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To this they refused to accede, stating that they had reported the matter to their superior officers and must await orders, and intimating very distinctly that they would oppose with force, any attempt on my part to take the men under my charge.
I returned, therefore, to the Consulate, and have addressed the Imperial Commissioner, the letter I beg to inclose in copy.
The officers on board the war-boat stated to me, as the reason of their proceedings, that one of the crew of the lorcha is the father of a noted Koo-lan pirate, and being authorized to seize this old man whenever they found him, and hearing that he was on board the “ Arrow " they considered themselves at liberty to carry him away without any previous reference to me, lest this should lead to his escape. I did not understand that they had any distinct charge against the other eleven men, but heard that they wanted them for the information or evidence they considered they would be able to give against the said pirate.
Since writing the above (at a late hour in the evering) a writer whom I left on board the war-boat to watch proceedings, has returned and reported that all the prisoners have been conveyed into the city.
I shall be glad to receive any support or instructions that your Excellency may consider the case requires.
I have, &c. (Signed) HARRY S. PARKES.
Inclosure 2 in No. 1.
Canton, October 8, 1856. I HASTEN to bring to your Excellency's notice an insult of a very grave character, which calls for immediate reparation.
This morning, shortly after 8 o'clock, a Chinese war-boat boarded an English lorcha, the “ Arrow,” lying at anchor in the river near the Dutch Folly, and regardless of the remonstrances of her master, an Englishman, seized, bound, and carried off, twelve of her Chinese crew, and hauled down the English colours which were then flying. Hesitating to rely solely on the master's account of so gross an outrage, I at once dispatched people to make inquiries, and found that the facts were as he had stated, and that the war-boat, said to be under the command of Leang-kwo-ting, a Captain (Show-pe) in the Imperial service, after leaving the lorcha, had dropped down the river, and was lying off the Yung-tsing Gate, with the crew of the lorcha still on board as prisoners.
On receiving this intelligence, I proceeded in person to the war-boat, accompanied by Her Majesty's Vice-Consul, and explained to the officer whom I found in charge, named Le-yung-shing, the gravity of the error committed by the said war-boat in boarding and carrying off, by force of arms, the crew of an English vessel, and the gross indignity offered to the national flag by hauling down the lorcha's ensign. I also required him to bring his prisoners to the British Consulate, there to await examination ; but this he refused to do, and upon my claiming them, and insisting upon their being delivered to me, he made a display of force, and threatened me with violence if I attempted to take them with me.
I have, therefore, to lay the case before your Excellency, confident that your superior judgment will lead you at once to admit that an insult so publicly committed must be equally publicly atoned. I therefore request your Excellency to direct that the men who have been carried away from the “ Arrow," be returned by the Captain, Leang-kwo-ting, to that vessel in my presence; and if accused of any crime, they may then be conveyed to the British Consulate, where, in conjunction with proper officers deputed by your Excellency for the purpose, I shall be prepared to investigate the case.
At the same time that I address your Excellency on this subject, I am submitting, both to Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary and the Commodore in command of Her Majesty's naval force in this river, a report of what has occurred, and I should add, that the said lorcha being at present detained here in consequence of the seizure of her crew, has a ciaim upon your Excellency's Government for the expenses which this delay occasions her.
I have, &c. (Signed) HARRY S. PARKES.
Inclosure 3 in No. 1.
Hong Kong, October 10, 1856. I HAVE had a conference with his Excellency the Naval Commander-inchief on the subject of your despatch dated 8th October, reporting the improper proceedings of Chinese officers in carrying away the crew and lowering the flag of a British vessel called the “Arrow," and which I find is registered in the name of a Chinese settler in this colony.
Sir Michael Seymour will instruct Commodore Elliot to discuss with you the most appropriate means of obtaining redress for the wrong which has been done. I trust the Imperial Commissioner will not hesitate to order becoming reparation on the representation you have made.
Should he fail to do so, you will not sanction any overt act of violence without receiving instructions from hence, after reporting what may have taken place.
But you may be assured support will not be wanting to you in maintaining the rights of Her Majesty's subjects and the lawful protection to which the British flag is entitled from the Chinese.
I have, &c. (Signed) JOHN BOWRING.
Inclosure 4 in No. 1.
Consul Parkes to Sir J. Bowring. Sir,
Canton, October 9, 1856. WITH reference to my despatch of last night, reporting the grave violation of national rights committed yesterday by Chinese officials on board the British lorcha " Arrow,” I have now the honour to inclose copy of the letter I addressed Commodore Elliot, of Her Majesty's ship “ Sybille," at present anchored, I believe, at Chuen-pee.
The whole of the day has passed without the receipt of any communication from the Imperial Commissioner or any other Chinese official relative to this outrage. In the hope of inducing the Imperial Commissioner to view the matter in the grave light which it deserves, I have again called his attention to it in a letter this moment despatched. I have also taken in the course of the day several depositions confirmatory of the facts set forth in my letter of yesterday.
I have, &c. (Signed) HARRY S. PARKES.
Inclosure 5 in No. 1.
Consul Parkes to Commodore Elliot. Sir,
Canton, October 8, 1856 (midnight). AN outrage, involving a gross insult to our flag, has been committed this morning by Chinese officers on board the British lorcha “ Arrow." The particulars you will find related in the inclosed copy of a letter which, failing reparation at the hands of the actors in the matter, I have just addressed to the Imperial Commissioner and Governor-General of these provinces.* * Inclosure 2
Since doing so, I have just heard that the captured crew of the “Arrow" have been taken from the war-boat into the city. I can at present form no opinion as to the course affairs may take, but fear that even if the Imperial Commissioner do not entirely countenance the proceedings of his officers, he may still withhold from me the satisfaction I have claimed.
The presence of Her Majesty's ship “Sybille” at Whampoa, or of any prompt mark of support that you could render me, might have the effect of materially strengthening my position, and I hasten, therefore, to lay the circumstances before you, in the hope that you will be pleased to take such steps therein as you may consider the exigency authorizes or requires.
I have, &c. (Signed) HARRY S. PARKES.
Inclosure 6 in No. 1.
Canton, October 10, 1856.
The nine men enumerated at the close of his letter were returned to me at the same time; but I refused to receive them, because they were not delivered in the manner I had demanded; but I doubt not the Assistant Magistrate will put them on board the lorcha, in obedience to the orders given him to this effect by the Imperial Commissioner.
Nothing, it appears to me, can be more unsatisfactory than the reply of the Imperial Commissioner, who offers no redress or apology, but upholds the acts of his officers throughout, and denies that the lorcha is British-owned. This he maintains on the evidence of one of the lorcha's crew, who being a prisoner in the hands of the Mandarins was ready, doubtless, to conform his statements to their wishes. He declares that the lorcha belongs to one Soo-a-hing, respecting whom, however, no information is afforded.
I should mention that the “ Arrow" is sailing under a Colonial certificate of registry, renewable annually, bearing the date Hong Kong, 27th September, 1855, and the number 27. She is therein said to belong solely to “Fong-a-ming of Victoria, Hong Kong, Chinese trader,” but the place and date of her build is not given. Her master's name is Thomas Kennedy, a native of Belfast, and a very respectable man of his class, who informs me that he was engaged by Mr. Block. (Danish Consul at Hong Kong) as nominal master of the lorcha, which he has hitherto believed to belong to Mr. Block's comprador, and he supposes that it is the comprador's name which appears on the register.
The immediate dispatch of this evening's post-boat obliges me to close this despatch without further remark; but I may add that Commodore Elliot has communicated to me his intention of moving Her Majesty's ship “Sybille” up to Whampoa at once.
I have, &c. (Signed) HARRY S. PARKES.
Inclosure 7 in No. 1.
Commissioner Yeh to Consul Parkes.
October 10, 1856. YEH, Commissioner, Governor-General of the Kwang Provinces, &c., addresses this declaration to Mr. Parkes, the British Consul at Canton.
At about 8 o'clock on the morning of the eleventh day (9th October), and again about 4 o'clock on the same day, I received the two written representations of the said Consul, and well considered their contents.
The Prefect of Canton was ordered by me to examine the twelve men.
Le-ming-tae and others, seized on board the lorcha, but prior to the issue of these directions I had already been informed by certain subordinate naval authorities, that these seamen, Le-ming-tae and others, were the perpetrators of the piracy committed at San-chow-tang in St. John's Island on the eighth day of the eighth month (6th September) on the merchant vessel belonging to Hwang-leen-vral, who wears the decoration of the fifth rank.
In the matter of this piracy, Hwang-leen-vral deposed as follows:
I belong to the small town of Sin-hen, in the usual division of Chin-trun, in the district of Shun-tic. On the eighth day of the eighth month (6th September), I arrived, in my vessel, off San-chow-tang, in the district of Sin-ning, where I fell in with a large pirate fleet. Being supported by my crew, I opened fire upon the pirates in self defence, and fought them from 7 o'clock until 4. I observed that they had with them a lorcha, and a Tsih-pang (name of a certain class of boat) and two or three foreigners. On our side we had but two sailing junks, and being unable with these to resist the superior force of the pirates, they carried us by the board, and plundered us of all our cargo, consisting of between five or six piculs of indigo, aniseed, hides, coarse paper, and paddy.
I am able to recognize one of the pirates. He wore a red turban, and a red girdle, has lost one or two of his front teeth, and cheered on his crew to keep up their fire. I threw myself into the water and escaped, but of those who were with me, Ayun received a sword cut, and a lad from Keang-man, and two other men named A-sze-tsae and Ta-a-sze, received gun-shot wounds. All these four have since died of their wounds, which were very severe. On the 10th instant (8th October), I came up to Canton, and recognized as I sailed past this lorcha (the “ Arrow”), one of the men who had fought against me on the eighth day (? of the 8th moon as above mentioned). I immediately reported the circumstance to the naval authorities of the sea-cruizing force, and with them went and seized the twelve criminals, Le-ming-tae and others. Of the twelve criminals who have now been taken into custody, I am certain that Le-ming-tae, alias Leang-ming-tae, was one of those pirates who attacked me in the manner : described.
The following deposition was made by Woo-ajen :
I come from the end of Cha-chuen at Macao in the district of Heang-shan. This lorcha, the “Arrow" belongs to Soo-a-ching, who began to build it on the 14th day of the 7th month, of the 4th year of Heen-fung (7th August, 1854). On the very day that the lorcha was completed he obtained a register for her through the foreign firm Po-lô (?F. H. Block of Hong-Kong) for which he paid 1,000 dollars. He also engaged the foreigner A-loo (? Arrow) to serve in the lorcha at the rate of 30 dollars per month. Hitherto she has made voyages along the coast to Foo-chow, Amoy, and Shanghae, trading in rice, pulse, and general merchandize. I am aware that Le-ming-tae is also known by the name of Leang-ming-tae. On the 23rd day of the 8th month of the present year (21st September) Kaou-laou-jih, the helmsman of our vessel,* engaged Le-ming-tae and Leang-keen-foo, to assist in the navigation of our vessel. On the evening of the 25th day of the 8th month (23rd September), we were sitting alone in the bow of the vessel, when Le-ming-tae told me that on the 6th day of the 8th month (4th September), he, with Leang-keen-foo, and more than thirty other men, joined themselves to five or six Tsih-pang boats and plundered the junks belonging to Hwang-leen-Kae off San-chowtang, in the district of Sin-ning, none of the remaining ten men (of our crew) Tanga-kee and others took part in the piracy, and I certainly had no share in it. What I state is perfectly true.
It is clear from the above reports and depositions that the officers had good reasons for seizing these men, among whom there are several great offenders, Woo-a-jen, (Le-ming-tae and Leang-keen-foo) must be again very strictly examined, but I have directed that the Assistant Magistrate Heu take the remaining nine, namely Leang-a-paon, Leang-mee-kee, Leang-a-tae, Leanga-yen, Leaon-a-on, Ho-a-pih, Yuen-a-ke, Leang-king-jen, and 'Tang-a-kee, and return them to their vessel.
. * The Arrow," it is believed, is here meant.--H. S. P,
As to what the Consul states, relative to the lorcha being reimbursed the expense consequent on her detention, I find that as the lorcha was built by Loo-a-ching, who obtained a register for her through Po-lo (? Mr. Block) to whom he paid 1,000 dollars. She is not a foreign lorcha, and it is useless therefore to enter into any discussion respecting her.
Names of the nine men who are herewith sent back :
Tang-a-kee, Leang-king-jen, Yuen-a-ke, Ho-a-pih, Leaon-a-on, Leang-a-yen, Leang-a-tae, Leang-mei-ke, Leang-a-paon.
Heen-fung, 6th year, 9th month, 12th day.
Inclosure 8 in No. 1.
Sir J. Bowring to Rear-Admiral Sir M. Seymour.
Hong Kong, October 11, 1856. I HAVE the honour to forward to your Excellency sundry despatches, with their inclosures, connected with the seizure of several Chinamen at Canton, in a vessel (the “ Arrow”) bearing the British flag.
As I have had the honour of discussing with your Excellency the various points at issue, and the satisfaction of finding a perfect concurrence of opinion as to the course of action to be adopted, I shall be glad if you will give the needful instructions to the naval authorities, and return the despatches when done with.
I have, &c.
Inclosure 9 in No. 1.
Rear-Admiral Sir M. Seymour to Sir. J. Bowring.
Hong Kong, October 11, 1856. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's despatch of this date, and herewith beg to return the inclosures to the same, and a copy of an order I have addressed to Commodore the Honourable C. G. J. B. Elliot, Her Majesty's ship “Sybille,” on the subject.
I have, &c. (Signed) M. SEYMOUR.
Inclosure 10 in No. 1.
Hong Kong, October 11, 1856. SIR JOHN BOWRING, Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary in China, having reported to me the outrage committed on a lorcha under British colours at Canton, and having conferred with his Excellency on the subject of a despatch he has this day written to Mr. Consul Parkes at Canton, in which he puts forth that, should the Chinese authorities refuse to give satisfaction for the insult, it would be expedient to seize an Imperial junk; I have to desire you will lose no time in conferring with Mr. Parkes, after he has received Sir John Bowring's despatch, and act according to the determination both you and the Consul mạy ultimately come to.