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ambassador should be an upright in. terpreter, thoroughly acquainted with the language. I have been positively assured by those who were eye-wit. nesses of the proceedings, that the government interpreter, during the war, though his salary amounted to £1,200 per annum, was in the habit of receiving innumerable presents from the Chinese, and of misrepresenting, in consequence, the tone of the communications between the negotiating parties. When insulting language was used by the Chinese, it was cof. tened down in the English translation ; when fine or strong language was employed by us, it was materially modi. fied in the Chinese translation. Thus the Chinese were induced to form an erroneous idea of the British character, conceiving we could bear all their insults. When a junk was taken, laden with silks, teas, &c., the interpreter was presented with perhaps half a dozen chests of tea to retail amongst the officers. Being asked how he got them, he would answer, “ His friends had given then to him." My informant added, that the Chinese, knowing how to promote their interests through the interpreter, were wont to prostrate themselves before him as they did before their greatest mandarins. The treaty is well known in China to be erroneously translated, but it is supposed to arise from the interpreter not having been thoroughly acquainted with the court language. But such mistakes, arising from whatever cause, might eventually lead to serious mischief.
A more enlightened intercourse with China would gradually open com. mercial intercourse with Japan, owing to the trade carried on between the two countries. This additional field for British industry would be productive of incalculable benefit to our trade, opening an inexhaustible mine of wealth and traffic. The Japanese are believed to surpass the Chinese in ingenuity, and their mode of japanning would be a valuable improvement in our manufactories. France must have some object in view connected with Japan, as her men of war now cruise off that coast.
Of the five ports which have been opened to British trade, there are two at which no trade is carried on, namely, Fou-chow-foo and Amoy, and com
VOL. XXXII.-NO, CLXXXIX.
paratively there is hut little business at Ning-po; so that in the event of an ambassador being sent to Pekin, it might not be unadvisable to reduce the consular establishments at Fou-chowfoo and Amoy. But in any case, those ports in China which are opened to our trade, and where we have consular officers, should not be left unprotected as they are at present. “ An English government - cruiser should anchor within each of the five ports, that the consul may have the means of better restraining sailors and others, and preventing disturbances,” according to the fourteenth act of the general regulations appended to the treaty.
Having alluded to Amoy, a fact is recalled to my mind, which shows the necessity of our being provided with good interpreters. The local authorities caused an inscription in large Chinese characters to be placed over the wretched building which was accepted for the British consulate“ This is the Fauqui's Hong" (the Foreign Devil's Factory), which remained there for a long time, until seen by a new interpreter. It was not without some difficulty the mandarins were compelled to remove it.
It appears by the returns from the five ports, that the trade at Shang-bai is rapidly increasing, and calls for a more safe and regular communication with Hong-Kong and Canton. The merchants there have constantly had freights ready for months, but no ves. sel to convey their goods. The only means at present afforded of commu. nicating with Hong-Kong is by the opium clippers' vessels, which ought to be disused as quickly as possible. This rapid increase of trade calls loudly for the facility of intercourse af. forded by steam ; and it is, therefore, to be hoped, that the Peninsular and Oriental Company will continue the line to Shang-hai, which would seem to promise very adequate remuneration.
Our woollens and cottons are not only highly prized in China, but, their cutlery and hardware being very inferior, Birmingham and Sheffield manufactures are much sought after. There can be no doubt of the fact, that if we had an ambassador at Pe. kin, at whose mansion all our inanu. factures might be seen in constant use, the court and higher orders of
Chinese would very soon acquire a taste for many articles now unknown to them, whereby our exports would be considerably increased, and the em bassy become a source of profit to the kingdom.
There appears to be an opening for a profitable trade in furs. The Chi. nese value them very much, and use them extensively in cold weather. They are supplied with the greater part of them from Tartary ; but I am not aware that any attempt has ever been made by our merchants to meet the demand. It is highly probable,
that a profitable trade in this article might be opened. They prize sable beyond measure, and admire ermine exceedingly. High as the prices are which are given in Russia for sable, still higher are given in China. Even the middling and inferior sorts of sable might be profitably sold in China. The very commonest furs, which are used by the middle and lower classes, fetch high prices. The marten, fitch, squirrel, and many others not prized in Europe, might be made a most lu. crative source of traffic.
CHAPTER XIII.-FALSE POLICY IN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH CHINA, AND
COLONIAL GOVERNMENT OF HONG-KONG — FIRMNESS WITI THE CHINESE IS ESSENTIAL – ANECDOTE CONNECTED WITH THE CAPTURE OF NING-PO — PIRACY, AND ANECDOTES CONNECTED THEREWITH.
In our diplomatic relations with China, as well as in the government of our half-ruined colony, are required men of firmness, decision, and experience in trade, to re-establish and maintain our proper position with the empire, which, owing to our false policy, has been lost; to remove the contempt and scorn with which we are now treated; to give life and energy to our colony, now crippled by a petty system of legislation; and both to protect the interest and promote the views of British merchants, in their legitimate trade.
The false policy adopted by us in our diplomatic relations and inter course with China, may sufficiently be judged of by reference to some few of the daily violations of the treaty, ratifications of which were exchanged on the 26th June, 1843, as well as to some of the mistakes in our inter course, arising from misconception of the national character
The second article of the treaty de. clares, “ His Majesty, the Emperor of China, agrees, that British subjects, with their families and establishments, shall be allowed to reside, for the purpose of carrying on their mercantile pursuits, without MOLESTATION or RESTRAINT, at the cities and towns of Canton, Amoy, Fou-chow-foo, Ning-po, and Shang-hai," &c. Fresh in the memory of the reader must be the daring at tack made upon the unprotected mer chants in Canton, in the month of July last, who, in self-defence, shot
some few of the mob. The Chinese authorities took no notice of the outrageous attack, and thereby gave it a tacit sanction. It does not appear that the British consul resident at that post adopted any decisive measures on the occasion, nor did her Majesty's plenipotentiary. The consequence has been, that the Chinese, seeing the pas. sive manner in which the British authorities bore this outrage, turned round upon us, denounced us as the aggressors, and declaring that twenty of their citizens had been killed, demanded an equal number of foreigners to be given up, to be dealt with according to their laws. Again, let us exemplify this policy by an occurrence which took place at the same port, during the visit of her Majesty's plenipotentiary, at the end of the last year. His excel. lency, accompanied by two or three members of the colonial government, and by one official from the consulate, were walking through Canton, when they were surrounded by a mob, and were obliged to take shelter in a build. ing, which was literally pulled down about their ears, and (as report says) they narrowly escaped with their lives, over a wall, having first been beaten and robbed, and one of their number being nearly stripped naked. The re. presentative of the British crown, thus personally outraged, made, it appears, a formal complaint to the mandarins, and received for answer (as my informant states, not having been myself in Canton at the time) that no notice
could be taken of this outrage and insult, as her Majesty's plenipotentiary had dared to overstep the limits which the Chinese authorities, in violation of the second article of the treaty above quoted, chose to prescribe for British subjects. I think every dispassionate person will agree with me, that suffering such an insult to the representative of our gracious sovereign is calculated to bring the British nation into contempt in the eyes of the Chi. nese. Had active measures been instantly adopted, and some portion of our fleet sent up to punish the authors, it is most likely we should never have heard of the attack upon the merchants in a few months after. But it is very possible the whole mischief might have been avoided, had the British minister appeared in public, surrounded by attendants becoming his high station, and had he and they been clad in unin form.
There is good reason to believe that the example of their superior has been but too frequently followed by the consular officers at the ports. The ChiDese, who have imbibed from infancy a contempt for foreigners, are thus induced to repeat their insults. A time may come when it will be found too late to remedy an evil which proper firmness might at first have arrested and repressed, without the spilling of more blood. But, probably, the consuls may be deterred from following the course which reason would dictate, owing to the unprotected position in which they are placed, in consequence of the British government cruisers having been withdrawn, contrary to the fourteenth article of the general rules of regulation, appended to the treaty under which British trade is to be conducted at the five ports. We seem from the commencement to have acted most unadvisedly, in reference to Canton alone ; for when our troops were on the walls, and the city was all but taken, they were ordered suddenly to retire. Again, since the treaty, we have never availed ourselves of our right to enter the city. The inhabi. tants, who are more bitter in their feelings of animosity towards the Eng. lish than those in any other part of China, ascribe the whole to our pusil. lanimity, and treat us-and, indeed, all foreigners- with ridicule and contempt The mob of Canton is the most lawless
in China. The European residents refrain in consequence, from visiting the city, knowing their appearance there might raise a mob, whose violence and outrage, if once excited, might lead to the firing of the factories and the destruction of all their property. A Euro. pean lady must confine herself to the gardens of the factories. She cannot, with any degree of safety, venture into the small portion of the town in which Europeans are allowed to perambulate. When she ventures on such an enterprise, boxed up in a sedan-chair, and surrounded with friends, the populace mob her, and will even pull off the top of the chair to insult her, crying, “Fauqui,"and using other opprobrious epithets. Such is our position in Canton, where events each day seem to indicate a coming crisis, when the inhabitants shall be taught a lesson which their insolence so richly deserves. Once humbled, they would vie with each other, from the highest to the lowest, in marks of civility and attention, which firmness would ripen into lasting regard and respect. The government being despotic, the Chinese can understand no medium between servile submission to rule, and the exercise of tyrannic sway. The same principle governs the conduct of superiors and inferiors, towards each other, in every rank and class of society. The national character cannot be better exemplified, than by the following laughable anecdote, which was related to me by the officer referred to. After the taking of Ning-po, the mandarin sent a very respectful deputation to one of our officers, requesting to be informed how many fans he would be pleased to require for our soldiers. The officer replied that he wanted no fans, but that an indefi. nite number of coolies were requred to carry away the “looti," or treasure, which had been collected in the town. The coolies were furnished with the same alacrity with which the fans of honour would have been presented, had the complexions of our troops required protection from the sun; and the
looti” was marched off without delay under escort. Thus the Chinese, when soundly beaten, will always kiss the rod that chastens them. It should be observed, that the presentation of a fan amongst the Chinese is considered a very great compliment, and a distinguishing mark of attention. The gift of fans to the British troeps would have amounted to an expression of thanks to them for the sound drubbing they had given the defenders of Ning po.
Piracy is carried to a great extent in China. The boats which are con structed for this purpose are very fast, armed to a certain degree, and carry a very large crew. When they get within reach of their victims, they throw on board the doomed vessel a large quan. tity of fire-balls, so prepared as to pro. duce an intolerable and offensive odour, when explosion takes place. When the confusion thus occasioned is at its height, the pirates grapple and board the prize, and if resisted, kill all on board. These pirates infest the sea between Hong-kong, Macao, and Canton, inhabiting the Ladrone Islands surrounding Hong-Kong, which seem to be abandoned to them in sovereignty. The passage between these ports is thus rendered extremely hazardous. Such piratical attacks constantly occur close to Victoria Harbour, within gunrange of four or five men-of-war, which lie comfortably at their moorings. Much specie is thus repeatedly sacri. ficed, while our cruisers and boats lie idle and inactive. The local press, for what reason I am ignorant, rarely, if ever, records these attacks.
Two sons of the major-general, ac companied by a military friend, were returning in their schooner from Macao, when, at break of day, they were disturbed by a confused noise. Jumping up, they ran on deck, and found about one hundred Chinese, climbing up the side, and about twenty in possession of the schooner, some of whom were actively engaged in cutting away the rigging, and all were well armed. A Chinese servant told his master, that having informed the pi. rates whose sons they were, they as sured him that the lives of all on board would be spared, provided the robbers were allowed to do their work undis. turbed. The pirates then commenced their operations, first taking the watches, and other valuables, from the persons of the three gentlemen, and cau. tiously possessing themselves of all the fire-arms and weapons on board. They then proceeded into the cabin, and carried away all their clothes, and every available article, not forgetting
a case of champagne, which was intended for a pic-nic party; then, securing the compass, and unshipping the rudder, they left the unfortunates to their fate. Their planet proved propitious, as, wind and tide being in their favour, they drifted into Victoria Harbour, about 4 P. M., to the astonishment of all who saw them. The companion of the major-general's sons was obliged to send on shore for new clothing, before he could land, as the pirates, having taken a particular fancy to the suit he wore, allowed him with difficulty to retain bis shirt. The story goes so far as to state that the gallant officer entered the harbour with a piece of old canvas wrapt round his body. To the surprise of everybody, the men-of-war immediately awoke from their slumber, and the greatest activity was displayed amongst them during the evening, after the arrival of the dismasted schooner. To such an extent did they exert themselves, that they actually succeeded in taking the pirates on the following day, who were handed over to the Chinese authorities for punishment. No part of the property was recovered, however, except a pair of valuable pistols, which were some time after restored through the mandarin.
A very melancholy act of piracy occurred a short time previous to this transaction. A sergeant and his party were ordered round Chuck-choo in a Chinese boat, with treasure to pay the troops. They left Victoria Harbour early in the forenoon, and were never again seen alive. The boat, the same evening, was drifted back to the har. bour, and the mangled bodies of our poor men, mutilated in a most horrible manner, were found in it. The ser. geant's hands were nearly severed, and he had evidently died making a brave resistance. The following day a gun. boat was sent out, but although the dreadful deed must have been perpetrated at no great distance from the harbour, these pirates were never dis. covered. This is not to be wondered at, as many acts of piracy have occurred in the port, within musket-shot of our men-of-war, the authors of which have invariably escaped unscathed, though their crimes were of a most aggravated nature, wholesale murders and plunder having taken place.
After the attack on the schooner
above related, the men-of-war again sweeping the seas, and eradicating these sank into lethargy, and seemed of no human monsters, is an enigma which can other use than occasionally to let loose only be solved by himself. But it their crews on shore to annoy, with would not be more difficult to eraditheir drunken frolics, the inhabitants of cate these pirates, and it would certainVictoria. I have been obliged, in going ly reflect more credit on the British to Macao, to hire an armed schooner, flag, than to undertake an expedition and to see the guns loaded before I to Borneo, in order (to burn a few left the harbour. A laughable cir- bamboo huts, which the natives had circumstance occurred during such abandoned. It is remarkable that no à voyage, which might have led to company has placed a steamer on this something serious. In the dusk of station, to run between Victoria, Mathe evening we saw a vessel running cao, and Canton. The freight of treadown upon us before the wind, which sure and passage money is very high, had all the appearance of a pirate. and such a speculation would not only We kept the guns ready pointed, and be highly beneficial to all classes at hailed her as she approached; and re. these ports, but would be necessarily ceiving no answer, we were on the very remunerative. point of firing into her, when the com. But to return; our false policy is mander of the schooner, most fortu. exemplified by withdrawing part of nately, recognised her as one of the our naval force from China, whereby “Larcha's" which regularly run be we are unable to keep a government tween Hong-Kong and Macao. We cruiser anchored off each of the were in great fright at the moment; five ports to assist our consular auand were not a little rejoiced to con- thorities; by neglecting to employ tinue our course after meeting a friend, the naval force which remains, to eninstead of being obliged to fight an force strict compliance with the arti. enemy. It would be endless to re cles of the treaty, and to punish the count the instances which have occurred pirates, who injure our trade, and of inhabitants leaving Hong-Kong or endanger our intercourse with China. Macao in boats, who have never after If it be considered injudicious to take been heard of. In some instances their the punishment of these marauders bodies have been found, washed on into our own hands, would it not be shore, with their throats cut. The advisable to negotiate with the Chinese authors of these acts have never been government for a system of co-operadetected, and, for ought I know, have tion to ensure their extirpation from never been sought. This most un- the Ladrone islands, surrounding accountable conduct of the British Hong-Kong, which is the largest of navy in China, leads to the same result them? This course might certainly that all our other mistaken policy does. appear the most becoming to adopt A premium is thereby offered to piracy, towards a nation with whom we have and pirates, in consequence, become entered into a mercantile treaty, pardaily more numerous, and their acts ticularly as their laws are inost severe daily more daring and atrocious. For in the punishment of piracy, and their what purpose the admiral allows the war-junks are constantly employed in cruisers to remain inactive, instead of searching for, and intercepting them.
CHAPTER XIV.-CURRENCY OF CHINA-COPPER CASH-SPANISH AND MEXICAN
DOLLARS-TAEL-SYCEE SILVER-GOLD-MONEY CHANGERS-PAWNBROKERSBRANCH OF ORIENTAL BANK IN HONG-KONG-HOUSE-RENT_RETAIL SHOPS.
In a country where education is so universal, where civilization has so much advanced, and where the arts and manufactures have attained such a state of perfection, it is surprising that the state should devote so little atten. tion to the coinage of the empire, or
he establishment of a uniform and un, adulterated circulating medium. China
has but one coin peculiar to herself, which is totally inadequate, not only for mercantile purposes, but for doinestic accommodation. This is a copper one called “ cash,” which is a circular piece of money about the size of our farthing, and of half its weight, and therefore about half its thickness. In the centre is a square hole, for the