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ordinates. As it was impossible to convict on this,
pressure was put upon the Brigadier and taotai to
force them to own up, in order to appease the for-

« Six whites and three natives of India were restored. —
Repository, 1842, page G48.

* :

53i 3£ ? evidently brother of the Censor.

72 Chinese Account of the Opium War.

eigners ; and they were both summoned to Peking.
The soldiers became mutinous on hearing this news ;
but the accused themselves prevailed on their troops
to remain quiet. The Viceroy resigned, and his
successor sent all the correspondence up to Peking ;
when the Emperor, seeing how unfair it was to
blame the Brigadier and the taotai, did not punish
them severely, and soon restored them to favour.

The Ghoorkas are south-west of Tibet, and con-
terminous with the British East Indian possession
Bengal, with which district they had a standing feud.
Hearing in 1839 of the British raid, they represented
to the Resident in Tibet that " they were neighbours
" of the P'ileng a tribe belonging to Tili, and were
" always being insulted by them; that, the Tili 6
" now being at war with a metropolitan possession,
" they, the Ghoorkas, would be glad to attack the
" Tili possessions in order to assist the Celestial
" chastisement." If only our ministers had known
anything about geography or foreign politics, and
allowed them to create a diversion, then England's
Indian troops w r ould have had their hands full at
home, and could not all have come to China. This
was our first offer of assistance from abroad : but
our ministers, not knowing that the Tili were the
English, that P'ileng was Bengal, and that the
Metropolitan Possession was Canton in China, re-

a i&ffi b mm c? Demi).

Chinese Account of the Opium War. 73

plied that " the Heavenly Dynasty never concerns
" itself with the mutual tiltings of savages;" and
thus the Ghoorka barbarians abandoned the idea of
attacking India, and the soldiers with which England
made her raids entertained no uneasiness about India
at all. After the Nanking peace in the autumn of
1842, the British on their return to India ironically
asked the Ghoorkhas to " come on :" the Ghoorkhas
then turned upon the Residents, whom they addressed
in very insubordinate terms. The Eesidents only
just managed to keep them to a nominal allegiance.

France and America are both powerful countries
of the west, and, like the English, trade at Canton.
They are hereditary enemies of England, but very
obsequious to China. The previous year, when the
English attacked China, and stopped all trade by
blockading the coast, the other countries were very
indignant, and said that, if the English did not return
home soon, they w r ould also bring up men-of-war to
Canton and call them to account, — as Lin Tseh-su
twice represented to the Emperor. All of a sudden
Lin Tseh-su was cashiered, and K'ishen thought of
nothing but peace; so the matter fell short. In
March," when K'ishen was marched off a prisoner,
the American head-man came a few days after to try
and arrange matters. Hence came the suggestions
that trade and no other demands should be

<* 12th March 1841.— Repository.

74 Chinese Account of the Opium War,

granted, and that ships smuggling opium should be
confiscated with their cargoes. But the leaders in
Canton made a night attack upon the factories, and
killed several Americans by mistake ; so that the
Americans were no longer willing to come forward
in our interests.

After the repeated breaches of their conven-
tion by the English, the French foreign official
several times offered his assistance in building
ships. That winter two men-of-war arrived, with
a military leader, who said he had some
confidential business upon which he wished to
confer with the Tartar- General : he begged
that the services of an interpreter might be
dispensed with, as he had two bonzes with him who
understood Chinese. The Tartar- General Yikshan
and the Viceroy K'ikuSTG had several interviews with
him outside the city. The attendants® were dismissed,
and it was confidentially represented that, the English
having stopped the trade of all nations, the French
King had sent men-of-war for protection, and had
ordered him to act as mediator, and to proceed to
Ningpo and Shanghai to arrange peace, when he
would have no difficulty in bringing the English to a
proper sense of things, and in finding a way out of their

a The Repository for 1812 says that an interview was held on
the 22nd March between Yikshan and Col. de Jancigny;
M. Challayb, the French Consul, was present. The "bonzes"
were evidently French or native Catholics, in Chinese dress.

Chinese Account of the Opium War. 75

greedy demands. If the English would not agree,
he would find some pretext for fighting them. This
was our second offer of assistance from abroad : but
Yikshan at first refused even to represent the matter
to the Emperor. The French then suggested that
they should, as a first step, go to Hongkong and see
Pottinger. After several days' discussion, they
replied that the English demanded Hongkong and
three millions [Poftaels] for the opium. Yikshan
still declined to forward their representations to the
Emperor. At last, when he did so, he added : — " but
" the enemy's designs are unfathomable, and possibly
"they are really assisting the English in an under-
" hand way, and acting as spies on us for them."
The French hung on from February to June, awaiting
our commands ; and at last in June proceeded to
Wusung : a but the English were already far up the
Yangtsze. The French wanted to engage Chinese
pilots to take them up ; but the Shanghai officials, on
the contrary, threw obstacles in their way ; and so
much time was occupied in trying to obtain pilots
that, at last, when the French entered the river
in other boats, the treaty of peace was already con-
cluded, 6 and the English had got all they wanted ; — m
anyhow a vast deal more than the French had
proposed on their behalf. The French head-man

« The " Erigone " arrived there on the 26th June.

& Captain Cecille arrived in a junk just in time to witness
the ceremony. — Repository, page 680.

76 Chinese Account of the Ojnum War.

went back much mortified ; and the following winter
returned to Canton to arrange about trade. The
English desired that traders of all nations should
report to them first, and then pay duties ; but the
French and the Americans indignantly exclaimed : —
" We are no dependencies of England, nor have we
" been treacherous and bullying. Why then treat
*• them better than us?" On this some American
ships of war entered port, and, a few months later,
some Frenchmen too. Both of them submitted
letters, begging to pay tribute, and to be allowed to
express their devotion at an interview. They also
requested to be allowed to leave their ships in the
south, whilst the tribute-envoys and a small suite
went overland to Peking ; for they wished to make
some confidential suggestions, and to assist us, — as
the Uigurs once assisted the T ; ang dynasty against
the rebel Anluhshan. This was the third offer
of assistance from abroad ; rejected, however,
repeatedly by our ministers. Ilipu had already
died at Canton; and in 1843 Keying was ordered
thither to carry on his work : permission had been
granted a to one country after another to trade on
the same terms as England without the interference
of the co-hong merchants, and with liberty to go to
the other ports, and stand on a footing of equality

« K'iying'S proclamation is published in the Repository for

Chinese Account of the Opium War. 77

with the mandarinate; so that the English even
became patrons of the others.

The history of the volunteers or patriots of Canton
is as follows. When the English were hard pressed
at San-yuan Village, in the summer of 1841, they
hesitated about coming to trade at Canton any more.
But, after the peace, Canton was declared open by
imperial decree, and the following winter the white
barbarians went insolently all about the place. The
exasperated people rose upon them, burnt and
plundered the factory, a and killed some foreign
officers and soldiers off Macao. The ships of the
chief Pottinger were then at Canton, but dared
not take any revenge. The Viceroy and Governor,
however, punished the offenders in order to give
satisfaction : but P'an Shih-ch'eng, 6 a gentleman
of Canton, engaged at his own expense a French
foreign official named Lei-Jen-sz c [? Colonel
de Jancigny] to order some ships and guns from
France, and also some torpedoes for attacking
ships under the water. Four two-masted men-
of-war, as strong and well-built as any foreign
ship, were thus built at his expense, at a cost of
« 7th December 1842.— See Repository for 1842, page 687.

The Repository for 1833, page 350, says that P'AN KiQUA,
father of the senior hong merchant, had been disgusted by seeing
the tyranny practised in Manila.

c Bfi±

78 Chinese Account of the Opium War.

Tls. 20,000 for each ship, and Tls. 40 for each
torpedo. On this the Emperor ordered the building
of a new Canton fleet to be confided to him, quite
free of all official interference, so as to prevent
peculation ; but, owing to the obstacles thrown in the
way by the high authorities, the matter dropped. a
Thus China was neither without allies or internal zeal
in the pirate war : but she had no one to take the
reins in hand ; and so her dependent barbarians
were driven over to aid her enemy, and her brave
people were turned into disloyalists : her patriots
were even denounced as obstinate persons.

Of late, with the trade all along the coast, the
opium business is greater than ever; and, at the re-
commendation of the Canton Governor Hwang En-
t'ung, 6 the prohibitions against Roman Catholicism
have been relaxed throughout the Empire. The
foreigners in possession of Ting-hai and Kulang Sii
put pressure on the officials, and harbour all sorts
of outlaws; whilst the man at Wu-shih Shan in
Foochow [i.e. H.B.M. Consul] occupies the very
heart of the capital, and can look over the whole
city. The Governor-General and the Governor look
helplessly on, and represent to the Emperor " that
u they have only given him a tumble-down temple

« The Rejwsitory for 1843, page 108, mentions an American
as haying been employed by native gentry.

" X & B

Chinese Account of the Opium War, 79

" outside the city !" The gentry and people of
Foochow are highly indignant ; and Lin Tseh-su,
who is with his family, is in the specially black
books of the high authorities there.

In 1844, K'iying was recalled, and Hwang En-
t'ung was degraded to the rank of sub-prefect and
sent home. In 1845 the English called upon us to
keep K'iying's promise to admit them into the city
after three years, and to allow the establishment of an
office there ; but the Viceroy Sti Kwang-tsin," with
the co-operation of the patriots in the city and the
Americans outside of it, succeeded in repelling them,
and the enemy was constrained to retire re wfeetcu
The Viceroy was made a viscount for this, and the
Governor Yeh Ming-shen 6 was made a baron.
Things were now tolerably quiet at Canton. The
new Emperor, Hien-fung, as soon as he came to
the throne in 1851, issued a special decree doing
justice to the memories of Lin Tseh-su, Yao Ying,
and Tahunga for their efforts to maintain the
integrity of the outlying parts of the Empire, and
censuring K'iying's timidity and his error in defying
the enemy. This decree was received with great
satisfaction. c

The barbarian pirate war lasted two years in all,
and cost Tls. 70,000,000. There was always a

a f& H H b % *% SR Commissioner Yeh, of 1860.

c These last paragraphs seem to have been added on to a
subsequent edition.

80 Chinese Account of the Opium War.

clamour for either peace or war ; but no one, strange
to say, ever recommended a strictly defensive
attitude. Again, fighting was neglected when
fighting was proper, and indulged in when out of
place : so, also, peace was neglected when peace was
proper, and peace was decided for exactly at the
wrong time. Such defensive measures as we took
were taken at wrong places, and neglected where
really required. Instead of putting herself on the
defensive, Canton went in wildly for peace ; and
instead of putting himself on the defensive, Yikshan
went in wildly for war: whilst, again, Yen Peh-
t'ao, Yuk'ien, and Km Kien went in for wildly
defending indefensible places. If they had only
known how to take advantage of the ground, guard
the inner waters, strengthen their fortifications,
drill their best troops, prepare a store of com-
bustibles, and lay a series of ambushes, like Lin and
Teng did at the Bogue and Amoy ! They should
have appeared unable to conquer, and then waited
to see if the enemy could give them the opportunity
to conquer; when they could have fought on the
defensive, or remained on the defensive whilst
treating. If they had fought on the defensive, they
would have had the benefit of other troops besides
our own ; — for instance, the French and Americans,
and also the Ghoorkas, as far as setting foreign
enemy against foreign enemy goes : and they would

Chinese Account of the Opium War. 81

have had the benefit of other Chinese besides the
patriots ; — for instance, our rapscallions, as far as
setting disloyalists against the enemy goes. If, on
the other hand, they had remained on the defensive
whilst treating, then we should have had nothing to
fear, whilst they would have had everything to ask.
We should have resolutely adhered to the opium
interdiction as a means of closing their mouths
and taking the spirit out of them, leaving the other
barbarians deprived of their trade to come in as
mediators, in which condition we could never but be
declared by the latter otherwise than in the right
against the English ; whilst we must have gained
their affection in the same measure as the English
their hatred. In this way not only should we not
have had to pay for any opium, but we should have
been aple to prevent for ever its coming any more*
in the future ; whilst the millions of money which
we bad to spend in war indemnities to the barbarians
could have been devoted to the purchase of foreign
guns and ships, the training of marines and firemen
to attack, etc.; thus appropriating to our own pur-
poses the armaments and defences of the foreigners
themselves, and turning their arts and devices into
our arts and devices, and at one effort both enriching
the state and strengthening our arms.

Oh ! opportunity ! opportunity ! It is only the
true genius who can take opportunity by the fore-

82 Chinese Account of the Opium War.

lock ! It is only the sagacious who never miss
opportunity. But the next best thing is to repent
when the opportunity has gone by. Repentance,
followed by capacity to change for the better, will
yet enable us to repair our errors at some future
time !



By the same A uthor:




Page 4, for fjjj read Jfe.

„ 7 „ [Madras] 4 * „ Meng-mai [Bombay]*

„ 11 „ our favour „ Our favour.

,,37 „ you succeeded „ you have succeeded.

„ 62 „ fleet had to

fleet had had to.

„ 81 „ never but be „ never be.






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Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChinese account of the Opium war → online text (page 5 of 5)