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states that the letter and presents have not been received, because the ambassador could not present them; and the reason for not presenting them is thus announced:
• This was the day which his imperial majesty had appointed to receive Lord Amherst, the ambassador from the King of England; but when he came to the door of the interior palace, he was suddenly taken so ill that he could neither walk nor move. The second ambassador' (Sir G. Staunton) was also affected in the same manner; they could not therefore have the happiness of receiving the gracious favour and the presents of the celestial emperor.'
This sickness of the ambassador is a stale trick of the Chinese ; the explanation of which, we conjecture to be this: On finding that Lord Amherst was inflexible, they endeavoured to ensnare him by an apparent relaxation of the demand, when on arriving at the hall of audience he detected their stratagem, and resisted the attempt to enforce the ceren
emony, which they would have made no scruple to do. The autocrat of two hundred millions of people could not at once tell his slaves that a foreign ambassador would not, he therefore qualified the refusal with suggesting that he could not, through sickness, see bis heavenly face.'
The ambassador did not, however, leave Pekin on the oth August, in conformity with the imperial mandate: it was generally believed in Canton that he did not set out on the journey till the 7th September; what happened in the intermediate time does not appear, but on the 6th September another edict was published. It begins by noticing the grand banquet given at Tien-Sing; the refusal of the ambassador to comply with the prostrations there, with which his imperial majesty was not made acquainted, and for which neglect the two mandarins, Quong and Yin, were ordered to be degraded three degrees; and it proceeds to say, that the ambassador was lodged at a certain place, called Yu-yuen, near the capital, that from thence he was conducted to the imperial palace, • Where (observes his Chinese Majesty) I was just about to ascend the throne to receive them, when the first and second were both taken ill, and could not appear before me. In consequence of which I ordered them instantly to return to their own country, for it then occurred to me,
that they had declined to comply with the ceremonies of the celestial empire. With respect to their king who sent them on so long a voyage across the vast ocean, to present to me a letter and to offer tribute, it was undoubtedly his intention to pay us homage, and to obey our commands, which mark of submission we are unwilling entirely to reject, lest we also should fail to observe one of the fundamental rules of the celestial empire, that of affording our protection to petty kingdoms. For this reason we have thought fit to select the most triling and least valuable of his articles of tribute; namely, four maps, two portraits, and ninety-five prints, which we receive in order to confer some marks of
our and we
our grace and favour. We have also ordered presents to be given to the king in return, namely, a Yu-shé, four large and eight small silk
purses, to be conveyed to the said king; and this we do in conformity with the ancient and accustomed rules of the celestial empire, of making rich gifts in return for things of little value. The ambassadors on the receipt of these presents were much delighted, and shewed evident signs of surprize and astonishment.'
Well, indeed, they might!-- This extraordinary state-paper then proceeds to order the Viceroy of Canton to prepare an entertainment for the ambassador, and dictates the speech he is to make on that occasion, which is nearly a repetition of what we have quoted; and it concludes by saying, should the ainbassador again entreat that the rest of the presents may be received, you are merely to say, we have express orders to the contrary from the celestial em peror,
dare not again offend his ears,—and with these words you will reject their supplications.' Preparations were accordingly making by the Viceroy for a grand entertainment when the last ships came away, and he had sent notice to the chief of the factory, that he had received the emperor's letter to the King of England, which would be delivered to the ambassador on his arrival.
These edicts contain all that was known at Canton of the proceedings of the embassy. It is clear enough, however, from theni,'that it had failed; that is to say, that the ambassador bad saved his own character and the character of the nation he represented, at the expense of foregoing the gratification of beholding the dazzling rays of the celestial countenance,' and having the valuable presents sent out by the East India Company returned upon their hands. This is the sum total of the failure; for we must repeat, that not only has the national character been upheld by the refusal of Lord Amherst to comply with a disgusting and degrading ceremony, which a former English and a Russian ambassador had also refused; but that, individually, he will have experienced more consideration and'attention from those very people who have failed in their atteinpts to degrade him, and, through him, the whole nation; for the less that is conceded to this pusillanimous and insolent people, the more will their fears for the consequence begin to operate. What the issue of the embassy would have been, provided Lord Amherst lrad waved all personal considerations, and submitted to undergo the degrading ceremony, may be collected from the extrenie condescension of the two Dutch ambassadors, Titsingh and Van Braam. After Lord Macartney's failure, as it was also called, these two men imagined that a fine opening was afforded to the Dutch to obtain, by an unconditional submission, all that the Eng.' lish had lost by their obstinate refusal. They began at Canton to bow their heads nine times to the ground before a yellow skreen;
to thank the emperor for having graciously condescended to permit them to appear before him with a letter and tribute ; and, before their return, they were brought on their knees and bowed their heads to the ground ninety-nine times at least, pour faire le salut d'honneur,' as Van Braam, with true Batavian composure, calls this humiliating ceremony ;-but, after all this compliance on the part of the Dutch, when they found themselves, in the capital, thrust into a stable where some cart horses were standing, poor Vau's phlegm began to move a litile, and he ventures to exclaim, · Nous serions-nous attendus à une pareille avanture! This was not all; for they were passed through the country literally like so many vagrants; lodged in, wretched hovels neither wind nor water tight; left sometimes by their bearers, perched in chairs in the midst of heaths, or on the summits of mountains ; frequently without any provisions for whole days; and, in short, went through so many hardships, that Van Braam, who was a large man, says that he had lost on his return a full foot in circumference! whereas, in the case of Lord Macartney, far from manifesting any petulance or ill-humour, which might have been expected from mortified pride, the Chinese shewed every attention to the ambassador and his suite during the whole of their progress through the country.
But why object, we have heard it asked, to a ceremony which is the established usage of the country? Lord Macartney, we think, has satisfactorily, answered that question in urging the propriety of distinguishing between the homage of tributary princes, and the ceremony used on the part of a great and independent sovereign; and that it could not be expected that an ambassador of an independent sovereign should pay a greater homage to a foreign prince, than to his own master, unless the compliment was iade reciprocal. It is not true that the Chinese think little op nothing of their humiliating ceremony; had that been the case, the court of ceremonies would not have objected to Lord Macartney's proposal of a person of equal rank to his own performing the saine ceremony before the King's portrait that he should be required to perform before the Emperor. We know not, of course, whether Lord Amherst was prepared to propose this reciprocity of compliment; but if he did, and it was not accepted, he was perfectly, rightin refusing as Lord Macartuey had done. We cannot concewe a case where the representative of the sovereign of Great Britain should submit to a degradation which the representative of the Emperor Alexander had peremptorily resisted. The disappointment in not succeeding could not be more mortifying, nor the refusal less excusable, for Lord Ainherst than for Count Goloffkin; the latter, after a long and fatiguing journey across the woods and deserts of Siberia, was stopped short just as he came in view of the promised land, and turned back, because he would neither bow the knee to the yellow skreen, nor promise to do so to the Baal bimself, on his presentation at Pekin.
We have heard it asserted, that the Chinese protested against the case of Lord Macartney being drawn into a precedent, and that Lord Amherst was instructed to comply with the customary ceremonies: the first we know to be false ; and the other we have every reason to believe to be so; it is not likely he should be instructed either to comply or to refuse, but to act according to his own discretion and to circumstances. If it be asked, Why send an embassy at all? the Directors of the East India Company can best auswer such a question. They only, and their servants, know the comparative situation of their affairs at Canton, before and after the mission of Lord Macartney: since that mission, a new generation has sprung up; old grievances were revived; all manner of vexatious impediments and insulting conduct were daily directed against our trade, and those who conducted it; the native şervants were forbidden to engage themselves to Europeans ; and the latter were prohibited from addressing the local authorities in the Chinese language, which is the only language they understand ; supplies of provisions were stopped to his Majesty's ships, and cargoes withheld from those of the Company; the magistrates entered the factory without permission or previous notice; and many other offensive proceedings were instituted, which seemed too plainly to indicate a disposition to return to a system of oppression and insult, which, though it might have been submitted to in the early stage of our intercourse, could scarcely now be endured. In this state of things, the gentlemen of the factory, two years ago, came to the spirited resolution of withdrawing the whole of the ships of the season (with their cargoes yet unloaded) from the river, and of appealing at once to the court of Pekin: and Sir George Staunton, who conducted the difficult and delicate discussions, was under the necessity of actually removing the British flag from the factory, and proceeding down the river to carry their intentions into effect, when the natural timidity of the Chinese got the better of their insolence; and a deputation was sent after him to entreat his return and continue the negociations. It might, therefore, and probably was, deemed advisable to remind these corrupt provincial authorities, by another embassy, that the gentlemen of the English factory at Canton were not a set of unprotected adventurers, as they were inclined to consider them. Beyond the wish of obtaining justice and protection for our trade, the East India Company could have nothing to ask; and when we con sider the magnitude and importance of that trade which employs from England more than 20,000 tons of shipping, and from India
nearly the same amcunt—which takes from us broad cloths to the amount of one million sterling, and cottons from Bombay to double that value-which enables, by its profits, the East India Company to pay their dividends, and brings annually into the Exchequer from three to four millions sterling-inally, which supplies an article, not inerely of luxury, but now almost become one of the first necessity, and which no other part of the world can supply-the preservation of such a trade from capricious obstructious, and vexatious impositions and delays, is' well worth the risk even of offending his Imperial Majesty, who is generally contented with visiting bis anger upon his own subjects. If an embassy produced no other effect, as one of the Directors justly observed,
one hundred thousand pounds would be well expended every ten or twelve years, to save our people from insult and our trade from interruption ?
Little mischief as we apprehend from the failure of the embassy, we are not quite at' ease with regard to the affair of the Alceste engaging with the Chinese forts. The Chinese have at all times been jealous
s of our inen of war entering the river, and we believe complaints on this score have been made by the Company's servants of the factory,' who of course can exercise no control over officers of the navý: 'büt the Alceste was placed under extraordinary circumstances; she had carried out an ambassador on a pacific mission; she was ordered to Canton to refit and prepare for the reception of that ambassador; her captain had a letter from the viceroy of Pe-the-lee, ordering the authorities to supply her wants wherever she might touch. It would appear, therefore, that the Chinese admiral and the cominanders of the forts, in wantonly firing at the Alceste, bad exceeded their orders; and this may explain why no rotice whatever had been taken of the affair at Canton, where Captain Maxwell had been four days, when the last letters came away; at which time neither the preparations for the reception of Lord Amherst, nor the loading of the Company's ships, had suffered the least interruption. We understand, indeed, that our long forbearance has had no other effect than that of encouraging the Chinese war-junks and forts to fire on our ships of commerce and their boats, on every frivolous pretext, which, though generally harmless, is a wanton and reprehensible aggression. This forbearance must have its bounds ; it is not every man who can carry it to that pitch of endurance exercised by the late Adiniral O'Brien Drury. On the memorable expedition against Macao, this gallant officer found the river near Canton blocked up by armed junks, having thousands of Chinese on board. • Apprehending' (he obo serves in a letter to his friend) that they might fire their little petards, I advanced in my barge to explain to their admiral my VOL. XVI. NO. XXXII.