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they became very jealous of the good meaning of the English; insomuch that, in the night-time, they put forty-six of iron cast ordnance into the fort lying close to the brink of the river, each piece between six and seven hundred weight, and well proportioned ; and after the end of four days, having, as they thought, sufficiently fortified themselves, they discharged divers shot, though without hurt, upon one of the barges passing by them to find a convenient watering-place. Herewith the whole fleet being instantly incensed, did, on the sudden, display their bloody ensigns; and, weighing their anchors, fell up with the flood, and berthed themselves before the castle, from whence came many shot, yet not any that touched so much as hull or rope; whereupon, not being able to endure their bravadoes any longer, each ship began to play furiously upon them with their broadsides; and, after two or three hours, perceiving their cowardly fáinting, the boats were landed with about one hundred men; which sight occasioned them, with great distractions, instantly to abandon the castle and fly; the boats' crews, in the mean time, without let entering the same, and displaying his Majesty's colours of Great Britain upon the walls, having the same night put aboard all their ordnance, fired the Council-house, and demolished what they could. The boats of the fleet also seized a jounke, laden with boards and timber, and another with salt. Another vessel of small moment was surprised, by whose boat a letter was sent to the chief mandarines at Canton, expostulating their breach of truce, excusing the assailing of the Castle, and withal in fair terms requiring the liberty of trade. This letter it seems was delivered; for, the next day, a mandarine of no great note, sometime a Portugal Christian, called Paulo Noretty, came towards the ships in a small boat with a white flag, to whom the English, having laid open the injuries
received, and the sincere intent they had to establish fair trade and commerce, and were no way willing (but in their own defence) to oppose the China nation, presented certain gifts, and dismissed him to his masters, who were some of the chief mandarines, riding about a point of land not far from the ships, who, being by him duly informed thereof, returned him again the same night with a small jounke, and full authority to carry up such as should be appointed to Canton, there to tender a petition, and to conclude further upon the manner of their future proceedings.” The result was, that the blame of the late skirmish was laid by the mandarins on the slanders of the Portuguese, and the captured guns being restored, the ships were supplied with cargoes.
No farther trade, however, ensued for many years. Soon after this period the interior of China was distracted by the contests between the Manchow Tartars and Chinese, while the coasts were overrun by large fleets of pirates, under the leaders whom we have already had occasion to notice. Another attempt was made by the English in 1664 to establish a commercial intercourse with Canton. The Company's agents landed at Macao, and obtained a lodging there, with the view of prosecuting a negotiation with the Chinese: these, however, demanded 2,000 taëls on each ship as a port charge, and when 1,000 were offered, they rejected the proposal. At length a guard of Chinese was placed over the English, and they were obliged to abandon the attempt and return to Bantam; there being every reason to suppose that the Portuguese, as usual, were instrumental to their failure. In 1668 peace with the Dutch encouraged the Company to look towards China, and accordingly application was made to Sir Robert Southwell, ambassador in Portugal, to obtain good treatment for our ships, should
TRADE AT FORMOSA.
they be obliged to touch at Goa or Macao. In the same year the Company's servants at Bantam observed, in a despatch to the court, “ Hockchue* will be a place of great resort, affording all China commodities, as tutanag, silk, raw and wrought, gold, China root, tea, &c., for which must be carried broadcloth, lead, amber, pepper, coral, sandal-wood, red-wood, incense, cacha (cassia), putchuk, &c.” These, all of them, form articles of trade at present with either England or India.
The records then show that, in 1670, a trade was established at Taywan, or Formosa, with the Chief Koshinga, who, as we have before seen, had expelled the Dutch from that island in 1662. It is possible that, knowing the rivalry and animosity which existed between the Dutch and English, he encouraged the latter to come, as a counterpoise in his own favour, should the Dutch attempt to repossess themselves of Formosa.
A treaty was entered into, called “The contract made with the King of Taywan for the settling of a factory,” in which the Company stipulate “that we may sell or truck our goods with whom we please, and likewise all persons may have the same free trade with us; that for all injuries or wrongs that shall be done us by the people here, the King shall right us; and, on the other hand, that what injuries or wrongs the English shall do, application being made to the Chief, satisfaction shall be made them; that upon all occasions we may have access to the King's person; that we may have the choosing of our own interpreters and escrivans, and no soldiers to be put upon us, and also to be free to walk without Chinamen along with us; that what goods the King
* The provincial pronunciation for Fokchow Foo (which possesses great advantages for European trade) in Fokien province.
buys shall pay no custom ; that rice imported pay no custom; that all goods imported pay 3 per cent. after sale, and all goods exported be custom free." It was provided, however, that all ships should deliver up their guns and ammunition while in port. It seems that this trade at length proved so unprofitable and vexatious, that the Company, in 1681, ordered their establishments at Formosa and Amoy to be withdrawn, and a trade, if possible, established at Canton and Hockchue, or Fokchow. In 1683 Formosa, as already noticed, was surrendered to the Tartars, and in a curious despatch to the Company, dated the 20th December in that year, it is observed, that “the inhabitants were ordered, in the name of the Great Cham of Tartary, to shave all their hairs off, save enough to make a monkey's tail, pendent from the very noddle of their heads, and betake themselves to his country's habit.” The Tartars, from the very first conquest of China, have shown a great disinclination to foreign trade, which may have arisen partly from their having a less esteein for it than the native rulers of the country, and partly from a fear of some collusion taking place between Europeans and their Chinese subjects. It is, in fact, since the Tartar conquest that the English have been excluded from Ningpo and Amoy, having traded at the latter place while it remained independent of the Manchows, and some time after the rest of China had submitted to them.
The ship Delight was sent in 1685 to attempt the re-establishment of a trade at Amoy; and, about the same time, active exertions were made by the Company towards securing a regular commerce at Canton. In the progress of all these trials one of the most striking circumstances is the stupid pertinacity with which the Portuguese of Macao excluded English ships from that port; and the perfidy with
which they misrepresented their supposed rivals to the Chinese, with a view to prevent their getting a footing at Canton. In the course of time they have been unable to exclude us altogether even from Macao; but their systematic policy has been to attribute motives to the English which should injure them with the provincial government; and this was strikingly exemplified during the expedition under Admiral Drury, in 1808.
Soon after the Tartar conquest we find it stated by the mandarins, in reply to certain inquiries on the subject, that “a present to the Emperor of strange fowls and beasts would be more acceptable than a ship’s lading of gold.” There can be no doubt that gifts of this kind are extremely well suited to Peking; and, on the occasion of any future mission, it would be well to keep the advice in view, instead of confining the selection of presents entirely to works of art; as they were, in our past embassies, most of them unintelligible and useless to the Emperor and his court. The troubles of the trade at Canton appear to have commenced very early. The Hoppo, or chief commissioner of customs, in 1689 demanded 2,484 taëls for the measurage (or port charge) of the ship Defence, but on finding that it would not be paid, he took 1,500 taëls. In the mean while, one of the crew of the Defence had killed a Chinese, and a tumult ensued, in which several of the seamen, and the surgeon of the ship, lost their lives. Not satisfied with this, the mandarin declared, that unless 5,000 taëls were paid, the Defence would not be al owed to sail; but when they had refused 2,000, the Captain quitted Canton, and took his vessel out of the river. The present charges on a ship of about 800 tons in the port of Whampoa are very little short of 5,000 dollars, or above £1,000.
It appears from a letter of the Court of Directors to the factory in China, dated 230 November, 1699,