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FACTORY INVADED BY CHINESE.
whose successors arrived in November, 1830, soon after the events above related. They found, as might be expected, much irritation prevailing on all sides, and were assailed by papers from the Viceroy, insisting on the withdrawal from Canton of all the foreign ladies. Those actually on the spot were allowed to remain there until the conclusion of the winter season, but none came up in the following year, as it was not deemed a point of sufficient consequence to proceed to extremities upon; and indeed the very discussion itself rendered Canton an undesirable residence for females of any delicacy while it continued, the language and epithets used by the Chinese, in reference to them, being of a shocking description. But matters of a graver character were soon forced upon the consideration of the Company's authorities. A considerable encroachment had been made
upon the river, subsequent to the rebuilding of the foreign factories after they were burned down by the great fire of 1822, the new ground being principally composed of the rubbish and ruins of the former buildings. The space in front of the Company's factory had been extended in common with the rest, and there remained only a corner to fill up, in order to complete a small square, which it was intended to plant with shrubs, and convert into a garden for exercise and recreation. This seemed from the very commencement to excite the spleen of the Chinese, and the committee lately superseded had been repeatedly required to undo the work. As this appeared merely vexatious, the demand had been unheeded; and even when the Chinese, during the absence of the factory, had destroyed a portion of the work, it was subsequently restored by the aid of a party from the ships. The newly appointed committee found things in this state on their arrival in China, and it was not long before an explosion took place.
Some time after the departure of the last ship of the season, and during the absence of the committee from Canton, the Fooyuen, or Viceroy's deputy, came suddenly on the morning of the 12th May to the factory, and, sending for the Hong merchants and linguists, demanded of them an explanation regarding the completion of the garden and quay in front of the Company's factory, contrary to the orders of the Viceroy. When these pleaded their innocence of any participation in the business, chains were sent for, and the linguist put in confinement, while the chief Hong merchant remained on his knees until the Hoppo, who was present, had interceded for him. An order was given to remove the quay and restore it to its former condition, on pain of death to the wretched Howqua and linguist; and the Fooyuen, ordering the late King's picture to be uncovered, seated himself down with his back to it. Soon after this occurrence an edict was published, containing eight regulations for the conduct of foreign intercourse, which tended to make the condition of Europeans in China even worse than it had been. No persons were to remain during the summer at Canton; the native servants were to be under stricter surveillance: all foreigners were to submit to the government and control of the Hong merchants, and not to quit the factories in which they lived; none might move up and down the river without a licence; and restrictions were contemplated on the mode of addressing the Government, contrary to the stipulations of 1814. In consequence of these threatening proceedings of the local government, notices in English and Chinese were issued by the committee, stating, that unless the apprehended evils were redressed or removed, the commercial intercourse would be suspended on the 1st of August following. A letter was at the same time despatched to the Governor-general of India, suggesting the expediency
HIS MAJESTY'S SHIP “ CHALLENGER."
of an address from his Lordship to the Viceroy, to be conveyed by one of his Majesty's ships. At the end of May, the English merchants and agents at Canton published a set of resolutions, concurring in all that had been done by the committee, as the only safeguard against additional evils and encroachments.
On the 9th June, an edict was received from the Viceroy (who had, in the mean time, been absent on account of an insurrection in Hainân), sanctioning what the Fooyuen had done, and forwarding the Emperor's confirmation of the eight regulations which threatened the trade. The sanction of the Emperor having been thus obtained to the obnoxious clauses, their abrogation no longer rested with the local government. It therefore became necessary for the committee to review their position, as the probability, or rather possibility, of any alteration in these threatened regulations previous to the 1st August could no longer be contemplated. They accordingly came to the resolution of postponing any measures as to stopping the trade, and any active steps towards obtaining a redress of grievances, until the result of their reference to India could be ascertained. This was accordingly made known by a second notice, and the Bengal Government was apprized of the resolution. In the mean while, the stir made by the committee appeared not to have been without its effect on the Chinese authorities, for no attempt was made to put the new regulations in force, and Europeans carried on their business unmolested at Canton.
In the month of November, his Majesty's ship Challenger arrived from Bengal, conveying the letter of remonstrance from the Governor-general to the Viceroy. After some negotiation, this was delivered in a suitable manner to a deputation of mandarins ; but the written replies, though they disavowed any intention of insult or outrage to the factory, were so
far from satisfactory, and conveyed in so objectionable a mode, that the committee refused to accept them. Thus the matter rested, and subsequent instructions from England put a stop to all further proceedings on this subject.
The smuggling trade in opium, which the exactions of the Portuguese at Macao drove from that place in 1822, to Lintin, a small island between Macao and the entrance of the Canton river, increased with extraordinary rapidity from its first commencement, in consequence of the negligence or connivance of the Chinese Government. This soon led to hopes (which were at length destined to be disappointed) that a surreptitious trade of the same kind might be extended along the whole coast of China to the eastward, not only for opium, but for manufactured goods. The local government of Canton had placed itself in so false a position, with respect to the Emperor as well as to Europeans, by its long course of secret and corrupt practices in relation to the prohibited drug, that it was even disabled from interfering to protect its own subjects at Lintin, where the armed smugglers lay in open defiance of all law and control. Chinese were on several occasions shot from the smuggling ships with perfect impunity. The relations of the deceased as usual appealed to the mandarins, but the anomalous situation of these functionaries, in respect to the Lintin trade, always obliged them in the end to evade or relinquish the demand for satisfaction ; and the Company's authorities of course disclaimed all responsibility for proceedings out of the limits of the river, where the smuggling system being connived at by the mandarins themselves, they must take the consequences of their own iniquity.
The attempts to establish a surreptitious trade were soon extended from Lintin to the eastern coasts; but the success did not answer expectation. Beyond the
TRADE TO NORTH-EASTWARD.
limits of the Canton province, as all European trade was expressly prohibited by a long-established ordinance of the country, the mandarins had not the same shelter for corrupt practices; and though opium might be introduced in small quantities, a smuggling trade in manufactures proved altogether visionary. The conductor of one of these experiments, in 1831, reported that he could obtain “no traffic besides opium; nor had any of the vessels which had gone to the eastward been ever able to deal in other articles, except occasionally a little saltpetre.” It soon appeared, in short, that, without the consent of the supreme Government of Peking, no prospect existed of an advantageous trade in manufactures, except at Canton.
So much, however, had been both imagined and asserted at home, regarding the facilities for trade at the prohibited ports of China, that it seemed desirable to the select committee in 1832, to try a final experiment, in order to prove or disprove what had been given in evidence before Parliament.
After ascertaining to what extent the disposition of the local authorities on the coast might favour such a smuggling trade, the next point of inquiry related to the ports or stations at which it might most conveniently be carried on.
The Lord Amherst, a small country ship, was accordingly sent on this service, in charge of one of the Company's servants, who was accompanied by Mr. Gutzlaff
, well versed in the spoken language of China, and especially of the coast. Every possible advantage was thus afforded to the experiment, and the selection of the goods was as various, and as well adapted to the occasion, as a previous knowledge of the tastes or wants of the Chinese could suggest. The ship sailed on the 26th February, and did not return until the 4th September. Among other points on the coast, she touched at Amoy and Foochowfoo