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No: it is vain to dissemble. without the irritations of contraband trade, and without the extension of our Eastern intercourse now opening before us, it is too certain that the humiliation and the national crime of 1785 will revolve upon us. Many times we have been on the brink of the same tragedy. And, knowing those facts, it is scarcely to be forgiven that our Government should not long ago have taken steps in a most decided way to place our relations with this immoral state upon a footing of European security. Things have at last taken a turn which, on other grounds, has induced our Government to medi tate an armed negotiation with China. Now, therefore, it will be most important to combine this ancient and lasting purpose of security with the accidental purposes of the moment; and, whilst healing a present wound of our own infliction, (for the indemnity we are seeking corresponds to a surrender volunteered by ourselves,) to obtain a lasting guarantee, once and for ever, against far worse wounds to character, as well as property, which have continually impended over our Canton connexion.
have been cautious and intelligent subjected to the torture by this accursed capitalists-now they will be desperate state. adventurers. The trade, as it now stands, has succeeded to an inheritance of some ancient forms; but it has inherited no part of the ancient obedience. The obedience paid to Captain Elliot was, in all its circumstances, as different from that which once corresponded to the demands of China, as the new condition of the China seas will be from those of the eighteenth century. This obedience heretofore was compulsory-now it is prudential, and (in the literal sense of that word) precarious; for it depended upon the entreaties of Captain Elliot. Heretofore it was instant; now it followed after long deliberation. Heretofore it was unconditional; now it took the shape of a capitulation. So much obedience was sold for so much indemnification. And most undoubtedly even this form of submission would have been refused, had the quality of the indemnification been known, or its distance suspected. In future, every man will govern himself according to his separate views of Chinese policy, or his own facilities for evading it. But, amongst these facilities, the most tempting will be the unprotected state of the Chinese coast as regards the coercion of smuggling. With the inefficacy of Chinese administration will grow the cruelty of Chinese revenge, in order that vengeance may redress the weakness of foresight, and barbarous punishments make up for defective precautions. This people, who are bestial enough to think the will and the intention no necessary element in the moral quality of an act, are also savage enough to punish vicariously. A smuggler will be caught and impaled within sight of his ship his comrades, by way of furious revenge, will land, will burn a dozen or two of villages, and massacre the flying inhabitants. These particular criminals will probably escape. But the ship that goes next on shore in China, will meet the full storm of Chinese vengeance. And, if some colonial ship freighted with emigrants, or some packet with passengers, should be driven out of her course, and touch at a Chinese port, as sure as we live some horrid record will convulse us all with the intelligence-that our brave countrymen, our gentle country women, and their innocent children, have been
Let us now consider in what way this great object can be compassed; and how it may be possible to extract from an ill-advised rupture, not merely a satisfaction for the momentary grievance, but such concessions in regard to our permanent perils, as may reconcile us all to the rashness of Captain Elliot, and may turn the opium loss (were that even past retrieval) into a mere pepper-corn rent for the very amplest condition of commercial privilege.
What we want with Oriental powers like China, incapable of a true civilisation, semi-refined in manners and mechanic arts, but incurably savage in the moral sense, is a full explanation of our meaning under an adequate demonstration of our power. We have never obtained either the one or the other. Our two embassies were faithfully executed, but erroneously planned. To pause at the outset upon what may be thought a trifle, but is really no trifle in dealing with Oriental princes, even the presents in those embassies were not childishly, so much as ruinously selected.
departments of public business have immemorially been conducted as jobs in Great Britain: for instance, the building of palaces, and the regulation of national presents. The first, instead of being confided to a national superintendence, has constantly settled upon the individual caprice of the existing prince; which caprice taking every variety of direction, it has naturally followed, that more money has been spent in merely undoing and pulling down walls, than availed in France to build the Louvre, the Tuileries, and Versailles; and with this final result, -that, excepting Windsor, we have no palace worthy of the nation. The same hole-and-corner influence has mismanaged the department of presents. For no reason upon earth, beyond an old precedent, thousand-guinea diamond boxes were at one time given to a variety of people on every occasion of signing a treaty: and, in Mr Canning's brief administration, when that minister was questioned about them, it actually came out that no person was officially responsible for the boxes being worth any thing approaching to the price paid by the nation. In another case, and a very important one-viz. the Algerine presents-we have the evidence of a most respectable consul, Mr Broughton, who made large personal sacrifices for the British honour, that blunders the most childish were committed-blunders interpreted as insults. Had an old frigate, or even a corvette, of which so many were going to decay "in ordinary," been sent to the Dey, the present would have been received thankfully as a royal one: instead of which an assortment of bijouterie was offered, by which the Dey thought himself mocked. The diamond-box concern had interfered as usual.
musical snuff-box, valued to the nation at five hundred guineas, was scornfully tossed by the Dey to his cook; and the only article which he thought worthy of himself was a brace of finely finished pistols, which probably had not cost above fifty guineas. Thus highly does the nation pay to found a lasting sense of injury in the minds of foreign princes.
As respected China the matter was worse. Amongst the presents assorted for the Celestial Emperor was actually a complex apparatus, (suited to the bedchamber of an invalid,) which
NO. CCXCVI. VOL. XLVII.
cannot be mentioned with decorum. Oriental princes will not believe that the sovereign, who is nominally the presenter of such offerings, has not a personal cognizance of the affront. In their own establishments every trifle of this nature is duly reported and discussed, as one means of relieving the dire monotony which besieges the sensual lives of the East. And, besides, not to have had cognizance of what concerned a brother potentate, is already an affront.
That preliminary being first of all settled, which requires great tact in the case of China, from the jealousy with which they regard our superiority in the mechanic arts, and their entire incapacity for the liberal arts, a project is suggested by our present exigencies which has slightly been entertained in former times. It is now certain that we must have some sort of military expedition against China. It is also certain that we can never have full explanations exchanged, or the basis of any treaty laid, without a solemn diplomatic congress between the two nations. What if the two appeals were combined? Embassies have failed in the East, partly because, speaking from no apparent station of power, and appealing to no previous knowledge of our European rank, they could not command the requisite attention and respect. On the other hand, a warlike invasion is too openly an expression of coercion to found a settlement that will last. But what if the feelings of an arrogant state were so far consulted as to allow her some colourable varnish for wounded vanity? What if, instead of a negotiating army, we were to send an armed negotiator? Instead of an army with an ambassador in its rear, an ambassador followed by an army for his train? Such retinues are not unknown in many Eastern lands. A column, of 14,000 men, with a suitable train of artillery, it is understood to be the opinion of military men, would easily march to Pekin, if landed at the nearest point. One person, indeed, assures us that we underrate the Chi nese Tartar troops: an experienced native, it seems, of Nepaul, had told him, "that the Chinese scymetar cuts deeply." Now, if this officer confined his remark literally to the swords, (and not using the word as a general symbol for martial power,) there is no doubt ;
and it is surprising that the Oriental weapons of steel are generally much superior to our own. In the suite of the French General Gardane, sent ambassador by Napoleon to the court of Teheran, there were many military men, who reported that the best Damascus blades were better than the very best Toledos. But, as these could only be purchased from Turkish enemies, the Shah had patronised two native manufactories, at Ispahan and in Chorasan, which were in their turn as much superior to the Syrian arms as those to the Spanish. One officer put the rival qualities to a test which was decisive; and M. Jancoigne (who afterwards published a French report on the Persian armies) says expressly "the swords they use, much superior to ours in temper, make wide and deep wounds, which are generally mortal." The advantage belongs to all Oriental armies which import Persian sabres. But what of that? It still remains true of all Oriental armies, that, even as to weapons, they are badly armed; badly as respects the class and selection of the arms, whatever may be their quality as manufactures. The Persian armies have been beaten into some useful reforms by the Russians, and trained into others by Sir H. Bethune. The armies of India have been gradually improved by the example of the English. With these exceptions, no Eastern armies can so much as face European troops, where all arms of the service are complete, in almost any disproportion. A few brave mountain clans do not amount to a serious exception. One universal error in the composition of Eastern armies, is the vast preponderance of the cavalry. The Persian cavalry, taking the quality of men, horses, and arms conjointly, thirty years ago, was the most splendid in Asia; yet an agent of Napoleon's reported thus, on the question of their serviceableness. "this brilliant cavalry cannot fight in battle array; and then, after describing their excellent qualities as individual horsemen, or acting as partisans "for turning the flanks of an army, and as skirmishers," this Frenchman concludes thus:-"But the perfection of European tactics would not permit the elite, even of the Persian cavalry, to support the impetuosity of heavy dra. goons, French or English: they are
unequal to the regular shock of our cavalry of the line; and they are un equal to the task of breaking our infantry." Yet this cavalry, we repeat, was, by unanimous consent, at the head of all Asiatic cavalry. As to the infantry, until recently in Persia and in Hindostan, it is every where a rabble of tumultuary levies in Asiatic armies.
Upon many people's minds it will rest as an unpleasant augury, what Sir Robert Peel said of our engaging in a war with three hundred and fifty mil lions of men, We think Sir Robert must have smiled when he used that argument. One of Shakspeare's clowns hearing of a man having suffered or having threatened a million of stripes, says, "a million of stripes may come to a great matter.” And certainly three hundred and fifty millions of cudgelings "would come to a great matter," which would not improve our position, though it might strengthen the demand for opium. But, seriously, of all nations the Chinese is the most sedentary, and the least available for a locomotive warsuch as we can always make it. fourth part of their three hundred and fifty millions, which in a nation wholly barbarous ought to express the number of males disposable for war, would be too many for the purpose by a thousand-fold, if they could be applied to the service, or, being applied, were of the martial quality required. But the improgressive and imperfect civilisation of this nation is precisely of that kind which most effectually prevents the abstraction of men from their daily industry. Nations cannot starve in order to fight; and the position of China, exposed for some generations to no potent enemy on her frontiers, is precisely such as to prevent her nominal army from being, in a true military sense, seasoned to war, or, in military phrase," aguerrie." An armed police is the utmost, from mere defect of enemies, that any Chinese army can long have been. And
were it even otherwise, had the Chinese a large army (like our Indian establishment) continually exercised in field duties, and in sharp fighting by a large family of ambitious neighbours, still the great questions would recur-1, Have they a good INFANTRY? 2, Presuming all the advantages of experience and seasoning in the field,
are the men efficiently ARMED? 3, Have they the magical-almost the spiritual-power of DISCIPLINE to bind the individuals into unity? 4, Have they an engineering establishment? Have they an ARTILLERY?
A quarterly journal of eminence in our land absolutely attempts to startle the country, as regards this last question, by pointing attention to the awful fact, that the Chinese had thrown a twelve pound ball into the mast of the Volage or the Hyacinthe!
Wonderful!-and the poor mast has to undergo an operation in lithotomy, before it can be pronounced out of danger! Why, Persia herself, whose whole field artillery consisted of certain dromedaries with a swivel mounted on the hump, (zemboureks they were called,) which swivel being once fired to the imminent hazard of the cannonier and his neighbour, the regular manœuvre was for the dromedary to wheel to the right about, and gallop off for a day's march to the rear, in order to insure the concern against capture; even Persia had some capital cannon in her arsenals. And how acquired? They had been left behind by the Portuguese when they evacuated the island of Ormus. And most other Asiatic powers have come into an odd assortment of Christian artillery and other old iron, as derelicts of us Europeans. Why, then, should it astonish us that China, by robbery or purchase, or in the way of jettsom and flotsam, should come into possession of a Christian hulk or so with its heavy guns? This argues nothing for her native skill in engineering. One discharge of a rocket brigade, should our expedition make a hourrah upon any great city, will be a sufficient reply to all such alarmists.
It is in no other way than as an armed body that an English embassy can ever prevail at Pekin. It is in no other character than as an ambassadorial body that an English army can fail to leave behind a very lasting impression of irritation at Pekin. Either form of approach taken separately would thwart our views; the purely martial form would terminate in hostility; the purely diplomatic would terminate in smoke. But, if the two could be dexterously blended, if the one could be so used as to masque the other, from the twofold
engine we might expect a great and a permanent result. Eastern princes, when they receive alimony as suppliants from others at a distance, call it before their own subjects tribute which they have levied. And when they really pay tribute, they call it alimony which they have granted. To a certain extent we may wink at such evasions in China. But we must not any longer allow our ambassadors to be called tribute-bearers, as were Lords Macartney and Amherst. We must not any longer allow ourselves to be called barbarians. It is doubtful, indeed, as to this last term, what is the exact value of the Chinese word so rendered. In the use of the Greek word Barbaroi, besides the four stages through which it is traced by Gibbon, (chap. li. vol. ix., foot-note p. 463-4,) it is certain that in each separate stage the word admitted of some modifications, which mitigated the insult, and caused it to be sometimes self-assumed as a mere name of distinction, equivalent to alien or non- Grecian. Some such misunderstanding may operate here. But misunderstandings, one and all, we must have cleared up. They are perilous with two sorts of nations-with insolent nations, and with dishonest nations. And the very first rule in dealing with such a nation is-Better to be cheated than to be insulted.
The first thing is, to look out for really skilful, but in any case really honest interpreters. Want of skill may be remedied. One or two circumlocutions, or varying repetitions, will always make the meaning clear, if any doubt arises upon a separate word: and generally things, substantial things, are too much interwoven with the points in dispute to allow any large range for mistake. But there is no guarding against the perfidy of a native Chinese, whose cowardice suggests to him some evasion of a strong English idea. We must have a letter first of all, full and circumstantial, written to the Emperor; and, because it is said that he feels it a degradation to have been addressed of late by a viceroy, (the Governor-General of India,) this letter must speak directly from her Majesty the Queen that now is to his Imperial Majesty. This will be also the better course for another important reason. -it will justify a frank language; it will prevent the
language of kindness and respectful conciliation from seeming adulatory; it will prevent the language of plain dealing from seeming insolent. A very great aid would be rendered to the cause, if a short sketch could be sent with this letter, describing the great leading points in our social polity; showing the value which we also set upon human life, (which otherwise the stupid Chinese fancy peculiar to themselves;) but showing also that we value other things still more highly, such as equity, human rights and duties as measured by intention, &c., and stating the nature of a representative government; how far it limits the powers of the sovereign, but in what a high degree it provides for the honour, and dignity, and usefulness of the sovereign. Such a sketch would prepare the Emperor to understand in future, that special requests which he might make of our Queen, as tests of her sincerity, are liable to refusal from the nature of popular rights, without any failure in respect or in sincerity of good-will.
The Chinese understand by this time, which formerly they did not, something of the truth in relation to our civil grandeur. This they have learned indirectly, and by a sort of logical sorites. Our Indian empire, which they see and tremble at, is an exponent to their understandings of that England which they cannot see. To know that this mighty colonial possession is but a remote dependency on England; to know that it is so little essential to the splendour of our English crown, as never to have been visited by any of the royal family; to know also that the whole vast line of communication between India and England has always been kept open by our ships, and consequently (let French emissaries traduce us as much as they will) that, by a practical test continually applied, we must always have been "too many" for our European enemies, through a long line of thirteen thousand miles-all this must convey a gorgeous impression of British power to the minds of the Pekin counsellors. What we now want is, to connect this power with our interests in Canton. Contrasting so enormous a power with the mean submissions and the precarious tenure of our Chinese factory, what else can the Emperor naturally conclude, than that
we (like himself) throw off from parental care those who, for the sake of gain, have consented to expatriate themselves into corners where they hold no one privilege, not so much as air, as water, as fire, but upon insolent sufferance and capricious indulgence? This must be set to rights: an explanation must be given, difficult to devise, of our long inattention to these Chinese rights. We must also speak plainly on the terms of equality which we mean to hold in negotiating. This is not quite unprecedented in the East. In Ferishta's Hindostan, as abridged by Colonel Dow, will be seen a case where a King of Persia was so offended at the arrogant style of a great Mogul Sovereign, that he insisted on explanations; which accordingly were given to this effect:-That if he used vain-glorious titles, they were meant only for his own subjects, not at all in disparagement of his brother princes. Those are weak people who think such points of titular honour, of rank, of precedency, to be trifles any where. Cromwell did not think them such: he most wisely refused to treat in French, though otherwise a trifle, because it would be used as an argument that we British had submitted to take a secondary place, and to receive a sort of law from our enemies. The first Cæsars did not think them such, who cashiered magistrates for using the Greek language on the tribunal. But in Asia all external forms are more important by many degrees. In Europe the prevalent good sense and the diffusion of truth as to all possible relations of power, &c., give a perpetual limitation to the gasconades of French proclamations, French bulletins, &c., which makes nugatory their false pretensions. But in all Asiatic despotisms no truth is current. Ignorance that is total, credulity that is beyond Eu. ropean conception, combine to support all delusions which are not put down with a strong hand by us who are the most certain to suffer from them.
Among the presents, (which to all Eastern princes, but especially to such as only play at making war, ought chiefly to be articles of warlike use,) none can be so well adapted to dazzle the Chinese as a train of our field artillery, with its entire establishment of horses, &c. This, after doing its appropriate service to the ambassador's "retinue" to and from the point of de