Thursday, June 19, 2014

Additional Particulars of the News from China (May, 1857)

The Polynesian. Honolulu: May 9, 1857. Page 3.

Canton was still in flames when the Godfrey sailed on the 7th of Feb. No further progress had been made by Admiral Seymour with the troops at his disposal; in fact they find it hard work, as a portion of the regiment was at Canton, while the remainder are compelled to do extra duty. 

The first instalment of British reinforcements, consisting of 272 men, officers included, had arrived from Singapore in the steamer Sir James Brooks, which vessel had been chartered to convey them to Hong Kong for $13,000. The steamer Auckland had arrived at Singapore from Penang with 150 tons of shot, shell and ammunition, which would be forwarded to Canton the first opportunity. 

The Chinese still continued there attacks when opportunities offered, and an ineffectual attempt had been made to blow up H.B.M.’s ship Comus with fire rafts. One raft came in contact with the spanker boom of the vessel, and carried it away, causing the raft to clear the ship. The other raft was in a blaze, but was kept some distance from the ship by the four booms. As soon as the stern raft was clear, the chain cable was slipped, enabling the ship to swing around with the flood tide, and avoid the raft which they succeeded in anchoring. The Comus had her fore-rigging damaged, and her fore yard and bows slightly burned.

The Coromandel was on hand, having run from Macao Fort to tow the Comus out of danger, if necessary. The officers and men of the Comus behaved manfully during the impending danger. The next day the Chinese shifted their position well up Falshan Creek, having been annoyed by the Niger's fire, one shot of which took a mast clear off one of the junks. The Coromandel and Forbes succeeded in destroying a village in Elliot’s Passage, where a fleet of war junks had been anchored. The Encounter arrived and took the place of the Niger, off Macao Fort on the 28th of Jan. This Fort had been rendered impregnable to any assaults of the Chinese. 

The Niger and Barracouta had visited Wampoo. Bambootown remained untouched, but Newtown, together with all the foreigners’ workshops, &c., on shore had been leveled. Mr. Compus’ house had also been fired, and only the walls left standing. The piles of the various docks had been burnt, and every vestige of planks and spars removed. The stone work of the upper part of the granite dock had been dug up by the Chinese, and as they could not remove the caisson, they had spitefully perforated it with holes. Ten thousand dollars will not replace the damage done to the dock alone. Nothing had been heard as yet from Mr. Cooper. The three Chinese who were arrested on suspicion and kept as hostages for his delivery have been discharged. Asing, who had been arrested for poisoning the foreigners with arsenic in bread, was examined and discharged for want of evidence, but was arrested again for being concerned in the murder of the officers and crew of the Thistle. 

The fishing village of Tum-Isai in the Typu, opposite Macoa, was burnt the 26th of January, China New Year. The town was built of wood and bamboo, with several carpenters’ yards and rope walks. No lives lost. 

The proclamation prohibiting all communication with Macoa had been withdrawn by the magistrate of Heang-Shan, and consequently no stoppage of supplies have been attempted by the Chinese.

 Three Chinese had been arrested on a charge of administering poison to Mr. Caldwell and family, in the form of seeds of stramonium put in milk. 

A reward of $1000 has been offered for the apprehension of Chinese emisaries having treasonable papers.

A fishing boat had been captured by the pirates Jan. 31st, of Poo-Foy; Feb. 3d, a passage boat was taken off Puk-Ku.

Offers of reward of $1000 each have been made for the apprehension of Alun and Atsoi, foremen of the Esing bakery, who are believed to have been concerned in the attempt to poison the community on 15th of January.

The ship Golden Racer, lost at the entrance of the river Min, was timber laden for Ningpo, and not with teas and silks for the United States, as before reported. 

The French ship Anais, of 650 tons, sailed from Swataw, Jan. 29th, with a cargo of coolies, for Havana. On the 30th the coolies rose, overpowered the crew, killed the captain, supercargo and chief mate, (the supercargo’s son) when they run the vessel ashore at Fong-he, about five miles above Breakers Point. The rest of the crew and surgeon are onshore and well treated by the Chinese, but held for a ransom of $500, and the ringleaders among the coolies are in custody and will be given up to the French authorities. A schooner have been sent from Swatow to carry back the survivors. The French frigate Virginie had also gone up to demand liberation of the others.  

The whale ship Champion (of New Bedford) arrived at Hongkong Jan. 30. She was fourteen months out, having 900 barrels oil. Last from Guam, (17th Jan.) where she reports the inhabitants are starving by thousands. Four thousand had died with smallpox in three months. The Champion saw several sperm whales off the Bashees. 

The clipper ship Flyaway, from Hongkong for New York, went ashore near the Brothers at the entrance of the river Min, but fortunately got off and proceeded on her voyage. The ship Wild Wave (at Hong Kong) reports the ship Golden Racer to have gone ashore on the outer knoll at the mouth of the river Min and was totally wrecked. 

A large fleet of pirate boats, numbering fifty or sixty junks and small boats, some pulling a hundred oars, is at Ling-Ting. The US steamer San Jacinto, Commander Bell, had sailed in pursuit of them on the 29th January. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Coolie Horrors" (China, June 1857)

The Polynesian. Honolulu: June, 1857

The French ship Port de Bordeaux left Macao about the middle of January, bound to Havana with a cargo of Chinese apprentices.  When one day out, an alarm of fire was given from the between decks forward, and in frantic haste the officers and crew ran down to put it out.  No sooner were they there than a large number of the Chinese went aft and took charge of the arms, and then quietly told the master that the alarm was a ruse devised for the purpose of procuring his return to Macao. Some fifty or sixty of them, they said, had taken their passages on board thinking the vessel was going to the Straits only; they had not agreed to go to Havana, and go they would not. Of course, having no choice in the matter, the master hove about immediately, and on reaching Macao threw up his charter. The actual apprentices made no demur to being trans-shipped, and have since left in a Dutch ship. The tail, given to us on what we believe to be excellent authority appears incredible. It is incredible that European Agents, after so many warnings, should still exhibit so much laxity in sending Coolies away; and no less incredible that the Chinese should exhibit so much wisdom and praiseworthy forbearance.  


After the above was in type we learned by the schooner Mazeppa of another COOLIE HORROR. As the Mazeppa passed Breaker Point, she saw there, high and dry, the French ship Armais. This vessel was dispatched from Swatow recently, with a cargo of Chinese apprentices for Havana. The day after leaving the master was cut down with a hatchet, and the other officers and some of the crew dispatched in detail. The vessel was afterwards run ashore were seen by the Mazeppa, and the Chinese, said to number some six hundred, went their ways. The rest of the crew are in the hands of the villagers, and, under the supposition that they are English, will be massacred unless speedily rescued. -Friend of China. 

Proclamation from Mandarin Governor of Whampoa (China. June, 1857)

The Polynesian. Honolulu: June 6, 1857

The Moniteur de la Flotte publishes the following proclamation from the Mandarin governor of Whampoa:

“Infamous foreigners have presumed to raise the standard of revolt against the sublime and venerated authority of the Emperor. They have attacked the city of Canton in order to burn it,  and already they have received the punishment they merited, for our invincible troops have repulsed them, and killed a great number of them. Let them be attacked from every part of the empire. Let every inhabitant of China who shall meet an Englishman inflict on him the fate he merits. Already do our innumerable fleets and our mighty armies, which are dreaded by the whole world, advance to drive them away. Let everyone unite with that army; let everyone take part in the war, and teach foreigners to tremble before the will and before the anger of our Sovereign, whose gaze is as burning as the rays of the sun, and whose power is in measurable. He who shall not act in conformity with these orders, shall be considered a traitor, and they may expect from us a chastisement as prompt as terrible.

You hear! Obey.
The Mandarin Governor, TCHYN-TOO.
Done at Whampoa the 9th day of the 12th moon”

The Moniteur de la Flotte says, on the publication of the preceding document, the foreign ships anchored in the roads or in the Tehou-Kiang sailed away, taking with them the few Europeans in the town. The utmost excitement prevailed. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

"The English fleet was about to move into the Canton river." (March, 1857)

China (March, 1857)
The Polynesian. Honolulu: March 13, 1857, page 357.

We have Hong Kong dates to November 15. The American Commissioner had arrived at Hong Kong in the Minnesota. 

The English fleet was about to move into the Canton river. The French fleet will co-operate with the English, who were expected to commence immediately. 

The Russian Commissioner was at Hong Kong. 

It was rumored that Lord Canning, as soon as transports could be procured, would send 2,400 troops from India to China. 

The London Times says:- By the present time, probably, Canton has been attacked and captured. It has been determined to make dispute entirely local. Should the Emperor answer the capture of Canton by the expulsion of the English traders from Shanghae, then, indeed, matters will grow serious; but should he determine that the Canton Governor and mob have been justly punished, it is possible that hostilities may be confined to the operations which were to be commended in the South. The British force seems to be sufficient for the purpose of retribution at Canton. “In a few days,” says our correspondent, “we may reasonably expect to have 700 gun and 7,000 men in these waters. Of the latter we shall be able probably two land 4,000.” The “blue jackets” were being drilled for service on land.  We learn that the French have also determined to resort to hostilities against the Chinese. It should be understood beforehand such a union is by no means analogous to the combined operations in the Crimea. There is no military convention.  

Baron Gros has with a naval force from which he can land 600 seamen. He has therefore resolved to join in the operations against Canton. Thus we shall have the singular spectacle of two nations simultaneously prosecuting hostilities against the same people on different grounds, and without any formal convention or alliance. In fact, the two expeditions maybe looked upon as entirely separate. It is well understood that the Americans are to retain their position of looking on. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

News from Whampoa (September, 1848)

Source: The Friend. Honolulu. September, 1848. Page 67.

China.—A correspondent under date of 14th May, thus writes us from Whampoa:— "Everything is at present quiet in China, still no one knows when or how soon there may be an outbreak. The feeling among foreign residents is, that they are living in the crater of a volcano. The Chinese are decidedly hostile to all 'barbarians,' and they show their hostility in many ways very annoying. During the past week the English Consul issued a circular, authorizing English merchants, to pay no more duties for the present to the Chinese, on the ground, that they had violated the treaty.— The consul has made certain demands which I think will be complied with. I am informed that the course taken by the consul has the sanction of the Governor."

Cruise of the Constellation (February, 1845)

Source: The Friend. Honolulu: February, 1845. Page 22.

The following synopsis of this cruise we copy from the Baltimore American: 

"The U. S. ship Constellation, Commodore Kearney, sailed from Boston December 9th, 1840, and visited Rio de Janeiro, Cape of Good Hope, Johanna, Qiullah Battno, Penang and Singapore; and leaving Singapore February 5th, 1842, beat up the China Sea, touched at Ceicer de Mer, and arrived at Macao March 22d, 1842. 

During the time the Constellation remained on the China station, the following ports were visited, viz:—Macao, Hong Kong, Whampoa, Manilla and Amoy. 

The Constellation was the first American ship of war that entered the inner waters, having passed both bars of the Canton river, and anchored at Whampoa. Leaving China May 22d, 1843, the ship reached the Sandwich Islands July 7th, and, after visiting the islands of Oahu and Hawaii, sailed for Monterey August 28th. The ship anchored in Monterey Bay September 15th, and sailed for Valparaiso September 29th, which port the reached November 29th, 1843.

After remaining twenty-five days in port she sailed for Callao, and arrived there January 9th, 1844. She left Cullao on the 20th of January, and, after a pleasant passage of 52 days, unaccompanied by any incident of serious nature, anchored in Rio de Janeiro on the 12th of March, completing a cruise of three years from the date of her departure thence, on her cruise of circumnavigation. 

The Constellation arrived at Norfolk in 41 duys from Rio, having been absent from the United States three years, four months and twenty-two days. During her cruise, she logged, in 491 days at sea, 158,000 miles. Commander S. F. Dupont took passage in the ship at Rio de Janeiro."

Hong Kong, Wine and Beer (February, 1845)

Source: The Friend. Honolulu: February 1, 1845. Page 22. 

Writes a correspondent from Hong Kong, November 20, 1841. "This part of the world is a great beer and wine drinking part, and those who cannot get wine and beer, take samshoo and brandy. Hundreds go home on account of ill health, caused for the most part by their wine-bibbing, and even if they do not go, are exposed to fevers and agues, and other ailments. Much of the frightful mortality among the troops and population of Hong Kong last year was caused, or aided by the convivial habits of the sufferers."