« VorigeDoorgaan »
cordial and friendly, and even Whang's tone of contempt and insult changed to that of persuasion and argument. It is a singular fact, and one so contrary to general principles of human nature that nothing but practical experience can convince one of the truth of it; but, in every case, both on matters of greater and smaller importance, I have found that little or nothing either can or will ever be obtained from the Chinese government or its officers by humble entreaty and conciliatory arguments, but that the moment the tone is changed, and a resolute determination is evinced of carrying your point at all risks, it will be conceded with apparent readiness, particularly if the claim is founded on justice and moderation; and, what is more singular, they appear to look on you with more good-will and cordiality in consequence.
From this time, all was plain-sailing with the party; by a similar exhibition of firmness, they removed the prohibition of the Chinese admiral, who brought a fleet of junks to the station for the purpose of preventing the natives from coming on board the ship. A ludicrous scene ocurred one night, in which one of the Chinese ships fell foul of the Amherst, and so lazy were the crew of the former, that it at last became a measure essential to the safety of both vessels, that four of our men should go on board the other vessel to cut her cable. When these persons jumped on board, every hand on the deck fled down or jumped into the water, the whole of the people on board presenting an example of the greatest cowardice. When the real state of the case was explained to them, the Chinese seemed excessively grateful; but no Chinese vessel anchored afterwards within halfa-mile of the Amherst. The effect of the visit to this place was quite favourable to the objects of the voyage, for it showed that the only obstacle to a complete intercourse with other nations existed in the jealousy of the mandarins, and that this could be got rid of on the easiest possible terms. A great deal of correspondence ensued between the mandarins and the gentlemen of the Amherst on the propriety of the vessel remaining, and in furtherance of a negociation to establish a system of mutual commerce, But the mandarins behaved unfaithfully, and grossly neglected the performance of their promises. Mr. Lindsay had always in store for the Chinese authorities, a scourge, which he delayed employing until a suitable occasion arose, and this was moving his ship into the port which he had for a long time abstained from attempting. At length he proceeded into it, and anchored his ship just opposite the custom-house. The measure told at once, and, as Mr. Lindsay had previously informed a mandarin that a certain sum received for goods would satisfy him, and enable him to depart, this very person immediately procured a number of merchants who came on board and made purchases to the required amount. The ship moved to her old station, where the merchants after
wards came to settle accounts; and this was done in the open day, when more than a hundred visitors were on board. Strange and almost incredible, says Mr. Lindsay, as it will appear to those practically unacquainted with the complicated machinery and habitual deception of the Chinese government, only three days subsequent to an admiral and several superior officers having been degraded from their rank for having permitted a foreign merchant ship to force the entrance of the port of one of the principal towns in the empire, and while edicts are placarded in every quarter, prohibiting all natives, under the severest penalties of the law, from holding the slightest intercourse with the barbarian ship, two war-junks hoisting the imperial flag, come, in the open face of day, and trade with her, in the presence of hundreds of spectators, while the civil mandarin of the district stays on board the whole time, examines the goods, and assists in the transaction.
Upon the whole, Mr. Lindsay thinks that an avowed permission to trade with this part of China, could not at present be expected by us, but that ships going with opium, and other articles scarce in China, might by skill and address establish a commerce which might ultimately be recognized by the Chinese government.
The next place to which the Amherst proceeded was called Ning-po ; and here Mr. Lindsay acted on the same principles of conduct which had guided him on all recent occasions in his intercourse with the Chinese. He was quite astonished at the cordiality of his reception in all quarters, particularly from the chief authorities; and he concluded that here, at least, no obstacle would present itself against the objects of his voyage, namely, to see the country, and open a trade with the people. But in this expectation he was sadly disappointed; for, though the whole of those in official situations with whom he communicated, shewed marks of the highest consideration and attention for the strangers, yet they soon proved that all this kindness was merely affected as convenient means of inducing the party to quit the port as soon as possible. Various attempts were persevered in by Mr. Lindsay and his companions, to shew to the government and people the advantage to themselves of allowing the strangers to trade with them. But all these exertions were in vain, for the government always stood out on the assertion that the fundamental laws of the realm forbad such a commerce, and that, however willing they might be to avail themselves of the advantages of such an intercourse as the visitors now proposed, still the important measure of violating the laws could not be had to recourse to, except on no less an authority than the Emperor of the celestial empire. Mr. Lindsay, however, appears to think himself justified in giving the same opinion with respect to the commercial prospects of Ning-po as he had already given in reference to Fuh-Chow-foo, namely, that the government will not, at least for the present, sanction the car
rying on of trade on the part of foreigners with their people, but will fulminate their edicts against strange ships, and order them to be expelled from their seas; but then, if tact be shewn by the commanders of these ships, and a proper degree of moderation, with kindness for the people, be combined with a requisite degree of spirit to frighten the cowardly mandarins, then Mr. Lindsay considers that it will be in our power to establish an outlet for British manufactures of the greatest importance, and which may ultimately prove the elements of a permanent intercourse with a nation composed of no less than four hundred millions of enterprising and intelligent human beings.
Shangae in Keang-soo, a celebrated emporium of China, was the next place which the Amherst visited. Here their approach was disputed very strongly, but firmness and courage triumphed over every opposition. All the wharfs, as Mr Lindsay says, quoting from his journal made at the time.
* All the wharfs were crowded with people, who were attracted by our appearance. We landed in front of a large temple, dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, where we were subsequently lodged. The crowd opened right and left to give us free admission, and we walked through it into the temple, where a theatrical performance was going on, which our appearance immediately stopped, as every one's attention was turned to
I asked the way to the city and the taoutae's office, and we proceeded at a rapid pace in the direction indicated. As we approached, the lictors hastily tried to shut the doors, and we were only just in time to prevent it, and pushing them back, entered the outer court of the office. Here we found numerous low police people, but no decent persons, and the three doors leading to the interior were shut and barred as we entered. After waiting a few minutes, and repeatedly knocking at the door, seeing no symptoms of their being opened, Mr. Simpson and Mr. Stephens settled the point by two vigorous charges at the centre gate with their shoulders, which shook them off their hinges, and brought them down with a great clatter, and we made our entrance into the great hall of justice, at the further extremity of which was the state chair and table of the taoutae. Here were numerous official assistants, who seeing us thus unexpectedly among them, forgot totally our unceremonious mode of obtaining entrance, and received us with great politeness, inviting us to sit down and take tea and pipes.'
In the further intercourse which the party had with the authorities, Mr. Lindsay showed a degree of boldness and contempt for them, by which they were not only completely astonished, but humiliated, readily complying with every demand which he made upon them, and endeavouring to conciliate him and his party by the exercise of the most liberal hospitality. Notwithstanding all this kindness, the government was making preparations in the meantime to force the barbarian vessel to depart, and from the account of the warlike resources collected by the government, which is given by Mr. Lindsay, it appears that their ideas of war were conceived on a most ludicrous scale. Several excursions into
the neighbouring country were performed by the party, and in those districts which they visited, where the people were not restrained by the presence of mandarins, they exhibited the greatest attention and kindness to the strangers, all without exception behaving towards them with evident partiality, and many loading them with presents of vegetables, fruits, &c. It was during this part of his voyage that Mr. Lindsay witnessed a curious instance of the severity of military discipline in China. A mandarin, whose cap with a gold button was borne before him, was marched about in procession between two executioners, blindfolded, with a small flag on a short bamboo, pierced through each of his ears; before him was a man bearing a placard with this inscription:
“ By orders of the general of Soo and Sung; for a breach of military discipline, his ears are pierced as a warning to the multitude."
After being paraded along the bank, he was taken round the different war-junks, and then on board the admiral's vessel. Mr. Lindsay subsequently heard that his offence was having allowed the barbarian boat to pass the fort without reporting it.
But ultimately it appears that the Amherst left Shanghae without her party being over satisfied with the results of their visit. Still, Mr. Lindsay discovered enough even here to justify him in the opinion that it depended on ourselves, on our skill, moderation, and firmness, to overcome the hostility of the Chinese; and, on the whole, he thinks that he has fairly by his voyage established these two important points, first, that the natives of China in general wish for a more extended intercourse with foreigners; and secondly, that the local governments, though opposed to such a wish, yet are powerless to enforce their prohibitory edicts.
From Shanghae, the Amherst set sail on her final return to Macao. During their voyage to this place they anchored before and visited several parts of the coast or islands in their course,
and particularly the island of Corea, of which Mr. Lindsay presents us with a long account. The Coreans appear to have been distinguished above all other Chinese by a rooted antipathy to foreigners; but, as the party of the Amherst had been the first European visitors who could communicate their sentiments to the natives, Mr. Lindsay considered it his duty to endeavour to lay the foundation of an amicable communication with the rulers of the land. He drew up a petition to the king, and, having landed with seven companions, he was proceeding into the interior, but was stopped by the people. The natives seemed to be so determined not to allow the party to continue its journey, that the latter thought it most prudent to retire. However, by a fortunate accident they met, at another part of the coast, where they were obliged by the weather to anchor, a Corean who spoke Chinese, who recommended them to go to a certain anchorage where they would be safe, and where they might present the petition for the
purpose of its being submitted to the king. Mr. Lindsay followed this advice, and moving his ship to some islands a few miles distant, anchored near a village where several mandarins had been assembled. He was treated well, to his utter surprise, by these persons, who were also Coreans, and took the opportunity of improving the acquaintance by some rich presents. His interview with these chiefs, forms the subject of an interesting description.
Another report follows, written by Mr. Gutzlaff, but consisting only of a few pages, and relating to the same scenes as are alluded to in Mr. Lindsay's paper. We feel, however, that we have dwelt sufficiently long on the details of this important expedition, to enable our readers to see the drift of the undertaking, and to share with us some of the amusement and instruction which a perusal of this voyage has afforded us.
ART. V: 1. Journals of Excursions in the Alps; the Pennine, Graian,
Cottian, Rhetian, Lepontian, and Bernese. By William Brockedon, Author of " Illustrations of the Passes of the Alps.”
1 vol. Svo., with a Map. London: Duncan. 1833. 2. A Journey to Switzerland, and Pedestrian Tours in that
Country, including a Sketch of its History, and the Manners and Customs of its inhabitants. By L. Agassiz, Esq., late of the Royal Navy, and Royal Marines. 1 vol. large 8vo.
London: Smith & Elder. 1833. It may be convenient at the present moment to that very considerable class of our countrymen of which an annual migration to the continent is now deemed a part of their natural habits, that we should call their attention to the two works whose titles we have quoted above. Each presents us with an account of very nearly the same general locality; but, as they take different routes, and are engaged altogether upon different scenes, though still almost in the same country, we shall have to consider each work separately.
Mr. Brockedon is well known as a graphic illustrator of the Passes of the Alps; and his object in this work is, to complete the performance, and present the tourist with a more copious appendage of instructive and useful details than he thought it necessary to furnish at the period when he published those illustrations. From a perusal of the whole work, we conclude that it was the purpose of the author to abstain generally from long descriptions of the places included in his excursions, and to sacrifice his impulses of imagination or of partiality for sublime scenery to the object of furnishing the traveller with a correct and convenient practical guide in his journey. It is needless, therefore, to say, that, as a