THE following is an extract from the 184E edition of T Madame Tussaud's catalogue: 'COMMISSIONER LIN AND HIS FAVOURITE CONSORT. Modelled expressly for this Exhibition by the celebrated Lamqua,I from life, through the instrumentality of a gentleman resident of Canton nineteen years . . . dressed in magnificent Chinese costumes, lately imported . . . Madame Tussaud and Sons have great pleasure in introducing the above figures to their Patrons:which has been done at a great expense.'1
Some ten or more books on the Opium War have been written in a number of different European languages, yet in none of them does Commissioner Lin, the leading figure on the Chinese side, ever come to life as a human being. He remains in fact an automaton, a wax-work in magmificent Chinese trappings, awe-inspiring but completely incompre-hensible. In these books, most of which rely solely on European sources, he figures almost exclusively as a writer of formal documents—reports to the Manchu Emperor, stern replies to the evasive communications of the British Trade Superintendent, scathing rebukes to the Chinese guild-merchants. More recent works, chiefly by American scholars, have added a great deal to our knowledge of the formal diplomatic interchanges and official correspondence in which Lin was concerned, but there has been no attempt to fit his official life (which after all did not occupy his whole existence) into the framework of his other occupations and interests.
My aim here is not to rewrite the history, diplomatic or military, of the first Opium War, nor yet to attempt a complete biography of Commissioner Lin. What I want to do is to show the sort of things that were occupying his mind from the time when he came to Canton to suppress the opium traffic at the beginning of 1839 down to May 3, 1841, when under sentence of exile to Turkestan he left Canton for ever. If it is possible to bring to life this portion of his career, it is due largely to the publication in 1955 of his diary covering the period February 14, 1839, to July 16, 1841.
Lin Tse-hsii was born in 1785, at Foochow, capital of the south-eastern coastal province of Fuhkien. His father was a needy scholar, who never attained to any official position. The boy Lin, who was the second of three sons, showed an immense capacity for acquiring knowledge. After distinguish-ing himself in various local examinations he came out seventh out of 237 successful candidates in the final examination at Peking in 1811. He became a student in the Han-lin Academy, where he was ordered to take a course in Manchu, the language of China's conquerors. He rose rapidly, holding a succession of high provincial posts. He was still in his forties when he obtained the most coveted of such posts—the Governor-Generalship of Kiangnan and Kiangsi.
On December 31, 1838, he was ordered to go to Canton as High Commissioner, with Plenipotentiary Powers and supreme command of Canton's naval forces, 'to investigate port affairs', which in practice meant to discover a method of suppressing the opium trade. His past career in many ways qualified him for such a post. Already in 1832, as Governor of Kiangsu, he had learnt something about the complications of European mentality. In February of that year the Canton branch of the East India Company sent their ship, the Lord Amherst, on a cruise up the Chinese coast to discover fresh openings for British trade. This could, of course, only be smuggling trade, as the Chinese Government did not allow the British to trade elsewhere than at Canton. When obliged by bad weather to put into a harbour on the Fuhkien coast, the British explained through an interpreter that they were on their way from Calcutta to Japan, but had been driven by a storm on to the Chinese coast. This story was quite inconsistent with a printed leaflet which they circulated. The leaflet= explained quite frankly that they were looking for fresh outlets for trade on the Chinese coast. It was, moreover, in Chinese (of sorts), not in Japanese, and completely gave the lie to the first story. Nor was the correct name of the ship given, so that the British authorities at Canton, when a protest was lodged, were able to say that no such ship as the one named was recorded in their lists. It is not surprising that during his Canton days Lin worked on the hypothesis that nothing the English said could be relied upon. At about the same time he managed to deal successfiffly with salt-smuggling (salt being a Government monopoly). In the early summer of 1838, when a number of statesmen were asked to memorialize the Throne concerning the opium question, Lin's report2 on the subject was one of the fullest and most painstaking. The problem was a complicated one, involving the import of opium into China, its purchase by wholesale brokers, its retail sale to opium dens and individuals, and finally the actual offence of opium smoking. Accessory offenders were the different kinds of craftsmen who made the opium pipes, the porcelain bowls, the wooden or bamboo stems, the often costly and elaborate metal fittings. Into this last aspect of the matter Lin enters with an almost pedantic fullness, explaining, for example, that at Canton bowls made of foreign porcelain were generally used while in the interior brown I-hsing teapot ware was preferred. In addition to all this, practical man that he was, he enclosed a six-page treatise, compiled from the best medical works, explaining the use of several drugs likely to help those who were trying to cure themselves of the opium habit. Some of the ingredients were Atractylis ovata, Angelica polymorpha Lignum aloes, Gastrodia elata (a kind of orchid) and Astible (a kind of saxifrage).
In a secret enclosure= he made the suggestion that instead of selling tea, silk, rhubarb, etc., to foreigners at the same price they charged in the home market, Chinese merchants ought to be ordered to charge the foreigner 'double or even five times' the home price. In this way the disastrous outflow of Chinese silver would soon be made good. Some Chinese merchants, he admitted, would probably evade the regulation, but even so they would be certain to sell at a higher price than in the home market.
It would seem, however (and this is my comment, not Lin's), that this would have led the English to make even greater efforts to increase their sales of opium and so maintain their trade balance. But further speculation upon the effect of such a measure would not be worth while, for it is certain the Chinese administration, as it then existed, would have been incapable of enforcing it.
Finally, as Governor-General of Hupeh and Hunan, the post he held at the time he was sent to Canton, he had played a vigorous part in the new crusade to suppress opium smoking in the interior of China.
He set out from Peking, travelling by land till he reached the Yangtze, on January 8, i839. We possess his travelling-pass, which specifies that the bearer is not accompanied by any subordinate officials, clerks or secretaries. His personal staff consists of one outrider and six men-at-arms, a chief cook and two kitchen-men. These are all travelling with him and no member of his staff is being left behind at the last place of halt or sent on ahead. Anyone falsely representing himself as a member of his staff will at once be apprehended and tried. The twenty bearers carrying the big litter in which he travels are hired at his ovvn expense. For the conveyance of his luggage he has himself hired two large waggons and one stretcher. The drivers and caniers are paid by him on a scale that enables them to purchase provisions for themselves and they are not allowed to requisition anything at the relay-stations through which they pass. . . . Where land travel is not practicable he will hire a boat and the necessary crew at his own expense. The bearer of this pass, being a Governor-General seconded to this special mission, is not in the same position as a high local official travelling in his own province. He is to realize that his journey imposes a burden upon the cities, towns and relay-stations through which he passes, and he must show them every possible consideration. At Government rest-houses he is only to take the ordinary, daily fare. On no account is he to be served with an elaborate repast or a menu con-taining costly items such as fried swallows' nests, which might seem to give a sanction to extravagance. Such luxuries ,are unsuitable in the case of an official passing through on a journey, and he must on no account infringe this rule.
His escort, bearers and so on are not allowed to accept gratuities of the kind known as post-fees or door-purses. Any case of such gratuities being demanded will lead to immediate arrest and anyone found guilty of secretly offering them must without fail be made the subject of a special inquiry. This pass holds good from Liang-hsiangl onwards to the city wall of Canton, where it is to be sur-rendered intact.
It might have been expected that the object of a pass issued to a Special Commissioner would have been to secure for him special privileges and facilities during the journey. But not at all! The aim of this document is to assert the rights not of the august traveller himself, but those of the officials, rest-houses and relay-stations whose duty it would be to receive him. In the eighteenth century it had been the practice of high officials, who in those days were nearly always Manchus, to travel with hundreds of armed retainers whose exactions terrorized the whole countryside. As part of the general clean-up which followed upon the death of the Emperor Ch`ien Lung in 1799 steps were taken to put an end to this abuse and, on paper at any rate, the regulations were heavily weighted in favour of the local officials and population as against the travelling grandee.
The diary begins at Nan-leang (about fifty miles south of the Yangtze) on the first day of the nineteenth year of Tao-kuang, corresponding to February 14, 8 3 9 . 'Today at dawn, it being the first of the New Year, I reverently set out an incense-altar on board ship, kowtowed in the direction of the Palace at Peking and wished the Emperor a Happy New Year. Then I bowed to the shades of my ancestors apd made offerings. In the early morning there was a violent north wind, but by the Hour of the Snake [9 a.m.II it calmed down a little and we were able to start.' When they had sailed for about forty miles, rain came on and they halted. 'This part of the river', the diary says, 'winds about a great deal and we constantly met with shallows. The wind was in our favour, but we were only able to hoist half sail. When night came on it was raining heavily.' Next day (February Eth) they reached Nan-ch`ang, the capital of Kiangsi province. They were met by a vast concourse of officials and outstanding local inhabitants. Among the latter the most interesting was a certain Pao Shih-ch` en (1775-1 8 55) who, though during most of his life he held no official post, was regarded as a great authority on current affairs. Statesmen often con-sulted him and through his dealings with them he got to know a good deal of what went on behind the scenes.
Writing three years later Pao Shih-ch'en says that on this occasion Lin devoted a whole day to questioning him about how the situation at Canton should be handled. As an example of Pao's sagacity it has been pointed out that as early as 1828 he realized that the seizure of Singapore by the British constituted a danger to China. He does not, however, stress the strategic importance of Singapore as a naval base on the route between India and China. What he feared was that the English would get into touch with Chinese settlers at Singapore and bring them to China to act as secret agents.
He was held up at Nan-ch`ang for four days by violent snow-storms. On February 9th it cleared a little. 'On the banks', he writes, 'there was more than a foot of snow. At the Hour of the Hare [ s a.m] I urged the boatman to start. The gunwales and sails were coated with ice ; but they soon scraped it off, and we set out. There was a head-wind from the south-west, but it was not strong. Our chief trouble was that there were grain-transport ships anchored along both shores, and it was difficult to get past.' They reached the town of Feng-ch'eng at the Hour of the Snake (9 a.m.) on February 2 oth. 'There was no one about. 1 at once sent one of my men to the town office to hire haulers ; but it was the Hour of the Tiger [3 a.m.] before they arrived.'
On February 2 2nd he was met by couriers, bringing letters from the high officials in Canton, welcoming him and placing themselves at his disposal. A communication from the Governor-General of the two provinces Kwangtung and Kwangsi and the Governor of Kwangtung informed him of instructions recently received from Peking regarding his mission. The appointment of a Special Commissioner had become necessary, it was said, because it had now become clear that the supression of the opium traffic was a full-time job and could not be effectually undertaken by the Governor-General, who already had on his hands the normal admini-strative business of two vast provinces. Various questions, such as where the Commissioner was to live and have his office, what staff should be allotted to him, what ships should be at his disposal for tours of inspection and so on, were under discussion, and further reports would follow shortly.
Two days later, on February 24th, he drafted secret instructions to the judicial authorities at Canton to arrest a number of notorious opium offenders, whose activities had become known at Peking. He had brought with him an annotated list of about sixty names. Most of the culprits were or had formerly been small employees in Government offices at Canton. Here is one case-history, merely to serve as a specimen: 'The cashiered Captain Wang Chen-kao. Has two addresses ; one at Market Bridge and one outside the Yung-ch'ing City gate. . . . Was previously found guilty, along with his associate Hsii Kuang, of a coining offence. Later he was employed by the Kuang-hsien regiment, and rose to the position of dispatch-carrier, but proved unsatisfactory and lost his higher position. 'He then, with the help of his previous associate Hsii Kuang, set up an opium depository which he stocked by a service of fast smuggling skiffs. By the sale of this opium he became very rich, dealing with a number of naval men, soldiers and minor employees in Government offices. In the fourteenth year of Tao-kuang 0834) he was dismissed from the army, but obtained a post on a patrol boat, and was able to use his position to protect smugglers. For every hundred cattiesi of opium that he let pass he received a "consideration" of forty dollars foreign money.'
A difficulty will be, says Lin, that most of the persons named are employees in Government offices or soldiers, whose superiors are likely to shield them in every way they can, flatly denying that such things have taken place, or declaring that the names concerned do not figure on their establishment ; or alternatively, that the persons named died long ago.
Lin, then, already knew, when he set out from Peking armed with this list, that his task would consist not only in bringing the foreigners to heel, but also in fighting a vast network of native vested interests. Above all he was aware that some part at any rate of the naval forces over which he had been put in supreme control were likely to prove of very dubious loyalty.
On February 2sth he reached Wan-an, a considerable town. Up to this point he had been able to travel both day and night, being towed, punted or sailing, according to the state of the wind. But above Wan-an were the famous Eighteen Rapids, which could only be negotiated by daylight. At this point the diary contains a long disquisition on the history of the rapids of the Kan River, showing that in early times their number had been far greater, but that later on conservancy work had increased the volume of water and submerged hundreds of large rocks. On February 27th he acquired a congenial travelling companion, the scholar Chang Pang-t'ai, who had been appointed head of the Academy of Hua-chou, near the southern frontier of the province of Kwangtung. Commissioner Lin had heard that this learned man was going south and had sent a message offering him a lift as far as Kan-chou, where Chang's route branched off. Lin notes that living in this part of China was extremely cheap. The people at Kan-chou were preparing to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival and seemed to be in high spirits.
From a little way above Kan-chou the river was very shallow and winding, and though large stakes had been set up to give the haulers purchase, progress was slow and laborious. Soon the large boat had to be abandoned and the journey continued in a number of small boats. At Nan-an, reached on March 3rd, he was met as usual by a large number of local officials and also by numerous emissaries from Canton. After Nan-an the Kan River is no longer navigable. The next twenty-four miles of the journey have to be performed by land and include the crossing of the Mei-ling Pass, about i,000 feet high. More than 6o bearers had to be collected to carry Lin and his luggage, which weighed over s,000 pounds. After they had crossed the Pass and descended on the southern side a flat road led to Nan-yung. Here they were already in the province of Kwangtung, of which Canton is the capital. They were now able to embark again, but only in small boats, the upper waters of the North River being very shallow. But at Shao-chou, four days' journey north of Canton, they were again able to use a large vessel. About seventy miles below Shao-chou there is a rock-formation resembling an image of the Goddess Kuan-yin. Lin went ashore, and prostrated himself before the image. Like the English opium dealers, and indeed everyone whom we come across in this story, he was much given to pious observances. He reached Canton on March o , 1838, and was of course welcomed by all the high local officials, from the Governor-General downward. After assuring them of the Emperor's good health, he paid a series of official calls at each Govern-ment department, and fmally at the hour of the Second Drum (9 p.m.) retired to the Yiieh-hua Academy, which was to be his headquarters while he was at Canton. The fact that he lodged in a learned institution was not, as one might at first sight suppose, a tribute to his scholastic eminence. This Academy had in recent years been constantly requisitioned for official purposes, and it had been selected on the present occasion because it was at a conveniently short distance from the premises of the Chinese guild-merchants and the adjacent factories of the foreign traders.
Next day, March ixth, he posted two notices on the gate of his residence. The first was addressed to his staff. He announced that he would shortly be visiting the various inlets of the estuary and would expect all his staff to be in constant attendance. The secretaries employed at his bureau were to feed on the premises and would not be allowed on any pretext to wander in and out of the office. Officials, civil and military, wishing for an interview would always be received immediately. But the deputies and sentries were on no account to hand in schemes drawn up by private theoretic-ians, unconnected with the mission. Anyone coming to the door with an exaggerated account of his own importance and trying in this way to gain admittance will at once be arrested by the local authorities at hand, examined and severely dealt with. All meals taken at the office must be provided by the person who eats them ; on no account must they allow local officials to stand them a meal. Whatever is bought must be paid for in ready money at current prices and no rebate whatever must be demanded. . . .
The second notice made clear that he was only concerned with cases involving import and export, and not at all with any other kinds of current business, such as legal disputes. Relevant petitions and so on could not be dealt with till he had been at Canton for several days. A permit authorizing the submission of a petition at a fixed time would then be given. It must be in the proper form, similar to that used in addressing the Governor-General or Governor, and must be duly stamped and authenticated. No informal petitions 'on red or white paper' were to be handed to his attendants by persons ,stationing themselves in the way of his carrying-chair, under circumstances in which their provenance could not be investigated. Above all no one must climb up on to the step of his carriage and throw a petition into it ; not only will such petitions not be accepted, but the petitioner will be handed over to the local authorities to deal with rigorously. March 2 th: 'From the Hour of the Dragon [7 a.m.] to that of the Horse [ii a.m.] I received visitors. The heat was intense and, though I was thinly clad, my sweat poured. After lunch I wrote the draft of my report. At nightfall a strong north wind rose, and it suddenly turned very cold. At the Hour of the Rat [II p.m.] I bowed to my report and dis-patched it to Peking by relay-post.' In this report he informs the Emperor that he left Peking on January 8th and that though he was held up in Kiangsi for several days by heavy snow he was able subsequently to make up for lost time.
Arriving at Canton on March oth he had already had interviews with the Governor-General and other officials. The vigorous measures they had been taking against the opium trade had already acted as a salutary warning, and the" news that a Special Commissioner was to be sent had dismayed not only Chinese culprits but also guilty foreigners. 'For example, the foreign merchant Jardine, who had been at Canton for many years, on January 26th asked for his pass, to go to Macao, and has now left for home on board an English ship.'
After an account of English ship-movements and the difficulty of keeping them under continual surveyance, Lin announces that in about ten days he hopes to go to the Bogue (the entrance to Canton River), as also to Macao and other places. He would use one of Admiral= Kuan Vien-13'e s boats and under the Admiral's guidance make a general tour of inspection. In a postcript he gives further information about William Jardine. Though he is the ring-leader in the opium-smuggling trade, he has no official position, but is merely a particularly unscrupulous foreign merchant. Being of a sly and crafty disposition he has known how to take a mean advantage of our dynasty's traditional policy: 'Deal gently with those from afar.' The fact that he has become immensely wealthy through opium-dealing is known to everyone. In the winter of the sixteenth year of Tao Kuang  the Governor-General Teng was ordered by Your Majesty to look into the case and expel him. But on the pretext of having to make up his accounts before he went, Jardine lingered on for two years. . . . 'Before I set out from Peking sent a confidential agent post-haste to Canton to inquire about this Jardine's movements. He heard that it was generally rumoured in Canton that the new Com-missioner's first act would be to arrest Jardine. That was whyhe got a pass to Macao and at once took ship to England.'
Actually Jardine's departure for England was not so good an omen for the future success of Lin's stern policy as Lin himself supposed. It is doubtful whether fear of what the Commissioner might do to him played any part in his decision to leave. His main motive was no doubt to get into touch with Lord Palmerston and persuade him to make war on China. Apart from that, he had made his pile, and no doubt felt that the time had come to buy himself a porticoed house in the English countryside, and get a seat in Parliament.
A few days later Lin addressed a series of four notices' to different classes of the Cantonese population, calling upon them to co-operate with him in the suppression of opium-smoking. The first is addressed to school-teachers. It will in future be their duty to report to the authorities any student who smokes opium or sells it. The teachers were to form the students into groups of five—the famous pao-chia (security group) system, the head of the group guaranteeing the good behaviour of the rest and being held responsible for any member's misdeeds. This system, which Chinese Governments have constantly employed as a means of upholding law and order, has always shocked Europeans ; and it has indeed the disadvantage that it may lead to perfectly innocent people being imprisoned, banished or even exe-cuted merely because they reposed a mistaken confidence in some apparently impeccable companion. Naturally any student whom no one would guarantee fell under suspicion, and was to be reported to the authorities and examined. But there were bound to be some individuals, Lin humanely continues, who jogged along through life without picking up any acquaintances. No one would guarantee them, merely because no one knew anything about them. These were not to be forcibly enlisted into a group ; their names would be entered in a separate dossier and kept on the files for reference .
The second note was addressed to the 'gentlemen, merchants, soldiers and peasants of Canton' at large. Unfortunately, says Lin, no province has so bad a reputation for opium offences as Kwangtung (the province of which Canton is the capital). In any province if you look into the history of an opium-dealer he almost always turns out to be a Kwangtung man. Failing that, the odds are it will turn out to be a Kwangtung man who supplied him. An opium smoker will turn out either to have brought the vice with him from Kwangtung or to have learnt it from a Kwangtung man. No one can say that the present stringent regulations are not necessary here. Most of the arrests that have been made have turned out to be fully justified. But people anxious to pick a hole in the new regulations have been alleging that all the Government employees sent out to search for opium do, is to knock people about and seize their possessions ; or else, if heavily enough bribed, go away leaving the opium untouched. cannot guarantee', says Lin, 'that such,things have not sometimes happened. But employees found guilty of such offences are punished with the utmost severity of the law, and any official who condones such behaviour is immediately made the subject of strict inquiry.' Let no one think that it is impossible to give up opium smoking. 'Last year, when I was Governor-General of Hupeh and Hunan, there was a man who had been an addict for thirty years and smoked an ounce a day. But he managed to give it up, and immediately his cheeks began to fill out and the strength came back to his limbs. I saw the same thing happen in case after case. How can anyone suppose that a habit which can be given up in other provinces, cannot be given up in Kwangtung?' Let no one think, he continues, that this is only a temporary drive on the part of the Government. In the past there have been such drives, but 'this time we are going on until the job is finished'.
As, strictly speaking, Lin's mission related to trade with foreigners and was not specifically concerned with putting down opium smoking, one might be inclined to ask why he did not leave the suppression of this abuse to the local officials, and confine his attention to dealing with the importation of opium. The answer, of course, is that the two problems were intimately connected. If there were no more opium smokers in China, foreign import of the drug would automatically cease, and at the same time there would be an end to the outflow of Chinese silver, which was regarded by Lin and all the foremost statesmen of the time as disas-trous to China's fmances. For some time past there had been a constant decline in the value of copper cash. An ounce of silver was normally worth about ,000 cash. But now, in some parts of China, as much as 1,600 cash were being given for one ounce of silver. As many taxes and dues of various kinds were collected in cash, but had to be paid at Peking in silver (partly owing to the difficulty of transporting large quantities of copper cash), an alteration in the value of cash upset the whole fiscal system. One bold economic thinker' even suggested in 1842 that as IChotan, the great source of jade, was now a Chinese possession, it would be a good thing to go back to the jade-standard of ancient times! No one seems to' have taken up the suggestion, perhaps because of the difficulty of defming what was to be accepted as true jade, there being many substances, such as nephrite, jadite and so on which only an expert eye can distinguish from jade.
The Chinese were convinced that the decline in the value of copper cash was due to the large amount of silver that was being paid to opium smugglers. The question is a complicated one, and I will not go into it in detail. But it is worth noting that throughout a large part of Chinese history there had been continual fluctuations in the parity between silver and copper cash, and it would be hard, I think, to prove that these had any connection with foreign trade.
A second question that arises is, why does Lin almost always take the term 'opium' as being synonymous with 'foreign opium' and to a large extent ignore the fact that a great deal of opium was made from poppy-fields in China? The answer, I think, is that the real opium addict did not find that Chinese opium satisfied his craving. The Chinese theory was that China's pure soil could not in the nature of things produce anything so deadly as less happy lands produced. However this may be, in practice Chinese opium was chiefly used to adulterate foreign opium, thus producing a cheap, second-rate brand. Foreigners often accused the Chinese of hypocrisy in making so much fuss about the importation of opium and at the same time doing so little to stop home production. But as a matter of fact a great deal had been done in this direction. Round about 183o there were extensive poppy-fields even in so accessible and-thickly populated a province as Chekiang, on the south-eastern coast ; but in 183 there was a great drive to suppress poppy growing, and it seems ultimately to have been con-fined chiefly to remote districts in the outer provinces.
The third in this series of remonstrances is addressed to the marines employed on patrol ships. 'Usually when such ships are in harbour', Lin writes, 'the men remain on board with nothing to do. One or two fill in the time by having a pipe of opium, and soon the rest follow suit. . . . It happens, too, that when in the course of their duties they capture a cargo of opium, they do not hand the whole of it over to the authorities, but abuse their official capacity by keeping some of it for themselves, either for their ovvn use or to sell. Their comrades naturally do not betray them, and their officers, on condition of receiving a share of the spoil, make no attempt to stop these practices.' The result is that the supposed tough marines have become, through constant opium smoking, a pack of degraded weaklings.
The fourth note once more concerns guarantee-groups. Too often the folders containing their names are simply filed in Government offices, and never again looked at. No one troubles to find out whether the guarantors are honour-able and dependable people. Lin brings forward a new plan by which the ultimate responsibility for the selection of guarantors falls upon village elders, selected as men of high character by the local gentry.
The Chinese found it hard to believe that the opium trade was carried on with the knowledge and assent of the sovereign of England. As far back as 183o the then Governor-General of Kwangtung and Kwangsi had said in a memorial= to the Throne that the natural way to get the opium trouble put straight would be to send an official protest to the king of the country whose merchants were importing it. If for example it were Annam (or Siam) that were involved, a command would at once be sent to the king of the country ordering him to put a stop to the traffic. But in the case of 'outer foreigners' living tens of thousands of leagues across the sea it was doubtful if such a communication would ever arrive.
A few years later, in 8 3 E, another memorialist suggested2 that as well as taking energetic measures on the spot, at Canton, 'it would be a good thing to send a letter to the King of England telling him that in future foreign ships were not going to be allowed to carry opium and that those who infringed this rule would be dealt with in exactly the same way as Chinese who infringed the opium laws. In '836 yet another memorialist3 said that a letter ought to be sent to the King of England saying that opium was doing great harm in China. The Chinese Government had made its own subjects liable to heavy penalties if found guilty of opium dealing. No retrospective measures, the king was to be told, would be taken against foreign merchants who mended their ways. But any foreign merchant who went on smuggling opium would be dealt with as though he were Chinese, according to Chinese law.
On about March 16, 1839, at a meeting at which Lin, the Governor-General, the Governor and also Liang I' ing-nan, the head of the Academy whose premises Lin was occupying, were present, the question of a letter to Queen Victoria was discussed:1 Liang pointed out that both on the occasion of the Macartney mission in 1793 and of the Amherst mission in 1816 the Emperor of China had sent a letter to the King of England; so that there was a precedent for such a step. Commissioner Lin, however, recalled that no difficulty arose about sending these letters as they were entrusted to the English envoys who were then in China. Now the question was more difficult, and he for his part thought that a letter not from the Emperor but from a high official would be more appropriate. If he himself were to write one, he said, he doubted whether Elliot (the English Trade Superintendent) would be willing to send it, as it would inevitably exhibit his ovvn conduct in an unfavourable light. Liang T'ing-nan (to whom we owe this account) recalled that during the reign of K'ang Hsi, when there was a difficulty about conveying a letter to the Czar, a Dutchman had undertaken to deliver it. Might not a Portuguese ship at Macao be used in the same way? It might be a good plan to make twenty or thirty copies of the letter, giving them to some English ships at Canton or to ships of other countries that were bound for London, one copy to each ship, to deliver when they got there. In this way it was certain that a copy would arrive. The letter written at this time was apparently never sent. Next year, as we shall see, a more discursive version was sent, though probably never received. But I am going now to translate the first versionz which is a fme piece of moral exhortation; whereas the version sent in
84.o is more like an ordinary governmental communication.
'The Way of Heaven is fairness to all ; it does not suffer us to harm others in order to benefit ourselves. Men are alike in this all the world over: that they cherish life and hate what endangers life. Your country lies twenty thousand leagues away ; but for all that the Way of Heaven holds good for you as for us, and your instincts are not different from ours ; for nowhere are there men so blind as not to distinguish between what brings life and what brings death, between what brings profit and what does harm.' Our Heavenly Court treats all within the Four Seas as one great family ; the goodness of our great Emperor is like Heaven, that covers all things. There is no region so wild or so remote that he does not cherish and tend it. Ever since the port of Canton was first opened, trade has flourished. For some hundred and twenty or thirty years the natives of the place have enjoyed peaceful and profitable relations vvith the ships that come from abroad. Rhubarb, tea, silk are all valuable products of ours, without which foreigners could not live. The Heavenly Court, extending its benevolence to all alike, allows these things to be sold and carried away across the sea, not grudging them even to remote domains, its bounty matching the bounty of Heaven and Earth.
'But there is a class of evil foreigner that makes opium and brings it for sale, tempting fools to destroy themselves, merely in order to reap profit. Formerly the number of opium smokers was small ; but now the vice has spread far and wide and the poison penetrated deeper and deeper. If there are some foolish people who yield to this craving to their own detriment, it is they who have brought upon themselves their own ruin, and in a country so populous and flourishing, we can well do without them. But our great, unified Manchu Empire regards itself as responsible for the habits and morals of its subjects and carmot rest content to see any of them become victims to a deadly poison. For this reason we have decided to inflict very severe penalties on opium dealers and opium smokers, in order to put a stop for ever to the propagation of this vice. It appears that this poisonous article is manufactured by certain devilish persons in places subject to your rule. It is not, of course, either made or sold at your bidding, nor do all the countries you rule produce it, but only certain of them. I am told that in your own country opium smoking is forbidden under severe penalties. This means that you are aware of how harmful it is. But better than to forbid the smoking of it would be to forbid the sale of it and, better still, to forbid the production of it, which is the only way of cleansing the contamination at its source. So long as you do not take it yourselves, but continue to make it and tempt the people of China to buy it, you will be showing yourselves careful of your own lives, but careless of the lives of other people, indifferent in your greed for gain to the harm you do to others ; such conduct is repugnant to human feeling and at variance with te Way of Heaven. Our Heavenly Court's resounding might, re-doubtable to its own subjects and foreigners alike, could at any moment control their fate ;1 but in its compassion and generosity it makes a practice of giving due warning before it strikes. Your Majesty has not before been thus officially notified, and you may plead ignorance of the severity of our laws. But I now give my assurance that we mean to cut off this harmful drug for ever. What it is here forbidden to consume, your dependencies must be forbidden to manu-facture, and what has already been manufactured Your Majesty must immediately search out and throw it to the bottom of the sea, and never again allow such a poison to exist in Heaven or on earth. When that is done, not only will the Chinese be rid of this evil, but your people too will be safe. For so long as your subjects make opium, who knows but they will not sooner or later take to smoking it ; so that an embargo on the making of it may very well be a safeguard for them, too. Both nations will enjoy the blessing of a peaceful existence, yours on its side having made clear its sincerity by respectful obedience to our commands. You will be showing that you understand the principles of Heaven, and calamities will be not sent down on you from above ; you will be acting in accordance with decent feeling, which may also well influence the course of nature in your favour.'
'The laws against the consumption of opium are now so strict in China that if you continue to make it, you will find that no one buys it and no more fortunes will be made. Rather than waste your efforts on a hopeless endeavour, would it not be better to devise some other form of trade? All opium discovered in China is being cast into burning oil and destroyed. Any foreign ships that in the future arrive with opium on board, will be set fire to, and any other goods that they are carrying will inevitably be burnt along with the opium. You will then not only fail to make any profit out of us, but ruin yourselves into the bargain. Intending to harm others, you will be the first to be harmed. Our Heavenly Court would not have won the allegiance of innumerable lands did it not wield superhuman power. Do not say you have not been warned in time. On receiving this, Your Majesty will be so good as to report to me immediately on the steps that have been taken at each of your ports.'2
That this is a noble letter no one will deny. Had the inexperienced young Queen received it she might well at first have doubted whether we ought to persist in what Gladstone called 'this most infamous and atrocious trade' . But Palmer-ston would soon have damped her qualms by the accepted sophistry that it rested with the Chinese to stop the opium traffic by suppressing the consumption of opium ; he would have explained that only by importing opium could the balance of trade be maintained; and that the cessation of this traffic would be disastrous to the finances of India.
On March 8th Lin sent to the Chinese guild-merchants two famous communications, one addressed to the guild-merchants themselves ; the other to be transmitted by them to the foreign merchants. The main gist of the note comes at the end—he has called upon the foreigners to surrender all the opium that they have on their ships, and the Chinese guild-merchants are to see to it that the foreigners obey. If the guild-merchants fail to do this it will be taken as final proof that they are acting in collusion with the opium smugglers and they will be dealt with as traitors. He leads up to this by showing the guild-merchants that there is already plenty of evidence of their duplicity. They have for a long time past been certifying foreign ships as free from contraband on the flimsy excuse that at the time of entering the mouth of the Canton River they have no opium on board, having (as the Chinese guild-merchants are perfectly well aware) already sold their opium before entering the river. It must also be well known to the guild-merchants that despite the ban on export of silver, silver is regularly being paid in at the foreign factories and smuggled on to-foreign ships at night. Lin appeals to the pride of the Chinese merchants by reminding them that in old days a foreign merchant arriving at Canton used at once to dress up in his best and wait upon the guild-merchants, who often would not see him till he had called several times. Nowadays the guild-merchants demean themselves by going all the way to Macao to meet newly-arrived foreigners. 'These foreigners, through Chinese secret agents whom they have in their pay, know all our official secrets ; but if one tries to get information about the affairs of the foreigners from guild-merchants, all one gets is evasions and pretences ; you are evidently determined not to give them away.' Lin ends with a threat; if the guild-merchants fail to do what is now required of them, he will obtain permission from Peking to pick out one or two of the worst of them and confiscate all their possessions, as a warning to the rest.
In the communication to foreigners, before coming to his main demand—the surrender of all opium in their posses-sion—Lin reminds them that it is only as a favour that foreigners are allowed to trade at all. China is completely self-supporting, whereas foreigners cannot live without the tea and rhubarb that they get from China.
The belief that foreigners, and particularly the English, would die of constipation if deprived of rhubarb was widely held at this time in China. It had its origin, I think, in the practice, so widely spread in early nineteenth-century Europe, of a grand purge every spring, rhubarb-root being often an ingredient in the purgatives used. The seasonal purge was thought to be particularly necessary in the case of children, who without it would be sure to develop worms. However, about ten months later, Lin modified= his views about rhubarb, and said that only tea could be considered an absolute necessity. The export of rhubarb, he had discovered, was confined to very small quantities, classed at the Customs as medicine. Tea (and this, of course, is my comment, not Lin's) was another matter. Apart from the fact that it had become in England a national drink, the import tax on tea was an important item in the English budget ; but there was no immediate prospect of the English-man being altogether deprived of his cup of tea; a possible interruption in the trade had long been foreseen, and large stocks were held in reserve.
It is wrong, Lin continues, to make profit out of what is harmful to others, to bring opium (which you do not smoke in your own land) to our country, swindle people out of their money and endanger their lives. You have been doing this for twenty or thirty years, accumulating an untold amount of wrongful gain, incurring the universal resentment of man and the certain retribution of Heaven. However the days when opium was saleable in China are now over. The death penalty for opium offences has been approved and will shortly come into force. The new regula-tions will apply just as much to you as to the Chinese themselves. now call upon you to hand over for destruc-tion all the opium you have on your ships and sign an undertaking that you will never bring opium here again, and that you are aware that if you are found to have done so your goods will be confiscated and you yourselves dealt with according to the law.' There is a great future, he goes on, for good foreigners who fulfil these conditions and are content to enrich themselves by legitimate trade. He will even go so far as to suggest to the Emperor that by a special act of favour their past offences should be overlooked and that he should be allowed to bestow some kind of largesse upon them as a reward for their change of heart. He winds up by assuring them that he has made a vow not to leave Canton till the import of opium has been absolutely stopped. They must realize, he says, that their conduct has aroused tremendous popular feeling against them and that, quite apart from China's army and navy, bands of patriots could in a moment be enrolled who could easily exterminate them.
Commissioner Lin's demand for the surrender of all opium has often been described in Western books as though it were the result of some kind of brain-storm, a sudden outburst of tyrannical frenzy. This is utterly untrue. At the time he made the demand he was also arranging for the surrender of opium held by Chinese, and he was simply applying to the foreigners the standard regulations that he had applied, as Governor-General in Hupeh and Hunan, the year before. The English, of course, had theories about extra-territoriality and rejected the notion that, if they came to a country, they must obey its laws. But in the code of the Manchu dynasty there was a special clause making clear that foreigners in China were subject to the same laws as the Chinese.
Four days passed, and he still had no defmite answer from the foreigners. They had only signified to the guild-merchants that the demand was under consideration. Lin had heard that the Americans, at any rate, were in favour of surrender-ing their opium, but had been talked out of it by Lancelot Dent. Now that Jardine was gone Dent, the head of the other great opium-smuggling firm, was the oldest China hand, and in Lin's view the arch-villain of the piece. Chiefly, I think, in order to get Dent away from the factories and prevent his influencing the other foreigners, Lin now notified the Prefects of the two boroughs of Canton that they were to summon Dent to the municipal office, get a deposition from him, have it translated, and report on what should be done with him. The long and complicated story of the attempts made next day to get Dent to go to the Governor's office has been told in many Western books. These attempts were unsuccessful, and the matter was allowed to drop, because Lin soon reached the conclusion= that the person who was preventing the foreigners from agreeing to surrender their opium was not Dent, but Captain Elliot, the British Superintendent of Trade. This office had been created after the dissolution of the East India Company's Canton branch in 1834. The holder of it was responsible to the Foreign Office and was, in fact, a kind of consul. I am here concerned with what the Chinese thought of Elliot rather than with what one learns of him from Western sources. To the Chinese he seemed a complete anomaly—not in the ordinary sense an official, nor yet a merchant, despite his intimate relations with the principal traders. It was never alleged that he made his living by smuggling ; but his principal job seemed to the Chinese to be the protection of smugglers.
At the time when the demand for the surrender of opium was made Elliot was at Macao. He returned to Canton on the evening of March 24.th, and henceforward the struggle was no longer one between Lin and the foreigners as a whole, but between Lin and Captain Elliot.
The entry in Lin's diary for March 24th is: 'Fine weather. From early morning till midday I received visitors. In the afternoon I wrote letters to friends at Peking; it was very hot. Today I stationed armed patrol-ships at all the approaches to the quays, to prevent foreigners from embarking or dis-embarking.' Nearly a week had passed since he gave the foreign merchants three days in which to accept his demand for the surrender of all opium. No definite reply had been received, and Lin felt it was time to apply pressure. On the same day he gave orders that all loading and unloading were to stop, all craftsmen employed by foreigners were to leave their service, and anyone seeking service with them in future was to be dealt with according to the clause of the Code forbidding 'secret relations with foreign countries'. The small boats belonging to foreigners must not go alongside their large ships and get into touch with them. The compra-dors and so on employed by the foreign factories were all withdrawn. 'If there is any attempt to evade these restric-tions', Lin wrote, the Governor-General, and the Gover-nor will obtain permission from Peking to close the harbour to them and put a stop to their trade for ever.'1 On March 26th he complained that, though in response to a request from Elliot he had sent representatives to the Chinese Guild-merchants' Hall to discuss matters, the guild-mer-chants had waited from early morning till late in the after-noon without Elliot turning up. Before Elliot's return from Macao the foreigners, Lin had heard, were among themselves all in favour of surrendering the opium. It was obviously Elliot who was stirring them up to resist and so put an end to the trade that had gone on for some two hundred years. 'The Sovereign of your country will take strong measures against you on hearing of this', Lin said. 'There have been many instances of British officials getting into serious trouble at home for disobeying Chinese regulations, as you must surely be aware.' Lin then lists four considerations which should prompt Elliot to surrender the opium immediately. In the first place, the foreigners must surely dread the anger of Heaven, which cannot fail to punish them if they continue to ruin so many Chinese homes, and cause the death of so many opium smokers and dealers ; for it has now been decided that the death penalty is to be inflicted for opium offences. Again, seafarers are in particular danger from thunderstorms and gales, dragons, crocodiles and the giant salamander ; and Heaven, if offended, may well use these as instruments of punishment. A number of Englishmen who have incurred Heaven's displeasure by breaking the laws of our Heavenly Court have come to a bad end ; for example, the President of the Select Committee of Supercargoes, J. W. Roberts, who in 8o 8 plotted an English occupation of Macao and died there immediately.= Then there was Lord Napier who in 8 3¢ landed at Canton without a passport and soon afterwards suddenly expired ; while the missionary Robert Morrison, 'who was secretly implicated in the affair, died the same year'. Here I must say in parenthesis that Morrison's only 'implic-ation' in Lord Napier's misdemeanours was that, when already very ill, he acted once or twice as interpreter to Napier.2
Secondly3, continues Lin, there is the legal aspect of the matter. There is a clause in our Code which says that people from countries outside our sphere of influence are subject to the same penalties as the Chinese themselves. Strictly speaking, foreigners who have sold opium are now liable to to suffer the death penalty. By a special act of grace you are only being asked to hand over your opium and sign our undertaking never to bring opium again and to accept that if you are caught doing so you will be dealt with according to the law and the whole of your cargo will be confiscated.
Thirdly, there is the common-sense point of view. I ask you, where in the whole world is there a better port than Canton? Here you can buy rhubarb and tea, without which you could not exist; various kinds of silk, without which you could not make your textiles; sugar, cassia, vermilion, gamboge, alum, camphor. Are you going to let the port be closed and sacrifice all these things merely on account of opium? Fourthly, there is the nature of your situation. Your heartlessness in continuing to sell opium has made you the object of widely spread popular indignation, and it is dangerous to incur the resentment of the masses. What reason have you to cling to something which you are not allowed to sell and which no one is allowed to buy? Do you want to take it home with you? But as you know, in your country there is as little market for it as here.
On March 27th there is the entry: 'At the Hour 9f the Snake [9 a.m.] received through the guild-merchants a note from the English Consul Elliot asking in obedience to my instructions to hand over the opium. I shall have to discuss my reply with the Governor-General and Governor. One must know what quantity they are surrendering. At midday ate at the Governor's place. Today it has been very hot, and many of the people were working naked. Got back to my lodging at dusk.'
The statement that Elliot had 'asked' to hand over the opium may have been a mere slip. Turning to Elliot's note of this date we see that the word 'ask' does occur, but in a different context; he 'asks' for further instructions about the disposal of the opium. The point may seem a small one; but two years later, when Lin was accused of having provoked the Opium War by seizing foreign opium, his rather disingenuous defence was that Elliot had 'asked' to surrender it. His accusers then pointed out that so far from having been voluntarily surrendered, the opium had only been given up, many days after Lin's original demand for it, as the result of a pressure that stopped short of nothing save actual shooting.1
March 28th: 'At the Hour of the Snake [9. a.m.] the guild-merchants brought a note from Elliot saying that the English would surrender 2°,283 chests of opium and were awaiting instructions about the checking of it on reception. So I went to the Governor-General's office . . . to arrange about the day and hour for reception, and circulated urgent dispatches giving the necessary orders. I also sent to the foreigners a present of beef, mutton and other food.'
March 29th: 'Elliot is now inventing reasons for delaying the surrender of opium, insisting that liberty of movement must first be restored to the foreigners in the factories.' Elliot had ingeniously pleaded that so long as the English were virtually prisoners in their factory any order he gave to the ships about the surrender of opium would be regarded as given under duress, and would according to English law carry no weight. To this Lin replied2 that Elliot's talk about the foreigners being held like prisoners was ridiculous. Do high authorities send presents of food to prisoners in gaol? The restrictions placed upon them were solely in order to prevent the escape of the arch-smuggler Dent. The with-drawal pf their compradors and other Chinese servants was a precaution taken because it was known that these were in collusion with the English and were likely to be used in helping Dent to escape.
On March 3oth Lin received a present of roebuck flesh, the name of which, pao-lu, means 'promotion assured', from the Emperor, accompanied by a scroll with the tvvo words 'Good-luck' and `long-life' written out calligraphically.
respectfully burnt incense and kowtowed nine times upon receiving these things.'
On March 3 st a note came from Elliot asking for per-mission to send his assistant Mr Johnston to give instructions to the English ships about surrendering their opium. But this did not go dovvn at all well. Lin pointed out that he had already ordered all ships to make a detailed declaration of their cargo. All that was now necessary was for Elliot to compel them to make this declaration and surrender opium to the amounts specified.
In addition to this preoccupation with foreigners, Lin had on his hands the task of suppressing opium smoking at home. On April st he interviewed a number of prominent Canton gentry who were setting up a reception-point for opium and pipes surrendered by local people.
An immense amount of organization was required to arrange for the safe delivery of the opium from the English ships to small boats, and from the small boats to the point near ChuenpiI where it was to be accumulated. On the afternoon of April oth Lin left Canton and set out for the Bogue—the mouth of Canton river—at the east side of which the opium was to be deposited, a distance of some fifty miles, writing dispatches as he went. Arriving at the Bogue on April th, he was able to record in his diary 'Today fifty chests of opium were received'. The pace, of course, increased. Next day it was six hundred chests, on April 13th, 1, I so.
At dawn on April 14th he went to the temple of the Queen of Heaven, protectress of sailors, and the shrine of Kuan Ti, God of War, and burnt incense,2 preparatory to a visit to the Chinese fleet, anchored in the harbour, being received by Admiral Kuan, popularly supposed to be a descendant of the God of War, and a number of high officers. At about this time, as the delivery of opium was proceeding smoothly, he gave leave to the English to resume the use of their sampans (small boats), at the same time enclosing a list of fifteen notorious opium dealers who were forbidden to leave the factories. The list includes the names of Dent, Young Jardine, Young Matheson, Sam Matheson and Joseph Henry.
Things were going well so that Commissioner Lin began to be able to relax a little and think, momentarily at any rate, about things other than foreigners and opium. On April 26th he received the newly arrived Peking Gazette and read that in the Palace Examinations the theme for an essay had been 'The gentleman must make his thoughts sincere', and the passage from the Classics to be enlarged upon: 'Through punishments there come at last to be no punish-ments, the people cease to transgress', from the Book of History. But after recording these themes, he at once adds, 'Today we collected ,2so chests of opium'. April 29th was the Admiral's sixtieth birthday. Lin, famous as a calligrapher, inscribed a pair of fans for him as a birthday present, 'The Admiral called, bringing food, and we ate together in the Governor-General's boat'. The Governor-General, Tenging-chen, was about ten years older than Lin. He had occupied this post since 183 s, and was consequently better up in local affairs than Lin, who constantly sought his advice. The two became devoted to one another, and are often quoted as a classic instance of friendship between high statesmen. More news came in about the recent Literary Examinations at Peking. Numerous changes in the placing of the successful candidates had been made when the lists were revised. The first name in the Fourth Class had been erased by the Vermilion (i.e. the Emperor's) pencil. The second had made a mistake in the elevation of characters referring to the Emperor, and the third and fourth had both failed to rhyme according to the official rhyme-tables, which insisted on the pronunciation of over a thousand years ago.
On May znd he notified the English that passes to go to Macao would now be issued, except in the case of the notorious fifteen. On May 3rd he heard more details about the Literary Examinations. For example, the poem to be written was on the theme: 'Heart pure as an icy pool', sixteen lines of five-syllable verse, the rhyme to be used being hsin, 'heart'. am told', says Lin, 'that the theme is a line by the Sung poet Hsii Yin.' He was not, however, told quite right. HAI Yin was born about 87o and it is unlikely that he lived on into the Sung dynasty. On May 6th, in giving instructions about the building of a strong fence between the waterside and the factories, Lin points out that it was only when 'Elliot and the rest' found themselves shut off from all communication with the outside world that he at last caved in and agreed to surrender the opium. It was clear that he was greatly dependent on Chinese traitors who lived in the tangle of alleys and lanes behind the factories. Here, disguised as harmless shops, but sometimes betraying their criminal connection with the foreigners by sporting shop-signs in foreign writing, opium stocks and the hiring-offices of opium-running skiffs were hidden away in back-courtyards. All these must be routed out, and only genuine provision shops and so on allowed to remain.
In the next few days there was an interchange of notes about the expulsion of Dent,' Inglis, Young Jardine and others, all of whom had to leave, and a command to the Chinese guild-merchants to make a complete list of guilty foreigners other than the sixteen whose names Lin already had. We do not know what the response was ; but as only seventeen merchants surrendered opium, the guild-merchants were probably not able to add many names.
On May 3th, after offering incense at dawn to the Queen of Heaven, took the opportunity of inspecting the trenches that are being made to drain off the opium when it is destroyed'. He was thus well ahead in his plans, for over a thousand chests still remained to be delivered. On May 6th, a rainy day, he writes: `The Governor-General sent me some lychees that were still green. To the orderly who brought them I recited the following impromptu verse:
The mists and rains of foreign seas darken Lintin.i
Suddenly I was handed on a carven platter "a sky of populous stars",
Eighteen young damsels, each with the same smile.
Your kindness indeed is ever fresh as the green of the lychees.'
Not an easy poem to translate, with its allusions and plays on words, which it would be tedious to explain; but showing again that with the complete surrender of the opium now well in sight, Lin was beginning to feel that he could allow himself a literary distraction. 'At noon', he goes on, 'it cleared up and I went to inspect the wooden barricades and iron chains that I have had put at the mouth of the river, and the newly erected battery at Ching-yiian. A strong south wind got up and in the outer waters the waves were very high and our boat heeled over sharply. Late in the afternoon we reached the Wei-yiian battery. The Admiral and I went up on to it and tested the three big s,000-catty cannons. We then went back to the Ching-yiian battery to have a look at the Portuguese bronze cannon, and make sure that the chains of the barricade were properly attached. The woôden barricade was then opened to allow my boat to pass. Lamps were already lit when I got back to my lodging.'
On May 8th he heard that on April 22nd he had been made Governor-General of Kiangnan and Kiangsi, the most coveted of all the Governor-Generalships. He was not, however, to go to his post till the opium business at Canton was settled. That day, having received a dispatch from the Emperor expressing doubt as to whether Jardine had really left China, Lin again assured him that he had made the most careful inquiries and had established beyond all doubt that Jardine left on January 3oth. Moreover, he had also notified the other leading opium dealers, both members of the Jardine firm and others, that they must leave at once. But there was the question of what was to happen if they came back again, and Lin now asked that a special clause should be added to the opium regulations, making it clear that in future foreigners caught bringing opium would suffer the death penalty and that their cargoes would be confiscated by the Chinese state.
On May gth Lin composed an 'Address to the Spirit of the Sea', to be used when making a sacrifice of apology to the Spirit for polluting the sea with the opium that he now proposed to liquify and run off into the Canton estuary. It is an elaborate document= couched in the archaic sacrificial language which deities are supposed to demand and which Lin must certainly have taken the same sort of pleasure in composing as a former Balliol Classics scholar, long immersed in harassing Colonial business, might nostalgically derive if asked to compose a Latin address at some local academic function. 'On the seventh day of the fourth month of the nineteenth year of Tao-kuang', he says (but the date is expressed in archaic formulae) 'the Special Commissioner, appointed Governor-General of Kiangnan and Kiangsi Lin Tse-hsii, respectfully offering hard bristle [i.e. a pig] and soft down [i.e. a sheep], together with clear wine and diverse dainties, thus ventures to address the Spirit of the Southern Sea: "Spirit whose virtue makes you a chief of Divinities, whose deeds match the opening and closing of the doors of Nature, you who wash away all stains and cleanse all impurities . . . why should you raise any barrier against a horde of foreign ships? But alas, poison has been allowed to creep in unchecked, till at last barbarian smoke fills the market. . . . At this Heaven's majesty thundered forth; a special envoy came galloping".' The upshot was that without the expenditure of a single arrow, a store of tens of thousands of boxes was surrendered. 'If it had been cast into the flames, the charred remains might have been collected. Far better to hurl it into the depths, to mingle with the giant floods.' I tell you this, Lin explains, in order that you may warn your watery subjects in due time to keep away. Above all, he prays that the spirit by his cryptic influences may rid China of this baleful thing, tame the bestial nature of the foreigners, and make them know their God.
For God he uses the Hun word Tengri, 'Heaven', called from ancient histories, and not very suitable to the rather limp Victorian deity of the opium smugglers.
Conscious that rumours might easily spread (as indeed despite all precautions they did) that he had not destroyed all the opium, but had kept back part of it as his own private perquisite, Lin had proposed to the Emperor on April 2th that the whole of the surrendered opium should be sent to Peking to be verified and destroyed, 'that there might be no doubt about the truth' of what he had asserted.
The fact that on May gth, before a reply from the Emperor had been received, Lin (as shown by his composing an apotngy to the Sea Spirit) was still assuming that the opium was to be destroyed locally, shows that the offer to prove his veracity by sending it intact to Peking was a mere gesture which he did not expect to be taken seriously, implying as it did that the Emperor did not have full confi-dence in him. It must therefore have been rather a shock when five days later, on May 24th, he received a belated reply from the Emperor (it had been held up by the floods) saying that the offer to send the opium to Peking was accepted. The acceptance was not even accompanied by any assurance that the Emperor did not doubt Lin's word. Attached to it, however, was a notification that the names of Lin, the Admiral and other officials concerned had been sent to the Board of Civil Office to decide how their services should be rewarded. Next day, May 2 sth, there is the entry: 'At noon the Admiral, Yii Pao-shun (a member of Lin's staff) and others came to discuss arrangements for sending the opium to Peking.' On May 28th he drafted a memorial to the Throne submitting a proposal to send it by sea. The draft was sent to the Governor-General for revision and dispatch. It was apparently never sent to Peking, and was in fact already out of date ; for on May 3oth he received instructions that the opium was after all not to go to the capital. This volte face was due to the fact that one of the censors had Pointed out the impracticability of the scheme. The delegates who conveyed the opium, he said, would find it extremely difficult during so long a journey to prevent pilfering ; moreover the labour and expense involved would be immense. There was not the slightest reason to suspect Lin and his colleagues of deception, and it would surely be better to destroy the opium publicly on the spot. This would make a salutary impression both upon the inhabitants of the coastal region and upon the foreigners at Canton.
Criticism of Government measures, both by the official censors and by officials in general, was one of the most valued and jealously preserved aspects of Chinese administra-tion. But it often happened that the critic only became aware of measures after they had already been put into force and criticism was no longer of any practical use. Critics were in an equally weak position elsewhere than in China. Parliament had no opportunity of expressing a view as to whether England ought to go to war with China until eight months after the war started.
In consequence of this abrupt change of policy the discarded apology to the Sea Spirit once more became rele-vant. 'Early this morning', he writes on June 1st, sacri-ficed to the Sea Spirit, announcing that I should shortly be dissolving opium and draining it off into the great ocean and advising the Spirit to tell the creatures of the water to move away for a time, to avoid being contaminated. After I got back to my lodging-place it rained all day. In the evening I received confidential instructions sent from Peking on the 29th of the third month [May i2th] concerning a memorial by the Censor Pu Chi-t'ung.'
This memorial' contained a strong criticism of Lin's policy. Lin, the writer of it said, had been sent to Canton to put down the importation of opium for ever. But having confiscated all the opium that was on board the foreign ships at the moment, he had not made any proper plans for the future. The only effect of extracting from the merchants a guarantee that they would not ever bring opium again would be that instead of bringing their opium into the estuary they would keep well out at sea, get into touch with Chinese agents on shore and transfer their cargo to ships sent out by these agents. Lin must be told that the guarantee, on which he sets such store, is not a fmal solution of the problem, and that he must devise some better plan for stopping the opium traffic fmally and completely. No reply by Lin to this criticism seems to be extant. His next report to Peking arrived on July 8th and seems to have been sent on June i3th. It concerned a fresh outbreak of smuggling at Namoa, on the northern borders of Kwangtung, and makes no reference to any general plan for stamping out the opium trade in the future.
On June 3rd the destruction of the opium began, and from now onwards he records day by day the quantity dis-posed of, just as in previous weeks he had recorded the quantity surrendered. On June 3rd, too, he had the distraction of receiving more news about examinations. At a special test of officials the staff of the Cabinet and of the Board of Civil Office had had to write an essay on the theme 'The Penal Code establishes the basic Law ; the Rites follow human feeling'. In trying lawsuits Chinese magistrates were allowed in appropriate cases to give their verdict according to the traditional lore of the Book of Rites rather than according to the Penal Code. The two were sometimes at variance, for example revenge for the murder of one's father was a sacred duty according to the Rites, but was forbidden by the Code.
The three Boards of Revenue, Rites and War had to write an essay on the theme: 'Each shoots at his own target'. That is to say, the father must strive to be a model father, the son a model son, and so on. Finally, the Board of Punishments and Board of Works had as their subject: 'Of all inanimate things the mirror is the greatest sage'—I suppose, because it informs us about ourselves and self-knowledge is the greatest wisdom.
On June 7th there arrived at Macao the armed merchant-ship Cambridge, destined to be the first foreign-built ship in the Chinese Navy. She belonged to her captain, Joseph Abraham Douglas. She was a ship of ,o8o tons, which had cost, according to his own account, Li 5,600. Douglas freighted at Bombay in February 1839 with a full cargo of opium, cotton and other produce, signing bills of lading to deliver the cargo at Whampoa.I When he was in the, Straits of Malacca he heard news of the plight of the English at Canton. On May 4th he arrived at Singapore, where he landed his opium, presumably selling it at the low price then prevailing because of the crisis at Canton. He then fitted out the Cambridge as an auxiliary man-of-war. He already had six eighteen-pound cannonades on board, and he now bought twenty-six eighteen-pound guns and four long-twelves, with powder and shot. He then engaged ten additional seamen, and set off for Macao, arriving on June 7th. Here he offered to protect the British ships in the Canton estuary, and as the sloop Larne, the only British warship on the China Station, had left on May 3oth, there can be no doubt that Captain Elliot was grateful for the offer. Elliot proposed that the British Government should pay £ i4,000 for eight months' hire of the Cambridge; but there was no written agreement. On June 3th Douglas transferred most of his remaining cargo to an American ship, having, of course, to pay rent for storing it. This enabled all his guns to be brought into action. Three days later Elliot appointed him Commodore of the Fleet. But to return to Lin.
On June 13th he sent to the Emperor an account of the way in which the opium was being destroyed. This, like the delivery, required an immense amount of meticulous organization. Only the most trusted of his subordinates were used as superintendents of the work, and the coolies employed were stripped and searched when they knocked off from work each night. He tells the Emperor that the stench of foreign opium is atrocious ; the idea that the foreigners do not simply scrape off the thickened juice and decoct it, but also use some 'strange and vile' process, is evidently true.
There were at the time many fantastic folk-beliefs about the making of opium. 'When a man dies' , says an anonymous BritishMuseum manuscript' of about i842, 'the people [of the Philippines] throw him into a huge common gravel-pit and cover him with dead bodies of the serpent-eagle and with poppies. They then wait for several months till the blood and flesh of the man and bird have mixed with the poppies, whereupon they strain off the sediment, boil it and make a paste that they call ying-hsiu, which is opium. The English imitated this method and made the poison in order to destroy the Chinese with it.'
'The inhabitants of the coastal region', Lin informs the Emperor, 'are coming in throngs to witness the destruction of the opium. They are, of course, only allowed to look on from outside the fence and are not permitted access to the actual place of destruction, for fear of pilfering. The foreigners passing by in boats on their way up to Canton and down to Macao all get a distant view of the proceedings, but do not dare show any disrespect, and indeed I should judge from their attitudes that they have the decency to feel heartily ashamed.' 2
The entry for June 17th is: 'A fine day. Yesterday the American merchant King and others sent a note to Major Yang Ying-ko saying they had seen a proclamation announcing that orders had been received for the destruction of the opium on the spot and that foreigners were to be told that they might witness the destruction and obtain information about it. These people asked for permission to come and look, which I at once granted. This morning at the Hour of the Snake [9 a.m. ] the foreigner King, with some ladies in his party, and also Bridgman, Captain Benson and others arrived in a small boat and were then brought in one of our war-junks to the Bogue. From a point above the destruction-tank they watched the melting of the opium, and then came to my pavilion, where they saluted me in the foreign way by touching their hats. One of my staff then conveyed to them suitable instructions and warnings, and after they had been given a present of things to eat, they retired. Today we melted 1,600 chests of "Company" opium. At the H6ur of the Cock [ p.m.] Teng, the Governor-General, and the Manchu Commander I-hsiang both arrived, and when night came we all dined together in my pavilion, the party breaking up at the Second Watch [9 p.m. I.'
C. W. King (c. 18 o9-45) was a partner in the American firm of Olyphant and Co., which had scrupulously avoided all dealing in opium. He had alreadyhad some correspondence with Lin, claiming preferential treatment on the ground that he had never dealt in opium. But Lin pointed out (March 2 6th) that if the merchants (as King said) were all agreed on the necessity of surrendering the opium, everything would soon be normal again, and there would be no need to make special concessions to King about the restoration of his compradors, etc. Elijah Bridgman (I 8 o 1-6 1) was the first American missionary to China. Along with another American, Wells Williams, he edited an excellent magazine, the Chinese Repository, to which we owe much of our knowledge of the period, at any rate as seen from the Western angle. Writing to the Emperor on July sth Lin says:1 said to them through my interpreter "Now that the Heavenly Court has banned opium and that new regulations of a very severe kind have been agreed upon, you people who have not sold opium in the past and who will no doubt never think of bringing it in the future, must do more than that. You must persuade the foreigners of every country to devote themselves from now onward to legitimate trade, by which they can make immense profits, and not seek to enrich themselves in defiance of the ban, and so wantonly cast themselves into the meshes of the law." The foreigners listened attentively and respectfully, with heads bowed in sincere obedience. Their attitude certainly suggested whole-hearted acceptance of your Rule.'
The English accountz of the interview says that 'Lin was bland and vivacious, without a trace of the fanatic's sternness with which he was credited. He looked young for his age, was short, rather stout, with a smooth full round face, a slender black beard and a keen dark eye. . . . Once he laughed outright when Mr King, on being asked which of the Chinese guild-merchants was the most honest, found himself unable to name one.'
Next day Lin received distressing news about a friend, Chung ,Hsiang, the Governor-General of Chekiang and Fuhkien, who during a tour of inspection had at Amoy on May 8th lost his seal of office. A thief had broken into his temporary headquarters and made off with it. Strictly speaking it ought never to have left his person, and his negligence was considered a grave matter. He lost his job, and when again employed was given a post of much less importance. His departure from Fuhkien deprived Lin of a great convenience, for it was Chung Hsiang who, through his special couriers, had enabled Lin to receive letters from his family in Fuhkien at high speed.
On June oth Elliot complained that there were thirty or forty Chinese war-junks stationed near Kowloon Point.' This was making it difficult for the foreign ships to purchase supplies, and he feared that hunger might lead their crews to take some rash step. Lin replied that he was at a loss to understand why the presence of Chinese junks should make it difficult to obtain supplies. Neither he nor his colleagues had given any order that supplies were to be cut off. The foreign ships now anchored off Kowloon Point, whether they were ships that had surrendered opium or new-comers, or had been at Canton and were now on their way to the high seas, had no business to be loitering at the Kowloon anchorage, and by doing so inevitably invited the suspicion that they were there to dispose of opium. As a great concession he had now ordered the war-junks to anchor elsewhere for five days. During those five days the foreign ships must either put out to sea, or if they wanted to go up to Canton they must make their Customs declaration and proceed to Whampoa immediately. If they failed to obey, not only would the whole naval force of Canton be used against them but the coastal inhabitants, all of them sea-faring people, would rise up against them in a fury that it would be impossible to curb.
It was a weakness of Lin's methods that he more than once set time-limits of this kind and then allowed them to be ignored. Nearly two months later the foreign ships were still loitering off Kowloon Point ; no vast Chinese flotilla had been mustered against them, nor was there the faintest sign of a popular rising.
June 2 3rd was the God of War's birthday and Lin, of course, went to' his temple at dawn and burnt incense. On June 24th: 'In the afternoon the Governor-General brought wine and food to my lodging and I drank with him, the Admiral and the Intendant Wang Pao-shan. After lamps were lit we went to the archery-ground to watch practice with rockets, and then parted.' The bow was still the main Chinese weapon and the Chinese regarded our failure to make use of it as a sign of military backwardness. There was indeed one way in which the musket then in general use was inferior to the bow: it could not be used if it was raining. Percussion-guns, which could be fired in any weather, were only just coming in. It was also true, it may be mentioned incidentally, that in hand-to-hand fighting the Chinese spear, specially intended for the purpose, was far superior to that clumsy makeshift, the bayonet.
On June 27th there was another report about examinations at Peking. The subject for the poem was a line from the second of Li Po's two poems on 'Drinking alone on a spring day' : 'With a zither across my knees I lean against a tall pine' ; the rhyme to be huai, 'to cherish', because this word occurs three lines earlier in the poem. The results of an examination which touched him more closely arrived on July 2nd. His second son, Lin Tsung-i, born in 824, had been placed tenth in the entrance examination to the Prefectural College at Foochow, the capital of Fuhkien. Numerous Canton officials called to congratulate him on the boy's success. On July 4th we find him still in the scholastic world: fifteen candidates in the Provincial Examinations called to present themselves to him, including Chang Hsiang-chin, a son of his friend Chang Wei-Ong (178o-1859), the most famous of local poets.
On July 6th arrived at last a copy of the long-awaited Thirty-nine Regulations about opium offences, approved on June 5th. They were extremely complicated, dealing as they did with every conceivable kind of offence (import, wholesale dealing, retailing, smoking opium, inciting others to smoke and so on) and the printed text occupies twenty-two pages. Not only the actual culprits, but also the officials under whose jurisdiction the offence took place, were held responsible and, if proved to have been negligent, were punished by loss of rank or diminution of salary. Death was the punishment for all the major forms of offence (importing opium, wholesale and retail dealing, keeping an opium den, smoking). But in the case of smokers the death penalty did not come into force until eighteen months after the day on which the regulations reached any given district. Different classes of society were to be tried in different courts. Imperial clansmen, for example, had their ovvn court, and Palace eunuchs were to be tried by a special Palace Court. The regulations, however, were concerned with rewards for those who assisted the Law as well as penalties for those who broke it. At least five pages are taken up by lists of elaborately graded recognitions and bounties, arrest leading to con-viction and strangulation being discriminated from arrest leading to conviction and decapitation, the 'severer' of the two death penalties.
The drafting was not free from inconsistencies, ambiguities and omissions, and revised versions were issued from time to time.
The regulations arrived promptly at large places, such as Canton. But they took some time reaching smaller tôwns, and when they arrived were found to be incomprehensible there. They reached T'ai-ho in Kiangsu on August 3th. The Prefect, Chou Chi-hua, complained' to his superior that the regulations, though they went with such praiseworthy minute-ness into every detail, were absolutely unintelligible to the common people, 'who with difficulty read them to the end'. He asks for permission to print a simplified version omitting, for example, what was to be the fate of incriminated Palace eunuchs, Imperial clansmen and other classes of people unknown at unsophisticated T'ai-ho. Lin and his colleagues published a manifesto in seventeen clauses, omitting all mention of rewards and simply giving a summary of the main offences and punishments.
On July 7th Lin went with the Governor-General to supervise the demolition of a number of terraces by means of which, it was suspected, Chinese were obtaining access to the foreign factories and the inhabitants of the factories access to the guild-merchants' quarters and the world outside. Next day he held a consultation with the Governor-General and Governor about the shops in the vicinity of the foreign factories, suspected (as we have seen) of being in many cases receiving-houses for opium, opium dens and so on. The entry for July 2 th is: 'Sudden changes from fine to rain. Wrote a poem using the same rhymes as the Governor-General in a poem of his. Heard that at Kowloon Point sailors from a foreign ship beat up some Chinese peasants and killed one of them. Sent a deputy to make inquiries.'
This was the murder of Lin Wei-hsi, which did so much to embitter Chinese—English relations in the coming months. It seems that a party of English and American sailors landed on July 7th, got drunk and started a quarrel with some local peasants, one of whom died from his wounds on the following day. Lin again and again demanded that the murderer should be handed over ; Elliot as often insisted that it had proved impossible to discover which of the sailors had dealt the blow. But of course the wider question of extraterritoriality was also involved. Until 1842 no Convention existed by which the English had the right to try their own delinquents according to their own laws, and Elliot was not empowered to make such a claim. To Lin it seemed self-evident that the failure of the English to hand over the culprit was simply a disguised attempt to assert extraterritoriality in direct defiance of the Manchu Penal Code. But he was not for the moment unduly perturbed ; the entry for July 14th is: 'A fine day ; wrote couplets on fans.' On the 8th and 9th he superintended the destruction of opium and opium pipes surrendered by Chinese, and on the second of these days received from the Board of Punishments a notification that a definition had been made, by which importers of opium from abroad, like wholesale dealers in China, were to be subject to the death penalty. This cleared up all remaining doubt as to whether the new regulations applied to foreigners as well as to Chinese. The 2 znd to the 24th of July were spent in investigating the cases of Chinese opium offenders, including that of the 'cashiered Captain Wang Chen-kao' (see above, p. 18), whose dossier Lin had brought with him from Peking and whose case had now been lingering on for six months.
On July 28th he held an examination, as high officials arriving in a new place were entitled to do, of the students of all three Academies at Canton. Six hundred and forty-five young men answered the roll-call at what we should consider the uncomfortable hour of 5 a.m. Each Academy had its own essay-subject and theme for a poem. In the afternoonTai Hsi (i 8 oi-6o), the local Commissioner for Edu-cation, turned up, and Lin had a long chat with him. Anyone who has studied Chinese painting will have come across his name ; he is in fact better known as a painter than _as an educationalist. He was now about to hold the preliminary tests qualifying students to go in for the Provincial Examina-tions. Next day Lin returned Tai Hsi's visit, but was soon immersed again in trials of native opium offenders. On July 3 st there were torrential rains. 'The water in the market-place was up to a man's waist', Lin says, 'and the square tank at my place overflowed.' Then follows a list of the newly appointed examiners for the Provincial Examina-tions in Yiinnan, Kweichow, Fuhkien, Kwangtung and Kwangsi.
The report' of the Medical Missionary Society for 1839 lists among the cases it had handled: 'Case 6565. Lin Tse-hsii, the Imperial Commissioner.' It appears that during July Lin applied to Dr Parker, an American oculist and general practitioner,2 for a translation of the Swiss jurist Emeric de Vattel's Law of Nations and a prescription for the care of opium addicts. A little later he asked, through an intermediary, for a medicine to cure him of hernia. He would not come to Dr Parker or allow the doctor to visit him. It was explained to Lin that medicine would be no of use, and that he must wear a truss. 'The truss sent answers tolerably well', writes Dr Parker in his notes. There is no allusion to all this in Lin's diary.
Vattel's book on international law, published in 1758 and partly founded on the even earlier Latin work of Christian de Wolff, a disciple of Leibnitz, was completely out of date ; but H. Wheaton's Elements of International Law (1836) was unlikely to have reached Canton. No doubt what Commis-sioner Lin wanted to find out was how he stood in the matter of Lin Wei-hsi, the Chinese villager killed by a foreign sailor on June 27th, and also whether in general it was the European practice for foreigners to submit to the laws of the country in which they resided. On the latter question Vattel gives the clearest possible ruling: 'Les étrangers qui tombent en faute doivent être punis suivant les lois du pays.'I On the other hand, Lin's demand that the English should fix on somebody and hand him over as the murderer was certainly not justified by any passage in Vattel or any other legal authority.2
On August st, 2nd and 3rd he was busy3 writing a series of comMunications to the Emperor. The first accompanied the draft of his new version of the letter to Queen Victoria. It was to a large extent rephrased and also brought up to date by references to the handing over and destruction of the opium. The threatening clause about the lives of the foreigners being in the Emperor's hands is slightly toned down, becoming 'Our Heavenly Court has inscrutable divine and awe-inspiring majesty'. Some of Lin's newly acquired knowledge about foreign parts is utilized; he refers to the Queen as ruling over 'London, Scotland, Ireland and other places'. As I have said above (p. 28), this second version, perhaps because less abstract and general than the first, is less impressive. In his covering note, Lin reminds the Emperor that when he saw him at the end of 1838 he had mentioned a project for publishing an appeal to foreigners with regard to the opium trade. When he reached Canton he was to talk it over with the Governor-General and submit a draft for the Emperor's revision. Subsequently the Emperor agreed that it would be better to deal first with what could be handled on the spot, that is to say the surrender and destruction of the opium, and defer the appeal to foreign rulers till the new regulations about opium offences had been published. Considering the question of how the appeal was to be sent, Lin notes that the Portuguese at Macao were near at hand, and a communication to them presented no diffi-culty. The Americans, however, were a more difficult problem. They had no national ruler, but only twenty-four local headmen, and it would be too great an undertaking to get into communication with all of them. By far the most important body of traders were the English. 'They are ruled at present', says Lin, 'by a young girl. But I am told that it is she who issues commands, and on the whole it seems that it would be best to start by sending instructions to her.' The French, Dutch, Spaniards, Filipinos, Austrians, Germans, Danes and Swedes, he says, come in such small numbers as to be relatively unimportant. After the appeal to the English ruler has been approved at Court and dispatched, the administrators and merchants of the other foreign countries can be approached, and if they express the desire for a similar communication to be sent to their rulers, it can be drawn up and submitted to the Emperor for approval.
In a second communication to the Emperor, also sent on August 3rd, Lin points out a defect in the drafting of the new regulation about the application of the opium laws to foreigners. 'The expression `if they enter the Mouth' (i.e. the Bogue) was used. But as Lin points out, the smugglers disposed of their opium at Lintin or other places in the open estuary, long before reaching the Bogue. For 'enter the Mouth' he proposed to substitute the words 'come to inner territory', i.e. enter Chinese domains.
The third communication, sent jointly in Lin's name and that of the Admiral, concerned corruption in the naval patrol forces at Canton. Lin says that to enforce the laws against opium-dealing and the export of silver at Canton, it had proved necessary, owing to the ramifications of the estuary and its many islands, to establish a service of naval patrols. On board these ships there had to be not only officers, sergeants and so on, but also hired detectives. Among such people the most scrupulous and law-abiding were not always the best at arresting criminals, nor was ingenuity in tracking down crime any guarantee of honesty. Nowhere was the difficulty of handling such agents more acute than at Canton, and of all types of offence at Canton, none was more ticklish to deal with than those connected with the opium traffic. One had to resign oneself to the fact that the agents used in the suppression of the trade could themselves never for an instant be regarded as above suspicion. A case in point was the former naval officer Wang Chen-kao (see above, pp. 18 and s6) against whom, despite his energy and success in patrol work, complaints were made that he had set up an opium store.
In 1838 the junior officers in charge of patrol were dismissed and the whole business put in the hands of the headquarters of the local military and civil districts. The cases of Wang Chen-kao and a number of others were reviewed, but no solid evidence against them was forth-coming. Lin himself, after the destruction of the foreign opium, at last had leisure to apply himself to this question; but though he found that both the patrol officers and the detectives had a very bad reputation, it was impossible to procure satisfactory evidence against them. However, at the trial of the helmsman Feng A-jun and others it came out that it had been their habit, when conveying seized opium, to stick to what they described as 'any odd bits and pieces', and distribute them among the other patrol-boats. Moreover, if in any secluded creek they found a ship selling opium, they let the offenders escape in return for a bribe paid in foreign silver. Wang Chen-kao and his associates were then examined again. This time, although there was in their deposition a great deal of quibbling and prevarication, they did not attempt to deny all complicity in these transactions.
The importance of this document will become apparent shortly, when we come to that hitherto mysterious episode, the Battle of Kowloon.
In the diary during the first half of August there is very little echo of Lin's struggle with the foreigners. On the 6th he looked over the papers sent in by the Academy students, on the gth he attended a little ceremony at the Meeting Hall of Fuhkienese resident at Canton and put up in front of the image of the Queen of Heaven an inscribed board on which was written `He tamed the treasure-boats from far away', presumably an allusion to Lin's feat in securing the surrender of the opium, and at the same time an acknowledgement of the Queen of Heaven's assistance. On August oth, he summoned to a re-test sixty students, twenty from each Academy, of whom all but four presented themselves. The subject of the poem they had to write was 'For one evening the miasmic mists by the wind have been rolled away'. The rhyme had to be 'Han' in view of the fact that the subject was a line from a poem addressed' to the great writer Han Yii when he was exiled to a malarial district in the south. On the 3th he witnessed the destruction of 2 o,000 catties of opium in a magnificent new tank specially designed for the purpose. They were from Ch`ao-chou, two hundred miles north-east of Canton. After nightfall he read the essays and poems of the fifty-six Academy students. On the fourteenth he published the results of the examination. The first place should, by merit, have gone to a boy of sixteen, called Feng Yii-chi. But he had come only to the revise-test and not to the original examination, and was placed second.
It was a busy day, as Lin had arranged to set out with the Governor-General on August sth to pay the long-promised visit to the island of Hsiang-shan and to Macao, which lies on a peninsula of that island. Western writers have tended to regard this visit to Macao as the result of a sudden outburst of rage against the English. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lin's original instructions were that he was to visit the various ports in the Canton region. On April 24th he had received a special reminder= that he was to 'go in person to the Bogue, Macao and other places, and estimate what measures the situation demanded'. The afternoon of August 4th was spent in paying farewell visits. Next day he started off for Hsiang-shan with the Governor-General, having first sent off a letter to his family at Foochow through the agency of his fellow-townsman Ts'ai Chin-hsi the glass-dealer 'who keeps a curiosity and Canton goods shop at the entrance to Lang-kuan Lane, at Foochow'. They reached the tovvn of Hsiang-shan next afternoon and Lin lodged at the local Academy. On August i7th he replied at length to a note in which Elliot said that 'in obedience to the clear instructions of his Sovereign' he was unable to hand over any offender to Chinese justice, but that if he succeeded in finding out who killed Lin Wei-hsi, the murderer would be duly executed. Lin took this to mean that after the demand for the surrender of the murderer, Elliot had written to England asking for instructions and had already received a reply. 'Your Sovereign', Lin retorted, 'is myriads of leagues away. How can you in this space of time possibly have received instructions not to hand over the culprit? . . . If the principle that a life is not to be paid for with a life is once admitted, what is it going to lead to? If an Englishman kills an English-man or if some other national, say a Chinese, does so, am I to believe that Elliot would not demand a life to pay for a life? If Elliot really maintains that, after going twice to the scene of the murder and spending day after day investigating the crime, he still does not know who committed it, then all I can say is, a wooden dummy would have done better, and it is absurd for him to go on calling himself an official.' Lin warns him that if he fails to hand over the culprit, Elliot himself will be held responsible for the murder.
Lin's contention that any blockhead could long ago have discovered who struck the fatal blow seems to me utterly unreasonable. The only weapons that had been used were sticks. The victim, as 1 have said above, did not die till next day. At the inquest held by the Chinese local authorities he was found to bear the mark of a heavy blow vvith a stick across the chest.= Many blows had been struck, and was clearly impossible to ascertain which of the seamen con-cerned had struck the blow that proved fatal. And actually, in default of expert medical evidence, it was by no means certain that the blow was the cause or at any rate the sole cause of death. A healthy man would not normally die of a blow with a stick across his chest.
Lin in his note to Elliot also mentions that in order to bring him to his senses he has been obliged to give orders that the English at Macao are to be cut off from all supplies. There was, as he subsequently pointed out to the Emperor, a precedent for this: the same thing had been done when in 18°8 Admiral Drury attempted to seize Macao, on the pretext that the French were intending to do so.
I want to say something more here about the general question of extraterritoriality, and the extent to which the English demand for it was justified. We are apt to look at the matter from the angle of the later nineteenth century, when English law was certainly far less harsh than Chinese and English prisons were infinitely superior. But it is doubtful whether in '839 Chinese prisons, insanitary and in every way abominable though they were, compared very unfavourably with English prisons. As regards harshness of the law and wide application of the death penalty it must be remembered that according to English criminal law of the period a man could still be executed for stealing any sum over a shilling.= One very bad feature of Chinese trials had, however, no parallel in Victorian England. I refer to the use, fully sanctioned by the Manchu dynasty Code, of torture in order to produce confessions and evidence by witnesses. If those who use torture to obtain evidence really believe or have ever believed in the past that it can yield valid information, this is surely one of the strangest aberrations of the human spirit! But in China, and no doubt elsewhere, confessions of guilt, produced by whatever means, served a subsidiary, propaganda purpose: they suggested to the masses that the magistrate concerned had not acted arbitrarily or harshly. For who was he to contradict the accused man's assertions about his own crime?
On August 2i st Lin notes that some ten English families have in' the last few days left Macao and taken refuge on board ship. Cut off, in theory at any rate, from supplies, notified by the Portuguese that they could no longer be harboured, and uncertain about the intentions of Lin and the Governor-General, who had brought several hundred soldiers with them, the English clearly had no choice but to leave Macao. Whether, once on board ship, they would be able to obtain supplies and hold out till the crisis had blown over, or would have to withdraw to Manila, 64.o miles away, remained to be seen.
On August 22nd Lin complained in a note to Elliot that his repeated demands for the surrender of Lin Wei-hsi's murderer had been ignored and that finally a representative sent on August i7th to impress upon Elliot the urgency of the matter had been grossly insulted. Lin then insists once more on the principle that 'a life must be paid for with a life', irrespective of whether the murderer is a Chinese or a foreigner. If a culprit could be shielded as Elliot was shield-ing the murderer of Lin Wei-hsi, murder would become rampant. Lin then turns to the opium question. Contrary to Elliot's repeated protestations, the opium trade was again in full swing. In recent trials of Chinese one defendant after another had confessed to having recently bought opium from foreign ships, and Chinese patrols had reported having sighted foreign ships off Ch`ao-chou, Namoa, Lien-chou, Lei-chou and the island of Hainan—all places where they had no right to be—and had found notices stuck up giving the price in foreign silver at which opium could be purchased. When pursued by Chinese patrol-boats, the foreign ships had opened fire. Chinese agents sent to arrest Chinese who were in league with the foreigners had been seized, held on board foreign ships and forced to release their prisoners. This, says Lin, is a final warning that if the murderer of Lin Wei-hsi is not immediately handed over and the newly-arrived opium all surrendered, Elliot will fmd the whole might of the Dynasty arrayed against him.
On August 2sth Lin presided at Hsiang-shan over the trial of a certain Huang Mien-sheng, accused of selling provisions to foreigners at Macao. On the 27th, after an early luncheon, he inspected the battery of guns at Hsiang-shan that fired explosive shells. On returning to his lodging he learnt that since the order making it illegal to supply the foreigners at Macao with provisions, the evacuation had been going on steadily. Fifty-seven families had already retired to the merchant-ships, and it was expected that by the end of the day there would be no more English left at Macao.
Once more, just as six months before when the season's opium was surrendered, Lin felt that he had definitely got the upper hand. 'No doubt', he reported' a few days later to the Emperor, 'they have on their ships a certain stock of dried provisions, but they will very soon find themselves without the heavy, greasy meat dishes for which they have such a passion. Moreover the mere fact that they will be prevented from going ashore and getting fresh water is enough by itself to give power of life and death over them.' But on the same day as he wrote this, unknown to Lin, the situation suddenly turned once more in the smugglers' favour. In answer to an appeal by Elliot to Lord Auckland, the Governor-General of India, the twenty-eight-gun frigate H.M.S. Volage, commanded by Captain H. Smith, arrived off Kowloon point, bringing the news that a second frigate, the Hyacinth, would follow in a week or two. The Chinese naval forces had nothing that they could put up against ships of this kind, and were now entirely at the smugglers' mercy.
I have spoken sometimes of the Chinese Navy. But there was, in fact, at this period no such thing. There were merely a series of local navies acting under the orders of the local Governor-General. Nor was there any such thing as an Admiralty. There was indeed a Board of War, but its chief function at this time was to control the military examinations by which officers entered the service, and to deal in general with matters of personnel—promotions, degradations and so on; military operations being in the hands of the Supreme Council. The position of President of the Board of War was usually given as a decorative sinecure to supposedly deserving elderly officials. Our own War Office has sometimes been accused of a tendency to evolve in a somewhat similar direction, but the process has certainly not gone anything like so far as in China.
On September ist Lin at last found himself able to answer a communication from Peking received on July oth. As his reply sheds an interesting light on current Chinese beliefs about foreigners and on Lin's failure (afterwards to some extent rectified) to obtain, even after six months at Canton, anything but the most fanciful notions about them, I shall try to summarize the chief points in his very long communication.'
Was it true, the Emperor asked, that foreigners coming on ships were in the habit of buying Chinese children, mostly girls, and in some cases as many as a thousand or more at a time? If this was happening, it must mean that these children were to be killed and their corpses used for purposes of black magic. It certainly did not merely mean that the countries in question were short of inhabitants. Lin replied that since coming to Canton he had sometimes heard a curious local expression 'buying little pigs', and had a feeling it was a secret term which really meant trafficking in human beings. In April when he was superin-tending the opium surrender, he saw on one of the foreign ships a couple of boys aged about ten, who did not look at all like English children. He sent one of his staff to make inquiries about them and learnt that though their hair was not curly and their features were pleasant, they had patterns tattooed on their arms, which is a foreign, not a Chinese custom. They spoke a little Cantonese, but seemed unwilling to talk. An interpreter then questioned them in foreign languages, and they stated that they were from India and were the children of sailors. 'But I could not help feeling', says Lin, 'that they had been carried off, somewhat as the wasp carries off the young of the caterpillar.' Later on he learnt that out-of-work Chinese, particularly in bad years, did sometimes take service with foreigners and were carried off by them to foreign parts to work for wages in mines and plantations. But they were free to return, if they wanted to, after three years. As for children, it is possible that one or two may have been bought as pages or the like; but cer-tainly not in large numbers, nor to be used in black magic. In this connection, says Lin, the section on England in the Hai-lu (Record of the Seas') is worth quoting: 'England is several thousand leagues in circumference. It is so short of inhabitants that they rear all the children who are born. Even prostitutes who have children never destroy them.' The Hai-lu, I should explain, is a little book supposed to have been dictated by a sailor who, thirty and more years ago, had worked on European ships. It was printed at Canton in 182o. Other books, Lin continues, confirm that abroad the population is very sparse, so that a great value is set on every human being, and as it is also well known that they prize women even more than men, it is improbable that they would kill little girls for purposes of black magic. . . . It has been suggested that foreign opium is made by mixing poppy-juice with human flesh.= But I have ascertained, says Lin, that it is mixed with the corpses of crows. Now it is known that foreigners expose their dead and let the crows peck away the flesh. That is why the crows shown in pictures in foreign books are of such enormous size, sometimes being several feet high. Consequently they could certainly obtain
sufficient flesh from crows, without having recourse to human flesh.
On September 2nd Lin set out for Macao, accompanied by Teng, the Governor-General, reaching Cll.' ien-shan, just north of Macao, the same day. Here he received instructions, sent from Peking on August 2th, that he would be expected, as soon as the business at Canton was disposed of, to proceed to Nanking to take up his duties as Governor-General there and in particular to deal with the reorganization of grain-transport. There was a sad irony about this ; for two days later the opium trouble, so far from being disposed of, flared up into an armed conflict that was to last for three years.
On September 3rd Lin entered Macao from the north and, at the barrier that separated Macao from the rest of Hsiang-shan island, he was met by the Portuguese Governor and a guard of a hundred soldiers 'dressed up in their foreign uniforms, who marched fully accoutred in front of my carrying-chair', Lin says in his diary, 'playing foreign music'. At the temple of the God of War, situated on the outskirts, he burnt incense before the image of the god, and was presently joined by the Governor, with whom he conversed through an interpreter. He then gave presents all round. 'To the foreign officials', the diary says, gave coloured silks, folding-fans, tea and sugar-candy ; to the foreign soldiers, beer, mutton, wine, flour and four hundred pieces of silver from abroad. Then we entered the gate of S. Paulo and going south reached the Niang-ma Tower, where I burnt incense on front of the image of the Queen of Heaven, and sat dovvn for a while. Starting off again we went the whole length of the Southern Ring Street [the Praya Grande ?[ from south to north, getting a general view of the foreign houses. The foreigmers build their houses with one room on top of another, sometimes as many as three storeys. The carved doors and green lattices shine from afar like burnished gold. Today the men and women alike were all leaning out of the windovvs or thronging the side of the streets to see me pass. Unfortunately foreign clothes are no match for foreign houses. The bodies of the men are tightly encased from head to toe by short serge jackets and long close-fitting trousers, so that they look like actors playing the parts of foxes, hares and other such animals on the stage. Their hats are round and long, like those of yamen runners, and even at the height of summer are made of felt, velvet or other such heavy material, so that to catch their sweat they have to carry several kerchiefs inside their hats. When they meet a superior they salute him by raising their hats and withdrawing their hands into their sleeves.' Their hair is very curly, but they keep it short, not leaving more than an inch or two of curl. They have heavy beards, much of which they shave, leaving one curly tuft, which at first sight creates a surprising effect. Indeed, they do really look like devils ; and when the people of these parts call them "devils" it is no mere empty term of abuse. They also have devil-slaves, called black devils, who come from the country of the Moors and are used by the foreigners to wait upon them. They are blacker than lacquer, and were'this colour from the time of their birth. The foreign women part their hair in the middle, and sometimes even have two partings ; they never pile their hair on the tops of their heads. Their dresses are cut low, exposing their chests, and they wear a double layer of skirt. Marriages are arranged by the young people themselves, not by their families, and people with the same surname are free to marry one another, which is indeed a barbarous custom.
I left Macao at the Hour of the Snake [9 a.m.] . Next day [September 4th] was spent on board ship travelling along the western side of the estuary, in the direction of the Bogue.' By nightfall he was off Jung-ch`i Point, about thirty miles from Hsiang-shan. That day at Kowloon, about eighty miles to the south-east, the first battle of the Opium War was being fought. Lin probably did not hear about it till several days later, and it is not mentioned in the diary. As we shall see, he first mentions it in a report sent to the Emperôr a fortnight later.
Contemporary accounts of the battle, of which we possess at least six, differ in small ways according to whether they are by supporters or detractors of Captain Elliot, or again are hostile to or admirative of Captain Douglas. They all agree, however, that Chinese warships stationed near Kowloon were preventing Chinese villagers from supplying the English ships with food. A number of small English boats with armed men on board were sent to protest to the Chinese Com-mander and try to obtain food. Eventually, when after repeated requests no promise of being allowed to buy provisions could be obtained, the English boats opened fire and several of the Chinese ships were driven ashore. The English suffered four casualties, but no English boat was sunk. One of the casualties was Captain Douglas, who was wounded in the arm. Henceforward there was no difficulty in obtaining provisions ; but they were slightly more expensive, and this may perhaps give us a clue to what had really been happening. It is hard to suppose, in view of the notorious corruption of the Canton Navy at this period, that it interfered with the provisioning of the English ships merely out of a patriotic desire to frustrate the enemy. I cannot help thinking that when, on August 3 1st, an order appeared forbidding the peasants to sell food to the English, the Chinese patrol-boats tried to 'squeeze' out of the peasants, in return for turning a blind eye upon their trading activities, a larger bribe than they were prepared to pay ; in consequence of which the English for a time got no supplies. After the battle, however (if my theory is correct), the patrol ships were disinclined to risk another encounter with the English and were willing to accept from the peasants a much smaller 'squeeze', with the result that food was now available at only a slightly increased price.
Lin did not tell the Emperor about the battle till Septem-ber 18th, but it will be convenient to discuss what he said here, rather than adhere woodenly to chronology. On the evening of September 8th, then, he sent a long report on the situation at Canton, together with a dispatch about the Battle of Kowloon, by the local commander Lieut.-Colonel Lai En-chio. This dispatch contains hardly a word of truth either as to how the hostilities started or in regard to the action itself. According to Lai, his representative was lust about to deliver a reply to the English request for food 'when, without any warning, the foreigners opened fire'. He claimed that, in the action which followed, a two-masted English ship was sunk and casualties inflicted which, if one adds up the various mentions of them, would certainly amount to at least forty or fifty. Lin himself refers in his report to the Chinese having 'obtained a victory over superior forces'.
Lin was regarded by both the Chinese and the English as a man of unusual integrity, and it seems at first sight sur-prising to find him not merely transmitting but even himself endorsing a military report so flagrantly mendacious. In order to understand how this was possible, it is necessary to know something about the whole system of reports to the Throne on military engagements. Any action, whether successful or unsuccessful, was immediately followed by a wild scramble to get mentioned in the official report on the battle as suitable for decoration, promotion, or other awards. The claims were usually based on alleged casualties inflicted on the enemy, and as the authorities at Peking had no way of checking up on enemy losses, the figures given were determined by what officers thought would entitle them to the reward they had in mind. Naval warfare lent itself particularly well to fictitious claims of this kind. No officer who claimed to have sunk a foreign ship was expected to give its name or identify it in any way, except perhaps by mentioning how many masts it had. Occasionally the farce was enacted of sending to Peking as 'evidence' a few spars or pieces of rigging ; but it must have been obvious to every one con,perned that these proved nothing.
It was not usual for the high official on the spot, who forwarded military dispatches to Peking, to investigate the claims contained in them, unless these claims were contested by some other high official and an inquiry demanded. Indeed any Governor-General or Governor who on his own initiative threw doubt upon such claims was likely to find himself becoming very unpopular, and to be accused of deliberately damping the loyalty and enthusiasm of the armed forces. If a protest against a false claim to victory was lodged at all, it was generally months after the event, by a censor who had no first-hand knowledge of the battle, and who produced as 'the true facts' counter-rumours that were even wilder than the dispatches he was criticizing.Lieut.-Colonel Lai En-chio, it may be mentioned, went on concocting false reports with impunity till the end of the war, and early in 1843 succeeded to the post formerly held by Admiral Kuan, having been recommended as 'the most outstanding and trustworthy of our naval commanders', greatly distinguished by his services against the English in the autumn and winter of 184o.
One result of this long-established system of false claims, both military and otherwise, was the destruction of any real confidence between the Emperor and his high provincial officers. We have already seen (p. 45 above) that Lin found it advisable to offer to send to Peking the opium confiscated from the English, and that this offer was at first accepted, the Emperor evidently not regarding it as entirely out of the question that even Lin, his most trusted Minister at that period, was deceiving him and had in fact either not secured the surrender of the opium at all, or had disposed of it to his own profit.
To what extent Lin himself was aware that the reports he sent on this and subsequent battles were largely fictitious, it is hard to say. They were apparently believed by the Chinese Government both at the time and long afterwards, and it is worth noting that when his conduct of affairs at Canton was being investigated in December 184o, the sponsoring of false military reports was not one of the charges brought against him.=
The same, however, is not true of the reports sent by his successors. By the summer of I84I the Emperor had become convinced that for a long time past the authorities at Canton had been systematically deceiving him, and on July 3oth of that year he ordered2 Liang Chang-chii (1775-1849), who was Governor of Kwangsi from 1836 to 841, to give him a clear and detailed account of what had been happening at Canton. Kwangsi, the Emperor pointed out, was a neigh-bouring province and Liang must have received independent accounts. He warned Liang that he was making secret in-quiries 'in other places', and would be able to check up on Liang' s information.=
But we must return to Lin's voyage back from Macao. Soon after midnight on September sth he arrived at the village of Hu-men, on the east side of the entrance to the Bogue. On the oth he received the Peking Gazette and learnt from it of a general shuffle of high officials, caused partly by the sacking of Chung Hsiang, the Governor-General whose seal of office had been stolen. He read, too, that in the recent test of censors, the subject of the essay had been 'How best to give full effect to the recently promulgated opium regu-lations' . On September 3th he notes that as he is likely to have to stay at Hu-men, the seat of Admiral Kuan's headquarters, for some time, he has brought all the people at his residence in the Academy at Canton to join him there. 'Today', he adds, 'the naval units at the Bogue held their manceuvres. It was a grand sight, really rivalling, in a remote way, the review during the banquet of examiners at the Provincial Examinations.'
Elliot had returned to Macao on September sth, and on the i6th he announced, through the Chinese Prefect of Macao, that his only desire was for peace and amity, and that he wished to discuss with the Chinese authorities how outstanding differences could best be settled. His return to Macao seems to have been due to a hope that the Portuguese Governor might be persuaded to act as mediator. About September 8th the second frigate, the Hyacinth, joined the Volage, and to Captain Douglas's consternation Elliot informed him that 'having now two of Her Majesty's ships on the Station, he did not require the further services of the Cambridge' . Instead of the £14,000 for eight months' hire, as originally promised, Elliot now proposed giving him £2,1 oo. As the Cambridge had been used to protect the merchant fleet for nearly two and a half months, something more like £3,600 would have been the proper proportion of the sum originally named. Captain Douglas, however, accepted on the understanding that Elliot would 'urge the Government to make good the whole payment for the contract of the Cambridge' .
On September 22nd Lin writes: 'This afternoon the Governor-General called and we went by boat together to Shakolo and then on board the Admiral's boat looked over the lists of the "braves" newly recruited by each warship. Over eighty ships, including fire-boats, were drawn up in two lines. We then invited the Admiral and General Huang to picnic with us at the Shakok battery, to which we took wine and things to eat. After the moon rose we climbpd to the mirador on top of the Shakok Hill and spent some time there enjoying the moonlight. After that the Governor-General and I went home, taking advantage of the tide.' It was the full moon of the Chinese eighth month, the great time for going to a high place, looking at the moon and writing poems. In Lin's very long and very allusive poemz he boasts that 'A vast display of Imperial might has shaken all the foreign tribes, and if they now confess their guilt we shall not be too hard upon them. . . . This year, on this night, we have managed to dissipate our sorrows. But next year on this night shall we be together or not? This poem remains in preparation for thoughts after parting; for as soon as the present business is settled, I shall return to my native fields."Tonight', the entry ends, saw Elliot's reply to my letter sent through the Prefect of Macao.' In this letter Lin lays down three conditions for a settlement: (I) The murderer of Lin Wei-hsi must be surrendered; (2) The opium-receiving ships must all leave China at once, as must also the known opium dealers, whose names were on the black-list so often transmitted to Elliot ; (3) Any ship found still loitering will suffer the fate of the Virginia.
It must here be explained that on September 2th a Chinese patrol ship had boarded the Spanish brig Bilbaino, anchored off Macao, under the mistaken impression that she was the English opium ship Virginia. For months on end Lin with typical obstinacy continued to maintain, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the Bilbaino was the Virginia, while at the same time, with typical acuteness, triumphantly detecting trivial inaccuracies, inconsistencies and illogicalities in the repeated protest of the Spanish consignee Goyena and the testimony of those who supported him. For example, Goyena used the argument that 'as the Virginia still existed it could not have been she who was burnt'. 'If he knows that she exists, he must also know where she exists', comments Lin. 'Why does he not deign to tell us?'
Elliot became involved because, in common with the Dutch, Portuguese and Americans, he signed an affidavit that the ship burnt was the Spanish ship Bilbaino, and had no connection with the Virginia. This blunder of the Chinese gave him a useful controversial handle and we find him months later (January 3rd, 184o) still quoting it as a justifi-cation for firing at sight on any Chinese patrol ship.
In stating his third condition, Lin refers to the Battle of Kowloon. It was, he says, the English, not the Chinese, who fired the first shot. He hopes that the defeat they suffered has taught them a lesson. Since then Elliot had suggested that on the question of future trade some compromise might be reached. But he had also said that before allowing English ships to enter the Bogue he must wait for an answer to his letter asking for his Sovereign's instructions. Before any negotiation could be opened, Lin insisted, he must know the date when Elliot's letter left for England, the date when the answer was sent, and the length of time that must elapse before it reached China. If these three conditions were fulfilled there ought to be no difficulty in arranging for a resumption of legitimate trade.
In his reply, referred to in the diary, Elliot professes to be ready to end the opium trade entirely, as commanded by the Emperor. He adds that he wishes Lin would not call his notes to the English 'instructions'. This, however, was the name ordinarily given to letters addressed to inferiors and Elliot, virtually a consul, clearly was inferior to Lin whose rank was something like that of our Viceroy of India.'
On September 28th Elliot dealt more fully with the points raised by Lin. He offered to allow Chinese officials to search the ships ; if any opium was found, the whole cargo, legitimate and illegitimate, would be surrendered. New ships on their arrival would sign a guarantee that they were not carrying opium and would not ever in future do so 'within the Inner Seas'. (This phrase was slipped in so that the smuggling might still be carried on from ships stationed in the 'outer seas', at a distance from the coast.) With regard to the murder, Elliot states that American sailors were also present. This complicates the inquiries, and the culprit has still not been identified. As regards notorious opium dealers—they will start for home as soon as there is a north wind. But there are two wrong names on the list ; Sam Matheson is a boy in his early 'teens and Mr Henry has never dealt in opium. Finally, his letter to England, asking for instructions on various matters, was sent on May 29th, and an answer could not be expected until December. Before it came, he would be obliged to go on preventing English ships from entering the Bogue. In a postscript Elliot adds that he proposes to offer a reward of 2,000 dollars for information about the murderer.
There was such a spate of notes and replies at this time that it is impossible to deal with them all. Lin, also on September 28th, quotes the case of a Chinese, accused of opium dealing, who confessed on September sth to having bought opium from one of the English ships. He insists on the original form of guarantee, making foreign opium offences subject to Chinese law.
Writing to the Emperor on October 6th Lin defends his policy of enforcing a guarantee. The Censor Pu Chi-t'ung (see above, p. 47) had argued that people so dishonest as the English would have no scruple about signing any guarantee demanded of them, and would then go on selling opium just as before. But it is evident, Lin points out, that on the contrary they take such pledges very seriously. Otherwise they would not be so reluctant to sign.
On October 1oth he heard about the subjects set at the Provincial Examinations in his home-town, Foochow. One of the essay subjects was the saying of Mencius: 'The great man is one who in manhood still keeps the heart of a child.'
On October 11th he went to watch naval exercises at Shakok. The marines, drawn up in battle formation and standing in the water, 'went through the motions of slashing and striking. Then they hurled lances and shot arrows from the tops of the masts, showing great agility'. He got back at the Hour of the Monkey (3 p.m.). 'At night', he says, 'it rained, and this gave the fields where the late rice had in the last few days been coming into ear, an added freshness and sheen.'
The entry for October 13 th is: 'A fine day. Looked through the documents used in compiling the History of the Custom-house at Canton.' This was a work edited by Liang -ring-flan, the head of the Academy whose premises Lin had made use of in Canton. It gives the history of customs dues, general trade, tribute-ships, the Chinese guild-merchants, the foreign merchants, and so on, down to the end of 1838. Liang had handed overt these papers to Lin about eight months ago, and must certainly have been beginning to wonder whether the great man was ever going to find time to look at them.
On October i4th he received two equally gratifying, though very diverse, pieces of news: nine of the Academy students whom he had in his private examination dut in the top class, had been successful in the Provincial Examinations, and an English captain, the first to do so, had, in defiance of Elliot's orders, asked to be allowed to sign the guarantee and go through the Bogue to Canton. The ship was the Thomas Coutts, belonging to the firm of Marjoribanks and commanded by Captain Warner. She had brought a cargo of cotton, rattan and pepper from Bombay. The natural inference, at once drawn by Lin, was that if one English ship found no difficulty in signing the guarantee, the others were merely hesitating because they were carrying or intended to carry less innocuous cargoes. Captain Warner, it is said, had taken legal advice and been told that Elliot had no right to prevent ships from signing the guarantee and entering the Bogue. He now became Lin's 'model foreigner' , whose only fault was that he was unable to persuade the other ships to follow his example.
On October 2oth Lin reminded Elliot that as a great concession he had agreed that even ships which had not signed the guarantee might be allowed to enter the Bogue if on their being searched, it was found they had no opium. Now, however, the situation has been changed by the fact that the Thomas Coutts has signed the guarantee and pro-ceeded to Whampoa ; 'with what frankness and correctness!' Lin exclaims. It is now clearer than ever that ships which will not sign the guarantee are afraid to do so because they are still engaged in selling opium. As regards the murder, Elliot has already detained five men. If he cannot himself find out which of them committed the murder, he must hand over all five to the Chinese authorities for trial. If Elliot fails to do this, he himself will be arrested and put on trial.
It must here be observed that the five sailors had been tried before an English jury on August i2th and found guilty of riotous behaviour. The indictment for murder was rejected. Two of them were sentenced to three months' imprisonment and a fine of £15; the other three to six months' imprisonment and a fine of £2o.
On October 22nd Lin writes: 'A constant succession of notes from Macao. I hear that the receiving ships of the bad foreigners have for some days past been leaving their anchorage, and will soon all be gone. But the merchant ships are still asking to be searched (instead of signing the guarantee) and I must think out what regulations I must make about this.' Later in the day, however, he seems to have changed his mind, for he wrote to Elliot threatening to arrest him if he continued to prevent the ships from sigming the guarantee.
'It is strange to think', he writes on October 24th, 'that they miist by now be wearing lined furs in the north! Here one sweats even in thin silks. What a difference of climate! But at the first puff of cool wind or shower of rain one is very apt to catch cold. Some people came in a boat from Canton inviting me to a conference with the two super-intendents of the Examinations. But I cannot possibly get away from here while all this business is on my hands, and I had to refuse.' On the same day he wrote to Elliot totally rejecting the idea of a search of the ships in lieu of a guarantee. He argues that to search a ship properly would take five days so that as there are now forty ships at Kowloon, the whole business would take two hundred days. Till the search was complete it would be impossible to allow the merchants' families to return to Macao, severe restrictions would continue to be put on their purchase of food, and there could be no question of giving them back their compradors and carpenters ; whereas if theywould only sign the guarantee, as the Thomas Coutts has done, all their usual privileges would at once be restored to them.
On October 2 sth the sole entry is: 'Fine weather. A great many official papers to deal with.' One of these was a report= to the Emperor about the case of a Canton bookseller who had printed a spurious 'Communication' to England about the making of opium, attributing it to Lin. There is no suggestion in the report that the forged 'Communication' contained anything outrageous or improbable. But according to the Code anyone forging communications alleged to have come from an official of the First and Second Ranks must receive a sentence of a hundred blows with the rod and three years' banishment. The bookseller had been found guilty and the sentence pronounced. But the man alleged that though he had three brothers, they had all been adopted into another branch of the family. (Consequently if the sentence of exile was carried out, there would be a lapse in the Ancestral Sacrifices.) This was being looked into. The document in question was probably a spurious version of Lin's letter to Queen Victoria. It seems, indeed, that a spurious version of some kind was still circulating at the beginning of the twentieth century ; for Backhouse and Bland, in their Annals and Memoirs of the Court of Peking (1914) quote a passage that does not occur in either of the authentic versions.
Next day, October 26th, Lin hears that the Americans have bought one of the empty receiving ships, loaded it with cotton, signed the guarantee and sailed up to Canton. To members of his staff and the Prefect of Macao, who were conducting negotiations for him, Lin wrote : 'My deputies are in a hurry to wind up their mission and get home. The Prefect is in a hurry to get the ships their passes. The English are in a hurry to get back to Macao. But I, the Commissioner, am in a hurry to get the full guarantee signed first. . . . The English continually say that they have complied with every request. But I ask, have they signed their guarantee, have they handed over the murderer, not to mention everything else?'
On October 27th Lin charged his representatives (Yii Pao-shun and the rest) with allowing the English to pro-crastinate and quibble about the guarantee. am here', Lin says, 'as the representative of the Emperor, and if these foreigners are allowed to band themselves together= and resist His commands there will be nothing for it but to go to Peking and await punishment ; my position here will be too humiliating to endure.' On the same day he repeats his objections to a search of the ships as an alternative to the guarantee, and explains that the English are, without his permission, beginning to return in considerable numbers to Macao. Chinese troops have been stationed at the Barrier, and any English who do not leave at once will be surrounded and arrested. He also complains of a fresh act of violence: on September 6th off the coast near Kuang-hai, about fifty miles south-west of Macao, some foreigners who arrived in four boats shot a Chinese and threw his corpse into the sea. They then boarded a Chinese boat, sword in hand, wounded three other Chinese and cut off the pigtails of seven. others. Quite apart from these acts of violence—what were they doing at Kuang-hai, miles away from the only authorized route for foreign ships ? He also quotes a case of opium selling off the north coast of Hainan Island, over two hundred miles away from Macao.2 In his reply Elliot naturally pointed out that these cases had occurred at a distance from Canton, beyond the area which he controlled, and though he was horrified that such things should have happened there was nothing he could do about it.
These cases are never alluded to again, and Lin may have fotmd that he had been misinformed.
On October 28th Lin declared that he does not now believe and never did believe Elliot's story about this letter to England, asking for permission to let the ships enter the Bogue. Daniell, the consignee of the Thomas Coutts's cargo, who readily signed the guarantee and came up to Canton, must surely know better than Elliot what are the wishes of the English Government, seeing that he was once on the Select Committee of the East India Company, and has just come from England? The note ends with the menacing announcement that the Chinese naval and military forces have already been fully mobilized at Canton and will shortly be arriving at the mouth of the Bogue, where detailed plans would be made for a general assault. It was evident from this note that Lin now intended, unless 'the murderer of Lin Wei-hsi' was handed over immediately, to fulfil the -threat to 'annihilate the English' that he had made in his note of September 28th.
On October 29th he heard that a second English ship, the Royal Saxon, had signed the guarantee. She had come from Java with a cargo of rice. Lin wrote to his representative at Macao: 'Make sure that the captain, the owner of the goods and his two principal partners have all signed, and be so good as to affix a careful translation. If everything is in order, make him stamp his seal on sealing-wax, as was done in the case of K`o-kuang's guarantee [I suppose K`o-kuang was one of the Americans who had signed—possibly Cogham or the like). If he cannot write the Chinese translation for himself, do it for him. . . • His family, as a mark of special favour, are to be allowed to live in Macao. Only be sure that no other foreign families pass themselves off as belonging to him.'
In view of Lin's threat to annihilate the English, the Volage and Hyacinth beat slowly up the estuary against a heavy wind, arriving at Chuenpi, on the east side of the mouth of the Bogue, on November 2nd. Eight miles away a large force of Chinese war-junks and incendiary-boats could be clearly seen.
On the morning of November 3rd Lin conducted the trial of three Chinese, accused of abetting the foreigners in opium dealing, and applied for permission from Peking to carry out the death sentence. He also sent an optimistic report to the Emperor, claiming to have driven away all the opium-receiving ships and all the foreigners on the black-list. Even the difficult matter of getting the English to sign the guarantee seems, he says, nearer a solution, and two ships, the Thomas Coutts and the Royal Saxon, have already signed. 'Early in the afternoon I heard that at Lung-leungi an English warship sent a note to Admiral Kuan, which he did not accept. Whereupon the warship opened fire and attacked him. The Admiral returned the fire and destroyed the ship's fore and aft masts. Some Englishmen were hurled into the sea, and at this point the warship retreated.' Next day (November4th) he writes, 'After my meal, I went to Shakok and had a talk with the Admiral. Then we both went and looked at the damage done by the enemy guns, discussed repairs and rewarded and consoled the wounded, each according to his deserts. Fishermen brought in four foreign hats that they had found afloat ; also shoes and other objects, all of them belonging to English who had fallen into the sea and drifted about.
The note referred to was one from Captain Smith of the Volage to Admiral Kuan, calling upon him to withdraw his forces. As Lin no doubt learnt from the Admiral himself, Captain Smith's note, after some initial delay, had been answered by the Admiral, who said he could not retire till a time had been named when the murderer of Lin Wei-hsi would be surrendered. It was evident to Captain Smith that this time the Admiral at last intended to carry out Lin's repeated threats, and make an all-out attack on the merchant ships, still crowded with refugees, for the protection of whom Smith was responsible. It was at this point that (on November 3rd) he opened fire.
I shall not attempt to discuss in detail the discrepancies between the Chinese and English accounts of how much damage each side sustained in the encounter that lollowed, knovvn to history as the Battle of Chuenpi. So dense a pall of smoke enveloped naval actions at this period that mistakes about damage inflicted on the enemy were easy to make. One point only need be stressed here: this was intended by Lin and the Admiral to be the battle of extermination with which Lin had threatened the English on September 18th. It cannot be doubted that the Admiral's plan was to board the English merchant ship that was supposed to be harbouring the murderer, seize an expiatory victim and then sink or burn this and all the other English merchant ships. Nothing of the kind was effected, and after sustaining considerable damage the Chinese fleet retired to the west side of the entrInce to the Bogue.
Lin's report on the battle to the Emperor, not sent till November 2ist, is at variance with the entry in his diary. On November 3rd he told the Emperor that the Royal Saxon, which had signed the guarantee, was making for the Bogue 'when two English warships, arriving at Chuenpi at midday, forced her to turn back. One was Captain Smith's ship (the Volage), which previously made trouble at Kowloon; the other was the more recently arrived ship commanded by Captain Warren (the Hyacinth). Admiral Kuan, being told of this and thinking it an odd procedure, was investigating the matter, when Smith opened fire on him.'
During the battle that followed, Lin continues, 'the Admiral stood erect before the mast, drew his sword, and grasping it in his hand directed operations, shouting in a loud and menacing voice that anyone who attempted to retreat would at once be beheaded. A fragment of enemy shell brushed the mast and ripped a splinter from it, which grazed the Admiral's arm. The skin was broken and the wound showed red ; but the Admiral, heedless of his own safety, still stood sword in hand.' This account, derived perhaps from one of the Admiral's officers, reads like a passage from a contemporary heroic ballad or play rather than a piece of sober reporting, and it was no doubt written to distract attention from the fact that the largest naval force which could be handled as a unit had been repulsed by two English frigates. There is, however, no need to doubt that the Admiral behaved with exemplary courage. Elliot himself describes him as 'manifesting a resolution of behaviour honourably enhanced by the hopelessness of his efforts' .
On November 7th Lin writes: hear that at Kuan-yung (south of Chuenpi) where the coastguards are stationed on the shore, bad foreigners who for several days past have been coming and spying, have now been driven away or captured. Some who were wounded fell down the cliff, but escaped, leaving their muskets behind. I also hear that fishing-boats at Lung-leung have again hooked out foreign hats from the water, making eleven, including those that were found before. Today from the Hour of the Monkey to that of the Boar [ 3— 9 p.m. 1. I personally examined and obtained confessions from (Chinese) opium offenders.'
On November 12th he writes, 'This afternoon the Governor-General came and we discussed what can be done about exterminating the lair at Kowloon [i.e. the English merchants . Lin probably still clung to the hope of being able to set the ships on fire.
November 14.th: 'Fine. Rose early to go with the Governor-General to the Ching-yilan Battery at Heng-tangi to console the Admiral. He has lost his son and heir, Kuan Kuei-lung, who died on the eighth day of the eighth month at Wu-sung (fourteen miles north of Shanghai) where he was Brigadier. He had at the time of his death already been promoted to the post of Deputy Commander at Chinkiang. We found that the Admiral was living near the three recently constructed batteries—the Ching-yiian in the middle, the Wei-yiian on the left and the Chen-yiian on the right, They have, between them, about a hundred and twenty large cannon and certainly look very formidable. . . . In the evening I got a note from the Ta-p`eng camp, saying that on the night on the 6th [i.e. November th] we had a great victory at Kuan-yung [just south of Chuenpi].' On the isth he loyally celebrated the Empress's birthday, and on the 6th heard of another great Chinese victory which had resulted in all the merchant ships leaving Kowloon Point and anchoring at various points to the south-west.
Actually, Captain Smith had ordered the ships to move to anchorages where he could more easily defend them. Eleven merchant captains were against the move, and there was some delay in carrying it out. The English accounts only record a certain amount of desultory firing in the days succeeding the battle of Chuenpi. Lin's diary records three Chinese victories (including the Chuenpi battle). The number was doubled in a communication from the Emperor dated December 3th,I and the Six Smashing Blows against the English warships still figure in Chinese history books.
On November 9th Lin received a communication from the Emperor dispatched on October 29th, a week before the Battle of Chuenpi, in which Lin was reminded that his real position was Governor-General of Kiangnan and Kiangsi, and it would not be possible to keep him indefinitely at Canton. On the other hand the routine affairs of Kwangtung and Kwangsi really represented a full-time job and, for the present, Governor-General Teng could not be expected, in addition, to deal single-handed with the opium business. He and Lin must make a joint effort to end the opium trade in a fundamental and lasting way and, as the saying went, 'by one supreme effort gain lasting repose'.
On November 3 oth Captain Douglas sold the Cambridge, the ship which, as will be remembered, he had armed and hired out to Elliot at the time when the British were left entirely without defence. It was bought by the American firm Delano for Li 0,7oo. The guns and other equipment were, however, dismounted, sold to the British Government, and in the end duly paid for. Ten days later he left for England with his wife and two servants, paying £E5o for the passage. He left, then, with a great deal of money, but also with a financial grievance ; and after quickly running through the considerable sums he had received he spent the rest of his life dunning Elliot and the Government for more.= But the interest to us of the Douglas affair is that early next year Commissioner Lin bought the Cambridge from Delano, and she became the first foreign-built ship in the Chinese Navy. Her function seems, however, to have been chiefly that of a training ship and a model for Chinese shipbuilders.
On December 4th Lin wrote a report, on Governor-General Teng's behalf, on the lampoons (in the form of ballads) that had recently been circulating at Canton. In these he was accused of exploiting his zeal in arresting opium offenders in order to curry favour with the Court, of obtaining information through agents provocateurs, of conducting trials in a harsh and inhumane way and of accepting bribes. Worse still, they represented the whole opium-suppression policy as endangering the economy of the State, and the new code of punishment as an ill-considered setting aside of the standing dynastic Code. The Emperor replied that he had absolute confidence in Lin and Teng, and that they must not let popular outcry of this kind deter them from carrying out their task. The authors of the lampoons should be arrested and punished with the utmost severity.
The fact was that vast numbers of the Cantonese, quite apart from the opium dealers, made their living in ways connected with foreign trade, and they were hard hit by the stagnation of trade that the conflict caused by the new laws had now provoked. There was at this time much more indigmation against the Government's opium policy than against the foreigners. It was not till May 184.1, when English troops looted and raped in the villages north of Canton, that hatred of the English began.
On December sth Lin writes: 'We have decided that from the first day of the eleventh month [December 6thl all English ships are to be debarred from trading at Canton. A proclamation to this effect was issued several days ago. From the fifth month till now fifty-six ships of various nationality have signed the guarantee and entered harbour ; among them one English ship. Thirty-two English ships have refu-sed to sign and have consequently not been allowed to come into harbour. One English ship (i.e. the Royal Saxon) signed, but was prevented by English warships from entering harbour.'
On December 11th, a new phase in the struggle having commenced, Lin left Hu-men village and returned to the Academy at Canton. On December 14th he reported to the Emperor that in accordance with his instructions he had put a stop to all English trade. In these instructions,I received on November 9th, the Emperor had said that if the English again went back on their promises, they were to be 'cut off from their rhubarb and tea'.
On December 16th he interviewed the survivors of the Sunda, an English ship that had been wrecked off the coast of Hainan island on October 2th. went to the Governor-General's place early in the morning, where I found the Governor and the Head of Customs. We lunched together and afterwards went to the Temple of the Queen of Heaven, where the fifteen survivors of the wreck, including the foreigner Chia-li-ch'en [ Carson ?[ were brought to me, and I talked with them face to face for more than two hours. I also gave them things to eat, upon which they all raised their hats and thanked me. I then ordered members of my staff to get ready a boat and escort them to the Bogue.'
The Sunda's surgeon, Dr Hill, published an account of the interview in the Canton Press.' He tells us that Lin showed the survivors two English books into which Chinese translations of certain passages had been inserted. One was A. S. Thelwall's The Iniquities of the Opium Trade with China, published at London early in 1839. The book makes an eloquent appeal for the suppression of opium production in India, and it no doubt had a considerable effect on the general reader, calling his attention to an evil the existence of which was quite unknown to him. But public men knew of the evil and in most cases deplored it. Their difficulty was that they did not see how the Government of India could manage without the revenue that it derived from opium or how the tea trade (from which the home Government derived vast revenues) could be carried on unless tea were paid for by opium. Thelwall's book could only have had any political influence if he had faced these difficulties, which he entirely fails to do.
The other book produced by Lin lacked its title-page ; but Dr Hill thought it was by John Davis (179s-189o), after-wards Governor of Hongkong. If so it was probably his The Chinese, published in London in i836. This is an extremely well-informed work, showing great appreciation of Chinese literature and drama, and of Chinese institutions and customs in general. There is not a trace of the bantering and at the same time patronizing attitude towards the Chinese that became common in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Lin then showed Dr Hill the English translation of the second version of his letter to Queen Victoria. 'It was written', Dr Hill says, 'in their usual high flowing strain, at which I could scarcely command my gravity, which he observing immediately asked if it was all proper. We said it was only a few mistakes at which we smiled, whereupon he requested us to . . . correct any error we might fmd in it. . . . Some parts we could make neither head nor tail of. . .
We possess, so far as I know, only one specimen of the English produced by Lin's linguists. It is a proclamation dating from June 839, and is printed in the Chinese Repository.' To give it an enhanced literary dignity it was deprived of all punctuation. I will only quote the opening sentences: 'Great imperial commissioner's governor's of two Kwang provinces lieutenant-governor's of Canton earnest proclama-tion to foreigners again issued. For the managing opium on the last spring trade for present time till the opium sur-rendered to the government than ordered be opened the trade same as before.'
That evening (December 6th), he received a note from Elliot saying that his sincere desire for peace and his con-sistent obedience to the laws of China were well known to Lin and his colleagues, and it grieved him deeply that the present imbroglio should have arisen. He hoped that it might be possible to settle outstanding difficulties in such a way that the English merchants and their families might be allowed to reside again at Macao and conditions found in which legitimate trade might be carried on pending the arrival of instructions from his Sovereign.
Lin's reply was naturally withering. After recapitulating events since the surrender of the opium, which had amply shown how little regard Elliot had either for peace or for the laws of China, Lin asks sarcastically whether Elliot had 'waited for instructions' from home before twice opening fire on Chinese warships and committing all the other arbitrary acts which had led to the cessation of trade. 'The basis of your own laws is the promotion of trade, and in causing the cessation of trade by disobeying Chinese law, you are infringing the whole purpose of the laws of your country. Are you ready to answer to your own Government for this grave crime?'
On December 2 ist, Lin hears that Elliot has been badgering the Prefect of Macao, through whom communications from Lin arrived, to find out whether there has been any reply to his note. Evidently the reply had been held up for a few days. 'One can see what a fret he is in', observes Lin. Only about a third of the English merchants dealt in opium, and the rest were probably beginning to press very hard for a resumption of trade.
December 22nd was the day of the Winter Solstice; 'At dawn I set up an altar in my lodging and burnt incense, looking towards the Palace at Peking, and kowtowing my best wishes for a felicitous Solstice.'
On the 24th, handicapped by a bad attack of catarrh,' he answered a note from the Portuguese Governor of Macao, presumably about trading conditions. On December 26th a newly arrived Englishman called Captain Gribble was returning, in a Chinese boat, from a visit to the virtuous ship, Royal Saxon, where he had been making arrangements about taking a house at Macao, when a Chinese patrol ship came up. Gribble, who had heard hair-raising stories about the reckless behaviour of patrols, particularly, for example, the burning of the Bilbaino, fired at the Chinese marines, without waiting to discover what they wanted. He did no damage, but was at once arrested and put into prison at Canton-. An endless interchange of notes ensued, till finally on January 7th (184o) Captain Towns of the Royal Saxon was authorized to come to Canton and fetch Gribble away.
On December 29th it was bitterly cold, and though Lin was wearing his lined furs he caught a severe cold and had to stay in bed. The doctor was sent for and he was given some medicine. Next day the doctor came again ; several letters from Peking and the Peking Gazette kept him amused. On December 3 st he was well enough to write on some fans and deal with business. On January st he received orders from Court to find out whether the Customs at Shao-choui were letting opium through; he passed this on to the Governor-General and Governor. 'Today', he notes, 'is New Year's day abroad [it was the twenty-seventh day of the eleventh month in China]. It falls ten days after the Winter Solstice. The Spaniards, Portuguese, people of Manila, English and Americans count today as the first day of the first month of 184o. The foreigners in the factories outside the city wall exchange good wishes when they meet, but everything else goes on as usual.'
It was about this time that Lin bought the Cambridge from the Americans. Denuded of her armaments she was now merely a rather large merchant ship, which the Chinese did not know how to navigate, so that she had eventually to be towed up to Canton. On January i3th Lin received instruc-tions to stop all trade with the English, which in fact he had already done on December sth. 'All their ships', the Emperor said, 'must be driven out of the harbour without any further attempt to secure the guarantee; nor is it worth while trying to get them to hand over the murderer. What has become of the Royal Saxon is also not worth inquiring into. It must be explained to the other nations that the English, by their crimes, have brought this punishment on themselves ; but the other foreigners, so long as they obey the law and do not give assistance to the English, are not implicated, and can continue to trade as usual.' It was also announced by Peking that Admiral Kuan had received a resounding Manchu title in recognition of his services at Chuenpi.
From January 6th to the oth Lin suffered from rheumatism in the right arm, and being dissatisfied with his usual doctor sent for a Dr Tu, who was attached to the Provincial Treasury. On the 8th he heard that his eldest son's wife had given birth to a daughter. Lin was asked to give the girl a name, and chose Fragrant Bell, in imitation of the name of the famous T'ang poet Po Chii-i's daughter—Golden Bell. The 'fragrant' was appropriate because Po Chii-i called himself the Recluse of the Fragrant Mountain (Hsiang-shan); also because she was born on a day the signs of which lacked the element 'metal', which needed rein-forcing. Lin mentions more than once at this time ingenious schemes for speeding his letters to Foochow. For example, he would pay the messenger two dollars at Canton, on the understanding that if he delivered the letter by a certain date the addressee would pay him another two dollars. A further dollar was to be given for each day that the letter arrived earlier than the appointed date, while half a dollar was to be deducted for every day that the messenger was behind time.
On January 8th Captain Warner of the Thomas Coutts signed the following undertaking: the English ship's captain Warner, having received from their Excellencies the Commissioner, the Governor-General and the Governor a communication addressed to the Sovereign of my country, undertake to convey it with all respect and care and see that it reaches the addressee. What I have here undertaken, I will faithfully perform.'
That the last we hear of Lin's famous letter to Queen Victoria. We know from shipping records that the Thomas Coutts arrived safely at London, but it is certain that the letter was never delivered to the Queen. Captain Warner may have transferred it to a mail-packet that was taking the new Suez overland route. The mails on this route were some-times robbed, and the letter, like so many interesting documents, may one day be rescued from the sands of Egypt.
On January 2 2nd the Prefect of Macao reported that George Thomas Staunton was being sent to replace Elliot, owing to the dissatisfaction of the Queen with what Elliot had been doing. 'Staunton', comments Lin, 'came to Canton when he was young and was formerly Taipan [President of the Select Committee]. He took part in the tribute-mission of the 2ist year of Chia-ch'ing [ the Amherst mission of 1816], and is now over seventy.' He was in fact only fifty-nine ; but in an unsigned letter to the Canton Register' he is referred to as 'venerable'. 'I am sorry to see the London papers name Sir George Staunton as the expected High Commissioner to China', says the writer of the letter. 'Sir George is a man of the days when tea was everything; national honour nothing.'
On the question of the Opium War Staunton held an odd combination of views. He was a member of the Anti-Opium League, and began his speech at the debate in the House of Commons on the China question (April 7, 184o) by saying that he was 'as strongly opposed as any member of the House to the opium trade'. He ended it by saying he 'thought it was a just and fitting war and he would support the Government'. The whole speech somewhat reminds one of those of the Knights at the end of Murder in the Cathedral.
It was, however, not Elliot but Lin himself who was on the eve of losing his position. On January 26th he received,news that his term as Special Commissioner was at an end. Instead of being nominal Governor-General of Kiangnan he was now to replace Teng as Governor-General of Kwangtung and Kwangsi. 'The salary was considerably smaller than that of the Governor-General of Kiangnan and the position was usually thought less important. But Lin was still an official of the First Rank, and had no reason to regard himself as in disgrace. The present Governor-General, Lin's great friend Teng, was to be Governor-General somewhere else ; but there was some indecision about where he was to go.
From February 3rd to September oth there is a gap in the diary, or at any rate in the printed text of it, and we have to fall back on other sources, particularly Lin's corre-spondence with the Emperor.
On February 6, 1840, Lin was notified that an important memorial had been laid before the Throne by the Mayor of Peking, Tseng Wang-yen. A committee consisting of Lin himself, the Governor of Kwangtung, the commander of the land forces, the Hoppo (head of Customs) and other local officials was to consider Tseng's proposals and report on their practicability. What Tseng recommended was a total cessation of foreign trade. He asserted that the ships of all the foreign nations had been in the habit of bringing opium. If allowed to go on trading they would dump their opium on the English ships outside the Bogue and then bring other goods to Canton, get rhubarb and tea in return, and transport them on behalf of the English. Only by depriving the English entirely of rhubarb and tea could they be brought to heel. Some people believe that the English have stocks of these commodities sufficient to last them ten years. This is to ignore the fact that though rhubarb roots probably keep for a long time, tea deteriorates after two or three years. It is also essential, says Tseng, to prevent any Chinese ships going out to sea at all ; otherwise they may bring goods to foreign ships or be lured into their service. Fishermen must content themselrs with getting what fish they can in inland waters. Cut off from supplies the foreign ships will be bound in the end to come close to shore and try to get hold of provisions. Expert swimmers are then to be called upon to volunteer. They will swim out to the ships at night, catch the crews completely unawares and massacre them on the spot. In a postscript, Tseng calls attention to the necessity of limiting the trade of the Portuguese at Macao so as to ensure that they are not carrying for the English.
The committee, owing to its divergent official duties, was difficult to bring together, and Lin was not able to report for some weeks.
Meanwhile a long correspondence= had been going on between Captain Elliot and Captain Smith of H.M.S. Volage on the one hand and Pinto, the Portuguese Governor of Macao, on the other. On January 1st Elliot asked for per-mission to store cargo at Macao. Pinto replied that he had summoned his Senate, who had agreed with him that in view of the very delicate situation of the Portuguese vis-a-vis the Chinese Government (the Portuguese were merely tenants at Macao) he could not accede to Elliot's request. On February 4th Captain Smith notified the Governor that he was about to station a warship (the Hyacinth) in the harbour at Macao, to protect the English, in view of menacing placards put up in Macao by the Chinese authorities. Pinto replied that an English warship had no right to enter the harbour, and demanded its withdrawal. Smith asked if the Portuguese were willing and able to protect those who lived under their flag? If not, he must again evacuate the the English from Macao, and in that case would, of course, withdraw the Hyacinth from Macao harbour. Pinto replied that the admission of foreign warships was absolutely for-bidden by the terms of Portugal's relation to China. The English seemed to think only about the hardship of having to live on board ship if they left Macao, and not at all about the difficulties in which they had involved the Portuguese. He threatens to publish to all the world what the English have done in the last nine months, that all nations may judge for themselves. 'You are not only breaking the laws of our country, but also those of England. I pray that God may protect you. Don Adriao Accacio da Silva Pinto.'
This correspondence was forwarded= to the Emperor with the comment: 'At this crucial phase of our effort to ward off the foreigners, we must constantly find out all we can about them. Only by knowing their strength and their weakness can we find the right means to restrain them. For that reason have got hold of six letters that passed between the Portu-guese and the English and have secretly had them translated by people who can read foreign languages. I enclose fair copies, and respectfully hope that you will cast an eye over them.'
Lin's own attempt to improve his knowledge of the West probably began in the summer of 8 39, during the lull that followed the destruction of the foreign opium. We have seen that in July he asked for a translation of Vattel's Law of Nations, and in December he possessed translated extracts from Thelwall's The Iniquities of the Opium Trade. He also had extracts from Hugh Murray's Encyclopedia of Geography' translated. In the summer of 1839 he set his translators to work on making extracts from European newspapers and periodicals published at Macao and Canton.2 These extracts, which terminate in November 184o, were probably brought to Lin in batches. They do not seem ever to have been printed in book form, but the original MS of them is preserved at the Nanking Library and they have recently been printed.3 There are four short comments by Lin. Two of them merely question the accuracy of statistics about Chinese military and national expenditure. To an article trying to show (contrary to what had been asserted by Thelwall) that Chinese hostility to Christianity had a long history and was not due to the fact that Christians were now importing opium, Lin added the comment: 'It appears that the Jesus-religion 'preached by Matteo Ricci was Catholicism, whereas the Jesus-religion preached afterwards by Verbiest4 was Christianity. The two terms "Catholic" and "Christian" must express some such difference.' It would certainly have taken a long time to sort out this muddle for him. To a review (dated September 5, 184o) of a book containing translations of many of Lin's communications to Elliot, of his letter to Queen Victoria and of his recent proclamation inciting the Chinese to murder any Englishman they could lay hands on, Lin adds the note, 'This is a book I ought to get from Macao'.
A few years later great use was made of these press cuttings by Chinese writers on foreign affairs ; but there is very little sign that Lin studied them closely. Some of them deal with events in Afghanistan, and the profusion of foreign names, both of places and persons, very sketchily transliterated would make them difficult for anyone to understand who had not some previous knowledge of the Afghan campaigns. Equally unintelligible to anyone not already in the know are many of the passages about institutions and events in England. Here is the account= of the proceedings in Parliament on April 7th when, on a vote of censure, the Whig Government only escaped defeat by a margin of nine votes : 'There has been a debate between those who support the State and want to fight, and those who support the people and do not want to fight. The discussion lasted three nights, and there was a great deal of talk. It came to an end yesterday at four in the morning. Each Minister managed to have nine parts' paper tickets of support ; and so just avoided a general dispute. . . .' After three more lines in this style, the despairing translator breaks down. 'Here' , he says, 'there are four or five sentences that I cannot understand.'
About February 19, 84o, Lin received a letter2 ffom the Emperor reminding him that he was now a substantive not merely a ranking Governor-General. He had the two provinces of Kwangtung and Kwangsi under his control. All affairs both civil and military were dependent on him and there could be no p'ang-tai, which is the Chinese equivalent to 'passing the buck' . `If measures are not taken to root out this evil once and for all, you, Lin Tse-hsii, will be called to account.' This was the first sign of the Emperor's increasing impatience.
On February 2 oth Lin appealed to the Portuguese to drive the English out of Macao and not to wait till Chinese troops were sent to do so, in which case the Portuguese would survive as little as the English. He hoped they were not being influenced by rumours that twelve English warships from England and twelve from Bombay were shortly going to arrive. This was mere idle boasting on the part of Elliot and the rest, and need not be taken seriously. Even supposing they came, they could not bring ammunition and provisions to last for more than a short time. Moreover the crews would arrive worn out after so long a journey, and the Chinese land and sea forces would have no difficulty in disposing of them.
This was written three days after Palmerston's instructions with regard to the English expeditionary force were sent to the Indian Government. The assurance that the fleet would not come was weakened, the Portuguese must have felt, by the boast of what its fate would be if it did come. But both arguments were probably only used in order to allay the fears of the Portuguese that if they sided too definitely with Lin the English force, when it arrived, would make war on them as well as on him ; and it does not follow that this passage represents Lin's considered opinion.
OnApril 8 th, in the course of a long report to the Emperor, Lin mentions that various rumours are circulating at Canton. One is that the English are collecting warships at several ports. These will join up and come in a body to make trouble. That story has,only been put about to scare us, says Lin, and need not be taken seriously. Another story of the same kind is that only one or two ships are coming, but they will be full of arms and ammunition which will be used to convert the merchant ships that are still hanging about into warships. Others say that the opium traders have taken cargoes of other products to their port (i.e. Singapore), exchanged them for the opium they dumped at this port last autumn and intend to bring it here and entice people to flout the law. Against this we shall have to take strict precautions. In any case, whether more warships are coming or not, the Volage and Hyacinth are still here, and this alone is enough to prove that the English are still bent on resistance.
Lin then says that he and the Admiral have drawn up a plan for enlisting fishermen and Tankas,i the most hardy and venturesome classes at Canton, as volunteers. At present the foreign ships give them exorbitant prices for vegetables, sometimes paying them in opium. They must be recruited and sent out in fire-boats, officered by a few regulars, hide till night comes and then, when wind and tide are favourable and everyone asleep, set fire first of all to the Chinese boats that are moored round the English ships. A reward would be given for each ship set on fire, and a double reward if they succeeded in setting fire to an English merchant ship. A very successful first attack of this kind was reported by the Admiral as having taken place on February 29th. Twenty-three Chinese ships intended for carrying away opium and supplying provisions to the English had been set alight.=
On April 26th the American Consul Delano2 wrote to Lin saying that, according to English and other newspapers, the English fleet when it arrived in June would announce a blockade of the port of Canton. At present the admission of American ships to the port and permission to unload were subject to considerable delay. He would be obliged if the process could be speeded up ; otherwise American ships with their cargoes still unloaded might get caught in Canton harbour when the blockade came, and American merchants suffer ruinous loss.
To Lin, who was still trying to persuade himself that no British fleet would come, this letter was very annoying. He replied that the delays in clearing American ships were due to the fact that a very strict search had to be made, in case these ships might be carrying cargoes on behalf of the British. The story about the British blockading Canton in June was the most impudent lie imaginable. Canton is a Chinese port. How can the English blockade it? You Americans are not subject to the English. Why should you take on so at the mere mention of the English not allowing ships to pass? However if when June comes you dare not trade, just because the English tell you not to, our officials will be only too pleased; it will save them a lot of trouble. Lin concludes by reminding Delano that since the English were excluded from trade the Americans have been making profits many times greater than ever before, and it was absurd for them to be talking now about 'ruinous loss'.
About May 4th the committee appointed to investigate Tseng's proposal (see above, p. 94) for total abolition of all foreign trade was at last able to report. Writing on its behalf Lin points out that although other countries besides England have in the past imported opium, the opium was produced solely' in territory controlled by England, and it was impossible to treat Holland, Spain, the Philippines, Denmark, Sweden, Prussia, Austria and Hamburg on the same footing as England. When they protested, as they were bound to do, the authorities at Canton would find it impossible to justify such treatment. On the other hand, preferential treatment of the other nations tended to foment ill-feeling between them and the English, which was all to China's advantage. Lin then proceeds to quote from the classics. Westerners often imagine that Chinese statesmen continually interspersed their dispatches with 'Confucius said. . . ."Mencius said. . . and so on. Such appeals to Confucian authority are, how-ever, rare in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century official documents, and Lin hardly ever indulges in them. But here, very much apropos, he quotes from an old chronicle2 the story of the Ch`u minister Tou Po-pi who said to the ruler of Ch`u that if Ch`u assumed a threatening attitude towards small neighbouring states, the effect would be that 'they will unite to oppose us and may prove difficult to separate'.
As for the proposal to prevent any Chinese ships at all going out to sea, it must be remembered, says Lin, that the inhabitants of Kwangtung are essentially a seafaring people. There is even a local saying, 'Seven to fishing; three go to the plough', and again 'Three parts mountain, six parts sea', leaving only one part out of ten for agriculture. To stop all seafaring would bring ruin to a large proportion of the inhabitants.
About rhubarb, Lin says, Tseng is misinformed. It is now known that the quantity consumed by the English is very small and it is a thing which, contrary to what was formerly believed, is in no way essential to them. Their consumption of tea is very large, and in order to prevent their getting it the amount sold to other nations should be restricted to what those nations normally export. Trade with Macao, Lin maintains, has already been regulated on much the same lines as those suggested in Tseng's memorial.
On the same day Lin sent reports about the proposed erection of fresh batteries at Kowloon Point and farther north at Kuan-yung, about the consequent reorganization of the military district in which these places lay, and about the progress of the now somewhat time-worn campaign against Chinese opium offenders. In urban districts, Lin reports, the opium evil has been pretty successfully eliminated. But in remote country places the task has proved much more difficult. The more stringent the search for opium becomes, the more ingenious the means used to dispose of it. Some-times it is hidden in back apartments where the presence of women deters the agents from carrying on a proper search. Or else it is buried in the precincts of temples or in forests, or even put into chests disguised as coffins, and laid in bogus tombs. Then again officials know that if they fail to make arrests they cannot at the worst be accused of anything more serious than negligence ; whereas if they make wrong arrests, they may find themselves standing trial for the much more serious offence of exceeding their powers. Finally there is the difficulty of getting hold of spies and agents provocateurs. Such people, says Lin, are useless unless they have previously been intimately connected with the traffic. They will certainly not take to working with the Government merely out of enthusiasm for the anti-opium movement ; they will only do so if it pays them better to help the authorities than to carry on the traffic. This makes them very expensive, and the local authorities are hard put to it to budget for so heavy an item.
Lin, it will be noticed, does not mention the system generally employed in the West for obtaining spies at a reasonable figure: namely, to use persons over whom, owing to some personal failing or past crime, the authorities have a blackmail hold.
On June 2i st the main body' of the British expeditionary force, consisting of about twenty warships (including several steamers) and transports carrying some four thousand British and Indian troops, arrived off Macao. The Chinese naturally supposed that they were going to attack Canton; and when on June 24th and 25th they sailed out to sea again and disappeared, there was naturally great relief. It was assumed that they had found Lin's new batteries and other defence preparations too tough a proposition, and had decided to go back to wherever they came from. In a report sent on June 24th,2 before he learnt of the warships' departure, Lin tells the Emperor that a number of new ships have arrived. They seem to be rather heavily armed, but no doubt they are principally loaded with opium. By day they secretly launch small boats from their decks which carry opium hither and thither, hoping to find retail pur-chasers. At night they anchor with skiffs collected round them to keep a look-out 'in case we use fire-boats against them. That is all they are doing, and as Your Majesty rightly observed, there is really nothing they can do.' The only trouble is that they are selling opium at temptingly low prices.
He further reports that since the very successful attack with. fire-boats on February 29th, when twenty-three ships were destroyed, a similar attack had been made on June 8th, combined with an ingenious deception of the kind we should call a Secret Operation. A number of agents who could speak some English were dressed up as peasants and, arriving in the sort of skiffs used for bringing provisions, supplemented the work of the fire-boats. Some foreigners dressed in white leapt out of the ship Pa-li(?) gun in hand. Four of them were killed and the rest burnt alive, along with the ship. Another ship, with opium chests on board, was also burned. A third, with masts and sails on fire, weighed anchor and escaped, and the foreigners managed to put out the fire. Eleven supply-boats were burnt and nine mat-sheds near the shore.
After recounting still more exploits and dwelling on the heavy losses incurred by the English, the report goes on: 'The foreign official who is in charge of troops on the Druid, John Churchill, also died of illness on that ship.' This was Lord John Churchill, who died on June 3rd, several days before the battle. It is possible that the Chinese did succeed in burning some boats belonging to 'traitors to China' who were bringing provisions to the English ships or fetching opium. This being a secret business, the fate of such boats would not figure in the English reports. But these reports do not admit that any English ship was destroyed, and claim that long-boats put out from the warships and had no difficultyin taking the fire-boats in tow and grounding them on shore.
Another report, sent by Lin on the same date, illustrates once more the greatest weakness in China's administration—the lack of any proper police system and, in the present case, particularly of any efficient body of river-police, a thing of great importance in a country where transport was so largely by water. In England a proper London police force had existed for about ten years ; but the creation of county police forces was still optional and had not been widely carried out ; so that it is doubtful whether England was at this period substantially ahead of China.
On April 7th a Chinese merchant, duly armed with a certificate that he had paid the necessary duty, was bringing a cargo of iron nails from Shao-chou, 14o miles north of Canton, to Fatshan, ten miles west of Canton. Spies in the service of the anti-smuggling force indicted him as a smug-gler, and near Ch'ing-yiian, ninety miles by river from Canton, armed agents boarded the boat and confiscated the greater part of the cargo. When the captors were already on the way back to their headquarters, it was discovered by a further agent that the merchant had with him a certificate. He was forced to throw it into the river and sign a document stating that most of the cargo had fallen overboard and been lost. Three days later, near Samshui (twenty-five miles from Canton) the rest of the cargo was confiscated by another band of agents. The merchant's firm complained to the local authorities, who sent the case up to the Governor. At the trial that followed the anti-smuggling agents, as one may call them, confessed that they had sold the nails and shared out the proceeds between them. They were deprived of their rank and put on reduced pay.
About July 13th, in a report about the movements of foreign warships, Lin mentions that there are among them three 'cart-wheel ships that put the axles in motion by means of fire, and can move rather fast. They are used for patrol-work and carrying mails ; one of them came to Canton some while ago.' He is here referring to the steamer Jardine' which sailed from Aberdeen and arrived at Lintin in Sep-tember 183 g. Here her machinery was put in order for steaming, and it was intended to run her as a conveyance for mails and passengers between Macao and Canton; but on her first voyage Chinese forts fired at her, thinking no doubt that she was some new form of incendiary vessel, and in the end her machinery was removed. But Lin was very much mistaken in thinking that the steamers now arriving were equally harmless. Owing to their great speed, shallow draft and the fact that they were not dependent on wind or tide they proved to be one of the crucial factors in the war.
Lin goes on to assure the Emperor that the defences in the Canton estuary are now so strong that nothing is to be feared from an English attack. It is, however, the season of strong south winds and in case any enemy ship should take advantage of this to sail north, a special warning= has been sent to the authorities on the Fuhkien, Chekiang, Kiangsu and Chihli coasts, instructing them to be on the look-out. A few days later, in a dispatch that reached Peking on August 3rd, Lin enclosed a copy of an explanatory proclamation issued in Chinese by the Commander-in-Chief of the British naval forces, Sir James Gordon Bremer, as a pendant to his public notice that the river and port of Canton were in a state of blockade. It began by saying (no doubt under Elliot's inspiration) that the high officials of Canton, Lin and Teng, in defiance of the Chinese Emperor's instructions that the English were to be treated with justice and moderation, had suddenly subjected the Superintendent of Trade and the English in Canton to the most perfidious violence, all the time deceiving the Emperor by shamelessly mendacious reports. The Sovereign of England has been obliged to appoint special envoys whose business it will be to acquaint the Emperor with the true facts. Further on in the document Bremer says : 'The high officials Lin and Teng by false representations to the Emperor induced him to issue a decree putting a stop to trade with England, causing heavy loss to thousands and ten thousands of good men, both Chinese and foreign.' There are, of course, the usual assur-ances that life and property will be rigidly respected, so long as no resistance is offered to British arms. It naturally occurred to Lin that similar accusations against him might well have been conveyed to the neighbourhood of Peking by one of the English ships. He had indeed received information from the Americans that the English fleet was making for Chekiang and Kiangsu ; and some people were saying that they were on their way to Taku,I the nearest seaport to Peking, L'in says to the Emperor. They will not be able to do any harm, as these places have been warned to be on their guard and are fully prepared. But supposing they were to get as far as Tientsin and ask for a resumption of trade. They might well presume on Your Majesty's long-continued indulgence to the extent of assuming that their plea would not be rejected out of hand. They would no doubt pretend that the present ban on trade is an arbitrary measure carried out unbeknovvn to you by myself and my colleagues. But if their plea is expressed in a respectful and obedient manner . . . I wonder if it might not be possible to use the precedent of the twenty-first year of Chia-ch'ing [ T 8 6 when the Amherst embassy was sent back again from the north to Canton. The Governor-General of Chihli might escort the English spokesmen by the inland route, stage by stage to Canton. 'That would be a way of "dispersing their teeth and claws", and would make it easier for us to keep them within due bounds,. If the plea that they present has reference to the doings of myself and my colleagues, I request that a high official may be sent here to investigate the charges. This will impress them with the entire justice of our Heavenly Court's procedure, increase their respect for us, and deprive them of all excuse for their conduct.'
The above passage foretells with uncanny precision exactly what did happen. The English plenipotentiaries, as we have seen, duly arrived off Taku on August T oth, bringing a letter2 from Lord Palmerston, demanding among other things that the high officials at Canton (meaning Teng and Lin) should be called to account for their treatment of Elliot and the British colony. The only wrong surmise was that the plenipotentiaries would be brought back to Canton by the inland route ; they naturally went south with the fleet. Everything else happened exactly as in Lin's anxious day-dream. The Governor-General of Chihli, Ch`i-shan, went south by land and river, superseded Lin as Governor-General at Canton and headed an inquiry into his conduct.
But Lin's gift of prophecy has led us to anticipate. We must go back to the time, late in June, when the English fleet, after spending a few days near Macao, disappeared into the blue.
Their first objective was to capture Ting-hai, on Chusan Island, at the tip of the southern arm of Hangchow Bay. Lin had, as we have seen, warned the authorities at Hangchow and Ningpo that English warships were at large and might be making for the north. But he does not seem, judging from the following extract, to have given any description of their appearance or to have explained how they could be distinguished from merchant-ships. In general appearance, of course, the difference was not so marked then as it is today. 'Before the war', says an account= derived from a Mr Wang, who was sub-Prefect of Ting-hai, 'whenever a foreign ship arrived everyone from the Commandant, the Prefect and sub-Prefect down to chair-carriers and office lacqueys all took bribes from the foreigners and unless satisfied with what they got would not let them trade. At first not more than one or two or at the most three or four ships came. But the greater the number of ships, the greater the amount taken in bribes, so that so far from being apprehensive when more ships came than usual, their one fear was lest the number should decline. . . . One day it was announced . . . that a far larger number of ships had arrived than ever before. At first the officials and their subordinates were rather puzzled. But the explanation soon occurred to them, and they guffawed with joy. Obviously the ships had assembled here because of the cessation of trade at Canton. "Ting-hai", they said, "will become a great trading centre, and we shall all make more and more money out of them day by day".'
What actually happened (July sth) can best be read in Lord Jocelyn's Six Months with the Chinese Expedition (1841): 'The ships opened their broadsides upon the town, and the crashing of timber, falling houses, and groans of men resounded from the shore. The firing lasted on our side for nine minutes; but even after it had ceased a few shots were still heard from the unscathed junks. . . . We landed on a deserted beach, a few dead bodies, bows and arrows, broken spears and guns remaining the sole occupants of the field.'
Some Western and even some modern Chinese accounts give the impression that Ting-hai surrendered without putting up any resistance. That is quite false; the tovvn rejected a demand for unconditional surrender and when attacked put up such resistance as was possible. But it had not from the first any chance of withstanding the concen-trated fire of fifteen warships ; as well might one expect Hiroshima to have hit back at its attackers. The military commander, Chang Ch`ao-fa, died of his wounds ;1 the Prefect Yao Huai-hsiang and the Chief Constable Ch`iian Fu com-mitted,suicide rather than submit.
Only the town and its immediate neighbourhood were occupied. An eye-witness2 says of the people there : 'They have in a thousand instances received great injustice at our hands. While we have been issuing proclamations, talking sweet words . . . our soldiers and sailors have been plunder-ing them and forcibly carrying off their poultry and cattle. . . . We are now going to break open all the unoccupied shops and houses and take possession of them for govern-mental purposes. As they will no longer bring poultry and vegetables to market, we are going to forage their farms. . . •
As they will sell us no fish, we are going to take measures to prevent them fishing at all.'
It perhaps is significant that what seems to be the earliest printed use of the Indian term 'loot' as an adopted English word occurs in reference to Ting-hai: 'Silks, fans, china, little shoes . . . the articles of a Chinese lady's toilette—lay tossed in a sad and telltale mêlée ; and many of these fairy shoes were appropriated by us as lawful loot»
With regard to looting, I am concerned in this book with the impact it made on its victims. I by no means wish to imply that the English expedition behaved worse than was or is usual in war, or that the Chinese themselves would have behaved better under similar circumstances. The system of 'security placards', by which households purchased theoretical immunity from plunder by giving up their live-stock gratis, does however seem unusually cold-blooded. Whether it was invented ad hoc or had previously been` used in India I do not know.
Karl Gutzlaff, the Prussian buccaneer missionary inter-preter, was made magistrate of Ting-hai. Better known to Chinese history and legend is his magistracy at Ning-po in t 841 and 1842, about which I shall say something in a later part of my book.
But to return to Lin's reports to the Emperor. On or about July 3th he also gave an account of his measures against 'planting booty', that is to say trumping up false charges by hiding incriminating articles, such as opium, opium pipes, etc., in innocent people's boats or luggage, after the manner of Joseph's silver cup in the Bible story. The report may well have struck the Emperor as rather trivial, for it reached him on August 3rd, at a time when he was already preoccupied with far more serious matters, having heard on July 2oth of the fall of Ting-hai.
Late in July Lin had apparently still not heard about Ting-hai, for in a reportz which reached Peking on August 21st he makes no reference to it. He is indeed in an opti-mistic mood, and reports that although there are still some English warships in the estuary, they do not dare to approach the Bogue. 'These foreign ships', he says, 'only have confi-dence when they are in open waters on the high seas, where they can manceuvre at will. Once inside a river-mouth they are like fish in a cauldron; they can at once be captured and destroyed.' They are, however, says Lin, quite aware of this and are determined not to take the risk of entering the river. They are in constant fear of our fire-boats, and even at night keep continually on the move. Their only object is to intimidate us into reopening trade. But we cannot let them loiter here indefinitely and shall sooner or later have to take military measures against them.
It is in a report sent on August i6th that Lin first refers to the loss of Ting-hai. Up till now, he says, we have never provoked hostilities, leaving it to them to get themselves into trouble, for it was not worth our while to embark on a combat by sea. But now that they have committed this dastardly crime on the Chekiang coast, they must be well aware that there can be no further question of reopening foreign trade, and they have also become far more aggressive at Canton, where they have seized fourteen of our salt transpoi-ts, killing a steersman and wounding a sailor. 'This has led to a great outburst of popular indignation, and at Macao our sailors, acting on indications given by local peasants, arrested a white foreigner called Stanton, and two black foreigners called Chan-li and Ch`i-t`u, and brought them to our officials for investigation.'
No one seems to have bothered about the fate of the two Indians; but there was a tremendous outcry about the disappearance of Mr Stanton.
Vincent Stanton was an adventurous undergraduate who, on hearing that a tutor was wanted by an English family at Macao, left St John's College, Cambridge, without taking a degree and set out for China, at the age of twenty-three.
Like so many of his contemporaries he was intensely religious and we are toldi that 'in the absence of an ordained clergyman he performed divine service at the British chapel established at the house of the second Superintendent', Alexander Johnston.
On August sth he went to bathe at Cacilhas Bay, south-east of the Barrier, and was arrested by Chinese soldiers who jumped out from behind rocks. He was taken to one of the Bogue forts and there handed over to Canton officials. When parting from him one of the poorest and hungriest-looking of his captors pressed upon him a handful of copper cash, saying he might need to buy food. While in prison at Canton he was well treated and allowed to have Chinese books and an English Bible and Prayer Book sent to him.
It was popularly believed that Commodore Bremer, the Commander of the English fleet, had been captured. This was not surprising (despite the fact that Bremer was at this date on his flagship, far away to the north), for Bremer was rapidly becoming a stock figure in Chinese legends about the war. He was believed to be a giant with an enormous head. He was killed at the Battle of San-yiian-li on May 3o, 1841 (so legend said); though in point of fact he had left China for India on March 3 ist. When he reappeared in July it was concluded that there must be several Commodore Bremers. Lin soon realized that Stanton, on the contrary, was a person of 'only very moderate importance', and would probably have released him at once, had not Captain Smith, who, now that Elliot had gone north, was in charge of British interests at Macao and Canton, made the mistake of getting the Portu-guese to demand the release of Stanton, on the ground that the kidnapping had taken place on their territory. This infuriated Lin, who regarded Macao not as Portuguese territory, but as a corner of China where Portuguese were allowed to reside. To release a foreigner at the bidding of other foreigners was beneath China's dignity, it would 'show weakness' and consequently make the English more presumptuous than ever. The request met with a sharp refusal, followed by the dispatch of several thousand Chinese troops to the vicinity of Macao, nominally to protect the Portuguese against the predatory designs of the English.
But to return to Lin's report of August i6th. He announces that next day he is going to hold a final inspection of the regular troops and new militia, and when he has satisfied himself that they are all completely trained and know their jobs nothing will remain but to 'select a day, marshal them and send them all out to sea, to engage in a final battle of annihilation' .
In a postcript he says that he has been fortunate enough to secure a foreign letter about conditions at Ting-hai, and has had it translated.= It gave the names of the leaders in the attack on Ting-hai—not quite correctly, for Admiral Elliot, cousin of Charles Elliot, who figures among them, did not arrive till after the fall of the town. It duly records, however, that his ship, the Melville, struck a rock at the entrance to the harbour and was badly holed. Lin understood from the letter that 'an officer of rather high rank called Oglander was killed by our troops' . This was Brigadier-General Oglander, who died on the way from Macao to Ting-hai and was buried near the town on July th.
'Every ship', Lin further gathered from the letter, 'brought with it a supply of opium to use in payment for provisions ; but they are already very short of food, and at any moment the wind may change to the north, all of which makes them very anxious and depressed.' It was probably not true that the English warships had officially-sanctioned supplies of opium on board. But it is not unlikely that individual sailors had small amounts, which they hoped to sell to the Chinese. The fleet had certainly been followed by a number of opium ships, for a letter from Ting-hai dated July iith, and printed in the Canton Press on August 1st, says: 'Several opium vessels are lying outside, but the Admiral will not allow them to come into the harbour.'
I hear too', says Lin, 'that they have made a certain Gutzlaff "prefect" of Ting-hai. He speaks Chinese, and steps should be taken to thwart his machinations.' Militia should be recruited and disguised as local peasants, or local peasants should be trained as militia and infiltrate the place, pretending that they have come in response to the appeal to refugees to return, and are now willing to accept English rule. When sufficient numbers of them have accumulated in the city, on an agreed date they must rise and turn on the foreigners, whom they could butcher as easily as chickens or dogs. But, of course, great secrecy must be maintained beforehand.
Next day, August 17th, Lin went to the Lion Reach, about twenty-eight miles downstream from Canton, to hold an inspection of newly-raised forces, prior to the final battle of extinction, which was to take place the moment wind and weather were favourable. But Captain Smith got in first. The kidnapping of Stanton and the dispatch by Lin of large new forces to the neighbourhood of Macao made him feel that he must strike an immediate blow to protect the English there. Near the Barrier at Macao nine Chinese warships were lying in the bay and about , so° troops were concentrated on shore. 'The Hyacinth and a steamer [the Enterprise] were sent in to attack and under cover of their broadsides Captain Smith landed marines . . . and a party of Bengal volunteers. A few volleys of musketry soon drove the Chinese from their position, and two of the junks having been sunk . . . the remainder made the best of their way round the opposite point to join their flying soldiers»
Reproducing information supplied by 'the officials military and civil in charge of the defences of Macao' and confirmed by the Prefect of the neighbouring district Hsin-an, Lin reported to the Emperor a great victory, in which the English had been driven off with considerable damage to their ships and heavy losses in men. A second victory on August 3 st was also reported, in which great damage was done to a ship called Chia-li (Charlie?). The report says nothing about the size of the ship, and as there was no English warship with a name at all like this, it may be that what happened was a brush between Chinese war-junks and a long-boat called Charlie, launched from one of our warships.
As in the case of the Battle of Kowloon, the subsequent course of events seems in itself to suggest that the Chinese claims were untrue. For it is certain that after the Battle of the Barrier, as this action may be called, the English at Macao were never again threatened or molested.
Late in July one of the censors petitioned that all the coastal provinces should be told to enlist and train naval militia. Lin, in common with other Governors-General, was ordered to report on what could be done locally in this line. He and his colleagues reported that the fishermen and boat-dwellers of the region were renowned for their reckless courage in braving the dangers of wind and wave, and had gained the soubriquet of water-devils. There were supposed at various places near Canton to be astonishing divers who could walk about at the bottom of the sea and remain hidden there all night. They were also supposed to be able, when submerged, to pierce holes in the bottoms of ships and sink them. Last year, Lin says, he and his colleagues hoped they might be used against the opium ships, and a number of them were hired for this purpose. They were repeatedly put to the test ; but it turned out that the most they could do was to bob about in shallow water. Not one of them could stay under for any length of time. Some of his Manchu colleagues, Lin says, had a similar experience when 'water-braves' were assigned to the Manchu marines under their command; the performances of these recruits fell lamentably short of what had been claimed for them.
However, if we do not recruit these coastal people, the English will get hold of them and use them for transporting opium. At the worst we can at least console ourselves with the reflection that every 'water-brave' we keep in our pay means one less ruffian in the pay of the English. In fact what we propose to do is more or less what the censor recom-mends.
Lin goes on to point out that an adequate supervision of the whole of Kwangtung's 1,400 miles of sealine is clearly impossible. Large numbers of irregulars have already been recruited; but picked up here, there and everywhere they are very difficult to form into disciplined units. Many are sure to turn out to be unusable and will have to be weeded out, paid off and dismissed.
This very negative and discouraged communication, which probably reached the Emperor after September 28thi when he dismissed Lin, must have confirmed him in his opinion that Lin was no longer the right man to tackle the situation at Canton.
On September oth the diary begins again. We find him, as before, minutely recording examination news, and never failing on the first and fifteenth day of the moon to worship and burn incense; for he was as strict in his fortnightly devotions as the opium smugglers were in their Sabbatarian-ism. One is reminded that he had on his hands all the affairs of Kwangtung and not merely its sufferings at the hands of foreigners by the fact that on September 13th he received instructions to inquire into the doings of a mixed band of insurgents from Kwangtung and Fuhkien who had recently crossed the borders of the neighbouring province of Kiangsi. On September i4th, after sacrificing in the morning at the Temple of the Fire Spirit,' he hears in the afternoon that English warships reached Tientsin= on August 3th and presented a petition. The fact was reported to the Palace, and Ch`i` -shan,2 the Governor-General of Chihli, was ordered to allow them to state their grievances, and 'he was also to send any State document or whatever else they had brought with them to the Emperor at Peking'.
On September 18th Lin got back a report he had sent on August 2 st, commented on3 as follows by the Emperor: 'You speak of having stopped foreign trade, yet a moment after admit that it is still going on. You say you have dealt with offenders against the opium laws, yet admit that they are still at large. All this is merely an attempt to put me off with meaningless words. So far from doing any good, you have merely produced a number of fresh complications. The very thought of it infuriates me. I am anxious to see what you can possibly have to say for yourself!' The report that produced this outburst was received at the Palace on August 2 I st, the day after the Emperor got Lord Palmerston's letter,4 in which Lin and Teng were accused of having systematically deceived the Emperor about what was going on in Canton. Later on the Emperor Tao-kuang denied that his loss of tonfidence in Lin had anything to do with the com-plaints against him made by the English Minister ; but it is hard to believe that this was altogether true.
The report which provoked the Emperor's scathing comments was negative and despondent, and yet in a way complacent. Despite the order putting a stop to trade the English ships, says Lin, are still hanging about. The severe penalties attached to opium offences have considerably reduced the Chinese demand for it. But the English, in their determination to get remaining stocks off their hands, are selling at very low prices, and Chinese purchasers are still operating from unfrequented creeks at depth of night. However, many of them have been caught and 'we are beginning to break their villainy, though it must be confessed that secretly, in inner rooms, a good deal of smoking still goes on. . . I intend, before the year and a half's grace runs out, to make a most strenuous effort to obtain arrests. Every offender will be arrested and every arrest will be followed by an inquiry. In this way, by applying the principle of 'incriminating to end crime'i I hope gradually to extirpate the evil, root and branch.
Lin had now been extirpating opium smoking for nearly two years, and it is no wonder that the resigned and leisurely tone of this report dismayed the Emperor.
On September 2 I st Lin took part in holding the prelitninary tests of candidates wishing to compete in the Provincial Examinations, tried a case of robbery referred to him by the local officials of Hsing-yeh in Kwangsi province and dealt with a Cantonese opium offender. On September 24th he sent off four reports to the Emperor. One of these would appear to have been his famous apologia,z which reached Peking on October 24th. It is of great length, but I will try to resume its principal points, as it formed the basis upon which Chi` -shan's subsequent inquiry into Lin's conduct was founded. The English, Lin says, despite all appearances to the contrary, are at the end of their resources. They have been hiring ships and soldiers at all their ports, and have spent enormous sums both on this and on cannon-balls and gun-powder, as well as on provisioning their forces. Such a rate of expenditure cannot go on much longer. A proof of how hard up they are is that at Ting-hai they have put up notices announcing that opium is for sale at one foreign dollar per catty (ii lb.) which is far less than they pay for it.
Again, foreigners keep warm in winter by wrapping themselves up in rugs ; they do not use furs, and it would be against their nature to do so. The climate in Chekiang is very severe and it is certain that they will not be able to hold out at Ting-hai through the winter. Foreign letters from Ting-hai to Canton complain of the dampness and unhealthiness of the climate, and say that large numbers of the English have died of disease. As soon as the north winds set in they are certain to go back to the south.
Since the English established their blockade of our ports other foreigners have been complaining bitterly, and are about to send warships to bring the English to their senses. But the fact that they are in a hopeless position makes them try to cover up their weakness by adopting an even more arrogant and bullying attitude than before. However, when all their villainous devices have failed they will have nothing for it but to bow their heads and submit. . . .
It is not true that the measures against opium led to their sending soldiers here. From the moment that, years ago, they began to import opium they already harboured bellicose intentions against us. But the case is like that of a cancer: if it is not dealt with in time the poison will spread to the rest of, the body. The opium question should have been dealt with twenty or thirty years ago, when there were relatively few smokers. Treated at this late stage of the disease, the poison has inevitably broken out elsewhere. That is the explanation of the happenings at Ting-hai.
But to go back to the confiscation of the opium—Elliot of his ovvn accord sent a note asking to collect it. This may be verified by reference to the English and Chinese versions of the note, duly impressed with the foreigner's seal. When the opium was destroyed certain foreigners were invited to look on, and they recorded what they saw in a document of several thousand words, and in it they expressed their admiration for the way in which the laws of our Heavenly Court were administered.
Lin then recalls that subsequently the English, unlike other foreigners, refused to sign the guarantee, and later seized a Chinese town 'killing and wounding the officials both civil and military. Since that dastardly outrage there can be no further question of anything but subduing them by force. Some of your advisers fear that our ships and guns will prove no match for those of the foreigners, and that some means must be found of temporizing with them. Unfortunately their appetites are insatiable ; the more they get, the more they demand, and if we do not overcome them by force of arms there will be no end to our troubles. Moreover there is every probability that if the English are not dealt with, other foreigners will soon begin to copy and even outdo them.'
At this point the Emperor wrote in the margin: `If any-one is copying it is you, who are trying to frighten me, just as the English try to frighten you!' Lin goes on to suggest that, as the National Exchequer has for long past been receiving huge sums levied by the Customs at Canton, at least one part in ten ought to have been set aside to pay for the ships and guns needed for the defence of the,city. At the side of this the Emperor writes: 'A pack of nonsense!'
The Superintendency of the Customs at Canton was a Court appointment, this being presumably a hang-over from the days when foreign trade was thought of as tribute. The Customs dues were paid into the National Exchequer, but the Superintendent (the `Hoppo' of the English sources) was expected to make considerable presents to the Court, as a condition of being allowed to keep his job. Thus a suggestion by Lin about how the Customs dues ought to have been used was a criticism of the private servants of the Emperor, and so of His Majesty himself. Considering the revolutionary nature of the proposal it is certainly surprising to find it thrown off so casually, and it is not to be wondered at that the Emperor regarded the suggestion as a stupid impertinence. Lin does indeed continue: 'Your Majesty will wonder that in a memorial the real purpose of which is to ask that I may be punished for my misdeeds, I still venture to make this humble suggestion. But if in making it I can in any degree serve my country, I am ready to take the consequences, even if they should turn out to be that I am "pulped from head to heel" .' Lin then offers, if the Emperor will grant this as a special favour, to go to Hang-chow and serve with the forces that are being mustered there to recover Ting-hai. In Kwangtung, he says, every port and inlet is now so well fortified that about that province at least the Emperor need feel no anxiety.
At the end of Lin's dispatch the Emperor wrote: 'the passages I have marked are all to be scrutinized and reported upon'. On the same day (October 24th) he gave orders that the dispatch was to be given to Ch`i-shan (already appointed as Lin's successor) who was to report upon the marked passages.
The diary entry for September 25th is : 'Overcast. It being the birthday of my late grandmother I made offerings to her spirit in the early morning. In the afternoon it rained ; in the evening I replied to petitions.' On the 26th he went at dawn to the temple of the God of Literature and burnt incense. He then went with the Governor to the Examination Hall and they paid their respects to the two superintendents of the Provincial Examinations. 'The eighth day [ October 3rd] is fixed for the announcement of the results.'
On October 1st, he writes: 'Coming back to my office I found a mandate sent on the twenty-second day of the eighth month [ September 17th] by express messenger, five hundred leagues a day, informing me that the English rebels have gone to Tientsin and presented a petition to be forvvarded to the Emperor by Ch`i-shan, the Governor-General of Chihli ; the English have been permitted to go back to Canton and "beat on the barrier".= Orders have also been given for Ch`i-shan to proceed to Canton as High Commissioner and investigate various matters.'
Ch`i-shan2 is chiefly known to Western readers from the lively but unreliable pages of Huc's Travels in Tartary, Tibet and China, translated by William Hazlitt, junior, son of the famous critic. Ch`i-shan was born about 1783. He counted as a Manchu, but was of Mongol descent. He inherited the rank of Marquis in 1823, and held a long succession of high posts. In 183i he was appointed to the most coveted of all Governor-Generalships—that of Chihli, the province in which Peking stands. In the early summer of 1838, when, as we have seen (p. 13), a number of high officials were asked to report on how to deal with the opium question, he opposed' the introduction of the death penalty for opium offences. 'In Fuhkien and Kwangtung', he said, 'seven or eight out of every ten persons smoke opium. There would have to be hundreds of thousands of executions, or even more.' Instead of organizing a wholesale massacre of opium smokers, many of whom are people who in every other way are of the highest respectability, the proper course: Ch`i-shan said, would be to take efficient steps to prevent the import of opium. Smoking would then cease of its own accord, without recourse to a policy which would fill every court in China with capital charges. He and Lin were thus from the beginning on opposite sides in the opium contro-versy that had been raging in official circles since 1836.
On October 2nd, as commonly happened when he received agitating news, he had one of his attacks of catarrh, which (as I have said) were possibly something in the nature of hay-fever. He sent for Dr Liu Shih-tse, a Nanking man who was attached to the Customs Superintendency. 'Tonight', he says, 'the Examination results were posted up, but I was not well enough to go.' On October 4th he was able to go at dawn to make offerings to the Queen of Heaven at the club for Fuhkien residents at Canton; but Dr Liu was sent for once more. On the sth he is a little better, but on the 6th is dissatisfied with Dr Liu and sends for Dr Ku. On the 7th a banquet to successful candidates is held, but he cannot go. In the afternoon he gets another communication from the Emperor, but apparently does not feel strong enough to deal with it for several days. On October 9th he is much better. He still sends for Dr Ku to feel his pulse, but takes no medicine. At night he begins to draft his reply to the Emperor's last two dispatches, and continues to work at it next day. The dispatch' which arrived on October st announcing Ch`i-shan's appointment and ordering coastal authorities not to fire at English ships that anchored out-side Chinese ports—referring, of course, to the British fleet returning from the north to Canton—was comparatively easy to deal with. He had merely to say that the Emperor's will must be done. The dispatch sent from Peking on September 8th and received on October 7th was more perturbing. The Emperor wanted to know why in the same dispatch (that of August 6th ; see above, p. 113) Lin spoke in one place of 'selecting a day on which to engage in a final battle of annihilation' and in another place of it 'not being worth our while to embark on a combat at sea'. It is obvious, says the Emperor, that Lin, being afraid that the troubles along the Fuhkien and Chekiang coasts and the arrival of the British fleet in the neighbourhood of Tientsin will be attributed to his mismanagement of the situation at Canton, decided on this move in order to get in first. But if he thought that a switch-over from a defensive to an offensive policy was necessary he ought to have sent an express message informing the Emperor of what he was going to do, and asking for authorization. 'As it is, your messenger did not hand in the dispatch till today.2 This is all most irregular and I have given orders that you are to be severely repri-manded.' If there has been a decisive action, Lin is to report on it at once and this time by express courier. . . .
Lin replies by summarizing the course of events since September 1839. The battles of Kowloon, Chuenpi and the Barrier, and the routing of the 'Charlie' on August i3th, were all purely defensive ; it was the English who fired the first shot. The last two were only small reverses for the English. 'If I did not send a message by express courier, it was because there was no large-scale victory to report.' How it was that he announced to the Emperor his intention of launching a great naval onslaught and thus reversing the defensive policy that had hitherto been followed, without first obtaining leave to change over to the offensive, Lin does not attempt to explain. Nor does he explain why this intention was not carried out. Presumably the Admiral dissuaded him.
On October i3th worse was to come. The Governor of Kwangtung, I-liang, called and showed him an express letter that he had just received. It was dated September 29th, and was addressed to `I-liang, Acting Governor-General of Kwangtung and Kwangsi'. In this casual and humiliating way Lin learned that he had been cashiered, and that his Governor-Generalship was temporarily in the hands of his inferior, the Governor of the one province of Kwangtung. It is a curious coincidence that Captain Elliot, too, nearly a year later, first learnt of his recall in an equally casual way. Picking up the Canton Press on July 24, 184i , he saw an announcement that Palmerston had recalled him and that a new Plenipotentiary would be sent. It was not until nearly a week later that the official intimation arrived.
The diary betrays no perturbation; and indeed Lin had probably for some time past regarded his loss of the Governor-Generalship as a foregone conclusion. On October i4th he went to a party given in honour of the two Examina-tion Superintendents, and next day himself entertained them. A possible sign of agitation was that on the i6th he wrote a large number of poetical couplets for the decoration of pillars. As we shall see, he tended in crises to calm himself by exercises in calligraphy. On the 17th he went with a large party, including the two Examination Superintendents, to Whampoa to look at some foreign ships, and also went aboard a new Chinese warship of the Complete Victory class. On the i9th the Military Examinations (corresponding to the civil Literary Examinations) began, and Lin went to watch tests in shooting arrows on horseback. On going home, he wrote more couplets. On the 2oth came the expected notification from the Board of Civil Office. Lin was to come to Peking and there await the decision of the Board. Ch`i-shan was to be Governor-General in Lin's stead, the duties of this office being carried on by the Governor I-liang till Ch`i-shan arrived at Canton. In the decree= effecting these changes (dated September 28th) the Emperor insisted (see above, p. '17) that Lin was being put on trial solely because of his failure to carry out his mission at Canton, and not because he had been influenced in any degree by the charges against Lin made by the English in their petition. 'At the Hour of the Cock', Lin writes in his diary, wrapped up my seals of office, that of Governor-General and that of Commissioner of the Salt Gabelle, and sent them to the Governor to take charge of. He and his subordinate then came to call.' October 2 st: 'Today is the anniversary of my ancestor Jung-lu's death. I made offerings to his spirit and saw no visitors, but spent the time arranging my books.' On the 23rd he went to a farewell dinner given to him by his colleagues at the Governor's Office, where he learnt that his friend Teng, the former Governor-General, had also received orders to go to Peking and await trial. On the 24th he went round paying farewell visits. 'For several days', he says, 'the local shop-keepers and other residents have been climbing up on to the shafts of my palanquin—such throngs of them as to block the street. I speak words of good cheer and send them away. All their presents—shoes, umbrellas, incense-burners, mirrors and the like—I give back. But twenty or thirty laudatory inscriptions I have accepted and deposited at the Temple of the Queen of Heaven.' On the 2 sth he divides his luggage into three parts, one to go by sea to Foochow, one to go to the house of the Superintendent of Customs, Yii-leun, for him to take and use whatever he requires, one to be put on to the boat. He had already arranged to start for Peking at 5 a.m. next day when he heard that on October 3rd it had been decided that he was to remain at Canton, so as to be at hand during the investigations that were to be made there—meaning those to be carried on by Ch`i-shan when he arrived. shall have to hire a lodging of some kind immediately', he writes laconically, 'so as to be able to move in tomorrow.'
He found accommodation at the Guildhall of the salt-merchants, and moved in immediately. His dependants were to follow on October 28th. At this point he records some of the laudatory inscriptions that he has deposited at the temple of the Queen of Heaven, beginning with those offered by local tradesmen, such as tea- and silk-merchants. They are chiefly quatrains of four syllables to the line-, such as:
The people were drenched with his favours, The foreigners feared his might.
For his services, he remains in Canton Benefiting all the Regions of the South.
Last comes a eulogy in eight lines offered by twenty-five leading local gentlemen. Among them were the great poet Chang Wei-p'ing (see above, p. 53), and a young man of thirty called Ch'en Li, who was then tutor to Chang Wei-p'ing's sons, but was afterwards to become one of the most learned and prolific scholars of the nineteenth century. The most interesting of his works to us today is perhaps his history of Chinese music (Sheng-lii Vung Van), a book that I possess and have constantly consulted during the last thirty years.
On October 3oth Lin spent the day arranging his books in his new lodgings. Next day he wrote calligraphic inscriptions to hang on the pillars. The whole of November znd was spent in 'making characters', tso-tzu, which I take to mean practising calligraphy. From now till November 28th 'making characters' is practically the ordy activity that he records. However, on November 2 st his great friend the former Governor-General Teng returned from Fuhkien, having been ordered, like Lin, to make himself useful at Canton; and the two were henceforth constantly together. On November 29th there is the eventful entry: 'The Minister Ch`i-shan arrived today. I sent someone to welcome him He left the Capital on the ninth of the ninth month; so it has taken him two months to get here.' This leisurely method of travel was typical of Ch`i-shan's easy-going temperament. 'In the evening', Lin adds, `Liang Pao-ch`angi also arrived. As he started from the Capital at mid-autumn [September 29oth], it has taken him the best part of three months to get here.' There is certainly a tinge of censure in these remarks. On November 3oth Ch`i-shan called, but did not see him'. This may merely mean that Lin was not at home. On December 3rd Lin 'wrote characters' and put together twenty-five of the English originals of Elliot's notes to him, to send to Ch`i-shan. This meant, of course, that Ch`i-shan had begun his inquiry into Lin's dealings with the English, and wanted to check up on whether the Chinese translations of Elliot's notes were accurate. For this purpose he had at his disposal Pao P`eng,2 a former comprador of the opium dealer Lancelot Dent. Pao claimed to know English, though it is doubtful whether his knowledge went beyond pidgin-colloquial. Ch`i-shan was also trying to get into touch with Elliot, who had arrived back from the north on November zoth and was now sole Plenipotentiary, his cousin Admiral Elliot having retired owing to illness on November 29th.
On December 4th Lin writes, hear that Pao-shun has gone down to the Bogue to make arrangements with the foreigners'. Yii had been one of the principal members of Lin's staff. On December 8th Lin writes: `Ch`i-shan wants to take over my old files; so today I looked them through, put them in proper order and sent them to him. Yii Pao-shun has come back from the Bogue. He says the English are ready to return all the boats that they have seized.'
It must have been not much more than a week after this that Ch`i-shan concluded his conscientious but certainly rather rapid investigation into the charges against Lin. His report' reached Peking on December 3oth and is therefore unlikely to have been sent from Canton later than December r3th. He must have been working at it intensively from about December 4th to December 2th, but he founetime to think of other things. On December loth, having discovered that the young Englishman Vincent Stanton was still in gaol at Canton, he had him released, brought to his own official residence for two days to be fed up, so that he might make a better impression, and then restored him to his friends.
Ch`i-shan's report begins with the general verdict that hostilities occurred in the first place because Lin had in more than one note2 to Elliot promised to ask the Emperor for permission to give the English some kind of compensa-tion for the loss of the surrendered opium, but in the end had only offered3 five catties of tea per chest of opium, which did not represent more than one per cent of the value, and in the second place from the demand for a guarantee never to sell opium again and to submit to the death penalty if caught doing so.
As regards Lin's report4 to the Emperor received on October 24th—his famous apologia—and the passages in it marked by the Emperor: the assertion of Lin that 'Elliot of his own accord sent a note asking to collect it' is disproved by the fact that Elliot's note was sent five days after Lin deprived the English of their compradors. It is evident that Elliot's surrender of the opium was forced from him under strong pressure, and was not offered of his own free will. Another point I have been asked to investigate, says Ch`i-shan, is whether the Sovereign of England sent a letter to Lin, which he did not communicate to the Emperor. This is untrue; the story must have arisen from the fact that the King of Luzon did once write to Lin.= As regards the passage in his report (see above, p. 113) about foreign letters from Ting-hai complaining of the climate and saying that large numbers of the English had died of disease—I learn from I-li-pu, the Governor-General of Kiangnan, that the English there have ample supplies of food, and that though there have been several hundred deaths from illness these have occurred almost exclusively among the rank and file; not more than one or two officers have died. At present everything is all right again, and it is quite false to represent them as being in great straits.
Before Lin's arrival at Canton, Ch`i-shan says, officials paid no, particular attention to foreign writings, as they were concerned almost exclusively with business matters. But Lin, wanting to understand the foreigners better, purchased a great number of them from various quarters. The 'document of several thousand words' describing the destruction of the opium, referred to in Lin's report, was found after long inquiry to have been meant satirically.2 But when it was discovered that it was not the admiring and laudatory piece that it appeared to be, it was burnt; so that further investigation is impossible.
Ch`i-shan's report also raises a number of other, less important points. What it very well might have done, but does not do, is to question the veracity of Lin's reports about naval engagements.= This question had not been raised by the Emperor, for the simple reason that their truthfulness was not then and has never since been doubted in China, except by historians writing under direct Western influence.
During the second half of December written negotiations were going on between Elliot and Ch`i-shan without any result. Elliot was still sticking to the general demands out-lined in Palmerston's letter, only made more concrete by the substitution of 'Hongkong' for Palmerston's 'large and properly situated island'. Warlike measures were decided upon, and on January 7th Lin records in his diary: *A fine day. The English attacked the forts at Shakok and Taikok.' These were the forts on each side of the entrance to the Bogue. After naming some of the Chinese officers who were killed and saying that the losses of the ground troops were over two hundred, he notes that the Chinese marines had hardly any casualties. I am not going to try here, or in con-nection with the subsequent actions, to give a detailed description of the operations. This has been done in many standard accounts of the war. I will only add from Western sources such details as are indispensable to an understanding of what happened. One must, for example, note here that the forts were not merely attacked, but taken, and that on the same day, a little higher up the Bogue, practically the whole of the Chinese fleet that was guarding the Bogue was destroyed. On January 8th 'a little boat with an old woman and a man in it'2 was sent out by Admiral Kuan to ask for a truce. On January oth Lin hears that the English fleet is stationed off Anunghoy island, forming an arc round the Middle Bogue forts, Chen-plan, Wei-yiian and Ching-ytian. This news was already out of date; for though on January 8th the fleet had approached the forts, intending to capture them during the course of the day, it was suddenly with-drawn owing to the reopening of negotiations. 'For several days on end', Lin writes on January sth, 'Canton River has been in a state of alert ; but today I hear that the foreigners in the Bogue have withdrawn a little.' On January 2 oth Lin notes that both Ch`i-shan and the Governor of Kwang-tung have received copies of an express confidential message dated January 6th. `Ch`i-shan', says Lin, 'at once came to my lodging, letting himself in at the back door. We talked for a short time, and then he left me. Soon afterwards I went to return the visit ; but when I got to the gate, I turned back.' The confidential message referred to con-tained a peremptory order by the Emperor that there was to be no further parleying of any kind and that orders had been given for reinforcements from Hunan, Szechwan and Kweichow, four thousand in all, to proceed immediately to Canton. Ch`i-shan was to call in Lin and Teng to advise him and with them make plans for annihilating the English the moment they attempted to land.
Perhaps what Ch`i-shan came to say was this: `If I break off the negotiations, after signing only yesterday a preliminary arrangement, the English will seize the remaining Bogue forts and will have Canton at their mercy within a few days. If I continue the negotiations, it will be in direct defiance of these orders from Peking. All the same I mean to go on negotiating, in the hope of keeping Elliot in play till our reinforcements come from Hunan and lainnan. Then we shall soon be able to announce a victory, and my having taken an independent line will be overlooked.' Lin presum-ably dissented violently, and Ch`i-shan broke off the conversa-tion.' Presently (as I see it) Lin felt he must try once more to prevent Ch`i-shan from taking a course which would be regarded as open rebellion, and would probably lead to
Ch`i-shan's execution. But having got as far as the door, he had the feeling that argument was useless, and turned back. On that same day Elliot duly announced the conclusion (presumably on January 18th) of a preliminary arrangement, the main feature of which was the 'cession of the harbour and island of Hongkong to the British Crown'.
On January 24th, Chinese New Year's Day, Lin first paid New Year calls and then 'went to the Kuang-hsiao Monastery to study the inscriptions'. This was the monastery where the Sixth Patriarch of the Meditation Sect, Hui-neng, was supposed to have been ordained. There were plenty of inscriptions there ; but one wonders whether going to a monastery to 'study inscriptions' was not Lin's 'cover' term for a secret interview, possibly with someone who might help to prevent Ch`i-shan from political and indeed actual suicide.
The further details of the convention (known as the Convention of Chuenpi) were to be settled at a Meeting between Ch`i-shan and the English leaders. It was to be held at the Lotus Flower Wall,I about twenty-six miles down-stream from Canton. On January 25th Lin writes: `Ch`i-shan left his office at dawn to go to the Lotus Flower Wall. I sent someone to see him off.' On the 26th he reads in the Peking Gazette that Chou I' ien-chio (Governor-General of Hupeh and Hunan) has been sent to serve as a common soldier at I-1i, on the north-west frontier. Chou was a zealous but harsh official, whose severities had often been applauded by the Emperor. In i84o he was accused of allowing his subordinates to use unauthorized forms of torture. It was apparently in 1837 that he arrested the Lazarist missionary Father Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, who after a long imprisonment was executed at Wu-ch`ang on September II, i84o, presumably just before Chou I' ien-chio's fall. The execution was legal, as the spreading of 'false doctrines' was a capital offence. It is of some interest that this, the only martyrdom of the period, seems to have taken place at the hands of an official who was notoriously and exceptionally savage in his administration.
On January 27th Lin writes: hear that today Ch‘i-shan gave a great banquet to the English rebels at the Lotus Flower Wall, on the banks of the Lion Reach. At the Hour of the Snake [9 a.m.] there arrived eighteen foreign officers, two interpreters and two foreign boys, together with three French foreigners.' They were escorted by fifty-six foreign soldiers and sixteen musicians, drumming and fifing. After they had been presented to Ch`i-shan, four mats were spread for Manchus and Chinese, while the place of honour was given to the rebel foreigners. The Acting Governor of Canton, Yii Pao-shun, and the Brigade-Commander Chao Ch'eng-te attended at the banquet, being given places at each end, on east and west. To the foreign soldiers and musicians hot food was served, while the sailors and others were given mutton and wine. After the meal all the foreigners came to the front of Ch`i-shan's tent and expressed their thanks,. Then suddenly they began giving a great display of gunnery, both small arms and artillery. When that was over, they went back to their ships. But Elliot and Morrison2 went to Ch`i-shan's boat and talked privately with him for over an hour. They have agreed to meet again tomorrow.'
This account agrees closely with those of eye-witnesses on the English side. Six months later, at his trial, Ch`i-shan played down the whole affair. There had been no such thing as a formal banquet, he said. The English had had nothing to eat, so he gave them some light refreshments.
On January 3 st Lin writes: `Ch`i-shan came. He had a great deal to say about the fierce fire power of the foreign rebels' guns and high quality of their mechanical contrivances. He also spoke in very extreme terms about the utter useless-ness of our marines.' It was just at this time that Ch`i-shan was writing the famous report' that reached Peking on February 16th. Translations of it figure in many Western books, and I will here only summarize four of the main points.
(I) The Forts
These are either on small islands or have channels in their rear, so that they could easily be blockaded by foreign ships and the defenders starved out. All the forts are sited on the assumption that the atta.ckers will approach by the route they have been used to following in peace-time. Unfortunately Canton can be approached by other channels, far out of range of the forts.
(2) The Guns
quate in number and are all placed in front of the forts, the sides of which are quite undefended. Many of the guns are obsolete in type and are not in worIing order. Recently we have got hold of a cannon-maker who has produced a design for a better type of gun; but we have only just begun to experiment with casting guns of this type.
(3) The Troops
The soldiers we are using as marines are unused to going in ships and suffer badly from sea-sickness. The troops normally employed for patrol purposes are in some cases of very poor quality. Hearing that after the fall of Shakok the troops threatened to disband unless given a gratuity, I asked Admiral Kuan if this was true. He confirmed the story, and said that he had to pawn his own clothes in order to scrape together enough to give each man two foreign dollars.
(4) The Cantonese
Apart from actual traitors, in the service of the foreigners, the people in general are so used to foreigners that they no longer regard them as creatures of a different species, and in fact get on very well with them. Some small present, such as a mechanical contrivance, is enough to win over most Cantonese completely.
The first three points are all to a considerable extent meant to be reflections on Lin, who had been responsible for the defences of Canton since i839. As regards the chief alternative channel, by-passing the Bogue, Ch`i-shan had been misinformed. It was definitely of minor importance because it was in places only five feet deep, and large war vessels could not have used it. But even so, it was by no means undefended ; the flat-bottomed, shallow-draft steamship Nemesis explored this western route on March 3th and i4th,I 1841, and had to cope with a considerable number of forts and defence-posts. Moreover in some places the channel had been blocked with stakes and rafts. The uselessness of the Chinese marines had, of course, been constantly emphasized by Lin, and he had made strenuous though apparently unsuccessful efforts to reform them.
To the readiness of Chinese civilians to assist the English, before the period (end of May i841) when the pillaging of Chinese villages began2 the experiences of the Nemesis also bear witness. Villagers were only too happy to assist in pulling away the impediments that blocked the river. But that, no doubt, was partly because local communication was chiefly by water, and the staking of the river was a nuisance to fishermen and peasants.
After Ch`i-shan left, Lin went 'studying inscriptions' again ; this time at the Temple of the Five Genii and at the Monastery of the Six Banyan Trees. The 'Five Genii' were five old men who in ancient times arrived at what afterwards became Canton riding on five rams and each carrying in his hand a stalk of grain, symbol of future abundance. The rams changed into stone, and the Genii disappeared into the sky. The temple, however, only dated from the middle of the eighteenth century. The Monastery of the Six Banyan Trees stands near the Hua T'a (Decorated Pagoda). There was certainly something to look at there—the name-board of the monastery, written out in large calligraphic characters by the great poet, painter and calligrapher Su Tung-13' o (eleventh century A.D.)
On February znd Lin records that 'Tsung-i and Kung-shu began to attend school' . These were his second and third sons, now aged seventeen and fourteen. The eldest son already held a Civil Service post. The second seems to have come to Canton from Foochow in the spring or summer of 184o. As we shall see, their studies were destined to be constantly interrupted.
On February 9th Lin writes: 'I respectfully read the Emperor's decree of the fifth of the first month (January z7th) and learnt that Ch'i-shan's conduct in allowing parleys to take place instead of carrying out the destruction of the English rebels, is to be investigated by the Board of Civil Office, as is also his failure to hold the forts at Shakok and Taikok. Admiral Kuan loses his cap-button and is to retrieve his failure by future services.'
The English, hearing that the Admiral, for whom they had a great admiration, had 'lost his button at Shakok', took the statement literally and began looking for it. They did indeed find a button of some sort on the battlefield, and sent it to the Admiral.
February 1oth: `Ch'i-shan went to the Bogue, and I sent someone to see him off.' February iith : 'At dawn I went with Teng to Lieh-to and Erh-sha-wei2 to see how things [i.e. defences] are on Canton River. I came back at the Hour of the Snake [9 a.m.]. ' February 3th : Ch'i-shan came back from the Bogue ; but I did not see him. I went with Teng to the Po-ni-hsiin3 and neighbouring places to see how things on the river are getting on. I came back at the second drum [9 p.m.] and heard that orders had been given for I-shan to assume the title of Rebel-quelling General. He is to come to Canton and, assisted by Lung-wen and Yang Fang as Deputies, he is to destroy the foreigners.'
I-shan was a cousin of the Emperor's ; Lung-wen was also a Manchu grandee. Yang Fang was a Chinese ; a professional soldier who had distinguished himself in a long series of campaigns, particularly against Moslem risings in the West. He was now over seventy, and so deaf that conversation with him had to be in writing. He was typical of those ancient military figureheads who are so often brought on to the scene in times of desperate crisis, in the hope of reviving morale. Everyone had heard of how Yang Fang routed and captured the fanatical Mohammedan leader Jehangir (in 18 2 8 ) ; and the news that he was on his way had some of the desired effect. Yang Fang was at Ch`ang-sha, the capital of Hunan, when about February 9th he received orders to go at once to Canton.
Just before he started, he wrote to the Emperor: 'The essential points now are on'the one hand to recover Ting-hai and on the other to allow the English to have a place to store their merchandise, on an out-of-the-way shore of some small harbour.' He probably already knew of the cession of Hongkong, and did not want to have to tackle the job of trying to get it back again. Passing through Nan-ch`ang, the capital of Kiangsi, he visited Pao Shih-ch'en (see above, p. 16) from whom so many statesmen travelling between Peking and Canton sought or at any rate got advice.
Pao Shih-ch'en's advice to Yang Fang on the present occasion was to this effect: We cannot compete with the English either in ships or guns. But the other foreign countries are equipped as the English are, and though no one country is capable of standing up to the English, if they united they could certainly inflict a crushing defeat. Our policy should be to fan the grievances of the nations whose trade has been stopped owing to the behaviour of the English, and get them to join in an attack. These other nations should then be rewarded, according to the amount of help they have given in achieving this victory, by Customs concessions, and so on. Yang Fang was evidently much impressed by this advice, and offered= to arrange for the reinstatement of Pao, who had been Prefect of a neighbouring district, but had lost his job.
On February 2 st Lin writes: 'A thousand regular troops from Hunan and the same number from Yiinnan are now arriving in batches at Canton.' In the afternoon the Manchu General Hsiang-fu, in command of the Hunan troops, called on him, partly perhaps to arrange for some of the soldiers to encamp in the grounds of the salt-merchants' Guildhall, where Lin was staying. Next day the Manchu General Yung-fu, from Kweichow province, also called.
On February 2 3rd Lin writes: hear that two steamers belonging to the rebel English, with several small, boats, sailed straight up to T'ai-p`ing-hsilz in the Bogue, opened fire and set alight a number of peasants' houses, and also the Customs House.' Lin does not mention that a battery was destroyed; on the other hand the English accounts say nothing about damage to 'non-military targets'. Both accounts are no doubt true as far as they go. On the 24th he went with Ch`i-shan and other high officers to inspect the defences of the Inner River, and spent the night at Lieh-te, seven miles east of Canton. The tour of inspection went on next day, and ended early on February 26th at the Ta-huang-chiao, about eight miles south of Canton.
I got home at the Hour of the Monkey 3 p.m .1' , writes Lin, 'and when night carne heard that the Bogue forts and those on Wantung Island were being invested, preparatory to attack, by the English rebels. I at once went with Teng to Ch'i-shan's office and at the Hour of the Rat [ix p.m.] we heard that the Wantung, Yung-an and Kung-kuI forts have fallen. All night I could not sleep.' February 27th: hear that the Bogue forts Chen-yiian, Ching-yiian and Wei-yiian2 have been taken.' Admiral Kuan and Major Mai ring-chang both fell. The ships of the English rebels are already making straight for Wu-yung,3 in the Inner River.
I also hear that the President of the Board of Punishments Ch`i Kung has been ordered to come here as Governor-General and Intendant of Grain. General Ch`ang-ch'un, commandant of the station of Nan-kan-chen in Kiangsi, arrived in Canton today with two thousand soldiers. He came to see me.'
The most reliable account of the Admiral's death is that of Captain Hall of the Nemesis, transcribed by W. D. Bernard:4 'Many of the Chinese officers boldly and nobly met their death. . . . Among the most distinguished and lamented was poor old Admiral Kuan, whose death excited much sympathy throughout the force ; he fell by a bayonet wound in his breast, as he was meeting his enemy at the gate of Anunghoy. . . . Kuan's body was recognized and claimed by his own family5 on the following day, and was of course readily given up to them. A salute of minute-guns was fired to his honour from the Blenheim.'
Legend readily attributes the death of a hero to treachery on his own side. Stories were soon spread that his soldiers had refused to apply fuses to the guns of the fort. When Kuan tried himself to fire a gun, he found that water had been allowed to get into the fuse hole. He applied for reinforce-ments from a neighbouring camp, but none came, and so on. These stories are unconvincing. We know from the English accounts that the fire from the forts, though not very effective, was brisk ; and it is certain that, given the vastly superior fire power of the English, the arrival of reinforce-ments would only have added to the number of the Chinese casualties.
As we have seen from the mention of Kuan's sixteenth birthday on April 29, 839, he was by Chinese reckoning sixty-two when he died; that is just short of sixty-one for us.
February 28th: hear that yesterday the English rebels broke resistance at Wu-yung. The regulars from Hunan were stationed there, and had heavy losses, their Commander Hsiang-fu being also among the killed.' It will be remembered that Lin had made Hsiang-fu's acquaintance only seven days before. 'There are also', Lin continues, 'a hundred trained militiamen, taken from those at the disposal of the Intendant, who came along afterwards from Hsiang-fu's camp. But they had not reached Wu-yung at the time of the attack, and are in fact encamped in the grounds of my house. Today I decided to send my dependants inland.' In the afternoon Ch`i-shan, I-liang and Teng all came to talk things over. They stayed to dinner and did not leave till the third drum Eii p.m. I.'
After capturing the Wu-yung fort, a party of about a dozen men, led by Captain Hall of the Nemesis steamer, boarded the Cambridge, the ship formerly belonging to Captain Douglas and purchased a year ago by Lin. 'She mounted', Captain Hall says,2 'altogether thirty-four guns, of English manufacture ; and itwas surprising to see howwell the Chinese had prepared for action, the guns being in perfect order, fire buckets distributed about the decks, and every-thing clean and well arranged.' The Chinese wounded were removed from the ship and 'principally with a view to strike terror into the Chinese' she was set on fire and when the flames reached her powder magazine, she blew up with a tremendous explosion. It may, perhaps, have been some time before anyone dared break this news to Lin, for there is no mention of it in his diary.
March st: 'Today my dependants embarked on the boat that is to take them upstream to where they are to live for the present. I went to Erh-sha-weii to have another look at the river channels. In the afternoon I went to the Foochow and Ch`ao-chou Club on the southern bank to arrange about recruiting volunteers from Ch`iian-chouz and Chang-chou.3 Coming home at the third drum [ p.m. [ I learnt that Ch`i-shan, owing. to his having yielded without permission to the demands of the English rebels, has been deprived of the rank of Grand Secretary and of his Peacock Feather ; and that his conduct is to be the subject of strict investigation by the Board of Civil Office. This evening Teng moved into my house, where he is going to live with me.'
The removal of Lin's family to Nan-yung, far away up-river, had naturally left him with a lot of spare rooms on his hands.
Ch`i-shan did everything in his power to gloss over the cession of Hongkong to the English ; for example by maintain-ing that he had only ceded a small corner of the island. But the news that proclamations had been put up all over the island announcing that the inhabitants of Hongkong were now British subjects, coming as it did after the Emperor had forbidden negotiations of any kind, was too much for him. The Edict depriving Ch`i-shan of his rank and decorations is dated Feb-ruary 6th, and was evidently sent to Canton at record speed.
March 2nd: hear that the English rebel ships have already forced their way to the fort at Lieh-te.4 Early in the morning I went to talk things over at the General Office in the Monastery of the Giant Buddha.'5 March 3rd: went early to the General Office, and then to the Foochow-Ch'ao-Chou Club to recruit volunteers. At the Hour of the Sheep [ p.m.] I went to the General Office, and did not come back till the second drum [9 p.m. ].' Next day he goes again to the Club on recruiting business, enlists s6o men, and parades them in two files, one to the east, one to the west, just inside the Yung-ch'ing Gate, one of the southern gates of the New City, on the way to the Execution Ground. On March sth Yang Fang, the immensely famous but deaf and aged General, arrived from Hunan. Lin went at once to see him. He remarks that for some days past the people of Canton have been in a very nervous state and large numbers of them have fled from the city (as indeed Lin's family had done). But the news of Yang Fang's arrival has done a lot, he says, to restore confidence. It was probably after his arrival that Yang Fang received the Emperor's letter,' addressed to himself, I-shan and the Manchu Deputy Commissioner Lung-wen and containing the ominous warning: 'If tny of you have the two words "reopen trade" still in mind, then you are completely betraying the purpose of your mission to Canton.' 'This crossed Yang Fang's dispatch, written when he set out from Hunan, in which he had rashly proposed that the English should be given 'a place to store their merchan-dise, on an out-of-the-way shore of some small island'. (See above, p. 137.)
March 6th: 'Early this morning the Hunan regulars and militia asked me to sacrifice to [i.e. to dedicate] their battle-standards.' Later in the day, as almost every day at this period, he had a meeting with Yang Fang. On March 8th Lin hears that the Lieh-te and Erh-sha-wei batteries have fallen and that the English have sent several small armed ships to reconnoitre the Ta-huang-chiao, the confluence of channels to the south-west of Honam Island. On the 9th and loth he hears that the English ships are being withdrawn to a point lower down the river. A momentary truce had in fact been arranged.
On March zth he hears that, as the penalty for having ceded Hongkong without permission, Ch`i-shan, deprived of his various posts, is to be conducted to the capital in chains, in charge of the Manchu General Ying-lung. All his property is to be confiscated by the State.= His confidential assistant Pao P`eng2 (so well known to the English as Lancelot Dent's comprador) is also to be brought to the capital for trial. Ch`i Kung is to be Governor-General, his duties being performed till he arrives at Canton by the present Governor I-liang. No time was lost in carrying out this decree. Next day (March 3th) Lin writes: 'Today Ch`i-shan and Ying-lung set out for the north. I went to the rien-tzu Quay3 to see them off. At the Hour of the Monkey [ 3 p.m.1 I heard that the fort4 at Ta-huang-chiao has been captured by the English rebels.'
To see off someone who is in chains must give one a queer feeling. Moreover it must have seemed certain then that Ch`i-shan was going to his death. He was indeed, after a long imprisonment, condemned to death by beheading on August 8th, but he was soon reprieved, and held a series of high appointments till the time of his death, in 1854, at the age- of well over seventy.
March i6th: 'Today the rebel foreigners tried to push on into the City River, but when they were passing Phoenix Hill5 our regular troops sank two of their dinghies and shattered the mainmast of one of their warships ; after which they retired.' The English accounts do not mention any damage. Next day Yang Fang reported a victory and awards were made to the officers concerned.
However at about this time Yang Fang sent a secret dispatch6 which could hardly have been more pessimistic. He points out eight main difficulties of the situation, as follows: (t) The Chinese naval forces have been completely destroyed and no naval operation is possible till a new fleet has been built. (2) The great mobility of the attackers, owing to their complete command of the waterways, makes defence of shore-batteries almost impossible. (3) The local troops are unreliable. They are discouraged by repeated reverses, and their morale is undermined owing to infil-tration by collaborators. (4) Though the success of March 6th by Kiangsi troops showed that foreign ships can be driven back, the other reinforcements from outside—the troops from Szechwan, Yiinnan and Kwangsi—are still unfamiliar with the terrain; there is only 'a loose connection between the men and the soil'. (5) The Cantonese tend to flee at the first sign of danger ; nine houses out of ten are already empty. (6) The Old City could easily be held, but the Governor-General's office and the office of the Superin-tendent of Customs are in the New City, the walls of which are flimsy ; moreover it is completely open to attaQk from the river. (7) Yang Fang is himself unfamiliar with the environs of the town, and has been unable to visit them owing to the continuing emergency at Canton itself. (8) The result of the evacuation of Ting-hai by the English in February has been that they have been able to send large reinforcements to Canton.
There appears to be nothing for it at the moment, says Yang Fang, but to trick the English into withdrawing their ships from Canton. As all they now ask for is a renewal of trade, to start them trading again might be a way of getting them under control. No one would deny that we should be justified in meeting deceit with deceit.
On the 8th Lin writes: 'At the Hour of the Snake [ 9 a.m.] warships and steamers of the English rebels pushed their way into the City River and fired shells and rockets, twenty or thirty of each; but they failed to start any fire. I inspected volunteers from Foochow and alloted them their posts. Then I went to the troops on and below the City walls, examined the positions they had taken up and bade them keep strict guard. I hear that a first detachment of Szechwan regular troops—four hundred men—arrived today.'
The above is a very incomplete account of what happened on March 8th. Actually the English landed at Canton and re-occupied the foreign factories, which they held till May 2 st. Negotiations with Yang Fang followed, and on March 2oth both he and Elliot issued proclamations saying that trade at Canton was reopened.
On March 9th Lin writes: 'Both Yang Fang and the Governor of the province, I-liang, came here and we spent all day discussing what was to be done. Yang Fang has come to live with me. Today the English rebels sent a note to Yang Fang begging for the reopening of trade.' March 2 oth: 'Yang Fang sent the Governor of Canton, Yii Pao-shun, to the foreign boats with an answer to their note.' March 2 2nd: 'The warships of the English rebels are one after another retiring downstream. The five hundred additional troops from Yiinnan who were ordered to proceed to Canton have now all arrived,and five hundred from Hunan have also got as far as Fatshan.'l This entry shows that the Chinese were taking the armistice less seriously than Captain Elliot, who appears to have believed that the Chinese were at last ready for peace.
On March 2 2nd Yang Fang sent to Peking an account of the present situation at Canton. He did not dare tell the Emperor either that the foreign factories had been re-occupied or that trade with the English had been resumed. That merchant ships were coming up to Whampoa and discharging their cargoes must, of course, soon have been known in Canton, and ultimately the Emperor was bound to hear of it. But only a few people intimately connected with trade or foreign affairs could distinguish the ships of one foreign nation from those of another, and by various fictions, which it would be tedious and confusing to discuss here,' Yang Fang tried to give the impression that the English were still excluded from trade. He admits that Elliot has sent him a document proposing conditions for reopening trade ; but in order to avoid the accusation of having entered into negotia-tions in the manner that had landed Ch`i-shan in chains, he pretends to have done no more than glance at the note.
As we shall see, the Emperor was for the moment com-pletely deceived, and even went so far as to say—an extra-ordinary statement for any Chinese Emperor to make—that these local matters could best be handled by those on the spot. Till the reinforcements had all arrived and taken up their posts, the Emperor went on, the main thing was to prevent the British from putting out to sea and so avoiding annihila-tion.
March 3oth: 'In the afternoon I went to the Kuang-hsieh Archery Ground to inspect the five hundred Foochow militia already enlisted.' On April st eight hundred Hupeh troops arrived, and their Commander An Te-shun called.
On April 3rd, without waiting for a reply to his dispatch of March 2 2nd, Yang Fang (who had now left Lin's house and gone to live at the Examination Hall) wrote an even more imprudent dispatch2 to Peking, with the object, apparently, of reinforcing the fiction that though other nations were now trading at Whampoa, the English were still excluded. He did this by quoting what purported to be a plea by the Indian merchants to be counted as non-English and conse-quently to be allowed to trade. There seems, however, to be no reason to doubt that the Indian merchants (chiefly Parsees) had, like everyone else, been trading briskly since March 2 oth. To make a sharp distinction between them and the English was impossible ; several Parsees, for example, were members of English firms. Moreover there was a further complication. The term (chiang-chiao) used to describe Indian merchants appears at Canton to have been currently applied also to Englishmen bringing cargoes from India. Thus Lin himself in his note' to Elliot of May 2, 1839, applieS it not only to the Parsee merchant Dadabhoy, but also to Dent, Henry, Inglis and other English mer-chants. If the Emperor had fallen into this trap and someone had pointed out that Dent (who was still in China) was trading again, the reply would have been "Indian Merchants", have been allowed by the Emperor to trade, and Dent is an "Indian Merchant".' On April 8th Lin hears that Chou -Men-chic), the sadistic Governor who has been cashiered and ordered to go to the north-west frontier to serve as a common soldier, has now been told to go to Canton and make good by serving his country there in the present crisis.
On the evening of April loth Lin got a letter from I-shan, the new Commissioner, and Lung-wen who was to be Yang Fang's colleague, inviting him to come to meet them, so that they might have the benefit of his advice before actually arriving at Canton. On April 12th, accompanied by Teng, he set off by boat for Fatshan.2 At Fati, just above Canton, 'the rice-fields on both banks were one mass of grey-green, looking like a hair-carpet. We got to Fatshan at the Hour of the Cock [5 p.m.] and moored in front of the Customs House. . . . We heard that I-shan passed Samshui3 at noon.' April 3th: 'Early this morning we moved up to Huang-eing.4 Here we heard that 1-shan and Lung-wen, in their two boats, have both got stranded on a sandbank and are waiting till the tide turns. This happened at a point fifty h (about sixteen miles) below Samshui. The new Governor-General, Ch`i Kung, received his seal of office at the Hour of the Snake [9 a.m.], at Samshui. He then put out in a canal-boat and joined I-shan and Lung-wen at the point, where they were waiting for the tide. Between the Hours of the Monkey and the Cock [i.e. about 6 p.m.] all three of them changed into a small boat and joined me at Huang-t`ing. Presently they came with me in my boat to Fatshan, to inspect the battery of newly cast guns, after which we all had supper on board. We turned downstream again after a couple of hours and anchored at the Melon Wharf Creek.' After the third watch Teng and I set out homeward, leaving the others behind. March 4th: 'We passed Fati at the Hour of the Dragon [7 a.m.] and at the Hour of the Snake [9 a.m.] entered the City by the Yung-ch'ing Gate, and I went home. I hear that 1-shan and Lung-wen both left their boats and entered the City by land, from the Ni-ch'eng2 direction. They went in by the Great North Gate and are lodging in the Examination Hall. On the other hand the new Governor-General Ch`i Kung went by boat, landed at the T'ien-tzu quay, and went from there to his office.'
We knovv from an account3 by Liang T'ing-nan, head of the Academy where Lin had lodged in 1839, for whom Lin had secured a post at Fatshan, that I-shan and Lung-wen had cut across to Canton by land because they were told that, though the English were not interfering with ordinary Chinese shipping, they might very well attack ships whose flags and other trappings denoted that they were carrying high officials. This, says Liang, was the view of both Lin and of Teng. But Liang persuaded Ch`i Kung that such a precaution was quite unnecessary ; Ch`i Kung's name, he said, was very well known to the English from former days, and if he crept into Canton by a back entry, they would take offence at his lack of confidence in them.
Here it should be explained that Ch`i Kung was Governor of Kwangtung from 1833 to 1838 and had taken a leading part in the troubles (September 1834) when the frigates Andromache and Imogene forced the Bogue and came up to Whampoa. His experience of affairs at Canton had therefore been even longer than Lin's, and according to Mr Liang he thought it rather strange that on meeting Ch`i Kung Lin immediately drew out of his sleeve a pile of his own dis-patches about the management of foreigners. 'He surely must know about my having been Governor here', Ch`i Kung said afterwards to Liang. The story is interesting as exempli-fying Lin's lack of tact, already shown so often in his hand-ling of Captain Elliot. However, Ch`i Kung seems to have been amused rather than offended, and during the remaining two weeks of Lin's time at Canton he saw Ch`i Kung constantly.
What is probably an authentic glimpse of Ch`i Kung's state of mind at this time and of his character in general may be got from Liang Ving-nan's account= of a conversation he had with Ch`i Kung after the others had left: "Who would have thought", said Ch`i Kung with a sigh, "that in the short time which has passed since I left Canton things would have reached such a calamitous state as this?" "We are looking to you to rescue us from this calamity", I said. "Don't expect too much from me", he replied. "By dint of the utmost care and caution I can just get along in peaceful times as Governor of a single province, but I haven't the sort of abilities needed by a Governor-General—still less in times of trouble. You must, I am sure, remember how it was when Teng was away in Kwangsi inspecting troops and I, as well as being Governor of Kwangtung, was left in charge of foreign affairs. If Stone Farmer hadn't been there to keep me up to the mark about everything, just think of all the blunders I should have made!" Stone Farmer was the pen-name of I IC' o-chung, from Kao-yang,2 who acted as his secretary and to whom he had been devotedly attached for several years. At the time Ch`i Kung got his post at the capital (as President of the Board of Punishments, in 1838) I K`o-chung died. That was why he now spoke of him in this reminiscent way.
"Wouldn't it be the natural thing," I said presently, "in the case of a great gentleman like yourself being so diffident about his capacity for governing, to appoint some-one of decided and energetic character to assist him?" "The Supreme Council", he replied, "knew that I had had a lot of experience of foreign affairs, and if I hadn't always managed to find a good excuse, I should have been sent here long ago. This time, heavy though the burden lies on my shoulders, there was no getting out of it, as I was already on my way to the south when I got the Imperial Mandate." '
The last sentence refers to the fact that he had accepted the comparatively minor post of Controller of Commissariat at Canton and was on his way there when he was appointed Governor-General of Kwangtung and Kwangsi.
April 6th: hear that, as the result of Yang Fang's report of the twenty-fifth of the seventh month [March "f7th] about our victory at Phoenix Hill, General Ch`ang-ch'un has been accorded the title of Victorious and Valiant Hero, arid has according to the usual precedent been given the Peacock Feather decoration. Today the flag-pole of the Customs House was struck by lightning and the guild-merchant Wu Shao-jung of the I-ho firm also met with "lightning disaster" .' This expression would normally mean that the merchant, so well known to the English as `Howqua', was killed. This may in fact have been rumoured; but actually this particular `Howqua' (there were several of them in succession) did not die till 1843.
April 2oth: hear that Yang Fang's dispatch of the thir-tieth' of the second month [March 22nd] about permitting trade has come back with His Majesty's comments and instruc-tions. Still no sign of disagreement.' The one comment was, in fact, merely a confirmation of Yang Fang's suggestion that the pleas of other nations that trade with the English should be resumed had been engineered by the English themselves. The instructions, as we have seen, left it open to Yang Fang to handle the situation as he thought best, pending the arrival at Canton of all the troops from other provinces. A great weight must certainly have been lifted from Yang Fang's mind.
On April 2ist Lin had an attack of his usual malady, which have suggested was perhaps hay-fever, and sent for a Dr Sung. On the 24th Dr Sung came again, but apparently only on a friendly call. On the 27th Lin had another attack, and had to turn visitors away. Next day Dr Sung was replaced by Dr Ku. On the 28th there was a ceremony of sacrificing to battle-banners and a portion of the sacrificial meat was brought to Lin on his sick-bed. On May st he was still being attended by Dr Ku and taking medicine. In the after-noon he learnt that on April 6th a decree had been issued ordering him to proceed immediately, post-haste, to Chekiang (that is to say, to Hangchow) and wait there for further instructions. Meanwhile he was to count as an officer of the Fourth Rank. This was a partial reinstatement ; but it did not entitle him to communicate direct with the Emperor, and he was obliged to send his letter of thanks through Ch`i Kung and 1-liang, Teng being entrusted with the task of composing a draft version of it. On May 2nd, at Ch`i Kung's office, Lin saw the dispatch sent to Peking by Yang Fang and I-liang on April 3rd, containing the proposal that 'Indians' should be allowed to trade. Both the Emperor's comments and his decree accompanying the returned dispatch are, Lin notes, 'very severe, and both Yang Fang and I-liang are to be referred to the Board of Civil Office for strict inquiry into their conduct'. The comments were indeed severe. Against the statement that the Indians, using the Americans and French as their spokesmen, had asked to be allowed to trade, the Emperor wrote in the margin: 'This, and all that follows, deals with matters that, as things are now, should not be discussed at all. For me only the one word "annihilation" exists ; moreover, I do not believe anything they say.' And later, apropos of India: `But that is where the opium comes from! Whom do you think you are deceiving? It enrages me to read such a dispatch.' And alongside of Yang Fang's statement that he was not following in the footsteps of Ch`i-shan: 'You phrase it differently, but the facts are the same. How you dare try it on, I cannot imagine!' At the end the Emperor adds the note, `If trade were all that we wanted, why did we mobilize all these troops and transfer them to Canton, and why was it necessary to put Ch`i-shan on trial?'
On May 3rd Lin was seen off by the Governor-General, the Governor and other high officials, as well as by the commanders of the troops brought to Canton from other provinces. He gives minute particulars about the boat that was to take him to Nan-yung, where he was to join his wife and two younger sons. This boat was forty-six feet long, and the cabin eleven feet wide. There were three gangway entrances. The crew numbered fourteen, and the price of hire was sixty dollars. He also hired another boat, 'small and old', for thirty-five dollars, in which to put fhree carrying-chairs and a stock of provisions. When he passed Fati he was met by the poet Chang Wei-p'ing who took him to his famous Eastern Garden. 'The pomegranates and autumn crab-apple were in flower ; but the lychee-trees and box-myrtle had already begun to form their fruits.' At Fatshan many friends came to greet him, including his protégé Liang ring-nan, who gave him a round fan with a painting and poem on it. He also had a talk with the Manchu General 1-k`o-tcan-pu, now stationed at Fatshan with a contingent of Yiinnan troops. 1-k`o-t`an-pu had been stationed in the summer of 184o at Ningpo, on the mainland opposite Ting-hai, and gave Lin 'a very precise account' of the fall of Ting-hai.I
Henceforward the diary consists of little more than a record of places passed through, distances covered, and the names of local people who came to pay their respects. On May zth Lin's eldest son Lin Ju-chou, who had joined his mother at Nan-yung, the point at which travellers disembark and go by land over the Meiling Pass, came down the river to meet him, joining him on his boat a little below Shao-chou. They arrived at Nan-yung on May i8th and spent a few nights at the house in Cross Bar Lane where Mrs Lin had been living for the last two months.
At Nan-ch`ang, the capital of Kiangsi, he met (as he had done on February i5, 1839) that great unofficial adviser of statesmen, Pao Shih-ch'en.i In a letter2 written to the aged General Yang Fang on June II th, Pao says: heard recently that the Chinese marines at the Bogue gave their powder to the English and loaded their cannon with three parts powder and seven parts sand, and that this was why we were defeated. I thought this must be an exaggeration. But last month when His Excellency Lin passed through I pressed him to tell me the facts. What he said was: "The marines at Canton are better paid than any other troops. But only one per cent of their income is derived from their official pay. They get the rest from opium dealers who pay them to keep quiet. If opium trading were to cease, they would lose ninety-nine per cent of their income; so it is hardly surprising that they do not resist the English very vigorously." If that is Lin's opinion of them, then the story about their selling gunpowder may well be true.'
The story is, on the contrary, very improbable. The English had a low opinion of Chinese gunpowder, and would certainly not have accepted it. It is possible that what Lin is alleged to have said on this occasion was meant by him to apply to the marines before he reorganized them in the summer of 1840.
On June 3rd at Yii-shan, near the north-eastern borders of Kiangsi province, he set out by land for Hangchow, where he arrived on June 7th. But he found that there was not at the moment any high official there through whom he could communicate with Peking. He therefore turned east and went to Chen-hai, where Liu Yiin-leo, the Governor of Chekiang, then was. Here he remained, lodging in a learned Academy, till July i3th. He was waiting, of course, for the 'instructions' from Peking, promised when he was first ordered to proceed to Hangchow.
On June i2th, he hears that on May 2i st there was a great victory at Canton. Seven foreign ships were burnt or otherwise destroyed, and seven rebel foreigners were cap-tured alive. Innumerable casualties were inflicted. On June isth he hears that there has been another engagement and a certain amount of damage inflicted on the enemy. On June i7th he gets a letter from I-liang, the Governor of Kwangtung, dated May 3 1st, saying that after May 22nd the rebel foreigners had again become violent, but had then once more pleaded for peace. do not know yet what sort of report he [i.e. Ch`i Kungl is sending about this.'
The English accounts tell us only that on May 2i st and during the ensuing days the last remaining defences of Canton were destroyed, and that on May 27th the Chinese agreed to pay six million dollars as a bribe to the English to with-draw. Only trifling damage to ships is mentioned and there is, I think, no admission of any casualties. The English account is certainly more credible than that of the Chinese; for if the Chinese had scored a great victory, it is hard to see why they had to bribe off the attackers.
On the evening of July i3th Lin heard that instructions concerning his fate had arrived at the Governor's office, and he hurried round there to receive them. He found that a decree issued on July st condemned him to exile at I-li, on the north-west frontier: 'Because Lin Tse-hsii, having been sent to Canton to manage military and foreign affairs, failed to bring either task to a successful conclusion, both he and the former Governor-General Teng, having merited the severest penalty, are to proceed to I-li and there do what they can to expiate their crimes.' He set out early next day and by the time the diary stops, on July i6th, he had reached a point about eighty miles north-west of Ningpo. Towards the end of August he received a decree (dated August i9th) ordering him to break his journey at K`ai-feng in Honan and take charge of river-conservancy works there. After spending nearly a year at K`ai-feng he set out for I-1i, arriving at Si-an (the Ch`ang-an of 'rang times) on August 12, 1842. He left his wife at Si-an, and arrived at I-li on December 12th. He kept a diary of the journey from Si-an to I-1i ; but it is little more than a list of place-names.
This part of my book is an account of Lin's career at Canton, and I am only giving these brief notes on his subsequent life in order not to leave him, so to speak, hanging in mid-air. He was recalled from exile in 184.5 and held a number of high posts, down to the time of his death in 18so. In 1847, when Governor-General of Shensi and Shansi, he drew up a document showing how, in the event of his death, he wished his three sons to divide up his property between them. He has always, he says, been too busy with public business to attend to building up the family's fortunes; with the result that he only holds the deeds-of-purchase of ten farmlands, and as to business premises and private houses, he owns no more than twenty-three of them. There were, of course, the normal ways in which officials invested their savings, but we do not often get documentation of this kind. We owe our knowledge in this case to Lin's great-grandson Lin Chi-hsi, who had the will photolithographed and in 1944 presented a copy to the British Museum. In his covering note Lin Chi-hsi said that though there was a good deal of trouble between his great-grandfather and the English, the latter had always had a great respect for him.
I hope that on the whole this study of mine will increase that respect. Some readers may indeed think I have been too partial to Lin, at the expense of Captain Elliot. But it is the whole purpose of my book to give the Chinese rather than the English point of view.
In some respects Lin and Elliot had much in common. To begin with they were both civil servants, carrying out policies imposed on them from above, and both were cashiered because they failed to do what was expected of them. The difference was that Elliot deliberately ignored his instructions and demanded less from the Chinese than the Government at home had told him to, whereas Lin failed through no fault of his own, but simply because what he had been told to do was, given the military superiority of the English, not humanly possible. Another point of simi-larity between the two was that they both tended to be wrong in their judgements. Lin, in common with many other Chinese statesmen, believed that the introduction of the death penalty for opium offences would put a stop to "'opium smoking; he believed that to get rid of the English merchants he had only to make them thoroughly uncomfortable. He believed that the story about the dispatch of an English expeditionary force was mere propaganda and that, even if it came, it could only operate on the high seas. In each case he proved to be wrong.
Elliot, on his side, was deceived by Ch`i-shan's good manners and amiability, and failed to see that in signing the Chuenpi Convention Ch`i-shan was only playing for time—tiding over the interval that must elapse before what he thought to be an overwhelming number of troops could arrive from other provinces, just as Elliot himself had played for time before the arrival of the Volage and Hyacinth. He also failed to realize that the Emperor and his advisers were completely Peking-minded. Only a threat to Peking and its supplies could have any effect on their policy ; to hammer away at Canton was a mere waste of time.
It was, however, at last realized by the English that at Canton nothing could be effected that would dispose the Chinese Government to accept the sort of terms that Palmerston had in mind. In August 1841 the English expeditionary force, now largely increased by reinforcements from India, set out northwards, sacking one coastal town after another on its way. In the latter part of my book I shall translate some documents which show what it felt like to be suddenly subjected to the onslaught of these Early Victorian Vikings. But before doing so I am going to deal with a strange and tragic episode, passed over lightly by English accounts, but of immense importance if one is viewing the war through Chinese eyes—the great Chinese counter-offensive of March
1 Lamqua was a Chinese painter who took lessons in the European style of painting from George Chinnery.
1 See below, p. 22E.
2 II. r33, For references of this kind, see below, p. 248.
1 The southern borough of Peking.
1 In translated passages, words enclosed in brackets are explanations or comments by me.
1 A Catty = 1¾ lb.
1 The English knew him as 'The Admiral'. His Chinese title was Commander-in-Chief of Naval Forces' .
1 Parts of these notices, along with similar matter, were published by Lin as a printed pamphlet. See J. L. Shuck's Portfolio Sinensis, Macao, 184o.
Wei Yiian. I. sEs.
I. 80. z 484. 3 I. 475.
1./ VI 13. 2 VI. 14.
Blake said, `Man is not improved by the hurt of another. States are not improved at the expense of foreigners.'
Cf. Lieh Tzu, VII. N. The meaning is 'Their lives are in the Emperor's hands'.
z Text uncertain.
z Translated from VI. 4, with use of a few variants from Kuo Ch`ao Ch`i-
hsien. . . , 203. 53.
1 Roberts died five years later.
2 Another instance given by Lin is 'the confirmed opium smuggler Magniac, who cut his own throat'. I do not know which member of this well-known merchant family is meant. Perhaps Daniel?
3 I only use quotation marks when I am translating word for word. Their absence means that I am summarizing.
See below, p. 129. 2 II. 252.
Island on the east side of the Bogue.
2 This was the first day of the Chinese third month. Religious observances of this kind were generally carried out on the first and fifteenth day. In her earthly existence the goddess was a Miss Lin, living on the Fuhkien coast; so Commissioner Lin, who was a Fuhkien man, had a double reason for devotion to her.
Dent was still at Canton in 184.1; see Chinese Repository, 1841, p. s8.
Island outside the Bogue, where opium was traded.
Ten miles downstream from Canton.
Oriental 74.2 2 II. I SS.
H. 160. 2 Canton Press, July zo, 1839.
On the mainland, opposite Hongkong.
Chinese Repository, VIII, 624.
2 From 1854 to 1857 American Commissioner to China; born 184, died 1888.
vol.', p. Iss of the 177 s Amsterdam edition.
2 In a proclamation that exists only in English (Chinese Repository, VIII. 2 24.) Lin refers to the possibility that the dead man's ghost may take revenge, unless appeased by a victim. According to Earl Swisher (China's Management of the American Barbarians, p. 821), parts of The Law of Nations were translated by Parker and sent to Lin.
By Chia Tao. Complete rang Poems, XXI. 86.
177. 6 2
Cf. G. W. Keeton, The Development of Extraterritoriality in China, p. 118. 63
The withdrawing of hands into sleeves had presumably been picked up from the Chinese.
Compare the Censor Lo Ping-chang's criticisms, made August 1841, of the recommendations for promotion, etc., made on behalf of officers and troops who had in May of that year surrendered the forts behind Canton without firing a shot (III. 498).
It was in the margin of his report on the Battle of Kowloon that the Emperor wrote his often-quoted comment: 'You and your colleagues will never get into trouble with me for taking too high-handed a line. My only fear is lest you should show weakness and hesitation.' 2 I. 417.
After the signing of the Peace Treaty in x842 the Emperor's sources of information widened. It was owing to information received from Sir Henry Pottinger that Lin's friend Yao Ying was imprisoned for seven months, on a charge of having claimed mythical successes on the coast of Formosa.
On the eastern side of the entry to the Bogue. 2 II. W.
it must be said, in fairness to Elliot, that he had received instructions to take a firm line about these matters of etiquette.
The letter referred to (No. so of the Elliot—Palmerston Correspondence) contains no request for instructions about permitting ships to enter the Bogue.
Alluding to a recent conference of the British merchants.
2 A captured foreigner appears to have said he was acting on behalf of Captain Parr of the Vixen.
x A mile or so from the Chuenpi battery.
= The Wantung of English accounts. Here used as a general name for the middle Bogue. The forts here referred to were on Anunghoy Island, about ten miles north-west of Chuenpi.
My information about Douglas is taken chiefly from an anonymous pamphlet called A Case of Individual Sacrifice and of National Ingratitude, t847.
1 January t, 184o.
Lin's kan-mao, which was chronic, may have been something like hay-fever. 9
On the North River, i4o miles north of Canton.
Supplement, July 21, 184o,
1834. 2 Chiefly the Canton Press (organ of the anti-opium party).
3 365 seq. 4 Belgian Jesuit, died 1688.
One of the 'traitors to China' captured on this occasion 'was wearing foreign trousers and foreign shoes'. 2 II. 363.
z He forgets about the Turkish opium sold by the Americans. 2 Tso Chuan, year 7o6 B.C.
The Alligator (twenty-six guns) had arrived on June gth; the Madagascar steamer on June 16th. 2 For the date, see II. 2 6; line to.
See China Review, Vol. III, p. 189.
Ill. 363. Sent about July 2oth.
The fleet anchored eleven miles from the mouth of the Pei-ho and consequently sixteen miles from Taku itself, on August oth.
2 See Morse, International Relations of the Chinese Empire,Vol. I, pp. 621-6. For the Chinese text see IV. 48 of the corpus. See also my appendix, p. 24.8, below.
On August 2nd, at Ningpo.
2 Quoted in the Chinese Repository, 18.to, p. 325.
x Six Months with the Chinese Expedition, p. 61. 2 II. 219.
J. E. Bingham, Narrative of the Expedition, Vol. II. p. si.
This may refer to some letter from Ting-hai printed in one of the local English newspapers.
Six Months with the Chinese Expedition, p. 28.
Outside the Eastern Gate. Worshipped during the second and eighth Chinese months. Lin's offerings cannot be said to have had a good effect, for as he notes in his diary there were fires at Canton on September 2 st and 2 2rid.
I i.e. the county of Tientsin, not the town itself, which is sixty-seven miles from the coast. 2 See below, p. 21. 3 W. Es-.
4 Transmitted to him by Ch`i-shan. It was not addressed to the Emperor, but to the 'Chinese Emperor's Minister'.
A maxim from the Book of History ; Legge's Chinese Classics III. 2. E42. 2 IV. 66.
Sue for peace. 2 Huc's Ki-Chan.
2 Le. on September 8th, Lin's dispatch having taken thirty-three days to arrive. An express message by relay riders should not have taken more than eighteen days. Like other communications of this kind, the whole is in the third person; but it is often more convenient to use the first person in English.
He had come to Canton to be Provincial Treasurer. 2 See below, p. 24x.
I. 4o9 and IV. 73. Both versions are abridged in places.
2 e.g. on March t8th (II. 243).
3 Offered on August 3t, '839; refused by Elliot (II. 176).
4 See above, p. '18.
About the Bilbaino case. No such letter survives; possibly it was from the Governor of Manila.
2 Lin was presumably referring to the laudatory and respectful article in the Canton Press, July 2o, 1839. The satire Chl-shan heard about may have been some different document.
See above, p. 72. 2 Bernard, The Nemesis in China, p. 97.
One would take a rather different view of Chl-shan's relations with Lin if one believed in the genuineness of the famous letter to his family', II. s63.
Generally called Lotus Flower Hill (Kang).
I Officers of the French frigate Danaide, which had just arrived at Canton. 2 i.e. J. R. Morrison, the interpreter.
Bernard, The Nemesis in China, p. 139 seq. 2 See above, p. 112,
Seven miles downstream from Canton.
2 About eight miles south-west of Canton.
3 A police-post on the West River, about twenty miles west of Canton.
2 Behind Anson's Bay, between Anunghoy and Chuenpi Islands.
The first on the northern of the two Wantung islands in the Middle Bogue. The other two were on the west side of the Bogue, opposite Wantung (7).
2 On Anunghoy Island, on the east side of the Middle Bogue.
3 Twenty miles downstream from Canton.
4 Bernard, p. 121. 5 By a trusted servant, according to Chinese accounts.
The 'Inner City' of the text is a misprint. 2 Bernard, The Nemesis in China, p. 129.
Seven miles downstream from Canton.
2 The Chinchow of contemporary English texts.
3 In southern Fuhkien. The volunteers were, of course, men from these places who lived at Canton.
4 Seven miles east of Canton. The 'Howqua's Folly' of the English accounts?
5 At that period no longer used as a monastery but simply as a Munitions Office. It was in the south-east corner of the Old City.
For lists, see III. 316 and 433. 2 See below, p. 24i.
3 On the south-east part of the river front.
4 The 'Macao Fort' of English accounts?
5 The 'Bird's Nest Fort' of English accounts; on the west side of Honam Island. 6 483.
Ten miles upstream from Canton.
Yang Fang's report, which arrived at Peking on April 6th, is translated by Earl Swisher, China's Management of the American Barbarians, p. 61.
IL 66. 2 About twelve miles south-west of Canton.
3 Twenty-five miles west of Canton. 4 A few miles south-west of Canton.
Twelve miles upstream. 2 Three miles west of Canton.
3 VI. 3s. See below, p. 149.
3E. 2 About one hundred miles south of Peking.
The 'twenty' in IV. lot, line t 2, is a misprint for 'thirty'.
He also met Yeh Ming-ch'en (1807-59), destined to play in the Second War a role analogous to that of Lin in the first, but to die in captivity, near Calcutta.