Anglo-Chinese War ("Opium war") of 1856 - 1860 
Anglo-Chinese War ("Opium war") of 1856 - 1860 

Royal NavyCampaigns(2/2)

W.L. Clowes on the Second Anglo-Chinese War ("Opium war") of 1856 - 1860 (1/2)

The first China War, 1839-42, had not taught the lessons which it was designed to teach; and within a few years of its conclusion new difficulties began to arise between the British and the local authorities in various parts of the huge invertebrate empire. For a time these were arranged as they arose, without resort to war; but they were arranged, unfortunately, in a manner which too often allowed the Chinese to remain in the belief that they had won diplomatic triumphs. The result was that both locally and at the capitals, the governing classes became steadily more and more inattentive to British remonstrances concerning acts of aggression, until, in 1856, the affair of the Arrow, and the vigorous action of Rear-Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies, brought about the second China War, which lasted, with intermissions, for nearly four years.

The causes of the fresh outbreak of hostilities are set forth in a dispatch which was sent by Seymour to the Admiralty on November 14th, 1856; and they may be thus summarised (Perhaps the best account of the origin and early part of the Second Chinese War is in G. C. Cooke's 'China', which has been freely made use of).

On October 8th, 1856, the lorcha Arrow, with a colonial register from the governor of Hong Kong, was boarded, while at anchor at Canton, by a Chinese officer and a party of soldiers, who, notwithstanding the protest of the English master, seized twelve of the crew, bound them, carried them off, and hauled down the British flag. Mr. Parkes, her Majesty's consul, brought the matter before the Imperial High Commissioner, Yeh, and demanded the return of the twelve men by the officer who had abducted them, together with an apology, and an assurance that the flag should be respected in the future. Ultimately the men were sent back, but not in the public manner required; nor was any apology or assurance offered. On October 11th, the matter was reported to Seymour by Sir John Bowring, British Plenipotentiary in China, who suggested that an Imperial junk should be seized by way of reprisals. The making of the seizure was entrusted to Commodore the Hon. Charles Gilbert John Brydone Elliot, C.B., of the Sibylle, 40, senior officer in the Canton river, who was reinforced for the purpose with the Barracouta, 6, paddle, Commander Thomas Dyke Acland Fortescue (Posted, Sept. 7th, 1857.), and the Coromandel, steam tender. A junk was duly captured, but, as it proved to be private property, it had to be presently released. Seymour then (Oct. 18th) sent the Encounter, 14, screw, Captain George William Douglas O'Callaghan, and Samson, 6, paddle, Captain George Sumner Hand, to join the Commodore, hoping that the display of force in the river would bring the High Commissioner to reason. It soon, however, became clear that that official was bent upon resistance.

In the meantime, Mr. Parkes proceeded to consult with Seymour and Bowring at Hong Kong, where it was decided to seize the defences of Canton, it being evident that any more moderate measures would, as usual, be interpreted by the Chinese as symptoms of weakness. Seymour accordingly moved his flagship, the Calcutta, 84, Captain William King Hall, C.B., as high above the Bogue Forts as her draft would permit; and, on the morning of October 23rd, proceeded towards Canton in the Coromandel, accompanied by the Samson and Barracouta, with detachments of Royal Marines, and boats' crews, from the Calcutta, Winchester, 50, Captain Thomas Wilson, and Bittern (she had been condemned, and had been for some time awaiting sale), 12, and with the Commodore and the boats of the Sibylle. On approaching Blenheim reach, the Samson and part of the force diverged up the Macao passage to keep that channel open, and to capture Blenheim fort, while the Rear-Admiral, with the Coromandel and Barracouta, went on, and anchored above the four Barrier Forts, about five miles below the city. The boats, being sent in, took possession of the works, two of which fired ere they were taken, and consequently suffered a slight loss. In the forts "were about 150 guns, from one foot bore (this was a brass gun) to four pounders."

The Barracouta was ordered to follow the Samson; and the Commander-in-Chief, having dismantled and burnt the forts, continued his route to Canton, off which he arrived at 2 P.M., and where he learnt that boats from the Samson and Barracouta had quietly occupied the Blenheim Fort, and also the Macao Fort, a strong island position mounting 86 guns.

Mr. Parkes formally announced Seymour's arrival to the High Commissioner, and explained not only what had been done, but also that further measures of like nature would be adopted unless reparation should be forthcoming. The High Commissioner chose to remain obdurate.

On the morning of October 24th, Sir Michael landed additional Marines to aid detachments which were already ashore in Canton from the Sibylle and Encounter for the protection of the factory and he himself went in the Coromandel to join the Barracouta off Macao Fort. Upon a preconcerted signal, the Bird's Nest Fort mounting 35 guns, and a small fort, which being opposite the city, might have annoyed the factory, were seized without resistance. The Shameen Forts, at the head of the Macao passage were subsequently treated in the same way; and all the guns and ammunition in them were rendered unserviceable or were destroyed.

Detecting no signs whatsoever of submission on the part of the Chinese, but rather a more intractable disposition than ever Seymour landed the rest of his Marines and a body of small-arm men to secure the factory, and stationed boats to guard against the approach of fire rafts, and attacks by water. This necessary work was superintended by Captain William King Hall, and the Marines on shore were placed under Captain Penrose Charles Penrose, R.M., of the Winchester, while Captain Cowper, R.E., who had been sent for the purpose from Hong Kong, advised as to the strengthening of the weak points of the position. For the protection of American interests, officers, seamen, and marines were landed at the same time from the U.S. corvette Portsmouth, Commander Andrew H. Foote, U.S.N.

On October 25th possession was taken of Dutch Folly, a 50-gun fort on a small island opposite Canton; and it was garrisoned by 140 officers and men under Commander William Rue Rolland, of the Calcutta. All the defences of the city were then in British hands; and the Commander-in-Chief desired Mr. Parkes to write to the High Commissioner that operations would cease when his Excellency should be prepared satisfactorily to settle the points in dispute.

His Excellency did not reply as Seymour had anticipated. At 12.30 P.M., a body of Chinese troops, part of a much larger force in its rear, attacked the position at the factory, in spite of Mr. Parkes's warning; but Penrose, with his Marines, drove back the enemy, killing and wounding about 14 of them. On the 26th, it being Sunday, the men were allowed to rest.

Early on the morning of the 27th, Seymour caused a new letter to be written to the High Commissioner, informing him that, since satisfaction had not been offered for the Arrow outrage, operations would be continued. At Bowring's suggestion an additional demand was made to the effect that all foreign representatives should be allowed the same free access to the city, and to the authorities at Canton, as was enjoyed under treaty at the other four ports, and denied at Canton only.

No reply being vouchsafed, fire was opened at 1 P.M. on the High Commissioner's compound from the 10-in. pivot gun of the Encounter, and kept up at intervals of from five to ten minutes until sunset. At the same time, the Barracouta, from a position which she had taken up at the head of Sulphur Creek, shelled some troops who were on the hills behind Grough's Fort. The High Commissioner retaliated by publicly offering a reward of 30 dollars for the head of every Englishman. A few gunners of the Royal Artillery, who had joined under Captain Guy Rotton, R.A., were that day stationed in the Dutch Folly, where two 32-prs. from the Encounter had been mounted.

On the 28th, these guns opened with the object of clearing a passage to the city wall. In the course of the day, Captain the Hon. Keith Stewart, of the Nankin, 50, joined the Rear-Admiral, with 140 of his men, and a couple of field-pieces; and 65 officers and men from the U.S. corvette Levant reinforced the American guard ashore. During the following night, the enemy apparently mounted guns on the city wall; and, anxious to give them no further opportunity for improving their defences, Seymour reopened fire early on the 29th. In the course of the morning, Commander William Thornton Bate, late of the Bittern, and acting Master Charles George Johnston, at some personal risk, ascertained that the breach was practicable; and a body of Marines and small-arm men, about 300 in number, was told off for the assault, under the command of Commodore Elliot. The Rear-Admiral accompanied the advance from the boats which landed the force, and two field-pieces at 2 P.M. The seamen were led by the Commodore, Captain the Hon. Keith Stewart, and Commanders Bate and Rolland (Posted, Aug. 10th, 1857.); the Marines by Captains Penrose and Robert Boyle, R.M.; and the gun-detachment by Lieutenant James Henry Bushnell and James Stevenson Twysden; Bate gallantly showing the way, and carrying an ensign to the summit of the breach, the wall on each side of which was quickly occupied. Penrose moved to the gate next on the right, and, having signalled his presence there, opened it to a further detachment which was instantly landed under Captain William King Hall, Commander Fortescue, and Flag-Lieutenant George Campbell Fowler (Com., Aug. 10th, 1857.). The gate was then blown to pieces (By Capt. Rotton, R.A), and the archway above it partially destroyed. In the meantime the guns had been placed in the breach, and had opened on some Chinese who began a desultory fire from their gingals, by which three people were killed, and eleven (two mortally) wounded. The latter were sent to Dutch Folly where they were attended to by Surgeon Charles Abercromby Anderson, M.D., and Assistant-Surgeon George Bruce Newton. The Rear-Admiral, with the Commodore and Mr. Parkes, visited the house of the High Commissioner, and, at sunset, re-embarked with all his force, his object being, as he said in his dispatch, to demonstrate his power to enter the city. It is right, however, to add, that in the squadron the retirement was attributed to the impossibility of making a lodgement. At all events, its moral effect was bad; and it is scarcely astonishing that, in the night, the enemy filled up the breach with sandbags and timber. On the 30th and two following mornings it was cleared again by fire from the ships.

Seymour once more wrote to the High Commissioner, sending him indeed two letters, neither of which produced a satisfactory reply. In the interval, in order to protect the factory from the dangers of incendiary fires, the houses between it and the city were pulled down; and copies of the Rear-Admiral's letters, with a précis of the whole affair by Mr. Parkes, were distributed among the people through the medium of the native boatmen, who, in spite of what was going on, continued to furnish supplies to the ships. On the 31st, Captain Thomas Wilson joined, with 90 officers and men from his ship, the Winchester.

On November 3rd, the Encounter, Samson, and Dutch Folly began a slow fire on the government buildings in the Tartar city, and on Gough's Fort, and continued it till 5 P.M. Seymour also addressed yet another letter to the High Commissioner. At night an attempt was made to blow up the English clubhouse, in which were some seamen and Marines; and, in consequence, no native boats were thereafter allowed to approach the sea-wall of the factory.

On the 4th, fire was resumed for four hours, and on the 5th, one of the Samson's 68-prs. in Dutch Folly threw shells into a distant fort on a hill behind the city. That day information was received to the effect that an attack was intended upon the ships and the factory, and that twenty-three war junks were at anchor below Dutch Folly, protected by French Folly Fort, which mounted 26 guns.

Commodore Elliot was ordered to take the Barracouta, Coromandel, and ships' boats, and disperse or capture the junks; and, Commander Bate having buoyed the narrow channel, the force proceeded at daylight on the 6th, and Fortescue presently anchored the Barracouta 800 yards above French Folly, and within 200 yards of the nearest of the hostile vessels, which were all ready for action. The Barracouta, in order to prevent the Chinese from training their guns on her, fired her bow pivot gun as she approached, and so provoked the enemy, who, from more than 150 pieces, retaliated ere she could bring her broadside to bear. In about five-and-thirty minutes, however, her grape and canister, and the approaching boats, under Captain Thomas Wilson, drove the people from their vessels; and the sloop was then able to give her undivided attention to French Folly, which, being soon silenced, was taken possession of by a landing-party under Captain King Hall. Its guns and ammunition were destroyed. Two 32-prs. in Dutch Folly rendered material help during the engagement. The junks, being aground, or sunk, were burnt, with the exception of the admiral's ship, which was brought off, and two more, which escaped for the time, though one of them was afterwards burnt by Captain King Hall. Seymour mentions with praise the conduct of Commander Fortescue, of his senior Lieutenant, William Kemptown Bush, and of Lieutenant Henry Hamilton Beamish, of the Calcutta, who, under a very heavy fire, carried out the anchor by means of which the Barracouta (her hull was pierced by 28 large shot, besides smaller ones) was enabled to spring her broadside. The affair, very bloody to the enemy, cost the British a loss of but 1 killed and 4 wounded.

On November 7th, the Niger, 13, screw, Captain the Hon. Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, C.B., arrived from England; and a detachment from the frigate Virginie landed to protect French interests at the factory. At 4 A.M. on the 8th, the squadron was suddenly alarmed by a bold attempt on the part of the enemy to destroy it with fire-vessels. The Chinese sailed four large junks down the river, and anchored them when they were close to the Barracouta, Samson, and Niger, whereupon they instantly burst into a blaze. The Barracouta must infallibly have been burnt had she not slipped her cable with extraordinary promptitude. The junks were backed up by war-boats but no damage was done, except to the Chinese. To prevent any similar occurrence Seymour caused lines of junks to be drawn across the river, above and below the shipping; nor was the precaution needless. On the 12th, one of the junks of the upper line was burnt by means of a stinkpot; and on the 13th, two small fire boats which had been sent from the shore, exploded alongside the Niger. Thenceforward no native boats whatsoever were allowed within the lines of junks.

In the meantime, at the advice of Sir John Bowring, the Rear Admiral threatened the High Commissioner with the destruction of the Bogue forts; but, failing, as before, to coerce him into submission he left Commodore Elliot, with the Samson and Niger, to protect the factory, and on the afternoon of the 11th proceeded in the Encounter below the Bogue, where he found the Calcutta, in which he rehoisted his flag, Nankin, 50, Barracouta, Hornet, 17, screw, Commander Charles Codrington Forsyth, just arrived from Hong Kong, and Coromandel. On the 12th, the mandarin in charge was summoned to deliver up the forts, pending the Emperor of China's decision concerning the conduct of the Viceroy and High Commissioner; and the Calcutta and Nankin were placed in position favourable for action. As the demand was refused, the ships opened fire at 10.45 A.M. against the two Wantung Islands forts from the Bremer Channel side; and, after a considerable but ill-directed resistance for about an hour (the majority of the logs make the time to have been nearer two hours), sent ashore parties which took possession of them. In the Nankin a boy was killed, and 4 men were wounded; but fortunately there were no other casualties. The forts were fully manned, and mounted upwards of 200 guns; and they were stronger than when taken in 1841. On the 13th, the Anunghoy forts, on the opposite side of the Bogue, were attacked and taken in a similar manner. They mounted 210 guns, but were captured without loss to the British. On the 14th, the Commander-in-Chief returned to the Niger off Canton. Concluding his report of these events, Seymour wrote:-

"The command of the river being now in our hands, I have no operation in immediate contemplation beyond the security and maintenance of our position; and it will remain with H.M. Government to determine whether the present opportunity shall be made available to enforce to their full extent the treaty stipulations which the Canton government has hitherto been allowed to evade with impunity.... The original cause of dispute, though comparatively trifling, has now, from the injurious policy pursued by the Imperial High Commissioner, assumed so very grave an aspect as to threaten the existence of amicable relations as regards Canton. Though I shall continue to take steps, in conjunction with H.M. Plenipotentiary, in the hope of being able to bring matters to a successful termination, I shall be most anxious to receive the instructions of H.M. Government on this important question." (Seymour to Adlty., Nov. 14th.)

The Encounter was stationed close off the factory as a guard; and the Samson was sent below the Barrier forts to join the Comus, 14, Commander Robert Jenkins, which was subsequently moved to below the Bogue to protect trade, and was relieved by the Hornet. On December 2nd, the Samson was ordered to the neighbourhood of Hong Kong, where petty piracy had become very troublesome. While, however, Seymour allowed the Chinese a short respite, the foolish conduct of the mandarins, and the intractableness of Yeh, provoked a conflict with the United States' ships in the river.

On December 6th, at the back of Stonecutters' Island, near Hong Kong, the Samson, after an exciting chase of a couple of hours, drove ashore several junks and destroyed five, besides liberating two market boats with passengers on board. These petty pirates flew the flag of the Ti-ping rebels; and it was consequently somewhat difficult for Captain Hand to make certain of their true status until he caught them, as it were, red-handed (Hand to Seymour, Dec. 6th, 1856. Hand took two more piratical boats on Dec. 29th, off Tongboo, he having been sent in the interim to Amoy.). In the Canton river little was done by the British during the winter months beyond what was rendered necessary by the provocative action of the Chinese. On December 6th, it became advisable to capture French Folly Fort, which had been reoccupied; and the work was easily accomplished by the Encounter and Barracouta, and landing parties from the squadron. On January 4th, 1857, an attack on Macao Fort, which was garrisoned by Marines of the squadron, was repulsed with no greater difficulty; and, later in the course of the same month, an attempt by war junks on the ships in the Macao channel was frustrated by the action of the Hornet, Comus, Encounter, Niger, and Coromandel. In returning to Canton with stores for the squadron, the Samson had an experience which brought much adverse criticism upon her gallant Captain, who, as will be seen, did not in the least deserve it. On the morning of January 17th, 1857, while passing above the second bar, she fell in with a large fleet of mandarin junks (fast armed craft, otherwise called "snake boats"), which opened a heavy fire on her, and mortally wounded her pilot. Hand returned the fire as he approached, and, when abreast of the enemy, gave the order to stop the engines, with the object, no doubt, of doing as much damage as possible ere he went on. But although the Chinese shot had hulled the steamer in a dozen places, and wounded three people, Commodore Elliot, who happened to be taking passage, directed the Samson to proceed. Hand admits in his journal that he believed that he did no harm to the enemy, but chivalrously says nothing about the Commodore's order. I have the fact, however, from an officer who heard the order given.

The harrying tactics of the Chinese, who seldom left the squadron alone for many hours together, annoying it almost every night with rockets, fire rafts, and all sorts of devilments, led Rear-Admiral Seymour to doubt the possibility of keeping the river communication open with the small force at his disposal; and, learning from India that no troops could be spared thence, he was disposed partially to withdraw from his position. The Niger left her station off the factory and anchored abreast of Macao Fort; the Encounter did likewise; and Dutch Folly was evacuated, and instantly reoccupied and burnt by the enemy. But it was finally determined to hold Macao Fort, and to keep at least the lower reaches of the river open. The mandarin junks which had attacked the Samson on January 17th, and which generally lay in Escape Creek, had a brush with the Hornet in February, and lost one of their number, a vessel mounting sixteen guns, some of which were British Board of Ordnance 32-prs.; but they remained very troublesome, and, as they were about 120 in number, the Hornet and Samson were for a time stationed off the mouth of the creek to observe them. In March, in Sandy Bay, the Hornet destroyed 17 large lorchas and junks. On April 6th, the two vessels, with the tenders, Hongkong and Sir Charles Forbes, stood in to Deep Bay, as far as the depth of water would permit, in search of some junks, and, finding several, sent their boats, and those of the Sibylle and Nankin, up a creek, where 11 junks and 2 lorchas were taken and destroyed. Numerous other craft were taken or burnt up and down the coast during the six or seven weeks following; and in the course of that period the British force in the river was reinforced; but the Raleigh, 50, Commodore the Hon. Henry Keppel, C.B., one of the vessels which should have joined the flag, struck on an obstruction between Hong Kong and Macao on April 14th, and had to be beached between the Koko and Typa Islands, where she ultimately became a total loss. Keppel shifted his broad pennant to the Alligator (hospital ship), and managed to save all his stores, guns, etc. At about the same time there arrived the good news that, although there was nothing like unanimity in England on the Chinese question, and although Seymour and Bowring were held to have acted imprudently, 5000 troops were to be sent out, and strong measures were to be adopted for the settlement of all difficulties, seeing that the action of those on the spot had put the credit of the country at stake, and that it must be supported.

Towards the end of May, therefore, active operations were resumed, the first blows being dealt at the troublesome mandarin fleet in Escape Creek, an eastward branch of the Canton River (See Map, Vol. VI., p. 286), by a flotilla under the orders of Commodore Elliot.

On May 25th, Elliot went on board the tender Hongkong, and, followed by the gunboats Bustard, Lieutenant Tathwell Benjamin Collinson, Staunch (The Staunch seems to have subsequently fallen astern.), Lieutenant Leveson Wildman, and Starling, Lieutenant Arthur Julian Villiers, and the tender Sir Charles Forbes, in the order named, towing boats manned from the Sibylle, Raleigh, Tribune, Hornet, Inflexible, and Fury, steamed into the creek, and soon sighted 41 junks, which were moored across the stream, and which opened a spirited fire from their guns - in each case a 24- or 32-pr. forward, and four or six 9-prs. The attacking craft then formed in line in as wide order as possible, and replied warmly, the Chinese sticking to their guns wonderfully well, but finally cutting their cables, hoisting their sails, getting out their sweeps, and fleeing further up. The steamers pursued until they grounded; and then their people abandoned them temporarily, and, jumping into the boats, pulled hard after the enemy. One by one, several of the junks were overhauled. In most cases the Chinese, when a boat got alongside, fired a last broadside of grape and langridge at her, leapt overboard on the other side, and swam for shore. Thus sixteen craft were disposed of in the main channel, by boats led by Captain Harry Edmund Edgell, of the Tribune, 31, screw. Ten more took refuge up a minor creek on the left, and were chased by a division of boats under Commander Charles Codrington Forsyth; whereupon their crews set them on fire and abandoned them. One vessel, which made for a creek on the right, was abandoned so hastily that her people had no time to fire her; and she was taken and towed out. The other junks got away by dint of hard pulling. The heat was terrible, and, although there were only two casualties from the enemy's shot, some damage was done by sunstroke.

In addition to some of the officers named above, the following were mentioned by the Commodore with approval, in consequence of their share in that day's work : Commander John Corbett (Posted, Aug. 10th, 1857); Lieutenants Arthur Metivier Brock (Com., Aug. 10th, 1857.), and Edward Frederic Dent (Com., Aug. 10th, 1857.); acting-Mates Ralph Abercrombie Brown (Actg. Lieut., May 25th, 1857.), and Thomas Keith Hudson (Actg. Lieut., Aug. 10th, 1857.); and Second-Master John Molloy.


On the following day, the outlets into the main stream of all the creeks communicating with Escape Creek were guarded: the Sawshee channel by the Tribune, Captain Harry Edmund Edgell; the Second Bar Creek by the Inflexible, Commander John Corbett; and Escape Creek itself by the Hornet, Commander Charles Codrington Forsyth, the idea being to scour the inland waters, and oblige all junks in them either to fight or to flee towards the guarded passages. At daybreak on the 27th, the Commodore and the boats, towed for ten or twelve miles by the steamers, proceeded up the Sawshee channel. About ten miles above where the steamers had been left, the city of Touan-Kouan was sighted, and the mastheads of many war junks were observed over the land. The boats, although threatened by a small battery, pulled on with such speed as to take the enemy completely by surprise. Both battery and junks were abandoned almost as soon as the boats opened fire on them; and orders were at once given to destroy all the vessels except one, the finest and heaviest armed war junk Elliot had ever seen in China. Owing, however, to the opposition of the enemy, who plied their gingals from among the houses on the banks of the narrow creek, all the junks had to be burnt. Even this could not be accomplished until landings had been effected to clear the neighbourhood. The force then withdrew. Elliot, in his letter to Seymour, says nothing about the number of people wounded; but it was much more considerable than on the 25th (no one was killed; but 31 people were wounded, including Lieuts. Francis Martin Norman (Tribune), and Henry Edmund Bacon (Inflexible); Mids. Arthur Edward Dupuis, and Edward Pilkington (Inflexible); and Asst.-Surg. Miles Monk Magrath (Inflexible)) He mentions, however, with approval Captain Edgell; Commanders Forsyth (Posted, Aug. 10th, 1857.), Corbett (Posted, Aug. 10th, 1857.), and Edward Winterton Turnour (late of the Raleigh; Posted, Aug. 10th, 1857.); Lieutenants Edward Nares, and William Lowley Staniforth (Com., Aug. 10th, 1857.); acting-Mate Thomas Keith Hudson; Chaplain and Naval Instructor the Rev. Samuel Beal, who was very useful as Chinese interpreter, and Lieutenant George Lascelles Blake, R.M. (Elliot to Seymour, May 29th.)


During all this time the Chinese force, consisting of the large fleet of war junks which had attacked Macao Fort on January 4th, and which had afterwards tried to block the Macao channel, lay in Fatshan Creek. The Commander-in-Chief had been for some days at Hong Kong, when, leaving Captain William King Hall there in the Calcutta, he embarked on May 29th in the paddle tender Coromandel, Lieutenant Sholto Douglas, and, accompanied by several gunboats, and by the boats of the flagship, under Commander William Rae Rolland (Posted, Aug. 10th. 1857), entered the Canton River and proceeded as far as the second bar. His immediate object was to deal with the junks in Fatshan Creek, as those in Escape Creek had been already dealt with by Commodore Elliot. Some way up the creek, and nearly south of Canton, is Hyacinth Island, a flat expanse which very much narrows the channels. On the south side of the creek is a high hill, upon which the Chinese had built a 19-gun fort; opposite to it was a 6-gun battery; in the channel, moored so as to command the passage, were seventy junks; and the whole position was so strong as to be deemed impregnable by those who held it. Seymour caused his force to make rendezvous on May 31st, a short distance below the obstruction; and before dawn on June 1st he led to the attack in the Coromandel, with the Haughty following, each vessel having on board a detachment of seamen, under Commodore Elliot, and Marines, under Captain Robert Boyle, R.M., and towing boats manned and armed. This force constituted the first division, the mission of which was to capture the 19-gun fort and its outworks. Commodore the Hon. Henry Keppel, in the Hongkong, Lieutenant James Graham Goodenough, with the second, third, and fourth divisions, was ordered, upon seeing the assaulting party mounting the hill, to advance up the channel on the other side of Hyacinth Island, and attack the junks.

Vessels employed in the action in Fatshan Creek:-
Coromandel, padd. tenderR.-Adm. Sir Michael Seymour, K.C.B.,
Lieut Sholto Douglas (Com., Ap. 28th, 1858).
Hongkong, padd. tenderCommod. Hon. Henry Keppel, C.B.,
Lieut. James Graham Goodenough (Com., Feb. 26th, 1858).
Haughty, scr. g.-b.Commod. Hon. Chas. Gilb. Jno. Brydone Elliot, C.B.,
Lieut. Richard Vesey Hamilton (Com., Aug. 10th, 1857).
Plover, scr. g.-b.Lieut. Keith Stewart.
Opossum, scr. g.-b.Lieut. Colin Andrew Campbell (Com., Feb. 26th, 1858).
Bustard, scr. g.-b.Lieut. Tathwell Benj. Collinson.
Forester, scr. g.-b.Lieut. Arthur John Innes.
Starling, scr. g.-b.Lieut. Arthur Julian Villiers.
Staunch, scr. g.-b.Lieut. Leveson Wildman.
and boats from the Calcutta, Nankin, Raleigh, Tribune, Highflyer, Inflexible, Niger, Sibylle,
Hornet, Fury, Elk, Acorn, and Cruiser.

Sir Michael Seymour, in his dispatch, gives the following account of what occurred:-

"The flight of several signal rockets showed that the Chinese were fully alive to our proceedings. When within about 1000 yards of the fort, the Coromandel grounded on a barrier of sunken junks filled with stones; and the enemy opened fire. The leading party of seamen and Marines were immediately put in the boats, and sent ahead; and, under a very heavy fire of round and grape, in which the junk fleet joined, the fort was almost immediately in our possession, Commodore Elliot setting the good example of being one of the first in it. The landing was partially covered by the fire of the Haughty. One or two of the guns in the fort were immediately turned on the war junks. Happily this important service was effected without loss.

"The position was a remarkably strong one, and, defended by a body of resolute troops, might have bid defiance to any attack. The Haughty, having landed her party, went on, with Commodore Elliot and the boats of the first division, to co-operate with Commodore Keppel. I ordered a portion of the Royal Marines, under Lieutenant and Adjutant Burton (Lieut. Cuthbart Ward Burton, R.M.), to remain as a garrison in the fort, and sent Captain Boyle (Capt. Robert Boyle, R.M.), with the remainder, about 150 in number, to the scene of operations by land, to cut off the enemy retreating from the junks, and to prevent the advancing boats being annoyed by gingals or matchlocks from a large village adjoining - a favourite tactic with the Chinese. One half of this force was ultimately sent back to the fort, and the remainder rejoined the squadron up the creek.

"As soon as Commodore the Hon. H. Keppel perceived the men of the first division ascending the heights, he advanced up the channel on the east side of Hyacinth Island, with the gun and other boats of the second, third, and fourth divisions, in the order stated in the programme. With the exception of the Haughty and Plover, the gunboats soon grounded, but, agreeably with my instructions, the boats were pushed ahead. The junks, which were admirably moored in position to enfilade the whole of the attacking force, soon opened a very heavy fire, keeping it up with great spirit, until our boats were close alongside, when the crews commenced to abandon their vessels, and to effect their escape across the paddy fields. The blowing up of one or two junks hastened this movement. In about twenty minutes we had possession of fifty junks.

"Leaving the third and fourth divisions to secure the prizes, Commodore Keppel then proceeded about three miles further up the creek, where more mastheads were visible; and found twenty junks moored across the stream in a very strong position, which opened such a well-directed and destructive fire that he was obliged to retire, and wait for reinforcements. The launch of the Calcutta was sunk by a round shot; the Commodore's galley had three round shot through her; and several other boats were much injured. On additional boats coming up, the Commodore shifted to the Calcutta's black barge (In this he returned to the Hongkong, where he shifted into the (late) Raleigh's cutter), and again advanced; and, after a severe action, the enemy gave way. They were pursued as far as Fatshan, a distance of seven miles, and seventeen of them captured and burnt. In consequence of my orders not to molest this huge and important city, the three junks which passed through the creek on which it is built effected their escape.

"The result of this expedition was the capture of between seventy and eighty heavily-armed junks, mounting, on an average, from ten to fourteen guns (many of them long 32-pounders), nearly all of European manufacture. As no object would have been gained by removing the prizes, I caused them, with a few exceptions, to be burnt; and the flames and numerous heavy explosions must have been seen and heard far and wide.

"This engagement opens a new era in Chinese naval warfare. Great judgment was shown in selecting the position for the fleet; and the Chinese, particularly the last division attacked by Commodore Keppel, defended their ships with skill, courage, and effect.

"I enclose a list of casualties, which, I regret to say, is large, amounting to 3 officers, and 10 seamen and Marines, killed, and 4 officers, and 40 seamen and Marines wounded; but it is to me a matter of surprise that, under the circumstances of the case, the loss was not greater."

(The officers killed were Master's-Assistant E.C. Bryan (Highflyer), Mids. H. Barker (Tribune), and Major Kearney. The officers wounded were Capt. Hon. A.A.L.P. Cochrane; Lieut. John Stanley Graham ; and Mids. Edward Pilkington, and Henry Nelson Hippisley. Master's-Assistant B. Staunch, who was slightly hurt, is not included.)

Declaring that all did their duty, the Commander-in-Chief recommended the Admiralty, in the bestowal of marks of its approval, to have regard to the seniority and services of those engaged. He mentioned by name only the two Commodores (Keppel, in consequence, was made a K.C.B., and Elliot a C.B. on Sept. 12th, 1857.), and Master George Raymond, of the Encounter (then lying off Macao), who had volunteered his services as pilot, and taken the Hongkong up Fatshan Creek - "a service of danger." Nor did Keppel, in his letter, dated from "the Raleigh's tender, Sir Charles Forbes," on July 2nd, single out individuals for special praise, beyond saying that Captain the Hon. Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane led the final seven miles' chase; but in a letter to his sister, the Hon. Mrs. H.F. Stephenson, the Commodore gives some characteristic details. After describing the grounding of the Hongkong, Keppel goes on :-

"Took with me Prince Victor of Hohenlohe (H.S.H. Prince Victor F.F.E.A.C.F., of Hohenlohe-Langenberg, Count Gleichen, died a retired vice-admiral in 1891; he was a nephew of Queen Victoria), having previously been commanded by her Majesty, through Sir Charles Phipps, to take every care of him, and left Victor Montagu (Hon. Victor Alexander Montagu, retd. as a Capt., 1877.), my proper gig's Mid., on board; but the lifting tide soon put him in the midst. The first division of the Chinese were attacked simultaneously by about 1900 men. I had not more than a quarter of that number to attack the second division, which was three miles higher up the river.... Boarding nets were dropped on our boats, but not until our men were alongside; and it enabled them all the quicker to sever the cables connecting the junks. Raleigh's boats well up, and did not require cheering on. The Chinese fired occasional shots to ascertain exact distance, but did not open their heaviest fire until we were within 600 yards. Nearly the first fellow cut in two by a round shot was an amateur, Major Kearney (D.A.Q.G. of China Exped. Force.).... We cheered, and were trying to get to the front when a shot struck our boat, killing the bow man. Another was cut in two. Prince Victor leant forward to bind up the man's arm with his neck-cloth. While he was so doing, a shot passed through both sides of the boat, wounding two more of the crew: in short, the boat was sunk under us....

"The tide rising, boats disabled, our oars shot away, it was necessary to re-form. I was collared, and drawn from the water by young Michael Seymour (Later Adm. Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, G.C.B.), a Mate of his uncle's flagship, the Calcutta. We were all picked up except the dead bow man.... As we retired, I shook my fist at the junks, promising I would pay them off. We went to the Hongkong, and re-formed. I hailed Lieutenant Graham (Lieut. James Stanley Graham, of the Calcutta. Died a Capt., Feb. 3rd, 1873.) to get his boat ready, as I would hoist the broad pennant for next attack in his boat. I had no sooner spoken than he was down, the same shot killing and wounding four others. Graham was one mass of blood; but it was from a Marine who stood next to him, part of whose skull was forced three inches into another man's shoulder. When we reached the Hongkong, the whole of the Chinese fire appeared to be centered on her. She was hulled twelve times in a few minutes. Her deck was covered with the wounded who had been brought on board from different boats. From the paddle-box we saw that the noise of guns was bringing up strong reinforcements. The account of our having been obliged to retire had reached them. They were pulling up like mad. The Hongkong had floated, but grounded again. A bit of blue bunting (Keppel was then Commod. of the Blue, or third class.) was prepared to represent a broad pennant, and I called out, 'Let's try the row-boats once more, boys,' and went over the side into our cutter (Raleigh's), in which were Turnour (Edward Winterton Turnour, late Com. of the Raleigh.), and the faithful coxswain, Spurrier (wounded). At this moment there arose from the boats, as if every man took it up at the same instant, one of those British cheers so full of meaning that I knew at once it was all up with John Chinaman. They might sink twenty boats, but there were thirty others which would go ahead all the faster. It was indeed an exciting sight. A move among the junks! They were breaking ground and moving off, the outermost first. This the Chinese performed in good order, without slacking fire. Then commenced an exciting chase for seven miles. As our shot told they ran mostly on to the mud banks, and their crews forsook them. Young Cochrane (the Captain of the Niger, who was wounded; he was then 33, but his father, Adm. Lord Dundonald, was alive) in his light gig got the start of me.... Seventeen junks were overtaken and captured. Three only escaped...." (The letter was printed in the Times)

These operations had a great moral effect upon the Chinese, and would, perhaps, have inclined them to listen to reason and to concede Seymour's demands, had it been found possible to follow them up promptly and with vigour. Unhappily, as will be seen, the sky was just then black for England, and she could not for the time concentrate her attention on the Chinese question, having to wrestle elsewhere for the very life of her Eastern Empire.

It may be mentioned here that, at the beginning of June, the Samson, being away on detached duty, learnt of the presence of some piratical junks in Mirs Bay, off which place Captain Hand accordingly presented himself early in the morning of June 8th. Getting out three of his boats, under Lieutenant George Henry Wale (Com. Feb. 26th, 1853.), he sent them to cut off a craft which was seen standing into Double Haven, and himself went round in the frigate to Crooked Harbour, where he came upon a pirate mounting nine guns, and having 70 men, all of whom leapt overboard and made for the shore, only to be massacred there by the villagers. Wale, after some resistance had been offered, took two lorchas and a junk, mounting in all 22 guns, which were convoyed to Hong Kong, where owners were found, and salvage money paid for them. They had apparently been captured by the other vessel (Hand to Seymour, June 9th.). Commander John Corbett, in the Inflexible, took a pirate at about the same time. It may be mentioned, too, that on June 18th, the most southern of the defences of the Canton River, near the Bogue, and known as Chuenpee, was occupied by the British without resistance, and found to have been not only abandoned, but also partly dismantled. It was entrusted to the command of Captain Edgell, of the Tribune. On July 6th, the Samson towed the Alligator, bearing Keppel's pennant, to Hong Kong. (Keppel soon afterwards went home, Sir Charles Wood disapproving of his hoisting a broad pennant, in view of the loss of the Raleigh.)

France, like Great Britain, had with China treaties which were not observed, and her squadron in Chinese waters would have made common cause with Seymour's at once, had it been a little stronger than it was. The French government, however, unwilling to let slip so good an occasion for settling long-standing difficulties, decided to strengthen its forces, so as to enable it to act with effect, and to send out Baron Gros with instructions to co-operate with Lord Elgin (James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Kt.), who was being despatched from England with special powers to treat concerning all pending questions. Rear-Admiral Rigault de Genouilly, who went out in the Némésis, 50, arrived in Chinese waters on July 8th, 1857, and, on the 15th of the same month, superseded Rear-Admiral Guérin. Thenceforward he was reinforced from time to time. Baron Gros did not reach China until October.

In the meantime, large reinforcements, naval as well as military, had been sent out from England; and the Shannon, 51, screw, Captain William Peel, C.B., had conveyed Lord Elgin to the scene of action. But Elgin, on reaching Singapore, had learnt of the outbreak of the Mutiny in India, and, not underrating its character, had wisely taken upon himself to divert thither the troops intended for China. On July 14th, still graver news reached Seymour, who was then preparing for a trip with Lord Elgin to the gulf of Pechili; and he thereupon sent to Calcutta the Shannon, with 300 Marines who had arrived in China in the Sanspareil, 70, screw, Captain Astley Cooper Key, C.B., together with the Pearl, 21, screw, Captain Edward Southwell Sotheby. The two ships sailed on July 15th, and, as will be shown later, were able to render most valuable services. The Sanspareil herself also proceeded in August to Calcutta with artillery and stores (She was towed 745 miles of the way by the Samson, which expended 245 tons of coal on the run), but did not, as the other ships did, land a brigade for service with the troops in the interior of India. A party from her garrisoned Fort William for a time, but she returned to the Canton River on December 17th, in time for the operations then pending. Lord Elgin, seeing that, until the major danger should be crushed, little could be done in China, retired to Calcutta, to await a better opportunity, and left Seymour to blockade the Canton River. The blockade was declared as from August 7th, and, in the opinion of naval officers on the spot, was established not so much to annoy the Chinese as to prevent foreign vessels from going up to load, and so getting the trade into their hands at a time when the British and French were unable to enjoy a share of it.

Lord Elgin returned to Hong Kong at the end of September, but for some time afterwards nothing could be done, owing to the slowness with which the French squadron was reinforced, and to the absence of troops. Although, however, the 5000 men originally intended for China had, as has been shown, been diverted from their destination to meet the pressing need in India, 1500 men under General Charles T. van Straubenzee, chiefly Royal Marines, Royal Artillery, the 59th Regiment, and the 38th Madras native infantry, were placed at Seymour's disposal.

On December 10th, the French squadron anchored at the Bogue; and Rear-Admiral Rigault de Genouilly issued a proclamation to the effect that from the 12th he should associate himself with his British colleague in the blockade of the river. On the 13th he took his force up to Whampoa; and on the day following, Seymour, transferring his flag to the Coromandel, also proceeded to the front with the British gunboats.

A bloody and lamentable affair occurred on December 14th. Lieutenant Bedford Clapperton Tryvellion Pim, commanding the gunboat Banterer, took his second gig, with fourteen people in her besides himself, up a winding creek opposite High Island to a point near the town of Sai-lau, where, leaving two men in charge, he landed with the rest of his party, and entered the place. His object, according to the correspondent of the Illustrated London News, who accompanied him, was partly recreation and partly information. On his return, he found that a number of Chinamen were assailing the two boat-keepers with brickbats. He charged the mob, and so got the whole of his people to the boat; but no sooner were they on board than a sharp fire was opened upon them with gingals, and later with a small gun. Pim, who displayed extraordinary personal courage, conducted the retreat along the narrow creek, standing in the stern-sheets, and using his revolver with great effect; but the fire was so hot, and victory seemed so hopeless, that one by one the people who were in a condition to do so waded ashore, and bolted in the direction of the Nankin, whose hull was visible over the paddy fields. Pim stuck to the boat until every other living person had deserted her, and then, using his last cartridge to shoot the Chinese leader, also leapt to land and took to his heels. Of fifteen people in the boat, five were killed outright, one died afterwards, and five more, including Pim, who was hit in six places, were wounded. On the 15th, the Nankin, by way of reprisals, shelled Sai-lau, and landed 250 men, who, after a determined resistance, entered the place, part of which they burnt, not, however, without suffering a loss of four wounded. Pim's (Capt. Ap. 16th, 1868 ; retd. rear-adm. July 5th, 1885: died, 1886) expedition was a most foolhardy one, and, seeing that little or no good could possibly have been derived from it, should never have been undertaken. A court of inquiry, nevertheless, found that he was justified in all he had done. His gallantry gained him his promotion on April 19th, 1858.

On December 15th, the Marines, and a French detachment intended for the attack on Canton, were landed without opposition on the island of Honan, where they found excellent quarters; and in the course of the next few days the lighter vessels of the combined fleet were all stationed in readiness for the projected attack upon Canton.

The stations of the larger vessels of the allied fleets during the bombardment were, beginning at the eastward end of the line:-

Fr. Primauguet, scr.8Com. VrignaudOutside east end of Kuper Island.
Fr. Durance, scr.4Lieut. Thoyon
Br. Furious, pad.16Capt. Sherard Osborn, C.B.
Fr. Dragonne, scr. g.-v.4Lieut. BarryOff French Folly.
Br. Surprise, scr. g.-v.4Com. Saml. Gurney CresswellOff S.E. corner of wall.
Fr. Marceau, scr. disp. v.4Com. Lefer de La MotteOutside the island (with gunboats).
Br. Nimrod, scr. g.-v.6Com. Roderick Dew
Fr. Avalanche, scr. g.-v.4Lieut. Lafond
Br. Niger, scr.13Capt. Hon. A.A.L.P. Cochrane
Br. Hornet, scr.17Com. Wm. Montagu DowellOff Yeh's Yamen.
Br. Cruiser, scr.17Com. Chas. Fellowes
Br. Bittern, sailg.12Lieut. Jas. Graham GoodenoughOutside Dutch Folly.
Fr. Mitraille, scr. g.-v.4Lieut. BérangerInside Dutch Folly.
Fr. Fuseé, scr. g.-v.4Lieut. Gabrielli de Carpégua
Br. Actaeon, surv.-Capt. Wm. Thornton BateOff the Factories (with gunboats).
Fr. Phlégéton, scr.8Com. Lévêque
Br. Hesper, scr. store-s.-Mast. Jas. Stephen HillOff N.W. of Honan Island.
Br. Acorn, sailg.12Com. Arth. Wm. Acland Hood

A final demand for satisfaction and concession had been sent to Commissioner Yeh on December 12th, and ten days had been assigned to him wherein to reply. In the interim, a battery for mortars was erected on Dutch Folly rock, and a conference of the allied chiefs was held on board the Audacieuse, the headquarters of Baron Gros.

Captain Chevalier explains very lucidly the situation, and the difficulties which confronted the allied Admirals:

"The task to be performed with the feeble means at their disposal was," he says, "to strike a blow worthy of the strength of France and England, and, at the same time, of such a nature as to destroy Commissioner Yeh's illusions on the subject of the possibility of resisting the allies. It was one thing to make a way into Canton by main force, and altogether another thing to maintain oneself, with a few thousand men, in a city of a million inhabitants. Nor was there any doubt that, if order should cease to reign there, part of the Chinese population would give itself up to pillage, and would commit acts of brigandage which would strike at the honour of the two nations. In order to avoid such misfortunes, the Admirals and the General, after careful study, made the following dispositions. The gunboats and the lighter vessels, going in as close as their draught of water would permit, were to bombard the south face of the massive walls which surrounded Canton, so that the resulting breach would prevent the Chinese troops from communicating by way of the walls with the eastern portion. The expeditional corps, landed on that same side of the city, was to make its way along the walls, its aim being the capture of the positions which command Canton on the north. Supposing the double operation to succeed, the allies would hold Canton under the guns of the forts on the north, and under those of the squadron, which would still be ready to open on the south side; and it would then be seen whether the Imperial Commissioner would accept, without further delay, the terms offered to him."


Active hostilities were not resumed until daybreak on December 28th, when, it having, become clear that the Chinese authorities would not give way an inch unless forced to do so, a general bombardment of the city was opened by the ships of the combined fleets, thirty-two in number, while the troops from Honan Island, and a French naval brigade, were conveyed to the place of disembarkation, a point about two miles below French Folly.

After the army and the French had landed, the British Naval Brigade, of 1500 men, commanded by Commodore Elliot, and formed in three divisions under Captains the Hon. Keith Stewart (Nankin), Astley Cooper Key (Sanspareil), and Sir Robert John Le Mesurier M'Clure (Esk), also disembarked, and advanced to some rising ground to the eastward of the city. (With the First Division were Capt. Geo. Sumner Hand (Samson), and Coms. Jno. Fane Chas. Hamilton {Elk), and Geo. Aug. Cooke Brooker (Inflexible), and parties from the Nankin, Sibylle, Samson, Racehorse, and Inflexible: with the Second Division were Coms. Arth. Wm. Acland Hood (Acorn), and Julian Foulston Slight (Sanspareil), and parties from the Calcutta, Sanspareil, and Acorn, and from Macao Fort: with the Third Division were Capts. Sherard Osborn, C.B., and Hon. A.A.L.P. Cochrane, C.B., and Coms. Wm. Montagu Dowell (Hornet), and Chas. Fellowes (Cruiser), and parties from the Highflyer, Esk, Niger, Furious, Hornet, and Cruiser, Genl. Order of Dec. 26th.). Lin Fort, a work on the same side, was quickly seized by the French and the 59th; but the naval advance was checked; and the Brigade ultimately took up a position for the night in some buildings about 800 yards to the right of Gough's Fort, which annoyed it with a desultory fire during the hours of darkness. On the morning of the 29th the Brigade joined the rest of the force for the storm, and moved up behind a hillock, about 800 yards from the east gate, where the men had breakfast. At about that time, while examining the ditch and wall, and pointing out to Seymour a good place for scaling, Captain William Thornton Bate, of the Actaeon, a most valuable officer, and a noted surveyor, was shot dead with a gingal ball (Mids. Henry Thompson, of the Sanspareil, was mortally wounded by a rocket at about the same time.). At 8.30, the scaling ladders were sent to the front, under Commander John Fane Charles Hamilton (Elk); and at 8.45 the general advance was sounded, the point chosen for escalade being one which was sheltered by an angle of the wall from the fire of Gough's Fort. The French assaulted at a point 500 yards distant, and were the first up, but only by a minute or two. Commander Charles Fellowes (Posted, Feb. 26th, 1858), of the Cruiser, is generally credited with having topped the wall before any other officer or man of the Naval Brigade. In an hour after the assault, the whole of the heights were in possession of the allies. The Navy opened the north-east gate to the Marines and artillery, and some of the Samson's and Calcutta's dragged up two or three field-pieces where the wall had been scaled, the guns being subsequently sent towards the heights under Lieutenant Henry Hamilton Beamish (Com., Feb. 26th, 1858). In the course of a movement in the direction of Magazine Hill, where the enemy made a stand, some further casualties, which, however, were not very numerous, took place, and Lieutenant Viscount Gilford (Later Adm. of the Fleet the Earl of Clanwilliam: Com. Feb. 26th, 1858) was badly wounded. (In the whole operations, the Naval Brigade had 7 killed or mortally wounded, and 32 wounded. The officers killed were Capt. Wm. Thornton Bate, and Mids. Henry Thompson : those wounded were Com. Chas. Fellowes, and Lieuts. Visct. Gilford, and William Ormonde Butler. The Marine Battalion lost 4 killed and 32 wounded, among the latter being Lieut.-Col. Thos. Holloway, R.M.A., and Lieut. Wm. Fredk. Portlock Scott Dadson.)

After the city had been occupied, and Gough's Fort had been evacuated by the Chinese, resistance ceased, though there was some sniping till nightfall. On the 30th, flags of truce appeared in various places, and a message arrived from the Tartar general to the effect that he was willing to discuss matters. As, however, he did not appear upon the expiration of the time assigned to him, a party went the round of the ramparts of the old city, and spiked, or knocked the trunnions off, all the guns there. About 400 were thus dealt with; but most of them were already honeycombed, and almost useless.


The Chinese authorities were still obdurate. Every proposal made to the Imperial Commissioner was put aside by him; and although Canton was at the mercy of the allies, it was, or presently would be, still more at the mercy of the bands of robbers who were gathering round it from the country, unless, indeed, the Tartar troops, who were also assembling in the neighbourhood, should succeed, as no doubt Yeh hoped they would, in forcing the allies to quit both the city and the river. A further step, therefore, had to be taken, and, on January 5th, 1858, at daybreak, three detachments, in pursuance of a pre-arranged plan, entered the city. One laid hands on, and carried off, the Tartar general, Muh; another, British, kidnapped the governor of the city, Peh-Kwei; and the third, also British, abducted, and ultimately carried on board the Inflexible, Yeh himself. Captain Cooper Key, indeed, took the Commissioner with his own hands. The general and the governor were afterwards sent back to carry out their duties and maintain order, under the supervision of an international commission. This arrangement worked well, and it was found possible to raise the blockade of the Canton river on February 10th.

Source: Clowes, William Laird: "The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the death of Queen Victoria", Sampson Low, Marston and Company, 1903, volume 7, 93 - 136. 

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