.

156. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Hong Kong, Septemb. 3, 442

Three Inclosures.

157. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Hong Kong, Septemb. 5, 446

Five Inclosures.

158. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Hong Kong, Septemb. 8, 450

One Inclosure.

159. Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston . Hong Kong, Septemb. 23, 454

Six Inclosures.




No. 1.

Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier.

Extract. . Foreign Office, January 25, 1334.

I HEREWITH transmit to your Lordship a Commission under the

Royal Signet and Sign Manual, appointing your Lordship, together with

William Henry Chicheley Plowden, Esq., and John Francis Davis, Esq.,

to be " Superintendents of the Trade of British Subjects in China."

I also transmit to your Lordship His Majesty's general instructions

under the Sign Manual, for the guidance of your Lordship and of your

colleagues, in the discharge of the duties of the situations above mentioned.

Inclosure 1 in No. 1.

Extract from the Royal Commission appointing Lord Napier, Mr. Plowden, and

Mr. Davis, to be " Superintendents of the Th-ade of British Subjects in China."

Extract. December 10, 1833.

AND in the event of the death of any or any one of you, the said William

John Lord Napier, William Henry Chicheley Plowden, and John Francis Davis,

while in the execution of this Our Commission, or of the incapacity, absence

from the limits to which such Commission extends, or removal from office

of any or any one of you, We do hereby declare Our pleasure to be, and We do

direct and appoint, that the vacancy so created in the said Commission shall be

supplied on the spot provisionally, and until Our pleasure can be known, in

such manner and according to such rules as are, or shall be, in that behalf pre

scribed in such general or further instructions as aforesaid.

# * # * * # # ■

And We do hereby straightly charge and require you, that., in the execution

of this your Commission, you do conform to and observe all such rules and

regulations as are or shall be given to you for your guidance, either in the

general instructions under Our Signet and Sign Manual, accompanying this your

Commission, or in such further instructions as shall from time to time be given

to you under Our Signet and Sign Manual, or in Our Privy Council, or by Us

through one of Our Principal Secretaries of State.


Inclosure 2 in No. 1.

Extract from the Royal Sign Manual Instructions to the Superintendents of

Trade in China.

Extract. December 31, 1833.

1. WITH these Our instructions, you will receive a Commission under

Our Signet and Sign Manual, constituting and appointing you to be Super

intendents of the trade of Our subjects to and from the dominions of the

Emperor of China ; together with an Order made by Us with the advice of

Our Privy Council, for regulating the said trade, and for the government of

our subjects within the said dominions ; together with a certain other Order

made by Us with the advice aforesaid, creating a Court of Justice for the

purposes therein mentioned ; together also with a certain other Order also

made by Us with the advice aforesaid, imposing duties upon the ships and

goods of Our subjects trading to China, for the purposes therein mentioned :

—which several Instruments have by Us been issued in pursuance, and in

exercise of the powers in Us vested by a certain Act of Parliament made

and passed in the Third and Fourth year of Our Reign [cap. 93,] intituled

" An Act to regulate the trade to China and India."

2. In execution of the said Commission, you will take up your residence

at the Port of Canton, in the dominions of the Emperor of China; and you

will discharge the several duties confided to you by the said Commission

and Orders in Council respectively, at Canton aforesaid, or at any other

place within the river or port of Canton, or at any other place which may

for that purpose be hereafter appointed by Us, and not elsewhere.

4. And whereas, &c [here is recited the first one of the two clauses

extracted from the Royal Commission; it then proceeds]. Now "We do direct

and appoint that if any such vacancy should so be created, by the death,

resignation, or incapacity, absence or removal, of you, the said William John

Lord Napier, the Chief Superintendent, or of the Chief Superintendent for the

time being, the same shall be supplied provisionally by you, the said William

Henry Chicheley Plowden, Esquire, the Second Superintendent, or by the

Second Superintendent for the time being : [and so on, providing, in order of

succession, for supplying, provisionally, vacancies in the offices of the Second and

Third Superintendents ; the vacancy of the Third Superintendent, for the time

being, to be] "supplied provisionally by the Secretary to the Superintendents

for the time being." [In the event of either Mr. Plowden or Mr. Davis being

absent from China, on the arrival there of Lord Napier, or of their declining to

accept the offices of Second or Third Superintendent, respectively,—in such

contingency, the Secretary for the time being was not to enter upon or succeed to

the vacant office,— but such office or offices, as the case might be, should be held

provisionally (and until the Royal pleasure should be made known) by any such

person or persons as should for that purpose be selected by Lord Napier, from

amongst such of the servants of the East India Company as might be resident at

Canton on the arrival of the Commission at that place]. And the persons so to

be selected by you, the said William John Lord Napier, shall, by you, be appointed

to such office or offices, by an instrument or instruments to be by you, for that

purpose, executed under your hand and seal : and every person so by you,

the said William John Lord Napier, appointed to be such Second Superintendent

or Third Superintendent, as aforesaid, upon any such contingency as afore

said, shall, until further or other provision be made by Us in the premises,

have, exercise, and enjoy all such and the same rights, powers, and authorities,

as if he or they had been appointed by Us, by name, in and by the said Com


16. And We do further declare Our pleasure to be, that one of you, the said

Superintendents, shall be specially charged with the duty of ascertaining by all

practicable ways and means, and with the utmost attainable precision, the state

of the trade carried on between our subjects, or the subjeqts of any other foreign

power, with the inhabitants of China; and especially the number of the vessels

annually arriving from Our United Kingdom, and from Our several possessions

abroad, and from the territories under the Government of the said Company in

India, and from all other foreign States; and the tonnage of such vessels, and the

number of the person* on board of them as mariners or passengers; and the


amount and nature, and value of the goods from time to time imported in such

several vessels into China; and of the goods exported thence in such vessels,

together with the prices current at the port of Canton, of such imports and

exports; together with all material facts, illustrative of the course and nature of

the said trade ; and of the difficulties by which the same may be impeded ; and

of the means which may be taken for the extension, or support thereof; together

with such information as can be collected, respecting the cultivation of tea, and

of other articles of export from China; and of the amount of the duties there paid

upon the importation and exportation of different goods; and respecting the effect

of any such duties, or of the duties levied under such Order in Council * as aforesaid,

upon the course of the said trade; with all other statistical information which

may tend to illustrate or explain the interests of our subjects, and of the subjects

or citizens of other foreign nations, as connected with the commercial intercourse

subsisting between them and the Chinese Empire. And We do direct that all

such information as aforesaid, shall be exhibited in the form of Tables ; which

Tables shall be transmitted once in each year to Our Principal Secretary of State

for Foreign Affairs.

17. And in the discharge of your duties as such Superintendents, as afore

said, We do require and enjoin you to watch over and protect the interests of

Our subjects resident at, or resorting to, the Empire of China for the purposes

of trade; and to afford to them all such advice, information, and assistance, as

it may be in your power to give, with a view to the safe and successful

conduct of their commercial transactions ; and, to the utmost of your ability,

to protect them in the peaceable prosecution of all lawful enterprises in

which they may be engaged in China ; and, by the exertion of your utmost

influence and authority, to adjust by arbitration, or persuasion, all disputes in

which any of Our subjects may be there engaged with each other, or with the

inhabitants of China, or with the subjects or citizens of any Foreign State;

and to mediate between Our said subjects and the officers of the Chinese

Government, in order to protect Our subjects aforesaid from all unlawful

exactions or hindrances, in the prosecution of their commercial undertakings.

18. And it is Our further pleasure, that, so often as it may be necessary

for you, in conducting any such mediation as aforesaid, to prefer any com

plaint or remonstrance to the officers of the Government of China, you do

observe all possible moderation; and do cautiously abstain from all unne

cessary use of menacing language; or from making any appeal for protection

to Our military or naval forces, unless, in any extreme case, the most evident

necessity shall require that any such menacing language should be holden,

or that any such appeal should be made. And We do further command and

require you, in the general discharge of your duties as such Superintendents,

to abstain from and avoid all such conduct, language, and demeanour, as

might needlessly excite jealousy or distrust amongst the inhabitants of

China, or the officers of the Chinese Government; or as might unnecessarily

irritate the feelings, or revolt the opinions or prejudices of the Chinese people

or Government; and that you do study by all practicable methods to maintain

a good and friendly understanding, both with the officers, civil and military,

and with the inhabitants of China, with whom you may be brought into

intercourse or communication.

» 19. And We do require you constantly to bear in mind and to impress, as

occasion may offer, upon Our subjects resident in, or resorting to China, the

duty of conforming to the laws and usages of the Chinese Empire, so long as

such laws shall be administered towards you and them with justice and good

faith; and in the same manner in which the same are or shall be administered

towards the subjects of China, or towards the subjects or citizens of other

foreign nations resident in, or resorting to China.

20. And We do further enjoin and require you to transmit 1o the Governor

General of the territories under the Government of the East India Company

in India, duplicate copies, for his information, of all despatches which may by

you be addressed to Our Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with

copies of all despatches which you may receive from our said Secretary of

State. And if, on any occasion, you should see cause to address despatches

* This Order in Council, dated December 9, 1833, was rescinded by Order in Council, dated

March 5, 1834.

B 2


irectly to the said Governor General, We do further direct you to communi

cate to Our Secretary of State, aforesaid, full copies thereof, and of all

despatches which you may receive from the Governor General. All which

copies it is Our pleasure that you do transmit, as aforesaid, by the first

convenient opportunity.

21. And We do further declare Our pleasure to be, that neither you, the

said Superintendents, nor any person who may hereafter be a Superintendent,

under the said Commission, nor the Secretary to the said Commission for the

time being, nor any other subordinate officer employed by you, or by the

Superintendents for the time being, in the discharge of the duties confided to

you, shall engage in trade in China aforesaid ; or act as the factor, broker, or

agent, for any person or persons engaged in such trade, on pain of the

forfeiture by you, or such Secretary or other officer, as aforesaid, of the

office so by you or him holden.

No. 2.

Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier.

My Lord, Foreign Office, January 25, 1834.

YOUR Lordship's Instructions, under the Royal Sign Manual, contain

all that is essentially necessary for your guidance, in the general conduct of

the superintendence- entrusted to your charge. But there still remain some

particular points, upon which I am commanded by His Majesty to convey to

you, for your information and guidance, the further instructions which you

will find in this despatch, and in my others of the same date.

Your Lordship will announce your arrival at Canton by letter to the


In addition to the duty of protecting and fostering the trade of His

Majesty's subjects with the port of Canton, it will be one of your principal

objects to ascertain, whether it may not be practicable to extend that trade to

other parts of the Chinese dominions. And for this end you will omit no

favourable opportunity of encouraging any disposition which you may discover

in the Chinese authorities, to enter into commercial relations with His

Majesty's Government. It is obvious that, with a view to the attainment of

this object, the establishment of direct communications with the Imperial

Court at Pekin would be desirable; and you will accordingly direct your

attention to discover the best means of preparing the way for such commu

nications: bearing constantly in mind, however, that peculiar caution and

circumspection will be indispensable on this point, lest you should awaken

the fears, or offend the prejudices, of the Chinese Government; and thus

put to hazard even the existing opportunities of intercourse, by a precipitate

attempt to extend them. In conformity with this caution, you will abstain

from entering into any new relations or negotiations with the Chinese autho

rities, except under very urgent and unforeseen circumstances. But if

any opportunity for such negotiations should appear to you to present itself,

you will lose no time in reporting the circumstance to His Majesty's

Government, and in asking for instructions; but, previously to the receipt of

such instructions, you will adopt no proceedings but such as may have a

general tendency to convince the Chinese authorities of the sincere desire

of the King to cultivate the most friendly relations with the Emperor of

China, and to join with Him in any measures likely to promote the happiness

and prosperity of their respective subjects. I have to add, that I do not

at present foresee any case in which it could be advisable that you should

leave Canton to visit Pekin, or any other parts of China, without having

previously obtained the approbation of His Majesty's Government.

Observing the same prudence and caution which I have inculcated

above, you will avail yourself of every opportunity which may present itself,

for ascertaining whether it may not be possible to establish commercial

intercourse with Japan, and with any other of the neighbouring countries:


and you will report to this Department, from time to time, the results of your

observation and inquiries.

It is understood that a survey of the Chinese coast is much required ;

and your attention should, therefore, be directed to this subject, with a view

to ascertain the best means, and the probable expense of such an undertaking;

and you will have the goodness to transmit to me an early and full report of

your opinion thereupon. But you will not take any steps for commencing

such a survey, till you receive an authority from hence to do so. Your

attention should also be directed to the inquiry, whether there be any, and

what, places at which ships might find requisite protection in the event of

hostilities in the China Seas. Upon these points, I recommend to your

attentive consideration the inclosed observations of Captain Horsburgh, the

correctness of which your Lordship will make it your duty to investigate.

Peculiar caution will be necessary on the part of the Superintendents,

with regard to such ships as may attempt to explore the coast of China for

purposes of traffic It is not desirable that you should encourage such

adventures; but you must never lose sight of the fact, that you have no

authority to interfere with, or to prevent, them.

It is generally considered, that the Bocca Tigris, which is marked by a

fort immediately above Anson's Bay, forms the limit of the Port of Canton* :

and as this appears to be the understanding of the Chinese authorities them

selves, a notification to that effect has been made to the merchants in this

country. Your Lordship will, accordingly, conform to that understanding.

The Master Attendant will have charge of all British ships and crews

within the Bocca Tigris.

Your Lordship is aware, that the Chinese authorities have invariably

made a marked distinction between ships of war and merchantmen in

regard to the privilege of intercourse. It is contrary to their regulations, that

ships of war should enter that part of the river which lies above the Bocca

Fort; and you will, therefore, take care to apprize the commanders of British

ships of war, of the desire of His Majesty's Government that these regu

lations should be strictly observed ; and that no British ship of war should

pass the Bocca Tigris, unless an extraordinary occasion should require it to

do so. This prohibition extends, of course, to the frigate which is to convey

your Lordship to your destination ; and you will, moreover, understand that

such frigate is not to remain in the Canton river.

With respect to questions of law, the Order in Council appears to give

you ample instructions ; but I have to apprize your Lordship, that, although

it has been deemed advisable at once to constitute a Court of Justice, yet it is

His Majesty's pleasure that you should not, unless in case of absolute

necessity, commence any proceedings under such Order in Council until

you have taken the whole subject into your most serious consideration. And

you will, in the mean while, fully report to me, for the information of His

Majesty's Government, the result of your deliberations upon this most

important branch of your duties.

It may hardly be necessary for me to add, that, if you should be com

pelled to have recourse to the unpleasant duty of ordering the arrest of any

British subject for irregularity of conduct, you will take care to issue for that

purpose a formal warrant under your hand and seal.

I have, Sec,


• By an Instruction to Sir G. B. Robinson, dated May 28, 1836, the limits of the jurisdiction of

the Superintendents were extended, so as to include Lintin and Macao.


No. 3.

Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier.

Extract. Foreign Office, January 25, 1834.

YOUR Lordship is aware that the gentlemen whom His Majesty has been

pleased to associate with you in your Commission, are the senior Supracargoes

of the East India Company's service. It is possible that Mr. Plowden and

Mr. Davis may decline the office thus conferred upon them ; but in such case,

as it is considered desirable that you should be assisted by officers having had

experience in China, it is the intention of His Majesty's Government that the

office or offices so declined, as well as the office of Secretary, shall be offered to

other gentlemen of the Company's factory, in the manner which will be pointed

out to you in a separate instruction. The officers however, who, under the

circumstances supposed, may accept the situations which you may offer to

them, must understand that those situations are only conferred upon them

provisionally, and until His Majesty's pleasure can be taken.

No. 4.

Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier.

Extract. ^ Foreign Office, March 7, 1834.

I HAVE to inform your Lordship that it has been deemed expedient, with

a view to the advantage of the mercantile community, that His Majesty's Order

in Council dated the 9th of December, 1833, imposing certain duties upon the

tonnage and goods of His Majesty's subjects trading to the Port of Canton, for

the support of the establishment of the Superintendents at that port, should be

revoked ; and the necessary steps are accordingly now in progress for rescinding

the said Order in Council.

No. 5.

Viscount Palmerston to Lord Napier.

My Lord, Foreign Office, March 8, 1834.

WITH reference to my despatch, I herewith inclose for your infor

mation and guidance, a copy of the Order of His Majesty in Council,

bearing date the 5th instant, revoking the previous Order in Council of the

9th of December, 1833, whereby certain duties were imposed on British ships,

and goods on board thereof, trading to the Port of Canton.

I have, &c,



No. 6.

Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received January 31, 1835.)

My Lord, Canton, August 9, 1834.

I HAVE the honour to acquaint your Lordship of the arrival of His

Majesty's ship Andromache, in Macao Roads, on the 15th of July last; from

whence I landed, on the afternoon of the same day, at the city of Macao, under

a salute from the Portuguese forts.

Here I had the pleasure of finding the Select Committee and Supra-

cargoes of the late Establisment of the Honourable the East India Company, to

whom I communicated the contents of His Majesty's Commission, and the

other documents supplied to me by His Majesty's Government.

On the 17th, I received a communication from John Francis Davis, Esq.,

in the absence of Mr. Plowden, accepting the situation of Second Superinten

dent, from Sir G. Best Robinson, Bart., accepting the situation of Third

Superintendent, and from John Harvey Astell, Esq. , that of Secretary to the

Superintendents, according to the terms of His Majesty's Commission and

General Instructions.

On the 19th, Commissions were granted by the Superintendents to Mr.

Astell, as Secretary and Treasurer,—to the Rev. Dr. Morrison, as Chinese Se

cretary and Interpreter,—to Captain C. Elliot, R.N., as Master Attendant,—

Mr. Colledge, as Surgeon, —and Mr. Anderson, as Assistant Surgeon, according

to His Majesty's Instruction No. 3.

The Superintendents being so constituted with their Assistants, copies of

Instructions from His Majesty's Government were supplied to each, and duly

read over and discussed ; after which I laid before the meeting a letter from the

Right Honourable Charles Grant, of the date of London, 18th February,

acquainting me that His Majesty's Government had resolved to relinquish the

duties on goods and tonnage, and that the expense of the establishment would

be borne, one-third by India, and two-thirds by Great Britain. It may be here

agreeable to state, that several vessels having sailed from the river of Canton

to England, between the 22nd April and the date hereof, with cargoes of tea,

notice had been received from the merchants of their willingness to pay up

the duties if required so to do. In consequence of Mr. Grant's letter, the

Superintendents were unanimously of opinion, that it was no longer necessary

to carry into effect any steps for the recovery of the same.

A letter was this day addressed to Captain Chads, of His Majesty's ship

Andromache, requesting him to send the usual surveying officers on board

the cutter belonging to the Honourable the East India Company, to meet there

competent persons to be appointed by the agents of the Company, to make a

survey of the hull, rigging, equipment, and spare stores of the said cutter, with

the view of purchasing her for the use of His Majesty's Government ; copy of"

which report made by■ the King's officers, and that by the servants of the

East India Company, will be found in the copy of proceedings herewith


On the 23rd, the Superintendents embarked on board of His Majesty's

ship Andromache, and proceeded to the anchorage at Chuen-pee, below the

forts at the Bocca Tigris, where she anchored at midnight ; next morning, a

Chinese war junk weighed, and came to an anchor near His Majesty's ship,

firing a salute of three guns, which was returned by an equal number.

At noon, the Superintendents left His Majesty's ship under a salute of 13

guns, and proceeded on board the cutter on their way to Canton, where they

arrived at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 25th.

On the 26th, a copy of the King's Commission to the Superintendents was

supplied to the editor of the Canton Register, to be printed and circulated by

him as a notification to the trade in general.


In obedience to His Majesty's commands, conveyed to me by your Lord

ship, of the date of the 25th January last, desiring me to announce my arrival

at Canton by letter to the Viceroy, a letter, a copy of which is inclosed, was

addressed to his Excellency the Viceroy, which, being rendered into Chinese by

the Rev. Dr. Morrison, the Chinese Secretary and Interpreter, was carried to

the City gates by Mr. Astell, accompanied by a deputation of gentlemen from

the establishment.

It may be here stated, that during the interval employed in translating my

letter, the Hong merchants, Howqua and Mowqua, arrived with the copy of an

Edict, addressed by the Viceroy to themselves, for the purpose of being enjoined

on the Superintendents by their body. Long experience having already proved

to the servants of the East India Company the utter futility of such a medium

of communication, and the compliance therewith only tending to degrade His

Majesty's Commission and the British public in general, in the estimation

of the Chinese people, and to render the exertions of the Superintendents to

perform their various duties altogether ineffectual, the Hong merchants were

courteously dismissed with an intimation, " That I would communicate imme

diately with the Viceroy in the manner befitting His Majesty's Commission and

the honour of the British nation."

Mr. Astell was, therefore, instructed to deliver my letter to a Mandarin,

and to avoid any communication through the Hong merchants, which might

afterwards be represented as an official communication and a precedent on all

other occasions.

On the arrival of the party at the City gates, the soldier on guard was

dispatched to report the circumstance to his superior. In less than a quarter

of an hour a Mandarin of inferior rank appeared ; whereupon Mr. Astell offered

my letter for transmission to the Viceroy, which duty this officer declined;'

adding, that his superior was on his way to the spot.

In the course of an hour several Mandarins, of nearly equal rank, arrived

in succession; each refusing to deliver the letter, on the plea that "higher

officers would shortly attend."

After an hour's delay, during which time the party were treated with much

indignity, not unusual on such occasions, the Linguists and Hong merchants

arrived, who entreated to become the bearers of the letter to the Viceroy.

About this time a Mandarin, of rank higher than any of those who had

preceded him, joined the party, to whom the letter was in due form offered;

and as formally refused-

The Mandarins having seen the superscription on the letter, argued, " that

as it came from the Superintendent of Trade the Hong merchants were

the proper channel of communication ;" but this obstacle appeared of minor

importance in their eyes, upon ascertaining that the document was styled a

Letter and not a Petition.

The Linguists requested to be allowed a copy of the address, which was

of course refused.

About this time the Kwang-Heep, a military officer of considerable rank,

accompanied by an officer, a little inferior to himself, arrived on the spot ; to

whom the letter was offered three several times, and as often refused. The

senior Hong merchant, Howqua, after a private conversation with the Kwang-

Heep, requested to be allowed to carry the letter in company with the Kwang-

Heep, and ascertain whether it would be received.

This being considered as an insidious attempt to circumvent the directions

of the Superintendents, a negative was made to this and other overtures of a

similar tendency.

Suddenly all the Mandarins took their departure, for the purpose, as it was

afterwards ascertained, of consulting with the Viceroy.

Nearly three hours having been thus lost within the city, Mr. Astell

determined to wait a reasonable time for the return of the Mandarins, who

shortly afterwards re-assembled ; whereupon Mr. Astell respectfully offered the

letter in question three separate times to the Kwang-Heep, and afterwards to the

other Mandarins, all of whom distinctly refused even to touch it ; upon which

Mr. Astell and his party returned to the factory.


Next day, the 27th, the Hong merchants waited in a body on the Super

intendents ; and after a long desultory conversation, marked on their part

by cunning and duplicity, Howqua at length proposed that a new address should

be affixed to my letter ; in the first place, substituting the word Petition for

that of Letter ; and, secondly, making a trifling alteration in the designation of

the Viceroy : the first of these was of course firmly rejected; the second, being a

matter of courtesy, was willingly complied with ; and Howqua having dictated a

copy of the same for the approval of the Viceroy, took his departure with

a promise of returning next day with a reply.

On the morning of the 28th, a ticket was addressed to me by Howqua,

announcing his intention of coming to me at one o'clock. It may be here

proper to state, that, although Howqua had already seen the Chinese character

used by Dr. Morrison, to represent my name, on this occasion he was pleased to

use another one, not of the most courtly description, expressing and signifying

the sense of " Laboriously Vile." On being requested to explain the reason

for such a gratuitous insult, being already in possession of my name, he artfully

avoided all explanation beyond the fact of his having been " so instructed by

the pilot."

At the appointed hour, the Hong merchants arrived ; and Howqua alone

being admitted stated that my letter would not be received, unless it was

superscribed as a Petition. This being refused, Howqua was dismissed


It may also be here remarked, as evidence of the hostile disposition of the

Government, that every petty annoyance has been offered since the arrival of

His Majesty's Commission in Canton ; such as wantonly breaking open my

baggage-chests by the officers of the Custom-House, while the keys were

within their reach, a circumstance hitherto unprecedented; by recalling the

Chinese boat-men employed by the Europeans on the river ; and by intimidating

the compradores, or purveyors, belonging to the agents of the East India

Company, so as to cause them to desert the service.

On the 31st, Howqua and Mowqua waited on the Superintendents, to

deliver the copy of an Order, transmitted through their body., to be enjoined by

them on the Superintendents for their observance ; which was of course refused.

Howqua then asked the nature of my instructions ; on which he was informed,

" that whenever the Viceroy was pleased to receive my letter, he would be made

fully aware of the contents thereof."

I had no further communication with the Hong merchants until the 8th

instant, when Howqua and Mowqua paid a visit to the Superintendents, the

pretended object of which was to endeavour to persuade me to return to

Macao, as being the more agreeable residence during the hot weather.

It may be here proper to explain to your Lordship, that, from private

information on which I have the most perfect reliance, 1 am assured that up to

this date no report, even of my expected arrival, or of the change of circum

stances connected with the trade, has ever been forwarded by the Viceroy to

the Court at Pekin. At the same time, I have reason to believe that the

Emperor has been partially made acquainted with the circumstance through

other channels.

The Viceroy, thus finding himself in a dilemma, on hearing of my arrival

at Macao, dispatched Howqua and Mowqua thither by the inner channel (a

branch of the river) with an order to prevent my proceeding to Canton.

Previously to their arrival we had embarked in the Andromache, as before

stated; on which the Hong merchants returned with all expedition to Canton.

The Viceroy then dispatched the Kwang-Heep, or Military Aide-de-Camp,

by the river, to meet us on our progress, with the view of inducing me to return

to Macao. This message also miscarried like the former.

The Viceroy, continuing to refuse the acceptance of my letter, is thus at a

loss for information on the nature and object of my instructions ; and conse

quently has not the means of making his report to the Emperor : thus is he

desirous of persuading me to return to Macao, in order that, when once there,

he may have an opportunity of recommencing the ceremony of arriving and

reporting, or perhaps of issuing an order to me to remain there altogether.


Having so far the advantage, it shall be my duty to hold on for the purpose

of forcing him in time to receive my Letter, and not my Petition; to

which he must yield before he can transmit an authentic official report to his

own Government : although perhaps he may be enabled to supply the deficiency

to a certain extent, from information gathered by his emissaries among the

British merchants.

My great object is to open and maintain a direct personal communication

with the Viceroy ; so that I may be enabled to get redress from him in all

commercial grievances connected with the Hong merchants, or on criminal

proceedings connected with the duties of the Kwang-Chow-Foo, or Criminal

Judge, instead of leaving myself at the mercy of those Hong merchants who,

in fact, exercise no official powers whatever, and can never be depended upon

for the transmission of complaints to the different heads of departments when

circumstances require.

I have reason to believe that His Majesty's subjects here have several

causes of complaint. I forbear to trouble your Lordship with these at present,

as long as a chance exists, within a moderate time, of laying the same before the

Viceroy, for his consideration and redress. In the mean time, I shall endeavour

to maintain harmony between all parties.

There are some other points connected with the medical establishment ; the

more efficient duties of the Master-Attendant ; improvement of the navigation, by

completing the survey of the China seas ; and the accommodation eventually to

be occupied by the Superintendents and their Assistants, which, on further

experience, I shall have the honour of reporting to your Lordship in a more

specific manner than I am yet prepared to do.

Having now clearly explained to your Lordship the position in which I

stand, in respect to the Viceroy, up to the date hereof, (9th August, 1834) I beg

to acquaint your Lordship that all these measures have received the full

concurrence and support of my two Colleagues.

Endeavouring also always to bear in mind the nature and spirit of His

Majesty's instructions, regulating my conduct towards the Chinese authorities,

and enjoining respect to the laws of the Empire, I conceive, in adopting the

line so approved, and which has given entire satisfaction to His Majesty's

faithful subjects at this port, that I have, in fact, adhered most strictly to those

instructions, without compromising the honour of His Majesty's Commission,

and without relinquishing that right or practice which has been so often exercised

in times past by the President of the Select Committee, of enjoying direct com

munication with the Viceroy, whenever circumstances might render such

communication necessary or desirable.

I have, &c,

(Signed) NAPIER,

Chief Superintendent.

Inclosure in No. 6.

Lord Napier to the Governor of Canton.

IN pursuance of orders from my most gracious Sovereign, William IV.,

King of Great Britain and Ireland, I have the honour of notifying to your

Excellency my arrival at the city of Canton, bearing a Royal Commission con

stituting and appointing me Chief Superintendent of British Trade to the

dominions of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of China. By this Commis

sion are associated with me, John Francis Davis, Esq., and Sir George Best

Robinson, Bart., late of the Honourable East India Company's Factory at this


The object of the said Royal Commission is to empower us, His Majesty's

Superintendents, to protect and promote the British trade, which, from the

boundless extent of His Majesty's dominions, will bear the traffic of the four


quarters of the world to the shores of the Emperor of China,—the exclusive

privileges and trade hitherto enjoyed by the Honourable East India Company

of merchants having ceased and determined, by the will and power of His

Majesty the King and the Parliament of Great Britain.

I have also the honour of acquainting your Excellency, that His Majesty,

my most gracious Sovereign, has been pleased to invest me with powers,

political and judicial, to be exercised according to circumstances.

At present, I will only further request that your Excellency will grant me,

with my colleagues, the honour of a personal interview, when it will be my duty

to explain more fully to your Excellency the nature of the changes which have

taken place, and upon which our present duties and instructions have been


Allow me to convey, through your Excellency, to His Imperial Majesty,

the high consideration of His Majesty the King, my master; and with the

utmost respect for your Excellency, allow me to subscribe myself your

Excellency's very faithful and obedient servant,

(Signed) NAPIER,

Chief Superintendent.

No. 7.

Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston. — (Received January 31, 1835.)

My dear Lord, Canton, August 14, 1834.

MY public Despatch, addressed to your Lordship, gives an outline of

affairs up to the 9th instant, chiefiy relating to what has passed on the sub

ject of communication with the Viceroy. The Mangles not having sailed to

her time, I am desirous of supplying the latest information; and if anything

transpires subsequent to this date, and prior to her departure, I will add it as

a Postscript.

I may here state, that which has been omitted in the Despatch, that on

the 3rd instant I had a letter from Captain Chads of the Andromache, at

Chuen-pee, stating "that the Chinese Admiral had threatened to fire into our

cutter if she attempted to pass up and down the river as heretofore; and that

he had assured the Admiral if he did so, the insult would be resented.'' A

similar communication having been made by the Hong merchants to one of the

British merchants about the same time, in respect to his schooner passing

and repassing, I thought, perhaps, on the Andromache's departure some vio

lence might occur; and, therefore, by way of strengthening my own hands,

I requested Captain Chads, on his putting to sea, to cruise outside the islands

for a week, and then resume his anchorage at Chuen-pee, without communicat

ing at another place. In the mean time, I would be enabled to judge ol their

intentions. The Andromache left Macao Roads .three or four days ago, and

of course has not yet returned.

On the evening of the 10th instant, it came to my knowledge that a requisi

tion from the Hong merchants had been issued that day to the British merchants,

calling upon them to attend a meeting of the Hong at the Consoo House, as

next day, at one o'clock. Tiiis appearing to me rather a novel and unprece

dented measure, I immediately called a general meeting of all British inhabit

ants, to be held at the hall of the Suptrintendents at half past ten; in order to

deliberate on the propriety and the consequences of attending such a meeting.

Mr. Davis and myself addressed the meeting, deprecating such an attendance

as that proposed ; and a draft of the letter to the Hong merchants, being

proposed and read, was carried unanimously with some verbal alterations.

The object of the Hong merchants was evidently to create a schism

among the British, in order to set up one party against the Suptrintendents,

with the view of forcing me to retire by threatening to stop the trade. In

this, however, they made a decided failure; and their meeting not having taken

place, they inclosed all the late Edicts refused by me, to the three principal


merchants, Jardine and Co., Dent and Co., and Framjee Munchajee, the

head of the Parsees, desiring them to enjoin the Edicts upon me : a duty

with which, of course, they at once refused to comply. I have, however,

acquired privately copies of these documents. They afford a strong example

of the want of authority, and the weakness of the Government. But there

is also to be gleaned information on one point connected with my instruc

tions, which, I think, plainly demonstrates that there is no " disposition on

the part of the Chinese authorities to enter into commercial relations with

His Majesty's Government." (Vide third paragraph of your Lordship's

Despatch of January 25th, 1834.)

Now, my Lord, I cannot help thinking that by a careful perusal of this

paragraph, you will find that I am, in the first place, instructed to " ascertain,

how far it may be practicable to extend the trade ;" but I am only to do so

by "encouraging certain dispositions which may be discovered," (the dis

position discovered by the Edicts is not very encouraging) and, "in case of

putting to hazard the existing opportunities of intercourse, I am not to enter

into any negotiations with the Chinese authorities ; but if an opportunity of

a negotiation should appear, I am to lose no time in reporting the same to His

Majesty's Government :"—in doing which I must lose at least ten months, and,

perhaps, the opportunity of effecting good, for ever.

Now, my Lord, I would merely ask, and I do so in the most respectful

manner possible, and without the slightest feeling of disrespect to His Ma

jesty's Government, and as little towards your Lordship, if that paragraph

does not instruct me to do one thing, a very material thing, and then deprives

me of the means of doing it? Suppose, now, the Viceroy relents, and admits

me to a conference, and I may have an opportunity of improving our commer

cial relations at this port, by urging any claim or praying the removal of any

difficulty, I am " not to negotiate without first reporting to His Majesty's Go

vernment." I cannot help thinking that the whole of this paragraph has been

framed without a just consideration of the real state of feeling of the Chinese

and their authorities, and without due reference to the history of past times.

When was it ever known, within the last century, that the Chinese authorities

evinced a disposition to encourage foreign trade ! On the contrary, all the pri

vileges formerly enjoyed by the British have been curtailed from lime to

time, till we are at this moment tied down under dreadful restrictions to the

mere port of Canton. Our commerce has, no doubt, wonderfully increased ;

but not through the disposition of the authorities, but through the enterprize

of our merchants and seamen, and the great desire of the people to obtain

our manufactures, and participate in the general advantages of trade.

The house of every Chinaman in these extensive suburbs, is a shop of

one sort or another. Every man is constantly at work; nobody seen loitering

about and idle; and, in fact, every man is a merchant; yet, does one of these

same Edicts speak of the "petty affairs of commerce,"—as if commerce were a

matter of no concern in the empire! This is, indeed, an argument they have

used on occasions, times without number; and having long acted on the prin

ciple, it is quite impossible to suppose they will ever show any desire to join

with His Majesty, " in measures likely to promote the happiness and pros

perity of the two kingdoms." The Chinese authorities pretend to spurn at

the idea of our gracious King's desire of "cultivating friendly relations for

the common good of both people." " England has her laws," says the Edict,—

" How much more, the Celestial Empire,—how flaming bright— more terrible

than awful thunderbolts! ! ! "

Notwithstanding that there are forty thousand men in garrison at

Canton continually, four Edicts have been let off against me, for landing

without a red chop, or permit. I have been ordered off ; and entreated

to depart; yet with all this, and the forty thousand men, and the flaming

bright laws, and terrible thunderbolts, they have not yet taken me and sent

me down the river. Suppose a Chinaman, or any other man, were to land

under similar circumstances at Whitehall, your Lordship would not allow him

to " loiter," as they have permitted me. Looking, now, at the utter imbecility

of the Government, and the favourable disposition of the people, I cannot for

one moment suppose, that, in treating with such a nation, His Majesty's Go

vernment will be ruled by the ordinary forms prescribed among civilized


people. Under these circumstances I feel conscious, that your Lordship will

expunge that paragraph, which, according to my reading, can never be acted


Your Lordship states, " that a direct communication with Pekin would

be desirable;" and I am directed "to discover the best means for such a com

munication." Mr. Davis may perhaps have offered some observations on that

head, as he has already done to me, in reference to the advantage of immediate

communication ; but, of course, I confine my views to the times yet to come.

On this particular point, I shall be enabled very soon, from expected informa

tion, to say more upon the subject ; and I th,ink I can have no hesitation at

once in recommending His Majesty's Government to consult immediately on

the best plan to be adopted for commanding a Commercial Treaty, or a Treaty

which shall secure the just rights, and embrace the interests, public and private,

of all Europeans,—not of British alone, but of all civilized people coming to

trade according to the principles of international law. I maintain, that it

will be as easy to work for the civilized world as for ourselves ; and that it

will be as easy to open the whole coast, as any individual port. It may pos

sibly be advisable to go to Pekin on the occasion, or perhaps only to send

from the mouth of the Peiho river, or from any other point upon the coast.

Sending an Ambassador is the more courteous ; but the presence of an

Embassy pre-supposes room for debates and long delays, alterations and

amendments in plans proposed.

Now, I should say, that we should propose nothing but what is fair and

just towards all mankind ; and avoid entering into minute details. Demand the

same personal privileges for all traders, that every trader enjoys in England.

Having once acquired the right of settlement at every port, let the trade go

on according to the established rules of the Empire, good or bad,— re

serving always the common right to represent and negotiate where wrong


Our first object should be to get a settlement on the same terms that

every Chinaman, Pagan, Turk, or Christian, sits down in England. This, no

doubt, would be a very staggering proposition in the face of a red chop: but

say to the Emperor, "Adopt this, or abide the consequences,"—and it is done.

Now, "abiding consequences" immediately pre-supposes or anticipates all

the horrors of a bloody war against a defenceless people. The monopolists

would cry out ; but I anticipate not the loss of a single man ; and we have

justice on our side.

The Chinese are most anxious to trade with us ; the Tartar Viceroys

cannot comprehend it. If the Emperor refuses our demand, remind

him he is only an intruder ; and that it will be his good policy to secure

himself upon his throne by gratifying the wishes of his people.

Remind him that the British traded to all ports of China before his

dynasty escaped from the wilds of Tartary ; and that even one of his early

forefathers, not only opened all his ports to foreigners, but invited them to

settle and spread civilization in his Empire. The Chinese all read, and are

eager for information ; publish among them, and disseminate, far and wide,

your intentions,—that is, all your intentions both towards the Government and

themselves. Disclaim every view of conquest, or of holding partial possession

beyond a certain time ; disturb not the passage of- their vessels, or the tran

quillity of their towns ; only destroy their forts and batteries along the coast, .

and on the river sides, without interfering with the people. Such annoyance

to the batteries, of course, only to be carried into effect in case of the obdu

racy of the Emperor. Three or four frigates and brigs, with a few steady

British troops, not sepoys, would settle the thing in a space of time

inconceivably short.

Such an undertaking would be worthy the greatness and the power of

England, as well from its disinterestedness towards other nations as from the

brilliant consequences which must naturally ensue. I hope by the return of

the ships, now on the coast, to provide your Lordship with authentic information

which shall bear me out in my present speculations, as some men may pro

bably call them; but I feel assured in my own mind, from no little enquiry

among all parties of people professing opposite opinions, as to the power of

the Chinese, and from other sources and considerations, that the exploit is to



be performed with a facility unknown even in the capture of a paltry West

India Island. If your Lordship should prefer making gradual propositions

by an embassy, I would recommend none of that ostentation practised

in the instances of Macartney and Amherst : leave all presents behind,

all musicians and idle amateur gentlemen, literary and scientific ; and go to

work in a manner determined to carry what you mean. This is a vigorous

measure which might possibly "alarm the prejudices" of the Celestial

Empire, were I to make my ideas commonly known among the Hong.

They are now only thrown together for more special consideration ; and

till I have your authority to proceed upon more active principles, your

Lordship may rely on my forbearance towards a Government, which is

too contemptible to be viewed in any other light than that of pity or


What advantage, or what point did we ever gain by negociating or

humbling ourselves before these people, or rather before their Government ?

The records show nothing but subsequent humiliation and disgrace. What

advantage or what point, again, have we ever lost, that was just and reason

able, by acting with promptitude and vigour? The records again assure

us that such measures have been attended with complete success. Two

centuries have elapsed this very year, I think, since the bold Captain

Waddell came from London with three or four merchant-ships to propose a

trade. The Mandarins at first deceived him ; but, on a better understanding of

his case, he demanded an audience of the Viceroy. This was refused ; and

the batteries opened upon his ships. In this predicament, the gallant Waddell

hauled as near the enemy as he could; beat down the walls about their

ears ; landed and took the forts ; embarked the guns ; took their Admiral a

prisoner ; sailed up to Canton ; renewed his application, and had an audience

of the Viceroy immediately.

This, I believe to be the first instance on record ; and from that time

down to the defeat of Mr. Innes, last year, success has always attended deter

mination. Mr. Innes's is remarkable. He was insulted and wounded by

the people working at a Chop or Custom-House, in a manner gross and

unjustifiable. He complained to the Hong merchants, and could get no

redress. He then gave solemn intimation, that if the offender was not in

custody by such an hour, to be brought in due course to trial, he would

burn the Chop-house about their ears. The Hong merchants looked upon

this as a mere threat, such as used too often by the Company, and not

performed. The hour came ; the culprit continued at his work, when Mr.

Innes, having taken every precaution to prevent the extension of the flames,

projected from his balcony a few blue lights, which very shortly made good

his word. What was the consequence ? Why, the Hong merchants and Man

darins assembled ; the culprit was arrested and bambooed through the streets,

with his neck and head confined within a pig's yoke.

Your Lordship will see by these extreme instances, that there has been

no amelioration of disposition on the part of the authorities for 200 years ; and

that the same determination commands success. These cases are not to be

lightly treated in the contemplation of future measures. The Tartars had just

overrun the country at that time, and were a warlike people. Their

descendants now, although continually reinforced or invigorated from the

Steppes, are a wretched people, inconceivably degraded, unfit for action or

. exertion.

Last year, some hundreds, required to march against some rebels in the

province, were found so enervated by every species of vice, that it was impos

sible to move them. The power of England, however, has continued to

increase ; and the valour and discipline of her forces beyond what they were

ever known to be before. I believe the very mention of an army, or a fleet

of ships, to the Emperor, would bring him to his senses. Now, my Lord I am

perfectly aware it may be said, that I recommend such measures from early

professional associations, and with the hope or view of participating in the spoil.

Now, I declare that 1 am the most peaceable of men ; I have no delight in

war; that I would neither make a prize, or divide a dollar; for I am

convinced that a commanding attitude alone, with the power of following the

threat with execution, is all that is required' to extort a Treaty which shall

secure mutual advantages to China and to Europe.


If the Government is anxious to extend the trade with a high hand

(which I take to be the only way of doing it) it is an easy matter to feel the

public opinion, through the medium of the press, by discussing the policy of

such measures ; and you may be assured the country will bear you through.

My present position is, in one point of view, a delicate one, because the trade

is put in jeopardy, on account of the difference existing between the Viceroy

and myself. I am ordered by His Majesty " to go to Canton ; and there

report myself by letter to the Viceroy." I use my best endeavours to do so ;

but the Viceroy is a presumptuous savage, and will not grant the same privi

leges to me that have been exercised constantly by the Chiefs of the

Committee. He rakes up obsolete orders; or, perhaps, makes them on the

occasion : but the fact is, the Chiefs formerly used every year to wait on the

Viceroy, on their return from Macao ; and continued to do it until the Viceroy

gave them an order to wait upon him, whereupon they gave the practice up.

Had I even degraded the King's Commission so far as to petition through

the Hong merchants for an interview, it is quite clear, by the tenour of the

Edicts, that it would have been refused. Were he to send an armed force, and

order me to the boat, I could then retreat with honour, and he would impli

cate himself ; but they are afraid to attempt such a measure. What then

remains but the stoppage of the trade, or my retirement? If the trade is

stopped for any length of time, the consequences to the merchants are most

serious, as they are so also to the unoffending Chinese. But the Viceroy cares

no more for commerce, or for the comfort and happiness of the people, as

long as he receives his pay and plunder, than if he did not live among them.

My situation is different ; I cannot hazard millions of property for any length

of time, on the mere score of etiquette. If the trade shall be stopped, which

is probable enough in the absence of the frigate, it is possible I may be

obliged to retire to Macao, to let it loose again. Then has the Viceroy gained

his point ; and the Commission is degraded.

Now, my Lord, I argue, that whether the Commission retires by force

of arms, or by the injustice practised on the merchants, the Viceroy has

committed an outrage on the British Crown, which should be equally

chastised. The whole system of Government here is that of subterfuge, and

shifting the blame from the shoulders of the one to the other. Act with

firmness and spirit ; and the Emperor will punish the Viceroy,—as the

Mandarin did the wood-cutter for Mr. Innes.

I have &c,

(Signed) NAPIER.


My dear Lord, August 17, 1834.

I HAVE this day a letter from the British merchants acquainting me,

that " in consequence of my having declined to receive the Edicts of the

Chinese Government, addressed through the Hong merchants, they, the said

Hong merchants, have put a stop to the shipping off cargoes on British


No Government Edict has yet appeared to stop the trade. The present

measure tends to delay the shipment of cargoes, and falls more heavily on

the Hong than on the British. This they have done to try my resolution. Now

there are two things to be considered, —the honour of His Majesty's Com

mission, and the interest of the merchants. I conceive my duty to be to

sustain them both, but not one at the expense of the other.

I have also a letter this day from Captain Blackwood of His

Majesty's ship Imogene, announcing his arrival at Chuen-pee, for the pur

pose of protecting the trade. The Andromache has returned with her,

and will take letters to India. The arrival of the Imogene I may be

enabled to turn to good account. 1 have also intelligence of the expected

arrival here of Shing-yin, a Mantchoo Tartar, and Chief Member of the

Censorate Board at Pekin. He comes with a Commission, to inquire into the

affairs of the province. I shall make an attempt on him as soon as he arrives ;

and hope to be able to arrange matters, without giving up a point of the


ground I stand upon. In revising my letter, I find I call the subject of dis

pute, a point of etiquette. It is not altogether so ; for it is the consequences

of humiliation, and yielding a point which has been enjoyed by my predeces

sors, and the fact of not carrying His Majesty's order into full execution, that

I look forward to it. It is a cruel and a criminal measure on the part of a

petty tyrant to annoy the merchants, on the score of a dispute which does not

immediately affect them.

If after a fair trial of all justifiable means, I find the merchants are likely

to suffer, I must retire to Macao, rather than bring the cities of London,

Liverpool, and Glasgow upon your Lordship's shoulders; many of whose mer

chants care not one straw about the dignity of the Crown or the presence of

a Superintendent. I shall not go, however, without publishing in Chinese,

and disseminating far and wide, the base conduct of the Viceroy in oppressing

the merchants, native as well as foreign; and of my having taken the step out

of pure compassion to them. I can only once more implore your Lordship

to force them to acknowledge my authority and the King's Commission; and

if you can do that, you will have no difficulty in opening the ports at the

same time. I am obliged to close this evening, as the ship has dropped

down. The Mangles will of course report every falsehood for the purpose

of raising the price of tea. I think your Lordship may depend on my assurance

of the prohibition being of but a very temporary duration, and not attended

with any such consequences.

I have, &c,

(Signed) NAPIER.

The York, American ship, has delivered me, this day, Mr. Backhouse's

circular of the 29th March, on the subject of the dollars; and nothing more of

an official nature.

Inclosure 1 in No. 7.

The Hong Merchants to Messrs. Jardine, Dent, and Framjee.

A RESPECTFUL notification. By your honourable * nation there has

hitherto been established a Company, having a chief at Canton to superin

tend all the affairs of commerce. Thus there has been, for upwards of a hun

dred years, mutual tranquillity without disagreement. Now the Company

has been dissolved, and your honourable officer has come to Canton, and

affairs now originate from him. Therefore, his Excellency the Governor,

having examined the old regulations, has ordered us to enjoin them to be con

formed to.

We went to your honourable officer several times, taking copies of four

government orders, to enjoin and deliver them; but he refused to receive them

all. Thus the affair has continued half a month, and we have been unable to

return any report. Hereafter, the Governor, for our not being able to enjoin

the orders, will inflict punishment which it will be impossible for us to sus

tain ; therefore, we yesterday requested you gentlemen to come to the Consoo

House, to confer personally with us. You did not favour us with coming; but

Mr. young Morrison brought your official letter, saying, that as we had not

given previous information of the business to be conferred on you were un-

* " Honourable " is in Chinese used for the possessive pronoun " your." The word " your " is

here understood. In Chinese, respect is shown by position of characters, as well as phraseology.

While, at every repetition, the Governor's name is elevated, the mention of " your honourable officer"

receives only the same mark of respect that the mention to a sick man, of "your honourable

disease," &c, would do.


willing to come. We now send you copies of the four several orders of his

Excellency the Governor, expressed in the orders, of cherishing and showing

tenderness. We, in a body, request you to reply to us. For this we

earnestly hope.

Compliments, &c,

The names of eleven merchants subscribed.

7th moon, 7th day. (August 11.)

Inclosure 2 in No. 7.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

July 21, 1834.

LOO, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, to the Hong merchants,

requiring their full acquaintance herewith.

The Hee (or Naval Officer) of the Heang-shan district, with others, has

reported, "that an English war vessel, having on board a barbarian ' Eye ' (one

name for individual) had, from the outer seas, sailed to Cabreta point offing,

and there anchored. On examination and inquiry, it was stated that he was

to examine and have superintendence of the said nation's merchant vessels

coming to Canton to trade, &c As duty requires, a report is made."

According to this, I have examined and find, that hitherto outside

barbarians trading at Canton, have only had Taepans (Chief Supracargoes)

buying and selling goods : they have been permitted to request permits,

and then come to Canton. But, ordinarily, they have only had permission to

reside at Macao. The English have traded at Canton upwards of a hundred

years. And, with regard to all the regulations, there has long been mutual

tranquillity. The said Hong merchants before reported that this year the

English Company is dissolved. The barbarian Eye, who has now come, is, of

course, for the superintendence and examination of this business. But the

barbarian Eye is not comparable with the Taepans. If he wish to come to

Canton, it will be necessary to make, first, a clear report, requesting the

Imperial will on the subject. As to the commercial affairs, if there be

circumstances absolutely requiring the establishment of other regulations, a

petition of request must also be sent, after inquiring and deliberation on the

part of the Hong merchants, through them ; that a memorial may be

prepared, and obedience called for.

Uniting these circumstances, this order is issued. When the order is

received by the said merchants, let them immediately go in person to Macao,

and ascertain clearly from the barbarian Eye for what he has come : to

Canton province. Let them also inquire fully and minutely as to what other

regulations require to be now established, since this year the said nation's

Company has been dissolved and ended. Then let them report in answer; to

afford evidence on which to make a plain and full memorial for directions as

to what conduct is to be observed, and to what obedience required.

And let them authoritatively enjoin the established laws of the celestial

Empire, that, with exception of the Taepans and other barbarian merchants

trading at Canton, none can be permitted to come to Canton without a report

having been made, and the mandate received. The said barbarian Eye,

having to examine concerning, and superintend, the affairs of commerce,

may reside at Macao. If he wish to come to Canton, he must inform the

said merchants, that they may previously petition me, the Governor ; and I

will, by post conveyance, send a memorial; and all must respectfully wait

till the mandate of the Great Emperor has been received, —then orders will

be issued to require obedience. Oppose not ! A Special Order.

Taoukwang, 14th year, 6th moon, 15th day. (July 21, 1834.)



Inclosure 3 in No. 7.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

July 27, 1834.

LOO, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, to the Hong

merchants, requiring their full acquaintance herewith.

The outside barbarians of the English nation have had a continued trade

at Canton for a hundred and some tens of years. All affairs and things are

conducted according to established regulations reported to the Emperor, which

have long been obeyed and kept. Although the barbarians are beyond the

bounds of civilization, yet, having come to Canton to trade, they should im

mediately give implicit obedience to the established laws of the celestial Em

pire ; then they may enjoy tranquillity. New-come barbarians, not under

standing the dignity of the statutes, you, with the linguists, compradores, &c,

should instruct clearly and authoritatively in all things, to prevent them over

stepping or opposing.

I find on examination, that foreigners coming to Canton, have hitherto

been permitted only to reside at Macao. When they have affairs of buying

or selling goods, &c, to conduct, they are then permitted to request and

receive from the Superintendent of the Canton Customs, a permit to come

to Canton. Whatever utensils, vessels, &c, they carry with them, must every

one pass examination at the Custom-house, and a report of them must be

made. The Superintendent of the Customs sends a communication on the

subject to my office to be placed on record.

On this occasion, the barbarian Eye [that is, head man, principal man]

Lord Napier, has come to Canton without having at all resided at Macao to

wait for orders. Nor has he requested or received a permit from the Super

intendent of Customs, but has hastily come up to Canton, —a great infringe

ment of the established laws ! The Custom-house writers and others who

presumed to admit him to enter, are sent with a communication requiring their

trial; but in tender consideration for the said barbarian Eye, being a new

comer and unacquainted with statutes and laws of the celestial Empire, I

■will not strictly investigate.

But it is not expedient that the said barbarian Eye should long remain at

Canton provincial city ; it must be required, that when the commercial

business, regarding which he has to inquire and hold jurisdiction, is finished,

he immediately return to Macao. And hereafter, without having requested

and obtained a permit, he cannot be permitted to come to Canton.

As to the object of the said barbarian Eye's coming to Canton, it is for

commercial business. The celestial Empire appoints officers,—civil ones to

rule the people, military ones to intimidate the wicked. The petty affairs of

commerce are to be directed by the merchants themselves. The officers

have nothing to hear on the subject. In the trade of the said barbarians, if

there are any changes to be made in regulations, &c, in all cases the said

merchants are to consult together, and make a joint statement to the Super

intendent of Customs, and to my office. Whether [the proposals] shall be

allowed, or disallowed, must be learned by waiting for a reply publicly.

If any affair be to be newly commenced, it is requisite to wait till a

respectful memorial be made, clearly reporting to the Great Emperor, and his

mandate received. Then it may be commenced ; and orders may be issued

requiring obedience.

The great ministers of the Celestial Empire are not permitted to have

private intercourse by letter with outside barbarians. If the said barbarian

Eye throws in private letters, I, the Governor, will not at all receive or look

at them.

With regard to the barbarian factory of the Company, without the walls

of the city, it is a place of temporary residence for barbarians coming to

Canton to trade. They are permitted only to eat, sleep, buy, and sell, in the

factories. They are not permitted to bring up wives and daughters; nor are

they permitted to go out to ramble about. All these are points decided by

fixed and certain laws and statutes, which will not bear to be confusedly


To sum up, the nation has its laws,—it is so every where. Even England

has its laws,—how much more the celestial Empire! Under this whole bright

heaven, none dares to disobey them. Under its shelter are the four seas;


subject to its soothing care, are the ten thousand kingdoms. The said

barbarian Eye having come over a sea of several myriads of miles in extent,

to examine and have superintendence of affairs, must be a man thoroughly

acquainted with the principles of high dignity. And in his person he sustains

the duties of an officer, an " Eye." He must necessarily in every affair act

in accordance with reason. Then only can he controul and restrain the

barbarian merchants.

I, the Governor, looking up, will embody the extreme wish of the Great

Emperor, to cherish with tenderness the men from a distance. And, as

suredly, I will not treat slightingly the outside barbarians. But the national

laws are extremely strict and close drawn ; we dare not in the least trans

gress. Let the said barbarian Eye be very careful not to listen to the artful

instigations of evil men, enticing him, until he fails of the object of the said

nation's King in sending him so far.

Uniting all, I issue this order to be enjoined ; when the order reaches the

said merchants, let them immediately act in obedience to it, and enjoin the

order on the said barbarian Eye, that he may know it thoroughly. Oppose it


The said merchants have had intercourse with the barbarians for many

years. Their knowledge of their language and feelings must be good. The

linguists and compradores are more closely allied to the barbarians. If

they truly explain clearly, opening and guiding the understanding, the said

barbarian Eye assuredly cannot but obey.

If there should be disobedience and opposition, it must be owing to the

bad management of the said merchants, and to the instigations of the linguists.

Assuredly, the said merchants shall be reported against, that they may be

punished ; and on the linguists the laws shall instantly be put in full force.*

Their respectability, their lives are concerned. Tremble fearfully hereat.

Make not repentance [necessary]. These are the orders.

Taoukwang, 14th year, 6th moon, 21st day. (July 27, 1834.)

Inclosure 4 in No. 7.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

July 30, 1834.

LOO, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, issues this order

to the Hong merchants, requiring their full acquaintance with it.

It appears that the outside barbarians of the English nation, trading at

Canton, have hitherto only had permission for Taepans, &c, at the period of

buying and selling goods, to request and obtain a red permit, to come in, or

go out [of port.] In all things they have had rules and regulations fixed by

memorial to the Emperor. They have never had such an affair as a barbarian

Eye coming to Canton.

It was before authenticated, that the Hee (or naval officer) of the Heang-

shan district, reported that an English cruizer Chads, bringing a barbarian

Eye, Lord Napier, one name (or individual) had, from the outer seas, sailed

in ; and that on inquiry it was found he had come to Canton to examine

concerning, and superintend, the affairs of commerce.

I, the Governor, having examined, find that a barbarian Eye is not

comparable [compatible] with the barbarian merchants. The business being

one to be newly commenced, without a report being made, and a mandate

received, he cannot have permission to presume to come, of his own accord, to


I issued orders to the Hong merchants to go to Macao, and enjoin orders

requiring him to reside at Macao. If he desired to come to Canton, he was

A phrase for capital punishment.

D 2


required to inform the said merchants, that they might petition me, the

Governor; and respectfully wait until, having reported, I should receive an

Imperial mandate; • then further orders might be issued to command


Therefore, the said merchants not having yet reached Macao, the said

barbarian Eye set out and came to Canton. Neither having, in the first place,

made a plain petition, nor having, in the next instance, obediently obtained a

permit, he with precipitate haste came in a sailing boat to Canton. It is

indeed a great infringement of the laws. Considering that the said barbarian

Eye has but newly arrived, and is unacquainted with the dignity of the statutes

of the Celestial Empire, he is absolved from strict investigation.

The said merchants have been again commanded to enjoin commands,

and to investigate. But for what purposes the said barbarian Eye has come to

Canton, and why he did not apply for a permit, it does not yet appear that the

said merchants have obtained any clear information or made any report.

On examination, I find that in all that relates to the outside barbarians

coming to Canton to trade, the Hong merchants are in every respect held

responsible for keeping up strict investigation, controuling and restraining.

The said Hong merchants [those sent to Macao] have filled the situation of

seniors over the merchants for many years ; how is it that they understand

not the fixed laws? but, after repeated orders, indulge their own dispositions,

deferring and delaying ! What is it that occupies their minds? It is ex

tremely inexplicable ! It would be right to take the circumstances of the

said merchants' negligent connivance at the conduct of outside barbarians,

and at once report against them (to the Emperor). In indulgence, I once

more command urgent haste. When this order reaches the said merchants,

let them immediately act in obedience to it, and enjoin, in an explanatory

manner, the previous orders. Let them inquire fully for what purpose the

said barbarian Eye has come to Canton; and why he, without obtaining a

permit, precipitately came up ? and let him immediately report in answer.

Let them, at the same time, command the said barbarian Eye immediately to

set sail and leave the port. He must not stop in the foreign factories outside

the city, loitering about. If he have affairs requiring his immediate superin

tendence, let him temporarily reside at Macao, waiting till a prepared report

has been made, requesting to know the Imperial will, that it may be obeyed.

Should he dare resist or oppose, it will be all owing to the indulgence and

connivance of the said merchants. The affair concerns national dignity. I,

the Governor, will be able only to report against the said merchants, that

they may be brought to trial. Say not that you were not forewarned.

Tremble hereat ! A Special Order.

Taoukwang, 14th year, Gth moon, 24th day. (July 30, 1834.)

Inclosure 5 in No. 7.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

July 31, 1834.

LOO, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse &c, to the Hong merchants,

requiring their full acquaintance herewith.

On the 19th of the 6th moon, in the 14th year of Taoukwang (July 25th),

I received the following communication from Chung, Superintendent of the

Canton maritime Customs.

" The domestics at the Custom-house station behind the factories [on the

river side, in front] have reported as follows : —

" ' In examining, we perceived, during the night of the 18th of the present

moon, about midnight, the arrival of a barbarian ship's boat at Canton, bringing

four English devils, who went into the barbarian factories to reside. After

having searched and examined, we could find no permit or pass. And having

heard, by report, that there is at present a ship of war of the said nation

anchored in the outer seas ; but not having been able to learn for what pur


pose, we think that such a coming as this is manifestly a clandestine stealing

into Canton. Whether or not the Hong merchants and linguists are in any

way consorting with them, we must, making our report, request you as our

duty requires, to examine. This is a list of the four barbarians' names.

Lord Napier, who, we hear, is a war commander, Davis, Morrison,


" I, the Hoppo, having received this, have examined and find, that when

barbarian merchants who come to Canton province, have to come up to Can

ton and go down to Macao, the regulations require that the Hong merchants

should make a petition, requesting for them a permit, and that I, the Hoppo,

should then forward a communication to your honourable officers, and also

send information to the Kwang Chow Hee [city commandant] or the Macao

Assistant Magistrate of the department, that they may send a military escort.

This has long been the mode of conducting the affair, which has been obeyed

and practised, as is on record.

" Before this, the Wei-yuens [deputed officers] of the Macao Custom

house reported, that an English cruizer Chads had anchored at Cabreta

offing; and that on board the vessel there was a barbarian Eye, one name,

come to examine concerning, and have superintendence of, the mercantile

affairs of the said nation's merchant ships trading to Canton. I, at that

time, sent a communication to your honourable office for examination. I also

gave orders to the Hong merchants to be replied to after examination. But the

Hong merchants, without having, in the first instance, reported the English

cruizer and barbarian Eye's arrival at Canton, and without having, in the

second place, when orders had been given them to examine, made any report

of having examined, have at least permitted the barbarian Eye, from the

English cruizer vessel, to come clandestinely to Canton. How can the

precautions against foreigners be thus considered forcible, and the dignity of

the Imperial servants be made awful and impressive ? Although the barba

rian Eye be unacquainted with the laws of the celestial Empire, how can the

Hong merchants have the excuse of ignorance, that they should audaciously

dare, without having asked and obtained a permit, to suffer him to come to

Canton ? Truly, there is no respect of the laws before their eyes !

" Besides again issuing a strict order to the Hong merchants to examine

and reply, I also forward this communication, that having examined, you may

with severity command the Hong merchants to examine and act."

This coming before me, the Governor, I, on the receipt of it have

examined, and find, that with regard to the English barbarian Eye coming to

Canton, I, the Governor, have already issued repeated orders to the said

merchants, to be by them enjoined authoritatively, as is on record.

Having received the communication as above, I unite the circumstances,

and again issue this order. When the order reaches the said merchants, let

them immediately obey ; and in accordance with the tenor of the several pre

vious orders, ascertain clearly for what the said barbarian Eye has come to

Canton? and why, in disobedience to the regulations, he has not requested a

red permit? Let them instantly, the same day, report in answer. At the

same time, let them order and compel him immediately with speed to return

to Macao and reside there ; waiting till I, the Governor, have made a prepared

report, to request the Imperial will to be made known, that it may be obeyed.

He must not linger about at Canton. Should there be any opposition, the

said merchants will be held solely responsible. Tremble hereat, intensely

tremble! These are the orders.

Taoukwang, 14th year, 6th moon, 25th day. (July 31, 1834.)


No. 8.

Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received January 31, 1835.)

My dear Lord, Canton, August 21, 1834.

THE postscript to my last brings matters up to the 17th; and the

Mangles not having kept her time, I give you the remainder to the date

hereof, when I am assured she will be dispatched.

On the 18th, intelligence arrived of the Imogene and Andromache having

anchored at Chuen-pee ; and in the afternoon, the Hong merchants came

in a body to inquire the reason ; and when they would depart ? I

replied, that was a secret which I would divulge to no man but to the Vice

roy ; and if his Excellency would send a great military officer, and conduct

me to his presence, I would wave the ceremony of sending the letter, and

then I would communicate my whole business in person. This appeared to

give great satisfaction, and they departed accordingly. Next day, Howqua

and Mowqua returned, stating, that the Viceroy could have no communica

tion with me; and repeated his Excellency's orders that I should depart;

arguing that, were he in England he would be obliged to conform to the

laws of England, and I ought to do the same here. On the principle of

reciprocity I heartily concurred ; that were he in England he would be

received and treated as a gentleman : and I required no more here.

Another Edict, copy of which is herein inclosed, has come out through the

Hong, in which the Viceroy threatens, that if I do not obey, " the trade shall

immediately be stopped, and the commerce eternally cut off." No official

Edict from the Governor himself has appeared, as on former occasions of the

like. He threatens ; and the Hong merchants enforce, as they say, according

to his verbal order. He is in a dilemma, and afraid to commit himself by

proclamation ; and, therefore, throws it on the Hong, who will, perhaps, be

punished for it, after all, by a heavy fine.

I have requested Captain Blackwood to detain the Andromache, in the

meantime ; on account of the monsoons it will be just the same to her in her

passage to Madras, whether she sails to-day or on the 1st of October.

I have written to Lord Grey on the subject of an armament from India,

and requesting advice overland as soon as possible.

I have, &c,

(Signed^ NAPIER.

Inclosure 1, in No. 8.

The Hong Merchants to the British Merchants.

A respectful notification.

WE have just now received an official reply from his Excellency the

Governor, which we are commanded to enjoin, and make known to you. We

now copy out the official order and send it for your perusal ; praying you,

gentlemen, to examine minutely. You will then know that his Excellency

the Governor's extreme desire to cherish those from remote parts is great,

beyond the power of increase.

We pray you to return an answer. This is the task we impose. For

this we write, and with compliments.

7th moon, 14th day. (August 18.)

[Subscribed by Howqua and the ten other merchants.]


Inclosure 2 in No. 8.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

LOO, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, in reply to the Hong


On examination I find, that the trade from the English nation to Canton

has been carried on for a hundred and some tens of years. In this long period

all regulations have from time to time been reported and established. Whether

the said barbarian Eye, Lord Napier, be an oificer or a merchant, there are no

means of ascertaining. But having come for affairs of commerce to the

celestial Empire, it is incumbent on him to obey, and keep the laws and

statutes. It is an old saying, " When you enter the frontiers inquire

respecting the prohibitions. When you enter a country inquire into its


The said barbarian Eye, having been sent by the said nation's King from a

great distance, is, undoubtedly, a man who understands things ; but his

having precipitately come to the provincial city, without having made a full

report of the circumstances and causes of coming here, was indeed a want

of decorum. I, the Governor, considering that it was his first entrance into

the inner dominions, and that he was yet unacquainted with the established

laws, commanded the said merchants at that time to enjoin orders on him,

and to enquire and ascertain for what he had come to the provincial city ?

That if it were, that, on account of the Company's dissolution, it had become

necessary to establish other regulations, he should immediately inform the

said merchants, that they might make a report to me, to afford me data for

sending a memorial by the Government post. And that the said barbarian Eye

should, meanwhile, return to Macao, to await the will and mandate of the

Great Emperor being received and published, to command obedience. Thus

the business would be altogether managed in perfect accordance with dignified

decorum, rendering change needless.

To refer to England,—should an official personage from a foreign country

proceed to the said nation, for the arrangement of any business, how could he

neglect to have the object of his coming announced, in a memorial to the said

nation's King ? or how could he act contrary to the requirements of the said

nation's dignity, doing his own will and pleasure?

Since the said barbarian Eye states that he is an official personage, he

ought the more to be thoroughly acquainted with these principles.

Before, when he offered a letter, I, the Governor, saw it inexpedient to

receive it ; because the established laws of the celestial Empire do not per

mit Ministers, and those under authority, to have private intercourse by letter

with outside barbarians, but have hitherto, in commercial affairs, held the

merchants responsible ; and if by chance any barbarian merchant should have

any petition to make, requesting investigation of any affair [the laws required]

that, by the said Taepans [Chief Supracargoes] a duly prepared petition

should be in form presented, and an answer by proclamation awaited. There

has never been such a thing as outside barbarians sending in a letter. I at

that time commanded the Kwang-Chow-Hee to give minute verbal orders on

this subject.

Again, I have examined, in order, the points of regulations established by

report [to the Emperor'], and have thrice issued orders, which the said

merchants were required to make themselves acquainted with, and to


The several subjects discussed in their several orders, are the long esta

blished regulations, well known to all barbarian merchants of every nation

who have business at Canton. The flamingly luminous ordinances and

statutes, thus commencing, I was treating, not slightingly, the outside

barbarians. Obey, and remain! Disobey, and depart! There are no ways.

Now [the merchants] have reported, that on going to the factory to

inquire and ascertain facts, the said barbarian Eye desired to have official

correspondence, to and fro, with all the public officers ; and would not obey

; 24

the orders. On examination, I find that the English nation and the officers

of the celestial Empire have hitherto had no intercourse of official corre

spondence. The barbarians of the said nation coming to, or leaving Canton,

have, beyond their trade, not any public business ; and the commissioned

officers of the celestial Empire never took cognizance of the trivial affairs of


From the time Canton has admitted outside barbarians to its open mar

ket, all affairs relating to commerce, and the controul over the barbarian mer

chants, have been placed under the entire cognizance and responsibility of

the said Hong merchants; never has there been such a thing as official corres

pondence to and fro with a barbarian Eye.

And of these trading at Canton, there is not only the English nation,—nor

have the English barbarian merchants been at Canton only one or two years ;

yet all have been tranquil and quiet, obeying the laws. There has been no

occasion for officers to examine into, and manage business: on the contrary,

they would but embarrass and impede the merchants. This request, to have

official correspondence to and fro, is not only contrary to dignity and decorum,

but also would prove very inexpedient for the barbarian merchants of all the

nations : the thing is most decidedly impossible.

The said merchants, because the said barbarian Eye will not adhere to the

old regulations, have requested that a stop should be put to the said nation's

commerce. This manifests a profound knowledge of the great principles of

dignity. It is most highly praiseworthy. The circumstance of the said bar

barian Eye, Lord Napier's perverse opposition necessarily demands such a mode

of procedure. It would be most right immediately to put a stop to buying

and selling. But, considering that the said nation's King has hitherto been, in

the highest degree, reverentially submissive, he cannot, in sending Lord

Napier here at this time have desired him thus obstinately to resist.

The some hundreds of thousands of commercial duties, yearly coming

from the said country, concern not the Celestial Empire to the extent of a

hair, or a feather's down. The possession or absence of them is utterly

unworthy of one careful thought. Their broadcloths and camlets are still more

unimportant, and of no regard. But the tea, the rhubarb, the raw silk, of the

inner dominions are the sources by which the said nation's people live, and

maintain life. For the fault of one man, Lord Napier, must the livelihood of

the whole nation be precipitately cut off?

I, the Governor, looking up and embodying the great Emperor's most

sacred, most divine wish, to muse and tenderly cherish, as one, all that are

within and without, feel that I cannot bring my mind to bear it. Besides,

all the merchants of the said nation dare dangers, crossing the seas myriads

of miles, to come from far here ; their hopes rest wholly on the attainment

of gain, by buying and selling. When, the other day, being summoned by

the said merchants to a meeting for consultation, they did not attend, it was

because they were under the direction of Lord Napier. It assuredly did not

proceed from the several merchants' own free will. Should, in one morning,

the trade be wholly cut off, it would cause great distress to many persons who,

having travelled hither by land and sea, would by one man, Lord Napier, be

ruined; they cannot in such a case but be utterly depressed with grief. In

commiseration, I again give temporary indulgence and delay. Let the said

merchants again immediately enjoin, particularly and minutely, the orders

regarding the said barbarian Eye, with unruffled mind to consider thrice. He

should know that the said nation trades here, and annually amasses great gain,

entirely in consequence of this sacred dynasty's extreme wish to cherish

tenderly those from afar. It in no way regards the trade as an advantage :

and cannot be hampered or constrained by any consideration for it. If the old

established regulations be not in accordance with reason, how could all the

barbarian merchants yield to them the willing submission of their hearts, and

obediently keep them. Since the said barbarian Eye occupies an official

situation, all merchants of the said nation, when they do not keep the laws,

will require to be controuled and constrained by him. But if he talk not

reason, how can he gain submission of the multitude ?

I, the Governor, have for some tens of years, extended my care over those

within and those without ; arid have never treated a man contrary to propriety.

How can I be willing to treat tyrannically the requests of men from far ? Bui


what concerns the nation's dignity will not admit of being transgressed or

passed over. ■ • ;

I hear that the said barbarian is a man of a solid and expansive mind, and

placid speech. If he consider, he, can himself, doubtless, distinguish right and


Let him, on no account, allow himself to be deluded by men around him.

If he can repent and arouse, obey the previous orders, and act according to

them, let him answer through the said merchants ; and the trade shall continue

as formerly. If he still maintain his obstinacy, and do not arouse, then it will

appear that the said barbarian Eye does not wish the said nation to have the

liberty of the market. The trade shall immediately be stopped, and the

commerce eternally cut off.

Hereafter, when the said nation's King hears, respecting these repeated

orders and official replies, he will know that the whole wrong lies on the barba

rian Eye : it is no way owing to any want on the part of the celestial Empire of

extreme consideration for the virtue of reverential submission, exercised by the

said nation's King. Let the said merchants take also this reply ; and having

enjoined it authoritatively on the private merchants of the said nation, and the

barbarian merchants of every nation, that they may make themselves acquainted

with it, let it be folded up and preserved.

Taoukwang, 14th year, 7th moon, 14th day. (August 18, 1834.)

No. 9.

/. F.Davis, Esq., Second Superintendent, to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received

February I, 1835.)

(Extract.) Canton, August 7, 1834.

THE affected indifference of the native Government to the proceedings of

foreigners, seems to have forbidden their making any public demonstrations of

curiosity, previous to Lord Napier's arrival ; but, as early as April last, their

anxiety on the subject led to an indirect verbal application, through the Hong

merchants, to myself, as the Company's chief, for some report of the intentions

of our Government. I, of course, did not feel in any way authorized without

instructions to enter on a subject on which I was still in a great degree unin

formed ; and, as the application was unofficial, I evaded making any reply to

it. Thus things remained until Lord Napier's arrival, when some degree of

feverishness was displayed by the dispatch of the two senior merchants to

Macao, for the purpose of endeavouring to persuade our remaining there until

a reply should arrive from Peking. They did not reach Macao, however,

until the day after our departure for this place. They hurried back to Canton ;

and, waiting on Lord Napier, offered to read to him an order from the Viceroy

addressed to them, which they were to enjoin or enforce on the Superintendents.

Lord Napier seems to be clear as to his instructions allowing him to

decline any but a direct communication with the officers of Government : and

in the policy of this course, 1 have no hesitation whatever in concurring ;

for to be governed by the Hong merchants, a system which has always

been highly detrimental to our true interests, would now be infinitely worse

than under the reign of the Company,—whose transactions, amounting to

some millions per annum, did of course give them great influence over those

merchants. There even existed, perhaps, some community of interests, as

the general welfare and growth of their trade was, to a certain extent, a reci

procal benefit. This species of influence is out of the question with us ; who,

unless we can have direct access to the Government officers, can do nothing


Lord Napier's letter of announcement wTas rejected on the most frivolous

or inadmissible pretexts : and matters remain where they were on our arrival

here on the 25th ultimo,—the merchants having been told that they are only

letter-carriers, and that orders from them cannot be received by Lord Napier,

or the Superintendents.


Our first advances having been so unceremoniously rejected, I really do

not at present see any better plan than remaining perfectly quiet, as some

open communication must be at least as convenient to the Chinese as to

Ourselves. In the mean while the trade goes on ; and our controul over our

countrymen continues to be exercised.

Extract from MS. Notes.

In 1747, " the Hong merchants used every endeavour to prevent the access

of strangers to offices of Government, finding they could exercise their imposi

tions on both with greater success and impunity." The same records observe,

that " ever since they carried their point of preventing all intercourse between

the Europeans and Mandarins, they have imposed upon both in their turns, and

put the trade of this place upon such a footing as, without redress, will render it

impracticable to Europeans."

No. 10.

Duke of Wellington to Lord Napier.

My Lord, Foreign Office, February 2, 1835.

YOUR despatch of the 9th of August, and your letters marked "private,"

addressed to Lord Palmerston, to the 21st of August, were received at this

office on Saturday the 31st ultimo.

I learn that a vessel will sail for Canton from the River Thames this

afternoon ; and I avail myself of that opportunity earnestly to recommend to

your Lordship's attention, the instructions of Lord Palmerston of the 25th

January, 1834; and most particularly the 18th and 19th Articles of the

general Instructions which you have received under the Royal Sign Manual.

It is not by force and violence that His Majesty intends to establish a

commercial intercourse between his subjects and China; but by the other

conciliatory measures so strongly inculcated in all the instructions which

you have received.

I llcXV© &c

(Signed) ' WELLINGTON.

No. 11.

Lord Napier to Earl Orey.—(Communicated to the Foreign Office, by Lord Grey,

February 7, 1835.)

My dear Lord, Canton, August 21, 1834

THE ship Mangles, which bears my first despatch, not having sailed at

the appointed time, I have brought up my intelligence in a letter to

Lord Palmerston to the latest hour; and in that letter I have endeavoured

to suggest for the consideration of His Majesty's Ministers, the line of policy

which I recommend to be adopted towards the Chinese Government ; in

order to extort from them a Treaty which shall embrace the public and

private interests of all civilized nations who may be induced to trade with

that people. There are two propositions to be considered, which are, indeed,

perfect axioms. 1st. That the Chinese people are most anxious for our

trade—from the Great Wall to the southern extremity of the empire,—the

Tartar Government alone being anti-commercial: and the 2nd is, that the

Tartar Government, being in the extreme degree of mental imbecility and

moral degradation, dreaming themselves to be the only people on the earth,

being entirely ignorant of the theory and practice of international law;—that


- • . .?

Government is not in a position to be dealt with or treated by civilized

nations, according to the same rules as are acknowledged and practised:

among themselves. Your Lordship will also bear in mind, that the trade

of European nations was not limited under the last dynasty as it is at

present ; neither was it the policy of the first and greatest of all the Tartar

race, to exclude the commerce from the empire in the manner it has suffered

during and since the reign of Kien-Lung. The Emperor Kang-ghi encou

raged trade with other nations, and invited the learned of all Europe to settle

in his dominions. It was not till 1786, I think, that Kien-Lung confined

us to the port of Canton : and since which time, the trade being merely a

question between a company of merchants in London, and the Chinese

Government, the two parties have continued to play into each other's

hands, to their mutual advantage, without any reference to the convenience,

comfort, or advantage of the people. Had the monopoly never existed, is it

possible to conceive that the British commerce would ever have been con

fined to the port of Canton ? The bare idea of such a predicament is absurd.

The restriction of the trade to one point was conformable to the interests of

monopoly ; and the arrogance and senility of the Government have been

matured and upheld by the concessions of the Company on every case of

aggression; teaching the Tartars to believe that England depended upon

them for food and raiment, and that the Emperor was the only Monarch

of the universe. A common examination of the previous documents I have

sent home, especially the latter one, confirms everything I have advanced.

The question then is, when the merchants here are open-mouthed for

extended trade, (a similar feeling I presume existing among their constituents

at home) is this the most favourable time or not to carry such a plan into

execution ?

Your Lordship will see, that, in obedience to His Majesty's instructions,

" having taken up my residence at Canton, and endeavoured to report

myself by letter to the Viceroy," this overweening Authority is debarred by

the dignity of the laws, from communicating with an outside barbarian;

threatens that " the trade shall immediately be stopped, and the commerce

eternally cut off, if I don't go forth the provincial city;" and then he in

sults His Most Gracious Majesty and the whole country, by boasting of the

" extreme consideration evinced by the celestial Empire for the virtue of

reverential submission exercised by the said nation's King." The Viceroy has

not only threatened, but actually stopped the export trade. The merchants are

of opinion that it cannot last. I am rather inclined to think he will for a time

attempt to carry it further ; and all this for the purpose of ingratiating himself

with a man of high rank who is daily expected for the purpose of inquiring into

the state of the province. Be that as it may, it is my first duty to endeavour,

by all means, to cause them to come to a settlement with our merchants ; and to

make them ship off the goods already paid for. That being done, it depends

upon the Viceroy to carry on the trade openly as heretofore. If he does not

agree to that, the smugglers will do it for him. If the worst comes to the

worst, I can only retire to Macao ; but the consequence will be disgraceful.

If your Lordship, on the receipt of this, would despatch a messenger to

Calcutta overland, order a British force with some small craft to act along the

coast, we should soon bring matters to a close. In the mean time I will en

deavour to unite the merchants on the plea of being quiet till I can hear from

your Lordship, whether I am to submit to every Edict, or whether His Majesty's

Government will assert our ancient rights of commerce, and enforce the same

respect to our country as is received from other States. The greater part of the

trade is already carried on by smuggling ; and I think that which remains, and

cannot also be smuggled, may be allowed to rest without any loss or hardship,

till your Lordship can instruct me overland.

A messenger to Calcutta can communicate there with the Governor

General, and proceed to this place in one of the clippers, or fast-sailing

traders, during any season of the monsoon. His arrival there in May, will

allow abundance of time to prepare a little armament to enter the China seas

with the first of the S.W. monsoon ; which, on arriving, should take possession

of the island of Hong Kong, in the eastern entrance of the Canton river, which


is admirably adapted for every purpose. Considering that, in 1831, the then

Viceroy issued a proclamation stating, " that in case of the dissolution of

the Company, it was incumbent upon us to appoint a chief for the general

management, as heretofore;'' and considering that they have refused me every

privilege formerly enjoyed by the chiefs of the Factory,—of personal com

munication and correspondence, I feel satisfied that your Lordship will see

the urgent necessity of negociating with such a Government, having in your

hands at the same time the means of compulsion : to negotiate with them

otherwise, would be an idle waste of time.

Now, if your Lordship shall send me a messenger in advance of an

armament, I would recommend that I should be instructed to give immediate

notice at Peking, and all along the coast, of the demand about to be made; so

that no sudden appearance of force may intimidate the people ; but that they

may look to the arrival of such a force, as the happy means of their eman

cipation from a most arbitrary system of oppression. It will also give the

Government time to reflect and "tremble" at the consequences of refusal.

It may be said that such notice will afford them the means of preparation.

Granted ; it will be nothing. You read of a standing army of above 1,000,000

of men to defend the empire : it is an absurdity ; they could only muster a

few hundred wretched creatures last year at this city, to send against a rebel

lion ; and one half of them were utterly incapable of taking the field.

Governor Le and his troops were defeated ; and he was of course superseded

by the present man Loo, who paid an enormous bribe to the rebels, and thus

restored order. What can an army of bows, and arrows, and pikes, and shields

do against a handful of British veterans ? I am sure they would never for a

moment dare to show a front. The batteries at the Bogue are contemptible ;

and not a man to be seen within them. They have, no doubt, a long muster-

roll of military ; but the Governor draws the pay : and if he wants a force

within the batteries, the plan is to drive in the peasantry from the country

around. There is not the slightest fellowship between the Chinese and the

Tartars. The Hong merchants here in a body, a few days ago, on being

asked, said they were all Chinese and did not like the Tartars; but they

could not help themselves. I am sure the British merchants will submit to

a temporary inconvenience for a positive benefit ; and I will, in the mean

time, endeavour to carry on according to the principles already recommended

by your Lordship, which are certainly most fitting when one^hasja reasonable

people to deal with.

I have, &c,

(Signed) NAPIER.


No. 12.

Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston.—{Received February 24, 1835.)

My dear Lord, Canton, August 27, 1834.

NOTICE has been given this evening that the Spartan, for England,

will sail to-morrow morning early. I am, therefore, anxious to bring matters

up from the conclusion of my last, on the 21st instant, accompanied by an Edict,

to the date hereof ; which letter was sent in a second bag to the Mangles, and

which Mangles, we hear to-night, has not yet left the anchorage near Macao.

The Spartan touches at the Cape; therefore, I do not believe there will be

many days between their arrival.

By the last Edict, the 18th instant, your Lordship will see that the Viceroy,

or Governor, threatens to stop the trade, when it has already been done by the

Co-Hong. We now hear that they did it, contrary to the private wish of the

Governor, who had it forced upon him by the Kwang-Chow-Foo, who has been

since dismissed, as you will presently hear, and that the majority of the Hong

were against it ; but Howqua who rules, and who has no commercial dealings

with the British, has all the others under his controul, as his debtors, so carried

the point.

The younger members of the Hong are much dissatisfied ; they would all

like to recover their ground, but dignity and decorum would be thereby offended.

I believe I shall have a communication with the merchants in a day or two, in

order to adopt some method to bring their wishes to the point. In all other

respects, events have been decidedly in our favour. On the 18th, I had advised

Mowqua to petition the Viceroy to send a great military officer, to conduct me

to his Excellency, which might save the trouble and difficulty of the Letter. On

the 19th, he returned with the message, that the Viceroy could hold no com

munication with me ; notwithstanding which, in the evening of 22nd, in came

Howqua and Mowqua with a message from the Viceroy, requesting I would

receive a visit next morning from the Kwang-Chow-Foo, the Chaou-Chow-Foo,

and the Kwang-Chow-Hee,—the two former, civil mandarins of high rank, and

the third, a military one of the same sort. Of course, I expressed my willingness

to receive them in state in the great hall ; and the arrangements were formed


The occurrences of this day's meeting are detailed in the records ; and I

forward a copy which will explain everything distinctly. The consequences are,

however, what we have to look to, and which are not yet developed -y but the act

of sending three great men to confer with an outside barbarian, contrary to all

previous custom, is a strong instance of their vacillation, or want of steady pur

pose and determination ; and it is an occurrence which has astonished the shop

keepers beyond measure : they would be too happy to trade with us on any


I have now desired Mr. Morrison to translate and print a short statement

of our present circumstances in respect to the trade, which I will circulate

amongst the mercantile community in general ; because I have some reason to

believe that the government have been playing us false on that subject.

The Edict of 1831 is that which they never can get over, although they

appear to have forgotten it altogether. The day after the conference, the Kwang-

Chow-Foo was dismissed from office. His want of success on that occasion, had

filled up the measure of many iniquities ; and some say he is gone to Peking to

answer for all his administration. He has been succeeded by the Chaou-Chow-

Foo ; and the Hoppo, a revenue commissioner, is also about to be dismissed.

He is known by the name of " skinflint " in his own language, as being the

greatest extortioner ever sent from Peking.

At present the whole community, including mandarins and Hong merchants

are much taken up in feasts and oblations. The illuminations on board the

vessels on the river are magnificent every evening.

This Kwang, who has been■ dismissed, was the person who principally forced


the stoppage of trade. The Chaou was the orator for the occasion ; the

military Kwang, a fine-looking coarse- featured old man, was extremely

desirous of accommodating matters ; but it was quite impossible to send messages

on important business, and I had no security that my business would have been

properly reported.

I hope your Lordship will receive my other letters safe per Mangles.

I have, &c,

(Signed) NAPIER.

Inclosure in No. 12.

Statement of what passed in the interview between Lord Napier and certain

Chinese Officers, on the 23rd of August, 1834.

Saturday, August 23, 1834.

ACCORDING to yesterday's intimation, the Linguists and servants arrived

at the hall this morning, at nine o'clock, bringing with them chairs, &c, of

ceremony, for the use of the Mandarins, which they placed in the following

manner: —Three chairs for the Mandarins, fronting the South, towards the river;

a row on the right hand, with their backs turned towards the picture of his

late Majesty ; and another on the left, opposite, crossing the room at right

angles, intended for the Hong merchants; and thus leaving no space for the

accommodation of the Members of the Commission.

On the arrival of the Superintendents, at a little before eleven, it was

thought indispensably necessary to alter the arrangements, by introducing a

writing-table, which was placed longitudinally across the room; a chair at the

north end being placed for Lord Napier, one at the south end for Mr. Astell,

Secretary ; the chair of the Kwang-Chow-Foo, obliquely on Lord Napier's left ;

the chair of the Kwang-Chow-Hee, similarly, on Lord Napier's right ; the chair

of the Chaou-Chow-Foo, obliquely on Mr. Astell's right ; a chair for Sir George

Robinson, obliquely on Mr. Astell's left; a chair for Mr. Morrison, Interpreter,

a little in the rear, between Lord Napier and the Kwang-Chow-Foo ; a chair

for Mr. Johnston, Private Secretary, in the same position on the right ; a row of

chairs for the Hong merchants, across the room, behind the two Mandarins,

facing his Majesty's picture ; with chairs for the other gentlemen attached to

the Commission, longitudinally on the south side of the room, to the left of

Sir George Robinson: thus keeping his Majesty's picture open to all.

This new arrangement being effected, Howqua and Mowqua arrived, using

every endeavour and persuasion to restore the former order of things, as being

more compatible with the dignity of the Mandarins, and the usages of the

celestial Empire.

A delay of above two hours thus ensued, before they could be induced to

yield this point of etiquette ; and at a quarter past one (the Superintendents

being in full dress, seated in their places) the Mandarins arrived, when the

Superintendents rose and requested them to take ther seats, which they did


Howqna and Mowqua being called in, were desired by Lord Napier to take

their seats. The business of the day commenced by Lord Napier putting the

question to Howqua, through Mr. Morrison, the Interpreter,—If the Mandarins

had not desired him to state their intention of waiting on the Superintendents

at eleven o'clock 1 Having received an answer in the affirmative, Lord Napier

expressed his extreme dissatisfaction to the Mandarins, for having thus delayed

their attendance for about two hours ; considering it as an insult to His Britannic

Majesty, which could not be overlooked a second time ; desiring them to remem

ber, that whereas on former occasions they had only to deal with the servants

of a private company of merchants, they must understand henceforth that their

communications would be held with the officers appointed by His Britannic

Majesty, by no means inclined to submit to such indignities.

Lord Napier then requested the Kwang-Chow-Foo to relate the object

of his visit. The Chaou-Chow-Foo then explained, at considerable length,


that they were ordered by the Viceroy to demand of Lord Napier the cause of

of his arrival at Canton ; the nature of the business he was instructed to performi;

and when it was his intention to return to Macao ? To the first of these questions

Lord Napier replied, by reading from the records the Edict of the Viceroy,

(Taoukwang, 10th year, 12 moon, 3rd day (16th January, 1831.) " in

structing the Chief of the Factory to send an early letter home, stating, that

in case of the dissolution of the Company, it was incumbent to deliberate, and

appoint a chief who understood the business, to come to Canton for the general

management of commercial dealings; by which means affairs might be prevented

from going to confusion, and benefits remain to commerce. "

Hereupon, Lord Napier produced His Majesty's Commission ; acquainting

the Mandarins that His Majesty had been pleased, in furtherance of the wishes

expressed in the said Edict, to appoint him, one of His Majesty's household and

a Captain in his Royal Navy, to perform the duties so required; assisted by the

other gentlemen then present, whose names were also mentioned in the Com

mission. Lord Napier also remarked, that the Viceroy, as well as they, the

Mandarins, appeared entirely to have forgotten the existence of such a docu

ment ; and begged to refer them to their own records, wherein, undoubtedly,

the original would be found.

In reply to the second question, as to the nature of the duties to be per

formed, information on that point was contained in the letter to the Viceroy, ■„.

which he recommended that they should deliver to his Excellency; or, if they

preferred, they were at liberty to open and peruse it themselves, on the condi

tion that it should be deposited, as an official document, among the archives of

the Government.

As to the third point, of his Lordship's return to Macao, he stated, that that

was a point to be regulated entirely according to his own convenience.

A great deal of desultory conversation then took place, when the Manda

rins observed, that the King of Great Britain ought to have written a letter to the

Viceroy, stating his wishes and intentions, that he might have been able to report

the same to the Emperor. Lord Napier replied, that it was quite incompatible

with the dignity of his Sovereign to correspond with the Viceroy, considering

that he himself, an hereditary nobleman in his own country, and of much higher

rank than any of the Mandarins present, was on a perfect equality with the

Viceroy or Governor ; and, consequently, the proper channel for such


The Mandarins then argued the necessity of their being made acquainted

with the nature of the business on which they had come to seek information,

that they might report the same to the Viceroy.

Lord Napier replied, that it was quite impossible, as well as irregular, to

cnmmunicate important official business through the medium of common

conversation ; and therefore recommended them again to consult on the subject

with the Viceroy.

The Mandarins appeared desirous of considering Lord Napier's letter to

the Viceroy, in the light of a private communication, which might be opened by

the Hong merchants,—a point which of course was firmly resisted.

The business of the day being thus brought to a conclusion, the Mandarins

partook of a refreshment and departed upon the best possible terms, hinting they

might probably return in a little time. The Kwang-Chow-Hee, being the chief

military officer of the department, remarked, that it would be very unpleasant

were the two nations to come to a rupture. To which Lord Napier replied, not

at all on our parts, as we were perfectly prepared ; but that he might be perfectly

assured of His Majesty's most gracious desire of maintaining the most friendly

intercourse with the Emperor of China.

Considering that a few days have only elapsed since it had been suggested

to the Hong merchants that the Viceroy might send a military officer for the

purpose of conducting the Superintendents to the presence of his Excellency,

and that a verbal message had been received from his Excellency, stating, " that

he could hold no communication with outside barbarians," it is evident that

the present visit of the mandarins, the first of the sort that had ever occurred,

proposed entirely on the part of their own Government, must have arisen from

a conviction in the mind of the Viceroy, of the necessity of opening a commu

nication with the Superintendents, in accordance with the advantages which

must accrue to the interests of both nations, by conducting their affairs on

principles of mutual and friendly intercourse.

The discussion which took place previous to the meeting, relative to the

disposition of the chairs, although of itself in any other country a matter of

trivial importance, yet among people like the Chinese, whose actions are

entirely governed by etiquette, it is considered by the Superintendents, that the

Mandarins, having yielded up the point, afforded to them the strongest proofs of

the propriety and necessity of conducting their business with firmness and

determination ; being satisfied that a steady perseverance will be attended with

success, but the slightest concession, on their parts, is sure to be followed by

subsequent embarrassment and defeat.

(Signed) NAPIER

No. 13.

Lord Napier to Viscount Palmerston. —(Received February 24, 1835.)

My dear Lord, Canton, August 28, 1834.

ACCORDING to intimation from the Spartan that she was to sail early

this morning, I closed the bag last night, but now, at noon, I find there is a

moment left ; and I take the opportunity of stating that Howqua and Mowqua

have just been here to request that I would receive four Mandarins on Saturday

next, the day after to-morrow. This I have consented to do ; which will soon

lead, I hope, to an amicable adjustment of our differences.

I have, &c,

(Signed) NAPIER.

No. 14.

[MEMORANDUM—Foreign Office, February , 1840.] No despatches

or letters were received at the Foreign Office from Lord Napier, of a date later

than his Lordship's preceding letter to Lord Palmerston. In order, however,

to supply the interruption which would otherwise exist in the narrative of

occurrences between the date of that letter, August 28, and September 28,

(when Mr. Astell, the Secretary, announced Lord Napier's return to Macao from

Canton, and his Lordship's illness at that place,) the following brief statement

has been prepared. This statement may be considered as an abstract from the

"Records of Proceedings" kept by the Commission; a copy of which was

received at the Foreign Office on the 12th of March, 1835.

, In the interview between the Hong merchants and Lord Napier, to which his

Lordship adverts in his letter of the 28th of August, the merchants proposed that

the position of the chairs (as mentioned in Inclosure in No. 12 of this collection

of documents') for the intended meeting between Lord Napier and the Mandarins,

should be altered ; and that the Mandarins should bring a Linguist with them to

interpret and to write,-—evidently, as supposed, for the purpose of substituting him

for Mr. Morrison, the Interpreter to the Superintendents. To the latter proposal

Lord Napier assented, upon the same principle that he would himself take

Mr. Morrison with him to the Viceroy, in the event of his having a meeting with

his Excellency ; but his Lordship insisted that Mr. Morrison should be the

medium of interpretation on the occasion proposed, as he had confidence in his

communicating what he was told, and could have no reliance on a Linguist who

knew nothing of the English language. As to the chairs, Lord Napier required

that they should remain in the same positions in which they had been placed in

his first conference with the Mandarins. On this the merchants retired, with a

promise to return the following day.

On the 29th the merchants returned, as they had promised ; when they


repeated the arguments of the day before : these arguments having been resisted

by Lord Napier on the grounds already stated, the merchants went away, pro

mising to report what had passed to the Mandarins, and call again the next day.

It does not appear that the merchants kept their promise on this occasion,

or that they had again any personal intercourse with Lord Napier.

In the mean while, information having been received by his Lordship,

through private channels, that the Chinese authorities had circulated reports

among the people, highly prejudicial to the honour of the King's Commission,

and giving a false colour to the events that had passed, Lord Napier caused

a statement to be lithographed and affixed to the corners of the streets of

Canton, and to be generally circulated for the information of the Chinese

people, of which the following is a copy :— •

Present state of relations between China and Great Britain.—Interesting' to .

the Chinese merchants.—A true and official Document.

"On the 16th January, 1831, the Viceroy, Le, in consequence of advice

from the Hong merchants, issued an Edict requiring the Chief of the Factory to

write home, stating, that, " in case of the dissolution of the East India Com

pany, it was incumbent on the British Government to appoint a Chief to come

to Canton, for the general management of commercial dealings, and to prevent

affairs from going to confusion." Whereupon, at the dissolution of the Com

pany, the King of Great Britain, in accordance with the wishes of the Viceroy,

appointed Lord Napier, a member of his own household, an hereditary nobleman,

and a captain in his royal navy, to come to Canton for the above most laudable

purpose ; and to report himself to the Viceroy accordingly. Lord Napier arrived

at Canton, on the 25th July ; and next day forwarded his letter addressed to

the Viceroy to the City Gates ; which was offered to the Mandarins for the

purpose of being delivered, and refused by the whole of them. It is false to

say, that the British officer who carried the letter desired to force his way

within the precints of the palace. The Hong merchants, it is true, desired to

take it ; but it was quite derogatory to the dignity of the Representative of the

King to communicate through the merchants. The Viceroy now complains, that

he does not know for what reason Lord Napier has come ; at the same time

forgetting the Edict of his predecessor, which brought him here, as well as his

own obstinacy in refusing to receive the letter of a man of equal rank with

himself. His Excellency then publishes Edicts, requiring Lord Napier to return

to Macao ; and on the 18th August publishes another Edict, in which he states,

" that the Hong merchants have requested the trade to be stopped, but that,

in commiseration," says he, " I again give temporary indulgence and delay,"—

knowing, at the same time, that the trade had been actually stopped by the Hong

merchants two days before.

" The Viceroy then sends the Kwang-chow-foo, the Kwang-chow-hee, and

the Chaou-chow-foo, to enquire of Lord Napier the object of his visit,—the nature

of his duties,—and the time of his return to Macao. Lord Napier replies to the

first, by a reference to the Edict of January, 1831 ; to the second, by a reference

to his letter to the Viceroy which contains all the intelligence, and which they

refuse to open or convey ; and to the third, that his return to Macao depends

entirely on his private convenience. The ignorance and obstinacy of the Viceroy

has thus allowed the Hong merchants actually to put a stop to the trade, when

he himself only threatens to do so. He sends the Mandarins, and they return

as empty as they went, when the official document was offered for their convey

ance ; and the consequence is, that thousands of industrious Chinese who live by

the European trade, must suffer ruin and discomfort through the perversity of

their Government. The merchants of Great Britain wish to trade with all China,

on principles of mutual benefit. They will never relax in their exertions till

they gain a point of equal importance to both countries ; and the Viceroy will

find it as easy to stop the current of the Canton river, as to carry into effect the

insane determination of the Hong.

" I have, &c,

« (Signed) NAPIER."

Canton, August 26, 1834.

F *


.; The great anxiety of the people to become acquainted with the foregoing

document, as manifested by their taking copies of it from morning till night, and

even by candle-light after dark, afforded a strong proof of the interest which

they took in a matter so nearly connected with their own welfare.

By way of a reply to this document the Chinese authorities issued a notice

to the following effect, and which was likewise affixed to the corners of the

streets :—

" A lawless foreign slave, Napier, has issued a notice. We know not how

such a dog barbarian of an outside nation as you, can have the audacious pre

sumption to call yourself Superintendent.

" Being an outside savage Superintendent, and a person in an official situa

tion, you should have some little knowledge of propriety and law.

" You have passed over ten thousand miles in order to seek a livelihood; you

have come to our celestial Empire to trade and controul affairs; —how can you

not obey well the regulations of the Empire ? You audaciously presume to break

through the barrier passes, going out and in at your pleasure !—a great infringe

ment of the rules and prohibitions! According to the laws of the nation, the

Royal Warrant should be respectfully requested to behead you ; and openly

expose [your head] to the multitude, as a terror to perverse dispositions."

It does not appear that this notice had any effect whatever on the people.

It is stated in the " Records," under date of the 2nd of September, that

information had been communicated to Lord Napier, that the Viceroy had ordered

the Hong merchants to devise some plan by which the trade might be opened ;

and thus relieve himself from the difficulty in which he found himself,

in consequence of his never having reported to the Emperor the arrival of

Lord Napier in Canton :* proposals were therefore under consideration that the

trade should be opened; that Lord Napier should retire in a few days after

the opening of the trade to Macao, with an understanding that he might

pass and repass between Macao and Canton, if necessary, quietly and without

the authorities taking notice of it ; and that a representation should be

forwarded to the Emperor recommending an acknowledgment of the new

system of trade. [For a summary of this private negotiation, see No. 28 of this

collection of documents.]

Notwithstanding the Viceroy's disposition to open the trade, he was

obliged to abandon his intentions in this respect, in consequence of the numerous

representations addressed to him by certain Chinese functionaries; one of whom,

the Foo-yuen, offered to share the responsibility with his Excellency, and urged

him on to an adverse course of proceeding, by comparing his conduct with that

of the late Governor Le while in a similar position; consequently, on the

4th of September, an Edict was published by the Viceroy, dated the 2nd, con

firming the stoppage of the trade from the 16th of August, up to which period

*• all commercial dealings were to be confirmed ; all goods paid for to that date

were to be shipped, after which the trade was altogether to be stopped." As

by this Edict all workmen, boatmen, and others, were no longer allowed to

(• Memorandum.— Received at the Foreign Office, April 14, 1835.)

The following may be taken as a proof of the Chinese authorities in Canton" sparing no

expense or trouble to deceive the Emperor, when deception is deemed necessary, which is the case

nine times out of ten, when we have any misunderstanding with them.

When the official Report to the Emperor was drawn up, after the affair between. Lord Napier and

the Viceroy, it became necessary for all the departments to be unanimous.

A Censor of high rank was in Canton ; he had been sent down from Pekin to investigate the

conduct of officers also high in rank ; and it became necessary to bring him over. The arguments

used may be inferred from the following circumstance : he brought no money with him ; had none to

receive there; but when he left Canton, he carried away so much money with him in gold that, his

emissaries in purchasing it raised the price of gold of 100 touch, $ of a dollar per tael weight, or from

23 \ dollars per oz. to 24^, before they had procured all thev required,—a rise of 3^ per cent.

This is from the best authority. (Signed) W. JARDINE.

December 8, 1834.

[Memorandum : Foreign Office.—It has been calculated, that the purchase of gold necessary

to affect the money market at Canton, in the manner stated by Mr. Jardine, must have been to the

extent at least of One hundred thousand pounds sterling.]


receive hire from the foreign community, these persons deserted their service and

left the factories.

Under these circumstances, Lord Napier on the 5th addressed a letter to

Captain Blackwood, of Her Majesty's ship Imogene, at Chuen-pee, requesting him

to pass the Bogue with the two frigates under his command (the Imogene and

Andromache) and take up a station at Whampoa, for the more efficient pro

tection of British subjects and their property; and also to send up to Canton

a guard of marines for the security of the premises occupied by the Super

intendents, and in which was deposited the treasury of the East India Company:

accordingly, Lieutenant Reed of the Andromache, with two midshipmen, a

serjeant, and twelve marines, landed at Canton at 8 o'clock on the morning of

the 6th of September.

In consequence of the Edict of the 2nd of September, and of a notice from

the Viceroy, promulgated by the Hong merchants on the 5th, stating that orders

had been given to the forts and guard-houses, to allow English boats and ships

to go out of port only, and not to allow them to enter it, Lord Napier

addressed to Mr. Boyd, Secretary to the Chamber of Commerce, the following

letter, for the purpose of its being communicated to the Hong merchants and

the Chinese authorities.

"Sir, Canton, September, 8, 1834*

"Whereas Mr. Morrison has laid before me the translation of an Edict of the

2nd September, issued by Loo, Governor of Canton and Kwangse, and Ke, Foo-

yuen [Lieutenant Governor] of the province of Canton, wherein, among other

things, it is stated, that, on examination of the rules of the celestial Empire,

they find, that * Ministers have no outward intercourse with outside barbarians,

and that it cannot be known whether Lord Napier is a merchant or an officer.'

I beg to acquaint you, for the information of the said Hong merchants, and Loo

and Ke, that, during the last 200 years, a constant personal intercourse has

been maintained between the Viceroy of Canton and the British subjects resorting

hither: for example, in the year 1637, on the part of Captain Weddel, after

destroying the fort at the Bogue; in 1731, on the part of the Supracargoes

of the East India Company; in 1742, on the part of Commodore Anson ; in

1754, on the part of the Supracargoes; in 1792, on the part of a Committee

from England ; in 1795, on the part of the Supracargoes ; in 1805, on the part

of Mr. Roberts and Sir George Staunton ; in 1806, on the part of Mr. Roberts,

and again on the part of Mr. Drummond and Mr. Elphinston ; 1814, on the

part of Sir George Staunton; in 1816, on the part of Sir Charles Metcalfe

and Captain Clavell ; and on many other occasions by the Chiefs of the Factory,

on their annual return from Macao to Canton. So far, therefore, the allegation

of the said Loo and Ke is not founded in fact.

"Again, that they know not whether Lord Napier is an officer or a merchant,

is equally false ; for the Kwang-chow-foo and the Chaou-chow-foo and the Kwang-

chow-hee waited on Lord Napier, when they saw him in the uniform of Captain

in the British Navy ; and when they might have assured themselves of this fact,

as well as of all others connected with his Mission to China, had they carried his

letter to the Viceroy, or had his Excellency given him the same reception as had

been usually accorded to others.

" And whereas, it is further stated in the said Edict, that the trade was

stopped by request of the Hong merchants on the 16th of last month, but, that

he, the Viceroy, replied to them, 'commanding to give temporary indulgence and

delay;' which command was issued on the 18th day of last month, and was

never obeyed by the Hong merchants : and whereas, in the present Edict of the

2nd instant, it is now declared by Loo and Ke, that from the 16th day of August

all buying and selling on the part of the English nation is wholly put a stop to,

with the exception of all goods the sale or purchase of which was settled pre

viously to the stoppage : and whereas, in full reliance on the honour of the

Viceroy, and the authority of the Edict ' commanding temporary indulgence

and delay,' British merchants have transacted considerable business with the mer

chants of China between the 1 8th of last month and the 2nd of the present, and

in the face of that Edict, and in forgetfulness of ' his command to grant indul

gence and delay,' the Viceroy now joins with the Foo-yuen in the very unjust

measure of stopping the trade altogether from the 16th of last month, to the great

prejudice not only of the British merchants, but of that also of the subjects of His


Imperial Majesty the Emperor of China :—I do hereby, in the name of Hit

Britannic Majesty, protest against this act of unprecedented tyranny and injus

tice thus decreed by the Viceroy and Foo-yuen. And whereas, notice has been

taken in the said Edict of the 2nd instant, of the expected arrival of the ships

from England with cargoes, to be given in exchange for teas and other mercan-

dize ; and whereas, all merchandize is allowed to be embarked up to the 16th

ultimo, and ought in justice to be extended to the 2nd instant ; and as the per

mission to embark sucli merchandize implies the delivering of inward cargoes for

such purpose ; and still the trade is wholly put a stop to which prevents the

pelivery of such cargoes, and the embarkation of the merchandize already so

permitted to be shipped :—I hereby again protest, in the name of His Britannic

Majesty, against this absurd and tyrannical assumption of power on the part of

the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor.

" And whereas by a letter of the Hong merchants of September 6th, giving

notice ' that the Governor has ordered all forts and guard-houses, that the

English boats and ships are only allowed to go out of port and are not allowed to

enter ;' and that such a prohibition is altogether at variance with the other Edict

permitting a certain part of the trade to be embarked. I have to request that

you will hereby give notice to the Hong merchants, that it is a very serious

offence to fire upon or otherwise insult the British flag : and whereas they

are already aware that there are two frigates now in the river, bearing very

heavy guns, for the express purpose of protecting the British trade, I would

warn the Hong merchants again and again, that if any disagreeable conse

quences shall ensue from the said Edicts, they themselves, with the Go

vernor and Lieutenant Governor, are responsible for the whole. I recommend

them to take warning in time:—they have opened the preliminaries of war;—

they destroy trade, and they incur loss of life on the part of the unoffending

people, rather than grant to me the same courtesy which has been granted to

others before me. They are all aware that the King my master sent me here in

consequence of Howqua's advice to Governor Le ; and, therefore, why do they

vainly contend against their own actions, to the destruction of trade and the

misery of thousands ?

" But let the Governor or Lieutenant Governor know this, that I will lose no

time in sending this true statement to His Imperial Majesty the Emperor at

Pekin ; and that I will also report to his justice and indignation the false and

treacherous conduct of Loo, Governor, and of the present Kwang Chow Foo,

who have tortured the Linguists, and cruelly imprisoned a respectable individual,

Sun-ching, a security merchant, for not having acquiesced in a base lie, purport

ing that I arrived in Canton river in a merchant ship; whereas they are both

aware that I made my passage, and arrived in one of the ships of war now at

anchor in the river. His Imperial Majesty will not permit such folly, wicked

ness, and cruelty as they have been guilty of, since my arrival here, to go

unpunished ; therefore tremble Governor Loo, intensely tremble !

" And again, Governor Loo has the assurance to state in the Edict of the

2nd., as well as on former occasions, that the ' King my master has hitherto

been reverently obedient.' I must now request you to declare to him, that His

Majesty the King of Great Britain is a great and a powerful monarch,—that he

rules over an extent of territory in the four quarters of the world, more com

prehensive in space, and infinitely more so in wealth, than the whole Empire of

China,—that he commands armies of bold and fierce soildiers, who have conquered

wherever they went,—and that he is possessed of great ships of war, carrying

even as many as 120 guns, which pass quietly along the seas, where no native of

China has ever yet dared to show his face. Let the Governor then judge if

such a monarch ' will be reverently obedient to any one.'

" And now, I beg you to inform the Hong merchants, knowing their duplicity,

I suspect that they will not communicate the foregoing to the Governor and

Lieutenant Governor; I would therefore give them warning, that if I do not

receive an answer from his Excellency, touching the points narrated in this

letter, by this day week, Monday the 15th, I will publish it through the streets

and circulate copies among the people, one of which may peradventure find its

way into his Excellency's presence.

" I beg to remain, &c,

(Signed) NAPIER."


This letter having been brought to the knowledge of the Viceroy by the

Hong merchants, drew forth from his Excellency the following Edict:

" Loo, Governor of the provinces Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c

" To the Hong merchants, requiring their full acquaintance with the

contents hereof.

" In everything relating to the trade of the English barbarians at Canton,

there have long been established rules. There has never been such a thing as a

residence here of a barbarian officer or Superintendent. The great ministers of

the Celestial Empire, unless with regard to affairs of going to Court, and carry

ing tribute, or in consequence of Imperial commands, are not permitted to have

interviews with outside barbarians. The affairs of the former Ming dynasty,

(Captain WeddelPs affair) need not be brought into discussion. How have any

officers of the great Tsing dynasty had intercourse to and fro with barbarians ?

As to the intercourse between barbarian officers and those who have formerly

held the office of Governor, in the years of Keenlung and Keaking [from 1736 to

1820], referred to in the paper copied by the said merchants, perhaps when the

said nation has sent tribute there may have been interviews given to the tribute-

bearers ; otherwise there certainly has not been this ceremony. This even the

said nation's private merchants must all be aware of. I the Governor have been

obedient, maintaining the national dignity : from the first I have not been

commencing what is strange or sounding forth my loftiness.

" In the tenth year of Taoukwang, the said [Hong] merchants having

reported, that the English Company would, after the thirteenth year of Taou

kwang, be dissolved and ended ; that the merchants of the said nation would

trade for themselves; and that they feared affairs would be under no general

controul, the then Governor, Le, commanded them to enjoin orders on the said

nation's merchants to send a letter home ; that if the Company ended and

dispersed, a chief [Taepan] should still be appointed to come to Canton to

manage affairs. The books of records are still existing. There is no word of a

Superintendent. The said barbarian Eye, Lord Napier, styles himself a Super

intendent come to Canton. Whether a Superintendent should be appointed over

the said nation's barbarian merchants, or not, it is in itself needless to inquire

about minutely. But we Chinese will still manage through the medium of

merchants. There can be no alteration made for officers to manage. Besides,

the business is one newly commencing. It is incumbent to present a memorial

requesting the mandate of the Great Empire to be obeyed and acted on. The

said barbarian Eye, Lord Napier, brought not any written communication from

the said Nation's King. Suddenly he came,—I, the Governor, knew not what

man he was,—knew not what business he was to transact. I sent the said

merchants to inquire and to investigate, and to require him to inform them of

the causes of his coming, and what was the nature of the business he was to

perform, in order to afford grounds for a full memorial. In what was this not

accordant with reason ? Even though the said barbarian Eye were indeed an

officer, why should he communicate to the merchants of the Central flowery

[nation] not a word ! If unwilling to converse with the said merchants, still,

what should prevent him from commanding the said nation's private merchants,

to revolve the matter with them and inform them fully ? But on four successive

occasions, when they inquired and investigated, he remained, as though he heard

not, determined in the wish to have official correspondence, and letters to and

fro with all the public officers of the inner land. The said nation and this

inner land, have heretofore had no interchange of official communications and

letters. Nor in the Celestial Empire is there this rule. How could I, the

Governor, in opposition to rules, permit it ?

" The said Hong merchants had before solicited that a stop should be put

to the said nation's buying and selling. I, the Governor, because the said

nation had had an open market here for upwards of a hundred years, and

because the said Nation's King had several times sent tribute,—so that I could not

but call him reverently obedient ; but still more, because the said nation's sepa

rate merchants had, many of them, crossed the seas and come from a distance,—

so that I would not for the fault of one man involve the mercantile multitude ;

therefore, replied, commanding an indulgent delay. Again, apprehending that

the said merchants, in enjoining the orders, had not attained perfect clearness,


I also sent officers to proceed to the barbarian factories, and personally make

enquiry. On the part of me, the Governor, it was the utmost, the extreme, of

careful regard and perfect kindness. But the said barbarian Eye, even in the

presence of deputed officers, did not speak plainly of the object of his

mission. Still, apprehending that their words might not be truly delivered, I

commanded them to take with them Linguists and proceed thither. When the

flowery [Chinese] and barbarians have oral intercourse, Linguists interpret what is

said. Throughout the empire it is in all cases thus. Yet, neither would the

said barbarian Eye have the Linguists to interpret for him, so that the deputed

officers could not say every thing.

"Since the said barbarian Eye, having come for the purpose of examining

and directing trade, did not tell clearly the object of his mission; whether, after

the Company was dissolved affairs should be conducted as before or not; or how

they should be conducted ; by what means could trade be carried on ? I could

not but, according to law, close the ships' holds. That I, the Governor, did it

not willingly, but with extreme pain of mind, has been already clearly explained

in the Proclamation. The said Hong merchants having orally stated, that they

had taken full account of the goods, the purchase of which was settled before the

12th of last moon [i. e. the 16th August], and had wholly stopped, not having

since had any commercial dealings, I, therefore, ordered the stoppage from the

day of the said merchant's petition. It was in no way a former and a latter, —two

modes of acting. I, the Governor, six times successively issued Official replies,

all in conformity with the old established regulations ; I in no way forced into

difficulties, nor did I thrust forward my own notions ; neither did I by a single

word rudely reprehend the said barbarian Eye. The replies have all been printed

and publicly displayed. All eyes may see them. Even the said Nation's King,

if he see them, cannot say that I, the Governor, have not spoken what is


"The said barbarian Eye has not learned to arouse from his previous errors,

but has further called to him many persons, bringing in boats military weapons

which have been moved into the barbarian factory. —A great opposition to the

laws and prohibitions ! Into the important territory of the provincial city, how

can outside barbarians presume to bring military weapons causing alarm to the

inhabitants ! I , therefore, commanded the fort named Leetih, that should any

sampan boats proceed towards the city, they should be stopped ; and should be

authoritatively informed, that if the said barbarian vessels perversely opposed and

disobeyed, the military would of course fire off the guns, which would be but

what their own offences would bring on them. Yet several times when barba

rian merchants were stopped, they were at once sent back to the place whence

they came, without being brought to investigation and punishment. Thus it

may be seen that I, the Governor, have not tyrannically treated the outside

barbarians. Even with regard to the said barbarian Eye, when, instance upon

instance, he has presumed on force and power, what difficulty would there be in

my meeting him with military terrors ? But I cannot bear forcibly to drive him

out. The Celestial Empire cherishes those from a far virtuously. What it values

is the subjection of men by reason : it esteems not awing them by force. The

said barbarian Eye has now again opposed the laws, in commanding the ships of

war to push forward into the inner river ; and in allowing the barbarian forces to

fire guns, attacking and wounding our soldiers, and alarming our resident people.

This is still more out of the bounds of reason, and renders it still more unintel

ligible what it is he wishes to do.

"The soldiers and horses of the Celestial Empire, its thundering forces, with

guns and weapons, gather on the hills. If it were desired to make a great

display of conquering chastisement, how could the petty trifling war ships afford

protection? Besides, all the merchants trading here I, the Governor, treat

most liberally : what need is there of protection ? By such ignorant and

absurd conduct, entering far into the important territory he is already within

my grasp. Arrangements have been now made to assemble a large force, ranged

out both by sea and land. What difficulty will there be in immediately

destroying and eradicating? Therefore that I am slow, dilatory, and cannot bear

to do so is, because I consider that such movements are not according to the

wishes of the said Nation's King ; nor are they according to the wishes of the

several merchants. I, the Governor, looking up, embody the heaven-like

benevolence of the Great Emperor. Only by reforming his errors can he avoid

cutting himself off, and attain reformation. If the said barbarian Eye will


speedily repent of his errors, withdraw the ships of war, and remain obedient to

the old rules, I will yet give him some slight indulgence. If he still adhere to

stupidity, and do not arouse, maintain his wickedness, and do not change, he will

be sinning against the Great Emperor; and I, the Governor, will certainly find

it difficult again to display endurance and forbearance. I apprehend that when

the Celestial troops once come, even precious stones will burn up before them.

On no account defer repentance till afterwards.

" Uniting circumstances, I issue this order. When the order reaches the

said Hong merchants, let them immediately act in obedience to it, and enjoin it

on all the English merchants, with even temper discussing it. If, hereafter,

things come to a rupture, do not say that I, the Governor, caused it by my

errors. Let them also enjoin the orders on the said barbarian Eye ; and let

them write a letter back to the country, to cause it to be known. A Special


"Taoukwang, 14th year, 8th moon, 9th day. (September 11, 1834.)"

All negociations, with a view to the opening of the trade unaccompanied

by the condition that Lord Napier should quit Canton, having failed, his

Lordship felt convinced that any further attempts on his part to effect this

unconditional object would be vain ; and that a continuance of the stoppage of

the trade would cause great injury to the interests of the British merchants.

Under these circumstances, his Lordship considered it his duty to comply with

the Viceroy's stipulation that he should retire to Macao, and by so doing admit

of the trade being opened; and he therefore determined on the 14th of

September to remove the Commission temporarily to Macao.

Lord Napier having become greatly indisposed in health, Mr. Colledge, the

surgeon to the Establishment, decided that it was necessary that his Lordship

should at once quit Canton: the requisite arrangements were accordingly made,

through Mr. Colledge and the Hong merchants, for his Lordship and suite

repairing to Macao, by the inner passage, in Chinese passage-boats.

On the 21st of September, Lord Napier addressed a letter to Captain

Blackwood, stating that, in consequence of an understanding come to with the

Chinese authorities, His Majesty's ships Imogene and Andromache were no

longer required at Whampoa ; and requesting him immediately to proceed with

both ships to the anchorage at Lintin : adding, that the Chinese authorities had

provided for the conveyance of himself and suite to Macao. On the evening

of the same day, his Lordship and suite embarked for Macao, accompanied by

a numerous escort of Chinese boats and Mandarins. On the morning of the

26th, the party arrived at Macao, his Lordship's illness having been greatly

aggravated by the heat of the weather, and the annoyances and insults to which

he was exposed during the whole course of the passage. It would appear that

the voyage to Macao was protracted for the purpose of giving the Chinese

the opportunity of prolonging their insulting cruelties: his Lordship died at

Macao, about ten o'clock on the evening of the 11th of October, 1834.*]

No. 15.

J. H. Astell, Esq., Secretary, to John Backhouse, Esq.—(Received

February 8, 1835.)

Sir, Macao, September 28, 1834.

THE serious and continued indisposition of the Right Honourable the

Chief Superintendent rendering it impossible for his Lordship to address His

Majesty's Government by the present opportunity, I have briefly to state the

causes which have led to the Commission being, for the present, withdrawn

from Canton; though not until every endeavour had been exhausted to

[* One reason subsequently assigned for this detention, which was principally at a place called

Heang-Shan, was, in order that the Chinese escort should have time for ascertaining that the frigates

had passed the Bocca Tigris on their passage outwards.}


overcome the continued obstinacy of the Viceroy, in insisting on his retirement

to this place, and refusing to open his letter of announcement.

The Local Government were duly reminded of the Edict of 1831 ; by

which the late Governor, Le, required that a properly constituted authority

should be appointed on the expiration of the Company's Charter ; but the

Viceroy persisted in declaring (to use his own language) " that the said

barbarian Eye, Lord Napier, brought not any written announcement from the

said nation's King—suddenly he came. I, the Governor, knew not what man

he was, or what business he was to transact." He accordingly persisted in the

requisition with which he had at first set out, the withdrawal of the Commission,

to Macao.

Not contented with their earlier acts of annoyance and indignity

whether of a personal nature, as the unnecessary breaking open of Lord

Napier's baggage, and the seizure of the compradores, or purveyors of provisions;

or the more serious and public injury inflicted by the stoppage of the trade,

the Local Government were emboldened, on the 4th instant, to proceed so far

as to beset the residence of the Chief Superintendent with a large number of

soldiers, to drive away his Lordship's native servants, and to cut off all

supplies of provisions. Under these circumstances, accompanied by the denial

to sanction or make good any commercial transactions, involving British

property, subsequent to the 1 6th of August, the Right Honourable the Chief

Superintendent deemed it necessary, on the 5th instant, to apply to Captain

Blackwood, by letter, for a guard of marines, for the protection of the factory ;

and to request that officer, at the same time, to proceed with His Majesty's

ships Imogene and Andromache, to the anchorage of the trade at Whampoa,

for the greater security of British property and persons.

The frigates found no difficulty in effecting their passage through the

Bogue, though not without silencing the fire of the Chinese forts by their own,

after having received several rounds of shot without returning one, as in the

case of the Alceste in 1816.

On the arrival of His Majesty's ships at Whampoa, the communication

between that place and Canton was entirely closed by the Chinese, for all

purposes of commerce or otherwise ; and a negotiation commenced, in which

the local Government required the withdrawal of the frigates from the

anchorage of the merchant ships, and the retirement of Lord Napier from

Canton, previous to the resumption of commercial dealings. His Lordship

was, therefore, induced on the 1 5th instant, to address a letter to the British

merchants, in which he informed them, that having thus far, without effect,

used every effort to establish His Majesty's Commission at Canton, he did not

feel authorized at present, by a continued maintenance of his claims, to occasion

the further interruption of the trade of the port. Captain Blackwood was

accordingly requested to proceed with His Majesty's ships to Lintin ; and Lord

Napier and suite embarked in two chop-boats, for Macao, on the 21st instant.

The trade of Whampoa, which was closed at the instigation of the

Hong merchants, is expected to resume its usual course in a few days, after the

official forms attendant on the arrival of a new Hoppo at Canton have been


I have, &c,

(Signed) J. H. ASTELL,



No. 16.

The Agents of the East India Company in China, to the Honourable the

Court of Directors in London.—(Communicated to the Foreign Office,

March 3, 1835.)

Honourable Sirs, Macao, September 29, 1834.

WE avail ourselves of the departure of the brig Belhaven to acquaint

your Honourable Court with the present termination of the differences between

His Majesty's Superintendents and the Chinese Government, by which the

trade has been suspended from the 16th of August to the present date.

2. It is out of our power to present your Honourable Court with a detail

of the occurrences, correspondence, &c, which has led to the event in question,

owing to our documents being at Canton, from whence we are unable to

transact any business, all communication with the shipping at Whampoa, or

elsewhere, being cut off by the strict surveillance of the Chinese Government;

and our servants, as well as Chinese of every profession, being forbidden

access to our factory on pain of death : we will, however, give a brief nar

rative of events. ;

•3. Shortly after the arrival of the Chief Superintendent at Canton, he

endeavoured to open communication with the Chinese Government by letter ;

and in order to avoid the intervention of the Hong merchants, the letter in

question was presented at the gates by parties deputed for that purpose : the

letter was refused to be accepted by the Chinese for the twofold reasons,

that it was not termed a Petition, and for an alleged informality in the

external address to the Viceroy.

4. The Hong merchants almost immediately waited on Lord Napier, and

endeavoured to become the official channel of communication between him

and the Viceroy, as heretofore; and the Viceroy about the same time pub

lished an Edict, stating that there ought to be no change in this particular ; and

the Kwang Chow Foo, attended by the Chaou Chow Foo and Kwang Heep,

visited Lord Napier, with a request to know on what business he visited

China. This he declined to answer; referring those officers to his unopened

letter to the Viceroy, stating, that if that were received, his Excellency

would be therein informed of the purpose of his visit to China. The meeting

shortly broke up by a refusal on the part of Lord Napier to admit the Hong

merchants as official negociators between him and the Viceroy, and with

a promise on the part of these mandarins to visit his Lordship again.

5. The Viceroy shortly after this published an Edict, stating the inten

tion of the Government to adhere to its ancient customs with foreigners ; and

that as Lord Napier had not brought any credential letters from his own

Government to that of China, designating his office . and the purpose of

his visit, the Viceroy could not receive a letter from him, save through. the

Hong merchants, the usual channel of communication on matters appertaining

to trade, which alone he understood Lord Napier was come to superintend;

iurther, that as it was a thing hitherto unknown for an official foreign

mandarin to reside at Canton, he required Lord Napier to return to Macao,

until the will of the Emperor should be known from Peking, as to the

recognition or otherwise of his Lordship, in his office of Superintendent of


6. The Chief Superintendent then published a manifesto in the Chinese

language, of the position of his negotiation with the officers of Government,

to be appended to the walls of the streets, and for general circulation. He

therein stated that he was come for the regulation of the British Trade to

China; and being of a rank similar to the Viceroy, that he desired to com

municate directly through him, but that this was refused, and his letter

returned. This manifesto was published pending the expected visit of the

three Chinese officers; and is understood to have indisposed those officers

to renew their communication : negotiation was, however, on foot, to conduct

their meeting through the Chinese Linguists, and to dispense as much as

possible with the officers of the Interpreter to the Superintendents; as well

as a claim on the part of the Kwang Chow Foo, to be seated on an equality

with Lord Napier: these points were refused by his Lordship, and the effect

of these combined circumstances prevented any further visit of the Chinese

officers to the British Factory.

7. On the 16th of August, an official announcement was made by the

Viceroy, that, owing to Lord Napier's determination not to abide by the Vice

roy's requisition for him to return to Macao, until the Emperor's reply to his

communication had been received, the Hong merchants had recommended

the suspension of British commerce ; but that he, the Viceroy, would not defi

nitively adopt such advice, in the hope that Lord Napier would cease to act

in opposition to the orders which had hitherto guided foreign commercial

intercourse with the Chinese ; and that he would quit Canton for the present,

as urged previously to do by the Viceroy.

8. No further change having occurred, the Viceroy on the 2nd of Sep

tember officially announced all trade to be at an end between the Chinese

and British Subjects; ordered away all Chinese from the factories; and com

menced placing a cordon of troops and boats to cut off every means of com

munication from Canton ; ordered the Chinese not to supply Lord Napier,

nor his factory, with provisions ; and adopted every means, short of acts of

violence, to induce and urge Lord Napier to obey his order to proceed to

Macao for the present. ■ . »

9. Lord Napier immediately requested from His Majesty's frigates,

Imogene and Andromache, then at Chumpee, a body of marines for his

protection ; and, although in his Circular on the subject his Lordship stated;

that one of the causes of the requisition was for the protection of the

Honourable Company's Treasury, we wish your Honourable Court to under

stand that we were quite ignorant of his Lordship's purpose ; and under

no apprehension whatever for I he safety of the Treasury ; and which, in fact,

did not contain as much money as many private treasuries in Canton.* «

10. Sir George Robinson was sent from Canton to require His Majesty's

frigates to pass the Bogue, which they did on the 8th instant ; and to proceed

to Whampoa, where they anchored on the 1 1th instant. The Bogue forts,

and that on Tiger Island, resisted the passage of the frigates, and the latter

fort is stated to have conducted the fire with great steadiness: one sailor

was killed on each of the frigates, but what the loss of life has been on the

part of the Chinese it is difficult to ascertain. The Chief Superintendent

stated the cause of the frigates being ordered to Whampoa, to be for the

protection of the trade, observing, that although the Viceroy had published

the intention of the Chinese Government to permit British subjects to

have the advantage of all the property bought or sold before the 16th of

August, when the Hong merchants first announced the trade to be suspended,

nevertheless, as it was not officially stopped before the 2nd of September,

that all engagements between those two dates should be ratified.

11. It does not appear that the passage of the frigates through the

Bogue, and their arrival at Whampoa, produced the expected effect on the

Chinese Government; they do not appear to have made any change in their

propositions ; and were only so far intimidated as to strengthen the defences

in every possible way to prevent the passage of the frigates' boats to

Canton : and a negotiation being on foot between the Hong merchants and a

British house of business in the confidence of Lord Napier, the Chinese officers

adhered to the terms of Lord Napier's departure for Macao, and the frigates

for Chumpee, being necessary preliminaries before the suspension of the

trade would be taken off: to which effect the Viceroy published a procla

mation on the evening of the 13th.

12. On the evening of the 14th, the Chief Superintendent published a

Circular to the British merchants, stating that, as the opening of the trade

depended on his returning to Macao, and as the difference between the

Viceroy and himself was of a personal nature, disconnected with the operation

[* Memorandum: Foreign Office, February, 1840.—It is well known that considerable alarm did

exist with regard to the private treasuries ; and that arrangements were actually made for the convey

ance of one of them to Macao, as a place of security. But it is very possible that the Agents of the

East India Company did not Feel the same degree of apprehension on this occasiou as the private

merchants did, whose mercantile interests were perhaps more intimately connected with a

i of Lord Napier's mission to Canton than those of the Company's



of commerce, he requested that the cutter Louisa should be sent to Canton

from Whampoa; to enable his Lordship to leave Canton immediately.

13. After some negotiation, with the particulars of which we are

unacquainted, the Chinese Government acceded to the request made to them

on account of the state of health of Lord Napier, that he should proceed to

Macao, by the inner passage in a chop boat, where he arrived on the 26th

September, and the trade is hourly expected to be resumed.

14. By an early opportunity we will forward to your Honourable Court

all the official and other correspondence which has occurred, pending the

dispute in question ; we are unable to do so by the present despatch, but as

ships, sailing from here in November, will offer a speedy conveyance, the

delay will not be of long continuation.

15. Under the circumstances occurring in Canton, we were unwilling,

indeed from the absence of the Chinese from the factory unable, to continue

to receive cash into our treasury, but we shall re-open it immediately on the

resumption of business ; at the present moment the amount in the treasury is

321,677,299 dollars.

16. Mr. Thomas Charles Smith arrived at Macao, on the 10th of Sep

tember, by the ship Hythe, and took his seat as Second Member of the

Honourable Company's Agency in China, according to the instructions of the

Honourable Court to that effect.

17. Since writing the former part of this letter, the suspension has been

withdrawn from the trade ; and it is understood that the commercial proceed

ings will be conducted as usual, without further obstacles on the part of the

Chinese Government arising from the recent misunderstandings.

We have, &c,

(Signed) J. DANIEL.



No. 17.

J. H. Astell, Esq., Secretary, to John Backhouse, Esq.—(Received

March 14, 1835.)

Sir, Macao, October 3, 1834.

IN reference to my letter from this place, under date the 28th ultimo,

I am directed by His Majesty's Superintendents to acquaint you, for the

information of His Majesty's Government, that the anticipation therein

expressed, has been realized by the re-opening of the trade at Canton on the —

29th ultimo.

I have, &c,

(Signed) J. H. ASTELL,


No. 18.

J. F. Davis, Esq., Chief Superintendent, to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received

February 23, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, October 12, 1834.

IT has become my painful task to announce to you the decease, on the

11th instant, of the Right Honourable Lord Napier, His Majesty's Chief

Superintendent. His Lordship's health had suffered some deterioration from

the change of climate on the passage out ; but the fever which terminated his

life, was brought on by the heat and confinement of Canton, in the discharge of

his duties ; aggravated, it is to be feared, by the harassing and distressing

annoyances which he experienced there from the Chinese, as well as by the

unnecessary delay interposed on his passage down to Macao.

G 2


Letters addressed, during Lord Napier's illness, to Mr. Under-Secretary

Backhouse, and bearing date the 28th ultimo, and 3rd instant, will already have

apprized your Lordship, that the trade at Whampoa had been re-opened by the

Chinese, on the retirement of the late Chief Superintendent to Macao. The

Viceroy persisted thus far in the course with which he first commenced, viz.,

the denial of the official character of Lord Napier, for the reasons stated in his

Edicts, and the refusal to open any letter from him which was not superscribed

as a Petition, or to acquiesce in his residence at Canton.

In the posture of affairs which has supervened, on the unfortunate

event of Lord Napier's decease, it will no doubt appear plainly to your Lordship,

as it does to myself, that during the actual progress of the trade of His Majesty's

subjects in this country, and pending the reference home, it is the bounden

duty of this Commission, most cautiously to abstain from any measures which

may unnecessarily interrupt the present continuance of those commercial

transactions with which such important interests are connected.

. • : In the absence of any advances on the part of the Chinese, a state of

absolute silence and quiescence on our part, seems the most eligible course, until

further instructions shall be received from home. At the same time, that this

line of procedure hazards nothing, and that the business of the shipping goes

on, it may occasion to the Local Government, a feeling of uncertainty and

suspense as to the future, calculated to draw from them some advances which

might be turned to good account.

The translation of an Edict from the Local Government, relative to the

two frigates, has just been received, and deserves particular notice. It is the

same in every respect, as the documents always put forth against the stay of

foreign vessels of war on the coast. While, however, it narrates every other

movement of the two ships from their first arrival, it is remarkable that their

passage of the forts, and their proceeding to Whampoa, are entirely suppressed.

It is satisfactory to state, that some delay, which had occurred in

granting licenses to native pilots for conducting newly-arrived ships up the

river, has just ceased, and that all vessels can proceed to Whampoa as formerly.

I have, &c,

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS,

Chief Superintendent.

No. 19.

J. F. Davis, Esq., to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received April 6, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, October 28, 1834.

SINCE the date of my last communication, nothing has occurred to

interrupt the regular and quiet progress of the British trade at Canton and


On the 16th instant, I obtained the copy of a report from the Local

Government to Peking, relative to the circumstances connected with Lord

Napier's retirement from Canton, a translation of which is recorded on the

proceedings. The passage of the river's entrance by His Majesty's ships,

altogether suppressed in a previous document already noticed, is there men

tioned, but hinted very slightly, and represented as a mere mistake ; and,

though it is stated that the fire from the forts was returned, the effect of the

fire is made to appear quite trivial. The rest of the paper is in the same

strain of misrepresentation.

A rumour, which I have fair grounds for believing, although as yet

unsubstantiated in writing, states that the Viceroy has lost several steps in

rank, and that he is recalled from office, on account of the late proceedings at

Canton. What is the precise nature of the charges against him, I cannot as

yet ascertain ; though it has been stated generally, that his punishment was for

" deceiving the Emperor." Any correct information on this important point,


I shall not omit to forward to your Lordship, as soon as obtained, since it may

materially influence the proceedings of His Majesty's Government in regard to

an appeal to Peking, or otherwise.

I will only observe, with reference to such an appeal, that should a measure

of the kind be determined on, not through a cumbrous and expensive Embassy,

with its attendant difficulties of ceremonies, but simply by means of a despatch

to the mouth of the Peking river ; it might be recommended by such reasons as

the following. First, that no fact is better authenticated than the general

ignorance in which the Local Government keeps the Court, in regard to the

Canton trade, and its treatment of Europeans ; secondly, that Chinese prin

ciples sanction and invite appeals against the conduct of the distant delegates

of the Emperor ; thirdly, that a reference of the kind was so successful in

1759, as to occasion the removal of a Chief Commissioner of Customs, at

Canton, though made by only a subordinate officer of the East India Company.

Whatever may be the line of proceeding finally adopted by His Majesty's

Government, I have already stated my conviction that during the progress

of the commercial transactions of individuals, and awaiting the arrival of

further instructions from England, this Commission has no other course to

pursue, than that of absolute silence ; unless, in the probable event very soon

to be determined, of such spontaneous advances being made by the Chinese

Government, as might admit of the re-commencement of negotiations.

That such an event is not probable, I should surmise, from the circum

stances of edicts having been issued by the Local Authorities (though as yet I

have not obtained copies), confirming the first prohibition against the residence

of the King's Commission at Canton ; and the Company's Agents here have

thereupon been requested by the Hong merchants not to sublet any portion of

their factory to the Superintendents during the continuation of their lease. It

is, moreover, desired that a Commercial Agent, called by the Chinese, a Taepan,

should be sent to Canton, and not a King's officer.

I have, &c,

. • (Signed) J. F. DAVIS, ■

Chief Superintendent.

No. 20.

Captain Elliot, Secretary, to John Backhouse, Esq.—(Received March 12, 1835.)

(Extract.) Macao, November 1, 1834-

I AM directed by the Chief Superintendent, to inclose the copy of a

despatch addressed by him to the Right Honourable the Governor General, on*

the 28th ultimo, describing the actual state of public circumstances at this place*

and submitting some general suggestions, with relation to his own intentions.

Inclosure in No. 20.

J. F. Davis, Esq., to Lord William Bentinck, Governor General of India.

My Lord, Macao, October 24, 1834.

THE copies of my despatches to the address of Viscount Palmerston, under

date the 12th and 13th instant, already forwarded to Calcutta, will have apprised

your Lordship of the melancholy event of Lord Napier's decease, after having-

exhausted every endeavour to establish his Commission at Canton.

The trade, which was re opened immediately on his Lordship's retirement

to Macao, is prosecuted by British subjects as usual; and T make no doubt of the

extreme desire of the local authorities to avert by its continuance, as far as lies

in their own power, any unpleasant consequences which they may apprehend from

their rejection of the new British authorities.


I have seen the copy of a report forwarded by the Canton government to

Pekin, abounding in more than the usual share of misrepresentation common to

Chinese documents. The entrance of the river by His Majesty's ships

Imogene and Andromache, on Lord Napier's requisition, is ascribed to

ignorance on the part of their commanders, and the effect of their fire on the

Chinese forts, when compelled to silence them, is confined to the " shaking of

some rafters and tiles."

At the same time, that the local authorities have evinced their desire to con

tinue the trade, it is my duty to state, that I have no expectation of any voluntary

advances from them towards the recognition of His Majesty's Commission.

The government of foreigners, through the medium of the Hong merchants, is

a system too valuable to the Canton officers, in diminishing their responsibility,

and enabling them to practise their heavy exactions with impunity, to be readily-

abandoned by them ; nor does there seem any chance of bettering the condition

of the English trade in this respect, unless His Majesty's Government deem ic

expedient to adopt measures of coercion, in the event of the previous, and more

eligible course of a reasonable appeal to Pekin, by the Yellow Sea, having been

found to fail.

I was informed by Lord Napier soon after his arrival, that any communica

tion with, or reference to, Pekin, was strictly forbidden by his instructions, without

authority from home ; arid this has been confirmed by a perusal of his Lordship's

papers subsequent to his decease. The season of the year, indeed, now precludes

the adoption of such a course, a great deal earlier than the date at which replies

might reasonably be expected from England ; and with regard to any measures

of a coercive nature towards the local government (the policy and justice of which,

except on the failure of an appeal to Pekin, might be questionable), I feel per

suaded, by the tenor of your Lordship's correspondence on the occasion of the

Select Committee's reference to India, in 1831, that no steps of this nature would

be adopted by your Lordship, except in the event of the commerce being sus


' Under these circumstances, and during the uninterrupted progress of the

trade, it is clear to me that the duty of this Commission is to abstain from all un

invited approaches towards an intercourse with the government, and to observe a

a perfect silence pending the references home. A few weeks more will ensure

the arrival of replies from Pekin, and determine the conduct of the local govern

ment towards the Commission. No available opening would be neglected by me ;

and I would in such case, with the possibility of being useful, defer for another

year my departure from China, notwithstanding my notice given in July last,

and my engagement with the Company. On the other hand, should it, as I

anticipate, appear certain that nothing remains to be done but to allow the trade

to proceed as usual, until His Majesty's Government shall have formed its ultimate

decision, I may feel that I can be of more use in going home according to my

original notice and intention, while the Commission is filled up ad interim accord

ing to His Majesty's standing instructions to that effect.

I have, &c,

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

No. 21.

/. F. Davis, Esq., to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received March 12, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, November 2, 1834.

I HAVE the honour to inclose copies of two edicts from the Viceroy, or

Governor, of Canton, in which the English merchants are called upon to elect a

Taepan (the term applied to the late Company's Chief), to controul the English

shipping, and prevent the smuggling system at Lintin, where nearly forty

vessels are now anchored. They, are besides directed to write home for a

Taepan, who is to be a merchant, and not a King's officer. The object is of

course to keep the controul of the English in the hands of the Hong merchants, a

•system by which the local authorities lighten their own responsibility, and are

enabled to practise their exactions on the trade with the greater impunity. ;*

I have, &c, '

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS,

Chief Superintendent.

Inclosure 1 in No. 21.

Edict of the Governor of Canton, addressed to the Hong Merchants.

October 19, 1834.

' LOO, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c

To the Hong merchants, requiring their full acquaintance with the contents


In the trade of the English barbarians to Canton, the responsibility of

transacting all commercial affairs has hitherto rested on the said nation's

Taepan. This year the Company has been terminated and dispersed ; and

without any other appointment of a Taepan having been made, a barbarian eye

(Lord Napier) came to Canton, saying that he came for the purpose of

examining into the affairs of trade. I, the Governor, commanded the merchants

to inquire and investigate. The said barbarian eye did not obey the old regula

tions, but was throughout perversely obstinate. Now the assistant Foo,

magistrate at Macao, has reported that Lord Napier has expired at Macao, in

consequence of illness. For all affairs of trade it is requisite and necessary to

choose a person as head and director, that there may be some one to sustain

the responsibility. The merchants have already been before commanded to

examine and deliberate, but have not yet made any report in answer. Uniting

the circumstances, this order is issued. "When the order reaches the said

merchants, let them immediately obey, and act accordingly; and instantly make

known to all the separate merchants of the said nation, that they are in a

general body, to examine and deliberate, what person ought to be made the

head for directing the said nation's trade, and forthwith to report in answer.

Thereafter the responsibility of conducting public affairs shall rest on the

barbarian merchant who becomes head and director.

At the same time, cause the said barbarian merchants immediately to send

a letter home to their country, calling for the immediate appointment of another

Taepan, to come to Canton, in order to direct and manage. In the Celestial

Empire, responsibility in the management of commercial affairs, &c, is laid

upon the Hong merchants. It is requisite that the said nation should also select

a commercial man, acquainted with affairs, to come hither. It is unnecessary

again to appoint a barbarian eye or Superintendent, thereby causing hindrances

and impediments.

Let the said Hong merchants take also the circumstances of their enjoining

these orders, and report in answer, for thorough investigation to be made.

Oppose not. These are the orders.

Taoukwang, 14th year, 9th moon, 17th day. (October 19, 1834.)

Inclosure 2 in No. 21.

Reply of the Governor of Canton to a Report made by the Hong Merchants.

1 ....■ . ,

LOO, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, in reply. i

On examination, it appears, that with regard to the trade of the English

barbarians at Canton, in all public affairs, I, the Governor, with the Superin

tendent of Customs at Canton, have always made the said Senior merchants

responsible for enjoining orders on the Taepan for him to act. Now the

Company has terminated and is dissolved, and the said nation's barbarian


merchants come hither to trade, each for himself. If some other Taepan be

not appointed, all affairs will become scattered, out of order, and without

arrangement ; just as is the case with the barbarian ships now anchored in the

offing of Maton, which neither come up to Whampoa to trade, nor yet get

under weigh. And the said nation's sampan vessels presume of themselves to

sail in and out, not submitting to examination. And when ordered to inquire

and investigate, the Hong merchants make excuses of ignorance. What state

of things is this?

With respect to the barbarian merchants, whether they have or have not a

directing head, is a point that in itself needs no great inquiry into. But we, o

the Central flowery (or civilized) nation, always, in all matters of the outsid

barbarians that relate to public affairs, make the said Senior merchants above

responsible. If the said merchants have any matter of a public nature, on what

person then shall they enjoin orders to act ? or shall they go to the extent of

quietly leaving the matter disregarded ?

When I, the Governor, commanded to decide respecting a person to be a

directing head, it was with consideration as to the said Senior merchants

transacting public affairs ; it was not at all with regard to the barbarians buying

and selling. What the said merchants have reported, is wholly with respect to

the bartering of goods ; there is no regard shown to public affairs. This is,

indeed, a great misunderstanding. Let them again consult and deliberate with

their whole minds, and report in answer. And, at the same time, let them act

in obedience to the other order, and make known to the said nation's separate

merchants, that they are immediately, with haste, to send a letter home to their

country, calling for the renewed appointment of a commercial man acquainted

with affairs, to come to Canton and sustain the duties of Taepan, to direct

buying and selling, and to restrain and controul all the merchants. Specially,

do not again cause a barbarian eye to come hither to controul affairs, thereby

occasioning, as Lord Napier did, the creation of disturbances, in vain. All

nations trading at Canton, do so in consequence of the good favour of the

Celestial Empire towards men from afar. It is altogether necessary that they

should obey, and act accordingly to the old rules ; then may there be mutual


Taoukwang, 14th year, 9th moon, 18th day. (October 20, 1834.)

No. 22.

J. F. Davis, Esq., to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received March 12, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, November 5, 1834.

HAVING been requested to submit to His Majesty's Government the

closed printed statement, I have the honour to forward the same, and

remain, &c

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

Inclosure in No. 22.

Statement of Objections to the continuance in China of a part of the East India

• Company's Factory, for the purpose of selling bills on India, ■ and purchasing

bills on England, by making advances on the goods and merchandize of

individuals intended for consignment to England.

THE British Chamber of Commerce of Canton being strongly impressed

with a conviction of the injurious consequences to the mercantile interests of

their country, that must accrue from the East India Company continuing to


maintain a part of their factory in China, for the purpose of carrying on dealings

in the sale and purchase of bills of exchange, feel called on to make a public

declaration of their sentiments on the subject. . .

It is with deference submitted that this procedure of the East India

Company is an infraction of the Act, 3rd and 4th William IV. cap. 85, which

declares that they " consented that their right to trade for their own profit, in

common with other His Majesty's subjects, be suspended," and enacts accord

ingly that they shall " abstain from all commercial business which shall not be

incident to the closing of their actual concerns, &c, or which shall not be

carried on for the purposes of the said government ;" which concluding excep

tion, it may be inferred, was designed to legalize their trading in those cases

where it may be necessary for realizing Indian revenue, but not their applying

that revenue to commercial purposes after being realized. It may undoubtedly,

be argued that the purposes of the Company are promoted by the ultimate

object of their dealings here, in transferring to London their surplus revenue ;

yet, as ample facilities exist for the direct accomplishment of this, by the Court

of Directors drawing on the Indian governments, as well as by these latter

remitting bills drawn on London against shipments of Indian produce ; it is

presumed that the Legislature cannot have intended to sanction so wide a depar

ture from the principle of the Act as the trafficking without necessity, in the sale

and purchase of bills, in a foreign country ; the true object of which is, not

merely to remit, but to make■ a profit in excess of the direct and natural rate of

exchange; a latitude of action, which, if allowed, would authorize any species of

trading, equally with that in exchanges, for the sake of a better remittance.

The twofold operation, carried on by the Company's factory here, of selling

one description of bills in order to buy others, [which falls under the legal defi

nition of trading,] is so opposite in its nature to the single and allowable object

of drawing in London upon India, or buying bills for remittance from India to

London, as to merit particular advertence.

In India, the facility of obtaining money on shipments to London, arising

from the Company's extensive purchases of bills, tends to increase the de

mand for, and support the prices of, the productions of British terri

tories. But a similar facility, resulting from their dealings here, by acting as a

powerful incentive to improvident speculation, tends to .raise the prices of

Chinese produce, and thus to benefit a foreign country at the expense of the

British consumer : while, in an equal degree, the productions of our Indian

territories are deprived of that stimulus which they would receive from the same

operations carried on there.

On the other hand, the Court of Directors' bills on India, offered for sale in

London, afford a means for the employment of individual capital, in place of

counteracting it by the competition of Indian revenue ; and may, therefore, be

considered a still more appropriate mode of transferring this revenue to


In throwing open the China trade to the whole British nation, the Legis

lature cannot surely have intended to abridge this right, by permitting the

East India Company to shut out the British mercantile capital, which must

necessarily be excluded from it, to the extent that they may occupy the field

with the revenues of India; and should the Company's dealings here, with the

immense revenues of India at their command, be sanctioned by the Legislature,

there is nothing to prevent the amount being, in future, almost indefinitely

increased beyond the 600,000/. which they propose employing in the present


But the mere circumstance of the Rulers of India having any participation

whatever in the supply of funds to the China trade, is, of itself, calculated to

deter the British capitalist from adventuring in a competition where his rivals are

sovereigns, whose situation exempts them from subjection to those principles by

which purely mercantile operations are universally guided, and which experience

has shown to be so indispensible to the well-being of every trade, that wide

spread ruin is, sooner or later, the certain result, whenever they are disregarded.

The Rulers of India thus deterring by their overwhelming competition,

and, to the extent of their dealings here, entirely excluding the British capitalist

from embarking in the trade, it is rendered, in a great measure, dependent on

the Company, who, regulating the annual amount of their commercial business


by their convenience or caprice, become, in a certain degree, the arbiters of the

merchant's proceedings at every stage, from the price he has to pay for his tea,

its qualities and quantities, to the rate of exchange of the dollar, and even the-

rate of freight ; all contingent on the amount of capital supplied by the Com

pany, which being previously unknown to the free trader, he is effectually

precluded from any satisfactory calculation respecting his future plans.

By permitting the revenues of India to be employed in the purchase of

China produce, not only are its prices enhanced, but a most serious barrier is

interposed to the extension of the trade in British manufactures, which is always

greatly promoted by transactions in barter; the necessities of the Chinese seller

often forcing him to seek relief, by taking in exchange British goods, which are

otherwise unsaleable, and for which a market is thus, as it were, created. How

much is the inducement to this description of business lessened, when the

Chinese merchant has the means of obtaining from the Company's factory, two

thirds of the value of his goods, and the chance of the English market, through

the East India Company as his agents!

It does not appear whether the Company's factory are authorized to make

advances on consignments to the British outports; but, if not, the circumstance

will form an additional strong ground of objection to a plan which, in such case,

will exclude the great majority of the British nation, who are out of the verge

of the metropolis, from a due participation in the China trade.

To the merchants and agents of Great Britain it may be left to express their

sentiments respecting the proposal of the Court of Directors to act as consignees

in London for parties receiving their advances ; a proposal which, liberally seconded

here, may, if permitted, attract to the Honourable Court no small portion of the

agency of the China trade.

Finally, it is submitted, that in this very peculiar country, where the bulk

of foreign trade is restricted to eleven Hong merchants, who are also the only

medium of our intercourse with the Government, so large a command of capital

in the hands of the Company's factory, is susceptible of becoming a most

powerful engine of influence, both commercial and political; in the former view,

bringing with it, through an understanding with the Hongs, as close a

monopoly of the most desirable teas as ever before existed; a monopoly less

pure, because occult, and not controlled by Act of Parliament; in apolitical

view, continuing the existence of an influential body, whom the Chinese have

been accustomed to regard as paramount here, and whose readier access to the

Hong merchants, from habit and old acquaintance, may, at any time, afford the

means of counteracting His Majesty's Representative.

Jardine, Matheson, & Co. R. Turner & Co.

Ja. Innes. J. McA. Gladstone.

Arthur Saunders Keating. J. Watson.

N. Crooke. Wm. Sprott Boyd.

John Templeton & Co. Andrew Johnstone.

British Chamber of Commerce,

Canton, Oct. 9, 1834.


No. 23.

Memorandum by the Duke of Wellington.

March 24, 183*.

THE despatches and proceedings of the Commission of Superintendents in

China, have given us all the information that we can acquire, up to the end of

October, 1 834 ; and as it is quite obvious, from the reports and proceedings, that

the attempt made to force upon the Chinese authorities at Canton, an unaccus

tomed mode of communication with an authority, with whose powers and of

whose nature they had no knowledge, which commenced its proceedings by an

assumption of power hitherto unadmitted, had completely failed ; and as it is

obvious that such an attempt must invariably fail, and lead again to national

disgrace ; and as it appears that, as soon as Lord Napier had withdrawn from

Canton to Macao, the trade had been opened, that pilots had been allowed to

take British ships up the river to Whampoa, and that the trade was flourishing

as ever when the accounts came away ; it appears that the time is come when

the Cabinet may take into consideration the means of managing and regulating

this affair jn future.

It is quite obvious, that the pretext for the jealousy of Lord Napier and his

Commission, stated by the Chinese, was his high-sounding titles ; the reality,

was his pretension to fix himself at Canton, without previous permission, or even

communication, and that he should communicate directly with the Viceroy.

It does not much signify, as far as the Chinese are concerned, what we call

our officer in our language. He must not go to Canton without their permission.

He must not depart from the accustomed mode of communication.

For our own purposes, and for the sake of the trade, he must be a man of

naval, military, or official rank and reputation: he must be one in whose firmness

and discretion we can rely ; and he must have great powers to enable him to

controul and keep in order the King's subjects.

By the 5th Clause of the 3rd and 4th William IV., c 93, the King is

enabled to appoint by Commission or Warrant, not exceeding three of his sub

jects to be Superintendents of the Trade of His Majesty's subjects to and from

China, to settle such gradation among the said Superintendents, (one of whom

shall be styled the Chief Superintendent,) and to appoint such officers to assist

them in the execution of their duty ; and to grant such salaries to Superintendents

and officers as His Majesty shall, from time to time, deem expedient.

The 6th Clause enables the King to give to the Superintendents, by Order

in Council, power and authority over the trade of his subjects in China, to make

regulations, by Order in Council, touching the said trade, and for the govern

ment of the King's subjects within the said dominions ; and to impose penalties

and imprisonment for the breach of the same, to be enforced, as specified in the

said Order ; and to create a Court of Justice, with criminal and admiralty juris

diction, for the trial of offences, committed by His Majesty's subjects within the

said dominions, and the ports and havens thereof, and to appoint one of the

Superintendents to be the officer to hold such Court, and other officers for

executing the process thereof, and to grant such salaries as to His Majesty shall

appear reasonable.

The expense of the establishment formed under the authority of the Act of

Parliament, was £18,200. The offices were as follows :


One Chief Superintendent . . 6,000

One Second Superintendent . . 3,000

One Third Superintendent . . 2,000

One Secretary and Treasurer . . 1,500

One Chinese Secretary and Interpreter. 1,300

One Chaplain .... 1,000

One Surgeon 1,500

One Assistant Surgeon . . 800

One Master Attendant . . . 800

One Clerk of a superior class, to act as

Registrar of the Court of Judicature 300

£ 18,200




The Master Attendant has been abolished 800

The Assistant Surgeon might possibly be

discontinued . 800

continued 2,000

The Second Superintendent to receive

£2,000 instead of £3,000. Saving . 1,000


Total remaining expense £13,600.

I see that His Majesty has the power to appoint not exceeding three

Superintendents. I would recommend one Chief Superintendent, and one

Second Superintendent.

The Act of Parliament enables the King, by Order in Council, to appoint

one of the Superintendents to hold the Court. I would recommend that the

Second Superintendent should be a gentleman of the legal profession, and that

he should be appointed to hold the Court.

• According to this mode of proceeding, the whole plan can be carried into

execution without altering the Act of Parliament.

It might be expedient to give the succession to the office of Chief Superin

tendent, by warrant under the Sign Manual, to the Secretary and Treasurer

instead of the Second Superintendent, he being a gentleman of the legal

profession, upon the death or sudden coming away of the First Superintendent.

If provision should thus be made for really forming a Court, it would be

necessary to frame some simple rules of practice, which might be carried into

execution without the assistance of gentlemen of the legal profession, who would

not be found in the Canton river.

, If the Cabinet should be disposed to adopt this plan, I would give immediate

directions for the draft of the proposed Order in Council, to make the necessary

alterations and arrangements.

Some alterations must likewise be made in the Instructions to the Superin

tendents under the Royal Sign Manual.

• . They are instructed to proceed to and reside at the port of Canton.

The port of Canton is described as being within the Bocca Tigris, to which

point it is stated that His Majesty's ships are not to go.

. . The Superintendents therefore are required to go to, and reside at, the place

to which the Chinese authorities will not allow them to go, and at which they

will not allow them to reside.

This and other matters require alteration.

It will be in the power of the Government hereafter to decide whether any

effort shall be made at Pekin, or elsewhere, to improve our relations with China,

commercial as well as political. That which we require now is, not to lose the

enjoyment of what we have got.

I would recommend, that till the trade has taken its regular peaceable course,

particularly considering what has passed recently, there should always be within

the Consul General's reach, a stout frigate and a smaller vessel of war.

No. 24.

J. F. Davis, Esq., to Viscount Palrnerston. —(Received April 6, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, November 11, 1834.

I HAVE now the honour to inclose two additional edicts from the

Governor of Canton, resuming the purport of two preceding papers of the 19th

and 20th October, already forwarded to your Lordship.

These have all been addressed, through the medium of the Hong mer

chants, to the principal mercantile houses of Canton, but we believe, have not


been otherwise noticed than to observe that constituted authorities from the

Crown being already here, no individual merchant can assume the office of Chief

for British affairs.

If the urgency of these edicts concerning the appointment of a Chief may

be viewed as affording (and I conceive that they do afford) a reasonable evidence

of the Viceroy's uneasiness and perplexity in the present unsettled state of

affairs at Canton, I would not reject the hope that some early advance on the

part of the Local Government to the Commission is within the scope of a

reasonable probability..

Being duly sensible of the inconveniences that may attend the absence of

a British controlling authority from Canton, I will only repeat the expression of

my assurance, that this Commission will avail itself gladly of any favourable

opening to commence a negotiation with the Local Government. 1 must, how

ever, state my conviction, that any adjustment ought to take place as the result

of a mutual necessity ; and that an unbecoming and premature act of submis

sion, on our part, under present circumstances, could not fail to prove a fruitless,

if not a mischievous, measure.

An edict has been issued, through the influence of the Hong merchants,

against the unlicensed traders, its object being, of course, to strengthen the

monopoly of the Hongs. I have the satisfaction to observe that the difficulties

of the Viceroy seem to have been increased by this measure. A considerable

ferment has been created in the native commercial community ; and a species of

Trades-unions, composed of numerous bodies of manufacturers and dealers, have

combined to molest the Hong merchants, and petition the government.

A letter just received from a correspondent at Canton, informs me,—" A

large body of weavers and workmen proceeded to Mowqua and the other Hongs

yesterday, and have to-day gone to the Viceroy's palace."

As the Commission deemed it advisable, under existing circumstances, to

issue a notice of a sedative character, to the British Traders at Canton, I inclose

the copy of a circular which was sent to the principal mercantile houses on the

10th instant. As there is every probability of its indirectly coming to the

knowledge of the Local Government, it has been worded with that view, care

fully avoiding any expression that should pledge the Commission, or His

Majesty's Government, to any particular course of action, and leaving all things

doubtful as to the future. It was deemed advisable to dwell on the impossibility

of the private merchants being made a channel for the communication to His

Majesty of the wishes of the Chinese Government. British subjects are, at the

same time, called upon to conduct their commercial dealings in becoming tran

quillity, until some fitting relations shall have been established with the native


I have, &c,

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS,

Chief Superintendent.

Inclosure 1 in No. 24.

Edict of the Governor of Canton addressed to the Hong Merchants.

LOO, bearing the insignia of the highest rank, degraded from official rank,

but temporarily retained in the office of Governor of the provinces Kwangtung

and Kwangse, hereditary Kingchaytoowei of the first class, &c, issues this

order to the senior Hong merchants, requiring them to enjoin the order on the

separate merchants of the English nation, that they may make themselves

fully acquainted therewith.

England and the Central flowery Nation, separated from each other by

several myriads of miles, have traded at Canton for a hundred and several tens

of years. The means by which they have long continued mutually tranquil,

have been the good and careful establishment of laws, and the possession of

individuals to manage the direction of affairs. The said nation's Company has

hitherto appointed a Taepan to have the management of all public affairs. In

the 10th year of Taoukwang, (1830,) the then Governor, Lee, having learned,

that after the 13th year the Company would terminate and be dissolved,


commanded the Hong merchants to enjoin orders on the said nation's

merchants to send a letter home to their country, to call for the renewed

appointment of a Taepan to come to Canton, as is in record. This year

the Company has been dissolved, and for a Taepan there is no one. I,

the Governor, was just giving orders to the Hong merchants to examine and

deliberate, when in the 6th Moon (July), an English barbarian, Lord Napier,

calling himself a barbarian eye, came to Canton to examine and manage

commercial matters. Without having received a red permit from the Custom

house, suddenly he rushed up into the barbarian factories outside the city, and

there resided. I, the Governor, at that time commanded the Hong merchants

to inquire and investigate for what he came to Canton, and immediately to

state the same clearly, for the purpose of enabling me to make a report

requesting the will and mandate of the Great Emperor, that the same might

be obeyed and -acted on. The said barbarian eye did not at all inform them of

the occasion of his mission, but afterwards repaired to the city gate to throw

in a private letter. I, the Governor, because the fixed regulations of the Celes

tial Empire do not admit a private (or clandestine) interchange of letters with

outside nations, found it inexpedient to receive it, but commanded that the

particulars contained in the letter should be told to the Hong merchants, that

they might report the same.

It being the said barbarian eye's first entrance into the Central flowery

land, so that he was yet unacquainted with the rules and prohibitions, I took

the old established rules and regulations, and commanded the Hong merchants

to enjoin commands on him, telling him of the difficulty of opposing the fixed

principles of dignity, and the propriety of keeping the old regulations, carefully

and minutely explaining to and guiding him, twice and a third time. The

said barbarian eye would not obey the perfect laws, but perseveringly desired

to have intercourse by official documents and letters, with the civil and military

officers of the Central flowery land. But I found on examination, that the said

nation has not heretofore had intercourse by official communications with the

Central flowery land, and that trade also is not what officers can attend to ; that

the matter, therefore, is one which positively cannot be brought into operation.

The said barbarian eye still obstinately adhering to his own views and notions,

the Hong merchants, on account of his disobedience of the laws, petitioned,

requesting stoppage of trade. I, the Governor, considered that the said

nation's king had repeatedly presented tribute, thereby manifesting a reverential

submission to the Celestial Empire, and that all the separate merchants have

come from far across the seas, all purposing to fish for gain ; also that the

rhubarb, tea, &c, of this inner land, are what the said nation absolutely

requires, I could not, therefore, bear, on account of the fault of one man,

Lord Napier, to cause all the merchants to fail of their gains, and the whole

nation to be overwhelmed with sorrow. I further replied, again clearly and

perspicuously, commanding the Hong merchants once more to explain to

and direct him. And fearing yet that the Hong merchants, in enjoining orders,

had failed of clearness and perspicuity, I gave a special appointment to the

Chefoo, (or Civil Chief Magistrate,) a great officer, to proceed, accompanied by

the Military Commandant of Kwang Chow Foo, to inquire in person. It may

be said that I showed compassion in the highest degree. But the said barbarian

eye still did not tell plainly the occasion of his mission, nor would he receive

the Linguists as interpreters, so that the officers deputed, had no means of

reasoning with and instructing him, and for all the merchants it was difficult to

have commercial intercourse. It was unavoidable to close the ships' holds

according to law.

At that time, clear orders were issued by proclamation, that if the said

barbarian eye would come to a knowledge of repentance of his error, and would

obey and keep the old regulations, then might the trade continue as of old.

Yet the said barbarian eye did not come to a knowledge of his faults ; but, in

the first instance, called about him barbarian soldiers, bringing with them guns

and muskets up to Canton, and followed up the same by calling on the cruizing

ships to push in through the maritime entrance. And when the various forts

opened a thundering tire to stop them, the cruizing vessels had the daring

presumption to let off their guns, returning resistance, and so shaking and

destroying the dwelling places within the forts ; and they sailed on to Whampoa,


in the inner river. Instance upon instance they gave of contemptuous trifling,

going, indeed, far beyond the bounds of reason.

On examination, I found that the things in which the said cruizing vessels

trusted were only guns and fire ; while the military bands of the Celestial

Empire could gather (densely) as the clouds, and their guns and weapons be

collected together (abundantly) as the hills, I, the Governor, sent to assemble

naval and military officers, with naval vessels to stop up the passage of the

river before and behind, so that the said nation's two cruizing vessels, with 300

or 400 men, having entered far into the important territory, had no way either

of advancing or of going out. What difficulty would there have been in

immediately sweeping them off completely ? It was owing to this, that not

having been immediately exterminated, the said barbarian eye did repent of his

crimes, and make humble supplication, and thereupon was allowed to obtain

a permit to go down to Macao, as well as (for the ships) to retire to the

outer seas.

I, the Governor, am fully of opinion that this affair did not proceed from

intentions of the said nation's King, and also that it had no concern with the

general body of the merchants. Looking upwards, 1 have embodied the Great

Emperor's liberality (expansive) as heaven and earth, which regards all with the

same benevolence, cherishes with virtue those from afar, and esteems not the

array of force. The matters, as detailed from first to last, in the official replies

and edicts, were before printed and published by proclamation, being stuck up

in the general thoroughfares. This is what the said separate (British) merchants

have all universally known, and universally seen.

Now the opening of the port of the metropolis of Canton to trade is owing

to the good favour of the Celestial Empire. The few, mean, petty huudreds of

thousands of commercial duties, arising from outside realms, affect not the

treasures of the revenue the value of a hair, or a feather's down.

And what the said nation's merchants furnish towards these gains from

commerce is commited but by thousands. The said nation's King, in sending

Lord Napier hither, assuredly did not command him to create trouble, or to

indulge rashness, hastiness, and waywardness. If now there were a person

from another country to go to England, and thus occasion commotion, the said

nation's King certainly would not bear with him. Were it not for the expansive

benevolence and great liberality of the Great Emperor, Lord Napier having

failed in the command, and disgraced the country, all the merchants would

have had to go back, after labour in vain, with their wealth and property

injured and wasted ; could they, as at this time, have been all rendered grateful

by the enjoyment of pleasure and profit ?

It is now reported to me, that Lord Napier has died of sickness at Macao.

The said separate merchants have opened their holds, buying and selling ; which

shows in all the merchants a profound knowledge of the great principles of dignity.

It is altogether worthy of praise and esteem. But the ships are many, and the

individuals numerous, rendering unavoidable a want of combination, order, and

arrangement. It is plain that there should be one or two trustworthy, honest

men selected, to have a temporary controul and direction. Thus may there be

for all things a responsibility. At the same time, they should immediately,

with speed, send a letter to their country, stating, that although the Company

is dissolved, yet, as the said nation trades here, it is absolutely requisite that

there be a person to have the management of all public affairs ; and that a

commercial man, thoroughly acquainted with the great principles of dignity,

should still be appointed by the said nation, to become a Taepan, and come to

Canton to direct and controul. This is an affair of buying and selling ; it is not

what officers can attend to the management of. In this inner land, the Hong

merchants are always held responsible ; and so the said nation also positively

must select and appoint a trading man. On no account may an official eye be

again appointed, to occasion, as Lord Napier did, the creation of trouble and

disturbance, in vain, and the involvement of all the merchants, which is

detrimental to a right course of things.

Uniting the circumstances, this edict is issued. When the edict reaches

the said (Hong) merchants, let them immediately enjoin and make known these

orders. Oppose not. A special edict.

14th year of Taoukwang, 9th moon, 21st day. (October 23rd, 1834.) . •


Inclosure 2 in No. 24.

Edict of the Governor of Canton addressed to the Hong Merchants.

November 6, 1834.

LOO, Secondary Guardian of the Heir-Apparent, bearing insignia of the

highest rank, President of the Tribunal of War, Governor of the Provinces

Kwangtung and Kwapgse, Hereditary King-chay-too-wei of the first class,

degraded from official standing, but retained in office, &c, issues this order to

the Senior Hong Merchants, to be enjoined on the separate merchants of the

English nation, requiring their full acquaintance with the contents thereof.

It is on record, that on the 1st day of the 10th moon in the 1 4th year of

Taoukwang (November 1st), the following Supreme Mandate was respectfully


" The English barbarians have an open market in the inner land, but there

has hitherto been no interchange of official communications ; it is however

absolutely requisite, that there should be a person professing general controul, to

have the special direction of affairs. Let the said Governor immediately order

the Hong merchants to command the said separate merchants, that they send

a letter back to their country, calling for the appointment of another person as

Taepan to come for the controul and direction of commercial affairs, in accord

ance with the old regulations. Respect this."

On examination, it appears that whereas the English Company having this

year been dissolved and ended, all the separate merchants come to trade at

Canton, and affairs are under no general controul ; I, the Governor, did issue

orders to the said merchants to enjoin orders on the said nation's separate

merchants, requiring them to send a letter back to their country, to call for the

appointment of another person as Taepan, to come to Canton, to have the

controul and direction, as is on record.

Now the above having been respectfully received, I forthwith reverently

copy it, and command obedience thereto. When this order reaches the said

merchants, let them immediately pay obedience, and enjoin orders on the

separate merchants of the English nation, that they respectfully obey the

mandate and pleasure of the Great Emperor, immediately sending a letter back

to their country to call for the appointment of another person, a commercial

man, thoroughly acquainted with the great principles of dignity, to come to

Canton and direct commercial affairs, that there may be an undivided respon

sibility. An official eye must not be again appointed, occasioning, as did Lord

Napier, the creation of disturbances, in vain, with the involvement of all the

merchants, and with detriment to public affairs. Oppose not. A special


14th year of Taoukwang, 10th moon, 4th day. (November 6, 1834.)

Inclosure 3 in No. 24.

Notice to British Subjects in China.

Macao, November 10, 1834.

THE Superintendents have during the last few weeks devoted their serious

consideration to the state in which past occurrences have placed His Majesty's

Commission in China, and think it due to the British Community to afford

to them the following succinct statement of their views on the subject.

Any determination in regard to the future, which it may seem fit to His

Majesty in his wisdom to adopt, the Superintendents will not presume to anti

cipate. It has been their duty humbly to submit a full detail of all the events

which have transpired since the arrival of the Commission in China, and this

they have faithfully performed. It is proper to add, that in accordance with


instructions under the Royal Sign Manual, a transcript of the same report has

been forwarded in duplicate to his Excellency the Right Honourable the

Governor- General of India.

Adverting then to the situation in which His Majesty's servants have been

placed by the denial of the Canton Government to acknowledge their public

character, or admit them to official communication, they cannot but regret the

inconveniences which may result to both English and Chinese from so strange

and anomalous a state of affairs. It is manifest, that under these circumstances,

no channel exists for the conveyance, in an authentic shape, of any expression

of the views or wishes of the Chinese Government to His Majesty's knowledge.

The local authorities, after having from the very first arrival of the Commission

on their shores, persisted in rejecting the only legitimate means of com

munication, have no reasonable ground of complaint, should their requisitions

remain unanswered.

The Superintendents are led to make the preceding reflections in conse

quence of its having come to their knowledge that several papers have been

addressed to the private merchants at Canton, purporting to emanate from the

Local Government, and containing matter which it is desired may be submited

to His Majesty's knowledge. After making every allowance for the strangeness

of the Chinese to external relations, it is difficult to believe that the Canton

authorities, who constantly profess to act in conformity to reasonable principles,

should have voluntarily placed themselves in so false a position. To judge by

mere intrinsic evidence, it might be fairly inferred that the particular papers

alluded to were not authentic Any other conclusion would involve the extra

vagant belief that the high officers of the Chinese Government, enlightened men,

and practised in the proprieties of public business, would place themselves in

the helpless position of attempting to convey the wishes of their own Sovereign

to His Majesty the King of England through the incongruous medium of

commercial correspondence. Such a course would be at variance with all sound

principles of dignity, and a departure from every dictate of reason. It would be

to derogate from the majesty of their own Sovereign, and to expose themselves

to the certainty of preventing their communications from receiving the slightest

degree of attention.

Under present circumstances, the Superintendents must at once declare that

they cannot see the least occasion to open communications with the local

authorities. However much they might have deemed it their duty, if suitably

approached, to forward a decorous communication to His Majesty's Govern

ment, they must repeat that in the actual state of things they consider

themselves bound to await in perfect silence the final determination of

the King.

Pending this interval, the Superintendents have to submit some few

suggestions to His Majesty's subjects resident in China, and they do so in a

spirit of serious earnestness, and with the conviction that the vast importance

of the subject will insure to their remarks the most attentive consideration.

They formally counsel and enjoin the King's subjects, each in his own place,

and by all the influence of his example, to avoid or prevent the chance ot

affording a plausible ground of complaint to the Chinese, and to refrain, as

much as possible, from allusions to the past, or anticipations with regard to the

future. In fine, to impress the Local Government and the people, by the

deliberate reserve of their conduct, with a proper sense of the confidence reposed

in our Sovereign's wisdom to conceive and power to execute any measures

which may be deemed necessary for the establishment of all things on a sure

and permanent foundation.

If any well founded complaint against the conduct of the Chinese authorities

towards British subjects should arise, the Superintendents trust that it will be

preferred to them, and that the decision, as to the best course to be pursued,

will be remitted to their judgment. They deem it superfluous to insist upon

their desire to give to such questions the most anxious consideration ; and to

provide the most suitable way to a remedy.

The Superintendents will only observe, in conclusion, that these suggestions

with regard to the procedure of British subjects under existing circumstances,

have by no means been made because they apprehend that' the advice may be

practically necessary, but rather to draw attention to the subject, with a view

to inducing such a temperate and judicious course of conduct during the

interval of the reference to the Supreme Powers, as shall ensure the most

prosperous results.

By order of the Superintendents,



No. 25.

Captain Elliot to J. Backhouse, Esq.—(Received April 6, 1835.)

(Extract.) Macao, November 17, 1834.

I AM desired by the Superintendents to transmit a document recently

procured, containing the Imperial answers to the communications forwarded to ■

Peking by the Local Government, announcing the forcing of the Bocca Tigris

Passage by His Majesty's ships, in the month of September last.

Inclosure 1 in No. 25.

Edict of the Governor of Canton, containing the Imperial answers respecting

British intercourse and the arrival of Lord Napier at Canton.

I, THE Governor, on the 13th day of the 8th moon, in the 14th year

of Taoukwang (September 15th), united with Tsang, the Commander-in-Chief

of the land forces, together with your Excellency the Fooyuen and Chung the

Hoppo, in forwarding, by the post conveyance, a duly prepared report of the

English ships of war having sailed into, and anchored in the inner river,—of

precautionary measures having been taken against them,—and of those who

guarded (the port) with such remissness,—with the officers who had neglected

their guard, having been severely degraded, and subjected to inquiry. Now, on

the 17th day of the 9th month (October 19th), the following reply in vermilion

has arrived :—

" It seems that all the forts have been erected in vain ; they cannot beat

back two barbarian ships ; —it is ridiculous—detestable. If the military opera

tions be reduced to such a state as this, it is not surprising that the barbarians

regard them slightingly. My further pleasure shall be given. Respect this."

On the same day was received an express from the Tribunal of War,

forwarding the following Supreme Mandate, received by the Cabinet on the 3rd

day of the 9th moon, in the 14th year of Taoukwang (October 5th).

" This day it is authenticated, that Loo and his colleagues have sent a

report by post, of the English ships of war having broke into the inner river,

and of their having dispatched forces to drive them out.

" On this occasion, the English barbarian eye, Lord Napier, having come

to Canton to trade, did not obey the laws. The said barbarian ships of war,

two in number, with 300 and some tens of men, having anchored in the outer

seas, the said Governor did, during the 6th moon, forward a communication to

the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Le, for the appointment of a Tsantseang, Kaou-

e-yung, to proceed to the maritime entrance, and maintain a preventive guard ;

and for directions to be given to the officers of the Admiral's own division, to

command and maintain a strict and close look-out on the forts. And, after the

said Governor and colleagues had, according to laws, closed the chips' holds, he

again sent a communication for a preventive guard to be maintained, that the

barbarian ships might not be permitted to enter the port. But, after all, they

were so remiss in keeping up guard, that the said ships of war, on the 5th day

of the 8th moon (September 7th), taking advantage of the flood-tide, broke in

through the maritime entrance ; and when the military of the several forts

opened a thundering fire on them, the said barbarian ships let off their guns,

attacking them in return, and passed on. On the 9th, they arrived at

Whampoa reach, at a distance of 60 lee from the city, and there anchored.

The said Governor and colleagues have now appointed a naval force with■

severity to drive them out.


" Kaow-e-yung, Tsantseang of the Admiral of Kwangtung's own division,

having been sent in the 6th moon, to maintain a preventive guard at the

maritime entrance, his presuming to suffer the said barbarian force to sail into

the inner river, was extremely negligent. As to his assertion, that the barbarian

ships took advantage ot the tide, and sailed in with the wind, so that they could

riot be stayed or hindered, it is difficult to insure that it has not been his

purpose to embellish and gloss over the thing. Let Kaow-e-yung be, in the

first instance, degraded from his rank, and made to bear the Carigue before all

men, at the maritime entrance. And further, let the said Governor ascertain

clearly if he be guilty of the offence of having, with contemptuous waywardness,

glossed the matter over ; and if so, let him immediately, with severity, forward

accusation against him, awaiting the officers who kept the forts with such care

lessness and neglect, since there were additional men appointed to aid in keeping

them, be all, in the first instance, subjected to wear the Cangue, in all the

forts publicly, as a warning. At the same time, let inquiry be made respecting

the circumstances of their neglect and wayward indulgence, and let accusation

be also preferred against them.

" With regard to Le, the Naval Commander-in-Chief, the maritime guard

is under his especial care ; but the said barbarian ships broke in through the

entrance, and all the forts and military in charge of them, could not beat back

two barbarian vessels. It is indeed deserving of most bitter detestation ! It

seems that all the forts have been erected in vain. If the operations of war be

reduced to such a state as this, what is 1 it that the said Commander-in-Chief is

daily attending to ? Lee has at present, on account of illness, preferred a request

for relaxation. He is certainly unworthy of employment. Let him, in the first

instance, be degraded from his rank ; and after the affair is settled, my further

pleasure and decree shall be made public

" Loo, Governor of the two Kwang provinces, having stated that, in the

6th moon, he sent communications and held consultations concerning the

adoption of preventive measures, the affair is not to be compared with one

unanticipated, to which the land cannot be at once applied. He ought certainly

to have selected and appointed vigorous individuals to make preparations and

maintain a strict guard. How comes it that the said barbarian ships were

suffered to enter the river, and could not be prevented or kept back ? It arises

from the said Governor's want of plans and lack of valour. The blame he

cannot cast off. He has injured the Majesty of the nation, and has greatly

failed of the duties of his ministry. Let Loo be deprived of the title, Guardian

of the Heir-apparent ; let his two-eyed peacock's feather be plucked out ; and

let him, in the first instance, be degraded from his official standing, but tempo

rarily retained in the office of Governor of the two Kwang provinces ; that,

bearing his offences upon him, he may direct the arrangement (of this affair).

Should he truly arrange it speedily, and end it with security and propriety, he

may yet receive some little indulgence and slight diminution of his sentence.

If he continue to involve himself in errors, and cause future misfortunes, he

must be acted with according to martial law, without admission of any

indulgence. Tremble fearfully hereat. Be attentive hereto. Respect this."

On the same day was also received a letter from the great Ministers of the

Council, addressed to Ha, General Commandant of the city garrison ; Loo,

Governor of the two Kwang provinces; and Ke, Fooyuen, announcing the

issue, on the 3rd day of the 9th moon, in the 14th year of Taoukwang, of the

following supreme mandate.

" Loo and his colleagues have sent a report, by a speedy post conveyance,

of the English barbarian ships having broke into the inner river, and of forces

having been dispatched to drive them out. My decree and pleasure have

already been plainly delivered, directing the several punishments of the said

Governor and others.

" On this occasion, the English ships of war having anchored in the outer

seas, during the 6th moon of the present year, Loo did send communications to

the Naval Commander-in-Chief Lee, calling for a strict and close preventive

guard. Had, indeed, a preventive guard been kept with fidelity and vigour,

how could the inner river have been broken into ? But on the 5th day of the

8th moon (September 7th), the said barbarian ships of war, taking advantage of

the flood-tide, broke in through the maritime entrance ; and when all the

militarv opened a thundering fire upon them, they had the presumption to let

I 2


off their guns, returning resistance. And, after the passage of the forts at the

Bogue., and on Rwangtung had been forced, they, on the 7th, passed straight on

by the Tiger Island fort ; and, on the 9th, arrived at Whampoa reach, distant

sixty lee from the city, and tliere anchored. It seems that all the forts have

been erected in vain ; they cannot beat back two barbarian ships ; it is

ridiculous !—-detestable ! If the military operations be reduced to such a

state as ■ this, it is not surprizing that the outside barbarians regard them

slightingly. • .

" Now the said Governor and colleagues report that they have set 'apart

twelve large vessels, and having filled each of them with a thousand peculs of

large stones/ have sunk them crosswise; —that in the water, they have had

large cables stretched across ; and that they have further had wooden spars laid

on the surface of the water, to stop up the passage by water to the city. Also,

that they have appointed two large war vessels of the Admiral's own division,

and six large vessels, the main squadron, with twenty-two river cruizing vessels,

from the various stations of the districts Sin-hwuy and Shun-tih, with men and

military munitions, to keep up a strict cruizing- guard. They have further

appointed 300 troops from the Governor's own regiments, 300 from the

Fooyuen's own regiments, 700 from the Commander-in-Chief's division of

army, and 300 able-bodied men from the district militia, to prepare guns and

musketry on either shore, in order to guard the land-passages. To the

Ta-hwang-haon branch of the river, they have sent Tsantseang Loo, Peih

yuen, with above twenty cruizing boats, to obstruct the passage there ; and

wTooden spars have also been used to stop up the river. Likewise, on the river

opposite, wooden palisades were set up ; and the Toosze Hung-fa-ko has been

sent, at the head of 500 veteran troops of the Governor's own, and with a

naval- force of J00 men, to move thither portable guns, and also large guns,

calculated even to rend hills and cause terror afar off. Of these men, 150 have

been placed in charge of the fort, and 350 encamped without, in readiness to

come up to their aid.

" Loo, fearing that the Macao barbarians, the Portuguese, might be enticed

over by the English barbarians, dispatched the Footseang Tsin-yu-chang, with

a civil officer, to command them plainly, and to spread themselves about, and

also to keep watch over all things, that no evils of remissness might arise. The

said Portuguese barbarians manifested, in a high degree, reverential submission,

and were excited to express their willingness to keep guard themselves. These

arrangements were exceedingly proper.

" Further, in a supplementary report, it is stated, that at this time the

passage before (the ships of war) is completely stopped up in two places, and

behind them also, at Chang-chow-kang (near second bar) large stones have

been quarried and made ready, and 300 troops of the 'brave and pure' Regi

ment have been sent, under command of the Yew-keih Wang-luh, to maintain

guard ; that, as soon as the war vessels from Kee-shih and other places, have

entered the river, the stones may be immediately used to block up the river

within. The said barbarian vessels will then have no passage for going out.

.... They have further prepared a hundred and some tens of vessels, large

and small, in which have been secretly concealed saltpetre, sulphur, fire wood,

straw, and other combustibles, for the purpose of an attack by fire.

" The English barbarians are of a violent and overbearing disposition, and

they cherish plans great and deep. This has long been the case. On this

occasion, the barbarian vessels are only two in number, and the foreign sailors

do not exceed 300 or 400 men. If, indeed, the passages for advancing and

retreating be both cut off, ' the beast will then be taken—the fish cought ;' what

difficulty can there be in making a clear sweep in a moment'? The said

barbarian eye, Lord Napier, having stated that he came to Canton o trade, —

why, when the ships' holds had been closed, did he craftily think to carry it

with a high hand, and go to the daring extreme of having the inn?r river

broken into, and of having guns fired, returning resistance? He went, indeed,

far out of the bounds of reason. It is to be apprehended that there sljs yet

other ships, staying at a distance, ready to bring in aid to him. It is very

requisite to inquire fully with sincerity and earnestly, taking into view the

whole field (of action,—literally, the whole class board).

' '" When the said Governor and his Colleagues receive this my pleasure,

they are required immediately, and with full purpose of heart, to mee: for


consultation, and arrange the business securely and speedily. When once the

said barbarian eye is brought under, his schemes exhausted, and his power

isolated, so that he bows his head and confesses his faults, a slight trifling

indulgence may then be extended to him. .... Immediately direct the Hong

merchants to explain to him the evil consequences (of his conduct), to

reprove his presuming to use guns and fire, and also to demand of him the

cause of his having come to Canton. If he still continue obstinately blinded,

and' do not arouse, but remain perverse as before, let then the said Governor

and his Colleagues arrange and direct the military operations, and set in motion

the machinery of expulsion and destruction. It is absolutely requisite to make

the said barbarian eye tremble and quake before the Celestial Majesty, and

penitently arouse to reverential submission. Should the said Governor and

his Colleagues continue their former negligence, . and stir up great misfortunes,

I, the Emperor, will know only how to maintain the laws. If disturbances be

occasioned, there shall decidedly - be no chance left of indulgent favour.

Tremble hereat. Be attentive hereto. Let this be forwarded by a despatch

travelling 500 lee (daily), and let all the commands herein contained be made

known. Respect this."

In obedience to the supreme pleasure, we, (the Ministers of the Council)

forward the same.

All the above having come before me, the Governor, I have examined,

and find that the barbarian eye, Lord Napier, has already been driven out

under guard, and that the ships of war, also, retired on the same day to the

outer seas, as we have already jointly reported. Copies of the several reports

have been forwarded to you.

With regard to the careless guard officers, the acting Tsantseang of the -—

admiral's central division, Tsan-fei-yang has, before this, brought up to Canton

the Tsientsung Le-hung-tae, and other officers, ten in number ; and they have

been sent to the Anchasze of Kwangtung, that, in conjunction with the

Porchingsze, he may try them_ by torture,■ to ascertain if they were guilty of

illicit connection (with foreignersjiand of purposed connivance, in order that —

they may be severally decided respecting, and dealt with. This is on record.

Now, having respectfully received the above, I send a communication,

requesting that Kaou-e-yung may be brought to Canton to be tried and dealt

with ; and I also send directions to the Poochingsze and Anchasze, that they,

in conjunction with the Yum-yun-sze, may pay respectful obedience, and act

accordingly. I also direct them to bring up the Tseintsung Le-heang-tae, and

the others for immediate trial, that decisions may be passed severally on them,

and that they may be dealt with accordingly, without either the least

precipitancy or delay. Besides this, I send, as is right, a communication to

you. For this purpose, I unite the circumstances, and send this communication

to your Excellency, that you may inquire the supreme pleasure, in order

respectfully to obey it, act according to it, and put it in operation.

No. 26. .

J. F. Davis, Esq., to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received April 10, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, November 18, 1834.

I HAVE the honour to inclose herewith the translation of a report to

Peking, from the Local Government, which has been obtained through native

agency, and which contains some admissions which were probably not intended

to reach Europeans. It is observable that the revenue derived from English

trade, though professed to be held lightly, is still declared therein to demand

care for its preservation ; and great reliance is placed on the love of gain by

which the foreigners are said to be distinguished.

It is also remarked, that the utmost care must be taken to avoid " a

bloody rupture" with the Europeans, who, though otherwise unadvanced, excel

in the knowledge of " guns and fire-arms :" and the Emperor himself, in a paper

already forwarded, holds the Viceroy strictly responsible for any mischief which

may arise.


The English merchants at Canton, having been advised by the Viceroy, to

elect for themselves " a trading Taepan," who should be responsible to the

Local Government for the acts of his countrymen, returned a reply on the 10th

instant, which is recorded on our proceedings. They therein state that no

authority of the kind could be held by any person without the sanction of the

Crown, by whose appointment, officers had been already nominated to Canton.

No further observation has yet come from the Viceroy, and the trade proceeds

as usual. The proceedings against the unlicensed dealers are gradually


I have, &c,

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS,

Chief Superintendent.

P. S. The joint edict of the Viceroy and Hoppo, upon the subject of the

unlicensed dealers, has just been translated, and is herewith forwarded.

Inclosure 1 in No. 2G.

Secret Memorial from the Officers of the Local Government of Canton

to the Emperor.

FURTHER, on the subject of the English nation's trade with Kwangtung.

The said nation has hitherto had an establishment called Kung-pan-ya (office

for public management, or Company, from Portuguese Companha), for directing

the buying and selling of the whole country ; it was also named Kungsze

(public managing body). The said Company (Kungsze) appointed chief,

second, third, and fourth Supracargoes to come to Canton, for the general

direction of commercial affairs, and for a restraining controul over the barbarian

merchants. In the 10th year of Taoukwang (1830), the Hong merchants

reported, that in the 13th year, the period of the said nation's Company would

be accomplished, and the said nation's barbarians would each trade for himself.

Fearing that affairs would be under no general controul, the former Governor,

your Majesty's Minister, Lee, commanded the Hong merchants to enjoin

orders on the Taepan (Chief Supracargo), to send a letter home to his country,

(to the effect) that, if the Company were indeed dissolved, it was directed that

a Taepan, acquainted with the affairs, should still be directed to come to

Canton, to controul and direct the trade.

This year, I, your Majesty's Minister, Loo, with the Superintendent of

Customs, Chung, having ascertained that the said nation's Company was

dissolved, commanded the Hong merchants to deliberate well on the subject, as

it was imperative that affairs should be made subject to some undivided respon

sibility, in order that they might not be totally without combination, order, and


In the 6th moon, an English ship of war brought to Canton a barbarian

eye, Lord Napier, one individual who said that he came to Canton for the

purpose of examining into and directing commercial affairs. He brought with

him a family, females and young children, five in all, whom he settled at Macao.

The ship of war, which was ascertained to have a crew of 190 persons, anchored

in the outer sea ; and the said barbarian eye changed his vessel, and came up

to reside in the barbarian factories outside the city. I, your Majesty's Minister,

Loo, having received reports hereof from the civil and military district officers,

immediately addressed a communication to the Naval Commander-in-chief, for

him to station vessels to cruize about and keep guard at the Bogue and other

places. I also gave orders to the men and officers in the forts, to keep up a

strict and close preventive guard, not to permit the said ships of war to enter

the port, or the foreign females to come up to Canton. 1 also commanded the

Hong merchants Woo-tung-yuen (Howqua), to investigate why the said

barbarian eye had come to Canton; that if it were because it was requisite—

the Company being dissolved and at an end—to establish fresh regulations of

trade, he should immediately inform the said Hong merchants, that they might

present a report, and so enable me to make a complete memorial, reverently


awaiting (your Majesty's) mandate and pleasure, to which obedience should

then be directed.

The said barbarian eye would not receive the Hong merchants, but after

wards repaired to the outside of the city, to present a letter to me, your

Majesty's Minister, Loo. On the face of the envelope, the forms and style of

equality were used ; and there were absurdly written the characters Ta-ying

Rwo, "great English nation," (for Great Britain). Examining at that time, it

appeared, that in keeping apart the central and the outside (people), what is of

the highest importance is a maintenance of dignity and sovereignty. Whether

the said barbarian eye has or has not official rank, there are no means of

thoroughly ascertaining. But though he be an officer of the said nation, he yet

cannot write letters on equality with the frontier officers of the Celestial Empire.

As the thing concerned the national dignity, it was inexpedient to allow a

tendency of any approach or advance, by which lightness of esteem may be

occasioned. Accordingly, orders were given to Han-shaou-Ring, the Footseang

in command of the military forces of Kwang Chow Foo, to tell him authorita

tively, that, by the statutes aud enactments of the Celestial Empire, there has

never been intercourse by letters with outside barbarians, that commercial

matters should be petitioned respecting, through the medium of the Hong

merchants, and that it is not permitted to offer or present letters.

Again, considering that he was stupid and unpolished, coming from without

the bounds of civilization, and that, it being his first entrance into the Central

flowery land, he was yet unacquainted with the rules and prohibitions, it

appeared undoubtedly right, first to explain to him and guide him, to enable

him to know what he was to obey and act in compliance with. I. Loo, selected

and made an arrangement of the rules and orders, establisbed by reports, at

various periods (to the throne), for the regulation of the trade of barbarians *

and commanded the Hong merchants to enjoin the same, pointing out, and

guiding him in, the way ; and also to inform him that outside barbarians possess

an open market at Canton, only because of the good favour of the sacred

Empire towards (the dwellers on) the sea-coasts ; but that in no way are the

mean, petty, commercial duties regarded as of importance ; that the said nation

has traded here for beyond a hundred and some tens of years, and for all affairs

there are old regulations ; and that since the said barbarian eye has come for

commercial purposes, he should at once obey and keep the regulations ; but if

he do not so, he shall then not be permitted to trade at Canton. First and last,

on four several occasions, were clear orders given.

Afterwards the said merchants reported in answer, that the said barbarian

eye would not obey the orders enjoined by them, but averred that he is an-

officer and Superintendent of the barbarians, not one with whom Taepans can

be compared ; and that hereafter all affairs ought to be transacted by official

communications to and fro with the various public officers ; for that orders

cannot, as formerly, be enjoined through the medium of Hong merchants, nor

can he offer petitions, but can only write official letters, and give them to officers

to transmit. The said merchants replied, that heretofore there had been no

such mode of conducting affairs. But the said barbarian eye continuing obsti

nate and perverse, without altering, they requested that an embargo should be

put on the said buying and selling. The said barbarian eye, Lord Napier, has

repeatedly been perverse and stubborn, and indeed extremely obstinate ; but

having considered that the said nation's king has heretofore been always reve

rently submissive, and that the said merchants are still quiet and peaceful : that

if, for the error of one man, Lord Napier, all the ships' holds should be closed,

they cannot but be overwhelmed with grief. I (Your Majesty's Minister, Loo),

therefore, looked upward to embody my August Sovereign's liberality, (exten

sive) as heaven and earth, which beholds with the same benevolence the central

and the outside people, and stoops to treat with compassion. I accordingly

replied, clearly and perspicuously, to the said merchants, that commercial

affairs of outside barbarians have hitherto been under the management of Hong

merchants, and there has never been an officer to direct and controul ; that

England has heretofore had no interchange of official communications with the

Central flowery land, and therefore what the said barbarian says cannot be per

mitted to be brought into operation. Also that the ships' holds should be pro

perly closed ; but that temporary indulgence and delay are given from tender

compassion towards all the separate merchants. Write these particulars : they

were also commanded to make clearly known (to Lord Napier), that if he


repented, aroused, and became reverently submissive, trade should continue as

usual ; but that if he again offered opposition, and continued perverse, the

ships' holds should be immediately closed. It was hoped that, by the truth and

sincerity of reason, his brute-like fierceness and overbearing might be reformed ;

so that, if only the great principles of dignity were not hurt, it would be unne

cessary to make any severe requisition. But the said barbarian eye, when the

merchants enjoined orders on him, remained as if he heard not; and when the

said merchants copied out the words of my official reply, and gave the copy to

him, he laid it down and would not peruse it.

Further, the naval Tsantseang, Kaou-e-yung, reported that another English

ship of war had come and anchored with the ship of war that had come before,

in Macao roads. It was ascertained that the number of seamen in her was also

190; and on being questioned, it was averred that she would not at all enter

the port, but was awaiting a favourable wind to sail out. Again did I address

an official communication to the naval Commander-in-Chief, and the officer in

command on the Heang-shan station, that in every place a preventive guard

should be maintained with increased diligence. Directions were also sent to the

Magistrates of all the Sea-board Districts, that they should strictly prohibit the

trading and fishing boats from approaching the ships of war to engage in barter

or afford supplies.

At the same time, I again and a third time consulted with Your Majesty's

Minister, Kee, (and we came to the conclusion) that the common dispo

sition of the English barbarians is ferocious and crafty, and what they trust

in is the strength of their ships and the effectiveness of their guns ; but

that the inner seas having but shallow water, with very many sands and rocks,

the said barbarian ships, though they should discharge their guns, cannot do it

with full effect ; also, that the said barbarian eye having placed his person in the

Central flowery land, distant from his own country several myriads of miles, we

are in the state relatively of master and guest ; if he should madly think to

overpass his bounds, our soldiers may peaceably wait to work with him : for that

he will be powerless is manifest and easy to be seen. But the matter concerns

those out of the bounds of civilization, and it is necessary that investigation

should be made and care taken beyond what is ordinary, in order to break down

the mind to submission.

What the merchants had reported being but the assertions of one party, it

was not right to give hasty credence to them. We accordingly commanded the

assistant Foo, Magistrate Pwan-shan-gih, to proceed, accompanied by the

Kwang Chow Hee, to the barbarian factories, personally to investigate, and at

the same time to command that the ships of war should immediately get under

weigh and return to their country. The said barbarian eye still did not tell

clearly the particulars of what he had come to Canton to do, nor did be plainly

answer for what the ships of war had come, and when they would return.

Because the said barbarian eye directed a barbarian acquainted with the Chinese

language to interpret, we apprehend that, in transmitting information, there

might have been a want of truth, and therefore commanded that they should

take linguists with them. The said barbarian eye would not receive the

linguists to interpret, so that the officers deputed had no means of giving clear

orders. And after having repeatedly commanded the Hong merchants to

inquire and investigate, the origin and occasion of his mission still could not be

at all ascertained.

On humble examination, (it appears) that the commerce of the English

barbarians has hitherto been managed by the Hong merchants and Taepans:

there has never been a barbarian eye to form a precedent. Now, it is suddenlv

desired to appoint an officer, a Superintendent, which is not according with old

regulations. Besides, if the said nation have formed this decision, it still

should have stated the affairs which, and the way how, such Superintendent is

to manage, making petition, so that. a memorial might be presented, requesting

(your Majesty's) mandate and pleasure as to what should be allowed and what

refused, in order that obedience might be paid thereto, and the same be acted

on accordingly. But the said barbarian eye, Lord Napier, without having made

any plain report, suddenly came to the barbarian factories outside the city, to

reside there, and presume to desire intercourse to and fro, by official documents

and letters with the officers of the Central flowery land : this was, indeed, far

out of the bounds of reason. Repeatedly■ have the Hong merchants enjoined

orders, and the deputed officers inquired and interrogated. There has been no


want of bending and stooping to investigate clearly, nor has he been forcibly

troubled with any difficulty ; yet the said barbarian eye has not at all told plainly

what are the matters he has come to attend to, and what the occasion of his

mission ; but has imperatively desired to have intercourse, by official commu

nications and letters, with the officers of the inner land. And he has presumed

to publish a notice, telling all the separate merchants not to regard the entire

cutting off of trade as a subject for concern, showing that he has a disposition

to excite agitation, and to disobey the laws and statutes. If not amply punished

and repressed, how can the national dignity be rendered imposing, and all the

barbarians be intimidated? ■ ■ ■.

Heretofore it has been the rule, that when the barbarians are lawless

their ships' holds should be closed. We, your Majesty's Ministers, have, in

conjunction with the Superintendents of Customs at Canton, your Majesty's

Minister Chung, consulted, and have also maturely consulted with the General

Commandant, the Lieutenant-General, and the Sze and Taou officers (heads of

Territorial and Financial, Judicial, Gabel, and Commissariat Departments,) in

the city, (and have agreed) that it only remains to close the ships' holds

according to law, and temporarily put a stop to the English nation's buying

and selling. Should the said barbarian eye, with awe and fear pay reverential

submission, and obey and act according to the enactments and statutes of the

Celestial Empire, we will then again report, requesting your Majesty graciously

to permit the opening of the ships' holds for traffic ; thus may a warning punish

ment be clearly displayed.

Commerce is originally the business of the said separate merchants ; but

since the said nation has not yet appointed another Taepan, and the said

barbarian eye, after first saying he was to examine and direct, has on a second •

occasion styled himself a Superintendent, so that we cannot find, on inquiry,

what things he is to attend to ; and since, besides, such obstinate adherence. to

error, and refusal of restraint and controul, leave affairs without any responsi

bility, it is difficult even to hope that the trade of the separate merchants may

be securely and properly conducted.

• Of late, the commercial barbarians have gradually assumed a great

degree of daring ; at this time of commencing a new order of things, it

is requisite that they should with severity be brought to order and directed.

At present we are issuing a proclamation and plain order, regarding Lord

Napier's repeated opposition and perverseness, wherein we consequently direct

that the ships' holds be closed according to law; at the same time explaining that

this has no relation to the several separate merchants, and that all other nations

besides may buy and sell as usual. As to whether we do right or not, we,

looking upwards, pray for (your Majesty's) sacred and luminous instructions,

that the same may be obeyed and acted on.

Further, of late years the Hoppo's receipts of commercial duties from

barbarian ships, have been from England about 5 or 600,000 taels. In itself,

this affects not the treasure of the revenue to the value of a hair, or a feather's

down. Yet the national resources being of importance, we dare not neglect to

calculate thoroughly in devising a course of action. But the barbarians are, by

nature, insatiably avaricious ; and the more forbearance and indulgence are

shown to them, the more do they become proud and overbearing. At present,

the barbarian ships which clandestinely sell opium in the outer seas, are daily

increasing. Just when the laws were being established to bring them to order,

there further came this mad, mistaken barbarian eye. If at this time indulgence

be at once shown to them, they will then advance step by step, begetting other

foolish expectations. It is unavoidable that some slight display should be made

of reducing and repressing them.

The said country exists by commerce; and all its merchants, coming in

crowds with their goods, are in haste to dispose of them, and to take advan

tage of the northerly winds of autumn and winter, for returning with their goods

to their country. They assuredly will not lightly cast away their goods and

capital, by waiting till a wrong season. The several separate merchants, seeing

that Lord Napier has repeatedly resisted and caused agitation, have all in their

hearts become in a great degree unsubmissive; and it is now authenticated,

that they have presented a petition at the Hoppo's office, requesting that the

ships' holds be opened ; to which it has been replied by proclamation, that if

Lord' Napier change and repent, and obediently keep the old regulations, they

may then be permitted to report, and request that the ships' holds be opened.

The said merchants certainly will not bear to have their livelihood injured by

such obstinacy. ,

Besides, the rhubarb, tea, chinaware, and raw silk of the inner land, are

things absolutely necessary to the said country. On investigation, it appears,

that in the 13th year of Kea- King (1808), and in the 9th year of Taoukwang

(1829), the ships' holds were closed in consequence of the said barbarians

creating disturbance ; and afterwards they humbly supplicated, and requested

their re-opening. This is a clear proof that the said nation cannot be without

a traffic with the Central flowery land.

The said barbarians, except in guns and fire-arms, have not one single

peculiar talent. We have now, on consultation with the General Ha and

others, posted military within and without the city, at the various guard stations,

directing them to patrol about with increased attention. At Macao, and all

around, officers have also been secretly appointed, to spread themselves about

at various posts on land and water, to maintain quietness, and keep a preventive

guard, in order that no evils of remissness may arise. There decidedly must

not be the least tendency towards what will occasion the commencement of a

bloody quarrel and creation of disturbance. In addition, orders are given to

the Foo and Heen magistrates to search after Chinese traitors, and with severity,

seize and bring them to trial and punishment.

As to the commerce of the outside barbarians, the undivided responsibility

lies on the Hong merchants. Now, since, on the barbarian eye, Lord Napier's,

coming to Canton, they neither at first reported it before hand, nor when

repeatedly commanded to enjoin orders were they able to do a single thing,

showing indeed a great degree of contemptuous negligence, orders have there

fore been given also to inquire if they have or have not been in fault, that they

may be proceeded against with severity.

Of the particulars of all that is done, we, your Majesty's Ministers (Loo

and Ke), in conjunction with the Superintendent of Customs at Canton, your

Majesty's Minister Chung,—the General, your Majesty's Minister Ha, —the

General of the left, your Majesty's Minister Lun, of the Imperial Kindred, —

and the General of the right, your Majesty's Minister Tso,—respectfully prepare

this memorial, secretly reporting, and prostrate imploring a secret glance to be

cast hereon. Respectfully reported.

Inclosure 2 in No. 26.

Edict of the Governor of Canton and the Hoppo, jointly, against outside (foreign

and unlicensed) Merchants being in connection with Hong Merchants.

LOO, temporarily retained in the office of Governor, &c, and

Pangy, Commissioner of Customs at Canton, &c, issue this proclamation,

for the purpose of prohibition.

In the province of Kwangtung are established Hong merchants, to transact

the commerce of barbarians. The means by which to prevent the offence of

clandestine purchases made between the flowery people and barbarians, rest

wholly on the implicit obedience paid by all the Hong merchants to the old

regulations, by which the national revenue is enriched, and the maritime

Government rendered imposing.

Now we, the Governor and the Hoppo, have heard it reported that there

has lately been a class of gain-seeking, market-agitators, who have set up shops

for foreign goods, attached to, and dependent on the Hongs, and who maintain

commercial dealings with the barbarians, lowering the prices of the goods they

sell, without care for the general stock. In landing and shipping goods, the

weak, worn-out Hongs report for them, receiving the duties at a discount of

20 or 30 per cent. Further, in addition to shops (legally) attached to the

Hongs, there are also other shops and warehouses established, at which are hung

up lanterns, having the sign of such and such a Hong's warehouse, (the owners)

making themselves supervisors and assistants in some Hong, in order thus to

screen themselves. ,

The bills of sale of goods are drawn out as on account of such and such a

warehouse belonging to such and such a Hong, while the goods are really

brought and sold by the individuals themselves, a Hong merchant appearing in

name, and receiving the duties from them. Then, when the Hong, becoming

deeply involved, fails■, and is closed, the same warehousemen return home with

full coffers. Such were formerly Low-a-hok, of Manhop's Hong, and Lo-laou-

Kwun, of Chunqua's Hong ; and such are now Li-a-trow and Luy-a-Kwun, of

Fatqua's Hong, both of whom borrow the use of the Hong merchants' name,

craftily and artfully scheming for gain ; and also Troy-a-mun and others, who are

guilty of monopolizing the business of the shops which sell foreign goods, and of

selling the duties on goods, which they report in the name of the Hong as well

as of other offences.

The said Hongs, because their own capital is not abundant, assume this

vain show of respectability, with the design of obtaining ready money to

circulate, thus causing that the duties, both fixed and contingent, of the

Custom-house, continue unpaid year after year. This is indeed deserving of

extreme detestation.

On examination, it appears that the establishment of shops for foreign

goods, in which goods are bought from, and sold to, barbarian merchants

dependency on Hongs, is a gross infraction of the established regulations.

Supervisors under the Hong merchants should transact business only for Hong

merchants. How can they be suffered to borrow the use of their names to

trade ? This class of market-agitators, having no commercial name on the

official books, are left at full liberty, with nothing to fear or dread. There is

nothing to prevent them from teaching or enticing barbarians to talk largely

and create disturbance.

Besides issuing orders to the Foo magistrate to search for and seize Chinese

traitors, and bring them to trial and punishment, we also unite the circumstances,

and issue this proclamation, as a strict prohibition. For this purpose, the pro

clamation is addressed to the Hong people, that they may make themselves

fully acquainted with its contents. Hereafter, in shops for foreign goods, there

will be permission only to purchase goods from the Hong merchants to sell off;

none may secretly depend on any Hong, and clandestinely maintain commercial

dealings with barbarians. All goods sold to barbarians must, also, in obedience

to the laws heretofore in force, be sold at an equitable price fixed by the Hong

merchants ; the shopmen are not permitted to lower the price and clandestinely

sell them. And the Hong merchants are not permitted to invite these gain-

seeking market-agitators, to become falsely supervisors in their Hongs,

screening themselves while scheming for private ends.

Into the barbarian factories outside the city, none of any other class than

the commercial men of the Hongs may at all clandestinely enter. Should any

presume to go into the barbarian factories, or as shopmen, buy from, or sell to,

the barbarians, he shall immediately be punished as a Chinese traitor. If any

falsely assume the name of a supervisor for a Hong merchant, and set up ware

houses, fishing for gain, and the said Hong should happen to fail and cease

business, the said supervisor shall be equally (with the merchant) compelled to

pay up the deficit of duties. Any individuals monopolizing the business of

shops for foreign goods, or selling duties and reporting the goods in the name of

a Hong merchant, as soon as discovered and seized, shall be tried and punished

according to the law against clandestine intercourse with outside nations ; and

any Hong merchant conniving thereat shall be included in the same punish

ment. We, the Governor and the Hoppo, would repair the faults existing in

the affairs of the Custom-House. When the words have issued, the law will

follow. Let each tremblingly obey. Oppose not. A special proclamation.

14th year of Taoukwang, 10th moon, 1st day. (November 1st, 1834.)


No. 27.


The Petition of tlie Undermentioned British Subjects at Canton.—

(Received at the Foreign Office, April 18, 1835.)

Humbly Shoiceth,

THAT we are induced, by the extraordinary position in which wc

feel ourselves placed in relation to the Chinese Government, to petition

your Majesty in Council, to take such measures as may be adapted alike

to maintain the honour of our country, and preserve the advantages

which a safe and uninterrupted commerce with China is calculated to

yield to the revenues of Great Britain, and to the important classes

interested in its arts and manufactures.

We beg humbly to represent, that at the present moment the

Commissioners appointed by your Majesty to superintend the affairs of

British subjects trading at Canton, are not acknowledged by the consti

tuted authorities of this country, and that they are not permitted to

reside within the limits to which their jurisdiction is, by their Commission,

strictly confined ; while they are forbidden by their instructions to appeal

to the Imperial Government at Peking, and are perfectly powerless to

resent the indignities offered to the late Chief Superintendent, or to

compel reparation for the injuries done to your Majesty's subjects, by the

late unprovoked stoppage of their trade.

Your Petitioners are well persuaded, thai the powers vested in your

Majesty's Commissioners were thus restricted, with the express object of

avoiding, as far as possible, all occasion of collision with the Chinese

authorities ; while it was hoped that, by maintaining a direct intercourse

with the principal officers of Government, instead of indirectly communi

cating through the Hong merchants, a sure way would be opened for the

improvement of the present very objectionable footing on which foreign

merchants stand in this country, and for security against the many

wrongs and inconveniences which they have had to suffer in the pursuit

of their commercial avocations.

Your Petitioners, however, beg leave most earnestly to submit to your

Majesty in Council, their thorough conviction, founded on the invariable

tenor of the whole history of foreign intercourse with China, as well as of

its policy on occasions of internal commotion, down to the present moment,

that the most unsafe of all courses that can be followed in treating with

the Chinese Government, or any of its functionaries, is that of quiet

submission to insult, or such unresisting endurance of contemptuous or

wrongful treatment, as may compromise the honour, or bring into

question the power of our country. We cannot, therefore, but deeply

deplore that such authority to negociate, and force to protect from

insult, as the occasion demands, were not entrusted to your Majesty's

Commissioners, confident as we are, without a shadow of doubt, that, had

the requisite powers, properly sustained by an armed force, been possessed

by your Majesty's late First Commissioner, the lamented Lord Napier, we

should not now have to deplore the degraded and insecure position in

which we are placed, in consequence of the Representative of our Sovereign

having been compelled to retire from Canton without having authority

to offer any remonstrance to the Supreme Government, or to make any

demonstration of a resolution to obtain reparation at once for the insults

wantonly heaped upon him by the local authorities.

Your Petitioners, therefore, humbly pray that your Majesty will

be pleased to grant powers Plenipotentiary to such person of suitable

rank, discretion, and diplomatic experience, as your Majesty, in your

wisdom, may think fit and proper to be entrusted with such authority;

and your Petitioners would suggest that he be directed to proceed to a

convenient station on the east coast of China, as near to the capital of

the country as may be found most expedient, in one of your Majesty's

ships of the line, attended by a sufficient maritime force, which we are

of opinion need not consist of more than two frigates and three or four


armed vessels of light draft, together with a steam vessel, all fully

manned; that he may, previously to landing, require, in the first instance,

in the name of your Majesty, ample reparation for the insults offered by

the Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, in his Edicts published on the

occasion of Lord Napier's arrival at Canton, and the subsequent humi

liating conduct pursued towards his Lordship, to which the aggravation

of his illness and death may be attributed; as well as for the arrogant

and degrading language used towards your Majesty and our country

in Edicts emanating from the local authorities, wherein your Majesty was

represented as the "reverently submissive" tributary of the Emperor

of China, arid your Majesty's subjects as profligate barbarians ; and that

they be retracted, and never again employed by Chinese functionaries ;

that he may also demand reparation for the insult offered to your

Majesty's flag by firing on your Majesty's ships of war from the forts at

the Bogue ; and that remuneration shall be made to your Majesty's

subjects for the losses they have sustained by the detention of their ships

during the stoppage of their trade. After these preliminaries shall have

been conceded, [as your petitioners have no doubt they will be,] and

not till then, your Petitioners humbly suggest that it will be expedient

for your Majesty's Plenipotentiary to propose the appointment of Com

missioners on the part of the Chinese Government, to adjust with him,

on shore, such measures as may be deemed most effectual for the prevention

of future occasion of complaint and misunderstanding, and for the

promotion and extension of the trade generally, to the mutual advantage

of both countries. Your petitioners believe, that if these matters shall

be fairly represented, so as to do away with all reasonable objection, and

the favourable inclination of the Chinese Commissioners be gained, there

will be found little disposition on the part of the Supreme Government

to withhold its assent, and every desirable object will thus have been


Your Petitioners would humbly entreat your Majesty's favourable

view of these suggestions, in the confidence that they may be acted upon,

not only with every prospect of success, but without the slightest danger

to the existing commercial intercourse, inasmuch, as even with a force

not exceeding that which we have proposed, should be placed at the

disposal of your Majesty's Plenipotentiary, there would be no difficulty,

should proceedings of a compulsory nature be required, in putting a stop

to the greater part of the external and internal commerce of the Chinese

Empire;—in intercepting its revenues in their progress to the capital,

and in taking possession of all the armed vessels of the country. Such

measures would not only be sufficient to evince both the power and spirit

of Great Britain to resent insult, but would enable your Majesty's Pleni

potentiary to secure indemnity for any injury that might, in the first

instance, be offered to the persons or property of your Majesty's subjects;

and would speedily induce the Chinese Government to submit to just and

reasonable terms. We are, at the same time, confident that resort even

to such strong measures as these, so far from being likely to lead to

more serious warfare, an issue which both our interests and inclinations

alike prompt us to deprecate, would be the surest course for avoiding the

danger of such a collision.

Your Petitioners beg to submit, that the mere restoration of the

liberty once possessed of trading to Amoy, Ningpo, and Chusan, would be

followed by the most beneficial consequences, not merely in the most

extended field thereby opened for commercial enterprise, but in the rivalry

which would be excited as formerly, in the officers of Government at

these several ports, to attract the resort of foreign merchants, and thus

extend their own opportunities of acquiring emoluments from the trade.

With respect, however, to this point, or any other of commercial

interest, that it would be expedient to make the subject of negotiation,

your Petitioners would humbly suggest, that your Majesty's Minister in

China should be instructed to put himself in communication with the

merchants of Canton, qualified as they must be in a certain degree by

their experience and observation, to point out in what respect the benefits

that might be reaped under a well-regulated system of commercial inter

course, are curtailed or lost in consequence of the restrictions to which

the trade is at present subjected, and the arbitrary and irregular exac


tions to which it is exposed, either directly, or not less severely because

indirectly, through the medium of the very limited number of merchants

licensed to deal with foreigners. As an instance of the latter, your

Petitioners may state the fact, that the whole expense of the immense

preparations lately made by the Local Government, to oppose the

expected advance towards Canton of your Majesty's frigates after they

had passed the forts at the Bogue, has been extorted from the Hong

merchants ; and as but few of them are in a really solvent state, they

have no other means of meeting this demand, but by combining to tax

both the import and export trade.

We would further humbly, but urgently, submit, that as we cannot

but trace the disabilities and restrictions under which our commerce now

labours, to a long acquiescence in the arrogant assumption of superiority

over the monarchs and people of other countries, claimed by the Emperor

of China for himself and his subjects, we are forced to conclude that no

essentially beneficial result can be expected to arise out of negotiations

in which such pretensions are not decidedly repelled. We most seriously

apprehend, indeed, that the least concession or waving of this point

under present circumstances, could not fail to leave us as much as

ever subject to a repetition of the injuries of which we have now to


We would, therefore, humbly beseech your Majesty not to be

induced by a paternal regard for your subjects trading to this remote

Empire, to leave it to the discretion of any future Representative of your

Majesty, as was permitted in the case of the embassy of Lord Amherst,

to swerve in the smallest degree from a direct course of calm and dispas

sionate, but determined, maintenance of the true rank of your Majesty's

Empire in the scale of nations, well assured, as we feel, that any descent

from such just position would be attended with worse consequences than

if past events were to remain unnoticed, and we were to be left for the

future to conduct our concerns with the Chinese functionaries, each as he

best may.

It would ill become your Majesty's Petitioners to point to any

individual as more competent than another, to undertake the office of

placing on a secure and advantageous footing our commercial relations

with this country. We may, however, perhaps be permitted to suggest,

the inexpediency of assigning such a task to any person previously

known in China, as connected with commerce conducted under the

trammels and degradations to which it has hitherto been subjected, or to

any one, in short, who has had the misfortune either in a public or private

capacity, to endure insult or injury from Chinese authorities.

Equally inexpedient would it be, as appears to your Petitioners, to

treat with any functionary, not specially nominated by the Imperial

Cabinet, and not on any account with those of Canton, whose constant

course of corrupt and oppressive conduct forms a prominent ground of

complaint ; or to permit any future Commissioner to set his foot on the

shores of China, until ample assurance is afforded of a reception and

treatment suitable to the dignity of a Minister of your Majesty, and to

the honour of an Empire that acknowledges no superior on earth.

And your Petitioners shall ever pray, &ic .

W. Jardine B. Wise

J. Matiieson J. Blyth

J. Hunter A. Nairne

T. Fox T. Larkins

P. F. Robertson R. LONGLEY

W. Blenkin J. Rees

W. S. Boyd F. P. Alleyn

A. Johnstone H. J. Wolfe

A. S. Keating C. R. Read

J. Innes J. Lobban

J. Hamilton W. E. Farrer

R. Browne A. Stirling

R. Turner D. R. Caldwell

A. Matheson J. AlNSLEY

R. Thom J. Dalrymple


H. Wright S. Hyde

J. W. Smith H. D. Dalrymple

F. Macqueen J. C. Jolly

J. McA. Gladstone H. Hale

J. Lenox E. Parry

D. Webster J. T. Lancaster

J. B. Compton A. J. McFarlane

J. Slade R. Swan

J. Watson T. Robson

C. S. Compton J. Wilson


A. Jardine J. Burnett

D. Wilson G. Kennedy

W. Allen F. Jauncey

J. L. Templer J. Middleton

J. Kellaway W. Hyde

H. Grant A. Elias.

Canton, December 9, 1834.

No. 28.

Minutes of Conversation between Hoioqua and Mowqua, Hong Merchants,

and Mr. Jardine.—(Received April 25, 1835.*)

September 2, 1834.—THE above-named Hong merchants called on

Mr. Jardine, to request his assistance in communicating with the Chief

Superintendent, and proposing some specific mode of settling existing


Mr. Jardine agreed to state to Lord Napier any proposals they might

make ; and they returned to the authorities for instructions.

September 3.—The Hong merchants, Howqua and Mowqua, with the

elder Mowqua, returned this forenoon, and said they had every reason to

believe the following terms [then committed to paper] would be agreed to

by the Viceroy, provided Mr. Jardine could induce Lord Napier to agree

to them on his part.

The arrangement is founded on a mutual understanding, that the

trade shall be opened by the Viceroy, on a Petition to that effect, being

presented to him by the British merchants ; and Lord Napier shall leave

Canton in four or five days from that on which the trade is opened.

1st. The Viceroy shall, on receiving a respectful Petition from the

British merchants, immediately issue orders for the opening of the


2nd. It is clearly understood, that no saucy, boasting chops shall be

issued by the authorities, after his Lordship's departure. Nor shall any

proclamations be issued prohibiting his Lordship's return to Canton.

3rd. Should Lord Napier have occasion to visit Canton, previous to

the Viceroy's having received an answer from the Emperor, respecting his

Lordship's reception, it is understood that he is at liberty to do so ; he

making as short a stay as convenient, and the authorities shutting their

eyes to his being in Canton.

The merchants then returned to the city, with the view of having the

agreement confirmed and acted upon.

About 7 p.m. of the same day, Mowqua returned, and, in the name of

himself and the two Hong merchants, informed Mr. Jardine, with much

apparent regret, that the Foo-Yuen and other Mandarins of rank, had

addressed the Viceroy, remonstrating against the proposed arrangement,

and induced him to break it off; which information Mr. Jardine

immediately communicated to Lord Napier.

* This is the summary of the private negotiations referred to in Note to No. 14 of this collection

of documents.


On the 11th inst., the Imogene and Andromache being then at

Whampoa, the three senior Hong merchants, Howqua, Mowqua, and

Puankeequa, waited on Mr. Jardine, and begged he would again endeavour

to bring about an amicable settlement of the existing difference.-

Mr. Jardine having reminded them of the faithlessness of their

former proceedings, inquired whether they were deputed by the autho

rities, or came of their own accord ?

They replied with some hesitation, that they had assurances, through

the Nowhoy and Foyuen, of the trade being immediately opened, provided

Lord Napier would send the ships of war outside the Bocca Tigris,

adding, " we can ourselves secure this." As they appeared confident of

success, Mr. Jardine stated what had passed to Lord Napier ; and on

their returning the following day, submitted to them the following letter

from his Lordship.

" Lord Napier to William Jardine, Esq.

" Dear Sir, " Canton, September 12, 1834.

" IN reference to the conversation held between yourself and the Hong

merchants last night, and conveyed by their desire to me, I can only state,

that if they are sincere in their wishes to come to an accommodation it

will give me great pleasure to meet them, remembering always, on such

principles as are consistent with the honour of Great Britain, and the

dignity of the King's Commission. In the first place, then, I say let

a chop be issued immediately, recalling the servants and workmen to their

respective Hongs, opening the markets as heretofore, and removing the

prohibition against all boats passing and repassing on the river. This

being done, 1 will then send the guard of marines, now in the factory,

back to the ships.

" I will then request the captains of the frigates to return to Chuenpee;

the merchants shall Petition the Viceroy to open the trade, and that being

done, immediately, I will request that one of them should return to the

Admiral in India, to prevent the reinforcements being sent.

'* Hang-tai shall be liberated, and not be made liable to any future

annoyance, for that which he did not do ; and for this I will bind myself

not to report the circumstance to the Emperor.

" Lord Napier shall have the privilege of passing and repassing

between Canton and Macao as he finds it necessary. The insulting

manner of writing his name shall no more be used ; and the Edict which

orders the trade to be opened, shall also contain an admonition to the

Chinese to treat the British and other foreigners with that respect and

hospitality which is due to strangers.

" I have, &c,

" (Signed) NAPIER."

The above letter having been read at a full meeting of the Hong

merchants, in their Consoo House, they said unanimously they could

secure the terms therein proposed would be agreed to ; and Howqua

with Mowqua proceeded to the city to lay them before the authorities.

On the morning of the 13th instant, they returned, saying the terms

proposed were inadmissible, and began to propose others, which Mr.

Jardine refused to listen to, telling them to communicate in writing what

they had to say.

Canton, September 14, 1834.


No. 29.

Extracts from the " Records of Proceedings."—(Received May 18, 1835.)

December 6, 1834.—The following joint Proclamation of the Gover

nor and Hoppo, is promulgated annually with the manifest intention of

keeping alive, in the minds of the people, feelings of contempt and

suspicion towards the foreigner. It has been considered proper to record

it in this place with a view to draw the attention of Her Majesty's

Government to the subject.

Annual proclamation against Hong merchants conniving at, and

abetting, vice in foreigners. Issued by the Governor and Hoppo, Novem

ber 15, 1834.

" Loo, Governor of the provinces Kwangtung and Kwangse, and

Pang, Superintendent of Customs at Canton, hereby issue a severe


"The barbarians of outside nations who trade within the Central

territory, are in their spoken language unintelligible to, and in their

written language all different from [the Chinese], It is, therefore, very

difficult for them to understand clearly the proprieties, the laws, and

the prohibitory orders of the Celestial Empire; and on this account

security merchants and linguists have been appointed to rule and controul

commercial transactions. These persons ought, doubtless, continually to

instruct and guide [the barbarians], to repress their pride and profligacy,

and to insist on causing them to turn with all their hearts towards

renovation ; that both parties may enjoy the repose of gladness and gain,

every one keeping in his own sphere, and minding his proper business.

Moreover the security merchants are all men of property and respectable

family; it the more behoves them to have a tender regard for their face

and reputation, to trade with fairness and equity, and not to cheat or

deceive; then they will certainly be able to obtain the confidence of the

men from far.

" Now, on inquiry we find, that formerly there was a set of shameless,

lawless, Hong merchants, who, whenever the barbarians entered the port

and took lodgings, endeavoured to make a gain of them. For this purpose "

they adopted a hundred schemes to meet their wishes, bought young boys

for them, to act as servants and attendants; or procured boat prostitutes

for them, to gratify their libidinous dispositions; by so doing, not only

ruining the morals and manners of the public, but also, it is to be _

apprehended, creating disturbances.

" About this time, the foreign ships are successively arriving; and it is

really feared, that lawless vagabonds will again tread on their old habits.

Therefore, besides ordinary strict search to be made for the purpose of

seizure, we unite in issuing this strict interdict. To this end we address

it to the security merchants, the linguists, and the patrol and watchmen

behind the factories, requiring their universal acquaintance herewith.

"Hereafter, all are peremptorily required to have a tender regard for

their face and reputation, and to repent, with bitter contrition, of their

former faults. At every landing place behind the hongs where barba

rians reside, they must not allow the tanka boats to anchor. And when

barbarians pass up or down, between Canton and Whampoa, they must

not seek out and hire for them tanka boats having families on board.

" As to the foreign menials whom they bring with them, they are in

every way sufficient to attend on and serve them; they are not at all

permitted to hire and employ natives. If any presume to continue to hire

Chinese, and young boys for them as servants; or, forming unlawful

connexions with barbarians, lead them clandestinely to the tanka boats,

to drink wine and sleep with courtezans ; or, under the darkness of night,

secretly take ashore prostitutes into the factories ; so soon as the patrol

and watchmen, having found and seized them, reported the fact, or

so soon as such proceedings shall have been otherwise found out, the

lawless barbarians, together with the security merchants and linguists, ^

shall assuredly be sent to the local officers, to be tried and punished

Recording to law, with severity.


"As to the appointed patrol behind the factories, and the constables

of the district, if they presume to accept of bribes, purposely to connive

at, screen and conceal such practices, they shall, so soon as it is dis

covered, be made to wear the cangue, for one month, on the spot ; and, at

the expiration of that time, shall be brought before our court, and

immediately cudgelled to death.

" We, the Governor and Hoppo, will firmly adhere, without deviation,

to the law ; and will not assuredly show the slightest indulgence. Let

every one obey with trembling fear. Be careful not lightly to try an

experiment. A special proclamation.

" Taoukwang, 14th year, 5th moon, 15th day."

December 8, 1834.—The subjoined Edict is an Imperial answer in

reply to the Memorial respecting the late Lord Napier's departure from

Canton. Several other Edicts to the same effect having already been

forwarded to Viscount Palmerston, in the Chief Superintendent's des

patches, it has merely been considered necessary to record this one instead

of transmitting it in a despatch.

Imperial Edict in reply to the Governor and his colleagues' report of

Lord Napier having left Canton, and of the frigates having retired without

the Bogue, October 7th, 1834.

" On the 5th day of the 9th moon was issued the following Supreme


" ' A report has this day been received by a speedy post conveyance,

Ha-fung-ah, [the General Commandant of Canton], and his colleagues,

announcing that the English ships of war and barbarian Eye, had all

been conducted, under guard, out of the port.

" ' On this occasion, the English (barbarian Eye, Lord Napier, having

come to Canton for trade, did not pay obedience to the laws and statutes ;

and the said Governor, according to law, closed the ships' holds, after

which the said barbarian Eye still did not request a permit, but presumed

to order two ships of war to push in through the maritime entrance, and

to proceed straight up to Whampoa in the inner river. The said

Governor appointed civil and military officers, with troops, and addressed

communications requesting the appointment of naval vessels from the

Tartar force, and from those under the Admiral's command, as also

cruizing vessels from Sin-hwuy and other districts, which he stationed

severally along the passage before the ships of war, and at narrow and

important places on either shore. The people of the said barbarian ships

of war saw before them wooden spars ranged across and all around, on

the surface of the river, with guns and muskets [numerous] as the trees of

a forest, and large and small naval vessels stationed over a space of several

miles in length, while, on shore, military officers and men were encamped,

presenting a compact and united force, and a warlike array imposing and

alarming. The said barbarian Eye and others remained, therefore,

secluded in their boats, there being no interchange of intelligence between

those within and those without, and no way either to advance or to go

out. With dread and fear, they repented of their offences, and supplicated

earnestly for a permit to go down to Macao.

" ' The said Governor considered, that, as the said barbarian Eye and

others had transgressed the prohibitions with daring contempt, if they

were permitted at once to leave Canton, thus coming and going at their

own convenience, there would not be sufficient power to intimidate and

bring under the barbarians' tempers ; and, therefore, he commanded the

Hong merchants, Woo-tun-yuen and others, to question them sternly as to

what the said barbarian Eye wished to do; why he came to Canton,

without having obtained a permit, and presumed to bring the ships of war

suddenly into the inner river; also, why, when the soldiers opened a

thundering fire on them, did they presumptuously dare to discharge their

guns and return resistance? requiring from them clear and explicit

answers before permitting them to leave Canton.

" 'Afterwards a merchant of the said barbarians, Colledge, answered,

saying, " that Lord Napier is a barbarian Eye, and not the same as a

Taepan ; that he was unacquainted with matters of dignity ; that the

cause of the cruizers coming into the port was really to protect the goods,

in consequence of the holds of the merchant ships having been closed ;

and that, in consequence of the military at the maritime entrance having

opened a thundering fire on them, the barbarian force also discharged its

guns in self-defence, but that they had deeply repented of their fault."

Also the said nation's merchants and seamen, several thousands in num

ber, all considered the said barbarian Eye's disobedience of the laws and

statutes to be wrong, and there was not a single person who joined in

harmony with him.

" ' The said Governor considered, that as the said barbarian Eye, Lord

Napier, had confessed his faults and besought favour, and as all the

merchants had repeatedly made earnest supplications, it doubtless

behoved him to extend a slight trifling indulgence, and to drive him out

of the port; and he therefore permitted the said Hong merchants to

proceed to the Superintendent of Customs, to request and obtain a red

permit. The said Governor immediately appointed trusty, civil, and

military officers who, on the 19th day of the 8th moon, took Lord Napier

under guard outside of the port. Both the said barbarian ships of war

also started on the same day, and were conducted under guard outside of

the maritime entrance of the Bogue. All the naval and military officers

and men who had been stationed at various places were every one recalled,

and returned severally to their stations.

" ' At the time when it was equally impossible for the said barbarians

to advance or to recede, what difficulty would there have been in imme

diately exterminating them ? But these outside barbarians are in search

of gain : to intimidate them on points whereon they are unacquainted

with the laws and prohibitions, and to refuse altogether arguing with

them is what I, the Emperor, am extremely unwilling to do. If contume

lious, they should then be chastised ; if brought under subjection, they

should then be tolerated. The said Governor and colleagues, in conduct

ing this affair, have yet acted skilfully and correctly. Before, on account

of the said Governor and colleagues not having been able to take due

preventive measures before the business, thereby admitting the said

ships of war to push into the inner river, causing to the military the

labour of driving them out; my pleasure was therefore made known, that

they should be severally degraded from their rank, and openly punished.

Now, having driven the said barbarian Eye and others out of the port,

the said Governor and others, although at the beginning they failed in a

preventive guard, have in the end been able to settle the thing well and

securely, without loss of the national dignity, and without incurring any

bloody strife. I, the Emperor, am exceedingly well pleased.

" * Let Loo have favour shown him, by restoring to him the title, " guar

dian to the heir apparent;" and let also the double-eyed peacock's feather

be given back to him. The neglect of guard on the previous occasion,

renders it difficult for him to free himself wholly from blame; let him,

therefore, still continue degraded from official rank, though retained in

office. With regard to all the maritime guard officers, and the Naval

Commander-in-chief, the special responsibility rested on the late Com

mander-in-chief, Le, who has been already degraded. Now, as the matter

has been brought to an end, let further inquiry be dispensed with, and

let him be directed immediately to return to his native place. Let Kaou-

e-yung, the degraded Tsantseang of the Admiral's own division, wait till

after the month of wearing the cangue be accomplished, and then be

released. Let all the officers who guarded the forts with so much careless

ness, be made to wear the cangue, and after the expiration of the time,

let them be released.

"'In this I, the Emperor, show favour beyond the measure of the laws;

the said Governor and others ought but to feel shame, and arouse to

diligence, strenuously exerting themselves to stimulate a reform in the

affairs of the camp and of the maritime guard, from time to time instructing

and admonishing with sincerity. It is peremptory that they take their

former accumulated habits, and with contrition, eradicate them severally,

in order to cause the military to become all strong and powerful, so that

the martial name and dignity maybe strengthened, and the appointed

duties be performed. Respect this.' "


No. 30.

J. F. Davis, Esq., to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received May 12, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, January 2, 1835.

IT is with much satisfaction that I now inclose to your Lordship the ac

companying translation of an Imperial edict, which, viewed in connexion with

the occurrences of August and September last, must be regarded as a document

of considerable importance.

This paper attributes the efforts of Lord Napier to obtain a direct commu

nication with the government, and the transactions consequent thereon, to the

numerous extortions of the Canton merchants, and observes, that the foreigners,

" unable to bear their grasping, stir up all disturbances." Were it at all pro

bable (which I feel assured it is not) that the grievances admitted in this Im

perial document, and ordered itherein to be redressed, were thus brought for

ward from any really spontaneous desire to do justice to strangers, and relieve

the Canton trade from its heavy burthens, this would at least prove that our

complaints, so often repeated, had at length reached the Court of Pekin.

There is., however, far greater probability in attributing this disposition to

criminate the Hong Merchants, to that feeling of uneasiness, which its present

position in respect to the English trade is so well calculated to excite in the

cautious and timid government of this country. A species of apology is thus

provided for the late occurrences, and a desire professed to remedy grievances

in expectation, perhaps, that the harsh, unreasonable and unprecedented

measure, of rejecting Lord Napier's first letter of announcement, and subsequent

attempts at direct correspondence, may expose it to the risk of future and em

barrassing discussions.

However desirable it may appear to His Majesty's Government to avoid, if

possible, the chance of a serious rupture with this country, at the same time

that every endeavour is made to ameliorate the condition of British traders at

Canton, it may with the utmost safety and certainty be averred, that the similar

desire on the part of the Chinese Government is no less sincere ; however care

fully it may be sought to be disguised under the absurd phraseology of its

official papers.

While the document above referred to, proposes relief to the fair trader of

Canton, another edict, of which I have also the honour to inclose a translation,

is levelled against the smuggling trade of Lintin and the coast. It is almost

needless to observe that, previous documents of the nature have proved entirely

nugatory, and that the opium trade, at last, has continued in spite of them.

It remains now to be seen, whether the native government, having its attention

at length awakened by the increased amount of smuggling transactions, conse

quent on the open trade of this season, will endeavour to give greater efficacy

to its edicts, and oppose some effectual impediments to the contraband commerce

of Lintin.

I have, &c,

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS,

Chief Superintendent.


Inclosure 1 in No. 30.

Imperial Edict, against extortions of Hong Merchants under the name of Duties,

and against incurring debts to Foreigners.

THE following supreme mandate has been received.

" There are at Canton, merchants who have of late been in the habit of

levying private duties, and incurring debts to barbarians ; and it is requested

that regulations be established to eradicate utterly such misdemeanors.

"The outside barbarians' commercial intercourse with the inner land,

exists, indeed, by the compassion exercised by the Celestial Empire. If all the

duties which are required to be paid, can, indeed, be levied according to the

fixed tariff, the said barbarian merchants must certainly pay them gladly, and

must continually remain tranquil. But if, as is now reported, the Canton

merchants have of late been in a feeble and deficient state, and have, in addition

to the Government duties, added also private duties, while fraudulent indivi

duals have further taken advantage of this, to make gain out of the Custom-

House duties, peeling off (from the barbarians) layer after layer ; and have

gone also to the extreme degree of the Government merchants, incurring debts

to the barbarians, heaping thousands upon ten thousands ; whereby are

stirred up sanguinary quarrels : if the merchants, thus falsely, and under the

name of tariff duties, extort, each according to his own wishes, going even to

the extreme degree of incurring debts, amount upon amount, it is not matter of

surprise if the said barbarian merchants, unable to bear their grasping, stir up

disturbances. Thus, with regard to the affair this year of the English, Lord

Napier and others, disobeying the national laws, and bringing forces into the

inner river, the barbarians being naturally crafty and artful, and gain being

their only object, we have no assurance that it was not owing to the numerous

extortions of the Canton merchants, that they, their minds being discontented,

thereupon craftily thought to carry themselves with a high hand. If regulations

be not plainly established, strictly prohibiting these things, how can the

barbarous multitude be kept in subjection, and misdemeanors be eradicated?

" Let Loo, and his colleagues, examine with sincerity and earnestness ;

and if offences of the above description exist, let them immediately inflict severe

punishments therefore ; let there be not the least connivance or screening. Let

them also, vith their whole hearts, consult and deliberate, and report fully, and

with fidelity, as to the measures they, on investigation, propose, for the secure

establishment of regulations, so as to create coufident hopes that the barbarians

will be disposed to submit gladly, and that fraudulent merchants will not dare to

indulge their desires of peeling and scraping them. Then will they (Loo and

his colleagues) not have failed of accomplishing the duties of their officers..

Make known this edict. Respect, this."

Inclosure 2 in No. 30.

Imperial Edict, against the importation of Opium.

November 3, 1834.

ON the 3rd day of the 10th moon (November 3rd), was received the

following supreme mandate.

" Loo and his colleagues have made a report of the existing circum >

stances of foreign vessels selling opium, and of the measures taken for

inquiring and acting with regard thereto. The Canton barbarian vessels

which clandestinely bring opium, chiefly dispose thereof in the outer seas;

having a race of native bandits hooked together with them, to afford

them supplies and remove (their cargoes). Loo and his colleagues have

given strict commands to the war vessels, from time to time to urge and

compel the barbarian vessels to get under weigh, and to prohibit the

native vessels and tanka-boat people from holding intercourse with the

barbarian vessels; also, with severity to seize the smuggling native


" But when all the vessels are crowded together on the face of the

sea, it is difficult to separate the worthless stones and 'gems;' it only

remains, after the merchant vessels of every nation have sailed away,

to examine thoroughly, and if there be on the sea any warehousing

smuggling ships, immediately to send forth the naval force, and with a

great display of lofty dignity, strictly to drive them out. Orders should

further be given to the officers to appoint two cruizers to anchor at sea,

among the barbarian vessels, in order to make search, and to prevent

all native vessels and tanka-boats from approaching the barbarian

vessels to hold clandestine dealings with them; that thus the supply

of provisions may be cut off. If any native vagabonds go in fast-boats

to the barbarian vessels, to land the opium for sale, or clandestinely

to purchase goods, let them be immediately sought after, seized, and

brought to trial, and punished with severity. The military commandants

and the district magistrates, on the inner rivers, must also be held

responsible for appointing cruizing vessels at the maritime ports; to be

severally stationed, in positions previously arranged, so as to occupy

all the inlets communicating with the sea; and there to cruize about

in rotation throughout night, for the purpose of making seizures. If

any people, taking (opium) to sell, steal through, either inward or outward,

let them be immediately seized and committed. Let the custom-houses,

one and all, search strictly, and with real earnestness. And whenever a

seizure has been made of men or vessels smuggling what is contraband,

or evading the duties, let application be immediately made, according to

rule, and the parties be severally rewarded and encouraged. If any

officers are negligent in keeping up guard, or if soldiers or policemen

take fees to connive, let the soldiers or policemen be punished according

to law, and let the commanding officer be reported against with severity.

Let the local officers be commanded also to inquire after, and seize native

vagabonds who open 'opium furnaces,' making diligent search for them,

and punishing severely. If any officers do not act with fidelity, they

must, whenever convicted, be severely reported against. Let the Hong

merchants, likewise, be commanded to enjoin commands on the English

barbarian merchants, that they are mutually to examine and inquire,

and that if one vessel smuggle and evade the duties, all the vessels shall

be immediately prohibited trading; that thus they may themselves be

caused severally to investigate, and adopt preventive measures, which will

be a plan more sure and perfect.

" Loo and his colleagues, when they meet with any of these cases and

circumstances, must punish offenders, they are not permitted to extend

mercy towards them. Still more must they not, in lapse of time, become

careless and indolent, regarding this as a mere prepared document."

There is, further, a postscript to the report, stating, that " by nature

the barbarians have no other object but gain, and their clandestine trade

having existed long, they certainly will not contentedly relinquish it.

Either after the Government force has dispersed, they will come again, or

else they will creep, rat-like, into other provinces." The said Governor

and his colleagues are imperatively required to keep them under very

strict controul, maintaining, outside, a cruizing squadron of Government

vessels, and within, a strict guard at the maritime entrance ; so that they

may neither dispose of goods, nor yet be suffered to escape into other

provinces. To sum up, they are expected to form plans, and conduct the

matter securely, strictly prohibiting, till they eradicate offences; then will

they not have failed of fulfilling the duties of their offices. Respect this."

No. 31.

J. F. Davis, Esq., to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received May 18, 1835.,)

(Extr ct.) Macao, January 19, 1835.

AFTER the lapse of considerably more than three months since the

re-opening of the trade, consequent on Lord Napier's retirement from

Canton, I am tempted to take a brief review of the principal occurrences


of this period, as the best ground of an opinion concerning the measures

which His Majesty's Government may deem it fit to adopt relatively to


I am aware that two courses of a very opposite nature, might have

been taken by me, subsequent to Lord Napier's decease, in lieu of the

one which, according to the best of my own judgment, and with the

entire concurrence of the Board, I have pursued; and which, considering

that a season of unusual commercial activity, and an increased amount

of tonnage, is now drawing quietly to a close with the monsoon, I see no

reason to regret. I might, in the first place, have tried the effect of a mea

sure which has not been without its advocates, and which (under very pecu

liar and favourable circumstances) was successful in 1814. 1 mean the

withdrawal of the ships from the river, and the stoppage of the trade on

our part. I do not deny that this might have been productive of con

siderable embarrassment to the local government for the time : but the

ill-success of such a course in the season of 1829-30, when the Company's

ships were detained for about five months to little or no purpose, was a

warning which I now do not regret having profited by. The effect of such

detention on private shipping would have been ruinous, and a serious

blow to the future trade with this country.

I might, on the other hand, have adopted the opposite extreme

measure of an immediate submission to the dictates of the local govern

ment, and have proceeded to Canton to place myself under the manage

ment of the Hong merchants; but from this I was deterred by the

conviction, stated to your Lordship in my despatch of the 11th November,

that " any adjustment ought to take place as the result of a mutual

necessity ; and that an unbecoming and premature act of submission on

our part, under present circumstances, could not fail to prove a fruitless,

if not a mischievous measure." I feel persuaded that it would have been

the most effectual means of preventing the Emperor's favourable edict,

inclosed in my despatch of the 2nd instant.

The proclamations of the Viceroy, (copies of which I had the honour

to forward under dates the 2nd and 11th November,) calling for the

election or appointment from home, of a "trading chief" betrayed the

difficulty which the local government had brought on itself by its refusal

to acknowledge Lord Napier. Translations of subsequent papers (not

intended for our perusal), which I had the honour to forward on the 18th

November, proved the importance which the local government really

attached to the trade, and its anxiety to avoid a rupture ; as well as the

responsibility which the Emperor had fixed on the Viceroy, in respect to

the preservation of tranquillity.

It was reasonably hoped by the Commission, that a complete silence

and abstinence from all further attempts to negotiate with the Canton

Government, pending the reference home, might be attended with a

favourable effect. The Imperial edict, forwarded with my despatch of the

2nd instant, in which the blame of the transactions of August and

September is thrown on the Hong merchants, and the late troubles

attributed to their extortions on the trade, must be viewed as an unequi

vocal sanction of that opinion. To repeat the words of my former

despatch, " a species of apology is thus provided for the late occurrences,

and a desire professed to remedy grievances, in expectation, perhaps, that

the harsh, unreasonable, and unprecedented measure of rejecting Lord

Napier's first letter of announcement, and subsequent attempts at direct

correspondence, may expose it to the risk of future and embarrassing


An opportunity is afforded by this Imperial document, which His

Majesty's Government (should it be indisposed to accede to the Chinese

proposition of a "trading chief,") may not be inclined to neglect, in making

an appeal to the Court of Peking, against the conduct of its servants at

Canton, whose corrupt system, in relation to the European commerce,

tends nearly as much to defraud the Emperor of his dues, as to oppress

and discourage the foreign trader. I am at least persuaded, to repeat the

expression of my sentiments in a despatch to the Governor General, of

the 24th October, [Inclosure in No. 20 of this collection], that it could


be only the failure of such an appeal, that the policy and justice of any

coercive measures towards ■ the local government, would be otherwise

than questionable.

The crude and ill-digested Petition to His Majesty from a portion

of the English traders at Canton (for some of the most respectable

houses declined signing it) is said to have been drawn up by a casual

visitor from India, totally unacquainted with this country.

1 have, &ic,

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS,

Chief Superintendent.

No. 32.

Extracts from the " Records of Proceedings."—(Received July 7, 1835.)

January 19, 1835.—MR. DAVIS has before expressed his conviction,

that during the quiet progress of the trade at Canton and Lintin, it is the

obvious duty of this Commission, under existing circumstances, to abstain

most carefully from any steps calculated to pledge His Majesty's Govern

ment as to the future, or to impede or embarrass in any way whatever, the

commercial transactions of individuals, during the interval that must

elapse previous to the receipt of instructions from home. The same sen

timents have been expressed in our communications to the Governor

General of India, with the full impression that it is expedient to afford to

His Majesty's Government the amplest time and choice in regard to its

measures, subsequent to the arrival of our despatches of last October.

On these grounds it was deemed most advisable to make no attempts at

negotiation with the Chinese Government, unless such available advances

should come from them as might warrant a departure from this rule.

With his original intention to quit China during the favorable moon-

soon, and his notice to that effect conveyed in his letter of the 17th July

last, Mr. Davis has waited since the middle of October to give full time

for the arrival of replies from Peking, and the development of the views

of the native authorities ; and the result has been a requisition for a

" trading chief," and not a king's officer. Under these circumstances it is

obvious that nothing remains to be done but to await the final determination

and arrangements of His Majesty's Government. With the concurrence

therefore, and sanction of the Board, Mr. Davis will adhere to his notice

intimated in July last) to the Foreign Office and the Court of Directors,

and since then conditionally repeated in a despatch to Viscount Palmerston,

under date the 13th October. But as his proceeding home "on leave,"

would according to the standing instructions, prevent the succession of

Captain Charles Elliot to the Board, he will, with a view to securing to

His Majesty's Commission, the valuable services of that gentleman, deem

it his duty to wave any claims, that the form of " absence on leave "

might afford himself, and vacate entirely his station on embarking; thereby

causing Captain Elliot to suceeed as a Superintendent by virtue of the

aforesaid Instructions.

(Signed) J. F. DAVIS.

In resigning the office of Chief Superintendent, Mr. Davis this day

delivered over to Sir George Best Robinson, His Majesty's Commission to

Lord Napier, together with all other official documents, Seal of Office, &c

January 21.—Mr. Davis embarked in the ship Asia for England.

January 22.—The Board assembled, and in pursuance to our

Instructions under the Royal Signet and Sign Manual, Sir George Best

Robinson assumed the office and duties of Chief Superintendent, Mr.

Astell that of Second, and Captain Elliot, late Secretary, that of Third



A. R. Johnston, Esq., being nominated by the Chief Superintendent,

received his Commission as Secretary and Treasurer [to date from the day

of Mr. Davis' resignation], under the Seal and Signature of the three

Superintendents. •

No. 33.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—{Received June 19, 1835.)

(Extract) Macao, January 24, 1835.

SINCE Mr. Davis' departure nothing of moment has occurred; but

I trust shortly to furnish your Lordship with much information, which I

have reason to hope will prove valuable, relative to ports and harbours

on the coast of China ; the state and nature of the native commerce thereat ;

and the probable advantageous result that would attend a well conducted

trade with places less shackled with the extortions and impositions to

which we have been so long subjected at Canton.

No. 34.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received June 19, 1835.)

(Extract.) Macao, February 3, 1835.

THE almost instant departure of the ship Robarts enables me merely

to communicate to your Lordship in the most brief manner, that a boat's

crew, consisting of 12 men belonging to the ship Argyle, bound from

Bengal to Canton, have fallen accidently into the hands of some lawless

or piratical people on the coast, forty or fifty miles westward of this port.

As soon as the circumstances reached the knowledge of the Superin

tendents, not a moment was lost in endeavouring to secure the assistance

of the Provincial Government, for the recovery of the people. I regret to

observe, however, that the Canton authorities refused to receive the state

ments from the hands of Captain Elliot, who was deputed to convey it,

because it was not made in the form of a Petition. Your Lordship may

rely upon our most anxious efforts to deliver these unfortunate people from

their perilous condition, and I will not fail to forward a detailed statement

of the matter, as well as all our proceedings therein, by the earliest


I have only time to add that the commerce is proceeding uninter

ruptedly, and there is no reason to apprehend it will be disturbed by this

unfortunate event.

No. 35.

Extract from the " Records of Proceedings."—(Received July 7, 1835.)

January 29, 1835.—Captain Macdonald of the Argyle, this day

appeared, and deposed to the following statement on oath :—

Appeared Alexander Macdonald, and deposed, that he is master of

the British ship Argyle ; states, that being bound from Bengal to Canton,

the ship fetched in between Hawchime and Lieuchee Island on the 21st

instant. Is quite certain that it was somewhere between these points that

the ship fetched, but cannot speak with more precision, because of the

state of the weather which had prevented him from observing for the four

previous days. Owing to the damage the sails had sustained, the ship

was anchored at this place, and, on the morning of the 22nd, at day-light,

deponent sent a boat on shore, then distant about two miles, with the

view to seek a pilot. The boat contained the second officer of the ship,



an European Sookanee, a Manilla Sookanee, and nine lascars, twelve in

number altogether. The boat was not armed, and Deponent is persuaded

that no outrage was offered to the natives by the boat's crew. The boat

did not return to the ship at all ; at about one o'clock, however, two

Chinese boats came off and communicated with the ship. The people

asked whether she was bound to Macao ? Deponent desired them to go on

shore, and send off his boat. They pretended to go, but returned,—that

is to say, two men returned in a sampan [a small boat] and intimated by

signs, that the boat's crew were seized. They offered, before the ship

left the place, on the 22nd, to bring the people back, if Deponent would

give them 500 dollars. He had not the money with him, and, under

all the circumstances of the case, he thought it best to repair to this place,

where he arrived to-day.


Sworn before me, this 29th day of January, 1835.

(Signed) G. B. ROBINSON,

Chief Superintendent.

As there appeared to be no doubt that these unfortunate men had

fallen into the hands of some of the notoriously lawless people upon the

part of the coast indicated in the deposition, the Superintendents deter

mined to lose no time in formally and respectfully reporting the circum

stances to the direct knowledge of the principal authorities at Canton.

With this view, they caused the following note to be translated into

Chinese by M. Gutzlaff, and its sentiments to be rendered in a manner

conformable to the genius of the language, and in accordance with those

respectful modes of communication adopted by public officers in their

reports to each other.

" To his Excellency the Governor of the two provinces of Kwangtung

and Kwangse.

" The Undersigned have the honor respectfully to represent to your

Excellency, that, &,c, [here was recited a succinct statement of the


" The Undersigned are very conscious that your Excellency will hear

of the violent outrage committed by these evil-disposed people upon His

Majesty the King of England's subjects, driven by distress upon the coast,

with feelings of sincere regret ; and they have a firm confidence in the

earnestness of your Excellency's efforts to deliver these unfortunate

innocent men from their perilous condition with the utmost promptitude.

In the discharge of a solemn duty to the King their gracious Sovereign,

and in a sense of respect to your Excellency, it has been judged right to

submit this important representation in the most direct manner, by the

hands of a member of His Majesty's Commission, who is accompanied by

the captain of the ship, and is authorised to carry on any official commu

nications which may be needful. It has also been considered decorous and

reasonable to refrain from taking any urgent steps for the recovery of the

people, until your Excellency shall be made acquainted with the disastrous


" The Undersigned avail themselves of this occasion to offer to your

Excellency the expression of their highest consideration and respect.


G. B. ROBINSON, 1st 1

" J. H. ASTELL, 2nd [Superintendent.'


The version in Chinese of this document, as prepared by M. Gutzlaff,

is as follows :—

"La, Ah, and E, by British Royal Commission Superintendents of

their country's affairs, communicate jointly and respectfully to your

Excellency the Governor of the two Kwang, Loo.

" That on the first day of the first month, the 15th year of Taou



Kwang, (January 29th 1835), Ma, [Alexander Macdonald], a captain of

their nation, reported :

"That his ship called the Argyle, whilst on her voyage from

Bengal, met unfortunately with storms and made St. John's, when she

anchored in a harbour on the east coast, near to New-Keo-Chow.

" That, on the 23rd of the 12th month of the 14th year of Taoukwang

[January 21st, 1835], he sent his mate, two helmsmen, and nine sailors in

his boat on shore, with the intention of procuring a pilot, who might

guide his ship over the shoals to Macao.

" That the inhabitants of St. John's being unfortunately ruffians, seized

on a sudden upon our people, twelve in number, taking them prisoners,

and forcibly possessing themselves of their boat.

" That, although the said Captain strenuously exhorted them to

liberate his sailors, those ruffians demanded by way of extortion, 500

dollars, for which they would set them at liberty.

" That two of the inhabitants of St. John's came here in his ship to

receive that unjust bribe.

" This coming before us Superintendents, we prepared previously this

document to represent to your Excellency, that according to decorum,

we should not ourselves arbitrarily endeavour to get back our country

men, but we beseech your Excellency most earnestly to issue immediate

orders to those ruffians of St. John's, commanding them to give up our

countrymen without delay.

" The Superintendents being extremely desirous to fulfil the duties of

their office, which they hold by Royal Commission, could not sit down

with indifference, and see their people in the utmost danger, without

succouring and assisting them. They therefore deputed the Superin

tendent E. to repair with the said Captain Ma, to the provincial city, that

he might with his own hand present this document, and wait for an

official reply from your Excellency.

" Respectfully wishing your Excellency the enjoyment of peace and

happiness, we communicate in this document a true statement of the case.

" Done, January 30th, 1835.


January 30, 1835.—Tt was considered to be desirable that the three

Superintendents should sign this Paper to the Governor, as it appeared to be

possible that this circumstance might give it rather the character of a

Report than a Letter [and it will be remembered that the pretext for re

fusing Lord Napier's first communication was, because it was a Letter] ; at

all events it was thought probable that the Chinese authorities might be

disposed to avail themselves of any change in the form, as a reason for receiv

ing the statement. The seals of the three Superintendents were affixed to

their signatures, but it was determined merely to attach a fly seal to the

envelope, because it was hoped, that to afford the officer who might be

deputed to communicate with us, the facility of reading it, would remove

every rational ground of objection. Upon the address was superscribed

a short sentence to the effect, that the report related to matter concerning

human life. These precautions being taken, it was arranged that the

third Superintendent [Captain Elliot] should be the bearer of the paper, and

with a view to prevent excitement, or any pretension that the communication

was tumultuously presented, it was resolved that the intention should be

kept perfectly secret, and that only two persons should accompany Captain

Elliot, viz. M. Gutzlaff and the Captain of the Argyle. It was also

decided that these gentlemen should not go to the factories at all, but

should repair direct to the water gate, [about a mile to the eastward of

the factories,] at which point an officer in the navy, of Captain Elliot's

rank [Captain Freemantle, in 1831] had recently delivered a letter from

the Governor General to the Viceroy. The result of this attempt is

described in the following papers.

February 4, 1835.—The annexed Minute is from the third Super


M 2


Immediately upon the conclusion of our recent visit to the water-

fate, I requested M. Gutzlaff to take a note of the circumstances which

ad occurred there, because I rather preferred that the statement should

be made by another hand than my own. I have read his paper which

is annexed to this minute, with great attention, and I should say, that

it contains a complete and exact account of the transaction. There can

be little doubt that the person by whom I was principally beset, acted

only in the performance of his duty in resisting the entrance of any

foreigner into the city. It need hardly be observed, however, that he was

unnecessarily earnest and violent, because there was not the least

disposition on my part to force my way into the city, but simply to

maintain a position within the first wicket, as is usual on these occasions,

and to wait there for the arrival of any officers deputed by the Governor,

with whom I might confer. The two Mandarins of rank who did

eventually come, stayed only to declare that they could receive nothing

but a Petition, and therefore no opportunity was afforded to me formally

to complain of the unbecoming treatment I had experienced. But I

confess I cannot regret this circumstance, for it is very obvious that the

true responsibility of this and all other conduct of the same nature,

attaches entirely to the Government, and is by no means to be set aside

by the imputation of blame to their subaltern officers. It belongs generally

to that spirit of unreasonable and dangerous impracticability with relation

to the point of direct intercourse between the public officers of the two

countries, which is so completely a subject for the consideration and

disposal of His Majesty's Government.

The awakening of eager solicitude upon the part of the highest

authorities, for the rescue of the king's subjects, and the inducing a

serious determination vigorously to pursue the offenders, were the great

objects of immediate concern to the Commission, and to this extent there

can be no doubt that our Mission was completely successful.


Third Superintendent.

Mr. Gutzlaff''s report.—Sunday morning, 1st February, 1835, His

Majesty's third Superintendent, Captain Elliot, R.N., the master of the

British ship Argyle, Alexander Macdonald, and myself, arrived opposite

the third pagoda in Canton river.

We went in a three-oared boat to a landing place near the Yew-Ian

Gate, which leads to the Governor's palace, in order to present a document

from His Majesty's Superintendents, addressed to his Excellency the

Governor, wherein they requested him to give orders for the liberation of

twelve British subjects who had been forcibly seized upon by some natives

of St. John's, and belonged to the British ship Argyle.

His Majesty's third Superintendent, Captain Elliot, wore the uniform

of a post captain of His Majesty's navy, and directed us both to behave

towards himself, in the presence of the Mandarins, with the greatest

respect, to give an additional proof that he was a King's officer. He also

requested me to be courteous in the extreme, when engaged in conversa

tion with the Mandarins, and not to offer any resistance, should violence

be used towards us.

We entered, accordingly, the Yew-Ian Gate, and had proceeded a few

houses farther, when, all on a sudden, the soldiers fell upon Captain Elliot,

one of them, a second lieutenant, with a brass knob, grasping the hilt of

his sword and struggling with him for several minutes, until Captain

Elliot fell on the ground. In the mean while, I addressed the soldiers in

a loud voice, that the gentleman whom they maltreated was an officer of

His Britannic Majesty, and came here upon a most urgent affair, which

concerned the lives of twelve British subjects, but they did not listen, and

pushed him very hard. I then placed myself near a pillar, and endea

voured to reason with these violent men, which had the desired effect, for,

upon hearing that we came in the service of His Britannic Majesty, they

desisted from offering violence to me ; nevertheless, they continued to treat

Captain Elliot with the greatest indignity, whilst I myself went up the

street to find out, if possible, an officer of rank ; but not succeeding, I


turned back, and saw Captain Elliot, and afterwards Macdonald, forcibly

dragged and pushed through two wicket gates. Hereupon, I most

solemnly, in the hearing of all bystanders, protested, that Captain Elliot,

being an officer of His Britannic Majesty, had come hither with a docu

ment addressed to his Excellency the Viceroy, concerning the lives of

twelve British subjects, and was on no account to be ill-treated. I exhorted

them to abstain from this outrage, but the lieutenant, as well as the other

soldiers, answered me with a sneer, took hold of me, and threw me out of

the gate. .'

We stood now between the Yew-Ian and the two wicker gates, when

we were met by a military Mandarin, in his uniform, wearing a blue knob,

and being preceded by several men who carried chairs. To him Captain

Elliot addressed himself, and presented the document, which he refused to

receive, and I was then requested to state to the said Mandarin, in plain

terms, that this was His Britannic Majesty's officer, who had come here

upon a most important affair which concerned the lives of British

subjects, and was anxious to hand this document to a Mandarin of rank,

that he might transmit it to his Excellency the Governor. He treated this

appeal with contempt. I, therefore, showed him the outside of the docu

ment, where it was stated, that this matter was of the highest importance,

and concerned the lives of British subjects. He read it and sneered con

temptuously. Captain Elliot then requested, through me, that the lieute

nant who had treated him, a British officer, with such indignity, should

be punished. The military Mandarin laughed, saying, " You an officer !"

We pointed, therefore, to the epaulets and the other insignia of rank, and

the bystanding soldiers remarked, that gold naturally indicates rank,

whilst the officer silenced them and sneered. He then took off his upper

robes, and Captain Elliot declined any farther conversation.

Whilst the Mandarin withdrew, we were exposed to a great mob,

drawn hither by curiosity, in witnessing so extraordinary a scene. The

soldiers now collected in greater numbers, and placed themselves before

the wicket gate where we stood, some of them having whips, in their

hands, whilst others appeared on the opposite side, and drove the multitude


Shortly afterwards some Linguists came and desired to converse with

us. Captain Elliot requested me to tell them, that we wished to commu

nicate our affairs to a messenger from the Viceroy, a Mandarin of rank.

This I told them in Chinese ; and farther refused to hold any conversation

with any man who was not an officer of Government.

We had waited half an hour longer, when several Mandarins, all in

their State uniform, arrived ; and amongst them we observed Mowqua, a

senior Hong merchant, who wore a peacock's feather and a crystal globe.

The same Linguist addressed us again, and desired that we might com

municate the affair, and give him the document. As he, however, met

with a refusal the gates were thrown open, and we were brought into the

presence of two general officers, who wore red buttons, and had seated

themselves in the Watch-house. As soon as Captain Elliot tried to sit

down, they rose, and he presented, most respectfully, the document to one

of them ; but the Mandarin refused to receive it. These officers, as we

were told, had been deputed by the Governor, and I therefore again

stated in a loud voice, that Captain Elliot was a British officer, who was

come here to represent a most urgent case which concerned the lives of

twelve British subjects ; but he replied, " we only receive Petitions." I

showed him the cover of the document, upon which the above words were

written, which he read. After this both left us abruptly, and repeated,

" We only receive petitions." We therefore withdrew, and returned to

our boat.


Joint Interpreter.

[Mem.: F. O., 1840.—IT is not necessary to state all that subse

quently passed between the Superintendents and the Chinese authorities

relating to this case : suffice it to say, that the authorities are represented

to have exerted themselves zealously ; that on the 20th of February,


intelligence was received at Macao, that the officer and boat's crew of the

' Argyle had arrived at Canton on the 18th ; that they were restored to

their ship on the 19th ; that the ship was secured in the usual way ;

and that the first part of her cargo reached Canton on the 23rd.]

No. 36.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Lord William Bentinck, Governor General of

India, transmitted to the Foreign Office by the Secretary to the

Superintendents. —(Received July 7, 1835.)

(Extract.) Macao, February 21, 1835.

SINCE the departure of Mr. Davis the trade has been drawing unin

terruptedly to a close, nearly all the ships with tea cargoes having


With regard to the actual position of affairs, from the circumstances

of our removal from Canton, and being cut off from communication with

the natives generally, I am unable to furnish any decided opinion of my

own ; but from the most authentic private information I have strong

reasons to believe, that, under an assumed appearance of perfect indiffer

ence, the local authorities are in a state of extreme apprehension and

disquietude, as to the consequences likely to result from the events of the

past year. The Canton population are said to be intensely anxious, and

to interest themselves greatly in the question of our political situation

with their Government.

No. 37.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 7, 1835.,)

(Extract.) Macao, February 27, 1835.

I HAVE now the honour to forward to your Lordship the first of a

Series of Essays or Remarks by the Rev. Charles Gutzlaff*.

Fully impressed with the great importance of transmitting every

intelligence respecting this country, immediately on assuming the duties

of office, I requested Mr. Gutzlaff would furnish me with any information

likely to prove of moment or interest, being convinced no person could be

so well qualified as this gentleman who, your Lordship must be aware,

has had more remarkable and favourable opportunities of making

-observations and thereby forming opinions, than perhaps any other

European, at least in modern times. If this assertion should be ques

tioned, on the ground that many others have resided for a longer period

in the country, I may be permitted to observe, that men engaged in

mercantile or other pursuits at Canton, confined within narrow limits,

and only deriving casual information from ignorant if not interested

persons, Hong merchants, Linguists, and servants, cannot, I presume, be

quoted as equally good authority with an individual who, disregarding all

the luxuries and comforts of civilized life, has not only visited the coast

in European vessels, but adopting the dress, habits, and, what is more

surprising, the language of these people, has associated with them on a

familiar footing in various places, known formerly to no Europeans, and

now only to a few. Of an energetic and enthusiastic disposition, influ

enced by the highest motives, and carried away perhaps by over-sanguine

hopes and expectations in his religious views, it is possible Mr. Gutzlaff

may have adopted some fallacious ideas, as to the facilities of extending

British commerce to other ports in China; but I am thoroughly con

vinced the most successful results would attend decided and vigorous

* The substance of this and all Mr. Gutzlaff's other Essays on the Statistics of China, sent to the

Foreign Office by the Superintendents, has been printed in a work published by Mr. Gutzlaff in Lon

don, in the year 1S38, called " China Opened.''


measures on the part of the British Government, to achieve an object of

such infinite importance.

I cannot speak from personal experience, having never visited the

coast ; but from the period when the first ship, the Merope, Captain

Parkyns, 1820-21, commenced the system of delivering opium at various

places, I have closely questioned intelligent men, who have had opportu

nities of making observations ; and the result of my inquiries is the

conviction, that the people are intensely desirous to engage in traffic,

certain to prove alike advantageous to themselves and to foreigners ; that

the Mandarins are anxious to benefit thereby, but are, relunctantly

perhaps, compelled to enforce the prohibitions regarding trade ; and that

an opening for almost unbounded commercial operations would be the

desirable effect of little more than a demonstration on the part of our

Government, of a determination to establish a proper understanding in

the political and commercial relations of the two countries.

The ease and fluency of Mr. Gutzlaff's style afford a striking proof

of the aptness of this gentleman, a native of Stettin in Prussia, in

acquiring languages, and of the proficiency which he attains.

Throughout his writings, your Lordship will perceive an anxious

wish to call our attention to the incalculable advantages that would

accrue from the establishment of a trade at other ports in China, and the

facility with which he anticipates so important an object might be


No. 38.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received -August 6, 1835.)

My Lord, Macao, March 30, 1835.

I HAVE the honour to inclose a document recently issued from the

Hoppo's office, containing a memorial from the Provincial Government

to the Emperor, embodying eight regulations respecting the foreign trade

and intercourse. These restrictions are described in the memorial to be

"additional and altered." I cannot say, however, that the alterations

or additions are framed in such a spirit, or proceed to such an extent,

as would render adherence to these eight rules at all more compatible

with the conduct of the trade, or our continuance in the country for one

month, than to the eight several times multiplied, already deposited in

the Company's Archives. In fact, perhaps I need hardly observe to your

Lordship, that the single object of the republication of these instruments

from time to time, is to enable the Local Government to evade respon

sibility, in every conceivable contingency which may arise out of the

foreign intercourse, by fixing the duty of a most minute controul upon

other persons. Whilst things proceed in a quiet and usual course,

the regulations are not adverted to, but the moment there is the smallest

degree of present inconvenience, the provincial authorities turn to this

most comprehensive rubric of prohibitions, and immediately pronounce

that certain traitorous Hong merchants, &c, &c, (always choosing men

of substance,) have been guilty of a breach of the laws of the empire.

Their own vindication in the eyes of the Emperor is then attempted, and

pretty generally achieved by the vigorous pursuits of these victims, fining

them heavily, or putting them to death, or both, as the urgency of the

case shall seem to require. I am disposed to believe that the publication

of this document, just now, may be taken to afford some evidence of

a state of considerable disquietude, some expectation of difficulties at

hand: at all events, I know of no other observation with which it appears

to be worth while to trouble your Lordship upon the subject. The posture

of public affairs in this country continues unchanged since the date of my

despatch of the 4th ultimo.

I have,

VC, &c


(Signed) G. B. ROBINSON,

Chief Superintendent.


Inclosure in No. 38.

Document from the Hoppo, containing a Memorial from the Canton

Government to the Emperor, with Eight Regulations restrictive of

Foreign Trade.

March 8, 1835.

PANG, by Imperial appointment, Superintendent of the Maritime

Customs of Canton, &ic, &.c, issues this order to the Hong merchants,

requiring their full acquaintance with the contents thereof.

I have received the following communication from the Governor.

" Whereas I, the Governor, united, on the 28th day of the 1st moon, in

the 15th year of Taoukwang, with your Excellency the Hoppo, and the

Lieutenant-Governor of Kwangtung, Ke, in framing a respectful memorial

concerning restrictive regulations, decided on for direction of the trade

and of barbarians. We must now await the receipt of a reply in vermilion

(i. e. in the Imperial hand-writing), when the same shall be reverently

recorded and communicated to you.

" A communication ■ is at the same time addressed to the Governors

of the Metropolitan Provinces (Chihle and Keangnan), and of Minche,

(Chekeang and Fuhkeen,) and to the Lieutenant-Governors of the

provinces Keangsoo, Chekeang, and Fuhkeen, requesting that they would

issue general orders to all civil and military officers along the coasts

within their jurisdiction, strictly to command that the merchant-ships,

hereafter, when resorting to Canton to purchase foreign goods, shall one

and all repair to the chief custom-house of Canton, and request a stamped

manifest, enumerating the goods and their quantities, likewise to disallow

private purchases; and also to maintain strict investigation, that if any

vessels from sea, bringing home transmarine goods, be found on exami

nation, to be without the stamped manifests of the custom-house, such

goods may be immediately regarded as contraband, and examination

made, and punishment inflicted, according to the regulations.

" Instructions also are given to the Tungche of Macao, for him

immediately to give strict orders to the pilots, the compradors, and so

forth, that they may obey and act accordingly. Hereafter they are

imperatively required to adhere to the regulations established by memo

rial to the Emperor; they are to be careful in piloting vessels, and they

must not unlawfully combine (with foreigners) to smuggle, if the barbarian

ships go out or come in contrary to the regulations, or if the barbarians

clandestinely go about in small boats to places along the coast, rambling

about the villages and farms ; the said pilots are to be assuredly brought to

a strict investigation, if there be any sale or purchase of contraband goods,

or stealthy smuggling of goods liable to duty, and the compradors fail to

report according to the truth, they also are to be immediately punished

with rigour, and are decidedly to have no indulgence shown to them.

"Instructions are likewise given to the Porchingsze and Anchasze,

to examine and act in accordance with the tenor of the copy of the

memorial, and immediately to transmit directions to the civil and military

officers along the coast (of the province), to act in obedience thereto;

also to command the Hong merchants and linguists to enjoin orders on

the barbarian merchants of every nation, that they may, one and all, act

in obedience thereto, and not oppose.

" Besides all this, it is fitting that I address this communication to

you the Hoppo, that you may in accordance with the tenor of the copy

of the memorial, issue orders on all points, to the Hong merchants ana

linguists, that they may enjoin orders on the barbarian merchants of

every nation, for them to obey and act accordingly."

This coming before me, the Hoppo, I unite the circumstances and

issue this order. When the order reaches the said merchants, let them

act in obedience to the tenor of the copy of the memorial, and enjoin

orders on the barbarian merchants of every nation, that they may

pay obedience thereto. Oppose not ! A Special Order !

Annexed is a paper, containing a fair copy of the memorial, as

follows :—


" A reverent memorial, respecting restrictive regulations, determined

on for the direction of the trade, and of barbarians, is hereby presented,

imploring the sacred glance to be cast thereon.

" With reference to barbarians from beyond the outer seas, coming

to Canton to trade, since the time when, in the 25th year of Keen-Lung,

(1760,) restrictive enactments were fixed by a representation (to the

throne), there have also been further regulations, from time to time,

namely, in the 14th year of Keaking, (1810,) and in the llth year of

Taoukwang, (1831,) determined on, by the several former Governors and

Lieutenant-Governors ; and on representation (to the throne) the same

have been sanctioned ; obedience has been paid to them ; and they have

become established laws. These have been complete and effectual. But

in length of days, wherein they have been• in operation, either they have

in the end become a dead letter, or there have gradually sprung up

unrestrained offences.

" Last year the English Company was ended and dissolved. The

said nation's merchants come at their own option to trade. There is

none having a general controul. Although commands have been issued

to the said nation's barbarian merchants, to send a letter home to their

country, to continue the appointment of a Taepan who shall come to

Canton, for the direction and controul (of affairs) ; yet, as the merchants

are now many, and individuals are mingled together, while affairs are

under no united jurisdiction, it is necessarily required that regulations

should be enacted and published, in order to furnish matter to be obeyed

and adhered to. But the affairs of time have variations of present and

past ; and, since the English barbarians' Company is dissolved, the

attendant circumstances of commerce are also slightly different from what

they before were.

" Besides those old regulations, respecting which it is unnecessary

further to deliberate, but all which, as formerly, continue to be distinctly

enumerated in plain commands : and, besides the regulations regarding

the management of barbarian debts, and regarding the strict seizure of

smugglers, both which have already been specially represented, there are

still regulations which require to be reconsidered, for the purpose of

adding or altering. These, we, your Majesty's Ministers, calling into

Council with us the Porchingsze and Anchasze, have carefully deliberated


" The rules of dignified decorum should be rendered awe-striking, in

order to repress overstepping presumption ; the bonds of intercourse

should be closely drawn, in order to eradicate Chinese traitors ; the

restraints on egress and ingress should be diligently enforced; the

responsible task of investigation and supervision should be carefully

attended to. Then, surely, with regard to the restrictive enactments, will

there be increasingly displayed minute care and diligence. At the same

time, the Hong merchants should be strictly commanded to trade fairly

and equitably, each regarding highly his respectability, in order that all

the foreigners, thoroughly imbued with the sacred dew of favour, may

universally quake with awe, and be filled with tender regard.

" Looking upwards, to aid our Sovereign's extreme desire to soothe

into subjection the far-coming barbarians, and to give attention and

weight to the maritime guard, we respectfully join these expressions, in

a reverent and duly prepared memorial ; and also take the eight regula

tions which we have determined on, and, making separately a fair copy

thereof, respectfully offer them for the Imperial perusal ; prostrate sup

plicating our Sovereign to cast the sacred glance thereon, and to impart

instruction. A respectful memorial.

" Taoukwang, 15th year, 1st moon, 28th day. (February 25, 1835.)"

"We respectfully take eight additional and altered regulations,

restrictive of the barbarians, whereon we have deliberated and decided ;

and, having attentively made a fair copy thereof, we, with reverence,

offer them for the Imperial perusal."

1. The outside barbarians' ships of war conveying goods are not

permitted to sail into the inner seas. It is requisite to enforce with strict-



ness the prohibitory commands, and to make the naval force responsible

for keeping them off.

On examination, it appears, that the trading barbarians may bring

ships of war to protect their goods themselves. This has, for a long time

past, been the case. But the regulation hitherto existing only permits

them to anchor in the outer seas, there waiting till the cargo vessels leave

the port, and then sailing back with them. They are not allowed to

presume to enter the maritime port. From the period of the reign of

Keaking onwards, they have gradually failed to pay implicit obedience to

the old rule ; and, last year, there was again an affair of irregularly

pushing in through the maritime entrance. Although the said barbarians,

sailing into the shallow waters of the inner river, can effect nothing in the

least, yet restrictive measures always should be perfect and complete.

With regard to the line of forts at the Bocca Tigris, there are now some

additional erections, and some removals in progress ; and, at the same

time, more cannon are being cast, and measures of preparation and

defence are being determined on. It is, besides this, requisite to enforce

with strictness the regulations and prohibitions.

Hereafter, if a ship of war of any nation, conveying goods, presume

to enter either of the maritime ports of Cross harbour, or the Bocca Tigris,

the barbarian merchants' cargo vessels shall have their holds altogether

closed, and their trade stopped ; and, at the same time, she (the ship of

war) shall be immediately driven out. The Naval Commander-in-chief

also shall be held responsible, whenever he meets with a ship of war of

the outside barbarians anchored in the outer seas, to give commands

immediately to all the officers and men of the forts, that they apply

themselves to the object of keeping up preventive measures against the

same ; also to lead forth in person the naval squadron ; to cruize about

with them in guard of all the maritime entrances ; and to unite their

strength to that of the forts, for the purpose of guarding against (any

such ship of war). Should the officers or soldiers be guilty of negligence

and indolence, they shall be reported against with severity. It is impera

tively necessary that the power of the naval and land forces should be

made to act in unbroken concert, so that the barbarian ships may have

no way of irregularly pushing through.

2. When barbarians stealthily transport muskets and cannon, or

clandestinely bring up foreign females or foreign sailors, to the provincial

city, the Hong merchants shall be held responsible in all points, for

investigating the matter.

It appears on examination, that barbarians may carry with them one

sword, one rapier, and one gun, each ; this the regulations do not prohibit.

But if they presume, besides this, to bring cannon and muskets, or other

military weapons, and foreign females, up to the provincial city, the fixed

regulations hold the men and officers of the guard stations responsible for

finding out and stopping them. The guard stations have indeed the res

ponsible duty of searching and discovering ; but the barbarian merchants

at Canton, dwelling in the outside barbarians' factories, the apartments

which they occupy are all rented by them from the Hong merchants. The

said merchants' ears and eyes being so close to them, they certainly cannot

be ignorant (of anything they do) ; it is evidently befitting that they

should be held responsible for investigating and finding out.

Hereafter, the barbarians of every nation shall be utterly disallowed

bringing up muskets, cannon, or other military weapons, or foreign

females, or sailors, to the provincial city. If any should clandestinely

bring them up, the Hong merchants from whom their factory is rented,

shall be held responsible for discovering and preventing it, and for dis

allowing them to be brought into the factory ; and for at the same time

repairing to the local magistrate to report (any such attempt). Should he

suffer, connive at, and conceal such, the said Hong merchant shall be

punished according to the law against clandestine intercourse with outside

nations. The officers and men of the guard stations, who fail to discover

such misdemeanors, shall also be severally tried and rigorously punished,

as guilty of failing to investigate, and wilfully conniving !

3. Pilots and compradors of barbarian ships, must have licenses from


the Tungche of Macao ; it must not be allowed that they should be

privately hired.

It is found on examination, that in the office of the Tungche of Macao,

there have hitherto been appointed fourteen pilots ; and whenever a bar

barian ship arrives in the sea outside of the Bocca Tigris, a report should

be made to the said Tungche, that he may command a pilot to take the ship

into the port. For the provisions and necessaries required by the bar

barian merchants on board the ship, a comprador should be employed,

who is also selected from among men conspicuous in their native village

for substance and property, and is appointed by the said Tungche to fill

the station. Of late, there has constantly been a set of vagabonds in the

outer seas, falsely acting in the capacity of pilots, who artfully make away

with the goods of barbarians, and then run off. There has also been a

class of vagabonds who craftily assume the name of compradors, and

unlawfully combine for the purpose of smuggling, and other illegalities.

When the thing is discovered, and search is made for them, their names

and surnames having been falsely assumed, there are no means of finding

and bringing them to trial.

Hereafter, the Tungche of Macao, when appointing pilots, shall ascer

tain fully, their age, and outward appearance, their native place and habits

of life, and .shall then give them a place in the list (of pilots), and also a

sealed and signed waist-warrant*. A list also shall be kept of them, and a

full report respecting them sent to he governor's office and to the Custom

house, to be there preserved. When they have to pilot in a barbarian

ship, a sealed license shall be given to them, stating explicitly the names

and surnames of the pilot and of the master of the ship ; which when the

guard stations have verified, they shall let the ship pass on. Any men

without the sealed and signed waist-warrant, the barbarian ships must

not hire and employ.

With regard to the compradors required by the barbarian ships, when

anchored at Macao or Whampoa, they must all have waist-warrants given

to them by the said Tungche, and must be subject at Macao, to examination

by the said Tungche, and at Whampoa, to examination by the Pwanyee-

heen magistrate. If the barbarian ships come in or go out contrary to

the regulations, or if the barbarians clandestinely go about in small boats

to places along the coast, rambling among the villages and farms, the

pilots shall be brought to a strict investigation. And if there be any sel

ling or purchasing of contraband goods, or any stealthy smuggling of

goods liable to duty, and the compradors do not report the same according

to the truth, their offences shall be rigorously punished.

4. With regard to hiring and employing natives in the barbarian

factories, there must be limits and rules clearly settled. ,

On examination, it appears, that it was formerly the regulation that

the trading barbarians should not be permitted to hire and employ any

natives except linguists and compradors. In the 11th year of Taoukwang,

it was, on representation (to the throne), permitted, that in the barbarian

factories, for gate-keepers, and for carriers of water, and carriers of goods,

natives might be hired for (foreigners) by the compradors. But the silly

populace earnestly gallop after gain, and possess but little shame. And,

adjoining the provincial city, are many persons who understand the bar

barian speech. If the barbarians be allowed to hire them at their own

pleasure, it will be difficult to prevent unlawful combination and traitorous

procedure. It is evidently befitting that a limit and rule should be fixed,

and that. a special responsibility should be created.

Hereafter, in each barbarian factory, whatever the number of bar

barians inhabiting it, whether few or many, it shall be permitted only to

employ two gate-keepers, and four water-carriers : and each barbarian

merchant may hire one man to keep his goods. It shall not be permitted

to employ any more beyond this limited number. These men, the com-

-prador of the barbarian factory shall be held responsible for hiring; the

* This is a piece of wood with characters cut thereon, to be carried about the person, hence called

■" waist-warrant."

N 2 *


linguists shall be held responsible for securing and filling up the places of

the compradors ; and the Hong merchants shall be held responsible for

securing, and filling up the places of, the linguists. (This will be) a

shutting-up regulation, extending through progressive grades. If there

be any illicit combination, or breach of law, only the one who hired and

stood security shall be answerable. At the same time, commands shall

be given to the Superintending Hong merchants, to make out monthly a

fair list of the names and birthplaces of the compradors and coolies under

each barbarian's name, and hand it in to the district magistrate, to be

kept in the archives, ready at any time to be examined. As to the carriers

of goods, the linguists shall be commanded to hire them temporarily, when

the time comes (that they are required) ; and when the business is

finished, to send them back. As to the natives being hired, to become the

menial attendants of barbarian merchants, under the name of shawan,

(servants,) it shall be eternally prohibited. Should barbarian merchants

hire coolies beyond the limited number, or clandestinely hire shawan

(servants) as menial attendants, the linguists and Hong merchants shall

both receive punishment.

5. With regard to barbarians' vessels sailing about in the inner river,

there should be reductions and limitations severally made, and the

constant practice of idly rambling about should be prohibited.

It appears, on examination, that the barbarian trading vessels, when

they enter the port, anchor at Whampoa. In going to and fro, between

Canton and Macao, the English Company's skippers only have hitherto

been permitted to travel in flag-bearing sampan boats. This kind of

sampan is a boat with a rather large hull, and a deck over it, rendering

it easy to carry in it military weapons and contraband goods. Now that

the Company has been dissolved, all the flag-bearing sampan vessels

should be done away with.

As to the barbarians residing in the barbarian factories, they are not

permitted to presume to go in and out at their own pleasure. In the 21st

year of Keaking (1816), during the period of the former governor, Tseang,

being in office, it was arranged, that on three days in every month, namely

the 8th, 18th, and 28th, they should be permitted■ to ramble about once, in

the neighbourhood. Of late years, the said barbarians have continually

disobeyed the old regulations, it is imperatively necessary to enforce

powerfully the prohibitory commands.

Hereafter, all the barbarians, when their ships reach Whampoa, if they

have any business requiring them to go to and fro, between Canton and

Macao, or to interchange letters, shall only be permitted to use uncovered

sampans, they may not again use flag-bearing sampan vessels. When the

small sampans pass the custom-houses, they must wait until they are

searched ; and should they have in them contraband goods, or cannon, or

other military weapons, they must be immediately driven out. The bar

barians residing in the factories shall only be permitted to ramble about

once a day, on the 8th, the 18th, and the 28th days of each month, in the

neighbouring flower gardens, and the Hae-chwang-sze temple (on Honan).

Each time there must not be more than ten individuals, and they must be

limited to the hour of 5 in the evening to return to their factories. They

must not be permitted to remain out to sleep or to drink liquor. If, when

it is not the day when they may receive permission, they should go out

to ramble, if they should exceed the number of ten individuals, or if they

should go to other villages, hamlets, or market places, to ramble about,

the Hong merchants and linguists shall both receive punishment.

6. When barbarians petition on any subject, they should in all cases

petition through the medium of the Hong merchants, in order that the

dignity of Government may be rendered impressive.

On examination, it appears, that the written characters of outside

barbarians, and of the Central flowery people are not of the same nature.

Among them (the former,) there are some who have a rough knowledge

of Chinese characters, but they are unacquainted with style and good

diction, and are ignorant of the rules required for maintainance of dignity.

When they petition on affairs, the expressions used are void of intelligent

signification, and there is always much that it is difficult to explain.


They also, in an irregular manner, adopt epistolary forms, and confusedly

proceed to present papers themselves, greatly infringing the dignity

of government. Moreover, that for one and the same barbarian affairs,

petitions should be presented, either through the medium of the Hong

merchants, or by barbarians themselves, is an inconsistent mode of


Hereafter, on every occasion of barbarians making petitions on any

affairs, they must always have the Hong merchants to petition and state

the circumstances for them. It is unnecessary that they should them

selves frame the expressions of the petitions. If there be an accusation

to be brought against a Hong merchant, on any affair, and the Hong

merchants may perhaps carry it oppressively, and refuse to petition for

them, then the barbarians may be allowed to go themselves to the offices

of the local magistrates, and bring forward their charges ; and the Hong

merchants shall be immediately brought to examination and trial.

7. In securing barbarian ships by Hong merchants, there should be

employed both securities by engagement and securities by rotation, in

order to eradicate clandestine illegalities.

It is found on examination, that when barbarian ships come to

Canton, the old rule is, that they should be secured by all the Hong

merchants in successive rotation, and if they transgress the laws, the

security merchants are alone responsible. Afterwards it was appre

hended that securing by rotation was attended by offences of grasping

and oppressive dealing, and all the Keankeo barbarian (i. e. country)

ships were therefore permitted themselves to invite Hongs to become

their securities. Now, the Company has been dissolved, and the bar

barian ships that come are scattered, dispersed, and without order; if

the responsibility of being secured by the Hong merchants in rotation be

again enforced, as formerly, it is apprehended that offences of extortionate

oppression will arise. And yet, if suffered themselves to choose their

securities, it is difficult to insure that there will not be acts of unlawful


Hereafter, when the barbarian ships arrive at Canton, they shall still,

as formerly, be permitted to invite Hongs wherein they have confidence,

to become their engaged securities, and all the trade in goods, the

requesting permits, the payment of duties, and the transaction of public

affairs, shall be attended to by the engaged security merchant. In the

payment of duties, the tariff regulations shall be conformed to; it shall

not be allowed to make the smallest fractional addition. At the same

time, to each vessel shall be appointed a security by rotation, which duty

each of the Hongs shall fulfil in the order of successive routine. It shall

be his special duty to examine and investigate affairs. If the engaged

security merchant join with the barbarians to make sport of illegal

practices and traitorous machinations, or secretly add to the amount of

duties, or incur debts to the barbarians, the security merchant by rotation,

shall be held responsible for giving information thereof according to the

facts, that the other may be brought to an investigation, and that any

debts may be reclaimed. If the security by rotation connive, he shall

also on discovery be brought to an investigation.

8. If barbarian ships on the seas clandestinely sell goods chargeable

with duty, the naval force should be held responsible for finding out and

seizing the same. Also, communications should be sent to all the seaboard

provinces requesting them to examine and investigate.

It appears, on examination, that when the barbarian ships of every

nation bring goods to Canton, it is reasonably required that they should

enter the port, pay measurement charges and duties, and sell off, through

the medium of the Hong merchants. But the said barbarian vessels

continually cast anchor in the outer seas, and delay entering the port, and

some even do not at all enter the port, but return and sail away: not only

storing up and selling opium, but also, it is feared, clandestinely disposing

of foreign goods. We, your Majesty's Ministers, on every occasion of

this being reported to us, have immediately replied by strict directions to

the naval force, to urge and compel them to enter the ports, or if they

will not enter the port to drive them instantly away, and not permit them

to loiter about. We have also appointed officers at the various maritime


entrances, to seize with strictness, smuggling vagabonds. In repeated

instances, men and vessels going out to sea to sell opium have been

seized, and on investigation, punishment has been inflicted. But the

province of Canton has a line of coast continuous along the provinces of

Fuhkeen, Chekeang, Keangsoo, and Teentsin (Chihle). Traitorous

vagabonds of the several provinces sail in vessels of the sea on

the outer ocean, and clandestinely buy and sell goods, dealing with the

barbarians, and then carry back ("their purchases) by sea. This class of

traitorous dealers neither entering nor leaving by any of the sea-ports of

Canton, there are no means of guarding against or seizing them. And

the foreign goods having a divided consumption, the amount that enters

the port is gradually lessened, the consequences of which on the duties

are great.

Hereafter, the naval Commander-in-chief should be held responsible

for giving commands to the naval vessels to cruize about in the outer seas

in a constant course ; and if there be any dealers approaching the

barbarian ships, clandestinely to purchase foreign goods, immediately to

seize them and give them over for trial and punishment. Also, regulations

should be established, that vessels of the sea, of whatever province, when

wanting to purchase foreign goods, shall all repair to the chief Custom

house of Canton, and request a sealed manifest, enumerating the goods

and their quantities, and that none shall be permitted to make private

purchases. Communications should be sent to the provinces of Fuhkeen

Chekeang, &c, that general orders may be issued, requiring obedience to

be paid to this, and that strict search may be maintained in all the

sea-ports, that if any vessel of the sea bring back foreign goods, and it

appears that she has not the sealed manifest of the Custom-house, they

shall be immediately regarded as contraband, and on legal investigation,

the vessel and cargo confiscated.

Taoukwang, 15th year, 2nd moon, 10th day. (March 8th, 1835.)

No. 39.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston—(Received September 26, 1835.)

(Extract.) Macao, April, 13, 1835-

AT the same time that I am intimating my resolution to maintain

our present position until we are in possession of the views and intentions

of His Majesty's Government, I shall not fail to take advantage of casual

and unforeseen incidents, whereby beneficial results may be obtained.

I was credibly informed that the local authorities and Chinese

generally, were in a state of much anxiety and alarm some time ago. when

the early ships from Bengal were expected. An unfounded and absurd

report which ill-judging persons ignorantly or mischievously promulgated,

of seven or more ships of war being off the coast, produced a lively sen

sation and considerable alarm in Canton ; but the arrival of letters and

papers from India putting an end to immediate apprehension, and

encouraged, I fear, in the idea that the events of last year will be consigned

to oblivion, I believe little comparative interest is exhibited 'at the present

moment, although there is no doubt their fears and anxiety will again

return as the time approaches for the arrival of important despatches.

It now becomes a painful but imperative duty to express unfeigned

regret at the dissensions and violent party spirit that has so fatally pre

vailed, and even now exists to a fearful extent, amongst the mercantile

community of Canton. Your Lordship will, I feel certain, acquit me of

any other feeling, save a sense of duty, when I call your attention to this

dangerous state of society, and express my firm conviction that the un

toward reception at, and disastrous removal of, His Majesty's Commis

sion from Canton, was mainly to be attributed to the bitter party feeling,

which I am sorry to assert, reigned at the very moment when general

unanimity, and cordial cooperation, should have aided and strengthened

the efforts of its officers

In no country, in no case, are dissensions so injurious, or unanimity


and good will so essential to the public welfare as in China, but I lament

to say I have invariably witnessed the evil effects of an opposite state of


Without reverting- to the past, I wish strongly to point out the

absolute necessity of placing the officers of government as much beyond

these influences as practicable; their most strenuous efforts and best

exertions must be in vain, if counteracted by a strong undercurrent, if I

may so express it. To prevent an evil of this nature is perhaps impos

sible, but I conceive it might be in a degree lessened, were every British

subject, every British ship, removed from the river, previous to the com

mencement of any sort of communication with the local authorities.

Timely and reasonable notice being given, I should not anticipate remon

strance on an occasion where personal apprehensions would have their

due weight. A retirement to Macao would hardly have the desired

effect, and probably lead to many difficulties; to avoid which I would

venture to recommend the embarkation of all British families and subjects

resident at that place, until political arrangements were perfectly con

cluded, on board the merchant ships, which might then take their station

in some of the beautiful harbours in the neighbourhood of Lantao or

Hong Kong. How far the latter measure is practicable I am uncertain,

but think, if accomplished, it would make a greater impression on the

Chinese than any expedients hitherto resorted to.

With the exception of some trifling disputes between commanders,

officers, and seamen of merchant ships, which Captain Elliot's competent

knowledge of maritime law and usage has enabled me to settle with little

difficulty, nothing worthy of notice has occurred.

No. 40.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—( Received January 28, 1836.)

My Lord, Macao, July 1, 1835.

I HAVE the honour to transmit the accompanying papers, and

respectfully to recommend them to your Lordship's earnest attention*.

Charged with the Superintendence of this great commerce, to be carried

on under an entirely altered state of circumstances, we have considered it

incumbent upon us, not to shrink from some responsibility in the early

and firm establishment of the position, that the safe pursuit of trade in

this part of the world, (so remote from any means of judicial intervention)

rests upon some surer basis than the constant existence of dispassionate

fairness, upon the part of every person from whom money may be


Your Lordship will permit me to remark, that almost all the commer

cial operations of British subjects resorting to this country, will necessa

rily be mixed up with extensive transactions with native dealers. In that

quarter, too, then very mischievous results could not fail to ensue if an idea

were to get abroad, that in the actual state of things there were no

certain means at hand to constrain an unwilling party, either to submit

a commercial dispute to equitable means of inquiry and adjustment upon

the spot, or to furnish reasonable security that the matter should be

subjected to adjudication in another place. If such an impression be

permitted to obtain, I should be wrong to refrain from declaring to your

Lordship my own strong opinion, (formed from actual observation of

[• Foreign Office, February, 1840.—These papers relate to a claim of Messrs. Turner & Co.,

upon Mr. Keating, for a sum of 300 dollars, a statement of which is given in Lord Palmerston's

despatch to Captain Elliot, of November 8, 1836. The case is only interesting as showing the neces-

ssity there is for the Superintendents being armed with efficient powers to controul British subjects

in their intercourse and dealings with each other.]


events passing, and likely to pass, in these early stages of the relaxed

system) that there would be much reason to apprehend a serious shock

to the vast confidence which has hitherto been reposed in the faith and

honour of the British trader. And upon the maintenance of that confi

dence the very existence of this commerce may be thought to depend ; for,

if the native merchant be brought to think, that the justice and fairness

of the foreigner had failed, it is too probable he would also feel, that all

had passed away upon which he could place any dependence. From his

own Government he has little to look for, but general indifference, or

perhaps exaction, whenever any pretext presents itself for interference in

his concerns.

In the Act of Parliament to regulate the trade to India and China,

it is, amongst other things, enacted, " That it shall and may be lawful

for His Majesty, by such an Order as to His Majesty in Council shall

appear expedient and salutary, to give to the Superintendents in the said

Act mentioned, or any of them, powers and authorities over, and in

respect of, the trade and commerce, and for the direction of His Majesty's

subjects within the dominions of the Emperor of China." In the first

Order, passed by His Majesty in Council on the 9th December, 1833, it

was thereupon ordered, " that the Superintendents should be clothed for

these purposes with all the powers and authorities heretofore vested in

the Supracargoes of the East India Company, save so far as the same

were repealed or abrogated by the Act of Parliament." In the same

Order it is then set forth, " that all the regulations which were in force

on the 21st April, 1834, were thereby confirmed ; " and it was further

directed, " that they should be compiled and published."

Now, my Lord, it is respectfully submitted, that there were no regu

lations in existence of the nature contemplated in that Order in Council ;

the Supracargoes had been unaccustomed to interfere in commercial dis

putes between the very few private traders here ; and whenever affairs

involving either political or commercial difficulty with the Chinese

presented themselves, they possessed abundant means of doing as much

as was needful. No English subject was here without a license from the

Company ; and the Committee, in any case of emergency, had it in their

power to apprize the Chinese authorities, that the license had been sus

pended, and that they would in no respect interfere for the adjustment of

any debts the parties complained of might contract, subsequently to the

date of that notice. The British shipping which resorted to China was

under the complete controul of the Committee ; they either belonged to

the Company, or were chartered by it; and the country ships were

furnished with licenses by the Indian Governments, withdrawable at

pleasure, either by these authorities, or, in cases of exigency, by the

Committee itself. There had been no need, therefore, for any body of

regulations having respect to the general direction and controul of

British subjects in China.

When difficulties presented themselves, the Committee acted according

to the best of their judgment in the circumstances of the case, and it is

plain that there was no lack of means to give effect to their resolutions.

It has certainly been the anxious desire of this Commission, upon

every ground of consideration, to interfere as little as was possible, till

further instructions should reach them from England; but in these

particular cases they have felt themselves called upon to relax that rule.

They interfered not only in a sense of justice to those of His Majesty's

subjects who claimed their assistance, but principally [and this point can

hardly be too frequently insisted upon] because they plainly perceive the

practical necessity of setting aside the mischievous impression, that every

British subject at Canton is at full liberty, in the case of a commercial

dispute, either to concede or to refuse to submit his right to detain a sum

of money claimed by another, to fair means of inquiry and determination.

Perhaps there is no place where a higher degree of mutual commercial

good faith subsists than at Canton, or where it is more needful that such

a feeling should be carefully fostered; and it is owing in a great degree

to this very circumstance, that perhaps there is no place where larger

facilities present themselves for the extensive abuse of that confidence;

in the present conjuncture particularly, when an immense trade is thrown


open to general speculation and adventure, such opportunities and risks

must be vastly increased. In the spirit, and by the plain intent of the

Act of Parliament, the Orders in Council, and our Instructions, it is clear

that we are called upon to watch over and protect this trade; and

I repeat that I know no circumstances more calculated to injure its best

interests, than any admission of the position, that there are no means

to oblige a British subject to comply with the demand of another to

submit a commercial dispute involving the retention of funds to an

equitable mode of adjustment here or elsewhere.

A second Order in Council, of the 9th December, 1833, creates a

Court of Justice, with " criminal and admiralty jurisdiction, for the trial

of offences committed by His Majesty's subjects within the dominions of

the Emperor of China, and the ports and havens thereof, and on the high

seas, within 100 miles of the coast of China." The jurisdiction of this

Court seems to be strictly of a criminal description, and, therefore, dis

putes of the nature I have adverted to could not fall within its disposal.

But, indeed, even supposing that it were possible to strain the con

struction of this Order to the extent that it vested the Chief Superin

tendent with a civil admiralty jurisdiction, I know not, with the means

we have upon the spot, how it would be possible to avoid most perplexing

difficulties, in the attempt to adjust such disputes as these by any process

of that kind.

One opinion Mr. Keating has delivered to the effect, that, in our

present situation, we have no authority to interpose upon the behalf of

those of His Majesty's subjects who have claimed our assistance, seems

to be founded upon a rigidly literal construction of that article of the

instructions commanding us to take up our residence at Canton, and to

exercise our functions there, and not elsewhere in the dominions of the

Emperor of China, without His Majesty's sanction. We believe that the

single object of this article is to deprive the Commission of the power to

proceed to any other port in China than Canton, without His Majesty's

authority ; and we are of opinion, that it is wresting it to a purport

entirely foreign to its own intent, and to the whole spirit of the Act of

Parliament and the Orders in Council, to construe these words in such

wise as would, in point of fact, for the present, deprive the King of all

authority over His Majesty's subjects in this country. I must once more

assure your Lordship, in a very earnest manner, that I am persuaded we

should be seriously jeopardizing national interests of considerable im

portance to abandon the right to interfere (so far as circumstances permit)

to the extent that the Act of Parliament, the Orders in Council, and the

Instructions have contemplated. We are authorised and commanded in

those instruments to use our utmost efforts for the maintenance of peace

and good order amongst His Majesty's subjects at Canton, and for the

safe pursuit of this commerce ; and we do not perceive that the acts of the

native provincial authorities have relieved us from the most efficient dis

charge of those duties that circumstances admit. In the exercise of

authority, it always behoves men in public stations to proceed with the

utmost circumspection (and, surely, in the position we are placed in, it is

pre-eminently incumbent upon us to be extremely cautious) ; but the con

cession of the right to interfere, upon such grounds as Mr. Keating has

now advanced, would be a step which I must suppose would be very little

likely to meet your Lordship's approbation.

Mr. Keating finds another argument in support of his exemption

from any liability to do what we have required from him, in the fact, that

we are none of us directly appointed by the Crown. Upon this point it

seems to be sufficient to say, that the Royal Instructions providing for the

filling of vacancies occasioned by the death, resignation, or removal of

any members of this Commission have been strictly adhered to ; and the

appointments made in conformity with those Instructions, have been

publicly and officially promulgated in the newspaper. Any disregard

of our authority resting upon grounds of this description is, in effect a

denial or disregard of His Majesty's lawful authority to make &u\?~

provisions. I really feel however, that it cannot be necessary to troubi?

your Lordship with a detailed reply to all the observations in Mr. Keat-

ting's letter of 11th June; but one circumstance, it is a duty which I owe


to this Commission, and I believe 1 may say, to the public interests, to

bring under your Lordship's particular attention.

At a certain period in the course of this protracted correspondence

with Mr. Keating, he has negleeted to acknowledge several communi

cations which had been forwarded to him; and as we were informed that

he had come down to Macao, and as the last of these letters had been

returned unopened to us from Canton, it was handed to a young

gentleman in the Secretary's office to be delivered to Mr. Keating at this

place, in order that we might be assured it had reached his hand. Upon

this occasion, Mr. Keating, to use his own language, appealed to his

Excellency the Governor of Macao, as to " our right to attempt legislation

whilst unrecognized here."

I offer your Lordship my assurance upon my word, that the parti

cular circumstance which drew from Mr. Keating this appeal to the

Governor of Macao, is strictly confined in point of fact, to the delivery of

a paper to him, and in point of intention, to the simple desire to ascertain

that it had reached its destination. Mr. Keating, it might have been

thought, had sufficient proof before him, that we had no disposition to

attempt the execution of any formal acts at Macao, in the fact that the

formal injunction we forwarded to him, was signed within the limits of

the port of Canton. I hope it will appear to your Lordship that there

was no need for this description of appeal, or, indeed, I might say, of

complaint, by a British subject to a foreign authority; and if Mr. Keat-

ing's proceeding in this respect has not involved us in embarrassing

discussions with the Macao government, —which in our present position

m China, might have led to a high degree of public inconvenience,—$

must aseribe the escape to that state of perfect good understanding which

subsists between his Excellency and this Commission.

Upon the whole, my Lord, we have interfered in these claims

between Messrs. Turner and Co. (acting as the Representatives of absent

British owners) and of Mr. John Smith, against Mr. Keating, because we

believed, that it was within the plain intent of the law that we should

intromit, if the need were, for the protection of Her Majesty's subjects in

fheir lawful pursuits in cases of this description, and also for other

reasons which it is unnecessary to recapitulate. In the absence of any

defined practice, we recommended such a course as appeared to us to be

consistent with the general spirit of British law upon such subjects, viz.,

the fairest investigation that circumstances permitted, and an opening

for appeal to higher sources, if appeal should be desired. Mr. Keating

has, however, rejected every overture either to adjust the demand pre

ferred against him, or to submit to further inquiry upon the spot, or to

give reasonable security that he would institute proceedings, in the nature

of appeal, against the formal decision of the Superintendents in England,

or to pay the money under a protest against the lawfulness of their in

junctions. In fact, every effort we have made to induce him to submit

these disputes to inquiry and adjustment has been alike fruitless ; and,

under these circumstances, we have felt it our duty (with a view to fix the

principle of liability) to pay the sums claimed against him upon the

public account.

It had been the intention of the Commission, at one period, to give

publicity to all the circumstances of these cases amongst the British com

mercial community at Canton, and to declare that all persons thinking fit

to transact business with Mr. Keating must be pleased to conform to the

understanding, that, until those debts were paid, the Superintendents

could afford no facilities for the adjustment of any disputes which might

arise with him ; that is to say, in any transactions originating subsequently

to the date of the before-mentioned notice. Upon full consideration,

however, they refrained from resorting to that measure, upon the ground,

that it might lead to a public, and, judging from the tone of Mr. Keating's

correspondence, probably not very temperate, denial of their authority as

the King's officers,—a contingency they have considered it expedient, for

obvious political reasons, to avoid. Mr. Keating has complained, in very

warm terms, of the harshness and illegality of any proceedings of that

description. He insists, that such powers cannot be granted to us, as


they would not be recognized by the British Constitution as legal, even

•were the dispute in England, and with the Crown itself He declares, that

such a deed could only find a parallel in the arbitrary and tyrannical acts

of the Star Chamber ! It does not appear, however, that there would be

any grievous practical injustice, of which Mr. Keating has a right to

complain, in the notice ; that, as he would conform to no mode of adjust

ing commercial disputes which had been proposed to him, and as he per

sisted in retaining a sum of money, in spite of the opinio® of all the

persons, commercial as well official, to whom the matter had been sub

mitted, the Superintendents must declare, that, for the future, they could

not interfere in any similar discussion which might arise with him ; and

that all parties thinking fit to transact business with him, must be pleased

to conform to that understanding. Such a measure would have been in

sufficiently close analogy with a practice of which there has been no want

of precedent here by the Company and their servants,—namely, the with

drawal of licenses. Had the dispute been in England, not with the

Crown, as Mr. Keating has suggested, but precisely as the case is now,

with an individual, the power of the Crown would probably have been

invoked and applied in a very different form, that is to say, in the form of

a sheriff's writ. Mr. Keating speaks of the hardship, cruelty, and

illegality of these proceedings, but he has not said anything very satis

factory upon the fairness of his own conduct. I believe your Lordship

will be of opinion, that there is no real foundation for these loud com

plaints of tyrannical and ultra legal intentions upon the part of this

Commission ; and Mr. Keating win* probably find, at some future period,

that these are not times when a man's own wrongous proceedings are to

be glossed over by a tone of defiance, or by vague and vehement accusa

tion of the nature he has advanced.

Practically speaking, the state of the case is this:—Mr. Keating

entertaining opinions that there is an absence of all power and authority

over him, takes advantage of that supposed state of circumstances, to

retain in his hands a sum of money claimed by another person, in spite of

the concurrent opinions■ of several of the most respectable merchants in

the place, to whom the case was submitted by his own consent, in spite of

the opinions of this Commission to whom it was afterwards referred by his

own desire, and in spite of every proposition and injunction that has been

made to him, to submit to further inquiry here, or to give security that fur

ther inquiry should be had elsewhere. It can be within the intent of no

law to sustain proceedings of this kind, far less of laws, the avowed

objects of which are the preservation of peace, the maintenance of good

order, and the support of trade at Canton.

If it were admitted that Mr. Keating is perfectly right, and that

every man has it in his power to do as he has done upon these occasions,

it is pretty -certain that the peace could not be kept, and that commerce

could not be pursued in this country. The dread of publicity, and the

consequences of such a notice as has been suggested, appear to be the

only motives within any reach of operation here, which will always

enable the public authorities in this country to constrain an unwilling

person to submit disputed commercial claims to inquiry here or elsewhere.

If both parties consent to defer the settlement of such cases to another

time ami plaee, there can be no necessity for public interference ; but if

one side seeks to be heard, and the other refuses to accede to the propo

sition, some proper mode of meeting such an exigency must be devised,

or I am afraid that commercial operations in this country will be unsafe

for respectable persons. ;

It remains for us, very respectfully, but earnestly, to entreat your

Lordship to give the subject of this communication your best attention.

If we might presume to offer an opinion, we would humbly suggest that

an Order should be passed by His Majesty in Council, granting to- the

Superintendents authority to promulgate some provisional scheme of

arbitration (in cases of need) by the compulsory process, in the man*

ner proposed by Captain Elliot. In cases of contumacious resistance

to submit to inquiry or adjustment, powers likewise to be given "to

declare to the' British and Native commercial bodies,■ that subsequently


to the date of that notification, no facilities existed for the adjust

ment of any disputes which might arise in the transaction of busi

ness with the recusant parties. In these particular cases adverted to

in this correspondence, we would suggest with submission, that Mr.

Keating should be once more called upon by your Lordship's desire, to

Eay the public claims against him, and that he should be informed, that

is failure to do so would be followed by a public notice to the effect I

have just described.

I have, &c,

(Signed) G. B. ROBINSON.

No. 41.

Sir G. B. Robinson to the Duke of Wellington.—(Received January

28, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, July 26, 1835.

I AVAIL myself of the departure of a ship for India, vid Sincapore,

to acknowledge the receipt of a despatch, from your Grace to the late

Lord Napier, under date February 2, 1835.

Pending the arrival of those instructions I am now awaiting,

I have deemed it my imperative duty to maintain the same position of

affairs, regarding His Majesty's Commission in China, that prevailed on

the departure of Mr. Davis, and most thoroughly concurring with that

gentleman in the sentiments expressed in his despatch of October 12,

1834, and minute in the records, under date 19th January, 1835 ; it is a

source of satisfaction and congratulation to me, at this period, to reflect,

that nothing has occurred to render the adoption of the measures we

may be commanded to pursue less easy or consistent.

Assuming your Grace's despatch to be written upon the receipt of

the early communications from hence of the late Lord Napier, and pre

vious to the arrival in England of all the details connected with the

occurrences, proceedings, and ultimate catastrophe of his Lordship's

departure from Canton, I cannot perceive, upon the most attentive perusal

and consideration of its contents, that I should be justified in any devia

tion from that line of conduct to which I feel myself pledged to adhere,

until I shall have the honour to receive further instructions, when it will

be my anxious duty, and that of every officer of the Commission, im

plicitly to obey, and strenuously to endeavour to carry them into effect.

No. 42.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received March 10, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, October 16, 1835.

I TRUST your Lordship will approve of the perfectly quiescent

line of policy I have considered it my duty to maintain under the present

aspect of affairs .

I have never, in the slightest degree, perceived a disposition on the

part of the Chinese authorities to enter into communication, or even

permit an intercourse, with the officers of this Commission. On the con

trary, I am convinced any premature and ill-timed attempt to that effect

would end in repulse and disappointment; and, as in the instance of

Captain Elliot's visit to the city gate in January last,* involve additional

" In the case of the officer and boat's crew of the ArgyU.


contumely and insult, thereby greatly impeding the prospective adjust

ment of existing difficulties, as well as creating new and vexatious

interruptions to the present quiet and prosperous routine of the trade, for

no other object than the possible attainment of very theoretical, if not

questionable, advantages.

I wish to point out to your Lordship, that, under all the disadvantages

attending our present position, the commercial operations of the past

season were brought to a favorable close, or rather, I should assert, were

continued with unusual vigour and success, during the summer; and that,

at this commencement of a new season, I see no reason to apprehend

difficulties or interruptions. Being well aware of the importance of the

object, I shall carefully avoid every risk of endangering its safety, unless

imperatively called upon to interfere, on the occasion of unforeseen

occurrences, when I must, of course, be guided by the exigencies of the

case. I perceive, both on the part of the Chinese authorities and the

British community, an anxious wish to avoid any reference to the officers

appointed by His Majesty's Government to superintend the trade. So

long as their interference does not seem necessary for the support of

national character and reputation, or the ends of justice, I confess I

conceive it injudicious to force it upon those parties who, however fallaci

ously, imagine they are independent of authority, on the plea, that this

Commission is not formally acknowledged and recognized by the Chinese.

My anxious endeavours will be used for the maintenance of tran

quillity and the prevention of disorders and difficulties of any kind. I

see no reason to apprehend any of those evils, and I confidently await the

proper period, when, being in possession of your Lordship's despatches,

we shall see our course clearly, and ultimately succeed in carrying into

effect the very spirit of those instructions with which we may be


No. 43.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received March 14, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, November 11, 1835.

IT is a source of great satisfaction to me to point out the very quiet

and regular progress of the trade, which being now fairly commenced for

the season, appears to be carried on with vigour ana success, under

all the disadvantages attending our singular position.

It will be my anxious care to contribute, by any efforts in my power,

to its welfare ana advancement ; but, confidently impressed with the con

viction, that any movements or attempts to enter into communication

with the Chinese authorities, would not only prove futile, but probably

involve serious consequences, such as stoppage and interruption to the

trade, I shall carefully abstain from any measures of the kind, until in

possession of further information and definite instructions.

I am induced to reiterate this assurance from an apprehension that

rumours of a contrary nature might at any time reach your Lordship,

emanating, in a great degree, from interested parties, or from individual

correspondence of English residents in China, many of whom are but too

ready to anticipate evils, which they conceive would be likely to arise from

our interference.

Considering the number of ships now in China, the very disorderly

state of our mercantile marine service, and the peculiar position of affairs,

it is a matter of surprise that so few difficulties have presented them

selves ; and I confidently anticipate the satisfaction of announcing to your

Lordship, from time to time, that the important commercial operations of

the season continue in a state of activity and progression.


No. 44.

Sir G. B. Robimon to Viscount Palnterston.—(Received Marck2S, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, November 20, 1835.

WITH reference to the case of Mr. James Innes, as entered in our

records, under date 1st August and subsequently, it becomes my duty

most forcibly to point out the unjustifiable seizure, or, more properly

sjpeaking, robbery of that gentleman's property, as well as the continued'

equivocation and evasion, rather than denial of redress for the grievance,

Or compensation for the loss sustained ; and, earnestly begging your

Lordship's serious and early attention to the subject, to commend in the

highest terms, his extreme forbearance and moderation, under circum

stances of the utmost provocation and irritation, when I frankly avow to

your Lordship my conviction, that a more prompt and vigorous, though

not equally prudent, resort to means at his own disposal, would have

proved more efficacious, and, without doubt, tended to prevent the

recurrence of similar outrages, a consideration of the highest importance

to those parties engaged in the China trade.

If, under an impression that the officers of this Commission were,

from the singular peculiarity of their position, unable to afford him

assistance, or an idea, however erroneous, that they were not so disposed,

Mr. Innes, in the excitement arising from a continued course of mendacity

and insult on the part of the low Mandarins, in place of seeking for

aid and assistance from those authorities appointed by His Majesty, who,

however, it must be confessed, were not competent, from their critical

position, to afTord it, fell into the error of concerting measures for the

recovery of his property by force, it only affords the strongest proof, if

indeed any were wanting, of the deferential respect and extreme degree

of propriety evinced towards them on this and every other occasion.

That so loyal and patriotic a subject should readily forego his private

interests, and abandon the measures upon the successful results of which

he is extremely tenacious, in deference and respect to the high and

responsible office I have the honour to hold, is not so much a matter o£

surprise as of commendation ; and I sincerely hope and trust the very

praiseworthy, and, at this crisis, most important example exhibited by

Mr. Innes, will not fail to excite your Lordship's approbation and

strenuous efforts to obtain redress for a grievous injury.

Under the promise given in my letter under date 7th August, I shall

not fail to bring the case very pointedly to the notice of the Chinese

authorities, in the event of my coming in contact with them previous to

the receipt of an answer to this despatch; but not perceiving much

probability of a successful issue, even should any such communication

take place, I rest assured I shall have the honour of receiving some in

structions by the earliest opportunity, and I conceive it is an imperative

duty on my part to impress on your Lordship the importance of the


The Chinese authorities being well aware the case has been brought

to the notice of the British Government, will naturally conclude, that

outrages of this nature may be perpetrated with impunity, if the present

instance passes without notice ; while British subjects, under the conviction

that no redress can be obtained by reasonable, proper, and formal repre

sentation and appeal, will proceed to summary means for the protection or

recovery of their property, alike dangerous to the welfare and safety of

the trade, the preservation of peace and tranquillity, and the maintenance

of that high national character and reputation which it is so desirable

should continue eminently conspicuous.

In the present divided and discordant state of society in China,

Mr. Innes apprehends, perhaps with reason, that party spirit has

materially operated to the prejudice of his cause with the Chinese authori

ties. It becomes, therefore, infinitely more necessary they should be

convinced of the watchful attention of His Majesty's Government to the

interests of its subjects, and that our countrymen should perceive the


advantages likely to accrue from a peaceable and prudent demeanour, and

an appeal, in cases of doubt and difficulty, to those officers appointed by

His Majesty to watch over the general safety and welfare with the most

jealous vigilance.

It is an important feature throughout this case, that no direct accu

sation of smuggling is alleged. The reply of the Keun-Min-Foo to my

last address may be considered an acquittal of any such intention, and an

admission of the robbery, with an exhortation to wait. It may fairly be

taken as a demonstration of fear on the part of the Mandarins, who,

according to their invariable custom, evade all inquiry, equivocate and

procrastinate to an incredible extent, but by no means decide the

question, even according to their own pleading, against the foreigner. I

am very much inclined to coincide with Mr. Innes in the supposition, that

his goods are still in the possession of the Hoppo's people, who are as yet

afraid to appropriate them, but will certainly do so eventually, if the affair

is suffered to sink into oblivion.

I consider my communication to the Keun-Min-Foo to have been

attended with very good effect, since the reply from that Mandarin, sent in

a formal and official manner to my residence, is likely to prove very im

portant at a future period, and I cannot but congratulate myself on the

results of the intercourse I consider I have succeeded in establishing with

a Chinese officer of his high rank and local influence.

Independent of other considerations, I will briefly call your

Lordship's attention to the importance of the subject*, as connected with

the safety and facilities of transhipment of goods outside the port, a

system now carried on to a vast extent, and so universally practised, that

it may well be considered an established custom. It is, indeed, of most

vital importance to cherish and protect this privilege, if it can be so

termed, and to check the lawless outrages of a set of miscreants, from

circumstances daily increasing in strength and numbers, who are perhaps

in the pay of the Mandarins,—at least protected by them on all occasions

where opportunities occur of sharing the plunder ; but I shall have the

honour to address your Lordship on some topics in reference to the Lintin

trade, and, therefore, having so strongly advocated Mr. Innes's cause, and'

presumed, with all due deference and respect, to recommend his case to

early and serious consideration, I trust I may be permitted to express

my sanguine expectation, that a strong remonstrance on the part of His

Majesty's Government, with a demand for redress or compensation,

would be attended, if not with perfect success, at least with the most

beneficial consequences. I would further venture to point out in what

manner I conceive this demand might be made with most effect by the

officers of this Commission, could I guess at the probable views and

intentions of the British Government, and what our possible situation

may be on the receipt of an answer to this despatch. If, as I would fain

anticipate, we are then placed and supported in a position becoming

officers of His Majesty the King of England, public servants—and

functionaries of the British Government—lawfully constituted guardians

and protectors of all British subjects and the valuable trade entrusted to

our superintendence, I do not hesitate to assert, such a demand would fail

not of immediate and complete redress, and prove of the greatest

advantage in preventing that thriving and increasing outside trade,

carried on now so successfully at Lintin, from the recurrence of accidents,

whereby the safety of the inside or staple commerce with this country is

liable to be placed in jeopardy.

To conclude, whatever view your Lordship may take of this affair,

with my sentiments -and proceedings thereon, I trust it is not necessary

for me to add any thing like an assurance of the most profound deference

and respect with which I shall implicitly obey and execute the very spirit

of such instructions as I may have the honour to receive on this or any

other point. Strict undeviating obedience to the orders and directions of

which I may be in possession, with the full exercise of my best judgment,

• Case of Mr. Innes, an abstract of which is Riven in Lord Palmerston's despatch of November

8, 1836.


experience and abilities in all cases of doubt and difficulty, is the founda

tion on which I build an anxious hope that my conduct and proceedings

in the highly important, though at present somewhat delicate, appoint

ment I have the honour to fill, may prove such as to merit approbation.

I have &c


No. 45.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received March 23, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, November 24, 1835.

THE immediate departure of two ships for England induces me to lose no

time in inclosing copy of a notice which I yesterday deemed it my duty to

circulate, for the purpose of obviating the extreme inconvenience, danger, and

delay, consequent upon the necessity at present entailed upon the commanders

of ships and others, of repairing to Macao for the purpose of obtaining a port-

clearance, or the signature and attestation of documents, as well as in the

anxious hope, that the existence of some authority at that place may tend to

check the disorders and riots so prevalent in the merchant .ships ; and in an

eminent degree prove advantageous to the interests of the important China

trade, which, I rejoice to say, continues in a state of uninterrupted progress

and activity beyond my sanguine expectations.

Being generally informed by the British community that this step is most

anxiously desired, I considered, under the peculiar circumstances of the case,

that it was better not to await a communication to our Board from the Chamber

of Commerce, or other parties ; but at once take upon myself the respon

sibility of a measure winch has for some time occupied my thoughts, and

which is, in my own opinion, likely to prove equally compatible with the

ideas of the Chinese authorities and the people, and consistent with the

fine of conduct in which I have persevered since I had the honour to

assume the duties of office.

I shall defer entering more fully into this subject, until I shall again

have the honour to address your Lordship from Lintin, when, I trust, my

reasons will be satisfactory ; and that I shall be in time to submit, with the

greatest deference, my ideas and sentiments on the future management and

controul of this valuable trade, in a manner likely to compass all the ends

contemplated by Her Majesty's Government, without subjecting it to those

constant and alarming interruptions which, I am of opinion, must inevitably

accrue from the residence of the Superintendents, or other authorities, in

Canton ; in any case, I shall point out the absolute expediency of maintaining

some kind of authority or official reference without the river ; and I trust

future experience will exhibit the correctness of my present opinion, that the

Chinese, if they do not seize upon it as an alternative to facilitate the adjust

ment of difficulties, will interpose no impediments to the execution of the

powers vested in me, to afford assistance and redress, in cases of aggression on

the part of our countrymen, few of which, I am proud to say, have occurred :

and the better regulation and controul of our sailors, of whose unruly habits

and dispositions they ever evince a strong apprehension.

Well aware of the great anxiety that prevails in England for the prosperity

and extension of the China trade, I cannot here omit the positive pledge and

assurance, that I shall never hazard its interruption by any dangerous and specu

lative measures.

Inclosure in No. 45.

Macao, November 21, 1835.

IN order to obviate the inconvenience and delay at present entailed upon

the commanders of British ships and others, by the necessity of repairing to

Macao for the purpose of obtaining a port-clearance, or the transaction of other

business, the Superintendents of the Trade of British subjects in China hereby

give notice, that from the 25th instant, a member of His Majesty's Commission


duly authorized, will reside at Lintin, to whom reference may be made, on

board His Majesty's cutter Louisa.

By order of the Superintendents of British Trade in China,

(Signed) E. ELMSLIE,


No. 46.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston. —(Received March 25, 1836.)

(Extract.) Cutter Louisa, Lintin, December 1, 1835,

IN my despatch dated November 23, I apprized your Lordship of my

intention to reside at this anchorage.

I arrived here accompanied by Mr. Elmslie, on the 25th ultimo, and with

great satisfaction have to remark upon the extreme attention and respect

evinced by the commanders of ships lying here, more than twenty in number,

as well as by numerous others touching in the prosecution of their respective


1 have to call your Lordship's attention to the general wish of the British

community, for the adoption of this or some similar measure ; it was commu

nicated to me in a private manner some months ago, but I delayed taking

the responsibility of the measure upon myself, until the arrival of the Marquis

Camden from England direct, 10th July, rendering it almost certain that no

further intelligence could be expected until the season was very far advanced,

I at once decided on meeting the present wish of, I believe, all the British

community, although divided and dissentient as they are on every almost occasion,

I can hardly expect but that a few individuals will hereafter raise objections,

and perhaps secretly endeavour to prejudice a measure calculated in some

degree to lessen an influence they imagine they possess in Canton.

Sincerely, anxiously, as I hope that His Majesty's Government may be

pleased to take measures to notice and resent the contumely and insults to

which the late Lord Napier was subjected, so fatally terminating in his expulsion

with that of the whole of His Majesty's Commission from Canton, and in the

lamented death of that nobleman, I deem it an imperative duty to point out

with the utmost deference, that all the ends contemplated, as I am informed,

by the establishment of the King's Commission in China, may be amply and

competently fulfilled, by similar powers to those with which we are

invested within the limits (as I conceive they are erroneously termed) of the

port, being extended to the Superintendents, or other more judiciously styled

authority, without the river, or wherever they may find it most expedient to

or resort.

If, on the arrival of this despatch, no definite or conclusive arrangement

has been made, I would most respectfully suggest to your Lordship, that a short

period will exhibit how far the present plan of an authority established either

afloat or without the river, will prove efficacious and beneficial. I can safely

assert it will ensure all the requisite capabilities for the controul and assistance

of British subjects ; and it is not a matter of opinion with me, but of firm

conviction, that unless placed in a becoming position at Canton, and in a proper

channel of direct communication with the local authorities, an object most

desirable no doubt, but in my opinion, only now to be achieved by a demon

stration of force on the part of the British Government, which I do not hesitate

to assert, would speedily and completely prevent all future difficulties, the

residence there of the Commission would, even if permitted, and their

interference and interposition in matters now arranged by the merchants

themselves, Chinese and English, apparently without much difficulty, tend to the

creation and extension of disputes, discussions, and endless causes of interrup

tion and danger to the trade. In short, the less we have to do with the Chinese

authorities and people, save when appealed to in cases of aggression and

injustice, which I trust will be rare and trifling, the less apprehension may be

entertained of those perplexing difficulties in which we are liable to be involved,

mainly by the insecure and doubtful position wherein we find ourselves at

Canton, unable to communicate with the officers of Government ; completely at

the mercy of interested and mercenary Hong merchants, Linguists, &c ; and



in the event of non-compliance with all their demands, to be insulted in every

possible manner; our servants taken away; provisions stopped; and houses

unroofed. No alternative then remains but the most revolting submission, or

removal from the port,—a result which I am justified in saying may be antici

pated on the first occasion of discussion in Canton.

A case of homicide, as your Lordship is aware, will be the event most

fraught with difficulty and anxiety. For the prevention of such a disaster, our

residence at Canton avails nothing; an efficient police establishment at Wham-

poa, might, indeed, be a precautionary measure well worthy attention ; but for

framing rules, regulations and orders, and impressing them in a serious and

formal manner on commanders, officers, and sailors, previous to vessels going

up, as well as the adjustment of all accounts, disputes, &c, previous to their

departure, this or some other outside anchorage is evidently the best position.

In the event of so unhappy a catastrophe occurring, as the death of a Chinese,

we are helpless in Canton ; we must give up a man, or men, or certain indi

viduals in the first instance, and finally the officers of the Commission are

threatened, annoyed, insulted, and ultimately compelled to retreat without the

river, as in the case of the Company's factory in 1821 —2; and then perhaps,

and not till then, is the affair brought to some termination.

If the Chinese authorities wish to communicate with us, they will depute a

Mandarin, or otherwise establish an intercourse, as in the instance before

mentioned, when, not only the Hong merchants, but a Mandarin of rank, came

down to Chuenpee, the very trouble and inconvenience arising therefrom having

some effect in bringing matters to a conclusion. Should the Chinese authorities

not wish to communicate with us, all efforts and expedients to compel them to

it, are unavailing. Captain Elliot's visit to the city gates in January last may

be adduced as a sufficient proof of this assertion ; and experience fully con

vinces us of the inexpediency of similar attempts. On their inviting

us to repair to Canton, either temporarily or permanently, it will be at our

option to comply or decline, as may be most advisable, and it is evident, in

the former case, we should find our position there very much strengthened and


No. 47.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received March 28, 1836.)

His Majesty's cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) Lintin, December 10, 1835.

I SHALL not intrude so far on your Lordship's time, as to enter at length

mto a defence, if such be requisite of the course of quiescent policy, in which

I flatter myself I have successfully persevered to the present moment, when I

rejoice to say everything in this country manifests a state of uninterrupted

tranquillity and peace, which I could hardly have ventured to anticipate from

the very discordant state of society, the virulent party spirit and default of

unanimity and good will existing among the British community in China,

while the important trade of the season is in active, and I trust, successful

progress under a tacit and mutual understanding and total abstinence and

forbearance from communication, on the part of the Chinese and myself.

My position has been one of extreme delicacy and difficulty. Succeeding,

in pursuance of the Instructions under His Majesty's Royal Signet and Sign

Manual, to the high and important office I have the honour to hold, at a crisis

when a false step or error in judgment might not only have led to extreme

hesitation and difficulty in the arrangements which His Majesty's Government

may deem it proper to make for the adjustment of affairs here, and their

future management and controul, but have plunged the whole of His Majesty's

Commission, all British subjects, and the valuable trade in which they are

engaged, as well as perhaps life and property, in great jeopardy, or into an

utterly hopeless and inextricable state of confusion and discord ; my best

efforts have been directed to maintain the precise position in which I found

myself placed on the departure of Mr. Davis, whose recommendation to that

effect has had due weight with me.


No. 48.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—{Received April8, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

My Lord, Lintin, December 10, 1835.

WITH reference to my present residence at this anchorage, I venture

most earnestly to call your Lordship's attention to the very efficient manner in

■which I am now enabled to exercise a controul and superintendence over the

merchant-ships resorting to, and remaining in China, from its centrical position ;

and the absence of all those impediments, difficulties and annoyances on the

part of the Chinese authorities, which 1 am confident must result from His

Majesty's servants being at Canton, or in any degree in their power ; as well as

the many advantageous opportunities it affords of rendering aid and assistance

to British subjects applying to me for advice.

1 do not apprehend the least notice will be taken of my change of position■

by the Chinese, but am disposed to anticipate their tacit acquiescence in a

measure calculated to meet their wishes for a controlling power over British

ships and subjects, especially sailors, of whose singularities, and sometimes

riotous conduct, they are ever in dread, and to afford them the means of ob

taining redress in cases of injustice or injury, totally free from those harassing

and endless difficulties originating in points of etiquette ; forms of correspondence;

and innumerable causes of dispute and altercation.

If on the arrival of this despatch no definite and conclusive arrangement

has been decided upon, for the future management of affairs in China, I cannot but

express a hope that the plan I am about to submit for your Lordship's consi

deration may meet with approval. I am anxious, however, to await the result

of a short trial and further communications on this important subject from

Canton. I trust I shall he able to suggest a method of accomplishing all the

ends requisite to regulate and controul the affairs of British subjects in China,

by an economical and efficient establishment outside the river, either at this or

some other anchorage, without the least probability of giving rise to perplexing

and anxious discussions with the Chinese authorities, whose object appears to be

solely to keep us from Canton, or of entering into unnecessary communication

with them, save when they may be compelled to invite us thither, or otherwise

carry on a correspondence and intercourse.

To one point alone it is possible their attention may be attracted, and that

is the circumstance of my being in the neighbourhood of the great and increas-

sing emporium of the outside trade. In the event of their remarking on this

part of the measure, I conceive it will be very easy to remove their objections,

simply by changing my position to Chuenpee, the legal and usual anchorage to

which the resort of our men-of-war has generally been sanctioned. Should

however no great opposition occur, and I really see little reason for the appre

hension, it must be evident that no position can be so eminently well adapted, as

independently of a fleet of between twenty-five and thirty ships almost con

stantly lying here in full and active employment, every vessel passing up or

coming down, touches either for the transhipment of cargo, or other commer

cial purposes ; and I have seen upwards of fifty vessels assembled here on one

occasion. To this may be added, that the accounts and claims of the compra

dors and other Chinese, and consequent payments, are rarely concluded until

their final departure from Lintin.

In continuation of this subject, I shall shortly again address your Lordship.

I have, &c,

(Signed) G. B. ROBINSON.



No. 49.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received March 28, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

My Lord, Lintin, December 10, 1835.

IT is with great satisfaction I forward to your Lordship, copy of a letter

this day received from the Secretary of the British Chamber of Commerce, on

the subject of my residence at Lintin; in addition to which, I have been almost

surprized at the expression of universal approbation, and even of obligation, on

the part of every one connected with the trade to China with whom I have

conversed on the subject. : «

With a view to point out the advantage that will accrue from the residence

here of an authority competent to give advice, and in cases of need, assistance,

I wish briefly to bring to your Lordship's notice, a circumstance which took

place here a few days ago.

On the arrival of the British ship, Fairy Queen, Captain Holmes, according

to a common custom, dispatched an officer in charge of all the letters and packets

to Canton, in a Chinese " fast boat " which he hired for that purpose. On the

way up the boat was seized and detained by some inferior officers stationed at

the mouth of the river, who with a view of extorting money, put the officer in

irons, with many threats and menaces, even of death, in the event of their

demands not being complied with. Being a very young man, and a perfect

stranger in China, he was naturally much alarmed, and wrote to his Captain a

letter full of terror and distress, most earnestly imploring to be released by the

payment of 500 dollars to the bearer. On receiving this letter, Captain Holmes

came on board the cutter to receive my advice, when, entertaining no uneasi

ness for the safety of the officer, much as his being subjected to personal suffer

ing and inconvenience was to be lamented, I recommended the detention on

board the Fairy Queen of the Chinese bearer of the letter. As I anticipated, on

the following morning, another Chinese came alongside, in a very small boat,

with another letter and a smaller demand, stating the young man to be in a

boat guarded by Mandarin soldiers, in a bay about five miles distant. This

second letter detailed the officers sufferings, his being confined in irons, with the

alarming threats that were made to him ; and added, that he was becoming very

sick, and suffering from hunger and cold.

I cannot but remark on the extreme solicitude and anxiety evinced on this

occasion by Captain Holmes, whose feelings and sentiments were highly credit

able to him. But I deemed it advisable to dissuade him from the attempt he

was desirous to make, of proceeding with his own boats and seamen to rescue

his officer by force. In the event of his discovering the exact position of the

boat in which the officer was said to be confined, there would have been every

reason to apprehend an affray of a dangerous nature, in which life might have

been lost, and the consequences of which might have been very serious. I was

therefore glad to find him willingly listen to my counsel, and await the result of

a communication, which I lost no time in forwarding to T. A. Gibb, the consignee

of the ship, in Canton. To this I have as yet received no answer ; but 1 am

happy to say the young man has been restored to his ship in safety, although

not yet informed of the process whereby his release was effected.

My present position enabled me to prevent mischievous consequences

which would probably have ensued, had the Captain, utterly inexperienced and

ignorant of the singularities of this country, proceeded with his seamen,

naturally irritated and excited, to redress his own grievances, or, as might be

apprehended in some cases, to revenge so great an outrage.

I beg here to point out, that, even had I been in Canton, holding that kina

of intercourse with the Hong merchants, which, as it is at all times subject to

their will and pleasure, appears to me wholly inefficacious, I should have been

altogether unable to have prevented mischievous consequences until too late.

And even had such consequences not taken place, as an officer of His Majesty's

Government, totally unconnected with trade, my influence with the Hong mer

chants would have been secondary to that of Mr. Gibb, or any other gentleman

of commercial influence about to load the ship,—a prospective source of profit


to them. In all cases of this sort, the officers of His Majesty's Government if

at Canton, must be viewed by the! Hong. merchants, who derive no advantage

from them, in a very insignificant light, compared to wealthy firms or individual

British subjects largely engaged in commerce.

This may be considered as the most essential point of difference between

the officers of the King's Commission and the late Select Committee of the

East India ■ Company, who with so powerful an engine in the>r hands as

the Company's, independently of the influence they consequently derived

over the country and trade, were regarded by the Hong merchants with

extreme deference and consideration ; to which may be added, their having at

their disposal, during the period when difficulties were likely to occur, a well-

ordered, disciplined fleet, affording, in cases of need, a display of officers, men,

arms, and boats, unexampled in any other country or service, and surpassed

only by the royal navy. The commercial character of the Company's factory

rendered their residence at Canton, and familiar and constant intercourse with

the Hong merchants, necessary■ during the season of business. But in all cases

of discussion and difficulty, that intercourse was in a degree suspended, and, in

some cases, an untoward circumstance failed of all adjustment, till after the

withdrawal of the factory, and even shipping from the river.

Another point to which I would call your Lordship's attention, is the fact,

that, in the present disorderly and disorganized state of our mercantile marine,

anyr source of discord that has laid dormant during the voyage, or only partially

exhibited itself, invariably breaks out on the ship's arrival at her first anchorage.

It is here, then, that prompt and immediate steps can be taken for the suppres

sion of riots, and the restoration of order and discipline. Even where my

interference is not called for, 1 am enabled to impress forcibly on the minds

of captains, officers, and seamen, those points to which their attention ought to

be called in this peculiar country, and that they are amenable to punishment

for an infraction of those rules and regulations, with a copy of which I propose

hereafter to furnish each ship. While, on the other hand, ships coming down

do not receive their port-clearance, or become independent of controul, until

their actual and final departure, —a matter of extreme importance, and not

practicable, if the Superintendents are in Canton, as a captain applying for and

obtaining his port-clearance there, would frequently remain within the river, or

at this anchorage, for a period of some length, during which many irregularities

might be committed.

• • I have, &c,


Inclosure in No. 49.

Mr. Sprott Boyd to the Superintendents.

British Chamber of Commerce,

Sirs, Canton, December 8, 1835.

IT has been a source of much inconvenience to the merchants of Canton,

and risk to the ships engaged in this trade, their being obliged to anchor at

Macao to obtain the signature of His Majesty's Superintendents to their mani

fests. The new arrangement, by which this necessity is obviated, has

therefore given much satisfaction to the members of the Chamber of Commerce ;

and I have much pleasure in complying with the request of the Committee, to

return you their tbanks for this instance of your attention to the interests of

His Majesty's subjects engaged in the trade to China.

I have, &c,

By Order of the Committee, •■ ,

, : (Signed) W. SPROTT BOYD,

• Secretary*


No. 50.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received May 21, 1836.)

(Extract.) Lintin, January 5, 1836.

SOME official business requiring my presence at Macao for a few days, I

bare deputed Mr. Edward Elinslie, our Secretary and Treasurer, to attest the

manifests of British vessels during my absence from Lintin.

I have great pleasure in assuring your Lordship, that far from any difficul

ties arising in my present situation, I am enabled to exercise a very salutary and

efficient controul over our shipping, to aid and assist British merchants residing

at Canton, and at the present moment are about to proceed to Macao, for the

purpose of communicating with Mr. Morrison, on the subject of an application

which has been made to me by a Hong merchant, for the recovery of a debt in

curred by a Parsee native of Bombay.

On the part of the Chinese, I believe, no opposition will take place to my

official residence here, but that they are likely, tacitly to acquiesce in a step

which promises to relieve them of much difficulty.

Your Lordship will readily comprehend, I am living on board a small vessel

of seventy tons, at the total sacrifice of all personal comfort, and at a moment

when the separation from my family is severely felt: and I cannot conclude this

letter without bringing to your notice, that Mr. Edward Elmslie has willingly

and cheerfully subjected himself to many privations and inconveniences in the

praiseworthy and diligent discharge of his duties. I feel confident his efficient

and active exertions in conformity with my views will be duly appreciated.

No. 51.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received May 13, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, January 12, 1836.

Iw-j IN my last address of the 5th instant, I apprized your Lordship of my in-

tion, to depute Mr. Elmslie lo act, during my absence from Lintin, for a few

days in attesting the manifests of Brilish ships, and issuing port-clearances ; and

I am happy to say, I anticipate no difficulties in the course I have adopted, for

the aid and assistance of the mercantile community of Canton, and the exercise

of a salutary controul over all British ships resorting to China.

As a proof of the disposition of the Chinese to avail themselves of my inter

ference in their behalf, I inclose copy of a letter from one of the Hong

merchants, requesting assistance for the recovery of an alleged debt.

In so doing, I merely wish to bring to your Lordship's notice, the disposition

of the Chinese to avail themselves of the interposition of a British authority in

cases of need.

Inclosure in No. 51.

The Hong merchant Yunwo, or Punhoyqua, to Sir G. B. Robinson, respecting a

debt of 6,400 dollars, owing to him by a Parsee merchant, Aomatchee, or



A respectful communication. December 26, 1835.

In the tenth year of Taoukwang(l830), I undertook the purchase of certain

goods on account of the Parsee foreigner, Hormusjee, amounting in value to up

wards of 6,400 dollars. Our agreement was, that the money was to be repaid to

me within a certain limited period after the delivery of the goods. All commer

cial contracts and agreements regarding time, between me and Hormusjee having

been made by my assistant, Paoukwang, I sent him, at the expiration of the period,

to receive the amount due. Contrary to expectation, Hormusjee put off the pay


ment from time to time till half a year had elapsed, and he still deferred. See

ing that he made no precise arrangement, I wished to insist on his doing so ; but

to my astonishment, he at length endeavoured to make pretexts, and create dis

turbance, i therefore, at that time, repaired to the Consoo, and requested a meet

ing of my fellow-merchants, to consult with them on the subject. I then imme

diately informed the Honourable Company, requesting their decision. The

Honourable Company decided, that in reason, the debt ought to be repaid ; and

directed the Parsee, Mr. Tseugkeen, forcibly to detain Hormusjee, and to require

him to pay the whole amount before he could be allowed to return home.

After this, years passed over, and I could only wait quietly for the money;

as before, I obtained no information respecting it. But in the fifth month of last

year the Parsee gentleman, Natabhoy, presumed to send Hormusjee home by

stealth. "When I heard thereof I hastened to inquire about it, and was told by

Natabhoy that he had sent Hormusjee home in order that he might speedily remit

money in payment. Finding that he had a person standing surety for himr I

believed the truth of this. But now another year has passed over, and there is

not a word about it, or a fraction of it. I have also heard lately that Natabhoy is

about to return home in the vessel commanded by Kalek. From whom then shall

I ask payment of this money ? From whence shall I obtain restitution of my

blood-earned property ?

Considering that you, Sir, are the chief authority of your country, and that

the regulation of the trade isconfided to you, 1 am enabled to state the whole to

you from beginning to end. I presume to request that you will grasp hold of

justice, and will exercise your power to compel Natabhoy and Hormusjee, and

oblige them to arrange this matter, and speedily repay the whole sum, not suffer

ing them to have recourse to long and frivolous delays. Having already received

a decision in my favour, I hope to have the same carried into effect, and to find

that, from first to last, I have been supported. My gratitude will then be bound

less. For this purpose I write to present my request. And wishing you every

good, &c


10th Moon, 7th day (December 26th.)

No. 52.

Viscount Palmerston to Sir G. B. Robinson.

Sir, Foreign Office, May 28, 1836.

HIS Majesty's Government approve of the proposal contained in your

despatch, of December 1, 1835; and they are of opinion that it would

be desirable to extend the limits of the powers of the Superintendents of

British trade in China. I have, therefore, to instruct you publicly to notify

that the jurisdiction of the Commission is to be extended, so as to include

Lintin and Macao ; and that from the date of the promulgation of such

notification the authority of the Superintendents over British subjects and

ships is to be considered as extending to Macao as well as Canton; and as being

of equal force and validity within this extended jurisdiction as it has hitherto

been within the limits of the port of Canton,

I am, &c,


No. 53.

Viscount Palmerston to Sir G. B. Robinson.

(Extract.) Foreign Office, June 6, 1836.

YOUR despatch of the 20th November last, relating to the case of

Mr. Innes, and the Records of the Proceedings of the Commission, from July

28th to August 16th, relating chiefly to the same case, were received here on


the 28th of March, the Records being inclosed in a despatch from Mr. Elmslie, the

Acting Secretary and Treasurer, dated December 10, 1835. I gather from them

the following information : that Mr. Innes, a British merchant residing at

Canton, had conceived himself to be unjustly treated by the Chinese authorities,

in consequence of their demurring to satisfy a demand he had made upon them

for the restitution of some bales of merchandize belonging to him, which had

been seized by the Chinese Custom-House Officers ; and that, upon expe

riencing delay in the settlement of his demand, he had notified to the Governor

of Canton his intention to procure redress for himself by acts of reprisal

against the Chinese trade.

All the Papers relating to this case, are at present under the consideration

of the law officers of the Crown, and until I have received their report upon

them, I shall not be enabled to send you such precise and definite Instruc

tions as the complicated nature of the transaction appears to me to require.

But I cannot abstain from expressing to you the surprise with which His

Majesty's Government learned Mr. Innes's intentions, — intentions which cannot

be too strongly condemned ; and wrhich, if carried into execution, would have

rendered Mr. Innes liable to the penalties of piracy. If Mr. Innes alone were

concerned, he might be left to abide by the consequences of his own violence,

but the proceedings which he threatens to adopt, would expose to inconvenience

and danger the British subjects resident at Canton ; and I have therefore to

instruct vou to prevent Mr. Innes, by all legal means, from executing his threats,

if his own sense of their impropriety should not already have induced him to

renounce them.

With regard to any expectation which may have been held out to Mr.

Innes, that the authority of His Majesty's Government might possibly be

exerted to procure for him the redress he has required, I must observe that his

claim involves questions of considerable difficulty; and is by no means so clear

and unquestionable, as to warrant any such measure as, "to make the

recovery of Mr. Innes's property a subject of demand on the Chinese autho

rities, on your first formally coming into contact with them."

You will, however, avail yourself of any suitable opportunity to press upon

the Chinese Authorities, the restoration of the property in question, unless those

Authorities can show that the goods were seizable by the Custom-house regu

lations, in consequence of being found in the place where they were seized.

It must be remarked, however, that there was ground for unfavourable

presumption against the goods ; and that upon the principle contended for by

Mr. Innes,—that the employer is responsible for the agent, —he (Mr. Innes)

who was at the time employing the pilot Acha, who had charge of the goods,

may be required to pay forfeit for the violation of the Chinese Custom laws by

the pilot. .

I am &c,


No. 54.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received June 6, 1836.)

(Extract.) ; ■ . Macao, January 16, 1836.

FROM the results alone, since I had the honour to succeed to my present

office, your Lordship will discriminate how far I am capable of appreciating the

vast importance of an interrupted progress of the trade, in preference to attempt

ing any speculative measures to effect a change in our position which, if achieved,

might not prove of adequate advantage to the risk incurred.

To conclude, it is with extreme satisfaction I assure your Lordship, that I

have never witnessed, during a period of sixteen years passed in the China

service, a more quiet, regular, or, I trust, prosperous season than the present ; and

I can only pledge myself, that I shall never wilfully incur any hazard or danger

to the important trade confided to my care.


No. 55.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received June 6, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) 1 Lintin, January 29, J 836.

IT must remain for the decision of your Lordship, whether my policy in

abstaining from futile attempts to force ourselves into communication with the

Chinese authorities, to the prejudice and risk of our present tranquillity, evinces

prudence and sound judgment, inasmuch as this season is now well advanced,

and likely to draw to a prosperous conclusion, without the occurrence of any

serious difficulties or inconvenience. A large fleet of merchant-ships had been

loaded and dispatched ; commercial operations have been carried on with vigour,

activity, and success ; while the British and foreign community in Canton have

not been subjected to annoyance, privation, and anxiety, of which they might

have justly complained, had any measures of mine led to a recurrence of those

perplexing and vexatious discussions, certain to end in defeat, failure, and


That no misunderstanding may take place in regard to my views as

respects our policy in China, I consider it right to assure your Lordship, that to

keep out of difficulties is my object, rather than voluntarily to encounter, for

the sake of perhaps overcoming them. In our present position, I have deemed

it most prudent to let things take their course, so long as that course continued

smooth and prosperous, in reference to endeavouring to mend matters by

extremely hazardous experiments.

All attempts at communication with the Chinese authorities at Canton

will prove unavailing at present, they are determined to oppose and defeat them ;

but they are perfectly willing tacitly to permit our controul and superintendence

of British subjects, provided we do not repair to Canton. Natives are forbidden

to assist or serve us in any such attempt ; heavy punishment is to be inflicted on

any person who receives us into his house ; and every endeavour on their part

seems directed to the one point, which I consider it to be so eminently important

to achieve, namely, an exact reverse of our position, by our being invested with

full powers without the river, whereby I am positive every end for which this

Commission was formed might be accomplished, and both the King's officers and

British Residents exempted from those disgraceful and prejudicial humiliations

and annoyances, which I feel assured will follow our forcing our way to Canton,

or holding an imaginary intercourse (for such it must be) with the Hong mer

chants, thereby actually creating our own sources of complaint, by strengthening

and cherishing that very body of monopolists, and, to use their own term,

" restrainers and compellers of barbarians," in place of exerting all our efforts to

overcome (not by violent measures, be it understood) all their incessant

machinations and contrivances to keep us in an abject state of subjection.

No. 56.

Viscount Palmerston to Sir G. B. Robinson.

(Extract.) Foreign Office, June 7, 1836.

YOUR despatches of the 16th and 29th of January, were received

here yesterday, and His Majesty's Government is accordingly furnished with

some means of forming an opinion with regard to the measure which you adopted

in the month of November last, of taking up your residence at Lintin.

As to the advantages which you anticipate would result to British commerce

from the formation of a permanent establishment at Lintin, of the nature of that


which you suggest in your despatch of December 1st, 1835, I have to say,

that, after duly considering what you have said yourself in favour of such an

establishment, and the reasons against it, His Majesty's Government do not

feel that they have yet been put sufficiently in possession of the means of

forming any final opinion upon this suggestion; and I, therefore, cannot

authorize the permanent residence of the Commission at Lintin, until I have

received further information upon the subject.

You are not, however, to understand from what I have said above, that I

disapprove of your having resided for some time at Lintin. So imperfectly

informed as I am, with respect to what can be stated for and against the

step you had adopted, I am obliged to take for granted that your reasons for

having adopted it, appeared to you to be of sufficient weight to counterbalance

the inconveniences attendant upon your having separated yourself from your

colleagues ; and having undertaken alone to carry on the business of the

Commission, without waiting to learn whether your Government coincided in

your own particular views, or not.

It has long been the intention of His Majesty's Government to reduce the

establishment in China : this measure is called for by the necessity of practising

economy in every branch of the public service ; and is justified by the extent and

nature of the business which the Commission has to transact. For the due

despatch of this business, I am. of opinion, that an establishment considerably

less than that which now exists will be sufficient. I cannot yet exactly state

what may be the precise nature of the future establishment ; but I am clearly of

opinion, that there is no longer any occasion for the continuance of the office of

-Ghief Superintendent. It, therefore, now becomes my duty to acquaint you,

that His Majesty's Government have decided to abolish at once the office and

salary of Chief Superintendent. In communicating to you this decision, I have

at the same time to inform you, that your functions will cease from the date of

the receipt of this despatch. You will make over to Captain Elliot all the

archives of the Commission; which will, of course, include copies of every

despatch, and its inclosures, which you have addressed to this department

•during the period you have acted as Chief Superintendent.

No. 57.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston. — (Received June 14, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) Lintin, January 29, 1836.

IN a former despatch, I intimated my intention of submitting

for your Lordship's consideration, the plan of an establishment which, I con

ceive, would fully and efficiently accomplish the ends contemplated by His

Majesty's Government, for the general Superintendence of the Trade, the controul

and assistance of the mercantile community, and more particularly, that most

essential branch of our duties,—the better management and regulation of the

ships, without danger or interruption to the quiet progress of the Trade, or sub

jecting the King's officers, as well as all our countrymen, to disgraceful humilia

tions, constant annoyances, privations, and, it is to be feared, severe loss and

detriment, which I cannot but too surely apprehend will ever attend the resi

dence of a British authority in Canton, unless properly established there, and

duly acknowledged and respected by the Local Government.

Before I proceed, however, I must distinctly avow my opinion, that the

attainment of so important a point as the establishment of His Majesty's Com

mission at Canton, in a proper and becoming position, is one most desirable in

itself, and likely to be attended with the greatest advantages and benefits; but I

firmly believe that, unless by force of arms, it will never be achieved. The events

of some years past militate in no small degree against any rational hope, that,

without intimidation, and, I fear, ultimate resort to hostilities, a proper under


standing could be established, although not a doubt can be entertained of the

perfect success that must attend the adoption of vigorous and efficient measures

on the part of the British Government.

The destruction of one or two forts, and the occupation of one of the

islands in this neighbourhood, so singularly adapted by nature, in every respect,

for commercial purposes, would, I am positive, promptly produce upon this bar

barous nation, arrogant in proportion to their ignorance, every effect we could

desire, and at once and for ever place our Trade and political relations with the

empire on a respectable, safe, and becoming footing.

But it is by no means my duty or intention to offer suggestions of this

nature, save as the means of conveying my opinion of the perfect certainty of

success, and the immense advantages that would emanate therefrom, in the event

of His Majesty's Government at any time deeming such a course advisable. On

the contrary, my object is to point out the little necessity that exists for so total

a change of policy, by the adoption of an alternative which now presents itself,

for the almost imperceptible adjustment of existing difficulties, and the future

management of affairs, as well as reduction in expense consequent upon this

change in the nature of our establishment.

The Chinese seem to have but one object ; that is, to prevent our establish

ing ourselves permanently at Canton. It appears to me, then, injudicious and

vain, to persist in the endeavour to place ourselves completely in their power, and

entirely under their controul and thraldom, when the very locality of that place

alone, renders our residence there almost incompatible with the duties we have

to discharge, and exposes British merchants in a tenfold degree, to inconvenience

and danger, arising from our collision with the Mandarins.

I conceive the principal object of maintaining a British authority in this

country, is to exercise a salutary controul over the safety, conduct, and perhaps

property, of the King's subjects in China ; to arbitrate and assist in the adjust

ment of disputes and differences ; and to prevent the occurrence of actions or

proceedings, whereby the natives of China may be wronged or aggrieved ; or to the

prejudice of that high national character and reputation, which it is so desirable

to uphold and maintain, even for policy and interest alone.

To these ends, a full and efficient controul over the shipping is the main

point ; little else seems requisite. While that power is retained in our hands,

and exercised when necessary, with judgment and discretion, little difficulty will

exist in the management of other matters. No man can quit the country, or

evade the fulfilment of just claims against him; and it cannot be doubted that

the knowledge of our ability effectually to interpose our lawful authority, will

check those evils which might be expected to result from the total absence of any

officer of His Majesty's Government, unconnected with Trade, unbiassed by

party feelings, and ever vigilant over the safety, welfare, and bearing of the

King's subjects.

Feeling somewhat doubtful how far my residence at this anchorage, on board

this little vessel of seventy-four tons, in conformity to the public notice under

date November 21, would answer the expectations I had long since formed of

its utility and advantage, and being uncertain in what manner the Chinese would

view the change of position I had assumed, trifling as it is, I delayed this despatch

until the present period, when the season is well advanced, and I am competent

to speak with confidence and truth on the efficient means I here possess to

discharge at least a most important part of my duty.

In this place I shall not enter into any argument on the mischiefs attendant

upon that disunion and opposition which I fear inevitably results from the exist

ence of a Council or Board of three or more persons, but under the impression

that the management of affairs would devolve infinitely better on a single indivi

dual, whose views and proceedings, not liable to opposition and counteraction,

could be carried into effect on his whole and sole responsibility, I submit, with

all due deference, that he should reside on board some vessel in the vicinity of

the shipping, completely out of the power, and free from the restraints, of the

Chinese. His situation should be centrical, for general communication, and his

means of locomotion entirely unshackled. To effect this, and to afford him a

comfortable habitation, I would suggest the purchase or hire of a small merchant

vessel [about 200 hundred tons], capable of accommodation for the Chief Super

intendent. A Secretary to succeed to his office in the event of death or absence,

and one or two clerks ; sufficient room for a master and crew of about twelve


good steady seamen, two of whom might be sworn in as constables, to act as

occasion required. Room might also be found for a medical man, whose

presence in a large fleet is of the greatest advantage, and a space devoted for the

reception of a person under arrest, or whom it may be desirable to take out of

his ship. The expense attendant upon such an establishment would be trifling

indeed, compared with that of the present Commission, if permanently fixed at

Canton, or elsewhere on shore, and its utility and efficacy in my opinion beyond

all calculation.

The duties devolving on the head of such an establishment, would be, to

receive the registers and papers of ships arriving; issuing precise and distinct

orders and regulations for the guidance of captains and seamen, who are to

appeal to him in serious cases of disturbance or complaint on board ship, and

invariably on every occasion where natives of China are concerned, in place of

taking the law into their own hands, and seeking to redress their real or imagin

ary grievances. To listen patiently and attentively to any Chinese who may be

injured or aggrieved, and, by the power with which he is invested, to afford them

redress, and, if possible, indemnification ; to attend to the better ordering and

discipline of the ships, by watchful observation over both commanders and

seamen ; and by every means in his power, to improve and ameliorate the present

disorganized state of the mercantile marine. I venture to predict, with confi

dence emanating from my own experience, that much may be done by precept

and example, combined with the power vested in an officer of His Majesty's


An idea will naturally suggest itself, that for the above purpose, a man-of-

war would be best suited. I have no doubt of the advantage that would accrue

from one of His Majesty's ships being permanently stationed in China, and that,

as far as our countrymen are concerned, especially sea-faring men, she would

prove doubly efficacious and useful ; but my experience in this country con

vinces me the Chinese would never tolerate (at least for some time to come,

until they become assured that no ulterior or sinister views were in contempla

tion,) her permanent stay even outside the river, and that any attempt to carry

her within the Bocca Tigris would be utterly futile. Time, indeed, might

change their prejudices and inveterate dislike to any appearance of a military

force ; but for the present, a mercantile ship or vessel, divested of all warlike

appurtenances, is obviously requisite. She might hoist a distinguishing and

appropriate flag ; and it has been suggested to me, by a very intelligent Chinese,

from whom I candidly confess I have received many hints, that a pendant or flag,

bearing the Chinese characters of civil officer, would be very suitable to their

own ideas. I doubt not that such a vessel would be allowed to pass the forts

and move about at pleasure ; indeed, were it necessary, I conceive her permanent

anchorage at Whampoa during the season would be sanctioned. Whilst, how

ever, a competent effect resulted from her station being without the river, I should

strongly advocate that no chimerical views of improvement were allowed to over

come the most prudential forbearance and compliance with prejudices absurd as

they may be.

So firmly convinced am I of the advantages that would attend the immediate

adoption of the plan, that I have been nearly induced to purchase one or two

vessels which have been offered at moderate terms for sale, and were well adapted

for the purpose. Nothing prevented my so doing, but the anxious wish to avoid

even an appearance of presumptuously carrying my individual views into effect,

until I was honoured with the expression of your Lordship's approbation.

In this place it may not be irrelevant to remark, that it is foreign to my

disposition and feelings to act upon the impulse of the moment, and I may

venture to pledge myself, that even in very trifling and unimportant affairs, I

shall ever defer undertaking measures in accordance with my own wishes, without

the sanction and authority of your Lordship.

I firmly believe that, on the first issue of my public notice, there was hardly

one, if any, adverse voice or sentiment ; I was thus informed on every side; but I

lament to assert, that there exists such bitter and inveterate party feeling in this

place, that whatever one set or party propose and advocate is certain to be

violently condemned, opposed, and, if possible, counteracted by the other.

It is not necessary I should disgust your Lordship by the relation of the

evil consequences produced of late years by this lamentable spirit. I will only

express a hope that it may die away in time, and cease to act to the extreme

prejudice and detriment of the public welfare and our national character.


It may, however, I repeat, affect the measure in question ; and therefore 1

feel compelled to exercise a degree of reserve and circumspection repugnant to

my feelings, and quietly and unobtrusively bring things into such a train, that,

if I should be gratified by the expression of your Lordship's approbation and

definite instructions, no perceptible change will be apparent. It is my determi

nation, therefore, at the total sacrifice, however, of my personal comfort and

domestic happiness, to reside principally on board this little vessel at her present

anchorage, and thus establish, in a great degree, my position. In this there is

no change of the policy hitherto adopted, or the slightest deviation from the

principles I entertained ever since the expulsion of His Majesty's Commission

from Canton. It is no relinquishment of pretension, but simply an effort to

secure a better position, or, more clearly speaking, to make the best of a very

bad one. After being so ignominiously expelled from Canton, where an attempt

to establish ourselves produced such extraordinary inconvenience, detriment, and

anxiety, not only to our own countrymen, but even to the foreign community in

general, when Edicts have been issued, threatening severe punishment to all

natives who may be suspected only of serving or assisting us, when the disastrous

results and criminal accusations by which perfectly innocent men were involved,

and unhappily suffered persecution and torture, are before our eyes, is it possible

I could have ventured to risk, or rather entail, a repetition of those evils, by

madly attempting to repair thither?

If, therefore, we cannot place ourselves within the defined limits specified

in our instructions, I am surely better situated on board a vessel belonging to

His Majesty than in a Portuguese settlement, at which His Majesty's Com

mission is likewise unacknowledged, isolated from the great body of shipping,

far removed from the first anchorage to which they all resort on arrival, and

incapacitated from affording prompt and efficient advice and assistance in nume

rous cases where my presence alone has prevented serious evils, and tended to

maintain the idea, especially amongst sailors, that there is an authority existing

in this country competent to redress grievances and punish offences. I could

adduce numerous instances, but I forbear to intrude further on your Lordship's

time, except to add, that intelligent Chinese have strongly insisted that no diffi

culties are to be feared so long as I do not endeavour to force myself into com

munication or correspondence with the Canton Authorities, neither is any notice

likely to be taken of my official residence here ; and I was informed by a Chinese

who came from Canton to see me on other business only a few days ago, that

much satisfaction was felt by the shopkeepers and similar classes at the informa

tion : a reference to me would at all times avail them in the fair settlement of

their claims, against ships or individuals on the point of departure.

Implicit obedience to the very spirit of any instructions I may have the

honour to receive will be my first care ; should they, however, not militate against

the continuation of my present system, or direct the adoption of very opposite

measures, I shall deem it my duty to persevere quietly in it, gradually extending

my controul over British ships, and establishing, by the force of habit and custom

(the most powerful talisman in China), the foundation of that establishment I

have suggested.

I would here respectfully solicit your Lordship's attention to the subject,

that in the early part of next season, every preliminary may be arranged. The

ships will leave the river very early, and during the summer months I shall

endeavour to prevent any irregularities taking place amongst the many British

vessels now about to proceed for rice and other Straits' produce, and likely to

anchor or resort, during the summer months, to this or the adjacent anchorage of

the Cumsingmoon, as well as any collision between our countrymen at Canton

and the Chinese, of which, however, I see little chance ; nor do I entertain the

least apprehension of any difficulties, unless, indeed, created by any injudicious

attempts on the part of this Commission to produce an alteration in our position,

little likely to prove an amendment.

To use the common, but applicable maxim, of "Letting that which is well

alone," I shall carefully avoid all danger and risk of any change of a doubtful

nature in its prospective effects.


No. 58.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received June 14, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) Lintin, February 1, 1836.

WITH reference to my despatch of January 29, wherein I trust 1 have suc

ceeded in exhibiting the advantages that would, in my own opinion, emanate from

the establishment suggested, of a British authority resident in some vessel in the

immediate vicinity of the shipping, or the most centrical and convenient ancho

rage for communication with them, I have briefly mentioned that I conceive the

sole direction, management, and responsibility of affairs, would better devolve on

one individual, than on a Council or Board of three. Generally speaking, since

I came to the country, I have been aware of great difference of opinion existing

between the members of the Select Committee of the East India Company, and

in the remarkable discussions of 1829— 1830, the effect was obvious enough, act

ing to the full extent of completely counteracting the views and efforts of both

parties or sides, for so I cannot but call them. Disunion in council, adverse and

different opinions and interests, with the consequent opposition, extending itself

even amongst the shipping, has unfortunately furnished the Chinese with a most

powerful weapon to turn against ourselves, of which so astute and discerning a

people failed not adroitly to avail themselves. Failure, defeat, and disgrace have

consequently attended all " discussions" as they are termed, and 1 can only anti

cipate similar results in future.

Facts speak for themselves; it is vain to recur to the errors of past years, save

as a warning and beacon for the future. Should' my views and suggestions seem

worthy of adoption, one individual, in whom is vested a power and authority

legally constituted and competent over all British subjects, within a certain dis

tance of the coast of China, residing afloat or even if it may be practicable on shore,

in any place or position that may seem most expedient and desirable, will ever be

more unanimously supported and aided by his countrymen, and, therefore, enabled

to carry any rational views, in conformity to his instructions, into operation, on

his own personal responsibility.

To provide for the contingency of death or absence, a competent confiden

tial and responsible Secretary, might qualify himself, by the discharge of more

detailed duties and an attentive observation of passing events, to succeed to the

office of the Chief; and an Assistant Secretary duly qualified to take the Secretary

ship, being on the spot, 1 conceive the establishment would be complete, with

occasional clerks, who, however, would scarcely be required, if all three took an

active share in the duties of the service.

The peculiarity of this country and the singularity of our relations with it,

commercial and political, although the latter term seems superfluous, render it a

point of infinite importance that the successors to office should practically acquire

that experience and knowledge so essential for a judicious exercise of the great

power vested in the hands of one man, by a previous residence therein. I know of

no place in this world, where the ideas, opinions, and prejudices of strangers or

those recently arrived, undergo so great a change as in China, until very lately a

terra incognita, and inaccessible, save to a very limited number of individuals.

It may seem somewhat presumptuous in me to offer any hints on the

adequate remuneration of these officers, but I must observe that the situation of

Chief is evidently one of extreme importance and responsibility. The mer

chants of Canton are a very wealthy body of men, expensive in their style of

living and in the habit of estimating others (and such would especially apply to a

public man), according to their pecuniary worth and resources. The agents of

the East India Company derive much of their consequence from the nature of

their appointment, between which and that of His Majesty's officers there would

exist little comparison, considering the allowances granted them, and the liberal

pension upon which they will retire after a period of twenty-two years' service,

during which it is to be supposed they must have acquired an independent fortune;

but I feel the subject is a delicate one, and it can hardly be considered becoming

on me to enter upon it.


For the office of Secretary and Assistant Secretary, the salary of 3.000Z.

and 1,500Z. per annum, appear proportionably appropriate, and I trust I may with

propriety express a hope, that any officer of His Majesty's Government may ever

be enabled to live in a style suitable to his rank and station ; and that the very

great sacrifice of every advantage of civilized life, the numerous and serious

privations and annoyances accompanying an exile in this disagreeable country,

may be taken into liberal consideration.

On the probable expenditure requisite for the vessel suggested, and the

contingent demands, I shall address your Lordship in another despatch. It

will not, however, be deemed, I feel certain, unreasonable, considering the nature

and extent of the advantages accruing.

No. 59.

Viscount Palrnerston to Sir G. B. Robinson.

Sir, Foreign Office, June 15, 1836.

SINCE the date of my despatch of the 7th instant, your despatches of

the 29th of January and 1st of February, from Lintin, have been received and

laid before His Majesty's Government. And I have to state to you in reply,

that there does not appear to be anything in those despatches to render

necessary a change in the arrangement which has already been decided upon,

and which was communicated to you in my despatch above referred to.

I am, &c,


No. 60.

Viscount Palrnerston to Captain Elliot.

(Extract.) Foreign Office, June 15, 1836.

HIS Majesty's Government having decided, for the reasons stated in my

despatch to Sir George Robinson, of the 7th instant, to abolish the office

and salary of the Chief Superintendent of British Trade in China ; the duties

of that office have now devolved upon you, as the Second Superintendent.

Sir George Robinson has been directed to make over to you all the archives

of the Commission ; and you will, from the date of the receipt of this despatch,

consider yourself as the Chief of the Commission.

No. 61.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palrnerston.—(Received July 4, 1836.)

His Majesty Cutter Louisa.

(Extract.) Lintin, February 5, 1836.

I SEE no grounds to apprehend the occurrence of any fearful events on the

north-east coast, nor can I learn what new danger exists. I am assured, from

the best authority, that the scuffles between different parties of smugglers and

Mandarins, alike engaged and competing in the traffic, are not more serious, or

frequent than in this province. In no case have Europeans been engaged in any

kind of conflict or affray ; and while this increasing and lucrative trade is in the

hands of the parties whose vital interests are so totally dependent on its safety

aud continuance, and by whose prudence and integrity it has been cherished and

brought into its present increasing and flourishing condition, I think little

apprehension may be entertained of dangers emanating from imprudence on

their part. Should any unfortunate catastrophe take place, what would our

position at Canton entail upon us but responsibility and jeopardy ? from which

we are now free. #


On the question of " Smuggling Opium," I will not enter in this place,

though, indeed, smuggling carried on actually in the Mandarin boats can hardly

be termed such. Whenever His Majesty's Government direct us to prevent

British vessels engaging in the traffic, we can enforce any order to that effect ;

but a more certain method would be to prohibit the growth of the poppy and

manufacture of Opium in British India; and if British ships are in the habit

of committing irregularities and crimes, it seems doubly necessary to exercise a

salutary controul over them by the presence of an authority at Lintin.

No. 62.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 4, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) Lintin, February 8, 1836.

I MUST bo permitted to call your Lordship's attention to the fact, that any

deviation from the line of conduct so judiciously inculcated by my predecessor,

Mr. Davis, might (indeed I am certain would) have led to difficulties and inter

ruptions to the trade, accompanied by innumerable and unforeseen sources of

anxiety and risk, in place of the present aspect of affairs, at the conclusion almost

of a most successful commercial season : had those consequences resulted, to

whom would the responsibility attach ? obviously, I think, to myself, as I felt it

did on the occasion of the Second Superintendent's visit to the city gate ; and

while I allude to that unfortunate proceeding, I must apprise your Lordship that

during that gentleman's short stay at Whampoa, when concerting measures for

proceeding with two armed vessels to recapture the boat's crew of the Argyle,

private letters reached me at Macao, pointing out the immediate determination

of the Chinese Government to stop the trade until he quitted the river. I lost

no time therefore in privately requesting him to return, and from that period

firmly resolved to abstain from any attempts at intercourse with the Chinese,

until in possession of further instructions, unless indeed anything like an advance

had been made on their part ; but I can safely assert that, far from evincing any

such disposition, they seem carefully to avoid the possibility of any collision with

us. At the same time, it must be observed, they tacitly acquiesce in our re

maining at Macao, and also in my official residence at this anchorage, to which

I only anticipate objections if the bitter party spirit raging at Canton, should

induce ill-disposed or interested individuals to attract their attention to the subject,

in an unfavourable or suspicious point of view.

At the suggestion of some of the principal commercial gentlemen at

Canton, and I believe in accordance with the wishes of the whole community, I

proposed the plan of assisting them to the utmost of my ability by residing

at this anchorage, in place of remaining comfortably at Macao with my family,

thereby entailing on merchants, captains, and British subjects in general, the

delay, danger, and inconvenience consequent upon the necessity of resorting

thither on all matters of business.

It may be necessary to explain to your Lordship, that large ships cannot

approach Macao at any time ; and that in strong winds it is difficult, sometimes

impracticable, to communicate with the shore vessels in Macao Roads, are often

liable to be blown out to sea while the captains are on shore ; and must be at all

times exposed to considerable risk and danger, whereby the insurance would be

affected, whereas they are in perfect safety, and may be detained, if requisite, at

this anchorage without the least apprehension.


No. 63.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 4, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) lAntin, February 10, 1836.

I HAVE the honour to inclose to your Lordship copy of a letter from the

British Chamber of Commerce, and my reply thereto, as also of a letter I

consequently addressed to Mr. J. R. Morrison.

That gentleman shortly after visited me at Lintin, where I explained fully

my views and opinions on the subject of his residence at Canton, and furnished

him with precise and positive instructions for his guidance on certain points ;

in others, much must be left to his own prudence and discretion,—of which I

entertain a very high opinion, and rest perfectly assured and satisfied that no

serious evils will result from his resorting to the provincial city, perfectly in a

private character, and solely for the purpose of assisting the British community

in matters of a commercial nature ; but at the same time I must confess, I cannot

at this time approve of the resort to Canton of any member of the Commission ;

and I have apprized Mr. Morrison of my intention to recall him on the first

appearance of any difficulties or inconvenience emanating from his interference

or interposition.

No. 64.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 1, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) Lintin, February 27, 1838.

THE Trade is going on ; a friendly understanding subsists between our

mercantile community and the Chinese, ample for all commercial purposes, and a

mutual abstinence and forbearance from every source of discussion and conse

quent enmity, evinces, in my opinion, sound judgment aud discretion.

On the subject of attempting to communicate with the local authorities

through the medium of the Hong merchants, it is scarcely necessary for me to

comment. The very act of such intercourse with them will ever preclude the

possibility of our coming into more intimate contact with the Mandarins. But

it is no communication, inasmuch as they will ever decline to deliver even our

petitions, on all occasions relating to the extortions, exactions, oppressions, and

corruption of their own body, against whose power and monopoly we have princi

pally to exclaim, and for the annihilation of which our strongest efforts ought to

be exerted.

From a people so arrogant and barbarous, nothing is gained by undue humi

liation and self-abasement. They are generally disposed to respect us, in pro

portion as we respect ourselves. Under existing circumstances, the less we

have to do with the Chinese authorities, the more probable it is we shall avoid

difficulties and dangers, by which not only our present tranquillity may be

endangered, but our future arrangements affected.

No. 65.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, July 22, 1836.

WITH reference to that part of your Minute of the 27th of December, 1835,

inclosed in Sir George Robinson's despatch of the 18th of February last, in

which, for the reasons therein stated, you advised' that the commander of the

steam-boat Jardine should be enjoined, on the King's authority, by no means to

proceed up the river to Canton, I think it necessary to recommend to you great



caution in interfering in such a manner with the undertakings of British mer

chants. In the present state of our relations with China, it is especially incum

bent upon you, while you do all that lies in your power to avoid giving just

cause of offence to the Chinese authorities, to be at the same time very careful

not to assume a greater degree of authority over British subjects in China than

that which you in reality possess.

I am, &c,


(Minute referred to in the foregoing Despatch.)

Macao, December 27, 1 835.

I HEAR it very generally reported to-day that the steam-boat Jardine, now at

Lintin, is to proceed to Canton on Tuesday or Wednesday next. The disquietude of

the Provincial Government upon the subject of this vessel had already been mani

fested in an Edict, desiring that she should leave the country; and I am informed

a request to let her ply in the river as a passage-boat has just been negatived. In

the present state of circumstances, I feel it my duty to advise that a pubiic letter

should be forthwith addressed to the commander of the steam-boat, enjoining him,

under the King's authority, by no means to proceed up the river at present. I

would further recommend that a letter should be addressed to the consignees of

the vessel (covering a copy of the communication to the commander) to the effect

that such a step, at this period, appeared to the Commission to be extremely

imprudent, and it had therefore been determined to require that the intention

should be abandoned. The port of Canton i3 now full of shipping waiting for

cargoes to proceed to England ; and I confess the moment appears to me so pecu

liarly unfavourable for any experiment of this description, that I found the greatest

difficulty in crediting the report upon the subject ; it is repeated, however, in so

many quarters, that I feel compelled to believe it is well founded. If it be true

that any attempt has been made to secure the consent of the Foo Yuen, and that

his refusal has been signified, the risks of very serious difficulties are vastly

enhanced. We have been specially warned, and the Chinese officers well know the

advantage that particular circumstance will afford them for the vindication of any

measures which our scornful disregard of their authority may lead them to pursue.

If this steam-vessel goes up the river at this moment, I feel a persuasion that some

grave public inconvenience will ensue. That the persons on duly at the forts in

the Bogue will be fully justified in stopping her (by force, if needful) is plain; and

that any opposition upon the part of the vessel would be both utterly lawless and

futile is quite as clear. But it may happen that they will suffer her to pass the

forts with just so much of evidence to prove that it is a forced passage (by firing

a few shot wide of her) as will serve to justify proceedings of another complexion;

in this case, it is my strong opinion, that the Chinese will resort to some general

measure in assertion of their powers and independence as a Government, involving

the interruption of this trade, till some required concession shall be made. No

Government can afford, if I may so express it, to be reduced to utter contempt

in the sight of its own people by a handful of heedless foreigners ; the sacrifice,

in point of public estimation, is far too considerable.

I desire to record my own conviction that some most disagreeable public con

sequences will follow if the steam-boat proceeds up the river at this moment, in con

temptuous disregard of a recent refusal to let her pass. At a suitable period, and

with due caution, I am sure such a point might be easily and safely accomplished.

It is my deliberate opinion that the full weight of responsibility for any disaster or

mischief which arises out of this attempt at the present moment will devolve upon

this Commission, unless we can clearly show that we enjoined all British persons

having any authority over the vessel, or employed on board of her, to abstain

from taking any part in a proceeding calculated imminently to risk interests of

vast public and private importance, and in direct disobedience to His Majesty's

Instructions, issued agreeably to Act of Parliament, setting forth that it is the

duty of all his subjects to respect the laws and usages of this empire.


Second Superintendent.


No. f&

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

(Extract.) Foreign Office, July 22, 1836.

I HAVE to observe to you that it does not appear to His Majesty's

Government, that it would be expedient that you should attempt to re-open

communications with the Viceroy through the Hong merchants ; but, on the

contrary, it is dssirable that you should decline every proposition to revive

official communications through that channel, whatever may be the quarter

from whence such propositions may come.

It might be very suitable for the servants of the East India Company, '

themselves an Association of merchants, to communicate with the authorities of

China through the merchants of the Hong ; but the Superintendents are officers

of the King, and as such can properly communicate with none but officers

of the Chinese Government. This is a point upon which you should insist ;

and 1 have therefore to instruct you, if any attempt should be made by the

Hong merchants to enter into communication with you upon matters of public

business, to express your regret that you are not at liberty to receive any such

communications, except from the Viceroy direct, or through some responsible

officer of the Chinese Government.

I have to add, that His Majesty's Government do not deem it expedient

that you should give to your written communications with the Chinese*—,

Government, the name of " Petitions."

No. 67.

The Hon. W. Fox Strangways to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, September 14, 1836.

I AM directed by Viscount Palmerston to transmit to you, for the purpose

of being forwarded to the Portuguese Governor of Macao, the accompanying

letter, under flying seal, addressed to his Excellency by his Government, con

taining instructions as to the conduct he should pursue in all matters in which

the Superintendents of British Trade in China, may have occasion to address

themselves to his Excellency, on subjects relating to the discharge of their

official duties : these instructions are sent to his Excellency in consequence of

the representations of His Majesty's Government to that of Portugal, of the

circumstances stated in Sir G. Robinson's despatch of the 23rd of November,


I am, &c,


R 2


Np. 68.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.— {Received September 29, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) Lintin, March 1, 1836.

I HAVE the honour to inclose copy of a letter from Mr. Innes to my

individual address, the reply thereto, and of an open letter I, at the same time,

inclosed to our Interpreters.

Incloswe 1 in No. 68.

Mr. Innes to Sir G. B. Robinson.

Sir George, Macao, February 22, 1836.

I VERY respectfully submit to your recollection the following circum


I received an injury and lost property out of a ship called the Orwell,

Captain Dalrymple.

I did my duty to my constituents, in applying for its recovery to the late

deceased Governor of Canton, and failed in my object. I did put in motion a

vessel for reprisal against Chinese subjects ; moved by you, I abstained there

from, on your pledge to represent the matter, both here (at a proper time) and

home, for redress.

If you do not consider it to interfere •with that pledge, I mean to draw the

attention of the new Governor of Canton to this subject ; and if I have your

permission to do so, I hope you will allow Mr. Morrison or Mr. Gutzlaff to

translate into Chinese my Petition to the new Governor : and for this I

beg written -instructions, as asking favours of subordinate officers is


I wish to put a curious fact before you ; Monteith and Co. who are the

chief losers, are skilful chymists and inventors of colours : and they have

recently arrived at a new colour : the goods robbed from me were of this new

colour. On a day in last January, I was called to be present at the opening of

some goods of mine, to have the duties fixed by the Hoppo ; and this took

place in the Hong, once the Honourable East-India Company's, now Messrs.

Daniell's, when I saw in possession of an attendant officer a cotton-handker

chief ; a whole hankerchief of which, besides the stolen goods, only I was

possessed in all China of a similar colour ; and mine were (being musters for

selling by) half handkerchiefs ; the officer had his master's books and papers

wrapped up in it. I instantly challenged it as stolen goods in presence of the

Coolies, Linguists, and all attendants : this is direct evidence of the possession

of the Hoppo or his servants.

It is my duty to mention to you that I have moved Messrs. Monteith and

Messrs. Deykins, at Glasgow and Birmingham, to induce their four members

in the Commons, to strengthen and support your judicious remonstrance at the

Foreign Office.

I wait your answer with anxiety.

I have, &c,



Inclosure 2 in No. 68.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Mr. Innes.

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

Sir, Lintin* February 24, 1836.

I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of your letter under date 22nd

February, and lose no time in replying to it.

I consider it will not be any interference with the pledge you have given to

abstain from violent and dangerous measures for the recovery of your property,

if you address a moderate and becoming communication on the subject to the

new Governor of Canton; on the contrary, you have my full sanction and

approval of the measure, which I think judicious and prudent. To this end,

the services of one or both our interpreters are at your disposal, so long as the

documents you require them to translate or draw up for you, contain neither

threats or menaces which most assuredly you could never put in execution;

nor expressions and language calculated to excite feelings and impressions

hostile or prejudicial to the general welfare and interests of the King's subjects,

and, in my opinion, tending to the certain counteraction of your own object.

To prevent any delay, I furnish you with an open letter to those gentlemen, and

as you have placed the whole matter before me, and I have submitted every

document connected therewith, for the consideration of the Right Honourable

the Foreign Secretary, I conceive you will not hesitate to furnish me with the

faithful translations, both of your Petition to the new Governor and his reply

thereto; indeed it would be satisfactory if time would allow of my perusal of

your address previous to presentation. /

I conceive a judicious introduction of the fact you mention might have

some weight, and I would suggest that you also state distinctly, the business

has been submitted to the Superintendents of British Trade in China, and by

them transmitted to the high officer of His Majesty's Government, with whom

they have the honour to correspond.

I beg to point out, that Mr. Morrison is now privately residing in Canton,

solely for the purpose of aiding the foreign community in matters of this sort,

and should you wish to communicate personally with me on this or other

subjects, it will be in accordance at once with my duty and inclination to afford

you all the advice and assistance in my power.

I have, &cj

(Signed) G. B. ROBINSON.

Inclosure 3 in No. 68.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Mr. Morrison and Mr. Gutzlaff.

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

Gentlemen, Lintin, February 24, 1836.

MR. INNES having requested my sanction for your assisting him by the

exercise of your talents and acquirements in the Chinese language, I have to

request you will do so to the best of your power, under this positive restriction,

however, that on no account, nor on any occasion, you translate or draw up for

presentation to the local authorities, documents containing language or expres

sions of a threatening or menacing nature, or in any way calculated to prejudice

and endanger the safety and interests of His Majesty's subjects in this country.

With a perfect reliance on your judgment and discretion, I do not consider it

requisite to add further admonition, and sincerely hope the results of your

exertions will be successful.

I am, &c,

(Signed) G. B. ROBINSON.


No. C9.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 8, 1836.

THE despatch of Sir George Robinson of the 20th of November, 1835,

relative to the case of Mr. Innes, together with the various Minutes and other

papers connected with it, which have been transmitted home by the Super

intendents, have received the most careful consideration of His Majesty's

Government and their legal advisers.

It appears from these papers, that Mr. Innes, a British merchant, resident

at Canton, had employed a pilot named Acha, to transfer some goods from the

ship Orwell, while passing up from Lintin to Canton, to another vessel at

Lintm bound for Manila ; that the pilot Acha, instead of proceeding with the

goods to the other vessel, was conveying them up the Canton river, when his

boat and the goods were seized by the Chinese Custom-house officers, near the

Bocca Tigris, for a breach of the Chinese revenue laws ; it being considered

that he was attempting to smuggle the merchandize within the entrance of the

Port of Canton; that Mr. Innes, conceiving himself to be wronged by the acts

of the pilot and of the Custom-house officers, had petitioned the Governor of

Canton for redress ; and that, upon experiencing delay in obtaining the resti

tution of his goods, he had notified to the Governor his determination to procure

redress for himself, by acts of reprisal against the Chinese Trade ; but that he

had consented to abstain from his meditated hostilities, upon receiving from the

Superintendents a pledge, that his case should be submitted to the consi

deration of His Majesty's Government ; and that the recovery of his property

should be made the subject of a demand on the Chinese Authorities, on the

first occasion of the Superintendents coming in formal contact with those


You have already been informed, by my despatch of June 6th, addressed

to Sir George Robinson, that the papers connected with this transaction were

under the consideration of the law officers of the Crown. The report which I have

now received from the law officers, fully confirms the opinion which I expressed

in that despatch, that the acts threatened by Mr. Innes, would, if carried into

effect, amount to piracy. I have therefore to instruct you to communicate to

Mr. Innes the opinion of His Majesty's legal advisers, with regard to the inten

tion which Mr. Innes had announced ; and to express the conviction of His

Majesty's Government, that he will abandon all intention of having recourse to

proceedings which high legal authorities have declared would amount to piracy.

You will further inform Mr. Innes, that if the contrary should unfortunately

happen, and if he should persist in carrying his former intentions into execu

tion, he will be abandoned by the British Government to the fate which such a

course will probably bring upon him ; and further, that the commander of any

of His Majesty's ships which may fall in with him, will be bound to act

towards him as the Naval Instructions require commanders of His Majesty's

ships of war to act towards pirates whom they may meet.

With respect to your representations to the Chinese Authorities, with a

view to obtain the restitution of Mr. Innes's property, you will conform your

self to the instructions contained in the latter part of my despatch to Sir George


I am, &c,



No. 70.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 8, 1836.

HIS Majesty's Government have not failed to take into their attentive

consideration, Sir George Robinson's despatch of the 1st of July, 1835,

relative to the claim preferred by Messrs. Turner and Co. of Canton, against Mr.

Arthur Saunders Keating, of the same place, for a balance of 300 dollars,

alleged to be due by him to the owners of a vessel called the Planter, on

account of the freight of a cargo of rice, consigned to Mr. Keating by a mer

cantile house at Batavia ; and which balance Mr. Keating refused to pay, on the

plea, that his rice, after having been landed and passed for sale to a Hong mer

chant at Canton, named Mowqua, had by him been made subject to the pay

ment of 300 dollars, which he claimed as insurer of the vessel, on account of

certain port charges and fees : the charter-party having stipulated that the

port charges should be borne by the ship. This case, with the Minutes of Pro

ceedings relating to it, has been submitted to the consideration of the law officers

of the Crown ; and it appears to His Majesty's Government, from the report of

those officers, that the question between Messrs. Turner and Co. and Mr. Keating,

is one merely of private right, and to the decision of which the ordinary tri

bunals of this country are fully competent. In fact, the only question to be

decided is, whether the ship Planter had earned her freight when the rice was

delivered into the go-down of Mowqua, the Hong merchant who secured the


The facts of the case are not clearly stated in the papers sent home by Sir

George Robinson ; but from the Minutes of Proceedings transmitted in his

despatch above-mentioned, it would appear, that the Hong merchant Mowqua

secured the ship at 900 dollars, and that this sum, which was due as

port charges, was the only sum lawfully demandable by the Chinese authorities;

that this sum was duly paid by the consignees of the ship to Mowqua, who

thereupon gave his chop or receipt for the same ; and that Mr. Keating might

have had the rice, or have disposed of it as he thought fit; but that by his

desire, and for his convenience, it was deposited by Mowqua, in his (Mowqua's)

go-down at Canton ; and that Mowqua illegally refused to let Mr. Keating

remove the rice without paying a further sum of 300 dollars. Such at least

appears to be the outline of the transaction as reported by the Superintendents ;

and supposing the facts to be so, it is clear that the rice was deposited by

Mowqua as Mr. Keating's agent, and that the owners of the ship had fully

performed their contract, and consequently were entitled to receive the whole of

the sum due for freight.

What I understand Mr. Keating to represent in his various letters entered

on your Minutes, is, that it is a fallacy to assert that the rice ever was in his

possession, or under his controul ; that Mowqua, as the securing Hong merchant,

had the ship and cargo in his power ; and that whatever contract Mowqua might

have made with Messrs. Turner and Co., as agents of the owners, he (Mowqua)

never would have parted with the cargo, without receiving the 300 dollars in

dispute :—that Mowqua held the rice as the security merchant, and would not

have permitted it to go out of the ship to any other place than his own go-down,

where he would retain a lien upon it for what he claimed.

It is impossible for His Majesty's Government, upon the documents before

them, and with their imperfect information as to the rights and duties of the

securing merchant, to pronounce any positive decision as to the real merits of

the case. But the fact stated by Messrs. Turner and Co., in their letter to

Messrs. Forbes, Dent, and Jardine, that the cargo of another ship, the Madras,

arriving at the same time, was delivered to the go-down of a different merchant

from the one who secured the ship, is strongly corroborative of the view of the


case taken by you and your colleagues. Indeed, the claim of Messrs. Turner

and Co. upon Mr, Keating, as stated in their first letter, was for two sums of

300 dollars each, one on account of the ship Planter, the other on account of

the ship Madras. The latter claim appears, in the course of the correspondence,

to have been dropped, the reason not being distinctly stated ; and on these

circumstances, so important in their bearing upon the merits of the other claim

which formed the immediate subject of the reference home, no remark is made

in the Chief Superintendent's despatch.

With regard to the step taken by the Superintendents, in consequence of

Mr. Kealing's continued refusal to pay the sums demanded of him, on account

of Messrs. Turner and Co. and, in another case, by Mr. Smith, amounting

together to £91 17s. 6d. sterling, I have to state to you, that, in advancing on

the public account, the amount of these demands upon Mr. Keating, with the

view of making him a debtor to the Crown, the Superintendents adopted a

course which they had no power whatever to take. Mr. Keating certainly is

not a debtor to the Crown in respect of this transaction. The case was a

private one—of an attempt at extortion on the part of the Hong merchant

Mowqua, who, in his character of agent, demanded from his principal a sum to

which he was not entitled ; and refused to give up to that principal the goods in

his custody, until his unjust demand was satisfied.

As, however, the payment was made by the Superintendents, in the

exercise of their discretion, with the view of preventing further discussions,

which, under the peculiar circumstances of their position, they considered might

have proved injurious to the British commercial interests in China, it is not my

intention to make them personally responsible for the advance, although their

decision was certainly a mistaken one. But it is my duty to caution you, in the

/ most express manner, against pursuing a similar course on any future occasion.

It is probable that Mr. Keating, when he finds that His Majesty's Government

incline to an opinion on the subject adverse to his own, may no longer object to-

repay the sum which was advanced for him by the Superintendents ; but, I

repeat, that His Majesty's Government cannot regard Mr. Keating as a Crown

debtor, in respect of the payment made by you and your colleagues on his


His Majesty's Government do not consider, that this is a transaction which

would give any just ground of demand against the Chinese Government ; but,

as it appears that a demand was insisted upon by the securing merchant, which

the Chinese regulations do not warrant, and, consequently, that the merchant

was guilty of an act of extortion, admitted on all sides to be such, (the dispute

being only on whom the charge should fall,) you will avail yourself of any

suitable opportunity that may offer to call the attention of the Chinese authori

ties at Canton to the subject ; and to endeavour to prevail upon them to put a

stop to such acts of extortion, by causing their own regulations to be strictly

carried into effect.

I am, &c


No. 71.

Viscount Palmcrston to Captain Elliot.

think it right to state to you, that His Majesty's Government are fully aware

of the inconvenience arising both from the undefined state of the Jurisdiction

of the Superintendents in China, and from their want of power to enforce deci

sions to which they may come, on matters submitted to them by members of

the commercial body in China.


The general question as to the nature, extent, and powers of the future

establishment in China, is now under the consideration of His Majesty's

Government ; and I am in hopes that, at no distant period, some effectual

remedy may be provided for the inconvenience to which I have more particularly


In the mean time, I have to recommend to you to confine your interference,

when called for, as much as possible to friendly suggestion and advice to the

parties concerned.

The assumption of powers which you have no means of enforcing, and the

issuing of injunctions which are set at nought with impunity, can only tend to

impair the authority and lower the dignity of His Majesty's Commission in the

eyes of those by whom it is of importance that it should be looked up to with


I am, &c,


No. 72.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 8, 1836.

I HAVE observed that in your Minute of the 15th of October, 1835,

relative to the case of Mr. Innes, you express an opinion, that the power given

by the Act 26 Geo. III. c 57, sec 35, to the Supracargoes of the East India

Company, to arrest and send to England persons resident at Canton, may now

be lawfully exercised by the Superintendents of British Trade in China, by

virtue of the Order in Council of the 9th December, 1833, which transfers to

the Superintendents all the powers and authorities which were by law vested

in the Supracargoes, at the date of the termination of the exclusive rights of

the East India Company.

As a misconception on this point might give rise to much embarrassment,

both to His Majesty's Government and to the Superintendents personally, I

have to state to you for your guidance, that the clause of the Act of 26 George

III., upon which you rest your opinion, was repealed by the 146th clause of the

Act 33 George III. c 52 ; and further, that the only power exercised by the

Supracargoes, was that of removing unlicensed persons. But as no license

from His Majesty is now necessary to enable His Majesty's subjects to trade

with or reside in China, such power of expulsion has altogether ceased to exist

with respect to China.

I am, &c,




No. 73.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 8, 1836.

I INSTRUCTED Sir George Robinson, in my despatch of the 28th of

May last, to communicate to the various individuals who held provisional

appointments under His Majesty's Commission, that those appointments

were still to be considered as only provisional and temporary, and subject to

such arrangements with regard to entire abolition, or to reduction of salary, as

His Majesty's Government might, upon further consideration, deem proper.

His Majesty's Government subsequently came to the resolution of abolish

ing the office and salary of Chief Superintendent, as notified in my despatch

to Sir George Robinson, of the 7th of June last ; and they have since then

resolved upon carrying into effect some further changes and reductions, which

I now proceed to state to you.

1st. It appears to His Majesty's Government desirable, in order to insure

unity of decision and singleness of responsibility, as well as to avoid those

differences of opinion between co-ordinate Authorities, which are necessarily

injurious to the public service and to the efficiency of the Commission, that

the office of the Third Superintendent should be abolished ; and that, in the

place of that officer, a Deputy Superintendent should be appointed, to act as

assistant to the Chief Superintendent, but under his orders and controul ; and

also to act provisionally for the Chief Superintendent, during his occasional

absence from his post. His Majesty's Government are glad to avail themselves

of the services of Mr. Johnston, at present Third Superintendent, for this new

office ; and you will notify the decision of His Majesty's Government to Mr.

Johnston, and will acquaint him that the salary, which for the present is

assigned to the office of Deputy Superintendent, is 1,500/. per annum. Mr.

Johnston's salary of 2,000/. per annum, as Third Superintendent, will cease on

the day on which you receive this despatch ; after which time he will receive

the salary of 1,500/. attached to his new office.

2nd. The salary of the Surgeon to the establishment is to be reduced from

1,5001. to 1,000/. per annum ; that of the Secretary and Treasurer from 1,500/.

to 800/. per annum ; and that of the Chinese Secretary and Interpreter from

1,300/. to 1,000/. per annum; the reduction to take effect in each case, from

the day on which you receive this despatch.

3rd. The office of Assistant Surgeon is to be altogether abolished. You

will notify this determination to Mr. Anderson, who now holds this appoint

ment ; and you will pay him his salary for three months after he shall have

received such notification.

It will, moreover, be distinctly understood that all the offices on the

establishment are held, subject to any final arrangements which His Majesty's

Government may hereafter deem it expedient to adopt.

4th. Contingent Expenses.—The sum of 5,000/. provided by His Majesty's

warrant of the 8th of January, 1834, for clerks and contingencies, included the

contemplated expense of boats and other incidental charges connected with the

collection of the duties originally proposed to be levied on British shipping

in Canton. The subsequent abrogation of these duties has necessarily occa

sioned a great reduction in the contingent expenditure of the establishment;

and His Majesty's Government are therefore of opinion, that a sum of 2,500/.

per annum will be amply sufficient to cover every needful expense under this

head; and you will be careful that the above amount shall, under no circum

stances, in future be exceeded.

But His Majesty's Government, in fixing the sum of 2,500/. per

annum, as that which they intend to propose to Parliament as the vote for

contingencies for the China Establishment during the ensuing year, con

fidently hope and expect that such sum will ultimately be found more than

sufficient for the actual and necessary expenditure on that account. They


are unwilling to run the risk of making an inadequate provision for expenses

to be incurred on so distant a station, and with regard to the nature and

necessity of which they have not yet had knowledge and experience enough to

enable them to form a final and correct judgment, but you will consider it your

duty to confine these contingent and incidental expences within the narrowest

limits consistent with the interests of His Majesty's service.

1 am, &c,


No. 74.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Pahnerston.—(Received November 17, 1836.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

My Lord, Lintin, April 18, 1836.

IT affords me great pleasure to intimate to your Lordship, that, after one

of the most active, and, I believe, successful seasons ever remembered in China,

there exists at the present period of relaxation the most perfect tranquillity and


With the exception of two ships now loading for England, there is little to

notice in the river, and all my exertions are directed to preserve order and

correct some abuses in the numerous vessels at this anchorage or in Macao

Roads, for which purpose I resort, as most suitable, to either station, and trust

nothing will intervene to interrupt the present tranquil aspect of affairs. The

Chinese are not, in my opinion, disposed to interfere with the exercise of our

functions and powers outside the river, and, so long as we do not attempt to go

to Canton, will take no notice whatever of our proceedings. If I could perceive

a greater degree of harmony and unanimity amongst the British community, I

should confidently anticipate the gratification of addressing your Lordship on

the probable advantages to be derived from a change in the position of the

outside rendezvous for shipping, from the exposed and impracticable anchorage

at Lintin, during the southerly monsoon, to the safe and commodious basin or

harbour of Hong Kong, in preference to the late resort of outside ships, the

Cumsingmoon, where they are much more likely to become involved in affrays

with the natives, from various causes, which it would now be tedious and

needless to dwell upon. But I feel myself so unhappily situated, by the

divided and irritable state of the British society, that I apprehend all my

efforts might be vain, and perhaps produce evil instead of beneficial results.

There remains, therefore, no alternative but a continuance in my present

quiescent line of policy, until I am in possession of definite instructions from

your Lordship as to our future measures. I have only to observe, that I

persevere in my course, simply because all has proceeded well and successfully

during its operation ; and I consider, that, so long as that is the case, I am best

fulfilling the duties of my office.

I lisvc &c*


S 2


No. 75.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, December 6, 1 836.

I HAVE had under consideration Sir George Robinson's despatch of May

17, reporting the particulars of a gross outrage committed on two masters of

British vessels by a Portuguese officer at Macao, and for which the Superinten

dents had been unable to obtain any redress from the Governor of that settle

ment, and further stating that the Governor of Macao persisted in declining to

recognise the Superintendents in their public character, and had not even

returned an answer to their letters.

In my despatch of September 14th, I transmitted to you, for the purpose of

being delivered to the Governor of Macao, an instruction which the Portuguese

Government had addressed to his Excellency in consequence of the representation

made to them of a former transaction of a similar nature; and I trust that this

instruction will have had the effect of recalling the Governor to a proper sense

of the respect which is due to officers acting under His Majesty's Commission ;

and will have disposed him to take effectual measures for preventing the recur

rence of acts of violence towards British subjects.

His Majesty's Government have however deemed it expedient, as well in

consequence of these occurrences as with a view to the protection of British

Commerce in general, to address instructions to the Admiral commanding His

Majesty's ships in the East Indies, directing him to station a ship of war con

stantly in the China Seas, and to call the special attention of her commander to

the necessity of watching over the interests of British subjects at Macao.

I am, &c,


(Instructions referred to in the foregoing despatch to Captain Elliot.)

John Backhouse, Esq. to Charles Wood, Esq.

Sir, Foreign Office, March 23, 1836.

I AM directed by Viscount Palmerston to transmit to you the

accompanying extracts from the file of proceedings of the Superintendents

of the Trade of British subjects in China,—the first relating to the plunder

by some Chinese pirates of the British vessel Troughton,—the second, to

the difficulty which the Superintendents experience, in the present state of

relations with China, in controuling the conduct of British seamen

resorting to the Canton River. In laying these Papers before the Lords

Commissioners of the Admiralty, I am to desire that you will state to

their Lordships, that it is Viscount Palmerston's opinion, with reference

both to the protection of British ships and property from plunder, and to

the necessity of sometimes enforcing subordination among the merchant

seamen, that a ship-of-war should be constantly employed on the Chinese

station ; and that the commander of such ship should be instructed to

communicate with the British authorities in China, and to act in concert

with them for the maintenance of British interests in that quarter of the


I am, &c,

(Signed) J. BACKHOUSE.


No. 76.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received December 26, 1836.)

My Lord, Macao, May 10, 1836.

WITH reference to ray despatch of February 5, paragraph 6, I have the

honour to inclose the cover or envelope of a document sent by the Hong

merchants to all the principal firms, agents, or residents, foreign and British,

in China. It was forwarded by the common Chinese post, or rather passage-

boat, and differs in no way from an ordinary Chinese letter.

I requested Mr. Gutzlaff to write the exact meaning of the characters

upon this cover, which is, in all respects, similar to those I have been in the

habit of receiving for many years past, from Chinese of various classes, on

private business, with the omission, perhaps, of some complimentary or lucky

phrase or sentence, which they often subjoin.

The word high dispatch is, I think, a misapprehension of the term, with

speed or haste ; but, if meant to infer, that the contents are of importance, is

generally used in the direction of all letters, even those of the lower classes.

In Mr. GutzlafFs note, he remarks, it is addressed individually to the

managers of barbarian nations. I believe, however, copies have been sent to

most of the foreign merchants in Canton, and even to masters of ships.

The Hong merchants, in their note, simply request their virtuous elder

brother to inform his countrymen of the contents ; and the whole document, in

my opinion, can only be considered as a circular to merchants and captains.

The Edict itself is merely one of the usual screens, under cover of which

the Mandarins themselves engage in the illicit trade, or, by the influence of

large bribes, connive at its existence and increase.

My object in addressing your Lordship on this subject, is simply to prove,

that I am not, by any means, in communication with the Hong merchants, nor

have I in any way deviated from that line of policy so well suited to maintain

our present position, which is all I aspire to do, until I have the honour to

receive positive and definite instructions.

I have, &c,


Inclosure 1 in No. 76.

Mr. Gutzlaff to Sir G. B. Robinson.

Sir, Macao, April 26, 1836.

I HAVE the pleasure of transmitting to you the translation. It seems to

be a circular letter addressed individually to all the managers of the barbarian

nations. The name of the English does not even once occur.

I remain, &c,



Inclosure 2 in No. 76.

The Hong Merchants to Sir G. B. Robinson.

April 15, 1836.

THE Hong merchants repeat, in the inclosed note, the same orders, and

request their virtuous elder brother to make them known to all his countrymen

at Canton.

Inclosure 3 in No. 76.

Edict against Foreign Ships resorting to the North-East Coast of China.

LEW, the Che-heen of Nan-hae, hereby informs the Hong merchants, that

he received on the 4th instant a communication from the Kwang-Chow-Foo,

stating that he had received a paper, dated 26th of March, from the Provincial

Judge, who had received an official letter from the Provincial Treasurer

February 7th, transmitted to him by the Deputy Governor of Kwangtung and

Kwangse provinces, containing the following statement of the Lieutenant

Governor of Chekeang province, dated January 31st.

" There anchored a barbarian three-masted ship near the Tung-se-choo

[islands belonging to the Choo-san group,] with Mifata's barbarian craft,

which also proceeded to Cha-poo and Leih-keang [harbours of Che-keang

province]. They have never been forced to get under weigh, and are driven


" I, the Lieutenant Governor, in conjunction with the Admiral, prepared on

the 23rd of the ninth month of the preceding year a respectful report to the

Emperor. Moreover, I forwarded a circular letter [to the Mandarins along

coast], to institute inquiries, escort, and drive them away [the ships]. I

thought it, moreover, my duty to request in this official notification, that the

Hong merchants might be strictly enjoined, to convey to the barbarian ships on

their arrival at Canton the most peremptory commands, in order to restrain

them from revisiting other provinces. And I hereby request an answer.

" A copy of this document reaching me, the Acting Governor [of Kwang

tung and Kwangse], I examined the records, and found that I had already

previous to this received an official document from the Governor General of

Fokeen and Che-keang, stating that inquiries had been made, and the ships

had been escorted and driven away, as is upon record. I, therefore stated in

my reply to the Lieutenant Governor of Che-keang, that the notification had

been duly entered upon the records, and that there was no need of an additional

document upon the subject.

" At the same time I requested the Hoppo, that he should immediately

order the Hong merchants to issue these commands, to the manager of the said

kingdom's barbarian merchants, that they might obey them. The Hong

merchants ought also to restrain those barbarian ships which have been sent

away from Che-keang, as soon as they arrive at Canton, and most severely

prohibited and restrict them from ever proceeding in future to other provinces,

and there sauntering about."

To enforce obedience to the orders, the Provincial Judge adds his

commands. Do not transgress ! They being received, the Hong merchants

were immediately enjoined to promulgate these commands, whilst the other

official injunctions are hereby forwarded, that they might act in strict

accordance to them.


" I, the Che-heen of Nan-hae, whilst receiving these official documents

ollowed the directions of the Kwang-Chow-Foo, and, accordingly, strictly

enjoin the Hong merchants, that they may promulgate these commands to the

manager of the said kingdom's barbarian merchants, that they may obey them.

As soon as the barbarian ships which have been sent away from Che-keang,

arrive at Canton, they ought to be severely prohibited and restricted from

ever proceeding to other provinces, and there sauntering about. Do not

transgress !"

I address jointly my commands to the said Hong merchants, that they

may immediately promulgate these orders to the manager of the said kingdom's

barbarian merchants for their obedience to them. As soon as the barbarian

ships which have been sent away from Che-keang, arrive at Canton, they

ought to be severely prohibited and restricted from ever proceeding to other

provinces, and there sauntering about. Do not transgress ! Use the utmost

dispatch. These are the orders.

No. 77.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received March I, 1837.)

(Extract.) Macao, October 13, 1837.

NOTHING but decided measures will, at the present period, induce the

Local Chinese Government to admit or tolerate the resort to, or residence at

Canton of an officer of His Majesty's Government on a becoming footing (and

unless he be so placed, his presence must prove a source of evil instead of good),

as they have the sagacity to foresee the endless embarrassment certain to

emanate therefrom, but they will tacitly sanction, or perhaps avail themselves

of the full exercise of his functions and authority without the river, and I am

confident, appeal to him in any extreme case of difficulty or aggression on the

part of his countrymen, thereby at once yielding a point of contention which it

seems to me idle to urge.

No. 78.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received April 18, 1837.)

His Majesty's Cutter Louisa,

(Extract.) Lintin, November 28, 1836.

IN the absence of any despatches conveying your Lordship's sentiments

and instructions relative to the quiescent course of policy in which I have

deemed it my duty to persevere, since I had the honour of succeeding to my

present appointment, and the system I last year adopted of residing on board

His Majesty's cutter at Lintin, or outside the Bocca Tigris, for the purpose of

attesting the manifests of British ships, granting port-clearances, and the general

advantage accruing to the commercial community in China, from the free and

uncontrolled exercise of those functions of a consular nature, as requisite and

essential for the maintenance of the public peace, or rather the discipline of the

shipping, as for the interests and welfare of His Majesty's subjects in this

country; I consider no other alternative is open to me, but a recurrence to that

arrangement which so fully answered all the anticipations I bad formed, and

to which no rational objection seems to have presented itself.


During the present season, therefore (unless, indeed, instructions of an

opposite nature should arrive), I propose to take up my station permanently at

that anchorage, as being best suited to the nature of the duties I have to

discharge, and least likely to excite any opposition or jealousy on the part of

the Chinese, who apparently sanction, or perhaps tacitly acquiesce in the resi

dence of a civil officer of the British Government, at a rendezvous they always

point out as' the most appropriate for His Majesty's ships of war in China.

No. 79.

Sir G. B. Robinson to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received May 3, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, December 14, 1830.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of despatches from your

Lordship, per ship Neptune, announcing the abolition of the office of Chief

Superintendent of the Trade of British subjects in China, and directing me

to make over the Archives and other Documents of this Establishment, to

Captain Elliot, R.N.

The commander of the ship Eleanor, being actually in attendance at my

office, at the moment of their arrival, for the purpose of signing his manifests

and receiving a port-clearance, I have no time to add more, than that these

Instructions will be carried into effect this day, and that I shall further have the

honour of addressing your Lordship, by ships shortly about to sail for England.

I have, &c,


No. 80.

Captain Elliot, Second Superintendent, to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received

June 6, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, January 25, 183G.

THE peaceful and conciliatory policy by which the King's Government appear

to me to desire to maintain and promote the commercial intercourse with this

empire, is not very generally approved amongst the fifty or sixty resident mer

chants at Canton ; and a determination to give it effect, so far as depends upon

me, is the least popular task I could have proposed to myself.

No. 81.

Captain Elliot to the Foreign Office.—(Received July 23, 1836.)

(Extract.) Macao, March 14, 1836.

IT had long seemed to me, that the arrival of the new Viceroy at Canton

would furnish us an occasion for the re-opening of our communications with the

provincial authorities, by the only channel which, I am well persuaded, will ever

open out to us at once, without a very hazardous and a very needless struggle.


Being at Canton, and conforming heartily to the spirit of our cautious and

conciliatory instructions, I see every day more reason to believe, that without

much address upon our parts, and in short, by the mere force of circumstances,

we should soon come to make ourselves so useful to the native authorities, as to

lead them (gradually and silently indeed, but surely) not only to admit, but to

court direct communication with us. In China, to keep things quiet is the

best evidence as well as the whole end of successful administration : as soon as

the Viceroy found out that we were sincere allies with them in that object, he

would sedulously cultivate our friendliness.

No. 82.

Captain Elliot to the Foreign Office.—{Received February 15, 1837.)

(Extract.) Macao, July 27, 1836.

I LEARN from Sir George Robinson, that he has officially trans

mitted the very remarkable Memorial to the Emperor upon the subject of

the legalization of the Opium, or I would have forwarded you a copy by

this occasion * You will observe, that the Memorial already bears the

Imperial command to examine and report, which, in their official system,

may be said to be a signification of assent. The formal and final orders

will probably be here in the course of a month or six weeks. This is a

great change indeed, but it would be a complete misconception of its

character to confound a change of means with any change in the prin

ciple of their policy. This as respects the foreigner, may be pretty

accurately described to be, first, the minimum amount of foreign social

intercourse, which shall be consistent with the active pursuit of trade,

according to their lights of the most advantageous mode of carrying on

trade ; and, decidedly, the most anxious avoidance of any such serious

difficulties with the foreigners on the spot as might furnish foreign powers

with a pretext for interference.

This stroke is aimed at the overthrow of the Lintin and outside trade,

and the limitation of our commercial sphere to Canton and the Hong

merchants. The extent to which it is successful, must depend mainly

upon the adherence to the moderate duties and charges proposed in the

Memorial. These would be about seven dollars per chest, and, under

present circumstances, the native smuggler cannot land a chest of Opium

at the nearest depot to Lintin under, at the very least, forty dollars.

Thus, then, you will perceive, that, if this charge is established and

faithfully adhered to, no premium can present itself to induce the native

to smuggle : and, indeed, it should be added, that as soon as the Opium

may be lawfully introduced at Whampoa, and at Whampoa alone, there is

no more reason to believe that the smuggler will be able to introduce it at

other points than Canton, than he has hitherto been able to introduce

any other articles which may come into Canton, but nowhere else.

Smuggling there may be at Canton as there is now of all sorts of merchan

dize to an immense extent, but there will be smuggling no where else than

at Canton ; that is, always supposing that the charges are kept at the

moderate rate now proposed, the probabilities of which I cannot judge cf.

It has been a confusion of terms to call the opium trade a smuggling

• It does not appear that Sir George Robinson over transmitted these documents to the

Foreign Office : the only allusion he makes to the subject of them is that contaiced in his despatch

of August 27, 1836.



trade ; it was a formally prohibited trade, but there was no part of the

trade of this country which had the more active support of the local

authorities. It commenced and has subsisted by means of the hearty

connivance of the Mandarins, and it could have done neither the one nor

the other without their constant countenance. In my mind, it is much less

the Lintin or the coast trade that have produced this striking measure than

the tea and the tract Missions to the coasts, of last year. These events

attracted the very anxious notice of the Court itself, and this scheme is the

result. The Lintin trade, as long- as it was quietly pursued, always had

the countenance of the high Mandarins of this province, and though they

were naturally unfriendly to its extension to the coast of the neighbouring

provinces, still they were disposed to stifle complaints to the Court upon

that subject, in order to stave off' searching inquiry into their own affairs

here. Tracing backwards, no doubt the opium will be found to be the

great primary cause of this change. But the immediate cause here, has,

I firmly believe, been the distribution of tracts. The opium ships might

have continued to visit the coasts with little more than former notice,

but the books alarmed the Court seriously.

This State Paper is a public confession that the Chinese cannot do

without our opium, and that being the case, the regulation of the

manner of its introduction in such wise as will render it least mischievous

to their policy of foreign exclusion, is no doubt a skilful measure, but I

greatly question its efficacy. It has been delayed too long. The officers

and the people have been accustomed to the feeling that the Government

is at once false and feeble. Sooner or later the feeling of independence,

which the peculiar mode of conducting this branch of the trade has

created upon the part of our countrymen in China, will lead to grave

difficulties. A long course of impunity will beget hardihood, and at

last some gross insult will be perpetrated, that the Chinese authorities

will be constrained to resent; they will be terrified and irritated, and will

probably commit some act of cruel violence that will make any choice

but armed interference, impossible to our own Government. The imme

diate effect of the legalization of the Opium, will be, 1 should suppose, to

stimulate production at Bengal ; there is some notion here that it will

encourage the growth of the poppy in China, and that home -produced

opium will thrust our own out of the market; eventually perhaps it may,

but results of that kind are of slow growth.

No. S3.

Captain Elliot to the Foreign Office.— {Received March 2, 1837.)

(Extract.) Macao, October 10, 1836.

WE are in expectation of soon receiving the final orders from Pekin for

the legalization of the opium. This is undoubtedly the most remarkable

ireasure which has been taken in respect to the Foreign Trade, since the accession

of this dynasty, when the ports on the coast were closed, and it had been pre

faced by a series of reports to the Emperor, strikingly worthy of attention. '1 bey

incline me to believe, that it wants but caution and steadiness to secure, at no

very distant date, very important relaxations.


No. 84.

Captain Elliot, Chef Sup rrintendent, to Viscount Palmerston. — (Received

May 1, 1837.)

(Extract.) Macao, December 14, 183G.

BY a ship upon the point of sailing, I have the honour to acknowledge

your Lordship's despatch, of June 15 of this year, to my address, accompanying

despatches from May 28 to June 15, to the address of Sir George Robinson.

In conformity with these Instructions, I have this day assumed the chief

place in the Commission. And with the expression of my thanks to your

Lordship, I beg to convey my assurance, that I shall endeavour to justify the

appointment, by a steady determination faithfully to discharge the duties

intrusted to me. I apply myself to that purpose with a strong persuasion, that

a conciliatory disposition to respect the usages, and, above all, to refrain from

shocking the prejudices of this Government, is the course at once most

consonant with the magnanimity of the British nation, and with the substantial

interests at stake, in the maintenance of peaceful commercial relations with this

Empire. Being thus impressed, my Lord, I hope it will be a source neither of

surprise nor dissatisfaction to you to learn, that I do not propose to protract

the actual interruption of our public communications, upon the ground that we

have a right to a direct official communication with the Viceroy.

1 will only add, that the very remarkable movements of this Government

in respect to the foreign trade actually in agitation, and the critical state of

uncertainty in which the results still remain, furnish me a strong additional

motive for desiring to place myself at Canton as soon as possible.

The manner in which I propose to re-open the communications with the

Viceroy, as the Select Committee was accustomed to conduct them, shall form

the subject of an early despatch to your Lordship.

No. 85.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received May 1, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, December 30, 1836.

IN my despatch to your Lordship of the 14th instant, I had the

honour to state, that I should endeavour to open the communications with the

provincial authorities forthwith ; and that I should take an early opportunity to

make known to your Lordship the means by which I hoped to accomplish that


I perceived that the recent arrival of your Lordship's despatches would

afford me a favourable pretext for addressing myself to the Governor of the two

provinces; and I was mindful that any delay in the communication of my

appointment, might hereafter be construed into a point of a very suspicious

nature, extremely difficult of satisfactory explanation : I lost no time, there

fore, in drafting the accompanying note to his Excellency.

Another reason, too, had always presented itself to me, in recommendation

of this prompt application to the Governor. It seemed that a communication

forwarded on the very recent receipt of Instructions from His Majesty's Govern

ment, would of itself be a state of circumstances well calculated to dispose

the Governor to lend a reasonable attention to moderate and unsuspicious

overtures, respectfully submitted for his Excellency's adoption.

The translation of this paper was sealed up and directed in the same form in

which the Select Committee of Supracargoes had been accustomed to superscribe

documents to the Governor's address. In other words, the superscription

bore the Chinese character " Pin," carrying in our language the signification

of " an address from an inferior to a superior." It was then placed in an

open envelope to the address of the Senior Hon:* merchant, and the whole

T 2


inclosure was transmitted with the accompanying confidential letter to the

Agents of the East India Company at Canton, and to two members of the

principal British firms at that place.

These gentlemen were selected as being the most proper persons through

whom the first declaration of ray appointment and official character might be

made, with a view to the sufficient formal authenticity of the fact.

Upon the morning of the 25th instant, I had the satisfaction to receive an

official communication from the gentlemen to whom my address had been

confided, covering an Edict from the Governor in reply to it, together with a

note from Howqua.

Your Lordship will observe by the Governor's Edict, that he has required

me to remain at Macao pending instructions from His Imperial Majesty; and

further, that his Excellency commands certain officers and Hong merchants to

visit me here for the purpose of clearing up some doubts which had presented

themselves to his mind, as to the nature of my appointment, and the duties I

am to perform.

The opinion I have formed of the tenor of his Excellency's Edict (which

it is material to observe, carefully abstains from all notice of the events in

1834), is, that the Provincial Government, and probably the Court, would be

well content to feel reassured in respect to the sentiments of His Majesty's

Government upon those matters; and I have no doubt there is a disposition to

draw to a close the present hazardous interruption of responsible communi

cation and supervision at Canton.

1 would in this place take the liberty to remark to your Lordship, that in

the consideration of Chinese official papers, with a view to the detection of

their real spirit, it has always seemed to me to be a point of principal moment,

to weigh the effect of any distinctly promised course of action, and to attach a

very subordinate degree of importance to their mere phraseology. I

would by no means be supposed to think that I hold the consideration of the

language to be without use for the due estimation of the intentions or dispo

sitions of this Government, but I certainly am of opinion that it will always be

found to be a sounder course steadily to look at the portions material of these

instruments, and to draw our conclusions from these, than from the manner in

which it is the custom of these people to dress or to cover up their purposes.

Testing the Governor's Edict by this principle, I would say that if his

Excellency had informed me 1 must abide at Macao, without making a distinct

specification of a line of proceeding upon his own part, I should have concluded

that it was determined to adhere rigidly to the rule that the Chief must be a

trading Chief. But coupled with the declaration, that the Chief ought to be a

trading Chief, and that I must remain here for the present, the Governor

signifies with great plainness, not only that he knows I am not a trading Chief,

but that he will seek the Imperial sanction to let me proceed to Canton ; and

in order to leave me in little doubt that this application will be successful, he

describes the steps he will take when that sanction arrives. This, in my manner

of considering the matter, is to acquaint me that it is determined to permit me

to repair to Canton. But at the same time, I conceive that his Excellency's

desire is to be permitted to work out that end in his own fashion ; that is

to say, with due regard to a respectable mode of setting aside difficulties which

it is so frequently the consequence of their jealous policy to create for them

selves, as well as for others.

This Edict, my Lord, has appeared to me to justify some hope, that a point

of no ordinary public moment is susceptible of attainment, namely, the direct

Imperial sanction of the official character of a person at Canton, wholly uncon

nected with trade, and I trust your Lordship will approve of the terms in which

I have replied to his Excellency's Edict with the intention to promote that


Upon the morning of the 28th instant, I received a visit from the Hong

merchants, who had arrived at Macao with the Mandarins deputed by the

Governor to seek some further explanation as to the nature of my office and

duties, and upon the other matters noticed in his Excellency's Edict. These

persons opened their mission by proposing that I should visit the Mandarins;

a course, however, which I declined, upon the ground that 1 had no particular

communication to make to them ; I remarked at the same time, that these


officers must be in every respect better judges than myself of any necessity

which existed agreeably to the Goveinor's Kdict, that they should see me; at

all events, if they were of the mind that we ought to meet, I could assure them

that it would give me great pleasure to have the honour of receiving them at

my house; if they did not consider it requisite, I should be glad to suit their

convenience, by affording the merchants any verbal explanation in my power

upon those points which appeared to the Governor to need further explanation.

Renewed efforts were made in the course of the day to induce me to visit

the officers; but I had strong reasons for declining to accede to that proposition ;

and 1 felt much satisfaction, that an obstacle (not of my creation) had arisen

to prevent our meeting.

It occurred to me that there was a possibility the Mandarins might have

propounded questions, with respect to the particular ship of war in which I

came, and that the replies might have led us back to the consideration of events

much better kept out of sight. If, upon the other hand, I had declined to answer

such questions, it was to be apprehended, 1hat my silence might have been

constructed into arrogant disrespect towards the Governor, and have induced

inconvenient heats and suspicions. With the merchants, unembarrassed by

the presence of the Mandarins, I was aware I stood in a far more favourable

position. They would take all imaginable care to shape their questions in

such wise as would make the avoidance of disagreeable topics no difficult


Upon the occasion of this last visit to me on the night of the 28th, the

merchants entreated that I would give them something under my own hand to

show to the Mandarins ; and I then caused the accompanying Memorandum to

be translated, which I told them, they were at perfect liberty to hand to the


They wished me also to sign a string of answers which they had drawn

up from my conversation, and from the paper just referred to; but this I refused

to do, not that there was any violation of the truth in what they had said, but [

could not recognise their right to place me on examination on any subject

whatever. If the Mandarins thought fit to come, 1 remarked, we would

discourse at large upon any point of question they proposed; but I never

could consent to set my hand to questions put to me by persons in the situation

of the merchants.

When they found that this was my resolution, they left me, professing

that they thought the Mandarins ought to be satisfied with what I had said,

which I conclude they were, as I learnt that the whole deputation departed the

next day (the 29th instant) to return to Canton, and report to the


I delivered to the merchants my reply to his Excellency's Edict. (See

Inclosure No. 7.)

It is proper to state to your Lordship, that I took occasion to tell the

merchants in strong terms, for communication to the authorities, that I could

not undertake, upon the part of His Majesty's Government, the least share of

responsibility, for the adjustment of any disputes or difficulties which might

arise at Canton, pending my protracted absence from that place, in conformity

with the Governor's desire.

His Excellency, in his wisdom and sense of justice, would admit, that it

was fit I should be placed in a situation to prevent and controul before I could

be called upon to manage and adjust. This was an argument very congenial to

the mode of general reasoning in this country upon all points of responsibility ;

and they assured me that it should be earnestly pressed upon the Gover

nor's attention.

In this early stage of my correspondence with your Lordship's department,

I would presume to observe, that I am not prone to attach easy credit to what

I hear in respect to the temper and the views of the high native authorities.

But upon this occasion, I certainly have a belief in the general rumour, that my

approaches have been acceptable to the Governor, both in point of manner

and matter.

The translation of my first note was executed with all the care that the

Interpreters could give to it. And it i< said by the Chinese to have drawn

from his Excellency unequivocal marks of satisfaction.


I have to express my great obligations to Messrs. Astell and Clarke, for the

zealous and very judicious manner in which they assisted me in the delicate task

I felt myself called upon to impose on them ; and I am also indebted to Messrs.

Jardine and Dent, for their prompt concurrence in that transaction.

I have thus, my Lord, once more opened the communications with this

Government; and I sincerely trust your Lordship will see no reason to disap

prove of my motives, or of the manner of my proceeding. I have acted under

a strong persuasion, that all hope of peacefully carrying the point of direct

official intercourse was futile ; that the actual condition of circumstances

was hazardous ; that the Instructions in my hand do not warrant the assump

tion, that 1 have any high political or representative character; and, finally,

that the course itself which I have pursued is neither derogatory to the

national honour, nor at variance with sound principles of public propriety and


I shall venture to trouble your Lordship by an early occasion, with a few

ideas as to the mode by which, in my opinion, it would be judicious to preface

and accompany an attempt to carry the point of direct official communication

not only to the Governor, but from the Governor, whenever it shall

appear that sufficiently urgent public grounds exist for achieving such a


Your Lordship will hear with satisfaction, that the trade at Canton is

proceeding in tranquillity.

I have &c


Senior Superintendent.

Inclosure 1 in No. 85.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Macao, December 14, 1836.

THE Undersigned has the honour most respectfully to announce to his

Excellency the Governor of the two Provinces, that he has this day received

despatches from the English Government, appointing him to the station of

Chief English Authority in China.

In the actual condition of circumstances, with no English authority at

Canton, and with great numbers of English ships in the river, having on board

many hundreds of sea faring persons, and others little acquainted with the laws

and customs of this empire, the Undersigned believes his Excellency will be of

opinion, that he should be permitted to repair to Canton, with as little delay as

possible, for the purpose of fulfilling the (lut e; confided to his management.

The Undersigned has, therefore, the honour to request, that his Excellency

will be pleased to issue orders to furnish him a passport to proceed to the

Provincial City.

In using his most earnest efforts to maintain and promote the good

understanding which has so long and so happdy subsisted between this ancient

and great empire and his own distant country, the Undersigned can assure hi3

Excellency, that he is only conforming to the strong instructions of his own


The Undersigned hopes he may permit himself to observe, in this place,

that no task could be more agreeable to his own disposition, than the duty of

diligently seconding these wise objects, by the sincerest personal desire to con

ciliate the good will of his Excellency.

The Undersigned has once more to offer his Excellency the sentiments of

his most prolbund respect, and will conclude with the expression of an ardent

hope, that his Excellency's administration of these provinces may be long and



Senior Superintendent.


Inclosure 2 in No. 86.

Captain Elliot to Howqua, Senior Hong Merchant.

December 15, 1836.

ELLIOT, Director of Affairs of the English Nation, presents his com

pliments to Howqua, and requests him to present lor him the accompanying

address to his Excellency the Governor.

Inclosure 3 in No. 85.

Captain Elliot to Messrs. Astell, Clarke, Jurdine, and Dent.

Gentlemen, Macao, December 16, 1836

I TAKE the liberty to confide to your care a communication to his

Excellency the Governor of the two provinces of Kwangtung and Kwangse,

under an envelope to the .Senior Hong Merchant.

The purpose of this address is to announce to his Excellency my appoint

ment, by His Majesty's Government, to the station of Chief British Authority

in China, and to request that a passport may be furnished to me to repair to


I would thank you, as soon as it may suit your convenience, to arrange a

meeting with the Senior Hong Merchant, and, after stating in a general term

the circumstance of my nomination, and the nature of this address; I will beg

you to deliver it to him, with a request, that no time may be lost in placing it in

his Excellency's hands. It would, perhaps, he desirable to remark incidentally,

that I shall remain at Macao pending the expression of his Excellency's


1 offer you no apology for the task I am imposing upon you, because I am

persuaded it will afford you great satisfaction to lend me your best assistance on

this and all other occasions involving the furtherance of the public service.

Several considerations dispose me to ask, that this letter may be deemed

confidential for the present.

I have, &c,


Senior Superintendent.

F.S. I will beg you to do me the favour to signify to Howqua, that four

gentlemen, belonging to this establishment, would accompany me to Canton.

Inclosure 4 in No. 85.

Messrs. Astell, Clarke, Jardine, and Dent, to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Canton, December 23, 1836.

WE have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your confidential

communication of the 16th instant, inclosing an address to his Excellency

the Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, requesting us to deliver the

same to the Senior Hong merchant for presentation.

In conformity with your wishes, we forthwith requested the

attendance of the Senior Hong merchant, Howqua, and formally placed in

his hands your communication. He inquired the nature of your appoint

ment, to which we answered in brief and general terms; he then took his

leave for the purpose of proceeding immediately into the city.

In the course of that day, we received a visit from Howqua and

Mowqua, requesting information regarding one or two expressions in

your address: we explained the matter as far as we were able, and in a

manner apparently satisfactory to the merchants.


The 21st and 22nd instants passed without any interview.

This morning we have received a reply to your communication,

delivered in person by Howqua, which we have now the honour to trans

mit to you.

In conclusion, we beg to assure you, that we shall at all times

consider it our duty to use our best exertions in the furtherance of the

public service.

We hava, &c,

(Signed) J. H. ASTELL,


Agents to the Honourable

East India Company.



Inclosure 5 in No. 86.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

December 22, 1836.

TANG, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, hereby issues

orders to investigate certain matters.

I received, on the 13th day of the llth month in the 16th year of

Taoukwang (20th December), a petition forwarded from Macao by the

English foreigner, Elliot, of the following tenor:

[The address' of December 14, is here inserted.] 1 .

On the receipt of the above, I made examination, and find that since

the English nation has had commercial intercourse here, it has, hitherto,

established a Company, and appointed a Chief, Second, Third, and Fourth

Supracargoes to come to Canton, and manage the trade. The foreign

ships of the Company successively reached Canton on the 7th and 8th

months of every year; and their cargoes having been changed, left the

port and returned home in the course of the 12th month, and of the

1st and 2nd months of the following year. After the departure of all the

foreign Company's ships out of the port, the Chief Supracargo of the

Company, and all the foreign merchants cf the said nation, requested

permits to proceed to Macao and reside there. Then in the 7th and 8th

months, when the merchant ships of the said nation again reached Canton,

the Chief Supracargo and the others, requested permits to repair again to

the provincial city, to transact the affairs of trade. This, the former mode

of practice, continued for a long period to be the unvarying rule.

Not long since, in consequence of the dissolution of the Company,

and the non-arrival of the Chief Supracargo, owing to which a man was

wanting to take the general direction of these affairs, my predecessor in

this Government addressed a memorial to the throne, and received the

following Imperial Edict, that he should immediately command the Hong

merchants to direct the private merchants to send home a letter, calling

for the re-appointment of a Chief Supracargo, to repair hither to super

intend the affairs of commerce, in order that the old ordinances might

be complied with. Respect this! In respectful obedience hereto, my

predecessor issued directions, and also commanded that a barbarian

Eye [or headman] should not be again sent. This is on record.

Now, the said foreigner, Elliot, having addressed to me the above-

cited information, it is doubtless my duty to report the same to the throne,

for instructions how to act. But in the petition, I observe, that the said

foreigner designates himself " an officer from afar," which appears like

the designation of a foreign Eye, and is not at all that of a Chief Supra

cargo. This being wholly inconsistent with the mode in which things

were heretofore conducted, and the following points not having been at

all distinctly stated by him, it becomes highly important to inquire, before

acting, whether, in consequence of the dissolution of the said Company,


the said nation has made a change in her regulations? What office the

said foreigner actually holds at present from the said nation ? Whether

his object in coming to Canton is in truth merely to controul the several

unconnected merchants ; and if he is not at all to transact commercial

business? and lastly, whether the despatches which he states that he has

received from home, are sent by the said nation's King or not?

To make these inquiries, I send, as my deputy, Ghang Sing, Magis

trate of the district Yang-shan ; I send also the Sub-Prefect stationed at

Macao, and the Magistrate of the district Heang-shan. I, furthermore,

issue this order to the senior merchants, requiring them on receipt

hereof, as soon as possible to take their departure ; and, in instant

obedience hereto, to proceed speedily to Macao, that in the suite of my

deputy, and of the local territorial officers above-named, they may

investigate these particulars, viz. :—What office the said foreigner, Elliot,

now holds from the said nation? In what respects he would come to

Canton to superintend the foreign merchants ? Why a Chief Supracargo

does not come from the said nation, in place of a foreign Eye being sent ?

Whether he has really received written credentials from the said nation's

King ? Whether he has any ulterior aim ? And what is the number of

individuals in his suite? On all these points the real facts must be

speedily made [known] to me, that I may examine and decide accordingly.

If, on examination, no covert purpose appear, then let orders be

immediately enjoined on the said foreigner to reside for a time at Macao,

and wait there till I, the Governor, shall have sent in a memorial to the

Great Emperor. And as soon as I shall learn His Majesty's gracious

pleasure, I will then address a communication to the Superintendent of

Maritime Customs, calling on him to grant a passport for the said foreigner

to come up to Canton, and over-see matters. When he thus comes up,

he must comply with the old regulations, having a residence at Canton

and another at Macao, and coming and going at the regular seasons.

This is a law and ordinance of the Celestial Empire. The phraseology

and subject-matter of the said foreigner's address are reverential and

submissive. It seems that he understands matters, and he will, therefore,

doubtless be implicitly obedient in all things. During the residence of

the said foreigner, for the present, at Macao, the local officers should still

keep a diligent and faithful watch on him, day and night; and they must

not allow the said foreigner to presume to leave Macao a single step, or

to hold any communication or intercourse with people unconcerned. This

is of the utmost importance. With trembling anxiety obey this, and

oppose it not. A special order.

Taoukwang, 16th year, 11th month, 15th day (22nd December, 1836.)

Inclosure 6 in No. 85.

The Hong Merchants to Captain Elliot.

December 23, 1836.

A RESPECTFUL communication. The other day we received the

Petition which you sent for delivery to his Excellency the Governor.

We immediately presented it, and have now received a public reply, of

which, as is our duty," we transmit a copy, hoping, Sir, that you will

examine and act accordingly. This is our prayer.

Signed by thirteen Hong merchants.



Inclosure 7 in No. 85.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Mmao, December 28, 1836.

THE Undersigned has the honour respectfully to inform his Excel

lency the Governor, that he will continue to reside at Macao, pending the

signification of His Imperial Majesty's gracious pleasure, that he should

be received at Canton for the due performance of his duties.

The perfect fitness of this course, the Undersigned presumes to

observe, is very apparent to him. In the mean time, it has been a source

of great satisfaction to the Undersigned, to afford the honourable officers

deputed by his Excellency, all the explanation required as to the nature

of his duties, and the other points adverted to in his Excellency's


The Undersigned avails himself of this occasion to offer his Excel

lency the renewed expressions of his highest respect.


Senior Superintendent.

Inclosure 8 in No. 85.

Captain Elliot to the Hong Merchants:

Macao, December 28, 1836.

IN the conversation I had with the Hong merchants this morning, I

took occasion to explain to them very fully all points connected with my

arrival, and the nature of my public occupations since I have resided


If my name has been improperly reported, it must be owing to some

mistake of the pilots.

My Commission of authority is signed by my Gracious Sovereign;

but my despatches lately received, as to the performance of my duties, are

signed by His Majesty's Minister.

My duty at Canton will be, to conduct the public business of my

nation, and by all possible means to preserve the peace which so happily

subsists between the two countries.


Senior Superintendent.

No. 86,

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received May 1, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, December 31, 1836.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your Lordship's despatch- of the

28th May, to the address of Sir George Robinson.

In conformity with those Instructions, the accompanying Notice has this

day been issued ; and it is necessary that I should explain to your Lordship the

reasons which induced me to take the liberty of inserting the last paragraph in

this Instrument.

The despatches of my predecessor will have announced that the Governor

of Macao has always refused to reply to our public communications, upon the

ground that he has never been instructed' by his own Government to recognise

us in any official station here.

If, therefore, this Notice, dated at Macao, were published without some

previous understanding with his Excellency, I felt assured that it would have

drawn from him some strong public denial of a right upon our parts, to exercise


any manner of authority under Instruments done at Macao. The very con

siderable degree of public inconvenience which would have attended such a

course upon his Excellency's part, need only be mentioned to be appreciated.

It is not my province to judge whether the arguments upon which his

Excellency has founded his refusal to communicate officially with us, are

perfectly sound. But I certainly did feel it was my duty to take all possible

pains to carry your Lordship's highly necessary instructions upon the subject

before me into efficacious, as well as immediate operation ; and it was easy to

«et aside the first difficulty which would have arisen, if I had addressed him in

writing, by the adoption of the course of personal communication.

In the commencement of our conference, his Excellency was still disposed

to insist that the absence of instructions from his Government would make

it incumbent upon him in a public manner, to deny our right to exercise public

functions in Listruments dated at Macao. 1 explained to him, that the sole

object of the present extension of our powers, was to give to our acts dated

from this place, the same authority which they hitherto had, being dated within

the limits of the Port of Canton ; and in order to satisfy him that there was no

wish upon our parts to exercise any independent authority in Macao itself, or in

the anchorages subject to it, which might interfere with the just rights of Her

Most Faithful Majesty, I proposed to insert the last paragraph.

After some time, I had the satisfaction to convince his Excellency that this

was sufficient, and he then gave me his assurance that he would in no way

interpose to disturb the state of things which the Notice announced.

Although I felt it expedient for the reasons I have now given, to make a

declaration, that no acts done by us at Macao, are to be taken to be in prejudice

of the just rights, authority, and sovereignty of Her Most Faithful Majesty, I

can by means undertake to define to your Lordship the nature or the extent of

those rights, or of that authority.

It were certainly to be wished that the first were better understood by the

foreign strangers in the settlement, and as respects the Chinese, that the last

were more consistently asserted, and more effectually supported.

X hsv6 &c


Inclosure in No. 86.


PURSUANT to instructions from the Right Honourable the Secretary of

State for Foreign Affairs, dated in London, on the twenty-eighth day of May,

in the year of our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and thirty- six, Public

Notice is hereby given, that from the date of this notification, the powers of

the Superintendents of the Trade of British subjects in China, over British

subjects and ships, are extended so as to include Lintin and Macao.

And the authority of the Superintendents over British subjects and ships,

is to be considered to extend to Macao, and to be of equal force and validity,

being exercised within these extended limits, as it has hitherto been within the

limits of the Port of Canton.

All this, without prejudice to the just rights, authorities, and sovereignty

of the Government of Her Most Faithful Majesty the Queen of Portugal, at

Macao and the anchorages thereto subject.

Given under our hands and Seal of Office, at Macao, in China, this thirty-

first day of December, in the year of our Lord, One thousand eight

hundred and thirty-six.

(L. S.) (Signed) CHARLES ELLTOT,


Superintendents of the Trade cf

British subjects in China.

U 2


No. 87.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received June 1, 1837.)

(Extract.) Macao, January 12, 1837.

IN respect to the Chinese character " Pin," upon the address of the

communications to the Governor from persons in my station, I take the

liberty to forward to your Lordship the accompanying Memorandum by

Mr. Morrison, the Interpreter to this Commission.

It will be observed, that it is the identical character used by officers

of the Chinese Government in their reports to superior officers. And

having regard to the radical character under which it is classed, (Shee, to

admonish, enjoin, or produce,) perhaps it may be rather thought to mean

the respectful exhibition of information, than a distinct signification of

the ideas, involved in our word " Petition."

Inclosure in No. 87.

Memorandum by Mr. Morrison.

Macao, January 13, 1837.

IN reference to your inquiry respecting the style in which the

subordinate officers of the Chinese Government address the chief provin

cial authorities, and the signification of the terms by which their mutual

addresses are distinguished, I hasten briefly to reply.

All officers holding subordinate jurisdiction, who are below the third

rank, (of whom the highest may be regarded as corresponding in station to

the prefects and sub-prefects of departments in France,) when addressing

the chief authorities of the province, make use of the word " Pin," and

they receive from the same authorities, documents denominated " Yu."

The signification of these words I subjoin, as extracted from the Chinese

Dictionary of Dr. Morrison [Part II. Vol. I. page 671].

" ' Pin,' commonly used to denote a clear statement of any affair

made to a superior. Pin, is to state to a superior, whether verbally, or by

writing, whether petitioning something, or to give information of ; whether

from the people to an officer of Government, or from an inferior officer to

a superior several degrees higher. * * * Commands are called ' Yu,'

which, word is used by superiors in the Government to express their

orders, given to inferiors, or to the people."

These are the words which have always been used by foreigners in

their correspondence with the Government ; and " Pin" is the word

which the Governor, in 1834, required Lord Napier to make use of.

As the ranks of officers approach more closely together, several other

terms are used, marking either equality or minute grades of difference.

My notes in regard to these are at Canton, and consequently I am unable

at present to refer to them.

J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.


No. 88.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

(Extract.) Forcigi Office, June 12, 1837.

I HAVE received your despatch of December 30, 1836, detailing the

particulars of a communication into which you had thought proper to enter

with the authorities of the Chinese Government at Canton, through the Hong

merchants; and 1 have also received your despatch of January 12, 1837,

in which you state the course which you intended to pursue until the arrival of

further instructions from this Department.

I have now to desire that, upon the receipt of this despatch, you will

forthwith inform the Hong merchants and the Viceroy that His Majesty's Go

vernment cannot permit that you, an officer of His Majesty, should hold

communications with an officer of the Emperor of China, through the

intervention of private and irresponsible individuals. You will, therefore,

request that any communications which the Governor may have to make

to you in future, may be sent to you direct; and that the Governor

will consent to receive directly from you any communications on public

affairs which the interests of the two Governments may require you to make

to him. You will also explain, that if in future your written communi

cations should not be endorsed with the character which is usually adopted by

subordinate officers in China, when addressing representations to superior Chinese

Authorities, this alteration will not arise from any want of respect on your part

towards the Governor ; but will simply be the result of the established usages of

England, which do not admit that an officer commissioned by the King of

England should so address an officer commissioned by any other Sovereign.

No 89

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 17, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, January 27, 1837.

THE InclosureNo. 1, which I have now the honour to transmit, is an

Edict from his Excellency the Governor of the Two Provinces, sent to me

to-day, in acknowledgment of my note of December 28, 1836, already

forwarded to your Lordship,—Inclosure No. 7 of my despatch of December

30, 1836.

I have at the same time been fortunate enough to procure, through a

private native channel, a copy of his Excellency's memorial to the

Emperor, upon this subject.

It is in every respect, my Lord, a remarkable paper.

His Excellency plainly signifies that he is sensible the formal admis

sion of an officer is a novel principle, but he nevertheless urges its adop

tion, upon the ground that it is needful to waive something in point of

form and ancient custom, for the sake of preserving a state of peaceful

order at Canton. , ■.

The allusion to what has been collected at Macao by the deputation,

in respect to my general dispositions, is a significant proof that both the

court and the provincial authorities, have far less indifferent feelings to

the great convenience of maintaining a good understanding with His

Majesty's Government, than it is ordinarily their vain-glorious assumption

to affect in those public papers which are intended for the eyes of"


The Governor would hardly have adverted to such a point in a report,

to the Emperor, unless it had been felt that it was a consideration

calculated to have weight with His Imperial Majesty.

I believe your Lordship may assure yourself that the Imperial plea

sure to furnish me a passport will soon be announced. And when I am

once in the Provincial City under such a sanction, I have a strong hope


that by steadily taking advantage of favourable opportunities, I shall find

no insuperable difficulty in carrying the point of direct official intercourse,

without the intervention of the Hong merchants.

In the transmission of our■ papers to the Governor, the Hong mer

chants indeed, are already merely messengers, for they unquestionably

convey the papers to his Excellency's hands, sealed up. But in the pas

sage of papers from the Governor to us, in a sealed shape, or at least

through a respectable officer of the Government, there remains a substan

tial point to be gained.

Your Lordship may rely upon my best efforts to obtain this con

cession ; and I hope I shall be excused for repeating in this place, that

the actual turn of circumstances appears to render it easier of accom

plishment than it has ever yet been.

This and all other advantages susceptible of quiet acquisition, seem

to me to be less likely of accomplishment by direct applications for relax

ation, than by placing ourselves unobtrusively in a situation which shall

induce approaches from the Chinese authorities. The moment may be

at hand when it will be in my power to signify to his Excellency the

Governor, at a great advantage, and in the most deferential terms, that I

should be glad to interpose in any particular task he may desire to put

upon me, but that it is a business of great moment, and that I could not

venture to do so except his Excellency's pleasure were either addressed

directly to me in a sealed shape, or through some responsible officer of the


The unsuspicious form and conciliatory terms in which I have

approached the Governor, will, 1 am strongly disposed to think, soon draw

his Excellency towards me.

There are many causes at work which must form the subject of early

despatches to your Lordship that may lead to that state of circumstances.

I have &c


Inclosure 1 in No. 89.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

January 24, 1837.

TANG, Governor of the provinces Kwangtung and Kwangse, &.c, &c,

issues this order to the Hong merchants, requiring their accurate ac

quaintance therewith.

The foreigner Elliot, English director of affairs, has presented an

address, as follows :—

[Here follows Captain Elliot's address of December 28, promising to

remain at Macao.]

This coming before me, I have looked at the subject, and find, that

this foreigner having before presented an address to me, I immediately

sent a deputy, and commanded him and the military and civil officers of

the district, and the Hong merchants, to examine him faithfully and report

to me. They have now examined and reported ; and I, the Governor,

have accordingly announced the facts to His Majesty. When I receive

information that it is the gracious pleasure of the Great Emperor to allow

his admission, I will then forward a communication to the Superintendent

of Maritime Customs, that he may grant a passport for him to come to

Canton, to take the direction of affairs.

1,1 1 forthwith make this known to you. On this order reaching the

senior merchants, let them transmit directions to the said foreigner to act

accordingly. Oppose not. A special edict.

l€th year of Taoukwang, 12th month, 17th day (January 24, 1837.)

{ } • : Translated from the Chinese.

' '■[' 1 ' '" 1 {Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,



Inclosure 2 in No. 89.

Extract of a Memorial from the Governor of Canton to the Emperor,

asking permission to allow Captain Elliot to reside at Canton.

SINCE it was first permitted to the various nations of foreigners,

without the Empire's pale, to have commercial intercourse with Cantony

the English trade has always been the largest. Heretofore the direction

of that nation's trade was in the hands of a Company, by which, Chief,

Second, Third, and Fourth Supracargoes were appointed to reside in

Canton. All the Company's foreign vessels successively reached China

during the 7th and 8th months of every year; and having exchanged

their commodities, left the port during the course of the 12th month, and

of the 1st and 2nd months of the following year. Having all left, the

Supracargoes forthwith requested passports to proceed to Macao, and

resided there until the return of their foreign vessels in the 7th and 8th

months, when they again requested passports to come to Canton to transact

their affairs This is the way in which formerly, and for a long time

past, these affairs were regulated.

At a later period, the Company having been dissolved, no Chief

Supracargo was sent ; and another person was directed to take the

controul of affairs*. Your Majesty's Minister, Loo, then the Governor,

having represented this, received your Majesty's commands, " immediately

to direct the Hong merchants, to desire the said private merchants to

send a letter home to their country, calling for the renewed appointment

of a Chief Supracargo who should come to Canton to direct commercial

affairs, and thus should conform to the old enactments. Respect this."

In respectful obedience hereto, directions were given, as is on record.

Now in the 11th month of the present year, I, your Majesty's

Minister, have received from an English foreigner, Elliot, an address

forwarded from Macao, to this effect :—" I have received despatches from

my Government, specially appointing me to come to Canton, for the

general controul of the merchants and seamen of my nation. Under

present circumstances, there being very many ships in the port, and the

merchants and seamen at Canton and Whampoa being very numerous>

and many of them little acquainted with the laws of the Celestial Empire,

I am apprehensive lest any difficulties should arise; and I intreat,

therefore, permission to proceed to Canton for the direction of affairs;"

Observing that this foreigner, in his address, calls himself an officer,

which appears to be the designation of a barbarian head-man, and not at

all of a Chief Supracargo; and that he does not plainly state in his address,

what rank he now holds from his own nation ; whether the purpose of his;

coming is simply to apply himself to the controul of the merchant* and

seamen, or whether he is also to transact commercial business,■ and

whether he has credentials from his Government or not,■ I immediately

sent a deputy to Macao, whom I directed to proceed thither with speed,

to take with him Hong merchants ; and, in conjunction with the local,

civil, and military officers, to ascertain fully the truth on all these points.

This having been done, the deputy and the others reported to me in

the following terms :—" In obedience to the orders we received, we took

with us the Hong merchants, and questioned the foreigner, Elliot, on each

point distinctly. His information was that he, Elliot, was an English

officer of the fourth grade; that in the autumn of the 14th year of

Taoukwang, he came to China in a cruizer, as was at the time reported by

the pilots; that he had remained two years in Macao, his business being

to sign the papers of English merchant vessels ; that now, the Company

not having been re-established, and there being no Chief Supracargo, he

had received his King's commands, through a letter from a great Minister

* This is an unofficial copy obtained through a private channel, and liable therefore to mistakes.

There seems to be a mistake here : it should probably be read, " and there was no person to take the

controul of affairs,"


of the first rank, informing him that he is appointed to controul the

merchants and seamen,—not to controul commerce ; that he has creden

tials, commanding him to hold the direction of affairs at Canton ; and

that in case of any disturbances, he alone is answerable. We also learned

that the foreigner, Elliot, has brought with him a wife and a child, and a

retinue of four persons. On inquiry, we found that the foreign barbarians

at Macao, and the foreign merchants of his nation, all represented Elliot

as a very quiet and peaceable man, and as having no ulterior object to


This report having come before me, I find that since the dissolution of

the English Company, a Chief Supracargo has not come hither ; that of

late, the ships' papers of foreign merchants returning home have been

signed by this foreigner, who has resided at Macao for the purpose, and is

represented to have quietly attended to his duty ; and that at this present

time, ships are constantly and uninterruptedly arriving, and the merchants

and seamen are indeed very numerous. It would be well, promptly to

relax the unimportant restraints in order to preserve peace and quiet.

Now this foreigner having received credentials from his country, appoint

ing him to the general controul of merchants and seamen : though he is not

precisely the same as the Chief Supracargo hitherto appointed, yet the dif

ference is but in name, for in reality he is the same. And, after all, he is

a foreigner to hold the reins of foreigners ; and if not allowed to interfere

in aught else, it would seem that an alteration may be admitted ; and that

he may be permitted to come to Canton and direct affairs, according to

the same regulations under which the Chief Supracargoes have hitherto

acted. I have, for the 'present, commanded the said foreigner to remain

temporarily at Macao, waiting until I shall have announced the facts to

your Majesty. If your Majesty's gracious assent be vouchsafed, I will

then write to the Superintendent of Maritime Customs to grant a passport

for his admission to Canton. Thereafter, he shall be required to change

his residence from Canton to Macao and back again, according to the

season, just as under the former regulations ; and he shall not be allowed

to overpass the time, and linger about at the capital, so as gradually to

effect a settlement here. I will besides command the local, civil, and mili

tary officers, and the Hong merchants, from time to time, truly to watch

and examine his conduct, and if he exceeds his duty, and acts foolishly,

or forms connexions with traitorous Chinese, with a view to twist the laws

to serve private interests, he shall be immediately driven forth, and sent

back to his country. Thus will the source of any illegalities be closed up.

It is my duty to lay this before your Majesty, that the correctness or■

incorrectness of my views may be determined ;■ and for this purpose I sub

join to my memorial these remarks. Prostrate imploring your sacred

Majesty to grant me instructions.

A respectful memorial.

[Without date.]

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,



No. 90.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 17, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, February 2, 1837.

I HAVE now the honour to transmit to your Lordship as remarkable a

series of papers as has ever yet emanated from the Government of this country

in respect to the foreign trade. They are arranged in the order in which they

came into our hands.

Vague reports had reached the factories several months before the Memo

rial of Heu-Naetse, No. 1, fell into our possession, to the effect that the Court

was seriously contemplating the legalization of the opium trade. Little credit,

however, was attached to these rumours. But I confess I was one amongst the

very few persons who thought they were well founded ; and notwithstanding all

the actual degree of rigorous prohibition, I am still of opinion that the legal

admission of the opium may be looked for.

The first paper I ever saw which led me to reason that such a measure

had been entertained at Peking, is a striking Memorial from the late Governor

and Lieutenant-Governor of these Provinces to the Emperor. It is without

date, but it came into the possession of the foreigners so remotely as the

year 1832.

In this document there is a forecast of the scheme of legalization ; and it

is difficult to believe that the high officers of such a Government as this, would

have ventured to shadow it forth, even in far more obscure terms than these, if

they had not been sensible that there was already a powerful party in favour of

the measure. This hint drew down upon their Excellencies, indeed, the formal

censure of His Imperial Majesty, but still the idea will present itself that the

policy must have had its influential advocates, even at that distant date. " We, —-

your Ministers," say the memorialists, "after humble consideration, are of

opinion that opium having become prevalent in the country, vagabonds who

smoke it to the injury of their lives and of their constitutions, do so entirely

from their own stupidity, and refusal to be aroused, and are therefore unworthy

of regret. But the loss of wealth, and waste of treasure, are exceedingly great,

and the evil suffered is not indeed light. If at this time it were 'suffered to be

brought in and publicly used, with legal permission, as a medicine, this would

prevent the foreigners from raising the price to an enormous height. Thus also

might a silent impediment" (probably the encouragement of native growth may

be here implied,) " be placed in the way of their avaricious plans and large


At this point, the memorialists inquire with an abruptness which might

induce some impression that it was their purpose to recommend increased

vigour in the prohibition system,

" Still, then, would not this be a sudden acquiescence in, and give

unlimited license to, the evil?"

But this reflection, on the contrary, is the preface to a strong and faithful

picture of the mischief, and the hopelessness of all proceedings of that kind.

The forts might be strengthened, additional forces stationed at the passes ; the

traffic, they observe, would but remove to other places ; and what would be the

effect of the renewed vigilance of the Government? Only "to open a way to

piratical banditti to assume the appearance of Government runners, in order to

stop and clandestinely search boats. In Canton Province of late years," con

tinue the memorialists, " the plunderers of trading boats on the coasts and

rivers, and the plunderers of travelling merchants on land, who have, under the

pretence of searching for opium, wantonly troubled others, and involved them

in the prevalent illegality, are more than can be told. And the quantities of

opium dirt which civil and military officers have at various times been sent to

burn and destroy are incalculable. Yet, after all, we do not know in what

respect the illegality has been repressed."

But, my Lord, vast as the mischief of this system must have grown to be,

a system of most extensive law-breaking, carried on under the sanction of the


Emperor, and wii.h the active connivance of the high officers of these Pro

vinces, yet in my opinion, it is not to motives arising from such grounds of con

sideration, that the contemplated change must be ascribed. There is little

reason to conclude that the recommendation of such a policy as this would ever

have been allowed to be published, still less that the policy itself would be

worked out, if there were no more urgent incentives to its adoption than are to

he found in the awakening spirit of public virtue upon the part of the Chinese


The opium trade only commenced, or subsisted, as its present state of stag

nation indisputably proves, by reason of the hearty concurrence of the chief

authorities of these provinces, and, indeed, also of the Court. No portion of

the trade to this country more regularly paid its entrance than this of the

opium. The least attempt to evade the fees of the Mandarins was almost

certain of detection and severe punishment, and a large share of these emolu

ments reached not merely the higher dignitaries of the Empire, but, in all

probability, in no very indirect manner, the Imperial hand itself.

The origin of the legalization scheme is to be ascribed, I believe, mainly, if

not entirely, to the following causes.

lstly. To the intense political disquietude of the Court at the extension of

the trade on the north-east coasts.

2ndly. To the increasing alarm which is felt at what is considered to be the

irrecoverable disappearance of the real wealth of the country, that is to say, the

silver, in exchange for the opium.

The first cause has possibly operated with additional force, since the events

of 1834, at Canton; and the visits of the Missionaries to the coasts, in 1835

and lh36, with tracts in the Chinese language, have also unquestionably

attracted the anxious attention of the Court. Their appearance has naturally

been connected with that of the opium-ships, although I believe, in most

instances, unfoundedly. More than one Imperial Edict has been promul

gated upon the subject of these tracts : not that there is any reason to

believe the religious writings are of themselves very hostilely considered, but it

is, no doubt, apprehended that they who bring tracts of one description may

very well bring those of another, and more dangerous. It will be no source

of surprise to your Lordship that the Chinese Government should be wholly

unequal to the conception of the motives which influence these pious men,

and that their visits to the coasts should be ascribed to purposes calculated to

excite extremely disquieting suspicions. The papers now transmitted furnish

evidence of a strong difference of sentiment at Peking, upon the subject of the

admission of the opium ; and it must be conceded that such a circumstance

leads to a higher opinion of the integrity of exalted Chinese functionaries than

is commonly entertained. One or other of these Ministers must, in all

probability, be reporting in a sense which he knows is contrary to that of the


Considering, however, the probable moral condition of such a court as

this, and having regard to the force of those impressions by which it seems to

be actuated on this occasion, 1 cannot but think your Lordship will be of

opinion that the counsels of they who advocate the more immediately politic

expedient, will prevail over adverse reasoning, founded upon high principles,

and remote mischief.

Indeed, the Emperor's Edict, (No. 7,) appears to me, more particularly

when it be considered in connexion with the actual proceedings of the

Provincial Government, to afford conclusive proof that the measure is deter

mined upon. "What remained to be done was to preface the promulgation of

the Edict by such a course of severity and earnest restriction as might convince

both foreigners and natives that the obstruction of the outside trade was a

possible state of circumstances.

If this course had not been steadily pursued for some considerable period

of time, and successively pursued, the Chinese Government must have

perceived that the legalization project would have been wholly inoperative. So

long as the native dealers would not be afraid to come to the ships outside

with their ready money, and receive the opium there, the foreign merchants

would never have brought in, and delivered it to the merchants of the Co-hong

(consisting for the most part, of bankrupt men), to be taken on account, and


realized principally by the tedious and unfavourable process of barter, for the

export staples of tea and silk.

This timid and cautious Government is not prone needlessly to try hazardous

experiments upon the patience of its own people or on that of eager foreigners.

And it is the very reality of all the actual degree of rigorous prohibition which

most convinces me of the certainty of the coming change. There is enough of

proof that these severities are persisted in under feelings of extreme solicitude,

and only because the Government is sensible that they are of indispensable

necessity to the successful transition to a safer state of things. If the change

were not deliberately resolved upon, and possibly ready for promulgation at any

moment of difficulty which may present itself, it certainly is my own opinion

that the restrictions would long since have relapsed into the mere wordy

denunciations of the passed times.

I ought not to omit to mention to your Lordship, however, that it is

confidently rumoured, the Governor has sought permission from the Court to

give the trial of a year to the effect of the present system of obstruction ; but we

hear, at the same time, this his Excellency is in some hope of being removed

from the Government of these provinces. The last report, in my mind, rather

strengthens the probability of the other.

It is conceivable that the Governor cannot desire to be the principal

responsible agent in the safe working out of a great change of this description ;

and it certainly may be possible that his representations and requests for the

delay of a year, would dispose the party at Peking, adverse to the legalization,

to make another earnest effort to defer the measure. But I cannot think that

such a proposition would find favour with the Emperor, because it is plain that

the present course is not susceptible of safe protraction.

In a few weeks, the produce of the first opium sales of the year in Bengal

must arrive here, and then, if the restrictions continue, this trade will, in all

probability, immediately assume a different character. From a traffic prohibited

in point of form, but essentially countenanced, and carried on entirely by natives

in native boats, it will come to be a complete smuggling trade. The opium

will be conveyed to parts of the coast previously concerted in Canton, in British

boats, and thence be run by the natives ; thus throwing our people into imme

diate contact with the inhabitants on shore, and certainly, in other respects, vastly

enhancing the chances of serious disputes and collision with the Government


It seems to be probable that this state of things would either hasten forward

the legalization edict, or in the event of any check to our boats, defer it to some

indefinite period, and in other ways very inconveniently alter the whole position

of circumstances in this country.

Without troubling your Lordship, however, for the present with any further

speculations as to the turn that events may take, it is now my duty to state,

that at this moment, and for the last two months, the Local Government has

been pursuing a system of severe restriction with respect to this branch of the

trade, which has been successful to a great extent.

Indeed, I am sorry to inform your Lordship, that at the actual conjuncture,

our whole commerce is passing through a trial of rather a distressing nature.

The abolition of the Company's monopoly has been attended, as was to be

expected, with some considerable degree of overtrading. The increased imports

of British manufactures have been heavy, and the returns in this market have

hitherto been carried up and sustained greatly beyond their former limits by the

eagerness , of new competitors, in spite of large stocks and reduced prices in

England. The locking up of the silver, too, which has accompanied the inter

ruption of the opium deliveries, (for that drug may be described to be the only

money-turning wheel of the trade, the rest being principally accomplished by

barter,) has considerably aggravated the embarrassment of the merchants, by

crippling their means of forcing down the high rates of the export staples.

In the course of a few days, 1 shall have the honour to transmit to your

Lordship copies of letters I propose to address to the Right Honourable the

GoArernor-General, and the Honourable the Rear-Admiral commanding in chief,

on this subject.

It seems likely that the visits of men-of-war at this crisis, for short periods,

and at brief intervals, would have the effect either of relaxing the restrictive

spirit of the Provincial Government, or of hastening onwards the legalization

X ?


measure, and thus, by the one mode or the other, of releasing the trade from its

actual condition of stagnation.

Your Lordship, I hope, will consider I am justified in respectfully moving

these authorities to do what can be done (safely and without inconveniently

committing His Majesty's Government,) towards the relief of the most important

branch of this trade ; with the langour of which the whole British commerce to

the empire necessarily sympathizes in a very serious degree.

The imports of opium last year, on the account of our merchants, amounted

to nearly 18,000,000 of dollars, being about 1,000,000 in excess of the whole

value of teas and silk exported during the same period on British account.

Your Lordship will judge how unfortunately the interruption of this traffic

must operate on the general commerce. Trusting that the importance of this

subject will be my excuse for this long despatch,

I have &c


Chief Superintendent,

Inclosure 1 in No. 90.

Memorial from Heu-Naetse to the Emperor, proposing to legalise the importation

of Opium.

Preamble. HEU-NAETSE, Vice-President of the Sacrificial Court, presents the

following memorial in regard to opium, to show that the more severe the

interdicts against it are made, the more widely do the evils arising therefrom

spread ; and that it is right urgently to request, that a change be made in the

arrangements respecting it ; to which end he earnestly en reats His Sacred

Majesty to cast a glance hereon, and to issue secret orders for a faithful

investigation of the subject.

Qualities and effects I would humbly represent that opium was originally ranked among

of opium. medicines ; its qualities are stimulant ; it also checks excessive secretions ; and

prevents the evil effects of noxious vapours. In the Materia Medica of Le

Shechin, of the Ming dynasty, it is called Afooyung. When any one is long

habituated to inhaling it, it becomes necessary to resort to it at regular intervals,

and the habit of using it, being inveterate, is destructive of time, injurious to

property, and yet dear to one even as life. Of those who use it to great excess*

the breath becomes feeble, the body wasted, the face sallow, the teeth black :

the individuals themselves clearly see the evil effects of it, yet cannot refrain

from it. It is, indeed, indispensably necessary to enact severe prohibitions in

order to eradicate so vile a practice.

Different kinds of On inquiry, 1 find that there are three kinds of opium : one is called

of the drug. Company's, the outer covering of it is black, and hence it is also called ' black

earth ;' it comes from Bengal : a second kind is called ' white-skin,' and comes

from Bombay ; the third kind is called * red-skin,' and comes from Madras.

These are places which belong to England.

Laws in relation to In Keenlung's reign, as well as previously, opium was inserted in the

opium. tariff of Canton as a medicine, subject to a duty of three taels per hundred

catties, with an additional charge of two taels, four mace, and five candareens,

under the name of charge per package. After this, it was prohibited. In the

1 st year of Keaking, those found guilty of smoking opium were subject only to

the punishment of the pillory and bamboo. Now they have, in the course of

time, become liable to the severest penalties, transportation in various degrees,

and death after the ordinary continuance in prison. Yet the smokers of the

drug have increased in number, and the practice has spread throughout almost

the whole empire. In Keenlung's and the previous reigns, when opium passed

Nature of the trade through the Custom-House and paid a duty, it was given into the hands of the

in opram. Hong merchants in exchange for tea and other goods. But at the present

time, the prohibitions of Government being most strict against it, none dare

openly to exchange goods for it ; all secretly purchase it with money. In the

reign of Keaking, there arrived, it may be, some hundred chests annually.

The number has now increased to upwards of 20,000 chests, containing each a

hundred catties. The ' black earth,' which is the best, sells for about 800


dollars, foreign money, per chest ; the ' white-skin,' which is next in quality,

for about 600 dollars ; and the last, or ' red-skin,' for about 400 dollars. The

total quantity sold during the year amounts in value to ten and some odd

millions of dollars ; 60 that, in reckoning the dollar at seven mace, standard

weight of silver, the annual waste of money somewhat exceeds ten millions of

taels. Formerly, the barbarian merchants brought foreign money to China ;

which, being paid in exchange for goods, was a source of pecuniary advantage

to the people of all the sea-board provinces. But latterly, the barbarian

merchants have clandestinely sold opium for money; which has rendered it

unnecessary for them to import foreign silver. Thus foreign money has been

going out of the country, while none comes into it.

During two centuries, the Government has now maintained peace, and by

fostering the people, has greatly promoted the increase of wealth and opulence

among them. With joy we witness the economical rule of our august

Sovereign, an example to the whole empire. Right it is that yellow gold be

common as the dust.

Always in times past, a tael of pure silver exchanged for nearly about 1000 Arguments,

coined cash, but of late years the same sum has borne the value of 1200 or !• Effect* of the

1300 cash: thus the price of silver rises but does not fall. In the salt agency, trade on curm»cy.

the price of salt is paid in cash, while the duties are paid in silver ; now the ,

salt merchants have all become involved, and the existing state of the salt trade■.- '

in every province is abject in the extreme. How is this occasioned but by the

unnoticed oozing out of silver ? If the easily exhaustible stores of the central

spring go to fill up the wide and fathomless gulf of the outer seas, gradually

pouring themselves out from day to day, and from month to month, we shall

shortly be reduced to a state of which I cannot bear to speak.

It is proposed entirely to cut off the foreign trade, and thus to remove the 2. To cut off all the

root, to dam up the source of the evil. The Celestial Dynasty would not, foreign trade would

indeed, hesitate to relinquish the few millions of duties arising therefrom. But ta wron^

all the nations of the West have had a general market open to their ships for

upwards of a thousand years ; while the dealers in opium are the English alone ;

it would be wrong, for the sake of cutting off the English trade, to cut off that

of all the other nations. Besides, the hundreds of thousands of people living

on the sea-coast depend wholly on trade for their livelihood, and how are they and is, in fact, im-

to be disposed of ? Moreover, the barbarian ships, being on the high seas, can practicable,

repair to any island that may be selected as an entrepot, and the native sea

going vessels can meet them there ; it is then impossible to cut off the trade.

Of late years, the foreign vessels have visited all the ports of Fuhkeen,

Chekeang, Keangnan, Shantung, even to Teentsin and Mantchouria, for the

purpose of selling opium. And although at once expelled by the local

authorities, yet it is reported that the quantity sold by them was not small.

Thus it appears that, though the commerce of Canton should be cut off,

yet it will not be possible to prevent the clandestine introduction of


It is said, the daily increase of opium is owing to the negligence of officers 3. The illicit intro-

in enforcing the interdicts ! The laws and enactments are the means which duction 0f opium is

extortionate underlings and worthless vagrants employ to benefit themselves; °e\i°enL°ofnoffi0

and the more complete the laws are, the greater and more numerous are the cers^nd cannot be

bribes paid to the extortionate underlings, and the more subtle are the schemes prevented,

of such worthless vagrants. In the first year of Taoukwang, the Governor of

Kwangtung and Kwangse, Yuen Yuen, proceeded with all rigour of the law

against Ye Hangshoo, head of the opium establishment then at Macao. The

consequence was, that foreigners having no one with whom to place their

opium, proceeded to Lintin to sell it. This place is within the precincts of the

Provincial Government, and has a free communication by water on all sides. Here

are constantly anchored seven or eight large ships, in which the opium is kept,

and which are therefore called ' receiving ships/ At Canton there are brokers

of the drug, who are called ' melters.' These pay the price of the drug into

the hands of the resident foreigners, who give them orders for the delivery of

the opium from the receiving ships. There are carrying boats plying up and

down the river; and these are vulgarly called 'fast-crabs' and 'scrambling

dragons.' They are well armed with guns and other weapons, and are manned

with some scores of desperadoes, who ply their oars as if they were wings to

fly with. All the Custom-houses and military posts which they pass are largely


bribed. If they happen to encounter any of the armed cruizing boats, they are

so audacious as to resist, and slaughter and carnage ensue. The late Governor

Loo, on one occasion, having directed the Commodore Tsin Yuchang to

co-operate with Teen Poo, the district magistrate of Heangshan, they captured

Leang Heennee with a boat containing opium to the amount of 14,000 catties.

The number of men killed and taken prisoners amounted to several scores. He

likewise inflicted the penalty of the laws on the criminals Yaoukow and

Owkwan (both of them being brokers), and confiscated their property. This

shows that faithfulness in the enforcement of the laws is not wanting ; and yet

the practice cannot be checked. The dread of the laws is not so great on the

part of the common people, as is the anxious desire of gain, which incites them

to all manner of crafty devices ; so that sometimes, indeed, the law is rendered

wholly ineffective.

4. Evil consequen- There are also, both on the rivers and at sea, banditti, who, with pretence

ces of this illicit in- of acting under the orders of the Government, and of being sent to search after

troduction. ancl prevent the smuggling of opium, seek opportunities for plundering. When

I was lately placed in the service of your Majesty, as Acting Judicial Commis

sioner at Canton, cases of this nature were very frequently reported. Out of

these arose a still greater number of cases, in which money was extorted for the

ransom of plundered property. Thus a countless number of innocent people

were involved in suffering. All these wide-spread evils have arisen since the

interdicts against opium were published.

5. Worthless cha- ^ De found, on examination, that the smokers of opium are idle, lazy

racter of opium vagrants, having no useful purpose before them, and are unworthy of regard, or

smokers. even of contempt. And though there are smokers to be found who have over

stepped the threshold of age, yet they do not attain to the long life of other

men. But new births are daily increasing the population of the empire; and

there is no cause to apprehend a diminution therein ; while, on the other hand,

we cannot adopt too great, or too early, precautions against the annual

waste which is taking place in the resources, the very substance of China.

Inference that the Since then, it will not answer to close our ports against [all trade] , and

opium trade should since the laws issued against opium are quite inoperative, the only method left

be legalised. js to revert to the former system, to permit the barbarian merchants to import

opium paying duty thereon as a medicine, and to require that, after having

passed the Custom-House, it shall be delivered to the Hong merchants only in

exchange for merchandise, and that no money be paid for it. The barbarians

finding that the amount of duties to be paid on it, is less than what is now spent

in bribes, will also gladly comply therein. Foreign money should be placed on the

same footing with sycee silver, and the exportation of it should be equally

prohibited. Offenders, when caught, should be punished by the entire destruc

tion of the opium they may have, and the confiscation of the money that may

howe^r to°be af De found wi*h them. With regard to officers, civil and military, and. to the

lowed to smoke it." scholars and common soldiers, the first are called upon to fulfil the duties of

their rank and attend to the public good ; the others, to cultivate their talents

and become fit for public usefulness. None of these, therefore, must be per

mitted to contract a. practice so bad, or to walk in a path which will lead only

to the utter waste of their time, and destruction of their property. If, however,

the laws enacted against the practice be made too severe, the result will be

mutual connivance. It becomes my duty, then, to request that it be enacted,

that any officer, scholar, or soldier, found guilty of secretly smoking opium, shall

be immediately dismissed from public employ, without being made liable to any

other penalty. In this way, lenity will become in fact severity towards them.

And further, that, if any superior or general officer be found guilty of know

ingly and wiifully conniving at the practice among his subordinates, such officer

shall be subjected to a Court of Inquiry. Lastly, that, no regard be paid to the

purchase and use of opium on the part of the people generally.

Objections answer- Does any suggest a doubt, that to remove the existing prohibitions will

ed: the dignity of derogate from the dignity of Government1? I would ask, if he is ignorant that

the government not the pleasures of the table and of the nuptial couch may also be indulged in to

injured by the pro- tne injury of health ? Nor are the invigorating drugs footsze and viootow

posen cnange. devoid of poisonous qualities : yet it has never been heard that any one of

these has been interdicted. Besides, the removal of the prohibitions refers

only to the vulgar and common people, those who have no official duties to

perform. So long as the officers of Government, the scholars, and the military,


are not included, I see no detriment to the dignity of Government. And

by allowing the proposed importation and exchange of the drug for other com

modities, more than ten millions of money will annually be prevented from

flowing out of the Central land. On which side then is the gain,—on which the

loss ? It is evident at a glance. But if we still idly look back and delay to

retrace our steps, foolishly paying regard to a matter of mere empty dignity, I

humbly apprehend that when eventually it is proved impossible to stop the

importation of opium, it will then be found that we have waited too long, that

the people are impoverished, and their wealth departed. Should we then begin

to turn round, we shall find that reform comes too late.

Though but a servant of no value, I have by your Majesty's condescending Conclusion,

favour been raised from a subordinate censorship to various official stations,

both at court and in the provinces ; and filled, on one occasion, the chief

judicial office in the region south of the great mountains (Kwangtung). Ten

years spent in endeavours to make some return have produced no fruit ; and

I find myself overwhelmed with shame and remorse. But with regard to the

great advantages, or great evils, of any place where I have been, I have never

failed to make particular inquiries. Seeing that the prohibitions now in force

against opium serve but to increase the prevalence of the evil, and that there

is none found to represent the facts directly to your Majesty, and feeling

assured that 1 am myself thoroughly acquainted with the real state of things,

I dare no longer forbear to let them reach your Majesty's ear. Prostrate,

I beg my august Sovereign to give secret directions to the Governor and

Lieutenant-Governor of Kwangtung, together with the Superintendent of

Maritime Customs, that they faithfully investigate the character of the above

statements, and that, if they find them really correct, they speedily prepare a

list of regulations adapted to a change in the system, and present the same for

your Majesty's final decision. Perchance this may be found adequate to stop

further oozing out of money, and to replenish the national resources. With

inexpressible awe and trembling fear, I reverently present this memorial and

await your Majesty's commands.

Inclosure 2 in No. 90.

Imperial Edict in reply to the foregoing Memorial.— (June 12, 1836.)

HEU-NAETSE, Vice-President of the Sacrificial Court, has presented n,e provinciai g0_

a memorial in regard to opium, representing that the more severe the interdicts vemment is directed

against it are made, so much the more widely do the evils arising from it t0 deliberate and

spread ; and that of late years, the foreigners, not daring openly to give it in FePort on the sub"

barter for other commodities, have been in the habit of selling it clandestinely

for money, thus occasioning an annual loss to the country, which he estimates

at above ten millions of taels. He therefore requests that a change be made in

regard to it, permitting it again to be introduced, and given in exchange for

other commodities. Let Tang Tingching and his Colleagues deliberate on the

subject, and then report to us. Let a copy of the original memorial be made

for their perusal, and sent with this edict to Tang Tingching and Ke Kung,

who are to enjoin it also on Wan. Respect this.

Inclosure 3 in No. 90.

Report made to the Chinese Government by the Hong Merchants.

IN obedience to the commands of his Excellency the Hoppo, to deliberate Report made by the

on certain particulars, we now present for perusal the result of our deliberations, Hong merchants

arranged under [four] distinct heads. T^eJtrta iT^of

First. We received directions "to examine in regard to the following SyCeeXjji°vor.10n °

statement,— contained in a memorial presented to the Emperor (whereof a copy

was previously transmitted), namely, ' that foreign merchants dare not openly


take goods in barter for opium, but always clandestinely sell it for sycee silver.'

Now the exportation ]of sycee silver (it was always remarked) has long been

interdicted ; and the said merchants surely do not presume to contravene the

regulations in the least degiee. Yet it maybe difficult to aver, that not a

single illegality is committed by them ; and still more difficult would it be to

stand answerable, that there are no traitorous natives who carry on a clandestine


It h not exported In reply hereto, we the Hong merchants would humbly represent, that it

by the Hong mer- is really owing to the strictness of the Governmental regulations that foreigners

other*' clandestine^ are Preven*e<^ from openly taking goods in barter for opium. In regard to

\ym " sycee silver, we, every year, severally and voluntarily enter into bonds, that we

will on no account aid and abet the foreigners in exporting it, which bonds are

presented to your Excellencies. How can we possibly contravene the regu

lations, and so render ourselves criminal ? Yet it is indeed, as his Excellency

the Hoppo says, difficult to stand answerable that there are no traitorous natives

who carry on a clandestine commerce. To watch against such an illicit com

merce is, however, beyond our power ; and it therefore behoves us to request

How to

thisT revent

PrMCn rule i°this

jnj.0 0peration, regard

rule, to seizures

namely, of the

that smuggled commodities,

capturers may berewarded.

shall be liberally brought

In pursuance of this a certain proportion of all sycee silver, that may hereafter

be captured, should be given for an encouragement to the capturers, and thus

those who receive such rewards will be induced to exert themselves in an

extraordinary degree ; and the smugglers, knowing that such rewards are held

out, will at once become intimidated.

2. Inquiries in re- Secondly. We received the following inquiries to direct our deliberations:

sard to interchange "The foreign merchants have need of teas, rhubarb, cassia, sugar, silk, &c,

of commodities. which articles must have been heretofore kept in store by the Hong merchants,

so as to be in readiness to be exchanged for imported goods. Should the

amount of imported commodities become hereafter too great, how can ware

house room be afforded, in order to retain such commodities for gradual sale ?

And can it be so arranged, that, when it is impossible to effect an immediate

sale, and the foreign merchant finds himself unable to wait longer, he may be

allowed to return home, leaving his goods with the Hong merchant to sell for

him as opportunities offer, and on his return receiving such an amount of

merchandise as is due to him in exchange? Let these questions be well


"Mode in which such In answer hereto, we would humbly point out what has been hitherto the

interchange is now practice : On foreign vessels coming to Canton to trade, their cargoes are sent

'c ' ' up to our hongs ; and then a list is given by each foreign merchant of the

native commodities required in return, which commodities we purchase for them

from the various dealers therein. We never keep a stock of each article on

hand. And of late years our means have been very much reduced, so that

often we are unable to pay in due season the duties accruing : how then can we

possibly lay in a store of ready purchased articles ? If it happen that too great

a quantity of any article is introduced, so that it cannot be sold off at once, and

the vessel is to sail immediately, the security merchant in that case applies to

the foreigner for the amount of duties due, that he may pay them for him.

The unsold goods remain in our hongs to be disposed of as opportunities offer ;

and when the foreign merchant returns to Canton, he then takes out the value

mode si id tnereof m nat've commodities. This is the way in which the trade has hitherto

b*stiira^ercd°to. been conducted, and we would request that it may continue to be conducted in

the usual manner.

3. To prevent ille- Thirdly. We received directions to deliberate on the following questions :

^^j^Muaa^ "fo! " Whether, if opium should be imported through the usual channel for other

i«ad«^^esmswpr- commodities (the Hongs), any Hong merchant being at liberty to land and enter

.tble for all duties it at the Custom-House, it will not be found difficult to guard against illegalities

»n opium ? in the trade ? Whether it will not rather be requisite to make one of the most

opulent of the senior merchants responsible,—namely, one in whom entire con

fidence can be placed, and one in whom the foreigners habitually place implicit

Should n^jpenodi- trust . anj t0 require him alone to enter the cargoes of opium for examination at

routed ftwm each tne Custom-House, and to pay the duties; still, however, allowing the foreigner

merchant. to sell it, at its market value, to whichever Hong merchant he may choose, in

order to prevent a monopoly ? Also, whether the Hong merchants should not

still be required to give bonds as formerly, and to state the persons to whom


they have sold opium, the places whither it has been transported, and what

amount (if any) of silver, sycee or foreign, has been given for it, —each separate

transaction to be reported at the time, and a monthly statement to be made out

and presented at the offices of the Governor and Hoppo, in order to enable them

to make their reports to the Board of Revenue."

In reply to this, we would humbly notice some particulars of the mode in In answer, it is

which we have heretofore conducted our traffic with the foreigners. We have shown that the ex-

indeed exchanged one commodity for another; but often, when the value of the must not be'

imports and exports has been unequal, the balance has been paid, both by native forbidden. * °

and foreign merchants, to one another, in foreign money. And when, in con

sequence of the commodities of a country being saleable but to a very small

extent, at Canton, large sums of foreign money have been imported for the

purpose of purchasing a cargo, then no restriction has been placed on the

re-exportation of any remaining sum. Hence the " exportation of three-

tenths"* has received the sanction of Government. Again, there are cases in

which full cargoes are imported, while—in consequence of the prices of native

commodities being too high, or the commodities themselves not calculated for

sale in the places from whence the vessels come—the exported cargoes are

small. The surplus foreign money, then, being greater in amount than the

" exportable three-tenths," whatever exceeds that amount is either left here for

the purchase of other goods, or is lent to other foreigners. This is a thing of

common occurrence. For instance, of the rice-laden ships which now enter the That the foreigners

port, the largest bring cargoes of somewhat above 10,000 peculs, amounting in may often avoid ex-

value to but 20,000 or 30,000 dollars; and the smaller ones bring cargoes of, it Port»ng bullion,

may be 5,000 or 6,000 peculs, the value of which is no more than 10,000

and odd dollars. Yet these same vessels return with export cargoes of the value

of 200,000 or 300,000 dollars, or at least of from 100,000 to 200,000 dollars.

The money required to purchase these cargoes is therefore frequently borrowed

from foreigners, who have a balance in money, in excess of that portion of the

price of their import cargoes for which they have taken goods. Th's, then, is

a clear proof that, in the instance of rice-laden vessels, the unemployed balance

possessed by other foreigners is borrowed, in order to purchase exports

wherewith to send them back to their country. '

Now, in reference to the question at present under consideration, whether But that, as shown

permission shall be given to import opium, paying a legal duty thereon, we by themselves, they

have, as a provision in case that such permission should be given, inquired of <»«"ict always do. so.•

the foreign merchants if they can export goods to such an amount as to equal

in value their importation of opium, so that they need not have any occasion for

exporting money? Their answer was of the following tenor: "That is right

and proper that they should comply with the arrangement to take cargo in

exchange for the proceeds of their opium ; but that the ports to which they

return are not all alike, and that our native commodities are not every where

equally saleable ; that were the merchants who bring opium to Canton to

make their returns in merchandize purchased here, such merchandize would be

unsaleable,—and therefore the arrangement that goods are to be taken in

return for opium cannot be universally adopted ; that, however, they can in such

cases lend their money to other foreigners to purchase cargoes with, which will

be the same thing as if the foreign merchants who import opium applied all the

proceeds to the purchase of goods themselves; lastly, that, in case they should

be unable to lend out the whole of the proceeds, they are willing to act in

accordance with the regulation hitherto existing, by which they are allowed to

export in foreign money three-tenths of the excess of imports over exports ; but

that to require each several ship to take export cargo in exchange for imports

will; they really apprehend, be found inapplicable, injurious, and impracticable;

on which account they deem it their duty to request that the regulation hereto

fore existing, as above-mentioned, may continue in full force." We, the Hong

merchants, would here suggest, that, although there be no duty charged on 'Th« present regu-

exported silver, yet as it is required to report at the Custom-House the sums latl0nsjre sufficient,

shipped, it will be impossible that any very considerable amount should be

clandestinely exported. Whether such an arrangement in regard to the

importation of opium, the grand question now under consideration, shall be

adopted or not, must depend on your Excellencies' decision.

• That is, 30 per cent, of the excess of the value of the imports over that of the exports.



It is shown also, It has been for a long time past the rule, when a vessel reaches Canton, to

that no one mer- permit the foreigner himself to select the Hong merchant who shall secure his.

chant need he made vessei . this is left entirely to the will of the foreigner, and no compulsion may

responsi e. ^ exercjse(j jn tne matter. All goods that are to be entered at the Custom-

House for examination and assessment, are so entered by the security merchant,,

on application made by the foreigner ; and the charges on the vessel, on enter

ing the port and when discharging cargo, are also paid by the security merchant.

But any of the Hong merchants may have a portion of the cargo, and it is the

rule, that the merchant who so receives cargo shall pay all the duties thereon

into the treasury of the Custom House. In this way, there can be no mono-

And that no eri P0MZmS- Should opium be admitted for importation in the same manner as

odteal "statements pi°ce-goods, cotton, &c, the arrangements in regard to the sale of it by Hong

are necessary to merchants to minor dealers, and the transport of it from Canton to other places,

prevent illegalities, should also be the same as with regard to those commodities. Such as is trans

ported to other provinces by an overland route should be entered at the eastern

and western Custom- Houses, where a pass should be obtainable on examination.

And such as is transported by sea on board native trading vessels should be

entered outwards, at the chief Custom-House, through the medium of the

merchants of Fuhkeen and Chauchow. The laws on these points being very

precise, it seems needless to report each separate transaction of sale, or to

present any monthly statements.

4. Transit of opium, Fourthly. We received directions to deliberate carefully on this question:

and.coasting trade {t opium is transported to other provinces for sale, should not those

precautionary regulations which have been enacted in regard to foreigners

trading at Canton be put in practice, and communications be sent to the

authorities in all the sea-board provinces, informing them, that whatever opium

has not the stamp of the Custom-House on it is to be regarded as smuggled,

and both vessel and cargo therefore confiscated, and the parties subjected to

legal investigation ? And, if any vessels proceed to the receiving ships, which

are anchored on the high seas, to trade with them, should not the Hong

merchants be required to take measures against their so doing ?"

The regulations al- In reply, we would humbly point out, that in the regulations enacted last

ready existing, in year for checking foreigners engaged in trade, there occurs the following

woo\ltaa° Ac^im PassaSe : " IR respect to all native trading vessels, from whatever province they

ported, should he mav oe, anY foreign goods that may be purchased for shipment on them shall be

" ' ' entered at the chief Custom-House at Canton, and there, having been stamped,

a pass for the same shall be granted, specifying in detail the amount of goods,

in order that no clandestine transactions may be suffered to take place. And

communications shall be sent to the authorities in all the provinces, that they

may act in compliance with this regulation, and may give orders accordingly to

the officers of the maritime Custotn-Houses, to examine all trading vessels

carrying cargoes of foreign merchandize, and, if they find any articles not

marked with the stamp of the Canton Custom-House, to regard such articles as

smuggled, and to subject the parties to a legal investigation and confiscation of

both vessel and cargo." These precautionary measures are sufficiently precise,

and should undoubtedly be acted on. But should any vessel, in the course of

passage on the high seas, happen to traffic with the receiving ships, it is indeed

beyond our power to prevent it. It behoves us therefore to request, that, as

enacted in the above-named regulation, the officers of all cruising vessels along

the coast be held responsible ; that they be directed to cruise about in constant

succession ; and, should any traders approach a foreign ship to purchase opium

immediately to apprehend such traders, and send them to meet their trial; and,

lastly, that both the vessel and cargo of such traders shall be confiscated, and

the proceeds thereof given as a reward to the capturers. We would also

humbly request, that an edict be issued for the information of all native

merchants, that they may know these things and be restrained by fear. At the

same time we will continue earnestly to instruct and admonish the foreigners,

and make them understand that they must iudeed bring their goods into port,

and pay duty thereon, and mast not, as heretofore, clandestinely sell them on

the high seas. Thus may the amount of duties be increased.


Inclosure 4 in No. 90.

Report of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of Canton.

September 7, 1836.

WE have, in obedience to the Imperial will, jointly deliberated on the Preamble,

subject of repealing the prohibition now in force in regard to the importation of

opium, and of permitting it to be sold in barter for other commodities ; and we

be»-ein present a draft of regulations, that we have sketched, comprising nine

sections, on which we humbly solicit your sacred Majesty to cast a glance.

On the 19th day of the 5th month (2nd July), we received a letter from

the Grand Council of Ministers, inclosing an imperial edict, dated the 29th day

of the 4th month (12th of June).

Beholding our august Sovereign's tender solicitude for the livelihood of the

people on this remote frontier, and the anxious desire manifested to remove

all evils, we, as on bended knee we perused the edict, were deeply affected, and

bowed in profound reverence. We immediately transmitted the edict to the

Superintendent of maritime customs, your Majesty's Minister Wan ; and also

read in Council the copy forwarded to us of the original memorial. While we

ourselves gave the subject our joint and careful consideration, we, at the same

time, directed the two Commissioners (of Finance and Justice) to discuss it

thoroughly and faithfully. These officers, the Financial Commissioner,

Altsingah, and the Judicial Commissioner, Wang Tsingleen. have now laid

before us the result of their joint deliberations, and we have considered their


We are humbly of opinion, that in framing regulations it is of the first principle laid down:

importance to suit them to the circumstances of the times; and that to govern

well, it is essential in the first place to remove existing evils. But if in

removing one evil, an evil of greater extent is produced, it then becomes the

more imperative to make a speedy change suited to the circumstances of the


Now in regard to opium, it is an article brought into the Central Empire Argument*,

from the lands of the far-distant barbarians, and has been imported during a Evils arising out of

long course of years. In the reigns of Yungching and Keenlung, it was th? Pronibition

included in the tariff of maritime duties, under the head of medicinal drugs, and °Plum"

there was then no regulation against purchasing it, or inhaling it. But in the

4th year of Keaking (1799), the then Governor of this province, Keihking, of

the imperial kindred, regarding it as a subject of deep regret, that the vile dirt

of foreign countries should be received in exchange for the commodities and the

money of the empire, and fearing lest the practice of smoking opium should

spread among all the people of the inner land, to the waste of their time and the

destruction of their property, presented a memorial, requesting that the sale of

the drug- should be prohibited, and that offenders should be made amenable to

punishment. This punishment has been gradually increased to transportation,

and death by strangling. The law is by no means deficient in severity. But

the people are not so much influenced by the fear of the laws as by the desire of

gain. Hence, from the time that the prohibition was passed, the crafty schemes

and devices of evil men have daily multiplied. On the one hand, receiving

ships are anchored in the entrances from the outer seas: on the other hand,

brokers, called melters, are everywhere established in the inner land. Then

again 'fast crabs' and 'scrambling dragons' —as the boats are called—are

fitted out for clandestine commerce : and lastly, vagabonds, pretending authority

to search, have under this pretext indulged their own unruly desires. Thus,

what was at first a common article, of no esteem in the market, either for

6tnoking or eating, and a'so of a moderate price, has with the increase in the

severity of the regulations increased in demand, and been clandestinely and

largely imported, annually drawing away from the pecuniary resources of the

inner land, while it has done nothing to enrich it.

We, your Majesty's Ministers, having examined the original memorial, and The piohil>ition

considered the details therein contained respecting the evils to be removed, should therefore b»

regard the whole as true and accurate. The request for a repeal of the prohi- removed-

bitions and change in the system, and a return to the former plan of laying a

duty on opium, is also such as the circumstances of the times render necessary;


and it is our duty to solicit your Majesty's sanction thereof. In case of such

sanction, any foreigner, who in the course of trade may bring opium, must be

permitted to import and pass it at the Custom-House, paying the duty on it as

fixed by the maritime tariff of Keenlung, and must deliver it to the Hong

merchants, in the same manner as long-ells, camlets, and other goods, bartered

for native commodities, but on no account may he sell it clandestinely for


Effects to be ex- If this plan be faithfully and vigorously carried into effect, the tens of

pected from such a millions of precious money which now annually go out of the empire will be

change. saved, the source of the stream will be purified, and the stream itself may be

eventually stayed. The amount of duties being less onerous than what is now

paid in bribes, transgressions of the revenue laws will cease of themselves ; the

present evil practices of transporting contraband goods by deceit and violence

will be suppressed without effort ; the numberless quarrels and litigations now

arising therefrom at Canton, together with the crimes of worthless vagrants will

be diminished. Moreover, if the Governmental officers, the literari, and the

military, be still restrained by regulations, and not suffered to inhale the drug ;

and if offenders among these classes be immediately dismissed from the public

service ; while those of the people who purchase the drug and smoke it; are not

at all interfered with, all will plainly see that those who indulge their depraved

appetites are the victims of their own self-sacrificing folly, persons who are

incapable of ranking among the capped and belted men of distinction and

learning. And if in this way shame be once aroused, strenuous exertion and

self-improvement will be the result,—for the principles of reform are founded in

shame and remorse. Nor, as it is truly said in the original memorial, will the

dignity of Government be at all lowered by the proposed measure. Should

your Majesty sanction the repeal, it will in truth be attended with advantage

both to the arrangements of the Government and the well-being of the people.

Nine regulations But in passing regulations on the subject, it is of great importance that

proposed. everything should be maturely considered, and that the law should be rendered

perfect and complete; and it is of the very first consequence that effectual

measures should be taken to prevent the exportation of sycee silver. If the

regulations be in any way incomplete, the consequence will be, that in a few

years, fresh evils will spring up and spread abroad : such is not the right way to

accomplish the purpose in view. We have, therefore, fully discussed the

subject together, and have also, in concert with the Financial and Judicial

Commissioners, examined and considered it in all its bearings, and alter oft-

repeated deliberations, have determined upon nine regulations, which we have

drawn up, and of which we present a fair copy for your Majesty's perusal.

The result of our deliberations, made in obedience to the imperial mandate, we

now jointly lay before the throne, humbly imploring our august Sovereign to

instruct us if our representations be correct or not, and also to direct the

appropriate Board to revise them.

The following are the regulations which we have drawn up in reference to

the change of system called for in regard to the importation of opium, and

which we reverently present for your Majesty's perusal.

1. Opium to be 1 . The whole amount of opium imported should be paid for in mer-

sold only in barter chandize : in this there must be no deception. The object in repealing the

for merchandize, interdict on opium, is to prevent the loss of specie occasioned by the sale of the

drug for money. When opium is brought in foreign vessels, therefore, the

security and senior merchants should be held responsible for the following

arrangements being carried into effect : the value of the opium to be correctly

fixed ; an amount of native commodities of equal value to be apportioned ;

and the two amounts to be exchanged in full : no purchase to be made for

money payments. The productions of the Celestial Empire are rich, abundant,

and in universal demand ; its commodities are manifold more than those of

foreign barbarians, so that in an exchange of commodities the gain and not the

loss must be on its side. But should it at any time perchance occur, that the

quantities imported being somewhat greater than the amount of native com

modities required, an exact balance cannot be struck, while it is necessary for

the foreign ships immediately to return ; in such case, the whole amount of

duties having been paid through the security merchant, and the barter of com

modities having been made, the surplus opium not yet bartered may be laid up

in the merchants' warehouses, and an account of it, taken under the inspection


both of the security and foreign merchant, may be registered in the office of the

Superintendent of Customs. Then the opium may be sold as opportunities

occur ; and when the whole has been disposed of, the Hong merchant and the

consignee of the opium may jointly report that it is so, and have the register

cancelled. When the foreign merchant returns to Canton, he may receive

payment for the opium thus sold, in sume merchantable commodity; but may

not be allowed to give the value a pecuniary designation, and under cover of

this receive payment in money. Some substantial and opulent senior merchant

should be strictly required to watch over the enforcement of these regulations.

And when a foreign ship is about leaving, the security and senior merchants

should sign a bond that she carries away no sycee silver on board of her,

this bond to be delivered into the hands of Government. If they know of any

clandestine purchases being made on condition of money payments, or of any

money being paid, they should be required immediately to report the facts, and

the parties should be severely punished, and the opium confiscated and sold for

Government ; or, if it have been already delivered to the purchaser, the price

should be recovered from the latter and forfeited to Government. If the senior

and security merchants be found guilty of any connivance at such offences, they

also should be severely punished.

2. The naval cruising vessels, and all the officers and men of the Custom- 2. Naval officers to

House stations, should be required diligently to watch the entrances and be restricted,

passages of rivers ; but, at the same time, to confine their search to such

entrances and passages ; they should not be allowed to go out to sea-ward, and

under cover thereof to cause annoyance. Even though the interdict on opium

be repealed, there is yet cause to fear that the mercantile people, who in their

mad search for gain are, as it were, bewitched, will still resort to foreign mer

chants (out of the port) to purchase it, so that sycee silver will continue

secretly to ooze out. The naval cruising vessels, therefore, and all those who

are attached to the Custom-House stations, should be required to search dili

gently and faithfully. And whenever any discovery shall be made of silver

being smuggled out, and the same shall be seized, and the offending parties

apprehended, —then the whole amount of money in such case taken, with the

value of the smuggling boat, should be given as a reward to the captors, in

order to encourage their exertions, and thus to destroy smuggling. But if

sycee silver be exported, there is necessarily a place where, and a way by which,

it is carried out : that place must be near the foreign factories ; the way must

be through the important passages and entrances of rivers. It is only needful

then to watch faithfully at such places ; for by so doing, the export of silver

may be stopped without any trouble. But if the smugglers once get out into the

open roads, they soon spread themselves abroad in various directions, and leave

no trace by which to find them. If the soldiers, or vagabonds feigning to be

soldiers, frame pretexts for cruising about in search of them, not only can they

effect no good, but they may also give occasion to disturbances, attended with

evil consequences of no trivial character. They should, therefore, be strictly

prohibited so doing.

3. In regard to foreign money, the old regulation, allowing three-tenths to 3. Amount of spe-

be exported, should be continued ; and, to prevent any fraud, a true account of cie t0 be exported,

the money imported should be given (by each ship) on arrival. Formerly, much

foreign money was brought to Cauton in the foreign ships, in order to purchase

commodities in excess of those obtained by barter, and to pay the necessary

expenses of the vessel on her return. Whenever the imported goods were in

larger quantity than those exported, there was then a surplus of foreign money,

of which it would not have been reasonable, under such circumstances, to pro

hibit the re-exportation. In the 23rd year of Keaking (1818), the then Super

intendent of Maritime Customs, Ah, finding that the barbarians took away

foreign money without any limit or restriction, addressed a communication to

the then Governor of this Province, Yuen, in consequence of which it was

decided to limit the exportation by each vessel to three-tenths (of the surplus of

import), allowing the remainder to be lent to any other foreigner to enable him

to purchase goods, to pay the duties, &c This has continued to be the rule

down to the present time. Now it is probable, that sometimes, when opium is

imported in not very large quantities, money will also be imported with it, for

the purpose of paying the price of goods in excess of what may be purchased

by barter. It will be right in such cases to conform to the existing regulation.


But the amount of foreign money so imported in foreign ships may vary consi

derably. If the balance be 100,000 dollars or upwards, it will then be very well

to permit the exportation of 30,000 ; but if the balance should exceed 200,000

dollars, a further limit to the permission to re-export becomes necessary. We

deem it our duty, therefore, to request, that hereafter wlien the surplus of silver

imported, does not considerably exceed 100,000, permission be still given to re

export three-tenths of that surplus ; but if it amounts to 200,000 dollars,

whether the merchandize bought with it consist of opium, or of any other goods,

that the permission to re-export in that case be limited to 50,000 on each

ship. This amount should not be exceeded. With respect to the examination

and report made by the security merchant, on a ship's arrival, of the total

amount of silver imported by her, this examination and report should still be

required, in order that, the expenditure of the vessel having been deducted there

from, the proportion to be re-exported may be accurately calculated. A senior

merchant also should be required faithfully to join the security merchant in the

investigation. If the officers of the customs make feigned examinations and

false reports, they should be subjected to severe punishment ; and if the senior

and olher merchants connive at any illegality, they also should be punished.

4. Sale of opium, 4. The traffic in opium must be conducted on the same principle as the

how to be regulated, traffic in foreign commodities; it is unnecessary to place it under a separate

department. The first principle of commerce is, to adopt those measures which

will yield the greatest possible amount of gain. Each one has his own method

of doing this, and what one rejects another may seek for ; nor is it possible to

bring all to one opinion. Now if the importation of opium be permitted, as

formerly, and it becomes an article of commerce, as a medicinal drug, the traffic

in it will in no wise differ from the traffic in other articles of commerce ; and if

a special department be created for it, there is reason to fear that monopolizing

and underhand practices will gradually result therefrom. It is right, therefore,

to let the foreign merchants make their own election, and engage what Hong

merchants they will to pass their cargoes at the Custom- House, and pay their

duties for them. To establish one general department for the purpose is unne

cessary. By this arrangement, crafty individuals may be prevented from taking

advantage and extorting exorbitant profits, and benefit may accrue to both the

foreign and the Hong merchants.

5. Duties to be 5. The amount of duties should be continued the same as formerly : no

,eTied" increase is called for ; and all extortionate demands, and illegal fees, should be

interdicted. In the Tariff of Maritime Customs for Canton, opium is rated at

a duty of three taels per hundred catties ; to which we must add ten per cent■ or

three mace, for loss in melting ; and as peculage fee, and fee per package,

according to the report formerly made of public and legal tees, eight candareens

and six cash. Although there are three kinds of opium, the " black earth," the

"white skinned," and the "red skinned," differing in value, \ et the duty per

catty may be the same on all. These arrangements are made on the principle

that if the duty be heavy it will be evaded, and smuggling will ensue , whereas

if it be light, all will prefer security to smuggling ; and that if a fixed charge be

imposed, the officers of the customs will be unable to intermeddle. The same

clear views were entertained by our predecessors, when they established these

regulations; and it will be well to conform to the amount of duty fixed by them

without any addition. But there is reason to fear that when the prohibitions

are first taken off, the servants of the Custom- House, hunting for petty gains,

may, under various pretexts, lay on illegal fees, making heavy by their exactions

what as a legal duty is light ; and thereby losing sight of the principle that they

are to show kindness to men from afar. If this take place, the natural result

too will be, that the means of legal importation will be avoided, and contri

vances to import clandestinely wilt be resorted to. Perspicuous and strict pro

clamations should therefore be issued, making it generally known, that, beyond

the real duty, not the smallest fraction is to be exacted ; and that offenders shall

be answerable to the law against extortionate underlings receiving money under

false pretexts.

6. Aprice not to be (j. No price should be fixed on the drug. It is a settled principle of com-

^xctk merce, that when prices are very low, there is a tendency to rise ; and when

high, a tendency to fall. Prices then depend on the supply that is procurable

of any article, and the demand that exists for it in the market; they cannot be

limited by enactments to any fixed rate. Now, though the prohibition of opium


be- repealed, it will not be a possible tbing to force men wbo buy at a high price

to sell at a cheap one. Besides, it is common to men to prize things of higb

value, and to underrate those of less worth. When, therefore, opium was

severely interdicted, and classed among rarities, every one had an opportunity

to indulge in over- reaching desires of gain; but when once the interdicts are

withdrawn, and opium universally admitted, it will become a common medicinal

drug, easily to be obtained.

The gem,—when in the casket, prized,

When common, is despised!

So the price of opium, if left to itself, will fall from day to day; whereas, if rated

at a fixed value, great difficulty will be found in procuring it at the price at

which it is rated. It is reasonable and right, therefore, to leave the price to

fluctuate, according to the circumstances of the times, and not to fix any rate.

7. All coasting vessels of every province, when carrying opium, should be 7. Regulations of

required to have sealed manifests from the Custom-House of Canton. By the the coasting trade,

existing regulations of commerce, all commanders of coasting vessels, without

exception, are required, whenever they have purchased any foreign goods, to

apply at the chief Custom-House at Canton and obtain a sealed manifest, stating

the amount of each kind of goods, so as to prevent any clandestine purchases.

They are also to be provided from thence with a communication addressed to

the authorities in every province and at all sea-ports, calling on them to search

closely ; and if they find any foreign goods, not having the stamp of the Canton

Custom-House on them, to regard such goods as smuggled, to try the offenders

according to law, and to confiscate both vessel and cargo. The law on this

point is most precise. Now when the interdict on opium is repealed, it will

become an article of ordinary traffic, like any other foreign commod.ty, and

subject therefore to the same regulations. All commanders of coasting vessels,

wishing to purchase opium, should therefore be required to report their wishes to

the Hong merchants, bringing goods to barter for it, and should then apply at

the Custom-House for a manifest and for a communication from the Superin

tendent of Customs to the authorities in all the provinces aforesaid. Thus there

being documents for reference, both in this and the sea-board provinces, the

native coasting vessels may be prevented from having any clandestine dealings

with the foreign ships at sea, and from smuggling away silver.

8. The strict prohibitions existing against the cultivation of the poppy, 8. The poppy maj

among the people, may be in some measure relaxed. Opium possesses soothing be cultivated,

properties, but is powerful in its effects. Its soothing properties render it a

luxury, greatly esteemed ; but its powerful effects are such as readily to induce

disease. The accounts given of the manner in which it is prepared among the

foreigners are various ; but in all probability it is not unmixed with things of

poisonous quality. It is said that, of late years, it has been clandestinely prepared

by natives, by boiling down the juicy matter from the poppy ; and that thus

prepared, it possesses milder properties, and is less injurious, without losing its

soothing influence. To shut out the importation of it by foreigners, there is no

better plan than to sanction the cultivation and preparation of it in the empire.

It would seem right, therefore, to relax, in some measure, the existing severe

prohibitions, and to dispense with the close scrutiny now called for to hinder its

cultivation. If it be apprehended, that the simple people may leave the stem

and stay of life to amuse themselves with the twigs and branches, thereby

injuring the interests of agriculture, it is only necessary to issue perspicuous

orders, requiring them to confine the cultivation of the poppy to the tops of

hills and mounds, and other unoccupied spots of ground, and on no account

to introduce it into their grain-fields, to the injury of that on which their

subsistence depends.

9. All officers, scholars, and soldiers should be strictly prohibited and 9. Officers not to

disallowed the smoking of opium. We find in the original memorial of smoke opium.

Heu-Naetse, the Vice-President of the Sacrificial Court, the following observa

tions : " It will be found on examination, that the smokers of opium are idle,

lazy vagrants, having no useful purpose before them. And though some

smokers are to be found who have overstepped the threshold of age, yet they do

not attain to the long life of other men. But new births daily increase the popu

lation of the empire, and there is no cause to apprehend a diminution therein.

With regard to officers, civil and military, and to the scholars and common■


soldiers, the first are called on to fulfil the duties of their rank and attend to the

public good ; the others, to cultivate their talents and become fit for public

usefulness. None of them, therefore, should be permitted to contract a prac

tice so bad, or to walk in a path which will only lead to the utter waste

of their time and destruction of their property." If the laws be rendered over

strict, then offenders, in order to escape the penalty, will be tempted to screen

one another. This, assuredly, is not then so good a plan as to relax the pro

hibitions, and act upon men's feeling of shame and self-condemnation. In the

latter case, gradual reformation may be expected as the result of conviction.

Hence the original memorial also alludes to a reformation noiselessly effected.

The suggestions therein contained are worthy of regard and of adoption. Hereafter

no attention shall be paid to the purchase and use of opium among the people.

But if officers, civil or military, scholars, or common soldiers, secretly purchase

and smoke the drug, they should be immediately degraded and dismissed, as

standing warnings to all who will not arouse and renovate themselves. Orders

to this effect should be promulgated in all the provinces, and strictly enjoined

in every civil and military office, by the superiors on their subordinates,

to be faithfully obeyed by every one. And all who, paying apparent obedience,

secretly transgress this interdict, should be delivered over by the high pro

vincial authorities to the Civil or Military Board, to be subjected to severe


Inclosure 5 in No. 90.

Memorial from the Councillor Choo-Tsun to the Emperor, against the admission

of Opium.

October, 1836.

Preamble CHOO-TSUN, Member of the Council and of the Board of Rites, kneeling,

presents the following memorial, wherein he suggests the propriety of increasing

the severity of certain prohibitory enactments, with a view to maintain the

dignity of the laws, and to remove a great evil from among the people : to this

end he respectfully states his views on the subject, and earnestly entreats His

Sacred Majesty to cast a glance thereon.

Progress of the * would humbly point out, that wherever an evil exists, it should be at

trade in opium. once removed ; and that the laws should never be suffered to fall into desuetude.

Our Government having received from heaven the gift of peace, has transmitted

it for two centuries: this has afforded opportunity for the removal of evils from

among the people. For governing the Central nation, and for holding in sub

mission all the surrounding barbarians, rules exist perfect in their nature, and

well fitted to attain their end. And in regard to opium, special enactments

were passed for the prohibition of its use in the first year of Keaking (1796) ; and

since then, memorials presented at various successive periods, have given rise to

additional prohibitions, all which have been inserted in the code and the several

tariffs. The laws, then, relating thereto are not wanting in severity ; but there

are those in office who, for want of energy, fail to carry them into execution.

Hence the people's minds gradually become callous ; and base desires springing

up among them, increase day by day and month by month, till their rank

luxuriance has spread over the whole empire. These noisome weeds having

been long neglected, it has become impossible to eradicate. And those to whom

this duty is intrusted are, as if hand-bound, wholly at a loss what to do.

Mode of carrying it When the foreign ships convey opium to the coast, it is impossible for them

on. to sell it by retail. Hence there are at Canton, in the provincial city, brokers,

named 1 melters.' These engage money-changers to arrange the price with the

foreigners, and to obtain orders for them ; with which orders they proceed to

the receiving ships, and there the vile drug is delivered to them. This part of

the transaction is notorious, and the actors in it are easily discoverable. The

boats which carry the drug, and which are called " fast-crabs," and " scrambling-

dragons," are all well furnished with guns and other weapons, and ply their oars

as swiftly as though they wrere wings. Their crews have all the overbearing-

assumption and audacity of pirates Shall such men be suffered to navigate

the surrounding seas according to their own will ? And shall such conduct be

passed over without investigation ?


The late Governor Loo having on one occasion sent the Commodore Tsin Possibility of pre-

Yuchang to cooperate with Teen Poo, the magistrate of Heangshan, those venting it.

officers seized a vessel belonging to Leang Heennee, which was carrying opium,

and out of her they took 14,000 catties of the drug. Punishment also was

inflicted on the criminals Yaoukew and Owkwan, both of them opium-brokers.

Hence it is apparent, that, if the great officers in charge of the provinces

do in truth show an example to their civil and military subordinates, and

if these do in sincerity search for the drug, and faithfully seize it when found,

apprehending the most criminal, and inflicting upon them severe punishment, it

is, in this case, not impossible to attain the desired end. And if the officers are

indeed active and strenuous in their exertions, and make a point of inflicting

punishment on offenders, will the people, however perverse and obstinate they

may be, really continue fearless of the laws ? No. The thing to be lamented

is, instability in maintaining the laws—the vigorous execution thereof being

often and suddenly exchanged for indolent laxity.

It has been represented, that advantage is taken of the laws against opium, Occasional abuse of

by extortionate underlings and worthless vagrants, to benefit themselves. Is it the laws, no argu-

not known, then, that where the Government enacts a law there is necessarily ment against them,

an infraction of that law? And though the law should sometimes be relaxed and

become ineffectual, yet surely it should not on that account be abolished ; any

more than we would altogether cease to eat because of diseased stoppage of the

throat. When have not prostitution, gambling, treason, robbery, and such like

infractions of the laws, afforded occasions for extortionate underlings and worth

less vagrants to benefit themselves, and by falsehood and bribery to amass

wealth ? Of these there have been frequent instances ; and as any instance is

discovered, punishment is inflicted. But none surely would contend that the

law, because in such instances rendered ineffectual, should therefore be

abrogated ! The laws that forbid the people to do wrong may be likened to the

dykes which prevent the overflowing of water. If any one, then, urging that

the dykes are very old, and therefore useless, should have them thrown down,

what words could express the consequences of the impetuous rush and all-

destroying overflow! Yet the provincials, when discussing the subject of opium,

being perplexed and bewildered by it, think that a prohibition which does not

utterly prohibit, is better than one which does not effectually prevent, the

importation of the drug. Day and night I have meditated on this, and can in

truth see no wisdom in the opinion.

It is said that the opium should be admitted, subject to a duty, the Impropriety ofsanc-

importers being required to give it into the hands of the Hong merchants, in tioning the trade by

barter only for merchandize, without being allowed to sell it for money. And evying a u )-

this is proposed as a means of preventing money secretly oozing out of the

country. But the English, by whom opium is sold, have been driven out to

Lintin so long since as the first year of Taoukwang (1821), when the then

Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse discovered and punished the warehousers

of opium : so long have they been expelled, nor have they ever since imported

it into Macao. Having once suppressed the trade and driven them away, shall

we now again call upon them and invite them to return ? This would be,

indeed, a derogation from the true dignity of Government. As to the proposi

tion to give tea in exchange, and entirely to prohibit the exportation of even

foreign silver, I apprehend that, if the tea should not be found sufficient, money

will still be given in exchange for the drug. Besides, if it is in our power to

prevent the exportation of dollars, why not also to prevent the importation of

opium ? And if we can but prevent the importation of opium, the exportation

of dollars will then cease of itself, and the two offences will both at once be

stopped. Moreover, is it not better, by continuing the old enactments, to find

even a partial remedy for the evil, than by a change of the laws to increase the

importation still further ? As to levying a duty on opium, the thing sounds so

awkwardly, and reads so unbeseemingly, that such a duty ought surely not to

be levied.

Again, it is said that the prohibitions against the planting of the poppy by impolicy of sane-

natives should be relaxed ; and that the direct consequences will be daily tioning the growth

diminution of the profits of foreigners, and in course of time, the entire ces- ?f the P°PPy- JFhe

sation of the trade without the aid of prohibitions. Is it, then, forgotten that JSf^T stopped

it is natural to the common people to prize things heard of only by the ear, by it.

and to undervalue those which are before their eyes,—to pass by those things



which are near at hand, and to seek after those which are afar off,—and, though

they have a thing in their own land, yet to esteem more highly such as comes

to them from beyond the seas? Thus, in Keangsoo, Chekeang, Fuhkeen, and

Kwangtung, they will not quietly he guided by the laws of the Empire, but

must needs make use of foreign money: and this foreign money, though of an

inferior standard, is nevertheless exchanged by them at a higher rate than the

native sycee silver, which is pure. And although money is cast in China after

exactly the same pattern, under the names of Keangsoo pieces, Fuhkeen pieces,

and native or Canton pieces, yet this money has not been able to gain currency

among the people. Thus, also, the silk and cotton goods of China are not

sufficient in quantity; and yet the broadcloths, and camlets, and cotton goods,

of the barbarians from beyond the pale of the Empire are in constant request.

Taking men generally, the minds of all are equally unenlightened in this

respect, so that all men prize what is strange, and undervalue whatever is in

ordinary use.

The outgoing of From Fuhkeen, Kwangtung, Chekeang, Shantung, Yunnan, and Kweichow,

money not hindered memorials have been presented by the Censors and other officers, requesting

thereby. that prohibitions should be enacted against the cultivation of the poppy, and

against the preparation of opium ; but while nominally prohibited, the culti

vation of it has not been really stopped in those places. Of any of those

provinces, except Yunnan, I do not presume to speak ; but of that portion

of the country I have it in my power to say, that the poppy is culti

vated all over the hills and the open campaign, and that the quantity of

opium annually produced there cannot be less than several thousand chests.

And yet we do not see any diminution in the quantity of silver exported, as

compared with any previous period ; while, on the other hand, the lack of the

metal in Yunnan is double in degree what it formerly was. To what cause is

this to be ascribed ? To what but that the consumers of the drug are very

many, and that those who are choice and dainty, with regard to its quality,

prefer always the foreign article ?

And the cultivation Those of your Majesty's advisers who compare the drug to the dried leaf

of grain, &c, will 0f the tobacco plant are in error. The tobacco leaf does not destroy the

be injured by it. human constitution. The profit too arising from the sale of tobacco is small,

while that arising from opium is large. Besides, tobacco may be cultivated on

bare and barren ground, while the poppy needs a rich and fertile soil. If all

the rich and fertile ground be used for planting the poppy, and if the people,

hoping for a large profit therefrom, madly engage in its cultivation, where will

flax and the mulberry tree be cultivated, or wheat and rye be planted ? To

draw off in this way the waters of the great fountain, requisite for the pro

duction of food and raiment, and to lavish them upon the root whence calamity

and disaster spring forth, is an error which may be compared to that of a

physician, who, when treating a mere external disease, should drive it inwards

to the heart and centre of the body. It may in such a case be found impossible

even to preserve life. And shall the fine fields of Kwangtung, that produce

their three crops every year, be given up for the cultivation of this noxious

weed,—those fields in comparison with which the unequal soil of all other parts

of the Empire is not even to be mentioned ?

The corruption and To sum up the matter, the wide-spreading and baneful influence of opium,

^n^are the chief wnen regarded simply as injurious to property, is of inferior importance ; but

objections against when regarded as hurtful to the people, it demands most anxious consideration :

opium. for in the people lies the very foundation of the empire. Property, it is true, is

that on which the subsistence of the people depends. Yet a deficiency of it

may be supplied, and an impoverished people improved ; whereas it is beyond

the power of any artificial means to save a people enervated by luxury. In the

history of Formosa we find the following passage : " Opium was first produced

in Kaoutsinne, which by some is said to be the same as Kalapa (or Batavia).

The natives of this place were at the first sprightly and active, and being good

soldiers, were always successful in battle. But the people called Hung-maou

(Red-haired) came thither, and having manufactured opium, seduced some of

the natives into the habit of smoking it ; from these the mania for it rapidly

spread throughout the whole nation ; bo that, in process of time, the natives

became feeble and enervated, submitted to the foreign rule, and ultimately were

And this is the completely subjugated." Now the English are of the race of foreigners called

object of its mipor- Hung-maou. In introducing opium into this country, their purpose has been


to weaken and enfeeble the Central Empire. If not early aroused to a sense of

our danger, we shall find ourselves, ere long, on the last step towards ruin.

The repeated instances, within a few years, of the barbarians in question

having assumed an attitude of outrageous disobedience ; and the stealthy

entrance of their ships into the provinces of Fuhkeen, Chekeang, Keangnan,

and Shantung, and even to Teentsin,—to what motive are these to be attri

buted ? I am truly unable to answer the inquiry. But, reverently perusing

the sacred instructions of your Majesty's all-wise progenitor, surnamed the

Benevolent [Kanghe], I find the following remark by him, dated the 10th

month of the 55th year of his reign (1717) :—" There is cause for apprehension,

lest, in centuries or millenniums to come. China may be endangered by collision

with the various nations of the West, who come hither from beyond the seas."

I look upwards and admiringly contemplate the gracious consideration of that

all-wise progenitor, in taking thought for the concerns of barbarians beyond the

empire, and giving the distant future a place in his divine and all -pervading

foresight. And now, within a period of two centuries, we actually see the

commencement of that danger which he apprehended. Though it is not prac

ticable to put a sudden and entire stop to their commercial intercourse ; yet the

danger should be duly considered and provided against ; the ports of the several

provinces should be guarded with all strictness ; and some chastisement should

be administered, as a warning and foretaste of what may be anticipated.

Under date of the 23rd year of Keaking (1818), your Majesty's benevolent Policy to be adopted

predecessor, surnamed the Profound, directing the Governor of Canton to adopt towards them,

measures to controul and restrain the barbarians, addressed him in the following

terms : " The empire, in ruling and restraining the barbarians beyond its

boundaries, gives to them always fixed rules and regulations. Upon those who

are obedient, it lavishes its rich favours ; but to the rebellious and disobedient

it displays its terrors. Respecting the English trade at Canton, and the

anchorage grounds of their merchant-ships and of their naval convoys, regula

tions have long since been made. If the people aforesaid, will not obey these

regulations, and will persist in opposition to the prohibitory enactments, the

first step to be taken is, to impress earnestly upon them the plain commands

of Government■, and to display before them alike both the favours and the

terrors of the empire, in order to eradicate from their minds all their covetous

and ambitious schemes. If, notwithstanding, they dare to continue in violent

and outrageous opposition, and presume to pass over the allotted bounds,

forbearance must then cease, and a thundering fire from our cannon must be

opened upon them, to make them quake before the terror of our arms. In

short, the principle on which the ' far-travelled strangers are to be cherished ' is

this : always, in the first instance, to employ reason as the weapon whereby to

conquer them ; and on no account to assume a violent and vehement deport

ment towards them ; but when ultimately it becomes necessary to resort to

military force, then, on the other hand, never to ■ employ it in a weak and

indecisive manner, lest those towards whom it is exercised should see therein

no cause for fear or dread." How clear and luminous are these admonitions,

well fitted to become a rule to all generations !

Since your Majesty's accession to the throne, the maxim of your illustrious Ruin caused in the

house, that ' horsemanship and archery are the foundations of its existence,' anny fey °Plunu

has ever been carefully remembered. And hence the Governors, the Lieutenant-

Governors, the Commanders of their Forces, and their subordinates, have again

and again been directed to pay the strictest attention to the discipline andexercise

of the troops, and of the naval forces ; and have been urged and required to

create by their exertions strong and powerful legions. With admiration I

contemplate my sacred Sovereign's anxious care for imparting a military as well

as a civil education, prompted as this anxiety is by the desire to establish on a

firm basis the foundations of the empire, and to hold in awe the barbarians on

every side. But while the stream of importation of opium is not turned aside,

it is impossible to attain any certainty that none within the camp do ever

secretly inhale the drug. And if the camp be once contaminated by it, the

baneful influence will work its way, and the habit will be contracted beyond the

power of reform. When the periodical times of desire for it come round, how

can the victims—their legs tottering, their hands trembling, their eyes flowing

with child-like tears—be able in any way to attend to their proper exercises ?

Or how can such men form strong and powerful legions ? Under these circum-

Z 2


tances, the military will become alike unfit to advance to the fight, or in a

setreat to defend their posts. Of this there is clear proof in the instance of the

. campaign against the Yaou rebels, in the 12th year of our Sovereign's reign

^ (1832). In the army sent to Leenchow, on that occasion, great numbers of

the soldiers were opium-smokers ; so that although their numerical force was

large, there was hardly any strength to be found among them.

Impossibility of It is said, indeed, that when repealing the prohibitions, the people only are

stopping this, ex- to be allowed to deal in and smoke the drug ; and that none of the officers, the

ceptby utter prohi- scnoiars> and the military, are to be allowed this liberty. But this is bad

)ltlon- casuistry. It is equal to the popular proverb, " shut a woman's ears before you

steal her ear-rings"—an absurdity. The officers, with all the scholars and

the military, do not amount in number to more than one-tenth of the whole

population of the empire ; and the other nine-tenths are all the common people.

The great majority of those who at present smoke opium are the relatives and

dependents of the officers of Government, whose example has extended the

practice to the mercantile classes, and has gradually contaminated the inferior

officers, the military, and the scholars. Those who do not smoke are the

common people of the villages and hamlets. If, then, the officers, the scholars,

and the military, alone, be prohibited smoking opium, while all the people are

permitted to deal in and smoke it, this will be to give a full license to those

of the people who already indulge in it, and to induce those who have never yet

indulged in the habit to do so. And if it is even now to be feared that some

will continue smokers in spite of all prohibitions, is it to be hoped that any will

refrain when they are actually induced by the Government to indulge in it ?

Besides, if the people be at liberty to smoke opium, how shall the officers,

the scholars, and the military be prevented ? What ! of the officers, the

scholars, and the military, are there any that are born in civil or military

situations, or that are born scholars, or soldiers? All certainly are raised up

from the level of the common people. To take an instance : let a vacancy

occur in a body of soldiers ; it must necessarily be filled up by recruits from

among the people. But the great majority of recruits are men of no character

or respectability, and, if while they were among the common people they were

smokers of opium, by what bands of law shall they be restrained when they

become soldiers, after the habit has been already contracted, and has so taken

hold of them that it is beyond their power to break it off? Such a policy was

that referred to by Mencius, when he spoke of "entrapping the people." And

if the officers, the scholars, and the military, smoke the drug in the quiet of

their own families, by what means is this to be discovered or prevented ?

Should an officer be unable to restrain himself, shall then his clerks, his

followers, his domestic servants, have it in their power to make his failing their

play-thing, and by the knowledge of his secret to hold his situation at their

disposal ? We dread falsehood and bribery, and yet we would thus widen the

door to admit them. We are anxious to prevent the amassing of wealth by

unlawful means, and yet by this policy we would ourselves increase opportu

nities for doing so. A father, in such a case, would no longer be able to

reprove his son, an elder brother to restrain his junior, nor a master to rule his

own household. Will not this policy, then, be every way calculated to stir up

strife ? Or if happily the thing should not run to this extreme, the conse

quences will yet be equally bad : secret enticement and mutual connivance will

ensue, until the very commonness of the practice shall render it no longer a

subject of surprise. From this I conclude, that to permit the people to deal in

the drug and smoke it, at the same time that the officers, the scholars, and the

military, are to be prohibited the use of it, will be found to be fraught with


Present state of At the present moment, throughout the empire, the minds of men are in

morals among the imminent danger; the more foolish, being seduced by teachers of false

people at the lowest doctrines, are sunk in vain superstitions and cannot be aroused; and the more

eb intelligent, being intoxicated by opium, are carried away as by a whirlpool, and

are beyond recovery. Most thoughtfully have 1 sought for some plan by

which to arouse and awaken all, but in vain. While, however, the empire

preserves and maintains its laws, the plain and honest rustic will see what he

has to fear, and will be deterred from evil ; and the man of intelligence and

cultivated habits will learn what is wrong in himself, and will refrain from it.

And thus, though the laws be declared by some to be but waste paper, yet



these their unseen effects will be of no trifling nature. If, on the other hand,

the prohibitions be suddenly repealed, and the action which was a crime be no

longer counted such by the government, how shall the dull clown and the mean

among the people know that the action is still in itself wrong ? In open day,

and with unblushing front, they will continue to use opium till they shall be

come so accustomed to it, that eventually they will find it as indispensable as

their daily meat and drink, and will inhale the noxious drug with perfect

indifference. When shame shall thus be entirely destroyed, and fear removed

wholly out of the way, the evil consequences that will result to morality and to

the minds of men, will assuredly be neither few nor unimportant. As your

Majesty's Minister, I know that the laws of the empire, being in their existing

state well fitted to effect their end, will not for any slight cause be changed.

But the proposal to alter the law on this subject having been made and dis

cussed in the provinces, the instant effect has been, that crafty thieves and

villains have on all hands begun to raise their heads and open their eyes,

gazing about, and pointing the finger, under the notion that, when once these

prohibitions are repealed, thenceforth and for ever they may regard themselves

free from every restraint, and from every cause of fear.

Though possessing very poor abilities, I have nevertheless had the happi- Conclusion,

ness to enjoy the favour of your sacred Majesty, and have, within a space of Measures recom-

but few years, been raised through the several grades of the Censorate, and the menaea-

Presidency of various courts in the metropolis, to the high elevation of a seat

in the Inner Council. I have been copiously embued with the rich dew of

favours ; yet have been unable to offer the feeblest token of gratitude ; but if

there is aught within the compass of my knowledge, I dare not to pass it by

unnoticed. I feel it my duty to request that your Majesty's commands may be

proclaimed to the Governors and Lieutenant-Governors of all the provinces,

requiring them to direct the local officers to redouble their efforts for the

enforcement of the existing prohibition [against opium] ; and to impress on

eveiy one, in the plainest and strictest manner, that all who are already con

taminated by the vile habit must return and become new men,—that if any

continue to walk in their former courses, strangers to repentance and to

reformation, they shall assuredly be subjected to the full penalty of the law,

and shall not meet with the least indulgence,—and that on any found guilty of

storing up or selling opium to the amount of 1,000 catties or upwards, the most

severe punishment shall be inflicted. Thus happily the minds of men may be

impressed with fear, and the report thereof, spreading over the seas (among

foreigners), may even there produce reformation. Submitting to my Sovereign

my feeble and obscure views, I prostrate implore your sacred Majesty to cast a

glance on this my respectful memorial.

Inclosure 6 in No. 90.

Memorial from the Sub-Censor, Heu-Kew, against the admission of Opium.

October, 1836.

HEU-KEW, Sub-Censor over the Military Department, kneeling, Preamble,

presents this memorial, to point out the increasing craftiness exercised by'

foreigners from beyond the seas, in their pursuit of gain, and the daily

diminution of the resources of the empire ; on which subjects he respectfully

offers his views, and requests that the Imperial pleasure may be declared to the

Ministers of the Court, commanding them maturely to consider what means

shall be adopted to stay the gradual efflux of money, and to enrich the national


Our dynasty has cherished and nurtured the people in peace and prosperity Present scarcity and

for two centuries. Within the four seas, wealth and opulence hava reigned : increased value of

and the Central Empire has been enabled from her own resources to supply her Sllver-

own necessities. Westward, to the new territory of Turkestan, and southward,

to Yunnan and Kwangtung, there is not a place whither her merchants may not

go ; nor a spot where her treasures of silver do not circulate. In the reign of

Keenlung the treasury was full and abounding, and even the cottage of the

peasant enjoyed plenty. But whereas a tael of pure silver then always passed


for 1000 of the standard coin, an equal amount of fine silver now costs from

1400 to 1 500 of the same coin. And this fine silver is daily lessening in quan

tity, and the price still rising from day to day, so that for want of it the officers

of Government and the people are both alike crippled. Some, in discussing

this subject, represent that the change arises from the daily multiplication of

births, in consequence of which money is daily more distributed, so that every

day renders it in a greater degree inadequate. They forget that, if distributed

True cause of this over China alone, it may after distribution be re-gathered. But the true cause

—its exportation, why silver has of late daily diminished in quantity is, that, having been clandes

tinely carried out beyond the seas, it has been impossible to gather it in again

from the places of its distribution.

Which is occasioned According to the information that I have obtained, the sale of opium is the

Sybythe°piUm chief medium through which money is drained off, and carried beyond the seas.

In the first year of Keaking, the opium sold by foreigners in Kwangtung did

not exceed a few hundred chests. The number has now increased to upwards

of 20,000 chests. These include three distinct kinds, the "black-earth," the

"white-skinned," and the "red-skinned." The price of each chest is from

800 to 900 dollars for the best, and from 500 to 600 for the inferior quality.

This applies to what is sold in the province of Kwangtung. With regard to the

other provinces, the vessels of which carry on illicit traffic with the receiving

ships at Lintin,it is difficult to obtain any full and complete statement respecting

them. i \. ■

Annual loss to the The amount annually lost to the country is about ten and some odd mil-

country, lions of money. The money thus lost was, at first, the foreign money where

with foreigners had previously purchased goods ; now it is entirely the fine silver

of the inner land, cast into a different form at Macao. Formerly the foreigners

imported money, to purchase the merchandize of the country ; but now it has

all been carried back. In the first instance it was their practice to recast■ the

' ' ' foreign money, fearing lest any discovery should be made of their transactions ;

but now they openly carry away sycee silver. The ships which, as they bring

commodities of all kinds, anchor at Whampoa, used formerly to have opium

concealed in their holds. But in the first year of Taoukwang (1821), owing to

a petition from one Ye Hangshoo, investigation was made, and the Hong

merchants have always since then been required to sign bonds, that no foreign

vessel which enters the port of Canton has any opium on board ; and from that

period, the opium-receiving ships have all anchored at Lintin, only going in the

4th or 5th month of every year (May or June) to the anchorage of Kapshwuy

Moon, and in the 9th month (October) returning to Lintin. In the 13th year

(1833), the foreigners discovered that the anchorage of Kumsing Moon affords

more perfect security ; and since then they have removed their anchorage from

Kapshwuy Moon to Kumsing Moon. The latter place is near to the villages

Kepa and Tangkea, pertaining to the district of Heangshan ; and the anchorage

of the ships there, inexpedient as it is for the people resident in those villages, is

not the less convenient for such traitorous natives as are in combination with the


Ways in which sil- One method employed to take away money from the country is this : to

rer is exported. make out false names of ships that have been to China some years before, ships

of which the captains do not exist, and the parties concerned in which are dead;

and then to represent, that, at a time stated, such-an-one had deposited such an

amount of money in the hands of so-and-so, and that the applicant now wishes

to carry it away, on behalf of the party named. The Hong merchants make

artful petitions of this kind for the foreigners, and thus obtain permission for

them to carry away money. Another method is, to have money put in the same

packages with merchandize.

The officers guilty It is since the suppression of the pirates in the reign of Keaking that

of remissness. opium has gradually blazed up into notice. At first the annual sale of it did not

exceed in value a few millions ; but of late it has risen to nearly twenty mil

lions ; and the increase and accumulation of the amount, from day to day and

from month to month, is more than can be told. How can it be otherwise than

that the silver of China is lessened, and rendered insufficient, even daily ! But

that it lias gone to this length, is altogether attributable to the conduct of the

great officers of the above-named province, in times past—to their sloth and

remissness, their fearfulness and timidity, their anxiety to show themselves

liberal and indulgent,—by which they have been led to neglect obedience to the


prohibitory enactments, and to fail in the strict enforcement of the precautionary


Our empire is wise and good in all its laws and statutes. Regulations have How shall the ex-

been enacted, in regard to the opening and working of mines, with a view to their portation of silver

entire preservation, because this silver, possessed in China, is not to be found be stayed*

native elsewhere. If, then, the exhaustible stores of this empire be taken, to fill

up an abyss of barbarian nations that never can be filled, unless measures be

speedily adopted to prevent it, our loss will, within ten years, amount to thou

sands of millions, and where will be the end of this continual out-pouring ?

Some reasoners on the subject say, " Cut off" entirely commercial intercourse, Not by stoppage to

and sacrifice one million of duties to retain in the country twenty millions of trade-

money : the loss will be small, the gain great." They forget that the various

countries of the west have had commercial intercourse here for many years ; and

that in one day to put an entire stop to it would not only be derogatory to the

high dignity of the Celestial Empire, but would also, we may fear, be productive

of any but good results. Others say, " Repeal the prohibitions against opium, Nor by admission

let it be given in exchange for merchandize, and let a duty be levied upon it. of opium.

Thus our money will be saved from waste, and the customs duties will be ren

dered more abundant, so that a double advantage will be gained." These forget,

that, since—even while the law tends to prohibit the drug, the fine silver is

nevertheless drawn off, and opium abundantly imported—there is room to doubt

whether merchandize will always be taken in exchange for the drug, when the

sale of it shall be made public, and may be carried on with open eyes and

unblushing boldness, and when the importation of it will consequently be greatly

increased. A case in point is that of the ships bringing foreign rice to Canton : in

consequence of a representation to the throne, these ships are freed from the tax

called " measurement charge," only being required to take return cargoes of

merchandize ; and now the Spanish and other rice-laden ships have made it a

practice to take their returns in specie. From this we may see, that, whenever

the prohibition of opium shall be repealed, an increase in the clandestine

drawing off of silver will be an inevitable consequence.

Moreover, if the sale of the drug be not prohibited, neither can men be Arguments against

prevented from inhaling it. And if only the officers of government and the opium, on ground of

military be prohibited, these being all taken from the scholars and common morality and policy,

people, what ground will be found for any such partial prohibition to rest upon ?

Besides, having a clear conviction that the thing is highly injurious to men, to

permit it, notwithstanding, to pervade the empire—nay, even to lay on it a

duty—is conduct quite incompatible with the uninjured dignity of the great

and illustrious Celestial Empire. In my humble view of the case, the exporta

tion of sycee silver to foreign regions, and the importation of opium, are both

rightly interdicted. But local officers, having received the interdicts, have not

strenuously enforced them, and hence the one coming in has produced the

out-going of the other. If in place of reprehending their failure strenu

ously to enforce them, these prohibitions be even now repealed, this will

be indeed to encourage the vicious among the people, and to remove all fault

from the local officers. But how, when once this prohibition of opium is with

drawn, shall the interdict against the exportation of sycee silver be rendered

strict ? It cannot be so ; for we shall then ourselves have removed the barriers.

It were better that, instead of altering and changing the laws and enactments,

and utterly breaking down the barrier raised by them, the old established regu

lations should be diligently maintained, and correction be severely employed.

Now between the inner land and the outer seas, a wide separation exists. It is practicable to

The traitorous natives who sell the opium cannot alone, in person, carry on the F^ent the impor-

traffic with the foreign ships. To purchase wholesale, there are brokers. To l0n 0 °Plum-

arrange all transactions, there are the Hong merchants. To give orders to be

carried to the receiving ships, that from them the drug may be obtained, there

are resident barbarians. And to ply to and fro for its conveyance, there are

boats called 'fast crabs.' From the great Ladrone Island, at the entrance of

the inner seas, to Kumsing Moon, there are all along various naval stations ;

and to bring in foreign vessels there are pilots appointed ; so that it cannot be

a difficult thing to keep a constant watch upon the ships. And even though

from Fuhkeen and Chekeang, from the ports of Shanghae and Teentsin, vessels

should repair directly to the receiving ships to trade with them, yet, situated as

their anchorage is, in the inner seas, what is there to prevent such vessels from

being observed and seized ? And yet, of late years, there has been, only a


solitary instance, namely during the late governor Loo's administration, when

Teen Poo, magistrate of the district of Heangshan, in conjunction with the

naval force, captured one single boat laden with opium. With this exception,

we have seen but little of seizures. The reason is, that the men who are

appointed to observe and watch for offenders receive presents to pass over all

things, and observe nothing.

By first punishing From times of old it has been a maxim, in reference to ruling barbarians,

the natives ; to deal closely with what is within, but to deal i-n general with that which is

without,—first to govern one's self, and then only to govern others. We must

then, in the first place, establish strict regulations for the punishment of

offences ; and afterwards we may turn to the traitorous natives who sell the

drug, the Hong merchants who arrange the transactions, the brokers who

purchase wholesale, the boat-people who convey the drug, and the naval officers

who receive bribes ; and, having with the utmost strictness discovered and

apprehended these offenders, we must inflict on them the severest punishments

of the law. In this way, the inhabitants of the inner land may be awed and


And then bringing^ The resident barbarians dwell separately in the foreign factories. In the

the foreigners to ]?ho (Creek) factory is one named Jardine, and who is nick-named the Iron-

'ucoun ■ headed old rat; also one named Innes: in the Paoushun factory, is one named

Dent ; also one named Framjee, and one named Merwanjee : in the Fungtae

factory is one named Dadabhoy : in the Kwangyuen (American) factory is one

named Gordon : in the Maying (Imperial) factory is one named Whiteman : in

the Spanish factory is one named Turner : and besides these are. I apprehend,

many others. The treatment of those within having been rendered severe, we

may next turn to these resident foreigners, examine and apprehend them, and

keep them in arrest ; then acquaint them with the established regulations, and

compel them, within a limited period, to cause all the receiving ships anchored

at Lintin to return to their country :—they should be required also to write a

letter to the king of their country, telling him that opium is a poison which has

pervaded the inner land, to the material injury of the people ; that the Celestial

Empire has inflicted on all the traitorous natives who sold it the severest

penalties ; that with regard to themselves, the resident foreigners, the govern

ment taking into consideration that they are barbarians and aliens, forbears to

pass sentence of death on them; but that if the opium receiving ships will derist

from coming to China, they shall be indulgently released and permitted to con

tinue their commercial intercourse as usual ; whereas, if they will again build

receiving vessels, and bring them hither to entice the natives, the commercial

intercourse granted them in teas, silks, &c, shall assuredly be altogether inter

dicted, and on the resident foreigners of the said nation the laws shall be

executed capitally. If commands be issued of this plain and energetic character,

in language strong, and in sense becoming, though their nature be the most

abject—that of a dog or a sheep, yet, having a care for their own fives, they will

not fail to seek the gain, and to flee the danger.

On the latter point, Some think this mode of proceeding too severe, and fear lest it should

there need be no give rise to a contest on our frontiers. Again and again I have revolved this

scruple. subject in my mind, and reconsidered how that, while in their own country no

opium is smoked, the barbarians yet seek to poison therewith the people of the

Central flowery land ; and that while they bring to us no foreign silver, they yet

would take away our native coin ; and I have therefore regarded them as

undeserving that a single careful or anxious thought should be entertained on

their behalf. Of late, the foreign vessels have presumed to make their way into

every place, and to cruise about in the inner seas. Is it likely that in this they

have no evil design of spying out our real strength or weakness ? If now they

be left thus to go on from step to step, and their conduct be wholly passed over,

the wealth of the land must daily waste away and be diminished. And if when

our people are worn out, and our wealth rendered insufficient, any difficulty

should then, even by the slighest chance, as one in ten thousand, turn up, how,

I would ask, shall it be warded off? Rather than to be utterly overthrown

hereafter, it is better to exercise consideration and forethought now, while yet

our possession of the right gives us such energy and strength, that those bar

barians will not dare to slight and contemn our government ; nor (it may be

hoped) have any longer the means of exercising their petty arts and devices.

Conclusion. Regarding this as a subject of importance, I have given it the most attentive

investigation : and having formed my own views thereon, it is befitting that I


should delineate and clearly state them. To determine as to their correctness,

orotherwise, it is my duty to request that your Majesty's pleasure may be

declared to the Ministers of the Court, requiring them with full purpose of heart

to take into consideration these views. Laying them before your sacred Majesty,

I prostrate implore my Sovereign to cast a glance upon them. A respectful


Supplementary Statement.

FURTHERMORE, in regard to the residence of the foreign barbarians at Illegalities of fo-

Macao, the prohibitory enactments are very full and clear. But I have heard feigners,

that it has of late been usual for the barbarians to sit in large native sedans,

and to hire natives to carry them : also to hire native females for purposes of

prostitution, who are called * ta-fan.' Moreover, their merchant ships are not

allowed by the regulations to discharge their cargoes clandestinely at Macao ;

but of late it has become customary for only those ships to make their anchor

age at Whampoa, which have return cargoes of merchandize to take away ;

while the others never enter the port, nor announce their arrival. These last

send their finer and lighter goods, on board the boats called 'fast crabs,' from

Kumsing Moon and other places, for sale. The coarser and heavier goods,

they unlawfully send in cargo boats direct to the Stadt-house (in Chinese Std')

at Macao ; after which they call upon the Hong merchants to hire chop-boats to

convey them to the provincial city, and exchange them for other goods,—thus

not only evading the measurement charge and duties, but also avoiding

examination on the part of the native authorities.

But the extreme case is this :—at Macao, on the outside of the gate called Their violence,

the Ditch-gate, are very numerous graves of the natives. In the second month

of the present year, the foreigners made a wide road there, levelling entirely

the graves. The Sub-Prefect stationed at the place reported this to his

superiors ; and, at his request, a deputy- was sent to visit the spot in concert

with him, and to reprehend the foreigners. These, however, would not make

acknowledgment of their offence ; and when the officers sent men to repair the

tombs, they even led on their barbarian slaves, and beat the native police and

people. Afterwards a linguist was sent to admonish them authoritatively ; and

then only they sent an address to the officer, seeking to conciliate him. Such

outrageous, overbearing, and lawless conduct arises wholly from this, that the

local officers thinking forbearance to be the most quiet policy, seek only to

obtain present freedom from disturbance, and hence give occasion for being

treated with slight and contempt.

Macao is within the jurisdiction of the district Heangshan, and on all sides Practicability of

of it there are naval stations. For all its daily necessaries, it is compelled to checking these ille-

look up to us. The compradors employed by the foreigners there, are natives ^j*1** and thls

to whom permits are granted by the Government. Should, therefore, the least vt0 ence"

insubordination be shown by the foreigners, there would be no difficulty in

immediately having their lives in our hands. I have been told that a former

magistrate of that district, named Pang Choo, on account of the pride and

profligacy of these barbarians, removed from among them all the native dealers

and merchants, and allowed no commercial intercourse on the part of natives

with them ; till the barbarians, trembling with fear, were at once brought to

order. This is yet in the recollection of the gentry of Heangshan. Since a

district magistrate could effect thus much, would the barbarians dare even to

move, if the great officers of the country would make a display of their power?

Another instance occurs to me. The barbarians at Canton built a quay, outside

the city, a work which went on for months without any hindrance being made

to it. But when your Majesty's Minister Choo Kweiching was sent thither as

Lieutenant-Governor, he went to the spot, set down his sedan there, and com

manded the instant destruction of the work ; and the barbarians subdued by his

unostentatious firmness, dared not even to utter a word. Again, the year before

last, when Lord Napier brought ships of war up to Whampoa, your Majesty's

Minister Loo Kwan, the Governor, stationed the naval forces so as to present a

close unbroken line of defence ; and the barbarians were at once filled with

dismay, repented their error, and requested a permit to leave the port. We see

from these instances that the barbarians have never yet failed to succumb.

Now, to make ostentatious show of terrors is, it is true, calculated to ruin ImPortanceofdoinp:

2 A 8°-


affairs, but to pass faults over in silence is, on the other hand, calculated to

nourish depravity. If the old regulations be not rendered conspicuous, and the

prohibitions be not strictly enforced, these barbarians will end with doing

whatever they please, imagining that there is no limit to forbearance. The

barbarians, pluming themselves on their great wealth, extensively practise

bribery and corruption, and have many traitorous natives for their agents, and

many of the police in combination with them. Hence, if a talented, intelligent,

and determined officer were, in the first place, to punish severely the Chinese

traitors, we may hope that he would thus be able at once to overwhelm the

spirit of the barbarians.

This further exposition of my feeble and obscure views, it behoves me to

add to my previous representation, and, prostrate, lay it before your sacred

Majesty, hoping that my Sovereign will cast a glance thereon. A respectful


Inclosure 7 in No. 90.

Imperial Edict in reply to the two preceding documents.

THE Councillor Choo Tsun has presented a memorial, requesting that the

severity of the prohibitory enactments against opium may be increased. The

Sub-Censor Heu-Kew also has laid before Us a respectful representation of his

views : and, in a supplementary statement, a recommendation to punish severely

Chinese traitors.

Careful considera- Opium, coming from the distant regions of barbarians, has pervaded

tion requisite. the country with its baneful influence, and has been made a subject of very

severe prohibitory enactments. But, of late, there has been a diversity of

opinion in regard to it, some requesting a change in the policy hitherto adopted,

and others recommending the continuance of the severe prohibitions. It is

highly important to consider the subject carefully in all its bearings, surveying

at once the whole field of action, so that such measures may be adopted as shall

continue for ever in force, free from all failure.

Strict investigation Let Tang and his colleagues anxiously and carefully consult together upon

to be made. the recommendation to search for, and with utmost strictness, apprehend all

those traitorous natives who sell the drug, the Hong merchants who arrange the

transactions in it, the brokers who purchase it by wholesale, the boatmen who are

engaged in transporting it, and the naval militia who receive bribes ; and having

determined on the steps to be taken in order to stop up the source of the evil,

let them present a true and faithful report. Let them also carefully ascertain

and report, whether the circumstances stated by Heu-Kew in his supplementary

document, in reference to the foreigners from beyond the seas be true or not,

whether such things as are mentioned therein have or have not taken place.

Copies of the several documents are to be herewith sent to those officers for

perusal ; and this edict is to be made known to Tang and Ke, who are to enjoin

it also on Wan, the Superintendent of Maritime Customs. Respect this

Inclosure 8 in No. 90.

Report in reference to the circulation of dollars in China.

August, 1836.

Preamble. REPORT, made by the Commissioners of Finance and of Justice in the

province Kwangtung, to the heads of the Provincial Government, requesting that

their Excellencies, when replying to His Majesty, will recommend that the use

of foreign money be still sanctioned, as being suitable to the position of foreign

affairs here: but that all exchanges for, or clandestine exportation of, sycee

silver be disallowed.

Necessity of retain- Foreign money is brought from the lands of the distant barbarians, and is

ing the foreign mo- essentially necessary to the mercantile classes trading in all the provinces along

ney in the eastern tne coast, who for their daily supplies of food and other necessaries, are


dependent on the facility of exchanging this money, and on its general circula- southern pro-

tion. It is not, therefore, to be dispensed with for a single moment. Its vmces-

circulation, however, is confined to the provinc es Keangnan, Chekeang, Fuhkeen,

and Kwangtung, or, if it do occasionally exten d, in the course of trade, to adjoin

ing districts (for this is a circumstance not wholly to be avoided), yet it cannot

circulate much further inland than a few hundred miles. As to the provinces

lying northwards, the two provinces of "The Lakes" (Hoonan and Hoopih),

Szechuen, Yunnan, and Kweichow, this money does not at present circulate in

any of them: and if perchance a few specimens reach those places, they are

prized merely as curiosities ; or, if it be attempted to force them on the market,

they can be exchanged only at a discount, and even then with difficulty. How

can it be supposed, therefore, that this money will immediately spread itself into

universal circulation ?

Having taken this general view of the subject, we will turn to the repre- Doubts expressed

sentation made by the Censor Shin Yung. In the representation, he expresses by Shin Yung are

his apprehension that the low standard of foreign money must render it difficult t0 be met

to be exchanged for sycee silver at a fair and regular rate ; and on that account

he requests that the inhibition of the money may be made a subject of considera

tion. This recommendation is doubtless the result of anxious attention to the

policy of Government, and serious regard for the interests of the people. But

arguments are not wanting in favour of the circulation of money, so far as

regards the eastern and southern provinces.

The places where foreign ships anchor are also the places where foreign By showing that die

money is scattered abroad. The supplies of provisions furnished to them com- money is necessary

prise minute and multifarious details ; their expenses include numerous items of To the inha-

avery varied character; and many small sums are paid by them, as the hire of ltants 0 '

labour, or the price of articles. Not a day passes without money being used for

one or other of these purposes. It becomes, then, a matter of necessity that

they should bring foreign money with them, to meet these various expenses; and

hence it happens that the market prices are regulated by dollars, it being found

highly convenient to value goods by them. The people among themselves, also,

gladly fall in with such an arrangement, finding it to be advantageous. From

which it is clear that the inhabitants of the coast cannot well be deprived of the

foreign money.

Again, native merchants, trading by sea along the coast, when they travel, 2. To traders t

carry their money with them. If these have to carry the governmental [copper] tne coast-

coin, the expense of so doing will be a heavy tax upon their small transactions;

and if they carry gold or silver to sea with them, they have reason to fear lest they

be found guilty of contravening the prohibitions of government. It is therefore

impossible for them to do otherwise than carry foreign money with them, it being

necessary that they should have such money in order to make purchases. And

hence it is evident that the native mercantile classes along the coast cannot

dispense with the use of foreign money.

Further, as to the foreigners, they import foreign money into Canton as a 3. To foreign mer-

medium in which to pay the prices of commodities purchased by them. The cliants "» China,

amount of such importations is variable and uncertain; and whatever balance

they may have remaining is either employed, on perceiving an advantageous state

of the market, in making additional purchases, or is spent in a more abundant

and luxurious supply of the daily necessaries of life. For in the love of much

money, and of good prices, the flowery people and barbarians are altogether like-

minded. We see, then, lastly, that the foreign merchants of other countries are

likewise unable to dispense with the use of foreign money.

We are informed that there are silver mines in England, and America, and And that no injury

Spain. Although the pattern after which the money of each country is made differs, dsej°fr^ aPPrehei»-

yet the degree of purity is nearly the same with all, being above ninety per cent. iation. 1 8 circu"

touch, as compared with the sycee silver of China. We see, then, that though

they be left to follow their own methods, yet the foreigners do not draw their

materials from this country. And in commercial intercourse, so long as each

holds its due place, the foreign money is the same as though it were issued from

the mint of the palace itself. Our empire is separated from the foreigners by

ten thousand miles of sea, over which they cross to present things of value and

to offer tribute ; and for their doing this, established regulations exist. Since,

then, to present themselves here, and to make offerings has been so long their

practice, that time has rendered it equal to an ancient rule that they should so do,

2 A2


—what cause can there be for apprehension of any consequences that may arise

from permitting them to bring such things as will be most advantageous and pro

fitable to them ? It is most truly said in His Sacred Majesty's Edict, that the

circulation of the foreign money in the east and south is not a thing merely of

yesterday. The right mode of acting is, to establish rules and limits, so as to

bring upon the same level the wishes both of our own people and of those from

afar. But were the foreign money permitted to be circulated even in all the

provinces, it would not be productive of the slightest injury to China.

The varying weight The great objection to the use of foreign money is this, that with it no

and standard of fo- regard is paid to the weight of metal, or the degree of purity. In Canton, this

reign money alone Was formerly the case, also. But at a later period, as a precaution against fraud,

objectionable. foreign money began to be stamped and chopped, to mark the degree of purity,

and to be weighed, in order to ascertain the quantity of metal. The money so

stamped is in general circulation in the markets, where it goes by the name of

" broken pieces ;" and when it is exchanged for sycee silver, about three or four

taels per cent- are added to make amends for inferiority in touch. But in Kean-

gnan and Chekeang no money is in circulation but such as is bright, with a new

smooth face. At present the " broken pieces" of Canton, when paid in

exchange for new-faced money, pay a premium of no less than six or seven taels

per cent. And crafty dealers, having many clever devices for obtaining gain,

raise the price still higher, whenever the supply of this new-faced money is insuf

ficient. Of the manner in which the money circulates in Keangnan and

Chekeang, at the present time, we are ignorant.

Hence, payments, Should the Imperial pleasure be declared in favour of the circulation of

larT^houw'be^v ^ore*6n monev» ft ought to be required, in all the provinces, that the money be

weight, and the va- paid by weight, and that prices be no longer rated by the number of dollars; that

lue of dollar silver foreign money, when exchanged for sycee silver, whether such money be in

k1°UlbeialWa^St bf Droken pieces> or in whole bright-faced coin, shall always pay a premium per

sycee silver * ° cen^- *o m&ke up the difference of purity between it and sycee silver; and that

foreign money shall never be allowed, on the contrary, to bear a premium, when

given in exchange for sycee silver. With regard to native counterfeits and

adulterated pieces of money, the shroffs in the market-places are so expert in

discovering and picking out such, that is quite unnecessary to think for the

people on this point, or to make any rules or restrictions with reference to it.

Precautions to be The purity and weight of the silver being in this manner rendered subject

taken that sycee sil- to trial, the crafty deceitful character of the foreigners will have no room for

ver be not export . exercismg itself in petty arts. But the importance of the Custom-House

restrictions is such as to call, in a still greater degree, for prohibitions,—pro

hibitions, namely, of the exportation of sycee silver. It is our duty to request,

that, in all future commercial dealings with foreign merchants, no persons be

permitted to mix up sycee silver in the payment of any balances due to such

foreign merchants, or to sell any sycee silver to them for their every-day use ;

that voluntary engagements to this effect be filed by all the Hong merchants,

both the senior merchants and the others ; that, if any of these infringe this

regulation, they be rendered liable to severe punishment by fine or trans

portation ; and that if any shopkeeper, or any other of the people, transgress

it, such transgressor be made liable to a punishment one degree more severe.

The officers and men in charge of custom-houses and passes, as well as those in

command of naval vessels at sea, should be required to keep guard in constant

succession, the latter always cruising about. When the foreign ships are

returning from hence, officers and men should be bound to search faithfully ;

and in case of their discovering and making seizure of any sycee silver, and

sending the offenders to meet their trial, they should be rewarded by a gift of

all the silver so seized. Should any dare to protect and wilfully connive at any

transgression of the law, and should such connivance be discovered by the

transgressor being elsewhere apprehended, inquiry ought to be made as to the

places through which the trangressor had passed, and the officers and men at

those places ought to be dealt with most severely. If regulations be made of

this clear and determined nature, all will then be convinced that the purpose

is to uphold them.

Conclusion, f The luxuriance and splendour of this Central nation are such, that its own

native treasures are exhaustless, and it values not things of foreign and distant

extraction. The would-be-clever arts of the outermost barbarians it reckons as


nothing and of no worth. These arts can, therefore, be productive of no

detriment to the policy of the Government, while to the people they appear not

unattended by some advantage. It is our duty, therefore, to request that your

Excellencies will implore His Majesty, of his heavenly favour, to sanction the

continuance of foreign money in circulation in the sea-board provinces, its

circulation being suitable to the position of foreign affairs, and convenient

for the people. As in duty bound, we have consulted together, and lay before

your Excellencies the result, awaiting your decision as to the correctness or

incorrectness thereof, preparatory to a full memorial to the Emperor.


Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

No. 91.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received July 17, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, February 7, 1837.

THE Inclosure No. 1, which I have now the honour to transmit, is an

edict from the heads of the Provincial Government, issued on the 28th October

last, directing inquiries to be made respecting certain foreign merchants reputed

to be traders in opium.

The Inclosure No. 2, is an edict from the same source, requiring the

departure of certain foreign merchants within half a month.

Of the persons thus ordered to leave the country, the following gentlemen

are British Subjects.

Messrs. Jardine, Turner, Framjee, }

Dent, Whiteman. Merwanjee, > Parsees.

Innes, Dadabhoy. )

The Inclosure No. 3, is an edict, dated 13th December last, extending the

limits previously fixed for the departure of these gentlemen. If these instru

ments had not been accompanied by very earnest and repeated injunctions upon

the part of the Hong merchants, to the parties whose names are specified, it

would have been reasonable to consider them to be the more ordinary, and

empty proclamation of purposeless command, which the Provincial Government

is either pleased or obliged to put forward, from time to time.

I need not press upon your Lordship's attention, the excessive degree of

alarm and mischief which would be created amongst the merchants and manu

facturers in England, connected with the trade, if they should learn that their

agents in this distant part of the world, with balances to remit, and large stocks

on hand, and on the passage, were suddenly driven forth from the country.

For my part, I have no belief that any such measure will be attempted.

But your Lordship will observe it is menaced, and the posture of other circum

stances in relation to it, is certainly very peculiar.

• In determining upon the course which events may render needful upon

this particular subject, it became me to give the fullest weight to the con

sideration, that many of the parties in England, interested in this commerce,

might sink under the panic which such tidings would occasion; and that they

would be productive not merely of great private distress, but of considerable

public inconvenience.

Indeed, amongst other reasons for addressing this despatch to your

Lordship, I have felt that the persons in England whose capital is newly

embarked in this trade, are not likely, as the Company were, to take any accurate

estimate of the force of these menaces. It appears to be probable, then, that

His Majesty's Government may be applied to by alarmed individuals, upon .his

subject, and that it may be convenient to possess official means or assuring them,

there is no great cause to believe such proceedings will be attempted. And at all

events, that every proper effort will be made on the spot to prevent them.

When your Lordship's despatch, of June 15, 1836, arrived, the edict of 13th

December (Inclosure No. 3,) had not reached our hands, and at that period the

last information we had of the intentions of this Government, was the edict of


the 23rd November, commanding the merchants to leave the country in half a


At that conjuncture it seemed to me, that if I should succeed in placing

myself conciliatorily and unsuspiciously in communication with the Government,

I should stand in a position enabling me to interpose very efficaciously in this

matter, at any moment of real difficulty which might present itself. To the

merchants this interposition would be advantageous, because it would place

me, in my official station, between them and an exceedingly critical state of

circumstances; to His Majesty's Government, because it would either prevent

grave inconveniences, or at all events justify measures for their prompt and

complete redress, by the record of my previous formal remonstrances, and

protests, to the Chinese Authorities.

Very shortly after my assumption of this office, the edict of the 13th

December last appeared. And I have abstained from taking any steps in this

matter, till the period of the extended time shall be at hand ; neither shall I

move, then, unless it be elear that the Provincial Government still persists in

its intentions. Your Lordship, I hope, will consider I am right in refraining

from any unnecessary interference upon such a subject.

If a mere temporary visit to Macao would be sufficient on this occasion, it

must be admitted that such was the usual custom of the Company's servants;

and I dare say the gentlemen adverted to, would not find it inconvenient at the

inactive season of the year fixed for their departure, to meet the wishes of the

Local Government to that extent. If this, however, should not be enough, and

the Provisional Authorities be indeed sincerely determined to attempt the

dismissal of the merchants from this country, my interposition will become

indispensable. And your Lordship may rely on my measured, but firmest

opposition to an intolerably injurious aggression of this practical nature.

But situated as I am, I cannot think there will be much difficulty in

satisfactorily averting serious disputes upon this subject,

I shall avail myself of any favourable occasion which these edicts may

present, to attempt some further advantageous modifications in the mode of

official intercurse between the Provincial Government and ourselves.

I have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.

Inclosure 1 in No. 91.

Edict from the Heads of the Provincial Government, directing inquiries to be

made respecting certain foreign Merchants reputed to be traders in Opium.

TANG, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, Ke, Lieutenant-

Governor of Kwangtung, &c, and Wan, Superintendent of Maritime Customs,

issue their commands to the senior Hong merchants, requiring their full

acquaintance therewith.

Extracts from an We, the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Hoppo, have, with deep

Imperial Edict. humility, received an Imperial Decree, commanding us, " in reference to the

memorial of the Sub-Censor, Heu Kew, respecting the traitorous natives who

deal in opium, the Hong merchants who arrange all transactions, the brokers

who purchase wholesale, the boat-people who convey the drug to and fro, and

the naval militia who connive, being bribed, to examine closely, and strictly

apprehend, offenders in all these points ; to deliberate on the subject with full

purpose of heart ; to endeavour strenuously to dam up the source of the evil ;

and to report on the whole subject fully and faithfully. Respect this."

And from the We also, at the same time, received a copy of the Sub-Censor Heu-KeW's

Memorial of the memorial, in which we find the following passage :—" The traitorous natives

Sub-Censor Heu

Kew. who sell the opium, cannot altogether carry on the traffic with the foreign ships

in their own persons. To purchase wholesale there are brokers : to arrange all

transactions there are the Hong merchants : to take money, and give orders to

be carried to the receiving ship, that from them the drug may be obtained, there

are resident barbarians. The resident barbarians dwell severally in the

foreign factories. In the Creek factory is one named Jardine, and who is nick


named the ' 1 Iron-headed old rat ;" also one named Innes : in the Paoushun factory

is one named Dent ; also one named Framjee, and one named Merwanjee : in

the Fungtae factory is one named Dadabhoy : in the American factory is one

named Gordon : in the Imperial factory is one named Wetmore (some read

Whiteman) : in the Spanish factory is one named Turner ; and besides these I

apprehend there are many others."

Opium, we observe, is an article respecting which Imperial decrees have Measures hitherto

been repeatedly received, all commanding its prohibition, and directing, that if taken against the

any foreign trading ship presume to come hither with opium, such trading ship imPortatlon of

shall be immediately sent back, and not suffered to have any traffic with Canton. opium'

And Yuen, formerly Governor of these provinces, having taken up and investi

gated a case of four country ships, Hat and others, in which opium had been

brought into the port, respectfully received the Imperial commands to inflict

punishment. He also presented a memorial, suggesting, that on occasion of

any foreign ship entering the port, the senior merchants should be required to

examine and enter into securities for her, each in succession ; and that, in

concert with the several other security-merchants, they should be required to

examine each vessel, and then to sign a bond, purporting that the foreigners on

on board such vessel do not bring with them any opium. These voluntary

bonds given by the security-merchants, are, according to the constant practice of

the said merchants, continued for some times past, presented to the Hoppo, by

whom they are transmitted, for preservation (in the Governor's Office.)

While, however, the foreigners are thus prevented from bringing opium Its direct importa-

into the port, the receiving ships at Lintin bring the drug hither and dispose of tion prevented, but

it only the more contumeliously. But, were it not for the crafty and artful no* .t,hei,sale °f

, . * n , , J , . . ,1, . i • •. outside the port,

devices or the said merchants, and their encouragement held out to bring it,

were it not for their co-operation and connivance, their arrangement of transac

tions, that they may divide the spoil, how could the foreigners have it in their

power to exercise their petty contrivances ? It is, in the highest degree, our

bounden duty to inquire into this matter.

Forthwith, therefore, we issue these commands. On their reaching the Orders to inquire

said merchants, let them immediately ascertain if the before-named foreigners, in regard to the in-

Jardine, or the iron-headed old rat, Innes, Dent, Framjee, Merwanjee, f^aW exwacu"1

Dadabhoy, Gordon, Wetmore (or Whiteman), and Turner, do, or do not, seve

rally reside in the Creek, Paoushun, Fungtoa, American, Imperial, and

Spanish factories ; of what foreign nation they are ; in what manner they

continue stationary in this place, and store up and sell their opium ; from what

year they date the commencement of their opium transactions ; what quantity of

the drug they annually store up and dispose of ; and whether they ordinarily

insist on payment of the price of it in sycee silver? Let tham particulary inquire

on each of these points, and faithfully report to us, that we may thoroughly

investigate the subject. Should the said merchants think practically to set aside

the laws, and afford aid and co-operation, or dress the subject in false colours

and pretexts, they will find, we apprehend, their criminality too heavy for them

to bear. Let them, one and all, maturely consider and weigh this ; and, with

trembling and earnest diligence, let them obey these our special commands.

16th year of Taoukwang, 9th month, 19th day. (28th October, 1836.)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

Inclosure 2 in No. 91.

Edict from the Heads of the Provincial Government, requiring the departure of

certain foreign Merchants within half a month.

TANG, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, Ke, Lieutenant-

Governor of Kwangtung, and Wan, Superintendent of Maritime Customs, issue

these commands to the Hong merchants, requiring their full acquaintance


We have received from the said merchants a report, purporting to be " a A report received

Report made for our thorough investigation, in obedience to our command, to J^£t,Hon*


ascertain the reason of the foreign merchants, Jardine and others, remaining so

long in Canton, in place of returning home according to the regulations."

Having received it, we have again taken this case under our consideration. It

is a case brought to our attention by an Imperial decree, which we have

respectfully received. The subject has been well and accurately laid open in the

statements of the original memorial. And how, in any way, can the fact of these

foreign merchants, Jardine and the others, having made their quarters in Canton

for many years, be spoken of as without a cause ?

The report inaccu- In this report, it is represented that, the receiving ships being anchored in

rate, and not to the the outer Seas, much of the smuggling carried on by traitorous dealers is con-

' ducted by means of sea-going vessels, from various parts of those seas, approaching

the receiving ships and purchasing from them. Truly, if, as here represented, all

such illegalities are committed outside, how comes it then that the instances

that have formerly occurred of seizures have continually been within the precincts

of the capital? And even assuming the truth of their present assertion, that

the seizures outside are more numerous, seizures at the capital but few, this only

shows the rareness, not the entire want, of such seizures. There are then some

instances ; there must then be men, by whom the transactions are arranged ;

there must be individuals by whom a mutual understanding is brought about.

We, the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Hoppo, in our desire to preserve

uninjured the property and lives of the said merchants, will not withhold

motherly kindness and pains, taking advice and guidance of them. If they

acknowledge their offences themselves, their punishment shall be remitted.

But if they continue to report in this irrelevant manner, and turn thus away

from the point, hereafter, when once discovery is made of an offence on their

part, it will only remain to us, to maintain the laws and severely inflict the

penalties thereof. And they, if they will not now care for the consequence, will

so much the more be left without cause for murmuring against us.

No excuse admis- As to the foreign merchants, Jardine and the others, it is wholly needless to

sihle on behalf of question their bare proofless assertions, or at all to doubt, whether their long

whThave s^aye'rio res^ence m Canton does, indeed, arise from the multitude of ships, the busi-

long in Canton. ness of which they have to transact, and from the circumstance that not a month

elapses without a trading ship coming to Canton ; or whether it is not rather

owing to their wanting to wait and observe the prices, in order to make the

purchases. For, granting the first assertion to be perfectly true, and that not a

day passes in which trade is interrupted, does it, therefore, follow that these

foreigners are free to remain, and not return home at all; or can such a prin

ciple as this be admitted ? Hear what the memorial, formerly sanctioned, says

upon this point : " A foreigner of any nation, if, in consequence of its being

impracticable for him at once to dispose of his foreign merchandize, he is unable

to get in all his property, and has, therefore, no option but to remain in Canton,

must, after the foreign ships have left the port, go and reside at Macao, and

place his commodities in the hands of a Hong merchant to sell off for him ;

which, having done, the Hong merchant is to pay him the whole price; and, in

the following year, it shall be imperative on him to avail himself of one of the

ships of his nation to return home. The Hong merchants and Linguists, should

they suffer foreign merchants by degrees to take up their abode in Canton, shall

be severally subjected to a strict investigation." Not only then is there nothing

to admit of these foreign merchants residing in Canton, there is not even any

law to permit their long continuance at Macao. Do they represent, that the

trade of the foreigners needs the parties own particular attention ? For what

purpose, then, are foreign Hongs established, and of what use are the said

merchants? Are they, forsooth, established in order that the Hong merchants

may twist the laws to serve their own private interests ? It is, indeed, most

unreasonable, that these men should thus frame their mouths to make pretexts,

and work out excuses for the foreigners.

Grateful obedience The sum of the matter is this : These foreigners are richly imbued with the

foreigners cherishing and protecting favours of the Celestial Empire ; and they ought at

once to pay implicit obedience to the laws and statutes of the Celestial Empire ;

and should in all their intercourse, and in everything, conform to the regulations:

thus only may they preserve to themselves the path of commercial intercourse


And strict obedi- At the present moment, the investigations ordered by the Court are exceed-

ence will be com- ingly strict. If then these foreigners do not bestir themselves, and quickly

polled. ° ' ° 1


return home, even though it be admitted that they are not residing in the

country to sell what is contraband, and though it be granted that the Hong

merchants do not combine with them, and arrange all transactions, yet how can

these last reconcile it even to their own minds, that they should suffer them still

. to abide in the place, daily attaching to themselves fresh suspicions? Moreover,

i we, the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Hoppo, hold the direction of this

territory, to eradicate all that is evil, and to bring back to reason the depraved.

In chastisements we show no partiality or leniency ; and having received with

reverence the Imperial commands to investigate the matter, it the more behoves

us, to take anxious precautions on every side, equally towards those within

and towards those without. Though it be said, that, in regard to what is past,

; indulgence should be shown, yet how can we neglect to pay prudent attention

to future consequences. We desire to impress it on the minds of all, early to

look to themselves, and to consider these things long and seriously.

Forthwith we issue these commands. When they reach the said Hong Half a month

• merchants, let them immediately enjoin the same on the foreign merchants, granted as the limit

Jardine, Innes, Dent, and Turner, as also on those who have resided but for a of tlle stav in Can"

few years, or who have gone away, and returned again, namely,—Framjee, ton*

Merwanjee, Dadabhoy, Gordon, and Wetmore (or Whiteman), desiring them,

in obedience hereto, to settle with the utmost diligence their commercial

affairs. They are indulgently allowed a period of half a month, in which to

pack up their effects, and remove out of the provincial city ; and either avail

themselves of some expected ship, or of some vessel about to sail, to return to

their country. They cannot be allowed longer to loiter about. Should any of

them be really unable to conclude their business in half a month, they also must

go within that time to Macao, but may remain there for a season : and all their

goods and accounts they must put into the hands of the Hong merchants, the

one to be disposed of, the other to be settled ; so that they may speedily return

home with all their effects. Nor must they be allowed, by remaining long at

Macao, to disobey the fixed regulations. If they dare to continue lingering Cautionar a(jmon;

about, it will then be seen, that the said foreigners will not listen to kind lan- t[^10 arya m° "

guage, that they are irreclaimably sunk in folly, and that they are truly such as

the Celestial Empire will not bear with : then, when the effects of the law are

. visited on them, they may find that, though they have a country to return to,

yet they cannot return to it. The Creek and other factories in which they are

suffered to remain, shall also in such case be closed, and the parties concerned

in them shall be brought to investigation. Be careful then not to decide care

lessly. Let the said merchants present to us, within three days, signed bonds

that the limited period will be carefully observed, in order that we may be

enabled, after thorough examination of the subject, to report to His Majesty.

Let none oppose this, or delay obedience. A Special Order.

16th year of Taoukwang, 10th month, 15th day. (23rd November, 1836.)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

Inclosure 3 in No. 91.

Edict from the Heads of the Provincial Government, extending the limit previously

fixed as the time for Messrs. Jardine and others to leave Canton.

TANG, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangsc; Ke, Lieutenant-

Governor of Kwangtung; and Wan, Superintendent of Maritime Customs,

issue these orders to the Hong merchants, requiring their full acquaintance


We have received the subjoined report from the said merchants: —

" Your Excellencies' commands were received, directing us immediately to fy^°^JeHonCd

communicate to the foreign merchants, Jardine and others, that they are merchants as under,

severally to finish with the utmost diligence, their commercial affairs; that they

are indulgently allowed a period of half a month, in which to pack up their effects

and remove out of the provincial city, after which they are either to avail

• themselves of some expected ship, or of some vessel on the point of sailing, to

2 B


return to their country; that they cannot be allowed longer to loiter about;

and that should any of them be really unable to conclude their business in

half a month, they also must remove within the time prescribed, but may go

to Macao, and remain there for a season ; that, however, they must not e

allowed, by remaining long at Macao, to disobey the fixed regulations. On the

receipt of these commands, we examined our documents, and found, that in

our former report we had already stated, that there is no such person here

Last order to the as Merwanjee. With the exception, therefore, of him, we, in obedience to the

Hong merchants commands received, enjoined it on the said foreign merchants, Jardine and

enjoined by them. the others, that they should obey the same, should settle with the utmost

diligence their commercial affairs, should, within the prescribed period of half

a month, remove from Canton, and either return home, or go down to Macao;

and that if there were any who really were unable to conclude their business

in half a month, they should place their commodities and their accounts in our

hands, that we might dispose of the one and settle the other for them. We

also desired them to give us written bonds that they would carefully observe the

limited period, in order that we might present the same.

Replies given by " Having thus done, we received from Framjee a note, stating 'that as

the foreigners. soon as he had concluded his sales and purchases, about the first month of next

year, he will return home.' We received also a note from Whiteman*,

stating, ' that he has determined to go home, andlhat at the end of this year,

he will avail himself of a vessel sailing back to his country.' We also received

replies from Jardine, Dadabhoy, Gordon, Turner, Innes, and Dent, severally

stating, ' that at present ships are arriving in great numbers : that it is necessary

that they should purchase cargoes for them before they can sail again ; and

intreating a delay until such time as they have concluded their sales and

These replies are purchases, when they will go down and reside at Macao.' Having reported

unsatisfactory. these answers, we received your Excellencies' verbal commands, to the effect,

that the language of the several foreign merchants bore marks of a desire to

linger about; and that they should therefore still be directed to move out of the

provincial city, as before ordered, within the prescribed time. After we received

these directions, we again enjoined the commands, and called on the foreigners

to act in trembling obedience thereto.

Second series of " This having done, we have now received a reply from Framjee, still entreat

replies from the ing ' that he may wait until he has concluded his sales and .purchases ; and that

foreigners. about the first month of the next year he will return to his country.' From

Whiteman we have also received a reply, still requesting ' that he may be allowed

to clear up his accounts, and that at the end of this year he will return home.'

From Gordon, also, we have received a reply, intreating ' that he may be

allowed to stay until his commercial affairs are concluded ; that then, in the

third month of next year he will return home.' Dadabhoy has replied

to us: ' I am now conducting my trading transactions with the utmost diligence.

I beg that I may stop till the first month of next year, when I will go down

and reside at Macao.' Jardine replied, 'Many ships to my consignment still

remain anchored at Whampoa; and it is requisite yet to purchase silk, and teas,

and ether goods for exportation. The teas this year are reaching Canton later

than is ordinarily the case. I entreat that I may be allowed to remain till I

have purchased all the goods required, and till the ships have all left the port;

and then in the fourth month of next year, I will go down and reside at Macao.'

From Dent and Turner we have received answers, ' that they have now ships at

Whampoa to their consignment, that they have to purchase silks, teas, and other

goods for them to return; and that they intreat, therefore, they may be allowed

to stop till they have completed all their sales and purchases, when, in the third

month of next year, they will go down and reside at Macao.' Lastly, Innes

has replied, intreating * that he may be allowed to complete his sales and

purchases, when, at the end of this year, he will go down and reside at Macao.'

These all having reached us, it is our duty to report the particulars, and ask

if your Excellencies will deign to grant the requests of the several foreign

merchants, which must proceed wholly from your Excellencies' grace and


Remarks by the This report having come before us, we, the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor,

Governor, &c,

reason why the

foreigners should * The doubtful in Chinese, : i to have been fixed on Mr. Whiteman, in place of Mr.

leave Canton. Wetmore.


and Hoppo, have again taken the subject into consideration. In the regulations

there is no article permitting foreigners to abide in the provincial capital. Out

of former chance inadvertence, has grown up a stay and continuance therein

of several years' duration. It is, indeed, an infringement of the established

enactments. Admit that these foreign merchants quietly attend to their com

mercial duties ; grant that they and the Hong merchants are not mutually

drawn into acts of depravity, yet suspicions have arisen in the place of their stay

that they have taken their quarters here for the purpose of combining with

natives to dispose of contraband goods; and the expression of these suspicions

has ascended even to the ninth heaven the [Imperial presence,] and has called

down from the Great Emperor strict orders to investigate the subject.

Now, having received the above detailed report, we, the Governor, the Extension of the

Lieutenant-Governor, and the Hoppo, look upwards and would embody the period to all, to

extreme desire of the sacred intelligence to cherish strangers with tenderness. to^thereoUff^tl '

In seeking condescendingly to yield to the dispositions of foreigners, what need

is there to be over-strict and harsh? But if the period be too long extended, we

shall not only be unable to bring words to report it to His Majesty but also,

by partiality and connivance, we shall greatly derogate from the dignity of

Government. We have, therefore, jointly deliberated and determined on our

course of action. The three merchants, Whiteman, Framjee, and Gordon, who

have pleaded for a delay, at the same time purposing to return to their country,

may be allowed their requests, namely to return severally at the end of this year,

and in the first and third months of the next year. They may return at the

periods they have named. The two merchants, Innes and Dadabhoy, also, who

have requested that they may go and reside at Macao, are allowed to do so

at the times named, the close of this year, and the first month of next year.

But with regard to the three merchants, Jardine, Dent, and Turner, without

having named a period for going home, they seek to go and reside at Macao,

and yet ask to stop till the third and fourth months of next year before they go.

This is most absurd and foolish conduct. From their statements, however, it

appears that they have yet many ships here, and they have need to purchase

cargoes for them. We, therefore, will indulgently permit an extension of the

period, prescribing to all of them, the second month of next year, at which

period they must go to Macao. Between this date and the second month

of next year, four months will elapse, and in that long period they may transact

all their affairs; or if some do remain unfinished, yet they will be able to make

Macao their place of sojourn; we certainly will not permit any the least

extension of this period, or opposition hereto. We, the Governor, the Lieutenant-

Governor, and the Hoppo, are this day sending a memorial express, to inform

the Great Emperor, that periods have been fixed for the departure severally of

the said foreigners; and on no account will we make any change.

Let the said Hong merchants take signed bonds from the said foreign Written bonds re-

merchants, severally, to observe this prescribed limit; and let them also give quired for observa-

bonds for themselves, that they will not presume to suffer their stay beyond the JjSJj ^riod'6"

period prescribed; the Hong merchants shall be held responsible for them in "

their property: and these bonds they must deliver within three days. Let

them not seek and hope for delay. And as the said foreign merchants

successively depart, let them on each occasion report the same, that examination

may be made. If, when the periods elapse, they still linger and hesitate to go,

it will then be seen that these foreign merchants are bound up in the love

of their own private interests, and that they are minded to offer contumelious

opposition. We, the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Hoppo, in the

performance of our duties, will not assume the slightest degree of false colouring

and vain pretext: nor will we show the least personal regard and consideration.

We can only pursue our course with firm maintenance of the laws; ruling well

on the one hand those without, on the other those within the empire's pale ;

and thus aiming to display gloriously the Majesty of Heaven [the Emperor].

Say not that ye were not forewarned. Tremblingly and attentively consider

this. A special Edict.

16th year of Taoukwang, 11th month, 6th day. (13th December 1836.)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

2 B2


No. 92.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received July 17, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, February 10, 1837.

WITH reference to ray despatch to your Lordship of 2nd Feb

ruary, 1837, I have now the honour to transmit copies of despatches

I have addressed to the Right Honourable the Governor-General and the

Honourable the Rear-Admiral Commanding-in-chief, on the same subject.

It is not in my power to inform your Lordship that the restrictive spirit of

the Local Government in respect to the opium traffic, has in any degree relaxed.

I have &c


Chief Superintendent.

'. Inelosure 1 in No. 92.

Captain Elliot to Lord Auckland.

My Lord, Macao, February 2, 1837.

I HAVE the honour to transmit to your Lordship the accompanying

series of remarkable papers upon the subject of the legal admission of opium into

China. All the documents upon this topic which have yet reached us, are

comprehended in this collection, and they are arranged in the order according

to which tbey fell into our possession.

I have also taken the liberty to inclose to your Lordship copies of despatches

I have recently addressed to Viscount Palmerston, and to the Honourable the

Rear-Admiral Commanding-in-Chief on this station, upon the same subject.

In the actual state of our commerce with China, my Lord, I believe I may

say, that the interruption of the opium traffic must have the effect, not merely

of temporarily crippling our means of purchasing in this market at all ; but,

undoubtedly, of placing us, in respect to the prices of the export staples, com

pletely in the power of what may justly be described to be a copartnership of

native dealers. The failure of the opium deliveries is attended with an almost

entire cessation of money transactions in Canton. And in the glutted con

dition of this market, your Lordship will judge how peculiarly mischievously the

present stagnation must operate on the whole British commerce with the


But it must be quite unnecessary to press upon your Lordship's attention,

the many extremely important considerations connected with this subject: and I

trust I shall be excused for submitting the most hopeful means which suggest

themselves to me, to draw to a close so disquieting a state of things.

I would beg to observe to your Lordship, that the frequent and short

visits of ships of war to this anchorage, and in the neighbourhood of the points

to which the outside trade has extended, seem to me to be movements calculated,

either to carry the Provincial Government back to the system which has hitherto

prevailed, or to hasten onwards the legalization measure from the Court.

Your Lordship will perceive that I have solicited the Commander-in-chief

to send a man-of-war to these seas, with instructions to afford such countenance

to the general trade as may be practicable, without inconveniently committing

His Majesty's Government upon any delicate question. And I most respectfully

submit to your Lordship, that if one or two of the Company's cruisers could be

joined in this service, there seems to be every reason to hope their presence

might considerably facilitate the purposes in view.

I have suggested to the Commander-in-chief, that Manila would be a

convenient general station for these ships, and if the officer in command were

instructed to place himself in communication with me, your Lordship and the

Admiral may rely upon my earnest efforts to furnish him the best information in

my power, and the most cautious counsels.

1 have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.


Inclosure 2 in No. 92.

Captain Elliot to Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Bladen Capel, K.C.B.

Sir, Macao, February 2, 1837.

HEREWITH I have the honour to transmit to you the copy of a despatch I

have recently addressed Co Viscount Palmerston, together with a series of papers

which accompanied that communication.

In the actual emergency, I venture respectfully to move you to order a ship-

of-war to repair to these seas for the purpose of affording such countenance to

the general British Trade in China, as may be practicable, without any risk of

inconvenient discussions, or collision with this Government.

I have also requested the Right Honourable the Governor- General of

India, to address you upon this subject, and I have presumed to suggest to

his Lordship the advantage which might result to the public interests, if one or

two sail of Company's cruisers were placed under the orders of the Captain of

His Majesty's ship, who you may be pleased to employ on this service.

I can assure you, Sir, that there is a pressing necessity to use every effort

consistent with safety and discretion for the relief of the whole trade, from the

embarrassment into which it is thrown by the restrictive spirit of the Provincial

Government. And it appears to be highly probable that, at the present crisis,

very favourable consequences would ensue from the frequent and short visits of

vessels of war, as well to this anchorage, as to the immediate vicinity of the

points to which the outside trade has been gradually extending.

Perhaps I may permit myself to remark, that Manila might for the moment

be a convenient station of general resort for this small force.

A circumstance occurred in the middle of the year 1835, which may be

made a very proper ground of explanation to the Chinese Authorities, if the

sudden and frequent apparition of these vessels should seriously disquiet them.

They may be reminded, that at that period a British merchant brig (the

Troughton) engaged in the regular trade, and bound direct to the port of Canton,

was plundered by the natives of 70,000 dollars, almost in sight of these roads;

and that the commander and several of the crew were desperately wounded in

this affray: the necessity of force in the neighbourhood, to check the recur

rence of outrages of this kind, is a plea that I can have no doubt the Provincial

Government would find itself obliged to accept.

I will only add, Sir, that if you should think fit to do me the honour to

place the commander of His Majesty's ship in communication with me, I will

anxiously endeavour to assist him with such information and cautious counsels

as shall prevent the possibility of inconveniently committing His Majesty's

Government upon any delicate point.

I have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.

No. 93.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston. — (Received August 22, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, February 21, 1837.

THE Edict from Peking, which I have now the honour to transmit, has

this day been forwarded to me from Canton by Mr. Morrison. It is in

reply to a report from the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of these provinces,

to His Imperial Majesty, No. 4 of the series of papers forwarded to your

Lordship in my despatch of the 2nd instant.

The Inclosure No. 2, is a translation from a paper privately procured,


urporting to furnish information as to the nature of a despatch received

y the Provincial Government upon the same subject.

Upon the genuineness of this last paper, 1 do not venture to speak with

confidence. But founding my conclusions entirely upon the Edict (and the

authenticity of that is beyond dispute), I cannot hesitate to repeat to your

Lordship, my opinion, not only that this measure is determined, but that the

Provincial Government is actually in possession of the pleasure of the Court to

admit the opium.

The Edict insists, like the report to which it replies, on the extreme

mischief of the escape of the sycee silver, occasioned by the opium trade.

Your Lordship will not find, however, that the Edict points to any other

means of preventing that consequence, than those so urgently recommended by

the heads of the Provincial Government, namely, the removal of the prohibitions,

and the establishment of strict regulations that opium should be sold only in

barter for other merchandize.

I cannot but think that the intelligence of the legalization of this traffic

would afford His Majesty's Government great satisfaction.

The fact, that such an article should have grown to be by far the most

important part of our import trade, is of itself a source of painful reflection.

And the wide-spreading public mischief which the manner of its pursuit has

necessarily entailed, so ably and so faithfully represented in some of the papers

I have had the honour to transmit to your Lordship, aggravates the discomfort

of the whole subject.

The legalization measure would certainly be accompanied by permission to

grow and prepare the poppy for home consumption. And perhaps your

Lordship may be led to think that a gradual check to our own growth and

imports would be of salutary effect.

Gradual no doubt, it is most desirable the diminution should be, for in the

present posture of circumstances, it must be conceded, that any abrupt interrup

tion of this traffic involves very nearly a complete interruption of the whole

commerce with the country.

The importance of this branch of the trade is by no means to be estimated

solely by the very large amount to which it figures in the list of imports. A

consideration of far more moment is this, that the movement of money at

Canton has come to depend, by the force of circumstances, almost entirely

upon the deliveries of opium outside.

I need not insist upon the intense inconvenience of a disappearance of

cash from a market where eager competitors are purchasing the main body of

their returns from a close association of native dealers.

It cannot be good that the conduct of a great trade should be so dependent

upon the steady continuance of a vast prohibited traffic in an article of vicious

luxury, high in price, and liable to frequent and prodigious fluctuation. In a

mere commercial point of view, therefore, I believe it is susceptible of proof,

that the gradual diversion of British capital into other channels of employment

than this, would be attended with advantageous consequences.

The effect upon the Indian finance of its sudden cessation, could not fail

to be extremely perplexing. But I have not been a careless observer since I have

been in this country, and I hope your Lordship will let me say that there are

many cogent reasons for regretting the extent to which the Indian income is

dependent upon such a source of revenue.

The proposed measures of the Chinese Government seem to me to furnish

the best hope for our safe extrication from an unsound condition of things.

I have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.


Inclosure 1 in No. 93.

imperial Edict prohibiting the exportation of Silver.

Canton, February 17, 1837.

ON the 20th day of the 12th month (26 January) the Grand Council

of State received the following verbal commands from His Majesty.

A report has this day, arrived from Tang and his colleagues, presenting the Im rial Edict

result of their mutual deliberations, directed to remove the banef ul effects that

arise from opium having pervaded the country. By the prevalence of opium

throughout the empire, there has been occasioned a daily decrease of our fine siiTCi^occasionedbv

silver; being now desirous to exert ourselves entirely to stop up the source of the importation of

this evil, the only sure mode of proceeding is, utterly to prohibit the exportation opium,

of sycee silver. If by diligent and assiduous watchfulness in the places from Exportation of it

whence the silver is exported, and at those points by which it necessarily must therefore to be ut-

pass, we can deprive both the traitorous natives and the barbarians of all oppor- ter y pro 1 lt '

tunity of exercising their artful devices, it is clear that we may thus gradually

close up the breach and prevent further exportation. The said Governor and

his colleagues have been able to perceive this, and point it out in their Memorial,

Let them join heart and hand to enforce vigilant and faithful observation, to punish The Government of

all traitorous natives who combine with the foreigners in illegality, and entirely to the.Proym.

hinder foreign merchants from gratifying their avaricious greediness ; and let enforce this prohi-

it be their grand object wholly to prevent the exportation of our fine silver, bition.

Their labours must be productive of some fruit, they must not attempt to

get off with mere empty words, but, having the name of exerting themselves,

they must prove the reality of their exertions. Communicate these commands

to Tang and Ke, and let them enjoin them also on Wan. Respect this.

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

Inclosure 2 in No. 93.

February 17, 1837.

THE following passage is translated from a paper purporting to give

information as to the nature of a despatch received by the Provincial Government

from Peking.

" A despatch from the Grand Council of State has reached Canton, to this Exportation of sil-

effect, that the exportation of sycee silver is still by law to be prohibited; that ver to be prohibited,

as to opium, the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor are directed to deliberate Importation of

with regard to a duty, to be levied on its importation. The Kwang Chow Hee °Piumtobeallowed-

is to proceed to Peking, to be presented to His Majesty. His vacancy, &c"

(The remainder of the document is a mere detail of appointments.)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.


No. 94.

Viscount Palmerston to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 2, 1837.

I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of your despatches to the 27th of April

inclusive, which have been laid before Her Majesty's Government. ,

In your despatch of the 27th of April you detail the particulars of various com

munications which you had had with the Viceroy of Canton, with a view to the

assertion of your right to forward your communications direct to that officer in a

sealed form, and to receive those of his Excellency in a similar form, addressed

direct to yourself, and not to the Hong merchants.

Her Majesty's Government have learnt with satisfaction that you had suc

ceeded in obtaining the admission of the first of these claims, which relates to the

mode of sending in your own communications ; and I am to express to you the

approbation of your Government of the course which you pursued on this occasion.

You will not fail, on every suitable opportunity, to continue to press for the

recognition, on the part of the Chinese authorities, of your right to receive, direct

from the Viceroy, sealed communications addressed to yourself, without the

intervention of Hong merchants.

I am, &c


No. 95.

Viscount Palmersion to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Foreign Office, November 2, 1837.

I TRANSMIT to you the copy of an Instruction on the subject of our

relations with China, which has been addressed by the Lords Commis

sioners of the Admiralty to Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Maitland, Com

mander-in-chief of Her Majesty's squadron on the East India station.

You will observe that while Sir Frederick Maitland is informed that

it is desirable that one or more of the ships under his orders should, as

frequently as possible, visit the China station, and should remain there as

long as may be consistent with the demands of the service elsewhere

within his command ; he is also instructed to take the earliest convenient

opportunity of himself visiting China, in order to have a personal com

munication with you, and thus afford an opportunity for the interchange

of information between yourself and him, which in many possible future

contingencies would be highly advantageous to British interests in that


Whenever, therefore, you shall receive from Sir|Frederick Maitland an

intimation of his arrival off the coast of China, you will, if not then residing

at Macao, lose no time in proceeding to that place, to meet and confer

with him; and in all your communications with the Rear Admiral, or with

the Commanders of any of Her Majesty's ships that may visit China, you

will be careful to conform yourself to the line of conduct prescribed in the

Instruction of which a copy is" now transmitted to you.

I am, &c,



Inclosure in No. 95.

Viscount Palmerston to the Lords of the Admiralty.

Foreign Office, September 20, 1837.

HER Majesty's Government have had under their consideration Sir

John Barrow's letter of the 6th instant, in which, by command of your

Lordships, he incloses a copy of an article in the Instructions to the Naval

Commander-in-chief in the East Indies, upon the subject of our relations

with China, and requests to be informed whether any, and if any, what

addition or alteration should be made in that instruction ; and, also, whether

the Rear Admiral Commanding-in-chief, should not be directed to proceed

himself to Macao, to communicate with Her Majesty's Superintendent at

Canton. Her Majesty's Government having, at the same time, had under

consideration the several letters which have on various occasions been

addressed by this department to the Admiralty, upon the nature of the

protection which it would be desirable to afford to British subjects resident

in or trading to China, I have now to signify to your Lordships the Queen's

pleasure, that the existing instruction to the Commander-in-chief in the East

Indies, with respect to China, should be altogether cancelled, and that one, in

the following terms, should be substituted in its stead : —

" The trade between Great Britain and China being now by law thrown

open to all Her Majesty's subjects, instead of being confined, as formerly,

to the East India Company, the care of our commercial relations with the

Chinese Empire has, in consequence, been transferred to the Crown ; the East

India Company's establishments at Canton and Macao have been withdrawn ;

and a Queen's officer has been substituted, with the title of Superintendent and

with the duties of a Consul. It is, therefore, desirable that one or more of the

ships under your orders should, as frequently as possible, visit the China

station, and should remain there as long as may be consistent with the

demands of the service elsewhere within your command ; and whenever a

frigate can be spared for this service, a ship of that class would be preferable

to a smaller one.

" The purposes for which such ships would be stationed are : —First, to

afford protection to British interests, and to give weight to any representations

which Her Majesty's Superintendent may be under the necessity of making,

in case any of Her Majesty's subjects should have just cause of complaint

against the Chinese authorities ; and secondly, to assist the Superintendent in

maintaining order among the crews of the British merchantmen who frequent

the port of Canton.

" The officers commanding the ships of Her Majesty, which may thus

from time to time be sent to China, should be especially admonished to be

very careful that the officers and men belonging to the ship under their

command, do not in any way offend the prejudices of the Chinese people,

nor violate the laws and customs of the Chinese empire ; and upon all such

matters, as well as with respect to the places where such ships ought to lie, in

order best to be able to perform the services for which they are sent, the officers

in command should communicate frequently and confidentially with Her

Majesty's Superintendent ; remembering always, however, that unless in a case

of great emergency, when a demonstration or an actual employment of force

may be urgently and absolutely necessary for the protection of the lives

and property of British subjects, Her Majesty's ships of war are studiously

to respect the regulations of the Chinese Government as to the limits

beyond which foreign ships of war are not allowed to approach the city of


" But it is for many reasons expedient, for the interests of Her Majesty's

service, that you should yourself take as early an opportunity as may be


convenient, to have a personal communication with Her Majesty's Superin

tendent, who would meet you for that purpose at Macao ; and your visit on

that occasion should, if possible, be made in a line-of-battle ship. The

interchange of information between yourself and the Superintendent, for which

such personal communication would afford an opportunity, would, in many

possible future contingencies, be highly advantageous to British interests in that


" You will, however, constantly bear in mind, that while, on the one

hand, it is useful that the Chinese should be aware of the nature and extent of

Her Majesty's naval power, it is, on the other hand, most important that

you should avoid any proceedings which might inspire the Chinese with an

apprehension that this naval power is likely to be employed in unprovoked

hostility against them."

In conclusion, I am to request that your Lordships will furnish me with

a copy of any instructions which you may now, or at any future time, think

proper to give to the naval Commander-in-chief in the East Indies, bearing

upon the question of our relations with China, in order that the same may, if

necessary, be transmitted to Her Majesty's Superintendent in China, for his

information and guidance.

I am, &c,



No. 96.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.— {Received December 2, 1837.)

My Lord, . . Macao, March 18, 183".

A SHIP upon the point of sailing for Bengal, affords me a prospect of

communicating rapidly with your Lordship, by the means of the overland mail

of May.

I seize this opportunity to transmit the translation of an Edict, just pro

cured through a private channel, containing the Imperial pleasure, that I shall

be furnished with a passport to proceed to Canton for the performance of my


The official notification may be expected from Canton in the course of a

few days.

For the first time in the history of our intercourse with China, the prin •

ciple is most formally admitted, that an officer of a foreign Sovereign, whose

functions are purely public, should reside in a city of the empire. His Ma

jesty's Government may depend upon my constant, cautious, and earnest

efforts to improve this state of circumstances.

I have, &c,


Inclosure 1 in No. 96.

Edict of the Governor of Canton.

ON the 20th January the report was sent to the Emperor, stating that

Elliot the foreigner was to assume the management of the Merchants and

Seamen of his country. The despatch of the Privy Council, containing the

Imperial Edict, forwarded by a courier of the Military Board, arrived on the

15th March.

Governor Tang had stated, that after the dissolution of the Company, no

Taepan had yet come. In December, last year, the said nation gave a special

appointment to one of its officers to proceed to Canton, and take the general

control of the Merchants who had previously come to trade, and also of the

Seamen, &c

• Since the ships of the said nation continually arrive, there ought to be

somebody to control, and occasionally to tranquillize them.

Now, the said foreigner has received a public official commission for the

control of the Merchants and Sailors. Though his title and rank are not the

same with that of Taepan, the business of controlling does not differ.

He is, therefore, permitted, according to existing regulations, (as formerly

the Taepan,) to go up to Canton, and on his arrival at the provincial city to

manage affairs. The Hoppo is, therefore, ordered to issue a permit.

When he in future lives either at Canton, or at Macao, he ought to con

form to the old laws. He is not permitted to exceed the proper time by

loitering about, and thus to give gradually rise to irregularities.

The high officers are held responsible, and must not permit him to create

disturbances. For this purpose they ought to issue private orders to the

civilians, military officers, and Hong merchants, to inform themselves

occasionally about the true state of things, investigate and watch over him.

If the said foreigner performs his duty improperly, acts irregularly, and

combines with traiterous natives to disobey clandestinely the laws, he shall be

driven back to his country, in order to do away with the source of evil.

Let this Edict be communicated to him. Respect this.

In accordance to the Imperial Decree, this letter was forwarded.

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) Charles Gutzlaff,

Joint Interpreter.

2 C


No. 97.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received November 25, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, March 22, 1837.

I HAVE the honour to inform you that I have this day received the

public confirmation of the intelligence conveyed in my Despatch of the 18th

inst.; and the protracted departure of the ship which is to carry that com

munication, has enabled me to transmit the official document by the same


This paper your Lordship will observe, involves the signification of the

Imperial pleasure to his Excellency the Governor, that I shall be furnished

with a passport to proceed to Canton, as well as His Excellency's directions to

the Hoppoto grant it to me.

The Inclosure No. 2 is my reply to his Excellency the Governor, and the

passport may be expected at Macao in the course of the ensuing week.

The immediate departure of the ship will, I trust, be my sufficient excuse

for this hurried despatch.

I have, &c,


Inclosure 1 in No. 97.

The Hoppo, communicating the Imperial Sanction for the Residence of Captain

Elliot at Canton.—Dated 18th March, 1837.

WAN, Superintendent of Maritime Customs, &c, to the Hong Mer

chants, requiring their full acquaintance herewith. The following is a com

munication which I received on the 16th instant, from his Excellency the

Governor Tang :—

" In concluding [the Governor observes] a memorial which I addressed

to the Throne, on the 20th of January, I represented to His Majesty the fact,

that the English foreigner Elliot had been appointed to take the control over

the merchants and seamen of his country. I have now, on the 14th instant,

eceived by a courier of the Board of War, a despatch from the Council of

r tate, addressed to myself, enclosing the subjoined Imperial edict of date, the

2nd of February.

" £ Imperial Edict :—Tang has represented to us, that since the dissolution

of the Company, no chief supercargo has come to Canton ; that in December

last year, the said nation gave a special appointment to one of its officers, to

proceed to Canton and take the general control of the merchants who come to

trade, and also of the seamen, &c ; that since the ships of the said nation con

tinually arrive, there ought to be some one to control them, with a view to

preserve tranquillity; and that the said foreigner having received a public offi

cial commission for the control of the merchants and seamen, although his

title be not the same as that of the chief-supercargoes hitherto sent, yet in the

duty of controling he does not differ,—It is therefore our Imperial pleasure,

that he be permitted to repair to Canton, under the existing regulations ap

plicable to chief-supercargoes, and that on his arrival at the provincial capital

he be allowed to take the management of affairs. For this purpose, the Super

intendent of Customs is hereby commanded to grant him a passport. In

future he is to reside sometimes at Macao and sometimes at Canton, conform

ing herein to the old regulations ; and he must not be permitted to exceed the

proper time, and by loitering about, gradually effect a continued residence.

The said Governor and his colleagues are hereby authorised to hold the said

foreigner responsible for the careful control of affairs, that so all disturbances

may be prevented. They should issue strict orders to all the officers, civil and

military, and to the Hong Merchants, requiring them to inform themselves

from time to time of the true state of things, and to keep a watch on the said

foreigner. If he exceed his duty and act improperly, or combining with trai


torous natives, seek to twist the laws to serve his private ends, he must imme

diately be driven back to his country, in order effectually to remove the source

of evil. Let this edict be communicated to Tang. Respect this.'

" I, the Governor, have, on the receipt of this edict, given my attention

to the subject, and I find, that I before sent to you a copy of my memorial.

I will now direct the financial and judicial Commissioners of this province to

issue instructions requiring obedience to this edict. I will also give strict

commands to the civil and military officers, and to the Hong Merchants, re

quiring them, from time to time, to inform themselves of the true state of

things, and to keep a watch on the said foreigner ; and if he overstep his duty

and act improperly, or combining with traitorous natives, seek to twist the

laws to serve his private ends, directing them immediately to report the facts,

and request that he be driven back to his own country ; at the same time

cautioning them not to connive in any way, lest they draw investigation upon

themselves. Besides taking these steps, it is incumbent on me to communi

cate to you the above edict, to the end that you may act in obedience to it, and

in the hope that, as soon as the said foreigner requests a passport, you will at

once give it to him according to the legal forms, at the same time directing

the Hong Merchants and linguists to enjoin upon him these commands,—■

that it is henceforth imperative on him, when coming to Canton, to manage

affairs, to conform himself to the existing regulations applicable to chief

supercargoes,—that he is to be held responsible for the careful control of

affairs,—that he must not overstep his duty and act improperly, and that, as

regards his residence, sometimes at Macao and sometimes at Canton, he must

in this also conform to the old regulations, nor can he be allowed to loiter

Deyond the proper period."

I, the Hoppo, on the receipt of the above, forthwith issue this edict.

When this reaches the said Hong Merchants, let them in obedience hereto

immediately to enjoin upon the said foreigner these commands, that it is hence

forth imperative on him, when coming to Canton, to manage affairs, to con

form himself to the existing regulations applicable to chief-supercargoes,—

that he is to be held responsible for the careful control of affairs,—that he

must not overstep his duty, and act improperly,—and that, as regards his

residence, sometimes at Canton and sometimes at Macao, he must in this

also conform himself to the old regulations, nor can he be allowed to loiter

beyond the proper period. Oppose not. A special edict.

Taoukwang, 17th year, 2d month, 12th day (18th March, 1837.)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

Inclosure 2 in No. 97.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Macao, March 21, 1837.

THE Undersigned has had the honour to receive the signification of His

Imperial Majesty's most gracious commands that he should be furnished with

a passport to repair to the Provincial City and enter upon the performance

of his duties.

The Undersigned respectfully assures his Excellency, that it is at once

his duty and his anxious desire to conform in all things to the Imperial

pleasure. And he will therefore needfully attend to the points adverted to

in the papers now before him.

The Undersigned has transmitted to the senior Hong Merchant a list of

the persons attached to his suite, whose names he desires to be inserted in

his passport. And he avails himself of this occasion to offer to his Excel- »

lency the Governor, the reiterated expression of his most respectful con



2 C 2


No. 98.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—{Received November 13, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, March 29, 1837.

I HAVE the honour to acquaint your Lordship that my passport has

this day reached Macao, and I propose to embark for Canton on the 2nd

proximo, accompanied by the Second Superintendent, the Secretary, the

Interpreter Mr. Morrison, and the Assistant Surgeon.

It is not my intention to detain Mr. Johnston in Canton beyond a few

days, because the constant residence of one of the Superintendents at

Macao is necessary, for the purpose of conducting the business of British

ships and subjects without the port, and also in the event of accidents here

during my own absences at the Provincial City.

In case any casualty should happen to myself, it will be desirable, how

ever, that Mr. Johnston's position as the second person in this Commission

should have been made formally obvious to the Provincial Government, and

it is upon this ground that he will accompany me on this occasion of my

first official visit.

Mr. Colledge, the Surgeon, will remain at Macao. There are no facilities

for the convenient treatment of patients in the confined and crowded fac

tories, and therefore if any of the officers fall sick at Canton, it would

always be necessary to remove them to this place. A still more urgent

reason for leaving Mr. Colledge at Macao, is, that an extensive and highly

useful infirmary established here, in which sick seamen and other indigent

persons are received, would be deprived of the services of a medical officer

whilst this gentleman were at Canton.

I believe, my Lord, it will be immediately plain to you, that Macao is in

every respect the most suitable station for the Chapel and Clergyman in

China. It is the usual dwelling-place of all the foreign families, and a Chapel

is already rented and furnished here ; I have, therefore, requested the Rev.

Mr. Vachell to consider this place to be his permanent residence.

He will, however, visit Canton at convenient intervals and performs

divine service in the Hall of the Superintendents' Office.

Mr. Gutzlaff, the Joint Interpreter, will also remain at Macao. Pressing

occasions for the services of such an officer are frequently presenting them

selves here. In any emergency of extensive correspondence with the Pro

vincial Government, Mr. Gutzlaff will join me at Canton.

I have, &c,


No. 99.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.—{Received November 13, 1837.)

My Lord, Macao, April 1, 1837.

BEFORE I proceed to Canton, I think it right to place your Lordship

in possession of my own views upon the actual posture of circumstances

connected with the public intercourse between His Majesty's Government

and this Empire.

The Imperial edict which I have had the honour to transmit, is certainly

a very formal and unequivocal recognition of my character as a British

officer, appointed by the Government of my country, to manage its public

concerns in these dominions. No attempt is made to evade the material

distinction between my own position and that of the chief servant of the

Company, or of any other foreign functionary hitherto permitted to reside

here. The understanding that I cannot engage in trade, and that my

business is purely public, is plainly expressed.


Upon the side of His Majesty's Government then, my Lord, it appears

to me, that no condition is wanting to give to the representations of its agent

here, a complete formal character. They are the communications of a

foreign officer recognised by the Emperor, addressed to the head of the

Provincial Government, and they reach his Excellency's hands in a sealed


As respects the communications of the Government intended for me,

the state of the case is very different. They are not addressed to me at all :

they speak of me, not to me. They are injunctions to persons with whom, in

the admission of the Emperor, I have no congeniality of pursuit, and who,

therefore, in common sense, ought to have no public relations with me.

To the extent that the employment of the Hong merchant, as a channel

for the conveyance of direct sealed communications to the Governor, commits

me to receive by the same hand direct sealed communications from the

Governor, the analogy, indeed, is a sound one, and I could offer no objection

to practice founded upon it. But the use of the Hong merchant, as a letter-

bearer to the Governor, certainly carries with it no acquiescence in the doc

trine, that the Governor's orders addressed to that individual are binding

upon me.

As it is at present, I am entitled to consider that the Governor's com

munications in respect to me reach me in the form of no more than highly

credible information. And when no public inconvenience, or grave personal

responsibility is to be incurred by shaping my proceedings upon knowledge

thus acquired, I hope your Lordship will be of opinion that I shall only

manifest a proper respect to these authorities by conforming to their under

stood wishes, notwithstanding the indirectness of their signification. But

as a constant principle, it appears to be clear that my obligations of con

formity to the pleasure of this Government, or of any notice of it, are justly

limited by the rule, that it should be directly and formally signified

to me.

It is not for me to dictate a mode of intercourse to the Chinese Govern

ment with an officer of a foreign nation—and, indeed, I have a strong

impression that events will soon open their own eyes to the unsuitableness

and inefficacy of the present course, for their own purposes.

When his Excellency finds me incommunicable upon points on which he

desires to commnicate with me, (for to receive papers addressed to the Hong

merchants, in my judgment,■ by no means eommits me to acknowledge them

in other papers, addressed to the Governor,) I imagine his Excellency will

set about to seek what these obstacles are, and how they may be conveniently

and quietly set aside.

His Excellency, it may be suggested in some such conjuncture, receives .

my communications in a sealed shape addressed directly to himself, a practice

with which I am perfectly satisfied ; and if he thinks fit to forward his ownf ,

direct to me in the same wise, I could no longer presume to question the

perfect formal sufficiency of such a manner of intercourse.

There were many subjects upon which his Excellency communicatecT

with the Hong merchants, that I could not venture publicly to notice,

except his pleasure were signified to me in a direct form, or through a

responsible officer of the empire of respectable rank specially deputed for

the purpose of carrying on the public intercourse with me. Under present

circumstances, his Excellency's views only reached my knowledge as they did

that of all foreign private individuals—that is to say, at second hand, and as

an individual, they should always have my most respectful attention. But as

an officer, my responsibility was serious, and I was precluded from dealing

with them officially, unless I had a direct public warrant for my pro


The Hong merchants are men unacquainted with public affairs, and

naturally swayed by their private interests, and therefore with no culpable

intentions, their liability to mistakes and misconception is considerable.

The consequences of such errors might be too fatal to permit me to waver

from my just claim to be placed in direct possession of the wishes of this

Government, whenever it was expected I should take public notice of them,

committing the public interests of my country.


The Emperor had already been graciously pleased to acknowledge my

official character ; and his Imperial Majesty, in his wisdom, would also

recognise the reasonableness of these objections and requests, founded upon

my duty to my own Government, and upon an anxious desire to obviate the

risk of very hazardous misunderstandings. t

With this course of representation put forward at a favourable oppor

tunity, and in the most deferential language, I see no reason to despair of

carrying the required modification in the mode of conducting my official

intercourse with the Provincial Government.

I will conclude this despatch, by observing that, in my own humble

opinion, the actual manner of communication from us to the Chinese is

sufficiently formal and complete for all our purposes. From them to us, and

for their objects, it is defective. I can assure your Lordship that this is a

condition of circumstances far less inconvenient to his Majesty's Govern

ment than to the Provincial authorities. The defect, however, is of their own

creation, and the remedy is in their own hands.

I have, &c,


No. 100.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Pulmerston.—{Received October 9, 1837.)

My Lord, Canton, April 27, 1837

THE inclosed papers involve a formal declaration of considerable import

ance which we have succeeded in drawing from the Governor since our arrival

in Canton, on the 12th instant ; viz., the clear right to forward our addresses

to his Excellency in a sealed shape, and without previous communication

upon the subject of their contents to any persons whatever.

It is desirable on many accounts that the circumstances under which

this admission has been made, should be fully submitted to your Lordship's


A few days before my departure from Macao for Canton, I received a

letter from the Government at Singapore, acquainting me, that an English

ship from this port, bound to England, had succeeded in rescuing seventeen

Chinese from a sinking junk ; that these persons had been landed at Pulo

Aor ; that arrangements had been made with the Malay Chief there, to con

vey them to Singapore ; and finally, that they had arrived in safety at that


It occurred to me that the communication of this gratifying intelligence

might be made subservient to the purpose of gradually accustoming his

Excellency, to recognise the distinction between my own station and that

of the Foreign Commercial Agents in this country. In other words, I hoped

it would ensure a courteous answer to my address officially announcing my

arrival at Canton.

With that intention, the Inclosure No. 1 was transmitted to his Excel

lency, so as to reach his hands about a day before my own arrival in Canton,

in order that there might be no time to reply to it, till the Inclosure No. 2

were already in his possession.

Several days passed without any notice of either of these Inclosures, but

on the 16th, I received a reply to the first, and in the afternoon of the 20th,

I was furnished with the Inclosure No. 4.

Your Lordship will observe from this last paper, that his Excellency had

taken offence, or, perhaps, I might more justly say, had taken alarm, at my

attempts (guarded and respectful though they were) to establish the official

character of my station.

I perceived, however, with the greatest satisfaction, that his manner of

repelling these advances had not been carefully measured, and that his

Excellency had hastily placed himself in an unsound position, which it would

have been very hazardous to maintain.


He is pleased to command in the Inclosure No. 4, that the merchants

must carefully pause and examine my papers before they are closed ; and,

indeed, that they are not to present them if they contain language or propo

sitions inconsistent with the dignity of this Empire. Now, in the case of

papers transmitted by the chief servants of the Company, though I am not

aware the principle had ever been formally and specifically conceded, still it

had long been practically admitted, that the merchants had no pretension to

meddle with them.

But at all events, situated as I am, the first Foreign Officer who has ever

resided in Canton under the Imperial Authority itself, I saw at once that the

Governor's attempt to press such an extreme and obsolete rule in the case of

papers coming from me, was a mistake of considerable magnitude. If the

communications were interrupted upon those grounds, it was plain that the

heaviest burden of responsibility from either Government would devolve

upon his Excellency,—not upon me.

With the conviction then, that his Excellency had been too abrupt in

this respect, and sensible of the unsuitableness of giving way upon such a

point, I sent, in the course of the afternoon of the day that the edict reached

me, for Howqua, the senior Hong merchant ; and I desired the messenger to

let him know that my business was of urgent importance, and that if he

were not with me in one hour, it would be unnecessary to give himself the

trouble to come at all. That my communication should be conveyed to his

Excellency through another channel, and I would leave Canton in a few


Your Lordship is probably aware that this very remarkable man, has for

many years been the senior Hong merchant, and, indeed, the adviser and

main agent of the Government, in all its public concerns with the foreigners.

He had not visited me since my arrival in Canton, neither had I thought

it desirable to encourage him to do so, or to hold any intercourse whatever

with the Hong merchants.

Within the time fixed, Howqua came to me in the Hall, and I told him

civilly, that I did not dare to accept such an edict as he had that day forwarded

to me, and that I should therefore return it to him immediately.

He entreated me not to pursue any instant course of that kind, and

begged with the most marked and painful anxiety that I would explain to

him the particular grounds upon which I objected to receive this paper.

I assured him that it was far from my wish to involve him in any difficul

ties with his own Govenment ; and in order to save him harmless as much as

in me lay, I would detain the edict till the day after the next, at eleven o'clock,

when he would be so good as to return to me again and receive it, as well as

a written declaration explanatory of my reasons for declining to take it, and

of the other steps which his Excellency's proceedings had forced upon me.

On the 22nd instant, at eleven o'clock, Howqua came to me again, and

I then signed the Inclosure No. 5, in his presence, and delivered it to him,

together with the Governor's edict No. 4.

I announced to him also, that I did not in the least desire to hurry his

Excellency, but if this matter were not satisfactorily adjusted by the 26th

instant, at twelve o'clock at night, I should leave Canton.

It was possible it might be thought desirable that I should go down inside,

(that is to say, by the passage, requiring a Passport.) I, therefore, told

Howqua it should not be refused if one were sent to me ; but it must be

understood that I was content with the outer passage, and would by no means

ask for a Passport, or wait beyond the fixed time. He requested me, how

ever, so earnestly to stay two days longer, that I deferred the period of my

contigent departure till the 28th instant, at midnight.

In the course of these visits I studiously abstained from acceding to

Howqua's eager desire, that I would propose some modification for the Gover

nor's consideration. But in my mind, there is always considerable advantage

in leaving as much as possible to the Chinese authorities, the unaided task of

devising practicable modes of escape from complications which they have

themselves created. It appears to be better to say what cannot be done, than

what can ; for, to furnish them with schemes will, generally speaking, be to



provide them with the means of detecting what is particularly wanted, and

with the manner of most adroitly baffling such objects.

To all the attempts of Howqua, therefore, to discover what would best

answer my own purposes, I thought it safest to reply, that the Governor was

a high and a wise officer, and that it was not for me to presume to suggest any

course of action for his Excellency's adoption.

My own humble duty was fulfilled, when I had explained to him what I

could not do.

In the course of the 24th instant, Howqua came to me and said, that the

Governor had declared it was wholly out of his power to communicate with

me directly. But his Excellency admitted that my objections were well

founded, to any intervention of the merchants, in respect to my papers, except

only to convey them to him, closed up. And he was, therefore, willing to

forward me an edict, clearly conceding my right always to communicate

directly with him, under sealed covers.

His Excellency, too, seeing that I was an officer, would address his

replies, intended for me, to the three senior Hong merchants, who held

honorary official rank, and not to the whole Co-Hong.

Howqua desired to know whether I could accept of this modification.

I replied, it must depend entirely upon the language in which an edict,

containing such conditions, were couched. If that were in the least degree

disrespectful to my Government, or at all equivocal upon the point of my right

to direct sealed communications with his Excellency, it should be returned,

and I would leave Canton.

Late in the night, on the 25th instant, the Inclosure No. 6 was brought

to me, and, under all the circumstances cf the case, I have determined not to

reject these overtures. But it is my purpose to reply in terms which will leave

the determination of the direct intercourse from his Excellency to myself, an

open point, and subject to the further instructions of my own Government.

Upon the whole, I trust that this course will not incur your Lordship's

disapprobation. The very grave responsibility of the high functionaries of

this despotic Government, is a consideration that I am sure your Lordship

will not wish should be lightly estimated by a person in my station. And

though I felt it right to attempt the concession of the direct intercourse from

the Governor on this occasion, the result has certainly not deceived me. Neither

can I doubt that an obstinate adherence to the demand would have ended in

disappointment, and probably in considerable public inconvenience.

Most peculiarly, my Lord, is every subject connected with the official

intercourse with British functionaries, a source of the keenest watchfulness ;

and concessions, of which this suspicious Court could not easily be made to

perceive the immediate necessity, would be almost certain to draw down most

serious consequences upon the head of that functionary by whom they were


I felt, then, that further attempts of this kind in the early stages of my

career, had better be avoided. They would, possibly, drive his Excellency into

a perverse mood, compounded of well-founded dread of his own Government,—

of groundless suspicions of His Majesty's,—of national conceit, of extravagant

official assumption ; and it may very well be of some needful deference to the

prejudices of his own countrymen. A condition of temper, in short, calculated

to provoke a refusal of all reasonable terms of accommodation,and, therefore,

of all hope of quietly accomplishing further concessions.

It was to be borne in mind, that if his Excellency had hurried into a false

position, he had not been slow to escape from it, and the unusually moderate

tone of his last edict, (No. 6,) might have made it easy to remove all imputa

tion of unreasonable impracticability from himself upon me. I believe, my

Lord, I may say of that paper, that it is the most courteous in point of

language, and the most yielding in substance, which has ever fallen from the

Provincial Government upon the subject of official communication. For

example, in the case of a letter from the Governor- General of India, delivered

by Captain Freemantle, in the year 1831, it was found impossible to induce the

Tsng-tuh to return a direct answer, or to notice it in any other way, than

through the ordinary means of an edict, addressed to the Hong merchants, for

communication to the select committee.


There remained for me to weigh the great usefulness of continued

responsible communications, the propriety of leaving to his Majesty's Govern

ment, as much as possible, the disposal of all points which may arise, involving

any interruption of them,—the desirableness of refraining from an early ex

citement of his Excellency's suspicion or disinclinatiou towards me, and the

advantages of proving that our objects are moderate, by a prompt acceptance

of temperate concessions.

I anxiously hope, my Lord, that these considerations will be thought to

be of sufficient force to justify the conduct I have pursued, and that it will not

be displeasing to his Majesty's Government.

Less of firmness in the first stage of this: affair might have subjected me

to continued indignity, and continued invasion of recognised practice ;—an

obstinate adherence to the new proposition might have deprived His Majesty's

Government of natural means to advance, and a favourable state of circum

stances for the peaceful attainment of far more useful concessions than any

that I can hope to secure without further countenance or interposition from


It is satisfactory to me to add, that Mr. Johnston has fully coincided

with me throughout this transaction.

I have &c


P. S.—The protracted departure of the ship which carries this despatch

enables me to transmit a copy of the note I have addressed to the Governor,

in reply to his last edict.

Inclosure 1 in No. 100.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Macao, April 8, 1837.

THE Undersigned has the honour to acquaint your Excellency, that he

has received despatches from the Government of Singapore, informing him

that seventeen natives of China had arrived there in January last, from a

place called Pulo Aor.

The chief of these persons represents, that he is an officer of this Empire,

and that the vessel in which they were embarked was carrying grain from one

port to another, when she was overtaken by a violent tempest, and blown off

the coast.

The vessel was reduced to a condition of extreme peril in the high seas,

and six of the unfortunate men has already sunk under the effect of cold and

privation, when the English ship of Moncrieff bound from Canton to England,

came up with her.

This Commander with becoming humanity took the people out of the

wreck under circumstances of great difficulty, and left them at Pulo Aor,

having made arrangements with the native Chief there, to convey them to


It is a pleasing duty to the Undersigned on this occasion to acknowledge

in grateful terms, the many acts of kindness which his own shipwrecked

countrymen have experienced on the coast of China.

The interchange of these charities cannot fail to strengthen the bonds of

peace and good-will between the two nations.

The Undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to your Excel

lency the sentiments of his high respect.


2 D


Inclosure 2 in No. 101.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Canton, April 12, 1837

THE Undersigned has the honour to announce to your Excellency his ar

rival at Canton, for the performance of his public duties agreeably to the au

thority contained in an Imperial edict.

The Undersigned takes the liberty respectfully to observe to your Excel

lency that it is customary for officers of his nation, on their arrival in the chief

city of the country where they are to perform their official duties, to propose

to have the honour of paying their personal respects to the chief authority.

The Undersigned believes this practice is also consonant with the customs

of this Empire, and it will afford him great satisfaction to offer such a proof

of respect whenever your Excellency shall think fit to receive him and his


The Undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to renew to your Ex

cellency the sentiments of his high respect.


Inclosure 3 in No. 100.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

TANG, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, issues this order to

the senior Hong Merchants, requiring their full acquaintance therewith.

On the 12th instant the English Superintendent of British m reliant s

trading in China, Elliot, presented the following address :—

[Here is inserted the foregoing Document.]

This coming before me, the Governor, I have examined it, and find, that

certain natives of China—military officers, soldiers, passengers, and seamen,

proceeding from Formosa, encountered off the Pescador Islands a tempest,

which drove them to the English island of Pulo Aor ; that a vessel of the

said nation, commanded by Moncrieff, saved seventeen persons, and delivered

them over to the foreign chief at Singapore, by whom information thereof has

been sent to the said Superintendent, and he has reported the same. The

dutifulness herein manifested is worthy of commendation.

I have not, however, as yet received from the Government of Fuhkeen

any communication respecting the loss of any rice-laden Government vessel

in consequence of storms on the voyage from Formosa. But, having received

the preceding report, I have directed the financial Commissioner of this province

to send a statement to the above effect to the Governor of Fuhkeen and Che-

keang, requesting him to examine respecting the facts, and write me in answer.

And when the said shipwrecked officers, soldiers, and people are sent back to

Canton from the said nation, I will direct my subordinate officers to send

them on, according to law, to Fuhkeen. I further issue this order on the sub

ject. When it reaches the said Hong Merchants, let them immediately enjoin

t on the said Superintendent, that he knowing it may act accordingly. Op

pose not. This is the order.

Taoukwang, 1 7th year, 3d month, 9th day (April 13th, 1837.)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

Inclosure 4 in No. 100.

Edict of the Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

April 19, 1837.

TANG, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, &c, issues this order,

requiring obedience.


On the 12th instant, the English Superintendent Elliot reported, that a

vessel, with officers and people of Formosa, having encountered a gale off the

Pescador Islands, was driven to Pulo Aor, within the dominions of the said

nation ; that the persons on board were rescued ; and that the foreign chief

at Singapore had informed the said Superintendent of the circumstance, in

order that he might report the same. On the receipt of this report, I, the

Governor, communicated the subject in the proper quarters, and also com

manded the senior Hong Merchants to enjoin orders on the said Superintend

ent, that he knowing the same, might act accordingly.

But for all—for those without as well as those within the pale of the Em

pire— there are rules and bonds of action, styles and modes of expression, be

coming that dignity which has so long been respected. To the renovating

principles for so long a period emanating from our Empire, the barbarians on

every side have submitted themselves. They have tendered to the Celestial

Empire their respectful services, and this Empire stands in truth at the head

of the lands at its remotest borders, in no other character than that, of a ruler

amid ministering servants. As to foreign merchants, permission is granted

them to trade and to export, and thus is bestowed on them the means of ob

taining profit. And in regard to those in distress, they are rescued from their

distresses, and with needful gifts are sent back. These things arise solely

from the all-pervading goodness, and cherishing kindness of the Great Em

peror, M'hose favours are constant and universal. Between him and the small,

the petty, how can there exist anything like " bonds of peace and good-will ?"

The said Superintendent, in his address on this occasion, has failed alto

gether to conform himself to the old rules, has omitted the respectful expres

sion, "Celestial Empire," and has absurdly used such words and expressions

as " Your honourable country," and " peace and good-will between the two

nations," giving utterance to his own puffed-up imaginations. Not only is

this offensive to the dignity to be maintained, but also the ideas therein ex

pressed are absurd and ridiculous. At the time, I, the Governor, on account

of the dutiful nature of the thing reported, and because the said Superintend

ent, having but newly come to Canton, is perhaps uninformed on many mat

ters, viewed his address indulgently and in a partial light, and manifested

vastness of liberality. Therefore I refrained from plainly correcting him, and

from casting back to him his address. But the said Superintendent having

come to Canton for the purpose of controlling the merchants and seamen, he

cannot avoid having from time to time addresses to make. And if not fore

warned, it will be impossible to insure that he will not, by continued ignorance

and blindness, fall into some grave error. This then would not be the way to

preserve uninjured the concerns of the foreigners.

I therefore issue this order to the senior Hong merchants, requiring them

immediately to enjoin it on the said Superintendent Elliot, that he may act in

obedience to it. In whatever addresses he may have to present, he is abso

lutely required to conform implicitly to all that is called for by the dignity of

the Celestial Empire. He must be careful to render his expressions thoroughly

respectful, in order that appropriate commands may be given in reply. Let

him not again step into any path opposed to the dignity of the Empire, and so

tread in a course of still greater error.

The senior Hong merchants, whenever the said Superintendent, or a

foreign merchant of any nation, presents an address on any subject, are re

quired to give it a previous close and careful perusal, and if there be in it any

thing, as in this instance, inconsistent with the perfect dignity to be main

tained, or any similar loose and crude phraseology, they are immediately to

send back the address they must not have the audacity to present it for

the party, by doing which they will involve themselves with such party in a

severe investigation.

I, the Governor, having spoken, the law shall follow up what I say. Let

all then listen with trembling attention. Oppose not these commands.

Taoukwang, 17th year, 3d month, loth day (April 19th, 1837.)

Trae-slated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

2 D 2


Inclosure 5 in No. 100.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Canton, April 22, 1837.

ON the 20th instant, the Undersigned, &c, &c, received a communica

tion from the Hong merchants, concerning an edict from the Governor,

addressed to them, dated on the 19th instant.

In his Excellency's edict to the Hong merchants, he is pleased to com

mand the senior of their body to give all the addresses, which it may be the

duty of the Undersigned to submit, a close and careful perusal, before they

present them to his Excellency. And if they shall not approve of the

language, not to dare to present "them, but immediately to send them back.

The Undersigned cannot presume to question the perfect authority of his

Excellency to issue any orders, couched in any terms which he may think fit,

to the Hong merchants.

But the Undersigned is a Foreign Officer, and not a merchant, and he

must take the liberty respectfully to declare, that it is impossible for him to

submit his addresses to the Governor, to the knowledge or approbation of

the Hong merchants, before they are forwarded.

In the present posture of circumstances, therefore, the Undersigned must

cease to forward any further addresses to his Excellency. And it is at the

same time his duty to add, that in future he can only receive such official

communications, sealed with his Excellency's seal, as his Excellency shall be

! pleased to address directly to himself, and not to the Hong merchants.

To direct sealed communications from that high quarter, it must always

be the duty and the earnest effort of the Undersigned, to give the most

respectful and zealous attention.

The terms of his Excellency's last edict to the Hong merchants, and the

instructions which the Undersigned has now received from his own Govern

ment, constrain him to say, that he cannot deviate from his present determi

nation, without drawing down certain ruin upon his own head.

The exalted public station of his Excellency, and his experience in

affairs, render it needless for the Undersigned to press upon the rule, that an

officer's obligations of duty to his own Government are sacred, and must be



Inclosure 6 in No. 100.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Merchants.

TANG, Governor of Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, in reference to a

matter that has been submitted.

On the 23rd of April, the Hong merchants presented the following

address :—

" The English Superintendent Elliot, has handed to us the subjoined paper

[Here is inserted the foregoing Document], and has requested us to repre

sent for him the above particulars. As behoves us, we forthwith submit for

him the above particulars, humbly awaiting your Excellency's commands,

which shall be fully obeyed."

Upon the receipt of this, I the Governor have examined into the matter

referred to. I find that the said Superintendent, having newly come to

Canton, and being in consequence unacquainted with the rules of dignity in

the Celestial Empire, made use, in his former address, of expressions not

altogether proper ; which led me, the Governor, to send to him commands of

a special nature, making known to him the prohibitions and requirements,

and thus preserving him from error.


Now the above representation having been laid before me by the said

merchants, I perceive that the said Superintendent is able to understand the

duties of faithfulness and respectful attention, and that he will not indulge

the slightest desire to act contrary to the requirements of dignity ; that he is

indeed dutifully disposed. Hereafter, whenever he may have occasion to

address me on any subject, the said Superintendent is permitted to seal

his addresses, and so deliver them to the senior merchants, Woo

Shaoyung, Loo Kekwang, and Pwan Shaokwang [Howqua, Mowqua, and

Poukequa], to present for him. As regards the subject matter of his

addresses, and the nature of the expressions adopted, it will not be difficult

for me the Governor, myself to distinguish them, and act in reference to

them. But with respect to commands issued by me, the Governor, to

the foreigners from without the Empire, requiring their obedience in any

matter, the established rule of the Celestial Empire is, always to address

thern to the said senior Hong merchants, to be enjoined by them ; and this

rule it is inexpedient to alter.

On a review of the particulars contained in the above address, I forth

with issue this order. When it reaches the said senior merchants, let them

immediately enjoin it on the said Superintendent, that he, having knowledge

thereof, may act accordingly. Oppose not these commands.

Taoukwang, 17th year, 3rd month, 21st day (April 25th, 1837).

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

Inclosure 7 in No. 100.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Canton, April 27, 1&37.

THE Undersigned, &c, &c, has had the honour to receive an edict from

your Excellency, addressed to the three senior Hong Merchants, dated on the

25th instant, for communication to him.

He begs to offer your Excellency his respectful thanks for the commands

that his addresses shall always be transmitted to your Excellency's hands, by

the three senior Hong Merchants, in a sealed form.

Your Excellency, however, an illustrious officer in a very high station, has

been pleased to signify that the customs of the empire prevent a direct com

munication of your commands to the Undersigned.

Under these circumstances, he has bent his most earnest attention to the

course which it becomes him to pursue. And he is humbly of opinion, that

he shall best evince his profound respect for the rules of this empire, by con

tinuing to carry on the communications in the manner prescribed by your

Excellency, until he can receive the further commands of his own Government.

The Undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to your Ex

cellency the sentiments of his highest consideration.



No. 101.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston. —(Received February 2, 1838.)

My Lord, ■ Canton, May 24, 1837.

IN connexion with the subject of my Despatch of the 27th ult., I have

now the honour to transmit an Edict from the Governor of the Two Provinces in

reply to the note, Inclosure No. 7 of that communication.

His Excellency's declaration of the hopelessness of further change in this

respect is principally of importance as a record, that he clearly apprehends the

temporary conditions upon which the actual intercourse is maintained.

But, my Lord, whilst there is very little doubt that His Majesty's Govern

ment might find it practicable to carry the required modification without an

absolute rupture, still it is to be considered that, to this Government, and in

this state of society, ceremonious customs are probably grave realities, the poli

tical moment of which we are unable to estimate. At all events, it is certain

that this point is not to be attained by formal concession without inducing senti

ments of great mortification ; and the first occasion of direct intercourse would

possibly furnish unpalatable proof that idle pretensions of superiority had only

been offensively exaggerated by irritated feeling.

Upon the whole, perhaps, your Lordship may be led to think that there

can be no advantage in wringing a change of practice in this respect from the

Chinese Government. And I would submit that, if the actual manner of the

intercourse, (direct with the Governor—indirect from him,) be not best suited

to the condition of circumstances in this country, at least, its further modifica

tion had better be left to time and favourable opportunities.

The speediest possible extension of commercial relations with China, which

may be consistent with the uninterrupted maintenance of the existing trade,

must no doubt be a subject of great interest to His Majesty's Government.

In the furtherance of that end, I would presume to say, that some

degree of watchful countenance and support in our neighbourhood is of

primary importance ; but, on the other hand, I am sure the King's officers upon

the spot can hardly be too strictly instructed to avoid the needless agitation of

points of form, and to use the utmost diligence in the conciliation both of the

authorities and the people.

Your Lordship may be assured, that a main obstacle to the freer intercourse

between the high provincial functionaries and the foreigners has hitherto been

some strong feeling of apprehension, upon the part of these officers, that it

exposed them to considerable risk of insult in the sight of their own people.

But in the state of things I advert to, anxious to inquire and observe, and

without apprehension of contumelious treatment, I believe they would soon

draw towards us in a tractable spirit; and I see no reason to doubt, that the

progress of improvement would be at once rapid and safe.

I have, &c,


Inclosure in No. 101.

The Governor of Canton to the Hong Jlferchants.

TANG, Governor of the two Provinces, &c, issues these commands to the

senior Hong merchants, requiring their full acquaintance therewith.

On the 29th of April, the following address from the English Superin

tendent Elliot was laid before me.

[Here is inserted Captain Elliot's Address to the Governor, of April 27, 1837.]

This address coming before me, I the Governor have perused the docu

ment, and fully informed myself of its contents.

As to my commands, which I the Governor may have to give, such com

mands have hitherto been enjoined and inculcated through the medium of the


senior Hong merchants. This concerns the settled dignity of the Celestial

Empire; and the said nation, in its up-gazing contemplation of the majesty and

benignity of the empire, will assuredly indulge no foolish expectations of change.

Let obedience be at once paid in this matter, as is agreeable to the duty of the

said Superintendent's office.

The above address being fully authenticated, I forthwith issue these com

mands to the said senior Hong merchants, Howqua and Mowqua. Let them

immediately enjoin the commands on the said Superintendent, that he, knowing

the same, may act accordingly. Oppose not these commands.

Taoukwang, 17th year, 3rd month, 27th day (1st May, 1837,)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robt. Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

No. 102.

Captain Elliot to John Backhouse, Esq.—(Received February 2, 1838.)

Sir, Canton, June 2, 1837.

IT had always been the custom that the chief servants of the Company

should remove to Macao upon a passport during the inactive season of the year.

And when the arrangements were made, in consequence of which I am now at

Canton, it was agreed that I should conform in this respect to the old practice.

I was sensible, however, at the time, that if any sudden emergency should

present itself during the period of the annual retirement at Macao, there was

considerable inconvenience in being obliged to wait till a passport could be for

warded from Canton, and I could proceed up in the regular manner by the

inner passage. Such a necessity would usually entail a delay of at least

ten days.

But I was apprehensive, that if this point had been pressed at that moment,

I should awaken the suspicions of the Government, and risk the success of

the main object in view. And it seemed, too, that there would be no great

difficulty in placing this and other matters on a better footing, when the early

temper of watchfulness had in some degree subsided.

After I had been, then, about three weeks in Canton, I thought it would be

judicious to anticipate any disquietude, upon the part of the Governor, as to my

disposition, in his own language, to sit fast, by applying at once for a passport to

retire to Macao ; a course which was the more natural, as the usual period for

departure had already passed. I left Canton, however, with the purpose to seize

the first favourable occasion for a return by the outer passage.

In a few days there reached me a communication from a Commander of

a ship at Whampoa, complaining that his seamen were disorderly : and per

ceiving that this was a description of case which might be made to sustain the

application I meditated, I lost no time in coming up to Canton in the cutter.

It may be proper to add that she had not passed the Bocca Tigris since the

events in 1834.

The Inclosures No. 1 and 2 will place you in possession of the very satis

factory results to which these proceedings have led.

His Excellency's Edict, you will permit me to observe, is very deserving of

attention. It formally places me on a different footing from any foreigner who

has ever yet resided in this country, and the concession is vindicated by the

adoption of my own reasoning ; by the plain admission, in fact, that the

unmixed official character of my station warrants and requires the relaxation.

It i* valuable too, in other respects, for though it is not impossible that I

might have come up and remained here for a season, during the period of the

customary retirement at Macao, without interference upon the part of the

Government, still I am sure it will be telt that my unauthorized presence at

Canton would have been an unsuitable state of things.

In concluding this despatch 1 venture to offer my humble opinion ("strength

ening by every day's experience in the country,) that there is an increasing


disposition upon the part of the Chinese Government to concilitate that of his

Majesty. And I hope it will be thought that my own measures and respectful

approaches have, in some sense, served to encourage this spirit of accommodation.

• I have &c


Inclosure 1 in No. 102.

Captain Elliot to the Governor of Canton.

Canton, May 25, 1837.

THE Undersigned has the honour respectfully to represent to your Excel

lency that sudden and urgent occasions for his immediate presence in the pro

vincial city frequently occur, during the period of his customary annual retire

ment at Macao, both for the dispatch of public business and the quelling of

disturbances on board the English shipping at Whampoa.

The delay at Macao till a chop can be forwarded is often very considerable,

and in most cases at least ten days would elapse before the undersigned could

arrive at Canton.

The risk and the inconvenience of this state of things will be plain to your

Excellency, and the Undersigned therefore takes the liberty earnestly to request

that your Excellency, bearing in mind that he is an officer, and not a merchant,

will be pleased to permit him to repair to Canton in his own boat whenever

these sudden necessities present themselves. He would not fail to report the

period of his arrival and departure.

This facility for the performance of his duties would be very acceptable to

the Government of his country, and it would afford another proof of the con

siderate wisdom which has always distinguished your Excellency's administration.

The Undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to your Excellency

the sentiments of his highest consideration.


Inclosure 2 in No. 102

The Governor of Canton to Captain Elliot.

TANG, Governor of the provinces Kwangtung and Kwangse, &c, &c,

issues these commands to the senior Hong merchants, requiring them to be fully

iuformed thereon.

The English Superintendent Elliot has presented the following address :

[Here is inserted the foregoing document.]

This having been received and authenticated, I the Governor have

examined the subject. The said Superintendent's official duties consisting in the

particular control of the merchants and seamen, it is of course right that, when

ever any troubles arise among these classes, he should immediately proceed

faithfully to investigate and settle them. The said Superintendent's present repre

sentation, " that if, during the period of his stay at Macao he should have affairs

to attend to at Canton or Whampoa, he fears that to be required always to wait

till his application for a passport is answered will be productive of injurious

delays," is a correct statement of the matter, and it is my duty to permit him

from time to time, as business may occur, to come up and go down in an

European boat, not making it necessary to apply for a passport.

On every occasion before the said Superintendent leaves Macao, and after he

returns, it will be his duty to report clearly to the sub-prefect at Macao the cir

cumstance and the time, in order that that officer may report the same to myself

and the Superintendent of Maritime Customs, severally, for the sake of thorough


Besides communicating to the Superintendent of Maritime Customs the

matter of the above address, I also forthwith issue these commands to the said


senior Hong merchants, Howqua, Mowqua, and Ponkequa, that they may

immediately enjoin them on the said Superintendent, to be obeyed by him. But

he must keep his station, and diligently attend to his official duties. I, the

Governor, rule affairs with justice, and firmly maintain the laws, nor in the

managemement of public business can I allow of any false pretences. Let him,

on no account presume, when without business, to frame pretexts for moving,

lest he draw on himself investigation. This is important. Be carefully atten

tive. These are my commands.

Taoukwang, 17th year, 4th month, 28th day (1st June, 1837.)

Translated from the Chinese.

(Signed) J. Robert Morrison,

Chinese Secretary and Interpreter.

No. 103.

Captain Elliot to John Backhouse, Esq.— ( Received February 1, 1838.J

Extract. Macao, July 3, 1837.

AN eligible mode of disposing of them [some shipwrecked natives of

Japan,~\ has, however, presented itself, of which I have gladly availed myself.

Mr. Gutzlaff informs me that an American vessel is about to proceed from

hence on a voyage of investigation to the Loochoo's, the Corean Peninsula, and

the Coasts of Japan ; and he has requested my leave to join this expedition. A

passage has also been offered for the Japanese under our care, and it may be

proper to add, that several other shipwrecked natives of that Country, lately

arrived here from Manilla, are to proceed by the same opportunity.

The Inclosure No. 3, is a Letter to the Honourable the Vice-Admiral

Commanding in Chief, covering a Communication to Captain Quin, of His

Majesty's Sloop Raleigh, and these papers will make you acquainted with the

nature of the Service upon which that vessel is actual y employed.

They will also explain that Captain Quin has undertaken to forward my

views with respect to the Japanese by calling at Napakiang, in the Great

Loochoo, on his way to the Bonin Islands, for the purpose of enabling

Mr. Gutzlaff to meet the American vessel.

The Inclosure No. 4, is a Letter I have addressed to Mr. Gutzlaff, with

respect to the disposal of the Japanese.

I have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.

Inclosure 1 in No. 103.

Mr. Gutzlaff to Captain Elliot.

Sir, Macao, June 20, 1837

MR. King, an American merchant resident at Canton, has requested me to

go on board one of his vessels, which is to visit Japan and the adjacent

Countries in order to act as Interpreter. As this will likely prove a very

interesting voyage and may be the means of gaining important information

about those unknown regions, I take the liberty of asking leave in order to

accompany this expedition. I shall be happy to communicate to you the result

of our investigation and researches, and humbly trust that you will kindly grant

me leave of absence, whilst

I remain, &c,

(Signed) CH. GUTZLAFF.

2 E

Inctosure 2 in No. 103.

Captain Elliot to Mr. Gutzlaff.

Sir, Macao, June 21, 1837.

MY letter of this day's date to Captain Quin, of His Majesty's Ship

Raleigh, which has been communicated to you, will have placed you in

possession of the nature and objects of the duty I have now to impose upon you.

Conscious of your talents, and attainments, and relying with great

confidence upon your zealous desire to apply them to the Public Service, I am

relieved of all necessity of furnishing you with detailed Instructions.

After the completion of this service, I feel myself called upon to grant you

the leave of absence you have requested, and Captain Quin has been so good as

to undertake to convey you to Napakiang for the purpose of meeting the vessel

on which you propose to embark.

A separate letter upon the subject of the Japanese fishermen entrusted to

your care shall be addressed to you.

I am to request you will keep a minute of any conferences in which you

may be engaged with the Mandarins in Fuhkeen, or with the Authorities at the

Loochoo's. And I would also hope that you will note for the information of

his Majesty's Government any circumstances of general interest connected

with the condition of the Countries which you may chance to visit during

your absence.

I have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.

Inclosure 3 in No. 103.

Captain Elliot to Vice-Admiral Sir T. Bladen Capel.

Sir, Macao, June 26, 1837.

AN opportunity for Madras affords me an occasion to acknowledge the

honour of your Despatch of the 3rd May, this day received.

I now beg leave to acquaint you that His Majesty's Sloop Raleigh sailed on

the 23rd instant, in prosecution of a service explained in the accompanying

papers, and I trust it will appear to you that it is of a character which I might

properly solicit Captain Quin to perform.

It is necessary to explain the purpose of requesting Captain Quin to call

at Napakiang.

I have lately received directions from His Majesty's Government to let

three shipwrecked Japanese fishermen, who have long been supported at the

charge of the Establishment, return to their own country in a Chinese junk ;

but upon full inquiry, I find it impossible to carry those Instructions into effect ;

so great is the uneasiness of the Chinese Traders resorting to Japan as to the

excitement of suspicious irritation in that Country ; and there is no trade

between China and Japan in Japanese junks.

Between Napakiang and Japan, however, there is a considerable trade

carried on in Japanese junks. And before the arrival of the Raleigh, the

Reverend Mr. Gutzlaff, Joint Interpreter on this Establishment, has requested

my leave to join an American vessel proceeding from here on a voyage of

scientific research to the Loochoo's, the Corean Peninsula, and probably to the

Coasts of Japan.

The parties concerned had also offered me a passage for the Japanese ; and

my principal motive in acceding to Mr. Gutzlaff 's request arose from the

consideration that this project afforded the most hopeful opportunity of

restoring the people to their own Country.

Considering it possible that they might be subject to strict investigation on

their arrival in Japan, I thought it desirable that they should have had no

connexion with a ship of war, and they will therefore proceed from hence to


Napakiang in the course of a few days on board an American vessel. For

the obliging purpose of enabling Mr. Gutzlaff to meet her. Captain

Quin has undertaken to call there on his voyage to the Bonin Islands :

and M. Gutzlaff will then dispose of the people, either by sending them on in

a Japanese junk, or if no opportunity of that kind should present itself, he

proposes to accompany them in the American vessel.

You may be assured, Sir, that I am sensible of the extreme impropriety

of committing His Majesty's Government in any appearance of countenancing the

illicit traffic on these Coasts ; and I shall carefully abstain from moving the

Commander of any Ship of War who may be placed in communication with me

to take any step with that purpose, or which could possibly bear such a

construction. v

But in the critical posture of the Opium question, and having regard to its

intimate connexion with the safe conduct of the whole commerce, I hope you

will consider that I was justified in soliciting the presence of a man-of-war in

these seas. I am sincerely impressed with a belief that such a circumstance

will go far to prevent the occurrence of mischief, which would press in a very

serious manner on all branches of this trade.

I have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.

Sub-Inclosure in No. 103.

Captain Elliot to Captain Quin, R.N.

Sir, Macao, June 21, 1837.

THE disclosures which took place at Manila during your last visit at that

port, have made you acquainted with all that is yet known of the disastrous fate

of the late brig Fairy. And our recent conversation will have apprised you that

fourteen Lascars landed upon the coasts of Fuhkeen, but the piratical part of

the crew are still said to be detained in Foo-chow-foo, the capital of that


From all the inquiry I have been able to make, I am led to conclude that

these men are kept by the Provincial Government of Fuhkeen, in consequence

of a difficulty to understand, or to credit the circumstances under which they

landed ; and probably pending further instructions from the Court for their

removal to this place.

It appears to me, however, that if an application were made by you at the

mouth of the Min River, the doubts and delays of the Government of Fuhkeen

would give way ; and at all events, if the people were not at once delivered to

you, this proceeding would, in my judgment, accelerate their dispatch to this

place by other means.

With that impression, I have taken the liberty to propose this service ; and

in conformity with your wishes, I now submit the mode by which it occurs to

me it may be best executed.

I would suggest that you should proceed to the mouth of the Min River,

upon which the city of Foo-chow-foo is situated, taking with you the Rev. Mr.

Gutzlaff, joint interpreter to this establishment. That upon your arrival at that

destination, you should hand to the Commander of any man-of-war junk, or

other servant of the Government who may wait upon you, the accompanying

paper, Inclosure No. 1 ; and that your address to the Governor should be placed

in the hands of any officer who may be deputed to receive it.

His Excellency will probably meet these advances with a declaration that

the people are safe ; that it is not in his power to deliver them to you ; that they

shall be dispatched to Canton forthwith ; and finally, with a request that you

should leave the coast immediately.

To a communication of this nature, I would advise that you should reply

in the most conciliatory terms, signifying your indisposition to press any

arrangements to which you were informed his Excellency could not accede, and

2 E2


expressive of your entire confidence in his assurance of the safety of the people.

If this communication from the Governor should be made verbally, that is to

say, through an officer deputed to confer with you, as indeed it is probable it

will, I would submit that you should request this functionary to commit the

subject matter to writing, remarking, that you were ready to leave the coast as

soon as that was done.

At this point of my letter, it is proper to observe to you, that I am without

any uneasiness as to the safety of the people ; but independently of hastening

onwards the period of their release into our hands, this service appears to be

calculated to help the uninterrupted progress of gradual relaxation at this place.

I believe that no circumstance would more impressively fix upon the local

Government of these Provinces the necessity of great moderation and circum

spection in respect to the treatment of foreigners, than the successful result of

quiet official application by an Officer of the King at some other point than

Canton ; and more particularly at the chief city of the neighbouring Province

of Fuhkeen, where it is known that the monopoly of the foreign trade at Canton

is a subject of great jealousy.

The appearance of considerable eagerness for an early reply to your address,

upon the ground that you were anxious to leave the coast, would probably

remove all uneasiness about your intentions, and expedite a satisfactory and

courteous answer. And I would beg you to bear in mind, that having effected

a communication upon just pretexts, aud in a deferential manner, you will have

accomplished what appears to be the principal object of your mission ; for, as

has already been observed, there is no reason for solicitude as to the safety of the


Your former experience in this country, the cautious character of your

instructions from the Commander-in-Chief, and your own sound judgment,

would make it intrusive upon my part to do more than mention the necessity of

extreme care in refraining from any proceedings likely to excite the suspicions

of the Fuhkeen authorities, and of earnest efforts to conciliate their good will.

But being upon this topic, I would presume to say that it would be well to avoid

those parts of the coast upon which the Opium ships are usually anchored,

neither would it be desirable that the ship should pass above the forts at the

entrance of the Min.

I have judged it best that the communications with the Government of

Fuhkeen should be carried on in your name, rather than my own, because my

business is specially with the authorities of these provinces, and you will feel

that communications upon my part with those of another, would expose me to

great suspicion and dislike here.

Mr. Gutzlaff, the joint interpreter, has been instructed to place himself

under your directions, and will readily afford you every assistance in his power.

After your departure from the Min, I am led to hope that you will convey

to the Bonins, Mr. Millichamp, a British subject, and a principal settler in those


This person has been waiting here for a passage for more than twelve

months at a heavy expense, and I am not without reason to believe that any

facilities which could be properly afforded to him, would be acceptable to his

Majesty's Government.

Perhaps too, in the course of your voyage to the Bonins, you would do me

the favour to call at Napakiang, in the Loochoo's, for the purpose of enabling

the Rev. M. Gutzlaff' to join a vessel, bound on an expedition of investigation,

which he has my permission to do.

I have &c .


Chief Superintendent.

Sub-Inclosure 2 in No. 103.

Proposed Address to the Governor of Fuh-keen and Che-ke'dng by Captain Quin.

THE Undersigned, Captain of one of His Britannic Majesty's ships, has the

honor respectfully to announce to your Excellency his arrival at this anchorage.


The purpose of the visit is to acquaint your Excellency, that certain men,

forming part of the crew of an English vessel, have lately been apprehended at

Manila, on a charge of rising in mutiny, and murdering their commander in

these seas, some time in the year 1836, and of afterwards sailing away in the

ship to the coast of Luconia and there destroying her.

It further appears that the instigators of the mutiny landed fourteen of the

crew, who refused to join in the outrage, on the coasts of Fuhkeen.

There is no ground for the suspicion that any of the persons there landed

participated in this flagitious deed. And the undersigned therefore feels assured

that your Excellency will be pleased to cause them to be delivered to him ; to

the end that they may be confronted with the persons in confinement at Manila,

so that speedy justice may be done upon the guilty, and that the innocent may

be suffered to return to the support of their aged and afflicted parents.

The undersigned requests your Excellency to accept his sincere and

respectful thanks for the protection extended towards these unfortunate men ;

and indeed it is a pleasing duty to acknowledge, in grateful terms, the unvarying

kindness of the Officers of the Empire to any subjects of his country cast on

these coasts by shipwrecks or other distressful accident.

The undersigned takes the liberty to request that your Excellency's pleasure

upon this subject may be signified as soon as convenient, in order that he may

sail away in pursuance of his instructions ; and he avails himself of this occasion

to offer your Excellency the sentiments of his highest consideration.

Sub-Inclosure 3 in No. 103.

QUIN, the Commander of one of His Britannic Majesty's ships, has

arrived at this anchorage, with an address for his Excellency the Governor,

upon the subject of certain distressed seamen of his nation, cast on shore in the

year 1836.

He requests that an Officer may be sent to him with all convenient speed,

so that he may present his address, and having received an answer, sail away.

Inclosure 4 in No. 103.

Captain Elliot to Mr. Gutzlaff.

Sir, Macao, June 21, 1837.

WITH reference to my communication of this day's date, I have now the

honor to furnish you with the following instructions for your guidance as to the

disposal of the three Japanese who have so long been supported at the charge of

this establishment.

If you should be fortunate enough to meet the ship Morrison at Napakiang,

in the Great Loochoo, and there are any Japanese junks at that place bound to

Japan, you will be so good as to ascertain from the three persons under our care

whether they would prefer to embark on board one of those vessels to proceeding

on in the American ship. In taking their decision upon this point, you will

explain to them with all the precision in your power, the nature of any probable

risk to which they may expose themselves by repairing to their country in a

foreign ship.

In the event of their desiring to join a Japanese junk at Napakiang, you

will make arrangements for the payment of their passage.

If you should have left Napakiang, in the Raleigh, before the arrival of the

Morrison, and that vessel only joins you at the Bonins, it will still be indispen

sably necessary, previous to permitting the three Japanese to be carried on to

any part of the coast of Japan in the Morrison, that you should receive from

them their own consent to this mode of returning to their country.

If they object to it, you will be so good as to request Captain Quin to let

them remove from the Morrison into His Majesty's ship under his command,

and in that contingency, he has obligingly promised to restore them to my care

at this place.


Should they, on the contrary, think fit to go on in the American ship, as

they now seem very desirous of doing, you will be pleased, on approaching any part

of the coast of Japan, to pay the utmost attention to their own suggestions with

respect to the safest and most unobtrusive means of finding their way on shore ;

and it may not be misplaced to remark, that to put them on board a native

vessel out of sight of the land, appears to be a judicious manner of effecting

that object.

Generally, in all your proceedings with regard to these individuals, you

will bear in mind that their secure return to their own country is the single

object to which His Majesty's Government attach any importance ; and I feel

assured that nothing would seem less pardonable to Lord Palmerston, than the

least disposition to postpone that consideration to any views or purposes


Impressed with this conviction, it has only been my duty to His Majesty's

Government to furnish you these scrupulous instructions, but I can satisfactorily

add, that they have not been written in any sense that you would be influenced

by other motives than those upon which they are based. Indeed, your own

excellent feeling, and the high character and judgment of the American gentle

men by whom this expedition is undertaken, afford of themselves the best

guarantee, that to restore these shipwrecked individuals in safety to their

country and their families, will be the principal and sufficient object of the visit

to the coasts of Japan.

I need hardly repeat to you in this place, that it will be proper you should

very carefully distinguish between the general leave of absence now accorded to

you, and permission to join this or any other such expedition; which it is wholly

out of my power to grant.

But whilst it is necessary I should remind you that your pursuits during

your leave of absence are of your own seeking, and must be strictly considered

to be entirely unconnected with His Majesty's service, still I cannot doubt that

the Secretary of State will sympathize with those feelings of pious enterprise

which have influenced you on this, and so many other occasions. And I enter

tain a persuasion that I shall be excused for opposing no obstacle in the way of

dispositions at once suitable to your sacred profession, and honourable to your

personal character.

I have, &c,


Chief Superintendent.

No. 104.

Captain Elliot to Viscount Palmerston.— (Received February 2, 1838.)

My Lord, Macao, July 5, 1837.

I HAVE the honour to acknowledge your Lordship's Despatch, of the

8th November, 1836, declaratory of the state of the law with respect to any

authority in the Superintendents of trade to deport a British subject from this


I have, &c,