Edward Harper Parker.

China, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day online

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silver. They paid a duty of 3 per cent, upon
all imports, and there were no exports : the
group was nominally annexed in 1565. In 1575
two Spanish Augustines had visited Foochow
and Canton on a political mission from Manila.
The Chinese may well be excused for having
confused the Portuguese with the Spaniards
during the negotiations which took place at
Manila relative to the treatment of Fuh Kien
merchants there, for in 1580 Philip II. annexed
Portugal, which remained for over half a century
one realm with Spain. Manila, so called from
a river in Luzon, was taken in 1571, and the


whole group of islands was styled " The Philip-
pines " in honour of the Spanish king. The
Chinese then used no other word than the old
native name of Luzon ; nor do they now. It
appears that some of the speculative Chinese,
evidently misled by the enormous importation
of silver from Mexico, and the fact that the
Spaniards never gave anything but silver in ex-
change for the* multifarious Chinese produce at
last imported, got into their heads a notion that
gold and silver might be obtained in Manila for
the mere picking of it up. Official personages
were despatched at their instigation from China
to make inquiry : the Spaniards grew suspicions
that ideas of conquest were being entertained,
and considerable ill-feeling was thus engendered,
which culminated in a fearful unreasoning
massacre. This seems to have been in 1603 ;
nearly the whole of the Chinese were put to
the sword, and even those who escaped death
were sent to the galleys. Both Chinese and
Spanish accounts agree, however, in stating that
junks and traders soon began to arrive again
as if nothing had happened. But a limit was
thereafter placed upon their numbers by the
Spaniards, and each man had to pay a poll-tax
of eight dollars. Another massacre took place
in 1662, when the Chinese pirate Koxinga, who
had just ejected the Dutch from Formosa,
threatened to come over and also take ^Manila.
Since then the Chinese Government, until quite
recent years, seems to have almost entirely
ignored the place ; and their subjects, chiefly
from the AmxOy region, have thriven fairly well
under the strict but narrow Spanish rule. The
total population of the whole group does not fall
far short of 8,000,000, and, as everyone knows,
the Americans are now (since 1899) in possession.
The main exports are sugar, tobacco, and hemp.


It should perhaps be mentioned that in 1762
Manila was occupied by the English, but soon
surrendered on payment of a ransom.

The Dutch first opened commercial relations
with the Spice Islands, Bantam (near Batavia)
and Acheen in 1598-1600. Coffee was first
brought into Europe from Arabia in 1580, and
was soon in great demand, so the Dutch sent an
agent to Mocha with a view to cultivating coffee
in Java. In 1610 they extended their trading
relations to Hirado, in Japan : but in 1640 they
were compelled to retire, and were confined to
the tiny island of Decima — a mere quay — in
Nagasaki Bay. It was about this period that
the Chinese first heard of the existence of the
Dutch : " Sailing in great ships and carrying
huge guns, they went straight for Luzon (1601),
but the Luzon men repelled them, on which
they turned for Macao." Just after the Japanese
and Chinese pirates had been driven out of
Kilung (whence the latter fled to Borneo), some
Chinese fishing boats drifted to Formosa, and
then traders began to settle there. The Dutch
were not long in discovering this promising
commerce. In 1603-4 they succeeded, with the
connivance of certain Chinese traders, in effect-
ing a landing in the Pescadore group of islands,
whence they were ejected in 1624 : a number
of them were carried captive to Peking. In
consequence of these events, the Chinese Govern-
ment encouraged their people to emigrate to
Formosa, and the Dutch, in 1634, also went
on to found settlements in T'ai-wan (South For-
mosa). The oldest name for the island seems
to be " Mount Kilung," from a headland on the
north promontory, and Kilung is still the name
of a port in the extreme north ; but no serious
attention appears to have been paid to it by
junkmasters until the fifteenth century, when


Chinese traders began to establish their stations
at various suitable spots in the island. Shortly-
after their exploit with the King of Loochoo, as
narrated on page 40, the Japanese endeavoured
to form a colony in Formosa, and had to contest
possession with the Dutch ; but the Dutch were
ultimately driven out in 1662 by Koxinga, who
was himself half a Japanese : his father, a
baptized Christian named Nicholas, had visited
both Manila and Japan, where he had married
a native woman, Koxinga's mother. It may
be explained .that Koxinga is merely the Portu-
guese form of the Chinese words Kwok-sing-ya,
or " the gentleman with the reigning surname,"
because a Chinese prince, then a fugitive in the
south from the triumphant arms of the Manchus,
had caused to be conferred on him, in considera-
tion of his heroic patriotism, the family name of
the Ming dynasty. In 1665 a Dutch mission under
Van Hoorn visited Peking, and the local govern-
ment of Full Kien seems to have sought Dutch
assistance about this time in connection with
Formosa ai'iairs. It was not until 1683 that the
Manchus succeeded in obtaining from the
Koxinga family, with Dutch assistance, a renun-
ciation of their hereditary rights in Formosa ;
and subsequent to that date (until its cession to
Japan in 1895) the island was incorporated in
the Manchu empire as part of Fuh Kien.

Chinese history gives a fairly intelligible and
accurate account of the struggle between
Japanese, Franks, and Red Hairs, but after their
expulsion from Formosa the Dutch are not so
much heard of in the China seas as other Euro-
pean nations. According to the arrangement
which the Chinese say was made by a Dutch
mission to Peking in 1656, Flolland had to send
tribute to the Manchu court once every eight
years. A mission under Titsingh and Van


Braam visited the Chinese capital in 1793, and
since then Holland appears to have gone quietly
about her own business in the Southern Archi-
pelago, without troubling herself with Manchu
official relations at all ; Chinese traders mean-
while managed to thrive under the strict and
discriminating rule of the Hollanders. And so
things went on, their Canton factory of course
in full swing, until the Dutch treaty of 1863 was
concluded : this was after the second Chinese
war, and the occupation of Peking by the
English and French. But even after this the
Dutch held aloof, and probably they would
never have sent a minister to Peking at all, had
they not desired to obtain a liberal supply of
coolies for Sumatra. The Chinese in Java and
other Dutch colonies have not quite so much
freedom as in Hongkong or Singapore ; but they
are treated with sagacity as well as firmness,
and the Dutch, who watch them carefully, and
nip any nascent rising or independent action in
the early bud, know well how to utilise to their
own advantage the capacity of the Chinese for
self-government and commercial organisation.
This fact began to touch Chinese pride after the
" Boxer " war, and, following many years of
patient negotiation, China at last gained her
main point, which was to place her nationals in
the Dutch islands under the " observation " at
least of Chinese consuls.

All this, however, relates to the Dutch of
to-day, from whom we must now turn to pick
up the thread of our narrative of the earlier
arrivals in China. Pacci died in 1610, and was
therefore not called on to explain to the Chinese
the concrete existence of any European nations
except the Franks, the Italians, and the Dutch.
But there is a chapter in the Ming history w^hich
states that, according to the Western men who

A.D. 1530-1687] THE JESUITS AT PEKING 95

arrived between 1573 and 1617, their " Lord of
Heaven " was born in Judaea, or the ancient
Ta-ts'in. Ricci is also specifically said to have
made for the Chinese a map of Europe, and to
have explained to them the division of the world
into five great continents. His statements were
received with considerable incredulity, but he was,
notwithstanding, kindly treated by the Emperor.
After Ricci's death, Pantoja, Rho, Schaal (or
Schall), and other distinguished Jesuits succeeded
to his influence ; they rendered considerable
service to the Chinese in the manufacture of guns,
the calculations of eclipses, and matters of science
generally. Adam Schaal was in Peking shortly
after the Manchus took possession ; his appeal
to their clemency was well received, and he was
appointed President of the Astronomical Board
by the prudent Manchus, who were only too
anxious to avail themselves of talent, wherever
found. His successor, Verbiest, assisted the
Manchu commanders during the Chinese satrap
rebellions to make large cannon for use in the
field, and the Emperor K'ang-hi even showed
himself personally very well disposed towards
Christianity. Unfortunately, religious intrigues
with his own sons, and disputes between rival
missionary societies led to an untimely difference
of opinion upon the subject of ancestor worship
between the Emperor and the Pope, since which
time politics have been inextricably mixed up
with Western religion in China, and persecutions
never entirely ceased so long as the Manchu
dynasty existed.

The first English arrivals came shortly after
the Dutch. According to one account cited by
Chinese writers. Queen Elizabeth of England
sent a letter and presents to China in 1596, but
the ships of the mission were wrecked in a storm.
In 1637 five English ships are stated to have


come from Sumatra to Canton, and to have com-
menced hostilities there, owing to the Portu-
guese having intrigued so as indirectly to force
the local authorities to obstruct the new-comers'
trade ; but, it is added, they surrendered the
fort they had taken, on being allowed to dispose
of their cargoes. However, in both cases the
strangers were, if they really did come, mistaken
for Dutchmen, whose own origin again was only
imperfectly understood at that period. In
Koxinga's time the English are believed to have
had dealings at Amoy ; this is not unlikely,
for they were certainly there in 1730, when their
trade was stopped ; at all events, the East India
Company established, and for a few years kept
up a factory at the Chusan Islands near Ningpo
somewhere towards the end of the seventeenth
century.^ It is certain that already some time
before that, in 1684, a foothold had been
obtained at Canton ; indeed, the Chinese state
that in 1685 foreign commerce had been officially
authorised at Macao, Chang-chou (Zaitun),
Ningpo, and some place near Shanghai. There
were several other attempts made during the
eighteenth century to trade at Ningpo and
Tientsin ; but practically all legitimate foreign
commerce, English and otherwise, w^as confined
to Canton, until the first war with England
broke out in 1840, in consequence of a misunder-
standing in connection with the opium trade,
and about the price to be paid for opium sur-
rendered by us. Up to the year 1765 the
import of opium, which was at first regarded in
the light of a medicinal drug, had never exceeded
200 chests ; but in 1796 it was entirely pro-
hibited, on account of the rapidly increasing

^ The correspondence of Catchpoole, who was there in 1701—2,
was about twenty years ago published by M. Henri Cordier in
the Revue de V Extreme-Orient.

A.D. 1795-1906] SO-CALLED " OPIUM WAR " 97

number of smokers. In 1793 Lord Macartney
had audiences with the Emperor at Jeliol,
but opium was apparently not one of the sub-
jects specially discussed/ It seems the British
Superintendent in 1795 ofi'ered China some
assistance against revolted Nepaul.^ By 1820
the import of opium had steadily risen to 4,000
chests, and the Chinese Government began to
feel justly alarmed, both at the enormous drain
of silver from the country, and at the prospect
of debauching the population. In 1821 the
opium hulks were driven away to the Ling-ting
Islands, and in 1838 severely repressive measures
were begun. The whole melancholy story of
the so-called " Opium War " has been frequently
told, and I have myself published a precis trans-
lation of the best connected Chinese account of
it. It is distinctly admitted that it was the
stoppage of trade, and not the destruction of
opium, that caused the war ; also that the
Emperor when the war was over voluntarily
conceded the right of all but officials to smoke
the drug. It is unquestionable that the smoking
of opium does a great deal of physical harm,
and causes a vast waste of money and energy ;
but even the Chinese admit that the initial
responsibility for its use by smokers was as much
theirs as ours ; and in any case they had during
a whole generation deliberately extended the
evil by allowing the undisguised cultivation of
the poppy on a wholesale scale in China itself.
Indian opium in 1900 did not represent one
quarter of the total consumption ; since 1906,
however, energetic steps have been taken to rid
the country of the curse.

^ I published the Emperor's amusing letters to King George III.
in the Nineteenth Century for July, 1896.

^ An official account of Lord Amherst's abortive mission in
1816 appears in the Chinese Recorder for 1898.


After the first war, which secured, in addition
to Canton, the further opening to trade of
Shanghai, Ningpo, Foochow, and Amoy as treaty
ports to all the world, besides the cession of
Hongkong to Great Britain, the chief points of
international friction were usually found to be
in connection with the contested claim of British
traders to reside within the walls of Canton.
In 1846 a fine junk was smuggled out of the
river, taken by Captain Kellet, R.N., round the
Cape to America and England, and exhibited in
the East India Dock two years later. In 1856
the Viceroy Yeh categorically refused to admit
the English into the city, on the pretext that
Governor Bonham had formally abandoned the
claim in 1849. These strained relations led
gradually and indirectly up to the burning of
the " Thirteen Hongs," and to the second war,
in which the French also took part, and which
culminated in the destruction of the Emperor's
Summer Palace some miles beyond the metro-
polis, and the opening of Peking itself to the
diplomatic representatives of European powers
generally. The Treaty of Tientsin and the
Peking Convention which followed it opened a
number of new coast ports (Newchwang, Tient-
sin, Chefoo, Swatow) to foreign trade, besides
certain places on the River Yang-tsze (Hankow,
Kewkiang, Chinkiang), two markets in the
islands of Formosa (T'aiwan, Tamsui), and
Hainan (Hoihow) : this last, however, was not
actually utilised until 1876. Russia took advan-
tage of the occasion to extend her Ussuri terri-
tory at the expense of Manchuria, and most of
the other European powers hastened to secure
to themselves by separate treaty the same com-
mercial and religious advantages as those
obtained by England and France, as will be
recorded in detail under separate heads. Mis-

A.D. 1860-1875] TREATIES WITH CHINA 99

sionary enterprise was placed by these treaties
upon an entirely new footing, and instead of
being a dangerous occupation, in which the un-
protected priest carried his life in his hands as a
guarantee for his own prudence and moderation,
it became a comparatively comfortable and safe
distraction, combining the charm of agreeable
travel in new lands with a reasonable certainty
of consular protection. It is only fair, however,
to add that some societies, as, for instance, the
Jesuits and the China Inland Mission, have con-
sistently done their best to avoid the doubtful
advantage of consular interference.

We shall towards the end of the chapter take
up in turn each nation as affected by modern
treaties. Meantime we may remark that from
1860 to 1870 England was unmistakably the
sole influential power at Peking, — perhaps with
Russia, on account of her land frontiers and her
consequentproximity, as a good second; but after-
wards Japan began to work her way ominously to
the front ; whilst, after the Franco-German War,
the inoffensive Prussia blossomed into a threat-
ening state called " Te-i-ch'i " (Deutsch, or Ger-
many) and proportionately increased the scale
and pretensions of her commercial and diplo-
matic representation in the Far East, culminating
in her military direction of the Great Powers in
the " Boxer " war of 1900. On the other hand, the
defeat of France deprived her of the opportunity
of avenging in an adequate manner the massacre
of French officials and other subjects at Tientsin
in 1870 ; and thus the influence of France fell
almost to zero for some years. Then came the
suspicious m.urder of Mr. Margary, a British
consular officer conducting an Anglo-Indian
expedition over the Burmese frontier into Yiin
Nan ; the futile mission of inquiry under Mr.
Grosvenor ; and the prolonged diplomatic dis-


cussion which led to the Chefoo Convention of
1876. The immediate results were the opening
to trade of more ports (Wenchow, Pakhoi) on
the coast, and more places on the Yang-tsze
(Ich'ang, Wuhu), together with certain stipula-
tions concerning the opium trade, and the
establishment of permanent Chinese Legations
in Europe, America, and Japan. In 1886 these
stipulations ripened into what is called the Opium
Convention, practically arranging, on the one
hand, for the checking of a further increase in
the Indian import, and on the other for the
assistance of the Hongkong Government in
securing to China, under cheap conditions, an
enhanced import duty on that article ; but on
the understanding that there was to be no further
charge of any kind in the interior of China.
Another open clause in the Chefoo Convention
took the ultimate form of the Chungking
Agreement of 1890, by which foreign com-
merce obtained direct admission into the heart
of Sz Ch'wan. The Sikkim Convention of the
same year recognised in principle the right of
British India to trade with Tibet, provided
for by a separate article in the Chefoo Con-

When Upper Burma was taken, the British
Government in its haste to get rid of Chinese
objections had, or rather its representative had,
somewhat weakly accepted a stipulation about
a mission from Burma being sent with presents
at fixed intervals under British supervision ;
this was by way of recognition of China's de jure
suzerainty. The stipulation was contained in
Article I. of the Convention of July, 1886 ; and,
as at the same time some preliminary steps had
already been taken toAvards opening up trade
from British India with Tibet, by Article IV.
it was agreed to stay further action in this

A.D. 1894-1904] THE BURMESE QUESTION 101

sense, and not " press the matter unduly " ;■ —
in other words, to drop it, as another sop to
China for holding her tongue about Burma.
The Convention of March, 1894, " gave effect "
to the third article of this Convention of 1886
by dealing with the Burma frontier and its
trade questions alone, but of course it omitted
all allusion to Tibet. The Chinese, meanwhile,
having made an imprudent treaty with France
touching the cession to her of certain Shan
states, which had been quite as much Burmese
as Chinese, were compelled by Great Britain
further to modify the Convention of 1894 by
another one dated February, 1897, which recti-
fied the frontier in other directions less clearly
savouring of Burmese " rights," and therefore
much to the advantage of Burma : it further
provided for the establishment of British consuls
at Esmok and Momein. By a special additional
article, the coveted West River above Canton
was at last opened to trade, together with the
ports of Wu-chou and Sam-shui. Thus, after
an interval of 2,000 years, we obtained the
rights forcibly taken by China from the King
of South Yiieh.^ Finally, by the Kowloong
Extension and the Wei-hai Wei Agreements of
1898, we enlarged our hold over the mainland
opposite Hongkong, and acquired the " ele-
ments " of a new naval base in Shan Tung,
which was situated right between the " spheres "
of Russia and Germany. Naggings with China
about Tibetan trade went on at intervals till
they culminated (1904) in our occupation of
Lhassa : on the Burmese frontier we have
secured command of the whole Irrawaddy valley.
In view of all this no one will say- — however
much in matters of detail we may have erred
in judgment* — that Great Britain has failed to

1 Pp. 48, 61.


secure for herself, on the whole, a considerable
number of miscellaneous commercial and political
advantages from the jdcheuse situation arising
out of an attitude on the part of China so hostile
to " progress."

The Russians were the first Europeans to hold
relations on a national scale with China, though
it is highly improbable that at first the Chinese
had the faintest idea of connecting them either
with the ancient Ta-ts'in people, or with any
other hazily conceived " tribes " of the West
Ocean, or Europe. They were rather grouped,
in the Chinese mind, with the Kirghis and
Kipchaks as a Western Asiatic race of hyper-
boreans. The story of the Mongol conquests of
1240 and onwards has often been told, but it
is not so generally known that Russian imperial
guards are frequently mentioned at the Mongol
Court of Peking at intervals up to a century
later than that date, and this at a time when the
Mongol dynasty at Peking was tottering to its
fall, and had no more political hold of any kind
upon Russia. Not one single word touching
Russia appears in Chinese history during the
whole interval between the disappearance of the
Mongols (1368) and the rise of the Manchus
(1644) ; but, according to Russian accounts, an
unsuccessful attempt to induce the Chinese
Emperor to open relations was made in 1567.
It seems to be certain that there were some
Russians found in Shan Si twenty years before
this, but it does not appear very clearly what
they were doing there : they seem to have been
ultimately rescued from danger by some friendly
Mongols. The chief authority for this strange
incident, when I first discussed it, was the ad-
venturous Portuguese traveller Mendez Pinto,
already mentioned, who was taken prisoner
by the Chinese, and put to work on the Great


Wall repairs.^ Two Cossacks were sent, via
Kalgan, on a mission to Peking by the Governor
of Tobolsk in 1619, but with like unsatisfactory
results. In 1652 there began a long struggle
between the Manchus and the Russians for the
possession of Yaksa, or Albazin, on the Anuir.
Baikofi' was sent on a mission in 1653. By
the Treaty of Nerchinsk of August, 1689, the
Russians agreed to abandon Albazin, and a
number of them were removed as prisoners to
Peking, where they were incorporated in the
" banner " system. Provision was made for
their religious instruction, and this is really the
germ of the Russian Orthodox Mission at Peking.
Aigun, opposite Blagoveschtschensk, where the
fighting occurred in August, 1900, was made
the local Manchu capital in 1684. The history of
Russian relations with the Manchus is a long
one. It embraces the questions of the Turgut
Mongols' or Kalmucks' migration to the Volga,
the Manchu envoy Tulishen's missions to them in
1715-30, and their subsequent return in a dis-
gusted frame of mind to China in 1770 ; Russia's
missions to China in 1719-27 ; the Kalmuck
wars, and the surrender by Russia of fugitives ;
frontier disputes in 1848-9 ; the occupation by
Russia of the Lower Amur in 1855 ; Poutiatin's
mission ; and the Treaty of Aigun in 1858.
Their commercial relations Math China had been
confined to the tea trade of Kiachta, and to a
trifling barter near Tarbagatai. In 1860 Count
Ignatieff, by the Treaty of Peking, took advan-
tage of the situation created by the Anglo-French
attack upon China to secure the annexation to
Russia of the whole Ussuri region. In 1862 there
was concluded a convention regulating the land

^ I have since dealt willi the whole subject in detail. See
Mongolia before ihe Manchus, Shanghai As. Soc. Vol. xliv., and
The Russians and Mongolia, University Press, 1917.

Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day → online text (page 10 of 35)