Alan Leo.

An account of the destruction of the fleets of the celebrated pirate ... online

. (page 11 of 15)
Online LibraryAlan LeoAn account of the destruction of the fleets of the celebrated pirate ... → online text (page 11 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

part^ and that they had shown those ships their ren-
dezvous, he had them all lashed and secured below,
and they were blown up in a vessel

Captains Lyons, of the *' Pilot»" Farquhar, of the

dbyCg,60^tg^ ' "


** Albatross,** and Haj, of the " Columbine,** having
been promoted by the Lords of the Admiralty ex-
pressly for the especial service rendered by those
officers agabst these pirates, it is earnestly hoped that
Commander "WlllcoXy of the '' Fuiy,** will receive a
similar reward. He has ever been foremost in readi-
ness with his vessel, which has been kept in most
efficient order, and always ready to go on any duty;
beddes which, the last official letter written by the
late Admiral contained one expressly soliciting the
Lords of the Admiralty to promote Commander Will-
cox. This was before the affiur of the last piratical
expedition enhanced further the claims and merits of
that officer* The following letter will also show Com-
mander 'WiIlcox*s deserts as appreciated by the gallant
late Commander-in-chief: —

•• Her M^jestj'* ship « HusUngs,**
HoBg-Kong, OoL 6> 1840.

** Sib,— Having received from Commander J. C D.

Hay, of H.M. ship ^ Columbine,** a report of the

operations on the 1st inst against a formidable

piratical force in Byas Bay, in which he states that

to Commander Willcox, of the ^ Fuxy,** must be given

the principal honour of the day, and that to the

^ Foi/s** unrivalled accuraqr of firing must be attri*

bnted the bloodless tmnination to us of this affiur.

I have to express to you my warm admiration of your

judicious and gallant conduct throughout these opera*

tioQs. I was perfectly satisfied, firom the high state


'^Digitized by V^OOQ TC ~ "'" '


of discipline of the " Furji** and ber excellent gunnery
order, that she would distinguish herself if the oppor-
tunity were allowed, and it gives me the highest grati-
fication to see how fully my opinions hare been justi-
fied. Tou will express to the officers, seameui and
marines of the ** Fuxy,** who were engaged in the late
operations, that their steady and gallant conduct has
merited my wannest approbation.

''I am, Sir, your obedient servant,


Admiral, Commaader-in-Chiet

** To Commander Willoox,

The day the ** Fury** left Hong»Eong the mer-
chants of China held a meeting, and got up addresses^
and Ybted thanks to Commander Hay, of the ^ Colum-
bine," and Commander Willcox, of the ** Fuiy,** and
also Toted each a service of plate, as marks of their
grateful appredation of the services rendered by those
officers to the mercantile interests of China by their
soocessfiil attacks upon the pirates.

Thnea, 23rd Jamta/ry, 1850.

Even the members of the Peace Society must re-
joice to hear that three of her lliyesty's vessels have:
safely returned bom performing a desperate servio^
ivithont casualty or damage; &r though war be. at.


" brgTtTzed by COO^TC


all times an evil, it is sarely a less evil according as
a less aggregate mischief has been ifnrought by its
operations. Four or five years ago it was credibly
reported, and never authentically denied, that in a
mere dvil broil between two of the interior provinces
of (Sank, upwards of 100,000 lives were lost on each
side, though the quarrel, even after these results,
was considered so common-place and insignificant as
to provoke no notice whatever on the part of Qovem-
ment This is one stage of warlike science; what
we are now going to relate exemplifies another, and
the reader can form his judgment between the two,
as respects the interests of human life only.

The last Chinese miul left us in some uncertainty
respecting the success of the expedition, consisting,
of tie "Fury,- "Columbine," and " Phlegethon,"
despatched against the notorious pirate-chief Shap-
ng-tsai; but all anxiety on this score has been re-
lieved by the despatches just published. From the
private correspondence, and other papers which have
reached us, we extract the following narrative, re-
markable no less for its incidental illustrations of
Chinese character, than for the description of the
engagement which it contains. It will not be found
very easy to track the proceedings on the chart, for
the surveys of the south-western coast of China are
tut from perfect; and beddes this, the names of,
places, as rendered mto our vernacular tongue, re-
semble each other so cIosely"«-seldom difiering in



more than two letters out of ten — that anj precision
of topography becomes well nigh impossible. The
reader will observe, however, on glancing at an
ordinary map of China, that its southernmost point
terminates in a short peninsula, off which lies an
island of considerable size, called Hainan, situated
something like Ceylon at the southern extremity of
India. Between the two is a channel admitting the
passage of junks, and leading westward into the Oulf
of Tonquin. It was somewhere in the ''barbarian
waters" at the head of this gulf that the encounter
took place.

On leaving Hong-Kong, the three British vessels
proceeded westward on their search, collecting intel-
ligence of the pirates from port to port, and often
meeting with fresh traces of their recent presence.
On the fourth morning of their expedition they learnt
that Shap-ng-tsai had just sailed from Hainan, that
he had attacked and totally destroyed a considerable
trading town on the peninsula, and that he had
made off in the direction of the numerous wild
islands at the head of the gulf. Thus instructed.
Captain Hay immediately sailed for Hoi-how, on the
island of Hainan, and put himself in communication
with Ho, the Qovemor-general of the district By
this officer and his colleagues he was most graciously
received in an illuminated artificial garden, to the
extreme joy of the local population ; and no wonder,
for such was the audacity and power of the pirate ^

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


chief, that he had actually attempted an attack upon
this dtf, and had onlj been defeated by the Bhoals,
which prevented his heavy junks from coming into
action. The mandarins professed great anxiety that
Captain Hay and his oflBcers should stop to breakfast
in state on the following morning; but on hearing
that in the British service such entertainments were
usually postponed till the work in hand was com*
pletedi they readily acquiesced, and immediately
reinforced the expedition with a quota of eight
junks, canying 100 native soldiers, under the com-
mand of Hw&ng, an officer who had formerly held
office in these waters, and who had been raised to
the rank of mandarin for his distinguished gallantry
in repulsing the pirate's attack upon Hoi-how.

With these aids the squadron now set sail, and
steered for the scene of the most recent atrocities,
Pak-hoL Here they heard that the pirates had just
left, and had repaired to ChuckHshan to refit. On
following the enemy to Chuck-shan, they found
endence but too plain that they were on the right
track; for in consequence of some fiulure of the poor
villagers to furnish the supplies demanded, the pirates
had burnt the town, massacred a great number of
the inhabitants, and carried away the women and
children. From Chuck-shan the expedition was
directed to Hoonong, and from Hoonong to Fa-lung,
where it was said that the population were actually
awaiting an attack from this terrible chieftam. This

- Digitized by VjOOQIC


intelligence proved correcti and as the squadron
neared the specifio pomt they at length saw the
fiimous pirate fieeti numbering no fewer than sixty-
four vessels, and carrying 1200 guns, and 3000 men.
There still, however, remained the difficulty of closing
with ihem, for they were within the shallows, where
Shap-ng-tsai had boasted that no English could fol-
low him; and in very truth, for upwards of m*ne
hours the British cruisers were hunting and prying
about for the channel, as Captain Hay's despatch
expresses it, ** like terriers at a rat-hole.** At last
a native pilot contrived to escape from the shore to
the fleet, and took them over the bar. On coming
to dose quarters, the first of Shap-ng-tsai*s proceed-
ings was to behead his agent and his whole boat*8
crew, on suspicion of treachery; and the next to
lash to the mainmast, as a target for our guns, an
unfortunate envoy who had been despatched to him
from Canton. He then resolutely awuted the attack
with a score of his heaviest vessels moored in line^
the guns of which he presently opened upon some
of his own junks, which showed symptoms of wishing
to escape. The fighting then became very sharp,
till a lucky shell from the Fhl^ethon entered the
pirate flag-ship, and blew all into the air. Singularly
enough, the poop of the vessel remained afloat, with
the flag of defiance still flying at the top of the rail-
ing until it was consumed by fire.
This dosed the first day*s action, but the next


LiigitikJ ' i^ '


morning the engagement was resumed under cir-
oumstances of greater difficulty, for the junks had
betaken themsdves to spots where they could only
be reached by boats, and had the sdenoe of the
pirates been but equal either to their desperation or
their means of offence, the results must have been
serious. On boarding one of the junks, a heavy
gun was found loaded to the muzzle, depressed so
as to bear upon the approaching boat, and behind it
lay its captain, dead, with the match still lighted in his
hand. A chance shot had probably saved the whole
of the boat's crew. In the large junks which were
captured everything was found in such fighting order
as would not have disgraced the smartest European
frigate. Quarters were clear, sponges and rammers
by the ride of the guns, ammunition in flannel cart-
ridges, carefully stowed away, and all screened from
acddent by blankets. The shoals and banks of the
river of course afforded considerable facilities of
escape to the pirate crews, but the Cochin-Chinese,
exasperated by innumerable acts of barbarity, and
oveijoyed at so unexpected a turn of the tables, soon'
surrounded the fugitives with spears and knives, and
probably gave a pretty good account of them, while
every native fort and garrison along the shore yielded .
its quota against these implacable enemies. After
executing this duty, the British squadron returned to
Hoi4iow, where ihey were received with transports.
of gratitude and welcome. The opinions entertained

"Dlgfe'e^by CuOO^lG


by tlie natives of the servioe to peace and commerce
which had been thus performed, mi^ be learnt from
a '' necessary communicationy** addressed by the
Chinese governor of Hainan to the British authorities
at Hong-Kong, and we are sure our readers will have
been pleased to see from the promotion-list that the
gallantry of those engaged has been as well appre-
ciated at home.

Perhaps at the next meeting of the Peace Society
some person will f&vour the world with a definition
of what, in these days, is still to be considered piracy,
and we shall be happy to apply the rule to the case
before us. Here were upwards of 3000 men sailing
from place to place with a fleet of 64 ships mounting
1200 guns, levying contributions wherever they
found means, burning all towns which afironted
them, massacring men and carrymg women into
slavery. Their vessels were found built, armed, and
' appointed for fighting only, nor was there anything
on board resembling merchandise except the plunder
just carried off from lien-Chou-fou, and some goods
which were identified as part of the cargoes of the
unfortunate ''Sylph** and ''Greyhound.** How are
these men to be described, if not as piratesi — and, if
as pirates, is not an agitation for the protection of
these " innocent fishermen** about as reasonable as
an appeal to the Society for Preventing Cruelty to
Animals in behalf of the now ravenous wolves in the

'. -d4gitize-d-brC=^O.O^l£^_
■■ " ■ ' ■ » W iw


Timet, Jamuarjf 26, IS50.

Woolwiob, Jtn. 25. .
Captain John Charles Dabymple Hay (January
2O9 1850)| whose promotion to that rank, as a reward
for his gallant conduct as commander of the ^ Colum-
bine," 16-gun sloop, in the recent destruction of the
vessek and crews of the Chinese pirates, was an**
nounced yesterday, served as midshipman of the
** Benbow," 72, Captain Houston Stewart^ during the
operations of 1840 on the coast of Syria, where pre-
'nously to assisting at the bombardment of St Jean
d'Acre^ be commanded a boat, and was officially
reported as deserving of eveiy credit for his spirited
conduct in the attack on Tortosa. Passing his ex-
amination on the 17th of February, 1841, he subse-
quently, until his attainment of the rank of lieutenant^
August 15, 1844, offidated as mate on the Mediter-
ranean and East India stations, of the same ship, and
of the ''Agincourt,'* 72, bearing the flag of Sir
Thomas John Cochrane, and ** Spiteful** steam sloop,
Captain William Midtland. His succeeding appoint-
ments were — ^November 12, 1844, again to the
" Ag^oourt** as flag-lieutenant, and March 1, 1846,
to the "Vestal,** 26, Captain Charles Talbot^ also in
the East Indies. He attained the rank of commander
on August 28, in the latter year. To this account of
Commander Hay's services from CByme's yawU
Biographical Didionairff, it may be added, that the

Digitized by VjOO^ IC



gallant officer did not remain long on the inactive
list, as be was appointed on December 4, 1847, to
command the '^ Columbiney** 16, for service on the
East India and China station, and has now been pro-
moted to be Captain for his late distinguished services.
The expedition against the pirates was placed under
the command of Captain Hay; and in his account of
the result, he says, '^fifty-eight piratical vessels^
mounting about 1200 guns, and with crews of 3000
men, have been totally destroyed by fire, and, by the
blessing of Ood, without the loss of one life of the
officers and men under my orders.**

Commander George Hancock (January 24, 1850,)
also promoted for his gallant services against the
Chinese pirates, entered the navy the 3rd of March,
1834 ; passed his examination on the 12th of Decem-
ber, 1840 ; and after an intermediate service as mate
on the Mediterranean and home stations in the
^ Yemon,** 50, and *' ExceHent," gunnery ship.
Captains William Walpole and Sir Thomas Hastings,
was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on the Ist of
July, 1844. He was subsequently employed in the
^Eagle,'V50, Captain George B. Martin, bearing the
flag of Bear-Admiral Samuel Hood Inglefield, on the
south-east coast of America, and afterwards in North
America and the West Indies. He obtained his
oomnussion as a reward for having passed the best
examination at the Boyal Naval College. On the
7th of April, 1848,he was appointed to the ''HastiDgs,**


Goo gle


commissioned on that day as the flag-ship on the
East India and China stations, and served in the
«< Foiy" war steamer and the boats of that yesse!,
wider the command of Oaptain John G. Dalrjmple
Hajy in the expedition against the Chinese pirates ;
and behaved so gallantly as to have the following
account given of his conduct in the despatches sent
by Oaptain Hay to the Commander-in-chief on the'
station. After describing the destruction of twenty*
seven of the piratical vessels, Captam Dalrymple
says: —

** On the 2l6t of October the steamers and boats
destroyed twenty-four more; and nine of them gave
lieutenant Qeoige Hancock, in a paddle-box boat of
the ^Fuiy" assisted by Oaptun Moore, B.N., and
Mr. Close, acting mate, with Mr. Lea9, an oppor-
tunity of distinguishing himsel£ Two large junks
turned to bay to defend the retreat of the rest» but
Mr. Hancock so handled his boat and her gun that,
after an hour and twenty minutes, he had beaten
them from their guns and carried them by boarding,
without loss, and then pursued and destroyed the
other seven. Mr. Hancock's boldness in attacking;
and correct judgment in managing this afiair, are
worthy of the highest praise.**

Their Lordships have, therefore, veiy justly pro« •
moted this distinguished officer to the rank of Com-

^iioo^Jje ^


Timea, FArwury 23, 1850.


Hong-Kong, Dee. 80, 1840.
Numerous robberies. hare occurred itt Yictoriay
committed with a degree of daring and ingenuity
that could not fail to be vexy seryiceable to the per-
petrators if displayed in an honest calling. Several
junks have been boarded and plundered close to the
anchorage of n.M.S. '' Hastings/' 72, proving that
there are still abundance of pirates on the alert, not-
withstanding the severe checks they had lately expe-
rienced from our naval force at Baias Bay and

Times, Apnl\9,\U(^.


The following correspondence has been sent us for
publication :—

No. 1.

Hong-Kong, Not. 10, 1840.

Sib, — ^We had recently the honour of expressing
to the late lamented Admiral, Sir F. Collier, our
sentiments regarding the important services rendered
by H.M. ships in the destruction of Chui-apoo's pira-
tical fleet at Pinghoi; and the pleasing duty now
devolves upon us of again recording our acknowledg-
ments for the operations just completed in the anni**




liilation of the still more fonnidable fleet of Shap-ng-
tsai on the west coast.

Tour official account of the proceedings of KM.
ships ^Columbine** and ''Fury," and the Hon. East.
India Company's steamer ^! Fhlegethon," from the
period of their departure from Hong-Kong to that
when they so effectually destroyed the enem/s forces,
details throughout operations of an intricate and
hazardous nature, exhibiting zeal, perseverance^ and
courage of no ordinary character, which call for our
most unqualified admiration; while the benefit con-
ferred on commerce generally, and the safety and
protection afforded to the inhabitants of this colony
by the entire success of the expedition, deserve our
fullest thanks.

In addressing you as the commander of the forces
employed, we request you will convey the sentiments
we have expressed to Captain Willcox, of H.M.
steamer '"Fuxy," Mr. Neblett, of the Hon. East
India Company's steamer " Fhlegethon," and all the
officers who so ably assisted in carrying out your in-

With the view of marking more distinctly our
sense of the important services rendered, we beg
youraoceptanceof a piece of plate; and that^ in com-
municating with Captain Willcox and Mr. Neblett^
you will request them, in our name, to receive a like
memorial of the suooessfiil termination to the enter-.



We bare the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient

servants — Jardine, MatheiBon and Co.; R. and D.

Rntto^jee; Hormusjeey Framjee and Co.; K

Fran^eoi Sons, and Co.; Ness. Ardaseer, Bhanjee

and Co.; S. Nathmull, Soorana; Anwoodeen and

Jafferbhoj; Noyemamed, Datoobhoj and Co.;

Sumsoodeen, Sojowdeen and Co.; Ness. BTramjee

Fackeengee; Jamieson, Edger and Co.; Qeorge

Ljall and Co.; Fletcher and Co. ; Dirom, Gray and

Co. ; Dent and Co. ; Macyicar and Co. ; GQman and

Co.; Pestonjee, Framjee and Co.; Cowasjee Sa-

poorjee Lungrana; David Sassoon^ SonS| and Co.;

Dadabhoy, Nesserwanjee, Moody, and Co.; Buttonjee,

Hormusjee, Camajee and Co. ; Dadabhoy, Prestonjee

and Co.; P. and D. Nesserwanjee, Camajee and Co.;

Cowasjee Pallanjee; Heeijeebhoy, Ardaseer and Co.

Ciptain Jobn G. Dalrymple Haj, HerMqesty't brig
•* ColambiDe," Hong-Kong Harbour.

No. 2.

Hong-Kong, Jan. 22, 1850.
Sib, — ^We shall feel obliged by your forwarding
the inclosed letter (No. 1) to Captain Hay, of her
Majesty's brig " Columbine," and transmitting copies
of it to Captain Willcoz, of her Majesty's steamer
«'Fuiy,** and Mr. Neblett, of the Hon. East India
Company's steamer ^Phlegethon."

We have the honour to be, Sir, &e.^

JjL&Dvsn^ Matheson & Co.| and others.

Captain Masaie, R.N., Her Hqeatj's sbip
'•doopatra," Hong-Kong Harbour.




No. 3.

■ t

Her Hijetty*t ibip <« Cleopatra,**

Hong-Kong, Jan. 22, 1850.

Oentleuen, — ^I beg to acknowledge the receipt
of your communication of yesterday's date, together
with its inclosare, expressing in terms so strong and
80 complimentary the services rendered by Com*
mander Hay, Commander WillcoZ| and Mr. Neblett;
and I have to inform yon, that in compliance with
the regulations of her Majesty's service, I shall for-
ward the same to Commodore Flumridge, Command-
ing-in-ehie( who will of course take the earliest
opportunity of complying with the request

I have the honour to be, Qentlemen, your most
obedient humble servant,

T. L. Massib,
Captain and Senior in China.
To Mcstn. Jardine, Matheton k Co., &c., Hong-Kong.

Inscription to be engrared on piece of plate pre-
sented to Oaptiun Hay, which Messrs. Hunt and
Boskell, of Bond-street, will be instructed to make,
by Messrs; Matheson and Co., of Lombard-street:—

^ Presented to Oaptun John C. Dalrymple Hay,
of her Miyest/s brig ^Columbine,' as a memorial of
the important services rendered by him to the com-
merce of China for the part taken by him in the
destruction of the pirate fleet of Shap-ng-tsai, con-
sistbg of iizty-four jnnks^ mounting 1200 guns,

Digitized by VjOO^ IC


and canying 3000 men, in the Tonquin Biyer, on
the 20th of October, 1849.

^ By Jabdikb, Mathcsov k Co, for thenuelves
and insurance offices under their charge.

^ Dbht k Co.| for themsdyes and insurance
offices under their chaige.

*' MAoyiOAB k Co.


^ Jakibsok, Edoeb k Co.
" Geobob Ltall k Co.
''Fletcheb^ Co.
^DiBox, Gray & Co.


«' Dayid Sassook, Sons, k Co., and 15 Parsee;,
Hindoo, and Mahomedan firms of
" Hong-Kong, Feb. 90, 180a*

Similar inscriptions to be engrayed on the pieces
of plate for Captains "Vnilcox and Neblett^ which
ihqr haye been asked to sdect themselyes.




No less tlian four expeditions have been entered
upon during the past month against the pirates on
the west coast A Singapore lugger, named the
'' Kim-hok-tye,** bound from Singapore to Shanghai,
touching at Hainan, was captured off that island on
the 4th of July, by the fleet of a notorious pirate
chief, named Shap-ng-tsai. Her crew, to save their
liyes, abandoned the vessel immediately, and the
captain managed to make his escape over to the
mainland, where he threw himself on the protection
of the mandarins, and was by them kindly treated,
and lus letters, explaining ' his position, forwarded to

During his stay there^ he learnt that two square^
rigged vessels had been captured by the pirates a
short time before; and as the dippers ''Sylph" and
** Gowasjee Family,** which sailed from this on the
11th and 13th of July, had not reached -Singapore,
serious apprehensions were entertained that they
were the vessels in question. The safe arrival of
ihe ^Cowaqee Family** at Singapore has since beea




asoerUined, but we regret to state, that no intellU
gence whaterer hat reached Hong-Kong up to this
time respeeting the fate of the ''Sylph." We refer
to our columns for the steps since taken towards
reoo^ering some tidings of her.

Hcng-Kong OazeUe, June 9, 1849.


On the evening of Wednesday a large bst-boat,
haying on board, of crew and passengersy forty souls
(including four Portuguese), started for Macao. Be-
fore reaching the Cap-sing-moon passage, and in full
view of the town and shippingi she was orertaken
by two piratical boats, which ranged alongside.
Firepots and other missiles were thrown on board,
by which one man was wounded. The pirates then
boarded, driving some of the crew and passengers
into the water. After plundering the vessel of 200
doQars and some goods, th^ sailed away, leaving
the fast-boat people to rescue their comrades in the
water. On mustering, it was found that two Chinese

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15

Online LibraryAlan LeoAn account of the destruction of the fleets of the celebrated pirate ... → online text (page 11 of 15)